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Member since: Tue Apr 5, 2005, 09:55 AM
Number of posts: 6,837

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Death penalty executions at a 25-year high, Amnesty International reports

The number of people executed around the world has reached a sobering new record. New figures released by Amnesty International show a 50 per cent rise in executions in 2015.

More than 1634 people were condemned to death in 25 countries worldwide, that’s 573 more than in 2014. The human rights watchdog said it marked an alarming development, and the real figures could be even higher, as the numbers for China are unknown.

“The dramatic rise in executions that we recorded in 2015 was down to huge increases, primarily huge increases, in just three countries – Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Together these three countries accounted for almost 90 percent of all the executions that we recorded in 2015, again, excluding China,” explained Audrey Gaughran, Director for Global Issues and Research, from Amnesty International.

The report notes that China regards death penalty figures as a state secret. When asked about the report a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry claimed that Amnesty released ‘unfair’ statements about the country.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/death-penalty-executions-25-year-high-amnesty-international/

Republicans misrepresenting policy for sake of entertainment

True to his promise of a more entertaining convention, Donald has "Trumpified" the Republican National Convention, replacing politicians with reality TV stars for the sake of ratings - and, perhaps, because there aren't many politicians who want to share a stage with Trump.

Apart from a plagiarized prime-time speech delivered by Melania Trump, Monday night's "Make America Safe Again" event was anchored by actors Antonio Sabato Jr. and Scott Baio, who lectured the crowd on how the GOP nominee will strengthen national security. (Who knew appearing on Happy Days taught you so much about politics?)

In Sabato's speech, for instance, the Italian-born actor detailed how he came to the United States legally and then became a naturalized citizen, saying, "others who want to come to the U.S. to live and work should follow the same rules" that he did.

But when a man whose claim to fame is appearing on a medical soap opera is rallying the convention crowd on the issue of immigration, it's clear that Trump's speakers serve little purpose other than erasing the convention presenting concrete policy points. This is consistent with Trump's equally policy-averse time on the primary campaign trail.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/republicans-misrepresenting-policy-sake-entertainment/

America’s huge racial wealth gap is not an accident

By Josh Hoxie

Party platforms are dense and often morosely boring documents filled with wonkish policy proposals and partisan jeers at the other side.

At over 40 pages, this year’s Democratic Party platform lives up to its predecessors in length and ennui. However, it also includes a section not yet seen in platforms from either side: an acknowledgement of the racial wealth gap.

Wealth has been unfairly distributed since our nation’s founding, and that unfairness has always had a racial bent. It goes something like this: White families have more; black and Latino families have less. (Asian and Arab Americans have more complex economic histories.)

The gap is far larger than you might expect.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/americas-huge-racial-wealth-gap-no-accident/

Imagine if you will...

... a Democratic candidate for president. He's been married three times. The third wife is a former lingerie/soft-porn model who was raised in a communist country. She makes a speech that plagiarizes a Republican first lady and Rick Astley.

Imagine how the Republicans would react.

Freak show begins: With mix of put-downs and a floor fight, GOP opens raucous national convention

Mixing put-downs with protest, Republicans opened their national convention Monday still working to reconcile themselves to the takeover of their party by business tycoon Donald Trump, who put his unmistakable stamp on the program.

Onstage in a hall bathed in red, white and blue, a parade of speakers sung Trump's virtues, portraying him as strong and decisive, canny and compassionate, unbeholden to Washington and selfless in a way the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, is not.

Instead of "a woman who somehow feels that she's entitled to the presidency ... we can go for Donald Trump, a man doing this from the goodness of his heart (who) genuinely wants to help," said actor Scott Baio, one of a grab bag of speakers that included Trump's wife, Melania, but few of the political stars who normally populate the convention stage.

Breaking with the usual protocol, which calls for him to absent himself until his Thursday night acceptance speech, Trump swooped in from Manhattan to offer a brief introduction of his wife, calling her "an amazing mother, an incredible woman."

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/gop-opens-raucous-national-convention/

Trump ghostwriter: ‘Sociopath’ candidate could ‘end civilization’

The aura of Donald Trump – such as it is – largely began with the autobiography "The Art of the Deal," a work that has defined the real estate mogul's public person. But the man who served as a ghostwriter for Trump's 1987 screed has come out publicly as an ardent critic of the now presumptive Republican nominee for president.

Tony Schwartz, who was a prominent magazine writer at the time the book was published, feels a "deep sense of remorse" he helped create Trump, he told the New Yorker magazine in a tell-all feature. "'The Art of the Deal' made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth—and regrets it," the magazine notes.

"I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization," Schwartz told the New Yorker.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/trump-ghostwriter-sociopath-candidate-end-civilization/

Important clarification from the NRA

When we in the gun-nut community said it was the duty of all Americans to take up arms against the government whenever he/she feels personally "oppressed" by it, we were talking only about white people who rise up to oppose tyrannies such as universal health care, gay rights or transgender people in restrooms.

Re: Baton Rouge

Gandhi knew it. MLK knew it. 99.99% of Black Lives Matter supporters know it now. Fighting brutality by the authorities with violent retribution always backfires.

Participation in a cycle of violence, besides being immoral, is a losing strategy. The "powers that be" will always have more guns than you do. You also don't win allies by killing people who have done nothing wrong just because a few people with similar uniforms acted badly.

Has anyone here tried to get involved with Wikimedia Commons?

Has anyone here tried to get involved with Wikimedia Commons?

I have, on two occasions, tried to participate on Wikimedia Commons by creating and uploading images. I use a lot of images from that site, so I figured I should contribute some as well.

But my experience has been dreadful. The website is incredibly hard to use. And when I make a mistake or violate any of their Byzantine rules, the moderators heap abuse on me.

What gives with that place?

In the US, racial inequality starts in preschool

Emphasis added

For the first time in March 2014, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) collected data regarding how early learners are disciplined during the 2011-12 school year.

That report showed that while black children represent 18 percent of preschool enrollment, they accounted for 48 percent of students receiving one or more suspensions. White children, on the other hand, represented over 40 percent of the total enrollment, but a little more than 25 percent of such suspensions.

A suspension involves the removal of a student from school for violations of a school’s code of conduct for one or more days. These violations could vary depending on the state and local school district policies. They could include infractions such as tardiness, dress code violations, failure to follow directions and “willful disobedience.” In public schools, short-term suspensions typically are 10 days or less. More than 10 consecutive days of suspension require greater due process rights.

A March 2016 OCR report shows a continuation of the disturbing trends and disparities of the 2014 report. This time, the OCR provided more data by breaking down preschool suspension rates based upon race and gender. For the 2013-14 year, the report shows that black children attending public preschools were 3.6 times more likely to receive one or more suspension compared to their white counterparts.

MORE HERE: http://yonside.com/america-racial-inequality-starts-preschool/

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