President Gets Rid Of Solitary Confinement For Juveniles In Federal Prisons

On Monday, President Obama announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system. He said that it is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences.

On the same day, an op-ed was published in The Washington Post by The President on the subject of solitary confinement. The op-ed appeared in the Tuesday edition of the Post.

(Video: Secular Talk)


Op-Ed: Take A Look At Former Governor Martin O’Malley

This website recommends former governor Martin O’Malley for president, and cites his strong record as governor of Maryland for proof of his ability to get laws passed.

Anyone with liberal political leanings should be aware of his record.

While O’Malley was in office, Maryland raised their minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Under his stewardship, Maryland passed some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, the Maryland Firearms Safety Act of 2013.

O’Malley also repealed the death penalty, and closed the Maryland House of Correction in the town of Jessup, a notoriously violent maximum-security prison facility.

O’Malley has stated he is not afraid to hike the gas tax and has championed climate change legislation.

He legalized gay marriage in Maryland before the Supreme Court decision to legalize it nationwide.

O’Malley also approved in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants.

He signed a bill that decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana and legalized medical marijuana.

Under O’Malley, Maryland instituted all-payer healthcare rate setting, which ensures that all insurance companies pay the same rate for the same service at a hospital. The model limits the growth in hospital spending per capita to growth in the state’s economy. This helps Maryland keep the costs of healthcare down.

According to Educatiion Week, Maryland has been in the top five for public school rankings in the nation for over five years.   The governor’s office states that Maryland has the number one ranking for holding down the cost of college tuition. (College Board)

Maryland also has the number one ranking for innovation and entrepreneurship for two years running. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

Most of the arguments against O’Malley are not substantive.  They are similar to arguments made against Al Gore, such as “he’s too polished” (compared to Bernie Sanders).  However, others believe he is “not polished enough” (compared to other politicians like Hillary Clinton), or that he isn’t “exciting enough.”  These arguments don’t hold water, as his record speaks for itself.


Biden To Join Presidential Race: Yahoo News

Joe Biden to Enter Presidential RaceVice President Joe Biden will enter the presidential race, according to media reports filed on Monday.

“Three sources close to @VP telling me he’s expected to announce he is running but the sources are all urging caution on 48-hr timeline,” chief White House correspondent Ed Henry tweeted.

Henry added that observers should look to Saturday’s Jefferson Jackson dinner in Iowa as a potential announcement event, according to Yahoo News.

Many pundits thought Hillary Clinton’s strong performance in the first Democratic debate on October 13th would convince Biden not to enter the race, but the vice president reportedly can see a path to succeeding the President.

CNN reporter Dana Bash reportedly stated that “A source familiar with the process tells me Biden associates are setting up interviews for potential campaign staff positions,” writes The Daily Beast.

(Updated to add links)

Presidential Contender Rubio States Putin Is A ‘Gangster And A Thug’

Presidential candidate Marco Rubio vowed recently to “isolate Russia diplomatically” and impose a series of new sanctions on Moscow if he is elected President of the United States.

The Florida senator has taken a harsh stance against Russia while campaigning. Rubio used a national security forum in an Iowa to detail what foreign policy toward Russia would look like if he were elected President.  The Iowa caucuses are one of the first votes in the Republican primary elections.

The senator said he would propose new sanctions on Russian officials and entities, including visa bans and asset freezes against senior leadership. He also pledged to work with US allies in Europe to exclude Russia from SWIFT, the international banking system that allows for the exchange of money across countries.

The Republican contender’s speech was made against the backdrop of Russian airstrikes against opponents of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, including the Islamic State as well as “moderate” Muslims.

Rubio even said, “We are barreling toward a second cold war,” and called Putin’s airstrikes in Syria a “power play.”

Rubio made similar statements in last month’s Republican presidential debate, in which his performance was praised and prompted a boost for his campaign. The senator also refered to Putin as a “gangster” at that time – a characterization he repeats often in media appearances and while campaigning in early voting states.

Rubio’s criticisms even garnered attention from Putin on CBS television’s 60 Minutes program last week.  When asked about Rubio’s description of him, Putin responded: “How can I be a gangster if I worked for the KGB? Come on. That does not correspond to reality.”

Rubio openly mocked Putin’s comments in several campaign stops this week, saying “Well, Mr. Putin, I rest my case.”

President’s Speech To Catholic Health Association

The White House

On Tuesday, U.S. President Obama spoke about America’s healthcare in a speech to the Catholic Health Association’s annual assembly, in Washington, DC.  He attempted to make the case that The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is an integral part of the country’s social safety net, much like Social Security or Medicare.

He condemned opponents of his signature health care law as “cynical” partisans seeking to deprive Americans of an important benefit, writes The New York Times. He built a tough political case against Republicans as the Supreme Court weighs whether to strike down a key element of the Affordable Care Act in the case of King v. Burwell.

“This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another — this is health care in America,” the president said in a speech to the Catholic Health Association, an organization that championed the law and has written a brief asking the high court to uphold it. “It seems so cynical to want to take health care away from millions of people.”

Who Is Larry Lessig?

TYT Network

Larry Lessig is a professor at Harvard Law School who has been instrumental in the fight for getting money out of politics (campaign finance reform).

Wikipedia states:

“Lawrence ‘Larry’ Lessig (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic and political activist. He is a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications, and he has called for state-based activism to promote substantive reform of government with a Second Constitutional Convention.  In May 2014, he launched a crowd-funded political action committee which he termed Mayday PAC with the purpose of electing candidates to Congress who would pass campaign finance reform.

“Lessig is director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor of law at Harvard Law School. Previously, he was a professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of the Center for Internet and Society. Lessig is a founding board member of Creative Commons and the founder of Rootstrikers, and is on the board of MapLight.  He is on the advisory boards of the Democracy Café, Sunlight Foundation, and Americans Elect.  He is a former board member of the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Law Center, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”

Could Lessig be a good write-in candidate for President of the United States?

(Updated article)

Former Olympic Figure Skater Joins Clinton Campaign Staff

U.S. President Bill Clinton accepts a U.S. Olympic team jacket from U.S. figure skater Michelle Kwan, an Olympic silver medalist 29 April during ceremonies on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, DC.

Michelle Kwan, a two-time Olympic medalist figure skater, has joined Hillary Clinton’s campaign as a full-time and permanent staffer, according to a Clinton aide.  Kwan was a five-time world champion figure skater and is a decorated medalist from the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics, writes CNN

Kwan will work on “surrogate outreach” and will engage surrogates “to help reach key constituencies and discuss the issues that matter most to working families,” the aide said Wednesday.

Kwan has worked with Clinton before as a State Department aide and worked as an adviser to Women-Lead, an initiative that facilitated high level U.S.-Chinese dialogue on women and girls.

(Updated article for credits)