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Bernie Sanders Got It Right on CNN: Felons Ought to Be Allowed to Vote

Top Stories - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 05:21

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyIn their CNN town halls Monday night, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg disagreed on whether current prisoners should be able to vote. Sen. Kamala Harris refused to endorse a plan for expanding the franchise to incarcerated people, but supported voting rights for former prisoners.Sanders was specifically asked about Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and “those convicted of sexual assault.” What sane person would want them to vote? Our political system is already run by crooks. Do we want to add murderers and rapists too?In European history dating to Roman times, criminals could be stripped of their legal personality after committing a crime. They could not sign contracts or own property. They were outlaws, banished from the city walls. John Locke and other political theorists argued that criminals broke an implicit social contract: a rule-breaker should lose the right to make rules for others. But Locke lived in a time when only white, male, wealthy landowners could vote. Today, the right to vote is enshrined in democratic constitutions and international treaties. In American history, many states’ exclusions of those with a criminal record from voting date to the post-Civil War period and were clearly aimed at denying the franchise to African Americans. Criminal justice reform advocates argue that suffering a Medieval-style “civil death” dehumanizes prisoners, prevents their reintegration into society, and perpetuates inequalities in our political system. We should not assume that prisoners are less knowledgeable about politics than those outside of prison—that’s a pretty low bar, after all. Encouraging prisoners to feel involved in the political process can have real benefits too. Isolating prisoners from the political process during and after their incarceration further stigmatizes and isolates them, and that can encourage reoffending.Prisoners lose many of their rights when they go to prison. They can’t serve on a jury from a prison cell, or own guns; both of those are probably reasonable proscriptions. They probably should not own guns. But prisoners do not lose all their rights in prison. They are entitled to practice their religion and can challenge the conditions of their confinement. Taking away prisoners’ liberty is already a heavy punishment. Allowing them to cast an absentee ballot is not an unreasonable privilege.The most important consequence of allowing prisoners to vote is that it would remove the incentives for “prison gerrymandering.” In most U.S. states, prisoners are counted by the census based on where they are incarcerated, not where they are registered to vote. Because most large prisons are in sparsely populated rural areas, prison complexes have an important effect on gerrymandering. Many prisoners are racial minorities or people who live in urban areas, which means these places lose voting population, while more conservative areas gain nonvoting population. This advantages Republican congressmen in places like upstate New York, who benefit from inflated populations for redistricting purposes, but have nothing to fear at election time. Prisoner disenfranchisement therefore contributes to a structural disparity that causes Congress and state legislatures to be more conservative than the public at large.While many states are in the process of revising their laws to allow ex-prisoners to vote, voting by current prisoners only exists in Maine, Puerto Rico, and Vermont—the latter represented by Sanders in the U.S. Senate. In addition, the trend across the developed world is to allow at least some prisoners to vote. The supreme courts of South Africa, Canada, and Israel have legalized voting for at least some prisoners. The European Court of Human Rights has also rejected blanket prohibitions on prisoner voting, though it has allowed exceptions.The policy options are far broader than a single audience question would suggest. In Germany, prisoners can vote unless they were convicted of terrorism or political violence, an exception that would encompass Tsarnaev’s marathon attack. Other European countries prevent violent criminals, those serving lengthy or life sentences, or war criminals from voting. Exceptions for crimes of dishonesty or fraud might be reasonable as well. In a few countries, only those convicted of misdemeanors can vote, rather than felonies.These are policy debates we should be willing to have. Even if we allowed only persons serving misdemeanor sentences in local jails to vote, this alone might add nearly 300,000 voters to the rolls. Prisoner voting is already underway in some states and developed countries, so it is hardly a revolutionary position. Overbroad restrictions on voting help ensure that politicians select their own voters, rather than voters electing their own politicians.Andrew Novak is Assistant Professor of Criminology Law and Society at George Mason University.Read more at The Daily Beast.


Rouhani says U.S. must lift pressure and apologize before Iran will negotiate

Top Stories - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 04:20

GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran is willing to negotiate with America only when the United States lifts pressure and apologizes, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday, according to state media. Oil prices hit their highest level since November on Tuesday after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end next week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply. "We have always been a man of negotiation and diplomacy, the same way that we've been a man of war and defense. ...


Easter Massacre Opens Door for Strongman to Return in Sri Lanka

Top Stories - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 02:49

The star-studded event, featuring both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, underscored the importance of the property beyond simply attracting more tourists: It was also a monument to Sri Lanka’s resurgence following a brutal three-decade civil war between the mostly Buddhist Sinhalese majority and predominately Hindu Tamils. The Shangri-La was built on the old site of the army headquarters, which was shifted outside the city after former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government won a decisive victory in 2009 with tactics criticized by human-rights activists. The Easter Sunday bombings that tore apart the Shangri-La, two nearby luxury hotels and three Christian churches have made security a top-of-mind concern in Colombo once again.


Trump news – live: White House 'blocking' officials from testifying as senior Democrats join push for impeachment

Top Stories - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 02:33

The Trump administration is being accused of “stonewalling” Congress by ignoring a deadline for the Treasury to hand over Donald Trump's tax returns and defying a subpoena requesting ex-personal security director Carl Kline appear before a House investigative committee.“It appears that the president believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House, that he may order officials at will to violate their legal obligations, and that he may obstruct attempts by Congress to conduct oversight,” said Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight Committee.President Trump made his feelings on Democrat-led investigations in the wake of the Mueller report perfectly clear in an interview on Tuesday, stating: “There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan - obviously very partisan. I don’t want people testifying to a party, because that is what they’re doing if they do this.”Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load


Check Out This Picture: You Are Looking at the Greatest Aircraft Carrier Ever

Top Stories - Wed, 04/24/2019 - 01:00

Shortly before USS Enterprise went to the breakers, a new ship bearing the name was laid down; CVN-65, the world’s first nuclear aircraft carrier. The latter USS Enterprise served for fifty years, before decommissioning in 2012. Another USS Enterprise, CVN-80, is scheduled for completion by 2025.In May 1938, the U.S. Navy commissioned the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the seventh ship to bear the name in American service. The second of three sisters, Enterprise made a central—perhaps the central—contribution to the war effort in 1942. The U.S. Navy began 1942 with six fleet carriers (excluding the small Ranger, which served in the Atlantic). Over the course of the year, Japanese aircraft and submarines would sink four of those carriers and put a fifth (USS Saratoga) out of action for long periods of time. Enterprise fought with distinction in most of the major battles of 1942, and survived to contribute for the rest of the war.(This first appeared several years ago.)In short, USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the finest ship ever to serve in the U.S. Navy.Construction


'Do Hard Things.' Fred Swaniker Gives Inspirational Toast at 2019 TIME 100 Gala

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 23:20

'The most difficult thing is to keep going'


Glenn Close, Hasan Minhaj and Naomi Campbell Reveal Their Most Positive Influences at the TIME 100 Gala

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 22:46

Glenn Close, Naomi Campbell and Trevor Noah talk about who influences them most at the 2019 TIME 100 Gala in a moving video.


Florida House closer to passing felon voting rights bill

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 22:28

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Legislation that would restore voting rights to convicted felons who complete their sentences except murderers and felony sex offenders moved another step Tuesday toward passage in the Florida House.


Democrats to press star witness of Mueller report to repeat performance in Congress

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 22:22

Since the April 18 release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and any ties to Republican Trump's campaign, Democrats have seen McGahn as someone who could be as important as Mueller himself, according to a source familiar with the matter. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the White House planned to oppose a subpoena by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee for McGahn to testify. Mueller's 448-page partially blacked-out report portrayed McGahn as one of the few figures in Trump's orbit to challenge him when he tried to shut down the investigation that has clouded his more than two years in the White House.


Armed border group shuts down camp at border in New Mexico

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 21:44

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (AP) — An armed group that has been patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border left its post in the New Mexico desert Tuesday amid pressure from law enforcement following videos that showed militia members stopping migrants who had illegally crossed into the country.


The Latest: Hearing about missing boy's brother continued

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 20:20

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the missing suburban Chicago 5-year-old boy (all times local):


UPDATE 2-PG&E get approval to pay employees $350 mln to meet safety goals after wildfires

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:18

PG&E Corp can pay employees up to $350 million in bonuses this year to spur them to help meet the bankrupt California power provider's safety goals to prevent wildfires, a judge said on Tuesday. PG&E's management has said the company needs to implement the bonus plan to carry out tasks such as clearing trees and branches around power lines to avert contact that triggers wildfires. While the maximum cost of the plan is $350 million, PG&E has said it expects the likely cost will be around $235 million.


Macworld's May Digital Magazine: Apple, at your service

Macworld - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:17

Every day, Macworld brings you the essential daily news and other info about all things Apple. But staying on top of that torrent of information can be a constant challenge. One solution: the Macworld digital magazine. 

In the May issue

In the May issue we have all of the details of Apple’s new service offerings: Apple News+, Apple TV+, and Apple Arcade. Samsung just introduced an AirPod competitor. Find out how Galaxy Buds compare to AirPods on the iPhone.

Also in this month’s issue:

• MacUser: Apple updates iMac with 8th and 9th generation Intel Core processors; Google’s Stadia service could shatter the barriers of Mac gaming

To read this article in full, please click here

Islamic State group claims Sri Lanka suicide bombings

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 18:08

The Islamic State group on Tuesday claimed responsibility for a devastating series of suicide attacks against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed more than 320 people. The claim, accompanied by a photo and video of the men the group said had unleashed the carnage, emerged more than two days after the near-simultaneous blasts ripped through three high-end hotels popular with foreigners and three churches packed with Christians celebrating Easter. Sri Lanka's government had said initial investigations suggested the attack had been carried out as "retaliation" for shootings at two mosques in New Zealand last month that killed 50 people.


Apple releases iOS 12.3 beta 3 to public beta testers

Macworld - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:46

Apple’s “It’s show time” event on March 25 revealed a number of new services, most of which aren’t available yet. One of them, Apple News+, released immediately along with the update to iOS 12.2.

Just days later, the company released the first beta of iOS 12.3, which sets the stage for a major update to the TV app in May. 

Those who are part of Apple's developer program can register a device for developer betas by heading to developer.apple.com/download. Those who are not in the developer program can register their devices for public beta releases by visiting beta.apple.com while using the device on which they wish to run the beta software. While many beta releases are stable and even include new bug fixes, we suggest you do not run beta releases on your primary device.

To read this article in full, please click here

North Korea's Kim Jong Un to meet Putin in Russia on Thursday: Kremlin

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:45

The visit is part of Kim's effort to build foreign support after the breakdown of a second U.S.-North Korea summit in Vietnam in February meant no relief on sanctions for North Korea, analysts said. The summit will be the first between Putin and the North Korean leader and the nuclear row, and how to resolve it, would be the main item on the agenda, Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters. "In the last few months the situation around the peninsula has stabilized somewhat, thanks in large part to North Korea's initiatives of stopping rocket testing and closing its nuclear test site," Ushakov said.


Tim Cook on Apple’s values, regulation, excessive phone use, health, and more

Macworld - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:39

Tim Cook is not one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2019. Nonetheless, as a three-time honoree of that list, he was invited to be interviewed by Nancy Gibbs at the Time 100 Summit. As expected, Cook didn’t reveal any details about new products, software, or services. Instead, the questions posed and answers given were broad, touching on Cook’s and Apple’s values and how technology fits into the world we live in.

Here’s some of what he said about a variety of issues. Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.

To read this article in full, please click here

NASA probe records first likely 'marsquake' detected on red planet

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:31

NASA's robotic probe InSight has detected and measured what scientists believe to be a "marsquake," marking the first time a likely seismological tremor has been recorded on another planet, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California reported on Tuesday. The breakthrough came five months after InSight, the first spacecraft designed specifically to study the deep interior of a distant world, touched down on the surface of Mars to begin its two-year seismological mission on the red planet. The faint rumble characterized by JPL scientists as a likely marsquake was recorded on April 6, the lander's 128th Martian day, or sol.


Delphi murders: Here's what we know about unsolved killings of two teen girls in Indiana

Top Stories - Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:16

It's been more than two years since the Delphi murders. Here's what we know now about the unsolved killings of Abigail Williams and Liberty Germany.


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