Nebraska Becomes 1st Red State in 40 Years to Abolish Death Penalty
Despite staunch opposition from Republican Governor Pete Ricketts, the Legislature made Nebraska the 18th US state (plus Washington, D.C.) to do away with the death penalty, and the first historically conservative state to do it in over 40 years. Rickets vetoed the measure on Tuesday, only to watch helplessly as legislators overrode his veto by a 30 to 19 vote. The bill repealing the death penalty has been the subject of heated debate for months; and Rickets has been the most vocal opponent with dozens of tv appearances to urge citizens to pressure their senators to vote no on the measure. The measure has also been vigorously opposed by relatives of murder victims whose convicted killers are awaiting execution and numerous law enforcement officials. Six states have outlawed capital punishment in the last eight years, but no conservative states have since North Dakota in 1973.
Well this could be a little awkward: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has been asked to be the keynote speaker at an upcoming benefit for sexual assault victims, even as he deals with accusations that he engaged in sexual harassment himself. Of course, Filner had been slated to receive a lifetime achievement award at the event, but the National Military Women Veterans Association of America decided against that move when the allegations of misconduct surfaced. A spokesman for the group noted that it does not tolerate sexual discrimination, but is sticking with Filner as its keynote speaker at the late August meeting because nothing has been proved. Filner, San Diego's first Democratic mayor in over 20 years, has refused to step down in the wake of the misconduct allegations because he is entitled to due process.
65.6 million viewers tuned in to watch President Barack Obama
and Mitt Romney go at it again, in round 2 of the presidential
debates. The turnout fell just below those posted from the
first debate, estimated at 67 million viewers. Regardless,
other than the first debate, the latest stats were still higher
than any presidential debate since 1992.
President Obama's much-criticized healthcare plan was dealt a blow on Friday when the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that the provision mandating all Americans buy health insurance is unconstitutional. The ruling sets up a likely showdown over the bill at the Supreme Court next year as Obama is immersed in a battle to win re-election.
Donald Trump announced on Monday that he will not run for president in 2012 after generating a media frenzy several weeks ago when he indicated that he might. With typical Trump confidence, Trump maintained that he could have won the Republican primary and then defeated incumbent President Barack Obama, but decided that “running for public office cannot be done half-heartedly.”
A source revealed Monday that Morgan Stanley, the Wall Street investment bank, has halted oil trading with Libya in the first indication that political turmoil in the North African nation will lead to sanctions. The firm has canceled all of its orders for crude oil and refined products over the past week, the source said, “due to the OFAC”. OFAC refers to the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, which initiates trade sanctions with other nations.
Goldman Sachs economist Alec Phillips has warned that the Republican's plan to cut government spending by $61 billion in 2011 could lead to a slowdown in US economic growth in the second and third quarters. The comments were in a letter which Democrats are using to validate their argument in the ongoing budget battle that the GOP plan would do damage to the nation's fragile economy.
The US House of Representatives passed a bill proposing a series of spending cuts through the first nine months of 2011 over the weekend, a bill that is likely to be shot down in the Democrat-controlled Senate. The Republican-sponsored bill is viewed as a challenge to President Obama to see how serious he is about reducing record-high budget deficits. The bill also brings in the possibility of a government shutdown if a compromise is not found by the time currently mandated funding legislation expires on March 4th.
White House officials say that President Obama, during a planned trip to the San Francisco Bay Area this week, will be paying a visit to a number of tech CEOs including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. The President will not be making any public appearances during the trip.
The House of Representatives spent Wednesday debating whether to repeal President Obama's overhaul of the nation's healthcare system, a hot-button issue for the body's new Republican majority and a source of much debate over the last few months.