Law
12:01 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Death Sentences Drop To Historic Lows In 2011

The high-profile case of Troy Davis sparked national debate on the death penalty. Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, says there's growing discontent among Americans about capital punishment.
David Tulis AP

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:05 am

Death sentences dropped dramatically this year, marking the first time in more than three decades that judges and juries sent fewer than 100 people to death row, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center.

Just 78 offenders were handed capital sentences, and only 43 inmates were executed — almost half as many as 10 years ago.

American Reaction

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David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafe is produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dye launched his distinguished broadcasting career as host of a progressive music show on WMMR 93.3 FM, a pioneering progressive rock station in Philadelphia. During his four-year tenure, Dye won accolades for his taste and laid back presentation. After a five-year stint programming radio stations in Maine, he returned to Philadelphia where he gained public radio experience at WHYY before being recruited in 1981 by alternative rock station WIOQ 102.1 FM where he made his mark on the music scene for nearly a decade.

Steven Van Zandt is a musician, songwriter, arranger, record producer, actor, human rights activist, and international radio DJ. He is a founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and a well known musician in his own right.

Along with recording and performing with his band Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, Van Zandt is also a critically acclaimed producer for artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Artists United Against Apartheid, Darlene Love, Gary U.S. Bonds, Ronnie Spector, The Chesterfield Kings, The Cocktail Slippers, and The Breakers.

The Two-Way
6:46 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Look Up! There's Still A Chance To Catch Geminid Meteor Shower

In this picture provided by Wally Pacholka of AstroPics.com, a Geminid fireball explodes over the Mojave Desert in the Jojave Desert, Calif. on Dec. 13, 2009.
Wally Pacholka AP

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 6:58 pm

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All Tech Considered
6:01 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Who's Opposed To .XXX Domain Names? Not Exactly Whom You'd Think

Members of the adult entertainment industry and its trade groups gathered in San Francisco in March to oppose the creation of a separate Internet address for adult entertainment websites.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:42 pm

Education has .edu, .gov belongs to the government, and now, adult entertainment has .xxx.

Since last week, anyone can go online and buy a domain name ending in .xxx — but it's not all adult entertainment companies that are rushing to purchase the new addresses.

Colleges and other institutions have purchased .xxx domains pre-emptively to prevent others from doing so and associating their names with adult content. And many big names in the adult entertainment industry are opposed to the possibility of censorship by places that could block the entire .xxx domain.

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Energy
5:42 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

U.S. Nuclear Agency Suffers Leadership Meltdown

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Chairman Gregory Jaczko (center) speaks Wednesday during a meeting of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His fellow commissioners, from bottom left: Kristine Svinicki, William Magwood IV and William Ostendorff.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 7:12 pm

The government organization charged with keeping nuclear power safe is having a meltdown. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission consists of five commissioners who direct the work of hundreds of nuclear engineers and other experts. They write the rules for how nuclear reactors operate.

Now four of those commissioners say the chairman of the NRC is a bully who's destroying their ability to do their job.

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The Two-Way
5:17 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

As FAMU Fallout Deepens, Ga. District Halts Band Activity

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 5:34 pm

A Georgia school system has suspended all marching band activities after it launched an investigation spurred by the alleged hazing at Florida A&M University.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Dekalb County School System spokesman said they made the decision after uncovering "documented evidence of inappropriate activity that took place over the summer." The AJC adds:

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Around the Nation
5:16 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Experts Question Need For Stronger Cellphone Ban

A driver uses a cellphone in Maine, which has laws that ban people under 18 from using cellphones behind the wheel and bar all drivers from texting.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

When the head of the National Transportation Safety Board called for states to pass tough new laws banning drivers from using cellphones or hand-held devices, she said: "No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life."

While Tuesday's statement by NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman is undeniable, there are those who question the advisability of such a ban. Some state lawmakers and transportation experts say it could be difficult to enforce and that there's no real evidence yet that existing laws on hand-held devices have significantly reduced accident rates.

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Politics
5:08 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Report: Wealthy 'Elite Donors' Fueling U.S. Politics

A report released by the Sunlight Foundation finds that in the 2010 midterm elections, 26,783 donors nationwide gave more than $10,000 each.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 9:10 pm

A tiny percentage of very wealthy Americans funded a relatively large chunk of the 2010 congressional midterm races, continuing a trend that has been growing for two decades, according to a new analysis of political contributions.

The Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for transparency in politics and government, found that fewer than 27,000 individuals (out of a population of 307 million) each gave at least $10,000 to federal political campaigns in 2010.

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It's All Politics
4:43 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Just How Many Jobs Would The Keystone Pipeline Create?

Demonstrators march with a replica of a pipeline during a protest to demand a stop to the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline outside the White House last November.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 7:12 pm

One of the major sticking points between the House and the Senate as they face off over end-of-year legislation is the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The bill the House passed Tuesday contains a provision forcing President Obama to decide on the pipeline within 60 days.

Republicans say this project should move ahead quickly because it will create thousands of jobs. But just how many jobs would be created is a matter of contention.

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