U.S. Incarceration Rate is Six Times the World Average – The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Indeed, the United States leads the world in producing prisoners, a reflection of a relatively recent and now entirely distinctive American approach to crime and punishment. Americans are locked up for crimes — from writing bad checks to using drugs — that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences.
The United States comes in first, too, on a more meaningful list from the prison studies center, the one ranked in order of the incarceration rates. It has 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. (If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.) The only other major industrialized nation that even comes close is Russia, with 627 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The others have much lower rates. England’s rate is 151; Germany’s is 88; and Japan’s is 63. The median among all nations is about 125, roughly a sixth of the American rate.
Chris Matthews Can’t Read a Clock – During the Tuesday night primary coverage, Chris Matthews declared before his viewing audience that it was eight o’clock and the polls in Pennsylvania were closed. The only problem was it was only seven-thirty and there was a big ol’ clock right there on the ticker that clearly said that polls would be open for another half hour. (Does Chris Matthews know what time it is? Does he really care? If not, I can’t imagine why…We’ve all got time enough to keep watching him. – OK, it doesn’t rhyme. And my apologies to the band Chicago.- JLV)
We Don’t Have a National Health Care Plan for the Public but Congress Has One for Itself – Members of Congress are paid over $170,000 per year and they get free health care, free haircuts, and other perks. Congress needs to learn how to put their constituents’ interests above their own. The good news is there are five (so far) Democratic congressional candidates who have pledged, if elected, not to take congressional health care until the people get a plan that’s just as good.
Hundreds of EPA Scientists Pressured by Political Interference – Hundreds of Environmental Protection Agency scientists complain they have been victims of political interference and pressure from superiors to skew their findings, according to a survey released Wednesday by an advocacy group.
Comcast Blocking of Internet Was More Widespread Than the Company Admitted – Comcast’s slowing of peer-to-peer traffic appeared to be more widespread than the company has disclosed, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, testifying before a Senate committee, said Comcast’s blocking of BitTorrent P-to-P (peer-to-peer) traffic appeared to happen when there wasn’t network congestion, in contrast to claims from the broadband provider. Comcast’s actions, first described by the Associated Press last October, appeared to “block uploads of a significant portion of subscribers” in that part of the network, even during times when the network wasn’t congested, Martin said.