SPLASH! News for April 20, 2017

Dive Into the News of the Day

Kiran Opal


Arkansas Courts Stay Execution, Block Use of Lethal Injection Drug

Washington Post – Arkansas courts on Wednesday dealt another pair of blows to the state’s plans to resume executions Thursday night, the latest in a series of legal rulings imperiling the scheduled flurry of lethal injections.
In one case, a state court halted an execution scheduled for Thursday night, while a state judge separately barred the use of a lethal injection drug, potentially blocking all of the planned executions.

The rulings come as Arkansas, seeking to carry out its first executions since 2005, has become the epicenter of capital punishment in the United States because of its frantic schedule. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) originally scheduled eight executions in 11 days, an unprecedented pace, which drew national scrutiny and criticism.

FL State Senator Apologizes for Racial Slurs But Black Lawmakers Want Him Out

TIME – A Florida state senator apologized Wednesday for using a racial slur and vulgar insults during a private, after-hours conversation with two African-American colleagues, but black lawmakers say that wasn’t enough and called for his removal.

Republican Sen. Frank Artiles gave the three-minute apology on the Senate floor as the chamber began its business for the day.

“I extend a heartfelt apology to my colleagues and to all of those I have offended,” said Artiles, a Cuban-American from the Miami area. “My harsh words have adversely reflected more on me than they could ever have on anyone else.”

Blavity’s CEO on Taking Risks and Building a Community for Black Millenials

CNN Money – Watching the protests that ensued after Michael Brown was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Morgan DeBaun knew that the online forum that she had been working on part-time now needed her full-time attention.

Called Blavity (a mashup of “black” and “gravity”), the web site is a gathering place for black millennials to share their thoughts, stories and experiences. And, as protests across the country heated up, it seemed to DeBaun that there was no better time to bring the web site to life.
So in the fall of 2014, she quit her high paying Silicon Valley job at Intuit and dedicated herself to getting the online community off the ground.

“Yes, I could have marched in the streets,” said DeBaun. “But really my unique contribution and the contribution of our Blavity team was being able to be a platform and a space for people to get the word out about what was happening in their cities.”

Nebraska Farmers Could Derail Keystone XL Pipeline

Reuters – When President Donald Trump handed TransCanada Pipeline Co. a permit for its Keystone XL pipeline last month, he said the company could now build the long-delayed and divisive project “with efficiency and with speed.”

But Trump and the firm will have to get through Nebraska farmer Art Tanderup first, along with about 90 other landowners in the path of the pipeline.

They are mostly farmers and ranchers, making a last stand against the pipeline – the fate of which now rests with an obscure state regulatory board, the Nebraska Public Service Commission.

The group is fine-tuning an economic argument it hopes will resonate better in this politically conservative state than the environmental concerns that dominated the successful push to block Keystone under former President Barack Obama.

Runnoff Vote Keeps Georgia’s 6th District a Battleground

New York Times – When Jon Ossoff came within a couple of percentage points of winning 50 percent of the votes — and thus winning outright — in the special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District on Tuesday, Democrats trumpeted the unexpectedly strong showing in a traditional Republican stronghold. But Republicans were also pleased that they had forced Mr. Ossoff into a June runoff against a seasoned candidate they believe their fractured party can unite behind.

This closely watched race in the suburbs north of Atlanta has been widely billed as a referendum on Donald J. Trump’s presidency, and local residents are girding themselves for a new bombardment of money and messaging as the two major parties fight for the chance to brand the Republican president as either damaged goods or a wily survivor.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump, as divisive and catalyzing as ever, is waiting in the wings, amid speculation that he may be mulling a more personal involvement in the race that could end up stoking Republican excitement, Democratic anger — or both.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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SPLASH! News for April 20, 2017