Thursday News Roundup

June 23, 2005

Texas Governor Rick Perry reluctantly signed a bill commuting the death sentences of 27 juveniles currently on death row in the state. Perry made it clear he was signing the bill only because of the recent Supreme Court decision banning the death penalty for those who are under 18 at the time of their crime.
The House of Represenatives passed a resolution on Wednesday proposing a constitutional amendment that would enable Congress to prohibit flag burning. The resolution will next go to the Senate, where it need 67 votes to pass. Talkelft has more.
A panel sent to study the promotion of religion at the Air Force Academy has concluded that officers and faculty members used their positions to promote their Christian beliefs and failed to accommodate the religious needs of non-Christian cadets. "People were doing things that I think were inappropriate," said Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady of the Air Force, who led the 16-member panel.
The Defense Department is working with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school and college students to help the military identify potential recruits. Chris Jay Hoofnagle, director of a privacy advocacy group, called the system "an audacious plan to target-market kids, as young as 16, for military solicitation."
Federal agents yesterday executed search warrants at three San Fransisco medical marijuana dispensaries. Peter Ragone, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, said the federal investigation reinforced the importance of "trying to protect the legitimate uses of medicinal marijuana in the state."
Congressional Democrats have introduced a bill that would force states to report the names of companies that have 50 or more employees who receive government-funded health care. Lawmakers are concerned that large employers such as Wal-Mart are transferring responsibility for health care to government-funded programs such as Medicaid.
The chair of the House Ethics Committee may step down according to the New York Times. Doc Hastings (R-WA) is reported to be considering the move because of public attacks on his leadership.
A five-month study for the Democratic National Committee found high rates of voter problems in Ohio last year. The study found disproportionately high numbers of blacks and young people had complained about long lines, intimidation and malfunctioning machines. But the study found no evidence of outright fraud. "The purpose of this study was not to challenge the results of the election," said Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Finally, Slate editor Emily Bazelon offers this essay on the growing liberal love for Chief Justice Rehnquist.