Tuesday, October 27, 2009

27 Oct 2009: Today's Democracy Now!

Will Texas Execute Another Innocent Man? The Case of Reginald Blanton
A controversial death row case is unfolding in Texas today. Twenty-eight-year-old Reginald Blanton is set to be executed tonight for the 2000 killing of Carlos Garza. Blanton was convicted of breaking into Garza’s apartment and shooting him in the head. But Blanton has maintained his innocence, and his lawyers have said the case has been tainted by prosecutors’ attempt to exclude African Americans from the jury and by the initial mistakes of a court-appointed defense attorney. The scheduled execution comes as the Texas capital punishment system is under increasing scrutiny.

Exclusive: Parents of Soldier Who Killed Himself in Iraq Speak Out
Gregg and Jannett Keesling are the parents of Chancellor Keesling, a US soldier who took his own life on June 19th of this year. Chancellor was on his second tour of duty in Iraq. During his first deployment, he suffered mental health issues so severe he was placed on suicide watch. After getting back to the United States, Chancellor had turned down a bonus offer to return to Iraq in the hopes he wouldn’t be redeployed. But he was called back in May. One month later, he took his own life. Since Chancellor’s death, Gregg and Jannett Keesling have yet to receive a letter of condolence from President Obama. After making inquiries, they discovered that this was not because of an oversight. Instead, it’s because of a longstanding US policy to deny presidential condolence letters to the families of soldiers who take their own lives.

"Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within"
As with suicides, the rate of sexual assaults within the US military now exceeds that of the general population. A Pentagon report earlier this year found one in three female service members are sexually assaulted at least once during their enlistment. Sixty-three percent of nearly 3,000 cases reported last year were rapes or aggravated assaults. Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within is a documentary that focuses on the cases of three female service members victimized by rape and other forms of sexual assault. We air excerpts of the film and speak to filmmaker Pascale Bourgaux.

Headlines

Harry Reid: Senate Bill Will Include Public Option Plan
Massey Energy Begins Blasting Coal River Mountain
US Official Resigns over War in Afghanistan
Monday Marked Deadliest Day for US in Afghanistan in Four Years
Ex-AIG CEO Is Back with New Insurance Venture
Showdown in Chicago Continues Outside Bankers Meeting
UN Urges US Engagement in Climate Change Deal
Canadian Climate Activists Disrupt House of Commons
Amnesty: Israel Denies Palestinians Access to Water
US Officials to Travel to Honduras
Fidel Castro’s Sister Admits She Spied for CIA
Chamber of Commerce Sues Yes Men for Prank
Activists Protest Mercenary Trade Association Meeting


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