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Trump Eyes Prison Reform Package with Minimum Sentence Reshaping

With Jeff Sessions out, these ideas may finally make it out of their infancy.

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Prison

While much of the mainstream media is eyeing the resignation of Jeff Sessions through the lens of the Mueller investigation, drug policy reform advocates are seeing a different opportunity.

Sessions had long been a thorn in the side of those looking to bring meaningful change to the “war on drugs”.  His archaic and old-timey beliefs on subjects such as marijuana made Sessions a major obstacle to reality-based change.  He was an avid defender of the idea of mandatory minimum sentencing – a tactic that has been proven time and again to be more detrimental to the perpetrator than necessary.

Now, with Sessions out, it looks as though the President could be making major moves in the prison reform game.

President Trump was expected to lend his support to a substantial rewrite of the nation’s prison and sentencing laws at an event at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, but opponents of the proposal were making a last-ditch attempt to dissuade him from signing on.

Senators from both parties who hashed out the legislative compromise, which would invest heavily in anti-recidivism programs and lower some mandatory minimum sentences, have staked the bill’s success on Mr. Trump. The president’s support could give political cover to Republicans wary of appearing to reduce some hard-line sentencing rules for drug and other offenses. With his endorsement, they believe they could assemble a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats in time to move legislation before the year’s end — and before the new, divided Congress is seated.

Trending: American Music Icon Dead at 72; Was Set to Tour This Summer

The President has had a number of opportunities to discuss prison reform over the last two years, at times with television celebrity Kim Kardashian and her husband, eccentric rapper Kanye West.

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As it turns out, some of those in Trump’s inner circle are also hip to change.

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and the leading advocate of the criminal justice package within the White House, presented the tentative deal to Mr. Trump on Tuesday. Mr. Trump was initially noncommital but later offered a firmer yes, according to administration and congressional officials briefed on the meeting. He is expected to appear midafternoon on Wednesday to announce his support.

These adjustments could lead the way for national drug policy reform, particularly in the case of marijuana; a plant that has been legalized for recreational use in both Canada and Mexico, along with a number of US states.

 

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American Music Icon Dead at 72; Was Set to Tour This Summer

Rest in peace, amigo.

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When it comes to gritty guitars and even grittier songs, there is no act quite like that little ol’ band from Texas. ZZ Top mainlined American blues standards directly into the electric era of 1970’s rock, and then reinvented the genre once again with the synthesizers of the 1980’s.  From there, the band toured the world incessantly, bringing their grimy grooves and unforgettable stage presence to audiences from Dusseldorf to Delaware. Now, just weeks before the band was set to take to the road once again, one member of the holy triumvirate of honky-tonk has passed away. Dusty Hill, the bassist for ZZ Top, has died. He was 72. Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard of the Texas-based trio issued a statement to Variety on Tuesday, writing: “We are saddened by the news today that our Compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX. We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ‘Top’. We will forever be connected to that ‘Blues Shuffle in C.’” And then, echoing the sentiments of music fans the nation over: “You will be missed greatly, amigo,” the statement added. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, so we’ll just leave you all with a classic. Make sure to turns those speakers up, y’all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5WB5ouP-8c  

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Mask Mandates Coming Back to Capitol Hill After CDC Switcheroo

This isn’t likely to go over well with some lawmakers.

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With the “delta” variant now raging in some parts of the country, and breakthrough infections of vaccinated individuals continuing to be reported, the CDC has made a stark decision, stating that even vaccinated folks should be wearing a mask when they are indoors or in parts of the country with high COVID transmission rates. This has now prompted the House of Representatives to bring back a previously criticized policy themselves. Capitol Attending Physician Brian Monahan said late Tuesday that the House of Representatives is reinstating its mask mandate – and therefore the threat of fines to members who don’t comply – following updated guidance from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the delta variant of the coronavirus. The White House also appears to be going back to mandated masks. A White House press representative was seen Tuesday swapping a sign saying people are required to wear masks if unvaccinated with another saying masks are required regardless of vaccination status. Monahan didn’t leave much room for interpretation. “For the Congress, representing a collection of individuals traveling weekly from various risk areas (both high and low rates of disease transmission), all individuals should wear a well-fitted, medical-grade filtration mask (for example an ear loop surgical mask or a KN95 mask) when they are in an interior space,” Monahan said in a letter sent to congressional staffers. The move will almost certainly see pushback from the far right side of the aisle, where the mandating of masks has been a very unpopular policy, and a point of contention in almost every arena in which it has been implemented.

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