Preliminary findings from Sandra Bland's autopsy indicate she killed herself in the Waller County jail and that she had a substantial amount of marijuana in her system at the time of her death, officials said Thursday. "At this particular time, I have not seen any evidence that indicates this was a homicide," said Warren Diepraam, a Waller County assistant district attorney. "I can say she tested positive for marijuana." The findings added more details about the death of the 28-year-old Illinois native, who was stopped by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper on July 10, the dash cam video of that stop raising questions about the actions of the trooper.
A verdict has been reached in the Aurora theater shooting trial. The jury informed Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. that they have reached a verdict just before 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The verdict will be read at approximately 4:15 p.m. local time so survivors, the victims' families and the media will have time to get to the courthouse to hear the verdict. Gunman James Holmes is facing 165 counts. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the massacre in an Aurora theater in July of 2012. He
Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb announced Thursday that "after many months of thought, deliberation and discussion" he has decided to run for president of the United States. Highlighting his experience as a senator, decorated soldier and and secretary of the navy under Ronald Reagan, Webb cast himself as someone willing to fight on issues he cares about, including criminal justice reform, education and economic fairness. Webb becomes the fifth Democrat to join the primary contest after former Secretary of State, New York senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee.
Few aspects of American elections inspire as much hand-wringing as gerrymandering. Its "distorting effect" has "increasingly polarized our politics," Elizabeth Drew writes in the New York Review of Books. It's another example of "what voters loathe about Washington," writes veteran journalist Ron Fournier. The reporter Robert Draper calls it "the most insidious practice in American politics." Some in Congress, such as Senator Susan Collins, seem to agree. And you know something in politics is truly hated when it earns its own special report on The Daily Show.
But the notion that so many of our political ills stem from gerrymandering is, in fact, a bad idea that simply will not die -- what we call a Zombie Myth. And when it comes to Zombie Myths in American politics, gerrymandering remains one of the most persistent.
Fracking isn't causing widespread damage to the nation's drinking water, the Obama administration said in a long-awaited report released Thursday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency -- after a four-year study that is the U.S. government's most comprehensive examination of the issue to date -- concluded that hydraulic fracturing, as being carried out by industry and regulated by states, isn't having "widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water." However, the EPA said there were a small number of contaminated drinking wells and highlighted potential vulnerabilities, including the disposal of wastewater and construction of durable wells. read more