October 08, 2015

Mandatory Minimums, Obama Says Sorry, Russia In Syria, Volkswagen, Prison Debate Team Schools Harvard



Did you know Canada is having an election in two weeks? Neither did we, but don’t fret… the Pnut is doing some research and will give you the low down soon.


America To Release Prisoners Who Shouldn’t Be In Prison

The US Justice Department is getting ready to release 6,000 non-violent drug offenders who were victims of harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws over the past 30 years. It is estimated that almost 46,000 people will eventually be released through this program, which could free up some space in America’s prisons. Hopefully a creative prosecutor won’t figure out a way to replenish that space.

GOOD VIDEO: John Oliver On Mandatory Minimums


Obama Apologizes For Doctors Without Borders Attack

President Obama (Nobel Prize Winner) called the Head of Doctors Without Borders (aka MSF and a Nobel Prize Winning Organization) to apologize after a US attack on a MSF hospital near Kunduz, Afghanistan killed 22 people, including 12 MSF staff. The US has been accused of changing its story four times in four days but has promised a “transparent, thorough and objective” investigation into what happened.



Russia Intensifies Syria Involvement

Russia upped the ante in Syria yesterday, firing cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea and providing air cover for a ground offensive by the Syrian government. Rebels apparently struck back with CIA provided anti-tank missiles. Meanwhile, evidence appeared that ISIS used chemical weapons against the Kurds in eastern Syria. The Kurds are the only force fighting ISIS. They are being bombed by Turkey, a NATO member.

 Pnut’s Nutshell on the Syrian Civil War


Volkswagen… Scheisse 

The US Head of Volkswagen (a job you definitely don’t want right now) admitted that he knew of emissions problems with the company’s vehicles as early as Spring 2014. This comes ahead of a Congressional hearing today and after Volkswagen admitted that 11 million cars had been fitted with software that cheated diesel emissions. The scandal has deeply damaged the company and caused international outrage (Consumers: angry, America: angry, Germans: verargert (angry)).

GOOD READ: The Volkswagen Scandal Explained FIFA Finally Gets Round To (Maybe) Suspending Blatter

It only took a US investigation, several extraditions and pressure from sponsors for FIFA to think about suspending their President Sepp Blatter. Blatter is accused of making “disloyal payments” and “unfavorable contracts” and is currently under investigation by the Swiss government (it takes a lot for the Swiss to start asking questions). A final decision on his suspension should be made today… hopefully.

#pnut4prez: Hilary Doesn’t Like TPP… Err What?

Hillary Clinton came out against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) yesterday. The trade deal is the culmination of a “pivot to Asia,” which Hillary had engineered when she was Secretary of State during Obama’s first term. Facing a challenge from the self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, Hillary is being criticized for flip-flopping on the issue. Obama, who likes the TPP, is quite pissed. 

Keeping Our Eye On…

  • Oregon Shooting:  Ben Carson came under fire after making insensitive comments about the victims of the Oregon shooting. Carson said he wouldn’t “just stand there” during the shooting.  
  • Planned Parenthood: The House passed a resolution with a Republican majority to establish a special committee to further investigate the organization.


Prison Debate Team Schools Harvard

That’s right… the esteemed Harvard College Debating Union was defeated by the Eastern New York Correctional Facility debate team. The maximum-security prisoners, who are part of the Bard Prison Initiative debate program, showed those Ivy Leaguers who’s boss. Looks like Harvard students should be looking outside of Harvard Yard for debate prep tips… maybe they could learn a few things in the real world?
Apparently someone else likes nutshells almost as much as the Pnut.
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Yes, I want to sound marginally more intelligent: