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Need a good reason to oppose the death penalty? How about 4 of them?

No matter what your political beliefs are, there's a really strong argument for putting an end to capital punishment.

Nebraska recently joined 18 other states and the District of Columbia in abolishing its death penalty.

On May 20, 2015, the Nebraska Legislature voted 32-15 to repeal the death penalty, but Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed that on May 26. The next week, the legislature voted to override the governor's veto on a vote of 30-19 (it takes 30 or more votes to override a veto in Nebraska).

Gov. Ricketts responded to the veto override on his Facebook page, expressing his disappointment.


"Just moments ago, the Legislature voted to repeal the death penalty. My words cannot express how appalled I am that we have lost a critical tool to protect law enforcement and Nebraska families. While the Legislature has lost touch with the citizens of Nebraska, I will continue to stand with Nebraskans and law enforcement on this important issue."
— Gov. Pete Ricketts

Nationally, nearly 2/3 of all Americans are in favor of the death penalty, but support is on the decline.

In an October 2014 Gallup poll, 63% of Americans favored the death penalty in murder cases, 33% were not in favor, and 4% had no opinion.

Support has been on a somewhat steady decline since the mid-'90s, and there are some really compelling reasons to put an end to the death penalty that cross party lines.

1. The death penalty has been shown to be an ineffective way to deter people from committing murder.

The murder rate is actually lower in states without the death penalty than in ones with it, according to the FBI's "Crime in the United States" report.

As of 2013, states without the death penalty have a 21% lower murder rate per 100,000 residents.

2. Wrongful convictions happen — to date, 153 death row inmates have been exonerated.

Yes, innocent people have been put on death row, and it's extremely probable that innocent people have died. The criminal justice system has been wrong before, and it certainly will be again.

There's no going back from executing an innocent person.

These protesters were petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to commute the sentence of Troy Davis, a man whose conviction for the 1989 murder of a police officer remained in doubt. Davis was executed in 2011. Photo by World Coalition Against the Death Penalty/Flickr.

3. Studies have suggested that execution is actually more expensive than life in prison.

Seattle University studied the costs of Washington state death penalty cases and those where the state hasn't sought the death penalty, and found that death penalty cases are on average over $1 million more expensive.

Then-Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks at a 2013 death penalty repeal press conference. Photo by Maryland GovPics/Flickr.

Maryland, the most recent state to abolish the death penalty (2013), concluded in a 2008 study that from 1978 to 2008, the state spent around $186 million on death penalty cases. In that same period, the state executed five inmates. It found that life in prison was a better option, financially.

4. If you think about it, capital punishment is a really arbitrary system — especially for something so serious.

Why do some people get sentenced to death while others get life in prison? Why does a state prosecute two criminals in such majorly different ways — and with such immensely different outcomes?

No one really knows.

Or, actually, there are some factors, but they're not going to make anyone happy:

1. Despite the fact that about 50% of murder victims are white, nearly 80% of executions involve cases where the victims were white.

2. A 2000 Justice Department survey found that prosecutors sought the death penalty disproportionately often in cases where the defendant was a racial minority.

Nebraska became the first traditionally conservative state to abolish the death penalty in more than 40 years. Just think if this started a trend.

Whether we as a country continue with the death penalty doesn't have to be a "blue vs. red" issue, a "left vs. right" issue, a "liberal vs. conservative" issue. The Nebraska Legislature just proved that. The U.S. can distance itself from the death penalty — if we want it.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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Marlon Brando on "The Dick Cavett Show" in 1973.

Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.

Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.

Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.

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1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.