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One List That America Should Be Ashamed To Be On. And Iraq Is Barely Beating Us.

In 2013, the United States ranked sixth globally in prisoners put to death. Also, we fact-checked this: 1 in 10 prisoners on death row are innocent.

One List That America Should Be Ashamed To Be On. And Iraq Is Barely Beating Us.

Watch the video below and get some fact-checked context:



The only countries in front of the U.S.: China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea.


That is not a list I'd like to be a part of. Research has shown that 1 in 10 people on death row are actually innocent and later end up being exonerated. On top of that, it costs, on average, three times as much to put prisoners to death as it would to let them rot in a prison cell for the rest of their natural lives.

To me, this is not acceptable. Here's the thing. I'd be totally for the death penalty if it actually worked as a deterrent. I'd be for the death penalty if it didn't accidentally end up killing innocent people. I'd be for the death penalty if it was actual justice, rather than simple revenge. But it's none of those things. We don't live in a perfect world. Humans make mistakes. And I'd rather have the unintentional imprisonment of an innocent man on my conscience than his death. Death is irreversible. And three times more expensive. If you want to look at it from a punishment standpoint, I think rotting in a cell for the rest of your natural life is far more miserable than getting to skip out early. Every day, they'd have to actually think about what happened. And live with that.

The good folks at "The Penalty" would like to help make people aware of the destruction the death penalty causes.

Today is my birthday, for the reals. If you'd like to help me give someone a present on my birthday, you can donate here. If you can't swing that, sharing would be a nice way to help more people see it (and celebrate my birthday).

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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