The United States is almost unique in how our government is organized. The balance of power between the federal and State governments is constantly altered, and with each new addition the balance is changed in some way. Originally starting with 13 colonies, in the early years we expanded relatively quickly. In the early 20th century there had not been a state added for some time after Arizona in 1912.
It was not until 1959 that Alaska and Hawaii were added, meaning the flag changed to include 50 stripes. To this day, no president has been born and buried under the same flag. Until a president is born after 1959 without the new addition of a state, the statement will remain true. For those expecting Obama to be the first, it looks like Puerto Rico might just break the over 50 years of non-additions!
Brazil’s federal corrections program recently began a program that attempts to potentially shorten their sentences and combat the extremely low literacy rates in prisons. For each book read, four days are taken off of the sentence for the year, with a maximum reduction of 48 days per year.
All the inmate has to do is read a book and write a book report, which is then submitted for evaluation. It is formally called the “Redemption through Reading” program and it seeks to give convicts a different view of the world outside while educating them for a better life afterward.
Andrew Jackson is one of America’s most famous presidents, and while his reputation remains controversial, there is no doubting that he was one of the most badass presidents we’ve had. According to historians, he was a stoic man with a tough persona. So tough, in fact, that the public called him Old Hickory.
When someone tried to assassinate Jackson and the gun misfired, Jackson proceeded to approach the assassin and beat the living daylights out of him with his walking stick, all in front of an assembled crowd waiting for him to speak of course.
Besides being somewhat violent, he is also said to have had a filthy mouth. So much so that at his funeral, his parrot had to be removed because it kept imitating him!
The last man executed by the electric chair incriminated himself after he’d been released from death row once!
Paul Warner Powell killed a 16-year-old girl because he was angry she had a black boyfriend. He then waited for her sister to come home and also attacked her, but she survived. Powell was arrested and convicted of capital murder. He was sentenced to death by electrocution, yet the case was eventually overturned because of insufficient evidence.
Powell, not being the sharpest tool in the shed by any means, was so proud of escaping death that he wrote a letter to the prosecutor and admitted to raping and killing the girl. After he admitted to the crime, the girl’s sister then testified against him. Fortunately, Powell gave so much detail and new evidence he was able to be tried again. He was eventually executed in 2010, the most recent man to be killed by an electric chair in the United States.
Extreme Makeover Home Edition is one of those shows that we love to watch because the beginning is troubling and the end is over the top happy. It almost always features families who are struggling to survive and live in abysmal housing. The crew comes in, sends the family on a paid vacation, and in 106 hours builds a completely new and luxurious house. While the family members are shedding tears of happiness most viewers think everything is perfect, yet what happens after the show ends is often even sadder.
Builders saw the publicity those on the show received and increasingly wanted to donate their services for the notice. However, a competition of sorts developed between who could showcase the nicest new home within the time limit, and struggling families were left with over the top luxurious homes with ludicrous taxes and utility rates. Many of the families could not afford to make these payments and eventually lost their homes!
The producers of the show say that they are aware of the problem and in recent years have aimed to build less showy houses and more functional ones where families can be happy and make payments.