TBC: Morning Musing 4.21.15

Howdy! I have 3 articles for your perusal this morning!

First up, some stark news:

Corporations now spend more lobbying Congress than taxpayers spend funding Congress

Corporations now spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures – more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.16 billion) and Senate ($820 million).


Next, some very sad oopsies that should’ve never happened:

‘Mass Disaster’: FBI Formally Admits Flawed Hair Analysis Testimony in Hundreds of Cases Spanning Decades

In 268 trials reviewed so far, 26 of the 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit overstated evidence that favored the prosecution more than 95 percent of the time, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project. Now the FBI and Justice Departments have formally admitted to this grave miscarriage of justice.

The flawed testimony had devastating impacts on many of the defendants. At least 32 were sentenced to death. Fourteen have been executed or died in prison. Prosecutors and the affected defendants have been notified in case there are grounds for appeals. Four defendants have already been exonerated.

Finally, a very sad catch-22 that needs to be fixed:

Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat.

The problem begins with child support orders that, at the outset, can exceed parents’ ability to pay. When parents fall short, the authorities escalate collection efforts, withholding up to 65 percent of a paycheck, seizing bank deposits and tax refunds, suspending driver’s licenses and professional licenses, and then imposing jail time.

“Parents who are truly destitute go to jail over and over again for child support debt simply because they’re poor,” said Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights, which filed a class-action lawsuit in Georgia on behalf of parents incarcerated without legal representation for failure to pay. “We see many cases in which the person is released, they’re given three months to pay a large amount of money, and then if they can’t do that they’re tossed right back in the county jail.”

So how you doin’?  😀