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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

  • DREAM Activist: I Infiltrated Florida Facility to Expose How U.S. Still Detaining Youth Immigrants

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    A new Obama administration policy could stop the deportation of as many as 1.3 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Starting on Aug. 15, students under the age of 30 may be eligible for a two-year reprieve from deportation if they meet certain conditions. We speak to Marco Saavedra, a DREAM activist who infiltrated a Florida detention facility and was arrested again over the weekend calling for the release of immigrants held there. We also speak with Tom Shea, director of training for the New York Immigration Coalition, about the Obama administration’s new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and what it will mean for undocumented youth. [includes rush transcript]

  • Chevron Oil Refinery Fire in Richmond, California Forces Over 900 Residents to Hospitals

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    More than 900 people have sought medical treatment following a massive fire at a Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California. Tens of thousands of area residents were ordered to stay in their homes with the windows and doors closed after a series of blasts Monday sparked blazing fires that sent huge plumes of smoke. Chevron now says the situation is under control. We talk with Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a member of the Green Party, who is seeking a full investigation into the blaze. "We have a community that’s been fighting Chevron for a long time. And I’m proud to and honored to stand for that community," McLaughlin said. We’re also joined by Andres Soto, the Richmond organizer for Communities for a Better Environment, an environmental justice group that has previously sued Chevron over what it says was a shoddy environmental impact report. "They refuse to sit at the table. They refuse to negotiate in good faith with the community over a wide range of issues, whether it’s fair taxation or whether it’s environmental safety and environmental justice," Soto said. [includes rush transcript]

  • Texas Executes Man with IQ of 61; State Cites Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” to Justify Killing

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    Last night, Texas executed 54-year-old Marvin Wilson, despite evidence that he was mentally disabled and reportedly sucked his thumb into adulthood. Wilson’s lawyers had argued that an IQ test on which Wilson scored 61 — nine points below the standard for competency — should have saved him from execution under a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution of the intellectually disabled. Wilson is the second prisoner in Texas to be executed by a new lethal injection method involving a single drug. We speak with Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz, who has long reported on the death penalty, especially in Texas, where she has covered the state’s ongoing execution of developmentally disabled prisoners. Feltz reads from a statement by the son of legendary author John Steinbeck condemning Texas for using Steinbeck’s fictional character, Lennie Small, from "Of Mice and Men" as a "benchmark to identify whether defendants with intellectual disability should live or die."

    "On behalf of the family of John Steinbeck, I am deeply troubled by today’s scheduled execution of Marvin Wilson," Thomas Steinbeck wrote. "The character of Lennie was never intended to be used to diagnose a medical condition like intellectual disability. I find the whole premise to be insulting, outrageous, ridiculous, and profoundly tragic. I am certain that if my father, John Steinbeck, were here, he would be deeply angry and ashamed to see his work used in this way." [includes rush transcript]