We kid you not: Texas executes 500th prisoner since 1976

Texas executes 500th prisoner since 1976

“The US state of Texas has executed its 500th convict since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, a record in a country where capital punishment is in decline elsewhere.

“Kimberly McCarthy, 52, was declared dead by lethal injection at 6:37pm (local time) in the Walls Unit, a red brick prison in the small town of Huntsville, prison officials said … McCarthy, who is black, received two last-minute reprieves in January and April due to allegations of racial discrimination during the selection of what became her all-white jury.

“But after a Texas appeals court refused to reopen the case, she ran out of both options and time.”

ABC.net.au, June 27

US charity exploits disabled workers

“One of the nation's best-known charities is paying disabled workers as little as 22 cents an hour, thanks to a 75-year-old legal loophole that critics say needs to be closed.

“Goodwill Industries, a multibillion-dollar company whose executives make six-figure salaries, is among the nonprofit groups permitted to pay thousands of disabled workers far less than minimum wage because of a federal law known as Section 14 (c). Labor Department records show that some Goodwill workers in Pennsylvania earned wages as low as 22, 38 and 41 cents per hour in 2011.

“'If they really do pay the CEO of Goodwill three-quarters of a million dollars, they certainly can pay me more than they're paying,' said Harold Leigland, who is legally blind and hangs clothes at a Goodwill in Great Falls, Montana for less than minimum wage.”

NBC News, June 25

US Iraq War vet alleges war crimes in suicide note

“On June 10, 2013, 30-year-old Iraq War veteran Daniel Somers killed himself after writing a powerful letter to his family explaining his reasons for doing so.

“[In a letter Somers’ family allowed Gawker to publish, Somers wrote:] “During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity … To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing cover-up is more than any government has the right to demand.”

Gawker, June 22.