The Upshot
  • DNA test casts doubt on another Texas execution

    Claude JonesClaude JonesDuring the tumultuous days of the 2000 Florida recount, George W. Bush, then the governor of Texas, approved the execution of Claude Jones, who had been convicted in the murder of a liquor-store owner. Now, 10 years later, evidence has emerged casting doubt on Jones's guilt — marking the second time this year that the guilt of a man executed in Texas has been seriously called into question.

    A DNA test of a single hair — the only piece of physical evidence linking Jones to the crime scene — has shown that it did not belong to him, reports the Associated Press. The test was conducted as part of a case brought by Jones's son, with the help of the Innocence Project, a New York legal center that uses DNA testing to exonerate death-row inmates.

    Barry Scheck, who runs the Innocence Project, said the result means the evidence was insufficient under Texas law to convict Jones.

    At issue is the 1989 killing of liquor-store owner Allen Hilzendager, who was shot three times outside the town of Point Blank.

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  • amazonOn Thursday, pulled a controversial e-book from its Kindle store--and has kept mum about the decision ever since.

    The self-published title, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love & Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct," authored by Phillip Greaves of Pueblo, Colo., sold hundreds of copies before Amazon yanked it from the site because of a deluge of complaints.

    Greaves--who told that "I do not advocate pedophilia. I just feel that I understand it"--claims that Amazon is "re-reviewing" its decision to sell the e-book, which establishes a set of guidelines for sexual encounters between children and adults. The website had listed the title for $4.79 before Amazon managers removed it from their digital shelves. Amazon has yet to issue a statement clarifying its position.

    The situation raises several big questions for Amazon. Should the company be concerned that banning the e-book might open a Pandora's box of people calling for bans on any titles that detractors deem controversial? (Say, leftist critics demanding the removal of the largely discredited study correlating race with intelligence "The Bell Curve" for left-leaning critics--or diehard conservative conspiracy theorists  asking that Barack Obama's memoir "Dreams From My Father" be de-listed?) What is its process for vetting self-published titles, electronic or otherwise, before listing them for sale? And how does it handle complaints about material that customers consider to be offensive?

    Read More »from Pressure mounts for Amazon to condemn pedophile e-book
  • boehner enIt was probably a smart idea for House Republicans to ban confetti at their election-night watch party.

    Two separate polls out this week — one from CBS News, and another from the Pew Research Center — find that voters aren't too excited about the new Republican majority that's about to take charge of the House of Representatives. Just 48 percent of voters say they are "happy" about the GOP majority, according to Pew. By comparison, 60 percent of those polled after Election Day four years ago said they were happy about having elected a new Democratic majority in Congress. Meanwhile, 57 percent in 1994 said they were happy about historic GOP gains that year.

    CBS's poll found similar discontent, with just 40 percent of those surveyed saying they are "pleased" about the outcome of the 2010 vote.

    These numbers confirm what we wrote on Election Day: A majority of voters didn't necessarily vote for Republicans because of their support for GOP policies, but more because they were upset and dissatisfied with Washington generally. Just as voters supported President Obama to bring change to Washington in 2008, that same pressure is now on the GOP Congress to improve the economy and rise above a deadlocked Washington.

    Read More »from Voters are already gloomy about a GOP Congress


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