(Roughly) Daily

I have this recurring nightmare about an exam for which I haven’t studied…

… the first of a series of questions at Nation’s Report Card‘s (U.S. Department of Education’s) web site– in the Fourth Grade section.  Having completed those, readers can graduate to Eighth and Twelfth Grade exams.

Makes one grateful for innovations in teaching like this one.

As we agree with Sam Cooke (and then again, wish that our Presidential contenders didn’t), we might recall that it was on this date in 1972 that the U.S. Supreme Court decided Furman vs. Georgia by a 5-4 vote, declaring capital punishment unconstitutional.  But it wasn’t a conclusive victory for death-penalty foes:  the majority based its decision on flaws in jury selection and sentencing processes…  which were addressed by several states over the next few years.  So, in 1976, when the issue came again before the Justices, they ruled that capital punishment could be resumed under a “model of guided discretion.”  And it was– with the 1977 execution (by firing squad) of Gary Gilmore in Utah.  In 2010, the U.S. ranked fifth in the world in the number of legal executions performed (behind China, Iran, North Korea, and Yemen; ahead of Saudi Arabia, Lybia, Syria, and the rest of the countries in the world).

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