The conditions in California's prisons violate the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual punishment," the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 5-4 decision, upholding a federal court order to reduce the state's prison population by at least 30,000 within the next two years.

moneyThe federal government has nearly maxed out its credit card — for now. The national debt is fast approaching the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and only managed to avoid hitting it on May 16 because of “extraordinary measures” taken by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. According to Geithner, the debt will now reach the limit on August 2. He is urging Congress to increase the limit and allow Treasury to issue more bonds. The alternative, he says, is a doomsday scenario.

computer keyholeThe Republican House and Democratic Senate leadership are backing a deal to extend three of the most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, and the Senate voted 74-8 for cloture (to limit debate before passage) on the bill May 23. The vote was not a surprise to political observers, who expect a closer vote in the House of Representatives.

In order to provide its residents some much-needed security as the U.S. dollar continues to decline, the state of Utah has become the first to legalize gold and silver coins as currency. Sponsored by Republican state Rep. Brad Galvez, the same law exempts the sale of the coins from state capital gains taxes.

San Francisco, California, is a city known for being a bastion of all things progressive, secular, countercultural and counter-traditional. Ever since the Hippie Movement of the 1960s took root in the city, various liberal policies have been enacted, including some of America’s first laws pandering to the homosexual community (hate crimes legislation, “non-discrimination” policies, etc.), abortion advocates (such as laws imposing heavy fines on pro-lifers who protest outside clinics), and even laws pandering to the animal rights and public health lobbies (such as policies restricting fast food restaurants from marketing to children).

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