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December 26, 2007

texas hold ’em – then execute ’em

Texas is in the news – our President’s home state leads the nation in executions. 60%, I bet Bush wishes he had an approval rating that high. Of course, with a stolen election, there is no need to please voters! Sorry if I sound like a liberal hate radio show host, but with the news of Hoover’s plan to arrest 12,000 US citizens and the Bush administration trying to pardon telecoms for breaking the law (at the admin’s request) I feel like I’m living in a country out of control.

But let’s take a moment and look at the human side of these executions. Here’s an interesting link that records prisoner’s last statements. You can then read what crime sent them there. Many are terrible crimes that definitely call out for punishment, but remember, some of them were innocent, as DNA has proven. The most disturbing thing, almost every one on death row is a “laborer”. Things don’t look good for my profession…

Take a look at how they have a spot specifically noting the race of the victims. What is that for? How well do they research the race of convicted, by the way? A lot of these people look like they are mixed ethnicities, but in Texas the choice is black or white. If it is so important to note race, why not give real choices?


  1. You sound like a liberal hate radio host.

    I wouldn’t feel so distraught about Hoover’s plans. There’s no evidence that anyone ever approved his plans for mass arrest. This sort of proposal might not even be that off the wall for a FBI director. The FBI cares most about preventing crime so they probably don’t care that much for civil liberties when they get in the way of crime fighting. It also could have been Hoover making a move to cover his ass if he felt like things were getting out of control. He makes the proposal, gets shot down, has something to point back to if any of these suspect commit some heinous crime. Thankfully, the powers that were had the good sense to dismiss his ideas (although they did leave the door open to suspend habeus corpus in a national emergency).

    The Bush statement is a touch inflammatory, too. In fact, Bush can’t pardon AT&T or any other communications firm cooperating with the government on surveillance because they are not charged with criminal acts. They are facing civil litigation from public interest groups who want more information on the technology these companies are developing to automatically ‘search’ phone conversations. That’s not to say Bush isn’t trying to do them a solid. He has proposed legislation that would make the collaboration between telcos and the govt clearly legal. The technology is of some concern because it essentially sounds a lot like illegal wire tapping (to me, anyways).

    As for executing people sentenced to death, bring it on. I only browsed a few of the descriptions but I didn’t see one where the corpse had been on death row for less than 10 years. And this is the place where they execute the most people? What’s the hold up? DNA evidence has been around long enough that I think we should expect a higher confidence level on convicting the right person (at least moving forward). So lets get executin’!

    I’ve always wondered if one of the hangups with executions is that it’s hard to find someone to flip the switch. I’m here advocating expediency on the process yet I don’t know how I would feel if I had to actually carry out the execution. That might make a liberal out of even me…

    Comment by Lyle_s — December 26, 2007 @ 8:56 pm

  2. if they tell you in the morning that you are going to Harris…things don’t look so good!

    Comment by girl with the glass eye — December 26, 2007 @ 9:08 pm

  3. I like an informed rebuttal Lyle. Thanks for fleshing that out.

    My first question is, why haven’t telecoms been charged with criminal acts? Isn’t wiretapping illegal? The Justice Department should be investigating them if not charging them and they aren’t. They are letting other branches of the government try to retroactively grant immunity to their actions. Bush heads the government, allegedly, so if he wanted this investigated, he would make that order.

    I tried to link Hoovers craziness with Bush’s, because clearly, powerful people can have bad ideas, and at this point it feels to me the crazy one isn’t heading the FBI, this time he is heading the country. In order to cover his ass, Bush is going to make this a police state.

    The thing about executions are that they target the poor. Predominantly black as well. Just like the higher sentence for possessing crack vs cocaine, the system punishes non whites more often with death sentences. I saw a lot of 19 year old men with a job laboring in that list. People without much hope. What makes me a liberal is that I would rather see money spent preventing crime instead of executing perpetrators. I’d like to see a system that is tough on white collar crime rather than stuffing prisons full of drug addicts.

    Finally, about finding executers…I think maybe it is like old firing squads. Not everyone had a bullet. So there could be three switches, and no one knows who actually did it. but as far as lethal injection…i guess that’s one person.

    But some people like to kill. That’s why the death penalty isn’t a deterrent, just a sense of payback.

    In the end I’m not deeply informed about any of these three topics, I read the paper, NYT online, talk to people a little at work about the world, but there’s a lot more to know. I end up getting so angry and feeling so powerless when I start digging into how the system works I find it better to do something creative instead. A cop out for sure.

    Comment by Rolston — December 26, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

  4. at this point i don’t blame bush for our situation. why hasn’t he been impeached or rubbed out? there’s a mountain range of reasons for either.

    whether or not he stole the first election, he started to really fuck this country up during his first term as boss.

    if he truly won in 2004, it’s we the people who are the goddamn idiots who did this and have no one to blame but ourselves.
    if he did steal the second election(i don’t know what to believe. if i say he did, am i a sore loser? i really think it’s possible that he and his animals pulled it off.), what did we do? rolled over. now look at our country. it’s a beautiful place built on beautiful principles with the potential to rule the world peacefully forever, and it’s being ruined by it’s own population. losers.
    i tried hard in 2004. i thought it was no contest. i was wrong. i put my faith in the system and the people. and i was wrong. i’ve given up on politics. i get too mad. i’m with jon. i’m still waiting for somebody to throw something. meanwhile, i’ll be drawing bunnies reading on the toilet.

    Comment by donny laundry — December 26, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

  5. and laugh and feel happy.

    Comment by donny laundry — December 26, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

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