Here's something you don't see every day: a major American newspaper admonishing the Supreme Court for ruling against the death penalty.
Yet, that's not even close to the oddest aspect of Saturday's editorial by the Washington Post, for the paper agreed with the Court's 5-4 decision to ban the death penalty for those convicted of child rape, but felt compelled to expose an error in how the Justices reached their conclusions.
In fact, the Post laid out a convincing enough case that the state of Lousiana might have grounds for a rehearing (emphasis added, h/t Hot Air headlines):
The New York Times editorial board reacted badly to Thursday's 5-4 Supreme Court ruling endorsing a personal right to own a gun, in today's lead editorial, "Lock and Load."
Thirty-thousand Americans are killed by guns every year -- on the job, walking to school, at the shopping mall. The Supreme Court on Thursday all but ensured that even more Americans will die senselessly with its wrongheaded and dangerous ruling striking down key parts of the District of Columbia's gun-control law.
The Times didn't bother noting that slightly more than half of those 30,000 deaths are suicides -- most of which would presumably have happened eventually whether or not there was a gun around. Nor did the paper break down how many of those homicides were in self-defense.
By now, you have all heard of Wednesday's Supreme Court decision prohibiting the death penalty in cases of child rape. Having read several articles, the mainstream media's take on the case was mostly informational and understated. And that was to be expected. While the ruling could be considered a victory for civil libertarians, even the press understands that you can't do a victory dance when a child rapist is spared the death penalty.
It looks like Reuters is trying to say that the United States stands against the rule of law with their latest piece on a recent ruling from the so-called World Court -- the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ wants the U.S. to vacate the death penalty sentences of several Mexican nationals that sit on death row in prisons in several states and Reuters is shaking its finger at the nasty Americans that deny the jurisdiction of the self-styled World Court.
Mexico has been agitating with the World Court to force the United States to vacate (or at least revisit) the convictions of 51 Mexican nationals now on death row because they claim that these murderers were not alerted to their right to seek consular assistance before they went into the American court systems.
Naturally, the ICJ happily complied with Mexico's request and demanded that the U.S. comply with the World Court decision. Bush made an unfortunate decision in 2005 to ask the various states to comply with the ICJ, but the issue has since been settled by the Supreme Court of the United States. Fortunately, just this month the SCOTUS said that our courts are not bound by the ICJ rulings.
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is a college professor with a long history of political activism and fearless liberalism.—AP, 5-11-08, profile of candidate for Minn. Dem primary nomination [emphasis added].
Fearless liberalism? Fearless? It's fearless for an American college professor to be a big-time liberal? Give me a fearless break!
Yet that's how the AP described the predictably left-wing politics of the man challenging Al Franken for the right to challenge Republican Norm Coleman for his seat in the US Senate. Among Nelson-Pallmeyer's positions:
Who said leftists are opposed to the death penalty? It's just a question of whose neck's in the noose . . .
Many might wax nostalgic for the America immortalized in Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post cover drawings. Not Keith Olbermann. He longs for the good old days when people like Rush Limbaugh . . . could be strung up. Here's the Countdown host tonight, speaking with Air America's Rachel Maddow:
KEITH OLBERMANN: Legally, we've come a very long way since the Haymarket bombing in Chicago in 1886 when we wound up hanging some anarchist writers, who were not even in the state, as murderers by proxy. And legally there is this question of "temporal remoteness" [separation in time between the statement and the act]. You say this now on the radio, it happens in August. It's not like yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater; it is protected speech. But do you think that Limbaugh has any idea that were he to repeat what he said on the air, say the day before the convention, or during it, he might actually be morally or legally responsible for incitement to riot?
The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld Kentucky's lethal injection procedure for capital punishment. The decision will likely end self-imposed death penalty moratoriums in several states. As of writing this article, Virginia had already lifted its moratorium.
The decision had been long-awaited by advocates on both sides of the death penalty debate. Court prognosticators had mostly believed the court would uphold Kentucky's lethal injection program. But it was a surprise to many that the affirmance came with a 7-2 vote. The Roberts court has been known for a series of contentious 5-4 splits of any number of decisions, often with Justice Kennedy being the key swing vote.
In the Roberts court a 7-2 decision is a landslide, but that did not stop Associated Press writer Mark Sherman from describing that the "splintered Supreme Court cleared the way" for the resumption of capital punishment.
While the word "humane" does appear within the Supreme Court's ruling today upholding Kentucky's lethal injection method of execution, is it biased of Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage to put the term in quote marks in his lede? I'm leaning towards yes.:
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court cleared the way today for executions to resume across the nation, ruling that lethal injections, if properly carried out, are a "humane" means of ending a condemned individual's life.
The court upheld Kentucky's use of lethal injections by a surprisingly large 7-2 vote.
Agence France-Presse, in a report on Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania's death row for over twenty-five years for the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, referred to the cop killer as a "human rights campaigner." Abu-Jamal, whose birth name is Wesley Cook, had his murder conviction upheld by a panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, but the court also decided that either he must receive a life sentence, or receive a new sentencing hearing.
AFP’s headline for their report read, "US court overturns rights campaigner’s death penalty," and its opening sentence referred to "the death sentence passed against human rights campaigner Mumia Abu-Jamal." In its closing sentence, AFP referenced how Abu-Jamal "became a leading campaigner against the death penalty" while on death row.
How anti-gun is Barack Obama? Will the media tell us? Cam Edwards at NRANews.com was alarmed by a recent blog post by David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy. A December 13, 1999 article in the black newspaper the Chicago Defender reported on Obama's proposals at that time, as he ran and lost a primary against Congressman Bobby Rush the next year:
Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home. [!!!]
Obviously, this is in the post-Columbine frenzy, but what sort of bizarre proposal is that? If I stole Obama's car and killed someone with it, would it be fair to make Obama a felon for it? Gun owners (at risk of being involuntary criminals) quickly ask what is the meaning of "securely stored"? But there's more from the Defender:
Those Clinton campaigners sure know how to slip the "subliminable" shiv in. Yesterday, chief Hillary strategist Mark Penn managed to work "cocaine use" into his comments while supposedly disassociating the campaign from charges of Obama drug use made by Hillary's New Hampshire chairman. See video of Penn in action here.
Today, it was the turn of Hillary supporter Evan Bayh to whack Barack while pretending to take the high road. A bit after 3 PM ET this afternoon, the Dem senator from Indiana with the Eagle Scout aura [who might well have his eye on the VP slot] was being interviewed by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell about the current turmoil in Camp Clinton.
On CBS’s "Sunday Morning" this past weekend, reporter Martha Teichner did a profile of recently deceased ultra left-wing author, Norman Mailer, who she described as "... a hell of a big man for a short guy, scrappy, brilliant, controversial. Slugging away at life and letters until the very end." Of course, this was the same Norman Mailer that said of the World Trade Center in October 2001: "Everything wrong with America led to the point where the country built that tower of Babel, which consequently had to be destroyed."
Later Teichner remarked that "Mailer was unapologetically liberal, anti-war, anti-Nixon, anti-establishment." Well, he certainly was "anti-establishment" when he said to a "London Telegraph" reporter in February 2002, "America has an almost obscene infatuation with itself...The right wing benefitted so much from September 11 that, if I were still a conspiratorialist, I would believe they'd done it."
At another point, Teichner observed that "Norman Mailer loved playing the political provocateur." That proved true when in 2003, Mailer asserted to the "London Times" that, "Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in...."
A major political figure calls for the torture and execution of homosexuals and the mainstream media ignores it. Why? Could it be because the individual is a high level Iranian official? The story "Gays Deserve Torture, Death Penalty, Iranian Minister Says" appeared on the front page of FoxNews.com, yet it was nowhere to be found on CNN’s, MSNBC’s, ABC News’, or CBS News’ websites.
The Fox News story, lifted from The Times of London, reports that in a "peace conference" with British MP’s in May, the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mohsen Yahyavi, stated according to the article that "homosexuals deserve to be executed, or tortured, and possibly both."
"The Times" story, appearing on the Fox News website, reports on the meeting as follows:
Sunny Hostin, a legal analyst for CNN’s "American Morning," demonstrated that she could not give an objective analysis on the legality of the death penalty during a segment on Wednesday’s show. Hostin, in a response to a question asked by co-host Kiran Chetry on the future of capitol punishment in the U.S., answered, "I think, as a society, perhaps, now we're moving towards the fact that, perhaps, killing by the state is not humane at all."
This "curious" reply, which came 21 minutes into the 7 am hour of "American Morning," wasn’t the only one Hostin made during the segment. Earlier, Hostin said that "people really are suffering" during lethal injection executions.
The State of Texas easily has the highest execution rate in the United States. That is part of the reason why you "don't mess with Texas." And why is it exactly that Texas stands alone in implemeting the death penalty? According to Reuters, the answer is evangelical Christians.
In his recent blog ("Making Headlines: The Law, Summer 2007"), CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen describes his midsummer night's dream of legal headlines he would "like to see, but probably won't." In the tradition of another more-famous CBS employee, Cohen lists his "top ten" legal headlines - a wish list with an obvious liberal slant.
Here are some of Cohen's headlines, along with the necessary translation.
What is it with Dems and hedge funds? Not long ago we learned that Mr. Two Americas worked for one. Today we find out, in a front-page profile in the New York Times, that Chelsea Clinton also works for a hedge fund.
But the Times was strangely shy about divulging the fact. Only those who persisted through 18 paragraphs and 977 words were rewarded with that noteworthy nugget. And even when the Times did get around to informing us, it managed to find a sympathetic spin to place on Chelsea's decision to work for what many liberals like to portray as the poster child for evil capitalism gone wild.
An Atlanta judge on Friday sentenced a child molester to life imprisonment for the sexual assault of two children.
However, during sentencing, Superior Court Judge Craig Schwall reserved his harshest criticism for the mother who allowed it to happen.
The following video of a WSB-TV report on the matter contains some possibly offensive language as it included specifics of the crimes committed by the assailant (extremely grateful h/t to our dear friend Ms Underestimated).
February 28, 2007 -- To those who remember the infamous 1981 Brinks heist in Nyack, Judith Clark is a self-indulgent '60s radical serving a well-deserved 75-year prison term for her role in the violent deaths of three heroic law-enforcement officers.
But to the Associated Press, which supplies news to the world, Judith Clark is a "former freedom fighter."
The front of Sunday's Style section in the Washington Post carried an article titled "Dead End," wishing for an end to capital punishment, or at least the odd pursuit of painless execution. Post staff writer Neely Tucker clearly implies America is barbaric for keeping it. No one in the piece really argues for it. Tucker even reports with dismay that 67 percent of Americans support capital punishment, "though their betters -- newspaper editorial writers, the French -- tell them they shouldn't."
Tucker's essay began by joking about killer Gary Gilmore, executed in Utah in 1977 for killing a motel manager the year before:
Gary Gilmore, patron saint of the modern American execution, hear our plea.
"TP couldn't help but pick up on the distinct strain of grudging admiration that ran through the NYT's coverage of Hussein's trip to the gallows. An early edition of the paper's lead story said that although the witnesses it interviewed were enemies of the dictator, 'their accounts of the execution were redolent of respect for the way in which their former tormentor died.' The final edition version of the story omits the prior passage but says the widely broadcast videotape of the event suggested that he 'lived his final moments with unflinching dignity and courage, reinforcing the legend of himself as the Arab world's strongman.' An accompanying front-page piece about the dictator's final moments relates that he 'looked strong, confident and calm." A fitting final performance, I suppose, for a master propagandist.'"
Just deserts were dished out to one Saddam Hussein last night. Few deserved it more than he.
There is no reason for me to recount his many crimes against humanity here, but it is a good thing he has paid for his evil -- and paid with his life.
That is all that needs to be said about that...
But, in reading the AP's story by Abdul-Zahra, something else comes to the fore that is vexing to anyone looking for truth in the media. Of course, truth is always in short supply from our friends at al-AP, but with Abdul-Zahra's report we see a constant misuse of the English language.
Imagine you're a US Senator. A citizen has just suggested that a former CIA Director and named FBI agents merit the death penalty as much as convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Do you:
A. condemn such an outrageous comment? B. move on to another topic? C. congratulate the citizen for making "an absolutely accurate point"?
If you're Joe Biden [D-DE], the answer, incredibly, is 'C'.
Here's how it went down. In a 'Hardball' devoted to reactions to today's jury decision giving life in prison to Moussaoui, both Rudy Giuliani and Biden had expressed regret that Moussaoui hadn't been given the death penalty, in light of the fact that he knew of but failed to disclose the 9/11 plot.
Wednesday’s lead Times editorial on lethal injection, "Lethal Cruelty," is another dubious attempt by the Times to argue that the death penalty is somehow unconstitutional, that pesky Fifth Amendment notwithstanding.
"Over the years, several justices have concluded that the death penalty is in all cases unconstitutional, including Justice Harry Blackmun, who famously declared, ‘From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.’ We agree with Justice Blackmun and hope that the tinkering will someday stop and that the law of the land will recognize that the Eighth Amendment bars capital punishment completely. But even justices who think the Constitution permits capital punishment should find that lethal injections that torture prisoners in the process of killing them are unconstitutional."
Where is the liberal moral outrage? Oh, to be sure, the left is making its political points in the wake of the case in which a man is facing the death penalty in Aghanistan for having converted from Islam to Christianity. Story here. Administration critics have been quick to question the value of Pres. Bush's efforts in bringing democracy to the Muslim world if situations such as this one are the outcome.
But in reporting the matter on this morning's Today, NBC's Andrea Mitchell cast domestic protest of the matter strictly in terms of moral outrage on the part of the "Christian right".
I thought the MSM is ardently opposed to the death penalty. Aren't these the same folks who wrung their collective hands at the prospect of poor Tookie Williams getting the needle? Sure, he murdered four people in cold blood and joked about it, but hey! - he wrote a children's book.
But, no! The Today show was distraught at the prospect that "the 20th hijacker" might have slipped the noose [or the needle]. They went so far as to play a clip from a family member of one of the 9/11 victims saying that "I felt like my husband had been killed again." Shades of that NAACP anti-Bush ad from 2000. See item #2 here of this MRC report.
On Wednesday’s Good Morning America, news reader Bill Weir offered two widely different ways of describing the legal case involving the delayed execution of convicted killer Michael Morales in California. Weir’s second blurb on the story came at 8:32 AM and was attention catching:
Bill Weir: "New debate this morning over the death penalty after a last minute decision in the case of convicted killer Michael Morales. California prison officials postponed his execution indefinitely when doctors refused to administer a new court ordered method of lethal injection. Morales is on death row for torturing, raping and killing a 17 year-old girl. He claims lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment."
In an earlier take on the story in the 7:00 half hour, Weir offered scant context as to who Michael Morales is and what he did that caused a jury to sentence him to death:
When it comes to malign intent, Ellen Ratner will be hard-pressed ever to outdo the hope she expressed in 2003 that the Iraq war go badly in order to promote Democratic political interests.
But Ratner might well have plumbed a new personal low in religious stereotyping and sheer ignorance this morning when she explained Justice Sam Alito's recent vote to stay an execution by claiming that he votes the "Catholic ticket."
Her ill-informed allegation came in the course of "The Long & the Short of It," a regular Fox & Friends Weekend feature in which she debates conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton.
On a slow news day, a couple Today show notes, both concerning Matt Lauer.
Readers will recall, as described here, that on the eve of the confirmation hearings Lauer branded Sam Alito an "ultraconservative." No mea culpas from Matt this morning in the wake of Alito's vote splitting from the court's conservative wing and staying the execution of a death-row inmate. Today did label Alito's decision a "Supreme Surprise." Observed Katie Couric:
"Everyone expected Alito to be a reliable, consistent conservative on the high court which is why so many are a little shocked that he sided with liberals and moderates in his very first vote on the high court last night."
Two weeks ago, when the state of Virginia reported that DNA evidence underlined that executed murderer-rapist Roger Keith Coleman was actually guilty, Geoff Dickens revisited the goopy 1992 Time cover story by reporter Jill Smolowe making a passionate case for Coleman's innocence: "the courts have so far failed miserably. It is quite possible he will die, the victim of a justice system so bent on streamlining procedures and clearing dockets that the question of whether or not he actually murdered Wanda McCoy has become a subsidiary consideration."
Now that Smolowe looks a wee bit foolish, it's no surprise that when National Review's John J. Miller called to ask her about her story for the February 13 edition of NR, she abruptly claimed amnesia: