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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 11, 2014 / 11 Nissan, 5774

When killing gets a sanction

By Wesley Pruden




JewishWorldReview.com | This has been a big week in the death house in Texas. The state executioner was assigned to dispatch not one, but two, evil-doers. He could put away his needle with the satisfaction of a job well done. Five more executions are scheduled before summer.

Texas is No. 1 in the business, having dispatched 513 men and women (nearly all men) since the states were freed by the U.S. Supreme Court to resume state-sanctioned killing in 1976. Virginia and Oklahoma are second with 110 executions each, so far, but measured by executions per capita, Oklahoma, which competes with Texas to be No. 1 in so many things, is No. 1.

Opinions on capital punishment are sharply divided and passionately held, but the stereotype that executions are favorites of conservatives is slowly dissolving. Young conservatives seem particularly willing to take another look at the death business. Roy Brown, the former majority leader of the Montana House of Representatives, founded an organization called Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty and he travels the country spreading the word. He led a forum, in partnership with the Young Americans for Liberty, last month at Georgetown University. Marc Hayden, the group's national co-ordinator, says he finds conservatives deciding the death penalty is "wasteful, unfair, error-prone and out of step with conservative values."

No one, liberal or conservative, can dispute the fact that it's a grisly business, once universally endorsed by both church and state. There's the story that an ancient mariner, cast ashore when his ship foundered on the rocks, looked up to see a gallows outlined against a gray wintry sky. "Thank G0D!" he cried out. "I've landed in a Christian country." Indeed, the hangman once presided over a thriving business.

Now, not so much. Only 32 states retain the death penalty and it has been abolished in many places overseas. The preferred chemicals used in executions are no longer manufactured in the United States, and European manufacturers will no longer sell to the states if to be used for executions. But capital punishment is still popular in many places, particularly in the South.

Bill Clinton famously interrupted his first presidential campaign in 1994 to return to Arkansas to preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally retarded black man. When it was time to walk the last mile, Rector carefully put aside a piece of pecan pie, saved from his last meal, to enjoy "later." (The pie was destroyed after the execution.)

Capital punishment is nowhere as popular as in Texas, where swift and harsh justice is prized. The late Joe Frank Cannon, a Houston lawyer known as "greased lightning" for his speed in getting through trials, was appointed to represent poor defendants so many times that 10 of his clients were executed. Greased lightning or not, Joe Frank often went to sleep during trials, twice when his clients were sentenced to death.

This was regarded by the courts merely as an impediment to the rocket dockets much loved by judges, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that "the Constitution requires a defendant to be represented by a lawyer, it doesn't say the lawyer has to be awake." A federal appeals court disagreed, but only after asking whether the lawyer had slept through "important parts' of the trial.

Executions can be badly botched. Witnesses to a Mississippi execution had to be cleared when they were overcome when the prisoner started banging his head on a steel pole in the chamber, apparently to hasten death. The executioner was drunk.

The electric chair, largely abandoned because lethal injections are less expensive, is particularly "problematic." Prisoners occasionally catch fire and the sight and scent overcomes everyone watching.

DNA has rescued some innocent prisoners from death row, but all governments are loathe to admit mistakes. No one should confuse the law with justice. One governor of Illinois, deeply troubled when new evidence freed an innocent man two days before his scheduled execution, commuted to life the death sentences of 167 others awaiting execution because he did not think the death penalty could be administered fairly.

Prisoners on death row have done bad things, and deserve no mercy on their own merits. But killing them does not deter others; first-degree murder is by definition a crime of unthinking passion. Death removes evil-doers from society, but at the price of coarsening and making cheap that society.

No one feels better after the state commits premeditated murder in the name of the law. Society keeps trying new methods of execution, eager to relieve pangs of conscience. But conscience is a stubborn overseer, and won't be satisfied until death gets no sanction and the executioner is banished for once and all.

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© 2014 Wesley Pruden

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