‘Executions Should Be By Firing Squad, Federal Appeals Court Judge Says’

Maura Dolan, reporting for the Los Angeles Times:

“Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and beautiful — like something any one of us might experience in our final moments,” U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski wrote in a dissent in the Arizona death penalty case of Joseph Rudolph Wood III.

“But executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should we. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.”

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On Economic Inequality in America

Katrina vanden Heuvel, writing for The Nation:

By implying that there is a disconnect between inequality and opportunity, (many, not all) Democrats ignore the fact that opportunity cannot be provided as long as the economic and financial system is so unequal. Some, like Senator Elizabeth Warren, intuitively understand this. After all, she first came to Washington to battle a system that has long been rigged against the middle class, where working families’ voices get overpowered by well-funded lobbyists who hold elected officials by the pocket. By creating an artificial division between inequality and opportunity, we turn a blind eye to this rampant unfairness that helped the 1 percent ascend to their economic perches in the first place.

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Missouri Schools to Offer Concealed Weapons Trainings

Michele Richinick, reporting for MSNBC:

A fee of $17,500 gets a district a 40-hour firearms training that lasts for five days for two staff members who spend time both inside a classroom and outside at the range firing pistols. Instructors at Shield Solutions in West Plains, Mo., teach participants how to handle firearms and tactical movement, as well as the history of modern, active shooters and how to apply a tourniquet, said Don Crowley, lead instructor and training supervisor. On the range, they position “innocent” targets in front of the “bad guys” for discretionary shooting lessons, he added.

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‘The Second Amendment Doesn’t Say What You Think It Does’

Hannah Levintova, writing for Mother Jones:

As America grapples with a relentless tide of gun violence, pro-gun activists have come to rely on the Second Amendment as their trusty shield when faced with mass-shooting-induced criticism. In their interpretation, the amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms—a reading that was upheld by the Supreme Court in its 2008 ruling in District of Columbia. v. Heller. Yet most judges and scholars who debated the clause’s awkwardly worded and oddly punctuated 27 words in the decades before Heller almost always arrived at the opposite conclusion, finding that the amendment protects gun ownership for purposes of military duty and collective security. It was drafted, after all, in the first years of post-colonial America, an era of scrappy citizen militias where the idea of a standing army—like that of the just-expelled British—evoked deep mistrust.

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Al Gore On Edward Snowden

David Sirota, writing for PandoDaily:

At Southland today, former Vice President Al Gore today did not offer a definitive answer to the traitor-hero question, but he did weigh in more on one side than the other. After slamming both government and corporations for collecting too much information on individuals, Gore said this about the hero-traitor question:

But what he revealed in the course of violating important laws included violations of the Constitution that were way more serious than the crimes he committed. In the course of violating important laws he also provided an important service because we did need to know how far this has gone.

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‘This is What It’s Like Arguing with Gun Nuts On the Internet’

Ben Dreyfuss, writing for Mother Jones:

It’s Memorial Day. On this day, we honor the more than one million brave men and women who have given their lives fighting for the United States. Further, we honor that which they died fighting to preserve: the American way of life. It’s 2014 and today, right now, the American way of life involves accepting the very real possibility that you might get shot to death walking down the street for no other reason than bad luck. I somehow doubt many of them fought for that.

Bingo. Also, this.

On Donald Sterling and ‘Injustice’

Dave Zirin for The Nation, on the dark side of Sterling’s exile from the NBA:

Now the NBA will never have to answer the question about why the Sterlings have been coddled for so long. Now the NBA won’t have to defend why racist housing practices, demonstrable misogyny and the verbal abuse of players was ignored for so long.

Great question — if Sterling was known like this prior, why wait to act now?

On the ‘Extremist Middle’

Sam Smith, writing for the Progressive Review’s Undernews blog:

Liberals also seem to have little idea of how much the politics of the Democratic Party has changed over time.

It is fair to say, for example, that the two most conservative Democratic presidents since Grover Cleveland have been Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. They were the first Democratic presidents in over a century who actually reversed previous Democratic positions such as Clinton’s attack on social welfare and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act separating commercial and investment banking which greatly helped lead to the recent financial crisis. Obama, for his part, has taken a score of traditionally anti-liberal positions ranging from supporting torture and massive illegal wiretapping to favoring the bailout of banks over the bailout of ordinary Americans.

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On Nutritionists and ‘Big Food’

Kiera Butler, reporting for Mother Jones:

With 75,000 members, the CDA’s parent organization, the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), is the world’s largest professional association for nutritionists and dietitians. It accredits undergraduate and graduate programs in nutrition science and awards credentials to dietitian degree candidates who pass its exam. In Washington, its lobbying arm is active on issues including childhood obesity, Medicare, and the farm bill.

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‘Lethal Injection Is a Terrible Way to Kill People’

Stephanie Mencimer for Mother Jones, on botched executions via lethal injection:

Many death row inmates were once IV drug users, and by the time they reach the death chamber, their veins are a mess. Others are obese from years of confinement, which also makes their veins hard to find. Compounding that problem is the fact that the people inserting the needles usually aren’t medical professionals. They’re prison guards (in Oklahoma they’re paid $300 for the job), and they’re usually in a big hurry to get it done quickly—an factor that doesn’t mesh well with the slower-acting drugs states are now resorting to.

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