Not long ago Ted Cruz said…
Assuming he’s right, what might the question be? Any suggestions?
OK. Let’s start with the cartoon:
This illustrates an execution by firing squad in Florida.
“Florida doesn’t execute people by firing squad! Florida uses lethal injection.” you complain.
True. But, as you know, the manufacturers of drugs used for such lethal injections have begun balking. They manufacture drugs to heal and not to kill, they insist. And they’re not just talking the talk; they’re walking the walk. They’re refusing to sell states the drugs used for execution. Lots of juggling, dancing, and dodging going on in states that like to kill prisoners.
America has an ugly history of state or quasi-state sponsored homicide. Used to be we had no problem with inflicting pain while killing. For example, consider this contemporary description by Robert Calef of the Salem witch trials and executions that occurred just before 1800:
And now Nineteen persons having been hang’d, and one prest to death, and Eight more condemned, in all Twenty and Eight, of which above a third part were Members of some of the Churches of N. England, and more than half of them of a good Conversation in general, and not one clear’d; about Fifty having confest themselves to be Witches, of which not one Executed; above an Hundred and Fifty in Prison, and Two Hundred more accused; the Special Commision of Oyer and Terminer comes to a period.
First thing to notice, these shouldn’t be referred to just as “the Salem witch trials.” They were both trials and executions. Twenty persons were killed, and 50 more would have joined them if they hadn’t been willing to confess to imaginary misdeeds for which they knew they were innocent.
Most were hanged. Hanging is tricky business. Too little weight on the victim, too short a drop, wrong knot, and you can get a macabre strangulation and “dance of death” by the prisoner’s body. Err in the opposite direction, and the head is severed. Only when conditions are just right do you get a snapped neck and relatively quiet death.
One, Calef notes was “prest to death.” That is, “pressed” to death — immobilized and then laden with more and more weight until literally crushed to death.
These days we don’t like to confront death directly. Our meat, fish, and poultry are provided neatly packaged or cooked and presented at table. (Remember the scene at the Chinese restaurant in Jean Shepherd’s A Christmas Story?) Our loved ones die in institutions rather than at home. While our agents are face-to-face inflicting PTSD on others, and suffering PTSD themselves, we experience war as if it were a video game. We don’t see the carnage. We see close-ups of targeting computer screens plus very long shots of explosions. Unless we or those we love are combat veterans, we see nothing of the un-healable pain and unassuageable grief so many of those veterans carry throughout their lives.
When I was a little kid, my dad took our cat to be “put to sleep.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sounded rather sweet and comforting. Later, friends and relatives had animals “put down.” A couple of years ago I took our suffering, cancer-ridden cat Mittens to be “euthanized.” I’m OK with easing pain by choosing soft words, but I’m not OK with lying to ourselves about what we’ve accepted moral responsibility for doing.
American television “personalities” were twisting their knickers and pooping their tidy-whities when that …hmmmm… militant Islamic organization that’s known under a dozen different names beheaded some people. (No outrage over the fact that our allies like Saudi Arabia behead people routinely every month. Oh—! And sever hands every month also.) Anyhow, the point is, Fox News, Chris Matthews, etc. were much less upset about the executions per se than about the manner of execution.
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The image itself.
I tried to make the “firing squad” image as absurd as possible – not to make jokes about the death penalty but to make people think about its inherent absurdity. Executions have no deterrent value; they’re extremely expensive; they often are carried out against persons who are not guilty; they’re often botched; they are often gruesome; and they’re carried out in a way that allows the public to pretend to themselves that they aren’t really happening. How typically American!
While walking through our neighborhood, I noticed a fire hydrant “against the wall” (actually against a wind/sun screen). Looked promising, so I photographed it. It’s almost impossible to resist anthropomorphizing these things, and I admit that I saw it as like the Ferguson, MO, “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. Later it reminded me of a firing squad victim standing against a wall. I wanted to make it look absurd, so I added a blindfold and three man firing squad, all waiting for orders to begin. The firing squad are toy soldiers representing various units of the British army. The men are looking to our right, naturally, because that’s where the demands for death and retributive in/justice tend to emanate from. You can imagine Rick Scott and Pam Bondi just out of frame, chuckling with each other about this alternative to the electric chair.
Still from a movie of a man being executed at Sing Sing.
He’s jerking uncontrollably. Smoke is coming from
whee the electrodes are burning his head.
Sean Hannity: Hillary Clinton “Sold Out Women”
“Let Me Educate You”: Hannity Talks Down To Female Guest About Hillary Clinton’s Accomplishments For Women
Blog ››› March 11, 2015 10:43 PM EDT ››› KATE SARNA
Sean Hannity lectured criminal defense and civil rights attorney Tamara Holder about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s impact on women’s issues, telling Holder, “let me educate you.”
On the March 11 edition of his radio show, Hannity asked Holder to list Secretary Clinton’s accomplishments on women’s advancement. Before she could, Hannity continually interrupted to argue Clinton “sold out” women by accepting Clinton Foundation donations from Middle Eastern countries with a poor track record on women’s rights.
At one point, the host shot off, “I’m going to let you Google, and I’m going to let you research” before he would listen to Holder’s opinion.
Hannity’s lecturing became so egregious, his female producer challenged him, asking if he was treating Holder this way because she is a woman….
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Have you ever wondered how the women at Fox News manage to deal with such sexist assholes day after day without resorting to the “Joni Ernst” remedy Tamara Holder’s contemplating in the cartoon above? Our intrepid investigative reporters were slipped some open-mic video by disgruntled Fox techies, and now we can reveal the secret! Here’s Ms. Holder talking off-camera with her colleague Michelle Malkin:
Back on February 28 I read a news report about Ted Cruz having said he wanted to be a “disruptive app” for American politics. (That was the time he called Net Neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet,” thereby inadvertently telling the truth while simultaneously demonstrating abysmal ignorance.) I wrote a quick post about that, and apparently shared it with Twitter.
The very next day I got a return Tweet from an imaginary person named “Ivonne Monks,” who told me she had found some people who could take care of my malware problem very quickly. She very kindly provided a phone number.
I immediately thought, “What a very nice young woman! And so lovely as well. The least I can do is to call the number she provided!”
Yeah. Right. Instead I ran down the phone number and a couple of IP addresses:
What are the odds that if I’d done what lovely Ivonne suggested, I’d have ended up with some genuine phishing, sniffing, malware, virus problems in place of my make-believe Ted Cruz malware affliction?
But of course we still have to deal with Mr. Malware Ted Cruz, don’t we? Perhaps Ivonne unintentionally suggested a plausible solution!
Re Representative Don Young, Alaska:
For the record, I most definitely do not think Young is a raving lunatic (Yes – based on his votes, on-the-record remarks, and interviews, he might easily be mistaken for a loon. But other responses have mitigated that.)
GOP congressman: If you had wolves in your district, you wouldn’t have a homeless problem
by Jen Hayden
March 6, 2015
Three things worth noting here:
- The name in front of the speaker says “Mr. Harris,” but that’s wrong. This is indeed Don Young. Harris too is a GOP representative who sports a beard and wears glasses, but this isn’t he.
- Note Young’s suggestion that the only ones who should have a say in whether an endangered species of animal should be protected are the ones who live in the same place the animal does. Follow that principle to its logical conclusion and ponder the consequences if it were applied.
- The look on the face of that young woman is absolutely priceless, isn’t it! She’s sitting there looking prim and professional, wearing the Farrah Fawcett nouveau reverse twist thing that’s de rigueur these days, and suddenly….
Later on the same day Young’s office released a statement wherein he issued a clarification: