SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — In the wake of a botched lethal injection in Oklahoma last month, a Utah lawmaker says he believes a firing squad is a more humane form of execution. And he plans to bring back that option for criminals sentenced to death in his state.
Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican from the northern Utah city of Clearfield, plans to introduce his proposal during Utah’s next legislative session in January. Lawmakers in Wyoming and Missouri floated similar ideas this year, but both efforts stalled. Ray, however, may succeed. Utah already has a tradition of execution by firing squad, with five police officers using .30-caliber Winchester rifles to execute Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010, the last execution by rifle to be held in the state.
Ray argues the controversial method may seem more palatable now, especially as states struggle to maneuver lawsuits and drug shortages that have complicated lethal injections.
“It sounds like the Wild West, but it’s probably the most humane way to kill somebody,” Ray said.
The Iowa-based Religious Right group The Family Leader held a forum for Republican US Senate candidates on Friday, at which the group’s view that “God instituted government” figured heavily. In fact, nearly every candidate at the debate vowed that if they were to be elected to the Senate they would block federal judicial nominees who do not follow what they perceive as “natural law” or a “biblical view of justice.”
Bob Vander Plaats, head of The Family Leader, opened the forum by declaring, “At The Family Leader, we believe God has three institutions: It would be the church, the family, and government.”
He warned that policies such as legal abortion and marriage equality would cause God to cease blessing the country. “As we have a culture that runs further and further from God’s principles, His precepts, from God’s heart, it’s only natural consequences that we’re going to suffer,” he said.
“You cannot run away from the heart of God and expect God to bless the country,” he concluded.
My, Republican poster boy Cliven Bundy is the gift that keeps on giving — for Democrats, that is:
“If I say ‘Negro’ or ‘black boy’ or ‘slave,’ if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be [offended], then Martin Luther King hasn’t got his job done yet,” he added. “We need to get over this prejudice stuff.”
Hooooly cow. Professional Moocher, liar, and thief Cliven Bundy might just help cost the GOP a few dozen seats, given how many GOPsaurs (if you’ll pardon the pun) bet the farm on him.
What’s odd about it is that for so long, it was Democrats who were thought to lack an understanding of the role identity and values play in politics. I certainly thought that. What I used to say when hectoring audiences of liberals is that, with a few exceptions (such as Bill Clinton), for a long time it seemed that elections would proceed this way: The Democrat would say, “If you read my 10-point plan, I believe you will see that I offer a superior choice to my opponent.” And the Republican would point to the Democrat and say, “That guy hates you and everything you stand for.” Candidates such as John Kerry, Al Gore and Michael Dukakis (sample quote: “This election isn’t about ideology. It’s about competence.”) just didn’t get it.
I think the answer is that Republicans can still play identity politics; the problem is that identity appeals can’t capture a majority of voters for them anymore, at least not nationally (on the local and state level, when they’re appealing to smaller groups of voters, it still works perfectly well). Ironically, it’s because they’re more defined by identity than ever — an identity as the party of old white guys — that they are stymied when they try to figure out how to play identity politics that goes beyond that demographic.
Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher was just an ordinary guy living in Toledo when overnight he became the darling of the GOP after sparring with then-presidential hopeful Barack Obama in 2008. After riding a gravy train of Fox News appearances, stumping and a political run of his own, he’s now back to being an ordinary Toledoan — working at Chrysler.
As you might remember, “Joe the Plumber” wasn’t actually a licensed plumber, but did hold a variety of odd jobs following his 2008 run-in with Obama. Sometime this month, he posted on Facebook that he began working at “Chrysler Corporation,” apparently unaware that his new employer is now named Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
If you’re not familiar with Toledo, it’s where Chrysler builds the Jeep Wrangler and Cherokee. Wurzelbacher didn’t say what he’s doing with Chrysler now, but says he’s been given shit from other co-workers because of his political history, which includes stances against the types of unions he’s now required to be a member of if he wants employment:
“In order to work for Chrysler, you are required to join the Union, in this case UAW. There’s no choice - it’s a union shop - the employees voted to have it that way and in America that’s the way it is,” he wrote.
“I had three days of orientation, and now I’m “on the job” over here at Chrysler and on Day 4, I’m outside on a break smoking a cigarette and right on cue - some guy calls me a ‘teabagger,’” he said.
“Yes, I have a website that puts out conservative news. Yes, I am part owner of a gun company. Yes, I’m a Republican who was cast into the limelight for having the temerity to confront Barack Obama on the question of redistributing wealth… But I’m a working man and I’m working,” he wrote.
Wurzelbacher last made headlines when he ran for a congressional seat in Ohio, which he lost. But before that, he had this to say at an anti-union rally against Wisconsin state employees seeking collective bargaining rights: “Unions don’t deserve anything, you don’t deserve anything, you work for it yourself!”
His stance on unions has lightened, apparently. “Private unions, such as the UAW, is a choice between employees and employers. If that is what they want then who am I to say you can’t have it?” he wrote on Facebook
Republican Strategist Ana Navarro lays into King.
President Barack Obama stepped into the fray in the U.S. Congress over immigration on Saturday, urging Americans to press the Republican-led House of Representatives to approve a plan that is at risk of stalling.
Obama used his weekly address to make his case for an immigration overhaul that was approved by the Democratic-controlled Senate and would create a pathway to citizenship for as many as 11 million people living illegally in the United States.
The president has been treading carefully on the issue so as not to antagonize Republicans who adamantly oppose the immigration plan but may find it politically necessary to help attract Hispanic voters in future elections.
“Now the House needs to act so I can sign common-sense immigration reform into law,” Obama said. “And if you agree, tell your Representatives that now is the time. Call or email or post on their Facebook walls and ask them to get this done.”
With sweeping abortion legislation poised to come before Texas lawmakers again this week, activists on both sides mobilized to bring protesters to the Capitol in Austin.
Last week’s confrontation in the state Senate led to a filibuster and a late-night vote that riveted the nation. Republicans initially said the measure had passed, but the Senate’s presiding officer, Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, later conceded that the vote had occurred after the Legislature’s special session expired at midnight.
Gov. Rick Perry then called another 30-day special session to take up the bill, which would bar abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation and force abortion providers to upgrade or close, effectively limiting access to the procedure statewide, opponents say. The new session is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Monday.
New abortion legislation has already been resubmitted in the Legislature. The state House passed the measure during the previous special session, and Perry has said he will sign it.
The measure’s failure last week came in part because of raucous protests from the gallery, as well as the marathon filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat.
Opponents of immigration reform legislation have been trying to steer clear of white nationalists lately, hoping to keep their opposition to citizenship for undocumented Latino immigrants free from the taint of racism.
But they just can’t seem to run fast enough.
Last week, a major Heritage Foundation report about the supposed costs of illegal immigration was pilloried after the revelation that one of its authors, Heritage Foundation senior fellow Jason Richwine, had earlier claimed that there are deep differences in intelligence among races (with Latinos toward the bottom). Richwine resigned from the conservative think tank amid the outcry.
Now, this week, we discover that ProEnglish, a group with white nationalist ties, has launched an ad campaign against immigration reform. The first target is Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, according to BuzzFeed. The group’s minute-long radio ad features a Spanish-speaking character, apparently representing an undocumented immigrant, thanking Graham “for not requiring him to learn English in exchange for amnesty.”
ProEnglish, founded in 1994, is part of the network of organizations founded by anti-immigrant movement architect John Tanton, a Michigan ophthalmologist who, over the years, has corresponded with white nationalists, eugenicists and Holocaust deniers, and written that in order to maintain American culture, “a European-American majority is required.”
Robert Vandervoort, executive director of ProEnglish, also has ties to white nationalist groups. He formerly ran the Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance, a group that supports white nationalist Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance. Taylor has claimed that any kind of civilization disappears when black people are left to their own devices. Vandervoort has also attended events held by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, which distributes books by the late Sam Francis, who was a resident scholar at the foundation and a leading figure among white nationalists who argued for “white racial consciousness.”
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill 5-0 mandating that doctors who perform abortions maintain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
Supporters said the bill would improve care for women and assure they could get help if they suffered complications.
But opponents said the bill only places unnecessary obstacles for doctors willing to perform abortions.
In addition, the Texas Hospital Association testified against the bill, saying the measure would subject hospitals to needless time and expense screening doctors who rarely, if ever, would need to admit patients into their facility.
“A hospital should not be required to assume responsibility for the qualifications of a doctor that does not practice in the hospital,” said Stacy Wilson, associate general counsel for the association.