Posts Tagged ‘Sheriff’

Mike Bouchard Announces Terri Lynn Land as His Running Mate

September 16, 2009

Earlier today, Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard made a major campaign announcement: Secretary of State, and former Gubernatorial candidate, Terri Lynn Land would be joining his campaign as his official pick for Lt. Governor.  I first heard the news  a little after 9 this morning, but I’ve been in class until now.

Bouchard posted the following on his website earlier today:

Oakland County- Mike Bouchard, Republican candidate for governor, today announced his selection of Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land as his lieutenant governor running mate, citing her successful record of improving services for Michigan residents while cutting costs.

“Terri Lynn Land’s innovative leadership proves that state government can control spending while offering Michigan residents more,” Bouchard said. “From day one as Secretary of State, she looked to cut costs and make her department more efficient. I look forward to working with Terri as my lieutenant governor to fix Lansing so Michigan can get back to work.”

Bouchard, a former state lawmaker who now serves as Oakland County sheriff, made the announcement at press conferences in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing. After the visits, Bouchard and Land launched a bus tour that will take them across Michigan to talk with state residents.

“I’m honored to join Mike’s campaign to turn Michigan around and again make it a national leader in job creation,” Secretary Land said. “His willingness to make the right decisions for Michigan now instead of focusing on the next election is exactly what Michigan needs. He has the knowledge, experience and backbone to get our state back on the right track.

“As both a sheriff and state senator, he has shown he believes that government should live within its means by reducing spending and cutting taxes.”

As Oakland County sheriff, Bouchard leads one of the nation’s largest sheriff’s departments with 1,200 personnel and has used creative ideas to save taxpayers’ dollars. Oakland County now saves $1.6 million a year because of his efforts to privatize the jail’s food services. As a state senator, his record of accomplishment includes protecting families by leading the push to create the Michigan Sex Offender Registry and passing laws that reduced the state’s real estate transfer tax, saving taxpayers to date over a billion dollars. He grew up in Oakland County and has three children with his wife, Pam.

Before becoming secretary of state, Land served as Kent County’s clerk and register of deeds. Highlights of her time as secretary of state include revolutionizing the branch office environment and employing the latest technology so Michigan residents, whether as voters or branch office customers, can expect fast, efficient service. She has two children with husband, Dan, and lives in Byron Center.

Land sent out the following e-mail:

Dear Friend,

As you remember, I offered my endorsement of Mike Bouchard back in June.

I told you then that Mike Bouchard had the diverse background both legislatively and administratively to fix Lansing so Michigan can get back to work.

Back then, I told you that Mike was a proven vote-getter; that I believed his experience winning a statewide primary in 2006 would be key to his success in November 2010.

Well, I’ve learned a lot in the past few months.

After spending the summer on the road with Mike, I’ve realized that he is even more impressive than I had originally thought.

First of all, Mike is an incredible campaigner.

Mike is tireless. After seven years on the road, I’m used to traveling the highways and byways of this state. Believe me, I know a “road warrior” when I see one! Mike loves connecting with people, learning what they care about, and sharing his vision with them. I am confident that he has the instinct and the heart to win both the primary and the general next fall.

Mike gets it. As a former leader in the state senate, Mike has experience working with the legislature, and as Oakland County Sheriff, he knows how to get things done administratively as well. But Mike is also a businessman. He has signed the front of a paycheck; not just the back. He understands firsthand that Michigan is hurting right now, and what it will take to start the healing process.

Finally, Mike is ready. I’ve been in this business a long time, and I know that sometimes a candidate may have all the “right stuff” on paper, but will have a hard time making that transition once they take office.

Not Mike Bouchard. Mike is ready to lead on Day One.

And Michigan can’t wait for its next governor to waste any time. Our families don’t have the luxury of waiting for our next governor to adjust to a learning curve. We need help now.

For those reasons, I am so pleased to join his team officially as his pick for Lt. Governor.

We believe that my experience traveling the state, streamlining services, keeping a balanced budget and delivering world class service even in these tight economic times will give Mike an advantage when we take office in January 2011.

I am so honored to be part of this team.

I am confident that we have the work ethic, the ideas and the passion to fix Lansing and get Michigan back to work!

Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to seeing you soon on the campaign trail!

Sincerely,

Terri Lynn Land

Bouchard also held a press conference earlier today in Detroit, saying:

I am really excited to have her on board. Terri Lynn Land’s innovative leadership proves that state government can control spending while offering Michigan residents more.

The people of the State of Michigan see what happens to their tax dollars.

I am willing to be a one-term governor if that is what it takes to fix Michigan. It is long overdue. They have been forestalling tough decisions for the past 6 1/2 years.

Personally, I think this is a great move for Bouchard.  I think everybody knew this was coming.  I predicted it back in June when Land dropped her bid for Governor and endorsed Bouchard.

This will have the biggest impact on Pete Hoekstra, the Republican Congressman from the 2nd District.  Land is also from the West side of Michigan, and her place on a Bouchard ticket will probably impact Hoekstra the most, but we’ll see.

With the addition of a big name like Land’s to the Bouchard ticket, I would put Bouchard as the frontrunner in this race; however, we still have just under a year until the primary, and a LOT of things could happen before then.  This race is far from over.

I’ll continue to follow the candidates and the race, so make sure to check back here for my analysis on the race as we continue to get closer to the primary.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Terri Land Ends Bid for Michigan Governor & Endorses Mike Bouchard

June 25, 2009

Earlier today Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) held a press conference where she was expected to announce her intentions to run for Governor in 2010.  Instead, she announced that she was putting and end to her exploratory committee and was endorsing Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

The following is an excerpt from her comments during the press conference:

I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration as a Republican candidate for Governor in 2010.  To my colleagues seeking the nomination, I wish you the best of luck.  The challenges ahead are great.  I believe Michigan needs a leader like Mike Bouchard.  I’ve worked with Mike for many years.  I have always been impressed with his ability to make tough decisions.  And I also appreciate his resourcefulness and grit: Mike is a real bulldog who won’t let challenges go unmet.

We’re both worried that our kids will be forced to leave Michigan to find jobs.

Mike realizes that it took a long time – and a lot of bad decisions – for our state to get here.  He knows that there aren’t any easy fixes or simple solutions to turn things around. Mike will do what’s right rather than what is popular.  And that’s the kind of leader we need to get Michigan working again.

And here’s some of what Bouchard said:

I’m really happy to have Terri’s support – it means a lot to me and my campaign.  Terri’s well respected across the state.  She’s a consensus builder who isn’t afraid to make the touch choices.  From day one as Secretary of State, she looked to cut costs and make her department more efficient.  We need more leaders like Terri who are working to turn our state around.

Terri’s endorsement is another big step forward for my campaign.  She is respected across the state as a true leader.  As Governor, I know that by working with leaders like Terri, we will fix Lansing so Michigan can get back to work. 

When asked “Where will you look for a Lieutenant Governor?”

Bouchard responded, “One [candidate] who would be and should be on anyone’s short list is standing here,” as he nodded toward Land.

The two also released the following video:

If you would’ve asked me who I honestly thought would win the race, I would’ve said Terri Land, so this comes as a shock to me.

But I think I may see where she’s coming from – a lot of people have said that as a woman, she’d be disadvantaged in the race, since she’d be running right after Granholm, who’s seriously screwed up the state.  Personally, I don’t think people will blame the state’s problems on electing a woman governor, but I may be putting too much faith in Michigan voters.

I think this move does tell us one thing though: Mike Bouchard has most likely picked a running mate, and I’m willing to bet that that running mate is Terri Land.

I was still undecided as to who I was supporting, but Land was up toward the top for me, and now that both her and L. Brooks Patterson have dropped out, I’m pretty much back to square one for figuring out who I’ll be backing.

I’ll continue to cover the race up until Election Day in 2010.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican

Effigy of Sarah Palin Hanging by a Noose is Despicable, but Legal

October 28, 2008

I’ve seen some pretty weird Halloween decorations before, but this one probably tops them all.  In West Hollywood, California, Chad Michael Morisette has put up an effigy of Sarah Palin hanging by a noose with John McCain up on the chimeny with flames coming out of it (as well as skeletons and spider webs on other areas of the house).

Well, this made some people very unhappy and even sparked an investigation the FBI as well as the Los Angles Police Department.

The LAPD has determined that this doesn’t rise to the level of hate crime (I don’t remember if the FBI has finished its investigation).

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told reporters, “I’m not defending this; I’m not criticizing it.  It doesn’t rise to the level of hate crime.  Now, if there was a crime against bad taste–.”  When asked about an effigy of Barack Obama, he replied, “That adds a whole other social, historical hate aspect to the display, and that is embedded in the consciousness of the country [but I am not sure that it would be a hate crime].  It would be ill-advised of anybody to speculate on that.”

Morisette claims that it’s  all in fun, saying, “It should be seen as art, and as within the month of October.  It’s Halloween, it’s time to be scary, it’s time to be spooky.”

The Mayor of West Hollywood, Jeffrey Prang, told reporters, “While these residents have the legal right to display Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin in effigy, I strongly oppose political speech that references violence–real or perceived.  I urge these residents to take down their display and find more constructive ways to express their opinion.”

I agree with the Mayor here.  The point of a hate crime is that it has to threaten violence, or be violence toward a person because of discrimination (and hate crime isn’t a real legal term, but it’s easier to just say “hate crime”.  For the law that defines hate crimes, see U.S. Federal Code Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 13, § 245).  There is no threat of violence here.  Now, if this were done of Obama, I would say the same thing.  If it’s in a Halloween decoration, it’s generally not intended as a violent threat (as the sheriff’s department found in its investigation).  As long as it’s not being done to encourage violence for racist reasons, it’s not a hate crime.

So, I think this was over the line, but it’s still protected as free speech by the First Amendment.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Live Analysis of the September 26 Presidential Debate on Foreign Policy

September 26, 2008

**My apologies for any typos – I tried to catch all of them, but live blogging a debate is hard, and my keyboard acts up from time to time (especially the space bar), so if you see a typo, just leave a comment and I’ll fix it.**

We’re about a minute out, I’ll be live blogging the whole event.  Jim Lehrer (PBS) is the moderator.  I’ll be watching CNN (it would be FOX, but they weren’t ready on time).

The Ku Klux Klan is in the audience, we’ve heard, but not in robes and not protesting.

First question, “Where do you stand on the financial recovery plan?”

Obama: Thank you to everybody – the usual beginning.  “Worst financial crisis since the great depression. … We have to move swiftly and we have to move wisely.”  Talking about oversight, since it’s a lot of money.  Taxpayers need to be able to get the money back.  Shouldn’t be padding CEO bank accounts.  Talking about trickle down economics not working.  That’s not going to help him win over any Republicans.

McCain: Senator Kennedy is in the hospital.  Thank you to the sponsors, etc.  Talking about seeing Democrats and Republicans sitting down and working together, and the magnitude of the crisis.  Emphasizing that we have to work together, something that Obama didn’t mention – that was good from McCain.  Talking about having options for loans for businesses, not the government taking over those loans.  GOOD – not a pure bailout!  CNN has an audience  reaction, and McCain is getting a pretty good response from the Independents (must be some keypad rating system or something).  Talking about a lot of work to do if this will work.  Eliminate dependence on foreign oil – good.

Lehrer: Do you favor this plan?

Obama: I “haven’t seen the language yet.”  “How did we get in this situation in the first place?”  Talking about him warning 2 years ago that mortgage abuse would lead us down a trail we can’t afford to go down.  “Yes, we have to solve this problem short term, … but … look at how we shredded so many regulations … and that has … to do with an economic philosophy that says regulation is bad.”

Lehrer: “Will you vote for the plan?”

McCain: “Sure.”  Talking about warning about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  Talking about getting flack for calling for resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission.  And the Independents’ rating has skyrocketed.  Republicans increased too.  It was good – him calling for the resignation, and people like that.

Obama: Talking about people struggling before this crisis.  It’s interesting – the Dems are rating Obama higher than the Indies, but the Indies rated McCain higher than the Reps.  Talking about holding ourselves accountable, all the time, talking about nurses and teachers, and politicians not paying attention to them.  Good – he’s appealing to the average Americans here, and that’s who he needs to win over.

McCain: “We have a long way to go.”  Need consolidation of regulatory agencies who failed and let us slip into this crisis.  Talking about the greatness of the American worker, and the Republicans like it, but it’s not that appealing to Independents, but it will appeal to a lot of average Joe Americans, as long as they believe he’s sincere (and the audience must not have).

Lehrer: How do we get out of the crisis?

McCain: Spending control.  And the Reps and Inds, liked it – and this is one of McCain biggest points, and now he’s talking about Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), a huge anti-earmark politician.  Talking about the DNA testing of bears.  I LOVE McCain saying he’ll veto earmarked bills.  It’s one of his best stances.  He’s talking about Obama asking for earmark spending.  Talking about not being able to rein in spending with a plan like Obama’s.

Obama: The earmark process has been abused.  Lobbyists and special interests introduce these things, often times.  Contrasting the cost of earmarks against tax cuts (by allegedly McCain) for CEOs and big companies.  “Grow the economy for the bottom up.”  Tax cut for 95% of working families.  HOLD IT!  Only 90% of working families even PAY taxes!!!!  Come on Obama, don’t lie.

McCain: Obama suspended those earmarks after he started running for Congress.  YOU TELL ‘EM MCCAIN!  He’s saying that earmarks have tripled in 5 years, even though “it’s only $18 billion” (as pro-earmarkers say).  He was called the Sheriff.  That’s pretty sweet.  As I was saying before, we need to take Coburn’s example and STOP EARMARKS!

Obama: Interrupted McCain (must be kinda less formal).  Talking about priorities, and shipping, and I missed the rest.  Saying he’ll keep us from spending unwisely.  Earmarks alone won’t get us back on track.  The Democrats are loving this, but the Independents, aren’t really liking it.

McCain: Talking about the business tax, that we pay the 2nd highest in the world, 35%.  “I want to cut that business tax.  I want to cut it.”  “It’s a lot more than $18 billion in pork barrel spending.”  And he’s right, it’s SO much more than that, and it’s hidden in so many bills.  The Independents are liking this.  “I want every family to have a $5,000 refundable tax credit” for healthcare.  Double the dependent amount refund for children.

Obama: “Here’s what I can tell America 95% of you will get a tax cut.”  LIAR.  10% don’t even PAY taxes.  And another 5% make over $200,000, and he won’t give them a tax cut.  LIAR!  Saying McCain wants to add an additional tax cut over the loopholes.  Talking about McCain’s health care tax credit.  Saying McCain wants to tax health benefits.  That’s not true.

McCain: Talking about an energy bill with breaks for oil companies, and McCain voted against it, but Obama voted for it.”  Obama tried to interrupt – that just looks tacky when he keeps doing it.  Saying that Obama has shifted on a number of occasions.

Obama: Talking about Obama lying about the oil companies.  “I was opposed to those tax breaks … tried to strip them out.”

Lehrer: “As President … what are you going to have to give up … as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?”

Obama: “Right now, it’s hard to anticipate what the budget is going to look like next year.”  He’s right about that.  “Energy independence.”  Talking about solar, wind, biodiesel here at home.  And the Independents REALLY loved that – highest rating I’ve seen all night.  Fix our healthcare system.  Compete in education – science and technology.  “Make sure our children are keeping pace in math and in science.”  Make college affordable for all.  That’s not even useful.  Not EVERYBODY needs college.  America needs plumbers and other basic labor workers too.

McCain: “No matter what, we have got to cut spending.”  Obama has most liberal rating.  “It’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”  Do away with cost-plus contracts.  Talking about defense contracts and needing fixed-cost contracts.  And he’s absolutely right.  One of the big areas we need to save money is in defense contracts.  Talking about fixing a contract with Boeing, and people ending up in prison because of it, but hte Independents didn’t like that too much.

Lehrer: Neither of you are really going to have big changes?

Obama: “I want to make sure that we are investing in energy in order to [break off from] foreign oil.”  Right now, even the Democrats aren’t giving him a good audience reaction.  The Republicans are giving him a higher rating!  Saying that him being wildly liberal is just him opposing George Bush.  And that spiked the Dems’ rating.  Saying that he’s worked with Coburn so that taxpayers can see who’s promoting spending projects.

Lehrer: “How [will] this effect you in the approach you will take to the Presidency.”

McCain: Spending freeze on all but Veterans, defense, and I forget what else.

Obama: You’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel.  But heck, that’d have to be a big scalpel.  But he does have a point here.

McCain: We’re sending money overseas, and some of that goes eventually to terrorists (through oil).  We need nuclear, solar, wind, offshore drilling, etc…  Get 70,000 (?) jobs by building nuclear plants throughout the country.  And Obama is against this.  And that’s one thing that really angers me about Obama – WE NEED NUCLEAR!

Obama: “There is not fact that it [economic crisis] will affect our budgets” even if we get the $700 billion back.  “If we’re lucky and do it right, that could potentially happen.”  “We can expect less tax revenue.”  And he’s really not getting a good audience response here.  Talking about not being able to leave out healthcare, and the Independents’ and Republicans’ approval just dropped.

McCain: Families should make decisions between themselves and doctors, not federal government.  “I have fought to cut spending.”  “Obama needs to cancel new spending programs.”  Talking about taking care of veterans.  Healthy economy, lowering, not raising taxes, with spending restraint.  And the independents liked that.  Talking about owing China money, and saying he’s fought against excessive spending.  And the ratings are skyrocketing – and again, I LOVE his stance on spending!

Obama: It’s been your President who presided over this spending.  But Bush and McCain aren’t the same.  Stop pretending they are.  That still got a good reply from the Independents.

McCain: I have opposed the President on spending, torture, Guantanamo, climate change.  Talking about being an Independent and Maverick, and having Sarah Palin as the same.  His ratings stunk right there.  He lost Dems, Reps, and Inds.

Lehrer: On to Iraq.

McCain: “Our initial military success … Baghdad, and everybody celebrated.”  Then the war was mishandled.  Came up with a new strategy.  It’s succeeding.  The Inds and Dems rating has fallen a lot, but hte Reps are rating him high.  Talking about the consequences of defeat being Iranian influence higher, more sectarian violence, and U.S. having to come back (referring to defeat before the surge).  And the Inds just started to rate him a lot better.  I think he did as good as he could back there.

Obama: I would’ve voted against it.  “We hadn’t finished the job in Afghanistan … caught bin Laden … and put Al Qaeda to rest.”  Talking about soon to be a trillion dollars spent, plus 4,000 lives lost.  Saying that Al Qaeda is stronger than ever.  “We took our eye off the ball.”  Talking about Iraq having a surplus while we’re losing money.  He’s bringing up a LOT of good points that I thought would appeal to people, but he’s not rating THAT great, although the Dems really like him.  Now it’s peaked a bit more.

McCain: President will have to decide how and when we leave and what we leave behind.  He’s absolutely right.  Obama saying surge worked, but he’d still oppose it.  And he lost a lot of Indy rating points just back there.  But he’s right.  Obama is simply sticking by what he said even though what he said was WRONG!

Obama: Talking about McCain being right about reduced violence.  Saying troops and Petraeus doing a good job.  But that made up for mismanagement before that.  War started in 2003, not 2007.  Saying McCain said it’d be quick and easy, but he was wrong.  Saying we’d be greeted as liberators, but we weren’t.  And he lost a lot of support from Inds, but he’s still doing better than McCain has on Iraq.

McCain: Saying Obama doesn’t have military experience, he’s got some better support form Inds and Reps now.  Saying that this strategy and general are winning, but Obama refuses to acknowledge this.  (Obama: “That’s not true.”)  Talking about elections and peace coming to Iraq, and the strategy will be employed in Afghanistan in a McCain administration, and the Inds went up a bit there.  Talking about Obama voting against troop funding.

Obama: McCain opposed funding for troops in a timetable bill.  Had a difference on timetables, not funding.  And Obama’s right.  It always looks bad on paper when you vote against funding, but if you don’t agree with the overall bill, don’t vote for it.  I have to side with Obama here, and the Inds liked that a lot, and even the Republicans aren’t that negatively rating him.  Reduce combat troops in Iraq.  “Capture and kill bin Laden.”  We don’t have enough troops to deal with Afghanistan.

McCain: Saying that military leaders saying that Obama’s plan would be bad for the troops.  Talking about Petraeus praising the progress we’ve made.  Saying that under Obama’s plan, we’d have been out before the surge could have even succeeded.  Saying that Obama’s plan will “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Lehrer: How many and when (if more troops in Afghanistan)?

Obama: As soon as possible.  Saying that this year has been the year for highest troop fatalities.  Can’t separate Afghanistan from Iraq.  And the Independents are rating him lower than the Repubs now – that’s surprising.  Saying that Al Qaeda is the greatest threat against us, and that we have to deal with them in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not Iraq.  Press the Afghan government to make sure that they’re working for their people.  And he’s absolutely right – we need to press the Afghani government.  Talking about needing to reduce the poppy trade over there.  And that’s another area we need to work on.

McCain: Talking about not being ready to threaten Pakistan, because that’d be dangerous.  We need to get support of the people of Pakistan.  And the Independents are rating him pretty high here.  Saying that Obama doesn’t understand that we need a new strategy.  Saying that Pakistani terrorists are married to Al Qaeda and Taliban.  Ratings are very high from Reps and Inds.  Although it’s dropped now.  Saying we need more troops in Afghanistan, but saying that we have put more in already.  Talking about Obama publicly saying he’d attack Pakistan.

Obama: Saying that if we have Al Qaeda in sights, and Pakistan won’t help us take them out, then we need to take them out.  Again, I have to side with Obama here.  Talking about McCain singing “Bomb Iran.”  And that was so stupid of McCain, and really makes him look like a hypocrite a bit here.  Although he lost a lot of ratings there surprisingly.  Talking about not going after Al Qaeda, and they’re more powerful than ever.

McCain: Talking about him being a new Congressman – Reagan wanting to send Marines into Lebanon, and McCain voting against it, because he didn’t think that 300 Marines could make a difference, and saying that he was right – many Marines were killed in the bombing.  Talking about voting for going into Bosnia, when it wasn’t popular.  Saying that we need more than a peace-keeping force in Somalia.  And he’s right.  We need to do what’s RIGHT, not what’s popular!  Saying that our mission NEEDS to succeed.  And he’s absolutely right.  We don’t want defeat, and we cannot afford defeat!  “We won’t come home in defeat and dishonor and probably have to go back if we fail.”

Obama: “No U.S. soldier ever dies in vain. … We honor the service they’ve provided. … Are we making good judgments” for keeping America safe, because sending troops is such a huge issue.  “We are having enormous problems in Afghanistan.”  Saying it’s not true that McCain has consistently cared about Afghanistan.  Saying McCain said we could “muddle through” Afghanistan.

McCain: “I’ve visited Afghanistan … and I know what our needs are.  We will prevail … and we need a new strategy.”  If we adopt Obama’s plan, we’ll fail in Iraq, and that will have a great effect on Afghanistan.  Obama fails to see that the 2 are connected.

Lehrer: “What is your reading from the threat from Iran?”

McCain: If Iran acquires nukes, it’s a threat to Israel and other countries.  Others will feel the need to get nukes.  “We can’t afford a second holocaust.”  Proposing a league of Democracies who would impose sanctions on Iranians, since the Russians won’t do it.  “The Iranians have a lousy government, so their economy is lousy, even though they have significant oil revenues.”  A nuclear Iran is a threat to the world.  They’re putting IEDs in Iraq.  They’re a sponsor of terror.  And he’s getting some pretty good ratings right now, from both Indeps and Repubs.

Obama: Talking about the thing that strengthened Iran was the War in Iraq.  Their involvement has grown.  They’ve tried harder to get nukes.  “We cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran.”  It would threaten Israel, and “create an environment [that would] set off an arms race in the Middle East.”  We can’t have sanctions without Russia and China.  Well Obama, you’re not going to get Russia OR China to side with you!  You’re dreaming if you think you will.  Saying we need to talk to leaders in Iran and North Korea, and he as President will.

McCain: Senator Obama twice said he’d sit down with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and Castro.  Ahmadinejad is in New York now talking about extermination of Israel.  Saying that we can’t sit down without preconditions.  And he’s right.  NO President has ever sat down without preconditions (Reagan didn’t, JFK didn’t, and Nixon didn’t).  And now McCain is using examples that I just gave.  “I’ll sit down with anybody, but there’s gotta be preconditions.”  GOOD job McCain!  You’re absolutely right.

Obama: Ahmadinejad isn’t the most powerful person in Iran.  Saying as President, he can sit down with whoever he wants if it keeps America safe.  Saying that we CAN meet without preconditions, but not do with what we’ve been doing where we say you must do X or we won’t meet with you.  “Of course we need preparations.”  “It may not work.  Iran is a rogue regime.”  Obama is getting pretty much the same ratings now as McCain was getting a minute ago (about a third of the way between neutral and as positive as you can go).  “The Bush Administration and McCain’s advisors (Kissinger)” think we should meet without preconditions.  Saying McCain said we can’t meet with Spain, a NATO ally.

McCain: “Kissinger never said that the President could meet with Ahmadinejad.”  “Obama doesn’t understand that without precondition … you legitimize those comments [against Israel]. … It’s dangerous.”  Talking about North Koreans breaking everything they’ve ever said they’d do.

Obama: McCain keeps saying that I’ll meet with somebody without preparing – this isn’t true.  “We do not expect to solve every problem before we initiate talks.”  The Bush administration realized this doesn’t work.  “The notion that we’d meet with Ahmadinejad as he spews his comments is” wrong.

McCain: Kissinger would not say “that Presidential, top level” communications should be made without preconditions.

The two are going back and forth, and ratings are dropping a lot.

Lehrer: How do you see the relationship with Russia?

Obama: “Our entire Russian approach needs to be reevaluated. … Actions in Georgia were unacceptable and unwarranted.”  They need to get out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.  The Democrats really aren’t liking what he’s saying here.  The Inds are rating him higher than Dems are.  We can’t go back to a Cold War status with Russia.  We need to deal with loose nuclear weapons when it comes to Russia.  “Deal with Russia based on [our] national security interests.”

McCain: Obama doesn’t understand that Russia committed aggression against Georgia when he said that both sides need to back down a bit.  He’s compared Putin to the KGB.  We can’t go back to the Cold War.  The Georgian War “had everything to do with energy.”  McCain’s rating a bit better than Obama, but neither are performing well right now with the audience.  “The Russians ought to understand that we’ll support … the inclusion of Georgia, and Ukraine … into inclusion of NATO.”  The Russians violated their cease fire agreement.  Saying that Russian intentions toward Georgia – just waiting to cease the opportunity.  Expecting Russians to behave as a country who will respect boundaries.  And he’s right – Russia can’t be left to keep doing what it’s been doing.  It HAS to respect the sovereignty of other countries.  McCain rating pretty decent now, compared to an average rating before.

Obama: McCain and I agree for the most part on these issues.  Says he disagrees with McCain a bit on Georgia.  I don’t think the Dems liked that – Obama is doing a decent amount worse than McCain was doing.  Talking about Russian peace keepers in Georgia not making sense and that we needed international peace keepers there, and that might have avoided the situation.  And Obama is right there.  Talking about energy.  We need to increase offshore drilling.  “We can’t drill our way out of the problem.”  Talking about needing wind, solar, and nuclear.  And now he’s rating higher than McCain was at the end of McCain’s last statement.  Saying McCain voted against alternative energy 23 times.

McCain: Saying that Obama is really against nuclear, and that offshore drilling would help more than Obama says it would.  McCain is getting pretty low ratings now, especially from Dems.

Obama: I have never said that I object to nuclear waste, but I’d store it safely.

McCain: I’ve always been for alternative energy.

Lehrer: What do you think the likelihood is of another 9/11 attack?

McCain: Much less than the day after 9/11, but we’re not safe yet.  Talking about working across the aisle to establish the investigation commission.  Saying we need interrogators who won’t use torture.  Saying that we are safer now.

Obama: We need to do more in terms of securing transit and ports.  Biggest issue is not missiles coming over skies, but from a suitcase.  Spending billions on missile defense, which we need because of Iran/Korea, but we need more for other areas as well.  Ratings are pretty high for him here.  We need more cooperation with allies.  “The way we are perceived in the world” will affect the cooperation we get.  He’s right here.  We have slipped in terms of how we’re viewed by the world.  McCain has a good stance on terror.  And the ratings right there are the highest they’ve been at any time during the debate, even Reps rated him decently high.

McCain: If we fail in Iraq, Al Qaeda will establish a base in Iraq.  McCain isn’t rating too good right now, especially with Inds and Dems.  We can’t have specific dates for withdrawal.  We’ve had great success, but it’s fragile.

Obama: Saying that this administration has been solely focused on Iraq, and we haven’t captured bin Laden.  Talking about borrowing from China, and they’ve been active around the world, while we’ve been focused on Iraq.  We’re spending so much money, we can’t invest in health care or science/technology.  “We’ve never seen a nation who has a failing economy but maintains military strength, so this is a national security issue.”  The next President has to have better strategy for all the challenges we face.  Pretty good ratings there

McCain: Saying he’s been around involved in challenges.  Saying Obama doesn’t have  experience, but he does.  Talking about Obama failing to admit the success of the surge.  McCain is right here.  Obama is just being stubborn.  Saying that he’ll take care of veterans, that he has right judgment to keep nation safe and secure.  “I don’t need any on the job training.  I’m ready to go right now.”

Obama: Talking about his father being from Kenya, and that there’s not nation like America, where you can become so successful.  “Part of what we need to do … is to send a message to the world that we’ll invest in issues like education … how ordinary people can live out there dreams.”

McCain: Talking about coming home from prison and seeing veterans treated poorly, and working on bipartisan bills to see our veterans treated better.  I know how to deal with our adversaries and how to deal with our friends.

Lehrer: We’re done.  “Thank you and good night.”

McCain/Obama: “Good job.”

And there you have it – the wives are coming out and kissing each other.  A little more than the 90 minutes scheduled, but that’s ok.

OK, so who won?  Both Obama and McCain had some pretty good moments, but I don’t think there was a clear cut winner here.  I think both performed pretty much on the same level.  I’m not saying that the two were identical in debating, but I don’t think one did better than the other.  I absolutely hate saying this, because I love objectivity and clear cut answers, but I really do think it was a tie.

I’d love to go on more and more, but my hands are just killing me right now (hey – it was a lot of typing), so I think I’ve said most all of what I wanted to say.

By the way – a big thanks to my roommate who helped with correcting quotes and what was said.  It’s hard to keep up with typing and trying to listen, so a huge thanks to him for helping me out with this!

Done Analyzing,

Ranting Republican
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Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Shoves a Cop Off a Porch, Faces Assault Charges

July 29, 2008

Well, the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal continues.  Early last week, sheriff’s deputy Brian White was serving a subpoena to Bobby Ferguson, a friend of Kilpatrick’s.  Kilpatrick threw White into his partner, Joann Kinney, and made a comment shaming her (a black woman) for working with a white man.

Personally, I am appalled that he wasn’t arrested.  If he weren’t a corrupt mayor with a corrupt mother as a Congresswoman, he’d be in JAIL right now.  Although, Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Moran did not request that Kilpatrick be taken into custody for the assault.

Instead, 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles changed Kilpatrick’s $75,000 bond from a personal bond in the perjury case (which he was not required to pay – I don’t know why) to requiring him to post $7,500 cash to stay out of jail.  He also revoked Kilpatrick’s privileges to travel without a court hearing, except for already-scheduled travels.  He also ordered periodic and random drug test on Kilpatrick.

Judge Giles said, it doesn’t “matter whether investigator White was pushed or thrown … the fact that defendant Kilpatrick decided to inject himself into this situation where the officers were attempting to lawfully serve a subpoena … defendant Kilpatrick had no right … to come into contact with investigator White or say anything to investigator White. … I  see the behavior as totally irrational.  I don’t know what was going on in defendant Kilpatrick’s life that he exploded, for want of a better term.  This is ridiculous. … I have locked up defendants for approaching or saying things to witnesses for a lot less, let alone touching them. I’m at a loss to defendant Kilpatrick’s behavior here. It’s irrational.”

He made a statement directly to Kilpatrick in the court, saying, “You’re a licensed attorney.  You’re a public official.  Everything you do, every step you take, every word you say is somewhere recorded for everyone to hear.  You need to keep that in mind.”

Robert Moran told reporters, “This underscores a problem that perhaps he’s not taking this as seriously as he should … you can’t bully police officers.”

Here’s what White testified to the court:

He was on his way to serve a subpoena to city employee Brenda Braceful when he saw a Ferguson Enterprises truck in the neighborhood and stopped because he had a subpoena for Ferguson.  He checked the address, and the house was Ayanna Kilpatrick’s, the mayor’s sister.

He approached the mayor’s bodyguard standing outside.  “I identified myself immediately as a police officer, I raised my ID and said I needed to speak to Bobby Ferguson.  He made a sweeping motion with his right arm to the house … he accompanied us to the front door.”

After meeting someone who called himself Derrick Ferguson, White heard shouting from inside.

“‘Don’t tell those f******* anything … Get the f*** out of here.’  At that point Kilpatrickcomes storming out through the door, grabbed me with both of my hands behind me and throws me into investigator Kinney.”

White testified that Kilpatrick then said: “Get the f*** out of here.  Leave my f****** family alone.  Get off my f****** porch.”

White testified Kilpatrick continued accusing him of harassing his family.

Kinney later testified: “It happened so fast … I was like, I couldn’t believe this was happening.”

Kinney said the Mayor told her: “You, a black woman being with a man with the last name White, you should be ashamed of yourself.  Why are you a part of this?”

Now, the issue is a State Police issue, since the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office handed it over to the state to investigate, so that there would be no appearance of a conflict of interest.  Attorney General Mike Cox was happy to take the case, and he has previously expressed his opinion that Kilpatrick should resign.

I trust that Cox will do a good job, and hopefully we can get Kilpatrick out of office and into a prison cell!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Supreme Court Rules Lethal Injections for Executions Are OK

April 16, 2008

Today, the Supreme Court upheld allowing the death penalty by lethal injection in a 7-2 vote.  This is the opinion for the case Baze v. Rees (John D. Rees is the Kentucky Corrections Commissioner).  Ralph Baze was scheduled to die in Kentucky after killing a sheriff and deputy sheriff.  Here is an excerpt from the court’s decision (the full opinion is available here: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-5439.pdf):

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
Syllabus
BAZE ET AL. v. REES, COMMISSIONER, KENTUCKY
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL.
CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF KENTUCKY
No. 07–5439. Argued January 7, 2008—Decided April 16, 2008

Lethal injection is used for capital punishment by the Federal Government and 36 States, at least 30 of which (including Kentucky) use the same combination of three drugs: The first, sodium thiopental, induces unconsciousness when given in the specified amounts and thereby ensures that the prisoner does not experience any pain associated with the paralysis and cardiac arrest caused by the second and third drugs, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride. Among other things, Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol reserves to qualified personnel having at least one year’s professional experience the responsibility for inserting the intravenous (IV) catheters into the prisoner, leaving it to others to mix the drugs and load them into syringes; specifies that the warden and deputy warden will remain in the execution chamber to observe the prisoner and watch for any IV problems while the execution team administers the drugs from another room; and mandates that if, as determined by the warden and deputy, the prisoner is not unconscious within 60 seconds after the sodium thiopental’s delivery, a new dose will be given at a secondary injection site before the second and third drugs are administered.

Petitioners, convicted murderers sentenced to death in Kentucky state court, filed suit asserting that the Commonwealth’s lethal injection protocol violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishments.” The state trial court held extensive hearings and entered detailed factfindings and conclusions of law, ruling that there was minimal risk of various of petitioners’ claims of improper administration of the protocol, and upholding it as constitutional. The Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the protocol does not violate the Eighth Amendment because it does not create a substantial risk of wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain, torture,
or lingering death.
Held: The judgment is affirmed.
217 S. W. 3d 207, affirmed.
CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS, joined by JUSTICE KENNEDY and JUSTICE ALITO, concluded that Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol satisfies the Eighth Amendment. Pp. 8–24.
1. To constitute cruel and unusual punishment, an execution method must present a “substantial” or “objectively intolerable” risk of serious harm. A State’s refusal to adopt proffered alternative procedures may violate the Eighth Amendment only where the alternative procedure is feasible, readily implemented, and in fact significantly reduces a substantial risk of severe pain. Pp. 8–14.
(a) This Court has upheld capital punishment as constitutional. See Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U. S. 153, 177. Because some risk of pain is inherent in even the most humane execution method, if only from the prospect of error in following the required procedure, the Constitution does not demand the avoidance of all risk of pain. Petitioners contend that the Eighth Amendment prohibits procedures that create an “unnecessary risk” of pain, while Kentucky urges the Court to approve the “ ‘substantial risk’ ” test used below. Pp. 8–9.
(b) This Court has held that the Eighth Amendment forbids “punishments of torture, . . . and all others in the same line of unnecessary cruelty,” Wilkerson v. Utah, 99 U. S. 130, 136, such as disemboweling, beheading, quartering, dissecting, and burning alive, all of which share the deliberate infliction of pain for the sake of pain, id., at 135. Observing also that “[p]unishments are cruel when they involve torture or a lingering death[,] . . . something inhuman and barbarous [and] . . . more than the mere extinguishment of life,” the Court has emphasized that an electrocution statute it was upholding “was passed in the effort to devise a more humane method of reaching the result.” In re Kemmler, 136 U. S. 436, 447. Pp. 9–10.
(c) Although conceding that an execution under Kentucky’s procedures would be humane and constitutional if performed properly, petitioners claim that there is a significant risk that the procedures will not be properly followed—particularly, that the sodium thiopental will not be properly administered to achieve its intended effect—resulting in severe pain when the other chemicals are administered. Subjecting individuals to a substantial risk of future harm can be cruel and unusual punishment if the conditions presenting the risk are “sure or very likely to cause serious illness and needless suffering” and give rise to “sufficiently imminent dangers.” Helling v. McKinney, 509 U. S. 25, 33, 34–35. To prevail, such a claim must present a “substantial risk of serious harm,” an “objectively intolerable risk of harm.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U. S. 825, 842, 846, and n. 9. For example, the Court has held that an isolated mishap alone does not violate the Eighth Amendment, Louisiana ex rel. Francis v. Resweber, 329 U. S. 459, 463–464, because such an event, while regrettable, does not suggest cruelty or a “substantial risk of serious harm.” Pp. 10–12.
(d) Petitioners’ primary contention is that the risks they have identified can be eliminated by adopting certain alternative procedures. Because allowing a condemned prisoner to challenge a State’s execution method merely by showing a slightly or marginally safer alternative finds no support in this Court’s cases, would embroil the courts in ongoing scientific controversies beyond their expertise, and would substantially intrude on the role of state legislatures in implementing execution procedures, petitioners’ proposed “unnecessary risk” standard is rejected in favor of Farmer’s “substantial risk of serious harm” test. To effectively address such a substantial risk, a proffered alternative procedure must be feasible, readily implemented, and in fact significantly reduce a substantial risk of severe pain. A State’s refusal to adopt such an alternative in the face of these documented advantages, without a legitimate penological justification for its current execution method, can be viewed as “cruel and unusual.” Pp. 12–14.
2. Petitioners have not carried their burden of showing that the risk of pain from maladministration of a concededly humane lethal injection protocol, and the failure to adopt untried and untested alternatives, constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Pp. 14–23.
(a) It is uncontested that failing a proper dose of sodium thiopental to render the prisoner unconscious, there is a substantial, constitutionally unacceptable risk of suffocation from the administration of pancuronium bromide and of pain from potassium chloride. It is, however, difficult to regard a practice as “objectively intolerable” when it is in fact widely tolerated. Probative but not conclusive in this regard is the consensus among the Federal Government and the States that have adopted lethal injection and the specific three-drug combination Kentucky uses. Pp. 14–15.
(b) In light of the safeguards Kentucky’s protocol puts in place, the risks of administering an inadequate sodium thiopental dose identified by petitioners are not so substantial or imminent as to amount to an Eighth Amendment violation. The charge that Kentucky employs untrained personnel unqualified to calculate and mix an adequate dose was answered by the state trial court’s finding,
substantiated by expert testimony, that there would be minimal risk of improper mixing if the manufacturers’ thiopental package insert instructions were followed. Likewise, the IV line problems alleged by petitioners do not establish a sufficiently substantial risk because IV team members must have at least one year of relevant professional experience, and the presence of the warden and deputy warden in the execution chamber allows them to watch for IV problems. If an insufficient dose is initially administered through the primary IV site, an additional dose can be given through the secondary site before the last two drugs are injected. Pp. 15–17.
(c) Nor does Kentucky’s failure to adopt petitioners’ proposed alternatives demonstrate that the state execution procedure is cruel and unusual. Kentucky’s continued use of the three-drug protocol cannot be viewed as posing an “objectively intolerable risk” when no other State has adopted the one-drug method and petitioners have proffered no study showing that it is an equally effective manner of imposing a death sentence. Petitioners contend that Kentucky should omit pancuronium bromide because it serves no therapeutic purpose while suppressing muscle movements that could reveal an inadequate administration of sodium thiopental. The state trial court specifically found that thiopental serves two purposes: (1) preventing involuntary convulsions or seizures during unconsciousness, thereby preserving the procedure’s dignity, and (2) hastening death. Petitioners assert that their barbiturate-only protocol is used routinely by veterinarians for putting animals to sleep and that 23
States bar veterinarians from using a neuromuscular paralytic agent like pancuronium bromide. These arguments overlook the States’ legitimate interest in providing for a quick, certain death, and in any
event, veterinary practice for animals is not an appropriate guide for humane practices for humans. Petitioners charge that Kentucky’s protocol lacks a systematic mechanism, such as a Bispectral Index monitor, blood pressure cuff, or electrocardiogram, for monitoring the prisoner’s “anesthetic depth.” But expert testimony shows both that a proper thiopental does obviates the concern that a prisoner will not be sufficiently sedated, and that each of the proposed alternatives presents its own concerns. Pp. 17–23.
JUSTICE STEVENS concluded that instead of ending the controversy, this case will generate debate not only about the constitutionality of the three-drug protocol, and specifically about the justification for the use of pancuronium bromide, but also about the justification for the death penalty itself. States wishing to decrease the risk that future litigation will delay executions or invalidate their protocol would do well to reconsider their continued use of pancuronium bromide. Moreover, although experience demonstrates that imposing that penalty constitutes the pointless and needless extinction of life with only negligible social or public returns, this conclusion does not justify a refusal to respect this Court’s precedents upholding the death penalty and establishing a framework for evaluating the constitutionality of particular execution methods, under which petitioners’ evidence fails to prove that Kentucky’s protocol violates the Eighth Amendment. Pp. 1–18.
JUSTICE THOMAS, joined by JUSTICE SCALIA, concluded that the plurality’s formulation of the governing standard finds no support in the original understanding of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause or in this Court’s previous method-of-execution cases; casts constitutional doubt on long-accepted methods of execution; and injects the Court into matters it has no institutional capacity to resolve. The historical practices leading to the Clause’s inclusion in the Bill of Rights, the views of early commentators on the Constitution, and this Court’s cases, see, e.g., Wilkerson v. Utah, 99 U. S. 130, 135–136, all demonstrate that an execution method violates the Eighth Amendment only if it is deliberately designed to inflict pain. Judged under that standard, this is an easy case: Because it is undisputed that Kentucky adopted its lethal injection protocol in an effort to make capital punishment more humane, not to add elements of terror, pain, or disgrace to the death penalty, petitioners’ challenge must fail. Pp. 1–15.
JUSTICE BREYER concluded that there cannot be found, either in the record or in the readily available literature, sufficient grounds to believe that Kentucky’s lethal injection method creates a significant risk of unnecessary suffering. Although the death penalty has serious risks—e.g., that the wrong person may be executed, that unwarranted animus about the victims’ race, for example, may play a role, and that those convicted will find themselves on death row for many years—the penalty’s lawfulness is not before the Court. And petitioners’ proof and evidence, while giving rise to legitimate concern, do not show that Kentucky’s execution method amounts to “cruel and unusual punishmen[t].” Pp. 1–7.
ROBERTS, C. J., announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which KENNEDY and ALITO, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed a concurring opinion. STEVENS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. SCALIA, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which THOMAS, J., joined. THOMAS, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which SCALIA, J., joined. BREYER, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which SOUTER, J., joined.

Here are some excerpts from the opinions

Roberts:

We too agree that petitioners have not carried their burden of showing that the risk of pain from maladministration of a concededly humane lethal injection protocol, and the failure to adopt untried and untested alternatives, constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Alito:

The issue presented in this case—the constitutionality of a method of execution—should be kept separate from the controversial issue of the death penalty itself. If the Court wishes to reexamine the latter issue, it should do so directly, as JUSTICE STEVENS now suggests. Post, at 12. The Court should not produce a de facto ban on capital punishment by adopting method-of-execution rules that lead to litigation gridlock.

Stevens:

The conclusion that I have reached with regard to the constitutionality of the death penalty itself makes my decision in this case particularly difficult. It does not, however, justify a refusal to respect precedents that remain a part of our law. This Court has held that the death penalty is constitutional, and has established a framework for evaluating the constitutionality of particular methods of execution. Under those precedents, whether as interpreted by THE CHIEF JUSTICE or JUSTICE GINSBURG, I am persuaded that the evidence adduced by petitioners fails to prove that Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol violates the Eighth Amendment. Accordingly, I join the Court’s judgment.

Scalia:

As JUSTICE STEVENS explains, “ ‘objective evidence, though of great importance, [does] not wholly determine the controversy, for the Constitution contemplates that in the end our own judgment will be brought to bear on the question of the acceptability of the death penalty under the Eighth Amendment.’ ” Ante, at 14 (quoting Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U. S. 304, 312 (2002); emphasis added; some internal quotation marks omitted). “I have relied on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty” is unconstitutional. Ante, at 17 (emphasis added).

Purer expression cannot be found of the principle of rule by judicial fiat. In the face of JUSTICE STEVENS’ experience, the experience of all others is, it appears, of little consequence. The experience of the state legislatures and the Congress—who retain the death penalty as a form of punishment—is dismissed as “the product of habit and inattention rather than an acceptable deliberative process.” Ante, at 8. The experience of social scientists whose studies indicate that the death penalty deters crime is relegated to a footnote. Ante, at 10, n. 13. The experience of fellow citizens who support the death penalty is described, with only the most thinly veiled condemnation, as stemming from a “thirst for vengeance.” Ante, at 11. It is JUSTICE STEVENS’ experience that reigns over all.

* * *

I take no position on the desirability of the death penalty, except to say that its value is eminently debatable and the subject of deeply, indeed passionately, held views—which means, to me, that it is preeminently not a matter to be resolved here. And especially not when it is explicitly permitted by the Constitution.

Breyer:

These risks in part explain why that penalty is so controversial. But the lawfulness of the death penalty is not before us. And petitioners’ proof and evidence, while giving rise to legitimate concern, do not show that Kentucky’s method of applying the death penalty amounts to “cruel and unusual punishmen[t].”

For these reasons, I concur in the judgment.

Thomas:

Because Kentucky’s lethal injection protocol is designed to eliminate pain rather than to inflict it, petitioners’ challenge must fail. I accordingly concur in the Court’s judgment affirming the decision below.

Ginsburg

I would therefore remand with instructions to consider whether the failure to include readily available safeguards to confirm that the inmate is unconscious after injection of sodium thiopental, in combination with the other elements of Kentucky’s protocol, creates an untoward, readily avoidable risk of inflicting severe and unnecessary pain.

The governor of Virginia has already lifted his moratorium on executions.

This is a VERY good day for justice and law and order.  I’m glad that the Court reached this opinion.  For now, it seems as if there are no more obstacles being thrown at the legality of the death penalty.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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More Police Agencies Are Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration

March 30, 2008

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agencey (ICE) has been offering training programs to police departments that allow them to enforce federal immigration laws since 1996, but up until 2002, only 1 department took them up on that offer.  Now ICE is training 42 departments with 92 in the queue.

  • In Houston, inmates’ immigration status is verrified.
  • Attorney General Anne Milgram (D-NJ) has requested that all police ask arrested suspects their immigration status.
  • Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) signed an executive order that requires all state agents to enforce immigration laws.
  • Maricopa County, Arizona (includes Phoenix) Sheriff Joe Arpaio (“America’s Toughest Sherrif”) (Republican) said, “When my deputies come across illegals, they arrest them — even on traffic violations.  People ask me why I am taking this on?  The last I heard, crossing the border is an illegal activity.  I took an oath of office to enforce the law, so I am enforcing the law.”

But some people oppose this enforcement, such as Susan Shah, a spokesman of the Vera Institute of Justice in New York, who claims, “People are very, very fearful of interaction with law enforcement.  Even people with legal status, whose families may have mixed immigration status, now have a fear of opening the door” (MSNBC).  I don’t see why LEGAL citizens should have any fear at all – if they’re legal, what’s the problem?  Like I said in a previous post, if you aren’t breaking the law, why are you afraid?

And then you have some people claiming that victims of crimes and domestic violence won’t come forward.  Well, if they come forward, then you take down their story, arrest the criminals, and then deport any illegal immigrants – that way, if the victims are miles away, and they won’t be victims any more anyway.

And if people prey on illegal immigrants because of their status, and they figure that the immigrants won’t report them because they don’t want to be deported, then charge the criminals with a hate crime, under the U.S. Federal code.

I do have to say that while I am all for police departments arresting illegals, they shouldn’t be pulling people over just because of skin color, because that’s racism.  If they run the plate of a car and find out that it’s an illegal immigrant, that’s fine, but they do need probable cause.

Fortunately, here in Michigan, we don’t have a huge illegal immigrant problem (although it still is a problem even if we have 1), but I hope people like Sheriff Joe Arpaio keep up the great work in stopping this crime wave that is out of control!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Supreme Court Hears Kentucky Lethal Injection Case

January 8, 2008

Today the Supreme Court heard arguments from Donald Verrilli, the lawyer of Ralph Baze, a death-row inmate who killed a sheriff and deputy sheriff.  Verrilli claimed that there is a severe risk of pain and agony if the anesthetic is not properly administered, but Roy Englert, the attorney representing the Commonwealth of Kentucky, claimed that “Kentucky has excellent safeguards in place” and is using a doctor who is skilled at administering drugs through needles.

At the heart of the Baze v. Rees (John D. Rees is the Kentucky Corrections Commissioner) is how judges should evaluate arguments that the current combination of drugs used to carry out the execution (sodium thiopental causes unconsciousness and stops breathing, pancuronium bromide causes paralysis, and potassium chloride stops the heart) causes enough pain to be considered “cruel and unusual punishment,” which would violate of the Eighth Amendment.  What is NOT being heard here is the constitutionality of the death penalty.

Verrilli wants the state to use sodium pentobarbital, a single drug which would cause unconsciousness and cardiac arrest.  There are three arguments against the use of the single drug (the latter two were discussed in a press conference after the Court heard the arguments):

  • The drug proposed is the same drug used to put down animals, so many states are reluctant to change to a system that would put down humans “the same as animals.”
  • When administered, the drug can cause “involuntary thrashing” and this would degrade the “dignity” of the execution procedure.
  • The drug has not yet been tested to show that it is indeed pain free in humans.

Another issue here is the fact that in the past, states have been reluctant to release execution information since it might compromise prison security and/or the safety of prison personnel.

Justice Antonin Scalia brought up an interesting point asking where it says that the state must use “the least painful method.  Is that somewhere in the Constitution?”  During the case, Scalia said, “This is an execution — not surgery.”

Justice John Stevens saw the case as bringing up a recurring issue and that “We’ll be right back here in a year or 18 months.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy brought up (in my opinion) the most valid point when they asked Verrilli to assume for a moment that the current system was administered correctly (painlessly) in every execution. Justice Kennedy tehn asked, “Would you have a case here?”

Verrilli responded by saying that, “There can be no guarantee they will be properly administered.”  So that’s a big no to the Justices’ question.

I say that there needs to be more research done here – on BOTH methods.  If one method is better than the other – then use that.  But are people going to say that thrashing around is cruel and unusual?  If the Supreme Court isn’t careful, this could be the Griswold v. Connecticut of the death penalty that leads to its abolishment (Griswold v. Connecticut was the Supreme Court case that was taken out of context and used as a precedent to reach the Roe v. Wade verdict that legalized abortion).

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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10-Year-Old Girl Gets Arrested for Bringing Knife for Lunch at School

December 20, 2007

Late last week, a 5th grader at Sunrise Elementary School in Ocala, Florida brought a steak to school for lunch…and with it…a steak knife.  A couple of teachers took away the knife and called the sheriff, as school policy dictates.  The parents of the girl could not be reached, so she was arrested and taken to the county’s juvenile assessment center.

Marion County School Spokesman Kevin Christian said, “She did not use it inappropriately.  She did not threaten anyone with it.  She didn’t pull it out and brandish it.  Nothing of that nature [but A]nytime there’s a weapon on campus, yes, we have to report it and we aggressively report it because we don’t want to take any chances, regardless.”

Captain James Pogue from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said, “[W]e didn’t handcuff her or treat her like a criminal.  But, we took her to the assessment center to be assessed.  But once we’re notified, we have to take some type of action.”

Since then, the girl has been charged with a felony possession of a weapon on school property charge and was suspended for 10 days.  The case has been handed over to the State Attorney’s office.

OK – so my law and order side is saying, “Book her, Dano.  Steak Knife 1,” but my cut down on the wasteful government spending/get rid of the frivolous lawsuits side is saying that this is ridiculous.  The latter side wins in my mind.

First, it should be noted that this is a school policy that I have a problem with, and not the Sheriff’s office – they handled it because they had to.  The school should be given some leeway to make an EXECUTIVE DECISION, something that’s becoming less common in today’s “I might get sued” era.  It all stems from lawsuits in my mind – if people in power could make decisions without worrying about their EVERY move being scrutinized by some greedy ambulance-chasing trial lawyer, this wouldn’t have happened.  It was a waste of the Sheriff’s office’s time.  They should’ve been out responding to REAL emergencies.  (Although I have to say – who packs a steak for their 5th grader’s lunch?).

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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