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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

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

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

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

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

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

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

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

April 8, 2014

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

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

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

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

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

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

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

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

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

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

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

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

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

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

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

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

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

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

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

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

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

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

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

Jewish World Review April 22, 2008 / 17 Nissan 5768

A matter of life and death

By Cal Thomas


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Supreme Court has ruled 7-2 that the death penalty by lethal injection in Kentucky, which uses a cocktail of three drugs, is not a violation of the Constitution's prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment." Other states, which had placed their lethal injection methods on hold pending a court ruling, are now expected to proceed. No news report I saw appreciated the irony of the 7-2 vote, the same margin by which the court decided in 1973 that unborn babies could be killed in any manner, with or without drugs to dull their pain.


As death penalty opponents on and off the court lament the execution of convicted murderers who are getting their just desserts, some definitions might be helpful. The two phrases associated with this procedure are "death penalty" and "capital punishment." The word penalty is defined by Dictionary.com as "a punishment imposed or incurred for a violation of law or rule." Another definition includes the word "consequence." Punishment is defined as "a penalty inflicted for an offense."


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It is this last one that gets to the heart of the conflict in a culture that takes as its foundational principle, "It can't be wrong if it feels so right." Fewer of us recall a time when a standard for distinguishing right from wrong and evil from good enjoyed wide acceptance. Now bad behavior enjoys nonstop TV coverage and evil is what the other political party does. The idea that a death penalty might be deserved seems foreign.


In self-defense, most see nothing wrong with taking a life if another person is about to take theirs. It is only if the killer succeeds that some strange notion kicks in that the killer's life suddenly inherits value and comes under constitutional protection. Conversely, the unborn child, according to the same court, only has a right to live if the woman carrying it gives it that right. Should she decide not to give birth, any method, including drug cocktails, is allowed. It mocks life when anti-death penalty people advocate for the guilty, while caring nothing for the unborn.


Justice John Paul Stevens, who voted with the majority that restored capital punishment in 1976, announced in his dissenting opinion in the Kentucky case his reliance on his "own experience" in reaching his decision to now oppose the procedure in all instances. This sums up the tension between those who believe in what the Constitution says and those who believe in their own feelings as to what it should say. This is why elections matter and this year's election matters more than any in recent years.


Here's another gem from the written opinions of the justices. Justice Samuel Alito referred to the ethics rules of the medical profession, which, he said, bar them from taking part in executions. This was one of the issues in the Kentucky case where it was argued that nonprofessionals might not administer the drugs properly and thus might inflict excruciating pain. Two things about this: first, "medical ethics" have not prevented a good number of doctors from performing abortions and a few from engaging in "assisted suicide" at the other end of life; second, I like what Chief Justice Roberts said in his majority opinion: "Some risk of pain is inherent in any method of execution — no matter how humane — if only from the prospect of error in following the required procedure. It is clear, then, that the Constitution does not demand the avoidance of all risk of pain in carrying out executions."


As the court leans more conservative, it is beginning to take into consideration the pain inflicted by murderers on victims and the lifelong emotional pain on victims' families.


DNA is aiding in reducing the likelihood that those wrongly convicted will be executed. Death penalty opponents are correct when they note that not all capital cases enjoy even minimally competent counsel. That needs to be corrected, but the court majority is right in the Kentucky case. As states begin again to execute the guilty, perhaps the concept of "just desserts" is making a comeback, even in our feel-good culture.

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Cal Thomas Archives

JWR contributor Cal Thomas is co-author with Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic Party strategist, of "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America". Comment by clicking here.

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