Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Music for LIfe"

With the death penalty essentially on hold since last September -- awaiting a Supreme Court ruling as to whether or not lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment -- Louisiana is seeking the ultimate punishment for raping a minor.

Thirty years ago, the Court ruled that executing a person for raping an adult constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." But righteous, god-fearing folks from the Pelican State want another bite at the apple for raping a child this time.

Executions have been on hold nationwide since September, when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a constitutional challenge of execution by lethal injection...No executions have been carried out in the state since.

At issue in the Kentucky case is whether the drugs used can inflict excruciating pain and thus violate constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

The High Court has agreed to hear the case of a man convicted of raping his 8-year old stepdaughter and sentenced to die. And if the High Court discerns that injecting a lethal cocktail into the veins of a poor sap is not unconstitutional (a practice in animals violating veterinarian standards in most states), then how far will the Supremes go to exact just deserts of the eye for an eye variety...?

Lordy, lordy, lordy. What ever happened to that folksy song and dance about only seeking the death penalty for the most heinous crimes???

In the meantime, a group of musicians from Texas is using this welcome respite from the killing fields to try to bring reason and light to the subject.

The Dallas Star-Telegram reports that "a group of homegrown artists" decided that "it's time to take another look at capital punishment."

Spearheaded by Austin singer-songwriters Sara Hickman and Trish Murphy, the entertainers are staging concerts and town-hall meetings around Texas, taking advantage of an unofficial moratorium on executions to get people talking about the issue.

The concert series has been dubbed "Music for Life," and, as the name suggests, it's an anti-death penalty crowd on stage.


Former Death Row chaplain Carroll Pickett and Kinky Friedman, the musician-turned-writer-turned-politician, are among the speakers scheduled to participate in some of the forums. Hickman, a folk-rock singer whose albums include Motherlode and Shortstop, said the events sometimes spark heated, heart-wrenching debate.

Howling Latina is sure it'll come to nothing. As a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has already observed, "executions [will] resume after the Supreme Court's review." No big deal...

Just like Bush before him, Perry insists that executions in Texas have been "applied fairly" and only for the most "heinous crimes." The Big Lie told ad nauseam.

Yearly, state legislators try to outdo one another in adding more and more crimes to the long list of felonies eligible for death to prove their mettle and backbone. No death-row abolition industry on K Street, unfortunately.


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