Current Comment

Killing the Death Penalty

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to call for a worldwide moratorium on executions in a plenary session this month. Although it will not bind individual countries, abolitionists see the resolution as carrying moral and political weight. They also believe it will encourage nations that still use the death penalty to review their capital punishment laws. Currently, 133 have abolished it, either by law or in practice. Since 1990, over 50 countries have done away with it. Recent examples include Liberia, Rwanda and Ivory Coast, along with Paraguay and Mexico. In Europe and Central Asia, Albania, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey have also become abolitionist governments.

Only 25 countries carried out executions in 2006. Of these, most took place in China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and the United States. Chinas were the most numerous: 1,010, although credible sources believe the number could be as high as 8,000. Iran was second with 177 put to death. Support for the death penalty in the United States has been falling, not least because of fears that innocent people might be put to death. Since 1973, 124 death row prisoners here have been released after it was found they were innocent of the crimes for which they were condemned to death. The United States should follow the lead of the United Nations and ban this cruel and unusual punishment.

Toward More Intelligent Intelligence?

The publication of a National Intelligence Estimate in early December on the state of Irans nuclear weapons development contradicted the conclusion of a previous estimate published in 2005.

The earlier report affirmed with high confidence that Iran was determined to develop nuclear weapons despite international sanctions. The 2007 estimate, however, revised that judgment, stating with high confidence that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. The later estimate was based on recent interceptions of statements by Iranian military leaders criticizing their governments decision to stop the program. The more recent report undercut the pugnacious rhetoric of the Bush administration threatening military action if Iran continued its program of nuclear development. The collective decision of the 16 members of the National Intelligence Council to revise dramatically its earlier conclusion was undoubtedly influenced by the realization that unreliable intelligence reports in 2002, conditioned to some extent by the political agenda of the administration, had led the nation into the unnecessary and costly pre-emptive invasion of Iraq.

Later in the same week, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, informed Congress that in November 2005 the agency had destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes of interrogations of Al Qaeda agents. The struggle to develop and maintain an intelligence community that can successfully protect the national interests of the United States while remaining faithful to its constitutional values continues.

Candidate Index

With apologies to Harpers Magazine
Total Number of Candidates: 16
Total Number of Candidate Marriages: 25
Candidates who are Catholic: 5
Candidates who used to be Catholic: 2
Candidates who have had Catholic Education: 6
Candidates who have had Jesuit Education: 1
Candidates who are Catholic or Formerly Catholic or Catholic Educated and are Pro-Life on Abortion: 1
Candidates with Pets: 9
Candidates with Dogs: 7
Candidates with Chocolate Labs: 4
Most Pets: 22
Favorite Food is Fresh Fruit and Vegetables: 1
Favorite Food is Red Meat: 4
Favorite Food is Mexican: 1
Candidates who have been or are...
Teachers: 6
Doctors: 1
Lawyers: 9
Homeless: 1
Bankrupt: 1
Pastor: 1
Bishop: 1
Mayor: 2
Governor: 3
Representative: 7
Senator: 8
Representative and Senator: 3
First Lady: 1
President: 0
Played One on TV: 1

More details here.
James Ruzicka
9 years 4 months ago
This is just a test to see if Name now appears on the Email sent via Comment.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Greg Hicks as "Richard III" (photo: Alex Brenner)
It would be fascinating were the producers able to arrange a quick transfer to a venue somewhere near the White House.
David StewartMay 26, 2017
In the hyper-curated, beautiful world that Dev lives in, a scene that conveys the touching, ugly stubbornness of marriage seems totally impossible.
Eloise BlondiauMay 26, 2017
This image released by the Minya governorate media office shows bodies of victims killed when gunmen stormed a bus in Minya, Egypt, Friday, May 26, 2017 (Minya Governorate Media office via AP).
The attack in central Egypt today killed at least 26 people, including children aged 2 to 4, and wounded 25 others.
Gerard O'ConnellMay 26, 2017
The data and facts are clear: If you care about working families and sound economic policy, SNAP is the program for you.
Meghan J. ClarkMay 26, 2017