Oct 19, 2007

A problem of execution

A problem of execution

Consider the source and the audience

This article was in the Austin American Statesman on October 12, 2007. The author was Ellen Goodman, a writer for The Boston Globe. This argument is addressed toward the general public. In this argument, Goodman used the fact that the issue is high profile, with many mixed feelings. This does not affect the content of the article. This article appears in the newspaper because the author wants as many people as possible to read and learn about the issue.

Lay out the argument and the underlying values and assumptions

In this article, the issue is not about if the death penalty is “cruel and unusual punishment,” but only whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual. In making the argument, Goodman assumes that the reader has basic knowledge of the Constitution of the United States of America. This article pertains to the how the execution process, not the constitutionality of the death penalty. Terms like “cruel and unusual punishment” are defined by the rest of the world as the death penalty, but in America it is defined as things such as drawing and quartering, flaying, and other such things that Europe was doing at the time the Constitution was written.

Uncover the evidence

In this article, the method of lethal injection is being discussed because it is relevant to the public. A clear reason is because two death row inmates in Kentucky currently have a case in the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), where they are testing to see if lethal injection is cruel and unusual. There is a cocktail of three drugs used to perform an execution. The first causes the prisoner to sleep. The second drug paralyzes the person. The third drug stops the person’s heart from beating. The author states that this description does not explain the situation if the first drug fails to work. Goodman states that we would not let the executioners cook a hamburger, but the real issue here is how merciful do we want capital punishment? How merciless? In our society we want criminals to be punished, but we do not want to inflict pain, cruelty, or death.

Evaluate the conclusion

The conclusion is that the country is tinkering with the dosage and the training. It is tinkering with the competence and mistakes to avoid the possibility of losing the death penalty to keep our humanity. If SCOTUS decides that lethal injection is cruel and unusual, then eleven states will be required to find a different way of administering the death penalty. Firing squad is a possibility, but lethal injection seems to be the cleanest and easiest way to administer the death penalty.

The information can be found in A problem of execution

Oct 5, 2007

Power to the ...

Craddick Claiming Power over Texas House

Consider the source and the audience

This article has no author mentioned. It is on the events in the Texas House concerning the current speaker Tom Craddick. This is and opinion article from The Fort Worth Star Telegram. This argument is directed toward the general public to try and make them see that Craddick’s claim is absurd. The way that the writer of this article gets the reader’s attention is to start the article with words showing Craddick as a power hungry man. This shows that the author already has made up his mind that Craddick is wrong in his interpretation of the Texas Constitution. This shows itself in the article because it says that anything that Craddick says is wrong or absurd.

Lay out the argument and the underlying values one assumptions

In this article the author first states Tom Craddick’s argument. Craddick believes that his job as Speaker is “‘a state office on par with the office of lieutenant governor,’ which the people of Texas fill through statewide elections.” The author states that Craddick needs this status to succeed in his argument that he can not be removed from the speakership. The author goes on to say that the Texas Constitution does not recognize him as a state official but as an officer of the House and can be removed at any time by a majority vote. I tend to agree here that it is not only a correct interpretation of the constitution but that it is also good government. The author concludes that the Attorney General Greg Abbott has a responsibility to interpret the Texas Constitution and protect it from abuse therefore he must deliver and opinion on this issue.

Evaluate the conclusion

I think the conclusion that the author makes is a good one. Even though there is a bias the author shows that Craddick has only a weak argument that he can use to support his case. The argument is centered on the word “first,” from Article 3, Section 9(b), in the Texas Constitution.

“The House of Representatives shall, when it first assembles, organize temporarily, and thereupon proceed to the election of a Speaker from its own members” (emphasis added).

Craddick is saying that because it says “when it first assembles,” it can only do so one time. If the writers of the Constitution wanted to say that the speaker could only be elected once they would have written words to that effect. The author makes this conclusion and I agree with him that the Attorney General should deliver and opinion in this issue.

Sort out the political implications

The political implications of this issue are huge. If the Attorney General sides with Craddick then all future Legislators will have to elect the Speaker carefully other wise they will have to wait till after the next elections to change the speaker. If he decides against Craddick then the Legislator can replace the Speaker at any time if the majority does not agree with what his policy.

All of this is in the article: In Pursuit of Power