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Daily Reads: Arkansas Kills Three in Governor’s Rush to Use Execution Drug; FCC Prepares to Undo Net Neutrality Protections

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Arkansas Kills Three in Governor's Rush to Use Execution Drug

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson in 2013. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Arkansas executions move forward –> For the first time since 2000, two men were put to death within hours of one another last night. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Jack Jones Jr., 52, and Marcel Williams, 46, were killed as Arkansas rushed to make use of a batch of lethal execution drugs before they expired. After Jones was put to death, a process that took 14 minutes and that Willams’ attorneys described as “torturous,” a court refused to postpone the second execution.

The Supreme Court also refused to step in, Chris Geidner reports for Buzzfeed. “Shortly past 7 p.m. Eastern Time, the US Supreme Court denied both of Jones’ requests for a stay of execution. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only noted dissent. She would have granted a stay of execution to Jones, in a case that raised claims that the state’s execution process violated the Eighth Amendment ban on ‘cruel and unusual punishments.’ The US Supreme Court denied Williams’ requests a little before 9 p.m. ET. Sotomayor, again, dissented.

These two executions followed another, last Thursday. Ledell Lee, Martin Clancy writes for our site, may have been an innocent man but Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson pushed for Lee to be executed before more accurate DNA tests could be carried out that might have exonerated him. Lee was convicted after a trial tainted with racism. His first attorney was drunk and was replaced with a lawyer that was incompetent.

A clear connection –> Scientists are getting better and better at linking extreme weather to climate change. A new paper finds that about 80 percent of the Earth is seeing more extreme temperatures because of climate change, and half is seeing extreme fluctuation in precipitation, Andrea Thompson reports for Climate Central.

One weird chapter of many –> A new New Yorker investigation digs into Steve Bannon’s time as a Hollywood investor and film producer. It includes a stint as the director of the ill-fated Biosphere 2 project to develop a contained environment in Arizona for humans to live in. At the time, he touted his project as a way to study climate change. Connie Bruck writes, “Speaking about scientists who study climate change, Bannon added, ‘Many of them feel that the earth’s atmosphere in a hundred years is what Biosphere 2’s atmosphere is today.’ Bannon went on to run Breitbart, which routinely describes climate science as fraudulent; his brother Chris remains on the staff of Biosphere 2.”

The next net neutrality fight begins –> Tony Romm reports for Recode: “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will kick off the process to scrap the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules on Wednesday, according to four sources familiar with the matter.” Romm reports that Pai does not yet have a plan for how, exactly, he’ll go about getting rid of net neutrality, but is soliciting input from telecom companies and tech companies, as well as public interest groups. All sides are ready — they’ve been fighting this battle on and off for years.

Our feud with Canada –> Trade relations with our northern neighbor are going sour following a move by Canada to import less American milk. Now the Commerce Department will impose tariffs on imported Canadian softwood lumber, with an average of about 20 percent. “It has been a bad week for US-Canada trade relations,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “This is not our idea of a properly functioning Free Trade Agreement.”

French choose between the bad and the ugly –> In an article written before this weekend’s election, Cole Stangler outlines the problems with centrist Emmanuel Macron for Dissent: “Macron wants to roll back state intervention in the economy, cut public-sector jobs, and reduce taxes on business and the ultra-rich. He wants to deepen employer-friendly labor reforms. And he backs the current direction of the European Union, viciously hostile to public investment across the continent. All in all, it’s a program nearly guaranteed to aggravate the problems at the heart of France’s political crisis: unemployment, inequality and poverty.”

The alternative, of course, is not really an alternative: Marine Le Pen, who has denied that France cooperated with the Nazis to deport Jews to death camps during the Holocaust, and who regularly demonizes Muslims to build her base of support. Le Pen is what happens “when you try to meet racism in the middle,” Mehdi Hasan writes at The Intercept. “Over the past four decades, both the center-right Republicans and center-left Socialists went out of their way to try and co-opt the xenophobic rhetoric and policies of the Le Pens, which only emboldened — and normalized — both father and daughter.”

US Socialism’s cool again –> And both parties have helped make it so, writes Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy, profiling the surging support for the Democratic Socialists of America.

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Kristin Miller.

 


 

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