Execution Fever

sharklaserbeam

Since the botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma, some politicians across the country have come up with some interesting alternatives to death by lethal injection. Some have advocated for bringing back old Sparky — the electric chair. Others pine for a simpler time when we’d offer the convicted a cigarette, stand them up against a wall blind-folded, and shoot them.

One elected official has suggested, after an extra speedy trial, death by hanging in the public square would be optimal.

Why stop with old Sparky, the firing squad or hanging? Let’s get creative, and think outside the box.

How about feeding the summarily convicted and sentenced to the lions at the zoo? The zoo could charge quadruple the usual price of admission. It’s a sure thing that red-blooded Americans with a penchant for medieval brutality would flock from all over the country to come see it. It would be great for the zoo’s budget, it would boost tourism, and the lions would be mighty pleased with the arrangement as well.

Seriously. Here’s the real problem with the death penalty.

A study entitled, Rate of false conviction of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death, and authored by law professors, conservatively concluded that in the United States, 4.1% of death row inmates, whether executed or not, would eventually be exonerated, time willing. In other words, we, in fact, execute people who are not guilty of the crime for which they are charged.

People are, and always have been wrongfully accused and convicted due to eyewitness misidentification, junk and misused forensic science, false confessions, government misconduct, dishonest informants, and bad lawyering, according to the legal organization called the Innocence Project.

Is it acceptable that we accidentally put people to death? Should we shrug our shoulders and say, that’s just the price of administering justice? Personally, I would find it a fate worse than death to be locked up in a tiny room, with no company, eating bad food for the rest of my life.

Here’s another idea for executing folks. I call it the Dr. Evil option. Throw them in a tank full of sharks with freaking laser beams attached to their heads. Mu-ahahaha!

Team Absurdum’s plan to neuter political polarization

carpe absurdum congress

An absurd place where nothing ever happens.

If you are like us, you are equal parts bored, enraged and sickened by political ideologues and extremists. They are literally ruining government, which we suspect might be their goal. One could rightly ask, where have all the moderates gone? Where are those for whom “compromise” is not a word on par with “capitulation” and “cowardice”?

Our system of democracy was crafted assuming its elected officials would in fact compromise on matters of public policy and law so that progress might be meted out in a way that is not too much this or too much that. Particularly within the legislative branch, government works best where a majority of moderates are present. They are the adults in the legislative chamber. They are the ones who can think, take the long view, and are more calm and rational. They are the ones who own up to the reality that you can’t always get what you want, but within the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, you’ll get what you need. These days there are too few of them to make a difference. They used to represent what is now the neglected middle.

Those who vote don’t seem to want moderates. Reliable voters are mostly comprised of extremists. So, we get what we got. Red states, blue state, and a United States Congress that is incapable of exercising its most basic duties.

What do we do about it, fellow benevolent Machiavellians?

Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer, in his New York Times opinion piece, End Partisan Primaries, Save America, writes, “The partisan primary system, which favors more ideologically pure candidates, has contributed to the election of more extreme officeholders and increased political polarization. It has become a menace to governing.”

At both the state and federal level we ought to have open primaries. Anyone and everyone can vote, regardless of party affiliation for any candidate in the primaries. The two top vote getters then face off in the general election. As Sen. Chuck points out, “[T]o finish in the top two, candidates from either party would have to reach out to the broad middle.” At least, we believe, there would be an increased incentive to do so.

Only about 20% of Americans bother to vote in the primaries, and they tend to be at the polar ends of the political spectrum. The middle, which is disenchanted and/or uninterested and uninformed, stay home on election day. Let’s do what Australia does. You either vote or are fined. Australia typically has about a 90% turn out, and elects candidates with broad appeal. Only North Korea, at 100%, has a better voter turn out.

Though some states do have open primaries already, we are not anticipating that it will become the national standard anytime soon. Mandatory voting — forget about it. Forced voting would be an infringement on personal freedom, the tinfoil hat brigade would scream, pointing at North Korea.

Those things would require a meeting of the minds to become reality, and for the most part, in this polarized atmosphere, there are simply not that many minds that are capable of meeting.

There is a third way, and we call it the “nuclear option”. Warning! What we are about to suggest may cause gag reflexes to activate and stomachs to lurch.

A fraction of Team Absurdum resides in one of the reddest of all red states. The house of representatives, senate and governor’s office are all occupied by Republicans. Many of them are certifiably extreme in their views and opinions, and the laws they enact reflect that. We predictably elect far-right ideologues to federal seats. If you vote democrat in our fair state, your vote is nothing more than a whimsical supplication that will most definitely go unanswered.

Have you considered changing your party affiliation to republican? We told you that you might hurl your gluten free parfait and kale chips at the thought, but think about it. If there were enough of us left leaning and centrist constituents to make a difference, someone — a republican candidate to be specific — would have to pander to us. We could be a moderating force in an otherwise magenta red political landscape. Some semblance of sanity could be restored to governance. It would serve the greater good.

We can conceive of no other way to more effectively pull our politics from the fringes and towards the pragmatic and sensible middle. It’s what a caring Machiavellian would do.

Worry ye not, though. Come the general election you can vote for the democrat and salvage at least a portion of your dignity.

Video of monkeys getting smashed on cocktails

drunk monkey

Conflicts in the Middle East continue to threaten the price of crude and geo-political stability.

Climate change and its disastrous effects are quickly approaching the tipping point of no return.

North Korea is still a country.

Vladamir Putin is an unrelenting prick.

Waste water injection wells from fracking under the heartland are rattling our windows on a daily basis.

Our government is hopelessly dead-locked in partisan immaturity.

Somewhere an old gray politician is demonstrating an embarrassingly profound misunderstanding of science and how lady parts work.

Medicare and social security recipients want the federal government out of their lives.

The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.

In other words, it’s business as usual.

Screw it all. Let’s watch a video of monkeys getting shit-faced, hammered.

The Buddhistic Benevolent Machiavellians of Generation X

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

As of late, we’ve been thinking a lot about our generation. It’s the one that no one really talks about, and marketers haven’t marketed to since that Volkswagen commercial with the youngsters on a moonlight drive in a Cabrio, blissing out … Continue reading

Of dentists and alien abductions

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Countless, painful memories of visits to the dentist are lodged in the collective memory of Team Absurdum. Cavities, fillings, root canals, caps, extractions, braces, head gear, drills, the smell of tooth dust, and all sorts of sharp, pointy metal instruments pricking … Continue reading

Exclusive interview with Jurgen Klinsmann, head coach of the US soccer team

Gallery

This gallery contains 2 photos.

After many sniveling and whiny pleas, Jurgen Klinsmann, the man at the helm of the U.S. men’s national soccer team, relented and agreed to sit down with Carpe Absurdum for an exclusive interview. “Okie-dokie,” said Jurgen in a thick German … Continue reading