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In Alabama,
Execution Without Representation


The New York Times
26 March 2007

by Adam Liptak


Nobody much likes the fact that Alabama does not provide indigent death row inmates with lawyers.

“Perhaps in a perfect world, every inmate would have a lawyer at the ready at all times,” the state’s attorney general told a federal appeals court in a brief defending the practice last year. “But we live in the real world.”

Three judges on that court, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, also made sympathetic remarks about a utopian alternate reality in which prisoners about to be executed might actually be provided with lawyers.

"If we lived in a perfect world, which we do not, we would like to see the inmates obtain the relief they seek,” Judge Joel F. Dubina wrote. The court unanimously rejected a class action suit from inmates asking for lawyers.

Not every bad idea is unconstitutional, the state and the judges said, and Alabama—the only state that refuses to provide indigent death row inmates with lawyers—should be able to go it alone in this area even at the risk of executing the unjustly convicted or innocent.

Excerpt from Adam Liptak’s column, Sidebar, in the issue of 26 March 2007


The Weekend Interview/
with Ayaan Hirsi Ali


Free Radical

by Joseph Rago

The Wall Street Journal


Ayaan Hirsi Ali is untrammeled and unrepentant: “I am supposed to apologize for saying the prophet is a pervert and a tyrant,” she declares. “But that is apologizing for the truth.”

Statements such as these have brought Ms. Hirsi Ali to world-wide attention. Though she recently left her adopted country, Holland—where her friend and intellectual collaborator Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim extremist in 2004—she is still accompanied by armed guards wherever she travels.

Ms. Hirsi Ali was born in 1969 in Mogadishu—into, as she puts it, “the Islamic civilization, as far as you can call it a civilization.” In 1992, at age 22, her family gave her hand to a distant relative; had the marriage ensued she says, it would have been “an arranged rape.” But as she was shipped to the appointment via Europe, she fled, obtaining asylum in Holland. There, “through observation, through experience, through reading,” she acquainted herself with a different world. “The culture that I came to and I live in now is not perfect, “ Ms. Hirsi Ali says. “But this culture, the West, the product of the Enlightenment, is the best humanity has ever achieved.”

Excerpt from Joseph Rago Interview, Wall Street Journal, issue of 10-11 March 2007.

F.D.A. Warns
of Sleeping Pills’ Strange Effects

By Stephanie Saul

The New York Times

15 March 2007


The most widely prescribed sleeping pills can cause strange behavior like driving and eating while asleep, the Food and Drug Administration said yesterday, announcing new warnings will be placed on the labels of 13 drugs.

The agency also ordered the makers of the well-known drugs Ambien and Lunesta and the producers of 11 other commonly used sleeping pills to create patient fliers explaining how to use them safely.…

Although the agency says that problems with the drugs are rare, reports of the unusual side effects have grown as use of sleeping pills has increased.

Sales in the United States of Ambien and Lunesta alone last year exceeded $3 billion. use of those medications and other similar drugs has soared by more than 60 percent since 2000, fueled by television, print and other advertising. Last year, makers of sleeping pills spent more than $600 million on advertising aimed at consumers.

The review was prompted, in part, by queries to the agency from The New York Times last year, after some users of the most widely prescribed drug, Ambien, strted complaining online and to their doctors about unusual reactions ranging from fairly benign sleepwalking episodes to hallucinations, violent outbursts, nocturnal binge eating and—most troubling of all—driving while asleep.…

The Australian drug agency said that it had received 16 reports of unusual activities by consumers using the product [Ambien, marketed as Stilnox], including sleep-driving and sleep-eating. In one case, a woman woke up with a paintbrush in her hand, discovering she had painted the front door of her home while asleep.

Excerpt from March 15, 2007 issue.




by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Free Press 2007


A Muslim woman must not feel wild, or free, or any of the other emotions and longings I felt when I read those books. A Muslim girl does not make her own decisions or seek control. She is trained to be docile. If you are a Muslim girl, you disappear, until there is almost no you inside you. In Islam, becoming an individual is not a necessary development; many people, especially women, never develop a clear individual will. You submit: that is the literal meaning of the word islam: submission. The goal is to become quiet inside, so that you never raise your eyes, not even inside your mind.

But the spark of will inside me grew even as I studied and practiced to submit. It was fanned by the free-spirited novels, the absence of my father, and the frustration of watching my mother’s helplessness living in a non-Muslim country. Most of all, I think it was the novels that saved me from submission. I was young, but the first tiny, meek beginnings of my rebellion had already clicked into place.—Ayaan Hirsi Ali, p.94, Infidel.

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