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Last week in Oklahoma, Clayton Lockett became the latest in a series of death row inmates who have visibly suffered during their executions. Are judges being bullied into allowing the use of untested drugs for lethal injections?  What's the impact on the continued debate over abolishing capital punishment? Also, the high court approves of public prayer, and young blood might be a fountain of youth for old people.

Banner image: The lethal injection bed used in the retired Southern part of the Penitentiary of New Mexico. Photo: Ken Piorkowski

High Court Approves of Public Prayer 7 MIN, 47 SEC

Today, the US Supreme Court, in another five to four ruling, ruled that religious invocations do not violate the separation of church and state. The complaint of two women who sued the town Greece was rejected. David Savage covers the court for the Los Angeles Times.

David Savage, Los Angeles Times (@davidgsavage)

The Death Penalty Faces Another Trial 34 MIN, 28 SEC

Oklahoma is investigating last week's execution of Clayton Lockett — so horribly botched one witness said, "It looked like torture." The state used a mixture of lethal drugs never used before in that combination. Lockett was conscious for several minutes before dying of a heart attack. The state Supreme Court tried to delay his execution, but the legislature and the governor threatened impeachment, and the justices let it go ahead. Similar incidents in other states have raised questions about drugs used for lethal injections. Are they "cruel and unusual'' or does the punishment fit the crime? Why is there so much secrecy about the death penalty, as public support is declining? 

Andrew Cohen, The Atlantic (@CBSAndrew)
Robert Blecker, New York Law School (@RobertBlecker)
Diann Rust-Tierney, National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (@NCADP)
Bert Brandenburg, Justice at Stake Campaign (@JusticeStake)

Blecker's 'The Death of Punishment: Searching for Justice among the Worst of the Worst'
Cohen on how Lockett's botched execution affects the death penalty divide
Cohen on need for political will, moral courage to make changes in death penalty
JaS on why fair, impartial courts matter
Justice at Stake on how court tampering played a roll in botched OK execution
Morris Hoffman's 'The Punisher's Brain: The Evolution of Judge and Jury'
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty on the death penalty in the US
Obama on Lockett's execution, the death penalty

The Death of Punishment

Robert Blecker

Can Young Blood Curb the Effects of Ageing? 8 MIN, 47 SEC

There's a familiar cliché — dreaded by the veterans of any occupation -- that "it's time for new blood." Now it turns out there may be something to it. The blood of young mice injected into the streams of old mice seems to reverse some effects of ageing. We hear about the latest research and what it might mean for humans from Jocelyn Kaiser, staff writer for Science Magazine, and Ronald Kohanski, Deputy Director of the Division of Ageing Biology at the National Institute on Ageing, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Jocelyn Kaiser, Science Magazine (@jocelynkaiser)
Ronald Kohanski, National Institute on Ageing (@NIH)

Kaiser on the experiment with young blood, old mice
UC San Francisco on signs of brain aging being reversed in mice

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