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Thirty-two states still have the death penalty, but it's getting hard to administer now that European companies are refusing to import the right drugs for lethal injections.  Will that lead to fewer executions or a return to gas chambers, electric chairs and hangings?  Also, Janet Yellen testifies on Capitol Hill, and the politics and legality of extra-judicial killings.

Banner image: Brian Turner

Janet Yellen Testifies on Capitol Hill 7 MIN, 27 SEC

Janet Yellen, the first woman to chair the Federal Reserve, testified today before the House Financial Services Committee. She signaled that she'll keep interest rates low and continue other policies of Ben Bernanke, the man she's just replaced. Binyamin Appelbaum, Washington Correspondent for the New York Times, has more on today's hearing.

Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times (@BCAppelbaum)

Do We Still Need the Death Penalty? 34 MIN, 58 SEC

Capital punishment is on the decline in the US, though it's still on the books in 32 states with more than 3000 inmates on death row. It's also back in the news since federal prosecutors said they would seek death for the Boston Marathon bomber. In addition, death-penalty states can't get the drugs used for lethal injections, because European companies won't import them for that purpose any more, and replacements used in two recent executions have raised questions about "cruel and unusual punishment." Legislators in some states want to go back to gas chambers, firing squads and hangings. Is the "ultimate penalty" a deterrent? Can it ever be "humane?"

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio (@csmcdaniel)
Richard Dieter, Death Penalty Information Center (@DPInfoCtr)
Kent Scheidegger, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation (@cjlfsacramento)
David Garland, New York University

Peculiar Institution

David Garland

The Politics (and Legality) of Extrajudicial Killings 8 MIN, 23 SEC

The Obama Administration is debating whether to authorize a drone strike against an American citizen living in Pakistan. Last May, President Obama said "for the record" that could not happen in the United States without due process, and that drone strikes would never be used in this country. What's the evidence that he's a threat to America? What about legal protection under the constitution? Mark Mazzetti is National Security Correspondent for the New York Times, and author of The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth.

Mark Mazzetti, New York Times (@MarkMazzettiNYT)

The Way of the Knife

Mark Mazzetti

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