FROM William "Rusty" Hubbarth
Capital Punishment and Alberto Gonzales There are 3300 convicts on death row in the United States—more than 600 in California alone. Just 53 people were executed last year. Lengthy appeals and moratoriums in some states have delayed the process of capital punishment. When Congress re-authorized the Patriot Act, it included a provision that could speed things up by transferring certain authority from federal judges to the Attorney General of the United States. That's extended debate about the death penalty to the record of the current Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. Before they went to Washington, Alberto Gonzales advised Governor George Bush on clemency for death penalty convicts. In six years, 150 people were executed, and each time Gonzales provided Bush with a document summarizing the facts of the case, the defendant's personal background and a legal history. We look at the man death-penalty advocates say is the right man to handle life-and-death issues, even as others question his potential for executing the wrong people when the process moves too fast.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.