Botched Oklahoma Execution

Yesterday, April 29th, Oklahoma tried to lethally inject death row inmate Clayton D. Lockett with a new “cocktail” of three drugs for his execution.

His lawyer compared the episode to torture.

The first drug used was midazolam, which is a sedative and is also used as an anti-seizure drug and is supposed to render the prisoner unconscious.  This was followed by vecuronium bromide, a paralyzing agent that stops the person from breathing, and then potassium chloride, which stops the heart.

The exact mix and dosage had never been used in an execution before.

Florida has used a similar method to the one described above, but it employed a dose of midazolam five times greater.

Ohio has used midazolam, but they combined it with a different drug, hydromorphone, in the January execution of Dennis McGuire, which took more than 20 minutes.

The execution in Oklahoma began at 6:23pm – 23 minutes past its scheduled start.  A medical technician inserted the IV needle and then the first drug was administered.  Ten minutes later, a doctor announced that Mr. Lockett was unconscious, and the group started to administer the next two drugs.

At 6:36 pm, Lockett kicked his right leg and his head rolled to the side. He mumbled something unintelligible.  A minute later, his body started writhing and bucking and it looked like he was trying to get up.  Both arms were strapped down and several straps secured his body to the gurney.  He uttered something else that couldn’t be understood.

At 6:38 pm, Lockett was grimacing, grunting and he lifted his head and shoulders entirely up from the gurney. He began rolling his head from side to side. He again mumbled something unintelligible, except for the word “man.” He lifted his head and shoulders off the gurney several times, as if he was trying to sit up.  He appeared to be in pain.

Prison personnel then covered the windows to the execution room and it is not known what happened thereafter, except that a vein “blew” during the execution process and Lockett later suffered a heart attack.

He was pronounced dead at 7:06pm, 43 minutes after the process began.  Most executions in Oklahoma take 5 to 8 minutes.

Drugs previously used for execution are becoming hard to obtain.  Most of the drugs are only made in Europe, and the European Union has a ban on exporting drugs used for the death penalty.

One such drug is sodium thiopental.  The UK introduced a ban on the export of sodium thiopental in December 2010.  It was established that no European supplies to the US were being used for any other purpose but lethal injection.

Faced with shortages, Oklahoma and other states have turned to compounding pharmacies — lightly regulated laboratories that mix up drugs to order.

Several states have passed secrecy laws, allowing them to keep the names of their suppliers, and in some cases the contents of the lethal injection, a secret.  (Oklahoma is so eager to hide the source of its death drugs that it buys them with petty cash so there are no transaction records.)

The secrecy over the suppliers of lethal injection drugs has lead to court battles over due process and the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Lawyers for Lockett said the lack of supplier information made it impossible to know if the drugs were safe and effective, or might violate the ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Opponents of the new compound drugs have raised questions about quality control, especially after the widely reported dying gasps of a convict in Ohio for more than 10 minutes, and an Oklahoma inmate’s utterance, “I feel my whole body burning,” after being injected with compounded drugs.

Officials in Oklahoma swore that the drugs had been obtained legally from licensed pharmacies. They said they had found a federally approved manufacturer to provide the drugs for the execution, but refused to identify it.

Other states such as Texas and Georgia have similar secrecy laws in regards to execution drugs.


U.S. Has Recordings of Russian Spies in Ukraine

credit: Landov/Daily Beast

A recording of Kerry’s remarks was obtained by The Daily Beast.

“Intel is producing taped conversations of intelligence operatives taking their orders from Moscow and everybody can tell the difference in the accents, in the idioms, in the language. We know exactly who’s giving those orders, we know where they are coming from,” Kerry said at a private meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington.

Congressman Grimm Arrested, Released on Bond

michaelgrimm2Congressman Michael Grimm (R – NY) was arrested and released on bond today, Apr. 28th, in connection with charges of fraud, tax evasion, and hiring undocumented workers.

Interestingly, CNN concluded that the arrest “makes re-election tougher.”




Solar Flare Causes Communications Blackout in Pacific

An X1.3-class solar flare (far right) erupts from the surface of the sun on April 24, 2014 EDT  (April 25 GMT).

The sun erupted with a massive solar flare late Thursday (April 24), triggering a temporary communications blackout.  It erupted from an active sunspot region known as Region 2035, located on the far western side of the sun as seen from Earth.   The blackout was in the Pacific Ocean region of Earth and and lasted about an hour.

The powerful flare peaked at 8:27 p.m. EDT Thursday (0027 April 25 GMT), and ranked as an X1.3-class solar storm.  X-class solar flares are one of the strongest types of flares the sun can experience.

NASA claims solar flares (which often emanate from sunspots) can affect the power grid, and disrupt satellites as well as radio communications. Reports Ukrainian Military Drops Leaflets


The leaflets advise people on how to prepare for a Russian occupation. They basically recommend against participating in protests.

Michael Grimm Is Expected To Be Indicted, Lawyer Says [UPDATE]

This is a re-blog. Grimm is the guy who threatened to throw a reporter off the balcony right after Obama’s State of the Union Address.

The Fifth Column


So this congressman might just do some time for corruption…now that would be an anomaly if he does.

The Huffington Post

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) is expected to be indicted by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Grimm’s lawyer said Friday.

Politico was first to report the news of the expected indictment. Grimm’s lawyer, William McGinley, said in a statement that the U.S. attorney’s office “has disclosed its intent to file criminal charges.”

“We are disappointed by the government’s decision, but hardly surprised,” he said. “From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth. Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing.

“When the dust settles, he will be vindicated,” McGinley added. “Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public…

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Who Knew? North Korea Now an Exporter of Meth

Several papers have reported that illicit drug trade in meth is booming in North Korea.