I just finished David Grann's piece on Texas and its state-sanctioned death-mill. It is the most emotionally-affecting piece of journalism I have ever read. The cavalier manner in which we dispense death says so much about our politicians--it's hard to escape the sense that Rick Perry, for instance, is a truly contemptible human being. But I think that sense is wrong. Our politicians didn't create "Tough On Crime," any more than Obama created "Change." They respond to our demands.

It is worth noting that Obama, himself, is pro-death penalty. Apparently in 1996 he was anti, but over the course of decade something happened that made him pro. I really doubt that it was a sense that application of the death penalty became fairer. His switch is, to my mind, unconscionable and barbaric. Here's Obama in 2004. After reading that story, there's something Orwellian about watching Obama call for a "fair" death penalty, like we can somehow civilize murder.