Democracy Gone Astray

Democracy, being a human construct, needs to be thought of as directionality rather than an object. As such, to understand it requires not so much a description of existing structures and/or other related phenomena but a declaration of intentionality.
This blog aims at creating labeled lists of published infringements of such intentionality, of points in time where democracy strays from its intended directionality. In addition to outright infringements, this blog also collects important contemporary information and/or discussions that impact our socio-political landscape.

All the posts here were published in the electronic media – main-stream as well as fringe, and maintain links to the original texts.

[NOTE: Due to changes I haven't caught on time in the blogging software, all of the 'Original Article' links were nullified between September 11, 2012 and December 11, 2012. My apologies.]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ohio Abortion Ban Challenges Terms Of Roe V. Wade

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a bill on Wednesday that bans abortions after 20 weeks if the fetus is determined to be viable, making Ohio the latest in a series of states to ban late-term abortions.

The Ohio bill contains no exceptions for rape or incest and only a very narrow exception for health of the mother, which means that an Ohio physician must be able to prove in court that he performed a late-term abortion to save the woman's life. If a doctor violates this rule, he could be arrested and lose his medical license.

James Murdoch Accused Of Misleading Parliament Over Phone Hacking

James Murdoch was accused on Thursday of misleading Parliament about his knowledge of phone hacking at the News of the World by the paper's former editor and top lawyer.

Colin Myler, the former editor, and Tom Crone, the former lawyer, issued a statement on Thursday contradicting one of Murdoch's key claims in his testimony before Parliament on Tuesday: that he had signed off on huge payments to footballer Gordon Taylor without knowing why he was doing so.

Murdoch said that his lawyers had simply advised him that News Corp. was likely to lose if the Taylor lawsuit—which accused the paper of hacking his phone—went to court, and that he had authorized the company to pay Taylor hundreds of thousands of pounds as a way to end the suit, even though he did not know why, exactly, News Corp. was in such a compromised position.

Harper Government Omnibus Crime Bill: Canadian Justice Gets A Major Makeover

Tough on crime or the fast route to a police state?

With today’s Speech from the Throne, Canada is about to embark on a radical makeover of its justice system, dividing the left from right with tough-on-crime policies such as mandatory minimum sentences and an end to pardons for serious crime.

While Stephen Harper’s Conservative majority government has served notice its focus will remain on Canada’s fragile economy – and passing the budget that had come to a screeching halt before the election – the law-and-order agenda is firmly in its sights.

Canada Crime Rate Continues Fall: StatsCan

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- OTTAWA - The crime rate continued a 20-year decline last year, dropping five per cent from 2009 and hitting the lowest level since 1973, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

The homicide rate was the lowest since 1966.

The statistics agency said the overall police-reported crime rate is still following a long-term downward curve, despite the alarm bells from the Harper government over the need for tough-on-crime legislation.

Ontario extortion racket has ties to Hezbollah

TORONTO — Aline Ajami’s nightmare began when a stranger appeared at the Toronto apartment where she lived with her parents. He said his name was Kamal Ghandour and that he was connected to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

There was a problem, he said.

Ms. Ajami’s uncle owed him money. As a result, the uncle was being held hostage by Mr. Ghandour’s associates in south Lebanon. He would be killed, Mr. Ghandour warned, unless Ms. Ajami did exactly what she was told.

That encounter in February 2008 was the start of what an Ontario judge, in language more reminiscent of a book jacket than a legal ruling, would call a “strange and harrowing tale of international intrigue” involving “gangsters with known ties to terrorists.”

Toronto to consider $740M in major service cuts

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's executive committee is set to consider cuts totalling more than $740 million to police, transit, public health and environment programs.

Independent accounting and consulting firm KPMG identified the possible cuts as part of a sweeping review of the city's services ahead of a push to cover an estimated $774-million budget shortfall.

Speaking to reporters in Toronto on Thursday, Ford wouldn't commit to making any of those cuts.

City committees unlikely to make painful cuts

It was Groundhog Day at city hall on Wednesday. City councillors woke up to find themselves doing the same thing as the day before and the day before that: examining a list of proposed cutbacks and then listening to a procession of interest groups explain why those cuts would be a disaster.

The end, each day, has been the same. One after another, city council committees have balked at making the cuts set out in a series of reports from KPMG consultants. Take fluoride out of the water supply? Let’s think about that. Cut back on street cleaning? Another day perhaps. Kind-hearted councillors could not even agree to drop the hatchet on the Winterlicious restaurant festival – hardly what you would call a core city service.

Tories crack down on illegal immigrants with U.S.-style most-wanted list

The Conservative government has released a U.S.-style list of Canada’s 30 most-wanted war criminals, the most recent in a flurry of announcements targeting alleged immigration cheats.

A past president of the Refugee Lawyers Association said Thursday he could not recall the government ever having released such a comprehensive list before. Raoul Boulakia further complained that some characterizations – including the statement that all of the individuals “violated human or international rights” under applicable laws – was misleading.

“These people are being described in a way that's highly exaggerated,” said Mr. Boulakia, a Toronto lawyer who represented one of the 30 listed men. He said he now fears for his client’s safety because “anywhere he is in the world ,people can now assume he has tortured or killed, which is completely false.”

Toronto to consider more than $700-million in cuts to police, TTC and zoo

Mayor Rob Ford says he is taking his lead from taxpayers who want a clean, safe city and will pick a police officer over “someone to water plants” when he makes his call on budget cuts.

The mayor has yet to show his hand on the kind of money-saving measure he prefers from the long list of ideas being floated in KPMG study that has trickled out one department at a time over the past two weeks, but Thursday morning as the eighth and final instalment of that work was release, he indicated he will be guided by what he characterizes as taxpayers’ priorities.

“To say exactly what is going to be contracted out, what is going to be closed, I can’t give you that information now. I don’t think anyone can because we are at the very, very beginning, early stages,” he told reporters gathered on a subway platform to see the rollout of the new Rocket train.

Suzuki warns Tory scheme to cancel green energy plans is ‘absolute insanity’

David Suzuki, Canada’s most famous environmentalist, is urging Ontarians to re-elect Premier Dalton McGuinty this fall to save the Liberals’ “groundbreaking” green energy policies.

In an exclusive interview with the Star, Suzuki made a rare foray into partisan politics, warning it is “absolute insanity” for Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak to want to scrap wind and solar power initiatives that the Tories claim are too expensive.

“I don’t get it, because it’s a job creator — I would have thought that the Conservatives would be banging away at the need to create jobs,” the host of CBC’s The Nature of Things said during a stroll with McGuinty in Stanley Park on Wednesday.

Would privatizing Toronto’s libraries really save money?

The American outsourcer Library Systems & Services has made a reputation for fixing broken libraries.

Whether that entails jumping in to help the Toronto Public Library meet the challenge to “rationalize the footprint of libraries to reduce service levels, closing some branches” to save up $13.3 million – as outlined Thursday at City Hall – is an open question.

But even librarians admit, in a survey published last week by American Libraries magazine, that privatizing libraries is likely to mean they run more cheaply and efficiently.

Keeping library management in the public sector, however, means a stronger community connection, more qualified staff and better quality, the survey found.

Libraries, child nutrition, Toronto Zoo: Final report suggests deepest cuts yet

The final consultant’s report on city services suggests massive cuts to arm’s-length agencies, including closing libraries, cutting public health programs for AIDS prevention and student nutrition, eliminating $47 million in grants to arts and public health, and selling the Toronto Zoo.

Also on the block are Exhibition Place, the $20 million Toronto Atmospheric Fund that provides environmental grants, TTC routes including night bus service, and public housing improvement loans.

Even if city council votes for a fraction of the several hundred millions of dollars in suggested cuts, the cuts suggested by city-hired consultants KPMG could transform the city.

The Murdochs: Power Without Responsibility

What did we learn from the Murdochs’ testimony? That, at 80, Rupert Murdoch is losing his grip—or wants to appear that way. The billionaire tyrant’s saurian response to his tormentors on the parliamentary select committee showed a man who struggled with names, dates and details, and who needed to be rescued by his son James (who seemed almost pathetically eager to do so). But the picture that emerged of a father far too busy struggling (and by yesterday’s evidence, failing) to keep track of a global media empire to have any knowledge of what his underlings’ underlings were up to on one lowly British tabloid was profoundly at odds not only with Murdoch’s track record as a manager in total command of every detail of his empire, but even with portions of his own testimony yesterday. When MP Tom Keen tossed him a softball: “You’ve been kept in the dark, Rupert Murdoch,” he blasted it right back: “Nobody kept me in the dark. Anything that’s seen as a crisis comes to me.”

James Murdoch’s portrayal of the dutiful son who arrived on the scene too late to have been involved in any wrongdoing—but just in time to sign off on the multimillion-pound payoffs to a handful of hacking victims—was more convincing. Though here too it is worth noting that the legal opinion from Harbottle & Co., the high-priced London firm that News International used to handle the invasion of privacy claims, which James waved around like a doctor’s note getting out of a particularly unpleasant school trip, has been undercut by the firm’s statement yesterday that its advice had been wrongly summarized, but that the firm’s request to be released from confidentiality to explain exactly how had been turned down by News International.

Find True Centrism in the People's Budget

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) People’s Budget—the strongest rebuke to the Robin Hood in reverse “Ryan Budget” that was passed by the best Republican House Citizens United can buy—is receiving some well deserved national attention as the budget debate now moves to the Senate.

The Nation immediately recognized the sense and sanity of the progressive plan to create a budget surplus in ten years--through tax fairness, bringing troops home, and investing in job creation, and others are now praising its strengths too. 
“The Courageous Progressive Caucus Budget,” writes The Economist.  “Mr. Ryan has been fulsomely praised for his courage. The Progressive Caucus has not. I’m not really sure what ‘courage’ is supposed to mean here, but this seems precisely backwards.”

Go Gang of Seventy

With too much fanfare, the contours of a “grand bargain” on the budget have emerged with a proposal offered by the Senate’s Gang of Six. It’s a deal that looks a helluva lot more like a Raw Deal than a New Deal or a Fair Deal.

It’s good to get a grip and some perspective at times like these. That’s why I appreciated Congressman Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), reminding us that a “Gang of Seventy” Democrats in the House has already vowed to oppose any deal which cuts benefits in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid.

“Our Gang of Seventy-plus has the Gang of Six completely outnumbered,” says Grijalva. “And with Republicans not voting for any package, period, because of their opposition to a functional economy, House Democrats hold the key to whatever plan can pass Congress.”

Bloomberg Goes 'Beyond Coal'; Activists Step Up Protests Against Tar Sands

In one of the largest single donations made yet to the fight against climate change, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced he will donate $50 million of his own money to help the Sierra Club shut down America’s coal-fired power plants and replace them with green energy.

As a brutal heat wave broke hundreds of temperature records across the United States, Bloomberg stood in 100-degree heat on Thursday morning outside the GenOn power plant in Alexandria, Virginia. Joined by Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, Bloomberg said he hoped his philanthropic contribution would improve public health both at the local level—by reducing emissions of the mercury, dioxin and other pollutants that are released when coal is burned—and at the global level, by limiting the severity of climate change.

Did the FBI Bury Oklahoma City Bombing Evidence?

In 2007, Mother Jones was the first national media outlet to tell the full story of Jesse Trentadue and his quest for the truth, which began four months after the attack on Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killed 168 people. It was then that Trentadue, a Salt Lake City lawyer, learned that his brother, a construction worker and one-time bank robber, had died in a federal prison in Oklahoma City.

Prison officials said the prisoner had hanged himself. But Kenney Trentadue, who had never revealed any suicidal inclination, was shipped home for burial with bruises all over his body and lacerations on his face and throat—suggesting something more sinister. Even Oklahoma City's chief medical examiner would later say, publicly, that it was "very likely he was murdered." But the most compelling evidence in the case was altered or turned up missing. Jesse Trentadue was never able to prove what had actually happened to his brother—though he did win a $1.1 million civil suit for "emotional distress" to his family, based on the way the government had handled the aftermath of Kenney's death.

40 Percent Less Government Will Be Fun!

So suppose the debt-ceiling deadline passes. Nothing to worry about, right? There's still enough money for Social Security, Medicare, interest payments, military payrolls, and veterans benefits, isn't there? That's more or less true, but unfortunately, that's all there's money for. Megan McArdle runs down a small sample of the things that will have to be zeroed out:

  • You just cut the IRS and all the accountants at Treasury, which means that the actual revenue you have to spend is $0.
  • The nation's nuclear arsenal is no longer being watched or maintained
  • The doors of federal prisons have been thrown open, because none of the guards will work without being paid, and the vendors will not deliver food, medical supplies, electricity, etc.
  • The border control stations are entirely unmanned, so anyone who can buy a plane ticket, or stroll across the Mexican border, is entering the country. All the illegal immigrants currently in detention are released, since we don't have the money to put them on a plane, and we cannot actually simply leave them in a cell without electricity, sanitation, or food to see what happens.
  • All of our troops stationed abroad quickly run out of electricity or fuel. Many of them are sitting in a desert with billions worth of equipment, and no way to get themselves or their equipment back to the US.
  • Our embassies are no longer operating, which will make things difficult for foreign travellers
  • No federal emergency assistance, or help fighting things like wildfires or floods. Sorry, tornado people! Sorry, wildfire victims! Try to live in the northeast next time!
  • Housing projects shut down, and Section 8 vouchers are not paid. Families hit the streets.
  • The money your local school district was expecting at the October 1 commencement of the 2012 fiscal year does not materialize, making it unclear who's going to be teaching your kids without a special property tax assessment.
  • The market for guaranteed student loans plunges into chaos. Hope your kid wasn't going to college this year!
  • The mortgage market evaporates. Hope you didn't need to buy or sell a house!
  • The FDIC and the PBGC suddenly don't have a government backstop for their funds, which has all sorts of interesting implications for your bank account.
  • The TSA shuts down. Yay! But don't worry about terrorist attacks, you TSA-lovers, because air traffic control shut down too. Hope you don't have a vacation planned in August, much less any work travel.
  • Unemployment money is no longer going to the states, which means that pretty soon, it won't be going to the unemployed people.

How about if we just call this the "Republican Budget Plan"? If you'd like it to be permanent, you can call it the "Michele Bachmann Plan."

Source: Mother Jones 

Sanders Blasts Entitlement Cuts, Tax Cuts in Deficit Talks

Talks continue in Washington as the Obama administration and Congressional leaders race to finalize an agreement on raising the federal debt ceiling. On Wednesday, the White House acknowledged for the first time it could accept a short-term hike to the deficit ceiling to extend the August 2 deadline by a few days. President Obama met with Republican leaders on Wednesday night with a plan to cut as much as $4 trillion in federal spending back into play. Obama is now backing a bipartisan Senate budget plan that would overhaul Social Security and Medicare, while cutting taxes on the wealthy. In addition to entitlement cuts, the so-called "Gang of Six" plan would eliminate a number of popular tax breaks and deductions, including write-offs for home mortgage interest and employer-provided health benefits. The savings would help offset the cost of then lowering the top individual and corporate tax rates from 35 percent to at least 29 percent. Speaking on the Senate floor, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont mockingly congratulated Republicans for President Obama’s apparent willingness to cut Social Security and Medicare.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: "[Republicans] have stood firm in their desire to represent the wealthy and the powerful and multinational corporations. They have threatened. They have been determined, and at the end of the day, they will get 80 percent or 90 percent of what they want. That is their victory and I congratulate them for that victory. Unfortunately their victory will be a disaster for working families in this country, for the elderly, for the sick, for the children and for low-income people."

Source: Democracy Now!  

Herman Cain: Austerity for You, Ritz Carlton for Me

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain wants you to believe that he is a dyed-in-the-wool fiscal conservative and a savvy businessman who can rescue a nation drowning in red ink. Cain points to his years in Corporate America, where he rescued companies such as Godfather's Pizza that were hemorrhaging cash and employees, as proof of his business bona fides. "Serious but responsible belt tightening can save businesses," his website reads, "and it can also save our country with the right leadership." That message, however, is on a collision course with Cain's own spending habits, which include $900-a-night hotels, five-figure private jet rides, and chauffeurs awaiting him when he arrives in the next city on his uphill climb toward the White House.

A Mother Jones analysis of the latest federal campaign filings found that Cain's presidential committee, Friends of Herman Cain, spent $448,000 on air travel in the first half of 2011. That comes out to nearly $2,500 a day. And when it came to hotels, Cain's operation doled out nearly $100,000 in the first half of the year—or $538 a day—on some of swankiest hotels in America.

British PM Cameron Refuses to Apologize for Murdoch Scandal, But Acknowledges BSkyB Takeover Talks

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has returned to the United States as his media empire faces a growing number of challenges over the phone hacking scandal that’s led to a number of arrests in Britain and prompted an investigation here in the United States. British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared before an emergency session of parliament on Wednesday to address the scandal. Cameron refused to apologize for hiring Andy Coulson, a former Murdoch employee who recently served as Cameron’s communications chief at Downing Street, but admitted that he had talked to Murdoch executives about News Corp’s attempt to take over the satellite company BSkyB.

Source: Democracy Now! 

Food loops

The July 12 city council motion on buying local food for city institutions should be nominated for an international award honouring unenforceable gibberish.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t greeted as a victory by local food activists, who tried to save a little face and find a ray of hope to carry on.

Council voted almost unanimously to advise all companies bidding on food contracts that “it is a policy objective of the City to increase the percentage of food grown locally when all factors, including costs, quality and availability are equal.”

Sherbourne a no-go for bikes

The avenue being touted as the north-south alternative to Jarvis will require some radical rethinking to make separated bike lane plans a reality. The hazards and obstacles are many.

Bloor bottleneck

The top of Sherbourne at Bloor is a traffic nightmare. Cars lining up to make rights and lefts onto Bloor and dropping off or picking up passengers at the subway station block the bike lane going north, making navigation of this section hazardous for everyone. Prohibiting cars from turning onto Bloor may be part of the answer, but that would mean pushing car traffic through Rosedale, and weren’t they the folks who opposed bike lanes on Jarvis?

Texas To Revisit Evolution Education Debate Under New Conservative Chairwoman

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas State Board of Education meets this week for the first time under its conservative new chairwoman appointed by Gov. Rick Perry and is expected to rekindle the debate over teaching evolution and the origin of life in public schools.

Perry, who is considering a run for president and has embraced social conservatives in Texas, named Barbara Cargill chairwoman earlier this month. Cargill, a biology teacher considered to be one of the more conservative board members, disputes the theory of evolution and voted to require that the theory's weaknesses be taught in classrooms.

An intense fight over evolution and intelligent design theory in science curriculum put a national spotlight on the 15-member elected board in 2009 when it adopted standards that encourage public schools to scrutinize "all sides" of scientific theory.

'Anonymous' Hackers Claim To Breach NATO Security

LONDON -- A group of computer hackers claims to have breached NATO security and accessed hordes of restricted material.

The group called Anonymous says it would be "irresponsible" to publish most of the material it stole from NATO but that it is sitting on about 1 gigabyte of data.

Anonymous posted a PDF file Thursday on its Twitter page showing what appeared to be a document headed "NATO Restricted."

Anonymous is a loosely organized group of hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks. It has claimed responsibility for attacks against corporate and government websites worldwide.

The group also claims credit for disrupting the websites of Visa and MasterCard in December when the credit card companies stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

Source: Huffington 

More must be known about the Afghan detainee tortures

On June 22, there was a audible buzzing coming from Parliament Hill.

The press bounced off the walls, waiting for the deluge of information ordered by House of Commons speaker Peter Milliken. Last year, the Kingston MP had assembled an ad hoc committee to release thousands of pages of documents pertaining the issue of detainee abuse in Afghanistan.

The ensuing Tintamarre, to use the Acadian phrase for creating a lot of noise, was frenzied by midday, but by dinnertime coverage was all about the upcoming royal visit.

Before the story went to the great newsroom archives in the sky, some mused that these documents were boring and speculated that the other 21,000 pages that were held back are the real scandal goldmine.

Bike lanes make people angry across the country

The Post compiles what’s making headlines (and conversation) in Canada’s East

Moncton, NB

In the name of pleasing drivers, Toronto city council is tearing up bike lanes (well, planning to anyway). But in Moncton, it’s the other way around: City council is resisting political pressure from drivers who don’t want them to go ahead with plans to paint special lanes for cyclists on the road. Angry drivers vowed to pack a recent council meeting on the issue, but were instead outnumbered by helmet-headed cyclists. Drivers are aggravated because the current plan will trim the roadway from four lanes down to three in order to make room for bikes. “It’s not worth the extra danger, risk, delay and inconvenience to thousands of drivers each day for such a small group of people,” said driver Robert Dunn. A resident on Shediac road, where the proposed changes will apply, is glad the roadway is narrowing — it’s bound to slow down traffic.

Campaign expense audit waived for Ford allies

It was all smiles and handshakes in Committee Room 3 at City Hall Wednesday after a committee decided not to audit the campaign expenses for four council allies of Mayor Rob Ford.

“Way to go, boys,” said Councillor Michael Del Grande, the city budget chief, who had come in to the meeting of the compliance audit to observe. He shook hands with councillors Giorgio Mammoliti, James Pasternak and Michael Thompson after the committee ruled unanimously against auditing their spending.

The committee also decided not to audit Councillor Doug Ford’s spending. Mr. Ford, the Mayor’s brother, sent a laywer but did not attend the hearing.

City streetscapes latest target for Toronto’s cuts

Programs to improve the appearance of city streets should be considered for cuts, says consulting firm KPMG.

In its latest report on city services, released Wednesday, KPMG says city council should consider eliminating public art programs.

The program uses art to beautify public spaces. Recent city commissions include Watertable at the entrance to Fort York and the Moth Gardens in the Downsview Memorial Parkette at Keele and Wilson.

The parkette features sculptures commemorating Gypsy Moth and Tiger Moth aircraft built in Downsview, although The Star’s Fixer reported recently that the five windsocks are in tatters and bleached out.

The program also requires developers to set aside 1 per cent of the cost of their project to install art – the big red canoe in the park at the City Place condos being an example.

Ontario facing serious shortage of hospital beds, report warns

Ontario is grappling with a serious shortage of hospital beds that’s compromising patient care and the province has failed to plan for the demands hospitals may face in the future, says a new report obtained by The Canadian Press.

The document to be released Thursday by the Ontario Health Coalition, a public health advocacy group, comes in the wake of C. difficile outbreaks in six hospitals that have been connected to at least 24 deaths.

The group, which is trying to draw attention to the issue ahead of the fall election, calculates that Ontario’s hospital bed occupancy rate stands at 97.8 per cent — the highest among industrialized countries — and is threatening patient safety across the province.

Ford ally loses major battle

While all eyes are focused on the Core Service Sideshow now being played out daily at Toronto City Hall, a quiet drama unfolding in the same building reveals the meanness and hypocrisy of the Ford regime.

The action began shortly after the municipal election last October. That was when veteran Ward 9 Councillor Maria Augimeri beat challenger Gus Cusimano by a narrow 89-vote majority. Cusimano, a Ford camp follower, then launched an electoral appeal based on technicalities. Though his motivation was clear, a lower court judge ruled that there were grounds for a re-election.

Normally, the city would automatically appeal such a decision, if for no other reason than to defend the integrity of its electoral process. But city clerk Ulli Watkis opted not to. Speculation, of course, was that she had caved to pressure from the Fords. And once Augimeri announced she would appeal the ruling, the city did indeed join in.

Doughnuts vs books? In Ford's Etobicoke, it’s 3-1

Councillor Doug Ford’s provocative statement that there are more library branches than Tim Hortons in his area has prompted people to check his numbers.

Turns out the library is not quite as ubiquitous as Ford suggested in a recent comment in a radio interview. According to library union president Maureen O’Reilly, Etobicoke has 13 library branches and 39 Tim Hortons. Three library branches are in areas Ford represents, Ward 2, Etobicoke North, while the Tim Hortons website shows seven of their shops in the ward.

Ford didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Texas inmate executed despite plea from victim to spare his life

HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS — A Texas inmate was executed Wednesday for killing a Dallas-area convenience store clerk during a shooting spree that he claimed was retaliation for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Mark Stroman, 41, said hate in the world needed to end and asked for God's grace shortly before the fatal drugs began flowing into his arms at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Huntsville Unit. He was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m., less than an hour after his final court appeal was rejected.

Stroman claimed the shooting spree that killed two men and injured a third in late 2001 targeted people from the Middle East, though all three victims were from South Asia. It was the death of 49-year-old Vasudev Patel, from India, that put Stroman on death row.