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Death Dealers

On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess, Dr. Isis reports that drug-maker Lundbeck “will no longer provide Nembutal to prisons in states where lethal injection is legal.” Nembutal is a barbiturate used in conjunction with two other drugs to execute capital offenders, and an alternative to Sodium Pentothal, which since 2010 has been in short supply. While Lundbeck may stand on merciful principles, Dr. Isis worries that Nembutal will no longer be available as a therapeutic option at U.S. prisons. On Dispatches from the Culture Wars, Ed Brayton writes that Alabama has a higher per-capita rate of execution than the infamous state of Texas. Ed writes, “Alabama is the only state in the nation that allows judges to overrule juries on death penalty decisions.” In other words, even if an Alabaman jury sentences a defendant to life without parole, the judge can order execution—and start looking for a new barbiturate.