Tuesday, October 20, 2009
First, a report being released Tuesday by the Death Penalty Information Center concludes that states are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on the death penalty. Furthermore, a nationwide poll of police chiefs found that they “ranked the death penalty last among their priorities for crime-fighting, do not believe the death penalty deters murder, and rate it as the least efficient use of limited taxpayer dollars.” Richard C. Dieter is Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center – he explains the report and how the death penalty diverts public funds away from more effective law enforcement programs. Then, in a collection encompassing more than two hundred original essays and more than a thousand pages, Greil Marcus offers a kaleidoscopic view of what “Made in America” means in his new book titled A New Literary History of America. Marcus is best known for his scholarly writing on music including the books Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, The Rose & the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, and Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads (2005), a “biography” of a singular song.