On Tuesday, a day after officials in Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian birthplace of Graz removed his name from a soccer stadium to comply with the California governor's wishes, they deleted references to him on the city's Web sites.I'm guessing his strudel is getting stale in his home country.
Schwarzenegger earlier this month wrote to Graz officials asking for his name to be removed from the stadium and ordering the city to stop using it for promotional purposes.
He was reacting to fierce criticism from opponents in his hometown who denounced him for refusing to block the Dec. 13 execution in California of Stanley Tookie Williams.
Late Sunday or early Monday, Graz officials took down the large metal letters spelling out Schwarzenegger's name on the 15,300-seat arena. On Tuesday, the mayor's office said references to the actor-turned-politician were scrubbed from Graz's main Web site and from a sister site devoted to the region's sports scene.
"It's all settled," Thomas Rajakovics, a spokesman for Graz Mayor Siegfried Nagl, told Austrian media.
I didn't weigh in much on the Tookie Williams case, mostly because it was an unlikely case to draw much sympathy or to make a point about the death penalty.
I oppose the death penalty in all cases. Nevermind the state sanctioned aspect of it; simply put, our jails are not just about revenge, but about second chances and we as a people ought to honor that commitment to our fellow man. Sure, there are a relative handful of cases where you simply can't get thru, no matter what. That's why you keep them locked away forever.
Right now, it costs less to imprison someone for life than to sentence him to death, because of the myriad appeals avenues open to him, and generally speaking, death row inmates will use public defenders offices for these appeals. Those bills add up rapidly over the course of decades (yea, I know, why not install express lanes, but hell, we've already executed a few innocent people we can be pretty sure, so why make it even more dicey?).
We ought to be taking a much closer look at rehabilitation. Executions, like abortions, ought to be rarer than they are.