FORT HOOD, Texas -- If Nidal Hasan plans to welcome a death sentence as a pathway to martyrdom, the rules of military justice won't let him go down without a fight -- whether he likes it or not.
The Army psychiatrist was sentenced Wednesday to die for the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30. But before an execution date is set, Hasan faces years, if not decades, of appeals. And this time, he won't be allowed to represent himself.
"If he really wants the death penalty, the appeals process won't let it happen for a very long time," said Joseph Gutheinz, a Texas attorney licensed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. "The military is going to want to do everything at its own pace. They're not going to want to let the system kill him, even if that's what he wants."
Hasan opened fire at a Fort Hood medical center packed with soldiers heading to or recently returned from overseas combat deployments. He also was set to soon go to Afghanistan to counsel soldiers there, and said he carried out the attack to protect Muslim insurgents on foreign soil.
Launches drone to aid wildfire battle: Firefighters battling the giant wildfire burning in the Sierra Nevada added a California National Guard Predator drone to their arsenal Wednesday to give them almost immediate views of any portion of the flames chewing through rugged forests in and around Yosemite National Park. The MQ-1 unmanned aircraft being remotely piloted hundreds of miles away quickly alerted fire bosses to a new flare-up they otherwise wouldn't have immediately seen. Previously, ground commanders relied on helicopters that needed to refuel every two hours.
Tries to rid water supply of worms: Beating the late-summer heat isn't as easy as running to the sink in one northeast Oklahoma town, as residents there are being asked not to drink tap water after red worms were found in the filtering system. The worms ranging from a half-inch to an inch long showed up earlier this week in the drinking water supply in Colcord, a small town about 80 miles east of Tulsa. City councilman Terry Wood said city water was turned back on Wednesday morning after workers cleaned, drained and re-cleaned the water tower. No worms were found in the tower, he said.
Stats show driving in America stalled: Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over? After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since. The average miles drivers individually rack up peaked in July 2004 at just over 900 per month. By July of last year, that had fallen to 820 miles per month, down about 9 percent. Per capita automobile use is now back at the same levels as in the late 1990s. Some researchers say the changes are mostly a reflection of the economy and driving could bounce back. Others say the decline in driving reflects fundamental changes in the way Americans view the automobile.
Almost-driverless cars coming by 2020: Sometime before the end of this decade, General Motors will put a car on the road that can almost drive itself. The automaker said the system, called "Super Cruise," uses radar and a camera to steer the car and keep it between lane lines. Also, the radar keeps the car a safe distance from cars ahead of it, and it will brake to a complete stop if necessary. GM and other automakers such as Mercedes, BMW and Lexus already offer radar-guided cruise control systems that keep their cars a safe distance from other vehicles and even stop before a crash. They also have systems that warn the driver if they're drifting out of their lane. But until recently, engineers haven't been able to steer with computers, according to GM.
To make Fusion in U.S. for first time: For the first time, Ford is making its Fusion sedan in the U.S. The company's Flat Rock, Mich., plant near Detroit will start making the Fusion today. Ford hired a second shift of 1,400 new workers to make the Fusion at the plant, which also makes the Mustang sports car. The plant will be able to produce 350,000 Fusions per year, 30 percent more than Ford makes at its plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. The Fusion is one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. Sales this year are up 13 percent to 181,668 through July.
Fast-food strikes set: Fast-food customers in search of burgers and fries today might run into striking workers instead. Organizers said thousands of fast-food workers are set to stage walkouts in dozens of cities around the country today, part of a push to get chains such as McDonald's, Taco Bell and Wendy's to pay workers higher wages. It's expected be the largest nationwide strike by fast-food workers, according to organizers. Workers said they want $15 an hour, which would be about $31,000 a year for full-time employees. That's more than double the federal minimum wage, which many fast food workers make, of $7.25 an hour, or $15,000 a year.
Ackman loses half his investment: It's official. JCPenney's biggest investor and former board member Bill Ackman is through with the retailer, selling his entire 18 percent stake to Citigroup and taking a more than $400 million bath on the deal. In a regulatory filing Wednesday, Ackman's disclosed that he sold 39.1 million shares to the bank for $12.60 per share or $492.3 million. That's nearly half of the average $25 a share that he paid when he first invested in Penney in 2010.