Saturday, August 07, 2004

The Third Terrorist

(Whoops, an earlier version of this somehow got published before I was through with it. Let's try this again.)

It's a shame that blogs weren't as popular back in the early 90's as they are now. There are tons of stories from Clinton's day that IMO got bum's rush coverage. And probably the worst case was the Middle Eastern ties to the OKC bombings.

I recall the early coverage, in which we suspected Middle Eastern involvement and we were looking for a John Doe who looked suspiciously Middle Eastern. Then that stopped abruptly and we wound up with a couple of white guys supposedly with right-wing ties.

Wasn't that convenient for Bill Clinton? He was in trouble. He didn't want to have to deal with foreign affairs, yet he might be forced into it if this were associated with Muslims. Far better that the perps should be "right-wingers" - he'd attempt to associate these with his political opponents. Next thing we know he's accusing Rush Limbaugh et al of inspiring the event.

Of course he had no evidence of this. But what evidence *did* he have?

Now I'm reading "The Third Terrorist", by Jayna Davis. I haven't read too much of it yet. But from what I've seen, Bill Clinton knew very well that he was lying when he was blaming "hate radio" for the terrorism.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Alabama Executes 74-Year-Old Man (

So reads the headline, anyway. Down in the body we see this:

J.B. Hubbard's failing body kept him lying in bed -- a bunk on Alabama's death row -- most of the last days of his life. Other inmates say they walked his wobbly frame to the showers and listened to him complain about the pain: the cancer in his colon and prostate, the hypertension, the aching back. They combed his hair because he couldn't. They washed him.

When spasms of dementia made him forget who he was -- what he was -- they told him: a 74-year-old, small-town Alabama man gone bad, a twice-convicted murderer, the oldest inmate on "the row." He left them behind, these most unlikely of caretakers, one month ago and was transported south to a drab, gray prison set back in the cotton fields of lower Alabama. As the sun was tipping toward the horizon, Hubbard was put to death there Thursday, becoming the oldest inmate executed in the United States in more than six decades.
So how did it come to this?
Hubbard first killed in 1957, teaming with his uncle to rob and murder a Tuscaloosa man. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison but was released in October 1976, in part because a widow agreed to give him a job and help ease him back into society.
So someone sponsored him. How could you ever repay someone for that? Here's how:
on a winter evening in 1977, police say Hubbard shot his benefactor three times in the face.
Poor guy - losing his benefactor like that must have been devastating.

All told, I'm thinking that this one might have been a good one for the anti-execution types to sit out. Yet the usual suspects, having arbitrarily decided that "a civilized society" does not execute even slimeballs like that, had to show up and get their ration of free uncritical publicity.

And of course the WaPo gave it to them.

Oh Veronica!

Not you too! Yep, even the Archies are loosening up according to this.

Further down the page you are invited to vote for the sexiest cartoon babes of all time. I correctly picked the winner of the last contest, but competition is heating up. Kim Possible won't be jailbait forever, and then a few years behind her there's the PowerPuff Girls.

I need to get out more often.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Alternate History

The French would love a veto over our military activity, as noted again in this.

I can't help but think of 1940, when the Wehrmacht went through the French like Ex-Lax through a skeleton. Quickly the French formed their Vichy government to get along with Hitler.

What would the French govt have said if we had asked them if we could get involved to beat Hitler?

Monday, August 02, 2004

Bunny suits?

Tasteless joke time!

A couple of guys were swapping stories about embarrassing moments. One said he had been caught while hiding in the closet watching his parents have sex. The other one said "kids do the craziest things, don't they?" The other said, "Yeah, but this was just last week".

John Kerry isn't happy about his "bunny suit" costume picture, which makes him look like one of the sperm from Woody Allen's classic "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex (But were Afraid to Ask)". Of course his thoroughly professional campaign team is calling its release a dirty trick by the Republicans. Aww -

Now we hear that there's a similar picture of W. But his dates back to 1981, long predating his political career. OK, so there is. But why would anyone bother to keep it that long? Has J. Edgar Hoover been reincarnated and hired by NASA?

IMO it's no big deal for Bush or Kerry. Kerry doesn't exactly look like the massively phony image he'd like to project, but he could hardly rank lower in my eyes anyway.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Words fail me

In a move that pro-life activists say is clearly "anti-child," an Australian abortion center has objected to the opening of a child care center in its neighborhood.

Dark Light

Here is an interesting review of a book about people's reactions to electricity. "Dark Light - Electricity and Anxiety From the Telegraph to the X-ray", by Linda Simon, is "fact an utterly idiosyncratic romp, a poetical humanist's inquiry, a chronicle not so much of gizmos and inventors but of their effects on the public imagination."

I had heard of Luigi Galvani's experiments applying electricity to frogs' legs to make them twitch, but the book speaks of another Italian's work with freshly guillotined human heads - by electrifying them, he could make them blink or grind their teeth. Ewwww. It made an impression on Mary Shelley too - she later wrote "Frankenstein".

In the early days people didn't know what to make of electricity, and even those like Edison had their moments - '"When Edison first heard his own phonograph talk back to him, he told a reporter he was 'actually frightened and for a moment dropped the crank he was turning,'" Simon writes'.

I think I'll have to have a look at this one. Maybe it'll provide some insight into contemporary reactions to the Internet.