Thursday, July 31, 1997

A Hong Kong court has ruled that the Chinese government's replacement of the elective council by an appointed one is not a matter subject to HK courts, which means the carefully-negotiated Basic Law is effectively null and void.

Also, I trust everyone noticed that Clinton's favorite new bragging point, health care for uninsured children, has a Republican amendment prohibiting abortion. This can have wider effects, since any health plan or HMO they'd be forced into could not offer abortion, as most insurance does.

Wednesday, July 23, 1997

California is heading towards another execution, now scheduled for August 5. My familiarity with this case isn't that great, probably because I read about it in the LA Times, whose stories all now seem to be written by Dilbertian middle management types: long on vague generalities, short on actual detail. But my impression is that the special circumstance required for a death sentence, rape, is pretty much unproven, and that the conviction in general relied a little too much on prison informants with bad track records, one of whom said the guy confessed but was innacurate on the very same facts that were misreported in the newspapers. If anyone sees something on this, please send it to me.

Alabama has been devastated by Hurricane Danny. Now if it were my home--er, trailer home (Alabama, ya know)--being destroyed, I'd prefer it to be by a hurricane with an adult name. Imagine filling out your insurance forms (again, this is hypothetical--no one in Alabama is literate) on the devastation left by Hurricane Skippy.

Follow-up: the guy who put the Hebrew curse on Rabin a month before he killed, who was convicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, was sentenced to 4 months.

Long live the dictatorship of the proletariat: judges in Hong Kong have decided that they will still be called Your Lordship.

A woman in Virginia (but from NC) was arrested after piercing the ears of a baby deer. The earrings, if you were wondering, were zircon.

Next month is California's Breast-Feeding Awareness Month. Be aware. Be very aware.

Favorite LA Times headline: Kennedy Baby Sitter Probe Dropped.

Governor Wilson has been temporarily stopped by the courts from cutting off prenatal services to illegal aliens, but is continuing his crusade to cut off their fishing licenses.

I'm beginning to catch up on the British news I missed while being Webless. The most important seems to be that Jamie Lee Curtis is now Baronness Haden-Guest. Husband Christopher Guest, of Spinal Tap, is the baron. There may be something to hereditary peerships after all.

The Taliban order women not to make so much noise when walking.

The new big thing in India: sacrificing kidnapped children to the gods.

Employees at the Eiffel Tower went on strike defending their right to be rude to foreign tourists, after one is fired for berating and manhandling a vertiginous American.

Monday, July 07, 1997

Mon, 7 Jul 1997

In March I sent out a story about a British law firm that billed the mother of a member of the firm who had hanged himself for their time in discovering the body and so on. Evidently British solicitors, unlike American lawyers, cannot get away with such lawyerliness: the firm was just dissolved by the regulatory body.

Headline from Wash Post: “South Korean President's Son Says He Took Money, Not Bribes.” So that’s all right then.

Sunday, July 06, 1997

More on Oklahoma: its obscenity law, which makes no mention of artistic merit, covers anyone *portraying* someone under 18 having sex. Let's all agree to define as obscene anyone over 30 portraying someone under 18, cancel Beverly Hills 90210, declare victory and go home.

The LAPD just had to ban another form of violence against black people, the hogtying of suspects. But according to one cop interviewed by AP, this may mean that cops will have to escalate into a higher level of force. Isn't that the LAPD motto? "Escalating to a higher level of force since 1911"

Friday, July 04, 1997

Chinese president Jiang Zemin says that the example of Hong Kong will provide "the final solution" of the Taiwan question.

Britain's largest remaining colony, by population, is Bermuda. Its largest remaining Pacific colony is Pitcairn Island, pop. 54, the one the Bounty's mutineers settled. This is also their last Pacific colony. The largest remaining colony of any power (unless you count HK as a new Chinese colony, or Tibet, or East Timor), is Puerto Rico.

The Montana Supreme Court overturns the state's ban on gay sex, passed oddly enough in 1973, under a right to privacy derived from the state const.

The California Sup Court says that juvenile felonies can count towards 3 Strikes, although it sounds like the 3rd one must be adult. This includes cases handled by juvenile courts, which means prosecutors rooting around in what were supposed to be sealed records.

Some small nations make money off of stamps. Tonga is making money from a fortunate internet nation domain: .to. It is selling sites to companies that want to be or or suchlike.

So Gerald Ford altered the description in the Warren Commission report of the wound that killed Kennedy, hell altered the location, to make sure it gibed with the magic bullet theory.

Mark Shields says that Al Gore is a heartbeat away from the vice presidency.

Tuesday, July 01, 1997

Andemus Jura Nostra Defendere

Chris asked me about a report of a man in Alabama who responded to a 20-year sentence by giving the judge the finger, and promptly had his sentence increased to life. If anyone runs across this story, which is not in the NY or LA Times or Wash Post today, please send it to me. Also, has anyone heard about this one, which I found in an archive search of the LA Times, but I can't retrieve the original story without paying $1.50 for 64 words:

Governor Asks Judge to Defy High Court;

Saturday, June 28, 1997
Home Edition
Section: PART A
Type: News Brief
Words: 64
Byline: From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Gov. Forrest "Fob" James Jr. urged a federal judge in a school prayer case to defy the U.S. Supreme Court and rule that the Bill of Rights does not apply to states. The high court is plagued by "lawlessness" and must be resisted,

Alabama, by the way, comes from an Indian word meaning Clear the
Thicket, the state motto is We Dare Defend Our Rights (Latin above), and is known as the Heart of Dixie, which inspired a crude but obvious subject line I decided not to use, since the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to them and who knows how they'd come after me. A pickup truck and a deer rifle would probably be involved.

Alabama is also mentioned in my next e-mail.

By the way, the state assembly has passed a law permitting breastfeeding in public. When they make it mandatory, I will be a happy man.

(Later:) I have found the letter from the Alabama governor to the US district court judge. It is 79 screens long, and available at Fob James's web site, which y'all can find as easily as I did if you want the full text, under press releases. It goes on endlessly quoting Madison from the debates around the adoption of the Constitution, the Magna Carta, the history of the oath of office, and all sorts of stuff, forming one of those seamless pieces of logic usually found in statements by militia groups proving that there is no such thing as the income tax, or that guy proving that Stephen King, the bastard, killed John Lennon on the orders of Richard Nixon.