Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest and most balanced of them all?


Some time back Tim Russert asked Howard Dean a bunch of factual questions about the size of the US military in various parts of the world (this is why Schwarzenegger only goes on Oprah and Access Hollywood). Dean wasn’t far off. GeeDubya yesterday insisted that the number of troops in Afghanistan had been reduced since the fighting there, when it is in fact now higher than ever. This is how much attention Bush is paying to his own military operations.

Jack van Impe, one of the evangelicals invited to the secret State Dept briefing I mentioned yesterday, who didn’t go, claims that Condi Rice has asked him for details on the end of the world.

A sweet story from China: “The head of a Chinese mental hospital has been arrested for selling drugged female patients as wives to local people, many of whom returned the women to the hospital after the drugs had worn off.” (that is, when their symptoms returned)

Robert Fisk says that the bombing of UN hq in Iraq was actually an attack on the US, screwing with its exit strategy. No NGO, no investor, etc is safe under US rule. And of course no journalist--no wait, those are always killed by US troops. How has Fisk survived so long? Anyway, he is right, and this and other attacks, on pipeline workers, Red Crossers, etc., will keep the pressure on the US, with no end in sight.

Brave New World: Indy headline: “First Baby Born from Sperm Bought over the Internet.” ManNotIncluded.com, for those in the market. Check that kid for worms. The proud parental units are a British lesbian couple. Amazon.com might have been more appropriate.

The Tuesday NYT had an article on a possible execution in Texas Wednesday. Late in the article it got to how lazy the 5th Circuit is, speeding over death penalty decisions because it has so many to deal with. Mostly, they don’t bother publishing their decisions, barely even write them. In this case, the judge had issued jury instructions which have since been ruled illegal. Until 1989, jurors in capital cases were asked 1) was the killing deliberate, 2) does he pose a danger to others. If yes in both, the death sentence was automatic. This was unconstitutional because it did not consider mitigating factors. The Texas Lege wasn’t in session, so it didn’t re-write the rules for a couple of years, and judges simply instructed jurors to lie in their answer to those 2 questions if they found mitigating circumstances. Let me repeat, they told jurors to lie!

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