Thursday, April 14, 2005

Being tough when it comes to running down people in caves that are trying to do harm to free people


Entomologists have named newly discovered species of slime-mold beetles after Bush (Agathidium bushi), Cheney and Rumsfeld. Being entomologists, they thought that was a compliment. Guardian headline: the axis of weevils. I can’t find a picture, and you know I tried.

Fun with abstinence. I think it was on Atrios where I found this link; I pretty much figured out it was a parody when I saw the phrase “faith-fucking.” It includes a section, “Ask Dr. Frist,” in which he gives such advice as “whenever you masturbate, God kills a kitten.”

A study in the Lancet says that executions performed in the US are incompetently done and therefore painful. The executioners are supposed to administer anesthesia but have no training in it, and in 21 of 49 bodies autopsied, didn’t administer enough to render the prisoner unaware of pain, much less unconscious. 43 received less anesthetic than the standard for surgery. Since they were also given a paralytic, any pain would have been invisible to observers.

One thing that should reduce the number of executions: the Texas legislature has voted to allow juries to give sentences of life without parole. Faced with the possibility that a killer could be released one day, juries have often preferred to execute. Of death-penalty states, now only New Mexico lacks the no-parole option. When Bush was governor, I believe he was a strong opponent of the culture of life-without-the-possibility-of-parole.

He was asked today how he reconciled his support of the death penalty with the culture of life. Of course, Bush being Bush, the amazing thing wasn’t that he kept two contradictory ideas in his head, but how he kept two ideas in his head, period. He said that the difference between Terri Schiavo and a convicted killer is “the difference between guilt and innocence”. And the death penalty saves lives.

That was Bush talking to the American Society of Newspaper Editors today. Talked down to them, in fact:
Today I was with the Indian Foreign Minister, and we were talking about the neighborhood. [what’s with the thing he’s been doing lately where he says “neighborhood” instinstead of “region”?] And I reminded him that I was appreciative of the efforts of President Musharraf and his efforts in fighting al Qaeda. I thought it was in the best interests of the United States and India that President Musharraf be tough when it comes to running down people in caves that are trying to do harm to free people. After all, India is a free country. It made sense to encourage a leader like President Musharraf.
And when asked about his failure to give the details of his Social Security plan, he slipped into an Edward G. Robinson impersonation:
we have been talking about it for a while, but it’s going to take a while more to continue making clear to people in Congress that we got a problem, see.
None of the editors asked him how he felt about the slime-mold beetle. But then again, no one asked the slime-mold beetle how it felt about being named after Bush.

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