Feb. 11th, 2003


Feb. 11th, 2003 08:08 am
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the Washington Post is conflicted about unilateralism in its lead editorial.

...Berlin and Paris say their purpose is to offer a peaceful way out of the Iraq crisis. But their exclusion of the Bush administration from their planning suggests that the real aim is to obstruct council endorsement of the military intervention that the United States is preparing.
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The federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled yesterday that officials in Arkansas can force a prisoner on death row to take antipsychotic medication to make him sane enough to execute. Without the drugs, the prisoner, Charles Laverne Singleton, could not be put to death under a United States Supreme Court decision that prohibits the execution of the insane.

Yesterday's 6-to-5 decision is the first by a federal appeals court to allow such an execution.

"Singleton presents the court with a choice between involuntary medication followed by an execution and no medication followed by psychosis and imprisonment," Judge Roger L. Wollman wrote for the majority in ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Judge Wollman said the first choice was the better one, at least when the drugs were generally beneficial to the prisoner. He said courts did not need to consider the ultimate result of medicating the prisoner.

"Eligibility for execution is the only unwanted consequence of the medication," he wrote.

Judge Gerald W. Heaney, in dissent, said there was a third choice. He would have allowed Mr. Singleton to be medicated without fear of execution.

"I believe," he wrote, "that to execute a man who is severely deranged without treatment, and arguably incompetent when treated, is the pinnacle of what Justice Marshall called `the barbarity of exacting mindless vengeance.' " Judge Heaney added that the majority's holding presented doctors with an impossible ethical choice.

You're sure John Ashcroft likes you?

How sure?
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Documents released by the Public Record Office on January 30th shed a fresh and delectable light on the abdication crisis of 1936, when King Edward VIII had to choose between his throne and his love for the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. The nation trembled; but so, we now learn, did Mrs. Simpson. To be precise, she trembled at regular intervals in the arms of a car salesman named Guy Trundle...

Well, it worked for Mrs. Simpson, who was tailed by officers from the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police as she pursued her unsuitable amour. From a distance, of course, Wise Guy seems infinitely more suited to her needs than Edgy Edward, on whose conduct in the boudoir it would be cruel to speculate, but whose features, at once blank and aggrieved, point to a vain and lifelong struggle with his own fly buttons. It cannot be that the King was aware of the speedy Mr. Trundle; history suggests that you do not, as a general principle, forgo the gilded responsibility of commanding an empire for the sake of a woman who spends her evenings with another man's stick shift...


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