Maybe we should Bring Back the Noose?

KetchumHanging

Capital Punishment On 3 February 1967, serial robber Ronald Ryan, convicted of the felony murder of a gaol warder at Pentridge Prison, was hanged in Victoria. 50 years after Ryan, the last man in Australia to swing, new calls for abolition of the death penalty abound. Some 141 countries have either abolished or suspended indefinitely the penalty, or limit it to war crimes, the remaining 57 still applying it to serious crimes.  10 October 2017 was the 15th “World Day Against the Death Penalty.”  (In Reversal of Fortune, the Alan Dershowitz character says of the death penalty, “that’s no penalty,…

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Playing With Fire

Robert_Kennedy_assassination_-_cropped

(by Lawrence O’Donnell) (2017) Our favourite book on the incredible 1968 Presidential election remains the superb and impartial work by visiting British journalists, An American Melodrama. But this work by leftie Lawrence is a terrific read, once you learn to shut-out the partisan noise swirling about every chapter.  There’s nothing new here except the charge of treason by Nixon over the Anna Chennault affair, which O’Donnell mines from a book by the almost equally, but less noisily, partial John A. Farrell. [For his Book Richard Nixon: The Life, Farrell has read Haldeman’s notes of conversations with Tricky Dick and implies…

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Don’t Burn Kevin!

November 2, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | American Politics, FILM, POLITICS, Ulalume |
KevHarv

It has come to The Varnished Culture‘s attention that some Hollywood types lack the virtues of the Saints.  Well, fancy!  Turns out that getting drunk and a little ‘forward’ in the 1980s means you go to hell in the 20-teens. Kevin Spacey is getting the Harvey Weinstein treatment, with trimmings, because he not only failed to remember an inappropriate pass from long ago (and thus he must have dunnit) but he formally ‘outed’ himself at the same time, thereby cheapening the sanctity of such a rite of passage (apparently). So forget all about his stage work, or Glengarry Glen Ross, Swimming…

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The Poet Obama

"Who are you, really?"

"Who are you, really?"

Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961) President Obama was a real smoothie, His act seemed straight out of a movie, He’d gaze at crowds to gauge their awe, Say “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” You moved, so he slapped a tax on thee, Regulated to a halt, then a subsidy Was wielded at the end of the nation’s rope, Thus proving the audacity of hope.  “There has never been anything false about hope” A self-serving virtue, a dog-tired trope. From the Levant we do a moonlight flit, “Change will not come if we wait for it.” He swaggered,…

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Monkeying About

water-colour of Charles Darwin by George Richmond

water-colour of Charles Darwin by George Richmond

May 5, 1925: Teacher John Scopes is charged with having taught evolution in a Tennessee school. Originally designed as a means of putting the town of Dayton on the map, the case became a circus when Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan rolled into town as defence and prosecuting counsel.  The whole affair became a hoary old film of which The Varnished Culture has previously spoken. Scopes was convicted and fined $100 (which was overturned on appeal because, unusually, the penalty had to be stipulated by the jury rather than the trial judge). But Dayton did great business that summer….

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