Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Dashed Off Commentary
Saw the Ivy Meeropol documentary on HBO. Still quite a bit of denial in the family about Grandpa and Grandma's leisure time activities. The obligatory shot of Ivy looking at the electric chair (was that the real Sing Sing chair in the Newseum in Arlington?) reminded me of something Louis Nizer wrote in "The Implosion Conspiracy" that the decision was taken to execute Julie and Ethel in Sing Sing because there was no "federal execution chamber" in the New York district. An interesting comment, because if you take a look at the history of modern federal executions, all seem to have had state institutions hosting the festivities. The US Disciplinary Barracks had to improvise a gallows for the multiple hangings in the "A Martial Execution" case, and there seems to be some confusion as to whether some postwar military hangings were held at the USDB or at the nearby Kansas Penitentiary, where Perry and Dick took their last ride. Apparently an electric chair was installed at the USDB sometime in the 60's, but never used. One might potentially classify the old Washington DC city jail as a "federal" execution site, as the Operation Pastorius saboteurs rode the lightning there, and given the District's unique legal status, it might've indeed been operated by the Feds. Nowadays, the Feds arrange their festivities either at Terre Haute (can you imagine getting Martha to decorate that?) or will potentially continue to contract them out to the states in which the offenses occurred.
To quote my favorite philosopher, "Gruesome, isn't it?"
And now that the Olsen twins are of legal age we can thankfully look forward to a progressive lessening of news plants and commentary about them, and hopefully they will either start putting some media content out with substance or they will gracefully fade away. I suspect neither will happen.