Hamid Hayat is still in Jail

Hamid Hayat is a casualty of 9/11. Or is it massive, national, hysterical ignorance. He should not be forgotten. And the souls of the men who prosecuted and convicted him should not be forgotten.

Oh– you do have souls. Do you ever think about Hamid Hayat’s life in prison? 24 years. You don’t feel sorry for him?

Suppose the FBI were to place some informants with some American gun clubs, have them hang out at their watering holes, befriend them, spend money on them, and casually mention stuff like, “hey, you know, Washington is a cesspool of corruption and wreckless nanny-state attitudes. I wish someone would blow up Congress one of these days”. Do you think it would be all that hard to get someone to say “you’re telling me!” That’s all you need. That’s enough. You then arrest this person and charge him with terrorism and then you lock him up for 25 years give yourself a medal and a parade and vote for the guy who’s going to cut your taxes.

But first, I imagine, you’d have to make him look Arabic.

My original piece on Hamid Hayat.

Washington Post on the full Sarah Palin interview with Greta Van Susteran on the Fox website: “We watched all of it so you don’t have to.” June 3, 2011.

Oh, that biased, liberal, main-stream media!

Unshrewd Athletes: in the periphery of the Bernie Madoff scandal, the New York Mets negotiated a clever buy out with Bobby Bonilla. Instead of paying him the $6 million he was owed when he was released, they agreed to pay him over time by putting the money into an investment with Bernie Madoff, which they expected would return 10-12% per year over the life of the agreement, thereby actually making money on the money they owed the washed-up slugger.

Didn’t work out too well.

Zapruder Notes: Oswald, Kennedy, Connally

This is a rambling, improvisational discussion of some elements of the Kennedy Assassination. Look, it’s been a rambling, improvisational assassination. A good conspiracy theorist is allowed to wander.

A friend of mine is convinced that he Zapruder film shows that Kennedy and Connally were hit by the same shot. A version of the Zapruder film we looked at about five years ago seemed, to me, to be ambiguous on the issue.

There are now clearer reproductions of the frames of the Zapruder film available.

Firstly, it seems reasonable to me that there was a first shot that missed the limousine entirely, and many if not most of the eye-witnesses remember it. In fact, Kennedy himself, and Connally, appear to be startled by the sound and seem to be looking in the direction it came from just before the first hit.

Kennedy was hit while blocked from Zapruder’s view by the Stemmons Freeway sign. He emerges from the sign beginning to clutch his throat with his hands, in obvious pain. Connally does not emerge from behind the sign puffing his cheeks out and clenching his fist. He has not yet been hit. And if he has not been hit, there is a second gunman, because Oswald could not have fired again by frame 234.

Here are links to the critical frames:

Frame 160: First shot fired, a miss; reactions of people in limo and out. Poignantly, a young girl (Rosemary Willis, aged 10) running alongside the limousine stops and looks in the direction of the crowd on the opposite side of the road. She is on record: she remembers that she stopped running because she heard the first shot.

Frame 230: Kennedy is definitely reacting to the throat wound. I don’t think anybody seriously disputes this. Connally may or may not have been hit by now but if he was hit by the same bullet as Kennedy it is very odd that he is not reacting at all.

If you watch the Zapruder film in motion, you can see Connally’s sudden, involuntary, abrupt movement a few frames later which could only have come in response to a shot. If you watch the film in motion, the two reactions seem almost simultaneous– but that is partly because Kennedy has been hidden behind the sign. His reaction obviously started earlier than Z230. If you examine it frame by frame– which, logically, is the way you should look at it to understand what really happened– the two reactions are not simultaneous.

Dale Myers, among others with an axe to grind, insists that Connally was hit by the same bullet, and that his reaction at 234 proves it. But Kennedy has already been reacting for at least four frames, probably more. Four frames– 1/4 of a second– may not seem like much, but it is much, much longer than it takes for a bullet to travel through two bodies. For all practical purposes, Connally’s and Kennedy’s reactions should have been at exactly the same instant. Myers has to argue that Connally’s reaction was delayed, even though this bullet struck his ribs and shattered his wrist bone because Oswald could not have fired two shots between the time that Kennedy disappears behind the sign and the time he emerges clutching his throat.

And no matter how you cut it, you can’t really argue that Connally’s reaction was delayed if he was reacting to the same physical event as Kennedy. The bullet took out a piece of his rib and shattered his wrist. Connally’s jacket puffs forward after Kennedy is already clutching at his throat. Well, yes you can argue it…. In this age of instant, omnipresent video, we have seen lots of strange things. We see the driver of the limousine applying the brakes after hearing a shot. That’s about as crazy as you can get.

There are literally hundreds of books on the issue but in my mind there is no way around “conspiracy” if Connally was not hit by the same shot as the one that caused Kennedy’s throat or back wound (or both).

Frame 224: Connally’s jacket flips in front of his shirt. This is probably the point at which Connally was actually hit. Since Kennedy is already reacting to a shot, it simply is not possible that it was the same bullet.

Frame 236: Connally is clearly in pain, and his shoulder has dropped. If you jog between the two frames repeatedly, it seems pretty clear to me that Connally is trying to see what is happening in all the frames from emergence behind the sign to 230. Somewhere before 234, he has been hit.

Dale Myers, among others, argues that 224 and 225 show Connally being hit. This page contains links that defend that point.  Well, no they don’t. They slip and slide around the issue, but the truth is Kennedy had to have been hit earlier. He is already reacting with his hands to his wound while Connally has not even grimaced yet. This is consistent with John Connally’s own memory of the event.

It’s not a slam dunk and people should learn to live with the uncertainty. You can make a case for 225, but the same arguments– sudden movement, body twisting, grimace– apply equally well to 234, suggesting a third possibility: that Connally was indeed hit by the shot that made Kennedy’s throat wound, but then was hit by a second shot at 234. Since Kennedy was hit shortly afterwards again, there would have had to have been two shooters.

However, because Kennedy is already reacting to the shot as he emerges from behind the Stemmons Freeway sign, it is possible that Connally was hit immediately after Kennedy. The famous jacket flap– the movement of his dark jacket over his white shirt– argues for it.* Those who are opposed to a conspiracy theory have to argue that it was the same bullet because it is impossible for Oswald to have fired two shots in such a short period of time (perhaps 1/2 second). But it is equally impossible that the bullet hung in the air for 1/4 second before continuing on to hit Connally. This was one of the first points seized upon by conspiracy theorists and it remains one of the most persistent.

Politics colours everyone’s perceptions of what the facts mean in the Kennedy assassination. Conservatives know that if there was a conspiracy, it was their conspiracy. The conspiracy was the expression of powerful and corrupt institutional forces determined to assert their control over government in the face of the self-confident, independent, sophisticated. liberal Kennedys.

John Connally’s own testimony is that he heard the first shot, and he thought it hit Kennedy. He didn’t hear the second shot which hit him. That leaves it possible– if, admittedly, less likely, that two shots were fired so close together that many witnesses thought they only heard one. As everyone knows, there would have been an echo. And some witnesses reported a “flurry” of shots, though most seem to have heard one shot distinctly, and then a “flurry”. In some ways, the reactions of Kennedy and Connally and Connally’s extensive wounds would be better explained by a “flurry” of shots– but the Warren Commission, of course, desperate to economize on assassins, made it all the work of a single bullet.

*Finally, another website points out — eureka! — that the bullet did not even go through the jacket lapel in the first place! So what the hell is that black thing flapping up in front of John Connally’s shirt? You got me. Or maybe it’s a kind of fluke combination of his shoulder going down in pain, the jacket pushed out where the bullet came through, the momentum of the car….. who knows.

The very last thing I will point out is that it is possible that one shot hit both Kennedy and Connally at the same instance and for reasons undiscovered they reacted at different speeds. After all, Kennedy was President. His reaction time should have been faster. (I’m kidding.) Connally was turning. Kennedy was waving. Who knows? It’s not the craziest idea in the world.

In either case, I must point out two obvious facts: firstly, the timing of the the shots does not, in any case, prove that Oswald fired them, or that he was alone. Secondly, Dale Myers, who glibly asserts that his “analysis” proves the shots could only have come from the 6th floor window “sniper’s nest” is a total dink and completely discredits himself on this account. If the conspiracy analysts are ridiculous sometimes with their assumptions about pristine bullets and manholes and post-assassination alterations to the body, his claim that his data about the angle of the shot is so accurate and precise that he can positively identify the exact window– as if he didn’t know already which one it was– that it came from… it’s beyond ridiculous. Talk about junk science. Why or why could he not have simply made his point without leaping to a conclusion which can only be political.

The only way to give credibility to a conclusion like that would be if you could take the raw information about the assassination, the physical properties of the car and the road and the buildings, give this information to a scientist who had never even heard of the Kennedy assassination, and ask him to please try to determine where the shots came from. I’ll bet he would not come back with “exactly” this or “exactly” that or “exactly” anything.

Although, it would be pretty funny, and not to Dale Myers, if he came back with: behind the car, about 6th floor, in some kind of book depository.

And he still cannot prove that Oswald acted alone (or that he even acted, other than to flee when he realized he had been set up) and he should know that and stick to what he can or cannot prove– not to the grand conclusion he really cares about. Given the incompetence of the investigation– which is all a conspiracy really needs to succeed– we will probably never know the truth. And that’s probably the way the real powers that be like it.

Overlooked in almost all of the discussions about conspiracy is the truly remarkable web of relationships between Oswald and various people associated with the CIA and the government. To argue that these relationships are not, at the very least, extremely suspicious, is ridiculous.

Note: it’s striking that not one of the secret service agents in the follow-up car looked up in response to the sound of the first shot. They looked back and to the right. One of them looked down and to the left. (In fact, Connally, Kennedy, and Jacqueline Kennedy all looked briefly to their left just after the first shot was fired.)

True, that’s where the crowd was. Also true: they did not distinguish a sound coming from above and back of the limousine.

Even more striking? Governor Connally stated that he immediately recognized the sound of a high-powered rifle. Why? Because he had served in the military, as had Kennedy. In fact, watching the film today, it is easy to imagine that Kennedy’s reaction to the sound of the first shot is that of a man who knows what he just heard and is processing it.

The Secret Service agents have only one job: detect threats to the life of the President and take immediate action to protect him. It is very striking that not a single one of them seemed to have a clue that their job was calling them on November 22, 1963. In fact, William Greer, the driver of the limo, famously applied the brakes, as if to make sure that Oswald or whomever was holding the rifle, got a good shot at the President.

Rather odd and ironic and strange that the one thing Will Greer should have been trained for during all his years as a Secret Service agent was how to react to someone shooting at the President… and how does he react? He puts on the brakes. It’s really amazing.

The most annoying thing about theorists on both sides?  Their tired insistence that, after 50 years, they have incredibly discovered something new that nobody else knew before and that nobody else had ever thought of and which is of the ultimate significance.

The truth is that almost all of the real, substantive issues about the Kennedy assassination were uncovered within the first few years, and almost none of them have been explained or solved in a satisfactory, conclusive manner.

It is also true that paranoids have real enemies.

Zapruder Film: download.

All frames individually archived.

More on Oswald and Kennedy.

A pretty rational assessment of the current pro-conspiracy landscape.

But wait!  What about this?

Mrs. Connally’s memory of the event is clear and unambiguous:

Mrs. CONNALLY. I heard–you know how we were seated in the car, the President and Mrs. Kennedy, John was in front of the President and I was seated in front of Mrs. Kennedy–I heard a noise that I didn’t think of as a gunshot. I just heard a disturbing noise and turned to my right from where I thought the noise had come and looked in the back and saw the President clutch his neck with both hands.

He said nothing. He just sort of slumped down in the seat. John had turned to his right also when we heard that first noise and shouted, “no, no, no,” and in the process of turning back around so that he could look back and see the President–I don’t think he could see him when he turned to his right–the second shot was fired and hit him. He was in the process of turning, so it hit him through this shoulder, came out right about here. His hand was either right in front of him or on his knee as he turned to look so that the bullet went through him, crushed his wrist and lodged in his leg. And then he just recoiled and just sort of slumped in his seat.

The Ingenue

An ingénue is a dramatic and literary archetype. “The ingénue symbolizes the mutable character par excellence, the blank slate in search of an identity,” the French scholar Julia V. Douthwaite wrote about the role of the ingénue in Ancien Régime French fiction. The ingénue is defined by her age — that crepuscular moment between adolescence and adulthood — and also by her innocence. A naïf in a complex, urbane, foreign world, she moves unaware of the hypocrisy, duplicity and exploitation all around her. She is credulous and vulnerable and dependent on a protective paternal figure and lives in constant peril of being exploited or corrupted by some lurking cad or villain. This threat is the central tension of her life. What makes her interesting are the questions of how she will navigate this world, who she will become and what will become of her. Traditionally, there have existed two possible outcomes: marriage (whether successful or ruinous) or death.

From New York Times, Carina Chochano, April 22, 2011

Link to the Full Article

So, at the very heart of it, the ingénue doesn’t know she is about to be tricked into having sex.

Once she realizes that the men in her life are willing to use her, she becomes a different person. Either she takes control of her life and becomes “worldly” or “cool”; or she becomes a victim, destined to appear on Oprah.

Kim Yu-Na, the Olympic figure skating champion, appears to me to have almost perfect proportions.  Waist, trunk, thighs, arms, shoulders: perfect.  If I was looking for a model for a sculpture of “Eve”, I’d ask her.

Autism and Witchcraft

In his presentation, Wakefield sounded impatient but righteous. He used enough scientific terms — “ataxic,” “histopathological review” and “vaccine excipients” — that those parents who did not feel cowed might have been flattered by his assumption of their scientific fluency. He also tried to defend himself against a few of the charges laid out in The British Medical Journal — offering defenses that did not hold up before the journal’s panel of editors but were perhaps enough to assure an audience of his fans that he did, in fact, have defenses. Some part of Wakefield’s cult status is surely because of his personal charisma, and he spoke with great rhetorical flair. He took off his glasses and put them back on like a gifted actor maximizing a prop. “What happens to me doesn’t matter,” he said at one point. “What happens to these children does matter.”

Andrew Wakefield has had a wildly pervasive influence for a man without the slightest claim to scientific credibility. But he’s a good case study. Scientific truth sometimes seems drastically disadvantaged in our age of the anecdote, the interview on tv, the tears on Oprah. It must be true if you cried.


I watched and admired a movie called “Rudy” several years ago. It’s the true story about a devoted Notre Dame football fan named Rudy Ruettiger, who saved up his money and enrolled in Notre Dame so he could try out for the football team. He tried out and practiced hard and trained with determination and sucked up to the entire football department for four years and got to be a second-stringer, without once getting a chance to play. Finally, in his last year, he was allowed on the field for one play, in the last minute of a game that was already decided.

I thought the film was intentionally funny. I thought it did a reasonably good job of showing how Rudy wasted four years of his life under a delusion. I thought most people watching the film would realize that if Rudy had devoted half the energy he gave to the Notre Dame football team to almost any other pursuit, he would have had something important and meaningful or even beautiful to show for it.

I thought it revealed that our so-called heroes– athletes, especially– inevitably use people like Rudy because that’s the way the system works.

Years later, I realized that I had it all wrong: it was meant seriously– Rudy was to be admired for wasting most of his college life waiting for a chance to play while he had none of the skills or attributes required to be a good player. He was a hero. He never quit. The lesson we were supposed to take away from this film was: never give up on your dreams.

Even if your dream is to flap your arms and fly, or marry Angelina Jolie, or be nominated to the Supreme Court.

Well, the one thing that didn’t occur to me was that most of the movie was pure hokum. It didn’t occur to me because I assumed that a film made of an unremarkable man who led really an unremarkable life would at least adhere to a few unremarkable facts.

The main “facts” are that Rudy tried out for the team, never got to play until the very last moment, and in that very short moment, had some peripheral involvement in a quarterback sack. The crowd did not know Rudy’s story and did not cheer wildly because he had just realized his dream (as if). They did not chant his name. The play-by-play announcer did not note his presence. The opposing quarter-back did not mutter, “who was that man!” under his breath (all right — I made that up — it wasn’t in the movie). He didn’t have a brother. The coach did not oppose him going into the game– in fact, he insisted on it. His team-mates never dropped their sweaters on the coach’s desk as a protest gesture against Rudy not being dressed for a particular game.

Without those delusional Rudy’s out there– the losers in this scheme of things– how could we have winners?

So, aside from the facts, yes, it’s a true story. Does it still inspire you? I have an investment opportunity, if it does…

A real comment by a real fan of the film on IMDB:

If this movie doesn’t get you motivated, then something is wrong with you. This movie proves that good things happen to people who work hard and don’t except the circumstances they are dealt. I’ve seen this movie more than 30 times in my life, and i still cant get through the end of this movie without getting tears in my eyes. Another thing this movie teaches you is to listen to the people in your life who believe in you and want you to succeed, don’t listen to the people who want you to fail and constantly remind you that you are going to fail. “The best revenge is success.” One of my favorite quotes comes from this movie as well, when the coach dan devine tells rudy and the rest of the team that “Nobody, and i mean nobody, comes into our house and pushes us around.”

And thus the viewer becomes complicit in the hoax.

Our Savage Justice: Steven Russell

Several months ago, a fellow prisoner shook him by the hand while he was being walked to his cell – it was the first time Russell had been touched for almost a decade.

From The Guardian

What savagery did this man commit that we would in turn be so monstrous? Not a human touch in ten years? Solitary confinement for 23 hours a day? For how long? 144 years. Because you and I are savages. Because we are not worthy of even contempt. Because all the while we sing our glorious praises and erect our monuments and cathedrals and weep at the great costumed dramas, and twinge with humanistic delight at “The King’s Speech” and “The Blind Side” and “Freedom Writers”… we are really no better than incestuous cannibal chimps. We lock up people for 144 years. We lock them up in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. We deny them any human contact at all. We approve of this because this is what our leaders have given us in response to our passionate tinkly delight in “law and order” and “tough on crime”.

What Steven Russell did was con people out of lots of money.

But, far worse, in the eyes of the government– he humiliated the administration of then governor George W. Bush by making the Department of Corrections look like fools. The same George W. Bush who conned America out of $1 trillion to prevent Iraq from using the weapons of mass destruction they did not possess.

The secret: they are fools. They let him walk out of prison after dying his clothes green with magic markers diluted in toilet water. They let him con them into believing he was, over the phone, a judge, or a lawyer, or a state corrections official. They never checked.

The point is, he has never been charged with hitting or beating anyone, or threatening their lives, or any other crime of violence. Those people only get five, ten, maybe twenty years, and they have contact with fellow prisoners. No, no, no.

He got 144 years.

He never caused anyone to lose his life’s savings or his home or his job. Those people got bonuses.

He never murdered hundreds of civilian villagers in a foreign country. Those people got house arrest for a couple of years.

He never tricked us into spending billions of dollars and hundreds of lives on a war against a foreign despot, or caused the deaths of 100,000 people. Those people got re-elected.

The important thing: I don’t think most Americans even have any idea of why they should even give him a thought. It’s justice. Or maybe not, but why should anyone care? He’s a loser. What’s wrong with being psycho? We’re all psycho.

He’s a loser.