One from the history column, back this week in 1979 in the pages of the Northern Virginia Sun.
Virginia was gearing up for a new round of executions – the commonwealth’s first, believe it or not, since the early 1960s – and was working to make sure the condemned went out in style.
Workers were applying fresh coats of varnish to Virginia’s one and only electric chair, which was slated to be used in the subsequent weeks to again start sending some folks to the promised land.
(I don’t think that Virginia’s electric chair, which dated to the early part of the 20th century, had the same problems as Florida’s frequently malfunctioning zapper. That contraption gained the nickname “Ol’ Smokey” for its proclivity to botch the job.)
Fun fact, although not much fun for those involved: Even when Virginia began offering lethal injection as its main method of execution, the condemned still had their choice of the electric chair as an alternative. Believe it or not, a couple of them still chose it.
USURPER WINS THE GIG: Nothing wrong with Del. Don Scott playing the role of usurper-in-chief against Democratic House of Delegates leader Eileen Filler-Corner a month back. That’s showbiz, after all.
Filler-Corner’s fatal error, as with the likes of Margaret Thatcher to name just one (or Julius Caesar, for that matter, albeit with a more terminal result), was in apparently discounting the danger she was in from within her own ranks.
If it could happen to Thatcher or Caesar, after all, it could happen to anybody.
(Perhaps Filler-Corn would prefer to use a reference point like Nancy Pelosi, who had convinced everyone – including herself – that she could keep the young turks on her left at bay, only to find she was the one who, while keeping her job, certainly had lost much of her once-august power.)
It did seem surprising that those same Democrats actually went ahead and installed Scott as their leader yesterday. It’s hard to see how his incendiary behavior and provocative behavior won’t end up being a gift to Republicans. (Not that Republicans don’t know how to squander such gifts, but for the moment they are smiling at the decision made by their opposite party in its leadership election.)
The lamestream media fell in line, calling him an “historic” choice. Then again, Filler-Corn was “historic,” too, until pushed aside.
Just like Thatcher.
– Scott McCaffrey