Israeli Survives Two Disasters: “Eli Yadid is the luckiest guy in Israel. Or perhaps the unluckiest.

When a building floor collapsed in Jerusalem, killing 23, Yadid was standing just beyond the killing

zone. When a suicide bomber blew himself up in from of a Tel Aviv disco, killing 20 Israelis and

himself, Yadid was just arriving.” He also survived a terrorist attack on his school when he was 16. AP

Johnny Paul Penry’s Texas death sentence overturned by Supreme Court. Penry is the severely retarded confessed murderer whose first death sentence appeal in 1989 was upheld by the Supreme Court in a precedent-setting decision in which they found capital punishment of the retarded to be constitutional but ruled that juries must be properly instructed in how to weigh the defendant’s mental retardation as a mitigating factor in sentencing. The Court at that time sent the case back to Texas for a new trial, and Texas still didn’t manage to get it right; the current Court ruling upholds Penry’s lawyers’ contention that the instructions to the jury in the second trial were no better than the first. This may all be a moot point, because the Supreme Court has pending before it another case, from North Carolina, in which it has agreed to reconsider the more basic question it rejected in the 1989 Penry case — whether execution of the mentally retarded fundamentally violates the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Dallas Morning News

The Reviewer Who Wasn’t There Sony Pictures, Columbia’s parent, was forced to admit last week that David Manning, a reviewer whose glowing comments about even the most lame Columbia films, is a fake dreamed up by the studio’s advertising department.

The real question is why Sony had to conceive the counterfeit critic to begin with, given the world of movie junkets, where normal reporting standards don’t apply.

Reading the glowing newspaper-ad recommendations for even the lamest movie, you might wonder if those quoted critics are real. Unlike Manning, they are. Many are habitués of the junket circuit, an all-expenses-paid gravy train where the studios give journalists free rooms and meals at posh hotels and the reporters return the favor with puffy celebrity profiles and enthusiastic review blurbs. Sometimes studio executives will suggest what kind of quotes they need, and even shape the reviews to suit the studio’s goals. If a studio wants its movie pegged as “This year’s ‘Alien’,” the reviewer delivers precisely that. No one complains, and bad movies end up with great quotes. The junket troops are a mostly anonymous crowd working for obscure outlets like Wireless Magazine and Inside Reel, which helps explain why nobody—even people within Sony and Revolution—noticed that Manning was a sham. MSNBC

Contacting the Congress is a very up-to-date database of congressional contact information for the 107th Congress. As of June 1,

2001 there are 509 email addresses (of which 201 are Web-based email homepages), and 535 WWW homepages known for

the 540 members of the 107th Congress. More traditional ground mail addresses are available for all Congressmembers.

Contacting the Congress has received many emails recently reporting that email addressed to Congressmembers is

bouncing back. It appears now that a recent study has confirmed what has been long suspected, Capitol Hill is ill-equipped for

email (the study refered to in the article is available online). This, combined with recent stories on problems with the Senate Email

Servers suggests that if your message is really important you should consider sending it via fax or phone (numbers

available here). It also suggests you should only mail your members of Congress, since spamming everyone in Congress just

contributes to this problem.”

My representative is one of the 31 who does not receive correspondence via an email address…

All-You-Can-Eat Economy is Making the World Sick, says the venerable Worldwatch Institute: “We’re eating more meat, drinking more coffee, popping more pills, driving further and getting fatter. Around the world we are consuming more than

ever before: but more than one billion people still don’t have access to safe water; natural disasters are taking a worsening toll; and we have yet to

vanquish some of the world’s biggest killers-diarrhea, malaria and AIDS-reports a new publication by the Worldwatch Institute, Vital Signs 2001: The

Trends That are Shaping Our Future

From Neat Net Tricks:

CONFIRM.TO. There is a little-known feature that hides an HTML tag

which in turn triggers a relay system to post a read receipt to the

sender. The tag is planted in Outlook Express 4.x and Netscape Messenger

4.0 or later (and possibly any email software that supports HTML message

browsing). The message can be sent on any email software by placing

“” in an address as: “” (without

the quotes). When addressed this way, an email relay system intercepts

the mail, plants the tag in the message, and then delivers it to the

recipient to which it is addressed. When the recipient displays the

message online, the html tag triggers the relay system to send a read

receipt to the sender. No software or download is required for this to

work. The relay is performed by Postel Services. The first 30 such

relays per month are free and no sign-up is required. Greater usage is

available for less than 2 cents per receipt by setting up an account at

their site, .