Perot ally signs up with Judicial Watch

The online community debates who should be allowed to watch Timothy McVeigh die.

By Anthony York
Published April 19, 2001 5:43PM (EDT)

Big Buzz

Just days after announcing his resignation as Ross Perot's political advisor, Russ Verney has landed a new job -- at Judicial Watch. Verney's announcement signals the official end of Ross Perot's political career, and yet another ripple from the wave caused by the Reform Party, which Verney helped found with Perot in the mid-1990s.

"Russ Verney's expertise in grassroots organizing, campaign finance, and in the too often corrupt federal elections process will make him an invaluable asset to Judicial Watch," stated Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman in a press release Thursday. "Judicial Watch believes in reforming the system by holding corrupt politicians, lawyers, and judges accountable. Russ Verney is obviously an expert in reform and he will be a key partner in our legal and other battles."

The folks at the Free Republic seemed unmoved by the pronounced death of the Reform Party. "Buh Bye," writes one poster. "It was a party of kooks anyway."


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The Onion: "Accountants Pack Times Square for Fiscal New Year"

Anger management

On this, the sixth anniversary of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, a judge has ruled that a private company may not show the execution of Timothy McVeigh over the Internet.

The webcast debate is the latest in an ongoing discussion over how public McVeigh's execution should be. Attorney General John Ashcroft is allowing family members of the bombing victims to watch the execution via closed-circuit television. The online community has some thoughts of its own.

The most vigilant supporters of a public execution are found on Table Talk.

"If this is what is needed for some of the victims and victims' families to have closure, then I see no problem with this. It's fairly common for victims' families, the press, and certain law enforcement officials to attend executions. In this case there just happens to be a very large number of victims, perhaps the largest number from one crime in this country's history."

"If the execution of Tim McVeigh is going to make all of the victims' families feel so much better, then the rest of the USA should get to watch too, so that they can feel better too," writes another Table Talker. "After all, the USA taxpayers are paying for this. We should be allowed to watch too."

But not all Talkers are in favor. "It's a fitting, Christian end to McVeigh," writes one, tongue planted firmly in cheek. "He must be punished publicly, as Jesus commanded, when he ordered 'Let he without sin cast the first stone.' True Christian Patriots like Ashcroft are without sin, so the public stoning should be fun to watch -- and Jesus approves!

Folks at were not convinced. "Do you really want such barbaric entertainment? A death sentence should be carried out quietly without any publicity. Why give the killer with no conscience a circus so he can laugh at everyone. Remember he asked for this and hopes to prove that everyone is a killer at heart."

Ditto at the Free Republic. "This request is just plain wrong: I don't mind victims' families being able to witness McVeigh's death. They might need this for closure. But paying to watch an execution by injection would be like an advertisement for euthanasia. This kind of death is what we give our beloved pets when we want to put them out of their misery. Besides, this stage would be irresistible to McVeigh, allowing him to make final comments to the country at large, hurtful to the families, and he might even use it to encourage others who share his criminal solution to the problems we face. Just imagine his pleasure at going to his death like Mr. Macho Macho Man.

"This McVeigh killing only extends and compounds the tragedy. It is sickening to watch as the victims of Oklahoma City gleefully wait to see the McVeigh death."

But one Table Talker says the McVeigh execution provides at least one golden opportunity. "I'm more than sure there's a Fox executive out there plotting how to get the rights to televise executions and win the network ratings war for the slot opposite 'Survivor.'"

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Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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