Daily Office: Wednesday


¶ Matins: The Nation, Thailand’s English-language newspaper, runs a Web site that holds its own as a contemporary news site. Here, for example, is the page of business leaders. It’s better than what one might expect of a South Asian kingdom where English is not really the second language that it is in, say, India.

And here is its capsule report of the king’s exhortation to the newly sworn-in government of Abhisit Vejjajiva. Did I say “capsule”? It’s the entire story. No comment, no color, no links to related stories. Just the royal admonition. I give it entire:

In his speech given before Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Cabinet, HM the King said: “If you work well, the country will be in good order and it will be a blessing. If you can ensure happiness and public order, the country will go ahead as wished by all Thais.”

¶ Tierce: The shooting death of a police officer is always a hot-button crime, so it’s especially heartening to see juries pulling back from felony murder convictions in connection with the deaths of Daniel Enchautegui and Russel Timoshenko, two policemen who were shot last year while trying to deter criminal activity. The doctrine of felony murder, which holds individuals to be guilty of any murder committed in the course of a crime to which they are accessories, is a blot on our system of justice.

¶ Sext: Read about the Ultimate Paper Airplane, at Brainiac. It is rocket science!


§ Matins. Brevity is the soul of prudence, at least in a country where the crime of lèse-majesté is punished very seriously.

If you’re going to have a king at all, then of course you want him to be given special treatment. At the same time, you musn’t forget that he is still a mere mortal, subject to the same accidents and contingencies as the rest of us, and therefore just as prone to burp on occasion. The present unrest in Thailand appears to owe — paradoxically to Western minds, perhaps — to a local unwillingness to recognize the monarch’s humanity, in all the senses of that word. The royal family could do worse than appraise the achievement of Elizabeth II. If anyone threw a pair of shoes at her, he (or she) would never mak it out of the room in one piece.

§ Tierce. The classic felony-murder defendant is the driver of a getaway car, not present during the killing and conceivably unaware of it.

According to Kareem Fahim’s report, at least three states — Hawaii, Kentucky, and Michigan — have abolished this barbaric polyp of vicarious liability.

Everybody in the following paragraph needs to spend some time in serious ethical rehab:

Public officials and relatives of the police officers expressed frustration and anger. The mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, captured some of the feelings about the Brancato verdict on Tuesday. “It’s just beyond me,” he said, “how the jury could come to that conclusion.”

§ Sext. Imagine how much these babies will worth if they do make it through the atmosphere and onto more or less dry land. Somehow, though, having tested the paper to a mere 400º doesn’t seem quite serious. Hasn’t anyone read or seen Fahrenheit 451?