George Orwell – “Down the Mine”

An essay about coal mining:

When you go down a coal-mine it is important to try and get to the coal
face when the ‘fillers’ are at work. This is not easy, because when the
mine is working visitors are a nuisance and are not encouraged, but if
you go at any other time, it is possible to come away with a totally
wrong impression. On a Sunday, for instance, a mine seems almost
peaceful. The time to go there is when the machines are roaring and the
air is black with coal dust, and when you can actually see what the
miners have to do. At those times the place is like hell, or at any rate
like my own mental picture of hell. Most of the things one imagines in
hell are if there–heat, noise, confusion, darkness, foul air, and,
above all, unbearably cramped space. Everything except the fire, for
there is no fire down there except the feeble beams of Davy lamps and
electric torches which scarcely penetrate the clouds of coal dust.

(via Metafilter)

Munson on the Michael Vick Case

A terrific analysis by Lester Munson:

Vick and the government prosecutors will file papers that give the details of Vick’s admissions. The factual details in those papers will be critical. Will Vick admit that in March 2003, he helped Quanis Phillips, one of his co-defendants, hose down a losing dog and then electrocute it? Will he admit that he helped execute eight more dogs in 2004 and 2005, some by hanging, some by drowning and one by slamming it on the ground until it was dead? Will he admit that it was his money that was used in the purses and the side bets in the dogfights described by his cohorts? If he admits a personal role in the execution of dogs and a lead role in the gambling enterprise, he might never return to the NFL. Goodell and NFL officials will scrutinize these papers as they decide what should be done with Vick.

In addition to the details disclosed in the paperwork, watch next Monday for Judge Henry Hudson to set a date for Vick’s sentencing. In most federal courthouses, the sentencing comes at least several months after the guilty plea; but in the “rocket docket” procedures that prevail in Richmond, the sentencing will probably come more quickly, perhaps as early as October. Judge Hudson must also determine whether to sentence Vick’s co-defendants before he sentences Vick. Tony Taylor, the first of Vick’s cohorts to plead guilty and agree to testify against Vick, was to be sentenced on Dec. 14, after he testified at Vick’s trial (which had been set for late November). That scheduling was an obvious incentive for Taylor to testify effectively against Vick. But now, with Vick’s admission of guilt and the trial off the docket, Judge Hudson may move the date of Taylor’s sentencing up, and sentence all three of Vick’s co-defendants, including Quanis Phillips and Purnell Peace, before he sentences Vick. All three will be entitled to consideration for leniency because they admitted their guilt and promised to help the federal prosecutors in their case against Vick.

(via Metafilter)