Man knows not his time
A forgotten hero of the cold war died on July 19, according to the UK's Sunday Telegraph. Born in 1936, Alexander Ginzburg worked as a journalist, theatrical producer, and lathe operator and became one of the Soviet Union's most prominent dissenters. He was the father of samizdat, the art of producing secret, self-published magazines. He battled Soviet authorities throughout the 1960s and 1970s and was imprisoned for five years. Mr. Ginzburg was eventually exiled to the United States, in a prisoner exchange. He worked for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and maintained a fund that used royalties from Solzhenitsyn's book The Gulag Archipelago to help political prisoners. He was also part of a group investigating Soviet compliance with the Helsinki accords, a 1975 human-rights agreement. Mr. Ginzburg settled in Paris and continued working for the dissident cause. His wife Irina, who had supported his efforts even while he was imprisoned, survives him, along with their two sons.
A cool invention turns 100
Dallas, 97°; Boise, 98°; Phoenix, 103°; Denver, 96°; Wichita, 94°. This summer marks the centennial of one of history's most important inventions-air conditioning. Back in 1902, Willis Haviland Carrier invented a system to cool, clean, and dry air. His idea was originally designed to cool the ink in printing presses. Carrier figured out that he could cool air by blowing it through coils full of cold water. For decades, the invention was little used except as a luxury or a curiosity. As late as 1960, only 12 percent of the nation's homes were air-conditioned. But once it caught on, it spread fast. Some complain that air conditioning stripped America of some cultural charm. Carrier's invention has brought people indoors, away from their old porches and closer to the TV set. Downtowns have sprung upward with giant skyscrapers sealed in glass largely to protect the artificial climate inside. Still, few doubt-especially those in the sweltering cities listed-that air conditioning has saved lives, protecting people from dangerous heat waves.
It's back to business for Florida abortionist James Pendergraft. An appeals court last month overturned his conviction for extortion, mail fraud, and conspiracy, although a business associate's perjury conviction still stands. Dr. Pendergraft's run-in with the law began when he sued the Marion County government, claiming it wasn't doing enough to protect one of his clinics from protesters. County officials considered the suit part of an extortion plot: that Dr. Pendergraft and his real estate advisor, Michael Spielvogel, expected them to pay the pair to close up shop. Soon the doctor became the defendant. Prosecutors claimed Dr. Pendergraft and Mr. Spielvogel concocted a web of lies in an attempt to extort millions of dollars from the county, and both were convicted and sentenced to over three years in prison. Dr. Pendergraft appealed, and a three-judge panel ruled that his original lawsuit was not sufficient to merit an extortion charge. Yet the panel upheld a perjury conviction against Mr. Spielvogel for falsely telling the FBI that the chairman of the Marion County Board of Commissioners had threatened violence against Dr. Pendergraft's clinic. Dr. Pendergraft seems anxious to put the matter behind him and resume terminating unborn children. "I'm just looking forward to getting back to work," he told the Ocala Star-Banner.