Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Fate of the 'Cole' bombing mastermind, fastballs and homers, Nicholson on 'Andy Griffith Show'

The bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000 killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Associated Press (2000)

The bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000 killed 17 U.S. sailors.

Fate of the 'Cole' mastermind

Why did President Obama pardon the master planner behind the bombing of the USS Cole?

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was not pardoned. The charges against him were dropped without prejudice by Judge Susan Crawford, the top legal authority for military trials at Guantánamo Bay, meaning new charges can be brought later. He remains in prison.

President Barack Obama's executive order mandates that Guantánamo's military proceedings be halted. Crawford's ruling gives the White House time to review the legal cases of all 245 terror suspects held at Guantánamo and to decide whether they should be prosecuted in the United States or released to other nations.

Seventeen U.S. sailors died on Oct. 12, 2000, when al-Qaida suicide bombers steered an explosives-laden boat into the Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, as it sat in a Yemen port. The Pentagon had planned to seek the death penalty against al-Nashiri, a Saudi.

Hitting a fastball over the fence

Now that baseball season is here, I once again heard that it is easier to hit a home run if the ball is pitched faster. Is that the case? If so, why are so many home runs hit during batting practice, when pitchers are throwing much more slowly?

Hit fastballs will go farther, much like a harder thrown ball will bounce farther off a wall than a softer thrown one, explained Yale physicist Robert K. Adair, author of the book The Physics of Baseball. Fastballs hit squarely will travel a few extra feet, so the effects of the speed of the pitch are rather small, he said.

The key phrase is "hit squarely." Fastballs aren't necessarily easier pitches to turn around into home runs. Hitting is all about timing, and a fastball can be hard to hit because of bat speed issues, Adair said.

Batting practice pitches in general are medium speed — not slow change-ups that could be hard to hit, nor blazing heaters, Adair said. Hitters in batting practice generally know what's coming because the idea is not to fool the hitter, but to allow him to fine-tune his timing — get in the proverbial groove. That makes it easier to hit homers.

They may not go quite as far as a 98 mph fastball that's hit squarely, but they go far enough.

Nicholson and Aunt Bee

I was watching an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in which Aunt Bee was on jury duty. I thought I saw a young Jack Nicholson appear briefly in a courtroom scene. Is that true?

As a matter of fact, Nicholson appeared twice on The Andy Griffith Show, as two different characters. One of them was indeed in the episode called "Aunt Bee, the Juror." You can even see a clip from his performance on YouTube.

Q&A: Fate of the 'Cole' bombing mastermind, fastballs and homers, Nicholson on 'Andy Griffith Show' 04/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, April 6, 2009 5:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Even with their losing streak extending to five the night before, Rays officials were continuing Tuesday on their same track in trade talks leading up to Monday's deadline seeking a proven reliever and a right-handed bat.

    Looking to buy.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, left, and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience Tuesday at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9.
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.