Reading Thor Halvorssen’s piece in the Washington Post on Hugo Chávez and his fascination with South American hero Simón Bolivar, one begins to wonder just exactly how crazy the  Venezuelan president really is.

The question arises not only from Chávez’s antics at the July 16 the exhumation of Bolivar’s remains - which included pulling the skeleton apart, Chávez giving a rambling speech in which he “asked Christ to repeat his Lazarus miracle and raise the dead once more,” and the dictator apparently also conversing with Bolívar’s bones, the Post reported.

What’s perhaps more indicative of Chávez’s instability is the fact that he has identified himself so closely with Latin America’s greatest independence hero, who helped liberate the region from Spain in the 19th century.

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Slate magazine takes time to answer the question that’s befuddled many a westerner: What’s the standard operating proceedure in Iran for a stoning, you know, the kind where the guilty party is put to death?

It’s relatively simple and, not surprisingly, brutal:

First, you get buried. Iran’s Islamic Penal Code states that men convicted of adultery are to be buried in the ground up to their waists; women, up to their chests. If the conviction is based on the prisoner’s confession, the law says, the presiding judge casts the first stone. If the conviction is based on witness testimony, the witnesses throw the first stones, then the judge, then everyone else—generally other court officials and security forces. Stones must be of medium size, according to the penal code: Not so big that one or two could kill the person, but not so small that you would call it a pebble. In other words, about the size of a tangerine. The whole process takes less than an hour.

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