Sunday, June 26, 2005

Embarrassing Governmental Decisions

"Terri Schiavo's case brought out the worst in many of our elected officials. Last March, after her husband, Michael Schiavo, won court permission to have her feeding tube removed, according to her expressed [sic] wishes, Congress held a ludicrous emergency session to pass a 'Terri Schiavo bill.'..." so begins an editorial from Saturday's Projo. But it is equally true that the Terri Schiavo case has likewise brought out the absolute worst in the MSM, this Projo editorial being among the many examples.

The Schiavo autopsy revealed that Terri Schiavo's brain had partially atrophied, and had shrunk in size. Did it make her any less human? Do we toss away those who are less than we are? Do we let a husband have complete say in her fate who obviously had conflicts of interest, and who somehow dogmatically convinced a judge that he knew what she wanted under the circumstances of her last days without a shred of written authority, while her parents and siblings, who had known her more of her life than he, had absolutely zero say about her fate.

The Projo points its spiny long finger at the US Senate and Senate Majority Leader Frist in particular. They say he grandstanded, and let the government do embarrassing things it should never had done in this case.

I must say, the government has done far more embarrassing things with less criticism from the Projo. Why take that stupid Kelo decision of the Supreme Court the other day. Why not rail against the liberals of the SCOTUS who voted along clear idealogical lines in that case? No, we have to praise the nut-husband of poor Terri Schiavo who vindictively cremated his wife, and buried her ashes in a grave with a marker: "I kept my promise."

That message tells us that it was not about poor Terri Schiavo, rather, it was about him, and that it was always about him.

Where is the editorial discernment of the Projo? Whither the MSM?

Friday, June 24, 2005

This Land Was My Land, This Land Was Your Land...

In a truly astonishing decision yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States took away the fundimental right of citizens to hold property. Sound extreme? Well, by ruling in a 5-4 opinion that a city government can take private property by eminent domain for economic development by another private entity, SCOTUS has effectively blown away the rights of the little guy to be secure in his home. Eminent domain has previously be used legitimately (although some would argue otherwise) for public projects such as interstate highways and public water supplies, but this action puts "economic development" in that category. Who's to determine what qualifies? The politicos, of course, at the urging of "development" lobbyists. With this landmark ruling, look for the power of the State to continue to expand over all property, not just the land you live on.

We apparently now will need a Constitutional Amendment to rectify this travesty. Start making a lot of noise about this now because Congress would rather push trivial amendments such as a ban on flag-burning than do something so vitally important.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Lion(s) of Judah??

From The Scotsman:

THREE lions rescued a 12-year-old girl kidnapped by men who wanted to force her into marriage, chasing off her abductors and guarding her until police and relatives tracked her down in a remote corner of Ethiopia, police said yesterday.

The men had held the girl for seven days, repeatedly beating her, before the lions scared them off and protected her for half a day before her family and police found her, police sergeant Wondimu Wedajo said.

"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," Sgt Wondimu said.

"If the lions had not come to her rescue then it could have been much worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force them to accept the marriage," he said. "Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people."

Stuart Williams, a wildlife expert with the country's rural development ministry, said that it was likely that the young girl was saved because she was crying from the trauma of her attack.

"A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a lion cub, which in turn could explain why they [the lions] didn't eat her," Mr Williams said. "Otherwise they probably would have done."

The girl, the youngest of four brothers and sisters, was "shocked and terrified" and had to be treated for the cuts from her beatings, Sgt Wondimu said.

He said that police had caught four of the men, but were still looking for three others.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Don't Close Gitmo

"So what if closing Gitmo lets hundreds of jihadists out of their prison cages and into their terror cells?" asks Diana West at Town Hall, while Tom Friedman at the NY Times and even Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard speculate on the advantages of releasing the hounds.

Friedman so boldly states,"Sure, a few may come back to haunt us."

"But," West replies somewhat sarcastically, "being haunted -- which presumably requires some additional number of American dead to do the haunting -- is apparently (??!!) a risk worth taking in order to win the war."

Oh really?

News That Won't Make the NY Times

The one secret you can be sure the MSM can keep is when a sound economic policy succeeds. Published in today's Opinion Journal from The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page is this report of the results of the 2003 dividend and capital gains tax rate cuts. The Laffer Curve is vindicated again, but don't expect the partisans on the wrong side to admit it. They will gladly accept the revenue (as will the spendthrift Republicans), but blame the President for it not being enough money and being as much as if he had raised the tax rates.

Will the Administration proclaim success and use these results to repeal the 2008 expiration date on the rate cuts? One can only hope it isn't so dim-witted that it throws away this sparkling opportunity.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Jeb Dukes it Out with the NY Times Over Schiavo

From Editor and Publisher:

NEW YORK A pitched battle has broken out between Gov. Jeb Bush and The New York Times--on the newspaper's editorial page.

Two days ago, the Times criticized the governor in an editorial called "Autopsy on the Schiavo Tragedy." While not naming Bush, it denounced "opportunistic politicians" who exploited the case. Today, the Times published a hard-hitting, critical letter from Jeb Bush--and another editorial attacking him.

Bush, in his letter, said that the Times' "grotesque and chilling disrespect for the sanctity of life has never been more apparent than in your June 16 editorial...Terri Schiavo was a deeply loved daughter, wife, sister and friend. The fact that her brain was atrophied or that she was blind or could not have been rehabilitated doesn't change that fact.

"While many medical professionals said she was in a persistent vegetative state, still other highly respected neurologists said there was a chance that she was not.

"In cases where patients do not have an expressed written directive regarding end-of-life decisions and where the patient's guardian has a conflict of interest, it only makes sense to err on the side of life....Despite claims of cynicism and being 'agenda-driven,' we will continue to strive to protect our most vulnerable citizens. All innocent human life is precious, and government has a duty to protect the weak, the disabled and the vulnerable."

While not directly responding to the letter, the Times published another editorial, which opened with:

"After Terri Schiavo was finally allowed to rest in peace on March 31, we hoped she would also have been granted in death what she surely would have wanted - an end to the bitterness that divided her family and made her private suffering a public spectacle....

"And so it was heartbreaking yesterday to see Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida thrust himself back into this tragedy just two days after the results of Ms. Schiavo's autopsy showed that her condition had been beyond hope and beyond therapy, that she most likely had been in a persistent vegetative state and that her relatives' allegations that she had been abused by her husband were false.

"For most of the nation, that news provided closure on a wrenching episode. But not for Mr. Bush, who asked a state prosecutor to investigate Michael Schiavo, Ms. Schiavo's husband. Mr. Bush said he wanted to clear up discrepancies in Mr. Schiavo's statements over the last 15 years about the time that elapsed between his finding his wife on the floor and his 911 call...

"Of all the politicians who tragically failed to understand and respect the sanctity and privacy of family life in this case, only Mr. Bush seems determined to save face by disturbing the family's peace further and berating those who had been saying all along that he was going down a terrible road."

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The Results of Terri Schiavo's Autopsy

While in Europe, a newsflash emerged on the results of Terri Schiavo's autopsy as if it set the record straight on things. It seems that Schiavo died of, pregnant pause, dehydration. Ta da!

Yeah, and?

Well apparently the autopsy also revealed that large sections of her brain had atrophied, and she was blind, with no chance of recovering from these conditions. The way these facts were reported, it's clear the MSM was trying to say: "so there!"

In reality, to me at least, it is a gross indictment of what the husband and judge had done to the poor woman. They deliberately forced her to die of thirst merely because she had gross disabilities from which she could never recover. The media discusses this matter of factly like that IS the justification for her outright murder right under the eyes of a disbelieving public.

To that I say, these results all the more reveal the overt travesty of justice in this matter. And it is a warning shot over the bow of those who care for disabled people everywhere.

Liberal Blogs are Overtaking Conservative Blogs

From Jonathan Last on a recent revelation of the state of the blogosphere:

There was a time, not so long ago, that the Internet was a conservative playground. Conservative blogs and websites ruled the roost and you had to look hard to find a liberal site of any stature. All that has changed. Liberal blogger Chris Bowers performed an interesting and thoughtful
evaluation of the state of the blogosphere recently. He found that, of the top 200 blogs devoted to politics, 113 were conservative and 87 were liberal. Yet despite that numerical imbalance, the liberal blogs accumulated some 10 million page views per week, while the conservative blogs only attracted 6 million page views. Clearly, something is going on.

The trend Bowers identifies has been developing for about 20 months, by his estimate. What to make of it? Bowers has a theory:

Community moderated blogging platforms such as Scoop have provided us with an excellent means of finding new voices, and these are the voices that are generating the accelerated growth in the liberal and progressive blogosphere . . .

By comparison, right-wing blogs have pretty much only one means of finding a new voice in the blogosphere: when someone starts a new blog. The inability to operate within a community must be the primary reason behind the large number of conservative blogs. . . . There are swarms of new conservative voices looking to breakout in the right-wing blogosphere, but they are not even allowed to comment, much less post a diary and gain a following, on the high traffic conservative blogs. Instead, without any fanfare, they are forced to start their own blogs. However, because of the top-down nature of right-wing blogs, new conservative blogs remain almost entirely dependent upon the untouchable high traffic blogs for visitors. In short, the anti-community nature of right-wing blogs has resulted in a stagnant aristocracy within the conservative blogosphere that prevents the emergence of new voices and, as a result, new reasons for people to visit conservative blogs.

Unless right-wing blogs decide to open up and allow their readers to have a greater voice, I expect that the liberal and progressive blogosphere will continue its unbroken twenty-month rise in relative traffic. Conservative bloggers continue to act as though they are simply a supplement to the existing pundit class, without any need to converse with those operating outside of a small social bubble or any need to engage people within the new structure of the public sphere. In the formulation of Stirling Newberry, they view themselves existing on top of a pyramid rather than in the middle of a sphere.

It's fascinating stuff--and at least partly true. One of the interesting aspects of the conservative blog evolution has been watching the eagerness of most conservative bloggers to join the mainstream media they spend much of their time criticizing. In some ways, you might say that conservative bloggers have merely built a parallel version of the traditional liberal editorial page, while liberal bloggers are engaged in a different project with no obvious analogue.

Is this dichotomy important? Hard to say. It has long been noted that liberal blogs act like a swarm, while conservative blogs act as a heard. So on the one hand, the liberal blogosphere could be on the verge of evolving into something new and important.

On the other hand, it could well be that the liberal temperament is more predisposed to blog-reading than the conservative temperament is in the same way that, for instance, modern American liberalism is more predisposed to public protesting than modern American conservatism is.

The size and number of public protests, of course, means very little. In the 1990s, there were relatively few liberal protest movements, but Bill Clinton was winning elections. Since 2000, there have been an enormous, impressive protest movement by liberals--yet they've been shellacked at the polls.

So while it's too soon to tell for certain, it's certainly worth keeping an eye on the world of web politics.

Mordant le Nez au Dépit le Visage

My silence over the past week was caused, in part, by my being in Paris, enjoying the Air Show at Le Bourget on the outskirts of the City of Lights.

First I had to contend with the International version of CNN, where it is evident that the US should be bound and gagged and tossed into the nearest deep ocean with cement shoes. There is not a single thing the American government does right. I should have blogged from there every day just to complain about each entre served up by the English speaking MSM, but I was just awestruck, mouth agaping, at the insolence of it all, and too busy to write.

Secondly: the race between Boeing and Airbus. Every day there was an announcement about who was receiving orders from whichever outback of Africa, Asia or Europe, and it was evident the cards were stacked very favorably towards Airbus.

Today, the AP has a piece on the closing days of the Show on Airbus' evident victory in the orders race, and the battle between the US and Europe over who's receiving too much in the form of subsidies from their respective governments.

Subsidies eventually end in Amtrak like free falls. At least Boeing's origins were free market based despite the forms of help it may be getting today on taxpayers backs. But Airbus, as seemngly successful as it is today, has its very roots in government engineered economics, and is undoubtedly subject to an Amtrak like head on crash somewhere down the track.

Though Europe looks down on America as one to show up in any way they can,
les snobs effete de l'Europe veulent un jour voient la lumière. Though they love to poke fun at Americans, the European MSM will one day look in the mirror to see the missing nose of it's bitten face.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Jude Wanniski former advisor to President Reagan and coiner to the term "Supply-side Economics" reminds us that today is the 75th anniversary of the Smoot-Hawley Tarrif Act being signed into law by President Hoover.

On June 13, the Senate approves by two votes the measure to increase tariffs on more than 1,000 items and sends the bill to Hoover. On this news, the stock market breaks 14 points to 230, precisely where it was on the bottom on Black Tuesday, October 29. Hoover signs the bill [June 17] and stocks tumble again. The market slide does not end until Franklin Roosevelt, a tariff foe, is nominated by the Democrats in 1932.

Wanniski is the only person to adequately explain the cause of the Great Depression and, of course, is ignored or insulted by all of the demand-side economists who can't explain it except by invoking "bubbles" and "speculation."

Read his explanation at the
link above and meditate on the sense it makes.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Linc Chafee Does it Again

Power Line is reporting the confirmation of Judge William Pryor by a vote of 53-45. Three Republicans defected -- Senators Collins, Snowe, and [RI's own Linc] Chafee.

This will endear him to whom exactly? Not the Democrats. They're out to replace him with Sheldon Whitehouse or Matt Brown. And Republicans? Well, I guess there may be a few RI Republicans who would oppose Pryor, but I don't think his confirmation is a big deal to the vast majority of RI Republicans. So what gives with this guy? Is there a strategy to his being all over the map? Or is he just all over the map because he's confused with life?

One thing we can count on. Senator Chafee will be "former Senator Chafee" in approximately 17 months.

Save this Poor Man -- Redux

Peggy Noonan has a good take on the hyperbolic language of the leadership of the Democratic Party here
and what it means to the Country.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Is Janice Rogers Brown "a good pick?"

I have a theory. Mainstream liberals are moving away from the MSM, and toward the internet, but not so much toward the blogosphere.

MSNBC has just posted a news flash on the confirmation of Janice Rogers Brown to the Federal Court position for which she's patiently waited a preposterous 2 years for an up or down vote. This is a highly qualified candidate with an excellent judicial record. MSNBC asks is she "a good pick?" whatever that means. At the time of my post about 3,800 people had voted. At the time of this post, the vote is 58% no, 33% yes. How could the vote be so absurdly skewed, and so soon?

By the way, you can cast your vote here: Live vote: Is Brown a good choice? - Politics -

So if the MSM (TV and print media) are seeing an exodus, are those whose heads are comprised of solid bone moving to the internet to get their news fix? And if they are, are they perusing MSNBC (and CNN for that matter) and leaving the blogosphere to us right wing nuts?

Though there are some really excellent politically liberal blogs, it could mean that the blogosphere will be predominantly populated by those opposed to the liberal mainstream, regardless of the medium.

Can't someone please save this poor man?

Howard Dean continues his downward spiral, the same one that started during his failed presidential campaign. He has even succeeded in turning even the most liberal of democratic senators against him, as they distance himself from his comments. In his latest tirade, he states that "Republicans are "not very friendly to different kinds of people, they are a pretty monolithic party ... it's pretty much a white, Christian party."

Of course, GOP chairman Ken Mehlman is one of those who might disagree - "a lot of folks who attended my Bar Mitzvah would be surprised" he heads a Christian party."

All of this name calling and negative slander continues to turn mainstream America off from the Democratic party, as it becomes more and more apparent that it has become a party of extremists, that does not represent mainstream American values.

It is probably too late to save Howard Dean - at this point, nothing short of a lobotomy is going to pull him back into line with the citizens of this country. There are many democrats that are very afraid that they may be going down the drain with him, and are swimming their hardest to get away from the suction.

My Guy is Smarter than Your Guy

Well, it turns out President Bush is marginally smarter than his opponent in the last election, Senator Kerry, if you measure by a final grade at Yale University of 77 compared to Kerry's 76, as reported in the Boston Globe yesterday.

Now, some may make a lot of this especially since Kerry and his supporters were so eager to paint him as an intellectual and Bush as an ignorant goof-off. What I'm more concerned about is that the American people only get to choose between two lame C-students for the most important job in the world! Of course, that was long ago when they were both young and foolish and college grades don't tell everything about a person. Brilliant people don't necessarily make good leaders, either, but c'mon, we should be getting better quality candidates than this. I say we raise the standard to B- for the next election.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Is the Euro in for a Fall?

Two brief articles today in the blogosphere regarding the strength of the Euro: one from The Captain, and another at Power Line. Both make the point that in the aftermath of the rejection of a European Union constitution, that the stronger economic countries are looking to their own currencies, since the weaker European countries have been essentially taking advantage. The result may be a sudden move back to original currencies and a flattening of the Euro.

This could cause a demand for good ol' US dollars. Who knows, maybe one could even afford a vacation to Europe, perhaps, this time next year?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

And Now We Face a New and Improved Version of the Schiavo Case

I came across this story in the print media media, though it is available online at the Daily Standard. It is the story of an English gentleman, Leslie Burke, who is plagued with a rather strange and dangerous ailment, one that will likely place him, one day, in nearly the same vulnerable position as Terri Schiavo vis-a-vis the governing authorities. But to preempt the state, he's taken some measures, only the state is fighting back. Here are some excerpts from Wesley Smith's article in the Weekly Standard:

THE MOST IMPORTANT BIOETHICS LITIGATION in the world today involves a 45-year-old Englishman, Leslie Burke. He isn't asking for very much. Burke has a progressive neurological disease that may one day deprive him of the ability to swallow. If that happens, Burke wants to receive food and water through a tube. Knowing that Britain's National Health Service (NHS) rations care, Burke sued to ensure that he will not be forced to endure death by dehydration against his wishes.

Burke's lawsuit is even more important to the future of medical ethics than was the Terri Schiavo case. Schiavo was dehydrated to death--a bitter and profound injustice--because Judge George W. Greer ruled both that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and (based on statements she allegedly made during casual conversations some 20 years ago) that she would not want to live under such circumstances. In other words, Terri Schiavo lost her life in order to safeguard her personal autonomy, though she never made the actual decision to die.

But Burke, who is fully competent, worries that his wishes will be ignored precisely because he wants food and water even if he becomes totally paralyzed. Receiving food and water when it is wanted certainly seems the least each of us should be able to expect. But, it turns out, whether Burke lives or dies by dehydration may not be up to him. According to National Health Service treatment guidelines, doctors, rather than patients or their families, have the final say about providing or withholding care....

...In support of the government's position, the secretary of state filed a statement by Elizabeth Woodeson, the head of scientific development and bioethics at the Department of Health. Her testimony demonstrates the threat that contemporary bioethics poses to the lives of vulnerable patients. As Woodeson explained, the National Health Service established the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (given the creepily inappropriate acronym NICE) to issue "clinical guidelines" that blend efficacy of outcomes, quality of life judgments, and economics:

An assessment is made of the cost of the treatment per additional year of life which it brings, and per quality adjusted life year (QALY) . . . which takes into consideration the quality of life of the patient during any additional time for which their life will be prolonged. The clinical and cost effectiveness of the treatment under review is then used as the basis for a recommendation as to whether or not . . . the treatment should be provided in the NHS. . . . The Secretary of State believes that . . . clinicians should be able to follow NICE guidelines without being obliged to accede to patient demands. . . . If that principle were undermined, there would be considerable risk of inefficient use of NHS resources.
...In this darkening atmosphere, the Leslie Burke case could not be more important. If Burke loses on appeal, patients in Britain will be stripped of the basic human right to receive food and water through a feeding tube. Such a ruling should send a cold shiver through disabled, elderly, and dying patients everywhere.

Moreover, given the increasing propensity of some Supreme Court justices to look overseas when deciding issues of American law, a Burke loss could plausibly end up reinforcing futile care laws in this country. There will undoubtedly be protracted litigation on this issue in coming years. How Leslie Burke fares may determine whether futile care theory is allowed to metamorphose from ad hoc health care rationing into an explicit--and expanding--duty to die.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

How Colson Felt

I heard that Chuck Colson, who is on my list of one of best people still standing on the earth, was going to comment on the unveiling of Deep Throat today on NBC's Today show, but unfortunately I missed it. The link to the blip is here via MSNBC, but it is not popping up for me. Don't know if it's me or MSNBC. But I heard he was pretty good. This is from Hugh Hewitt:

"'When any president has to worry whether the deputy director of the FBI is sneaking around in dark corridors peddling information in the middle of the night, he's in trouble,' said Colson, who founded Prison Fellowship Ministries after leaving jail. 'There were times when I should have blown the whistle, so I understand his feelings. But I cannot approve of his methods.'"

People who were young adults at that time, and who read or watched
All the President's Men will vividily remember the drama. I was thinking when we would learn about who the real Deep Throat was, we'd all be stammering in disbelief, but this kind of fizzled for me.

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