< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://pointprogression.powerblogs.com" /> < link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://pointprogression.powerblogs.com" /> Point Progression: April 2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Update: Freezer Mom died "naturally"

It looks like Philip Schuth's mom died of natural causes, most likely kidney or heart failure.

He's still a loon though.

Overstep

The federal House of Representatives passed H.R. 748 - The Child Interstate Notification Act today by a vote of 270-157, in yet another move to block access to perfectly legal abortion services. Legal Fiction has a chilling fictional piece that could very soon mirror actual events:

At trial, the defense attorneys pointed out that the father had, on occasion, physically abused his daughters when he lost his temper and had repeatedly warned them about becoming pregnant. “I was just so scared for her,” Jane testified with a wavering voice, “I wanted her to go to college like I did.” Jane added that her father would never have paid for her sister’s education if he discovered that she was pregnant. “I didn’t want to break the law, I just wanted to help my little sister.”

Dr. Smith was less contrite. “I did it, and I’d do it again,” he noted calmly as he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. “This is the United States, not Saudi Arabia. And I don’t think it’s right for the state to force themselves into people’s private lives in the name of one group of people’s religious views. The government is sending me to jail for serving the needs of my patient.”
Read the rest here.

Here's the deal

I've converted my blog into the fabled "three tier format". I have also clarified the permalink location and added a trackback feature courtesy of Haloscan. I will be making additional heavy modifications for some time as I get used to the world of blogging, and I will continue to tweat the site in minor ways quite possibly forever, as I see fit. By the way... hope you approve of the change.

Extremism, but by who?

"James Trussell, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, has estimated that, if emergency contraceptives were widely available in this country, they could reduce the approximately 1.3 million abortions that take place yearly in this country by half. If a culture of life is so sacrosanct, shouldn't that trump the issue of premarital sex?"

"According to Trussell, who studied statistics from 1998, about 22,000 of the 25,000 women who became pregnant from rape could have prevented pregnancy with emergency contraception."
Consider those two statements for a second. Ok, done? Then maybe you can tell me why it is people in favor of making Plan B a behind-the-counter medicine to women over 16 are considered the extremists.

According to The New Republic Online "the FDA's own scientific advisory panel endorsed the application by a vote of 23 to four", but opponents have still managed to block this measure so far. I'm at a loss, or is the pro-life movement’s stance on when life begins and the immorality of premarital sex so strong that they would block efforts that would, in the end, greatly help their cause. Reducing unwanted pregnancies in half and nearly eliminating rape-causal pregnancy sure seems to be worth some compromise, but then I guess I'm naive.

Sans gas?

The California Cars Initiative (CalCars) has developed a modification kit the Toyota Prius that, by beefing up the battery capacity and allowing it to be plugged into the grid for charging, makes the daily commute (up to 30 miles total, roughly) possible without the use of gas. Anything longer activates the gasoline engine, but I think the idea of a daily commute without fumes rushing through my car while in gridlock is a great idea. Now I've just got to get a Prius...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

End in sight?

According to chrisale at Murky View we may be seeing the peak of oil production by as early as next year. What that will mean for tensions between the west and developing eastern countries such as India and China as they vie for our standard of living, and thus access to the oil we depend on, remains to be seen. Either way I'm not looking forward to what this portends for the years ahead.

Stiff as a board

Republican leader Bill Frist said on Tuesday that he "isn't interested in any deal that fails to ensure Senate confirmation for all of President Bush's judicial nominees.", further backing himself into the corner of inflexibility. In the words of the Daily Kos, "Reid just engaged Frist in a game of chicken, and Frist blinked first.". It will be intersting to see how Frist digs himself out of this one, having so far labeled the democrats as being the "obstructionists" in this fight.

Feingold's da man

Just as every son thinks he has the worlds greatest father I think I might e lucky enough to have the best senator currently serving. Read Senator Feingold's speech here and you'll understand why.

Hell, if the guy wanted to be president I'd support him; he's got more backbone than any 3 other senators except McCain, in my mind.

His ability to ignore partisan politics and not vote to throw out the Clinton impeachment trial until he heard all the facts and then vote against both counts of impeachment afterwards shows he can buck the party line, just as his lone vote against the Patriot Act shows he's hard to intimidate. He's what I like to consider myself, an independent moderate progressive, what's not to like?

Any anyone that wins by a 12% margin in his most recent election definitely has the support of his home state. What did Bush have nationally? Oh yeah, 1%.

How dare he!

It seems House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is behind the times. Anyone who believes that supreme court judges can't cite or consider international law/precident as part of a persuasive argument in support of their opinion needs a refresher course on judicial law.

"Absolutely. We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's just outrageous," DeLay told Fox News Radio.
But it get's better. It seems that using the internet to do research, as we all do for our blog stories, is a big NO NO. Why do I say that? Because of the second half of Delay's quote:

"And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."
Am I the only person who thinks Delay's just being an ass by thinking Justice Kennedy has done anything wrong by doing his own research. The internet is a tool specifically made for this type of thing, I'm glad to see we've got at least one judge who won't completely rely on his underlings.

Freedom

"You're born absolutely free except laws of nature. If you drink too much you'll get drunk, that's a law. If you get old you die, that's a law...these are the only laws you're born with and any government just fucks you out of that type of freedom...You're not free. You need a diploma in this country to cut hair. They say if you give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. But if you teach a man to fish...then he has to get a fishing license. But he doesn't have any money, so he has to get a job and enter the social security system. And he has to file taxes, and you're gonna audit the poor son of a bitch because he's not really good at math. You pull the IRS van up to his house and take everything. You take his velvet Elvis and his toothbrush and his penis pump and that all goes up for auction with the burden of proof on you because you forgot to carry the 1. All because you wanted to eat a fish, and you couldn't even cook the fish because you need a permit for an open flame. And then the health department is gonna wanna ask you a bunch of questions about where you're going to dispose of the scales and the guts. This is not a sanitary environment. And ladies and gentleman, if you get sick and tired of it at the end of the day, it's not even legal to kill yourself in this country. You were born free and you got fucked out of half of it, and you wave a flag celebrating that fact...If you wanna fix the pledge of allegiance, put a disclaimer at the end: With liberty and justice for all...must be 18, void where prohibited, some restrictions may apply, not available in all states."
~~Doug Stanhope


Thanks to Ed from Dispatches from the Culture Wars for this excellent humor post. I just had to reproduce it here.

Guy freezes mom in my backyard

Ok, so not literally in my backyard, but he might as well have. I can take a five minute car ride from my home and park right outside of 1330 Bainbridge St., the (former) home of Philip Schuth, a deranged guy responsible for the last three days paper headlines in my quite neck of the woods.

It seems that Mr. Schuth, who everyone thought was such a nice fellow, decided to deck a kid passing by on a bicycle and then steal the bike. Yeah, I know, just plain stupid. He then shot the father twice when confronted about what he did, and a police standoff ensued.

Here's where things get really weird. It seems he's had his mom on ice, literally, for the last 4 and a half years while he continued to collect her social security checks. I guess he hasn't had a full time job in years...

Not only that, but he had 16 handguns (15 of which were loaded), and homemade explosives and booby traps set up throughout the house. He also had $10,000 in cash in the home and $25,000 in a joint checking account with his (deceased) mother.

The police believe his story about fearing prosecution as his reason for not reporting his mother’s death, but I have my doubts. As for last weeks events, he's looking at a variety of charges including attempted homicide and two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment in connection with Friday's shooting. And three counts of possession of improvised explosive devices, concealing a corpse and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

Me, I say the guys a loon no matter what they end up charging him with.

Future Headline: Teacher sued by former student for lecture on evolution

And you thought I was joking...

It seems like [Rep. Dennis] Baxley [R-Ocala] has a handy way of dealing with all those nasty liberal professors spouting unfounded ideas in Florida college classrooms and harassing students who disagree. Let them sue the bastards.

In a bill titled, ironically, the "Academic Freedom Bill of Rights", Baxley has proposed that:

"Students have a right to expect that their academic freedom and the quality of their education will not be infringed upon by instructors who persistently introduce controversial matter into the classroom or coursework that has no relation to the subject of study and serves no legitimate pedagogical purpose."
He doesn't go on to explain what a "legitimate pedagogical purpose" would be, or to define what exactly is controversial, assumingly so it would be a fair playing field. We wouldn't want to infringe on the rights of students to claim that the holocaust never happened, after all. In a sharply worded rebuke to the insanity this bill would allow [Rep. Dan] Gelber [D-Miami Beach] states:

"Similar suits could be filed by students who don’t believe astronauts landed on the moon, who believe teaching birth control is a sin or even by [University of Florida] medical students who refuse to perform blood transfusions and believe prayer is the only way to heal the body"
Scientific inquiry and advancement is a conservative process by nature. If an idea is well founded and supported by the evidence it gains acceptance, eventually becoming a standard part of scientific teaching curricula. Quantum physics, gravity, germ theory, evolution, take your pick from the hundreds of other once unbelievable notions. All have withstood the tests (literally) of time, and all are now understood by scientists and science professors as valid subjects for a classroom setting.

Creationism... that's a whole new ball-game, with hundreds of players all vying for their chance to preach on the soapbox. But if you're talking more specifically of Intelligent Design [ID], as Baxler obviously is with this bill, you get into the more sticky area of proving it. And many in the scientific community feel as Paul Z. Myers, associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota-Morris, does:

"Intelligent Design (ID) has failed to meet even the minimal standards of evidence and scholarship we should expect of the science we teach our children. Teaching it steals time from more vital subjects in which our kids should be grounded.

Science is a conservative process. Most college-level introductory textbooks contain only material that has stood the test of time and has been confirmed independently. ID proponents have not only failed to provide any evidence for their thesis, they aren't even trying. There are no labs doing research on this subject; all the papers the Discovery Institute has tried to publish are exercises in spin, in which they try to distort biology researchers' work to fit their preconceptions. With no established body of results, no current work, and no promising prospects for future research, why should ID be supported? It's a dead end. It is absurd to propose that our kids learn about a subject that no legitimate scientists are pursuing and that has no utility."
So to use the same quote Baxley does by Thomas Jefferson, "We are not afraid to truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." Allowing students to sue teachers for singling them out to make them explain an unfounded idea and learn the proper one, or allowing ideological extremists and courts to decide which parts of the worlds scientific knowledge are acceptable as truth, fails to combat error.

This bill is a horrendous idea, a shoddy attempt to impose political pressure on professors simply doing their job, and simple bad taste. I hope it goes down in flames as it should.

So simple...

Democrats are the party for people who work for a living.
Such an obvious fact, but one often not considered.

They're only building blocks

When it comes to genetically engineered foods I find it humorous to listen to opponents claim that we're somehow "playing god" by inserting the genetic code from one species into another. The latest flap involves the fact that scientists are finding that sometimes human DNA makes good source material. Anyone familiar with programming or construction understands the concept of modules. They're nothing more than prepackages devices with useful functions to be plugged in as and where needed. In my mind that's all genetics is, a combination of DNA modules which, when taken as a whole, results in a specific species or individual.

Just as eating tomatoes with catfish genes won't leave a fishy aftertaste eating GM rice with a human gene (in this case a digestive liver gene, quite useful) won't leave anyone wondering if they just munched on Uncle Chester’s liver. Hell if they didn't know beforehand I doubt they'd ever suspect. So all this uproar over “Frankenstein foods” is nothing but ignorance in action, worthy of contempt by any with a mind to think.

Why I like graphs

Click here for a full-scale image

Few things can show something as convincingly as a good graph. Maybe people will sit up and listen to this one before they claim GW is God's gift to America...

Monday, April 25, 2005

A word to the wise...

And to the rest of us.

Since I'm apparently no longer venting into empty space just to hear my own "voice" I'd just like to go on record as saying that yes, you may find grammatical and typographic errors on this site. At times you might find a great number, I have an annoying habit of not noticing an error until after I've posted and then come back the next day to review. I also constantly upgrade the sites blogroll as I discover new sources, and I may alter the layout from time to time.

So basically don't expect me to be perfect, or static, because I'm not very good at either. Other than that enjoy, have a good day, and don't get spit on by any camels...

A post worth reading

Jack over at Random Fate recently wrote a post title "Sadness" that I think everyone should read. It goes a long way to show that there really are gems to be found in this ever-expanding sea of information.

Human connections are tenuous at best, a thin web that can tear even despite the best efforts at preservation. ~~Jack

Next on the docket... doing time for "maternal fraud"?

Bolton's aggressive and abusive behavior shouldn't come as a surprise anymore, but just when I've decided I know the facts one more pops up... and boy is it a whopper. Apparently Bolton thought that enough was enough (as he seems to frequently do) when Joan Bernott, a 10-year Justice Department veteran, requested maternity leave on her doctor’s orders following a difficult pregnancy. According to the Village Voice Bolton went so far as to demand that she waive her medical privacy rights so he could personally grill her doctors and then accused her of attempted fraud.

"Mr. Bolton's approach to maternity leave is: get pregnant, get interrogated, get fired," Schroeder, a Democrat of Colorado, wrote in a letter to then attorney general Ed Meese. Bolton also took the position that Bernott had no legal recourse, and sent her a letter actively discouraging her from retaining counsel. Both Bernott's attorney and Schroeder disagreed—as, ultimately, did Bolton's more compassionately conservative superiors at Justice, who granted Bernott both her leave and her job.
I may not have a womb, but this still just plain pisses me off. I'd can and blacklist his ass for this type of behavior.

Time to choose

Much can be said for the browser Firefox, but I'll take Opera any day. And now that version 8.0's been released it's even better.

I don't know why anyone would still use IE after they find out about either of these gems. Then again my aunt just asked me yesterday where the "paper roll" feed was for my photo printer, so I guess not everyone's up on today's tech...

Swamp Gas Saves the Day

Or at least helps out a little.

Who would have guessed that bacteria could be one key to solving the world's oil-dependancy problems? Researchers at Penn State have developed a technique to turn biomass fermenting bacteria into fuel "cells", in every sense of the word. While it most likely isn't enough to support a full-scale hydrogen economy every 'bit helps I suppose. Good for them.

All things must come to an end.

It's sad to see something that once stood for elegance and talent devolve into just one more bikini-clad reality TV brain-drain. My own personal experience dealing with the Miss Wisconsin pageant and seeing what these girls do/have to go through should have prepared me for an era of talentless runway walkers claiming to be Miss America, but it's still sad.

In an age where the ability to swim through a tank of live worms holds more appeal than being involved in your community, where the "race for less" defines pageant swimsuits, and where the lowest common denominator has become the only denominator this type of thing should be expected. I say let the pageant die with dignity. It had it's time as a valid scholarship opportunity, but that time has passed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Good to know





You Are 28 Years Old



28





Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.



According to Blogthings.com's Age Quiz I'm 28 years old. Funny. So does this mean that I can ignore the big UNDER 21 UNTIL 11-18-05 on my driver's license and go to the bar tonight? Hmmm... wonder what the bartender thinks...

Hardliner elected as pope

In a move bound to thrill fundimentalists everywhere the Vatican has elects Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 78 to the position of Pope. With the self-selected name of Pope Benedict XVI Cardinal Ratzinger hopes to position himself as "a simple and humble worker". How easy this is going to be for him remains the question, but I have my doubts.

The modern world is increasingly ill-suited for fundimentalists of Benedict's sort. In his 20 year tenure in the position as head of the congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican Benedict was a strong guardian of conservative orthodoxy. He's sure to continue the ever-more out of touch Vatican positions on opposition to abortion, homosexuality, female priests, and priestly marriage.

As if calling for Catholic politicians in favor of abortion rights to be denied communion during last years presidential elections wasn't enough... It's so nice to see that the church is still in touch with the common man.

Too bad I'm not one of them, it's these exact positions that drove me away from the church in the first place.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Blogger.com a utility?

I never really thought of it that way, but Adam Penenberg at wired.com makes a pretty convincing argument for the idea.

Yeah, he actually said that.

"Why in the world would you think your (cell) phone would work in your house?" he said. "The customer has come to expect so much. They want it to work in the elevator; they want it to work in the basement."
Yes Ivan Seidenberg, chief executive officer of Verizon Communications actually complained that such expectations are unrealistic during a recent soundoff about customer complaints, Verison's MCI takeover bid, and San Francisco's attempts to make a cheap-to-free city-wide municipal Wi-Fi network.

I don't know about you, but seeing how I don't have a land-line phone I refuse to do business with a cell phone company that doesn't consider an inability to call from inside my home a big deal. I can understand the technological truth that comprehensive wireless coverage is a difficult ideal to strive for, but any idiot who has the audacity to imply that customers are morons for expecting basic service doesn't deserve to stay in business.

Fire + Heart Surgery = Bad Idea

The last thing someone would expect to happen during their heart surgery operation is to be started on fire, but I guess it can happen. What's worse, according to Dr. Robert Caplan, medical quality director of Virginia Mason, "fires are known to occur in operating rooms although they [are] extremely rare". Isn't even once one time too often?

This reminds me of an incident that happened in my life about a year ago involving an improperly administered anti-nausea drug and the subsequent need for massive doses of muscle relaxant and anti-psychotics to counteract it's effects. Yeah, my girlfriend still hasn't lived down the Foreman worthy right hook she clocked me with when she had that happen to her... but I can't say that I blame her. The nurse on the other hand.... she got reamed from one end of the hospital to the other by myself, my girlfriends family, and a family friend who just happened to be a senior nurse at the hospital in question.

But I digress.

Isn't he cute?


Who cares if they castrated his father, he's still a cute little clone. Now about those pesky thoroughbred breed registration rules...

Here here for the little guys!

Who says the small fry never get the girls?

They just figured this out?

The Moderated Voice wonders if the "fair and balanced" approach of Fox News really damaging the credibility of all media? I'd say it does. It wasn't until I began to pay attention to, and quickly become disgusted by, the "news" my parents starting watching on Fox that I branched out and put less emphasis on traditional news outlets. I'm sure I'm not an isolated case, just as I'm sure most blog readers aren't either. ;-)

Appeal denied

The US Supreme Court refused without comment on Monday to consider whether a 1994 Massachusetts state law creating a buffer zone around reproductive health clinics (Massachusetts Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 120E1/2) violated the constitutional rights of clinic protesters.

State lawmakers pushed for the buffer zone act after John Salvi opened fire on two Boston-area clinics, killing two receptionists and wounding five others. He killed himself in prison in 1996.

You can read the recently upheld First Circuit Court of Appeals opinion on the case (Case No. 03-2389, McGuire v. Reilly) in pdf form here.

Would Duffman really read it?

When would I agree with someone who calls current efforts by our democratic senators to use the filibuster to block ideologically motivated judicial appointments the work of "obstructionist dickheads"? Well, claiming to be "the blog Duffman would read" isn't a bad start. But Lee at Right Thinking from the Left Coast also has a pretty sound comparison to make, and some advice for the current head of the GOP to consider.

eliminating the power of the filibuster is more akin to the Vietnam-era statement that “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.” One day the GOP is going to be the minority party in Congress. (I think it’s going to happen sooner than anyone thinks. My prediction: look for the Democrats to pick up the Senate in 2006.) And when the find themselves in the minority, they’re sure as hell going to wish they had that filibuster.
Let's just hope he's right about the democrats picking up the senate in '06. The GOP's most recent and seemingly backfiring public perception of leaping to the tune of their radical theological constituents at the cost of everything else certainly doesn't hurt the prediction.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Nugent a terrorist?

Is Ted Nugent a terrorist? The argument could be made, and good old Ted could be in a ’bit of trouble. Could be, mind you. He won’t be charged with any crimes though, our hypocritical GOP controlled government would never crucify one of the spokemen of a core constituency, but the argument could be made that his speech at the NRA's annual convention in Texas this Saturday incites domestic terrorism.

Why? Because according to Section 802 of the USA Patriot Act domestic terrorism:

"involves acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State".

Nugent would be fine, his speech is clearly not going to directly kill anyone. However, Section 411 of the Patriot Act also further defines terrorism as any action that could be deemed:

“to commit or to incite to commit, under circumstances indicating an intention to cause death or serious bodily injury”.

Clearly Nugent's inciting to his millions of fellow NRA members to ignore existing criminal law and take the role of judge, jury, and executioner violates both statues of the Patriot Act, thus defining him as a terrorist and punishable accordingly. Even if the people they wish to kill are in the process of committing a crime they are still entitled to their day in court, not a western style hangman's noose or the wrong end of a gun barrel. I'm not one to usually advocate the Patriot Act, but if we're going to have it we should at least use it fairly with everyone. Whether you're a major political proponent and/or detractor, whether you're a celebrity or the average Joe, it shouldn't matter.

Yet again apparently it does.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Judicial Jihad






Hmmm.... if "faith in Christ" means trying to force bronze-age biblical law down our throats then, yes, this kid does have to choose. As usual Talking Points Memo has a great article about this. Check it out.


Sunday, April 10, 2005

???

Sense of Privacy Not Included

All I've got to say is if I've ever got the urge to flash people without consequence or have sex in public I know where I'm going.

Navbar Smavbar

You've got to love the inginuity of what you can find on the web. I've been lamenting the navbar at the top of my blog so, naturally, I set out to get rid of it.

#b-navbar{
height:0px;
visibility:hidden;
}


If you're going to use this though please be considerate and at least keep the Blogger button in your sidebar; they deserve recognition.

Contradiction of Terms

Greetings, you may now call me Brother Jackhammer of Quiet Reflection.
Feel free to join the Unitarian Jihad and get a name of your own. No? Ok, then at least read the article; it's damn funny.

A shout out to Patrick Hayden (aka. Brother Pepper Spray of Compassion) of Electrolite for great joke site.

Dealing with facts...

While I'm often one of the first people in favor of new and unique progressions of technology this one caught me off guard. Where else can you hear the phrase,"It makes our job more interesting because we don't have to deal so much with the facts and can concentrate more on thinking", uttered in a university setting?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

…My Conscientious Objections…

Apparently Crispin Sartwell, an opinion commentator for the La Times, doesn’t see a problem with people refusing to perform their job if it goes against their conscience. On face value such a stance makes sense; who would be in favor of forcing people to do things against their will?
There is one teensy weensy little problem though: These people are being paid to do a job.

I don’t care if we’re talking about a pro-life pharmacist in Wisconsin refusing to fill or transfer a prescription for contraceptives because he “doesn’t want to sin” (ok, since this idiocy happened in my home state I am more than passively interested). I don’t care if we’re talking about a deli clerk refusing to sell meat products because their morals demand that everyone be vegan. And I don't care if my mechanic suddenly decides he can no longer morally perform service on foreign cars because it takes jobs away from American factory workers.

Hell, I don’t care what the job is, what the reasons are, or how strongly a person has those reasons. If you are hired to do a job, and doing so is not illegal, than either do it or expect to be fired.

Would people even be mildly sympathetic to laws designed to prohibit punishing people for job related moral objections if we were talking about... oh, I don't know... a police officer who refused to answer domestic disturbance calls on the grounds that he thought it was within a husband's rights to beat his wife into submission and that interference would be against his moral conscience? I doubt it, just like I doubt his badge wouldn't be welding slag before the papers finished printing the story.

Seems simple to me; now if only the politicians could figure it out.

Beam me up Scotty



Trekkies unite! It might be a few years down the pipeline, but Dr McCoy might just get his hand-held medical scanner at the local BestBuy before you know it.

Brain-Dead Blogger

It seems as if Blogger.com is brain-dead today, so if you see any half-edited pieces it probably means that I gave up trying to access the site and I'll be back later.

*Just thought I'd warn you.

Talk of democracy

Who would have ever thought that we'd need a representative to say something as obvious as this?

“The presumption that somehow we are going to threaten judges or demand certain outcomes from judges is antithetical to a free people under law.”

—Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., House Democratic whip, reacting to statements by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, indicating judges will be “held responsible” for their decisions in the Terri Schiavo case.

Have another round...

As with all things on the internet this Living Will seems to be making the email rounds. It's just too good to pass up though, so here it is:

Living Will
I, _________________________ (fill in the blank), being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of peckerwood politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it.


If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a cold beer, it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

Under no circumstances shall the members of the Legislature enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma or vegetative state. Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case. I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run for the presidency in 2008, it is my wish that they play politics with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace. I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own business, too.

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Papal Irony

In an ironic twist of fate Mehmet Ali Agca, otherwise known as "the man who almost assassinated John Paul II in 1981" has been denied a "short compassionate release" by the Turkish government to attend the Pope's funeral. While obviously mentally unstable Mehmet was forgiven by the Pope a mere two years after the attack, and they had come to view each-other as spiritual brothers over the years.
It might seems odd to consider, but what's wrong with letting an attempted assassin attend the funeral of his would-be victim? It's not like he can do any worse than has already been done, nature beat him to it.

Steps Towards a Cyborg Nation

Imagine having a pacemaker implanted when your heart is perfectly fine. Why would you do this? Simple, this pacemaker controls your blood pressure.
Just last year the idea of an implant controlling blood pressure would have seemed far fetched, but the Rheos Baroreflex Hypertesion System being developed by CVRx Inc. of Minneapolis MN does just that.
While just beginning Phase II clinical trials at the University of Rochester Medical Center site principle investigator Karl Illig, MD believes that, if successful, "Findings from this study could have a significant impact on how we are able to treat hypertensive patients in the future". The statin making drug companies might be wary, but this is a boon for the rest of us.