One of Those Days

Woke up this morning and the ceiling in my kitchen had partially collapsed and the entire kitchen was a wet soggy mess. Fortunately, it was from the water heater upstairs, and not their commode.

The, I went outside to the car to run some errands, and the battery was dead.

Fabulous.








More Good News

It appears the training is paying off for the Iraqi security services.








The State of the Modern Police State

From the same people who thought traffic cameras were a great idea:

Picardi said he’s even experimenting with a Big Brother bonus for unmarked police cars: a tiny microphone positioned near the windshield so powerful it can pick up conversations on the street.

“You could pull into a street corner and, if there’s a drug deal going on a half-block away, you can hear what’s going on. You could have all the windows shut and the air-conditioning on and you could hear everything going on outside the vehicle,” Picardi said.

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, said he would be concerned if the police recorded those conversations without a warrant.

“It would raise serious questions under the Fourth Amendment and the Illinois eavesdropping law,” Yohnka said.

(via Drudge)








Spam

The spam just keeps getting better and better. The following ‘individuals’ sent me spam mail this week:

Flatulent I. Litigate
Bill H. Overachieve
Playboy J. Grid
Debilitation H. Crankiness
Hedge L. Urinalyses

Anyone care to tell me what these spammers are up to now? Gmail hasn’t been fooled.








Life Imitating Art or Art Imitating Life? I Report, You Decide.

Matt Yglesias has a link to this story:

It’s not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News. The creator of the “Fox Blocker” contends the channel is not news at all.

Kimery figures he’s sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets, since its August debut.

The Tulsa, Okla., resident also has received thousands of e-mails, both angry and complimentary as well as a few death threats.

“Apparently the making of terroristic threats against those who don’t share your views is a high art form among a certain core audience,” said Kimery, 45.

This was the topic of a recent Boston Legal, and apparently it is true:

Business could pick up since the blocker was alluded to in a recent episode of the ABC drama “Boston Legal.” The show’s original script mentioned Fox News, but ABC had the references removed.

Doesn’t everyone’s tv have an option to block out channels you don;t like? I have it on my tv and my cable box, and I use it to block out all the shopping channels.








DeLay

The DeLay Dilemma:

A family tragedy that unfolded in a Texas hospital during the fall of 1988 was a private ordeal without judges, emergency sessions of Congress or the debate raging outside Terri Schiavo’s Florida hospice.

The patient then was a 65-year-old drilling contractor, badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Among the family members keeping vigil at Brooke Army Medical Center was a grieving junior congressman Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas)…

Then, freshly reelected to a third term in the House, the 41-year-old DeLay waited, all but helpless, for the verdict of doctors.

Today, as House Majority Leader, DeLay has teamed with his Senate counterpart, Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), to champion political intervention in the Schiavo case. They pushed emergency legislation through Congress to shift the legal case from Florida state courts to the federal judiciary.

And DeLay is among the strongest advocates of keeping the woman, who doctors say has been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years, connected to her feeding tube. DeLay has denounced Schiavo’s husband, as well as judges, for committing what he calls “an act of barbarism” in removing the tube.

In 1988, however, there was no such fiery rhetoric as the congressman quietly joined the sad family consensus to let his father die.

“There was no point to even really talking about it,” Maxine DeLay, the congressman’s 81-year-old widowed mother, recalled in an interview last week. “There was no way [Charles] wanted to live like that. Tom knew we all knew his father wouldn’t have wanted to live that way.”

Doctors advised that he would “basically be a vegetable,” said the congressman’s aunt, JoAnne DeLay…

“The situation faced by the congressman’s family was entirely different than Terri Schiavo’s,” said a spokesman for the majority leader, who declined requests for an interview.

“The only thing keeping her alive is the food and water we all need to survive. His father was on a ventilator and other machines to sustain him,” said Dan Allen, DeLay’s press aide.

There were also these similarities: Both stricken patients were severely brain-damaged. Both were incapable of surviving without medical assistance. Both were said to have expressed a desire to be spared from being kept alive by artificial means. And neither of them had a living will.

The chief difference is that in Tom DeLay’s case, there was no intervention by the federal government into a family matter. A tragic, awful, horrible family matter that I wish on no one, but a family matter nonetheless. By no means, however, should anyone overlook the medical differences in these cases, though, and I can understand how many could view this as a cheap shot on Tom DeLay. While I disagree with those who suggest that a feeding tube is not a medical treatment or life support, there is a MARKED difference between a feeding tube and a ventilator and a patient whose organs are failing.

And this is what is so awful about the Congressional intervention. Not only did they attempt to turn this into a religious political issue, a wedge issue, for crass political opportunism, but it has now had the effect of pitting decent people on both sides of the issue at each other’s throats. Which appears to me to be exactly what DeLay wanted. nd please, spare me the “it went to the judge so it was not longer a family matter” nonsense. It was a family matter, with two wings of the family pitted against each other in the court of law. They had enough respect for the law that they went to court- but that does not make this a public matter that requires the input of Congress.

No one that I know wants Terri Schiavo dead. No one I know supports a ‘culture of death.’ What people want is for end-of-life decisions to be made by those who should be making them, which in this case should be the doctors and Terri and Michael Schiavo.

This should never have received congresssional attention, and the repercussions will be numerous. Decent people of religious faith now feel that they are being persecuted because many who think like I do have accurately called people like Randall Terry and the reactionaries who enable them and support them scum. People who respectfully disagree with thoughtful religious people are now being labeled as traitors, or Nazi’s, or death lovers.

All this for crass political opportunism. And while we are at it, this story is really a twofer:

The family then turned to lawyers.

In 1990, the DeLays filed suit against Midcap Bearing Corp. of San Antonio and Lovejoy Inc. of Illinois, the distributor and maker of a coupling that the family said had failed and caused the tram to hurtle out of control.

The family’s wrongful death lawsuit accused the companies of negligence and sought actual and punitive damages. Lawyers for the companies denied the allegations and countersued the surviving designer of the tram system, Jerry DeLay.

The case thrust Rep. DeLay into unfamiliar territory the front page of a civil complaint as a plaintiff. He is an outspoken defender of business against what he calls the crippling effects of “predatory, self-serving litigation…”

Rep. DeLay, who since has taken a leading role promoting tort reform, wants to rein in trial lawyers to protect American businesses from what he calls “frivolous, parasitic lawsuits” that raise insurance premiums and “kill jobs.”

Last September, he expressed less than warm sentiment for attorneys when he took the floor of the House to condemn trial lawyers who, he said, “get fat off the pain” of plaintiffs and off “the hard work” of defendants.

Aides for DeLay defended his role as a plaintiff in the family lawsuit, saying he did not follow the legal case and was not aware of its final outcome.

The case was resolved in 1993 with payment of an undisclosed sum, said to be about $250,000, according to sources familiar with the out-of-court settlement. DeLay signed over his share of any proceeds to his mother, said his aides.

Three years later, DeLay cosponsored a bill specifically designed to override state laws on product liability such as the one cited in his family’s lawsuit. The legislation provided sweeping exemptions for product sellers.

The 1996 bill was vetoed by President Clinton, who said he objected to the DeLay-backed measure because it “tilts against American families and would deprive them of the ability to recover fully when they are injured by a defective product.”

As I have stated repeatedly, I am a Republican and a conservative. Tom DeLay represents the worst of all of us, and in my mind is no more Christian than he is conservative. He represents what can only be labeled as the “I got mine- screw everybody else” wing of my party that needs to be purged.








Happy Easter

Have a good one. Lot of passion and hot tempers and hyperbole and hyperventilating this week. Remember what is important.








Funniest Film Ever

Why on earth had no one ever told me about this before?

*** Update ***

ROFL. I forgot to give credit to credit to Gary Farber for finally showing me this.

I saw the link at his site yesterday, then went and downloaded it. I did something for a number of hours (maybe watch WVU get beat), came back and watched it, and when I posted this I forgot where I found it in the first place. That is taken care, and my apologies for the breach in blog etiquette.








Gotta Love The UN

I guess we know now why Kofi Annan is rushing to ‘reform’ the UN. Read this and weep.








Damn

The Mountaineers, one of the most exciting and over-achieving teams in NCAA Tournament history, have just come up short against Louisville in overtime.

I sure as hell am proud of them, and they were classy till the end, letting them run out the clock when it was clear the game was over, rather than fouling cheap and possibly hurting someone from Louisville.








WingNut Update

This guy is frightening.

*** Update ***

Unbelievable. There are people defending this guy in the comments.

No they aren’t. They are just accusing me of lumping this guy in with everyone else in the planet who disagrees with me. Cute.

Comments now closed. Ugly.

But if you think I am implying everyone who is religious is like this scummy fruitcake, you are wrong. Don’t put words in my mouth.








A Modest Proposal

This Schiavo mess has been an outrage and a sad mess, and we need to make sure things like this don’t happen again. Well- we need to do what we can to try to make sure thigs like thisdont happen again. Charles Krauthammer had a ham-fisted proposal the other day that would virtually ensure chaos, pitting family member against family member, so here is my proposal:

Every state should make a living will a requirement for couples in order to get their marriage licenses. We already require birth certificates amd HIV tests, a living will should be no large burden. However, the devil is in the details.

1.) Convene a national panel of medical and legal experts, and by experts, I mean people who actually know something, not people you are paying to pretend they know something (See Jeb Bush). This panel would then invesitgate and report back with a proposal to codify the language of medicine and law into a single coherent agreement.

One of the most frustrating things over the past few weeks has been is listening to people babble on about how a feeding tube is not a medical treatment, etc. Bring in the experts- neurologists, end-of-life caregivers, medical ethicists, relgious leaders and bio-ethicists, and lawyers from the appropriate area of specialty.

Then, have them sit down and create a glossary of agreed upon language that can be accepted by the medical comomunity, the legal community, and the relgious community. Create a multi-tiered system of treatment options. Define what is meant by “Do not resuscitate” and “extraordinary measures.” Religious leaders could then lend advice as to which tiers are acceptable for their faith. The National Right to Life folks are already doing something like this with their “Will to Live.”

Let’s not let them dominate the debate, let’s be honest, diligent, and straight-forward, and create language and options that will lead to consensus. When they are done, when someone uses terms such as “extraordinary measures,’ we will not be referring to abstractions and nebulous concepts which can mean different things to different people. We will need agreement on what is meant in all of the cases.

2.) Congress can then adopt those in something that will no doubt be named “Terri’s Law,” and can establish that when these terms are used in legal documents such as living will, they are given the full authority of the federal government.

3.) Marriage falls in the domain of state law, so something needs to be done to get the states to adhere to this law. Not an unfunded mandate, but an incentive to folow. Congresscritters can think of something, I am sure.

4.) Mandate that the legal and religious advice price be provided for a modest fee. There is no reason, once these things are in place, that a lawyer and your religious leader and a medical provider of choice can not sit down with a couple and hash this out in an hour or two for under a few hundred dollars.

5.) Create a national database that can store this living will, so that no matter where you are married, this living will will be accessible. No need to file it with your attorney, no need to file it with your current doctor, no need to bring a copy to a new doctor should you move.

6.) A media campaign explaining the reasoning for this. This is not government intervention or government regulation, this is society making the determination that you know best how you want to be treated, and that this is the best way to make sure that your wishes are carried through.

I am open to suggestions, but this should get the ball rolling. Your input is appreciated.

Contact your member in the House and Senate. Let’s make this hapen, and let’s make something postive happen out of this whole sordid affair.

*** Update ***

And yes, I instinctively am against laws exactly like this- but you just know congress is going to do ‘something.’ They just have to do ‘something.’ They insert themselves in everything. This seems to be less troubling than anything else they could do, in particular the Krauthammer proposal I suggested above.

*** Update ***

Just because I have a sense of humor, I sent this to the folks at Reason and to the Instapundit. That should be entertaining. Heh.

*** Update ***

Others hate it, although I reject some of their characterizations of the proposal.








Spare Me, K-Lo

K-LO is losing her mind:

SPARING ELK A PAINFUL DEATH [K. J. Lopez]

“Five stranded elk shot; they faced slow starvation”

Posted at 09:01 AM

So we should shoot Terri Schiavo with a high-powered rifle?

“THE COWS SUFFERED TREMENDOUSLY.” [K. J. Lopez]

Vermont farmer prosecuted for starving his cattle to death.

Posted at 01:43 PM

You are comparing Terri Schiavo to farm animals?

*** Edited for the sake of clarity ***








Boortz

Boortz is making sense:

So, there he was … Randall Terry, the anti-abortion zealot, screaming outside of the nursing home housing Terri Schiavo. He was screaming something about “hell to pay” if Terri Schiavo dies. He then went on to rant a bit about all of the work that the anti-abortion movement did to elect these Republicans, and that now is the time for them to deliver and perform.

You know what? This time Randall Terry may just be right. There just may be a political price to pay. But Terry is right for the wrong reasons. Republicans may pay a political price not because they didn’t do enough to prolong the torture of Terri Schiavo, but because they did too much.

Have you seen today’s approval ratings for President Bush? They’re down. Way down. He’s down to 45%. He was at 52% one week ago. This is the lowest point in his presidency. These polls are not because he hasn’t done enough in the Schiavo matter. The downtrend is because he did too much. The largest loss of support was among conservative male church-goers. A majority of the American people were not impressed with the Republican Party’s late night grandstanding this past Sunday, and Bush’s rush back to Washington to sign a bill in the early hours of the morning.

Maybe conservative Republican politicians can learn a lesson from this. They were elected to reduce the size and intrusiveness of the Imperial Federal Government of the United States. They were elected to reduce our tax burden and lower government spending. They were elected to defend us against threats from abroad, specifically the threat of Islamic terrorism … and to do so with preemptive action if necessary. In spite of the delusions of grandeur of the abortocentrist crowd and religious extremists, George Bush was not elected to facilitate a government takeover of the ovaries of every fertile American woman, nor was he elected to establish a theocracy.

Perhaps Republicans will take note. I truly believe that their control of the House of Representatives may be in jeopardy in next year’s elections. Perhaps they’ll learn from this. Maybe they’ll start dancing with who brung them for a change, and pay attention to spending and tax cuts, school choice, national defense and individual liberty.

Some lessons are just learned the hard way.

The leadership in our party has lost their way. If they ever had a way, and weren’t just selling me a bill of goods.








Mountaineers

Great piece onthe Mountaineers in the WaPo. They take on Louisville at 4ish this afternoon for a spot in the Final Four.