Thursday, March 31, 2005

R.I.P. Theresa Schiavo (1963-2005)

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. - Fourteen days after a court ordered her feeding tube removed, and after multiple attempts by her parents to get the order lifted, Terri Schiavo passed away on Thursday.
It took 14 days for Terri to starve to death having been in her current condition for 15 years, based on a second hand, off the cuff remark she made about quality of life after watching a movie according to a husband who's been engaged to, living with and fathered children with another woman.

Surely Florida's courts could have kept her alive while the case to be heard anew as the law passed by Congress and signed by the President mandated.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Body Worlds 2 piece stolen

This is stupid.

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Two women stole a preserved 13-week-old fetus from an acclaimed exhibit at the California Science Center, authorities said Tuesday.

The fetus, its tissues infused with polymers in a process called plastination to prevent decay indefinitely, was part of a traveling display, "Body Worlds 2: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies."

[...]"There's no indication at this time of the motives behind the stealing of the plastinated fetus," [detective] Render said. "There had been no threats."

If you read the whole article it's hard to tell who's dumber, the to women who stole the fetus or the author of the article. If the two women stole this in as a part of some pro-life activism they're the dumb ones because the fetus could not have been aborted because, having seen the specimen, it is whole and unharmed (so to speak). It could only have died during birth, miscarriage, or some accident that would have claimed the mother's life as well.

Or if the author is simply implying that the two women were pro-lifers and since he's written a shell of a story, who's dumber?

And can you picture the "threats" that may accompany this crime?

I want 2 million in unmarked, non-sequential bills or the dead, plastinated fetus... gets... melted.

By the way, if Body Worlds is coming to a town near you, it is definetely worth the trip. Two thumbs way up!

(hat tip to Ryanne for the link)

Monday, March 28, 2005

More tragedy for Indonesian nations

All news outlets are now reporting an 8.2 earthquake in the Indian Ocean... again.

(CNN) -- Officials in Thailand and Sri Lanka report that residents are evacuating coastal regions in the Indian Ocean after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of at least 8.2 struck off the coast of Indonesia Monday.

In Thailand, thousands of people in the six provinces affected by the December 26 tsunami were moving to higher ground or 2 km (1.25 miles) inland, the governor of Phang Nga province said.

Sri Lanka also issued a warning that the earthquake may spawn a tsunami that would reach Sri Lanka's shores by about 3 a.m. Tuesday (4 p.m. ET Monday) and urged those living in low lying areas to move to higher ground.

Good Lord. This is the last thing that a devastated region needs. Stay tuned for tsumani updates and I'm sure more donation points will crop up shortly.

And keep these people in your prayers.

UPDATE 1: SayAnything and Michelle Malkin say lefty bloggers are blaming Dubya for the tsunami. Do they really think Karl Rove (et al) is the real Dr. Evil?

UPDATE 2: CNN is now reporting 50 deaths and has upgraded the quake to 8.7 and "small" tsunamis have been reported.

UPDATE 3: MSNBC had downgraded the number of deaths from the earthquake to between 400-500. The lack of a tsunami tsunami here saved hudreds of thousands of lives.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Save some terrorists for the CIA guys

This is the kind of headline I've been waiting for.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- After a two-hour firefight, Iraqi forces and U.S. helicopters captured an insurgent base north of Baghdad, killing 85 rebels, U.S. and Iraqi military officials said Wednesday.

"A previous safe haven for planning attacks has been removed," a U.S. military official said of Tuesday's battle.
But marines, come on now. Leave some terrorists to be interrogated by those magic hat CIA guys. I had always thought that as this GWOT went on we'd end up getting the terrorists in bunches like this. It takes time to set up the intelligence, find informants, interrogate prisoners and witnesses, and get our people properly dispersed on the ground in the thick of the insurgents. So I hope they really were able to capture some of those guys because we're not going to win this war due to strength of arms; that will just give us the staying power to withstand their random attacks. It's the information we get that helps us prevent bombings or other attacks and that leads us to other terrorist camps that will be essential. And due to the poor state of affairs in the CIA and the complete lack of intelligence agents in the Middle East, you had to know that that was going to take time. Maybe our intelligence community is starting to turn the tide.

UPDATE: More from the intelligence front from TigerHawk (via Roger Simon):

In Pakistan, more than 13,000 schools suspected of propagating extremist ideas have been shut in the past two years. In Yemen, the number of such schools to be shut is around 24,000.

There are also signs that Afghan, Pakistani, Saudi and Iraqi authorities have managed to infiltrate at least some terror groups. Since 2003, hundreds of terrorists have been picked up in the countries concerned, in most cases thanks to tip-offs from repenting militants.

Aaaah, "repenting" militants. I wonder what made them repent?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

My Schiavo post

I think it's truly sad what has happened to this poor woman and her family because of this case. As I said when discussing the Groningen protocols, when other people (especially judges) start to decide for us what criteria make a life worth living, we are truly dealing with a "slippery slope." Whether or not someone wants to live in the state that Miss Schiavo is in is not up for debate because everyone has a different personal preference. Which is one reason this case is didturbing, her husband based on an off the cuff comment she made some twenty years ago decided she no longer wants to be fed by a feeding tube. This is not life support, this is not a respirator, this does not qualify as heroic or extraordinary means of maintaining life. A feeding tube, therefore, is not covered on a DNR.

And since there is no written documentation by Miss Schiavo in the form of power of attorney or a living will, I would think that to err in this case would be to err on the side of caution. Since we don't know her preference and the important involved parties are conflicted keep the poor woman alive by feeding her. If you were to starve your pet dog you would be arrested for six days, why is it not the same for a person who is mentally disabled?

I think Dubya is right on in this case by saying we should err on the side of life.

UPDATE: For some excellent fisking of some lame editorials just good general up to the moment coverage check out Legal XXX. Keep up the good work Chris.

UPDATE 2: Got Design has some excellent commentary and he also sees the similarities between what Michael Schiavo and the Florida courts are doing to Terri and the Groningen protocols. Very scary stuff.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Quotes of the day

This is to prove that men really do read playboy for the articles. Really.

"We're so damn conservative all day that when you finally get us into the bedroom, we're absolute animals."
- Shannen Doherty on why Republicans have better sex.

"It sounds strange for me to be saying this, but I've come around to the idea that sex really is for procreation."
- Eric Clapton
Sounds like Eric may be converting from the dark side.

A tribute to the Dukes of Hazzard

With Warner Brothers releasing the Dukes of Hazzard movie this summer, the old TV show has come into the spotlight again. Just so you know my official position, I loved that show as a kid. I loved it when I got to stay home from school so I could watch the reruns during the day. I thought I was Bo Duke.

I finally got around to watching one of those "Behind the Music" type shows called CMT Inside Fame I had TiVo'd that the Country Music Channel had done on the Dukes of Hazzard. What I didn't understand as a kid was how much the Hollywood critics and elite hated the show, thought it was beneath the industry. In fact the cast members said that if the CBS president hadn't been on an extended vacation in Europe at the time he'd have never put the show on the air. As it turned out by the time he came back, the show was a top five show. The cast members said that they felt that the executives didn't like it because it was a "Southern show." Go figure... the elitist know-it-alls didn't understand "red states" and their values back then and they still don't 25 years later.

The special also touched on the season where Bo and Luke held out to get their due cut of the merchandising and Bo (John Schneider) said that he and Luke (Tom Wopat) went about it the wrong way even though the cast understood and forgave them for holding out:

We were wrong... we did the wrong thing for the right reason. Shame on me.
So rarely do you hear someone admit they're wrong that one took me by surprise. But as Dennis says being liberal means never having to say you're sorry.

And who new Roscoe was a serious actor? He started his own movie company under the philosophy that people want shows like the Dukes, like Andy Griffith. People want shows for the whole family "with no body parts flopping out and no four letter words."

And who let Cooter be a Congressman? Apparently Georgia elected him, so who knew.

So the real reason I went into all this is that the Dukes of Hazzard is a metaphor for the Red State/Blue State conflict of our times, and Jessica Simpson is hot and is going to look great in Daisy Duke's shorts.

Jessica as Daisy Duke

(via Say Anyting)

Let's blog!

I turned on the TV this morning as I was getting ready for work. It happened to be on CBS since I'd been watching the NCAA tourney games last night. I never watch morning news, and the fetching Mrs. Wookie prefers to torture herself watching the chirpy, vapid, little Katie Couric (the fetching Mrs. Wookie likes to yell at the TV) .

Anyway I digress... I happened to turn on CBS and the host of the early morning local news says go to the CBS2 website and check my link, Let's Blog. I had to do a double take. I guess Hugh is right, there really is an information reformation that's changing our world. MSM is trying to get on the ball.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Stop global warming, gag an environmentalist

That's something I never thought I'd hear from a NYT op-ed piece. Well maybe not exactly that but close, and it apparently took Dennis by surprise too. I've never heard him so giddy on the radio.

The fundamental problem, as I see it, is that environmental groups are too often alarmists. They have an awful track record, so they've lost credibility with the public....
Do tell...

[...] This record should teach environmentalists some humility. The problems are real, but so is the uncertainty. Environmentalists were right about DDT's threat to bald eagles, for example, but blocking all spraying in the third world has led to hundreds of thousands of malaria deaths.
Aaaah... this is where common sense really pays off (again not something you easily find in the NYT). Not a lot of bald eagles in Africa if I remember correctly, so what's the bigger problem dead eagles in Africa or thousands of dead kids? Let's look at some quality enviro-fascist literature, shall we?

Likewise, environmentalists were right to warn about population pressures, but they overestimated wildly. Paul Ehrlich warned in "The Population Bomb" [go read the amazon reviews for a good laugh] that "the battle to feed humanity is over. ... Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death." On my bookshelf is an even earlier book, "Too Many Asians," [gee, out of print, I wonder why] with a photo of a mass of Indians on the cover. The book warns that the threat from relentlessly multiplying Asians is "even more grave than that of nuclear warfare."

Jared Diamond, author of the fascinating new book "Collapse," which shows how some civilizations in effect committed suicide by plundering their environments, says false alarms aren't a bad thing. Professor Diamond argues that if we accept false alarms for fires, then why not for the health of our planet? But environmental alarms have been screeching for so long that, like car alarms, they are now just an irritating background noise.

Amen brother. I'm reminded of that a favorite movie of mine, a timeless classic really, Armageddon. The scene where Bruce Willis is hitting gold balls off his oil rig at the Greenpeace protestors in the boat... if only I had the oil rig, a good driver, unlimited golf balls, and the free time.

Go read the whole article, you've got to be a member, but that's free so check it out.

UPDATE: If you're looking for a good environmental book try Skeptical Environmentalist. Reads a bit like a textbook, but it's an honest approach to the problems facing our planet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Lessons to be learned from a dead cat

We were continuing our cat dissections last night in anatomy and the guy working in front of me said he named his cat "Socks."


There's nothing like political dead cat humor to spice up an anatomy lab.

Monday, March 14, 2005

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

March Madness is back! Games start Thursday, so everyone get your brackets filled out.

I'm picking Duke to win it all over Illinois (no surprise there, I almost always pick Duke. I love Duke. That's probably why I never win the pools though), but the fetching Mrs. Wookie has UNC winning it all over lllinois, and if I were to wager serious money on this I'd follow her lead. But the fun is picking the upsets and seeing who picks more games total not just the winner, so I'll stick to my Dukies.

Go Reddick!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

US Minutemen ride again

This is grandma's nightwatch group taken to a whole new level (Michelle Malkin, via the Rottweiler):

The open borders lobby is going into hysterics over the Minuteman Project, a grassroots organization of 500 volunteers who will converge on Cochise County, Ariz., in April to call attention to lax immigration enforcement.

The MSM has taken to labeling the citizen volunteers "vigilantes," prompting this response from one observer:

Minutemen Project volunteers are not vigilantes. They're "undocumented Border Patrol agents."
This has Hollywood spaghetti western written all over it. Who gets to play the head Minuteman? Mel Gibson in Patriot II: Sealing Our Borders, coming soon to theatres near you.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Republicans are sexier than Democrats

This is so cool...

Mon Mar 07 2005 19:42:14 ET

When it comes to sex and politics, Democrats are the more liberal, right? Not so fast. Playgirl editor-in-chief Michele Zipp explores “down and dirty” politics and examines sexuality on both sides of the aisle. In the process she comes to a realization about herself and reveals for the first time she’s now a Republican.

“Siding with the GOP when you live in the bluest state around is almost like wearing a Boston Red Sox jersey at a New York Yankees’ home game,” says Zipp in the April issue of PLAYGIRL. ”I cannot tell you how many times a person assumed I voted for John Kerry in 2004. Most of the time, I don’t have the heart to tell them, or the energy to discuss my reasons for going red this election year. But this is Playgirl magazine so it’s about time I was the one who bared what’s underneath.”

How could a member of the media who produces adult entertainment for women possibly side with conservatives from the red states? Zipp spells it out. “Those on the right are presumed to be all about power and greed – two really sexy traits in the bedroom. They want it, they want it now, and they’ll do anything to get it. And I’m not talking about some pansy-assed victory, I’m talking about full on jackpot, satisfaction for all.”

“The Democrats of the Sixties were all about making love and not war while a war-loving Republican is a man who would fight, bleed, sacrifice, and die for his country. Could you imagine what that very same man would do for his wife in the bedroom?” asks Zipp.

I will repeat myself... This is so cool.

UPDATE: It would be even cooler if they were "Bunnies"... I'm just saying

Democracy makes terrorists uneasy

With the total withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon near on the horizon (albeit slowly) there have been reported demonstrations in Beruit that are pro-Syrian occupation (I know I don't get it either). But of course CNN buries the real story deeper into the text:

BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNN) -- Tens of thousands of pro-Syrian protesters have been mounting a rally in a square in front of the U.N. building in central Beirut in a massive counterpoint to recent anti-Damascus rallies.

Some news reports estimated Tuesday's crowd at 200,000 protesters but CNN's Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler said it was difficult to give a figure -- save that the attendance was "impressive."

He said the Hezbollah-organized rally was a "very well organized -- and so far very well disciplined -- show of strength" by those with another view to the demonstrators seen in the last three weeks.
I love how they just toss that in there, "Hezbollah-organized," as if they're some sort of non-profit organization or minor activist group like NOW or Greenpeace. The fact that this rally is sponsored by terrorists is interesting because it means they're getting nervous. They are seeing glimpses of the power of a motivated, free, democratic society can accomplish, and they're scared. When the people protest for 2 weeks straight and get their demands answered, that's true power, and if they won't stand for Syrian occupation they're not going to stand for a government that in the future will cower in the face of terrorists like Hezbollah.

On a side note, I like how they're protesting in front of the UN. Maybe because the UN has a history of being sympathetic to terrorists? or because they cave under terrorist pressure? Very interesting choice.

[...]Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shia Muslim group listed by the United States as a terrorist organization, called for the demonstration, which it said represented about 30 political parties.

Its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has said the group welcomes Syria's withdrawal but wants to maintain bonds with its neighbor after the withdrawal and objects to what it sees as Western attempts to weaken Syria's hand to the advantage of Israel -- a theme addressed by many of Tuesday's speakers.

Nasrallah, addressing the crowd Tuesday, called on Arab people to "destroy the arrogance of America."
And the hate speech begins. Again CNN speaks of Hezbollah like a lobbyist group and says the US lists them as a terrorist organization as if it's totally unsubstantiated. And here's an update for Nasrallah: instead of trying to destroy American arrogance, you'd better look at your fellow citizens. They're the ones pushing for these changes; we haven't lifted a finger. Yeah, Dubya said Syria was bad and they should leave, but it's your own people who've turned on you. Don't blame us because your terrorist group is out of touch with the progress of the latest epidemic sweeping the middle east: democracy. Your people are realizing they have a voice and that if they speak out loudly enough the world will listen.

Happy Birthday Mrs. Wookie

Today is the fetching Mrs. Wookie's birthday.

Hope you have a great birthday beautiful!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Iraqi 5 year old girl saves soldiers' lives

This is what the power of kindness can do.

The story in general is about a family in Maryland that started a website that ships necessities to soldiers in Iraq. They send food, coffee, toothpaste, and in this cases Beanie Babies:

A Beanie Baby changed everything for one Marine convoy in Iraq. Marty tells the story:

"As they're going, there's a 4- or 5-year-old girl standing in the middle of the road. They had met this girl a couple days before and had given her some toys, Beanie Babies.

"She's standing there with a Beanie Baby in her hand. The convoy stops, like 'Why's this kid in the middle of the road?' They walk up to her, and she points -- there's an IED in the road."

"She saved their lives," Sue says.
And the hippie, tree-hugger, peacenik crowd still thinks of our soldiers as murders. What a crock.

Here's a link to the website if you want to donate.

Supreme Court decides kids are retards... kind of

Once again more of that legal mumbo jumbo. That's why I turn to the experts on this stuff and LegalXXX seems to have the best roundup I've found. And he puts it into layman's terms for us simple wookies:

Now we get to the fun “national consensus” part of the opinion. Kennedy attempts to prove that there exists a national consensus against executing juveniles. There is a problem: the majority of states with the death penalty still allow for the execution of juveniles. That’s not a barrier to Kennedy, because “even in the 20 States without a formal prohibition on executing juveniles, the practice is infrequent.”

So even though a majority of relevant states permit executing juveniles, and juveniles actually ARE executed–that is somehow evidence of a national consensus AGAINST executing juveniles? That’s not even close to persuasive. What we’re left with is that had these states only executed MORE juveniles, then everything would have been fine. Thank God for Texas’ enthusiastic use of its death penalty, because otherwise, under Kennedy’s “logic”–the death penalty might itself run afoul of Kennedy...

The context of this discussion of the mental retardation and hence, culpability of the accused is also grossly misplaced and ultimately not relevant to the question of executing juveniles. Even accepting, arguendo that “[t]he impairments of mentally retarded offenders make it less defensible to impose the death penalty as retribution for past crimes and less likely that the death penalty will have a real deterrent effect” is not sufficiently analogous to extend to a 17 year old that commits murder.

The determination that 18 is the age of majority and that those below that age are juveniles is an entirely arbitrary distinction. It’s a useful generalization, but not a dispositive one. We routinely allow minors to become emancipated from their parents and enjoy the full rights and obligations of adults. Aside from that, the argument, implicit in Kennedy’s invocation of Atkins, is that a person who is a day short of his 18th birthday is the functional equivalent of a mentally retarded person.

This is asinine. Suppose a 34 year old man murder a half dozen women but he is determined to have the mental capacity of a 17 year old–by Kennedy’s logic, he can not be put to death. Further, the determination that one is mentally retarded is NECESSARILY a fact-specific inquiry. Whether a person with a mental deficiency lacked the requisite mental intent to be culpable cannot be a blanket conclusion–it is necessarily a sliding scale that holds some mentally deficient to be culpable and other not. However, Kennedy’s opinion, by extending this rationale to juveniles is that those under 18 will UNIFORMLY be considered to lack the sufficient culpability to warrant the death penalty. Whether one is a day short of his 18th birthday or is a 7-year old makes no difference, Kennedy’s opinion recognizes no distinctions.

Now I admit that when I first heard about this ruling I thought, that can't be all bad. Who wants to execute a 16 year old anyway. But the more you think about it the more exceptions you can think of to the rule, so why not approach this on a case by case basis as opposed to banning it across the board?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Thousands of Lebanese protestors celebrate

I said earlier that democracy must be contagious. Apparently many in Lebanon are hoping it becomes an epidemic.

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Thousands of demonstrators turned a square in Beirut into a sea of Lebanese flags Monday night and exploded into riotous celebration when the government unexpectedly quit after a parliament debate on Hariri's killing...

...Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice welcomed what she called moves to restore democracy in Lebanon.

"Events in Lebanon are moving in a very important direction," she said in London. "The Lebanese people are starting to express their aspirations for democracy… This is something that we support very much."

Rice and French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier repeated calls for Syria to withdraw its 14,000 troops from Lebanon. Such calls have grown louder since the Feb. 14 assassination of ex-premier Rafik al-Hariri.

Washington and Paris, co-sponsors of Security Council resolution 1559 demanding an end to foreign interference in Lebanon, called for general elections planned for May to be free and fair and suggested international assistance...

...The Lebanese popular will has triumphed… but this is not enough," main opposition figure Druze leader Walid Jumblatt told Reuters Television at his mansion in the Chouf mountain.

"The next step is to have an interim government to supervise the elections and the results of the elections, which will determine the next government which will in turn execute the Taif agreement with the Syrian government," he said.

The Taif Accord that ended Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war called for a redeployment of Syrian troops to eastern Lebanon, followed by agreement on a timetable for a full withdrawal.

Note that the UN has a resolution regarding the situation Syrian occupation. That's why it's taken 15 years after the end of the civil war for Syria to withdraw their troops; the UN was trying to help, no doubt setting up coordinating coordinators to coordinate the withdrawal (apparently one soldier at a time).

But what's funny is if you actually look at UN Resolution 1559, you can tell the UN really means business with the harsh language of the document:

Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425
(1978) and 426 (1978) of 19 March 1978, resolution 520 (1982) of 17 September
1982, and resolution 1553 (2004) of 29 July 2004 as well as the statements of its
President on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statement of 18 June 2000

Reiterating... Noting... Gravely concerned... Reaffirming... Mindful... Declares... Calls upon... Requests...

Man that's scathing! Don't piss off the UN or the coordinate your demise for sometime early next decade.

And Michael Ledeen has gotten into the Lebanese surge for democracy. Here's the money quote:

The Cedar Revolution in Beirut has now toppled Syria's puppets in Lebanon, and I will be surprised and disappointed if we do not start hearing from democratic revolutionaries inside Syria — echoed from their counterparts in Iran — in the near future.

Many of the brave people in the suddenly democratic Arab streets are inspired by America, and by George W. Bush himself. It should go without saying that we must support them all, in as many ways as we can. Most of that support will be political — from unwavering support by all our top officials, to support for radio and television stations, and tens of thousands of bloggers, who can provide accurate information about the real state of affairs within the Middle Eastern tyrannies, to financial assistance to workers so that they can go on strike — but some might be military, such as hitting terror camps where the mass murderers of the region are trained. We are, after all, waging war against the terrorists and their masters, as is proven by the daily carnage in Iraq and Israel, and the relentless oppression and murder of democrats in Iran.

The president clearly understands this, but, in one of the most frustrating paradoxes of the moment, this vision is rather more popular among the peoples of the Middle East than among some of our top policymakers. For anyone to suggest to this president at this dramatic moment, that he should offer a reward to Iran for promising not to build atomic bombs, or that we should seek a diplomatic "solution" to Syria's oft-demonstrated role in the terror war against our friends and our soldiers, is a betrayal of his vision and of the Iranian, Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian people. Yet that sort of reactionary thinking is surprisingly widespread, from leading members of congressional committees, from the failed "experts" at State and CIA, and even some on the staff of the National Security Council.

Our most lethal weapon against the tyrants is freedom, and it is now spreading on the wings of democratic revolution. It would be tragic if we backed off now, when revolution is gathering momentum for a glorious victory. We must be unyielding in our demand that the peoples of the Middle East design their own polities, and elect their own leaders. The first step, as it has been in both Afghanistan and Iraq, is a national referendum to choose the form of government. In Iran, the people should be asked if they want an Islamic republic. In Syria, if they want a Baathist state. In Egypt and Saudi Arabia and Libya, if they want more of the same. We should not be deterred by the cynics who warn that freedom will make things worse, because the ignorant masses will opt for the fantasmagorical caliphate of the increasingly irrelevant Osama bin Laden. Mubarak and Qadaffi and Assad and Khamenei are arresting democrats, not Islamists, and the women of Saudi Arabia are not likely to demand to remain shrouded for the rest of their lives.

Faster, please. The self-proclaimed experts have been wrong for generations. This is a revolutionary moment. Go for it.