Thursday, March 31, 2005

Have I Been Self-Righteous About Terri?

First, my condolences to all those who loved Terri Schiavo.

My self-riteous attitude in the Schiavo case got taken down two notches when I read this article by Cathy Young at Reason H & R. I learned a lot about the case that I didn't know before. Hat Tip Damnum Absque Injuria 3/29/05.

Then I read the comments on her article, and found myself partially vindicated.

Read the article, and this is very important, read all the comments. That's the only way to get the full flavor of the kind of people who sided with euthanasia. If you decide to skip any, don't skip the comments by Xrlq and CodeBlueBlogMD. They quite effectively discredit much of C. Young's arguments.

I'm no lawyer (like Xrlq), or doctor (like CodeBlueBlogMD), but I know enough to make what I still believe to be the most important argument.

We don't know what Terri wanted. That's it. Some claim to know, but evidence is not very reliable.

It is reasonable to suspect Michael Schiavo's motives. Thinking up possible explanations for his behavior shouldn't be a substitute for reasonable judgment. It's more than possible that he has ulterior motives. As for the sanctity of marriage, I'll just say I'm glad my ex-husband was never given unquestioned authority over my fate. And lest you think it unfair not to be as skeptical toward the Schindlers, they're not the ones erring on the side of death.

Furthermore, I find in the article and among the comments, people who give MS a pass are quite willing to ascribe sinister motives to the Schindlers.

Further-furthermore, I think people are being pretty flippant about end-of-life decisions. It's very problematic to apply context to Terri's alleged words, then hold her to them with the ultimate penalty. Also, some people think they know how they couldn't bear to live, only to change their minds when the time comes. Take, for example, people dying of lung disease. As a nurse, I've known of people who've reversed their formal wishes when death was imminent. They'd been on a ventilator before, and swore they'd never do it again. They knew they could never be cured, and that even the ventilator might not even save them. But when the shit hit the fan, they fought to live.

As for myself, I can honestly say that I am not appalled at the prospect of living in the state of consciousness in which Terri did for 15 years. Nor would I expect anyone to agree with me. For Libertarians, C. Young and her readers seem to lack true respect for an individual's choice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Left Knows What You Want

What do Terri Schiavo, U.S. soldiers, and the people of Iraq have in common? The Left knows what's good for them, and wants to speak for them.

Corporal Michael Oreskovic of the US army lost his left arm in combat, and he wants to go back. He says there's a lot of amputees who want to go back.

He also says that soldiers who go home to the US on leave often are anxious to get back to their unit in combat. He says there are two reasons. One is out of guilt and loyalty to the men who are not on leave. The other reason is that they get tired of people expressing their disapproval of the war.

Now that's quite a statement. Many soldiers would rather return to war than be subjected to the naysayers who don't respect a soldier's job.

You see, the Left knows the soldiers feel betrayed and want to come home, because that's how the Left feels. (Link to this Not in Our Name pdf and start at page 14. Compare this to Oreskovic's own words at cspan.)

The Left knows Terri wouldn't have wanted live like she does, because they wouldn't want it.

The Left knows that the Iraqi people wish we hadn't come to fight for their freedom, because the Left hates war.

The Left knows what you want, because they know what they want. And if you don't want what they want, well you should, and they'll demand it for you because they know better than you.

Thanks, Instapundit!

Link here for spring photos from my hometown, Knoxville, TN.

Meanwhile, I languish in winter's cruel, icy grip in Concord, New Hampshire. I was excited this week because the daily highs have exceeded 35 degrees, the snowbanks are fewer and smaller, and three bugs hit my windshield.

I love Concord, but ... aah, Knoxville.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I Can't Believe I Still Have Questions About Terri Schiavo

1: Would Terri have wanted an autopsy? People speculate that she would want to die, or that she would want privacy, not publicity. But, apparently, she wouldn't want food.

2: Why an autopsy after she's dead, but no MRI while she's alive?

3: Did Michael Shiavo piss his pants when that wacko put a hit on him? Did he ever think he might pay a price for acting so badly?

4: Does anyone believe that Terri is being medicated with Morphine for her parent's benefit, not because she's in pain?

5: If Terri's braindead, why surround here with music and flowers? If she can appreciate those things, why would you kill her? If you think it's for her family's benefit, don't be stupid.

6: You think congress intervened? Remember Elian Gonzales? The Florida courts ruled he could stay, then Janet Reno sent an armed force in the night to arrest and deport him.

7: Attn same sex marriage advocates: The "Progressive" definition of marriage allows your partner to starve you to death, even if that partner behaves suspiciously. Good luck with that.

8: If Terri had died at her initial collapse, wouldn't Michael have been a murder suspect?

I thought I was done posting about Terri. I was exhausted and depressed. But she's still in the press and the conversation is still woefully lacking. I have serious questions. The people who have the access to the information aren't coming close to addressing them. If it wasn't for other bloggers, I'd believe I'm alone. I'd question my own sanity. Even Fox News has really let me down.

Commentary on Birdnow's Conservatism

Timothy Birdnow has a good article:
The American Thinker: "It's a Brave New World after Terri Schiavo dies"

In his landmark novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley conveys the vision of a technological nightmare in which man is forced, through conditioning and eugenics, to happily serve as a cog in an utopian socialist machine. Those things which we see as important - family, close friendships, love, individualism, faith - are removed from the individual through brainwashing techniques, so as to create hollow vessels better suited to a life of consumerism and service to the State. Motherhood is abolished in favor of factory production of children, and the elderly and disabled are “taken care of.”

The important thing to understand about this brainwashing is why it works. Humans are individuals and members of families and communities all at the same time. All of these relationships are equally important facets of human nature. It is absurd to argue for a concept of human nature which denies one or more of these relationships. Individualism is just as wrong as statism. Conservatism is basically a response to ideologies which assert that one of these facets is the most important. (Libertarianism is often, though not always, characterized by over emphasizing the individual.) It is possible to screw up human society because it is possible to construct a false worldview by overstating one of these facets. In the Brave New World, the communal facet is emphasized to the exclusion of family and individual.

He has lots more to say, most of which is good. But, he seems to equate Christian religion with conservatism. This is not true in my view. Although we have much in common, conservatism is not just Christian values in the political sphere.

If you want to read the rest of my self-indulgent rambling commentary, well you'll have to ask me for it.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

When Friends Aren't

Link to Girl on the Right

I'm in the same situation as Right Girl.

My best friend is a Bush-hating Democrat. That is to say, she oozes vitriol, and her face contorts at the mere mention of his name.

While nothing can erase our history, our future is dim. We can't discuss politics, and that's a lot harder than it sounds. This friendship is going to be a lot less meaningful if we're not free to discuss our beliefs.

Friday, March 25, 2005

What is it about Canadians?

They are just so damn funny and so damn nice too. Remember our halcyon friend? Well her husband's a jokester.

Anyway, read her take on the Schiavo situation here, but don't miss this either:
Common Sense Has Prevailed!

The Canadian government has denied refugee status to former U.S. Army paratrooper Jeremy Hinzman, a major blow to a handful of U.S. military deserters who have fled to Canada rather than fight in a war they claim commits atrocities against civilians.

Such as democracy, free will, and dozens of other similar horrible afflictions...

The military attracts many young recruits with job skills training and programs that help pay for university.

But it's right there in the ads - we'll pay for college, and you'll fight for your country. No one is misled...

Out, out, out. I can barely support myself [despite her shiny new job] and my chosen immigrant [the funny guy from before] - I am not supporting you and your four freakin' kids, just because you are too much of a sissy to tdo the job you volunteered to do. Out!
Turns out she lives in Toronto (the source of all funny, e.g., Albino Black Sheep), but she is from Montreal. Now that is a fascinating, beautiful, strange city. You can get lamb kebobs at 3:00AM and fresh crepes in the mall. You can also freeze your ass off -- your choice.

Back on topic, though, this guy is our fault really, we should take him back. We should take him back and "re-educate" him. Where is Patton when you need him?
Patton: Well, hell, you're nothing but a God-damned coward.
[Soldier start sniveling]
Patton: Shut up!
[Slaps him, once forehanded, then backhanded on the rebound]
Patton: I'm not going to have a man sitting here *crying*! In front of these brave men who have been wounded in battle!
[Soldier snivels some more, and Patton swings a vicious forehand slap, knocking his helmet away]
Patton: *Shut up!*
[to the doctors]
Patton: Don't admit this yellow bastard. There's nothing wrong with him. I won't have a man who's just afraid to fight *stinking up this place of honor!* You will get him back up to the front.
[to soldier]
Patton: You're going back to the front, boy. You may get shot, and you may get killed, but you're going back to the fighting. Either that, or I'll stand you up before a firing squad. Why, I ought to shoot you right now, you...
[pulls his service automatic. At that, the doctors leap forward and hustle the soldier out of the tent. Patton keeps shouting at the soldier's back]
Patton: God-damned bastard! Get him out of here! Take him back to the *front! You hear me? You God-damned coward!*
[Takes deep breath]
Patton: I won't have cowards in my army.
[edited to reflect comments below]

Thursday, March 24, 2005

MSM Bias In Schiavo Case

At 3:00 this morning, I was on my lunch break at work. ABC news was reporting their latest rebuttal vs. life.

Specifically, they rebutted Jeb Bush's statement that "the neurologist's review indicates that Terri may have been misdiagnosed and it is more likely that she is in a state of minimal consciousness, rather than in a persistent vegetative state."

In a straight news broadcast (not editorial), they reported that the neurologist "has ties to Christian organizations".

There was exactly zero mention that neurologists who diagnosed Terri with PVS had associations with right-to-die organizations, or the Hemlock society. There was also no mention of Felos' creepy messiah complex.

This is the reason I almost never watch network news.

[Endymion adds that Power Line is covering ABC's "Republican memo" here, here, here and here.]

Enemies abroad and at home

Bill has a nice post about the culture wars we find ourselves in. I have argued this before, but he's better at it.
The nihilism of the Left -- its denial of value and true being to anything that actually exists and provably works -- may be turning in upon itself. Unable to destroy Western civilization under its own steam, it aligns itself with Islamists, who, were they to attain power, would of course mercilessly exterminate all leftists. A curious sort of Selbstaufhebung.

So perhaps I was a bit hasty in my intitial schematization. The major war, of course, is against militant Islam. But if liberals keep moving to the Left, then the minor war against liberals may become indistinguishable from the major jihad against the Islamo-fascists.
The war metaphor is apt. This is war and the Left, in all its forms, is the enemy. We have to fight them as such. Leftism is not just another way of looking at the world, it is an evil and deadly way. As I have said before, America needs at least (and maybe only) two parties. I'm not against debate and I am not suggesting that Chomsky and other deranged nihilists be censored. But, we should not imagine that they are harmless. They wish to dismantle the very ideas that make Western civilization great. It is no surprise to me at all that many Liberals end up cozy with radical Islam; American values are the antithesis of both.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

2-1 Against

My Way News: "In its 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the woman's parents 'failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims.'"
Wow! I guess one judge can ruin your life with an egregious fact finding mistake and you really do not get any chance for a second opinion. If Scalia is right, we have to accept this. We should focus our energies now on our legislators and alter our laws and perhaps the Constitution so that a person can get a de novo review of the facts of his/her case.

At least one of these judges got it right. I need to consider his dissenting opinion (which starts on page 11), but mistress Chartreuse beckons.

Anyway, Beth at MYVRWC is a great source for info. You should go there and read because this case will be argued for awhile and mastery of the facts is important (e.g. here for a CT Scan analysis)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Poor Excuse For Discussion of Schiavo Case

I've been following the Schiavo case for approximately 3 years. I'm really happy that enough people are aware of the case now that I can participate in a vigorous discussion.

My problem is that I'm getting a lot of discussion from people who have the most minimal awareness of what's going on. The following comments are from one blog (HobbsOnline), but I find them typical of the general discussion. Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

" Terri Schiavo chose Michael as her husband. She gave him the right to be her voice and make her decisions for her in these kinds of situations. How can we say that we believe in the sanctity of marriage but say that a spouse does not have the right to make these kinds of decisions?"

"Like Bill said, we do not know this Michael guys motives." " ... But were it my wife, I could not stand by thinking she was trapped in there …”

It's true we don't know what Michael Schiavo's motives. That doesn't put him on equal ground with all husbands. There is a lot more reason to question him than what you've seen on the news. There are some REALLY nasty allegations of things he's done to Terri. Do your research. Marriage is not a suicide pact. Some people marry the wrong person. They need a means to appeal when their spouse is questionable.

"What I find very strange about this argument is the people who say starving to death is inhumane, but then want to keep her alive in the state she is in. Imagine if you were trapped in that body."
How do you know she's trapped? By the extremely brief shots of footage taken of her years ago? What you know does not constitute a diagnosis or prognosis. Neurologists who examined Terri are in disagreement.

" ... do not tell me anyone sane would want to go on living like that for what? another 30 years? Starvation is inhumane but I would take that over the alternative. She has been an invalid for more then 10 years already."
Who are you to judge that no sane person would choose that? Your choice has nothing to do with hers. Do you presume that all "invalids" (a loathsome term) wish to die? I submit that neither Stephen Hawking nor Christopher Reeves chose death, in spite of severe disabilities. Neither would have had a voice if technology had not given it to them. Michael Schiavo denied his wife therapies that might (in the opinion of some neurologists) have enabled her to swallow, and possibly speak.
" ... I could not stand by thinking she was trapped in there, while her mother refused to let go. I would fight to end it in anyway I could. To do otherwise would be inhumane."
Terri is either capable or not capable of suffering. She cannot be both. If she is incapable of suffering the pain of starvation, then she is incapable of suffering the pain of being "trapped" in her living shell. And if Terri's not in there, then there's no one to suffer, now or ever.

Also, it's true that Terri's parents shouldn't subvert Terri's wishes. But you can't accuse them of that until you know what Terri's wishes are. Don't let your feelings for her parents direct you to a knee-jerk solidarity with the "husband".
" There is no medical expert who will testify that Ms. Schiavo will recover. Nothing, today, will bring her back."

Actually, there are at least two neurologists who have examined Terri and concluded that she is NOT in a persistent vegetative state. They have testified on her behalf, to this effect, and that she could benefit from therapy. She'll never be the Terri she was before the event, but that's not to say she'd be better off dead.

Terri has never had an MRI. I've read that a diagnosis of PVS without an MRI and several days of observation is essentially malpractice. Yet this is the level of evidence Judge Greer has accepted in issuing what amounts to a death sentence.

"... if Terri woke up everyone would be happy - but now we have lost a large portion if not all our privacy rights...because congress can now single you out and stick a feeding tube in you..."
Congress did not have her feeding tube reinserted, as evidenced by the fact that it remains out. What congress did do is protect Terri's constitutional right to federal appeal. The federal courts already hear appeals on criminal cases. What is it about Terri's case that makes it interference in states rights or privacy rights?

And finally, (I have no quote for this myth), but a lot of people say that this case has already been appealed by plenty of judges. But only one judge examined the physical evidence regarding Terri's case. The rest only did reviews to determine if proper procedure was followed. They did not review the evidence of the case.

Get back to me when you've done your research, assholes. Oh, yeah, I said assholes. If you guys want to put your voice out there with a woman’'s life on the line, you should put more effort into what you say.

No respect for Life, Facts, or Congress

Andrew C. McCarthy on Terri Schiavo on National Review Online
Here, it bears noting that Whittemore was placed on the federal bench by President Clinton in 2000 after spending a decade as a judge in the state courts of Florida. His opinion is a staunch approbation of the integrity of Florida’s procedural framework, and extremely deferential to the performance of his former state-court colleague, Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer. Essentially, Judge Whittemore reasons: Florida’s procedures are fair and designed to achieve a just result, there is no basis to suspect that those procedures did not produce a just result here, and, therefore, federal due process has been satisfied — without any need to revisit (i.e. , conduct a de novo review of) the facts that were actually found here under those fair procedures...

But most disturbing about Judge Whittemore’s opinion is its refusal to delve into the questions that impelled Congress to act in the first place: Whether Terri is really a PVS case and whether she really evinced an informed desire not to be sustained — let alone to submit to two weeks of starvation and dehydration, which is unquestionably torture for a person who is responsive to stimuli and aware of pain.

Not only does Whittemore decline to get into the heart of the matter. In the one fleeting footnote in which he alludes to it, he blames Terri’s parents and their attorneys for this dereliction: “Plaintiffs have submitted affidavits of health care professionals regarding Theresa’s medical status, treatment techniques and therapies which are available and their opinions regarding how and whether these treatments might improve Theresa’s condition. Plaintiffs have not, however, discussed these affidavits in their papers and how they relate to the claimed constitutional deprivations.” (Italics mine.)

What an asshole. Is he pissed that the Schindlers did not actually tell him what to think? Is he that divorced from the reality of his job?

Congress is the heart of the republic and the courts should give it due respect. Whittemore ruled on Florida's process but not he facts. This is a extreme offense to the de novo request of the Congress. In the end it is about the facts of the case, not the process alone. Our courts seem to have removed themselves from the real world where the rest of us live. Now, I am with Scalia on the Due process issue
the Constitution has a Due Process Clause, which says that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Now, what does this guarantee? Does it guarantee life, liberty or property? No, indeed! All three can be taken away. You can be fined, you can be incarcerated, you can even be executed, but not without due process of law. It’s a procedural guarantee.
So, I have a dilemma. Due Process was followed -- I think. But an extreme injustice was committed by the courts and no respect was shown to the facts of the case.

What do you do when one branch of government secedes from the union by seceding from the real world? Take up arms? Maybe, but let's try voting first. Again Scalia:
My Constitution is a very flexible Constitution. You think the death penalty is a good idea — persuade your fellow citizens and adopt it. You think it’s a bad idea — persuade them the other way and eliminate it. You want a right to abortion — create it the way most rights are created in a democratic society, persuade your fellow citizens it’s a good idea and enact it. You want the opposite — persuade them the other way. That’s flexibility. But to read either result into the Constitution is not to produce flexibility, it is to produce what a constitution is designed to produce — rigidity. Abortion, for example, is offstage, ... it’s no use debating it anymore — now and forever, coast to coast, I guess until we amend the Constitution, which is a difficult thing. So, for whatever reason you might like the Living Constitution, don’t like it because it provides flexibility.

Social Security verbo ipso

I have been meaning to say this for awhile now, but this guy beat me to it. So, here it is from what appears to be our doppelganger (I guess I should say that we are theirs since they have been at it longer. Also, Lee seems to be smarter than I am. Also, they are more religious and they have some different links -- otherwise, the same.)
verbum ipsum: A Layman's Stab at Social Security Reform: "The deceit at the heart of Social Security has always been that by paying FICA taxes you are 'investing' for your retirement. But this is nonsense. Decades of government propaganda notwithstanding, SS is a wealth transfer program like welfare. It takes money from one group of people (young workers) and gives it to other groups of people (retirees, the disabled, their dependents, etc.). There may have been compelling reasons for pitching it as an investment plan, but basic honesty compels us to admit it ain't so.

Now, it seems to me that two things fall out of admitting that SS is a welfare program of sorts. First, there's no reason, in principle, it couldn't be funded from general tax revenue (sales, income, personal, corporate, or whatever). Second, it could be given only to those who need it. Once you've given up the fiction that people are investing in their own retirement, you no longer need to maintain that they're entitled to a return on their 'investment.' Eligibility for SS could be determined based on need (and 'need' could be defined more or less generously), which makes sense, since the whole purpose of the program was to keep the elderly out of poverty. Retired millionaires don't need that extra couple hundred bucks a month.

Funding SS out of general tax revenue would also address another problem: the FICA tax is one of the most regressive taxes we have (especially when you take into account the cap on income that is susceptible to FICA taxation). A progressive income tax (or even a flat tax) would be fairer and simpler.

I assume (contra libertarians and many conservatives) that it is meet, right, and just that society should provide assistance to those who need it. There's no shame in admitting that Social Security is a program by which we extend aid to those in need. On the contrary, the fact that it has for so long been portrayed as a kind of investment "
That just makes sense to me. I doubt that there are really many conservatives who do not think it meet to provide for the needy via government in some manner. I think it seems that way mainly because we are forced to oppose it in practice so much. Even some Libertarians are not totally against government aid (some are, of course). The debate is in the nature and amount of aid, the definition of needy and the method by which the aid is collected and distributed. But that debate is for another time.

While we are at SS reform, if we do not adopt Lee's suggestions, we should at least return the program more to its original intent. The retirement ages, for example, should be raised commensurate with actuarial changes. People live longer. It's simple and fair.

I can't find it now, but somebody wrote a piece recently about private accounts. Remember the Lock Box? Well, private accounts are the ultimate Lock Box. The government cannot get their greedy hands on the money if it resides in my Vanguard 500 Index. (Which, BTW, has earned 11.24% avg over the last ten years, the same ten years which include the horrible "crash.")

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Fetus Monologues

Mike S. Adams: Blind feminists find nut, details at eleven:

Same excerpt, different take:
"“If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?”; “If it could speak what would it say?” and; “What does your vagina smell like?”"
What if in each of those sentences, we replaced the word vagina with the word fetus? It is considerably more reasonable to anthropomorphize a fetus than a vagina, seeing as how a fetus actually has the potential to talk someday.

The elitists of my gender want you to empathise with my vagina, but try to empathize with a fetus. I promise you, they will go ballistic!

The Vagina Monologues and Double Standards

Go here and read this story:Mike S. Adams: Blind feminists find nut, details at eleven:
"“A six-year-old girl was asked.” This skit asked a child questions like “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?”; “If it could speak what would it say?” and; “What does your vagina smell like?”"
I wonder if it would be okay for a creepy old man to say this to a 6 yr old. Or how about a male kindergarten teacher. How about her dad?

A good friend of mine has a story of her own family. Her 2-yr old neice was molested while in the care of an adult woman who turned out to be part of a child pornography ring.

I wonder if the ladies of The Vagina Monologues understand the enemy doesn't always have a penis? Would they consider the above story to be the case of a leberated woman helping a young female explore her sexuality? Isn't that the point of their skit; that we should help prepubescents learn to explore their vaginas?

Surely feminism is more than just reverse chauvinism.

Where Have All The Feminists Gone

Since when did the Democrats become the defenders of a husband's right to speak for his wife? All of a sudden the left is acting as if the husband/wife relationship is sacrosanct.

Is it the Left's position that when a woman can't speak for herself, her husband receives unquestioned control over her very life and death.

If what happened to Terri Schiavo had happened to me in my first marriage, I can tell you, it would've been a disaster!

My ex-husband and I had very different ideas regarding what constitutes an acceptable quality of life. But he probably didn't even know it, because he bullied me into "agreeing" with him on a number of issues. When I disagreed with him on anything, I carried it privately within my heart.

He considered quadriplegia to be an unacceptable way to live. I don't. Of course, if I'd become a quadriplegic, I'd have been able to speak for myself. But Terri can't speak, and I'm not convinced that in Terri's condition, I'd want to die. My ex would have sentenced me to death. There is no doubt in my mind.

I was an abused wife. It wasn't easy for me to escape my marriage, but a lot easier for me than most. When I reflect on that time, I feel great relief that that man no longer determines my future. I'm thankful to the women of the past who paved the way for my escape.

So why are today's feminists satisfied with Terri's defense? Why does her fate rest in the hands of two men? (Greer and M. Schiavo) Providing Terri (and by extension, all of us) with an appeal to the federal courts is not contrary to states rights or family rights. Denying her appeal is to take her husband's word without question. What century is this?

P.S. This is why I'm a conservative. As a conservative, I can simply ask if a person's civil rights have been protected, and take action based on my conclusion. I don't have to approach it from a pro-life or right-to-die or anti-medicaid or pro-medicaid or feminist or chauvinist position.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Did Felos Approach Michael Schiavo?

Did Michael Schiavo seek out and retain attourney George Felos, or was it Felos who approached Schiavo? I don't know, but I think it's a very interesting question in light of Felos' unusual beliefs. Thank you Free Republic and Florida Baptist Witness for excerpts from Felos' book, Litigation as Spritual Practice.

As I continued to stay beside Mrs. Browning at her nursing home bed, I felt my mind relax and my weight sink into the ground. I began to feel light-headed as I became more reposed. Although feeling like I could drift into sleep, I also experienced a sense of heightened awareness.
As Mrs. Browning lay motionless before my gaze, I suddenly heard a loud, deep moan and scream and wondered if the nursing home personnel heard it and would respond to the unfortunate resident. In the next moment, as this cry of pain and torment continued, I realized it was Mrs. Browning.

I felt the mid-section of my body open and noticed a strange quality to the light in the room. I sensed her soul in agony. As she screamed I heard her say, in confusion, ‘Why am I still here … Why am I here?’ My soul touched hers and in some way I communicated that she was still locked in her body. I promised I would do everything in my power to gain the release her soul cried for. With that the screaming immediately stopped. I felt like I was back in my head again, the room resumed its normal appearance, and Mrs. Browning, as she had throughout this experience, lay silent (73).
It seems to me that Felos has some ulterior motives. It seems clear that he is a wacko on a "spiritual" mission. Here are some other questions that I think are important:

Why was Terri transferred to a hospice where Felos was on the board of directors? Is it true that he is in charge of a large trust that was earmarked for Terri's care? Is it true he plans to write a book about the experience after Terri's death? Why aren't we hearing in the MSM about the multiple fractures that were found on a bone scan 13 mos. after her collapse, or that her collapse occurred immediately following a fight with Michael? I also read somewhere that Terri told her brother she was thinking of divorcing Michael; what of that?

Why, if you have Terri's best interests at heart, would you withold dental care? Why would you prevent nurses from placing wash cloths in her grip to prevent the increasing contractures of her hands? In normal practice, these are things that even nurses aids can do without permission from doctors. Why is it important to prevent comfort measures that don't prolong life?

C'mon MSM, help me out! It's your job!

Pain Is Defined By The Person Experiencing It

This is big issue in health care right now. When a nurse asks a patient the rate their pain on a 0-10 scale, the answer cannot be wrong. It is by definition what the patient says it is.

The funny thing is, that when a person can't say they're in pain, others may try to play free and loose in speaking for them. Case in point, Terri Schiavo.

Thirst and hunger are types of pain that occur when one lacks food and hydration. Some don't seem to mind inflicting upon Terri that which causes pain in us. Maybe it's because she's not like us.

She cannot speak. Her experiences do not elicit a response on EEG. Therefore some say she will not suffer pain from the slow death of starvation.

I have a real problem with this line of thinking. If you inflict pain on conscious people and detect the response on EEG, it shows that EEG can detect pain. It does not show that pain does not exist if it cannot detected on EEG.

If George Felos, and Michael Schiavo are so keen on ending Terri's life, why not use a method that historically is painless. Why use a method that is known to be painful?

A narcotic overdose would leave her no more, no less dead than withdrawal of food and water. It absolutely would be quicker. Furthermore, narcotics are known to create a pleasurable feeling prior to loss of consciousness. Why is this option not on the table?

Please link to this article at National Review Online.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Terri's Right

If you think the Terri Schiavo debate is about the right to die, you are sadly mistaken. It is about the right to kill.

Here, where there is a question regarding the wishes of someone who cannot speak for oneself, the default decision is death. Where there is not clear and consistent evidence of a person's wishes, the burden of proof is imposed against life.

But life is the highest of our inalienable rights. Life should be the default choice where wishes are unclear. The purpose of the living will is to define specifically the means by which a person wouldn't want their life supported. Everyone else is presumed to want to live. Is it now our position that if you'd want to live, you'd better specify it in writing?

Some argue that Terri's condition is a poor definition of life. But if you base your argument on Terri's condition, you're missing the point. Her EEG shows a flat line, but what does that mean? The EEG can only tell us what to expect for Terri based on what we've observed in all the other patients who've had the same EEG results. It doesn't provide us with any actual understanding about the experience of being a person with a flat line EEG. While it's reasonable to assume that flat-liners cannot think, it's not hard proof. You may decide that this is enough for you. We have no clear, convincing evidence what Terri would have decided.

This is not to say that there is no evidence at all. Her husband and his family have stated that she made comments, (not conversation) that she wouldn't want to be kept alive by tubes and machines. At best this is hearsay, and wouldn't even be admissible in a criminal trial. And while a spouse's testimony should carry a lot of weight, it doesn't deserve status beyond question. Terri's family has provided reasonable evidence that Michael is a bad agent. What if this case were Laci and Scott instead of Terri and Michael?

We don't know what Terri wanted. The evidence is in debate. If, in the future, we find we were wrong to keep her alive, we can change our course. If, in the future, we find we were wrong to kill her, then what?

P.S. read this at MVRWC

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Local faux pas goes global

Thanks to the Wonderful Miss M. who posted WHEN BAD SPELLING HAPPENS TO GOOD PEOPLE which led me to Myopic Zeal :: Stacey Campfield’s Blog?: "Glenn Reynolds links to a blog he says is one of his legislators from Knoxville, Stacey Campfield."

Well, Rep. Campfield is his legislator and since we are also in District 18, he is ours too. I love that he wants to blog about his experiences as my representative. His bit about the heated garage was interesting. The criticism, however, of his truly awful first post is valid and warranted. He earned it. Note, though, the way he responds to it:
To evary bodey who rote tanks fer yer inpoot ill tri harder next tim
At least he is not an asshole. In fact, he seems like a good guy. I do not really care whether my representative is a polished writer. I just want him to vote for good laws. Sometimes the best leaders are not the best students. Certainly the Elites are making a hack of leadership. That is why Bush is president, after all. He is not a polished speaker, but he is a great leader. Sometimes the content of one's speech is more important than the art of it. This experience will sharpen him, I'm sure. This is what the blogosphere does well. Just ask CBS.

I do not always spell well, nor do I always use proper grammar. That does not mean I'm stupid, of course. It does indicate my laziness (or that my wireless keyboard's batteries are low) which comes and goes. But, again, that is one of the joys of blogging; you can be formal when you feel like it and informal when you don't. I am not so narrow-minded as to demand formality all the time even from my legislator. He is a regular guy just like I am. That does not mean that I will not jeer him mercilessly for that post, though. Besides, now Xrlq wonders "Do all peeple from Knocksvill spel krappyly, or jist the wons yall eleckta publick offus?"

What is more troubling is that he has not posted since that first post on March 9th. Maybe we scared him away. In any case, I am sure he was not prepared for an INSTALANCHE!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Cuban Healthcare Lies

Just go look at these pictures of the filthy hospital that the Cubans showed to a journalist.
From Power Line: March 2005 Archives go to Babalu Blog: Cuban Mythology and then to Hospital Clínico Quirúrgico for the full set of pictures.

Yeah, yeah, I know: "But, the embargo..." Cry me a river you moonbat. Castro is evil and would squeze his subjects for every penny anyway. Hey, if I thought that lifting the embargo would help, I'd be all for it. I'd LOVE to get cuban cigars.

Schiavo, Judges and Tyranny

Lydia McGrew explains some of the mistakes which have been made by the Schiavo judges and concludes with this:
Right Reason: The Right to Live and the Right Reference Class: Part II:
... it is disturbing to find cases of this kind, when individual self-determination is supposedly taking place, when one's 'right to make one's own decision' is trumpeted as the crucial legal matter, but when, in fact, judges bearing the power of life and death are influenced by broad reference-class considerations in deciding what the individual would have wished. I hope and pray that I--with my atypical opinions and desires on many such issues--am never at the mercy of such a legal system. [emphasis mine]
The Schiavo judges have done basically the same thing that the Supreme Court did in Roper. Instead of ruling on the facts, they have ruled on what the facts should be. There is no strong evidence that Schiavo wanted her feeding tube removed, but the judges have decided that she probably would have because so many others of her reference class do. The Supreme Court ruled by appealing to a consensus regarding the death penalty for minors, not on the existing law and the original intent of the Constitution.

This kind of judicial decision making is a tyranny of the majority even when that majority is the one of your own reference class. How offensive this would have been to our founders! Democratic governance is noble, but rule by majority is frightful.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Message to Chris Matthews: Don't Worry About Nurses

Nurses don't need unions. By and large, across the country, we do fine without them.

I have been a registered nurse for fifteen years this coming June. I can tell you, it's not a bad life. In fact, nursing has provided me with a comfortable living. Show me a nurse who's being bullied by their employer, and I'll show you a nurse who doesn't stand up for themselves. Show me a nurse who can't make life work on their salary, and I'll show you someone who's making bad choices.

There is still a nursing shortage on. Attention nurses: When you have a product that is in high demand, and low supply, you have the market. You don't need a union shopsteward to make this work for you.

I think that in the big picture, unions hurt nursing as a profession. Registered nurses are degreed professionals. Why would we promote ourselves as labor? (Same goes for you teachers out there). For instance, I have a vision of nurses working for themselves, or as groups as physicians do, billing for our own services.

I find this vision considerably brighter than that of us as cogs in the great hospital wheel, pleading with politicians to force hospital administrations to treat us more nicely. All nurses make decent wages, and have at least decent benefits. When they strike, it's for what they want, not what they need. And if you think that patient care isn't compromised when nurses strike, then what do you think is the pressure for the hospital to comply with their demands?

In my current position as a travel nurse, I'd definitely take a job filling in during a strike. It pays approximately double what I made as a full time RN at home. By marketing myself, weighing opportunities, negotiating with agencies and hospital administrators, I'm doing more for my profession than whiners in a picket line. You certainly never will see me, a proud professional, jeering at scabs crossing the picket line to care for the unfortunates who happen to have their elective knee surgery scheduled that week.

This is my passionately held opinion. Therefore, I was insulted when Chris Matthews accused Arnold Schwarzenegger of not liking nurses if he put pharmaceutical industry interests above nurses union interests. This even after Arnold made some of good points; don't confuse nurses' interests with their unions interests; unions are no less special interests than pharmaceutical companies. Still Chris couldn't resist saying, "You don't like nurses".

C'mon Chris! This is beneath you. Please refrain from tactics that insult my intelligence. If you don't have this much respect for yourself, then at least show some respect for me . . . a nurse . . . a professional.

America at the threshold: IRS, Social Security and Leftism

If you have argued with a Liberal, you probably already know what Ann Coulter means by claiming that the third rule in such arguments is "Outrage the Enemy." This is a variant on the age old tactic "get him mad and he will make a mistake." Well, the left is crazy mad so we must be winning. We've mentioned this phenomenon before, but here it is again: 's The Conservative Log
It was Allen's conservative op-ed in the LAT that triggered the good Susan's meltdown ...Allen's original op-ed was about how there seem to be few female public intellectuals these days, largely because those females who would be public intellectuals will only write about women's issues ...

In an
op-ed piece in today's Washington Times, George Washington University Law School Professor and syndicated columnist Jonathan Turley seethes over Estrich's vicious attack against LA Times Opinion Editor Michael Kinsley. Apparently, it wasn't enough that she's been complaining that the LA Times hasn't published enough articles by women - and refuses to publish her work (see recent article by Suzanne Fields). Now, Estrich has gotten personal, and really crossed the line.
Turley writes that Estrich used the fact that Kinsley is suffering from Parkinson's disease as "easy fodder for her attacks on the newspaper." She stated that Kinsley's failure to publish women like herself is evidence that "your illness may have affected your brain, your judgement, and your ability to do [your] job." Estrich went on to warn Kinsley that he is "digging a grave for [him]self" by refusing to publish her feminist tirades. If that's not bad enough, as Prof. Turley writes, there's more:
"Described in the press as "belligerent" and "semiliterate," Ms. Estrich's tirades became increasing unhinged after it became clear that Mr. Kinsley would not yield to her ultimatums. Indeed, at one point, Ms. Estrich went to all caps in offering Mr. Kinsley "ONE MORE CHANCE BEFORE I GO PUBLIC." Before one charity event, she asked menacingly, "you want me to work that dinner about what an [expletive] you are?" After descending to calling Kinsley a "jerk," "fool" and other names, Ms. Estrich turned on Times Editor John Carroll when he complained to her that her attacks on Mr. Kinsley showed "extravagant malice." She responded by claiming defamation and telling him to expect a call from her lawyer."
Leftism is in its death throes and America stands at the threshold of greatness. If we have the resolve, we can slough off the decrepit Liberal policies that have held us down for so long and set free our citizenry. The youth of today may yet be the greatest generation. Without anti-Americanism, anti-globalization, anti-capitalism and so on, these kids may bring freedom and prosperity to the entire globe.

The first step is crossing the threshold. Bush 43 may go down in history as one of the greatest presidents precisely because he was willing to step out of the past and into the future. He abolished the rotten foreign policies of RealPolitik and Stability in favor of freedom for all. Now he turns his attention to the domestic cobwebs of the IRS and Social Security.

The problems with the IRS need hardly be mentioned, but do we have the courage to fix them? As usual there is healthy debate among conservatives while much of the other side resists change. We need reform and we should take no half measures. Abolish the IRS and all income taxes and switch to a consumption tax. This is radical, but so was the Bush Doctrine. Here is a summary of the idea, but I'll add this: a consumption tax is highly visible and would be much more difficult for Congress to game.

Social Security, though, is more likely to be reformed since the President has made it a center piece of his second term. This may also have more fundamental and far reaching effects. It will likely increase personal saving rates beyond the private accounts and that means more capital investment. This in turn will fuel the national economy which means more jobs and higher wages and so on. Again, the key to long term success may be avoiding half measures. Cato's plan is the most radical, but the most likely to succeed.

Radical conservative reforming of these two programs will unleash the energy of the American people and allows us to lead the whole world into a safer and more prosperous future. Let us take the step forward, cross the threshold, and enter a brave new world.

From my campus and home town, the great Glenn Reynolds... -: "A LOT OF PEOPLE are noticing this story from the New York Times about prepackaged fake news from the Bush Administration. But if you read the whole thing, to coin a phrase, you come upon this passing acknowledgement:

The practice, which also occurred in the Clinton administration, is continuing despite President Bush's recent call for a clearer demarcation between journalism and government publicity efforts.

Funny, but I don't remember much of a stink about it when it happened during the Clinton Administration."

When has that mattered to Liberals? Also, note that we are the ones trying to fix it.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Kennedy follows Bush and snubs Sinn Fein's Adams / News / Local / Kennedy refuses to meet with Adams
The Bush administration didn't invite Adams to the White House on St. Patrick's Day, for the first time since 1995.

Kennedy, the nation's best-known Irish-American politician, also has met with Adams every St. Patrick's Day since the Good Friday peace pact seven years ago.

But the Massachusetts Democrat, who is Roman Catholic, has informed Adams there won't be a meeting this year, according to Kennedy spokeswoman Melissa Wagoner.

Adams was scheduled to meet with Kennedy in his Washington, D.C., office Thursday afternoon, but Kennedy decided Saturday to cancel the meeting.
Here is a little more on the recent going on:
The New York Times > International > Europe > Families in Northern Ireland Break Silence About Killings The usually slick publicity machine for Sinn Fein, the I.R.A.'s political wing, has been unable to dampen outrage over the killing of Mr. McCartney, a Catholic man unaffiliated with any paramilitary groups. That case, coming after increased pressure from foreign governments and widely accepted accusations that the I.R.A. robbed $50 million from a Belfast bank in December, has seemingly begun chipping away at the intimidation and fear that have kept so many killings quiet, and so many killers unprosecuted.
The IRA and Sinn Fein are murders thugs and terrorists just like any other. It is about time that we admit it. Kennedy's snub is at least a step in the right direction. Gee, I wonder what prompted this new view of the IRA?

Liberal Elitism Causes and Encourages Terrorism

I know that we all miss Diplomad. Thank goodness we still have The Daily Demarche. Here they are upset at Spain and all those Useful Idiots who refuse to recognize Radical Islam and/or Terrorism as the true enemy of all civilization:
The Daily Demarche: On "Spain's 9/11": "I wonder if Ms. Richardson would want to move to a country within whose borders we have “contained” terrorism. I can’t think that many people would. I see in this preposterous statement nothing more than an admission that some countries and peoples are beyond saving, that the savages can’t handle any form of government other than the illiberal kind in whose bosom terrorism flourishes. In short, statements like these smack of the same old tired realism that is (sadly) the ultimate conceit of the academic caste and the European elites"
Lee Harris wrote a longish article a few years back, but it makes a good case for this idea. He also sees the same analogy that we do here between Liberalism and immaturity.
TCS: Tech Central Station - Our World-Historical Gamble: "The modern liberal world system has permitted the growth of power in the hands of those who have not had to cope with reality in order to acquire this power: it has simply been given to them, out of the sense of fair play prevalent among Western liberal societies. Iraq was paid for its oil, which in return paid for its weapons - and both were produced by us, to be used against us. But this, tragically, has had the unintended consequence of diminishing the value of the sense of the realistic in the eyes of those who have thus acquired their power and wealth - a fact just as much in evidence in the behavior of Saudi Arabia as in that of Iraq. It is the re-enactment, on a world-historical scale, of what has been done by many well-meaning Americans in the case of their own children - by giving them so much, we have robbed them of that indispensable sense of the realistic that can only be achieved by the head-on collisions with the irremovable object called the real world. We have nourished their fantasies, instead of forcing them to face the facts of life. And in doing so, we have done no one any service - least of all, the hapless multitude of impoverished human beings who have themselves derived no benefit whatsoever from the West's fair play, and whose children's lives will continue to be wasted in the counter-productive pursuit of their leaders' delusional dreams. "
Remember those obnoxious student protests against military recruiting on college campuses? Well, there at least four people at Berkeley who find those morons childish too:
Res Ipsa Loquitur: "They don't want the government to recruit on campus, they just want to line up at the feeding trough like the little piglets they are and take federal money without all of the obligations that come with it.
I know that student protesters think that they are in the vanguard of freedom, but, of course, that is not true and has rarely been true since probably 1967 or so. (It is not possible to date the conversion of the Free Speech Movement from legitimate into Leftist, but if you want could ask John Searle.) The Leftism that condemns American values is prevalent within these students and it is the same Leftism that coddles up to Terrorists and Communists.

As long as we allow our education system to indoctrinate our kids into the Leftist world view, we will have to fight the enemy within and without. Reagan and W are great because they are willing to call the enemy out. We should all strive for that greatness.

The Supremely Offensive Court

I can't believe what is happening at the Supreme Court. Roper v. Simmons (juvenile death penalty) invoked the idea that there is national consensus supporting the court's ruling. What a dumb/biased idea. The last few years have seen the most open vigorous political debates I have ever seen. Conservative principles are now part of the public debate in a way that was not true just even 5 years ago. We are seeing a radical change in foreign policy. It is unclear what place Europe will have in the political landscape of the future. Yet this court saw fit to judge this case by appealing to a consensus that has developed over the last 15 years and appealing to European values.

There is certainly no consensus in this matter and anyway who the hell are they to ascertain one and then make laws according to it? That is what the Congress is for!
Professor David M. Wagner, Regent University School of Law at Ninomania: "You know, state governments -- notoriously pinched for funds -- could save a bundle by disbanding their legislatures and just letting the Supreme Court rule them directly through its by-now-familiar process of consensus-discernment ...

I don't even particularly like the death penalty ... But the formulation of a moral judgment on it, and the translation of that judgment into votes every election year, is something I can handle myself, and I think most of my fellow-citizens can too. When did I resign that authority to litigators and courts? When did we vote on that? Oh, I forgot: resolving major issues by voting is so two hundred years ago."
Besides, the majority used faulty reasoning anyway. This is from Scalia's dissent:
In an attempt to keep afloat its implausible assertion of national consensus, the Court throws overboard a proposition well established in our Eighth Amendment jurisprudence. "“It should be observed,"” the Court says, “"that the Stanford Court should have considered those States that had abandoned the death penalty altogether as part of the consensus against the juvenile death penalty . . .; a State’s decision to bar the death penalty altogether of necessity demonstrates a judgment that the death penalty is inappropriate for all offenders, including juveniles."” Ante, at 20. The insinuation that the Court’s new method of counting contradicts only "“the Stanford Court"” is misleading. None of our cases dealing with an alleged constitutional limitation upon the death penalty has counted, as States supporting a consensus in favor of that limitation, States that have eliminated the death penalty entirely. See Ford, supra, at 408, n. 2; Enmund, supra, at 789; Coker, supra, at 594. And with good reason. Consulting States that bar the death penalty concerning the necessity of making an exception to the penalty for offenders under 18 is rather like including old-order Amishmen in a consumer- preference poll on the electric car. Of course they don’t like it, but that sheds no light whatever on the point at issue. That 12 States favor no executions says something about consensus against the death penalty, but nothing— -- absolutely nothing -- about consensus that offenders under 18 deserve special immunity from such a penalty.
Like many conservatives, I do not support the death penalty for minors, but this ruling is just bad. They say that bad cases make bad decisions, but here the decision is bad all on its own. Our Supreme Court has disdain for the deliberative process as such and special disdain for the deliberations of its own nation. What more proof can you need that Leftist one-world-government ideology has infected our elite?

Krugman's Bankrupcy

JustOneMinute: After-Action: The Bankruptcy Of The Blogosphere: "Paul Krugman, and many others cited a Harvard bankruptcy study showing, per Krugman, that 'One recent study found that more than half of bankruptcies are the result of medical emergencies'. Nonsense. "

There is a lot more on this topic and how the blogosphere has reacted too. Krugman is one of those people who has let ideology infect every synapse in his brain. That is the only way I can explain it when he publishes something so dumb. He owes his readers an explanation and an apology for his lies. Unfortunately, his ideology is moraly bankrupt, so he won't do it.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Uncommon Language OR How to Get Rid of Idiots

Some Conservatives reject the tactics of Ann Coulter, some embrace them, including us. AnalPhilosopher says
Ann Coulter's style and demeanor leave much to be desired. She is a graduate of one of our nation's best law schools (The University of Michigan) and she is obviously intelligent, but she comes across as a sarcastic, giggling teenager on television. She can't make a serious point. Her comments are snide, rude, and condescending. This gives conservatives a bad name. Stop it, Ann. Grow up. You're hurting your (our) cause.

I respect that assessment and it may be correct, but note also this piece of Uncommon Sense:
Uncommon Sense: Tried by Fire: "Notwithstanding, due either to ignorance or persistence, these guys [attorneys who had the misfortune of debating "Taxation is Theft"] just wouldn’t quit. What eventually made them back out was, simply, ad hominem attack. And believe me, it was not for lack of being able to shred an undisciplined ad hominem. It was because the risk of being wrong was brought to a head through the use of tough language.

So, what I’m getting down to is that some of us use the harsh language we do because we’re so sure of our arguments in certain areas, and part of that is just pushing away those who don’t have a serious argument to offer. What we risk is being wrong. You see, no matter how many 'fucking-idiot' admonitions we invoke, we know, because of what we know, that anyone who knows better is damn sure going to shove it down our throats if we’re off base. It’s happened, but it’s rare.
Amen brother. Civility in debate only works with civil interlocutors. When confronted with people who refuse to accept logic and reality, you don't really have much else to offer besides the verbal smack-down.

As for Ann, I have heard her make good points many times and then have to sit there (or not) while some dim-wit talks nonsense and makes crazed accusations. I don't see the value in treating these idiots as if they were worthy.

As my new Uncommon Friend said, "if you'’ve got it, bring it on. If you feel intimidated, it’s likely that you don’t have it, you’ll shut up (as you should), and we’ll get on with other things."

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Elitism and Liberals

MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy » Dubya-speak

Beth of MYVRWC wonders if the ability to admit one's weaknesses with humor is the defining characteristic of conservatives. We have been thinking about this too. What is it that causes some people to be Liberals and some conservatives? If we knew that we would have more success at deprogamming the mislead. She is certainly right that many Liberals can not admit that they were wrong and certainly can't laugh about it. This is one reason so many Americans were so pissed off at Dan Rather. It was obvious he was wrong but he just couldn't admit it. (On the other hand, they demand that Bush admit he made a mistake even though he did not.)

This ties in to what I have been thinking recently. Being a Liberal (again, I stress that I am talking about Liberalism not just anyone who is a Democrat) is the political manifestation of personal immaturity. Of course, telling them this has no effect, just as it has no effect on a teenager. Can you think of a less humble group of people than teenagers? When was the last time you heard one admit that they were wrong?

No one should admit to a mistake that they have not made, though. Liberals, because they are not humble before objective reality, are incapable of discerning the difference between a true mistake and something they wish was a mistake. They sure as hell wish that Bush had been wrong to attack Iraq and enact the "Bush doctrine." If he is was right, then they will have to admit they they were wrong. The problem for them is that their very identity is tied up with Liberal ideology and Beth is right to say that they "go around with an air of superiority to be taken seriously, as an 'intellectual'?" Admitting that they were so monumentally wrong would be like suicide.

This suicide is exactly what is required. One must kill off one's teenager identity in order to become a man or woman. Often this occurs for people in an epiphany, especially with the birth of a child. You say to yourself, "Holy Crap! This is not just fun and games anymore. I am not the center of the world and must sacrifice for this baby." This humility before the reality of a baby is just the sort of thing required for maturity. (What disgusts me is that so many parents pretend to know this, but act differently.)

So, Beth is right, elitism and its attendant lack of self deprication is a characteristic of Liberalism. I think that after 9/11 many people grew up and put away that elitism because they had to face that awful reality. It is disgusting that so many others did not.

AARP thinks you are a fool.

Here is how stupid the AARP thinks you are:
3. Social Security benefits are adequately funded for another 39 years.
According to the Social Security trustees, even with no changes, Social Security will still be available to pay 73 percent of benefits after 2041.
73% is not adequate. You do not 73% starve to death. The point is to prevent poverty among our retired seniors. I mean if 73% is adequate, then why have we been paying out that extra 26%, what a waste.

Or how about this:
For a worker with average income, a spouse and two small children, Social Security's survivor protection is equivalent to a life insurance policy with a face value of $374,000. For the same worker, Social Security's disability benefits are worth more than a $234,000 disability policy.
Gee that sure is alot! The average worker makes around 40K, right? So that is about $2,500 per year plus another $2,500 from your employer which you would get if they did not have to pay it for you. Imagine how much term life and disability you could buy for $5K per year. Term life goes for from $600 to $1,200 for a $400K policy. I think you could replace SS disability for about the same per year and it would be far superior to SS.

That leaves say $3k per year for retirement. At 7% returns (10% avg stock market less 3% inflation) for forty years, the retiree would have $600K. You could draw $30K per year forever form that amount That is 75% income replacement and puts SS retirement payments to shame.

I know it is more complicated than this, but the problem is that AARP thinks it's simpler.

Monday, March 07, 2005

How to Judge a Specter

Robert Novak: Specter's tactics

Novak thinks that Specter is proving our suspicions right. He argues that Specter is sabotaging the Republican strategy for dealing with the Democrats.

What lesson do we learn from this? We learn, again, that conservatives should probably trust their instincts about people. It was a mistake to place him in the Chair. (We've argued this before.)

Liberals like to pretend that you can not judge people and they are especially incensed if one is judged quickly. This is stupid, hypocritical and dangerous. Elizabeth Smart's parents wish that they had quickly judged Brian David Mitchell. If they had, like any decent parents should have, they would have been right and they would have spared their daughter nine months of hell.

Of course, Liberals are more than willing to make snap judgments against people they do not like. Today on Washington Journal (1:25:16 - 1:27:49) a caller told Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that "all Republicans" do not know what it is like to be a poor or working class citizen. The Senator explained that he had been a factory line worker for ten years and a small farmer and knows well the difficulties facing low income Americans.

Now, this sounds like I'm contradicting myself. What is the difference between these two judgments? The former is good and right and the latter is bigoted and wrong, but how can you tell the difference?

The answer is both simple and complex: Wisdom. It is wisdom that allows good judgments. That's simple enough and we all know what Wisdom is, but explaining it with philosophical rigor is more complex. The first thing you need for Wisdom is due respect for the objective reality -- whoops, I just lost the Left. This is a key problem and to the extent that Liberals (or anyone) believe in relativism and utopianism, they will never have Wisdom.

Here is an example of someone who understands this. Dr. Drew of Loveline is pretty wise. I 'm sure that he does not think of himself as a conservative and I 'm sure that he votes Democrat. He is not a Liberal though, since he is perfectly willing to make wise judgments about people and has a due respect for reality. (The same goes for Adam Corolla.) These guys are alot like South Park Republicans. They are fundamentally conservative without being religious at all. They are willing to look at the world and see reality and then judge others according to that reality. If you call in and say that your wife wants to have a threesome, they will not say that exploring your sexuality is healthy. They will tell you that your marriage is in deep trouble and suggest that you seek counseling. Dr. Drew has learned to make these judgments and this learning is Wisdom.

Wisdom protects us only if we listen to it. When your smart friends seem less than enthusiastic about your new boyfriend, you should dump him. Conservatives were unhappy about Specter's promotion and Republicans should have listened. Now we need marriage counseling.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Judge Ouroboros

Right Thinking Girl: Judge Orders Terrorist's Release

This is crazy! (Not RTG, she's Thinking Right) It is the nation's ability to wage war against its enemies which ensures our liberties within our borders. To argue that we must extend those liberties to our nation's enemies is absurd. Of course, we can hold him as long as we want, even for years, and he gets no civil rights. This is not a game folks. Those people want to kill you and your kids and all your friends and your pets too. If they could, they would tear down all of civilization to return us to the purity of Islamic barbarism. They will not fight fair and if we keep tying our hands they will win. Read these two articles in City Journal: Postmodern War by VDH and How to Interrogate Terrorists by Heather MacDonald. VDH argues that this war is fought more within ourselves. Do we have the strength of will, the resovle and the clarity of moral vision to win? The Liberals sure as hell don't and HM shows how they have crippled our ability to gather intelligence from the only people who have it. These Judges are deeply wrong and their rulings threaten us all.

It is like the Ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. You might think that is absurd, but here we are.