Thursday, March 31, 2005

And So It Ends

Finally, she is at peace.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Schiavo Update

Earlier today Terry Schiavo's parents lost another legal appeal with a federal appeals court in Atlanta. This time, however, one of the justices made a point of commenting that last week's attempt by congress and President Bush to circumvent the state courts of Florida was unconstitutional and "demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people."

Meanwhile, recent polls show that as much as 82% of Americans think it was a mistake for Congress to go poking its nose into what should have remained a private family matter. Perhaps even more surprising, 62% of evangelical Christians feel the same way.

Of course, the poll numbers aren't stopping the wackos that continue to protest outside the hospice in Florida. They have been growing increasingly frustrated and angry, and the situation is now detoriating to the point of death threats. Yeah, that makes sense. What better way to demonstrate your love for the sanctity of life than by killing someone.

A number of protesters have been arrested for trespassing when they tried to enter the building with glasses of water to quench Terri's thirst. And what, exactly, were they hoping to accomplish if they actually made it inside and to her room? Pour it down her throat? She can't drink water. She's beyond unconscious, with zero brain activity. She would only end up drowning, and her would-be savior would end up being charged with second degree murder, first degree stupidity, and third degree irony.

But the best story has to be the one about Michael Mitchell, who drove down all the way from Illinois hoping to "liberate" Schiavo by kidnapping her from the hospice. Unfortunately, he tried to rob a gun store using a box cutter. That in and of itself is a bad idea, since gun store owners tend to have access to, um, guns. Mitchell fled out the back door when the gun store owner unexpectedly pulled out a... GUN. Mitchell was later arrested.

It wouldn't surprise me if he also turns out to be a creationist.

By the way.... A lot has been written about Terri Schiavo and how she has spent the last 15 years in a vegetative state, unconscious and oblivious to her surroundings. But prior to that she was a vibrant human being much like you and me, and the Washington Post has done a nice piece on what that person was like.


A Final Rhyme
One Last Time

If there's a tumor in his head,
he's gonna be dead.


It's All Relative
Scientists in China are going to tag the country's remaining giant pandas. This will enable biologists to better track the animals' movements and prevent inbreeding.

Hmmm.... Prevent inbreeding? Maybe someone should tag the people of West Virginia.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Hypocrisy Alert

One of the principle architects of last week's extraordinary decision by congress to get involved in the Terry Schiavo case was House majority leader Tom Delay. It's no secret that poor ol' Tom has found himself at the center of a number of ethics related controversies over the past several months, and some of his critics have suggested that his sudden interest in Schiavo's welfare was nothing more than an effort to divert attention from those problems.

Why, that's just horrible! How can people be so cynical!?!? Mr. Delay's motives in defending Terry Schiavo's right to live are rooted in his strong religious convictions, and his firm belief that people are entitled to live regardless of the severity or hopelessness of their medical condition. Delay has even denounced the pulling of Schiavo's feeding tube as "an act of barbarism." How much more noble can a man be, defending a complete stranger like that?

Well, er, apparently noble enough to pull the plug on his own father.

It seems that in 1988, Charles Delay--Tom's father--was involved in a terrible accident. Doctors advised the family that given the extent of his injuries, there was no hope for recovery and would remain a "vegetable" for the rest of his life.

Even though there was no living will, the Delay family decided that Charles would not have wanted to live that way. Consequently, when his kidneys began to fail, the decision was made not to hook him up to a dialysis machine, and nature was allowed to take its course.

That old adage, "Do as I say, not as I do," would certainly seem to apply to Tom Delay. Of course, he claims that his father's circumstances were completely different, and I suppose that's true: There were no hypocritical Congressmen screaming about acts of barbarism while shamelessly looking to score points with evangelical groups.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Friday, March 25, 2005

Making No Bones About It

Scientists have discovered preserved "soft tissue" in the thigh bone of a T-Rex, believed to have been disconnected from life support 70 million years ago, in Montana. They say that the structure of the still intact blood vessels are similar to what you find in an ostrich, thereby lending more credence to the idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

What!?!?!? Evolved!?!?!?

That's absurd!!!! Everyone knows that this whole evolution thing is just a silly ol' theory with absolutely no basis in the bible, and therefore must not be true.

But beyond that, this discovery is rather scary. If these scientists can recover intact DNA from the cells, that raises the possibility that the dinosaur can be cloned.

Well, that's just freakin' great.... If walking down the street and encountering a snarling pit bull isn't scary enough, now I have to worry about being bitten by someone's pet Tyranosaurus Rex!?!?

More importantly, how the hell are you going to find a vet willing to neuter him?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Monday, March 21, 2005

A Prayer For Terry

There is perhaps nothing more difficult in life than having to decide the fate of a loved one who has become incapacitated. Ideally, all the various family members can come to an agreement without resorting to name calling, finger pointing, wild accusations, and outside intervention. And usually in such circumstances, everyone can eventually agree that, in the light of overwhelming medical evidence, it's time to let that person go with whatever dignity they still have left.

However, in the case of Terry Schiavo, fate is not providing her with a simple exit. That poor woman, on top of everything else that has happened to her in the last 15 years, has now become some sort of political football to be tossed about by political demagogues.

When Terry's husband and her parents could not come to an agreement, the courts became involved. That was bad enough, but the state's judicial system eventually decided that she should be allowed to die.

Not satisfied with this outcome, the the Florida state legislature and governor Jeb Bush began sticking their noses into what should have a private family affair. Ultimately the courts slapped them down as well, saying it was none of their damn business. Even the United States Supreme Court twice decided not to get involved.

Thus it was on Friday afternoon that Terry's feeding tube was removed. Finally, it seemed, her ordeal would come to an end. But such was not to be case, as now the Republicans in Congress have decided to save her by pushing through a bill turning the whole mess over to the federal court system. President Bush, not one to pass up an opportunity to grandstand, flew back from his Texas ranch yesterday just so he could sign the bill into law. Sure, he could easily have done that without leaving Crawford, but this way was much more dramatic.

And why have they done this? Why would the Republican party, which once upon a time proudly stood for a less intrusive federal government, get involved in a matter that the state of Florida had finally--after much debate and legal wrangling--reached a conclusion on? Simple: It was a golden opportunity to appease the Christian Right.

At this writing, a federal judge is pondering whether to order the feeding tube reinserted. And regardless of what he eventually decides, the losing side is certain to appeal, and the case will drag on further.

Yes, Terry Shiavo deserves our prayers.... Prayers that God will protect her from the opportunistic politicians trying to save her.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Pass The Viagra

Happy birthday to Actor Bruce Willis, who turns the big five-oh today. Despite hitting the half century mark, the former Moonlighting star turned action hero is not slowing down. He was recently spotted making out with 18 year old Lindsay Lohan. After getting her pants down far enough to reveal a tattoo on her butt cheek, the two took their private little party up to his hotel suite.

This story is disturbing on a number of levels. First of all, Willis needs to start acting his age--and mine, since I'm almost 50 myself. Adult human males like us don't need to be hitting on girls young enough to be our granddaughters. Granted, Lohan is 18 and at the age of consent, but only barely. It's downright pathetic for someone his age to be banging someone who's young enough to still be in high school.

Secondly, Willis' own daughter is 16. What the hell kind of example is this to her? And how would he feel if she started dropping her pants for some middle aged guy? He'd probably be the first one on the phone to report a child molester.

Thirdly, that lucky SOB makes me jealous as hell.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Politics As Usual

With Scott Peterson having bungled his campaign for the office, it now appears that it will be a two man race between O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake for the presidency of the I Killed My Wife And Got Away With It Club.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Intelligent Ignorance

America's descent into the dark ages of ignorance and religious intolerance continues unabated. It used to be that every now and then some backwater county in Georgia or Kansas or some other such place would bring up a proposal to teach creationism in schools, and after the rest of the country finished laughing at them, they would drop the idea.

Sadly that is no longer the case.

Creationism, masked as something called "intelligent design," is making increasing inroads in more and more states. Its backers are using increasingly sophisticated ways to squeeze it into the curriculum of public schools.

The backers of intelligent ignorance argue that evolution is just a theory. Well, yes, I suppose it. But there's a hell of a lot of evidence backing it, and there are no competing ideas out there as to the origin of man--at least none backed with any kind of scientific evidence. And unfortunately science has this pesky requirement that it be backed by evidence.

Is there a place for creationism? Sure, in Sunday school. Creationism, or intelligent design, or whatever smart sounding term you want to use for it, is based entirely on faith. It is theology, NOT science. Merely pointing at the Bible and calling that proof doesn't cut it. That's the kind of narrow minded ignorant thinking that led to something called the Taliban. And yes, I know the Taliban was Muslim, not Christian. But if you go back a few hundred years, the sad fact is that Christianity has its own equally evil skeletons in the closet.

What the hell.... Let's go dig up up Galileo's bones and burn them at the stake. Then we can pass a constitutional amendment making heresy punishable by death.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A Victim Of Circumstances

Accusations continue to fly back and forth over the accidental shooting of a freed Italian journalist and her rescuers. The United States says that the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed and refused to stop; the Italians insist the car was NOT speeding and no warnings were given.

But most outrageous of all was Giuliana Sgrena's allegation that she was deliberately targeted by the Americans. According to her theory, the US was upset that the Italians had negotiated with the insurgents and wanted to make an example of her.

Oh, puh-leeze!!!!!

That's absurd. First of all, if we had really wanted her dead, she would not be around today to whine about what happened. The soldiers at the checkpoint would simply have finished her off, as well as every one else in the vehicle. Then we would have blamed the attack on insurgents, end of story.

Secondly, does she actually believe that she's so damn important that a foreign conspiracy would be launched against her? Sounds rather conceited, if you ask me.

The unfortunate fact is they were traveling at night in a warzone, and communications sometimes break down. Bad things tend to happen under circumstances like that.

Were the soldiers trigger happy? Probably not. But I'm not inclined to pass judgement on them one way or another. If I were in the middle of a foreign country with 30 million people trying to kill me, I might tend to be a bit overly cautious. And keep in mind that car bombings happen almost daily in Iraq. In fact, almost 130 people were killed in one blast just a day or two before Sgrena's shooting. Under those circumstances anyone would be inclined to be overly cautious.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Gives New Meaning To 'Being Pooped'

Two nurses on the night shift at a Medina, Ohio nursing home have been charged with giving laxatives to unsupecting patients. Their purpose in doing so was not to some how get back at the patients.

Rather, they were seeking to make life miserable for their fellow nurses on the day shift.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

It's Spring & Love Is In The Air

The National Zoo's female panda, Mei Xiang, is in heat. In an effort to encourage her to mate with her male counterpart, Tien Tien, zoo officials have isolated the two lovebirds in a special pen and aimed video cameras at them to record their every move as they make mad, passionate love.

Hmmm.... Kinda sounds like a date with Paris Hilton.

Trial Update

The child molestation trial of the century continued today with an important lesson: Don't show up for court in your pajamas. Most judges tend to take a dim view of that.

Oh, and be sure to pack an extra nose just in case....

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Jackson Trial Update

Michael Jackson's accuser finally took the stand today, and his testimony may will be the deciding factor in this trial. If the now 15 year old boy comes across as credible and sincere, the jury will likely vote to convict. On the other hand, if the kid does poorly on the stand and gives the impression that he's lying, Jackson will emerge looking good.

Well, except for his horribly disfigured face, I mean.

Monday, March 07, 2005

So Where's Venus?

For the third time in less than two weeks, Cardozo High School in Washington, DC is closed because of a mercury spill. The first incident occurred on Feb.23, and several sudents were arrested after a review of security tapes. In the meantime, the building was closed down for a thorough cleaning because mercury is considered a hazardous material which can lead to a number of health problems, including brain damage

No sooner did the school reopen after a cleanup by the Environmental Protection Agency that more mercury was discovered in a third floor hallway. School officials then began pointing fingers at the EPA, saying they had done sloppy work; the EPA claimed that the entire school had been cleaned and deemed safe, and that this was a brand new spill done since then.

So a second cleanup was done, and during a final inspection yesterday, what happens? More mercury is found on the floor of the basement! Consequently, the kids are off again today while yet another cleanup is conducted.

What a bunch of sissies!!!! When I was growing up they didn't school close for anything.... Well, except for snow, because that really was dangerous. But mercury? No way! Why, I remember walking to school through waist high piles of toxic waste and radiactive sludge uphill--both ways--and no one gave a rat's behind. And none of us ever suffered any kind of stupid rbain daamge!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

A Rant--And It's Free!

Maybe I'm getting cranky in my old age, but advertising is increasingly getting on my nerves. I can certainly understand that if I'm getting something for 'free,' then I should be willing to put up with an ad or two. But if I'm already paying for a product or service, then why the hell should I be subjected to a sales pitch?

What really annoyed me earlier this evening was a gas station I stopped at to fill up. Just as I'm beginning to pump the gas, a loud voice comes booming through a speaker announcing that hot dogs are on sale for 89 cents. Then I come to realize that this same announcement is occurring at each individual pump as customers are buying gas. In other words, it's not a general announcement on the overhead speakers, but one directed at individual customers from a speaker on each freaking gas pump! And it's loud!!

At other gas stations I frequent, I've seen little messages that crawl across the little electronic displays on the pumps, and that's okay. I have the choice of either reading it or ignoring it.

But a loudspeaker blasting at me from two feet away is w-a-y over the line. It's overly intrusive, and there's no escaping it. Plus, if you're already shelling out thirty bucks for a tankful of gas, can you really afford to spring for a hot dog as well?

To me, this is every bit as bad as sitting down in a movie theater--a privilege I've just paid nine dollars for (Twelve if I bought a box of Junior Mints)--only to be forced to sit there and watch commercials. Previews are fine; they give me an idea of what's coming out in the coming months so I can begin saving now for my next trip to the multiplex. And I'm willing to accept a plug for the snack bar. After all, when I run out of Junior Mints I may forget that the theater has a snack bar. So thanks for reminding me that I can always go buy another one.

But do I really need to see an ad for the 2005 Chevrolets? No!!! Save the commercial for when I'm watching The O.C. for free on broadcast TV! For now, just start the dang movie that I just paid good money to see, so I can get out of here sooner, and go buy gas on the way home, only to be told that I need to buy a hot dog for 89 cents, which I don't want because I'm ready to throw up from the three boxes of Junior Mints I just scarfed down at the movies!!!!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Friday, March 04, 2005

Trials And Tribulations

The Michael Jackson trial continues to serve as a beacon of judicial hope for all the world's falsely accused child molesters. Needless to say, the Catholic Church is following it closely.

Now Jackson's attorneys are saying that the defendant's mother tried to shake down other celebrities for money as well, including Jay Leno and Jim Carrey. The lawyers claim that only Jackson had the naivete to not smell something fishy.

Well, that shouldn't surprise anyone. Jackson hasn't been able to smell a damn thing since he lost his nose in a horrible plastic surgery accident.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Life Of Crime Averted?

A 14 year old boy in Annapolis, Maryland has been charged with assault after hitting a girl with a--GASP!!!--snowball. No word on whether authorities have connected the offender to any other crimes against humanity involving frozen precipitation.

And while this incident may seem incredibly petty on the surface, it is not. This arrest will hopefully keep the youth from sliding further into an abyss of petty theft, drug abuse, grand larceny, murder, and jaywalking.

Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me if throwing snowballs was how the BLT killer in Wichita got his start.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Sometimes Bad Decisions Come Back To Bite You On The Tuckus

Back in the last millennium, I attended George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. And while I never actually graduated, college was the best six years of my life. Consequently I tend to keep up with news about the place.

Last fall Michael Moore was scheduled to speak at Mason, but the invitation was withdrawn after republican state legislators complained. University officials said at the time--and continue to insist--that the decision was made because Moore's $35,000 fee was being paid out of state funds. Godless democrats who will no doubt burn in hell for opposing George W. Bush say the school's administrators simply caved in to critics.

In what had been an unrelated matter, GMU had been seeking to obtain a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Doing so is apparently a pretty big deal among colleges and universities, and having such a chapter adds greatly to a school's prestige and academic standing.

Well, as it turns out, the Phi Beta Kappa folks turned GMU down. Their decision was based on concerns about academic freedom, apparently raised by the cancellation of Michael Moore's appearance.

I know shouldn't, but I'm laughing my uneducated ass off.

Settling For Two Inches

For the thousands of you wondering what finally happened with the snow yesterday, well, we finally did get some. It started falling shortly before noon and through most of the afternoon, it pretty much melted as soon as it hit the ground. It didn't begin to stick to the roads until after the sun went down. Nonetheless, the fact remains that what did finally occur was nothing of the magnitude predicted the day before.

None of the weather forecasters issued an apology for inducing mass panic among the populace, though they all seemed to offer forth plenty of excuses. This might be acceptable, except that we went through the exact same thing just last Thursday: School cancellations, government workers on liberal leave, salt trucks deployed, and no snow despite the dire warnings of forecasters.

It is becoming increasingly evident that our current crop of meteorologists are incapable of weather forecasting. Yet it is to society's benefit that we should know what to expect from Mother Nature.

Therefore, the obvious solution is to hire monkeys to forecast the weather. If they get a forecast right, we give them a banana. On the other hand, if they get it wrong, we give them electric shocks. Rest assured that before long, the chimps will be doing a much better job than the humans we currently have handling the task.