Monday, February 28

LIFE EXPECTANCY BEST EVER, UNLESS YOU'RE MARRIED TO ...

Answer: unless you're married to Michael Schiavo, a husband who has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on having a court approve with finality the disconnecting permanently of his wife's feeding tube -- a lifeline that provides her with necessary food and water to sustain her. No, these kinds of statistics are meaningless to a woman whose marriage is comparable to having a chronic disease. Unless Terri Schindler-Schiavo's parents' attorney prevails, unless an appellate court or the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes and sets aside Circuit Court Judge Greer's ruling, a ghastly process will begin at around 1:00pm on March 18th that will eventually lead, in the space of 10 - 20 days or so, to a newspaper headline that may read: Terri Schiavo Dead From Complications of Marriage.

ONE OF THE WORLD'S NICEST GUYS -- A FAMILY MAN

Here's an in-depth story from CNSNEWS.COM that merits a full reading. According to its author, Kathleen Rhodes, Kansas Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius has received thousands of dollars in political campaign contributions from the owner (George Tiller) of one of two Kansas' abortion clinics being "directed by Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline to furnish medical records on dozens of young women and girls." Tiller's clinic -- Women's Health Care Services P.A. in Wichita -- is also "currently under investigation by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts," as a reseult of a 19-year old abortion patient (from Texas) having died of hemorrhaging.

Tiller's "health care clinic" specializes in hundreds of late term, partial-birth abortions. A discussion of his practice is featured in this "Talking Points Memo" of Bill O'Reilly's. In it, he notes: "Pregnant women from all over the country go to Kansas to have this ultra-controversial operation performed by Tiller, who's one of the few American doctors comfortable with partial birth abortion (search)." If you can stomach it (and maybe you should force yourself regardless), here is the loathesome, horrific, industry practice George Tiller specializes in and from which he's able to generate the money for political influence.

Tiller is described as "a family man." "If you didn't know that George did abortions, you'd think he was the world's nicest guy," observes Joan Wagnon, Kansas' Secretary of the Department of Revenue. Makes me wonder what Governor Sebelius thinks of him and his way of making a living? Maybe along with the thousands of dollars the governor's campaign has received from the likes of George Tiller, she should be receiving thousands of letters of disapproval as well, and a whole lot fewer votes next time she runs for office!

STUCK TO MY GUNS AND IT PROVED APPROPRIATE

How many of you purposefully chose not to view the Academy Awards' telecast last night? I did. Recall this post of mine, as well as this subsequent post? Well, I checked in with Betsy's Page this morning, as is my habit, and read her post linking to a scattering of emcee Chris Rock's jokes and "edgy" commentary.

No thanks. Glad I stuck to my guns. Not that either would have ever insulted their audience in the name of edginess, but I would no more listen to Bob Hope or Johnny Carson telling me to sit my ass down, then I would Chris Rock. As a member of any audience, I'm the customer and I want courtesy and deference shown me. I want to be entertained, not bad-mouthed.

The Oscar producers have said that Rock was hired because he could attract a younger, more hip audience, and those kind of demographics sell products and services, thereby boosting advertising dollars. Of course, they also made him take some of the edge off of what are his customary, profanity-laden routines. They wanted him to be hip, but not too hip.

How does that make you feel -- you of the "younger generation?" Is telling you to sit your asses down cool, hip, and with it? Tell me, as I'm earnestly curious: why didn't your parents prefer that kind of so-called humor, or their parents? Do you not think there's anything to the notion that our society is being continually coarsened by the liberal, Whoopie Goldberg-led, Hollywood crowd?

Rock was hired and gets away with talking to you that way (and under the guise of being hip, edgy, trendy, and youth-oriented), because when you watch him that signals to Hollywood and Manhatten that you're okay with it. Simple as that. Suit yourselves, but, I would ask this: have you ever walked out of a movie theatre, a comedy club, or flipped away from a television program because something said or something shown flat offended you? If not, try it sometime. You'll feel empowered. It's comparable to voting in an election.

When the Academy Awards' show returns to its senses (if that day ever comes), I'll gladly tune in again, as I'm a movie lover. But as long as the show's producers are willing to risk offending me and others, as if we don't count, count me out.

Sunday, February 27

NOT THE LOVE OF WHICH THE POETS WROTE



We bloggers for Terri (BlogsforTerri), we ardent Pro-Life advocates (ProLifeBlogs), have been wearing out our fingertips and keyboards in a tireless effort to forestall what may be, alas, the inevitable -- the gruesome, court-ordered death by starvation and dehydration of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. We are a nation of laws and, ultimately, a court will either adjudge the rightness of what we seek or abet a husband hellbent on the premature death of his spouse. Like it or not, it's as simple (and perhaps as brutal) as that.

If you, as I, have turned over and over again in your head all of the information you've researched and linked to in this grim legal brouhaha in order to satisfy yourself that you're doing the right thing in fighting for Terri's life, then allow me to share with you what I've hanged my hat on in this protracted court battle and virulent test of wills. Indeed, let's compare notes. After all, the boxes and boxes (and more boxes) of records in this case are impossible for anyone other than a team of lawyers to wade through and decipher; and, fact is, most of us, just like most jurors, are not grounded in the law. What we do have in abundance, however, as do many jurors, is common sense and an intuition formed by life's experiences that usually serves us well.

If you boil it all down, the central issue is husband Michael's claim that his wife Terri confided to him that she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially in the eventuality of something compromising her quality of life, just like what happened to her in 1990 -- terrible brain damage. Let's set aside the cause. Whether a chemical imbalance led to a heart attack and subsequent oxygen deprivation or some form of trauma was the genesis of her brain damage, what's pertinent for us is that he claims she'd want a feeding tube permanently pulled and her parents (and siblings) claim otherwise. Now we know Terri left neither written corroboration of that purported conversation with her husband, nor ever executed a living will. But the courts don't seem to mind that fact. So for us doesn't it come down then to the credibility of Michael Sciavo? Whether we believe in euthanasia or the right-to-die concept, or steadfastly hold that the sanctity of life transcends such desparate considerations, it seems to me the best any of us can do in weighing this protracted controversy is to take a hard look at Michael Schiavo's attitude and behavior.

Were it me, and I'm a husband of thirty-six years and married to my high school sweetheart, I'd do my damnest to carry out my wife's wishes, whether they were expressed to me verbally in a genuine and convincing fashion or more formally in a binding legal document. I think most loving husbands would agree with me. Good men strive to do right by their spouses, and their children and grandchildren. But I have not seen any evidence of a heartfelt, abiding love for Terri by Michael in all that I have read and ruminated over. Has he not denied her through the intervention of the courts needed physical therapy and other forms of treatment and rehabilitation that might have helped her? Has he not denied her through the intervention of the courts basic medical tests that could better confirm the actual state of her condition? Has he not denied her dental care resulting in the loss of teeth and, more alarmingly, endeavored to withhold medical treatment for a serious urinary tract infection that might have killed her? Has he not been instrumental in the removal from her room of all symbols of her Catholic faith and sought to deny her the sacraments of the Church? Has he not constrained the visitation rights of loved ones? Has he not sought through his attorney to challenge as not germane and admissible the findings of countless medical experts that hold his wife not to be in a permanent vegetative state? Have witnesses not come forth to verify that he has referred to Terri as a "bitch" and expressed that he wanted "the bitch dead?" Has he not been living with another woman and had two children by her, while refusing all along to secure a legal divorce from his wife? Has he not, in concert with his attorney, sought to perpetuate the notion that his wife is comatose, incapable of any sensory awareness, and unable to recognize loved ones or form words or utterances? And did he not ensure that Terri's parents could no longer film their daughter to prove that she is sentient and anything but a brain-dead vegetable? Need I go on any further?

There's something rotten in Florida and that rottenness is the cold-blooded treatment of a wife by a philandering husband. That's pretty much good enough for me to draw my conclusions. But, there's a clincher. It is this document. I really need to see no other documentation. Mary and Robert Schindler have made Michael Schiavo an offer he shouldn't refuse. But the man won't help Terri; the man won't divorce Terri; the man won't take the money and run, and leave Terri to the care and custody of the people who truly love her. For reasons I don't pretend to understand fully there is spitefulness at work here. There's a viciousness. And it's hurtful and inhuman and unconscionable. What husband, given all the facts and contradictory evidence of his wife's medical condition, would nonetheless be so recklessly persistent in seeking to remove food and water from her -- the one he took vows with -- so she can die a slow, agonizing death over several or more weeks? This is not loving, this is not honoring, this is not cherishing, for better or for worse, the woman you stood before God with and with whom you pledged to live until death do you part.

No, what Michael Schiavo has done and what Michael Schiavo continues to do is not the love of which the poets wrote, nor anything countenanced by civilized people.

A VOTE FOR HIS TENURE SHOULD HAVE BEEN TENUOUS AT BEST



Betsy Newmark of Betsy's Page posts on the incomprehensibly dumb decision at the University of Colorado that granted tenure to Ward Churchill by quoting UC's professor of law Paul Campos to underscore what she terms the "perfect hypocrisy surrounding the whole Ward Churchill fiasco." The erstwhile "part Cherokee Indian" professor was granted tenure in April, 1991, by CU regents without the kind of "rigorous review" process that normally attends such recommendations and approvals.

What Betsy didn't mention in her post was that Ward Churchill's transgressions (i.e., the ongoing accusations of lying about his Indian ethnicity, plagiarizing academic publications, and mounting suspicions surrounding his artwork) may result in a big payday for this "Dr." who never earned a doctorate. Bad behavior apparently is a new economic model in some academic circles!

TOWARDS "A MORE VALUES-BASED POSITION"



Reverend Pat Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, is quoted in this WorldNetDaily column by Art Moore as having observed that, unlike the Nancy Cruzan story, the Terri Schindler-Schiavo controversy is drawing international attention, fanned in part by bloggers and the instantaneous communication possible via the Internet.

"There is much going on out there and clearly the faith-and-values community is being energized."

"The thing that has struck me as quite extraordinary is that the Cruzan story largely went under the news radar screen, but now 15 years later, with the advent of Internet bloggers, Internet news services, we have a way to instantly get the news out."

"I have neve been more optimistic about the future of our country as we find ways to get information out and see the country move dramatically to a more values-based position."

We all need some encouragement in our continued efforts to get the message out that Terri Schindler-Schiavo deserves continued life, not a gruesome death at the hands of her two-timing husband, who, despite his relationship with another woman, and having had two children by her, continues to refuse to divorce his wife Terri, to allow her parents, George and Mary Schiavo, or her brother Bobby, to become her legal guardian(s) and willingly assume responsibility as her caregiver(s), and to block much-needed therapy and rehabilitation treatments for a wife he's more intent on legally murdering than helping. Rev. Pat Mahoney provides such encouragement and we, who have aligned ourselves with BlogsforTerri and ProLifeBlogs.com, must continue to be flag bearers in this noble cause and unflagging in using our keyboards!

POLIPUNDIT ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION


(Google Images)

Count me in, as inumerable posts of mine on the subject of illegal immigration and border security attest, with Polipundit in citing immigration reform and, by implication, border security, as a make or break issue for Republicans and President Bush. As is pointed out in his post, conservative republicans want and insist that the president deal forcefully and comprehensively with the illegal alien issue and its impact on our country. And they see expending the president's political capital in this area as a top priority. Moreover, the president's "Guest Worker" proposal is not the solution and is viewed by this writer as camouflaged amnesty and a signal to Presidente Vicente Fox that his government-encouraged, illegal emigration program is just fine by us.

Tell me, how does this sit with you:

The Mexican government is reprinting what some believe to be a guidebook to help illegal immigrants avoid capture and prosecution after entering the United States. Called the "Mexican Migrant Guide," the Mexican Foreign Ministry says its purpose is to help people who have already decided to enter the United States to diminish their risk of death and to inform them of their rights should they be arrested. Some legislators, such as Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Arizona Republican, say the document is a guide on how to enter the United States illegally.

Saturday, February 26

CHEESE HEAD CONTRACTS MAD COW DISEASE



Sorry, but it's late, and I guess I couldn't resist having fun with the title of this post before heading off to bed. You go ahead and read it, as I have no intention to quote from this AP story. I suspect though that with the instantaneous, worldwide coverage that this bizarre behavior will attract ol' Harold Hart may just have to go and get his name legally changed and flee Neillsville. I don't want to suggest that he'd be hounded were he not to, because ol' Harold might just turn on the hounds.

As far as the name change goes, I'd suggest Hugh Heifer.

IF ONLY TERRI COULD ...

If George Felos, Michael Schiavo's gun-for-hire, grim-reaper attorney, is accurately quoted by Mitch Stacy in this Associated Press (AP) story, then this man with an overarching determination to ensure that Terri Schindler-Schiavo's feeding tube is removed has reached a new low, even for him.

Stacy quotes Felos as saying:

"If Terri Schiavo could for one hour get up and see what's going on, I think she would be absolutely horrified that she has been maintained in this condition against her will for so long, and that she has become the political pawn that she has."

Tell me, how many bloggers are on the BlogsforTerri blogroll -- 100, 200, 250? Answer that question correctly and you'll know how many people, at minimum, will be sickened by that disingenuous, abominal, altogether hypocritical statement. Do you loathe unctuous, prevaricating spinmeisters, as much as I do? Then feel free to loathe George Felos. He's deserving. This is one arrow in his quiver that I thought he'd have the good sense to keep under wraps for the duration. Maybe, despite the win yesterday in Judge Greer's court, Felos and his client are feeling a bit desparate. Maybe they're starting to feel the heat of public opinion. Even the sinister have their limits, their tolerance thresholds. When you've sold your soul to the devil, you know what you've done and it haunts you.

Fellow bloggers -- please tell me where I'm wrong. Many of you have no doubt done a lot better job of researching the facts of this protracted legal battle than I, and have a more intuitive sense of what's likely to become of this helpless, defenseless woman we all have come to care about so deeply. I marvel at the detail in some of your posts. Many of you have done superb work. You're to be commended. All of you are noble warriors.

Please -- correct me if I've errored in what I believe to be the following:

1) Terri is confined to her hospice room, tantamount to a "lock down," and is never taken outdoors for fresh air and sunshine;
2) Terri has been denied physical therapy and other medical treatment over a number of years that might have improved her condition;
3) Terri has been denied most forms of stimulus, including having a television or radio in her hospice room;
4) Terri's "will" is not, in point of fact, a matter of record, as she never executed any written statement, let alone a "Living Will," attesting to her husband's claim that she would not want her life maintained in her current condition, and that said claim was never made by her husband in the immediate days, weeks and months after the so-called "chemical imbalance" led to a heart attack and oxygen deprivation in 1990;
5) A large chunk (e.g., approximately $500K - $600K) of the significant monies awarded for Terri's care and rehabilitation via successful lawsuits her husband initiated has gone instead for legal fees to have the courts approve having her feeding tube removed and her life taken;
6) Terri, despite her Catholicism, has been denied the sacraments of the Church, and Church doctrine does not allow euthanasia or subscribe to any right-to-die philosophies;
7) Terri's parents have been precluded from filming any additional videos of Terri that might further substantiate that she's sentient;
8) Terri once had a serious urinary tract infection that her husband sought to keep medical professionals from treating and, had it been left untreated, would have surely killed her;
9) Videos, as well as statements from visitors who are other than family members, corroborate that Terri reacts positively to her parents visitations;
10) Terri has been denied a basic medical test -- a "swallowing test" -- that, among other tests that could have been administered, might have revealed that she is nowhere near being in a permanent vegetative state;
11) Terri has audibly voiced some basic words;
12) Despite a "bone scan" that has been interpreted as showing injuries to Terri that may have been the result of physical abuse, the courts have never directed that a criminal investigation be undertaken;
13) Twice Terri has had her feeding tube removed and come near death at the hands of the courts owing to legal actions taken by husband Michael Schiavo who, while not divorced from her, cohabitates with another woman and has had two children by her.

Sorry, but I'm so mad at the moment I cannot go on with this. Felos had a lot of gaul to make such a statement. He's really pushing it with me. Are you mad as hell? Get to your keyboards!

AND TO THINK I GAVE UP CHIVAS REGAL FOR THE CAUSE, O'REILLY!

Lorie Byrd at "Polipundit" links to this bizzare story. Meanwhile, I want you to all know that because I'm in agreement with Bill O'Reilly's "Boycott France" campaign (I have absolutely no use for Jacques Chirac), I have stopped drinking (or buying) my favorite brand of Scotch -- Chivas Regal. So not only is the story bizarre, to be sure, Lorie, but it plays to my craving! If I would have known it wouldn't be reported, I, too, might have been inclined to gather around Hunter's corpse with friends and family for a double-Chivas rocks! But, O'Reilly has spies everywhere, as does "Polipundit," so my transgression would have undoubtedly been divulged.

"RED STATES" TO BECOME EVEN MORE INFLUENTIAL



Betsy Newmark of Betsy's Page points to a projection from Polidata that bodes well for the Republican Party beyond the 2010 census. Seems the Grand Ol' Party stands to pick up three (3) additional electoral votes in both Florida and Texas, while the Dems will lose six (6) overall with two coming out of New York's present complement. Don't you just love good tidings!

This could well mean that the more prudent in Democratic ranks may begin abandoning their hard-line liberal positions, while taking a page or two (or three) out of Hillary's playbook. Seems we Red State dwellers are beginning to look better the more the capital "L" liberals sober up and see their chances of recapturing the White House anytime soon just slipping-sliding away.

Of course, there's the nation and then there's California. Rob Reiner hasn't figured it out yet (nor has Barbara Boxer).

JESSICA MARIE LUNSFORD REMAINS MISSING

As if the news out of Florida were not bad enough with the ongoing legal battle being waged by Bob and Mary Schindler to save the life of their cognitively-disabled daughter, Terri Schindler-Schiavo, a search for the 9-year old girl, Jessica Marie Lunsford, missing since Wednesday, continues without success and, as all too often is the case with such likely abductions, the prospect of finding her alive becomes more bleak with each passing day. I should add, however, that according to this CNN report "investigators have no concrete evidence that the young girl was abducted."

Mark Lunsford, the little girl's father, is "convinced that no family member has anything to do with this" and has continued his appeals for additional help in the around-the-clock search being conducted for her, as well as for anyone having information on the whereabouts of his daughter to step forward. Last seen Wednesday night when she went to bed wearing a pink nightgown, authorities indicate not having found any signs of forced entry, but they did note that the front door to the house in Homosassa, FL (80 miles west of Orlando), where Jessica lives with her father and paternal grandparents, was not locked.

Jessica has no history of running away. Her estranged mother, Angela Bryant, who lives in Warren County, Ohio, is not mentioned as a suspect, and has also issued a plea for help.

This blogger is not aware of activity by Florida-based bloggers to aid in the search process, but I suspect that sort of thing may be underway or is being formed. Jessica will be added to this writer's prayer list.

Here is a good link in the blogosphere:

Civil Commotion

Additional MSN link:

ABC News/AP Story

STEM CELL RESEARCH: CALIFORNIA'S PROPOSITION 71 INITIATIVE

IrishLaw provides her customary, well-thought insights in this post on California's Proposition 71 initiative to fund stem cell research, "including embryonic stem cells." In what the writer calls "the failure of journalism" (i.e., the MSM) to cover this story comprehensively, she expresses concerns that such failures are not only giving many disease-afflicted people false hope of near-term medical cures, but the very superficiality of the reporting skates both the potential medical risks, as well as the broader, compelling ethical questions for experiments conducted on cells that are really "early-stage human lives." It's an important read and do make sure to read the links within the post.

"THERE MUST BE A FINALITY TO THIS PROCESS"

So thinks Circuit Judge George Greer and so thinks Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos, who is quoted in this Associated Press (AP) story as saying, "I am very pleased that the court has recognized there must be a finality to this process." Of course, for one of this country's most prominent right-to-die proponents, "finality" means for George Felos the barbaric death by starvation and dehydration of Terri Schindler-Schiavo. Both husband and attorney can hardly wait to have Terri's gastric feeding tube permanently removed at 1:00pm on March 18th, as each is convinced it's incontrovertibly the right thing to do and what Terri would have wanted (i.e., "... allowing him" -- Michael Schiavo -- "to carry out what he says were his wife's wishes not to be kept alive artificially"). No mention is made, of course, that there's no written proof of such wishes, certainly not a "Living Will." In that and in other ways, some egregious, this AP story is consistent with most of the reporting on Terri Schiavo in the mainstream media. It cites a "chemical imbalance" as the root cause for "her heart to temporarily stop beating" back in 1990, which "left her severely brain damaged." There's no mention, however, of contradictory evidence from a bone scan that she may have been a victim of physical abuse. Nor is any reference made to contradictory medical claims holding that she's cognitively-disabled, but certainly not "vegetative" or requiring medical life support. Nor does the AP's Mitch Stacy reveal that Terri's parents, the Schindlers, have been blocked from having a basic "swallow test" performed on their daughter. Indeed, the story is boilerplate MSN reporting with but a few informational updates.

But, sadly, Stacy cannot contain himself. He proceeds to describe the legal tangle between Terri's husband and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, as a "feud" and having all of the "elements of a soap opera." Well, Mr. Stacy, this is not Hatfields and McCoys, nor a fiction. It is a pitched life and death battle over whether to preserve her life and her human dignity, or to snuff it out over a protracted period of up to twenty days by removing water and sustenance from her, and thereby inflicting dreadful pain and suffering on a woman unable to defend herself or cry out for mercy.

They shoot horses don't they, Mr. Stacy?

Friday, February 25

JUDGE GREER PLAYS PONTIUS PILATE: MARCH 18TH LOOMS FOR TERRI

After the relief that came with the news this afternoon that implied, to less careful readers among us, that Circuit Court Judge George W. Greer had extended the "emergency stay" through March 18th, an examination of his ruling issued at 2:50pm EST tells, alas, quite another story. The only cause for cheer is that Terri Schindler-Schiavo will not be dead on or before March 18th owing to Judge Greer's decision today. But, in point of fact, Micahel Schiavo won. Judge Greer ruled unequivocally that he is "no longer comfortable in continuing to grant stays" and that Terri's fate must now lie with the appellate courts.

Indeed, absent intervention by the appellate courts between now and then, Judge Greer is adamant that: 1) the motion for a further stay is denied and will remain denied; 2) that, absent a ruling to the contrary by the appellate court, Terri's husband Michael Schiavo is duly directed to "cause the removal of nutrition and hydration" from his wife at 1:00pm on Friday, March 18, 2005; and, 3) that Michael Schiavo requires no further action from Judge Greer's court to carry out that grissly action (which, of course, is tantamount to a death warrant for Terri). The court order even makes reference, in the cold-blooded language of legalese, to Respondents' Motion for Emergency Stay of Execution of February 11, 2000. Call me naive, but the language gave me chills, however fitting it is as an accurate description of what's at stake in this protracted legal battle.

Accordingly, any notion that prayers and public pressure might have turned Judge Greer more humane and compassionate has evaporated in the cold-as-steel bluntness of his ruling. For me, anyway, it's hard to be charitable towards a man who can sign his name to a court document directing that food and water be withdrawn from a human being whose eyes light up when her parents stand at her bedside. He can choose, as he has done this afternoon, to wash his hands of, in the style of Pontius Pilate, the imminent death by his decree of Terri Schindler-Schiavo, but we in the blogosphere, particularly those of us working through BlogsforTerri and ProLifeBlogs, cannot and will not.

Terri deserves better, her parents and siblings deserve better, and humanity deserves better. To me this is all part of the glaringly horrific disrespect for the sanctity of life in our country. When 47.4 million unborn are aborted and tossed into medical waste heaps, then what's the big deal about a Terri Schiavo here, a geriatric or mentally-challenged person there? Secular societies seek the convenience and utility of not having to weigh God's laws. If the appellate courts do not intervene, a part of our humanity will die with Terri.

PRAYERS ANSWERED; PUBLIC PRESSURE WORKING

BlogsforTerri has just posted an announcement at its site that a three-week stay has been granted by Circuit Court Judge Greer in the Terri Schindler-Schiavo case! Updates to follow.

UPDATE: Here's the Associated Press (AP) report.

UPDATE: Here's an MSNBC/AP report updating the Associated Press' earlier release.

WHO WILL PREVAIL? -- BLOGGERS KEEPING VIGIL


(Google Images/"Larry King Live")


(Google Images)


(Google Images/AP Photo)

CALAMITOUS COUNTDOWN TO DEATH

Terri Schindler-Schiavo, the cognitively-impaired Florida woman whose husband Michael is trying so earnestly to have her killed, finds herself this day in a calamitous countdown to death, facing the grim prospect of injustice at the hands of the courts and, through such judicial indifference, at the hands of her unfaithful, abusive husband, who shows no mercy for her, while obstinately refusing to give the responsibility for his wife's continued care to her lovingly devoted parents, George and Mary Schindler, who seek it. It is a grim story, poignant and compelling. It touches the heart and troubles the soul.

Should the courts give Michael the go-ahead to have Terri's gastric feeding tube removed this afternoon, Terri will begin her final journey -- a journey to death's door that may take up to ten to fourteen days, days marked by inevitable thirst, gruesome dehydration, and the body's desparate need for sustenance. Veterinarians don't euthanize animals this way and certainly states don't execute convicted killers in such fashion. Even animal habitats and their dwellers draw more earnest protection from the government it would appear!

In short order, Terri's hospice room could become a ghastly death camp, bereft of tender mercies and any hint of human dignity, a horror chamber exemplifying man's inhumanity to man. Who in this country could think such a barbaric death of no consequence or turn a deaf ear to it? Who could think that the plight of a defenseless woman warrants no hue and cry for justice? Should that tube be pulled, her ensuing death will be a contemptible outrage!

Terri Schiavo is 41, hardly a "senior," or near becoming one. But she's confined in virtual "lock-down" to a hospice room in Pinellas County, Florida, so I thought it might be illuminating to understand how the State of Florida comprehends the "common concerns of the dying" through non-profit agencies it funds to assist seniors and their caregivers. Do you think it not apropos? I do. So I've turned to the "Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas, Inc.".

In the section of its Web site entitled, "Stage Four, section 4, Common Concerns of the Dying," its authors register a profound concern for caregiver and care receiver alike. They proceed to list fear of pain as the foremost concern of the dying. Indeed, pain is feared more than death itself. So, I ask, if this is true of a terminally ill senior, why would it be any different for a cognitivally-disabled 41 year old? Michael Schivo and his right-to-die advocate attorney George Felos no doubt would argue that she's brain dead and can neither fear death nor feel the pain that will bring it. In their minds nothing is working in her mind. But, what if her mind is working, at least in part? What if she is simply trapped inside of her own body, conscious of her surroundings, and quite able to experience dread, joy and pain? Before that tube is pulled and the "long, painful road to a starved darkness" becomes her death sentence, shouldn't the courts first order a full medical evaluation to determine just that?

Patients want to be seen as a whole person, not a disease, according to a study by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Terri and Terri's family, save for her heartless, two-timing husband (and his apologist attorney), see their daughter and sister as a "whole person" -- disabled, to be sure, but still a living, breathing, sentient human being, whose only requirements to sustain life are food and water. Let's pray that the court sees her that way and ends her family's misery, while giving Terri Schindler-Shiavo the right to food, water, human dignity, and caregivers who define the term.

POPE JOHN PAUL II BREATHING ON HIS OWN

The Associated Press reports that the Pontiff "is breathing on his own" and "spent a restful night at Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic." He's also reported to have a "good appetite." I'm encouraged by this news, as must be the world's 1.1 million Catholics, and all who revere this special man. The next medical bulletin is not to be issued until next Monday unless, of course, Pope John Paul II should take a turn for the worse. I pray that's not the case.

INTERESTING JUXTAPOSITION


(Google Image)


While we're on the subject this morning, Betsy Newmark at "Betsy's Page" provides a link to Tom Bevan in which good ol' Ward Churchill's propensities are compared with those of Barry Bond's. Wonder if Bond's is an amateur artist and uses a photocopier to do some of his best canvasses? It's a way to break into the world of commercial art once the baseball skills are no more. Frankly, I think Ward uses the "clear" and the "cream" on the knobs of his Etch A Sketch!

UPDATE: details provided in this CBS4 news report out of Boulder, CO.

MALKIN PAINTS CHURCHILL A FRAUD


(Google Images)

How artful of Michelle Malkin to foist Ward Churchill so unceremoniously on his own petard. She does it with delicious ease in what must be one of the best posts of the year thus far in the blogosphere. Seems the dear professor keeps mirrors in the house to do more than just look at himself. Cherokee Indian; Indian artist; tenured professor; slimeball.

Thursday, February 24

POPE'S CONDITION APPEARS GRIM


(Google Images)

Pope John Paul II, 84 years old and very frail, is struggling to recover from complications of Parkinson's disease that forced a return to the hospital and a subsequent emergency tracheotomy to alleviate choking and breathing problems. The Pontiff is the third-longest serving pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and has been both a beloved and controversial figure. His arch conservativism and orthodoxy have troubled many, but his keen interest in people and ability to listen and communicate have earned him considerable worldwide respect. We continue to pray for him tonight. God bless His servant in Rome.

CORRECTION: I misspoke -- the tracheotomy was elective, rather than an emergency procedure.

HERE'S A LINK TO AN EXCELLENT POST UPDATING THE TERRI SCHIAVO CONTROVERSY

Readers of mine following the Terri Schiavo case this week and, some among them, blogging on the unfolding events -- the woof and warp of a compelling life-or-death situation -- should read this timely,well-done post on the most current information available. Credit goes not only to WriteWingBlog, but to all of the caring bloggers who have aligned themselves with this cause through BlogsforTerri and ProLifeBlogs.com.

I truly believe we're having a beneficial impact and so does David Limbaugh!

But, along with the posts, the emails, the faxes, the phone calls, and the financial contributions, let's not forget that prayer can work wonders, too!

"EVERY CHILD A WANTED CHILD" (HOW NOBLE)

David J. Garrow, in this feckless piece of calculated fence-sitting for the "Christian Science Monitor," as published in Yahoo! News, accomplishes two things: first, he underscores how nervous proponents of an immoral cause become when advances in scientific understanding undermine their long-held, but poorly-grounded claims; two, he proves incontestably that the "CSM" is not near the newspaper it once was years ago. Why publish a writer so obviously comfortable with a fence post puncturing his posterior? Garrow should quit pontificating on what might make a better case for continued support of an unconscionable Supreme Court Decision (i.e., Roe v. Wade) and get himself in to see a proctologist. This Op/Ed piece deserves the circle file, not publication in a Christian, church-owned newspaper.

Implicit in Garrow's thinking is that if the human fetus is confirmed by modern science as sentient, if it is a human being simply developing and growing between conception and birth, and if life indeed does begin at conception, then the Right-To-Choose/Roe v. Wade crowd will need a new justification for the outrage it champions -- a more glib piece of ratiocination for what we Pro-Lifers know to be the loathesome slaughter of innocents that is abortion on demand.

You have to read down through the column, as he takes his sweet time getting there, but he eventually offers a solution:

Perhaps pro-choice politicians instead should revive a now largely forgotten abortion rights credo of the Roe era: every child a wanted child. Although the fears of overpopulation that once helped give rise to that slogan no longer resonate, statistics show that the neglect and maltreatment of young children is an even larger problem in American society today than it was three decades ago.

Perhaps no public figure wants to discuss how many fetuses, once born, tragically become victims of neglect. But increased attention to the fetus ought to be accompanied by a more honest public conversation about how often childbirth then leads to child abuse.

Don't you love it? It's comparable to arguing that marriages ought to be annulled on demand in the first nine months after the vows are taken since statistics show that more than 50% will end in divorce. Besides, what's more abusive than abortion itself? And there's not mention one by Garrow of the responsibility or accountability of the parents (whether the child was planned or unplanned), or that every life has value regardless of the circumstances in which that human being may find himself or herself. And certainly no consideration is given by Garrow to the belief that no one's life is predestined or without free choice, or without opportunity for improvement or a change in circumstances. No, if there are slums, orphanages, and abusive or fatherless households, then abortion can preclude a child from the statistical prospect of such less than optimal circumstances. Abortion is, in Garrow's mind, the palliative for the human condition.

We all know that not every child is a wanted child. And we all know that not every wanted child is necessarily treated properly, nurtured, provided for, and caringly loved. Man is not perfect, life is not perfect, and as the book title avers, bad things happen to good people. But repugnant, life-ending, pain-causing, medical procedures to kill babies in utero or ex utero are not the answer to such societal issues, any more than Dicken's Scrooge was right (or moral) in thinking that it was better to have the poor starve and thereby "decrease the surplus population."

SCHIAVO'S CEREBRAL CORTEX A "GIANT BLACK HOLE"


(Google Images)


George J. Felos, the lead attorney for Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo, and a long-standing right-to-die and euthanasia proponent, has declared Terri Schiavo's cerebral cortex a giant black hole, according to a "Washington Post" story by Manuel Roig-Franzia, published in this morning's edition. I'll leave it to my readers to decide if this crass comment tops the one purportedly made by Terri's loving, two-timing hubby (and verified by nurses who heard it) -- namely, When is that bitch going to die? Quite a pair, aren't they?

Felos has been persistent in his claims that Terri Schindler Schiavo is "in a vegetative condition and has no consciousness." Such outlandish statements, of course, are all part of a concerted, ongoing campaign of propoganda, much of it promulgated in the mainstream media, aimed at convincing the public (and the courts) that Terri Schiavo is clinically brain-dead. The parents of Terri Schiavo, George and Mary Schindler, argue to the contrary that Terri is only "cognitively disabled" and, were they able to have certain medical tests performed on her (e.g., an MRI and a basic "swallowing test") that thus far her husband Michael and his attorney George Felos have successfully blocked, that it could be proven their daughter is not in a "persistent vegetative state." And, were that proven, it follows that special treatments and therapy for their daughter, similarly denied to date by husband and attorney, might just result in an improvment in her condition and, presumably, a release from the hospice where she has been confined.

I'm not a doctor, nor do I expect that most of my readers are. But commonsense tells me that when Michael Schiavo and George Felos base their case for pulling Terri's feeding tube exclusively on Michael's claim, not verified in any written declaration, let alone an executed "Living Will," that it was Terri's desire to die should fate ever deal her such a cruel blow, that it's unconscionable that this right-to-die duo not at least permit medical experts to conduct the tests necessary to ascertain whether or not Terri is, in point of fact, brain-dead. Does it not follow that they fear the results of such tests would undermine their determination to have this woman die an agonizing death through starvation and dehydration?

View this video and tell me if you were in a jury deliberation room that you wouldn't vote in the affirmative for such tests to be conducted before a feeding tube could be pulled? Tell me if your intuitive sense contradicts the notion that this woman is incapable of emotion, memory or thought.

Video of Terry Schindler Schiavo and her father George Schindler

(NOTE: this video was linked at the following Web site)

(NOTE: this video is also linked at BlogsForTerri)

POPE JOHN PAUL II RUSHED TO HOSPITAL AGAIN



The Associated Press is reporting that Pope John Paul II has once again been rushed to the hospital with breathing difficulties and flu-like symptoms. A formal medical bulletin is not to be forthcoming until tomorrow (Friday). The Pontiff will be in this writer's thoughts and prayers.

UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting this afternoon that the Pontiff required a tracheotomy -- a 30 minute surgical procedure -- to alleviate continued breathing problems. While the Vatican appears to be downplaying the Pope's condition, others are quoted as expressing concern.

Wednesday, February 23

MORE DETAILS ON MANEUVERING IN SCHIAVO CASE

This illuminating article provides additional details, many not known at the present time by the general public, on legal maneuvering and other activities happening in the Terri Schiavo case. It's an important read if you're involved and concerned about her fate.

HAT TIP: BlogsForTerri

STAY IN TERRI SCHIAVO CASE EXTENDED 48 HOURS


(Google Images)
(Originally published at CogForLife)

FOX News reports that the emergency stay granted by Circuit Judge Greer yesterday through 5:00pm EST today has been extended until 5:00pm EST Friday, February 25th. In addition, it's being reported that the Florida Department of Children and Families has entered the fray.

Prayers continued to be answered. Keep the faith!

And God Bless governor Jeb Bush (and the bloggers who have appealed to him for his intervention) for getting involved.

"MAVERICK" SHOULD READ "MISGUIDED"


(Google Images)

I may have come to the party much too late (my younger brother, no doubt, thinks so), but with this I hereby formally declare that Senator John McCain is truly one of the most misguided Republican Senators in the U.S. Senate. Bad enough that, as a Senator from a state with a contiguous border with Mexico, he should fail time and time again to realize that illegal immigration is a multiple-warhead weapon of mass destruction, effecting enormous security risks, dire economic consequences, and a renting of this nation's social fabric; but, now the man goes and says that one of this country's biggest capital "L" Liberals (albeit camouflaged of late in centrist's raimant), Hillary Rodham Clinton, would make a good president. Enough is enough with this man. I salute him for his patriotism, his service to his country, and for withstanding the torture and isolation he endured in prison at the hands of the Viet Cong; but, I cannot abide anyone in the Republican Party ranks who has shored up politically both John Kerry and the Clintons.

A "MUST READ" AND A "MUST DISREGARD"

The must read of the day on the Terri Schiavo legal controversary is this excellent column by Terence Jeffrey, as published in Town Hall.

The logic of Mr. Jeffrey's writing makes this lamentable observation the must disregard read of the day, in that the author's ignorance is mind-boggling! He declares incongruously that "people in Boise have no real stake in the outcome of the case" in Florida. No doubt this man also doesn't want to be troubled with viewing photographs of gruesome abortion procedures or read how certain physicians and attorneys champion euthanasia. Fact is, there are huge implications in the Terri Schiavo case for disabled people, mentally-challenged people, and geriatrics.

(This deserves a read, too!)

CRITICAL DECISION APPROACHES IN TERRI SCHIAVO CASE

It's approaching 3:00pm EST and a ruling should be forthcoming within the next several hours on the fate of Terri Schiavo. The "emergency stay" issued yesterday by Circuit Judge George Greer expires at 5:00pm EST today, unless he rules to extend it.

U.S. BORDER PATROL UNDER-STAFFED, UNDER-FUNDED, AND OVERWHELMED

As regular readers of ACSOL know, illegal immigration and the long overdue need for a tightening of border security are among a handful of issues I address on a regular basis. With regard to the mistaken notion held among many on the Left in this country that we "righties" never challenge the president's policies, I have written on our porous borders countless times, and anyone conversant with current affairs knows that conservative republicans are up in arms over the president's failure to stop the throngs of illegal aliens from entering this country (estimated at 3.0+ million annually). Indeed, the whole issue of national security, immigration control, and free markets converge at a nexus of huge controversy in the Congress and among the myriad constituencies it represents.

In recent weeks, I have pointed to the president's regrettable backpedaling on his commitment to fund an additional 2,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents in 2006. To me, that is unconscionable in an age of terrorism and the need for heightened national security, and many center-right republicans have long feared that the president was less concerned about illegal aliens than about placating Presidente Vicente Fox and corporate interests in America (including the "Wall Street Journal").

Now this story from USA Today, posted at the Drudge Report, further serves to accentuate my fundamental disagreement with the president. And, in terms of the article's account of 65,814 other-than-Mexicans crossing our southwestern border illegally in 2004, it makes me even more convinced that much of what passes for "Homeland Security" in this country is just plain silliness and yet another big government, bureaucratic monstrosity.

TIME TO CHANGE HOW THE PLAQUE READS ON THE STATUE OF LIBERTY?

The Democrats, and in most cases regardless of the states they populate, are congenitally predisposed to sucking and blowing, or, as less coarse wordsmiths might aver, having their cake and eating it too. Whatever your choice in apt descriptions, Democrats represent a more convoluted-thinking segment of the species and with Speciousness their middle name.

Which brings me to this column, written with uncommon clarity by a California Democrat no less, in which it is pointed out that if the Dianne Feinsteins and Barbara Boxers of this world (and others of their ilk) had their way, the words on the plaque of the Statue of Liberty would necessarily have to be changed to read:

Give me your old, your poor, your really sick so we can suck more money from the federal government.
And don't miss the admission that it is an axiom of California Democratic politics, despite the deleterious impact on the state's treasury, that illegal aliens (and they're legion there) have equal access to state-funded healthcare.

"WHEN WILL THEY BE COMING FOR RYAN?"

Tom McMahon, father of a son who suffered brain damage, just as Terri Schiavo did, and whose son required at one time, just as she does today, a feeding tube to sustain him, asks the "haunting question": When will they be coming for Ryan?

(Linked and quoted at ProLifeBlogs.com)

(For additional accounts of people who have "walked a similar path," kindly click on this compelling post from ProLifeBlogs.com as well.)

"DIABOLICALLY BRILLIANT"

Recall the rash of stories about people using "off-the-shelf" lasers and directing those beams at commercial aircraft? Such stories seemed to have all but disappeared and, regardless, had been dismissed by government authorities anyway, which to my mind is akin to the Department of Homeland Security raising its current "threat level" to HIGH, while at the same time reassuring Americans that it sees "no credible threat," just an increase in the "noise level" of Al Qaeda. We're asked time and again to remain "vigilant," but virtually everything reported by American citizens, including laser beams trained on the cockpits of commercial aircraft, is invariably dismissed by the authorities. So what are we to make of all this?

Well, I'd suggest you read yet another of Rodger Morrow's thoughtfully reasoned, researched posts, at his blog This isn't writing, it's typing, to be reminded that our own instincts and analyses need to be heeded. There are portents out there that perhaps the government doesn't want us sticking our noses into, but they're portents nonetheless. Besides, did crack intelligence work preclude "9/11" or any of a number of other terrorist attacks that preceded it?

(NOTE: Rodger Morrow credits "The Phantom" at The Daily Brief for top-drawer reporting on this rife-with-implications issue.)

"THE ANCHORESS" CALLS FOR PRAYERS

In the intensely passionate campaign in the blogosphere to rally behind Terri Schiavo and her parents, the Schindlers, it is all too easy to lose sight of the torment that the people who may well decide her fate must be going through. After all, it has become a starkly cold legal matter now, yet a human being's life hangs in the balance of what men weigh and ponder. It's all too easy to venture right up to the brink of demonizing the judges or, standing at the precipice, forsaking reasoned words for reckless rants. Some are even beginning to see moral fault lines cracking in the governor of Florida, that, truth be known, do not exist because he is fundamentally a good man of strong character hewn in granite.

So today, we keep vigil over the fate of Terri Schindler Schiavo -- as the clock ticks toward the late, fateful, afternoon hours in Florida. Let's be mindful, as we do, of the inspiration found in this thoughtful, caring post by The Anchoress and heed her heartfelt observation that our prayers must be enlarging and charitable and we must trust in the unending mercy and tenderness of the Almighty.

Just as ours must be a culture of life, so too must it be a culture of charity, not just in what we pull from our wallets and purses, but what we draw from our hearts. May God bless Terri Schindler Schiavo. And may He guide those on this Earth, who will decide her fate, to find in man's laws and in their own humanity the wisdom and conviction to spare her life.

Tuesday, February 22

A DAY OF INFAMY IN THE BLOGOSPHERE

The Iranians had a swift and terrible answer for the blogosphere's well-publicized, coordinated campaign today to lobby for the release of jailed Iranian blogger-journalists Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad. It simply couldn't be a coincidence. In what appears to be a clear message to the free bloggers of the world, the Iranians told us to all go to hell. And that's exactly where they sent Arash today. He was convicted by the Revolutionary Court of multiple offenses, including espionage, and sentenced to 14 years in prison. And in Iran, they toss the political prisoners in with the hardcore criminals for added emphasis. This is serious stuff we're engaged in and consequences abound. It makes me doubly fearful of the fate that awaits Farouz Farzami, who I have written about extensively.

We who joined in the campaign in this country may have nothing to fear but fear itself, but for our Iranian counterparts tapping away on a keyboard and posting their viewpoints may be a surefire, one-way ticket to the Gulag. In Iran, its the bloggers who fall victim to the blog swarm, not the tyrants and corrupt officials. Sadly, it's a whole different world there.

Let's all go back and read President Bush's Second Inaugural Address!

There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment and expose the pretensions of tyrants and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant. And that is the force of human freedom.

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.



Update worth reading.

COULD GOVERNOR JEB BUSH DO MORE?

In this WorldNetDaily piece, Panama City, FL radio talk show host Doc Washburn argues that Florida governor Jeb Bush could be doing more by way of directly intervening in the Terri Schiavo controversy. The essence of Washburn's case is the distinction between the governor's reluctance to wade into a civil matter versus what Washburn maintains Mr. Bush is duty-bound to do under the state's constitution -- namely, to call for a criminal investigation into what caused Terri Schiavo's brain damage due to oxygen starvation back in 1990.

Doc Washburn is anything but optimistic that Jeb Bush will rethink his position:

Now that the courts have struck down "Terri's Law," don't be surprised if Jeb behaves as if the constitution he swore to uphold is still not relevant to Terri Schiavo. Don't be surprised if he allows her husband to slowly starve and dehydrate her to death.

APPEAL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS FROM TERRI SCHIAVO'S FATHER

In a lengthy email I received this afternoon, as a subscriber to "Human Events" newsletters, Terri Schiavo's father, Bob Schindler Sr., is making a broad-based appeal for contributions, saying:

I'm asking you for your help. We desparately need your financial assistance to help our family continue the battle to keep our daughter from being starved to death. There are so many expenses in a case like this it is mind-boggling and overwhelming.

Our adversaries believe that by our family's financial attrition and difficulties, they will attain their objective of killing our daughter. Presently, Terri's starvation may only be a few weeks away, unless we find the financial resources to prevent this atrocity from becoming a reality.

BREAKING NEWS: JUDGE GREER ISSUES A STAY

MSNBC has just reported moments ago that Circuit Judge George Greer has issued a "Stay" in the Terri Schiavo controversy, thus precluding her husband Michael from having the legal right to direct his wife's physicians to pull a feeding tube. There is to be a hearing in the case tomorrow afternoon. Again, this is a televised MSNBC report. (Note: I post on CST)

Amplification: BlogsForTerri

MICHAEL SCHIAVO DETERMINED TO IGNORE COURT'S ORDER

In the continuing legal saga that is the Terri Schiavo case, this report from CNSNEWS.com indicates that her husband, through his attorney, has advised Circuit Judge George Greer that he has every intention of pulling his wife's feeding tube early this afternoon and that the judge has no authority to stop him.

You be the judge: Court Document.

While this report interprets that court document to mean that no action can be taken by Michael Schiavo until after a hearing on Wednesday, February 23rd, I have been advised by BlogsForTerri that sources close to Terri's parents (the Schindlers) and their attorney have indicated that reports of a "Stay" or "Hold" are groundless and that, consistent with the CNSNEWS.com story, Michael plans to take action, beginning this very day, to end his wife's life through starvation and dehydration. That means the feeding tube could be pulled within the next hour or so.

Meanwhile, Bob Schindler, Terri's father, and a representative of the Schindlers, Randall Terry, have each issued statements detailing their next steps to save Terri's life and outlining specific ways in which people rallying to Terri's cause can be of most help. Both statements merit your attention.

ALL BLOGGERS SHOULD FEEL DRAWN TO THE PLIGHT OF IRANIAN BLOGGERS



The BBC has a good story on Free Mojtaba and Arash day. As Joe Twist of the BBC reports with respect to the newly formed "Committee To Protect Bloggers":

It is calling on the blogsphere - the name for the worldwide community of bloggers - to do what it can to help raise awareness of the plight of Mojtaba and Arash as well as other "cyber-dissidents".

The Committee to Protect Bloggers was started by US blogger Curt Hopkins and counts fired flight attendant blogger Ellen Simonetti as a deputy director.

She has since started the International Bloggers' Bill of Rights, a global petition to protect bloggers at work.

Although not the only website committed to human rights issues by any means, it aims to be the hub or organisation, information and support for bloggers in particular and their rights to freedom of speech.


FREE MOJTABA AND ARASH !!!

As I have been reporting in previous posts, a harsh, government-led crackdown in Iran on Internet users, particularly bloggers and blogger-journalists, has been underway for some time now and has grown increasingly more intense in recent months. I have committed to make this among the short list of issues that I frequently post on, as government repression of freedom of expression in cyberspace is a serious issue and a patent violation of Article 19 of the United Nation's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

In this earlier post, I provided a link to what I termed a must-read article which lays out five key recommendations for online free expression in anticipation of the "World Summit on the Information Society" (WSIS). Read these recommendations and use them as a backdrop for what follows in this post, so you'll have a clear idea of what ought to be the reality in Internet use in all countries versus what it is, regrettably, in some, most notably Iran. The sad fact is that under the repressive constraints of tyrannical governments, bloggers and cyberjournalists do not enjoy the freedoms that we in America and other western democracies enjoy and take for granted. Indeed, this very post could land me in jail, and facing a long prison sentence, were I Iranian and publishing this in my homeland.

What first got my attention focused on this problem was the chilling tale of Farous Farzami (her pseudonym) -- an Iranian journalist jailed and interrogated for 36-days, released, and now awaiting trial if she hasn't already been returned to prison. But hers is in no way an isolated case, but rather illustrative of what's taking place in Iran and with alarming frequency.

Which brings me to bloggers Motjaba Saminejad and Arash Sigarchi and a commitment by many in the blogosphere to dedicate today -- February 22nd -- to a focus on their plights in order to bring pressure to bear on the Iranian government to cease and desist in the harrassment and jailing of these two men. The link I just provided, the "Committee To Protect Bloggers," will give you background information on these two Iranian bloggers, tell you about how they were jailed, and suggest ways in which you can participate in this concerted effort to free them and others like them in Iran.

As bloggers, is it not our obligation to go to bat for those being oppressed for doing the very thing many of us do each and every day -- write our opinions and publish them on the Internet, freely and without fear that we'll be whisked off to jail?

YET ANOTHER GOOD SITE WITH WHICH TO RALLY BEHIND TERRI SCHIAVO

I'm only deluging you with information and heartfelt appeals to the angels of your better nature, Dear Readers of ACSOL, because time is of the essence, as we're down to counting hours and minutes, not weeks and days, in the campaign being waged in the blogosphere to bring pressure to bear on those government officials who can put a stop to Terri Schiavo's husband's intentions to pull her feeding tube early this afternoon. Those two officials happen to be brothers: President George W. Bush and Governor Jeb Bush of Florida. People knowledgeable in these matters say that either has the power to intervene despite the recent unfavorable court ruling.

So, please, take a look at this site and, in your information-gathering in deciding whether or not to join the campaign in what is now clearly the eleventh hour, do look at the videos of Terri so you can see for yourselves the difference between the real Terri Schiavo and the one being described by the MSM, her husband, and her husband's attorney.

Thanks, Good People!

THEY'RE TRYING TO DEHUMANIZE TERRI SCHIAVO (BUT IT WON'T WORK)


(Google Images)


Here's an article by attorney Barbara Weller, who accompanied Terri Schiavo's parents and other family members on a Christmas Eve, 2004, visit to the Woodside Hospice to see Terri. Barbara does for Terri what the MSN has largely failed to do -- namely, to decribe her in human terms, and, most importantly, as sentient. This account may put to rest the notion that this woman is confined to a hospital bed in a vegetative state and with 24/7 life support keeping her alive. That is simply not the case!

Read this and ask yourselves: should this woman die from starvation and dehydration at the hands of the courts and her husband?

If you think not, if you believe in the sanctity of life and the protection of the physically impaired, then you had better read this, so you understand the urgency right now -- TODAY -- of rallying to Terri Schiavo's cause!

Then, if you're ready to do some serious work this morning, please visit these two sites:

BlogsForTerri

ProLifeBlogs

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE !!!

A PETITION TO PRESIDENT BUSH TO SAVE TERRI SCHIAVO'S LIFE

While I have posted a "Second Open Letter To Governor Bush" (along with sending him a second email) pleading with him to intervene on behalf of Terri Schiavo, it may well be the case that it is Jeb Bush's brother, President George W. Bush, who could either intervene directly or have the best possible leverage in personally appealing to his brother to act. President Bush has been a strong advocate of the sanctity of human life and of the protection society owes its innocents. And, regardless of your political views, I think it is undeniable that President Bush does not lack for political courage.

Accordingly, I respectfully ask visitors to and regular readers of this site to consider joining me in signing a petition requesting that President Bush intervene on behalf of Terri Schiavo. Absent his intervention, or that of the governor of Florida, Terri's husband has announced his intentions to remove his wife's feeding tube at 1:00pm EST today. Thus would begin an agonizing death for Terri of starvation and dehydration. This truly is a matter of life and death, and we in the blogosphere have proven the impact we can have when we unite.

Thanks for your consideration and your humanity.

A SECOND OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR JEB BUSH

DEAR GOVERNOR BUSH:

I was both saddened and outraged to learn that the courts in Florida have rejected the pleas of Terri Schiavo's parents to preclude Terri's husband, Michael, from his grim intentions to kill her by withholding food and water from her. It is my understanding that he will begin this ghastly process today, Tuesday, February 22nd, at 1:00pm EST.

This is disgraceful, utterly despicable, a profound travesty of justice, an affront to the sanctity of life, and a dangerous step towards America becoming a society in which people's lives may be deemed expendable by the courts and with increasing regularity because of age, disease, disabilities, or mental illness.

Despite what Terri's husband, Michael, and his attorneys contend, Terri Schiavo is not a "brain dead vegetable." She is sentient and, as has been reported, responds to her parents and particularly her mother. Moreover, Terri is not sustained by medical life support; she only requires assistance in eating and drinking. The latter does not constitute life support.

As if this entire matter were not disgraceful enough, Terri Schiavo has been denied proper, much-needed rehabilitation. Indeed, the courts in Florida have remained more intent on giving Terri's husband the legal right to end Terri's life, than to ensure that she receive the kinds of medical tests, treatment, and therapy that could, in point of fact, improve her life.

So, it would appear now that it comes down to you, as the chief executive of the state of Florida, to intervene and save this woman from the dastardly designs of her husband. It becomes a test of your political courage as governor and of your humanity as a Christian man. The question becomes: have you exhausted every possible avenue to save this woman's life and to avoid a dangerous legal precedent in the making that, should that feeding tube be allowed to be removed by her husband, will put in jeopardy the lives of many other people who could in time be perceived as a burden to the state or to their families?

You must act and act now! This may well be the defining moment of your public life.

Sincerely,

B.A. Higgins
BAustinHiggins@consolidated.net
http://acertainslantoflight.blogspot.com/

(Dear Readers: this was sent to Governor Bush in the form of an email very early this morning.)

Monday, February 21

BRAND NEW LOOK FOR "ACSOL"

If this is your first time visiting A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT (ACSOL), you'll not notice a difference; but, for my regular readers, tell me -- what do you think? The Blogger template is the same, but the colors have all been changed, and dramatically so, along with a few other details. I was tiring of the blandness of the colors that came with the template and, frankly, I found the black text on white background hard on the eyes. Yes, I'm at that age now!

My favorite color has always been BLUE. Bet you would never have guessed!

Now I can sit in front of the screen and enjoy the "look" of my blog, consistent with my color preferences. I hope my readers are pleased and that they find the "new look" of ACSOL crisp, compelling, and more professional.

I owe a big, big thanks to my wife, Cathy. She's not trained in HTML and she has never built a Web page. But, she's always been very handy with computers and she's an intuitive person and someone (unlike me) with infinite patience. Where I get frustrated if something doesn't work the first time through or seem logical on its face, she keeps an even keel and just keeps sailing along through the storm-tossed seas, secure in the notion that eventually she'll find safe harbor. And she invariably does!

So I dedicate the "new look" to Cathy, who lovingly made it happen, to my youngest of two grandsons, Austin, who was the original inspiration on the day of his birth for Grandpa first setting foot in the blogosphere and trying to gain a toehold there, and, of course, to you, my readers.

I'm flattered that you've read this far and I hope you'll return often, and even if all of my views do not necessarily square with yours! After all, that's okay. That's what living in America is all about -- the freedom to express your viewpoints and to try to understand the perspectives of other people. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

A EUPHEMISM FOR DYING

If you believe, as I do, that Terry Schiavo should continue living, that her feeding tube should not be removed as directed by a judge, then let's pray together that she does not begin processing tomorrow because the governor of Florida fails to have the requisite political courage and moral conviction to protect her, which is his obligation.

And where does that indifferent, cold-as-steel term processing come from? Read the following by Barbara Simpson (who I applaud) to gain insights into how cold-blooded and impersonalized a world it is.

And heed Barbara's words:

If you don't do something to stop the killing of Terri Schiavo, it will haunt you. If every one of us doesn't call, fax, e-mail, picket and generally rattle every cage there is, to draw attention to her situation, we will all be complicit in her fate.

If the legal system kills Terri Schiavo, none of us is safe. The system is big and powerful and, if it wants you dead, you will be.






THE ANSWER: SHE SHOULD LIVE!


(from Google Images)



To remove the feeding tube from a patient whose only impairment is cognitive is simply murder.

AN OPEN LETTER TO FLORIDA GOVERNOR JEB BUSH

DEAR GOVERNOR BUSH:

I urge you to intervene on behalf of Terri Schiavo. Please, in God's name, do the right thing, the honorable thing, the moral thing, and save her life!

Terri is disabled and requires intravenous feeding of food and water to sustain her. How does that fact justify stopping that life-sustaining process. Were she on oxygen to assure the functioning of her lungs and the oxygenation of her tissues, would you allow the valve to be turned off? My father requires oxygen 24/7 because of a serious lung disease. I trust that your counterpart in California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would not honor a judge's capricious ruling that my father's life is suddenly expendable because he contracted a debilitating lung disease and requires oxygen. Yet, I am obliged to write to you and appeal to your humanity. Why?

Your job as governor is to protect the rights of all of Florida's citizens. Florida's constitution expressly requires that the inalienable rights of the state's physically disabled citizens be preserved, despite what a Circuit Court judge has ruled to the contrary.

Demonstrate the political courage that John F. Kennedy wrote about in "Profiles In Courage," and stand up and be counted.

If Terri Schiavo is not protected by the chief executive of Florida, whose right to life will next be forfeited in your state? The lives of indigents? The lives of geriatrics? The lives of the acutely mentally ill? Where does the violation of the sanctity of life end? Which Florida citizens are protected by you and which are not?

Come tomorrow, we will know the kind of man you are. I pray to God you do the right thing. The nation is watching, not just the state of Florida. Remember this in your deliberations, Governor Bush:

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's.

Sincerely,

B.A. Higgins
BAustinHiggins@consolidated.net
http://acertainslantoflight.blogspot.com/

(DEAR READERS: This was sent in the form of an email to Governor Jeb Bush this morning.)

BACK-CHANNEL TALKS WITH IRAQI INSURGENTS UNDERWAY

This story from Yahoo News, and quoting from a Times' magazine report, says that "unidentified Washington and Iraqi sources" have advised the Times that what the Bush Administration has been unwilling to do formally, it is now doing through "back-channel communications" -- namely, conducting talks with "certain insurgents."

The report concludes, however:

Controversial Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi said on Sunday the outcome of any negotiations between insurgents and the U.S. military would not be binding for a new Iraqi government.
As Chalabi said pointedly to an interviewer on ABC's "This Week" show: The issue here is not negotiating with the killers who are killing the Iraqi people.




21ST CENTURY POLITICAL REVOLUTION A FEW MOUSE CLICKS AWAY

The Guardian Unlimited featured a story over this past weekend on blogging in American politics, predicting the blogosphere will become a force in Britain and speculating that it could ignite many new forces of conservatism there. Why? Because, as the author of the piece, Lain Duncan Smith observes, the Internet's automatic level playing field gives conservatives opportunities that mainstream media have often denied them.

Smith further notes that the Internet has strengthened the American right, while the American left has primarily used the Internet to spout hatefulness, although he does cite the efficacy of Howard Dean's Internet-based fund-raising in the Democratic primaries in 2004.

In terms of the blogosphere's future impact on British politics and media he writes:

Until now voters, viewers and service users have not had easy mechanisms by which to expose officialdom's errors and ineffficiencies. But, because of the Internet, the masses beyond the metropolitan fringe will soon be on the move. They will expose the lazy journalists who reduce every important public policy issue to how it affects opinion-poll ratings.

Tired of being spoon-fed their politics, British voters will soon be calling virtual town hall meetings, and they will take a serious look at the messenger as well as the message. It's going to be very rough.

Smith concludes by pointing to President Bush's campaign chief and political guru, Karl Rove:

Karl Rove is right. The Internet could do more to change the level of political engagement than all the breast-beating of introspective politicians and commentators. A 21st century political revolution is now only a few mouse clicks away.

Makes one wonder: what would be the impact if Prince Charles' sons, William and Harry, were to take up poliblogging (using pseudonyms, of course, to protect the propriety of the Royal Family)?


Sunday, February 20

ProLifeBloggers.com

As my faithful readers know, I'm a center-right poliblogger, who provides commentary on politics and current events from a conservative, traditionalist perspective, and, occasionally, with a touch of lighthearted humor. I'm a Reagan Republican and proud to call myself one. Among the short list of issues you'll see me post on frequently is abortion. I'm a steadfast Pro-Lifer and take great issue with the Supreme Court's misguided Roe v. Wade decision. I fervently believe that abortion is wrong and immoral, except in cases where the mother's life or her general health are at risk, and in certain other extreme circumstances. I also believe that minors should not be permitted to receive guidance on abortion without parental consent or the consent of a legal guardian. Furthermore, and so I'm clear on the subject, I believe fetuses are sentient human beings and that life begins at conception. And, more than anything else, it is George Bush's genuine belief in the sanctity of life and his political courage in saying so that caused me to vote for him in 2000 and again in 2004.

Accordingly, I'm pleased to link to ProLifeBlogs.com and I completed their registration form this evening. You'll find that link in my "Combination Links & Blogroll" under the heading of Qui Tacit Consentit in the righthand column. Further down the column you'll find two of their "Logo" links to this same site. My emphasis on redundant links is purposeful. That's the importance I attach to the Pro-Life movement -- to making a statement about the sanctity of life and our obligation to protect the innocents.

Indeed, if my blog favorably impacts even one woman's decision to cancel her abortion and to have her baby, whether she keeps it or puts it up for adoption, then I will have been blessed. Regardless of whether you're Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, or uncertain about your feelings on this important matter, I encourage you to visit the ProLifeBloggers.com site and to return to mine from time to time as well. Thanks!

A PROVOCATIVE, COMPELLING, FIRST-RATE POST


(from Google Images)

I'm sure there will be more superlatives than I can muster used to describe Rodger Morrow's (author of "this isn't writing, it's typing" blog) provocative, compelling, thought-provoking, first-rate post on ethics and the issue of thievery in the blogosphere. Posts of this quality (the writing and the intellect behind it) don't come along all that often. This one is deserving of countless links, an ongoing blogosphere discussion, a graduate school course or two -- and certainly a book.

Now, then, Rodger, better get busy amplifying your post into that book before your perspicacity and profundity (i.e., your intellectual capital) are purloined.

By the way, I, too, posted on the subject of Ms. Noonan's well-written, widely-applauded defense of bloggers in the context of an earlier post by Mr. Morrow on "Easongate."

BETSY NEWMARK NAILS 'EM ...

Thank you, Betsy Newmark for seeing through the Democrats' smoke screen on a reawakened commitment to family values and the sanctity of life. But I don't think any manner of tests are going to tell us anything different than we already know about their true intentions. When the DEMS chased Pro-Lifer Timothy J. Roemer of Indiana from the short list of DNC Chaiman candidates, the handwriting was pretty much on the wall.

MORE ON EDWARDS AND HIS CHANCES IN 2008




Lorie Byrd of "Polipundit" adds her thoughts on the ever-smiling John Edwards' chances to rebound politically on the national stage, which she suggests are virtually non-existent. Needless to say, if you've read my prior post, I agree with her. Lorie, bless her heart, is more polite in saying so, however. Snakeoil salesmen, such as Counselor Edwards, get my back up.

SOMEONE KINDLY REMIND JOHN EDWARDS ...

Some people just don't get it. The Kerry-Edwards ticket lost for just these kinds of reasons. But the retired ambulance chaser, now no doubt wailing and gnashing his teeth over President Bush's tort reform success, can't seem to resist sticking to his tired, careworn mantra. Despite the fact that George Bush hadn't been in office even a year when the tragedy of "9/11" befell this country, Edwards, ever the unctuous, "closing statement" spinmeister, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that, "George Bush has helped make us a natural target" in the "Muslin world."

Well, Counselor Edwards, (you who couldn't even deliver his own home state for the Democratic ticket) you're obviously more gifted a trial lawyer than you are a presidential hopeful, vice presidential hopeful, Senator, or historian. Look instead to the Clinton Administration that weakened our military, eviscerated our intelligence services, and failed to return fire in the wake of (but one example) the terrorist attack on the U.S.S. Cole. And while your eyes are wide open (instead of wide shut), look at yours and Senator Kerry's sorry voting records on defense initiatives and funding for the war on terrorism.

Get off George Bush's back. Besides, and apart from your wife's serious health issue, your biggest problems are being out of office, having no executive experience, being unable to jettison the "Two Americas" stump speech that never gained any traction in the Red States, and facing the prospect of taking the thumping of your life from Hillary Clinton in 2008. GWB should be the least of your worries. Learn from him? After all, he dismissed you with no problem.

Oh, and while you're at it, reconsider, as Hillary was prudent in doing, your Pro-Choice position. Thousands of innocents see you the way you claim the Muslim world sees George Bush.