Sunday, March 27, 2005

The End of Law

It's amusing to read bloggers like Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse, and Hugh Hewitt going back and forth over the nuances of the law as it impacts the Terri Schiavo travesty. Congress' intent. De novo hearings. Findings of fact. The two who teach "the law" at university level (Reynolds and Althouse) seem to think the federal and state judiciaries have acted according to their legal mandates and that they have comported themselves admirably. Hugh Hewitt thinks the judiciary has not acquitted itself well, particularly in the arrogant manner in which judges on both the state and federal levels thumbed their collective noses at Congress.

As I read this silly back-and-forth, my only thought is: What ever happened to the law? These people remind me of villagers in medieval Spain who receive dictates from the village church. They cower. They bare their heads and bow to the power of the local priest. And comply to his demands. The judiciary - in the person of Judge Greer, a disgustingly reprehensible individual - pronounced a "finding of fact." His finding was that Terri Schiavo is in a permanent vegetative state and cannot be rehabilitated, therefore she is to die. All rulings since in all the different courts to which the Schindler family has turned have been the same: Judge Greer made a determination of fact and we can't screw with that.

Each day I see a long line of brothers, sisters, friends and parents who argue on nationwide television that Terri Schiavo's mind does have cognitive ability, although it is admittedly of dramatically diminished capacity. They relate stories of how Terri reacts to their coming in the room or to their saying something to her. Wishful thinking? Delusion? All of them? I see doctors and nurses who attempt to submit affidavits refuting the notion that Terri's condition is irreversible and that she is incapable of rehabilitation. They argue that the "finding of fact" is seriously, grievously flawed.

But to no avail. So the charade goes on. Courts of appeal, federal district courts, state and federal supreme courts shrug, mumble something about "findings of fact" and tell the Schindlers to pound salt.

And Reynolds, Althouse, and Hewitt continue to ponder the implications of Congress' seeking de novo trials and temporary restraining orders. They and most of America shrug and babble something about the death sentence, armed guards, and horrific and agonizing death being the will of the courts. And the courts are not to be trifled with and certainly aren't to be disparaged.

All the time a young woman is being starved to death in a hospice in Pinellas Park, a direct result of the system's cold, (mis)calculating, and relentless need to put forth a united - infallible - front.

Those who owe their careers to the legal system genuflect before their gods. And are in awe.

I look on in shock and dismay and wonder when it was exactly that the law that we all once held in high regard actually died.

The Problem With Steroids

I read the following AP story and decided it was time to say something.
AP Survey: McGwire Could Miss Hall of Fame
By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK - Mark McGwire could be shut out from the Hall of Fame because of baseball's swirling steroids scandal, heightened by the slugger's refusal to answer specific questions about performance-enhancing drugs before Congress, an Associated Press survey showed.

Barry Bonds appears to have enough support to get in, but he's far from a shoo-in, according to the sentiments of 155 Hall of Fame voters who responded to the survey. They are among the roughly 500 members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America who will be eligible to vote when McGwire is on the ballot in two years. (
Here's what I know.
1) Steroids enhance performance. A lot.
2) Taken in moderation, as Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds allegedly have, they boost physical stamina, strength, and musculature.
3) Steroids will have an adverse effect on a percentage of people who consume them.
4) Taken in immoderate proportions, steroids will have adverse effects on anyone.

Here's what I think.
The same can be said, if on a lesser scale, of vitamin B-12.

It is a difficult task for one to argue in this day and age that steroids are a bad thing when they have (allegedly) made superstars out of our most famous athletes and (allegedly) governors out of weightlifters.

Yes, their use is generally illegal. But with that exception, it's tough for me to get worked up over this issue.

Love That Tap Water

This news comes to us via The Australian:
Bottled water found to be money down the drain
Katrina Strickland and Adam Cresswell

IF you're buying bottled water because you think it's better for you than tap water you should think again, because you quite literally are throwing money down the drain.

Australians have fervently embraced bottled water over the past decade. From virtually nothing in the early 1990s we now spend $525 million a year on a product advertised as "pure", drawn from "pristine sources", and accompanied by images of sparkling streams and idyllic waterfalls.

The market is growing at 15 per cent a year and is expected to double in the next five years. But is it any better for your health than what comes out of the tap for free? Not according to a chemical analysis commissioned by The Weekend Australian and undertaken by experts from the University of Technology, Sydney.

The analysis showed that the best-selling bottled water, Mount Franklin, was no cleaner than the cheapest brand. And none of the three bottled waters tested were any better for you than tap water from three capital cities - Melbourne, which reputedly has the nation's cleanest supplies, Sydney, and Adelaide, widely regarded as having the murkiest. Yet "premium" bottled water such as Mount Franklin sells in supermarkets for about $1.60 a litre - 209,333 per cent more than tap water, which in Melbourne costs 0.075 of a cent per litre. (
I've always enjoyed chewing my tap water. Especially the tiny chunks of greenish thingies. They taste like chicken.

Day Nine


After facing yet another legal defeat, Terri Schiavo's parents kept a somber vigil yesterday, saying that their dying daughter was "fighting like hell" but acknowledging that the end was near.

Last night, the Florida Supreme court refused yet another request by her parents to reinsert the feeding tube that was keeping Schiavo alive.

With that legal blow — and the likelihood of more government intervention growing increasingly remote — it appears to be just a matter of time before Schiavo dies.

"She's putting up a tremendous battle to live, and it's quite obvious she's not throwing in the towel," her father, Bob Schindler, said.

"She doesn't want to die . . . I want the powers that be to know that it's not too late to save her."

Last night, Schiavo's anguished mother visited her bedside and spent some time alone with her daughter. (


Simply Terrifying
Ben Stein , The American Spectator

Here is what makes me furious about the Terry Schiavo case, short and sweet.

The courts of the United States can find a right for the abortion industry to take a fully formed, totally healthy baby at nine months' term, out of his mother's womb and murder it by putting scissors through his brain and grinding them about.

They do this without one single word of support from any Congressional act of any kind ever.

They can find a right of savage murderers of innocent women who drown them for a lark to avoid the death penalty because they are old enough to drive and to kill but supposedly too young to be executed. Again, there is not one syllable in any Congressional act that sanctions this protection of the guilty.

But with the Congress and the President of the United States pleading for the life of a woman who is not brain dead, who responds to words and to touch, who is not on life support, whose parents beg for her to be kept alive, whose nurses give affidavits that she can be rehabilitated, with a specific law commanding the courts to review the case to keep this poor soul alive, the courts instead find no rights for her.

This is a court system totally out of control, obviously committed to death, obviously bound by nothing beyond its morbid obsession with its own omnipotence and its fascination with the letting the innocent die. This is simply terrifying. The Falange followers of Francisco Franco had an evil cry: Long live death. Obviously, Justice Kennedy was listening. (link)

But Don't You Dare Abuse Animals!

The court system is starving Terri Schiavo to death. The American people have decided that that is okay by them.

At the same time, the same people will not countenance this:
Bronx man arrested on charge he strangled dog

NEW YORK (AP) _ A 24-year-old man was arrested Friday on charges that he choked his dog to death, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said.

Louis Lawrence allegedly choked the dog on Feb. 8 after becoming angry that the animal had taken trash from a garbage container in the kitchen, ASPCA spokesman Joe Pentangelo said.

The 4-month-old pit bull, named Cross, suffered a collapsed lung, Pentangelo said.

Lawrence brought the dog to an ASPCA hospital the next day, telling veterinarians he was not responsible for the animal's condition but knew who was, Pentangelo said.
Cross was transferred to another facility and put on a ventilator but died on Feb. 12, he said.

Investigators determined that Lawrence caused the dog's injuries, and he was arrested at his Bronx home on a charge of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, Pentangelo said. (
The world has gone mad.