Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri: It's finally over.

As I'm typing this, the word is getting out that Terri Schiavo has finally been freed from her fifteen years of living as a vegetable. She's gone to someplace better.

I'm not cheering about the fact that she's gone. It's sad. It's sad that she had to go out that way while numerous convicted criminals were taken out quickly and "humanely".

It's also pathetic to have so many people interject themsevles into this case and putting on circus acts in front of the media. It's pathetic to see politicians prostrate themselves on this issue and abuse their power so they can curry favor with these amateur circus performers.

And by "circus performers" I mean there were people who were dressed up in costumes, who carried big comical signs like the woman who carried around the oversized spoon that said "Please Feed Terri", and even people who performed juggling acts. I'm serious folks! Apparently some folks thought they were trying out for "Let's Make A Deal".

Some folks are suggesting that the media should be ashamed of themselves... but that will never happen. The media should have been ashamed of Dan Rather's "Memogate" fiasco, but they weren't. If they don't care about their own integrity, then nothing will ever shame them.

Credit should go to President Bush and Governor Bush for not succumbing to the wailing demands of the circus performers to use force to get their way. (See my earlier post on this matter.) Thankfully they recognized their limited authority, although Jeb-boy ALMOST went through with it, and would have gotten away with it if the local police weren't determined to do their jobs. Pity they didn't recognize this when they abused their respective positions the first time around by trying to pass unconstitutional laws. (Or did you think that people like me would forget that?)

Thankfully, Terri did not have to go through the BS that her family members were giving about her condition and about how they wanted to take her to Washington and to go shopping at the mall. The parts of her brain that were damaged, the parts that made her who she was and not just life support, were jelly. But the rest of us weren't so fortunate. We had to put up with people who wanted us to believe that Terri was just fine and dandy.

Thankfully, Terri has finally let go. She will not have to put up with the wailing and moaning and teeth-gnashing and the fist-shaking that the circus performers will be putting on for months to come. She will not have to deal with the jihad that will be waged by these clown acts, desperately trying to regain some perceived loss of power and feelings of inadequacy because they were unable to keep her plugged into the feeding tube so her body can be kept alive indefinitely even though most of her brain was jelly.

Thankfully, Terri was let go from this hell. Unfortunately for us, we still have to deal with it.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The "Saving Terri" Cause = Christianity?

Neal Boortz has an interesting take on the efforts of the bible-thumpers to "save" Terri Schiavo. Basically these folks have taken over the issue and have now made it part of their self-righteous "holy" crusade.

Here are two quick takes from his "Neal's Nuze" on the subject (and YES Neal, you get credit for them!!!)....

  • At the end of the street is Triple O Auto. It's an auto repair shop operated by a single father trying to raise two sons. The triple O stands for "On Our Own." Protestors have been parking in the Triple O driveway. When Scotty Jackson, the owner, asked one of the protestors to move his car the man waved his Bible at Scotty, shouted some obscenities and walked off. Criticize this protestor and you're Christian bashing.
  • There are 70 other patients in that hospice. They're all dying. Because of the protestors they can't come outside the hospice to sit in their gardens and enjoy their last Spring. If you say that the protestors are hurting the other dying patients at the hospice, you're Christian bashing.

These are just two examples of the damage these people are causing. Let's not forget the death threats. Let's not forget the rampant abuse of government power these people are demanding.

Oh, and let's not forget their DEMANDS to radio stations that if a talk show host doesn't support their position that the show be taken off the air! (That's another Boortz link, BTW.) See? It's not just about the racy stuff you hear on Howard Stern anymore. It's about silencing the supporters of ANY position that they are opposed to!

It's no wonder why Terri's parents are asking that these people just LEAVE. These people are not doing their cause any favors by their antics.

By the way, Neal has a GREAT take on this matter that he posted over on Town Hall's website the other week. But I'm not going to give you THAT link. Instead this is from his own website. (Town Hall is currently run by the Herritage Foundation - even though they claim they just broke free of them - and if you knew who runs that group, you'd know why I'd prefer to not give them any links.)

Okay guys... let's keep the comments coming!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Will Terri become the new Elian?

So I'm listening to the radio on my usually LONG commute to my bill-paying job (which will soon hopefully be a SHORT commute) when I hear this little possibility... that either Governor Jeb or President GW (Bush, that is) will order a military-style takeover of Terri Schiavo, much like the US Department of Justice did with Elian Gonazlez during the Clinton Regime.

Well the courts have refused to do what the hyserical members of Congress and the White House want them to do in this matter. They refuse to step in and order her feeding and water tube to be re-inserted. Even the justices of the US Supreme Court have said no for a FOURTH time on this matter!

By the way, how ACTIVIST is it to not get involved? One would think that it WOULD be an ACTIVIST judiciary that would be willing to stand in the way of doctors and a husband's understanding of his wife's wishes.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, acting more and more like a genuine medical quack over this matter, is demanding information so he could make his own official "diagnosis". Senator, the problem isn't in the heart, which is your medical specialty, it's in the HEAD... and might I add so is your problem, sir.

And now we have Randall Terry, the "appointed" family spokesman, who promises "hell to pay" for the judges who refuse to heed the demands of the bible-thumpers and self-appointed "champions" of Terri. Given which group Mr. Terry represents, "hell to pay" is sounding more and more like a terrorist threat. Will somebody PLEASE get the Department of Homeland Security on this guy's sorry ass??

So will either Bush do it? Will they just go ahead and pull their own intervention on this matter? They have the means, they have the firepower, and they both can invoke an executive order for the duration of the activity. And by the time the courts catch up to this hypothetical abuse of power, it would already be too late to prevent them putting her back on a feeding tube, which would be the whole intent in the first place.

I wonder also what the repercussions would be for pulling that sort of stunt. Obviously neither Bush would be impeached for it. The legislative halls both in Tallahassee and Washington are full of people who would back such a stunt. The bible-thumpers would impose their dictatorial stance of "because WE SAID SO" and that would quell any resistance in the political world.

But would there be a backlash from the public? Remember a lot of people are opposed to the government stepping in on this matter! Would this be remembered in the 2006 mid-term elections? One can only wonder!

Your thoughts?

03/27 Update - Apparently the idea of seizing custody of Terri Schiavo was more than just a rumor or a theory. The Miami Herald (*) reports that state officials were prepared to storm the hospice and seize custody on behalf of Governor Bush. The only thing that supposedly stopped them was that Miami police were equally prepared to enforce the judge's ruling. This would have led to a dangerous confrontation between two different divisions of law enforcement.

Thanks go to Brent for providing the link.

(* - website requires registration. Or just visit BugMeNot.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Tech, Terri, and Terminal Buttheads

Okay folks, I'll admit it... I'm firmly AGAINST the holy rollers and politicians on the issue of Terri Schiavo. And the more they blather on and on over this subject, the more I'll be firmly AGAINST them on this one.

And what makes me sick is the pompousness and self-righteousness and sheer stupidity over this issue! I mean the excuses are just coming out of the woodwork!

"She's not dead, she's just disabled! You're killing a handicapped person!" That's the new line being spewed. Well she's about as disabled as she can get, folks! In fact, it's the sheer OPPOSITE of what most disabled people are like. In the most extreme cases of disability, the body is shut down but the brain is still working fine. Here it's the opposite. The body is fine, but the brain is damaged to the point where all it can do is live. The lights are on but nobody's home. She's not handicapped... and she certainly isn't handi-capable. She's a vegetable.

"You wouldn't treat your cat or dog like this!" You're right, I wouldn't... because we are allowed to euthanize a dog or cat that would be in that kind of condition. It is a simple process and works in a matter of seconds. It's still heartbreaking to see it happen, though. But right now Terri has less cognitive brain activity than a dog or a cat. And doctors are specifically barred from doing anything that we would do to a dog or cat in that situation.

And how about all of these doctors who claim that she COULD recover from her condition? Yeah, they're saying it, but they're also saying "I haven't had the time to evaluate her yet." Which means they're just guessing! Even Senate Majorty Leader Bill Frist - who is a heart specialist, not a brain specialist - is trying to give a diagnosis without fully evaluating her. (Isn't there some AMA regulation against that sort of stuff from a licensed physician?)

Well folks, I'm not a doctor. I work with computers. I probably know more about computers than Senator Frist knows about the human brain. And from what I understand of this, the best way for people to understand Terri Schiavo's situation is to compare it to a computer with a failed hard drive.

When a computer starts up, you have power going through the motherboard and processor. The first commands given are through the BIOS. Those are the commands on the motherboard that tell the computer what applications it has (mouse, keyboard, CD-ROM, floppy drive, monitor, modem, etc.) and to send power to those areas. Then it turns everything over to the operating system on the hard drive, which then goes through the rest of the start-up procedure.

But what happens if the hard drive has a problem? Well the computer will still start up, the BIOS will still run, and there will still be power to all of the peripherals it recognizes, but you won't be able to use them. If you put in a diagnostic disc into your CD-ROM, it will run a simple program that will work on all of the peripherals that the BIOS recognized on start-up. But that doesn't mean that the hard drive is fixed or that the computer can still work like it used to. If you can't access the hard drive, then you can't get the computer to work the way it is supposed to.

Now obviously there's a key difference between a computer with a bad hard drive and a human being in a persistent vegetative state... you can replace the computer's hard drive with one that will work. You can't do that with a human being.

But what if you can't replace the hard drive? What if it is permanently hard-wired to the motherboard? (Hey, computer makers do that all of the time to other applications. Why not a hard drive?) What do you do then? Would you still consider that computer working?

I'm sure the idealistic dreamer would say "Why not?" Power is still going to the key applications. The BIOS still works. The monitor screen still works. Maybe if we just give it some time, the hard drive will just... repair itself! Yeah, the hard drive will just heal itself and everything will be right as rain, and then you can use the computer to go surfing the Internet and maybe treat it to some upgrades. Sure, that's the ticket. There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with that computer that a little time and some persistent rebooting cannot fix.

My friends, THAT is Terri Schiavo's situation. Her hard drive has crashed and it cannot be replaced. She's just running on her BIOS.

And I know that it is hard to accept that. It’s hard to say that this is the situation. Terri's family expects nothing short of a miracle to happen to bring her back from her condition, and so do the religious crowd. They expect her to jump out of bed at any minute and that just is not realistic. They don't want to accept the fact that the person they knew as their daughter actually died in 1990 when her brain was badly damaged so that the only thing it can do is live. They don't want to let her go.

Oh, wait a minute… I just used an INTELLECTUAL argument, didn't I? I forgot, this is an EMOTIONAL issue. We're supposed to check our brains at the door and respond with FEELINGS and SYMPATHY and MORALS. Well that's too bad, people, because THIS IS really a matter of intelligent decisions, not religious passions. Our passions and our emotions are fleeting. They're temporary. We live and work in a system of LAWS, which are suppose to be created with INTELLECT, not EMOTION.

The last bunch of clowns who set up a government based on their personal passions was called the Taliban, and things didn't turn out so well with them, did they?

Look, it's not an easy choice to make. It never is. I'm not laughing at the idea of her dying, either this way or through any other means. It's sad. It's really very sad to have to put her body through that. But I am more outraged at religious and political groups that are using this situation to advance their own agendas. They are the ones that are interfering in this personal matter and it is high time that they be put in their place.

Well there's one more thing that needs to be said here… there's been a lot of talk about getting a living will written down to supposedly prevent this kind of mess from happening. But what you're NOT hearing in the media is that EVEN IF you have a living will, and EVEN IF you've named someone to carry out that living will, and EVEN IF you have everything signed, sealed, and notarized with all of the T's dotted and all of the I's crossed, your wishes may STILL be overruled by family members or doctors who will refuse to let you go!

In fact, I'll make a prediction right here and now: at some point in the near future, you're going to see the same religious groups showing up at yet another hospice on behalf of someone who DID have a living will filed. And you're going to hear the same emotional arguments and the same hysteria generated over this future case, even when the person had filed that living will.

Folks, this stopped being about Terri Schiavo the moment her relatives decided to get the media and the politicians involved. Now it's about religion and politics. Now it's become another front on the unholy "Culture War". It's disgusting.

Update: Guess what? I CALLED IT! There's ALREADY another court case over in Pennsylvania where the guy actually HAS a living will and it's being contested by family members. The daughter says that he doesn't want to be a vegetable and the wife refuses to let him go! See folks? It doesn't matter if you have that living will! Some family member will STILL refuse to honor it!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

CA Crimes: one goes down, one goes free

Well we've got good news and bad news in California...

The good news is that Scott Peterson, that narcissistic killer who took out his pregnant wife on Christmas Eve before she could download their child, has a future date with a real DRIP.... an IV drip to be precise. Peterson was sentanced to death yesterday.

And that's good news, because here was a Grade-A loser who had it all and pissed it all away in the WORST way simply because it clashed with his need to be the center of attention.

Unfortunatley, it's going to take some time for the justice system to get around to strapping him in and plugging in the final joy juice. He way of departing this planet will be a million times more humane than the lives he destroyed. And he will still be the center of attention all the way up to and beyond his execution date.

You know, justice would probably be better served if he got the same kind of treatment Jeffrey Dahmer got in prison. You know... shanked by some unknown lifer and left to die. There's going to be plenty of time and plenty of opportunity to make that happen. Anyone know any friends over at San Quin?

Now the BAD news... there's a new member of the OJ Simpson club. Robert Blake was acquitted of all charges involving the murder of his wife. That's right... Blake walks!

This was actually a sleeper case... probably because the media was so obsessed with Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, and Scott Peterson. Too many celebs on trial? Say it ain't so!

Well I guess Blake can now help OJ find the "real killers" of both of their spouses, huh? Maybe there's this really twisted psycho stalker who kills the spouses of obscure stars and diverts the blame to the stars themselves! Hey, it's Hollywood... anything's possible!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Just a quick passing thought about Syria

Just a quick thought about Syria and Lebanon...

I don't know about you, but I get a slight feeling of hypocrisy when I hear President Bush demand that Syaria completely pull their troops out of Lebanon while at the same time we have forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Don't get me wrong, we have a specific reason for us being in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's work that still has to be done in both places. The question I have, though, is what is Syria doing there in Lebanon, and are they done with what they need to do?

Maybe if we established that part, we can look at what needs to be done to get Syria out of the area. But as it is right now, just saying "get out" sends mixed signals.

Bye-Bye Dan!

Tonight's Dan Rather's last night as anchor of CBS News. Yes, I'll probably watch it if I get home in time. I saw Walter Cronkite make his final broadcast, and this will make two. But I don't think that Rather's departure can be compared to that of his predecessor.

Dan Rather is leaving under a very dark cloud for journalism, and it is a cloud of his own creation. He used his position in CBS News to ram through and heavily defend a story based on evidence that could not be verified. Even to this day, Dan Rather refuses to admit that the memos in question were forgeries, and the so-called "special investigation" designed to whitewash the matter (and thus protect Rather) refused to even question the validity of the memos. Instead, the investigation focused on what wasn't done on behalf of CBS News and which one of his underlings needed to take the fall. In that regard, he was no different in the performance of his job than any corrupt politician.

Dan Rather should have been fired for the "Memogate" problem, but instead, like any corrupt politician, he was given the option to bow out with grace. Several other people expressed the same sentiment, not just in regards to "Memogate" but also his performance in the past. Donald Trump would have fired him years ago. Even his own predecessor didn't have kind things to say about Rather's job performance.

And bear in mind that the Bloggers didn't do Dan in. Nor did Darth Rove. Even if Darth Rove personally typed up the forged memos himself and personally handed it to the Bush-hater to give to producer Mary Mapes, Dan Rather has nobody to blame for the story failing but himself. All the Blogging community did was point out errors in the memo. They observed something that wasn't right about the documents and they called CBS on that error. If CBS News did what they were supposed to do in the first place, those memos would never have been used and the story would have never aired, and Dan Rather wouldn't be preparing for his farewell show.

Even more bothersome is the "hero's salute" CBS will give him at 8pm. He's leaving under a cloud of controversy of his own creation, and yet CBS wants to treat him like he's still on top of the world. You can tell that it was one of his little conditions of leaving.

And it should be noted that Rather won't be leaving CBS News... he's just giving up the coveted anchor chair. He's still going to be busy with 60 Minutes and other projects for CBS News. He's still going to screw around with the news for several more years to come. But at least he won't be there every weeknight.

So Dan... good night, good-bye...

And what IS the frequency?

03/10 - Update: I managed to catch Dan Rather's last story and his prolonged good-bye message.

Yeah, "courage". I needed courage to watch the whole thing without throwing up.

He played the 9/11 card harder that Rudy Guliani and Bush Junior combined and made it sound like he was martyring himself on behalf of the viewers. I think the only reason why everyone in the newsroom gave him a standing obvation after he signed off was in celebration that is was finally OVER!

Did he actually WRITE that whole diatribe or was he just ad-libbing?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Convicted criminal is free!

Hide the kiddies! A convicted criminal was released from prison last night!

Oh, wait a minute... it's Martha Stewart, the "martyr saint" of corporate scandals.

Well that's at least how the media is covering this, no doubt at the behest of her own corporation. Martha was released just after midnight following her five-month stay at "Club Fed" for her role in lying to federal investigators looking into her sale of IMclone stock, and if the midnight time was to somehow prevent a media circus, federal officials were mistaken.

Granted Stewart's role in the great corporate scandals of 2001 was minor compared to the folks at WorldCom and Enron, but she was also the most publicly-recognized figure caught up in it, so obviously prosecutors wanted to make an example out of her. And they did. And I don't know why people were freaking out over it while prosecutors were also making the execs of WorldCom and Enron do the "Perp Walk".

But personally, this commentator is SICK AND TIRED of hearing about Martha Stewart and her "harrowing ordeal" in the cushy prison facility. And I know that I'm not the only one who is sick of it either. There are plenty of other things that we should be concerned about rather than what part of Stewart's cushy mansion she won't be able to venture out to during her five-month period of house arrest.

In fact, if anything, Martha Stewart GOT OFF LIGHT! And you can probably attribute that more towards her celebrity status than for what she did. She got a speedy trial and a quick stay in prison. And now she's going to write a tell-all book about her "trials and tribulations", she's got TWO television shows to work on, and her business is doing better than ever.


  • Social Security is going down the toilet, and rather than discuss the issue, people want to defer the matter to the old fart mafia (AARP) and let the world's biggest Ponzi Scheme continue to play out and bleed America to death. You don't like the President's plan? Fine! Come up with a better plan that doesn't involve shoving more tax money into this government black hole! I'd rather support the Fair Tax bill than keep the status quo.
  • Gas prices will be spiking as much as an extra quarter-per-gallon this year, but auto makers still want you to buy either Sport Utility Vehicles or big pickup trucks! We're still selling oil from Alaska to the Pacific rim, including to that demented dwarf in North Korea. And we still haven't started up any new oil refineries on US soil since the 1980's! How do these people think oil is turned into gasoline? Fermentation? Alchemy? Wishful thinking? Divine intervention?
  • Budget deficits are going up, wasteful government spending is going up, needless government regulations are going up, bankruptcies are going up, inflation is going up, prices for goods and services are going up, and the interest rate is going to go up. (Huh? I thought that cutting interest rates is supposed to keep inflation down! WTF is going on, Greenspan?)
  • Bible-thumpers are busy pulling off a Taliban-style coup, interjecting religion into everything they see, and trying to turn America into a Christian theocracy. (Oh, yeah, it's BAAAD for the Middle East, but fine and dandy in America!)
  • We have private companies buying and selling our personal information like baseball cards and not being held responsible for the security breaches and ID theft that results from it.
  • We have courts sacrificing freedom for expediency, and it looks like the US Supreme Court will legalize the blatant government THEFT of your private property if that theft gives local governments more tax money.

But we're not supposed to worry about those things, because the media has us wrapped around Martha Stewart's middle finger. And if it isn't her, then it's Kobe Bryant or Michael Jackson.

Come on people! I shouldn't be the only one who sees the smoke and mirror trick for what it is!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Reality TV burnout? More like a Reality TV binge.

There's been some talk in the entertainment circles about the quick turnaround for reality shows, and it's not hard to see why when you look at the extremely short turnaround for many of the current programs.

The big hyped-up shows like "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" used to have a significant gap between challenges. That would give the audience time to get used to the winner, take a break, and then get excited about the next great challenge. "American Idol" would allow the winner to have his or her shining moment in the sun, release their contracted album, do a few music videos, and even go on tour before bringing Simon back from hiding.

But now you have turnarounds in a matter of WEEKS, not months. Survivor finished their ninth challenge in December, and then number ten kicked off in February. The Apprentice finished their second challenge, and no sooner did that one finish than Donald Trump was busy hyping the THIRD Apprentice challenge.

Not only that, but Fox is pulling the same lame programming stunt that ABC did with "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" and NBC does with "Law and Order" in that they're RAMMING American Idol down our collective gullets on multiple days of the week. We don't need to have three weeknights dedicated to "American Idol" any more than we needed to have two weeknights dedicated to "Last Comic Standing".

Well the reason behind it is easy to figure out... network programmers are taking the lazy way out by overusing the formulas that worked in the past. Rather than treat these Reality TV shows as specials, the program execs are treating them like boiler room sitcoms, and then expecting the same kind of returns.

The end result is overkill and viewer apathy. And you can hear it in how people talk about the shows! USA Today used to offer a whole segment of their LIFE section for a recap of Reality TV shows... now they don't even bother with it. Local radio stations used to spend anywhere up to a whole half hour talking about nothing but whatever popular Reality TV show was on the previous night. Now they don't talk about it at all, except to say that whatever show was on sucked!

And then you have the whole Bachelor/Bachelorette crap, where the latest finale of "The Bachelorette" ended with a three-hour finale and aftermath show that basically let folks down and then spent the third hour talking about it. Apparently nobody in ABC saw what happened to NBC's three-part sick and cruel joke called "Average Joe". I still remember it, though. You can't help but remember the cruel jokes played on people, especially when they hit close to home. Disney-owned ABC needs to listen to the outrage from the viewers and shelve that whole "Bachelor/Bachelorette" concept for at least six months, if not permanently. That milk has clearly gone sour.

I seriously recommend that the networks give every reality show at least a three-to-six-month break between challenges. Let the winners celebrate. Let the celebrities bask in their fifteen minutes. Let people talk about the previous challenge and get them excited about the next one.

Also, how about limiting the whole finale concept to two hours or less? You don't need to waste a whole night hyping a show, especially if you're hearing more complaints than compliments, or you know that the finale would be a big letdown.

The Regular Guys: Resurrected!

The dead live!

No, I don't mean in that George Romero movie... I'm talking about Atlanta's infamous Regular Guys. The Regular Guys were Atlanta's answer to Howard Stern in that they had edgy humor and stunts involving drinking, women, and flatulence. They were obnoxious, and they were the only real reason to listen to 96Rock in the mornings.

Unfortunately after the whole Janet Jackson Super Bowl fiasco, the freedom-haters were gunning for people like the Regular Guys, and it just took one screw-up from their engineer to seal their fate. First they were suspended, then they were fired.

And yours truly stopped listening to 96Rock out of personal protest.

Usually when a radio personality is censored by the moralists, they become radio outcasts. They either have to make the move to satellite radio, online radio, or just get out of the business completely. Mancow ended up moving to Fox News. Opie and Anthony went to XM Radio. Howard Stern hasn't been kicked out of radio yet, but he knew the writing is on the wall so he's signed to go to Sirius satellite radio right after his contract expires.

Well it turns out that Larry Wachs and Eric Von Hessler will be back on the air later this month. That's the good news. The bad news is that they will STILL be working for the most oppressive Borg-like radio conglomerate in America, Clear Channel. They will be hosting the morning radio show for WGST... an AM talk radio station whose biggest audience are the very moralists who hated everything the Regular Guys did.

Well it's good that they're getting work in the business again, and that they will be back as a team act, but the fact that they're going to an AM talk radio station does not bode well for the kind of material that made them who they are. Clear Channel expects squeaky-clean broadcasting to placate their moralist watchdogs, and I just don't see them allowing the duo to bring back the FU line or the pregnant beauty contest, never mind the "skins" golf tournament.

As for me listening to them... well it depends on whether my car radio will be able to pick it up. WGST has one of the weakest broadcasting towers in the area! I might tune in when they go live, but if they start sounding like the Regular Wusses, then I'll be turning back to AM750!

But you know what? I still refuse to listen to 96Rock.