Washing Their Hands II

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to order Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube reinserted, rejecting a desperate appeal by her parents to keep their severely brain-damaged daughter alive.

The decision, announced in a terse one-page order, marked the end of a dramatic and disheartening four-day dash through the federal court system by Bob and Mary Schindler.

Justices did not explain their decision, which was at least the fifth time they have declined to get involved in the Schiavo case.

But when there’s a need to find an emanation or penumbra to kill an unborn child, well, the unelected nine-man American Commission can always find the time for judicial review. Mrs. Schiavo never stood a chance, you see, because demographics require killing off a lot more elderly people in the next thirty years.

Next up: the elderly….


The horra, the horra

Big Chilly reels in shock:

That book is excruciating. I am not a porn fan and this book, in my mind, qualifies as soft porn for women. Good grief. To give you an idea…

Only sexual tension can bring out her latent psi abilities so they put her in a suit that automatically kisses and massages her, starting with her lips and neck and finishing with her bits and pieces. But wait, it doesn’t work on her because “How could she respond to a machine?” No, she must be engaged emotionally too. So, this hunk has to do it (even though he really doesn’t want to because women on his planet are not treated this way, but he will if only to save the world). So, the first non-machine induced simulation ends (shortly after the spankings) with her bursting into tears for his failure to allow her to climax and him feeling terrible about what he’s done, but at the same with an ever growing respect for her as a person.

I am not kidding.

Hmmmm. Maybe it’s a good thing that women can’t write hard SF. Who knows what’s going to happen when you start mixing in black holes, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and higher mathematics in with tears over orgasmic difficulties.

Of course, it’s always been my impression that women did just fine with their mechanical massagers…. Well, ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long!


Actually, I would

This doesn’t actually have anything to do with the Schiavo case, but I thought John Derbyshire’s choice of analogies was somewhat amusing.

—[Reader] Why don’t you just come right out and say you want to kill Terri Schiavo?

—[JD] Because I am a person who tries to be scrupulous in my use of language. If I hear someone say: “I want to kill X,” that signifies to me that the speaker is in a certain state of mind. I am not at all in that state of mind. Fooling around with words gets us nowhere. Strictly speaking, keeping children confined in schools all day is a form of imprisonment. Strictly speaking, clipping my fingernails is a form of self-mutilation. (I believe there is a Hindu sect that refuses to clip fingernails on precisely these grounds.) Would you, or any sane person, actually use the words “imprisonment” and “self-mutilation” in those contexts? Of course not.

Apparently I am not sane, as I would ABSOLUTELY use the word “imprisonment” to refer to those hapless children sentenced to ride on the infamous Yellow Bus. I’d also use the words “brainwashed”, “intellectually crippled” and “scholastically deprived” as well.

And starving someone certainly is killing them. I doubt Derbyshire would have the same delicacy about it being a question of murder were someone to starve their infant daughter instead of their brain-damaged wife. Although it’s not fair to accuse him of wanting to kill Mrs. Schiavo either; like most Americans he simply doesn’t have a problem with someone else killing her. I can’t take too much exception to that, there’s a lot of people whose demise at another’s hand would not cause me to shed a single tear.


Washing their hands

From Drudge:

A federal appeals court refused early Wednesday to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube, denying the latest emergency request by the severely brain-damaged woman’s parents to keep her alive.

A panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 ruling that the parents “failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims.”

You didn’t really think that President Bush and company were trying to save her, did you? If the president had any intention of doing so, he would have written an Executive Order. The Congressional gambit was simply a means of allowing the politicians to wash their hands of responsibility for her starvation.

Unborn, check.
Disabled, check.
Next up: the elderly.


Only a liberal can say it

Nicolas Kristof writes in the New York Times:

The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970’s.

“If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we’d do it,” said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. “Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job.” Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.

An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: “I want the white man’s government to come back. … Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today.”

His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. “I miss the days of white rule,” she said.

My respect for Kristof continues to grow as he fearlessly pursues the truth. I wonder how long it will take before he is disowned by the liberals he now considers his ideological peers, as he forces himself to confront the reality of facts versus hopelessly rootless theory. I don’t see this as a black versus white thing as do the Zimbabweans, though, I see it as the usual result of socialism practiced by any racial group without a capitalist host on which to leech.


Taking one for the team

One hopes, anyhow. Since everyone, including me, has been utterly lame about writing book reviews for posting here – I posted some guidelines on what I was looking for about six months ago – Big Chilly has decided to step up to the plate after reading the back of that Kearney SF Romance novel. (Rofants? Science Fuction? Just what shall we call this subgenre?)

Anyhow, he couldn’t resist after reading the back cover text… which is honestly no worse from the text sample he read aloud to me, and he insisted on doing a review in order to prevent anyone else from having to read the atrocity. But who wouldn’t enjoy this:

A hunk named Kahn, who told Secret Service agent Tessa Camen an outlandish story about traveling through time, saving the world, and a Challenge only she can accept. Kahn offers her proof she can’t refute: Tessa has been brought forward through time to save Earth by winning an intergalactic challenge.

Kahn only has a few weeks to train Tessa to use the psi-abilities he insists she has. He is confident in the success of a time-honored method that uses sexual frustration to bring out her powers, but Tessa is dubious. She’s a martial arts expert and can fight her way through anything, but she’s never had much luck with emotions.

Luckily for Earth, Kahn can be very convincing…


The right to kill

I hope you will forgive me if I don’t bother trying to fake any sense of outrage over the Schiavo affair. Although there are those who will attempt to deny the “slippery slope” argument, it is easily demonstrable in both historical and current terms, which is why I have long expected this. The process of legitimizing murder by defining humanity in such a way to exclude the unborn, the disabled, the sick, the elderly and the undesired is a well-known one and since parts of Europe – Holland, particularly – have already moved well along this process, it is no surprise to see the usual suspects following suit in America.

But conservatives bear their own share of blame in this. They can rationalize their support for the death penalty in a wide variety of ways, but the fact remains that a government which possesses the power to kill its citizens has only to redefine its target list in order to provide legal cover for state-sanctioned murder. A state that has the power to kill a criminal necessarily holds the power to kill a non-criminal.

This is why libertarian philosophy is essential for a society dedicated to human freedom in the long run. (And no, I have no plans to respond to that silly query about past libertarian societies; considering that the philosophy dates back to around 1927, one would hardly expect to find one in the 1700s.) Libertarianism seeks to hamstring the government, simply because it is human nature to seek to use government power to further personal, political and ideological goals. Conservatives want the government to be able to kill criminals, liberals want the government to be able to kill the weak and undesired. A government that can do one necessarily has the power to do the other, only by removing that power is it possible to prevent either.

As laudable is their motivation, it is a terrible mistake for conservatives to seek to use the power of the federal government in what is likely to be a futile attempt to stop the state-sanctioned starvation of Mrs. Schiavo. They would do far better to use civil disobedience, as that is less likely to come back to haunt them in the future. But that would require personal sacrifice, instead of the much easier sacrifice of principle, to which, unfortunately, conservatives have become all too accustomed in their enthusiastic embrace of the decidedly anti-conservative Bush administration.


That liberal spirit shines through

Peter King writes in Monday Morning Quarterback:

There was one thing I’d wanted to ask Dungy since the 20-3 divisional playoff loss at Foxboro in January: How did he feel about the Patriots choosing not to cover the Gillette Stadium turf during a sleety, rainy week leading up to the game? Was that, in his mind, home-field-advantage gone mad? The Patriots are more comfortable with a slow, plodding game. The Colts like the game on the carpet or on a fast surface. By not covering the field during the week and ensuring the game would be played in a bog, New England’s power running game and its suspect secondary would both have an edge over the Colts. And should the league take over field management during playoff weeks to ensure a quality pitch for both teams?

“No, I don’t see anything wrong with what they did,” he said. “To me, that’s what home-field advantage is all about. There aren’t any rules on the books about field management before a playoff game, so that’s part of the mystique of winning home-field in the playoffs. We’re not going to sit here and make excuses about the condition of the field.”

Noble. But if I were the Colts, I’d be putting forth a bylaw this week asking for the league to oversee field preparation for all playoff games.

Come on, Peter! I’m with Dungy on this one. Home field advantage is supposed to mean something, after all, and if the Patriots feel it’s in their interest to play in a swamp, then that’s their right. Unless the field is actually rendered unplayable, the league should leave well enough alone.

If you want to make sure that the field is to your liking, then maybe you should work to win home field advantage.

Based on his reasoning here, any guess as to which faction of the bicephalous ruling party Mr. King supports?


Tar baby

Sisu blogs on Terri Schiavo:

The intolerable-life argument has support from many doctors and bioethicists. They claim that a person can be “socially dead” even when their brains can engage in some functions. By “socially dead” they mean that the patient is no longer a person in some sense. At this point their argument gets a bit fuzzy because they must somehow define what is a “person” and a “non-person.” That is no easy matter.

If the new bioethic standard for an intolerable life is “socially dead”, then we’re soon going to see mass emigration on the part of engineers and programmers that will rival the Irish fleeing the potato famines. Not that scintillating conversationalists who habitually frequent cocktail parties will ever notice….

A number of you have asked me why I haven’t commented on the Schiavo case. There’s a few reasons, the primary one is that I don’t find it either surprising or very interesting. What else would you expect once the usual drums began booming and it became obvious that the step from abortion to euthanasia was in the cards? Second, I view this as a lose-lose situation. Increasing central government power in order to save “just one life” strikes me as the usual liberal-socialist tactic and doing the wrong thing for the right thing usually doesn’t turn out very well. If it is determined that the ultimate power over life and death rests with the federal government, well, that just doesn’t sound very positive at all.

In the end, I suppose I see this sort of thing as a tar baby trap for conservatives.


Mailvox: Don’t blaspheme Bush

BR demands repentance:

You should read the prophecies of God regarding America. He already said He is going to save us from the worldwide temptation in the Book of Revelation. He said a lot of other wonderful things, too, like He is destroying our enemies and getting rid of the corruption. He also said He is going to expose those who unjustly attack President Bush, so you better be careful what you say about the President and start praying for our country instead. Also, don’t forget – Jesus will be back in about 50 years or so. Europe has a different destiny from us, too, don’t forget. Just read Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39.

I should say this takes Three Monkeyism to impressive new heights.