commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Archive for March, 2005

Is it really the American Civil Liberties Union?

"While lawyers and judges have engaged in a minuet of death, the American Civil Liberties Union, which would be passionately criticizing state court decisions and demanding due process if Terri were a convict on death row, has shamefully served as co-counsel for her husband, Michael Schiavo, in his insistent desire to have her die."

The above quote from well-known civil liberties writer, Nat Hentoff, makes me wonder if the ACLU is really the “American Civil Liberties Executive Board”, instead of an involved and informed Union of its membership. Mr. Hentoff’s article in the Village Voice about this case gives quite a lot of information which suggests that it’s the former.

If you are a member of the American "Civil Liberties" Union, please read that article – and then consider becoming a non-card-carrying, non-contributing, non-member of the American Paterfamilias Union.

Jersey City gets tough on crime.. er.. on business owners

Jersey City, NJ has started enforcing a business curfew requiring businesses to close at 11 PM in certain areas of the city. In the New York Times, Mayor Jeremiah Healy stated:

"It’s time for government to say that if you guys can’t control your businesses, then we’re going to exercise our right to make sure that you’re not going to be doing that kind of business after 11 p.m."

Now, these business owners aren’t being accused of having incidents occur in their places of business – they’re being accused of things that happen outside their shops, on the public sidewalks. Does Mayor Healy expect these shop owners to apply for gun permits and start shooting drug dealers? I guess someone has to, after all, Mayor Healy has let the police department slide to only two-thirds of its recommended force structure (down to 791 officers from 1200).

Ah, the Jersey City crime solution: drive the shop owners out of business, reducing tax revenue so less police can be hired, and let the criminals take over the city. I wonder if they’ve considered other solutions:

  • Borrowing some Army troops from Iraq service to train the government how to hire police and the police how to arrest criminals. After all, I doubt Jersey City could be too much worse than Baghdad;
  • Ask the state government to send the National Guard to prevent the insurrection by the people committing murders. It won’t even enter into the state budget argument, as the NJ constitution provides that the NJ government can borrow money without voter approval " for purposes of war, or to repel invasion, or to suppress insurrection…"
  • or just shutting down the Jersey City government, as it doesn’t seem to be competent to protect citizens of the City without restricting law-abiding citizens with rules the criminals aren’t going to bother following.

"Real" journalists? Certainly not at CNN.

On CNN, those real journalists who do careful news research and know how to use the English language properly stated the following in reference to Michael Schiavo’s attorney, George Felos:

"He refuted charges made by Schiavo’s parents that her lips were bleeding, her skin was peeling and that she appeared in discomfort.

"Felos said that ‘it felt right and appropriate that Mrs. Schiavo not be fed and sustained through an artificial device’ and that ‘she has a right to die with dignity’ and ‘in peace’ without the release of video and photographs of her at this time.’"

If Mr. Felos did not provide photographs, he did -not- "refute" any charge. He -contested- it, or -disagreed- with it. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, to "refute" in this context (i.e., referring to an accusation) means to "Prove (a statement, accusation, etc.) to be false or incorrect; disprove." However, Felos refused to provide evidence.

Similarly, the 1994 edition of the AP Stylebook and Libel manual says:

"Refute connotes success in argument and almost always implies an editorial judgment. Instead, use deny, disbute, rebut, or respond to."

So, what’s the big deal about bloggers being protected by the First Amendment? After all, CNN hides editorial judgments in supposed news stories. (I have sent them direct feedback substantially identical to the above; who knows, maybe they’ll change the word. If they do, I’ll add an editorial update to this post.)

Michael Schiavo’s thuggery

George Felos, attorney for Michael Schiavo in his case to have his wife starved to death, has been quoted by CNN in referring to US Congressional actions related to the case as “thuggery”. Mr. Felos also is quoted as saying,

"Mrs. Schiavo had a right to choose her own course."

Of course, what’s at issue here is Mr. Schiavo choosing her course.

Exactly what course did Mrs. Schiavo choose? Well, no one contests the idea that she is a practicing Roman Catholic. In fact, the CNN article mentions her receiving the Catholic Sacrament of Communion just before the feeding tube was disconnected. What choice did she make in her Profession of Faith? The Roman Catholic Catechism makes it quite clear:

2277 Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.

Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded.

2278 Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of “over-zealous” treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one’s inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected.

2279 Even if death is thought imminent, the ordinary care owed to a sick person cannot be legitimately interrupted. The use of painkillers to alleviate the sufferings of the dying, even at the risk of shortening their days, can be morally in conformity with human dignity if death is not willed as either an end or a means, but only foreseen and tolerated as inevitable. Palliative care is a special form of disinterested charity. As such it should be encouraged.

Yes, Mrs. Schiavo has chosen a course which should be respected. She has chosen to receive "the ordinary care owed to a sick person". Apparently Michael Schiavo and George Felos feel either that

  • sick people should not expect to receive food and water; or else
  • Mrs. Schiavo really doesn’t – and never had – the right to choose her own course.

Mrs. Schiavo, in choosing her own course, also chose a Profession of Faith including the fact that her "legitimate interests" – like being fed – would be respected. Michael Schiavo and George Felos are taking a course contrary to Mrs. Schiavo’s acknowledged beliefs and choices. Maybe it’s time for the Florida State Bar Association to look into disbarment of Mr. Felos – at least unless Mr. Felos stops pretending he’s the attorney for Mrs. Schiavo’s interests, and admits he’s acting solely on Michael Schiavo’s interests.

Why does DeviantArt ban people who post anti-Bush art?

Maybe it’s because $jark is dependent on a contractor job directly funded by the US Military through one of those companies that just might be getting rich off of Iraq?

Or maybe it’s just that $jark’s strep throat has gotten a few too many braincells worn out.

Wait a second, though! $jark is all for freedom of expression – that is, when someone else is lowering the boom on him.

I guess at DA he can indulge his trite fantasies of how he’d control people if only HE was CINCPACFLT.

Creative Witchcraft Activism

Equal rights for Witchcraft as a religion? Take a look at . The Artist’s Comments provide a suggestion for getting the message across to bookstores… ;>

Law a la carte

In a statement against Sinn Fein, United States Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss said on the BBC:

"You can’t sign up for the rule of law a la carte."

Why not? The United States certainly signs up for the "rule of law a la carte", whether it be in the invasion of Iraq which violated numerous treaties that the United States is party to, or in such simple things as Kentucky’s jailing of an American citizen for writing about zombies taking over a high school.

Zombies in Kentucky

An 18-year-old high school student has been arrested and jailed in Kentucky for writing a story.

He says it has nothing to do with his school and is a fictional tale involving zombies attacking a fictional school. The police say he’s lying, but have conveniently managed to get a judge to seal the writing so no one will know if the police are lying.

According to Winchester, Kentucky Police Detective Steven Caudill,

"Anytime you make any threat or possess matter involving a school or function it’s a felony in the state of Kentucky."

With the erudition displayed by the detective squad of Winchester, Kentucky, it’s no wonder they can’t manage to read a story – or, for that matter, the first amendment to the US Constitution, or even Section 1 of the Kentucky State Constitution.