Thursday, March 31, 2005

From New York

"Terri Schiavo dies after 14 days without feeding tube. Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo died today, ending an agonizing 15-year odyssey that divided a family and a nation over her right to die. She was 41. "

Our condolences, of course, go out to her husband and her parents, as well as the rest of her family. We can only hope that both sides of the battle can now put their differences aside and quietly mourn her passing. She is at peace now and her suffering over.

Let us also hope that those extremists who actually threatened violence against legislators and judges during this tragic series of events will be brought to justice. We are very lucky that it went no further than threats, and that wiser heads prevailed.

Can Congress and the President now go on to issues that truly effect the American people?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

It appears that a federal court is opening the Schiavo case once again. At least allowing the parents to file another appeal, but not stating that they will hear the case any time soon.

I was surprised to see the New York Post come out editorially and say that it time for the family to allow Terri to 'die with dignity'. Hasn't this been the entire arguement from the start?

Re: Johnny Cochran - like lots of others I made jokes and rude comments about the man's defense of O.J. He was however known prior to that time, and after that case, for his defense of people's civil liberties. He did his share of good for a number of folks and those who begrudge O.J. his own defense should keep that in mind. Sympathy of course goes out to the Cochran family.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Terri Schiavo situation appears to be winding down, at least on the legal front. Now the news media is getting folks worked up about a difference of opinion on the funeral and whether Terri shall be buried or cremated. Once again, sadly, her parents and her husband differ on what shall be done.

Interesting stories coming out reminding folks (or letting them know for the first time) that George Bush seemed to have a different opinion on prolonging life when he was Governor of Texas. Just last week the life sustaining machinery for an infant were shut off despite the protests of the mother. This thanks to some cost cutting legislation signed into law by the life loving George II.

Regarding the folks outside the hospice in Pinellas Park. Given their love of humanity, wouldn't it be nice if they considered the fact that there are other patients at this facility, who would also like to live their last days with a bit of peace and quiet. I have heard on one incident (I heard this second hand, so take it for what it's worth) where a woman was unable to be at her father's deathbed, since it took her so long to get through the cordon of protesters and security.

It was also fascinating to hear this morning that Michael Jackson has compared himself (not in so many words of course) to Nelson Mandela. According to the "King of Pop" in an interview with Jessie Jackson, he is being persecuted simply because he is a celebrity. Damn us all for tormenting this poor soul!

Friday, March 25, 2005

I don't know how it is where you are but here in the American media center, the three daily tabloids all dedicated their front pages to the Terri Schiavo story. Naturally, each took their own distinctive run at the story.

Newsday was the least offense going with "Their Hope is Dimming", with a photo of the parents. The New York Daily News goes with the more dramatic, but a bit more offense "Death Watch". Finally, the ever delightful New York Post features a calendar on the front page, with the days crossed off and a picture of Terri; the headline "Terri's Doomed." My commute in on the subway allows me to read these over and over again as my fellow passengers read each paper.

The outcome, barring Jeb Bush running in to personally carry Terri out, seems a foregone conclusion at this point. My heart goes out to her family, by which I mean all of her family no matter on which side they find themselves. I'm sure that they all have her best interest at heart, and I am disgusted that individuals (of the religious and political stripe) have jumped on their tragedy as the latest bandwagon to arrive in town.

I'm know I'm not the first to bring this up, but you can be sure that some of these same folks will use her death just as greedily as they have used the legal process for their own purposes. You can bet that their will be hundreds, if not thousands of 'mourners' at her funeral even if the family requests their privacy. Hey, never let personal tragedy get in the way of a good photo op!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

According to what I've just read over on the CNN website the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in Terri Schiavo case. This will mean that a lower court decision to remove feeding tube stands, at least until we see what outcome of the latest attempt by Jeb Bush turns out to be.

It will be interesting to see what this action does for Bush in his apparent bid for the '08 GOP nomination. It could come back to blow up in his face, but the base constituency he & his brother aim for may still support him.

Air America has been having some wonderful guests of late, talking about this issue and reminding us that there are OTHER things our government might want to work on. I mean, apparently they are bored with steroids in baseball.
Before he took up weapons and took human life, Jeff Weise created a violent animated short entitled "Target Practice". If you go over to you'll be able to view this work. Weise posted this on the Internet and it demonstrates that thoughts of death and revenge were already filling his imagination.

I want to warn you that this is a disturbing piece of work, but it sadly shows that this young man was talented. It is unfortunate that he could not have channeled the anger in less violent areas.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

I realize that I made light of the shooting incident yesterday, but the more I read about Jeff Weise, the shooter, the more my heart goes out to him. There is no apology for what he did, but I can't begin to imagine what this poor kid must have been going through. His father committed suicide, his mother in a nursing home and being raised by his grandfather. He was picked on in school and apparently became fascinated with both Hitler and death. How sad is that?

I suppose we should be grateful, considering the ease with which kids can get their hands on lethal weapons, that this type of thing is not even more common. The high school near my home had an incident yesterday where a kid accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun he had smuggled into school. What's that about?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

It's probably not really "dating myself" but rather showing my state of mind, that the first thing I thought of yesterday (upon hearing of the school shootings) was "I don't like Mondays!"

Yeah, it's not really PC of me, is it?
On her show on Air America Radio yesterday, Randi Rhodes did a nice job of going over the time-line and major events in the Terri Schiavo case. As a former resident of Florida, Rhodes is very familiar with the case, before it became a national soap-opera. She reminds her audience (or tells them for the first time, if they were unaware) that in almost every case in which an unbiased judge or arbitrator looked into the case, it was decided in favor of Terri's husband. When various 'religious' & 'ethical' groups became involved this personal tragedy became a political football.

I'm guessing that the GOP and the administration were surprised that the judge yesterday decided in favor, once again, of removing the feeding tube. It is also interesting to see how Tom DeLay is using this situation for his own purposes. Trying to deflect attention from his own political trouble, DeLay and his supporters are using a family misfortune to their own advantage. Does this administration have no shame whatsoever?

Even some folks who believe that Terri's parents are in the right, should take a close look at some of the politicians on 'their side' of the issue. I think they would be sadly surprised. It was Terri's mother who said just the other day that she did not want this turned into something political. Anyone in the White House listening?

Monday, March 21, 2005

While Donna and I don't agree on everything (Surprise, surprise!), we both feel that Congress has more important matters to deal with than the life of a single woman. Terri Schiavo's struggle is between her parents and her husband. Rightly or wrongly they disagree on what would be in her best interest. It is a family matter which should be handled in that fashion.

The part that really sickens me is that a majority of the members of Congress would happily condemn to death a mentally-handicapped teenager, without thinking twice. The only reason they have signed on to this legislation is for an easy election issue. Millions of Americans are injured or killed each year in accidents caused by industry and commercial products, but our esteemed representatives can't seem to do anything about that.

Each and every member of Congress, who can not honestly say that they believe in Terri Schiavo's rights is a fraud and should be held accountable come November '06, or sooner.

The less said about the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave the better. That man could not care less about this family or for anybody else unless they, like him, are multi-millionaires.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Apparently lying to the American people and Congress, as long as you keep the President's back gets you promoted. I see where Paul Wolfowitz is King George's nominee to head the World Bank. I mean he and his fellow neo-cons did such a good job for planning post-invasion Iraq, that, like Condi Rice, he deserves a promotion.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Apparently some writers, here in the Blogverse and in the mainstream press, have nothing better to write about than speculation on the next Presidential campaign. Can anybody seriously consider Condi as a viable nominee?

It appears to me that some Republicans want to push her into the limelight, so they have a female to run against Hillary. I can't even see her constituency would be? Considering her politics and the fact that she is so identified with Bush's Iraq policy, that in itself would be major strikes against her.

Besides, isn't Jeb the heir apparent?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Had a bit of trouble posting yesterday, so I didn't have a chance to mention the departure of Dan Rather. I got home just in time to catch his closing remarks and sign off.

I don't know when I first became aware of television news, probably while watching it with my parents. My father, in particular, was a news junky, reading two newspapers everyday (the NY Daily News & the local paper, the Norwich Bulletin) and a third paper on Sunday (Boston Herald). He pretty much read the entire thing, not just the headlines & sports scores. He also was a fan of the all-news radio stations out of New York. He'd probably love the chance to watch a multitude of cable news stations.

Anyway, the first time that television news really made an impact on me was during the days following the assassination of JFK. The three major networks pretty much dropped all programming and stayed focused on the events of that weekend. That was probably also the first time that I ever saw Dan Rather over on CBS, although it's possible that I had seen him earlier.

Rather and his predecessor, Walter Cronkite, seemed to always have been there. The major events which shaped the national consciousness were all reported by these two gentlemen, either in person (both having traveled to Vietnam and other places), or turning the story over to some other CBS correspondent. It will seem strange not to see Rather each evening, although I suppose his glory days are over.

I'm afraid that we've probably seeing the last of the reporters like Rather and his ilk. The networks and especially the cable news stations will probably go for safer anchors who won't immediately anger anyone.

Courage, indeed!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Since it was announced that Gary Trudeau had hurt his drawing hand, I was wondering how long it would be before he began doing new material. This week's strip has answered my question.

I'm not sure where Trudeau is going with Duke, but I hope that he doesn't pull the plug on a character, inspired by Hunter Thompson. I am sure that some folks will think that he may have crossed a line with today's strip. I don't know how I feel about it, myself.
Apparently the Republican controlled Senate is going to sell the middle-class down the river again. The bankruptcy bill will pass without doubt to the cheers of Wall Street. We've also heard how a raise in the minimum wage will destroy those small businesses King George II praises so highly. Not, of course, that he has ever had to play on the same field that those small business owners. Daddy and Daddy's pals have always been there to help poor George out of his own ineptitude.

If only those soreheads in the unions and folks barely making ends meet would just shut up, things would be just fine.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Our lives are shaped by those around us. Whether for good or bad, the lives of those closest to us change us. What we once were, we no longer are or can be.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Well, Martha Stewart is out of prison and under house arrest (or mansion arrest, in her case). Like the folks over at Air America, I'm not sure how I should feel about the whole thing. Personally, I don't think she did anything overly horrible, but rather stupid. Trying to stonewall the feds did more harm in the long run than fessing up and paying a ridiculously small fine. I think her fame and persona did her in.

I remember when I was living in Westport, CT that Ms. Stewart did not have a good reputation with some folks in the community. Never dealing with her myself I couldn't say if the rumors of her stiffing folks for work done had any truth or not.

I'm not a fan myself, but she is admired by many people and millions use her products even after all the bad publicity. I think she'll bounce back from all this, with a few books, a Barbara Walters/Larry King interview or two and her new 'reality show' of course. She'll be just fine, I'm sure. :-)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Meant to say something yesterday, but I'm temporarily assigned to another branch and spent a good part of the day learning my way around. We open up late today, so I thought I'd take a few minutes during my break.

I had never seen NYPD BLUE until I started dating Donna back in '99. She was a fan of that and ER, another show which I'd never seen on a regular basis. At least with ER, I'd had a chance to catch the pilot, which I had to review for the old Joe Bob Briggs print newsletter. I didn't know a lot of the back story for either show, but reruns and Donna got me up to speed enough to begin enjoying both.

Once we got Court TV on our cable system in Connecticut, we started watching the past seasons of BLUE every night, plus occasional 'marathons' on the weekend or holidays. It wasn't hard to become addicted to the show.

I glad we caught the final episode, even though we'd gotten out of the BLUE habit the past couple of seasons. We've begun watching other things and BLUE fell off our regular viewing schedule. I think they ended the show on a good note, leaving the team together, allowing for any future reunions or one-shot movies.

Dennis Franz, as Det. Andy Sipowicz has become a classic TV character. Franz is a under rated actor and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
LOST was very good last night. Finally we get the back story about Hurley (Jorge Garcia ), who has become a fan favorite. Seems that he had his own personal reasons for going to Australia and remains haunted by some events. It was also nice to see Mira Furlan back for few scenes. There remains enough mystery in her character, but I'm hoping that we will see a bit more of her in future episodes.

Next week they'll be going back to reruns for a bit. My guess it that the season finale will feature the birth of Claire's child. If there are spoilers out there about what will happen I don't think I want to know, since I love being surprised each and every week.

Since the show is one of ABC's few hits, especially with NYPD BLUE leaving, I'm sure the show will be picked up for another season. Fingers crossed they don't 'jump the shark' next year.