Thursday, March 31, 2005
Stem Cell Research - Culture of Life
In a significant victory for science, the Massachusetts state Senate yesterday overwhelmingly passed a bill which would give scientists more freedom in conducting stem cell research. The legislation, proposed by Massachusetts Senate President Robert Travaglini, would promote stem cell research in the state. It also outlawed human reproductive cloning (the creation of cloned babies) and put in place a series of new regulations. Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, however, is threatening to veto the legislation. His opposition puts him "at odds with some of the top university and research facilities in Massachusetts." Here are the facts:
THE BUSH BAN: The lack of freedom in stem cell research has been a huge problem since August 2001, when President Bush bowed to the far, far right and limited all federally approved stem cell research to the lines which had already been established. Under his plan, no money could be spent on creating new lines. The problems with this myopic approach were quickly apparent. First, although President Bush claimed more than 60 lines were available, in reality, there were only a handful of viable lines. Second, all of the lines Bush approved turned out to be contaminated with mouse cells, making them unable to ever be used in human medical therapies. Third, thousands of embryonic cells which could be used for research are simply destroyed every year; about 400,000 unused embryonic cells are awaiting incineration after being created, then not used for in vitro fertilization. And finally, refusing to allow the federal government to be involved in research also means there is no government oversight. Even the conservative Leon Kass, the chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, has said, "It is a Pyrrhic victory to keep the federal government out of certain activities, if the price of such a stance means that worse practices are allowed to proceed without oversight or regulation in the private sector."
THE PROMISE: Embryonic stem cells are a cluster of about 150 cells (called a "blastocyst") which form a few days after the joining of an egg and a sperm. The resulting mass is no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. Within the center of the cluster are stem cells, which scientists believe have the potential to become any of the cells that make up the human body. Scientists believe these cells hold the key for one day treating a slew of diseases and injuries, such as spinal injuries, Alzheimer's, strokes, Parkinson's, diabetes, brain injuries and heart defects. The cells already have shown they can "produce druglike compounds that can help ailing organs repair themselves." They've also shown promise as "biological pacemakers," correcting heart rhythms. And new studies by private researchers at Advanced Cell Technology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago found stem cells could reproduce the cones and rods in the eyes, successfully reversing some blindness.
NO ATTACK OF THE CLONES: Romney is basing his opposition on therapeutic cloning. In a blitz of radio ads yesterday, he charged the legislation was a "radical cloning bill." He's wrong. The technique, better known as "somatic cell nuclear transfer," is simply a procedure in which the nucleus of an adult cell is inserted into an unfertilized egg cell, causing it to divide. Stem cells are then gathered from the new group of cells. (Researchers strongly support the technique, because it allows them to sharpen their focus on particular diseases and create stores of cells for particular patients.) The egg is never fertilized and thus could never become an actual person. Far from allowing human cloning, the Massachusetts legislation provides strong and specific safeguards against abuses like the ones Romney is using to stir up public apprehension. Any scientist caught experimenting with human cloning, for example, will face a $1 million fine and a 10-year prison term.
FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY: In the next two to three months, the House of Representatives will allow a vote to loosen the restrictions on stem cell research which were put in place by President Bush in August 2001. Last year, a bipartisan group of 206 House members signed letters asking Bush to reverse his faulty policy; so did 58 senators. Reps. Mike Castle (R-DE) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) have introduced two bills (which have hundreds of co-sponsors) which would support the more liberal use of federal funds and allow the use of leftover embryos from in vitro fertilization. The bills also would enact the first federal ethics rules for the research. So far, the House leadership has kept the legislation from getting either a hearing or a vote. There is also a Senate version to support stem cell research, introduced by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harken (D-IA), which many experts believe would have enough votes to pass, should it ever make it to a vote. (Senate leader Bill Frist has said it is likely he would allow a vote should the House version pass.)
SWEEPING THE NATION: Other states across the country are stepping up to fill the funding and responsibility vacuum left by Bush's ban. In November, California citizens voted to spend $3 billion over the next decade on stem cell research. And just this week the Maryland House of Representatives passed a bill to set aside $25 million every year for stem cell research, although conservatives in the Senate are threatening a filibuster. Connecticut is poised to allow $10-20 million; Wisconsin may set aside $750 million."Source.
Rudy Giuliani - From Hero to Bum
New exposes have shed light on one of the great overlooked stories of recent months: the steady political devolution of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – from Man of the Year to brazen profiteer. Giuliani is poised to join forces with a Houston law firm which has close ties to oil and gas companies, such as the Bechtel Corporation, which has used its high-powered connections to swing lucrative contracts in Iraq. (Enron used to be one of the firm's major clients, but ties were cut after the bankruptcy scandal in 2001.) An investigation published earlier this month by USA Today details how Giuliani, who made his reputation in the 1980s as a tough prosecutor of white-collar criminals, is now himself knee-deep in a scandalous business deal that smells worse than the Hudson. Even more alarming is yesterday's profile in the New York Observer, describing Giuliani's willingness to put profit over principle as so extreme that he actually used tsunami benefit events to line his pockets with tens of thousands of dollars.
PROFITING FROM DISASTER: Just last month, a South Carolina Hospitals Association event that Giuliani agreed to keynote was scrapped and replaced with a fundraiser for tsunami victims in South Asia. Giuliani decided to attend anyway, explaining that it was "a worthy cause." How worthy, exactly? Clearly not enough for Rudy to forego his five-figure speaking fee (he does, after all, have to keep up payments on both his $5.25 million East Side co-op apartment and his $3.9 million Bridgehampton mansion). Giuliani charged the organization $80,000 for his appearance – so much that the association's spokeswoman admitted "she was not even sure whether the benefit's total take had exceeded Mr. Giuliani's fee." And this wasn't an isolated case. At "a fund-raiser for the Red Cross in Vancouver, Mr. Giuliani's fee seems to have roughly equaled the event's receipts, which were announced to be $100,000 – the same amount as he was paid to help raise the money."
CRYING OVER KERIK: Giuliani is still marred by his decision to 'cash in his chips' with the Bush administration and lobby for a cabinet position for his close friend and business partner Bernard Kerik. Don't remember Bernie Kerik? He was President Bush's first choice for homeland security secretary, whose nomination crashed and burned after it was revealed (among other scandals) that Kerik had long-standing ties to a firm allegedly run by the New Jersey mob and had used an apartment donated for weary Ground Zero police and rescue workers as a personal love nest for his adulterous affairs. Despite those revelations, Giuliani couldn't bear to hear that Kerik was planning to resign from their joint firm, according to Tuesday's New York Times. "I went into his office and offered to leave, and he kept telling me no," Kerik said. "It was very emotional. We cried together."
NO CASH, NO CUSTOMERS, NO PROFITS, NO PROBLEM! Giuliani Partners, the ex-mayor's security consulting firm, recently signed a multimillion-dollar deal with a firm called Applied DNA Sciences, which develops DNA-marking technology used to thwart counterfeiting of goods like clothes and credit cards. Sounds reasonable enough, until you read the fine print: shortly before Giuliani Partners signed on, Applied DNA had "no cash for operations and no customers," zero revenue and had suffered "$35 million in losses from 2002 through 2004," according to SEC documents. Moreover, several of Applied's investors had been mired in scandals; the firm's co-founder, for instance, was charged "in a 1996 case involving a nationwide kickback scheme of stockbrokers and stock promoters." Despite all that, shares for Applied DNA "jumped an astonishing 268 percent … after the company disclosed its deal with Giuliani's firm." As former federal prosecutor Stephen Meagher noted, the deal "has all the markings of something Giuliani himself would have looked into as U.S. attorney in the old days."
TIP OF THE ICEBERG: Michael Hess, the senior managing director of Giuliani Partners, swears that his firm "would not rep some kind of shyster place or a company that is doing the wrong thing or fooling the public." Which is tough to believe considering the firm's "client list often reads like the list of witnesses before Congressional committees in some of the highest-profile corporate crises of the last few years." Of course, Hess also claims that Giuliani Partners works "to make sure that projects we represent are good for the people and good for the economy." You mean, like the "study suggesting that imported prescription drugs may be dangerous" that "Mr. Giuliani produced" for a pharmaceutical industry trade group he represents? (Even the Bush administration acknowledges that commercial imports from Canada are safe.)"Source.
WTC Collapse on 9/11/01
The more detailed follow-up study is not online yet but on 4/05/05 will be posted HERE by NIST.
How to Get an Ohio Living Will
What are Advance Directives?
"Advance directive" is a general term that refers to a person's verbal
and written instructions about future medical care, in the event that
the person becomes unable to speak for him or herself. Each state
regulates the use of advance directives differently. There are several
types of advance directives available in Ohio: the Living Will, Health
Care Power of Attorney , Ohio's Do-Not-Resuscitate law, and Organ and
The Intelligence of US Intelligence
WMD Commission Releases Scathing Report
Panel Finds U.S. Intelligence on Iraq's Weapons Was 'Dead Wrong'
By Katherin Shrader
Associated Press (WP)
Thursday, March 31, 2005; 8:50 AM
Report Calls U.S. Intelligence 'Dead Wrong' on Iraq Weapons
By DAVID JOHNSTON and SCOTT SHANE in the New York Times
Published: March 31, 2005
WASHINGTON, March 31 - A report made public this morning concludes that American intelligence agencies were "dead wrong" in almost all of their prewar assessments about the state of unconventional weapons in Iraq, and that on issues of this importance "we simply cannot afford failures of this magnitude."
A Resounding Theme - Dubya Thugs "Handpick" His Audience
UA Young Democrat Banned from Forum
A UA student was banned from attending President Bush's Social Security forum at the Tucson Convention Center yesterday.
UA Young Democrat Steven Gerner, a political science and pre-pharmacy sophomore, said he and three other Young Democrats had been waiting in line with their tickets for about 40 minutes when a staff member approached him and asked to read his T-shirt.
Gerner was the only one of the four wearing a UAYD T-shirt, which read, "Don't be a smart (image of a donkey, the Democratic Party symbol). UA Young Democrats."
Gerner said the staffer, who refused to provide his name, asked for Gerner's ticket and crumpled it up.
The staffer walked away, returned in 20 minutes, and told Gerner his name had been added to a list banning him from entering the convention center for the speech.
Well, it has happened again - if DUMBYA is a prez for the American People - how come only those "people" who like him and not and smile at everything he says are allowed to see or hear him?
by Ron Hutcheson
-- Some of President Bush's supporters seem to be going overboard in their efforts to stifle dissent when he comes to town to talk about changing Social Security. WASHINGTON
Denver, three people say they were booted out of a presidential event last week even though they never uttered a peep, apparently because their car bore a bumper sticker denouncing the war in . Iraq
In Fargo, N.D., last month, local Republicans developed a blacklist of more than three dozen residents, including a city commissioner, who were to be banned from Bush's visit.
White House officials say they have nothing to do with the exclusions, which they blame on overzealous supporters.
"We welcome a diversity of views at the events," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Tuesday, although in fact participants at the events are carefully screened and dissenting voices are rare.
There was no welcome mat for Alex Young and his two companions when they showed up to see Bush on March 21 in
. Bush was there for one of a series of "conversations" about his plan to change Social Security. Denver
Young and his friends, Karen Bauer and Leslie Weise, had barely gotten in the door before they were unceremoniously shown the exit by a man who refused to explain his actions. They thought he was a Secret Service agent because he had an earpiece and an official-looking lapel pin.
Young said he was later told by Secret Service officials that he and his friends had been ejected by a local Republican volunteer who'd been spurred to action by the bumper sticker on their car: "No More Blood for Oil."
"The thing that set them off was the bumper sticker," Young said in a telephone interview. "It was completely unprovoked. ... The whole time he was really pushing and shoving me. We were never told that only Republicans were invited."
Complaints about tight restrictions at Bush's events have become common. His presidential campaign used tight crowd-control screens last fall, and similar tactics now seem to be employed at official presidential stops, which unlike campaign events are paid for by taxpayers' dollars.
During Bush's Feb. 3 visit to
, the local newspaper published a list of about 40 local residents who were supposed to be barred from the White House-sponsored event. City Commissioner Linda Coates, a Democrat, was on the list, along with her husband, Mike, but she got in anyway. Fargo
In a follow-up letter to the Fargo Forum newspaper, she called the attempted exclusion "one of those small dumb things" that is a symptom of a larger problem.
"It was jarring to realize that someone, somewhere, thought that making this list was the right thing to do. Sadly, the climate of keeping voices of disagreement at bay has become a well-known characteristic of this administration," she wrote.
, Young, a 25-year-old information-technology worker, acknowledges that he and his friends had initially intended to protest Bush's appearance. All wore "Stop the Lies" T-shirts under their outer clothing. They had planned to expose their shirts while shouting the slogan. Denver
"It was kind of juvenile. When we got inside, we decided not to do that," he said.
Young said the man who ejected him had no way of knowing about the aborted protest because they kept their opinions to themselves during their brief time at the event. They got tickets to Bush's appearance through Rep. Bob Beauprez, R-Colo., who handed them out without asking about party affiliation.
Still unclear is precisely who was behind the decision to eject the three people. Colorado Republican Party officials, the Secret Service and a spokesman for Beauprez all said they had nothing to do with it.
White House spokesman McClellan said: "My sense is that the volunteer felt that these individuals were coming to the event to disrupt it. If people are coming to the event to disrupt it, naturally they are going to be asked to leave."
But Dan Recht, a
lawyer says he's considering legal action on behalf of the ejected critics for what he sees as a violation of their free-speech rights. "They were punished for the speech that was on their bumper sticker," Recht said. "It just feels so un-American." Denver
© 2005 Knight Ridder
This sounds a LOT like the way the communists used to keep two classes - those who signed up for the "party" and those that didn't ... this should be illegal. The people mentioned in the article above pay taxes, and their tax dollars are paying for the security, the transportation, and even the coffee and koolaid that Bush drinks to freshen his lying palate...
If this is not illegal, it is certainly WRONG!
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Love Contributor Will !!!!!
In 2003 Falwell announced that he was putting aside everything to devote his time to passage of a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage.
"I am dedicating my talents, time and energies over the next few years to the passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which will protect the traditional family from its enemies who wish to legalize same-sex marriage and other diverse "family" forms," Falwell said.
And as a response... you go, Will!
The Good Reverend Jerry Falwell's Marriage Amendment:
Marriage in the
shall be between a man and a woman only, and their congressman, senator, and President if it furthers their political agenda. Oh, and if the Moral Majority disapproves of any decision said man or woman should make, then we reserve the right to inject any family member, religious leader, or domestic terrorist to reverse and correct said decision so that it meets the Religious Right Seal of Approval. This amendment shall in no way apply to any man in the GOP leadership, who shall be free to practice sodomy and hypocrisy at will. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and Reverend’s Falwell, Dobbs, and Robertson. Amen. United States
FOIA brings us...
A top US general in Iraq authorised interrogation techniques including the use of dogs, a memo confirms...The ACLU says at least 12 of the 29 techniques listed in the document went far beyond limits established by the army's field manual...
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Bush Shows No Remorse for Fake Newscasts
Attention oh ye of sheeplike mentality, why are you letting them get away with this?
From Inter Press Service, by William Fisher: bolding by Julien's List
Despite a rising chorus of condemnation from journalists and media critics, the George W. Bush administration shows no signs of abandoning its distribution of taxpayer-funded ”news” to U.S. newspapers, radio and television stations.
Free press advocates are up in arms about what they say is the covert dissemination of propaganda by government agencies.
In one case, the administration -- seeking to build support among black families for its education reform plans -- paid a prominent African American pundit, Armstrong Williams, 240,000 dollars to promote the ”No Child Left Behind” law on his nationally syndicated television show and through his newspaper column, and to urge other black journalists to do the same.
Two other nationally known journalists, Maggie Gallagher and Michael McManus, have also admitted accepting thousands of dollars to endorse government programs.
Since 2001, the Army and Air Force Hometown News Service has fielded 40 reporters, producers and public affairs specialists to create ”good military news” to be beamed to home audiences via local news stations. The service's ”good news” segments have reportedly reached 41 million Americans via local newscasts -- in most cases, without the station acknowledging their source.
More than 20 different federal agencies used taxpayer funds to produce television news segments promoting Bush administration policies. These ”video news releases,” or VNRs, were broadcast on hundreds of local news programs. without disclosing their source.
This is charming...
Regarding the VNRs, Pres. Bush said the government's practice of sending ”packaged news stories” to local television stations was legal and he has no plans to cease it.
His defense of the packages, which are designed to look like television news segments, came after the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a Congressional watchdog agency, called them a form of covert propaganda.
The administration responded that, ”Executive Branch agencies are not bound by GAO's legal advice” but should be guided by the views of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel, part of the executive branch.
Here is who you SHOULD be listening to, oh Middle Americans - and what about our university and high school students - our future leaders? Thirty-odd years ago they would be all OVER Washington protesting this...
Norman Solomon, a syndicated columnist on media and politics and founder of the Institute for Public Accuracy, said in an interview that the subterfuge involved was the most dangerous aspect.
”The 'video news releases' put out by the U.S. government are pernicious because the TV broadcasts often do not tell the viewers that the government is funding and controlling those supposed 'news' reports,” he said.Of course, most of today's students, woefully "left behind" and with brains whittled to a single standardized test mentality, would not even know the definition of "pernicious..."
Ms. Julien pulls a "Dark Wraith" and sighs over the dumbing down of our students - and the apathy of the mainstream public.
Hagai El-Ad on Jerusalem: An Open House?
Same-Sex Marriage before Israel's High Court of Justice
Kerik's Past Had Bush's Stamp of Approval
March 28, 2005*
Bernie Says Bush Knew Everything
In NY Mag :
"...everything that's come out is stuff I either told the White House about or they already knew."
Conservative Cognitive Dissonance
Conservative, Liberal, Principled
By E. J. Dionne Jr. in the Washington Post
Tuesday, March 29, 2005; Page A15
Liberals have so little respect for conservatives these days that people on the left are genuinely astonished when people on the right have principled disagreements with each other. The left assumes the right marches in lock step under orders from the White House.
Conservatives have so little respect for liberals that they see every liberal action as inspired by hatred of President Bush, opposition to religion and contempt for people in "the heartland."
The paradoxical result of this mutual contempt is that each side is simultaneously underestimated and overestimated. As a result, current political arrangements are seen as permanent and the possibilities of political change are missed -- even when change is in the process of happening.
The right is widely assumed to have more coherence and discipline than it does. That means its dominance in our politics is exaggerated while its intellectual energy is insufficiently appreciated. Few outside its ranks acknowledge how many philosophical streams feed the conservative movement...
Monday, March 28, 2005
An Open Letter To The National Press Club
National Press Club Front Desk
Sean-Paul Kelley | San Antonio | March 28
Members of The National Press Club,
We, the undersigned bloggers, are very concerned about how liberal political bloggers are being systematically under-represented and belittled in the mainstream media, academic settings and media forums. By being intentionally excluded away from these venues, we are effectively pushed out of the discourse of opinion-leaders. The result is that the conventional wisdom about blogging, politics and journalism, as it concerns liberal blogs, becomes a feedback loop framed by the Conservatives and their media allies.
Indeed, just a few weeks ago, The Brookings Institution hosted a panel that originally included no liberal political bloggers and yet while including numerous conservative political operatives in the event. We registered our protest and the Brookings Institution's response was simply to invite a few liberal political bloggers to attend, yet not sit on the panel, as we had originally insisted upon.
Today, however, we are faced with an entirely new situation that is more insult than misrepresentation. The discredited conservative media operative Jeff Gannon, nee Guckert has been invited to sit on a panel at the prestigious National Press Club to talk about the scandal surrounding his access to the White House and more generally, the similarities and differences between bloggers and journalists. Guckert's token liberal counterpart will be a gossip blogger and sex comedy blogger. While we have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Graff and Ms. Cox we believe that neither represents bloggers who write about hard-nosed politics. And as for Mr. Guckert, he isn't a blogger, he's barely a journalist, and not a single political blogger involved with the Gannon/Guckert scandal, or otherwise, has been invited to sit on the panel to counter Mr. Guckert's arguments.
Therefore, we the undersigned bloggers, respectfully but firmly insist that a serious political blogger such as John Aravosis, of Americablog.org be included on the panel to fairly and accurately represent our industry and us. Mr. Aravosis has agreed to our request that he serve on the panel as our representative and is available should such an invite be forthcoming.
This situation is simply unacceptable. We will push back against the growing bias and sloppiness we see in the mainstream media as it concerns serious political blogging. If we do not we will never achieve any semblance of balance in the media. If we do not, we abdicate our ability to tell our own side of the story. If we do not we leave it to others to define us and defame us.
Please call Julie Shue at the The National Press Club and politely insist that they include John Aravosis of Americablog.org at their event. Here are there numbers: 202-662-7500 or 202-662-7501.
Sincerely,Sean-Paul Kelley, http://www.agonist.org
Ezra Klein, http://ezraklein.typepad.com
Echidne of the snakes, http://www.echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com
Amanda Marcotte, http://www.pandagon.net
Mark Karlin, Editor and Publisher, http://www.BuzzFlash.com
Matt Stoller, http://bopnews.com
Democratic Underground http://www.democraticunderground.com/
Lindsay Beyerstein http://majikthise.typepad.com
Shakespeare's Sister, http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com and http://www.bigbrassblog.com
Bob Brigham, www.SwingStateProject.com
Dave Johnson, http://www.Seeingtheforest.com
Matt Singer, http://www.leftinthewest.com
Kari Chisholm, http://www.blueoregon.com
Steve Gilliard, http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/
Crooks and Liars, http://www.crooksandliars.com/
That Colored Fellahttp://www.ThatColoredFellasweblog.bloghorn.com
Anna Brosovic http://annatopia.com/blog.html
skippy the bush kangaroo http://www.xnerg.blogspot.com
David Neiwert Orcinus http://www.dneiwert.blogspot.com
Julien's List http://www.educatedeclectic.blogspot.com
Read, think, ACT!
National Press Club Front Desk
While Julien's List is most DEFINITELY "left" of progressive, I find Joe Gandelman's site very helpful in that he does draw a good readership from both sides. While those on the extremes of both side will not be swayed by a blog, that large percentages of "moderates" can read both views and see for themselves.
For people who read primarily right-wing blogs, this may be the only chance they get to see some of the issues from a leftist perspective.
Kirk Cartoon on Living Wills|
An Exhibit Worth Seeing
* Harry Houdini's passport application and many photos
* Albert Einstein display and newsreel footage of Einstein giving a German-language Zionist speech in NYC.
* Documentation of Anti-Semitism in America including Henry Ford's "The International Jew" and film footage of Fr. Coughlin's 'Social Justice' preaching.
* Jews in the US military, including chaplaincy. The Four Chaplains of the Dorchester.
* Prayerbooks, including 'Minhag America' of Isaac Mayer Wise.
From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America
February 13–May 1, 2005
Cincinnati History Museum - Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
1301 Western Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45203-1130
513.287.7000 - 1.800.733.2077
Can Anybody Explain Why...
Would love to hear your thoughts as I ponder this on a very early Monday morning...
Sunday, March 27, 2005
For Gays, It Happens All the Time
by Tina Susman
As the fight over Terri Schiavo's fate played out in court, gay and lesbian organizations watched quietly from the sidelines, aware that any outcome would speak to one of the key motivations in their quest for same-sex marriage: the right to make medical decisions for a partner.
It's an issue faced regularly by same-sex couples, and the battle that Michael Schiavo waged with his in-laws as he sought to remove his wife's feeding tube only underscored their difficulties, said David Buckel of the New York-based gay rights group Lambda Legal.
"It certainly resonates with us," said Buckel, director of marriage-related activities for Lambda Legal. "If folks look at this situation and see that a spouse is struggling to carry out the wishes of his loved one, imagine what folks face when they don't even have access to the spousal relationship because they can't get married."
Just such a situation landed a lesbian couple in the national spotlight 20 years ago, after a drunk driver slammed into a car driven by Sharon Kowalski, then 27, leaving her comatose. Kowalski's longtime partner, Karen Thompson, then 37, a physical education teacher at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, sued Kowalski's parents for guardianship after they refused to recognize the women's relationship, blocked Thompson from visiting Kowalski, and disagreed with Thompson on Kowalski's care.
After a bitter legal battle lasting nearly a decade, a court sided with Thompson. She still cares for Kowalski, who emerged from her coma with severe brain damage and other physical problems.
Gay-rights groups had hoped the case would mark a turning point in their effort to have more say over partners' medical treatment, but it hasn't always worked that way. While some states such as California, Vermont and New Jersey grant medical decision-making rights to registered domestic partners, most, including New York, offer limited rights or none at all.
Partners of gay hospital patients often can't even visit, much less make life-and-death decisions for their loved ones, particularly if blood relatives object, said Carissa Cunningham of Gay&Lesbian Advocates&Defenders, a Boston-based group.
GLAD is representing several couples in a lawsuit to try to force the Connecticut Department of Public Health to recognize same-sex marriage. Two of the women involved, Carol Conklin, 51, and Janet Peck, 53, of Colchester, Conn., have been together nearly 30 years but say they still are not ensured access to each other in the hospital.
After Peck underwent major surgery, Conklin was initially denied permission to visit her in intensive care. When she identified herself as Peck's partner, the attending nurse said she did not know what that meant. Conklin was not allowed to designate herself Peck's next of kin during another hospitalization.
"It's very routine. It happens all the time," said Cunningham.
Such cases rarely make headlines, but they are no less tragic than the Schiavos' situation.
Two years ago, a Baltimore jury rejected a claim by Bill Flanigan, 38, of San Francisco, who sued Baltimore's Shock Trauma Center of the University of Maryland medical system after it did not let him visit his partner, 32-year-old Robert Daniel, as he died of AIDS. "By the time he finally got into the hospital room, his partner had lost consciousness and never regained it, and they never had a chance to say goodbye," said Buckel.
The hospital denied the accusations of discrimination.
Two of the women involved in the landmark lawsuit that led the Massachusetts Supreme Court to clear the way for same-sex marriages last year said they were prompted by medical concerns. When 59-year-old Linda Davies learned that she required double hip replacement surgery, she and her partner of more than 30 years, Gloria Bailey, 63, discovered that there was no guarantee Bailey would be allowed unfettered access to Davies during her 11-day recovery.
"Some hospitals said they could not guarantee Gloria would be allowed in," said Davies, who lives with Bailey in Orleans, Mass., and queried several hospitals before choosing one for the operation. "We realized how much we really needed to be married when I went into the hospital. That's when we realized how vulnerable we were."
Opponents of gay marriage say same-sex couples can opt to register as domestic partners or enter civil unions, but such partnerships don't always include the power to make major medical decisions for each other.
In addition, because such rights differ by state, there is no guarantee that a couple will be able to share in each other's medical decisions should disaster strike far from home. Flanigan and Daniel, for example, were from California, but they were in Maryland when Daniel fell ill.
And gay activists say even if they have gone through the legal machinations of having their partners declared health-care proxies, hospitals might be unfamiliar with such rights or simply refuse to respect them. If the partners don't happen to be carrying the paperwork to prove their status, they can similarly be refused their rights, said Buckel.
© Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.
Rana's War - Women's War?
Rana Husseini at her desk at The Jordan Times. Photo courtesy of Alasdair Soussi.
We are fortunate that women are not in exactly the same situation as those in Middle Eastern countries - but we must continue, in this fourth wave of feminism, to fight for our rights as citizens, not as chattel, or property.
“An incident [in 1994] involving a 16-year-old girl, shocked me the most,” says Husseini, speaking of the story that sparked off her initial interest. “It was the beginning of my career, and I covered this story which involved the death of this girl at the hands of her 31-year-old brother. She was killed because she was raped by her other 21-year-old brother, who put sleeping pills in her tea before carrying out the rape, threatening to kill her if she told her family. But she became pregnant, so she had to tell. So, he tried to kill her and she survived, but underwent an abortion. Later on, she was married off to a man 50 years older than her, but that only lasted six months. And on the day he divorced her, she was killed by her brother, to cleanse the family name.”
“When I went to talk to her uncles who plotted the murder, I asked them why they helped to kill her if she was raped and why they punished her. And they said she seduced her brother to sleep with him. Then I asked them why she would want to sleep with her brother when there were other men on the street, and they began criticizing me for the way I was dressed [Husseini favors western style jeans and T-shirts over more traditional Arab women’s wear], for not being married, and other things of this sort.”
Of course, there is a part of the population in this country who would keep women as chattel...this post from Pam's House Blend - about the feeling of Republican men about the U.S. women's right to vote - illustrates it well.
TMV Says that the Era of Big Government is Back|
An Easter Gift from Al Qaeda
The man displayed his Interior Ministry identification card and said he was a liaison officer with the American forces. Behind the men was the black banner of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Olyway said he provided the U.S. military with the names ``of officers of the former Iraqi army, who are Sunnis, and their addresses.'' At the end of the video, Olyway was blindfolded and appeared to be shot once in the head. The authenticity of the video could not be verified.
An Interior Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Olyway worked as a liaison officer between the interior and oil ministries and was kidnapped more than a month ago. He had not seen the video and could not confirm whether the hostage was Olyway.
Ohio Wrecking Project
Soldiers face hurdles to get protection from creditors
WASHINGTON - When Army reservist Steve Welter was called up for active duty in Iraq in August, his wife never thought she would face her own fight to save the family's home from foreclosure.
A 65-year-old federal law, which Congress expanded last year, provides a range of protections for activated reservists and for Guard members called up by the Pentagon.
Those protections include a 6 percent cap, under certain circumstances, on consumer and mortgage interest rate debt incurred before activation; protection from eviction or foreclosure; payment deferral for federal taxes; and a stay on civil proceedings, including divorce and bankruptcy.
Keira Welter knew the law was supposed to protect a soldier's property from creditors during active military service. But for months, she said, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Co. did not seem to care about the law, no matter how many times she explained her case.
"We had worked so hard to own our own home, and while my husband was over there serving our country it was going to be taken away," said Welter, 31, of Osawatomie, Kan.
After Wells Fargo started foreclosure proceedings in February, Keira Welter contacted the state attorney general's office and members of Congress. It was not until a local television station aired her story and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., intervened that the company finally backed off.
The Welters are not the only ones who faced hurdles seeking protection under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Lt. Col. Bruce Woolpert, a legal adviser to the Kansas National Guard in Topeka, said he fields desperate calls every week from soldiers and their families trying to understand their rights under the law and asking how they can stop creditors from repossessing cars or seizing homes.
"We had a foreclosure that was actually going to occur the next day," Woolpert said. "It was going to happen until we could generate the letters and get them to the company and say, 'Please stop this, it's not a valid foreclosure.' Wisdom prevailed and it was stopped."
The military is quick to let families know about the law as part of the family support briefing that soldiers get before they are deployed.
But the help is not automatic. Soldiers and sailors have to ask for it and provide proof of their call-up. Woolpert said the soldiers are given pre-typed letters of requests to creditors to make the process easier. Still, many soldiers call him later to understand how to qualify for help. Woolpert said most companies understand the law and try to follow it, but some, particularly smaller banks and car loan companies, are not as enlightened.
Kevin Waetke, a spokesman for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in Des Moines, Iowa, said the company has apologized to Welter and dismissed the foreclosure action. The company has special procedures in place for active duty soldiers that its employees are supposed to follow.
"What this isolated incident has shown us is that there are ways to enhance our processes," Waetke said. The Welters' case was unusual, Woolpert said, because most big lenders are familiar with the law.
"One of the problems is with large lending institutions, as soon as the matter goes to collection, it becomes a bureaucratic problem to reverse the trend," Woolpert said. "Sometimes it's hard to find the right person to say 'Stop this because the rule applies.'"
In Welter's case, she appeared to follow all the rules. She first sent a copy of her husband's duty orders to Wells Fargo in August. The company claimed it was never received.
She kept calling the company to explain how the family, with three young children, struggled to make mortgage payments during her husband's Army training, when he had to stop working as a full-time firefighter for weeks at a time. His reserve paychecks were much smaller than his firefighter salary.
"I mentioned the law every single time," Welter said. "And every single time I was told 'We don't know what that is.'"
Roberts, outraged by Welter's story, took the issue to the Senate. "I remain concerned that those responsible for complying with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act are not fully educated about their obligations and that the problem is nationwide," Roberts said.
The senator has asked the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks, to post the law on its Web site and include it in any publications it sends to banks.
Kevin Mukri, a spokesman for the Comptroller of the Currency, said the agency has not received Roberts' letter. But he said national banks are very familiar with all federal laws and regulations. "I have not heard of this being an issue," Mukri said.
Keira Welter said she still is concerned about what will happen when her husband comes back from Iraq. The legal protection generally ends within 90 days after the date of discharge from active duty, though she expects to be caught up on mortgage payments by then.
"I want my credit to be cleaned up," she said. "I want them to restore the late fees and I want to make sure this never happens again."
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Md. Bill On 'Life Partners' Advances
By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 26, 2005; Page B01
Unmarried "life partners," including gay couples, would be empowered to make health and funeral decisions for each other under legislation approved yesterday by the Maryland Senate.
Supporters said the bill, which passed 31 to 16, is intended to provide dignity and equal rights to people in committed relationships, including elderly couples in nursing homes who choose not to marry. In some cases, they argued, the bill could assist in making the gut-wrenching care decisions that have been highlighted by the Terri Schiavo case in Florida...
Life, cheering for itself
Human beings are endlessly inconsistent and endlessly hypocritical, and nowhere more so than in talking and thinking about the "sanctity of human life."
God vs. The Placebo Effect
"Is it possible that is what at work here? This man was so confident that a god was going to rescue him that his brain, convinced of the faith, healed the cancer itself? It's worked for other sicknesses."
Hillary's Knife: Carving up the Kerry vote|
WP Editorial: Good Judgment
NEITHER CONGRESS nor President Bush acquitted themselves well last weekend in enacting a law to intervene in the case of Terri Schiavo. But in the days that have followed, one institution of American government has distinguished itself in its handling of the matter: the federal courts...
TNR on Wolfowitz and the World Bank
by G. Pascal Zachary
Only at TNR Online | Post date 03.25.05
...in rushing to condemn his appointment, liberals are ignoring the significant overlap between right-wing and left-wing critiques of the World Bank. The question of how to fix the Bank is one of those rare areas of political debate where reformers on the right and left agree on a lot; in fact, if you look at conservative proposals for the Bank, it's hard not to recognize the progressive overtones.
What is Life???
In fact, today we learn in the Miami Herald that there was nearly a showdown between a team of state agents and local police over the Schiavo fiasco - historically, in "showdowns" there is a pretty good potential for loss of life...
The thing is, folks, while this circus is going on, with all of its "extended" coverage, I wonder how many people fighting for LIFE will even read - much less care - about this:
Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.
Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to resume her feeding.
For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called ``a showdown.''
Pentagon Will Not Try 17 G.I.'s Implicated in
By DOUGLAS JEHL
Published: March 26, 2005
ASHINGTON, March 25 - Despite recommendations by Army investigators, commanders have decided not to prosecute 17 American soldiers implicated in the deaths of three prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, according to a new accounting released Friday by the Army.
So, my question is, what is life? Which LIFE is worth fighting for?? A woman who has been brain-dead for 15 years, now the pawn of a nasty political game (which indeed is exploiting not only Terri, but her parents and her husband and family) - or the fact that the second headline above - which people outside our country (like in the Middle East and Europe) certainly DO read - will most certainly increase the contempt that is held for "Americans" world wide, and will mean that we are even less safe when traveling abroad...
Kristof on Global Christianity
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF in The New York Times
Published: March 26, 2005
One of the most important trends reshaping the world is the decline of Christianity in Europe and its rise in Africa and other parts of the developing world, including Asia and Latin America....for the first time since it began two millenniums ago, Christianity is no longer "Western" in any very meaningful sense...People in this New Christendom are so zealous about their faith that I worry about the risk of new religious wars. In Africa, Christianity and Islam are competing furiously for converts, and in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and especially Sudan, the competition has sometimes led to violent clashes...The denominations gaining ground tend to be evangelical and especially Pentecostal; it's the churches with the strictest demands, like giving up drinking, that are flourishing...All this is changing the character of global Christianity, making it more socially conservative...Yet conservative Christians in the U.S. should take heed. Christianity is thriving where it faces obstacles, like repression in China or suspicion of evangelicals in parts of Latin America and Africa. In those countries where religion enjoys privileges - Britain, Italy, Ireland, Spain or Iran - that establishment support seems to have stifled faith. That's worth remembering in the debates about school prayers or public displays of the Ten Commandments: faith doesn't need any special leg up. Look at where religion is most vibrant today, talk to those who walk five hours to services, and the obvious conclusion is that what nurtures faith is not special privileges but rather adversity.
Friday, March 25, 2005
Wingnuts Are, Well, Insane
For the entire article click here
"A North Carolina man was charged by the FBI on Friday with offering a $250,000 bounty for the murder of Michael Schiavo, the husband of a brain-damaged woman dying in a hospice after years of legal wrangling with her parents.
Richard Alan Meywes, of Fairview, N.C., allegedly wrote an e-mail, which was forwarded to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, that also placed a $50,000 bounty for the death of a judge in the case. The FBI said the threat did not identify a specific judge."
Hat tip to KC R, Silicon Valley"Tonight at oh-two-hundred hours the President of the United States is planning on signing a Presidential Order requiring the temporary breach of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The order would require the Joint Chiefs to authorize a mission into Florida. A small unit of Special Ops would then breach the Prayer Brigade outside the hospice holding Terry S captive and transport her to an offshore military installation, preferably in Gitmo or in Germany, thereby removing her from the jurisdiction of feckless (and one might add, unelected) judges. She would then be allowed to live a full and happy life under the loving care of military doctors."
Just For The Record...
"I do not have a "Virulent Passion for Terri's Death". I am not "in a rush to kill" her. I am not "In Love With Death". I do not "want Terri killed" because "she’s an overgrown fetus that outlived her welcome." I do not "want her to die" at all, for any reason. I believe that she, like every other adult, has the right to refuse medical treatment. That's a completely different story.
I do not believe that Terri Schiavo's life is worth less than anyone else's, that "Terri Schiavo's life is of limited quality -- therefore, Terri Schiavo is not worth saving", or (worse still) that "She is worthy of death unless she or her agents prove that her life is worth sustaining." I certainly do not think that we "can sentence Terry Schiavo to death, because she is too severely handicapped to live." I do not believe that this has anything to do with the worth of her life. I do not think that there are some people who are so valuable that when they are ill, we should treat them against their wishes, but that Terri Schiavo is not among them. I believe that every adult, including Terri Schiavo, has the right to decide for him- or herself whether to accept or refuse medical treatment.
I do not describe those who argue that Terri Schiavo should be kept alive as wanting the government to be able to order us to undergo surgery against our wills whenever a large enough group of protesters demands it. I know that, with the possible exception of Randall Terry, that is not what motivates them. I wish they would do me the same courtesy."
It's Recall Time
STORY TIME: THE LOST ART OF DEMOCRATIC NARRATIVE
by Robert B. Reich in The New Republic
Democrats are searching for new language to make their policies more appealing to voters. What they need instead are new stories--ones that cast their ideas in terms of the narratives that have defined U.S. politics for the last century. The Road Back, the fourth in an occasional series.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Where's the outrage?
You Got to Have Faith
With faith as one's foundation of thought, such things as science and medicine are irrelevant.
It is at the center of 'Bush Politic:' Merely saying it enough times makes it so. Saying it makes it so. Saying it makes it so. Saying it enough times makes it so.
It's how OJ Simpson was acquitted. Say it enough times to those in your choir, and they will believe it is so.
Many are the same people who believed in November 2004 that the Iraq war was going well when our kids were getting killed while inadequately protected, who still think we found WMDs in Iraq, and believe that Saddam was behind 9/11. Faith is a powerful.
It is often the antidote to established science, medicine, logic, rational thought, and even the law of physics. With that as a naysayer's basis for thought . . . well, nothing will change.
14 Characteristics of Fascist Regimes
In "Fascism Anyone?," Laurence Britt identifies 14 characteristics common to fascist regimes. His comparisons of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet yielded this list of 14 "identifying characteristics of fascism." Click here.
Economic Benefits of Marriage
Ohio Gay Marriage Ban Protects Accused In Domestic Abuse Cases
by The Associated Press
(Cleveland, Ohio) Domestic violence charges cannot be filed against unmarried heterosexual couples because of Ohio's new constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman changed a felony domestic violence charge against Frederick Burk to a misdemeanor assault charge.
Prosecutors immediately appealed.
Judges and others across the country have been waiting for a ruling on how the gay marriage ban, among the nation's broadest, would affect Ohio's 25-year-old domestic violence law, which previously wasn't limited to married people. (story)
Burk, 42, is accused of slapping and pushing his live-in girlfriend during a January argument over a pack of cigarettes.
His public defender, David Magee, had asked the judge to throw out the charge because of the new wording in Ohio's constitution that prohibits any state or local law that would "create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals."
Before the amendment, courts applied the domestic violence law by defining a family as including an unmarried couple living together as would a husband and wife, the judge said. The gay marriage amendment no longer allows that.
John Martin, who supervises appeals in the public defender's office, said the office was pleased with the ruling but would not comment further because of the appeal.
Because Burk had a prior domestic violence conviction, the latest charge was a felony that could have resulted in an 18-month jail term; a misdemeanor assault carries a maximum sentence of six months.
"This case is a good example of why we need a domestic violence law. A misdemeanor assault doesn't carry with it a significant enough penalty for repeat domestic violence abusers," said Matt Meyer, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor.
Some opponents of the amendment have said they hope the conflict over the domestic violence law would result in the gay marriage ban being repealed.
Seventeen states have constitutional language defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Ohio's is regarded as the broadest marriage amendment of those passed by 11 states Nov. 2 because it bans civil unions and legal status to all unmarried couples and gay marriages.
CNN: SCOTUS Refuses to Intervene
Brandeis names Arts Festival after Famous Gay Jew
More on Efforts to Block Jerusalem World Pride 2005
"In the past we have supported the right to hold a local gay pride parade in Jerusalem, and today, we continue to support their rights to hold such an event in Jerusalem even on an international stage as a symbol of the city's tolerance and pluralism," said Rabbi Ehud Bandel, the head of the movement.
Bandel added that he viewed nothing inappropriate about the event except for the campaign against it.
He noted that in the past the movement had considered to take part in such parades but did not due to concerns over "provocations" as well as the "sexual nature" of such an event, which, he said, was "out of sync" with a religious movement."
DAVID FROMKIN: A Wall of Faith and History
Published: March 24, 2005
BLISS was it in that dawn to be alive," sang William Wordsworth of the French Revolution of 1789, which, insofar as laws, customs and politics were concerned, promised to wipe the slate clean and offer the human race a fresh start. A similar exhilaration seized the Western world in the autumn of 1989, when cheering crowds dismantled the Berlin Wall - and with it, soon enough, the Soviet empire. Now many analysts are suggesting that the rumblings we hear from the Middle East presage an eruption of that sort. Is the old order in those lands about to be exploded?
Charles Fried, a professor at Harvard Law School, was solicitor general of the United States under President Ronald Reagan, and had this to say about Congress:
"IN their intervention in the Terri Schiavo matter, Republicans in Congress and President Bush have, in a few brief legislative clauses, embraced the kind of free-floating judicial activism, disregard for orderly procedure and contempt for the integrity of state processes that they quite rightly have denounced and sought to discipline for decades."
Yet, there is a complete absence of such dialogue coming from those who allegedly care about Terri. That dialogue is ignored.
Think about this: the malpractice damages recovered by Michael and Terri is what has been paying for Terri's medical care. If this Congress, President, Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida State legislature finally get their way on their fraudulent tort reform, who will pay for such care?
Cynical and corrupt political advantage is what is at stake here. It is clear from their limiting this case to Terri. It is in their speeches, documents, law, and talking points. It is the worst of the worst cynical power abuse.
The Republicans have propagated it, moved it, media-ed it, gave speeches about it, passed the law, signed the law, and they have soley created this historically monumental travesty. Those who seek to lay this one on others are full of it. There is no equivalence to be found with any misconduct engaged in by Clinton. This is much more grave and tragic than Clinton and Monica. At least Monica consented to it. Terri has been forced into to it.
A Gangster Runs our Government . . .
"Think Progress brings you the uncensored version [of] DeLay’s speech to the Family Research Council on Friday.
"Download the MP3 file
"Read the Transcript:
And so it’s bigger than any one of us, and we have to do everything that is in our power to save Terri Schiavo and anybody else that may be in this kind of position.
And let me just finish with this: This is exactly the issue that’s going on in America. That attacks against the conservative movement, against me, and against many others. The point is, it’s, the other side has figured out how to win and defeat the conservative movement. And that is to go after people, personally charge them with frivolous charges, and link that up with all these do-gooder organizations funded by George Soros, and then, and then get the national media on their side. That whole syndicate that they have going on right now is for one purpose and one purpose only and that’s to destroy the conservative movement. It’s to destroy conservative leaders and it’s, uh, not just in elected office but leading. I mean Ed Feulner, today at the Heritage Foundation, was under attack in the National Journal. I mean they, they, this is a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in, and, and you need to look at this and what’s going on and participate in fighting back.
Don’t, you know, the one way they stopped churches from getting into politics was Lyndon Johnson, who passed a law that said you couldn’t get in politics or you’re going to lose your tax exempt status because they were all opposed to him when he was running for president. That law we’re trying to repeal; it’s very difficult to do that. But the point is, is when they can knock out a leader then no other leader will step forward for awhile because they don’t want to go through the same thing. When, if they go after and get a pastor then other pastors shrink from what they should be doing. It forces Christians back into the church and that’s what’s going on in America: “The world is too bad. I’m going to go get inside this building and I’m not going to play in the world.” Uh, that’s not what Christ asked us to do. And, and so this, they understand that it is a political maneuver, and, and they are, uh, going to try to destroy the conservative movement and we have to fight back.
So, please, this afternoon, each and every one of you, if you know a senator give him a call. Tell him, they’ll say, “Our bill can pass in the House.” Tell him, “That’s fine. Your bill’s okay but the House bill is better and, uh, I want the House bill.” Particularly if you know Democrats, uh, don’t let them get off the hook, um, by hiding behind one House and the other is adjourned. We can do anything we need to do to pass any bill that we need to pass. So I appreciate what you’re doing. God bless you and thank you for the Family Research Council."
What is the "right to life"?
For the entire article click here
"Does it simply include unborn fetuses, stem cells, and people in persistent vegetative states? Or does it also refer to health care for the 40 million Americans who don't have it; aid to children whose single moms can't make ends meet; and billions of dollars in Medicaid - a virtual lifeline for millions - that Bush tried to cut? What about the 1524 American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who have died in a war that never should have happened? Didn't they have the right to life?"