31 March 2005

Prenatal Euthanasia Case in Idaho

Okay, it gives me hope that this suit was dismissed by an Idaho court, but the fact that it was brought in the first place says some awful things about our society -- not the least of which is, "if we'd known it was going to be hard, we wouldn't have done it!"

And would the baby have been spared pain by dissolution or dismemberment? Oh, that's right -- I forgot that it's not about the baby; it's about the parents. I'll simply say "slippery slope argument" for the time being and spare you lines of ranting.

Plus, they named the poor child "Bailey" -- enough with the gender-less names already!!!

For Terri

A heretofore unfelt and clouded mix of sorrow and relief;
A sense of overwhelming indignation and confusion;
Abrupt sensations of resolution
And great tribute.

May she now live in peace and love,
and her family the same.

29 March 2005

Another thing we didn't know we didn't know!

Apparently, just like bone cells and fat cells, hair follicles contain stem cells, too -- embryos don't have the market cornered on healing! How nice that we don't have to kill something/someone in order to heal ourselves . . .


Well, it appears that the risk of tsunami following the Easter Earthquake in Asia has ebbed . . .

My sympathies -- (those that aren't quite numb yet) -- go out to the traumatized survivors of this series of disasters . . . as far as analysis goes, just yesterday an expert asserted a "100% chance" of tsunami. After all, we understand that earthquakes cause tsunamis by releasing energy into the water, right?

Breathing a sigh of relief for the people in and around Indonesia, I'll venture a guess that maybe we don't understand quite as much as we think we do . . .

Back to posting...

Apologize for the long gap in publishing -- the primary issue weighing heavily on my mind has been Terri Schindler-Schiavo's unjust execution, and I'd decided not to say any more about it . . . I've done everything I can; it's time to simply turn it over to a more infinitely just and intelligent Being.

23 March 2005

Fingers are crossed for Europe!!!

Just when the day's news threatened to be dull and 100% miserable -- apparently France's citizens are starting to go a bit sour on the EU, which would - *gasp* - lead to a collapse of the group, so good old Jacques Chirac is trying to convince them it's still a good idea.

I'm liking the French people more and the French gouvernement less all the time -- my impression is that the people are too decent and smart for their leaders to be doing all the yapping.

Go, Citizens, go!

22 March 2005

Not-so-buried in the sand

Have you seen this story?


Isn't it grand? (Not to mention that the story made it into the BBC news!)

Fingers are still crossed, of course, but it appears that - lo and behold - an elected, pro-reason, pro-peace leader is getting results on behalf of decent Palestinians everywhere. I could burst out in song! Let's all send Mahmoud Abbas a huge thank-you vibe.

And kudos to Israel for their evenhandedness. It takes cool heads on both sides to make this sort of progress.

Last thoughts

My last wishes thoughts on the Terri Schiavo case --

For all the barking moonbats (I love it when the online world adopts cute British-isms) who think Congress is so out-of-order, is that Article III in the Constitution specifically states that Congress can make laws governing the judiciary -- which yes, does include State courts, as they are established by Congress as inferior courts to the Federal Supreme Court:
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make. (emphasis mine)
So sit down, shut up, and accept that judges just might be fallible human beings, too.

Huge hat tip: Rush and Mark Levin. Whew!

21 March 2005

I like blogs...

They're nice.

You can spout whatever you need to, and you can choose whether to let people attack your ideas. And there are so many blogs that the odds of someone finding yours (well, mine, lol) is relatively small unless you want them to.

Therapeutic, dontcha think? :-)

More issues later . . . a bit soured on net use at the moment . . .

16 March 2005

Encore, Senator Reid!

This made my day!

Per Yahoo!, In light of the Republicans considering their filibuster-busting "nuclear option," Sen. Harry Reid threatened to work with Republicans only on matters that affected U.S. troops or that ensured the continuity of government operations: "Beyond that, we will be reluctant to enter into any consent agreement that facilitates Senate activities, even on routine matters..."

People keep referring to this as "virtually shutting down the government."

Silly me . . . I'd stopped believing in Santa a long time ago!!!

Another step toward State-sanctioned euthanasia

Check out this Texas story (linked from Glenn Beck).

A hospital decides they're tired of keeping a baby alive, so they go to court to have a judge tell the mother that, per Texas law, she can't make them continue life support. They win.

Off of life support goes the baby; baby dies.

Where is the outrage here?!?! When the hospital decides a case is hopeless, all of a sudden individual rights and parental rights don't matter?!?!?! And how many doctors' opinions would be needed in order to qualify as sufficient grounds to extinguish a life when we have the ability to help, instead?

Now, the baby would have died shortly after birth, had no life support been hooked up to him, but that is the parents' prerogative! If they want to keep trying to help their child, more power to them. Nowhere in the story (as I've seen the news) does it say that the hospital was working for free.

People are allowed to try to keep themselves and their parents alive indefinitely if they desire -- why not allow them at least that right with their children?

14 March 2005

Interesting new "protection" found in Constitution

Okay . . . yet another judge has found that the Constitution says same-sex marriage must happen -- well, actually, his rationale was that not extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples violates their right to "equal protection under the law."

What are same-sex couples not being protected from? (This just screams for a satire, but I'm trying to be rational first). I think we've managed to thoroughly confuse the meanings of "protect" and "promote."

The Constitution doesn't specify anything about what constitutes marriage. Yet there are all sorts of laws on the books about who can and can't marry, some of them patently unjust and actually unconstitutional, but not in over a hundred years has anyone made a real peep about those.

As much as I oppose sanctioning gay marriage, it's not because I don't like gay people, because that's just mean, not to mention stupid; and it's not because I think they shouldn't be allowed to see each other in the hospital, because I think they should. It's not about hate or spite. It's because of the inevitable consequences of equating same-sex relationships with God-ordained marriage: adoption rights. Fight over the estate, if you will, but God has set up a framework for raising and teaching children, and He has a perfect idea of what He's doing. We're subject to that -- it's not about whether we want to be nice and helpful or mean and hurtful; it's about doing what He tells us to do.

I would say there's got to be a way to make both sides happy, but unfortunately, I don't hold out that hope for this particular issue, given the vitriol being flung around.

10 March 2005

Ethical Climate, part II

I thought this deserved its own post --

The Jarrett House North blog that I referred to in my previous "ethics" post has some interesting comments -- ones that are shaping my opinion as I go. Quite possibly the most impactful in the "students were wrong" department was the statement that: "That information wasn't theirs to have at that point in the process." (Comment by Tim Jarrett, #4866) Presupposing that to be true, then yes, what the MBA students did does indeed qualify as unethical and rather theft-like. When I read that, I thought, "well, okay, that settles it."

Until I thought some more (always a dangerous thing).

This is exactly like credit report information. I fully believed (up until this point) that you have a right to know what information is being published about you, for purposes of keeping it true. Domain squatting and credit-report-seeking issues have been decided on this "my name is my property" line of thinking.

HOWEVER . . . I can't say that anymore for sure. This may get overly intellectual, but if you'll bear with me, you'll see where I'm going.

(Alert! Libertarian/individualist streak showing!)
Nowhere in the Constitution is a "right to honest report" established. We do have a right to our lives, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our "life" could be understood to include our personal information, as much as our brain activity. So do we or do we not own our personal information? Our reputation?

I've concluded -- at least for the time being -- that we do own our personal information. But we do not have the right to how other people use that information -- our "report" or reputation. That is the decision-maker's right. If something is accurate, and is being presented accurately, that is sufficient. If others choose to form negative opinions (to refuse credit, for example), because of an accurate fact, that's their right. If their decision is based on inaccurate information, we have a right to defend ourselves (also found in the Constitution) by challenging the lie -- a defense which may result in a change of decision/report -- but we do not have a right to change their decision itself.

But I also believe that "Truth will out." Dishonesty, of course, is technically illegal in almost any form (if you can think of exceptions, too bad -- it's still wrong). Eventually, though, we are simply responsible to do what is right, letting the consequences come as they may -- to be who we are, regardless of whether people think good or ill of us. That is our right.

Now for how this applies to this case (in my opinion):

In the case of the MBA students, they have the right to apply to the school with accurate info. They do not, however, have the right to the school's decision, whether to change, view, etc., until the school deigns to release that decision.

As hard as this issue is for me to call, I think my instincts were wrong on this one. But it's nice to be a step closer to a conviction of what's right and why!

What about the "Ethical Climate" in the US?

OK . . . aware that I may be costing myself admission to grad school somewhere, should I ever apply, I must question the fracas over students checking their application status.

I may be insufficiently informed, but here's my understanding of the issue:

Using available information and a bit of common sense, some MBA applicants "hacked" (that is, "assembled that info and put it into a useful context") some business schools' admission decisions. From what I can tell, (and I'm a web app programmer by day, so I do this sort of URL adjustment every day, albeit in my own programs), this may have consisted simply of using their ID numbers plugged into a webpage's querystring value to check their own admission status.

What precisely did they do wrong? One admin bureaucrat opined that it was like "using the keys to the admissions office to enter at night and see how his or her application fared". Sure, that analogy holds up -- if every student gets a key to the admissions office with strict instructions to access the office only between 0800 and 1700 with a parent accompanying them . . .

Before I start feeling ethically degenerate, I have to say I'm waiting for more info. We need to actually know whether something definitely, identifiably wrong happened. The article doesn't say they were hacking other applicants' info (bad), or using a compromised administrative username and password (bad) -- so far, they were just trying to read their own info by accessing a non-linked URL. Not even change their grades (also bad). Especially in our life of continual order and shipping status updates and instant communication, this is really not a big deal to me.

And the other question is, why should the applicants not know of a decision as soon as it is made, if it pertains to them?

UPDATE: This blog has a lot more info, although his initial reaction is the opposite of mine; it appears that the students may have known they were countering policy. I guess I'm a bit odd, then, since it still doesn't seem harmful in the least. I mean, just because a hack is "easy" (which this one was -- incredibly so) doesn't make it right, but what's a "hack?" Any tweak, or a harmful intrusion? (Programmers call modifications to improve program functionality "hacks" all the time -- "hacking" = adapting; "cracking" = criminal hacking). And what exactly was the harm done to these schools, aside from exposing how insecure their third-party admissions agent is? I'm still waiting . . .

09 March 2005

Keep the wolves off EBay!

The only political news worse than this new Ohio law is that the legislature evidently passed it without much consideration whatsoever, most notably to potential unintended consequences. The sponsor of the bill (SB 99) says this:
"We never intended for this to apply to people who sell things on eBay," said state Sen. Larry Mumper, a Marion Republican who was primary author of the bill. "This was to insure that auctioneers were abiding by the established rules and regulations. The bill is flawed. We will amend it and correct the problem before it goes into law."

They'd better!

And the governor who signed it into law in February? Gov. Bob Taft -- someone I used to think was an okay guy -- is just now "asking for a clarification" . . .

And they wonder why consumers are feeling so terribly wronged when they don't read license agreements?

Together with all sane people, (which group evidently doesn't include legislators residing in the Buckeye State), I ask, "WHAT ON EARTH?!?!" In the interest of full disclosure, my brother works for a company whose entire business is run on EBay -- to ask that little mom-and-pop operation to pony up over $50K and take a year off to have everyone "play auctioneer" is ridiculous.

Lesson of the day: Licensing requirements are the real mom-and-pop business killers.

UPDATE: For the actual text of the bill, see here; Sen. Mumper's website is here, and Gov. "what did I just sign" Taft can be reached via this page.

UPDATE 2: Corrected bill id from HB 210 to SB 99 (what was I thinking? :-)

08 March 2005

"Troubled by Moral Climate"

Okay -- this one was just too good to pass up. Drudge linked to an interesting story this afternoon; headline:

Gallup finds Americans Troubled by Moral Climate

So as I'm reading the title, it occurs to me that that's probably true, but it really wants some clarification:

Conservatives, yes, are troubled by the moral climate;
Liberals are troubled more that there is a moral climate.

Just remember -- you heard it here first! LOL . . .

The ultimate crime

. . . according to liberals, at least:

As much as I hate linking to the NY Times for any reason, Drudge linked to an exceedingly inspiring and entertaining story from them today; my favorite part:
...the nomination of Mr. Bolton appeared to show that hard-liners on foreign policy still carry clout in a clearly divided administration. Mr. Bolton has been championed in the past by Vice President Dick Cheney. (emphasis mine)
Get it? As if the administration's being "divisive" weren't bad enough, Dick Cheney thinks he's got the right idea -- BWAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!

07 March 2005

Starting up again

OK, yes, I'd set this up before, then decided it was a bit pretentious to assume that just because I thought something, someone wanted to hear it ;-).

But now that I've decided it's a really simple way to archive thoughts, regardless of whether it gets read, here we go again . . . a bit more formal this time around.