Bleeping Unbelievable

Salt Lake City has arrested a woman on murder charges because she refused a Caesarian mode of delivery for her twins.

They're making it sound awful, too, implying that she wanted to avoid a scar even at the sacrifice of her child's life. What they aren't forthcoming about is that the 28 yr old woman has a very long history of mental illness.

Aside from that, I'm sorry to say this is one more instance of the government deciding to hold a woman hostage to biological function. First, Caesarians have been refined, but they're still not completely aproblematic. To pretend that someone's concern could only be counted as purely cosmetic is probably a misstatement for any woman, and certainly one who has mental problems. A Caesarian is a surgical procedure and as such, it should be considered carefully and with a full understanding of the possible problems that could develop.

Second, there are women - a couple I've known - who scheduled an unnecessary Caesarian simply to choose the time when the baby arrives. I'm told some upscale doctors have recommended this to very busy working women, for example. If something happens during the Caesarian and a child dies, do you charge the mother and doctor with murder?

One woman I used to work for not only planned the date of her Caesarian for her best availability, but for her doctor's as well - he was about to leave on vacation and she wanted him to perform the delivery before he left. But one big difference between this woman's situation and the case of the Rowland woman who was arrested is that Rowland is poor, mentally ill, and likely was getting medical services through some public program. Thus, Rowland makes a much easier victim than a well-heeled business woman.

If I Were Spain

and I'd just lost 190 citizens to terrorist bombings in one day, I might be inclined to tell the leader of my country that he's endangering all of us by going along with Mr. Bush. Just a thought.

Our Cowboy Hates Dirt

Jimmy Breslin's column on Bush's appearance on LI for a ground-breaking ceremony for 9-11 victims tells us that huge crews of people were employed solely to make sure the president's tender footsies never touched dirt.

Some cowboy.

S Korea Impeaches President

From CNN:

    SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea's National Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to impeach President Roh Moo-hyun by 193-2, amid dramatic scenes as rival politicians physically battled on the floor of parliament.

They're getting him on political and financial scandals and leading the country into a political crisis. Damn. Does this sound familiar, George?


Life interrupted my daily postings. In fact, it still is.

But I couldn't resist a few posts today.


"I'm Gonna Talk about 911"

The president, when caught up with and asked about whether his campaign is going to continue to use 911 footage - not to mention PAID actors as firefighters because they're "cheaper and easier to find", paraphrased from a quote that seems to have disappeared out of a Newsweek article - says, "I'm gonna talk about 911..." and grins, like it's something to be proud of.

He's creeping me out, man.

However, he's just happy that everyone seemed to stop talking at once about his oddly undocumented guard service. Doesn't matter that they found all of one person - whose dates don't match - who could substantiate that he ever appeared in Alabama for more than a dental appointment and to brag about his drinking.

Mr. Ashcroft, Where is Your Bile Now?

Mea culpa. I couldn't resist.

Do You Want Rod Paige Fired?

Many do, based on his equating teachers with terrorists for demanding better education standards than the No (Poor) Child Left Behind (Not Serving in a War) offers.

Moveon.org has a petition for you to sign if you want to see him (Secretary of Education) go.

Bring It On!

Funny thing is that while I was horribly offended and angry when Bush said it (and man, did the "enemy" comply, too - dozens upon dozens died after that stupid remark), I don't like it any better coming from John Kerry when referring to the Bush Administration's re-election campaign.

I know it's a strong phrase, and it's easily remembered. I know it symbolizes the cowboy bravado of a president who wouldn't serve in a war but loves sending young men and women into war. I even appreciate that one take on the remark is that Dems are prepared to handle anything BushCo sends their way.

But it's not the message I would use again and again and (ad nauseum) again.

Congratulations to Kevin!

Word is circulating that Calpundit's Kevin Drum has been chosen as the Washington Monthly's "Political Animal" blogger. That's good to hear. He's sure to do a great job.

Kevin is one of the most intelligent and yet reasonable voices in blogdom. But we're blessed with several like that. At least, I have a tough time finding the time needed to get around to all the great blogs that update at least once a day. For example, the ones listed at the left are just some of those I try to visit daily (y'know, while still trying to juggle work and home life and all that jazz), plus all the newspapers.

But having an abundance of fine resources is nothing to complain about.

Mr. Ashcroft

Our Attorney General remains in the hospital. Today, they're removing his gallbladder, which unfortunately does not mean he won't still be one of the most galling individuals ever in so-called public service.

But exactly where he will now get his endless bile from is unknown.

And here's a piece of irony: I'm sure Mr. Ashcroft was offered a full range of painkillers to reduce the intractable pain he surely felt. Yet he makes certain that his people watch doctors very closely so they won't freely prescribe effective painkillers for the many chronically, critically, or terminally ill people who make up the rest of America.


Reality TV Bytes...er... Bites... er...

Last week, I had the unfortunate opportunity, while visiting with a friend, to watch my first ever segment of a reality TV show.

I mean it. I've never watched one of these before ever. From the promos alone presented on what television I do see (and except for news, I'm not much of a TV person), I'd rather snack on ground glass, walk over hot coals, or have a colonoscopy without benefit of sedation that watch one of these programs.

They're always far from reality. The situations presented are almost always strange and bizarre and twisted (ok, the twisted part sounds like real life) and have no bearing on reality. Most of the people chosen for these shows remind you that some people will do anything for money or notoriety and have decided that eating a horse rectum or trying to survive in a bug-infested jungle for a few weeks beats actually applying themselves anywhere.

I'll spare you the details of how it came to pass that I had to watch, but suffice it to say that my virginity - as it relates to "reality tv", ahem - got broken by the Donald Trump-based program, The Apprentice. Donald Trump is one of the few people in the world about whom, if you asked me, "Would you rather eat a diseased horse rectum or spend time with him?", I'd think it over for a second or two but most likely pick the horse rectum. The Donald creeps me out, and we're not just talking that hair and his endless self-promotion. Thus, having him appear on this one reality TV episode I've seen was like being doubly damned.

What's made the experience worse for me is that everywhere I turn this week - even on so-called legitimate news programs - all I see is the woman who got fired from "The Apprentice"-ship last week, a tall, highly attractive, articulate, poised African American woman named Omarosa. The interesting thing is that The Donald's ego is perhaps only matched by Omarosa's. She's played every program this week, from early morning news to late night talk - and tonight, she did Hardball - and told everyone how superior she is to everyone else.

Tonight, for example, we were treated to the fact that she is writing a book and developing her own talk show as well as her own product line of clothing. What, pray tell, might this woman have to say to fill a whole book? I have no idea. I got the impression she didn't learn much on "The Apprentice". In fact, I suspect Omarosa's pretty sure she knows everything in every situation. And if she has a talk show, I'd assume she would be her only guest each day because who could possibly be more interesting to speak with than herself?

These several paragraphs are my long-winded way of asking this one simple question: what's the [bleep]-ing fascination with this kind of programming?

"Mel Gibson Forgives Us for His Sins"

That's the topic of yesterday's Frank Rich column in The New York Times.

Mel's a raving loon. The sooner all this brouhaha dies down, the better.

Aristide on Democracy Now

Speaking on the above-referenced radio program this morning (which is also shown via Free Speech TV, the cable network), Aristide was very clear that he says he was abducted by the US military and forcibly removed from Haiti, not knowing his destination until just 20 minutes before they landed after a 20 hour flight.

On the one hand, Aristide has never struck me as a completely credible character. On the other, I don't put what he's accusing our government of doing past the Bush Administration. Bush isn't the first who likely wanted him gone. But subverting a democracy is a much bigger issue than the removal of a single man, and that gravely concerns me.

Farewell, Spalding

The NYC police have confirmed tonight that a body pulled last night from the East River was that of Spalding Gray, writer and actor, who disappeared after leaving his apartment in mid-January. They believe he probably committed suicide by jumping from the Staten Island Ferry.

Aside from his mental demons or perhaps because of, I've always liked Gray's work. His monologues were superb, his delivery even better, and he was great in every movie I ever saw him in - usually as the enigmatic, eccentric smaller character rather than the lead.

I'm sorry that he apparently felt he could no longer continue.


Is it True?

If Aristide left Haiti of his own accord, and wasn't forced out by the U.S., then is what I read at Buzzflash and some other sources true? If so, it doesn't sound much like Aristede is free to come and go or to receive visitors and tends to support what Maxine Waters and others are saying about the situation. I read about an American chaplain in Haiti who says he's spoken with as many 50 different people who reportedly saw Aristede taken forcibly away by people who appeared to be Americans.

Why then is he free to speak on the telephone? Because we can easily recant what he says? I'm mystified.

The Deafening Silence

If you haven't read Brian D. Barry's excellent piece on Common Dreams, please do so. An excerpt from its start:

    I've always wondered what sound Democracy would make if it died.
    Last night, I found out in Santa Clara, California. The sound it makes is a deafening silence, and it sent chills up and down my spine. This sound scared me more than anything I've ever heard in my life.

Martha Martha Martha

I'm sure I'm not the only one who was floored at the behavior of the press to Friday's Martha Stewart verdict. MSNBC actually ran special programming ALL DAY today to discuss it in detail.

Now, from what I've read, Martha was brought up on charges that are rarely if ever pursued. From Wall Street insiders, we hear that much more egregious stuff happens all the time in stock trading and they're surprised Martha's taking the fall for something relative minor and open to interpretation. And from what I've heard from the jury (mostly that one vociferous fellow who has appeared on every program), they bore some prejudice because a) Martha was being tried by the Feds (hearing, "the US Government Against Martha Stewart" sounds important) b) some celebs appeared at the trial and c) Martha did not testify (something juries are told not to factor into their decision).

My view on this is simple: Martha got hit the way she got hit because a) she's a woman b) she's a woman who supported Democratic causes and c) she made a lovely target.

Martha's actions, as charged, did not hurt anyone else's stock portfolio. The same cannot be said of those at Enron, WorldCom, and such who are walking around free in one of their many mansions, while their investors are looking at working into their 70s and 80s to pay for the money they lost. But Kenny Boy Lay and others supported the RNC almost exclusively. Martha did not.

As the Cookie Crumbles...

I just watched a small piece on the cable news about the growing furor, particularly in (where else?) Texas, over people refusing to buy Girl Scout cookies this year to protest the fact that the Girl Scouts have some program in common with Planned Parenthood. They interviewed all these mothers who said they were either forming new girls' groups (and one said she would make certain her group sponsored good conservative, Christian causes and not Planned Parenthood), or quitting a GS leaders or pulling their daughters from the organization after explaining that "Girl Scouts help kill babies."

What a crock.

First, the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood aren't one. What they do share is a common interest in the rearing of intelligent, healthy young women.

Second, Planned Parenthood isn't the Anti-Christ. Abortions are a very small part of what PP does. Perhaps their most vital role is in performing GYN health screenings and protection information to young women who either can't afford or don't have access to their own doctors. Planned Parenthood does sliding scale fees, and that it just terribly important. I've accompanied a few different women to Planned Parenthood who were pregnant, looking for help, and trying to weigh decisions. Termination simply was NOT pushed. Each of three different sessions I sat in on as a friend of the patient were intelligent counseling sessions where a number of options were discussed: first and foremost, the woman's immediate health and the health of her fetus, and then how the woman would protect from an unwanted pregnancy occurring again.

Abortion mill? I think not.

Third: do you really want to lie to children to remove them from an organization? Think about what you're saying in not liking the Girl Scouts because they support little girls like your daughter growing up to be healthy and well-informed.

Interestingly enough, I also read this week that the teenage pregnancy rate in the country, while down in most areas, has risen recently in Texas.