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4.2.2005   After thoughts...




The Terri Shiavo case has brought to light a number of problems with our legal system.  As my readers know, after reviewing all of the extensive information about this case I could get my hands on, I was convinced that she should be allowed to die.  But whatever your position in this matter, it should be frightening to anyone that an issue concerning the life or death of an American citizen could be decided based upon legal technicality. 

Early in the legal battle to 'save Terri's life', or to 'allow her to die', the Shindler Family (Terri's parents and siblings), followed their idiot attorney's advice and stipulated that she was in a Persistent Vegetative State.  For those of you unfamiliar with legal jargon, a 'stipulation' is when both parties state officially that they 'agree' on an issue and voluntarily remove that issue from the dispute.  By stipulating that Terri was in a Persistent Vegetative State, they gave away their legal right to later argue that she was not, in fact, in that Persistent Vegetative State.  Worse, they tied the Court's hands.  A judge does not have the jurisdiction to resolve 'disputes' that have been stipulated, because by definition there is no legal dispute in existence. 

When the Shindlers began gathering affidavits of physicians disputing the fact that Terri was in a Persistent Vegetative State, the Judge followed the law and refused to consider them because he did not have jurisdiction.  The Shindlers had already conceded that issue in the most legally binding way possible. 

Fortunately, the court eventually saw past this legal technicality. I have been unable to find out how; but I suspect it has something to do with the amount of time that passed since the stipulation was made.  Eventually the question had to become, 'is Terri still in a Persistent Vegetative State'. 

By the way, the court resolved the matter in the best way possible.  Each side was given an opportunity to have Terri evaluted by two physicians, and the court appointed one independent physician.  So five physicians evaluated her condition and all provided testimony and evidence to the court.  Not surprisingly, the two Shiavo physicians found her in a Persistent Vegetative State.  Equally predictable was the fact that the two Shindler physicians found she was not in a Persistent Vegetative State.  The Shiavo physicians were notorious for providing testimony supporting people's 'right to die' and the Shindler physicians were notorious for supporting 'right to life' and 'anti-euthanasia' causes.  So, the testimony was quite biased.  [On a quick tangent: I could easily believe that 'right to life' doctors would deny a diagnosis of PVS, even if they really found PVS, if they believed that euthanasia was morally wrong and that lying under oath would 'save the patient's life'.  However, it is very hard for me to believe that any physician would insist upon a diagnosis of PVS after finding that such a diagnosis was not appropriate simply so they could kill an otherwise 'savable' patient and further the 'right to die' agenda.]  The independent physician, appointed by the court, found she was in a Persistent Vegetative State.   I imagine the independent doctor, not connected with any one agenda, and paid no matter what his findings were, was most convincing to the Judge.

President Bush has said recently that when serious questions exist on life and death issues we should err on the side of life.  While I think that Terri Shiavo's death was for the best, I tend to agree with President Bush in principle.  Perhaps we should examine the laws of our states and ensure that life and death issues are not treated using the same rules as other civil or family disputes.  In cases involving children, the courts are legally required to 'do what is best for the wellbeing of the child' regardless of whatever nonsense the disputing parties have stipulated to.  Perhaps in 'right to die' or 'right to life' cases, we should require the court to 'act in the best interests of the patient'.  I understand that there would be intense argument from both agendas about what the 'best interest' is, but at least the court would have the ability to set aside the legal mumbo-jumbo and actually consider new evidence even if some rookie attorney gave one party some very bad advice early on. 



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4.1.2005   Just let me sleep damnit!!!




Daylight Savings Time is a stupid policy.  It is bad for farmers, it is bad for our health, it is probably bad for our economy.  I know it is bad for sleepy people!!!

I know a great idea...  Let's make people really really tired, and then make them drive in the dark!!!

I'm convinced that the only reason Congress hasn't repealed Daylight Savings Time policies is because the citizens are just too tired and confused to bother writing to our representatives.

Please!  PLEASE!  PLEASE!!!!  As a personal favor to me.  When you are dragging yourself out of bed next week, cursing and stumbling around in the dark, take a moment and write to your representatives in congress.  It worked in Arizona.  They refuse to participate and all of their citizens are happy, well rested, thin, and beautiful...

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3.30.2005   I felt like a beatnik...




Today I began what I hope will be a regular routine for me.  It worked out great. 

As soon as I got Halle on the bus, I tossed my new laptop in my backpack and headed up the street to the new coffee shop.  I bought an iced-mocha espresso from 'obvious owner', sat my butt on a super comfortable couch, and just started writing.  I was very productive, although 'obvious computer guy' interrupted me once to make sure I was able to log onto the WiFi.  Around noon, I stopped writing, bought a bowl of soup and a roast beast sandwich from 'cute black chick with killer London accent', and read a magazine for a bit.  Once my appetite was sated, it was back to work.  Come 2:45, when it was time to go home to meet Maddy's bus, I had to literally force myself to stop writing.  I packed up, waved goodbye to 'college student afternoon guy' and hightailed it home.  I wrote four whole chapters of my novel.

My goal is to do this three to five days a week.  I want to be 'norm' to the employees there.  (Hey, I'm almost large enough...)  Y'all should feel free to keep me accountable on this...

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3.26.2005   A very scary Good Eats...




Right now I am watching the best episode of Good Eats I've seen so far.  A.B. is teaching how to cook garlic.  It's very informative and I love garlic so I'm learning stuff I'll actually use.  However, the gimmick this episode is that A.B. is teaching Count Vladimir, an obvious vampire, to like garlic. It's hilarious, especially when A.B. accidentally cuts his finger while chopping garlic.  After licking the knife, the vampire says, "Hmmmmm.  O positive..."  It is a hoot.  A.B. is rapidly becoming a personal hero of mine; at least culinarily - I have no idea what his personal beliefs and behaviors are...

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