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Eminent Domain Stuff

New London Update (2/24/06)
Coverage of the Rally at New London's City Hall (w/ pics)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Neurologist Or Not...

...it's pretty hard to watch these videos (thanks to AM Siriano for the link) and come to the conclusion that Terri is in a persistent vegetative state. I'd love to hear from anyone who honestly believes that Terri exhibits:

No evidence of awareness of self or environment and an inability to interact with others

No evidence of sustained, reproducible, purposeful, or voluntary behavioral responses to visual, auditory, tactile, or noxious stimuli

No evidence of language comprehension or expression


Tuesday, March 22, 2005


How Many More Need To Die?

Damn it! Stories like this make me sick with sadness and rage:

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) - A high school student went on a shooting rampage on this Indian reservation Monday, killing his grandparents at their home and then seven people at his school, "grinning and waving" as he fired, authorities and witnesses said. The gunman was later found shot to death. It was the nation's worst school shooting since the Columbine massacre in 1999.
This little dirtbag killed his grandparents, five students, a teacher, a security guard and wounded 14 or 15 others. Why? I can tell you exactly why. No, I don't know his motives...and I don't give a damn what they were. The reason he killed all those innocent people is that no one stopped him. If even one person in that school had been armed how many young lives, now cut depressingly short, could have been saved? Thank God we have all sorts of rules to 'protect' us from guns in schools. But tell me, just how much protection did they offer these innocents? Not one damn bit. The police failed to stop this crime. Why? Because they cannot possibly hope to be everywhere all the time. They responded, but by that time it was all over and 9 innocent people lay dead.

The answer is to allow competent individuals to carry guns (security professionals and teachers...you remember them, they're the ones we trust our children with every day). I know it may seem scary...but how many lives might be saved?


John Lott weighs in, as usual, with actual facts and such.


Monday, March 21, 2005


What's Really Going On Here?

I've been looking around for video of Terri Schiavo because I'd like to see for myself what some are calling persistent vegetative state. I've heard things here and there (and I think I caught a split second of video on TV one night) that makes it seem like maybe we're not getting the whole story. This line from a recent AP story only heightens my suspicions:

Bob Schindler visited his daughter late Sunday and said he noticed the effects of dehydration on her. He said she appeared to be getting tired, but eventually responded to his teasing by making a face at him.
Here is an excerpt from UpToDate:

Persistent vegetative state — Patients in a persistent vegetative state represent a subgroup of patients who suffer severe anoxic brain injury and progress to a state of wakefulness without awareness. Persistent vegetative state may represent a transition between coma and recovery or between coma and death. The term was first used in 1972 and is defined as [1,3,8-11]:

No evidence of awareness of self or environment and an inability to interact with others

No evidence of sustained, reproducible, purposeful, or voluntary behavioral responses to visual, auditory, tactile, or noxious stimuli

No evidence of language comprehension or expression

Intermittent wakefulness manifested by the presence of sleep-wake cycles

Sufficiently preserved hypothalamic and brain stem autonomic function to permit survival with medical and nursing care

Bowel and bladder incontinence

Variably preserved cranial nerve reflexes and spinal reflexes
So, she is likely arousable but, in the opinion of at least some doctors, she appears to fit this description. The problem I have here is the line: Persistent vegetative state may represent a transition between coma and recovery or between coma and death. Considering that she has been in this condition for quite some time (and I'm not sure whether or not she was ever actually in a coma), it seems at least reasonable to think that she might just recover.

So to whom should we listen? Her husband (who, by the way, has an entirely new life complete with a female and children) or her parents? I don't know either of them, but in this case I come down on the side of life with the potential of recovery rather than the finality of death.

If anyone knows where there is video of Terri please let me know. I think it would be quite instructive.


Still think you're getting the whole story?

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (BP)--A doctor close to the Terri Schiavo case told the Florida Baptist Witness that the 41-year-old disabled woman could actually be fed orally if it were allowed.

"The important thing for people to understand is that she can eat and swallow right now,” said William Hammesfahr, a neurologist who has examined Schiavo. He is in many of the videos circulated through the news media showing that Schiavo is at times responsive and aware.
If she dies her blood will be on many hands...but none more than her dirtbag husband and his scum-of-the-earth lawyer.

(via JunkYardBlog)


Sunday, March 20, 2005


Best Of Homespun

This week's Best Of Homespun Bloggers is up and ready to go. Head over and give it a read.


Thursday, March 17, 2005


Affirmative Discrimination

A few days ago I briefly ranted about the official Affirmative Action policy at the University of Happyland (where I work). Georgina (Release the Hounds!) commented that she disagreed with me and that she is planning to discuss this very issue at her blog. Although I don't think she's started in on this yet, I had a minute and thought I'd make another comment or three. Here's her stand:

Basically I realize that most find affirmative action programs etc. unfair but in the end I think they have helped overall towards racial equality in this country and they programs may need to be "tinkered" with I do not want them gone altogether and I am a white female...just so you know where I am coming from.
So, it's unfair but the ends justify the means. I would certainly never rule out ends-justify-the-means arguments since sometimes they are useful and even correct. However, in order for such an argument to hold water it is imperative that your end be worthy of the harm done by the preceding means.

With respect to, say, large research institutions, supporters and detractors of Affirmative Discrimination (AD) policies have two very different ends. Those who favor AD see employing equal (or proportional) numbers of men and women of all ethnic backgrounds to be a noble goal. To this end they support AD policies that require the university to hire people of specific racial backgrounds, skin color or gender.

Ok, great.

But consider this: What, really, should be the ultimate goal of a university research center? Dare I say it? How about conducting excellent research! Now, how does an institution go about ensuring that excellent research will be done in their facilities? Let's see...I'm no administrator, but I'll take a wild guess and say that in order to do excellent research you need excellent researchers.

So the next question is: How does one select excellent researchers to do excellent research? Here is the answer:

In order to select excellent researchers to do excellent research you must choose them based on their academic credentials.

Now, are there any questions about that? It seems relatively simple to me, but you never know. Notice that nowhere in the answer is there anything about whether or not an excellent researcher is a man, woman, black, white, Hispanic or even Outer Mongolian.

In the end any considerations aside from excellence of research credentials will decrease the overall quality of research at an institution. After all, as I said earlier, time and money are finite and so interviewing a person based even in part on his/her gender, race, etc. necessarily will deprive a more deserving candidate who has the misfortune of being the 'wrong' color/gender/etc. Does that ring a bell with anyone? What should we call it? Perhaps: Discrimination?!

But hey, that's just the opinion of a white male.


Wednesday, March 16, 2005



There are so many truly courageous people in this world it's a shame that some choose to honor a deserter. Instead of honoring a deserter, how about a real hero with outstanding courage. That is what we should be honoring and exulting in this country.

Enough of this woe is me crap. When did it become praiseworthy to slink away into the night? You make a deal, you finish your commitment. Anything above and beyond that should be celebrated as courage, lest we forget and allow the mean of our words to become muddled.


It Was Meant To Be

Somehow March 15th flew by and I completely missed the 3rd Annual Eat an Animal for PETA Day! But not to fear, it was meant to be. Without even realizing it I kept good on my promise. Last night, in complete ignorance of the significance of the date, I sat down to a full pound of cow flesh in the form of a big, thick juicy steak (with mashed potatoes on the side)...and man was it good!

So, thank you to yourish.com for keeping the tradition alive and, of course, I would be remiss if I failed to thank PETA. After all, where would Eat an Animal for PETA Day be without them?


Woops, missed yesterday's post at yourish.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Under My Skin

Here are two things that get way, way, deep under my skin.

First, my place of employment. Day to day, awesome. Policies, terrible. I realize that policies are dictated by powers that are beyond the control of anyone I know personally...but that only serves to amplify my frustration. Here is part of a broadcast email we received not too long ago. The topic is hiring policies and Affirmative Action:

· All applicants and search candidates must complete a University of Happyland application form which requests voluntary provision of demographic information required by [diversity committee];
· No hiring offer will be made absent a completed University of Happyland application form;
· Human Resources may designate goal candidates who must be interviewed as part of the selection process;
· The hiring department will be required to provide basic race and sex demographic information on each candidate that is interviewed;
· The hiring department must provide written selection justification with comparative information on the successful candidate’s qualifications and experience vis-a- vis the non-successful goal candidates’ qualifications.
· Hiring offers may be delayed by Human Resources if written selection justification is not provided or is incomplete;
Ok, so there is some "voluntary" demographic information that can be filled out on the sheet. Of course, it's only "voluntary" if you want to be hired since no offer will be made unless you complete the entire application. With that information, the HR people are going to "designate goal candidates who must be interviewed".


In other words, there are certain ethnically and gender-ally desirable candidates who are going to be interviewed regardless of their actual qualifications. Not only is that a waste of time and money, but those less qualified candidates are going to be interviewed to the exclusion of more qualified applicants. Time and money are limited, we can't interview everyone. And then, as yet another layer of bureaucracy, there needs to be extra justification for not hiring the "goal candidate". Oh, and I especially liked the tidbit about HR being able to "delay" hiring of a "non-goal candidate" if the written justification is "incomplete". Now, who makes the determination of completeness? Humm...

What a load.

And another thing...I was flying not too long ago (to Utah, as you might recall) and it turns out that Ted Kennedy and I share something in common after all. We're both on the "No-Fly" list. Now, either the lady at the desk misspoke and I'm actually on some less severe list or they've let up a bit because I was able to fly. But here's the thing that qualifies this little incident for this post...in order to "streamline" their ability to hassle me, I've got to give the government all sorts of information. The purpose, obviously, is to prove that I really am me. The thing that bothers me is that, although 'they' have this info already, I'm forced to hand it over to them in a nice, neat little package. Here's what's required not to get off the list...but only to get an asterisk or something next to my name so I don't end up in a windowless room in plastic zip-tie handcuffs:

The first part includes name, current address, gender, place of birth, date of birth, Social Security number, height, weight, hair color, eye color, and home and work telephone numbers.

The second part requires the passenger to submit notarized copies of at least three of the following documents: passport, including number and country; visa, including number and place of issuance; birth certificate, including number and place of issuance (if you submit a birth certificate, it must be a certified copy of the original); naturalization certificate; certificate of citizenship; voter registration card; military discharge paper; driver’s license (including number and state of issuance); government identity card (city, state or federal); or military identification card.
So, having done absolutely nothing wrong I am being forced to provide the government with all these nice little details about myself...or take the chance that my travel plans get shot to hell because somebody decides to do his/her job (as opposed to just letting me on the plane, as happened last time).

Now maybe I'm overreacting on both counts...but then again maybe not. In the case of the Affirmative [Racist/Sexist] Action policy, people like me (white males) are being systematically and legally discriminated against when applying for a position at this fine institution. This is to make up for the 'overrepresentation' of men relative to women in the sciences, etc. Well, I'm sure that'll give plenty of comfort to the more-qualified white male who gets shafted so a less qualified woman can be hired.* As to the "No-Fly" matter, I am being personally singled out because...actually, I have no idea why. I suppose there could have been some Irish terrorist with my name at some point...but I'm pretty sure that if he were going to fly the friendly skies with unfriendly intentions he'd find a way to get a new name and ID card to match.

So tell me, are we heading in the right direction in this country? Sadly, I'm not sure that we are.


*Don't go and get all excited. You know what I mean.


Third Annual International Eat an Animal for PETA Day

Eat an animal for PETA? Absolutely!

I will gladly join in by sitting down to a big, thick, juicy, bleeding hunk of cow flesh on March 15th. Come on! Join the resistance!


Homespun Bloggers Radio #6

The 6th edition of Homespun Bloggers Radio is on the air! Head over and check it out!


Monday, March 07, 2005


Czar Reed

I've been extremely busy of late and haven't had time for blogging. However, I just had to pass along this NRO piece on Thomas Brackett Reed, a legislator of outstanding courage, both political and physical, to remind us all that things as they are today were not always so. After reading this piece ask yourself: Are we better off today with a House of Representatives or a Senate model?


That white sheet must be depriving what passes for a brain of oxygen. Give it a read and watch Robert Byrd's hypocrisy unfold.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Homespun Symposium XV

This week's question comes from Derek:

Harvard University president Lawrence Summers has been criticized, and may have jeopardized his job, for stating that the gender gap in the sciences and engineering may be due to inherent differences in the way men and women think.

Meanwhile, Colorado University is weighing a possible buyout offer to professor Ward Churchill in the wake of his condemnation of the World Trade Center victims on 9/11 as "Little Eichmanns". The university, apparently fearing an expensive lawsuit, is hesitant to fire Churchill, who has been denounced for years by Native American groups for falsely claiming Indian heritage and recently exposed by Michelle Malkin and others for passing off the works of others as original art.

Should these men be protected for exercising their rights of free speech? Does an employer have the right to terminate an employee for statements that are contrary to the employer's beliefs? Are these cases similar?
The case of Lawrence Summers is easy. Harvard is a private institution and, therefore, has the right to fire anyone they like for whatever reason (aside from the obvious ones covered by anti-discrimination laws and contract obligations, of course). Should they fire him? In all honesty, I don't think so. What did he really say? Although I can't find the actual transcript, here's what the Boston Globe reported:

Now that the transcript of Summer’s remarks at the National Bureau of Economic Research Conference on Diversifying the Science and Engineering Workforce on Jan. 14 has been released, let's clarify what Summers did not say. He did not say that women are intellectually inferior to men or that women can't be great scientists. He did not say that young women shouldn't be encouraged to pursue careers in math and science or that there is no need to combat discrimination. (In fact, he said just the opposite.) He did suggest that even with the best efforts, full parity might be unattainable.
Why might full parity be unattainable? Summers goes on to suggest that there are fewer women than men willing to commit themselves completely to their careers (sorry feminists, it turns out, despite your best efforts, some women still want to raise children). He also cited biological differences between men and women...but he did not say that women are dumb or unable to perform well in mathematics and science. Rather, he apparently cited the fact that men tend to cluster at the high and low ends of the intelligence scale while women are more likely to be near the middle. Are those statements insulting? So long as it's true (and I think they are), they cannot be insulting. It's the way it is. So, Lawrence Summers made comments that angered some people while generally sticking to facts. I don't think that's a fireable offense.

Now, Ward Churchill. He is an employee of a public university and therefore, (I think) more immune to arbitrary firing than a professor at a private university (although I could be wrong about that). Regardless, let's just focus on the merits of his case. He is perfectly free to exercise his rights as protected by the First Amendment...to a point. He can certainly disagree, harangue, lambaste and otherwise nip at the heels the US government for just about anything he dislikes. The thing that he cannot do is to directly call for the deaths of Americans. That crosses the line and is, in my opinion, a firing offense absolutely regardless of contract obligations. In conducting himself in such a despicable fashion, he is giving aid and comfort to the enemy by showing them that they have sympathizers here. He as the right to say or write whatever he likes, but he does not have the right to use tax money to do it. He should have been fired years ago.


For anyone who has not yet read the actual words, please go here for the full text of Churchill's essay. Just in case you can't read the whole thing because you're busy vomiting, here is how it ends:

And when they do, when they launch these airstrikes abroad – or may a little later; it will be at a time conforming to the "terrorists"' own schedule, and at a place of their choosing – the next more intensive dose of medicine administered here "at home."

Of what will it consist this time? Anthrax? Mustard gas? Sarin? A tactical nuclear device?

That, too, is their choice to make.

Looking back, it will seem to future generations inexplicable why Americans were unable on their own, and in time to save themselves, to accept a rule of nature so basic that it could be mouthed by an actor, Lawrence Fishburn, in a movie, The Cotton Club.

"You've got to learn, " the line went, "that when you push people around, some people push back."

As they should.

As they must.

And as they undoubtedly will.

There is justice in such symmetry.


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