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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tenacious Schiavo

I find it incredible that Terri Schiavo has survived for 12 days without water. It makes me wonder if someone is sneaking in liquids, though I am ignorant of the actual situation in the hospital.

The guiding principle should be to treat her as we would want to be treated. We should honor people’s wishes, but wishes vary from person to person, and a lot of us aren’t even sure what we would want in this situation. Without knowing her wishes, the court has ruled that it’s up to her husband. I accept this outcome, though I am uneasy if he would stand to gain from her life insurance. No one should be faced with that kind of conflict of interest.

For the record, if I am brain dead or in a persistent vegetative state with no chance of recovery, or if my family is headed for the poor house to pay for my medical bills, I would like to check out. If I can respond to TV or radio, I would like to live. I wish to be an organ donor, and I opt for the least expensive burial method. If I am cremated, scatter the ashes at a wind farm.

CNN on Global Warming

Giving credit where credit is due, I must say that CNN had a very good show on global warming Easter Sunday at 7 pm CST. They took it to the oil companies, and even used some music reminiscent of the Fahrenheit 9/11 soundtrack. Now if we can just get Fox onboard!

Dodge Center Windmills

On the way back from a visit with my grandmother in Iowa, my mother and I stopped at the wind farm near Dodge Center, Minnesota. Though it was a calm day and only three of the 30 or so windmills were turning, it was a soothing and awesome sight, offering hope for the future.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

PRT Open House

Attended a great open house for PRT (cprt.org) at the Taxi 2000 office last night. Rode in the demonstration car, read the project charts, and saw the layout for the new miniature scale model proof-of-concept track planned for next summer.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Book Review: God’s Politics

God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It by Jim Wallis

This book explains how Republicans have failed to address the Christian missions of avoiding war and ending poverty. It explores the current political climate that has led to the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the theft of retirement savings at Enron, and 36 million Americans in poverty.

In making the case that Bush cooked up the reasons for going to war, Wallis cites The Price of Loyalty by Paul O’Neill, Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward, and Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke. I haven’t read these books, but I think it’s telling that we have multiple witnesses from among those closest to the president.

It’s not just the Republicans that concern Wallis, however. He believes that Democrats have downplayed or ignored the role of faith and family, and that this has hurt the party. He also introduces the concept of a "consistent life ethic" for those who are uncomfortable with both the death penalty and abortion.

Wallis mentions the environment, but doesn’t say much about overpopulation, except a prediction that "Wealthy countries will become inundated with immigrants unless the North/South economic divide is faced."

Wallis takes a conciliatory approach for the most part, saying, "When either party tries to politicize God, or co-opt religious communities for their political agendas, they make a terrible mistake." I recommend this book for Republicans and Democrats. Greens are already saved. Just kidding. ; )


No doubt, the morning-after pill is controversial, which begs the question, RU486, or RU against it?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Fake news

Air America and other sources are reporting that it is now legal for the government to prepackage film segments and distribute them to local TV stations, who add voiceovers and air them as news without any warning or disclaimer whatsoever. Will there be a web site posting the transcripts of these segments, so we can identify them?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Book Review: Mark Lombardi Global Networks

The late Mark Lombardi drew flow charts he called "Narrative Structures" of scandals and criminal networks. I was expecting this book to be a reference, but I got more of a coffee table book instead. The first half of the book explores his work from an art perspective, which is fine, even though I got it more for the political content. My main problem is that the charts are hard to read, defeating the purpose of the art, which is to shine the light on government corruption. Lombardi’s works are large and complex, covering entire walls, and by the time you shrink them down to fit in a book, the words are sometimes unreadable, even with a magnifying glass. Thankfully, most of the works have a featured portion enlarged in a separate detail picture, accompanied by an informative text overview.

The subjects covered include Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit, the mafia, the Vatican 1959-82, World Finance Corporation, Iran-Contra, BCCI, and Jackson Stephens’ connections to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. It seems like most of the charts have at least one U.S. president in them. The work featured on the cover, completed two years before 9/11, shows links from George W. Bush to James R. Bath to Salim bin Laden to Osama bin Laden.

In spite of its shortcomings, I still recommend the book, available on Amazon.com.