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Where to Begin?

There were a number of national news developments today (3/17/05), not least of which were the unnecessary-yet-interesting Congressional hearings on steroids in baseball. This was a highly entertaining proceeding, as it had everyone from the parents of dead steroids users to a terrified Bud Selig. Mark McGwire’s testimony (which largely consisted of “I’m not here to talk about the past”) was perhaps the most notable, although Congressman Shays’ (R-CT) aggressive questioning of Selig led to some hilarious and awkward moments as Selig and his cronies scrambled to explain why they have a “five-strikes” rule.

More importantly, the Senate passed a Budget which did not incorporate President Bush’s proposed spending cuts in Medicare and other domestic programs. The pork-laden budget was passed thanks to Gordon Smith (R-OR) and other moderate Republicans who jumped on the Democrats’ no-Medicaid-cuts bandwagon. The House, meanwhile, stuck to its guns and kept its budget in line with the President’s recommendations. After it’s all said and done, it seems very likely that the House (and President’s) version of the budget will be passed, but it’s likely there will have to be compromises.

Insignificantly yet widely covered is the Terri Schiavo case. For those of you who are blissfully unaware of the details, the case is basically an argument between Schiavo’s husband and Schiavo’s parents over what her wishes were. The husband says that she had no desire to lie for eternity in a vegetative state (most of her brain is, for all practical purposes, gone) while her parents argue that she wouldn’t have wanted to be killed if she went into a coma. The state supreme court and federal courts have ruled in the husband’s favor, and the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly denied to review the case. To put it simply, it has been ruled that the husband is in the right.

Now that the Schiavo case is big news, though, politicians have become involved. Like flies on a dead dog, Florida state legislatures and U.S. congressmen have began bending the law and their own jurisdiction in order to have a piece of the PR pie. Drudge reports that

The Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) has requested Terri Schiavo to testify before his congressional committee, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. In so doing it triggers legal or statutory protections for the witness, among those protections is that nothing can be done to cause harm or death to this individual.

It will obviously be rather difficult for her to testify without a cerebral cortex:

Schiavo Catscan
If Drudge’s reporting is true, this is quite an inappropriate act by Mr. Enzi.

In the midst of the turmoil over the case, President Bush released the following statement:

The case of Terri Schiavo raises complex issues. Yet in instances like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. Those who live at the mercy of others deserve our special care and concern. It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected – and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities.

How about a culture of following the law and obeying court rulings? I agree with the president’s sentiment, but the court rulings have been clearly in favor of the husband’s position. When the federal government and state legislature attempts to get involved in one person’s medical case, something is wrong. President Bush has taken a very unfortunate position on the federal government’s role in determining assisted suicide’s legality. In the case of Oregon vs. Gonzales, his administration has taken the position that Oregon may not decide what a “legitimate medical use” of a substance is, and instead that these “legitimate” uses are up to the acting Attorney General even if that leads to wildly inconsistent interpretations. In Schiavo’s case, his administration is apparently taking the position that the courts should rule on a moral rather than legal basis.

And I cannot mention morals without talking about John Gibson’s despicable editorial that was posted on yesterday. Gibson says that

Gays can’t have kids other than going to the abandoned kids store and getting one or two, or borrowing sperm from someone with more sperm than brains so by definition they’re out of the marriage game.

An adoption agency is an “abandoned kids store”? Marriage is, according to Gibson, contingent on the ability to have children. Brilliant. For the rest of his indisputable legal argument, I recommend reading the piece. Of course, this isn’t the first time Gibson has blessed us with his prescient, in-depth insights into how the world works. Why, who can forget his analysis of every European’s intellectual capability:

Does anybody but Paris Hilton take pictures of themselves as stupid as this? It’s really nobody’s problem but hers.

I can’t stand to hear myself talking about her anymore.

OK, how about this: She’s famous for being dumb. The Euros are dumber. There, I’ve said all I can on both subjects.

It’s really worth reading both of his articles. People shouldn’t knock FOX News for being “conservative,” they should knock FOX News for publishing excrement like Gibson’s articles.

Lastly (and perhaps most distressingly of all,) my Elite Eight is still together but the rest of my bracket took a beating. How could I possibly pick ‘bama to win two straight? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  1. Timothy says:

    I’d do the same if Congress hauled me before some stupid committee and made me answer meaningless questions about whether or not I had improperly obtained medical treatments. Forgetting that steroids aren’t really illegal, there’s no rule in the MLB against the use of performance enhancers. Should there be? I think so, and I don’t like the focus on homer-ball these days, but it’s not the business of government, let alone Congress. Yeah, these hearings make me ill, but not because of the players’ behavior.

  2. Clint T. says:

    Good to know where our tax dollars are going. For as much jumping up and down and screaming as McCain has done in the past about government intervention in sports.. it really sounded good at the time, but STFU and sit down John. This crap is all about t.v. time for politician’s now .. any1 happen to notice they were broadcasting the trash live on ESPN? I don’t want to watch baseball players when they’re playing baseball.. you can damn sure bet I don’t want to watch them bitch and moan while they whisper sweet nothings into the ears of their lawyers and answer questions with.. “I plead the fifth.”

  3. Casey says:

    This is the worst congress ever.

  4. Timothy says:

    Gotta protect the children. Think of the CHILDREN!

  5. Ian says:

    I’m watching the CSPAN coverage of the Congressional hearings and I’m in absolute shock. Barney Frank is a voice of reason. Something is messed up.

    “We’re not doctors, we just play them on CSPAN.”

  6. Timothy says:

    Can it, blasphemer!

  7. Clint T. says:

    Doesn’t everyone know that baseball died once the television was invented?

  8. Timothy says:

    And the courts have also sided with the husband. These two incidents are just futher proof that the Congresscritters are out of control. Neither steroid use nor some vegetable’s death is a governmental, let alone Federal, concern.

    Interestingly, Congress will always be involved with baseball. Why? Because the MLB has a special anti-trust excemption that allows the restriction of player movement between clubs. That’s why you don’t see the same sort of free-agency in baseball that you do in other professional sports. Now, as a baseball purist I happen to think that free-agency is a blight on the game, but its deliterious effects are certainly not so bad as inter-league play (a crime against Man and God), multiround playoffs (a minor crime against Humanity), or the whole three divisions thing (a minor traffic violation). I’d certainly be willing to allow full-blown free agency in exchange for Congress leaving my favorite game the hell alone.

    Although maybe, just maybe, they’ll convict Selig of treason…oh well, a man can dream.

  9. Casey says:

    Anyone else think that it’s sadly ironic that her heart stopped from a chemical imbalance stemming from and eating disorder? In regards to who should decide, that is the crux of the problem in that her parents want her kept alive, but the husband don’t. I would tend to side with the husband, even if he’s got another girlfriend/family.

  10. Ian says:

    From what I understand, neurological tests done on Terri Schiavo have illicited no responses. She cannot feel pain as she essentially cannot feel anything.

    But that’s besides the point. My opinion on what her future should be is irrelevent. It should be up to her family, not me and certainly not the federal government. Tom Delay and Hillary Clinton shouldn’t act as grand arbitrators of who can live and die in this country.

    I agree entirely about having a living will.

    j. spaceman,
    If we can replace the as your primary news source, then I can consider my mission accomplished. But don’t expect these sorts of posts regularly… it’s not normal for me to spend my St. Patricks Day taking finals, studying, and reading news articles rather than enjoying myself.

  11. Timbo says:

    Re: Terri Shiavo

    I understand that dehydrating to death is excruciatingly painful. That’s what will happen if they remove the feeding tube. Isn’t there some kind of rule regarding cruel and unusual punishment? Or does that only apply to criminals?

    Incidentally, this kind of thing is why you should have a living will. Then people will know what your damn wishes were and the rest of us won’t have to deal with the rigamarole nor face unpleasant thoughts like these. Sheesh, inconsiderate…

  12. j. spaceman says:

    screw the newspaper, i’ll just read these if there’s more on the way

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