Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Change of Heart

I'm embarrassed to say it, but the more I've talked about evolution and the controversies surrounding it the more I've realized that the only reason I believed in evolution in the first place is because someone told me about it when I was young. By this point in my life, it truly is just another faith, no different than what any religious person believes.

I used to think scientists held a special place in the world when it came to discovering the truth, but now I realize they are just another special interest, protecting their turf by promoting whatever lies make it easier for them to get money. But really, scientists just believe that Christianity must be wiped off the face of the Earth, and they must convince everyone that God doesn't exists and the Bible is all wrong. Galileo lead the way and all scientists since have followed.

It's strange, but the same day I realized this Scientific American comes to a similar conclusion. Check out this month's editorial:
There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.

In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of so-called evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it. Where were the answering articles presenting the powerful case for scientific creationism? Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.
The rest of the editorial can be read here. The editorial concludes, "This magazine will be dedicated purely to science, fair and balanced science, and not just the science that scientists say is science. And it will start on April Fools' Day." Good for them. I'll try to maintain the same level of fairness in this blog as well. Say goodbye to the Moderate Liberal and hello to the Balanced Centrist. I'll report, you decide.

UPDATE: Now that I've had this change of heart I've found Michelle Maklin's blog much more informative than I used to. Check her out.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Calling 911, Bad Burger At Laguna Niguel

Ok, enough of the depressing stuff. For a laugh, listen to this 911 call (wma file). Apparently, some lady wasn't getting the burger she wanted, so she called for the police.
O: Okay, what exactly is it you want us to do for you?
B: Uh, send an officer down here. I want them to make my order right.
O: Ma'am, we're not going to go down there and escort your Western bacon cheeseburger.
B: *pause* ....What am I supposed to do?
The transcript is here, but you really need to listen to the whole thing.

(via Kevin Drum)


I keep hoping, wishing, praying that I'm overreaction to the whole Terri Schiavo case. Surely our democracy isn't really in jeopardy over this case! But then I read comments like this:
And if the whole system collapses..well, toooooo bad. In this case, I believe it better to have the devil we don't know, than the devil we do---because the one we DO leads to death.
This scares the bejeezus out of me. I'm not the only one, check out the Moderate Voice:
We may have thought things were bad before she died.

Now, the gloves are going to come off.

We may destroy our republic over the fate of one woman, after sacrificing tens of thousands over more than two centuries.
Even I'm not willing to go that far. Yet. For a similar reaction, go checkout the article by the most popular Republican, pro-Bush blogger on the internet, Glenn Reynolds:
Trampling traditional limits on governmental power in an earnest desire to do good in high-profile cases has been a hallmark of a certain sort of liberalism, and it's the sort of thing that I thought conservatives eschewed. If I were in charge of making the decision, I might well put the tube back and turn Terri Schiavo over to her family. But I'm not, and the Florida courts are, and they seem to have done a conscientious job. Maybe they came to the right decision, and maybe they didn't; this is a hard case. But respecting the courts' role in the system, and not rushing to overturn all the rules because we don't like the outcome, seems to me to be part of being a member of civilized society rather than a mob. I thought conservatives knew this. Before things are over, they may wish they hadn't forgotten.
As pointed out, Tom Harkin, Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson all supported this legislation and more direct federal involvement. Perhaps we finally found an issue where it's moderates versus the extremists, with the far right and far left teaming up against all of us in the middle. Or perhaps, this has nothing to do with those old, discardable terms 'right', 'left', 'liberal' or 'conservative', just those of us still fighting for good government against those who can't see the forest for the trees.

I've been writing about this one issue far too much lately. Time to move on. Hopefully, the rest of the country will as well. I fear the results if it does not.

It's Over

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Listen to the Judge

From today's ruling:
"Any further action by our court or the district court would be improper," wrote Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., who was appointed by former President Bush. "While the members of her family and the members of Congress have acted in a way that is both fervent and sincere, the time has come for dispassionate discharge of duty."

Birch went on to scold President Bush and Congress for their attempts to intervene in the judicial process, by saying: "In resolving the Schiavo controversy, it is my judgment that, despite sincere and altruistic motivation, the legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people — our Constitution."

Just for the Record

Just for the record I'd like to point out my preferred outcome of the whole Terri Schiavo case would be to hand Terri over to her parents. I don't believe there is anyone in that body but I certainly see no harm.

But that preference pales in comparison to my concern over Bush and congress (hypocritically) passing laws to circumvent the legal system. The Schiavo case is complex. We have a system for determining the solution to complex cases like this. The integrity of that system is far more important than any conclusion to this current pop-culture, made for TV tragedy.

I'm getting the impression that many conservatives have determined the legal system is more of a problem than a solution. I hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Kevin Drum points out an editorial that suggests healthcare vouchers, and decides he likes that terminology as a good frame for selling single-payer healthcare. Just to toot my horn for a second, I used the word 'voucher' to explain single-payer healthcare a month ago:
While contemplating all this I wondered if I was the only person who supported both school vouchers and single-payer healthcare. Vouchers are considered further to the right than most Republicans are willing to go and single-payer healthcare is considered further to the left than most Democrats are willing to go, yet I think both are a good idea. Then, just as I was thinking this was a perfect example of how we should look to pragmatic solutions to problems regardless ideology, it occurred to me that both ideas are, in fact, basically the same.

A voucher program as I would like to see it would be a federally funded program where each child gets a voucher of equal value to pay for the schooling of their parent's choice. The single-payer healthcare system would give each person a choice of healthcare plans (insurance) they could choose as they like. Just introduce the word 'voucher' into the healthcare plan and they look almost identical.
However, I wasn't quite at the point of using the word 'voucher' as a selling point. Kevin is right, we should use this term more. Now, if I just can get Democrats to support a good, fully-funded school voucher program....

Monday, March 28, 2005

Not Theoretical After All

I've been quite concerned about the (supposedly theoretical) possibility of Gov. Bush violating the judge's order and 'rescuing' Terri Schiavo. Maybe it wasn't a theoretical concern after all, from Knight Rider:
MIAMI - Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo wasn't to be removed from her hospice, a team of Florida law enforcement agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted - but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Miami Herald has learned.
"There were two sets of law enforcement officers facing off, waiting for the other to blink," said one official with knowledge of Thursday morning's activities. In jest, one official said local police discussed "whether we had enough officers to hold off the National Guard."

"It was kind of a showdown on the part of the locals and the state police," the official said. "It was not too long after that Jeb Bush was on TV saying that, evidently, he doesn't have as much authority as people think."
Now the same article also states
Said Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre: "There was no showdown. We were ready to go. We didn't want to break the law. There was a process in place and we were following the process. The judge had an order and we were following the order."
so it isn't completely obvious what really happened. It's interesting, before I learned about this I said in the comments "Put it this way, if Gov. Bush ordered the police to 'rescue' Terri, should the police even obey? It isn't obvious since Bush would be asking them to violate the law." Is this what happened?

Parents, Children, Love, Letting Go

As horrible as it is, you are supposed to bury your parents some day, but you are never, ever supposed to bury your children. From the Guardian:
But, given the vehemence with which he has been fighting to prolong Terri's life, it is a little surprising to learn that Robert [Schindler, Terri's father] decided to turn off the life-support system for his mother. She was 79 at the time, and had been ill with pneumonia for a week, when her kidneys gave out. "I can remember like yesterday the doctors said she had a good life. I asked, 'If you put her on a ventilator does she have a chance of surviving, of coming out of this thing?'" Robert says. "I was very angry with God because I didn't want to make those decisions."

Death Not DeLayed

From the L.A. Times:
CANYON LAKE, Texas — A family tragedy that unfolded in a Texas hospital during the fall of 1988 was a private ordeal — without judges, emergency sessions of Congress or the debate raging outside Terri Schiavo's Florida hospice.

The patient then was a 65-year-old drilling contractor, badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Among the family members keeping vigil at Brooke Army Medical Center was a grieving junior congressman — Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
"There was no point to even really talking about it," Maxine DeLay, the congressman's 81-year-old widowed mother, recalled in an interview last week. "There was no way [Charles] wanted to live like that. Tom knew — we all knew — his father wouldn't have wanted to live that way."

Doctors advised that he would "basically be a vegetable," said the congressman's aunt, JoAnne DeLay.

When his father's kidneys failed, the DeLay family decided against connecting him to a dialysis machine. "Extraordinary measures to prolong life were not initiated," said his medical report, citing "agreement with the family's wishes." His bedside chart carried the instruction: "Do not resuscitate."

On Dec. 14, 1988, the DeLay patriarch "expired with his family in attendance."
DeLay, of course, claims his father's case was "entirely different".

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Worse Than Death

Then you're not married -- if you didn't say it, you didn't do it --
(a pause)
-- wouldn't you agree, Your Highness?

A technicality that will shortly be remedied. But first things first. To the death.

(a little pause)
To the pain.

HUMPERDINCK(about to charge, stops short)
I don't think I'm quite familiar with that phrase.

I'll explain. And I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you wart-hog-faced buffoon.

That may be the first time in my life a man has dared insult me.

It won't be the last. To the pain means the first thing you lose will be your feet, below the ankles, then your hands at the wrists, next your nose.

-- and then my tongue, I suppose. I killed you too quickly the last time, a mistake I don't mean to duplicate tonight.

I wasn't finished -- the next thing you lose will be your left eye, followed by your right --

HUMPERDINCK(takes step forward)
-- and then my ears, I understand. Let's get on with it --

Wrong! Your ears you keep, and I'll tell you why --

And now he stops, and the look that was in his eyes at the wedding, that look of fear, is starting to return.

-- so that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish -- every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, "Dear God, what is that thing?" will echo in your perfect ears. That is what "to the pain" means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.

I think you're bluffing --

lying there, staring at him.

It's possible, pig -- I might be bluffing -- it's conceivable, you miserable vomitous mass, that I'm only lying here because I lack the strength to stand -- then again, perhaps I have the strength after all.

And now, slowly, Westley begins to move. His body turns, his feet go to the floor, he starts to stand --

staring, eyes wide.

And now he is standing, sword in fighting position.


and he's so panicked he doesn't know whether to pee or wind his watch. He throws his sword to the floor.
That, of course, was from The Princess Bride.