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2/24/2005
THE NIGHTMARE OF GRONINGEN
CATEGORY: Ethics

Back in December, it was revealed that doctors at a hospital in Groningen, Holland had euthanized 4 children, who in their opinion, were terminally ill and in great pain. What made this such an outrage is that the doctors performed the euthanasia without consulting the parents. It was revealed that the hospital had set up a series of “protocols” for euthanizing children up to 12 years old. These protocols allowed physicians to terminate the life of a child for a wide variety of reasons including “quality of life” and “chronic, severe pain” with no prospect of alleviation.

Back then, I wrote:

How did we go from the idea that terminally ill people should decide for themselves whether to live with their suffering or end it with the assistance of their family doctor to this nightmare scenario of faceless bureaucrats deciding who lives, who dies, and on what basis those decisions are made? Is this the “slippery slope” opponents of assisted suicide have been talking about for years?

I vividly remember the debates about the Oregon “Right to Die” law back in 1994. At that time, the assisted suicide lobby paraded dozens of patients that wished to end their lives for a variety of reasons; some were not even terminally ill. We were warned at that time by right to life groups that it was a short step from assisted suicide to euthanizing people without their permission and against the judgement of their families.

The Terri Schiavo case proves that we’ve now entered that territory.

Denied therapy for 12 years by her husband (despite the fact that the nearly $1 million judgement Terri recieved stipulated that she be given this therapy) whose motives are suspect for a variety of reasons not limited to any financial gain that would come his way if she dies, Terri lies in a hospice bed with the shades drawn and all personal effects removed from the room to prevent her from recieving any stimuli that would improve her condition. Her husbands lawyer, George Felos, a right to die activist in Florida, has testified that he can ascertain a person’s desire to die by “looking into their eyes and letting their spirit speak directly to him.”

Terri’s nurses have filed affadavits that she has spoken words on numerous occasions including “momma” when her mother has entered the room and “stop” when a particular medical procedure was causing her discomfort. Her parents confirm these statements and add that Terri laughs and responds to them when they visit.

What all this adds up to is Groningen with a vengeance; a clear case that someone else is going to decide whether or not a relatively healthy but brain damaged woman will die against the express wishes of the only people in the case who seem to have nothing to gain by her death: Her parents.

Captain Ed, as usual, makes a strong case for life:

The issue is a society that treats its infirm and inconvenient as unnecessary burdens, weights that can simply be tossed in the trash as easily as fast-food wrappers. We abort babies by the truckload because they complicate our lives. Some of them get tossed into dumpsters after having reached birth. We execute prisoners because it’s supposedly more cost-effective to do so, even though they inevitably eat up years and years of courtroom time on almost-endless appeals. The suicidal get heroic treatment in movies and real life, with ghouls like Jack Kevorkian lauded and feted and, after getting locked up, becoming a minor celebrity cause.

And the Captain warned us about this last December when the Groningen protocols came to light:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have not just reached a slippery slope – we have hit a greased chute, which is what depresses me more than anything else. Now that Groningen has commenced killing the undesirables and the world has answered with a shrug, we will now hear from the chorus of statists telling us that in an era of limited resources, we need to make these hard decisions for the benefit of the families involved and the greater good of society. That child who may never walk or talk will be such a burden on his family, they’ll say; the parents are too close to the situation to make an informed decision, so we’ll make it for them – for their own good, of course.”

Makes the Captain look like a prophet.

UPDATE: 2/27/04

PBS Watcher informs me that the blogosphere has been inaccurate in its coverage of the Groningen protocols in that in fact, parents must be notified and consulted in the euthanasia decision:

A point of order regarding the Groningen protocol. Contrary to all the blogosphere traffic in December, the protocol does not allow euthanasia without parental consent. We need to be careful with the facts to avoid the Eason Jordan / Dan Rather “fake but accurate” syndrome. See The Groningen Protocol?? for details.

While that may clear up one aspect of the protocols, it still doesn’t lessen my distaste for euthanasia. Human beings are not horses to be shot when in pain or dogs to be put down when an incurable illness occurs. Death is part of the human experience. How we deal with it in all of its pain and sorrow, is what sets us apart from the rest of the dumb brutes who inhabit this planet with us.

Thanks to PBS Watcher for the correction.

By: Rick Moran at 8:06 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (16)

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2/23/2005
A TALE OF TWO STORIES
CATEGORY: Blogging, Ethics

Today Terri Schiavo lies at the brink of execution by order of the court, she reacts to stimuli, interacts with her family, feels pain, says things like momma and help me, and yet – according to Judge George Greer and Michael Schiavo, she’s a worthless human being worthy of death by starvation and dehydration. (Courtesy of Blogs for Terri; 2/23/05)

The rap on the bloggers so far after Jordan’s resignation is that we conducted a witch hunt, and Jordan was nothing more than a victim. The dreaded term “McCarthyism” has been thrown at us as well. However, a witch hunt demands innocence of its victim, and Jordan was anything but. (Courtesy Captains Quarters; 2/15/05)

Two stories. Two important stories. Two Blogswarms. What’s the difference?

The Eason Jordan story was driven to the fore of mainstream media coverage as the direct result of the excellent work and tireless efforts of many of the larger blogs.

The Terri Schiavo tragedy has played itself out largely on the fringes of the blogosphere. The work by bloggers has been just as excellent and just as tireless as those who brought Eason Jordan to account. But the probability is that Terri Schiavo will die. And a legitimate question can be raised asking about the indifference of most of the larger blogs to what those of us farther down the food chain are talking about and whether or not their active participation in the blogswarm could have made a difference. (UPDATE: Terri’s case has been continued until 3/18).

This disconnect spells nothing but trouble for this new media. When something as vitally important as the euthanizing of a relatively healthy but brain damaged woman gets lost in the daily dish of gossip, news, and commentary found on the larger sites, one has to ask some penetrating questions about the nature of this new media and what will drive it forward.

Now, we’re not naive here. The sphere is, after all, not a democracy. People can post on whatever topic moves them. In fact in many ways, a blogger is rewarded for blogging on things that no one else is commenting on. By the same token, however, when more than 200 blogs are involved in the fight to save Terri and nary a word is heard from people that could do the most good on this issue, something is terribly amiss.

A check of some ecosystem stats may be revealing. Blogs for Terri is ranked #123 with more than 1200 daily visitors. Technorati reveals nearly 800 individual posts mentioning Blogs for Terri (more than 5400 posts on Terri Schiavo with an unknown number of those in favor of her euthanization).

Compare those stats with ones for Eason Jordan’s story. The Ecosysetm shows the Jordan story tapering off. In its heyday, however, the Easongate site received more than 8500 hits a day, which would have put it into the top 50 sites on the TLB. However, a Technorati search turns up something interesting. Taking into account the difference in time frames for the two stories (each having lasted approximately three weeks), the number of posts on the subject are almost identical.. “Terri” stories were more than 5400 while “Jordan” stories number 5600 to date.

I guess the question that needs to be asked is why was Eason Jordan given the boot while the end of Terri’s life could be merely hours away? Jim Geraghty of TKS links to a post by Doublethink about the way the right side of the blogsophere works:

Do people on the right “vote” a blog post into popularity? No. Are research tasks assigned, or project volunteers sought? No. Glenn Reynolds provides a link to a blog, an Instalanche results, and whatever message was there is widely dispersed. Of course, there are plenty of other large blogs directing traffic, so readers and ideas certainly move independently of Glenn, but he is a major hub.

Now it’s not my intent to pick on Glenn Reynolds or any other blog by name here. And I think, while generally accurate, the quote above is an oversimplification. There are other noteworthy blogs who can flog a story and have proven that in the past. The point is that once you get above a certain level in the ecosysetm, a deadening insularity is evident in what the individual sites post about. Each has their own favorites for certain issues (is there anybody but Chrenkoff who blogs the good news from Iraq better?) and each has an interesting perspective, otherwise we wouldn’t read them now, would we?

So a better question should be asked of ourselves. Why should they care that 200 bloggers are desperately trying to save a woman’s life? Here are some answers from people who have been posting on this issue for weeks. Beth from My Vast Right Wing Consirpacy:

Yesterday I fumed all day about how there are dozens of us small to mid-size-bloggers and ONE biggie (name withheld. ed.) all staying on message with the Terri Schiavo blogburst, with little to no help from those who direct the fuckin’ traffic. While the biggies are busy patting themselves on the back for their success in taking down Eason Jordan (they weren’t the ONLY voices, BTW) and fighting with the moonbats over stupid shit like Jeff Gannon, of all things, we smaller bloggers are actually trying to effect POSITIVE change-trying to save a life, ferchrissake.

Beth’s frustration is showing through, but can you blame her? She and dozens like her have worn their fingers to the bone and feel like their efforts are not only going for naught, but that their voices are getting lost in the gigantic cave that is the blogosphere. With no amplification from larger blogs, the voices trying to save Terri are but a distant murmur, a barely discernible echo in the blogosphere universe.

Crystal of Crystal Clear has brought her perspective as a licensed famiy counselor to this issue in an email I solicited from her:

There are similar issues in blogging about Terri with regards to the facts, truth, and accountability that are similar to Easongate and Rathergate. The main difference I see is that they aren’t bringing down one big wig such as Eason or Rather. Additionally, there is a strong sense in the MSM and the Schindler’s have encouraged this (not right or wrong) of this being a right to die and right to live issue. Although I think that is indeed part of it, I think some people…myself included to a point until last week did not want to be associated with what are perceived in the MSM as right wing religious fanatics.

That’s a possible explanation. Most of the larger blogs do not post much on social issues. But is Terri’s life or death a social issue? Or something more? Here’s Cao of Cao’s Blog:

“...it’s a travesty that the larger bloggers haven’t taken the media to task the way they have in other cases such as the Rathergate affair, Eason Jordan, even the fake indian with his anti-American statements, John Kerry, and many others. There is enough information out there to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that Michael Schiavo is not who the media represents; and to me this an important case—a terribly important case—in terms of the separation of powers e.g., the Judiciary usurping legislative action (which isn’t supposed to happen), an individual’s right to legal counsel-which in Florida is supposed to be guaranteed, particularly if you’re handicapped (which Greer denied her), socialist euthanasia as happened in the ‘30’s under Nazi Germany, and even the media bias in favor of Michael Schiavo’s lawyer who is parading his “Right To Die” book around on the money that was supposed to have been used for Terri’s rehabiliation…”

Cao raises some very serious issues. These are issues that have been written about since this story began but which have been ignored by those blogs who would normally look on these same issues with great interest; judicial activism, trial lawyer misdeeds, slanted coverage by the MSM.

What it comes down to is I don’t know why this issue has not cracked the digital ceiling that separates the larger blogs from the rest of us. From my own perspective, it’s very disappointing and a little bewildering that people I admire and who I’ve learned so much from would fail to particpate in this very worthy and worthwhile effort.

My fear is, this is only going to get worse. As late as the November election, the MSM either totally ignored blogs or didn’t even know what they were. Now many of the larger bloggers are finally getting some of the recognition they so richly deserve on both TV and in print. What does this bode for the blogosphere? Will the MSM exposure work to drive more traffic their way while insulating them even further from the rest of us?

For all the talk about the new media being open and self correcting, are we in danger of creating MSB’S? (mainstream blogs). A heirarchal structure would be natural given the ruthless form of democracy practiced on the internet . In such a large universe, the cream can’t help but rise to the top. But, not everybody can be made into Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Some of us will remain “off-brands” for the forseeable future.

The sphere is changing rapidly. More blogs and more readers will mean upward and downward movement in the blog food chain. What will it take to stay on top? Hopefully, the ability to lead the pack on important issues facing the country. But just as importantly, the ability to recognize ideas and issues that bubble up from time to time from the bottom. Perhpas that takes as much courage and determination as bringing down an important newsman. It will certainly mean a leap beyond one’s own insular world at the top of the TLB Ecosystem.

By: Rick Moran at 4:41 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)

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THE WAY WE WERE
CATEGORY: History

Twenty-five years is a long time in someone’s life. I realize that many who read this aren’t yet 25 years old or are too young to remember 25 years ago.

But I remember. I was there. I lived it.

I was very much alive when the United States Olympic Hockey Team defied bigger odds than any other sports team in history to defeat the Soviet Union in the semi-finals of the Olympic Hockey tournament 25 years ago yesterday.

As a sports story, the victory would have been big enough. Anyone who’s seen the excellent re-enactment of the game in the movie Miracle knows of the grit and pluck exhibited by a bunch of college kids against the mighty hockey machine that was the old Soviet Union. The Soviets had won the last four Olympic Golds and were unbeaten in 15 years of international competition.

But this was much, much more than a sports story. And for that, we have to examine what kind of country the United States was in 1980 before the Olympic Hockey Team captured our imaginations.

It seems unbelievable looking back on it. The entire nation was held hostage by a group of religious fanatics in Iran who had kidnapped American State Department personnel and were holding them in violation of all tenets of international law and tradition and all norms of civilized behavoir. And while we were supported in a half-hearted way by most of the rest of the world, it seemed that the United States was an impotent giant, a laughable Gulliver being held down by the lillipution-like Iranian Mullahs.

Jimmy Carter was President. Last week, I was taken to task by some who thought I was too rough on Mr. Carter on the occasion of the Navy naming an attack sub after him. If anything, I let the guy off too easily.

It wasn’t the way Mr. Carter handled the hostage crisis. I actually thought that he did about as well with it as any President could. It’s the fact that the hostage crisis with Iran was symbolic of what Mr. Carter had done to the United States of America in less than 4 years of his incompetent, bumbling, sanctimonious, and extraordinarily dangerous presidency.

Carter came to office following the Viet Nam war and the Watergate scandal that resulted in Nixon’s disgrace. Inflation was high-almost 5%-and unemployment was rising. The policies that Carter initiated with the help of the largest Democratic majority in Congress since the time of FDR proved absolutely and totally disasterous. Inflation skyrocketed as did interest rates. And unemployment rose steadily until it reached above 6%, near post-depression highs.

If you haven’t lived through a period of double digit inflation its hard to explain what it was like. Imagine every time you went to the grocery store, the food you buy all the time-milk, cheese, hamburger, fruit-went up in price. And not just a little. Sometimes, hamburger would go up 10 or 15 cents a pound in a week. Sometimes fruit would be unavailable because the store owner knew that nobody would pay the retail price that had doubled in a week.

Imagine watching the money in your savings account (this is before mutual funds and other financial instruments we take for granted today were in widespread use) lose 10% of its value every year!. As a young person, you realize it’s stupid to save money because in a few years, it wouldn’t be worth anything.

Imagine trying to buy a house…with interest rates at nearly 20%! Credit card interest rates topped 35% on unpaid balances. You couldn’t buy a house, or furniture, or a car, or anything else that required interest of any kind without realizing that the value of your money was shrinking almost daily.

When the moonbats try to tell you that the economy we live in now is the worst since the great depression, those of us of a certain age laugh in derision. Either they have selective memories or weren’t alive during the late 1970’s.

Then there was the spiritual decline of America under Carter. I’m not talking about a fall off in religiosity but rather a feeling that, as a nation, we’d reached our peak. That from here on out the United States would be in decline. This feeling was enhanced by the seeming unstoppable march of Communism that Carter allowed to occur on his watch. The list of countries is astonishing; Somalia, Yemen, Nicaragua, Angola, Afghanistan, and Ethiopia all fell into communist dictatorships either because Carter refused to act or, as he did in Nicaragua, actively worked to bring a communist dictatorship to power.

This feeling of helplessness was fed by Carter himself who, in April of 1978, gave what is considered the strangest Presidential speech in history where he blamed the American people for the problems he was too incompetent to solve. Leftists the world over picked up on this loss of faith in America and the west. From the so-called “Council of Rome” whose experts predicted the world would run out of oil by 1995 to the “Zero Population” movement that predicted mass starvation in the 1980’s on the Indian subcontinent and China because of overpopulation, moonbattery was in full bloom-and all at the expense of America.

The final straw occured in December of 1979 when, after telling us for four years that we Americans had an “inordinate fear of Communism,” the Russians invaded Afghanistan. Americans watched in horror as the Soviets began butchering the Afghan people while Carters tepid response told a sad tale of American decline.

This was the background on February 22, 1980 when the US Olympic Hockey Team took to the ice. And when those American kids beat the Soviets, the entire country erputed into a spasm of joy that, looking back on today, still brings tears to my eyes.

Curiously, the victory didn’t rub off on Carter. By the time election day rolled around, the hostages had been held a year and other Carter blunders had sealed the fate of this, the most incompetent President in a hundred years.

That election featured the landslide victory of Ronald Reagan. And the rest, as they say, is history.

UPDATE: MORE NOSTALGIA

Pat over at Brainsters weighs in with his thoughts.

I don’t know whether the event was historic in the sense that it changed the world, but the Miracle on Ice is something of a dividing line in my life. I was still a bitter and angry young leftist when the USA hockey team took to their skates that night in Lake Placid; by the time they celebrated I was cheering “USA, USA!” It wasn’t the end of my personal cynicism, but it was a major crack in the wall.

Hard to imagine one of the Founders of one of the most influential election blogs- Kerryhaterss- a “bitter and angry young leftist.” Is it any harder to imagine someone who runs a site known as Rightwing Nuthouse being in a similar frame of mind?

By: Rick Moran at 10:07 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

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2/22/2005
WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY A NATIONAL HOLIDAY…AGAIN
CATEGORY: History

The year was 1783. While formal hostilities had virtually ceased between the Crown and the American colonies, peace talks continued to drag on in London. The Congress was broke and in serious debt even though the Articles of Confederation, which required individual states to contribute funds to the Congress, had been approved two years earlier.

The Continental Army was restless. Many of its officers hadn’t been paid in months. Promises made by Congress at the time of their enlistment regarding reimbursement for food and clothing, pensions, and a pledge to give the officers half pay for life were either not being honored or were rumored to be withdrawn. Petitions by groups of officers to Congress asking them to redress these and other grievances either went unanswered or were brushed aside.

As a result of these indignities, a cabal of officers headed up by Colonel Walter Stewart and Major John Armstrong, an aide to George Washington’s chief rival Horatio Gates, were making plans to march to Philadelphia at the head of their men to force Congress to deal with their demands. The implication was clear; if Congress would not address their concerns, the men would enforce their will at the point of a bayonet.

The plotters believed that General Washington would be forced by their actions to become a reluctant participant in a military coup against the government. They believed that by presenting a united front composed of the senior officers in the army, Washington would have no choice but to back them.

To that end, they scheduled a meeting on March 10 of all general and field officers. With the invitation to the meeting, a fiery letter was circulated calling on the soldiers not to disarm in peace and, if the war were to continue, to disband and leave the country to the tender mercies of the British Army.

Washington got wind of the meeting and was deeply troubled. He issued a General Order canceling the gathering and instead, called for another meeting on March 15 ” of representatives of all the regiments to decide how to attain the just and important object in view.” The next day, another letter was circulated by the plotters that implied by issuing the General Order, Washington agreed with their position.

With the army teetering on the edge of revolt and the future of the United States as a republic in the balance, Washington stood before the assembled officers and began to speak. He started by saying he sympathized with their plight, that he had written countless letters to Congress reminding them of their responsibilities to the soldiers, and begged the officers not to take any action that would “lessen the dignity and sully the glory you have hitherto maintained.”

At that point, Washington reached into his pocket and withdrew a letter from a Congressman outlining what the government would do to address the soldiers grievances. But something was wrong. Washington started reading the letter but stopped abruptly. Then, with a sense of the moment and flair for the dramatic not equaled until Ronald Reagan became President, Washington slowly reached into his coat pocket and withdrew a pair of spectacles. There were gasps in the room as most of the officers had never seen their beloved General display such a sign of physical weakness in public. As he put the glasses on, Washington said “Gentlemen, you’ll permit me to put on my spectacles, as I have grown not only old but almost blind in the service of my country.”

Witnesses say that the officers almost to a man began to weep. This powerful reminder of the nearly eight years of service together and their shared sacrifices and hardships won the day. The revolt died then and there.

It could be argued that this was the greatest day of the greatest American who ever lived. And the fact that we no longer officially celebrate Washington’s birthday on February 22 as a national holiday is a travesty that makes this and other deeds of George Washington seem like mere footnotes on the pages of history.

In fact, the third Monday in February is still designated as Washington’s Birthday, not “President’s Day” as it has come to be known. As Matthew Spaulding of the Heritage Foundation points out, several times, legislators have introduced legislation to direct all federal government entities to refer to the holiday as George Washington’s Birthday but to no avail. President Bush could issue an executive order to that effect but has failed to do so.

This doesn’t address the issue of celebrating February 22-no matter what day of the week it falls on-as a national holiday. The argument that no other American is so honored just doesn’t hold water. The fact is, there wouldn’t be any other Americans to honor if it weren’t for the character, the purposefulness, and the determination of George Washington.

For long stretches during the Revolution, Washington was the government; the only recognizable entity for people to rally around. Couple that with Washington’s superhuman efforts in molding and shaping the Presidency and then exhibiting the sublime understanding to step down after two terms to cement the foundation of the new republic to the rule of law and not of men, and you have a strong case to make an exception to the rule of honoring individual Americans.

Currently, Martin Luther King is the only individual American who is honored with his own holiday. And the Fourth of July and Veterans Day are the only federal holidays covered under the Monday Holiday Law passed in 1968 that are celebrated on the day of the week regardless of whether or not it falls on a Monday (Thanksgiving’s date changes yearly. Christmas and New Years day may be celebrated on either Friday or Monday depending on what day of the week they fall on in a given year). Designating February 22 as a national holiday to celebrate the life of someone called “the indispensable man” of the American founding by his outstanding biographer James Thomas Flexner would seem to be fitting and proper.

We owe so much to Washington that it seems almost trivial to deny him this singular honor.

This article originally appeared in The American Thinker.

By: Rick Moran at 6:47 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (9)

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PLOT THREADS MERGING
CATEGORY: "24"

It’s offiicial. The terrorists are being aided by good old fashioned red blooded American thugs. Here’s what we know:

1. The terrorists knew that the override device was on the train they deliberately wrecked.

2. Powell, who we saw was working directly with the terrorists and who worked for McGlennon- Forster, creator of the override device, was also working with the thugs.

3. The “mystery man” that Heller’s son Richard was covering for with regards to the kidnapping could very well be his brother-in-law Paul, whose company is part owner of the building where the terrorists planned everything.

SUMMARY

When last we left the Araz family they were having problems that would tax the abilities of the best family therapists around. Bad Dad Navi was about ready to murder his own son (after shooting wife Dina in her attempt to escape with poor, angst -ridden Behruzz). Dina agreed to help CTU if Jack and Tony could rescue her son from the clutches of her murderous husband. And Behruzz? Well, let’s just say that Behruzz is…confused:

Navi: “You’re not my son.”

Behruzz: “Because I don’t want to kill innocent people?”

Navi: “Because you are weak and stand for nothing!”

Jeez…talk about failing to meet your dad’s expectations…

Jack uses Dina as a ruse to keep Navi occupied on the phone while he shimmies down the laundry chute. As luck would have it, the harness of his rappelling outfit bangs the chute on its way up alerting Navi to his presence. No problem. Jack overcomes Navi and, while getting ready to take him into custody, watches helplessly as his best chance to find the override device disappears in a spasm of Oedipal violence. Behruzz extracts his revenge on the fanatical father.

As expected, Jack asks Tony to rejoin CTU and Tony accepts (to the delight of female fans at every “24” forum around). Tony escorts the remaining members of the Araz family back to CTU for questioning, which will set up a very interesting confrontation next week if, as expected, Tony’s ex-wife Michelle makes an appearance as the representative from Division who is sent to investigate the Maryann fiasco.

Can you say bitchslap ‘dat ho’?

The traitorous Maryann reveals to Curtis that there’s a computer file at Powell’s office that contains the names of people involved in the plot. She convinces Curtis that she’s the only one that can retrieve the data. Whether Maryann would have actually downloaded the file is open to question. When in Powell’s office, she acted as if she expected someone to show up. Someone did. Baldy and his merry band of American thugs broke in on Curtis and Maryann with guns drawn and before Maryann could weasel her way out of it, she gets her just desserts.

Meanwhile, after discovering that Audrey’s soon-to-be-ex Paul has ties to the terrorists, Jack blanches as Audrey volunteers to see Paul and stall him until Jack can get there. Jack arrives at a very opportune moment as Audrey is about to be acccosted by Paul. Stay tuned for next week’s episode where Jack will put the screws to Paul right in front of his soon-to-be-ex wife Audrey.

Speaking of torture, Sarah has Erin over a barrel because Secretary Heller is horning in on Erin’s bureaucratic turf. In exchange for her support, Sarah wants the record of her false arrest expunged. Oh yeah…she also wants a promotion and a double raise in pay grade.

Sarah’s mama didn’t raise no dummies.

Finally, after watching Maryann get whacked, Curtis confronts Baldy:

Curtis: You’re an American. And you’re working with the terrorists?

Baldy: I’m going to ask you one more time. What does CTU know about the override?

Clearly, the override device is the link between middle eastern Islamofascists and American thugs. But who are they? CIA? Corporate spy’s seeking to steal the device?

And have we been told everything about this override device? Perhaps…just perhaps it has the capability to not only melt down power plants but also set off nuclear bombs! If the writers are going to be fanciful about a device that can remotely melt down the nuclear pile of a power plant, why not give the device the ability to remotely detonate nuclear bombs? Hell, maybe they could give it the capability of reproducing the exact recipe for Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.

Now that would be worth stealing.

BODY COUNT

If this keeps up, poor Jack is going to go through withdrawl symptons again. This time for a lack of kills. I think the medical condition is known as Mortus Corpus absentia .

Jack: 18 dead
Show: 93 dead

Maryann and bad dad Navi bite the dust. We don’t know the condition of the security team that accompanied Curtis and Maryann to Powell’s office.

LOOSE ENDS

We still haven’t heard what happened to Erin’s daughter after being given a drug she was allergic to in the CTU infirmary. Not only that, Erin goes to the infirmary to apologize to Sarah for torturing her even though she was innocent and doesn’t even look in on her daughter? It’s been 4 hours guys,...give!

Maybe the writers forgot about her.

WELCOME ANKLEBITING PUNDIT READERS! I POST ON “24” EVERY TUESDAY MORNING. THANKS FOR STOPPING BY…AND BOOKMARK THIS SITE!

By: Rick Moran at 4:22 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

2/21/2005
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
CATEGORY: General

As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher’s Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around… per the Watcher’s instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.

Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

By: Rick Moran at 7:04 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

THE GEORGE AND JACQUES SHOW
CATEGORY: Politics

We take you now to the Palace of Versailles where French President Monsieur Nose Hair is dining with American President George W. Bush.

George: What’s this stuff?

Nose Hair: It ees zee escargot.

George: Right. But what is it?

Nose Hair: It ees gewd for you, yes?

George: Yeah, right. But what the hell is it?

Nose Hair: The sauce, it ees gewd, yes?

George: Oh for God’s sake, answer the question!

Nose Hair: Teepical Amereecan cowboy. Always shot from zee hip, yes? Jean Wayne bang bang!

George: All I’m asking is what are you giving me to eat. It’s not like I’m asking you to send troops to Iraq.

Nose Hair: Zee French troops cannot go to Eeeraq.

George: Yes Mr. President, you’ve told me that a hundred times. I still want to know what it is that’s on my plate.

Nose Hair: We will refer zee question to the United Nations, tres bon, non?

George: Look…I’m not trying to build an international consensus here, all I want is a little information. Could you please tell me what this escargot is made of?

Nose Hair: Zee finest snails in all of Francais.

George: Did you say snails?

Nose Hair: Mais oui, mon ami.

George: And you expect me to eat this?

Nose Hair: Naturellement, mon frere. We expect all zee Amereecans to eat shit, no?

By: Rick Moran at 11:16 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)

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CATEGORY: General

A dog had followed his owner to school. His owner was a fourth grader at a public elementary school.

However, when the bell rang, the dog sidled inside the building and made it all the way to the child’s classroom before a teacher noticed and shoo’ed him outside, closing the door behind him.

The dog sat down, whimpered and stared at the closed doors. Then God appeared beside the dog, patted his head and said, “Don’t feel bad fella’....they won’t let ME in either.”

HT: Joe Evans

By: Rick Moran at 9:15 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

2/20/2005
BUSH TAPES: WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
CATEGORY: History

The revelation today by the New York Times that an old family friend taped dozens of conversations with the future President between 1998 and the Republican Convention in 2000 reveal the private George Bush to be pretty much the same as the man Americans have come to know over the last 4 years.

So this is news?

Doug Wead, a friend and former aide to the President’s father taped the conversations for several reasons:

Mr. Wead said he recorded the conversations because he viewed Mr. Bush as a historic figure, but he said he knew that the president might regard his actions as a betrayal. As the author of a new book about presidential childhoods, Mr. Wead could benefit from any publicity, but he said that was not a motive in disclosing the tapes.

The White House did not dispute the authenticity of the tapes or respond to their contents. Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, said, “The governor was having casual conversations with someone he believed was his friend.” Asked about drug use, Mr. Duffy said, “That has been asked and answered so many times there is nothing more to add.

The drug use refers to candidate Bush’s obsession with public reaction to his admitted wild ways prior to his becoming clean and sober in 1986. The only “revelation” on the tapes is the President’s apparent confession that he tried marijuana in the past. Talking to Wead about questions of drug use:

He refused to answer reporters’ questions about his past behavior, he said, even though it might cost him the election. Defending his approach, Mr. Bush said: “I wouldn’t answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don’t want some little kid doing what I tried.”

And that’s it. Out of a dozen or so tapes Wead made available to the New York Times reporter, that statement is the only “newsworthy” bit to emerge. Even the Times admits that the conversations show that with Bush, what you see is what you get:

The private Mr. Bush sounds remarkably similar in many ways to the public President Bush. Many of the taped comments foreshadow aspects of his presidency, including his opposition to both anti-gay language and recognizing same-sex marriage, his skepticism about the United Nations, his sense of moral purpose and his focus on cultivating conservative Christian voters.

An amazing admission from an avowed enemy of the President and his policies.

So why publish transcripts in the first place? Clearly, these tapes are invaluable historical artifacts as they reveal the man behind the public facade of the Presidency. In that sense, the existence of the tapes is news. But considering that just about all of the information contained in the tapes has been reported on elsewhere, including Bush’s well known desire to foster a relationship with evangelical christians and his antipathy towards the press, one has to conclude that any impact the recorded conversations have on the President’s popularity will be favorable.

The most interesting thing I found in the conversations was Bush’s refusal to engage in gay-bashing not only because he believed it would hurt him politically but also because he thought it to be wrong:

But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: “Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I’m not going to kick gays, because I’m a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?”

Later, he read aloud an aide’s report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: “This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It’s hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however.”

This is something the libnuts will never acknowledge and don’t understand; that homosexuals as an interest group are a threat to values and traditions, not homosexuals as people. While there may not be a “gay agenda” set in stone or written down on paper, there is clearly a move afoot within the more radical elements of the gay community to stifle dissent from the religious right to their lifestyle. Not only that, but to actively promote that lifestyle and try to sell it like soda pop to impressionable, lonely, confused teenagers is outrageous.

What the conversations show is a rarity in politics; a man whose public persona matches up rather well with who he is in private. This is just about what we’ve come to expect from George Bush. So in that sense, the tapes aren’t news at all but a confirmation of something most people know: That with George Bush, what you see is what you get.

By: Rick Moran at 8:10 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)

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2/19/2005
A SATURDAY STROLL DOWN THE BLOGROLL
CATEGORY: Blogging

One of the advantages of having an extensive blogroll is that whenever I get writers block, all I have to do is take a stroll down my blogroll and either get a hundred different ideas on what to blog on or, like today, invite you, oh gentle reader to taste the fruits of the labors of others in whom I’ve developed a healthy respect for talent and insight. If you haven’t already, you might want to blogroll these excellent sites.

Who’s the best writer on the web you’ve never heard of? Well, besides me. Got to be Van Helsing of Moonbattery. Today, Van has a post on why the Democrats love the poor so much. Could it be because their policies make so many more of them?

Basil at Basil’s Blog takes us on a trip down memory lane, back to the 1970’s when it was a novelty to find TV stations on all night. Basil traces his love of old movies to this time. I too, learned to love old movies watching the Late Late Show on WGN here in Chicago where all of the Hollywood classics were shown after 1:00 am. We also agree on what the best TV networks are today. Great minds think alike…

Raven at And Rightly So has an inspiring post on some Marine purple heart recipients. If you read the story, you’ll begin to get a feeling for what it must have been like in what will go down as one of the most spectacular victories in Marine Corps history, the Battle for Fallujah.

Another great site you should be reading daily is Cao’s Blog. Aside from some of the best researched and written articles about Islamic fundamentalism you’ll find anywhere, Cao on occasion turns a rapier like wit towards the moonbats…with hilarious consequences! Read the linked post about some of her favorite comment trolls and you’ll see what I mean.

Cat House Chat is blogging…what else! Note to cat haters: I challenge you to click on this link and then come back and tell me you still hate cats. And for all you cat lovers out there…enjoy!

The Cranky Liberal is still cranky and has moved to his own domain. Crank has been a frequent commenter on this and other conservative blogs. What sets him apart from others of his ilk is, first off his writing which is top notch, but more importantly, his civility. And why Cranky does get a little hysterical at times about the religious right, he makes some valid points about the separation of Church and state that can’t be ignored.

Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has an interview with Terri Schiavo’s brother Bobby Schindler.

You’re probably familiar with the Blogswarm surrounding the fight to keep Terri Schiavo alive. In addition to Beth, Cao, Romeocat, and a host of others are blogging this vitally important story. I would urge you to take the time to examine the issues involved and join the fight for Terri.

In this vein, Crystal at Crystal Clear has some outstanding thoughts on the Terri Schiavo matter from her perspective as a licensed Marriage Faimily Therapist. She has an interesting perspective on Terri’s family that’s a must-read if you want to understand some of the underlying reasons of the controversey.

Our Wide Awakes buddy Ogre has a reasoned post on “Morals and the Law”. His thoughts on how the concept of right and wrong evolved in society are both interesting and thought provoking.

Pat over at Brainsters Blog has a nostalgic post on pinball machines. His favorite, Jack-in-the-Box always gave me fits. My favorite from that era (sorry Pat, I’m dating both you and me) was “Carnival.” Carnival featured a bonus that released three additonal balls after you knocked down five targets. The problem was that after you knocked down the last target, the bumber on that target would bounce the ball directly down the middle of the board making it nearly impossible to catch with the flippers. Great fun nonetheless!

Tom of The Donegal Express draws a very necessary distinction between liberals and leftists. My own experience with my familiy is illustrative of this difference. The blog Tom references is one of the most hateful sites I’ve ever come across. In fact, it’s so hateful, I can’t decide whether the guy who runs it is a certifiable loon or just pulling our legs. Either way, there’s no excuse for the premise of his site, which I will not link to or mention by name.

Finally, there are a couple sites that you should visit everyday for their indispensible utility. NIF (News-Interesting-Funny) has links to news stories, editorials, and funny posts by bloggers. A nice way to get a handle on what people are talking about that day.

And the guys at Slowplay have a daily roundup of excellent blog posts as well as commentary on everything from sports to Britney Spears.

And Greg at The Nashif Report always has interesting posts on the news, on blogs, and world affairs. Also, he has one of the best looking sites on the web!

By: Rick Moran at 2:20 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)