Saturday, April 09, 2005

Saturday Puppy Pic

Here's Wyatt in favorite sleeping chair - Mommy's.

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Postal Rates

You knew it was going to happen, it was mentioned in my previous post on the Post Office. The USPS is going to ask for a two cent rate increase.

If you want to sign a petition to stop the increase, here's a link. I doubt it will help, but it made me like I was doing something.

And here's link to the Postal Rate Commission . Some good information at the very least.
April Holidays

A list of holidays and observances on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You've got to see some of these!
Tomfoolery or Thuggery?

It appears that controversial controlversial speakers are placing themselves in dangerous situations. This involves accepting speaking engagements at college campuses.

Pat Buchanan was doused with salad dressing at Western Michigan University, by someone who disapproved of his view on immigration.

Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard editor, was hit in the face with a pie while giving a talk at Earlham College.

David Horowitz was hit in the face with a pie at Butler University in Indiana.

I'm sorry, this surpasses tomfoolery and goes to physical attacks. If I knew these sophomoric antics would stop at pies and salad dressing, I wouldn't give two thoughts about it. But, in our society, a pie can lead to a baseball bat, to a knife, to a gun. We used to be able to laugh when someone got a pie in the face. It's funny until someone gets hurt. I'm usually all for saying, look, it's a prank, it's a pie for Pete's sake! it's no big deal. I can see where this could escalate into a very dangerous situation. Any speaker can anticipate being heckled and should either be able to deal with it or get off the dais. They shouldn't have to wear Kevlar to give a speech on a college campus or anywhere else.

The only way to stop it is to start prosecuting these fools. Don't just give them a slap on the wrist; jail time and a hefty fine will help put it into perspective. And, if the fool is a student at this fine institution of "higher" learning, expulsion would not be going too far.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Another Case of Medical Starvation

Here we have Mae Magouirk of LaGrange, Georgia. Miss Mae is 81 years old and was placed in a hospice by her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy.

Miss Mae has a Living Will that says to withhold nutrition and hydration only if she comatose or vegetative. She is neither. Granddaughter Beth claimed that she held power of attorney for grandma. Turns out, she doesn't. Under Georgia law if there is no power of attorney specifying a health care decision maker, such authority is given to the closest living relatives. Miss Mae has a living brother and sister who are capable of making decisions. Ms. Gaddy got an emergency appointment as guardian from Donald Boyd, the probate judge, who may or may not be an attorney. The order gave Ms. Gaddy the power to withhold nutrition and hydration which is clearly contrary to Miss Mae's wishes.

While there are obvious similarities between Miss Mae and Terri Schiavo, there is one major difference. Miss Mae has a Living Will. Granddaughter Gaddy, for some reason, overrode Granny's wishes, moved her to a hospice, got guardianship, and ordered nutrition and hydration withdrawn. A Probate Court judge gave Ms. Gaddy guardianship that should have gone to closer relatives.

According to Kenneth Mullinax, Miss Mae's nephew, Ms. Gaddy has no bad intentions and is just misguided and mistaken. She's prayed over Miss Mae and decided that it's Miss Mae's "time for her to go." Whether it means anything, It also appears that Ms. Gaddy is Miss Mae's sole beneficiary. I have no idea what that means. Does Ms. Gaddy get the porcelain plates depicting Elvis or is there serious money and or property involved. I'm not saying she wants her inheritance, but being sole beneficiary rings some bells.

I had doubts about the situation with Terri; I have no doubts here. Miss Mae's wishes were clear and written, the probate judge was wrong, and the feeding and hydration should be reinstated. Let's see if the media, Randall Terry, Jesse Jackson, and the "right to life" protestors show up to make Miss Mae their cause of the week. I might sound a bit snarky, but this time, they have a real cause to hang their hats on.

More here, here, here, here, and here.
Technical Difficulties

Blogger is apparently having difficulties. My sidebar is not loading and a post from April 1 ends in the middle of a sentence.

I encountered this problem before. When I reported it, the reply was, "well, you're running alot of script." A not very helpful answer. My answer then was I'm not running a bit more script than I was before the problem started. And not a bit more or less after it resolved.

I've had some frustrations at work this week and this only adds to them.

I like Blogger and it would be a bear to move, but I'm considering it.


Update: Well, this post loaded, and my sidebar suddenly appeared. One of my SS buttons is now too large for the sidebar and pushed everything to below the last post. Funny, it didn't cause a problem before. And, yes, I did check to see if the sidebar had moved. Interesting. Well, I can fix that!

Update II: And now everything seems to work just fine. I didn't have to move the SS button after all, it just suddently started to work.

Could my computer (or Blogger) be possessed?

Update III: And it seems we are back to partial loads.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Delivery Man Stuck in Elevator for 3 Days
Apr 6, 9:36 AM (ET)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Chinese food delivery man was found trapped in a broken elevator on Tuesday, more than three days after he was reported missing, police said.

Ming Kung Chen, 35, who worked for the Happy Dragon restaurant in the Bronx, was reported missing late Friday when he did not return an hour after setting out on a delivery.

Police said he was found at about 6 a.m. (1000 GMT) on Tuesday and was hospitalized with dehydration. Police were unable to question him immediately because he did not speak English.

Newspapers had reported the Chinese community feared that Chen, who is from Fuzhou province in China, might have been a victim of robbery or foul play by immigrant smugglers.

What isn't mentioned in this article is that the deliverman was an illegal alien, or what the MSM generally refers to as an "undocumented" immigrant. The Miami Herald refers to illegal immigrants as "aspiring immigrants" .

You can call a pile of manure a rose, but it still stinks. If a person is in this country without making legal entry with proper documentation, they are here illegally and breaking the laws of this country.

I've said many times, I welcome all legal immigrants, legal being the operative word. America was built on the backs of immigrants, going back to the Pilgrims, and even to the first native Americans who walked across the land bridge from Asia to Alaska. I would gladly accept President Bush's Guest Worker plan, or whatever it's called, if the illegal immigrant would return to their country of origin and follow the proper procedures to enter the US. If they can't return to their country of origin for some reason, how about returning to the last country they entered legally and beginning the process from there?

I'm not going into the terrorist issue, because that's an entirely different issue than that of illegal immigrants. I wasn't going to discuss the Minuteman Project yet, but as of yesterday, they had stopped nearly two hundred people from crossing into America from Mexico. Until I know differently, I will assume those people were coming into the US for legal reasons, if not legally, and not to be involved in terrorist acts.

How can we accept with open arms people who willingly and knowingly break our laws from the moment they enter America? And before anyone comments that Americans break laws everyday, we're not discussing Americans breaking laws, we're talking about people coming into this country who want to take what law abiding immigrants get for obeying the laws of this country. Some come here to work, to earn a living to support and to create a better future for their families. Others come for the opportunity to break our laws, the first being entering illegally.

I wasn't sure what to think about the Minuteman Project. From what I've seen and heard so far, it's a good thing, to quote another famous felon. We're using resources that should be going to legal residents and citizens to support people who do not have enough respect for America to obey our laws. Instead, those resources are going to people who are here to milk America for all they can get.

Once an immigrant has arrived legally, give them access to those resources. Until then, no. America is the most generous country on the face of the earth. And we're being taken advantage of. It's time to stop.

Related stories here, and here,
Common Law Marriage And Same Sex Marriage

I got to thinking about same-sex marriage about the time I posted on the legality of Common Law marriage in Florida (it's not). While I don't agree with same sex marriage, I can see my thoughts changing. While some might say it's changing for the worse, I would prefer to say I'm maturing. It goes against my Christian upbringing, but for the life of me, I can't see how it would hurt me or my marriage in any way, shape, or form. And if I can't see how it would hurt me, why should I deny it to someone else?

There are those who think that allowing same sex marriage is contributing to a breakdown in values, but I've started thinking that maybe it helps to build values, not break them down. Are two men or two women who love each other and want to be together for the rest of their lives any different than a man and woman who want the same thing? At least they want a mature, legal, relationship instead of simply "shacking up." Remember the "Sexual Revolution" of the 60's when couples decided that they didn't want the legality of marriage? ("It's just a piece of paper.") Remember the shame of having a child or sibling who was "living in sin"? Sometimes these family members were disowned until they made the relationship legal. Now, it's pretty much accepted as a mainstream relationship.

Perhaps a return of common law marriage for same sex couples is a solution. Not an ultimate solution, I'm sure. But maybe it would be a start. I haven't researched it so I am reaching back quite a few years to remember the salient facts. The couple must be together for a period of at least seven years, use the same last name, and act as a married couple in all aspects (live together, have children (if they choose), joint bank accounts, joint tax returns, refer to each other as a spouse, assume financial responsibility for each other etc.,). There may be some other requirements, but I believe those are the highlights. And, after the required number of years they were legally a married couple. In order to dissolve the marriage they had to file for divorce just as any other married couple had to do.

Perhaps when a same sex couple decide they want a permanent relationship, they could apply at the local courthouse for a common law marriage license. It would give legality to the relationship, but appease (and I hate that word) those who are so fundamentally against same sex marriage because it is a "different" type of license. In all respects, it would be the same as a traditional marriage license. And yes, I know that under Common law, a marriage license is not necessary, much less required. I'm suggesting it simply to make same sex marriages legal from the beginning. In order to dissolve the marriage, the couple would have to file for divorce and be subject to the court system just as traditional couples are.

I know there are same sex marriage advocates who want nothing less than the same ability to marry as traditional couples have. Could they compromise with a license that gives those couples the same ability to marry and the benefits and responsibilties of traditional couples but is called something else? Call it a Partnership License or something else. I really don't care what it's called. Other than the religious considerations, I can't think of a reason why two men or two women shouldn't enjoy the same benefits and responsibilities that traditional married couple do.

Monday, April 04, 2005


I just happened to wander into my corner and found the visitors stats show 3 people here. There are two other people reading my words at the same time! Wow!

Thank you for coming to visit. I hope you like what you see and will come back again.
United States Postal.....Service?

I've been wanting to post on the Post Office, but Chuck Muth has said it much better than I could. This post was part of a Muth's Truth email I subscribe to(posted with permission). Excellent post.

Every year or so the rates go up and the service goes down. I am old enough to remember my grandparents getting twice a day service by a carrier who walked his route. My other grandfather was a postal carrier with a rural route. During WWII, he knew many of the families on his route had sons and daughters in one or another of the armed services, as were his own sons. He not only made his normal twice a day deliveries, six days a week, but if he knew a family was expecting mail or had worry about the safety of a son, Grandpa would make an extra delivery. This was when he had to purchase his own vehicle, tires and gasoline. During the war, he got preferences because of his job, but he still had the expenses that went along with it. Remember the old adage of the Post Office "neither rain, nor snow" etc.? Well, Grandpa delivered in all kinds of weather, twice a day until he retired in the early 60's.

This is not to say that there are no carriers who make the extra effort, of course there are. All industries and services have those who will go the extra mile and beyond. But they are becoming rarer by the day. We've all heard of carriers throwing mail away instead of delivering it. We've heard of mail carriers stealing from their mail bags. We've all had mail delivered to us that was addressed to another person at a different address. It happens, but sometimes happens way too often to just say "It happens." We've heard the bad and way too little of the good.

The Post Office of my Grandfather's day doesn't exist anymore. It's had to progress and change with the times, but was the change always for the better? The Post Office has a bad reputation and needs to do something to correct it before they lose all their business to the Internet and FedEx. Maybe instead of raising rates, they should consider some of Chuck's suggestions. They make sense.

Darn it. Read Chuck's article. It says it better than I can.

Candle-makers, Blacksmiths...and the Post Office
by Chuck Muth

Candle-makers were none too happy with the invention of the light bulb, for obvious reasons. Ditto blacksmiths with the invention of the automobile. So you can imagine how the post office must feel today about cheap long distance rates, faxes and email.

While candle-makers and blacksmiths still roam among us today, like the buffalo their numbers have greatly diminished since the country's founding years. I assume they fought the tide of progress tooth-and-nail, but in the end their fate was inevitable. So, too, is the fate of the once great United States Postal Service (USPS). Its demise is a foregone conclusion. The only question is when and how the USPS as we know it today will be put out to pasture for good.

Last month, Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, and Sen. Tom Carper, Delaware Democrat, introduced the latest version of a postal reform bill. This in response to recommendations made last year by the President's Commission on the United States Postal Service. And while there are a number of good things in the bill, it is a bill crafted in denial. The bill's overall intent appears to be to return the USPS to its glory days, ignoring the fact that its time has come - and gone.

The Magic City Morning Star, a local paper in Collins' Maine, covered the introduction of the bill in some detail. It characterized the purpose of the legislation as an effort "to preserve the jobs of more than 750,000 career USPS employees." Um, if the intent of postal reform is simply to provide employment for these folks, maybe we can retrain them to become candle-makers and blacksmiths? Talk about back to the future.

Sen. Collins is also quoted as saying her bill is designed to preserve "affordable rates, frequent delivery, and convenient community access to retail postal services." But this ignores present-day market reality.

First, while postage rates continue to rise - and are scheduled to do so again next year - the cost of long distance phone calls, faxing and email continue to plunge.

Second, as the huge drop in mail volume clearly indicates, "frequent delivery" is already being re-defined by the private-sector market place. If you want it there quickly and on time, mailing it via the post office is your LAST resort. Helloooo, Federal! No, most of what gets stuffed in your mailbox these days is advertising mail ("junk" mail, if you will), bills and the occasional greeting card - all three of which are increasingly popping up on the Internet themselves these days.

The fact is, when it comes to "snail mail," it's time to, at the very least, re-define what "frequent" means. For most residential households, three-day-a-week delivery is probably the most that is needed. Heck, the garbage man only picks up our junk once or twice a week; why does the post office need to deliver it six days a week?

As for "community access to retail postal services," you can buy postage online these days, and there are convenient private postal businesses located in shopping centers, and even inside many grocery stores. It simply is no longer necessary for the USPS to maintain so many of its own expensive post offices any longer - post offices which, by the way, don't pay property and business taxes.

Of course, practically no one in Congress has the backbone to shut down underutilized and unnecessary post offices. So any meaningful postal reform bill which comes out of DC must include the establishment of a "Post Office Closing Commission" - similar to the widely successful military base closing commissions - which would make take-it-or-leave-it recommendations to Congress on which post offices should be closed. Congress can accept or reject the recommendations without changes. This allows Congress to shift the blame to someone else, making financially-wise facility closures more politically palatable.

Then there's the matter of the postal monopoly over YOUR mailbox. That's right. It's YOUR mailbox. If a someone runs over it, YOU have to pay to replace it, not the post office. So if it's YOUR mailbox, YOU should be the one to decided whether or not to allow the newspaper boy or FedEx to put deliveries into it to keep them dry and safe from adverse weather conditions. It should be an option. YOUR option. If you don't want anyone but the mailman putting things in your mailbox, fine. But if you want to open it to others, that should be fine, too. It's called consumer choice.

The post office strenuously objects to any such change. Their objection, they say, is security. They try to scare the dickens out of you by suggesting that once their monopoly access to the mailbox ends there will be an avalanche of mailbox bombings or other terrorist activities. But this is a red herring. If some nut wants to booby-trap your mailbox, they sure as heck aren't going to worry about being prosecuted for violating the USPS' mailbox monopoly law. I mean, let's get real here.

The second security red herring is that if you end the USPS' exclusive access to your mailbox that your mail could be stolen. Hello? People's mail is ALREADY being stolen, with much greater frequency these days. Sometimes even by postal employees themselves (gasp!).

Identity thieves who swipe mail from mailboxes, for some reason, aren't deterred by a law saying they don't have legal access to the mailbox. Go figure. Like gun-control laws, the monopoly access law does nothing to stop criminals; it only inconveniences the law-abiding. So any postal reform legislation coming out of Congress should strip this anachronistic monopoly from the USPS.

Ideally, the post office should be completely privatized. Realistically, that's not going to happen anytime soon. But at the very least Congress should begin the process of winding down, rather than ramping up, postal services by closing unnecessary facilities and operations, shifting more and more duties to private contractors and opening up mail delivery and mailbox access to the free market.

If the post office is going to survive, it needs to do so by competing on a fair, level playing field without being propped up by taxpayer dollars, preferences and a government-enforced monopoly. If the free market won't support what the post office is selling, then maybe the country no longer needs what the post office is selling. Just like candle-makers and blacksmiths. It's time to find out.

# # #

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Outreach. He may be reached at
Who Will Be the Next Pope?

Since we heard that John Paul II was ill, I've been wondering who might replace him as Pope, so I started reading articles speculating on who might be among the leading contenders. John Paul II was the first non-Italian Pope in something like 450 years and the trend seems to against the papacy returning to the Italians.

Two to three weeks after the death of the Pope, 117 Cardinals will gather in a secret meeting to select the new Pope. Their agenda will be to elect a new Pope who will have the good of the Church at heart. The new Pope will be in that room, not knowing his destiny is about to change. Not all of the Cardinals will be considered as candidates. Some will be too young, some too old, some too controversial, some too liberal, some too conservative. Even the election of a Pope is fraught with politics.

I can't believe that their agendas are centered squarely on who is best for the Church. That's not to say that they don't want what's best, but they all have their own ideas of what's best for the Catholic Church of the 21st century. They will have issues they want the new Pope to favor, so they will back a cardinal who agrees with those issues. John Paul II appointed most of the cardinals who will be in the conclave, so they are mostly conservative. Even among conservatives there are some that lean toward the liberal and some who lean toward being even more conservative. Eventually a compromise will be reached and a new Pope will be named.

Here is a list of some who are being touted as contenders for the Papacy.

The Europeans are:
Godfried Danneels of Belgium
Walter Kasper of Germany
Joseph Ratzinger of Germany
Dionigi Tettamanzi of Italy
Angelo Scola of Italy
Tarcisio Bertone of Italy
Camillo Ruini of Italy
Christoph Schonborn of Austria
Jean-Marie Lustiger of France
Lubomyr Husar of the Ukraine

The Latin Americans are:
Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Columbia
Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras
Claudio Hummes of Brazil
Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina
Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico
Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino of Cuba

From Africa:
Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria

From Asia:
Cardinal Ivan Dias of India

You will note that there are no American Cardinals on the list. The thought seems to be against the Americans because of the suspicion of American influence. Gee, we can't have that, now, can we? I don't think that says much for the Pope , if he could be influenced that way.

The next Pope could be from an emerging nation such as Nigeria. Or Asia where the Papacy could aid political insecurity. Or South America where the Catholic church is, of course, very strong.

Many supposedly in the know think that because of John Paul II's long papacy, the Vatican will be looking for a transitional Pope, one who will lead the Papacy into next Papacy with little change. Sort of sounds like someone to "mind the store" until the new manager comes on board.

Of course, it is said that he who goes in to the conclave (to elect a Pope) comes out a Cardinal. So it could be someone not on the list above. In fact, Karol Wojtyla was a surprise when he became John Paul II in 1978.

Will it be one of the ones listed above? or a surprise like Karol Wojtyla ?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Terri Schiavo - My Last Word

I intend this to be my last post on Terri. I think it's time to let her rest in piece. If something comes out from the autopsy, I may reconsider. But I do have an opinion on what has happened up to her death and I will express it now. I doubt that anyone will like everything I have to say. Some may like part of it and some may like others. I don't really care. It's my opinion.

As best I understand, Terri had not had any testing done for a number of years. I would feel better about Michael's decision to terminate her life if recent testing had been done and it was determined that she was in PVS, and it was irreversable. Medical science has come a long way over the last decade. I won't say she could have been helped, but without recent testing, I don't know that she couldn't have been helped.

I would also feel better about Judge Greer's decision to terminate her life had he visited Terri and seen her condition for his own eyes. I am not a lawyer and do not know the law, so I will have to accept that Judge Greer followed the letter of the law.

I think the appellate courts were wrong not to review the case in its entirety instead of apparently relying on court decisions. Had they done what the intent of Congress was, Terri might be alive today.

I feel that the various governmental bodies that tried to create legislation to save her life were wrong to do so. I feel they overstepped their boundries. But, I also feel that sometimes boundries need to be overstepped and maybe this was one of them. Had the Founding Fathers not overstepped their boundaries, we might still be under English law today.

I commend those who tried to do something to save Terri, from President Bush, to the Congress, to Governor Bush and the Florida Senate. I think that they just didn't have the law they needed.

Terri was not terminally ill. She may have lived for many more years. This is both a pro and a con. Terri apparently was not in any pain or discomfort prior to being denied nourishment and hydration, but had to be given morphine during her last hours. Morphine is a pain medication, is it not? Why administer morphine unless she was in pain? If she was in pain, she had feeling, and therefore this was not a humane procedure.

Since Terri was not terminally ill, I see no reason why her feeding tube had to be removed until all appellate pleas had been extinguished. To err on the side of life is preferable in a humane society. We make sure that the rights of convicted criminals are fully satisfied before they are executed. We will not execute a criminal or even an animal by starvation. It shouldn't happen to a human being.

There were unanswered questions as to whether Terri had been abused prior to and during her hospitalizations. I hope that the autopsy will clear this matter. However, if it shows possible abuse, will anyone be prosecuted? I think probably not.

I didn't know Terri, so I have no idea what her wishes were. Neither does anyone else who didn't know her. There are allegations that that for years after her collapse, Michael was saying he didn't know either. That raises red flags to me.

Apparently at some point in time Michael decided that Terri could no longer be helped and refused further treatment or therapy. Was it then he began saying Terri wouldn't want to live like this? Did he really believe this or had Terri become "inconvenient"? If so, he could have turned custody over to her parents and walked away. I doubt many people would have blamed him.

I believe that there was a reason for Terri's death to have gained national and international attention. Perhaps the purpose of Terri's death was to galvanize Congress, both State and Federal, into creating laws that will prohibit the removal of feeding and hydration unless the patient has left written instruction to do so.

I believe that everyone has the right to make certain decisions about their life and their death and that they should make their wishes well known among their friends and family so that a spouse cannot say they don't know what would be wanted. Better would be explicite instructions as to what is wanted or not wanted.

At this point, only Michael knows the truth about whether or not he truly carried out Terri's wishes. He is the one who will ultimately answer for his decisions. It was reported that Michael refused to allow Terri's brother and sister and possibly her parents to be present when she passed away. I can't imagine what he might have been thinking, but it was wrong. They needed to be able to be there when she died. They should have all been adult enough to put aside their differences long enough for Terri to die among the people she loved and who loved her.

As for the protestors who were at the hospice, I think they should be ashamed of themselves. They may have felt they had a God-given reason for being there, but disrupting the operation of the hospice, an elementary school, and workplaces near the hospice was wrong. Hospice patients were denied the use of the grounds; it may have been the last days of their lives and they were shunted aside because of the protestors and media. I heard that the protestors used expletives in "reprimanding" people for asking that they not park in a business parking lot and to a business owner working on Sunday. None of this, if true, gave credence to Terri's cause in particular, or to Christianity in general. It's impolite, inconsiderate, and Unchristian. Shame on them.

The media people were nearly as bad and have their own blame in loss of quality of life for the other hospice patients.

Some of the effects of the circus that few people have considered:

The students at the elementary school were moved to another school for the duration. This effected the students, parents, and staff of the school. Tax dollars were used to keep the school running although no students were in that school for several days.

Local law enforcement had to have more people stationed in and around the hospice causing the use of overtime pay and a redirection of manpower. More tax dollars used. Crimes may have been committed or lives lost because police manpower was redirected to the hospice.

Nearby workplaces were disrupted because of the media circus. They may have lost business because of the situation. Loss of money into the economy. When you are running a small business, the loss of only one day's business can mean be a problem.