At Dean's World, this review was posted by Allison. Her comments is about nineteen comments down (and it was interesting that her comment was proceeded by many with strong opinions even though she was the first poster who had actually seen the movie).
This movie is about choices (not violence, not anti-semiticism). Its about the choice the ancient Jewish leaders made to go after Jesus, and the choice that Jesus made to stay on the cross. It shows the choice that Judas made to betray him, the choice that his disciples made to run and deny before returning. It shows the choice his mother made to stay with him and endure the horror of seeing it all. It shows Pilot troubled by the choice he's trying to make. MOSTLY it is about the choice in front of modern Christians today: This was His choice, what's yours? Are you going to talk the talk or walk the walk?Donald Sensing has some interesting background information on Judaism in Jesus' day.
I suspect the target audience is people who go to church and fill the pew, but don't really allow Jesus to fill their life. Someone that already knows his teachings, but who hasn't grasped the full import of what happened. For all intents and purposes, that would be me. This movie is NOT about leading people to Christ, its about prompting a decision in people that are already there. Perhaps that's why people are so infuriated by it. The movie almost demands a decision of you at the end. I've discovered that humans don't like to feel forced to make a decision, we like options. This movie leaves no room for that. You either "are" or you "aren't".
The movie is entirely spiritual. The violence is only a secondary bit-part of the movie. The real focus is on the spiritual choices people made, and are still making.
Incidentally, the movie is VERY well-made. Its not some second-rate splatter film. The score is great, and weirdly appropriate. Its fascinating to hear Aramaic spoken, and the sub-titles were nicely done. I almost didn't notice them. The cinematography is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The acting is beyond reproach, every single actor. I am astounded. It is exquisite.
By doctrine (the Bible) and practice, most Christians respect the Jewish faith. Sure, they believe those who still practice the Jewish faith failed to recognize the coming of the Messiah, but they believe this is true for all non-Christians, not just Jews. Further, Jesus was a Jew, his apostles were Jews and many of the early Church were Jews (Just like today, except Jews were a much greater percentage of the early Church than they are of today's Church). Christians believe Jesus suffered for each Christian and that their sins placed him on the cross. As a culture or doctrine, they certainly do not blame Jews for Christ's sacrifice.
That said, there have been some times throughout history where rabble-rousers blamed Jews for the death of Christ in attempts to increase anti-Semitic feelings. Given how anti-Semitism continues to grow in Europe and the Middle East, I can understand why some Jews might be concerned. So I entered the movie theater wondering if the controversy impacted Gibson's film. I would say yes.
There were several bits in the film where Gibson went out of his way to show as many Jews as possible in a favorable light. For example, multiple Jewish leaders protested the illegal late night trial of Jesus by Temple leaders. A young Jewish woman braved Roman fury to wipe Christ's brow. However, the most obvious example of Gibson's sensitivity to Jewish feelings was in his treatment of Simon of Cyrene.
After Jesus had been brutally beaten, He was forced to carry His cross to Golgotha to be crucified. Due to being beaten, He was unable to carry it the entire way and the Roman soldiers conscripted a man named Simon, whom the Bible describes as a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, who was coming out of the country into Jerusalem (Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26), and made him carry the cross the rest of the way. Christian tradition holds that Jesus fell three times before Simon was conscripted, but the Bible does not tell us this minor detail.
Gibson's film holds to this tradition, but uses much poetic license in their treatment of Simon. The Bible never discusses Simon's race or religion, so we do not know if Simon was Jewish or not. He could have been, there was a substantial Jewish population in Cyrene at the time. The city of Cyrene was located in what is now Eastern Libya, so Simon had to travel through Egypt to get to Jerusalem. If he were Jewish, he would probably have been going toward the Temple, perhaps running a day late for the Passover ceremony. Gibson's Simon was clearly a Jew, garbed in traditional Jewish clothing. To ensure the audience clearly understood that Gibson's Simon was Jewish, a Roman solider specifically calls him a Jew.
Simon's Jewishness was important to Gibson, because he makes him a hero in the film. When the Roman soldiers conscript him, he reluctantly agrees as if he had a choice. Simon has about 5 minutes of screen time and acts heroically throughout. At one point he physically challenges a squad of Roman soldiers to quit beating Jesus and says if they do not he will not move the cross no matter what they do to him. This gratuitous scene was clearly added to cast another Jew in the role of hero. Gibson probably felt he needed to do this in response to his critics. I found it distracting and completely unnecessary; the entire story is about a Jewish hero who offers Himself to save mankind.
The characters speak in Aramaic and Latin with English subtitles. I rarely watch movies with subtitles, but it was very well done. After a few minutes, I almost forgot they were there. When I did notice, it was when bits of my high school Latin came back to me and I was checking what I thought I heard with what I was reading.
The movie struck me as very Catholic. It uses poetic license in giving Satan a role in the film, appearing to discourage and mock Jesus at various points. It has demons torment Judas before he hangs himself. Catholics treat Mary with more reverence than Protestants and Gibson presented Mary as an almost supernaturally calm woman who had expected this to occur. All of these events may have been going on (after all, one would assume Satan to be quite interested and delighted at first, and then quite dismayed when Jesus died without committing a sin and came back from the dead), but lacking Biblical guidance on these details, Gibson used his imagination.
The film is very violent. For the most part, it was not gratuitous violence, it was intended to show Christians how much Jesus suffered on their behalf. However, it was stomach churning. I had to look away during parts of the crucifixion scene, especially when they were nailing Jesus to the cross. Young children should not see this movie.
I do not think this is remotely the best movie about Jesus ever made. It is not even close. It is probably the most realistic film treatment of the time from Christ's arrest to His crucifixion. The film's deliberate focus on this one weekend of time presumes the audience is already familiar with the life of Jesus and the Jewish prophesies He fulfilled. However, for those not familiar with the reasons why Jesus had to suffer and die for everyone, this film did nothing to address these questions.
While I still have mixed feelings about the movie, I have several firm opinions on it. 1) It is a very pro-Semitic movie. 2) It does not even attempt to explain why the death of Jesus was so important – although viewing the movie may cause non-Christian viewers to pose this question. 3) Children should not see the movie because of the graphic violence. 4) It will help Christians visualize Easter Weekend more vividly, although they will be disappointed that the movie does not show the resurrected Jesus reuniting with his disciples (it ends immediately upon Christ's resurrection).
1) The AFL-CIO vehemently opposed NAFTA.
2) The AFL-CIO opposed permanent normal trade relations with China.
3) The AFL-CIO supported drilling for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Coulter then sarcastically noted:
The unions lost every vote. Demonstrating his savvy political skills, the head of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney, repeatedly throws the federation's support to political candidates who opposed labor on all three issues.Coulter is correct in both her three statements about the AFL-CIO and her statements about Kerry.
Strictly following his strategy of selling union votes for nothing, the AFL-CIO has endorsed Sen. John Kerry – who voted for NAFTA, voted for trade with China and voted against drilling for oil in Alaska.
There is only one candidate for president who didn't vote for NAFTA, didn't vote for trade with China and supported drilling in ANWR. That candidate is George Bush.
In fairness to the ACL-CIO leadership, I should point out that Coulter only brought out points that supported her argument. There may be points where Kerry is more attractive on the issues to ACL-CIO than Bush. I am only aware of one such point. Kerry would require companies to give three months notice to employees if their jobs were sent overseas. However, since 1) this would do absolutely nothing to change the long-term outsourcing trend and 2) many companies already provide substantial compensation plans in these circumstances, this hardly seems enough to overcome Kerry's votes against union interests.
One of my biggest gripes with President Bush is that he is the most protectionist president we have seen since at least Jimmy Carter. I am still irritated by Bush's imposition of steel tariffs along with his protectionism in the proposed Australian Free Trade Agreement. Yet the very factors that annoy me should make him attractive to unions whose primary consideration is the economic well-being of their members. (While free trade is better for the American economy as a whole, protectionism is definitely better for those working for protected industries). So why does John Sweeney (and thus, the AFL-CIO) endorse Kerry? Your guess is as good as mine. However, it does not appear to be out of reasoned concern for union members.
After reading a book to his 4-year-old son, Andrew, about a furry critter who builds a snow fort, Botz decided to build one of his own. He and Andrew went out to work on it together, but the son soon got cold and went inside.While I was in a similar situation when my third child was born, I must confess Botz's solution never once crossed my mind.
Wednesday, the couple's[third] son, Thomas, was born. He came in at 10 pounds, 13 ounces. Botz took a two-day break from the igloo, then went back for the finishing touches.
…after more than 30 hours of hand-freezing labor, he finished it: a two-room sleeper igloo, complete with a welcome mat and a skylight made of ice.
Botz credits his wife for never telling him he couldn't do it.
"I told Erin, sometimes we choose projects, and sometimes they're thrust upon us," he said.
On Monday, President Bush made his first response against his probable opponent.
The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group, with diverse opinions: For tax cuts, and against them. For NAFTA, and against NAFTA. For the Patriot Act, and against the Patriot Act. In favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts. (Laughter and applause.)As expected, President Bush also confirmed that Cheney would be his running mate again.
I also want to acknowledge a man who is not here -- Vice President Dick Cheney spent the day campaigning in Minneapolis and Wichita, but he's recently completed another important assignment. Once again I put him in charge of my vice presidential search committee. (Laughter.) He tells me he's reviewed all the candidates, and he's come back with the same recommendation as last time. (Laughter and applause.) In fact, I made the choice myself, and I have taken the measure of this man. They don't come any better, and I am proud to have Dick Cheney by my side. (Applause.)Kerry picked up three more states before Super Tuesday. Edwards has this week, and only this week, to turn things around before Kerry's nomination is virtually assured in six days. In a clear sign that he would rather face Kerry than Edwards (and rightfully so), President Bush ensured the media would focus on another story. The timing of this announcement was no coincidence. President Bush is a shrewd politician and releasing the story now greatly reduced the already small chance that Edwards could change Democrats' minds before Super Tuesday. President Bush also wants to make this an issue for his campaign against Kerry, but he could have accomplished this months from now. Making the announcement the week before Super Tuesday was another series of nails in Edward's 2004 coffin.
The news was not all good for John Kerry. He took a painful shot when Joshua Muravchik summarized Kerry's defense record:
The litany of weapons systems that Kerry opposed included conventional as well as nuclear equipment: the B-1 bomber, the B-2, the F-15, the F-14A, the F-14D, the AH-64 Apache helicopter, the AV-8B Harrier jet, the Patriot missile, the Aegis air-defense cruiser and the Trident missile. And he sought to reduce procurement of the M1 Abrams tank, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the F-16 jet.Ouch. Expect to see this quote in anti-Kerry ads towards November.
In other news, Nader announced he would run for reelection. Despite the yelps from the Democrats, I doubt his entry will make a difference this year. He is not running on the Green Party ticket, so it will be more difficult for him to appear on the ballots of all 50 states. He did not obtain 5% of the vote in 2000, so he is ineligible for matching funds. (I am thrilled with this; since Bush and Kerry have refused matching funds in order to avoid spending limits, we taxpayers may spend less on this presidential election than we have wasted in years). Graham also made the news with his endorsement of Kerry. It looks like he is still hoping to be considered for Kerry's VP nomination although I think that is a long shot.
GEORGE BUSH: When you rearrange the letters: HE BUGS GOREAnagrams can be fun, especially if you are stuck in a meeting. This happened to me after I had this post mostly written. I now have a better anagram for Osama Bin Laden ==> Be a Slain Nomad.
DORMITORY: When you rearrange the letters: DIRTY ROOM
PRESBYTERIAN: When you rearrange the letters: BEST IN PRAYER
DESPERATION: When you rearrange the letters: A ROPE ENDS IT
THE MORSE CODE: When you rearrange the letters: HERE COME DOTS
SLOT MACHINES: When you rearrange the letters: CASH LOST IN ME
JOHN KERRY: When you rearrange the letters: HORNY JERK
MOTHER-IN-LAW: When you rearrange the letters: WOMAN HITLER
SNOOZE ALARMS: When you rearrange the letters: ALAS! NO MORE Z'S
A DECIMAL POINT: When you rearrange the letters: I'M A DOT IN PLACE
ELEVEN PLUS TWO: When you rearrange the letters: TWELVE PLUS ONE
PRESIDENT CLINTON OF THE USA: When you rearrange the letters: TO COPULATE HE FINDS INTERNS
OSAMA BIN LADEN: When you rearrange the letters: IS A LONE, BAD MAN
Old Europe Stops SneeringObviously, there will still be some Europeans who dislike Bush, just as there are some Americans who do so. However, Johnson's column reinforces an impression I have received from many of my Europeans friends. It has taken three years, but many of those who originally wondered why anyone voted for Bush now see his strengths.
There is nothing flashy about George W. Bush. He does not play with words or use more of them than necessary. He has a few clear ideas, shared by most Americans, and the willpower to back them. With Bush, you know where you are and where you are heading. Hence, even in Old Europe, the sneers are dying down. Most sensible Europeans--not just those in England, who have always recognized Bush as a "sound type"--are beginning to admire Bush, and the prospect of his having a second term is increasingly welcomed as an assurance of stability and continuity.
I am glad to see this. Not because of any potential impact in November. After all, I doubt a single American will change their vote in November based on how Bush is perceived in Europe. Rather, I am pleased because this should make future international cooperation on the War on Terror and other joint initiatives more likely to succeed.
Pay attention to the initial instructions (you exit the demo by holding down the "alt" key and hitting the "F4" key).
According to his research, if the election were held today, Bush would narrowly win. Many pundits, myself included, have thought we might see a landslide victory by Bush in November. This is the first objective forecast that I've seen that shows we are still a divided nation. As I've explained, it does stack things slightly against Bush, but I think his approach is quite reasonable. It will be interesting to see how his map changes as we get closer to November.
None of their theories made sense to me, especially those who blamed the results on hypothetical Republicans who may have voted for Edwards in the primary. Why would this matter? Good question. The pundits said it would cause Kerry to spend more time concentrating on the primary and less time attacking President Bush.
Actually, if any Republicans were playing games (and I do not endorse such behavior), the smart move would have been to vote for Kerry. Unless he self-destructs as quickly as Howard Dean managed to do, Kerry is the presumptive nominee to be the Democratic contender. And while Kerry continues to hack off Southerners, he is still popular with Democrats in most of the country. His public positions are far to the left of Edwards which will not help Kerry win the swing voters. Republicans would be stupid to do anything to increase the chances that Bush would have to run against Edwards instead of Kerry. Not only is Edwards relatively moderate compared to Kerry, he might actually win a Southern state or two. Risking facing a much more competitive opponent in exchange for making Kerry spend a few more days nailing down the nomination would be a poor trade-off for any Republicans.
No, the reason why the race was so close is because of the potential intern scandal. Most Democrats only care about one thing in their candidate: electability. Voters abandoned Dean in droves once it was clear he could not beat Bush. I believe many Wisconsin Democrats were simply worried that the intern scandal would tar Kerry, so they voted for Edwards instead. As this story ages (and is buried behind disclaimers that there is no proof), I suspect Kerry will easily win on Super Tuesday and then it will be Kerry versus Bush from that point forward.
It looks like self-destructing Dean is finally going to bail this week too. If he endorsed Edwards, he could probably make the campaign much more competitive. However, early indications are that he will not do so. I suspect he is negotiating with both Edwards and Kerry for a potential administrative position should Bush be defeated.
As you may recall, I am very much opposed to abortion not due to religious conviction, but rather due to a respect for life in general. (not to mention that even from the staunchest evolutionary perspective I cannot see how slaughtering ones own species is remotely a good thing)I agree. I suppose a stanch evolutionist might favor the abortion of those with biological damage (the weak, the handicapped, those with hereditary diseases) and those from rival groups. However, outside of these situations, the abortion of healthy offspring is inconsistent with an evolutionary perspective.
Your page requested feedback and the sharing of thoughts, hence this email.Thank you.
When I looked at each of your examples and arguments I took the approach of temporarily assuming that life did not begin until actual birth and asked myself if the scriptures would remain consistent with that perspective. If inconsistent, then these examples support the perspective that the scriptures prohibit abortion.Interesting approach. That is not a method that would have occurred to me, but it has an elegant logic to it.
I did not find that the first few implicit examples held up to this scrutiny. Specifically with the notion of forming, and foreknowledge. One uses wood and bricks to build a house. A plan or blueprints let the builders know what they will create. But until the house is finished the wood, bricks, and plans are not yet a house. I do not find that these first few examples distinguish between a person being alive while in the womb versus life commencing at birth. For instance, I could see how the statement "From My mother's womb You have been My God" could imply that the Person-God relationship was formed either within the womb OR at the instant the child exited the womb. Could go either way.I can understand that interpretation even though I disagree. If this was the only scripture about abortion in the Scriptures, I would be motivated to discuss this with a scholar of ancient Hebrew. Of course, if this were the only Scriptural reference to the preborn, I would also be much less convinced of my conclusion. A standard practice of understanding the Scriptures is to ensure the same message is consistent throughout. Many people have fooled themselves into thinking one particular Scripture meant what they wanted it to mean. It is difficult to fool yourself with a repeated theme spread throughout various Books. Fortunately (or via Divine inspiration), there are other verses.
In contrast, the statement "You covered me in my mother's womb" is more convincing as it conveys a sense of 'self' while in the womb.Your recollection is correct. Babies can learn in the womb. Here is a brief summary and here is a simple case study. I will also share a personal observation. From the moment our first child was born, he would attempt to look at his mother or I whenever we spoke, no matter how many other adults were in the room and talking. He obviously recognized our voices.
I find Luke 1:39-44 to put forth an interesting idea. If I understand this correctly, it indicates a capacity for learning, thought, and recognition. And if I recall my Developmental Psychology correctly, science supports the notion that unborn fetus' are capable of learning. (ie. they have the capacity to recognize the voice of their mothers and those around them; and to be affected by emotions expressed) Perhaps not so obvious to others, but it strikes me that actually being alive is a precondition of sentience.
The explicit argument I find to be clear, and standing alone, to not be disputable.I obviously agree. It takes much effort to deliberate misinterpret that argument.
Part of your introduction on this page led me to question something in a new way. If we assume that an unborn fetus is a person and that all people are sinners, then all unborn people are sinners as well. Given that, can the unborn really be considered innocent? For the statement "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" to be true, then all human beings must not only be capable of sin, but have actually done it without exception. I'll confess, I have a hard time imagining a fetus being capable of sin. (As I understand things if you had no way of knowing any better then a sinful act is not punishable, but it is still a sin)I would agree with this. If you ever hear a Christian discuss the age of accountability, it marks the point in each person's life where he or she is accountable for their actions (in your words, they know right from wrong, but my own belief is that it is deeper than that – my two-year-old knows right from wrong, but I don't think she's reached her age of accountability yet). The Bible never specifies what the age of accountability is and my belief is that it differs with the individual. This is an area where the Bible tells us to trust God.
This would seem to hurt the argument that the Scriptures show unborn children to be human beings. Though demonstrating that unborn children were sinners would add validity to the argument. Arguing that unborn children are both innocent and human beings would seem to equate to arguing that the Scriptures are false. Some thought provoking questions here.Now that is an argument worthy of a Jesuit! Unless I can show you that preborn children are sinners, you either weaken the argument that the preborn are people or find a discrepancy in the Scriptures themselves. Fortunately for my internal consistency, I believe I can do so.
The simple answer is that all people, including the preborn, carry within them the curse God put on Adam and his descendents. However, I doubt you'd be happy with how this jives with "all have sinned." So I'll give you an example that might be true. You'll have to judge the reasonableness yourself, the example is from my experience, not the Bible. Of course, if you just wanted to go by the Bible you would simply accept the verse you quoted to me…
Jesus taught people that evening thinking about committing a sin was sinful. For example, Matthew 5:28 states But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So I can easily imagine a babe in the womb growing outraged at his mother, especially as he grows and womb gets more and more crowded. I know all three of my children would kick and/or hit my wife, from inside the womb, when they didn't like the position she was in. So if at any time in the womb, a baby grew enraged and wished his mother dead, or grew enraged with her mother, or merely thought nasty thoughts about his momma, the babe sinned in the womb. Now the babe may not know any better, but as you pointed out, it would still be a sin.
Now that was one of the most unusual theological questions I have ever been asked. If I have time this week, I'll have to ask a seminary graduate this question and see what he thinks. Thank you for your response.
I suspect this story will keep Dean in the race for a while longer. I'm starting to believe Edwards was staying in the race to position himself for a 2008 run, but he, too, has to wonder if this story will give him a chance in 2004.
This does not change my voting plans since I wasn't going to vote for Kerry anyway. I'm mostly curious as to what the Looney Left (such as Move on) will do. You remember, these are the people who first defended Clinton by stating infidelity was a personal issue and should have no role in making political decisions. Then they decided that infidelity was an important political issue again when Schwarzenegger ran for office. Now that another Democrat has been caught, I suspect fidelity will no longer be important (again). Gotta love folks who can take a stand and stick with their principles…
Republican, Democrat, or Independent; I see no reason to believe that a man who will betray his family vows to his wife will keep his office vows to me.
Since then, two Americans have shown their opinions of the policy by shooting birds at the Brazilian authorities when they were being photographed. American Airlines pilot Dale Hersh did so in January and was paid nearly $13,000 in fines vs. risking spending two years in jail. Last week, Douglas A. Skolnick also paid more than $17,000 to get out of jail.
Brazil has laws against showing contempt to authority. Brazil is certainly within their rights to do this, although I wonder what sort of diplomatic problems would have been caused if either of the Americans refused to pay. However, this incident reinforces how fortunate Americans are to live in a country where we are very free to express ourselves. I do not condone the rudeness of these two Americans, but I hope someday the people of Brazil will have the same rights to free speech that we take for granted.
I also wonder how many American tourists will now avoid Brazil since they now know the can be substantially fined if they are too free with their opinions.
Section 1. The Legislature finds that the State of South Dakota has a compelling and paramount interest in the preservation and protection of all human life within and subject to its jurisdiction and that the preservation and protection of human life applies to all human life, born or unborn.I take heart in this for many reasons. First, I am obviously thrilled to see some courageous pro-life legislatures who are not afraid of fighting for their beliefs. Second, my process of discovering this story shows how easily the internet can defeat the media's attempt to hide information. If they had actually covered Hunter's bill, I would have never discovered the South Dakota bill.
Section 2. The Legislature finds that since neither constitutional law nor Supreme Court decision has resolved the question of the beginning of life, it is within the proper sphere of state legislative enactment to determine the question in light of the best scientific and medical evidence. The Legislature therefore finds that unborn human life begins when the ovum is fertilized by male sperm.
Section 3. The Legislature finds that the guarantee of due process of law under the South Dakota Bill of Rights applies equally to born and unborn human life and that there is no other justification for the taking of a guiltless human life by the state or by any person within and subject to the jurisdiction of the state.
Reynolds believes this bill would be a waste of time even if it passed and pointed out You're not a "person" for 14th Amdt. purposes until you're born. Says so right in the 14th Amendment.
Volokh stated If it's an attempt to reverse Roe and Casey, it surely won't fly. Since I'm not a lawyer, I had to go look up the Casey case.
This decision has replaced Roe v. Wade as the dominant precedent on abortion in this country. It is long and comprehensive and is probably the best single examination of all the legal perspectives available. The dissents of Blackmun and Scalia are particularly argumentative and worth reading. This case (if not Webster) may represent the closest Roe v. Wade has ever come to being overturned.Well, I'm convinced it is just a matter of time before Roe v. Wade is finally overturned, but if Reynolds and Volokh are correct it will not be via the Right to Life Bill.
As a generally well-educated person without a law degree, my opinion differs from that of the lawyers. I believe this is worth pursing for several reasons. First of all, many lawyers tend to take the law literally (as they should), but judges do not (perhaps they should, but many judges continue to create precedents such as Roe v. Wade whenever they have the motive and opportunity to do so). If this bill passed, I have little doubt it would eventually appear before the Supreme Court. I looked up the 14th Amendment and note that Section 1 states that All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States. This is why Reynolds made his comment. However, I think this opinion predicts a lack of legislative imagination. Section 5 clearly states The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. Even assuming Judges only enforced laws as written (ha!), Congress could merely naturalize all fetus' of current citizens to give these preborn children legal rights.
However, more realistically, laws created by judicial fiat can be removed via judicial fiat. Given the split nature of our current court, the judicial degree of abortion could be overturned at any opportunity. So I support any bill that will bring the issue before the court.
This is one of the main reasons why I will be voting to reelect Bush despite his fiscal failings. I expect 2 to 3 Supreme Court justices will retire in the next 4 years. Given a Bush reelection and several more Republican seats in the Senate, it is entirely possible that Roe V. Wade could be overturned even sooner than I predicted.
Given this majority opposition to legitimizing gay marriage (60%), Clayton wonders why 18% (60% minus the 42% who approved the amendment) of the respondents did not also favor a federal amendment. He theorizes:
1. This 18% wants the states to have the authority to legalize gay marriage in the future.While both of these are possible, there is a third option. Right now, I probably fall into that group, so I'll share my feelings. I do not think the Federal government has any business getting involved in this issue. They may have to do so since some activist judges are attempting to impose their will on the State of Massachusetts and, by proxy, all States that do not have a local Defense of Marriage Act. In addition to Massachusetts, this ruling – if it stands – will affect Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. So yes, if some liberal judges are allowed to force yet another social change on us by judicial tyranny and completely bypass our democratic-republic system, then I would support a constitutional amendment to prevent this.
2. This 18% was rejecting either the particular text of this amendment that was presented to them, or the polling question's description of that amendment.
However, first I want to give politicians the chance to do the right thing. Despite appearances to the contrary, politicians have a way to stop judges who overstep their authority. Judges can be impeached. This requires politicians to have some courage, which unfortunately seems to be in short supply. If I lived in Massachusetts I would be calling my representatives and demanding that they impeach these judges who are dictating terms to the Legislature. If politicians had the balls to impeach every activist judge who usurped the power of the Legislature, many of our current problems would have been nipped in the bud.
However, this agreement is far better than nothing. Yes, I share the disappointment that the agreement took the more politically expedient route of not threatening Big Sugar. However, let us be thankful for a step in the right direction. Given the Bush administration's protectionist record, I am thrilled that they are willing to bring this to Congress in an election year. I had feared they would completely wimp out and wait until 2005 if Bush is reelected.
In the words of Gerard Henderson,
The exclusion of sugar from the FTA will not make canegrowers and sugar producers any worse off than they are now. Yet the junking of the FTA would have adversely affected the prospects of other Australian industries seeking to sell on American markets... No developed economy, including Asian economies, would want to be excluded from such an arrangement. And none would sacrifice such a deal for any particular industry, including sugar.In other words, half a loaf is better than none.
What does it mean for the typical American consumer? Virtually all tariffs on lamb and manufactured goods are now gone. I'm not sure what manufactured goods we import from Australia, but we imported about $5 billions dollars worth in 2003. So I expect imports of these goods (whatever they are) and lamb to increase. Many American manufacturers will benefit from opening up Australia's markets as well. According to the United States Trade Representative office, the US already has a $9 billion trade surplus with Australia despite paying very high Australian tariffs. With the removal of these tariffs (and the currently low dollar), I expect exports to Australian to increase.
Trade is not a zero-sum game. By more efficiently exporting products that each country produced efficiently, both sides benefit. If you write your representatives, please ask them to ratify the FTA. Make it clear that your support would be even stronger if the FTA did not protect our inefficient domestic sugar producers.
The Supreme Court, in the Roe v. Wade Decision itself, provided a way to overturn their decision.
If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case [that is, "Roe" who sought an abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.As far as I can tell, the Right to Life Act has received absolutely zero press. I just learned about the act this week. I did a search on Google and found a grand total of zero media references to it. Given the pro-life swing in public opinion, it does not surprise me that many in the media do not want to make this a story.
If you are a fellow blogger and do not agree with this act, please discuss it at your site. This issue is too important to allow the media to prevent its discussion.
I ask any pro-life readers who support this act to do several things.
First of all, send this post to as many of your pro-life friends as possible. If you click on the permalink (the chain icon) and scroll down past the comments section, you can simply enter a friend's email address and it will be forwarded to them. If you have lots of pro-life friends, simply email the post to yourself and then forward it to all. If you are a pro-life blogger, please link to this post on one of your discussions. Let's see how much attention we can draw to this act despite the objections of the traditional media.
Second, contact your congressman or congresswoman and let him or her know you support this bill. If you feel strongly about the issue, write a person letter. You can even collect signatures and send them in – that is a real attention getter. If you do not have time to create your own letter, feel free to use this letter I created. You may use it for either purpose.
Police said Joseph P. Smith told a witness that he had kidnapped and killed Carlie Brucia, and authorities used that information to find the sixth-grader's body in a church parking lot a few miles from the carwash.
Smith has been arrested at least 13 times in Florida since 1993.
He served 17 months in prison in 2001 and 2002 for heroin possession and prescription drug fraud. Eight days after he got out, he was arrested for cocaine possession and placed on probation for three years. He also got probation for aggravated battery in 1993 and heroin charges in 1999.I do not really care if the Judge or the probation officer was at fault in this one incident. I am outraged at a system that continually treats drug offenders more lightly than other offenders simply because "If everybody that has bad urine was arrested, we would need a thousand jails. What we try to do is get people with drug problems as much help as possible." I support putting criminals in drug treatment programs. But they should also remain in prison until their problem is solved. Allowing hardcore drug users to roam free is foolhardy.
A state correction official, Joe Papy, said that a probation officer had asked a judge on Dec. 30 to declare Smith in violation of his probation because he had not paid all his fines and court costs.
Papy said Circuit Judge Harry Rapkin declined to find Smith in violation, which could have returned him to jail. The judge defended his decision Friday, saying the probation officer never sent him the evidence he requested that Smith had willfully refused to pay.
Schroeder has lost the confidence of his own party and today he announced he was resigning as the SPD party leader. I misread the headline and cheered aloud when I thought he was quitting as chancellor.
No such fortune, but this may allow the SPD to become a stronger party again. Schroeder is in a rough position, his party (comparable to the left wing of our Democratic party) is both anti-American and supports unsustainable levels of welfare and workforce protection. Schroeder pandered to their anti-American beliefs, but has tried to reform Germany's social welfare state in order to make the country competitive in the hopes of lowering the unemployment rate. While I admire his realistic grasp of the problem, Schroeder has placed himself in an untenable position. His base despises the idea of such social reform, and Schroeder's anti-Americanism has irritated other segments who blame Schroeder for isolating Germany from other nations. At least he has Chirac to keep him company...
At any rate, I have long said the German people deserve better than Schroeder. Today, he no longer leads the SPD party. I look forward to the day when he no longer leads Germany and expect that to be in 2006 unless he steps down first.
By the way, do any of my readers know much about his replacement? This article captures all I know about Franz Muentefering
The pseudopatients were to present themselves and say words along these lines: "I am hearing a voice. It is saying thud." Rosenhan specifically chose this complaint because nowhere in psychiatric literature are there any reports of any person hearing a voice that contains such obvious cartoon angst.
Upon further questioning, the eight pseudopatients were to answer honestly, save for name and occupation. They were to feign no other symptoms. Once on the ward, if admitted, they were immediately to say that the voice had disappeared and that they now felt fine. Rosenhan then gave his confederates a lesson in managing medication, how to avoid swallowing it by slipping it under the tongue, so it could later be blurted back to the toilet bowl.
Once in the admissions unit, Rosenhan was led to a small white room. "What is the problem?" a psychiatrist asked.
"I'm hearing a voice," Rosenhan said, and then he said nothing else.
"And what is the voice saying?" the psychiatrist questioned, falling, unbeknown to him, straight into Rosenhan's rabbit hole.
"Thud," Rosenhan said, smugly, I imagine.
"Thud?" the psychiatrist asked. "Did you say thud?"Psychologist Lauren Slater decided to put Spitzer's words to the test and gave it a try.
"Thud," Rosenhan said again.
Rosenhan was led down a long hallway. Across the country, the eight other pseudopatients were also being admitted. Rosenhan must have been scared, exhilarated. He was a journalist, a scientist at the apex, putting his body on the line for knowledge. He was taken to a room and told to undress.
"When will I get out?" we can imagine Rosenhan asked, his voice perhaps rising now, some panic here - what had he done, my God.
"When you are well," a doctor answered, or something to this effect. But he was well: 110 over 80, a pulse of 72, a temperature that hovered in the mid-zone of moderate, homeostatic, a machine well greased. It didn't matter. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and kept for many days.
The strange thing was, the other patients seemed to know that Rosenhan was normal, even while the doctors did not. One young man, coming up to Rosenhan in the dayroom, said "You're not crazy. You're a journalist or a professor." Another said, "You're checking up on the hospital."
And then one day, for a reason as arbitrary as his admission, he was discharged.
Rosenhan's paper describing his findings, On Being Sane In Insane Places, was published in Science, where it burst like a bomb on the world of psychiatry.
The experiment was greeted with outrage, and then, at last, a challenge. "All right," said one hospital, its institutional chest all puffed up. "You think we don't know what we're doing? Here's a dare. In the next three months, send as many pseudopatients as you like to our emergency room and we'll detect them. Go ahead."
Now, Rosenhan liked a fight. So he said, "Sure." He said in the next three months he would send an undisclosed number of pseudopatients to this particular hospital, and the staff were to judge, in a sort of experimental reversal, not who was insane, but who was sane. One month passed. Two months passed. At the end of three months, the hospital staff reported to Rosenhan that they had detected, with a high degree of confidence, 41 of Rosenhan's pseudopatients. Rosenhan had, in fact, sent none. Case closed. Match over. Psychiatry hung its head.
In the 1970s, Spitzer and a group of colleagues completely revised the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders, or DSM for short, tightening the diagnostic criteria, taking away from it signs of subjectivity and psychobabble… "No," repeats Spitzer, "that experiment could never be successfully repeated. Not in this day and age."
I don't feel in control, though. At any moment someone might recognise my gig. As soon as I say, "Thud", any well-read psychiatrist could say, "You're a trickster. I know the experiment." I pray the psychiatrists are not well-read.Despite being appalled at how easily one can obtain drugs that strongly manipulate brain chemistry (antipsychotic drugs are scary; they do good in some people that cannot otherwise be helped, but they can also irrevocable harm some patients), there are some bright spots to this story. First of all, Lauren Slater was not locked up. Secondly, she was treated with kindness. This is a long way from the original experiment where Rosenhan and his accomplices were locked up and treated with disdain. Psychiatry is still a very soft science (or still an art, however you prefer), but at least they now treat those with mental illness as people.
I am brought to a small room that has a stretcher with black straps attached to it. "Sit," the ER nurse tells me, and then in walks a man, closing the door behind him - click click.
"I'm hearing a voice," I say.
He writes that down on his intake sheet, nods knowingly. "And the voice is saying?"
The knowing nod stops. "Thud?" he says. This, after all, is not what psychotic voices usually report. They usually send ominous messages about stars and snakes and tiny hidden microphones.
"Thud," I repeat.
"Is that it ?" he says.
"That's it," I say.
"Did the voice start slowly, or did it just come on?"
"Out of the blue," I say, and I picture, for some reason, a plane falling out of the blue, its nose diving downward, someone screaming. I am starting, actually, to feel a little crazy. How hard it is to separate role from reality, a phenomenon social psychologists have long pointed out to us.
"So when did the voice come on?" Mr Graver asks.
"Three weeks ago," I say, just as Rosenhan and his confederates reported.
He asks me whether I am eating and sleeping OK, whether there have been any precipitating life stressors, whether I have a history of trauma. I answer a definitive no to all of these things: my appetite is good, sleep normal, my work proceeds as usual.
"Are you sure?" he says.
"Well," I say, "as far as the trauma goes, I guess when I was in the third grade, a neighbour named Mr Blauer fell into his pool and died. I didn't see it, but it was sort of traumatic to hear about."
Mr Graver chews on his pen. He's thinking hard.
"Thud," Mr Graver says. "Your neighbour went thud into his pool. You're hearing 'thud'. We might be looking at post-traumatic stress disorder. The hallucination could be your memory trying to process the trauma."
"But it really wasn't a big deal," I say. "It was just ..."
"I would say," he says, and his voice is gaining confidence now, "that having a neighbour drown constitutes a traumatic loss. I'm going to get the psychiatrist to evaluate you, but I really suspect that we're looking at post-traumatic stress disorder with a rule out of organic brain damage, but the brain damage is way far down the line. I wouldn't worry about that."
He disappears. He is going to get the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist enters the little locked room. The psychiatrist looks sad, and baffled, and then says, "But the voice is bothering you."
"Sort of, yeah."
"I'm going to give you an antipsychotic," he says, and as soon as he says this the sadness goes away. His voice assumes an authoritative tone; there is something he can do. "I'm going to give you Risperdal," he says. "That should quiet the auditory centres in your brain."
"So you think I'm psychotic?" I ask.
"I think you have a touch of psychosis," he says, but I get the feeling he has to say this, now that he's prescribing Risperdal. It becomes fairly clear to me that medication drives the decisions, and not the other way around. In Rosenhan's day, it was pre-existing psychoanalytic schema that determined what was wrong; in our days, it's the pre-existing pharmacological schema, the pill. Either way, Rosenhan's point that diagnosis does not reside in the person seems to stand.
"But do I appear psychotic?" I ask.
He looks at me. He looks for a long, long time. "A little," he finally says.
"You're kidding me," I say, reaching up to adjust my hat.
"You look," he says, "a little psychotic and quite depressed. And depression can have psychotic features, so I'm going to prescribe you an antidepressant as well."
Was this a freak accident? Surely most doctors do not prescribe antipsychotics and antidepressants at the drop of a hat? Or do they?
It's a little fun, going into ERs and playing this game, so over the next eight days I do it eight more times, nearly the number of admissions Rosenhan arranged.
Each time, I am denied admission, but, strangely enough, most times I am given a diagnosis of depression with psychotic features, even though, I am now sure, after a thorough self-inventory and the solicited opinions of my friends and my physician brother, I am really not depressed. (As an aside, but an important one, a psychotic depression is never mild; in the DSM, it is listed in the severe category, accompanied by gross and unmistakable motor and intellectual impairments.)
I am prescribed a total of 25 antipsychotics and 60 antidepressants. At no point does an interview last longer than 12 and a half minutes, although at most places I needed to wait an average of two and a half hours in the waiting room. No one ever asks me, beyond a cursory religious-orientation question, about my cultural background; no one asks me if the voice is of the same gender as I; no one gives me a full mental status exam, which includes more detailed and easily administered tests to indicate the gross disorganisation of thinking that almost always accompanies psychosis. Everyone, however, takes my pulse.
I call back Robert Spitzer at Columbia's Institute for Biometrics.
"So what do you predict would happen if a researcher were to repeat the Rosenhan experiment in this day and age?" I ask him.
"The researcher would not be admitted," Spitzer replies.
"But would they be diagnosed? What would the doctors do about that?"
"If they only said what Rosenhan and his confederates said?" he asks.
"Yeah," I say.
"They would be given a diagnosis of deferred."
"OK," I say. "Let me tell you, I tried this experiment. I actually did it."
"You?" he says, and pauses. "You're kidding me." I wonder if I hear defensiveness edging into his voice. "And what happened?" he says.
"I went in," I say, "with a thud, and from that one word a whole schema was woven and pills were given, despite the fact that no one really knows how or why the pills work or really what their safety is."
Spitzer clears his throat. "I'm disappointed," he says, and I think I hear real defeat, the slumping of shoulders, the pen put down. "I think," he says slowly, and there is a raw honesty in his voice now, "I think doctors just don't like to say, 'I don't know'."
"That's true," I say, "and I also think the zeal to prescribe drives diagnosis in our day, much like the zeal to pathologise drove diagnosis in Rosenhan's day, but, either way, it does seem to be more a product of fashion, or fad."
I am thinking this: in the 1970s, American doctors diagnosed schizophrenia in their patients many times more than British doctors did. And now, in the 21st century, diagnoses of depression have risen dramatically, as have those of post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It appears, therefore, that not only do the incidences of certain diagnoses rise and fall depending on public perception, but also the doctors who are giving these labels are still doing so with perhaps too little regard for the DSM criteria the field dictates.
Second, it is remarkably easy to convince a psychiatrist that one is insane. This is not to cast fault at the psychiatrists, they must assume their patients are telling the truth, as they see it, in order to help. However, it is a strong argument for disallowing the "not guilty by insanity" plea that was once popular in the courts.
If you would like to read the entire description yourself, Lauren Slater summarizes the experiment in a lengthy weekend article at the Guardian. The links no longer work, but I was able to find cached versions at Google for Part I and Part II.
Please respond in the comments section.
Looking for a little something special for your valentine? How about a hissing cockroach?While I am tempted to insert a Hillary Clinton crack, I shall refrain. Some things are just too easy.
For ten bucks, you can adopt a hissing cockroach for your sweetheart. The adoption includes a photo, cockroach fact sheet and a free pass for your special friend to visit the little hisser.
I shall warn men to think carefully before following this advice. While a few women may appreciate this gift, most will not. I know Lady Quixote would not be amused by receiving such a gift. On the other hand, many men might appreciate it.
My strongest bias is my respect for human life. I think the vivisection of unborn babies is barbaric and I look forward to a time when this practice rejoins slavery as a relic of the past. I take great solace that the post Baby-Boomer generations are growing more and more pro-life every year and I predict that abortion will be illegal again somewhere between 2020 and 2040.I do not know how many of my readers share my views on this, but my abortion reference page receives many hits along with a white paper I wrote on What do the Scriptures (Jewish & Christian) say about abortion? So I am confident that this issue is of interest to many people who visit this site no matter where they stand on the issue.
The political implications of abortion are fascinating and are starting to receive more media attention.
It's a matter of numbers. Voter News Service found that 14 percent of 2000 voters attended religious services more than once a week. These voters backed George W. Bush by a 27-percent margin. The 14 percent of the voters who said they never attended went to Al Gore by a 29-percent margin.Mattingly makes some good points, but the abortion issue cannot be explained by just the gap between conservative religious folk (pro-life) and liberal religious and anti-religious people. As technological innovations allow people to see healthy babies within the womb, they realize they are not killing a lump of tissue, but a child. I believe modern science is one of the main reasons why post baby boomer generations – as a whole – find abortion to be barbaric. However, there is also some support for the religious gap theory.
This "pew gap" is not new. While trends vary among blacks and Hispanics, they noted, the religion gap among white voters in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential elections was "more important than other demographic and social cleavages. ... (It) was much larger than the gender gap and more significant than any combination of differences in education, income, occupation, age, marital status and regional groupings."
Meanwhile, the fastest growing Democratic power bloc is what Bolce and De Maio called the "anti-fundamentalist" voter. In 1996 and 2000, about a third of the total white Democratic presidential vote came from these voters that identified themselves as intensely secular or religious liberals.[boldness added]
Many people believe in a "Roe Effect" – a social Darwinism where liberals kill many of their offspring and social conservatives do not. Thus, there are more children raised in conservative homes and these children tend to share their parents beliefs about the sanctity of life. With over 40,000,000 US babies aborted in the US since Roe v. Wade, those are a lot of children who were not raised by liberals (over 19 million of whom would now be old enough to vote). As close as the 2000 Presidential election was, one can make a strong argument that the Democratic stance on abortion has already cost them one Presidential election. How many more losses will it take before the Democrats start reflecting the majority of Americans and become pro-life?
I am not a major fan of President Bush and I grow less enthusiastic about him with each new entitlement he endorses. However, I will not stay home on November and I will be voting for Bush because of my respect for human life. I would love a pro-life Democratic alternative. Until that day returns, they will continue to lose elections they could have won.
So let's consider the top four candidates.
Howard Dean has yet to win a single contest. He is putting all of his hopes on winning Michigan. I doubt it will happen and even if it did, it would only slightly delay his withdrawal. Clark won Oklahoma and looked strong in many states, although he is definitely a distant third to Edwards so far. So let us just consider Kerry and Edwards.
Kerry clearly won three states with just over 50% of the vote (Missouri, North Dakota, and Delaware) and easily beat Edwards in Arizona and New Mexico. Edwards defeated Kerry in South Carolina and Oklahoma. The margin of victory in Kerry's victories is quite interesting. It would take the additional votes of both Dean and Clark supporters for Edwards to have defeated Kerry in Arizona and New Mexico. Is it probable for this to happen?
No. Dean's supporters consist of the irrational Left (who are upset with both Kerry and Edwards for even their limited support of the war) and those who incorrectly believed Dean was the Democrats best chance for defeating Bush in November. The latter have been abandoning the Dean camp in droves. From the limited market research I have seen, they do not appear to have a strong preference between Kerry and Edwards. More of them have ended up in Kerry's camp, but given his lead in the polls, they simply see him the most electable candidate. Should he start acting as self-destructive as Dean, his supporters would mostly jump to Edwards.
I rarely agree with the conventional wisdom, but at this point in time I do. The race for the Democratic nomination is now Kerry's to lose. If he avoids a Dean-like comedy of errors, Kerry will win the nomination. He will then have to shore up his Southern base with a VP candidate with Southern roots. Despite the suggestions of many pundits, I would be surprised if Kerry picked Edwards as a running mate. Other than his Southern roots, Edwards brings little to a Kerry ticket. Kerry would be better off selecting a former Southern Governor or someone else extremely popular in Florida (Bob Graham would have been an easy pick if Graham had not made Dean look sober in the early days of the race).
Note: No results have been officially certified at this time and the exact numbers may fluctuate slightly until certified.
UPDATE: James Joyner has a nice post on the elections.
I had a great trip. Although I may delay future visits until the arrival of warmer weather.