Benny's World

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

JRE Podcast on 3/22/2003

Podcast was loaded late tonight...about 10:45pm CST. For a very good account of the session, American Street has one on its site, written by Jude Camwell.

It was announced that JRE will be on the Today Show tomorrow--Wed, March 23, 2005.

Elizabeth was on the podcast to tell us about her progress, as well as discuss the Center for Poverty, Work, and Opportunity. The Center also had a panel discussion on 3/22/05, as finally announced on the Law School's web site late this afternoon. A news item about the event was published in one of the local newspapers. I also found JRE's faculty listing page, which means he's settling in with his new colleagues, despite his heavy travel schedule and tending to Elizabeth and their babies.

I also heard that Bill Clinton will be the closing keynote speaker at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) in Toronto this summer. I am a very active member of SLA, so I'm pleased to finally get to see him speak.

Great the midst of all of the tragedy for Mrs. Schivo, her husband, and her blood relatives. I've been a little under the weather myself with an infection, so all of this news cheers me up!

Right to Quality Life=Healthcare for Most of US

The Debate about Mrs. Terri Schiavo has definitely drawn some attention about right-to-life. It's the first time that Republicans and the very conservative Right have started looking at right to life from start to finish. The only problem with this, is that they don't really know when is the start, and when is the end. If doctors and scientists do not have all of the answers for this, I don't think our ultra-conservatives better informed than them or the rest of us.

When debating S. 286 and HR 182 (I think) last Sunday, Mel Watts, a Congressman from Charlotte, NC, brought up the issue of compassion for not only for Mrs. Schiavo, but what about the millions of African-Americans who have died from poverty, meaning starvation, lack of access to healthcare, lack of better funding for children or those who would like to continue their education beyond high school. His point got lost when he talked about increasing the CBC's budget when requested recently (and hasn't been decided I don't think), but I think he was right, because the CBC is best committee to be the voice of African-Americans.

A question I asked JRE for his podcast had to do with right to life for all of us, and not just one person whose parents has decided to bring in reinforcements to support their side in a family feud. Setting aside the constitutional ramifications at the moment, I asked JRE if right to life could also mean improved and perhaps I should have added, competent, healthcare for all Americans, especially those who cannot afford it, such as the case I last posted my blog: Wanda Hudson. This case truly was about the ability to pay, and no hospital was willing to take on the risk or the burden of a 6 month old baby who needed a feeding tube until they could figure out other means of rehabilitation. This also had to do with a state law that Bush signed when he was governor of Texas.

I believe that Mrs. Schiavo's wishes have overturned for political reasons, not for her right to end her life peacefully. But more important, if the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that she has been denied due process in the Florida State courts, then there is an opportunity to frame this: many of us have, like Wanda Hudson's son, have been denied due process--a right to quality life, which includes having competent, effective healthcare that should be affordable for all. Right to quality life also is more than just one law for one person who got the most attention.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Texas case Bush won't mention

From, today's commentary:

As Republicans plotted congressional intervention last week to extend the life of Terri Schiavo, a Texas woman named Wanda Hudson watched her six-month-old baby die in her arms after doctors removed the breathing tube that kept him alive. Hudson didn't want the tube removed, but the baby's doctors decided for her. A judge signed off on the decision under the Texas futile care law -- a provision first signed into law in 1999 by then-Gov. George W. Bush.

Under the 1999 law, doctors in Texas can, with the support of a hospital ethics committee, can overrule the wishes of family members and terminate life-support measures if they believe further care would be futile. Bush signed the bill after interested parties, including anti-abortion activists, agreed on compromise language that required hospitals to give families 10 days' notice before terminating care and to help families find an alternative treatment facility that would continue care instead.

That process worked last week for the family of Spiro Nikolouzos, a retired electrical engineer who was critically injured in a car accident 10 years ago and has been in a persistent vegetative state since at least 2001. The Houston Chronicle reports that a lawyer for Nikolouzos' family was able to delay the termination of care by a Houston hospital just long enough for the family to find a nursing home in San Antonio that would take him in.

Wanda Hudson didn't have that option. According to the Chronicle, Texas Children's Hospital said it contacted 40 facilities with newborn intensive care units, but not one of them would accept Hudson's baby. He died last Tuesday, just minutes after doctors removed his breathing tube. So far as we can tell, neither the White House nor any member of Congress made any effort to intervene in the case.

-- Tim Grieve

[13:25 EST, March 21, 2005]
Rep Melvin Watt from Charlotte, NC put it this way: how about the millions of African-Americans who have been dying from starving and poverty for years? When the CBC wanted more resources for their subcommittee budget, no one was coming in to help them last week.

FEC Considers Restricting Online Political Activities

New Rules May Apply to Web Ads, Bloggers' Endorsements

By Brian Faler
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, March 21, 2005; Page A17

The Federal Election Commission has begun considering whether to issue new rules on how political campaigns are waged on the Internet, a regulatory process that is expected to take months to complete but that is already generating considerable angst online.

The agency is weighing whether -- and how -- to impose restrictions on a host of online activities, including campaign advertising and politically oriented blogs.

Election officials are reluctantly taking up the issue, after losing a court case last fall. The FEC, which enforces federal election law, had issued scores of regulations delineating how the campaign finance reform legislation adopted in 2002 ought to be implemented. But Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Martin T. Meehan (D-Mass.), who sponsored the legislation, complained that many of those rules were too lax, and they successfully sued to have them rescinded. The commission must now rewrite a number of those directions, including ones that left online political activities virtually free from government regulation.

"We are almost certainly going to move from an environment in which the Internet was per se not regulated to where it is going to be regulated in some part," said FEC Commissioner David M. Mason, a Republican. "That shift has huge significance because it means that people who are conducting political activity on the Internet are suddenly going to have to worry about or at least be conscious of certain legal distinctions and lines they didn't used to have to worry about."

Which people, what activities and where those lines should be drawn, though, have yet to be determined. The rise of the Internet as a political tool, the variety of ways in which it can be used to promote a campaign and the fact that most federal election laws were written long before the Internet became a household word have combined to present the agency's commissioners with plenty of knotty legal questions to consider. "


To read the rest, click on the title for the link from the WP.

Our government officials who are Republican want to control everything. My goodness, I thought this all was passe when the Berlin wall came down in 1989, or we defeated the Nazis in WWII.

There will be some heads rolling in 2006...many of them Republican, and they are nervous.