Saturday, February 05, 2005


Another step down that slippery slope....

The Guardian reports:

Doctors have stepped into a right-to-life row following the suggestion some hospital patients should be allowed to die because it costs so much to keep them alive.

The Daily Mail reported that leaked Government papers suggest that they should be denied food and liquid if they fall into a coma or are too ill to speak for themselves.

The Department of Health has refused to comment. A spokeswoman said: "I cannot comment on the Daily Mail story. I can tell you it is a leaked document. We are not saying anything further."

However, the British Medical Association said it would be "quite wrong" to let financial considerations affect decisions on when to withdraw food and water. A spokeswoman for the BMA said: "It would be quite wrong to make a life or death decision based on the cost of treatment."

She also criticised a move by the Department to seek clarification on a right to life ruling, saying it was already clear.

If this is the way thought is moving, why did their parents and grandparents get so upset about the putting down of "defective" people by Germany in the 1930s?

Friday, February 04, 2005


Victory for Free Speech at UC Santa Barbara

FIRE Press Release

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., February 4, 2005—The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) has abandoned an attempt to force the owner of a website called The Dark Side of UCSB from using the letters “UCSB” in his web address. UCSB threatened Mr. James Baron, the site’s owner, with criminal sanctions if he did not change the site’s address. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) protested UCSB’s unconstitutional threats, and on the very same day that UCSB received FIRE’s letter, the university notified Mr. Baron that it would pursue the matter no further.

“We are relieved that UCSB has come to its senses and realized that it may not prohibit those who might criticize the university from using the university’s name,” remarked FIRE President David French. “UCSB twice told Mr. Baron, whose website is critical of the university, that it was a crime to use the UCSB name without the university’s permission. It is simply absurd for a public university to claim that it cannot be criticized by name.”

Mr. Baron created to draw public attention to what he and others see as a dangerous and lawless campus culture at UCSB. The website criticizes USCB administrators for not doing enough to change this culture. In November 2004, UCSB sent Mr. Baron two notices claiming that he had violated California law by including the letters “UCSB” in the web address, and that using the letters without permission could make him “guilty of a misdemeanor” under Section 92000 of the California Education Code. Asked about the university’s actions in an article in UCSB’s campus newspaper, administrator Margaret Clow claimed that the university was concerned that Internet users would believe The Dark Side of UCSB was an official UCSB website.

Baron contacted FIRE, and on January 31, 2005, FIRE wrote UCSB, pointing out that the possibility that the public would confuse The Dark Side of UCSB with an official UCSB site was remote because of its content, its disclaimer, and its “.com” address. FIRE also pointed out that any law or regulation, such as California Education Code Section 92000, that attempted to deprive critics of UCSB from using the name or initials of the university for noncommercial use was patently unconstitutional because it infringed upon the First Amendment rights of Mr. Baron to speak out about what he saw as a destructive culture for students at UCSB.

“Section 92000 of the California Education Code has serious constitutional problems,” remarked Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy. “It purports to forbid people to use the University of California name in connection with strikes, lockouts, or virtually any political, social, or economic movement or activity. Mr. Baron is not the only person whose rights are threatened by this law. For example, it would also forbid strikers from making signs saying ‘UCSB Unfair!’ This is manifestly a violation of the First Amendment,” he continued.

On February 1, FIRE received a response from the University of California General Counsel’s office saying that Mr. Baron’s website “does not at this time pose a potential for confusion that the site is affiliated with the campus, and [UCSB does] not intend to pursue the matter further.” University Counsel David Birnbaum also stated that “the campus objects to such misuse when it occurs, regardless of any political or other points of view involved,” and that the university had made the decision to drop the matter earlier on the same day that FIRE’s letter arrived.

FIRE’s Lukianoff commented, “The university’s claim that after two months of insisting that The Dark Side of UCSB was in violation of the law, it coincidentally decided to drop the matter on the very same day that it received our letter seems suspect to say the least. No matter what its reasons for bowing to the U.S. Constitution, however, the university is now on notice that attempting to use Section 92000 to hamstring its critics will no longer work.”

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at


Greg Lukianoff, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, FIRE: 215-717-3473;

David French, President, FIRE: 215-717-3473;

Press Release Contact

David French, President, FIRE: 215-717-3473;
Greg Lukianoff, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy, FIRE: 215-717-3473;

Thursday, February 03, 2005


More Interesting news about stem cell research

Political rhetoric aside, there has been some really fascinating research going on with all types of adult and cord stem cell research, and much of it very favorable, without ethical problems, without the instability of embryonic cells or their cancer risk. If I were investing money, I would be investing it on the adult stem cell research, just because so much good is happening so fast. Here's another story about it:

New Bone Marrow Stem Cell has all the Flexibility of Embryonic Cells

BOSTON, February 2, 2005 ( - A type of adult stem cell has been isolated from bone marrow that shows all the characteristics of human embryonic stem cells. A team of researchers at Boston’s Tufts University have found cells that come from adult donors that can change into many, if not all of the different types of tissue in the human body. It was previously thought that only embryonic cells could produce this.

The cells were tested on rats with heart damage and some changed into heart muscle tissue to directly repair damage, and others went to form new blood vessels. Treated rats had more than twice the number of blood vessels and less scar tissue than those of the control group.

Tufts cardiologist Dr. Douglas W. Losordo said, “I think embryonic stem cells are going to fade in the rearview mirror of adult stem cells.” He said that bone marrow “is like a repair kit. Nature provided us with these tools to repair organ damage.”

Scientists have long sought approval for using embryo-derived stem cells since, they say, such cells have the potential to be used for an almost limitless number of applications. Some researchers, however, have admitted that embryo stem cells, while theoretically able to change into almost any kind of tissue, are extremely hard to control and are unlikely ever to have any practical therapeutic application because of the medical dangers they pose to patients. However, embryonic stem cell research is seen to be a potentially far more lucrative source of financial profit for researchers and drug companies.

Many reports have come out recently showing the nearly universal flexibility of certain types of adult stem cells. These also avoid any ethical problems and do not pose medical dangers from immune system rejection. Stem cells derived from bone marrow are showing more and more promise and do not have the tendency, as do embryo stem cells, of developing into tumors.

Dr. Losordo added that the newly discovered bone marrow cells are easy to grow and maintain in the lab. “We've got freezers full of these things now,” he said.

(emphasis added. Source: LifeSiteNews)


Winners and Losers

Standing for self-determination one vote at a time is an amazing thing.

By Iyad Allawi

For millions of Iraqis, Sunday was a day of history and high emotion. I never doubted, despite the violence and threats, that the Iraqi people would demonstrate their courage and love of freedom. They knew how important Sunday’s poll was to their country’s future and knew, too, that the eyes of the world were on them.

In every part of our great country and in huge numbers, they defied the terrorists, fanatics and cowards to play their own part in free and fair elections. Sunni, Shias, Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans and Christians marched to the polls as a national army, armed solely with their determination to live in liberty.

The votes, of course, are still being counted so we don’t know yet who has been elected. With 8,000 candidates and 100 different groups, it will take time. But we do already know who has won and who has lost.

The winners are the millions of Iraqis who want their country to be free and peaceful, who want control of their own destiny and a better life for their families. The winners, too, are those who believe that a democratic Iraq can be a symbol of hope and progress throughout the region. The losers are the extremists and the terrorists who fear and despise freedom

And we complain if it's raining or cold or we have to stand in line more than a few minutes.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Notes on the Effects of the Blogosphere

Mary Katherine Ham notes that in some ways, the blogosphere has reduced the control of the MSM's bottleneck on information to something like that of a small town paper. She writes:

There’s a big debate right now in the blogosphere about whether the CBS investigation was a whitewash. It does have the mark of Tom Sawyer’s paintbrush on it, but the important part is that everyone knows that. Rathergate revealed and the investigation has reinforced that CBS is no longer in charge of the truth. They can “defend” and “conclude” until Rather runs out of pithy expressions, but it won’t change what everyone knows—that the documents were fakes and CBS and Rather were motivated by political bias.

That’s what happened when the Internet suddenly turned national media into a small-town newspaper, subject to the concerns, criticism and accountable to the abundant knowledge of its own readers. When I was a green reporter, that knowledge was a blessing. Without it, I could have wasted a lot of ink and dignity defending facts that everyone in town knew were wrong-- all because I refused to listen to my critics.

The same will happen to mainstream media folks who don’t wise up and understand that bloggers are just what news coverage needs to get better, and it’s already happening. Dan has the luxury of loping away from the anchor desk with his illusions partially intact, but others must stay. If they’re smart, they’ll pull up a seat on the bleachers, right next to their readers, and start learning. If they don’t, as Dan would say, the media world is gonna get hotter than a goat’s butt in a pepper patch.

Read the writing on the wall, guys. Read the whole thing.

Some people may mourn the democratization of the press, but yet it should lead to greater accountability. It will be interesting to see how it all develops.

Monday, January 31, 2005


Handwringing over the Iraqi Election

Today, there is a lot of Yes, buts going on in the press.

"Yes, they had an election, but it was a sham." Someone wrote something to these words on a discussion page on the Democratic Underground forum. (Tell that to the people who wept for joy at voting and stood in long lines, and cheered the memory of lost sons and husbands and fathers who worked for this day. I wouldn't tell them that they are a Bush puppet to their faces. You might get smeared with blue ink.)

"Yes, they had an election, but the Sunnis didn't take part." It is true that Sunnis didn't take as much part as some other ethnic groups, but there were districts with 40 per cent turn out, in the very heartland of the Ba'athist resistance, with threats to injure and blow up the voters. Brave souls longing for freedom.

"Yes, they had an election, but they're still on the brink of civil war." The naysayers spin their soundbites, and enhearten the foreigners who have come to be insurgant, but once you get away from the eye of the camera much of Iraq is beginning to show the fruits of stability. Their own army and police force grow regularly and are carrying more and more of the security load and they are even beginning to talk about the day when foreign troops will no longer be needed.

Mark Steyn has a nice article on this today. In it, he says:

What happened on Sunday was a victory for the Iraqi people and a vindication for a relatively small group of Western politicians -- most notably the much-maligned US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, whose faith in those Iraqi people turned out to be so much shrewder than the sneers of his detractors.

John Kerry is wrong. It's time for him and Ted Kennedy and Kim Beazley and Paul McGeough to stop under-hyping. If freedom isn't on the march, it's moving forward dramatically in a region notoriously inimical to it.

This weekend's election was a rebuke to the parochial condescension of the West's elites.

"These elections are a joke," Juan Cole, a professor of modern Middle East history at the University of Michigan, told Reuters. Sorry, professor, the joke's on you. And the modern Middle East history is being made by the fledgling democracy of the new Iraq.


Alternative Viewpoints

People POwer

Sunday, January 30, 2005


Victory For Self-Determination

From President Bush :

"Today the people of Iraq have spoken to the world, and the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the centre of the Middle East. In great numbers and under great risk, Iraqis have shown their commitment to democracy. By participating in free elections, the Iraqi people have firmly rejected the anti-democratic ideology of the terrorists. They have refused to be intimidated by thugs and assassins.

Victory in Self-Determination

And they have demonstrated the kind of courage that is always the foundation of self-government. Some Iraqis were killed while exercising their rights as citizens.

We also mourn the American and British military personnel who lost their lives today (overnight AEDT). Their sacrifices were made in a vital cause of freedom, peace in a troubled region and a more secure future for us all.

The Iraqi people themselves made this election a resounding success. Brave patriots stepped forth as candidates. Many citizens volunteered as poll-workers.

More than 100,000 Iraqi security force personnel guarded polling places and conducted operations against terrorist groups.

One news account told of a voter who had lost a leg in a terror attack last year and went to the polls today despite threats of violence. He said, 'I would have crawled here if I had to. I don't want terrorists to kill other Iraqis like they tried to kill me. Today I am voting for peace.'

Across Iraq today, men and women have taken rightful control of their country's destiny, and they have chosen a future of freedom and peace.

In this process, Iraqis have had many friends at their side. The European Union and the United Nations gave important assistance in the election process.

The American military and our diplomats, working with our coalition partners, have been skilled and relentless. And their sacrifices have helped to bring Iraqis to this day.

The people of the United States have been patient and resolute, even in difficult days.

The commitment to a free Iraq now goes forward. This historic election begins the process of drafting and ratifying a new constitution, which will be the basis of a fully democratic Iraqi government.

Terrorists and insurgents will continue to wage their war against democracy, and we will support the Iraqi people in their fight against them.

We will continue training Iraqi security forces so this rising democracy can eventually take responsibility for its own security.

There's more distance to travel on the road to democracy, yet Iraqis are proving they are equal to the challenge.

On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Iraq on this great and historic achievement. Thank you very much."


72% of the people braved terrorists, bombers, and stood in long lines to let freedom ring. Impressive!

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