Thursday, July 27, 2006

Guilty By Reason of Insanity

Jurors in Andrea Yates’ murder retrial returned a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Earlier Wednesday jurors asked to see a family photo and candid pictures of her five smiling youngsters taken before she drowned them in the family bathtub.

Soon after arriving at the courthouse, the jury of six men and six women also reviewed the state’s definition of insanity: that someone, because of a severe mental illness, does not know a crime he is committing is wrong.

Why is the verdict "not guilty by reason of insanity"? Shouldn't it be "guilty by reason of insanity"? We should be able to find someone guilty and still confine them to a mental facility for the rest of their life. The fact that Andrea Yates could conceivably be set free someday is unacceptable to me. Perhaps if she drowned one child, I could be persuaded to buy the temporary insanity defense. But Andrea Yates took her time and methodically drowned all FIVE of her children.

This current prosecution only charged Anndrea Yates with the murders of three of her children. Since there is no statute of limitations on murder, we can only hope that the prosecution is saving the remaining two murder, charges in case Ms. Yates is ever releaased.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Soldiers Words May Test PBS Language Rules

The PBS documentarian Ken Burns has been working for six years on "The War" a soldier's-eye view of World War II, and those who have seen parts of the 14-plus hours say they are replete with salty language appropriate to discussions of the horrors of war. What viewers will see and hear when it is broadcast in Sept. 2007 is an open question.

A new Public Broadcasting Service policy that went into effect immediately when it was issued on May 31 requires producers whose shows are broadcast before 10 p.m. to adhere to tough editing requirements when it comes to coarse language, to comply with tightened rulings on broadcast indecency by the Federal Communications Commission.

Most notably, PBS’s deputy counsel, Paul Greco, wrote in a memo to stations, it is no longer enough simply to bleep out offensive words audibly when the camera shows a full view of the speaker’s mouth. From now on, the on-camera speaker’s mouth must also be obscured by a digital masking process, a solution that PBS producers have called cartoonish and clumsy.

What is this country reverting into? I guess it's ok for the chimp-in-chief to say "Syria and Lebanon gotta stop this shit" on network television and get away with it. Why isn't this moron fined?

"The War" is a 14 hour record of real life heroes filmed by one of the best documentarians of our time. These men risked their lives for this country. They didn't have their daddies get them into the reserves in order to avoid combat only to go AWOL anyway. I, for one, want to hear what they have to say in their own words without fuzzy pixelation covering their mouths. Although I wouldn't mind using these devices whenever president chimpo opens his lying mouth. Anything dubya has to say is what's really obscene.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What the President Did Today

This is an email I received from Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
This is no longer a Republican or Democratic issue. This is about one man putting his own corrupt political agenda over the health and happiness of millions of people.

Today George Bush chose political posturing over human life, denying hope to millions of Americans, their families and loved ones who are affected by debilitating diseases.
He used his first-ever veto to stop the discovery of new cures for diseases like juvenile diabetes, leukemia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and many others. More than 70% of Americans from every walk of life -- whether in the faith community, the science lab, the hospital or at the bedside of a sick relative -- and majorities in both chambers of Congress disagree, but that didn't stop him.
The bill he vetoed wasn't a sweeping change -- it was a small, practical measure that would have made a big difference for medical research based on sound science. But the consequences are sweeping: the proposed law would have allowed research on excess embryos generated during processes like fertility treatments -- embryos that would otherwise simply be discarded.
Now is the time to speak out. Send a message to your representatives letting them know that you support cure discovery now:

If George Bush truly believed his rhetoric about stem cells, he would do something about the processes that create the excess embryos in the first place. But he won't. They will continue to go unused (his spokesman limply calls it a "tragedy"), and cures will continue to be beyond our reach.
Bush may not be willing to choose cure discovery over his right-wing base, but the vast majority of Americans support cure research.
Even after his veto, Democrats in Congress will continue to keep the pressure on to get more votes. If Republicans refuse to join the cause and override Bush's veto, it will have to be decided at the ballot box in November. Democrats will continue to fight to keep this hope for the discovery of new cures alive.
The Congress and the rest of the country are paying attention right now, and we have to seize this moment to build the coalition of support for cure discovery.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Barry Manilow sends park hooligans fleeing, angers nearby residents

To rid a park of hooligans in a Sydney suburb, the town council began playing Barry Manilow and Doris Day music at high volume from 9-midnight every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening. The tactic worked, but now the people who live near the park can't sleep at night and are unhappy about it.

They should be grateful. The council could have gone for the jugular by using Michael Bolton.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Pink Floyd has lost its "crazy diamond."
Syd Barrett, the brilliant, erratic catalyst for Floyd's early success, "died peacefully at home". He was 60 years old. The musician had been in ill health for years, battling diabetes, as well as stomach ulcers.
A singer and guitarist, and originally the band's principal songwriter, Barrett masterminded Pink Floyd's breakthrough album, Pipers at the Gates of Dawn, before being sidelined in the late 1960s by behavioral problems.
Barrett teamed with bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright to launch Floyd in 1965, deriving the name from two bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.
Barrett fronted the band during its initial rise to fame, culminating with the 1967 classic The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which mixed jazz, rock and R&B with psychedelia--a template for the prog-rock sound the band refined in its 1970s heyday--and propelled Floyd to stardom.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Woman Accused of Witchcraft in 1706 Cleared

It took 300 years, but Virginia's only convicted witch has finally been pardoned.

State Gov. Timothy M. Kaine was asked to exonerate Annabelle Coulter, who was tried by water and accused of using her powers to cause a woman to miscarry. On Monday, the 300th anniversary of the "ducking" trial, Kaine obliged.

"I am pleased to officially restore her good name," Kaine said in a letter that was read aloud by Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf before a local re-enactment of the ducking.

"With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice," Kaine wrote.

On July 10, 1706, her thumbs were tied to her toes and she was dropped into a river. She floated, proof that she was guilty because the pure water cast out her evil spirit, according to the belief system of the time.

Written descriptions of the witch have yielded this artist's impression of what she looked like:

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Keep Ringo Out of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame

Seth Swirsky is a self-proclaimed songwriter, author, recording artist and memorabilia collector. (Can anybody say "Jack of all trades"?). Seth is making a plea to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (an oxymoron?) to induct Ringo Starr, the only Beatle not previously bestowed with this dubious honor.

I say to Ringo: "DON'T DO IT!"

Let's take a look at some of the musicians not deemed worthy enough to be inducted:

Moody Blues
Blood, Sweat and Tears
Johnny Winter
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Procol Harum
Jethro Tull
Doobie Brothers
King Crimson
Gordon Lightfooot
Peter, Paul and Mary
Kate Bush
Rickie Lee Jones
Country Joe and the Fish
Richie Havens
Funk Brothers

Ringo - do you want to be associated with those named aboved or with Dick Clark and Michael Jackson?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Excommunication Is Sought for Stem Cell Researchers

Scientists who engage in stem cell research using human embryos should be subject to excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, according to a senior Vatican official.

Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, who heads the group that proposes family-related policy for the church, said in an interview that stem cell researchers should be punished in the same way as women who have abortions and doctors who perform them.

Hey Al! Embryonic stem cells ARE NOT taken from abortions. They're taken from unused, discarded, frozen embryos which would be destroyed anyway!

The catholic church picks emryonic stem cell researchers to be excommunicated but neglects to excommunicate the following sinners:

Priests who rape and molest young boys.

Adolph Hitler.

Charles Manson.

Catholic members of the Bush administration.

The Mafia.

Ann Coulter.

By the way, they did excommunicate Martin Luthor, Cervantes, Joe DiMaggio and Sinead O'Connor. The relevance of the catholic church has sunk to a new low. If I were an embryonic stem cell researcher, I would consider excommunication to be a badge of honor.