Thursday, April 28, 2005
SAY A PRAYER
Get well soon, Laura.
Monday, April 25, 2005
THOUGHTS FROM OMAHA
Well, I'm writing from just outside of Omaha visiting some friends. This is the second time I've been out here, and it's just as how I remembered it for the most part. I still haven't experienced a Nebraska winter, but I think that will be in the cards soon, God willing.
If you're ever in Omaha, I'd recommend you go to a Reformed Baptist church in Papillion, just south of Omaha. Whoa...recommending a Reformed Baptist Church??? Seriously, though, it is a strong church, and the church is blessed by a very good and able pastor, the Rev. Lou Sloger. One of my friends is very active in this church, and he has been taking correspondence seminary classes under the leadership of the church. I can only say about him that he is a testimony to the grace and mercy of God. He is a young adult now, but I met him when he was a teenager about 8 years ago, and when talking about God and the Gospel, I never would have expected him to be the person that he is now. I'm sure he gets sick of hearing this story, but it just reaffirms my faith in who God is, and how good he is. Now, we talk tough theological issues, usually the ones that divide Baptists and Presbyterians like the nature of the New Covenant and infant baptism. Heh, yeah, easy subject. :) And since I am the only Presbyterian who will talk to him... =)
Anyway, I'll be taking the train later tonight for home, another 48 hour or so journey to the smog pit known as Los Angeles. I do recommend that if you ever have the time, take Amtrak's California Zephyr from at least between Denver to Sacramento. It follows paths in the Sierras and the Rockies that do not follow I-70, such as Glenwood, Byers, and Gore Canyons along the Colorado River.
Anyway, back to California. I am, however, seriously considering getting off at Sacramento and renting a car back to Los ANgeles. I mean...it takes so long.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
THE DEMOCRATS AND THE FILLIBUSTER
Well, the fillibuster has been a hot topic as late because of how the Democrats have used it to block certain judicial nominees by President Bush. In response, the Republicans have threatened to lower the vote to end fillibusters from its current 60 votes to 51 votes. In reading letters to the editor and other articles, I don't think people truly understand the fillibuster.
To begin with, the votes needed to end a fillibuster has been dropped before from 67 votes to the current 60. Prior to the beginning of the last century, it couldn't be done. Secondly, the 60 votes ends a fillibuster only if the majority leader can call for a cloture vote. Since there are more than 40 Democrats, their clout prevents cloture from being exercised. Lowering the vote to 51 would dilute the Democrats' clout, but this does not mean that the filibuster would end.
The other way to fillibuster is the way you see if you have ever seen the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." According to the Senate rules, a Senator can hold the floor for any amount of time, and may yield to other Senators for questions or points of order without yielding the floor so long as he or she remains standing and is speaking. This works becuase, using the movie as an example (although slightly out of context since Senator Smith was trying to expose corruption), if Senator SMith holds the floor for an indefinite amount of time, the majority leader cannot call for a cloture vote. He cannot force Senator Smith to yield the floor; he must voluntarily yield it, and until he does that, there will be no cloture vote, whether the threshhold is 51 votes or 60 votes. In fact, there will be no votes whatsoever since Senate business will have been stymied.
In this sense, then, I think lowering the threshhold is a good thing. It would force the Democrats, or the Republicans when the time comes, to actually fillibuster and try to keep the Senate from working by sheer willpower and by endless speaking. Given that the ranks of the Democrats include Hillary Clinton and Edward Kennedy, there enough hot air there for at least six months worth of enending babble. Seriously, though, the fillibuster is a good thing as it is a Senator's last resort to try to stop something that he or she genuinely feels might be wrong. I have no problem with that. However, let's make that a little more difficult than just using minority clout to stop the Senate.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
I think you might have missed the point of the Schiavo post below. I wasn't arguing whether pulling the pug on her was constitutionally correct. The only point I was making initially was that the federal government had no constitutional authority to expand the federal courts' jurisdiction to a case that exclusively lies within one State. The Florida Supreme Court, on issues that pertain to Florida law, is the final authority. That is all I was initially saying.
Furthermore, since I am a philosopher who is specializing in ethics, I was pointing out (although in re-reading the post, I admit this is not overly clear) that it's ironic that in a field that literally given itself over to empiricism that these people use non-empirical criteria to determine whether or not Terri would have wanted to live in this way. Of course, empirically, we have no idea what Terri is feeling since no one who has been in her state has come back to tell us. Hence, she may have been feeling simple joys and pleasures, but we might not have known it. They say she wouldn't want to live in her consition not becuase of emirical considerations, but rather because these people themselves feel they wouldn't want to live in that condition even though all they have is inductive, rather than empirical, reasons.
But you are totally correct in the rest of your comments, and I totally agree with you. Laura Ingraham, on her radio show, read some letters from severly handicapped people...some were quadripalegic (sp). All of them said they now fear for their lives. Why should they continue to live? After all, I wouldn't want to live that way. You're right about Hitler, too. He wanted to purify the white race, and the homos and Jews were considered imperfections. Your final line is poignant, and I repeat it here for others to read:
"Before proclaiming that “someone is resigned to die” although they cannot communicate, let us first consider their inherent human dignity and the sacredness of the right to life."
BTW, I checked your blog, and saw you were born in the year of the boar. Well, after finally figuring out what that meant, turns out I was also born in the year of the boar, just not the same year. Small world. :)
Saturday, April 02, 2005
POPE JOHN PAUL II