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March 31, 2005

Sorry it's been quiet

I'm still trying to get a feeling for this blog; what I'm going to post to it, etc. I realize that compared with some blogs (like most of the ones in my blogroll), this one's rather quiet. Part of that has been Terri Schiavo. I'll try to start posting more, I promise.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

Terri Schiavo is dead

You may have already heard. Terri Schiavo died this morning. In the days ahead there will be talk of autopsies (and maybe grand juries, etc). But for now, it's just time to pray for her soul and for everyone concerned.

Posted by mlv at 10:45 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2005

Food For Thought on the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas

It was love of human honour that distanced the Pharisees from faith in the Lord, which is why He said to them, "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" (Jn. 5:44). Others were prevented from drawing near by lands, weddings, or worries about the affairs of this life (Lk. 14:18-20), but the paralysed man's physical weakness put an end to such things and removed them from his thoughts. There are times when illness is better for sinners than good health, because it helps them towards salvation and blunts their inborn evil impulses.

The Homilies of St. Gregory Palamas, Vol. I, On the Second Sunday of Great Lent.

Posted by mlv at 07:02 AM | Comments (0)

Almost over for Terri

I'm sorry I haven't been posting this week. Quite frankly, I've been glued to Blogs For Terri, with the occasional peek at BaylyBlog (don't agree with their faith, but they provide some perspective of what's going on outside the hospice).

It's been a long week for everyone who cares for Terri. And it seems like it may be almost over. I've been hoping that she can survive, recover, and tell us what happened on that February morning 15 years ago. But now I'm just hoping that she finds rest soon. I'm also hoping that they'll be able to perform an autopsy on her. But even that may be denied her.

In the end, everyone will face the Judgement. I've just been hoping for his sake that Michael will (assuming he's guilty) face earthly justice first (if that may help him with the Judgement). But I have to remind myself that in the only eyes I have, he's not guilty (yet).

Posted by mlv at 06:20 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

Thoughts on Terri Schiavo

I'm waiting for word from BlogsForTerri or Captain's Quarters (currently, the two most current blogs on this. BlogsForTerri seems to be better at Florida activities (including tips not very useful for me ("Come over to the courthouse now" -- wish I could)), and Captain's Quarters seems the best source for DC news (but I'm still watching both, even though Congress and the President have done what they can).

Right now (I gather), the two sides have probably made their arguments in federal court; according to CNN, each side will have 30 minutes, and it's been almost 3 hours since the start of the hearing. So I presume that the judge is mulling over things, and all we can do is pray and wait.

I was trying to answer the question, "Why is Michael Schiavo doing this?" There are some possible answers, and I'm going to think out loud about some of them (my information is based on the pro-Terri websites I've found. The pro-Michael websites are hard to find):

"Terri wants to die": This is the answer he's been giving for at least the past 6 years (I'm looking at the timeline if you want to follow along). He's wanted her to die since 1993 (when he posted "Do not Resuscitate" orders). I find this claim very hard to believe. It raises a lot of questions. First and foremost is, why did he wait 7 years before mentioning it? There's also the "slip" last Friday night on Larry King Live where he admits that he doesn't know what she wanted. If she really wanted to die, and told him (and his siblings), wouldn't he have mentioned it earlier?


Money: I can't find the reference to what he gets (that he doesn't already have) if she dies, but I recall reading somewhere that if she dies, he gets a nice chunk o' change. This sounds like a very compelling motive, and one that has been bantered about a lot. I'm not saying it's not, but there are a couple arguments against it (and a rebuttal, too). 1, he offered, back in 1998 to donate the inheritance to charity. 2, someone offered him a cool million to give her parents guardianship. The rebuttals are 1, talk is cheap. Maybe that was just lip service, and 2, maybe he stands to inherit a lot more than a million, and he's just waiting for a higher bidder.

In short, I don't know. It might be part of the reason, or even all. I don't think it's none of the reason. There are a lot of unknowns in this scenario. How much of the settlement money is left? Does he have life insurance.


Strangulation: This is something that's been mentioned here and there. Did Michael strangle Terri, and did that cause all the problems she's been having? This one has some compelling arguments in favor of it. Looking again at the timeline, we see that at first he seemed to try to help her (well, inconclusive; I read her discharge record in May, 1990, and there's one line that says, "intensive rehabilitation care was not approved", but it doesn't say if the "family" (Michael) or the insurance company didn't approve it), but later stops all that.

One scenario that has some plausibility behind it is this: Michael attempts to strangle her. In order to avoid suspicion, he makes a show of trying to take care of her. But when the rehab shows that she may recover her speech and be able to accuse him, he halts the treatment and tries to have her killed.

The discharge record would give us the best clues, one would think. It states that she had a rigid neck when she was first admitted. But it doesn't say why she had a lack of oxygen. It does say that she was going to some extreme measures to keep her weight down. It doesn't say how much she weighed, but she was drinking "10-15 glasses of iced tea" [a day?]. She did have a potassium deficiency that was easily treated. I don't know if that can cause a lack of oxygen. Interesting to note is that her family's website has not refuted the possibility that a potassium deficiency could cause lack of oxygen. But they also point out that meds given by the paramedics could themselves cause low potassium.

There's another question that needs answering here: if he did strangle her, what would he be charged with (attempted murder, presumably), and what are the statute of limitations in FL on that? The family's talking points say that they have expired. That may tend to eliminate that as a motive.


When I started writing this, my thought was to make the strangulation theory my conclusion. But now I'm beginning to wonder. So I'll add another scenario:

Family pressures (in the person of his common-law wife, Jodi): It wasn't until the year he was engaged to Jodi that the timeline first mentions court actions to starve her. Between '92 and '97, he seemed content to just wait for her to die (don't treat her, don't resuscitate, etc). But in '97, I see the court actions to that end. I wonder if Jodi was jealous of Terri (or just wanted to get legally married) and encouraged Michael to take a more active role in Terri's demise.

It's possible we'll never know what really happened. It seems it's almost as hard to know what's going on in Michael's head as in Terri's head.

My hope is that somehow Terri's parents will get guardianship, and can get her the therapy she needs. This would do several different things. 1, she may recover enough to be able to speek (and maybe tell what really happened the morning of February 25, 1990), and 2, new tests, and a release of all records may provide some more clues. I don't know how that would come about; whether the federal judge can either (a) make a ruling to that end, or (b) get judge Greer replaced.

But for now, all we can do is wait and pray.

Update while writing this: the judge has declined to rule. So we wear our fingernails and/or prayer ropes down some more...

Michael

Posted by mlv at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

Senate voting on Sunday for Terri Schiavo

I'm watching right now; the Senate will be voting Sunday afternoon on a modified version of Terri's bill. I'm sure blogsforterri will have more detail than I do.

Posted by mlv at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2005

Saving Terri Schiavo

If you haven't heard, Terri Schiavo will be sentenced to a long painful death by starvation today at 1:00 PM. If you really haven't heard, I urge you to look at this site. Be sure to watch the videos of this so-called "vegetable" smiling at her mother.

Then follow blogsforterri.com.

I'd run down the status, but blogsforterri is a much better source. Essentially, there are efforts both in Washington DC and Florida to save her life. Let's pray that at least one of them pans out.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2005

Couple funny links

A couple blog posts I just read made me spill my lunch.

First one, from PowerLine Blog is about the Dems threat (or promise) to shut down the government. Nice thought, but I'm not holding my breath.

Second one, quite unrelated, from the Onion via Baldilocks offers an almost-plausible explanation about Michael Jackson.

And I'll finish with a batty post from Babalu.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2005

Cell Phone "Bill of Rights"

<rant>
The other night on the Sullivan Show on WBZ 1030 radio, they were talking to Cambridge State Senator Jarrett Barrios and Lynn State Representative Steven Walsh who were talking about a bill they're proposing called the "Cell phone users' bill of rights". Essentially it's an attempt to regulate cell phone companies the same way that other utilities are regulated.

I haven't looked through the whole bill. So it's possible there are some parts of it that I might like. But in general, I think they totally missed the mark.

The reason is simple. Cell phone companies can not be compared to utilities. Why? There's competition. If you don't like the service you get at one company, then go to another. The recent FCC ruling that you can keep your phone number when you change companies means they can't even hold that over you.

One thing that they mentioned is going in the bill really struck me; the requirement for no contracts longer than one year. I guess they don't realize that if they did that, the price for cell phones would go up. Cell phones are usually purchased with a service plan; shorten the service plan, and they'll have to raise the price of the phones. Think of the service plan (contract) as paying for the cell phone on the installment plan. If you only have 12 months to pay for it, then you have to make a much bigger down payment.

What bugs me about this is that for the most part, the free market competition among cell phone companies is working. When consumers have complaints (like wasted minutes in their calling plans), the companies usually find ways to work around it. And people can choose what suits them best. My dad, for example, only really uses his cell phone a lot when he's on vacation, so Cingular's "rollover" plan is wonderful for him. He can save up heapum minutes during the months he's at home, then use them all when he's on vacation. Sprint's plan (where your calling plan is adjusted monthly based on usage) doesn't help him as much.

</rant>

Michael

Posted by mlv at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

Great Time to be Alive

(Background, I'm in Boston, fyi)

Is it just me? I have the same feeling of giddy optimism that I had back in the baseball playoffs last year ("No problem. The Sox'll win in 4. Oh. They lost. Oh, Okay, they'll win in 5. Okay, well then 6. Well, Okay, 7. Told you so."). I have this feeling that we're seeing something wonderful happening.

It seems like democracy is spreading like a wildfire through the middle east. The sight of those inked fingers on 01/30/05 has, I think inspired people there to say, "I want to be able to vote, too." Look at what's happening in Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia (did I hear right about local elections there? What happens when there's a national election? Will the nation change names?).

Someone at work made a comment that people in that region are incapable of democracy. Did he see his comments as racist? Probably not. But I do. I'm glad the people of Iraq and Afghanistan have proved him wrong (and I'm expecting more in the region to continue to prove him wrong).

I do think that George W. Bush is going to go down as one of the best president of the 21st century (well, he already is, but granted, the competition is still pretty thin).

It's a great time to be alive.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

fidel castro at Work

(I have a few posts from before I got my blog setup; I'll post them now)

At work, we have a "book exchange" bookcase in a hallway, where people can take and leave books.

As I was coming in yesterday, a colleague was browsing it. With the usual "anything good?" mumble, I noticed a book there (forget the title, sorry). But it was apparently a thriller set in Cuba. The back cover had, in the blurb, the line, "Fidel Castro is near death." I read that line, and commented, "I like it already!"

She responded, "Why? What'd he ever do to you?"

(Taken aback at her surprising (to me) defense of him -- I forgot her political bent).

Me: Nothing to me personally, but a lot to the Cubans.

She: Well, there's good and bad in everyone.

Me: Name one good thing he's done.

That shut her up for a little bit until she mumbled something about how Cuba wasn't owned by America anymore. We ended the conversation there.

You know how you play a conversation over in your mind, and are "Monday morning quarterbacking" yourself? Well, here's how I wish it had gone:

She: Why? What'd he ever do to you?

Me: When people of his ilk are allowed to flourish, the whole world suffers.

Now, given her political outlook, she at that time would have probably called to mind our commander in chief, which would have opened up a whole different dialog.

So, if we had made it to the point in the conversation where she talks about Cuba not being owned by America, and how castro* should be commended for that, I could have said, "Okay, but what has he done lately?"

Oh well. Maybe next debate.

What is it with people on the left and dictators? Why are they so enamored with them? fidel castro? saddam hussein?

* By the way, I'm following the custom from Babalu Blog: I will capitalize Cuba, but write fidel castro using only lower case.

I may from time to time extend this to others equally deserving of respect.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

Welcome

This is the first post to my blog. Some notes (and a little history) might be in order. I had heard about blogs for some time, but never really read any until one Saturday last fall, I stumbled across Michelle Malkin on C-SPAN talking about immigration. I googled her, and started following her blog. I then started following some more, and now it's grown to a 5-6 blog a day habit.

What's amazed me about blogs is that it's the ultimate expression of freedom of the press. In a strict sense, we haven't had full freedom of press because not everyone owns a press. Sure, anyone with a roll of dimes and a local copy store can plaster nearby light poles, but no one outside their neighborhood is going to see it.

But now with blogs (and especially with some of the free blog servers), anyone can go into their local library, and after a couple clicks have their own email address, and after a couple more, their own blog, and anyone in the world can read it. There's no guarantee that anyone in the world will want to read it, but freedom of the press just guarantees the ability to write, not that anyone has to read it.

So I watched the tail end (and the eventual aftermath) of the Rathergate business. I've recently watched the Eason Jordan situation, and have come to realize that a truly free press (in the form of blogs) can be a powerful force to be reconned with.

Now, what do I expect to do with this blog? I don't know, yet. There's every chance that it'll be just one more in the millions of stagnant blogs (I tend to be fascinated by new technolog, but once it becomes an old routine, I get bored with it). In a dream world, it would be like Michelle Malkin's, but with more of a social conservative, rather than immigration focus.

Which brings me to myself. One of the main differences between the blogosphere and MSM is that MSM pretends to be unbiased, while the blogosphere makes no such pretense. With that in mind, I'll describe myself.

I'm an Orthodox Christian, which people usually identify with various ethnic groups (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc). But my ethnicity is 100% USDA Grade A Purebred American Mutt. In other words, my roots are scattered over most of western Europe (well, northwestern Europe, I guess). I won't bore you with the details (suffice to say there's nothing over 1/8). So to keep it simple, my ethnicity is American. I wasn't raised Orthodox, but I'll leave the story of my conversion to a later (as of now still theoretical) post.

My politics have changed over the long (I'm in my early 40s) years. When I was young and stupid, I was a bit moonbatty, being totally convinced at one point that the world would, before the end of 1984, be a smouldering lump of radioactive rubble.

When that didn't happen, I mellowed out a bit. Years later, when I became Orthodox, my ethics mirrored my faith, especially in areas like abortion and euthanasia. Make a long story short(er), I went from a raving liberal to a conservative in a little over a decade.

So where do I stand? On social issues (homosexuality, abortion, etc), I'm a conservative Christian. Fiscally, I'm in favor of small government, lower taxes, less regulations, etc. Put simply, I'm in the conservative end of the Republican party.

Anyway, that's enough babbling for one post.

Michael

Posted by mlv at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)