This got to the Supreme Court?

To my non-legally-trained mind, it seems ridiculous that the case discussed here made it as far as the Supreme Court. I mean, I definitely think that police should be prevented from using unreasonable force, but it seems that any idiot would assume that, if you're driving along two-lane roads (not always in the correct lane) at speeds in excess of 100 mph, you could expect to be injured--probably seriously. And would you not also expect the police to try to stop you from hurting somebody else? And wasn't there a judge on any lower court smart enough to figure this out?

Is it too harsh to be thankful that this guy is no longer able to drive, since apparently the suspended license didn't stop him from endangering himself, the police, and everyone else on the roads?


I picked the right place to go!

Although "entry-level tax accountant" doesn't seem to be on the "hottest jobs" list.

Good news!

Looks like world's best donuts (and, ahem, coffee) (apologies to my favorite Starbucks addict!) will soon be more readily available back home!


Reader discretion advised.

I was browsing a news website and ran across a link to today's Supreme Court ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The following information describing the procedure is copied and pasted directly from the ruling. Don't read it if you have a weak stomach.

Intact D&E gained public notoriety when, in 1992, Dr. Martin Haskell gave a presentation describing his method of performing the operation. Dilation and Extraction 110-111. In the usual intact D&E the fetus' head lodges in the cervix, and dilation is insufficient to allow it to pass. See, e.g., ibid.; App. in No. 05-380, at 577; App. in No. 05-1382, at 74, 282. Haskell explained the next step as

" 'At this point, the right-handed surgeon slides the fingers of the left [hand] along the back of the fetus and "hooks" the shoulders of the fetus with the index and ring fingers (palm down).

" 'While maintaining this tension, lifting the cervix and applying traction to the shoulders with the fingers of the left hand, the surgeon takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. He carefully advances the tip, curved down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it contact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger.

" '[T]he surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening.

" 'The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient.' " H. R. Rep. No. 108-58, p. 3 (2003).

This is an abortion doctor's clinical description. Here is another description from a nurse who witnessed the same method performed on a 26-week fetus and who testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

" 'Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby's legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby's body and the arms--everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus... .

" 'The baby's little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby's arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall.

" 'The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby's brains out. Now the baby went completely limp... .

" 'He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.' " Ibid.

Dr. Haskell's approach is not the only method of killing the fetus once its head lodges in the cervix, and "the process has evolved" since his presentation. Planned Parenthood, 320 F. Supp. 2d, at 965. Another doctor, for example, squeezes the skull after it has been pierced "so that enough brain tissue exudes to allow the head to pass through." App. in No. 05-380, at 41; see also Carhart, supra, at 866-867, 874. Still other physicians reach into the cervix with their forceps and crush the fetus' skull. Carhart, supra, at 858, 881. Others continue to pull the fetus out of the woman until it disarticulates at the neck, in effect decapitating it. These doctors then grasp the head with forceps, crush it, and remove it. Id., at 864, 878; see also Planned Parenthood, supra, at 965.

Of course, it is still legal for a doctor to use forceps to pull the baby out of the womb, ripping the baby apart in the process. I'm sure that's much more humane.

I suppose it shouldn't amaze me that many in our society can condone--and even passionately argue in favor of--such atrocities; yet those same people express shock and horror at events such as those that occurred at Virginia Tech this week. While what happened at Virginia Tech was horrible, it somehow seems even worse to stab a helpless baby in the head with a pair of scissors, force the scissors open, and vacuum out the baby's brain.

I find myself tempted to hate the people that butcher babies like that. But really, I'm just like them--a sinner. I am as undeserving of God's mercy and grace as any abortion doctor or any school shooter or any other human being who has ever lived. Praise God for His grace in choosing to save any of us.


This is cruel.

Severely obese fastest-growing U.S. overweight group

You'd think that somebody could have come up with a more tasteful headline.


Jesus Lives and So Shall I

Jesus Lives and So Shall I
(Christian F. Gellert; tr. John D. Lang)

Jesus lives and so shall I.
Death! thy sting is gone forever.
He, who deigned for me to die,
Lives the bands of death to sever.
He shall raise me with the just;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives and reigns supreme;
And, his kingdom still remaining,
I shall also be with him,
Ever living, ever reigning.
God has promised: be it must;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives, I know full well,
Naught from him my heart can sever,
Life nor death nor powers of hell,
Joy nor grief henceforth forever.
None of all his saints is lost;
Jesus is my Hope and Trust.

Jesus lives and death is now
But my entrance into glory.
Courage then, my soul, for thou
Hast a crown of life before thee;
Thou shalt find thy hopes were just;
Jesus is the Christian's Trust.


I'm impressed.

Check out this article (originally from the Wall Street Journal, here) and tell me if you aren't impressed with Rontrell Matthews and with Faye Brown.

Today's WSJ has an update on the story. I'm not sure whether you can access the article without a subscription, so I'll summarize: Since the original article's appearance, Journal readers have donated $32,000 to the school and its students. The school, for the first time, has its bills fully paid, and there's even money left over. One person wants to use a $100,000 inheritance to start an endowment.

Also since the original article was published, the SC State Legislature voted down a school choice bill.

So what can we learn from these stories? Well, apparently it's possible for private schools to succeed where public schools have failed. Apparently money doesn't really make that much of a difference in students' success--Capers has been operating on a shoestring budget and succeeding (at least, based on its SAT scores) while SC public schools have continued failing even while receiving increased funding. (At least, I assume funding has actually been increased; the politicians certainly talk about it enough.)

And apparently those evil capitalist Wall Street Journal readers who have donated money to Capers care more about South Carolina's underprivileged children than the majority of SC state legislators, who refused to pass a bill that would help those children escape their failing public schools.

Or maybe it's not a question of caring; maybe legislators just don't understand basic economics (specifically, the often-beneficial effects of competition in a free market) as well as Journal readers do.

But either way, is anyone else impressed with the good things that can happen when people stop depending on the government and just do something about a problem on their own?



I came across the following sentence in a reading assignment for a class:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights ... asserts that basic human rights to goods such as health and education pre-exist society just as negative liberty [i.e., freedom from governmental restrictions] does.

What do you think? Do we all have a right to health care and education? For that matter (and I hate to say this, since at this point I fall somewhere between conservative and libertarian on the political spectrum), do we even have a right to freedom from governmental restrictions?

I'm pretty sure I can count on Monica for a spirited response here, but if anyone wants to argue an opposing view so I can think about it from both perspectives, that'd be great. Thanks in advance to all my brilliant friends who are going to help me think through this! :)

UPDATE (4/5): Andrew over at Points of View has posted a reply to this topic.