Friday, October 24, 2003

Operation Give

Operation Give begun by Chief Wiggles, is a toy and supply drive aimed at helping the children of Iraq. Please visit the website to learn more about what is needed and how to get the presents to Iraq.

FedEx is now offering to ship the packages to Iraq for free. All you have to do is get the gifts to the Operation Give warehouse in Maryland. What are you waiting for?


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Terry Schindler-Schiavo Foundation

I've been following the Terry Schiavo case and find it very interesting. While I don't presume to know what Terry Schiavo would have wanted I don't trust her husband. He has a major conflict of interest in that he has access to all the medical trust money, he is "engaged" to another woman, and has a child by that woman. I'm astounded that the courts have ruled the way they have so far.

The Terry Schindler-Schiavo Foundation has links to several videos showing Terry alert and responding to directions. Watch them and decide for yourself if this is a brain-dead woman. It is a shame that her parents and siblings are being denied access to her by her husband.

This case is an example of why everyone should make their wishes known, in writing, what they wish done if ever in a situation like this. I'm not an attorney but I believe that you can write up your wishes yourself and sign in front of witnesses without having the papers drawn up by an attorney. This may vary from state to state.

UPDATE: Since I am not an attorney, but my husband is, I asked him about the living will requirements. In Tennessee and Wyoming (the two states who's laws he is most familar with) you can write your own living will and last will and testament. These are called "holographic wills" and are perfectly legal. He also said that most states allow these holographic wills but he is not as familar with the specific regulations.


Bored with the World Series

Since both the Cubs and the Sox were eliminated I find myself very bored with the World Series. I haven't watched a single inning and can't even tell you what the score is.

If I have to pick a team to win, it is the Marlins. They play a good game of small ball and it would be nice to see another non-Yankee team win.


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Cubs choke

The Cubs allowed 8, that's right EIGHT, runs in one inning -- thereby losing game six of the series. Now there will be a game seven. Any bets on how the Cubs do in that game?

A Cubs fan made a bit of a difference in that crucial inning. He touched the ball and appeared to deflect it away from Moises Alou, preventing the player from possible making an out. Is there a curse on the Cubs as well as on the Red Sox?

Update: After seeing the video of the above fan's actions, I don't think he did anything wrong. Did he affect that one play? Sure. But what fan on the front row of a baseball game can resist reaching out to try and catch a lazy foul ball? The mistakes by the Cubs on the field led to the eight runs (such as Alex Gonzalez's fumble of a ball that could have been part of a double play), not this one fan's action. But if I were that fan -- I think I would stay home and not go outside for a few weeks. Apparently there are wanted posters up around Chicago.


A Little Fun Stuff...

After my grueling midterm tomorrow, I'm off to Pittsburgh, PA to meet my niece, Amelia, for the first time. Hopefully the weather will be nice and I'll have a nice drive. Since my sister is still on a dial-up modem (and I'll be holding the baby all weekend) there won't be any blogging until Sunday night at the earliest.

In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing what librarians do for fun, check out this page.

If you're in the giving mood, visit Operation Give to see how you can make some Iraqi children smile.

My husband and I adopted a greyhound two years ago and he is the best dog imaginable. He was completely crate trained, housebroken, and leash trained when we got him from the track. Now he is a couch potato (or would be if we let him on the couch -- he's 80lbs and would take up the entire thing!) His favorite activity is lying on his bed and watching us watch TV. We adopted Swifty through Greyhound Pets of America, Tennessee Chapter. Check out the site to see some of the available dogs, or to check the Meet & Greet schedule. Who knows, if you come to a Meet & Greet you might get to meet my pup!

Finally, if you want to see another adorable baby, check out pictures of my nephew Jacob.


Baseball Madness

Honestly, I'm shocked that both the Cubbies and Sox are still holding their own in their respective series. Granted the Sox, trailing 3-2, now have to face the Yankees in the House that Ruth Built. Hopefully the Cubs can hold on for one more game to make it to the Series.

I didn't see the Sox-Yankees brawl the other night, but have read about it since then. I think both sides greatly over-reacted. Martinez should not have thrown Zimmer to the ground, but Zimmer also should not have taken a swing at the pitcher. Baseball is supposed to be a non-contact sport. And it seems to me that the Yankees are forgetting a little too quickly that their own Roger Clemens is quite well known for his inside pitches. Remember when he hit Mike Piazza in the head three years ago? I'm sure Piazza does.

Baseball is all about pitching inside and trying to brush the batter back off the plate. Nobody should get too worked up over a few inside pitches.



Sorry for the slow week of posting -- but it is midterm time and I have doozy of a test tomorrow. The class is called "Foundations of Information" and it is a theory class dealing with, well, information. We are trying to define information and information science. I waited until near the end of my graduate school career to take this class because it is a good prep course before the comprehensive exam.

One of the big issues in the field is whether or not information science can be classified as a hard science. My answer to that is no. I'm not even sure you can classify information as any type of science. If information must be classified in this manner, I think it should be a social science. No matter how you look at it, you cannot remove the humanity from information -- in this case how humans use information. I can't understand why the field feels the need to classify itself as a science at all. Ultimately it comes down to the inferiority complex that is rampant in the field. Instead of just accepting that what we as information professionals have to offer is valuable to society, we try to find ways to pump ourselves up in importance.

I entered this program because I want to be a librarian. I'm not picky as to what type of information organization I work in -- I can be equally happy in a public library or an academic one. I simply want to help people find the information they need when they need it. So if anyone knows of a job opening.....


Friday, October 10, 2003

Rush going to rehab...

The Drudge Report has a link to the story. Rush Limbaugh is going into a 30-day rehab program to kick his prescription drug habit. Rush states that "I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem."

I hope that Rush is successful. I also hope that the media treats Rush the same way they have treated other celebrities who have faced this problem.


Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Digital Downloading and Music

One of the great things about being on a university campus is the opportunity to attend various lectures and speaker series. The University of Tennessee College of Law hosted a panel discussion on "Digital Downloading: Has Copyright Protection Gone Too Far?" moderated by Instapundit himself. The panel consisted of a lawyer, a music publisher, and three songwriters.

What was interesting to me is the fact that the songwriters could not reach an agreement on the issue. One of the songwriters is a named plaintiff in the lawsuit against Kaaza and he was very vocal about the rights of songwriters. The artists who are currently on independent labels were much more accepting of the music downloading phenomena and encouraging about finding a way to use the technology to find a new listening public. The two "industry" types on the panel blamed Napster and downloading for the decline in music sales.

Now, I'm not against songwriters and artists getting the money that is due to them for their work but I think that the industry is wrong to blame downloading for the sales slump. If the recording industry was producing decent music and selling it at a reasonable price then there would be no slump. But the fact is that much of the music released on the major labels is just plain bad. A $17 CD may only have 1 or 2 good songs. Not many people are going to shell out that kind of money for so little return. The very price of the CD (even a good one) is too high as well. It only costs $1-2 to produce an entire CD -- liner notes, jewel case and all. The mark-up that is necessary for the record companies to make money is what is driving business away. People just aren't willing to pay for dreck.

Another problem with the music industry is that all of the artists are starting to sound alike. The genres are less distinct than ever. In an effort to appeal to the widest common denominator country is sounding like pop which is sounding like rock. When everyone sounds the same I, for one, have no interest in purchasing the music. I don't download illegal copies -- I just listen to the radio or to MusicMatch on my computer.


Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Governor Schwarzenegger

Both calls the California election:

Recall passed with 59% of the vote; Schwarzenegger has 54% and Bustamante has 33%.

(Oh, and the Cubs and Marlins are tied at 8-8 in the bottom of the 10th inning)


Illegal Immigrant Freedom Ride

Does anyone else find it strange that the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride is all about illegal immigrant workers. Sure, the language is couched in very neutral sounding words but the organization is advocating a reward for lawbreakers.

Don't get me wrong -- I wholeheartedly approve of legal immigration and refugee status for those in imminent danger. But millions of people come to this country illegally -- they are not just "undocumented workers" but are in fact illegal workers. There is a process that must be followed in order to become a citizen of the United States and part of that process is to be here legally on one of the various visas issued by our government. Illegal immigrants should not be granted citizenship just because they are working in this country -- they aren't even supposed to be here!

I am especially offended by the comparison this group makes to the original Freedom Riders of the 1960s. Those original Freedom Riders risked their lives to help citizens of this country who were denied basic civil and legal rights. It is insulting to the memory of the Freedom Riders to compare this current ride to 1961 rides.

Another troubling factor is the long list of legislators who have endorsed this farce (see list here), including three of the Democratic Party Presidential candidates. It seems like political pandering to me.

Armstrong Williams' new essay is on this topic.


In bad taste

PETA has once again shown an extreme level of bad taste. The organization faxed a letter to Roy Horn's hospital room basically stating that he was responsible for his own injuries. Of course a stage is not the natural habitat for a tiger. That fact does not mean that Roy asked to be attacked. I'm sure that the actions he took to direct the tiger's behavior were the same as he has taken in other circumstances. The tiger's reaction only shows that you can never truly domesticate a wild animal.

But PETA should still have some shame for sending the letter to the man's hospital room. It is actions like this that make me want to go buy a fur coat just to spite PETA.

(Thanks to Bill Hobbs for the link.)


World Series Hopes

We're one step closer to a Cubs-Red Sox World Series. Of course these teams have to get past the Marlins and Yankees which is not going to be easy. I'm definitely more of a Cubbies fan, but I was actively rooting for the Sox last night. I do think that the last couple of pitchers let the bases get a bit too loaded there in the last inning, but it certainly made for a fun game.

Fox Sports has all the highlights of the playoffs.

I was also impressed by the fact that Damian Jackson returned to play after the collision with Johnny Damon (who is hospitalized with a significant concussion). Jackson didn't look too sturdy himself when he came off the field.


Monday, October 06, 2003

MacArthur Fellows announced

The MacArthur Foundation named the twenty-four MacArthur Fellows for 2003. It is, as usual, an interesting group of people -- from artists to scientists, to writers.


Sunday, October 05, 2003

Plame affair

I don't claim to be an expert about the Plame matter. Frankly, I view the whole thing as a tempest in a teapot -- something created to make political hay while the sun shines, so to speak.

However, Robert Novak reveals a possibly illegal donation made by Ms. Plame to the Gore campaign.

For further information on the whole matter go see:

Bill Hobbs

Eugene Volokh here , here, and here.


What peace process?

Yesterday's suicide bombing once again shows that there is no real interest by the Palestinian "authorities" to honestly engage in a cease fire. While the bomber's family is claiming that she acted in retaliation for her brother and cousin's deaths during an Israeli raid, the fact that the Islamic Jihad claimed responsiblity says everything we need to know. Arafat could shut down these operations if he really wanted to and if he is not going to play fair then the world needs to isolate him.

In my opinion, Israel was also right to move forward with an attack on terrorist camps in Syria. Israel is only doing what America has done in Iraq and Afghanastan. Israel has put up with these attacks for more years than it should have. The Oslo Peace Accords were negotated 10 years ago and do not seem to be doing much good. If we are going to call for these nations to stop supporting terrorists, then they need to know that we mean all terrorists -- not just the ones who attack us directly. We cannot ask another nation to not do what we ourselves are doing. We should support Israel in protecting her people and lands and not try to hamstring her actions. I do realize that we must tread carefully in order to not have an all-out war break out in the entire region. However, I also think that an undeclared war has been occurring for many years. It is time to end it.

UPDATE: Dr. Walid Phares, Professor of Middle East Studies and terrorism analyst for MSNBC, has two excellent articles posted here and here.


California Recall

Since I don't live in California, I don't have a dog in this fight. However, I have been following the recall election just out of curiosity because I'm a bit of a political junkie. During the national election cycles (both Presidential and mid-term) my husband and I have an election night party. We get the snacks ready and then sit down and wait for the election results to roll in. Usually it is just the two of us because most of our friends think we are slightly nuts!

The recall process has proven to be very interesting. I never thought it would get this far and am still not sure how I feel about the whole thing. Part of me is thrilled to see democracy in action but another part of me disagrees with the process. This part of my brain does not think that you (the voting public) should get a "do over" just because you are unhappy with the person you elected into office. I think that since California voted Gray-out Davis into office then they should have to live with his misguided policies for the remainder of his term. But since the recall process is on the books in California, and has been followed to the letter, the election should go on.

I'm also not sure that Ahh-nold is the right man for the job. While Ronald Reagan made a great governor and president, I don't think Arnold has the same credentials. I'm not sure if he really knows where he stands on the issues or if he is flying by the seat of his pants. If the Republican Party is to gain control of the California governorship, it should be the right Republican -- not just any Republican. However, if Arnold does win the governorship, this could leave McClintock available to challenge Boxer in the next national election.

I do find the allegations of sexual harassment disturbing (as I did Clinton's), but I am not willing denounce Arnold on those allegations alone. There are big differences between Arnold's actions and Clinton's actions. All of Clinton's reported sexual harassment occurred when he was an elected official and he harassed employees over whom he had control. The allegations surfacing about Arnold mostly seem to have occurred when he was a private citizen and unmarried -- he did not have the same obligations that Clinton had. Also, Arnold, when confronted with the allegations, immediately owned up to his past bad behavior and apologized. Clinton lied under oath and continued to obstruct a law suit. None of these differences erase Arnold's bad behavior, whatever that may be. However, the differences also provide a much different background on which to examine the behavior.

I also find in humerous that Ted Kennedy was offended by Gov. Romney's likening of Arnold to the Senator.


Thursday, October 02, 2003

Free Speech?

Rush Limbaugh resigned from his ESPN football commentary gig because of the backlash over his comment about Donovan McNabb. I must say that I'm surprised he resigned, and a little disappointed. Whatever your feelings about Rush, you have to admit that he is very forthright with his opinions -- and usually stands by them no matter what backlash occurs. Rush's comments on Sunday were not, in my opinion, about Donovan McNabb personally. They were about the media's reaction to McNabb. Rush never said that McNabb was a poor player or that he shouldn't be given a chance -- only that the media has overrated him due to his race.

Should Rush have interjected race into the comments? Maybe not. Perhaps he has a point though. Does the media give a free pass to those it wants to succeed -- in this case a black quarterback? Why can't there be discussion about the content of Rush's comments rather than the words themselves? And what did ESPN think they were going to get when they hired him? They wanted controversy and they got it. Maybe Michael Irvin should resign also, because he agreed with Rush's comments.

Finally, it seems that speech is only free if the national media agrees with what you were saying. When the Dixie Chicks made a derogatory comment about the President of the United States during a war there were any number of people standing up to defend their right to say what was on their minds. Free speech is free speech -- no matter if you agree with the speaker or not.

The Corner, over at National Review Online, is having a lively discussion of this incident.

UPDATE: For what it is worth, Slate defends Rush's statements...


Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Patriot Act Uproar

The library profession, led by the national organization the ALA, is in an apparent uproar over provisions of the US Patriot Act. The ALA is pushing this issue -- trying to make it appear as if the United States government has new authority to obtain personal records, including library records. Two of the items highlighted in the debate are the process of obtaining search warrants and the obligation of citizens and the press to provide information about terrorist acts.

If search warrants are what are issued under this Act this is an "ex parte" proceeding. But search warrants are almost always issued "ex parte", in ANY matter. The governmental authority rarely is involved in any type of hearing.
An adversarial hearing prior to the issuance of a search warrant would defeat the purpose of the warrant. In every criminal case where there is probable cause a search warrant is acquired, not a subpoena. Probable cause has always been the standard. If a search warrant is later found to have been issued incorrectly then that evidence may be
thrown out -- which is one of the reasons I think judges will be better arbitrators of this. Judges hate to overturned and they do not want their judicial record tarnished.

However, probable cause has not and is not the standard for ALL searches. Right now the police can search someone pursuant to a Terry stop and frisk on nothing more than reasonable suspicion. Again, one must put search and seizure into context.

As for who may be targeted for search pursuant to the Act, that is nothing new either. You do not have to be the criminal himself to be subject to a search. Probable cause of possessing information leading to a criminal arrest will suffice.

By my understanding, under federal law, the press has never been exempt, either constitutionally or in constitutional jurisprudence, from criminal procedure because he may have a good story. States (including TN) have passed laws protecting a journalist's sources, but it is by no means constitutional law. Freedom of the press keeps the
government from saying that you can't publish a story. I have seen several legal arguments stating that if a journalist has information leading to a known terrorist organization (or other criminal acts that may harm people) that evidence should be discoverable.

Does the Patriot Act have problems? Yes it does, as would any law passed so quickly (the Act was signed into law on October 26, 2001 -- just a few weeks after the terrorist attacks on US soil). But this law was passed by the vast majority of Congress (House and Senate) and by both sides of the aisle. The Bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 99-1, with then-Majority Leader Thomas Daschle urging unanimous passage. The House passed the bill by a vote of 357-66. The various components of the law have been in place for a number of years. The Patriot Act is an attempt, at least in my reading of it, to bring all of these components under one umbrella for a certain type of crime --terrorism.

To learn more about the Patriot Act visit these sites:

USA PATRIOT ACT , text of Act via Thomas, Legislative Information on the Internet a service of the Library of Congress.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center