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Off the top

A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Useless post, 4/30/05

I’m entitled to one of these once in a while, aren’t I?

Here’s what’s up: I’m feeling pressure to post something of a textual nature in order to keep my blog “current.” But, I’m just not up to doing anything that takes real work! I believe in quality work, or, rather, in giving my best effort that at least meets a minimum standard of decent quality, and good writing doesn’t just flow out of me with little effort (now you know – LOL). Therefore, I really have to be inspired, motivated, and possessed of sufficient energy and mental clarity in order to post anything decent. But tonight I’m afraid I'm just not there. So please forgive me :-)

I have been doing the following, though:

1) collecting notes on things to blog on in the future

2) collecting notes on things to read further, to perhaps blog on in the future

3) planning my homeschooling curriculum for next “school” year

4) looking for a Latin/English dictionary on eBay

5) trying to get my daughter to stay in bed

6) writing something I will present in church on Sunday (which I will probably blog on at some point)

7) thinking about the future of my blog and what I am going to do about it and my future blogging efforts (which I will probably blog about at some point)

8) trying to figure out how the heck I can get to the GodBlogCon

9) reading lots of other people’s blogs. You may think I haven't been reading, because I haven't commented, but I am reading! Actually, I’m also considering writing comments to certain posts but am not up to composing those either at the moment.

I consider blogging and reading blogs to be a relational activity as well as a self-expressive and learning activity, and the people I make connections with via blogging mean something to me. (You know who you are :-) ) Actually, I care about everyone whose blogs I read, and who reads my blog.

Hey, maybe this wasn’t such a useless post after all :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Flowering plum tree

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

My amazing grandmothers

My grandmothers are remarkable women. Nonagenarians both, they are sound of mind if not of memory, and strong in constitution if not of body. My father’s mother has endured a broken hip (and bungled hip repair that sentenced her to a wheelchair), multiple strokes and double pneumonia, yet she's recovered, and maintained her sense of humor as well. My aunt helps care for her (in a retirement home) by assisting with her meals and making sure she gets proper care. The strokes have taken away most of my grandma’s use of her hands as well as her speech, but her spirit remains undaunted. Her strength is a great inspiration to me. I am very thankful that she has my aunt by her side.

I had the pleasure of visiting these wonderful ladies this past week.

A relatively young woman in a condition similar to Terri Schiavo’s lives in the same home as the grandmother I just mentioned. Apparently she suffered an aneurysm during childbirth. I passed her several times but never saw her awake. She appeared flushed (or else had some sort of skin condition), and I noticed that she drooled. My aunt told me that there’s been a bit of controversy regarding her “care.” I didn’t get a sense that she wasn’t a person, though, as I passed close by her and paused briefly to observe. She was living and breathing. She had a presence. Perhaps not of mind, but of something –- maybe life.

My mother’s mother is 97. She is wonderful! Not as quick as she once was and lacking in short-term memory, but still great fun to chat with. She sits and thinks about what we tell her, asking questions and making comments. She even laughs at my goofy jokes :-) She enjoyed all the kids’ antics and watched them attentively. She receives very good care in a top-level home, yet still I was saddened that I do not live closer so as to visit more often.

My grandmother does not actively seek out conversation yet interacts willingly when spoken to. She is similar to many of her fellow residents. It saddened me to see her and so many others just sitting around, dozing, or parked in front of the television. They need people (besides their fellow residents and nurses) to engage them and spend time with them!

I felt especially bad for one intelligent-looking gentleman who was able to walk unassisted. He didn’t seem to be as old as most of the other residents. This gentleman, no doubt quite handsome in his younger days, was well-spoken and socially adept. Thrilled to see me and the children, he said, anxiously, “I don’t know why I’m here....I feel so out of place. I don’t know anyone”...etc. He’s probably been there for years. His manner was restless; he looked around, looked at the newspaper, got up and wandered around, etc., over and over. He appeared to be both puzzled and in search of engaging conversation. I learned that he had been a teacher. But now he wanders the retirement home, perpetually confused.

The other thing that struck me was that the aides and nurses are continually running to serve the residents, clean up spills, give medicine, keep residents from getting up out of their wheelchairs, take residents to the bathroom, etc. etc. One very nice and patient nurse saw me taking my 3-year-old daughter to the bathroom for the umpteenth time and said, “You’ve covered that hallway as much as we have!” Later, as she whizzed by for the umpteenth time to try to keep one resident from pushing another around (in a wheelchair), she whispered, “Tomorrow’s my day off!”

It’s true – in the twilight of our lives, we need as much care as in the dawn of our lives. Which caused me to reflect that, yes, caring for our fellow humans – our flesh and blood – during both of these times of life is demanding, vexing, and exhausting. It’s not so easy during the prime of life either. But it’s necessary, and noble, and beautiful. Those elderly individuals – those unwieldy, stubborn, deluded folks who are incapable of learning or of helping themselves – are the ones from whom the rest of us have come, and have learned. If it weren’t for my grandmothers there’d be no me. Not so profound, I realize, yet it is. I am in awe, and I am grateful, and I cherish these two women to pieces.

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the kids and me with their maternal great-grandmother

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Orange tulips

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Monday, April 25, 2005

Travel notes

We’ve just returned from an action-packed 9-day trip. Our adventures included visits to relatives including my grandmothers (both of whom are in their nineties), various activities for the kids, and a “field trip” to Philadelphia. Some highlights:

* Within walking distance of my parents’ home are two farms that raise interesting and unusual animals including peacocks, four-horned sheep, and chickens that lay green eggs. Really. We had some of the eggs for breakfast (minus the ham...). They were quite good!

* I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with my grandmothers. They are amazingly strong women of sound mind, if not of memory. Though their bodies may be failing, their spirits remain undaunted. What an inspiration. I will write more about my visits with them in another post.

* On the way to Philadelphia, we stopped at the Valley Forge National Historic Park. This was an opportunity for my son to “enrich” his Revolutionary War studies. (I tried hard to learn a little bit myself but my daughter didn’t care much for the exhibits.) The driving tour was nice, though, and we were able to view remains of redoubts as well as Washington’s headquarters.

* In Philadelphia, we parked by Penn’s Landing, strolled around the historic district, and visited Christ Church, the Christ Church burial grounds where Benjamin Franklin is interred, and the Liberty Bell (whose housing requires security clearance to enter). We also went to the Franklin Institute, and rode the subway for fun. There is so much of a profoundly educational nature to see and do in Philadelphia that you need at least a week, but we did what we could.

Here is a photo of George and Martha Washington, John Adams, and the Marquis de Lafayette in their customary pew at Christ Church:

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In the Christ Church burial grounds was a grave marker from the mid-1700s of a gentleman who lived to be 95. He outlived four great-grandchildren, all of whom died in childhood. I noticed many tombstones of infants and young children. Some families lost all of their children young.

* The Franklin Institute is probably the best museum I’ve ever seen (even better than the Smithsonian!). It is very hands-on, imaginative, intelligently laid-out,...and huge! It’s got something for everyone. We spent over four hours there and only saw maybe half of the museum. Highlights (for the kids especially) included the Train Factory, the Franklin Air Show, Franklin: He’s Electric!, the Mechanics Room which featured an incredible mechanized golf-ball-and-chutes system, and the Giant Heart, a walk-through model of the human heart that would fit a person the size of the Statue of Liberty. The kids and I climbed through the thing at least twenty times!

We entered via the vena cava, passed the electrical nodes in the right atrium, entered the right ventricle (to the sounds of a heartbeat, of course), climbed through the pulmonary artery, walked through the CO2/oxygen exchange in the lungs (to more sound and light effects), twisted into the left atrium and down into the left ventricle, then climbed the aorta (out of the top of which we could view the room!) and squeezed back down & out into the “body”! I got my cardiovascular workout for the day for sure, hauling my daughter through :-) The entire Giant Heart exhibit, which includes many other hands-on installations, is incredibly well-done.

I wished we’d had another day so that I could check out the Salvador Dali exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art...

* The weather was great for most of our trip. We even enjoyed a couple days of temperatures in the 80s, only to drive home in – you guessed it – snow! It’s snowing right now. (my poor daffodils)

Something remarkable happened on the way home: we came literally within inches of having a terrible car crash, yet it didn’t happen. The overall outcome was about the best that could’ve occurred in that situation. It was incredible that all factors “conspired” on the positive side. Had any one of them been different, well...

Structures, part III: east in the west

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The Pagoda of Reading, PA

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Understandings not shared

I’m writing about Ellen Goodman again, and referring to her statements that confuse “religious” with truly “Christian,” truly Christian with cultural, and “conviction” with “arrogance.”

I’d like to think that Goodman is grappling with some important moral basics (beyond actually recognizing them, which itself is an important step), as the few of her recent columns I’ve had opportunity to read seem to indicate. But I still find it a bit puzzling that she is so skilled at making observations (and writing about them), yet seemingly obtuse when it comes to interpreting or explaining them. She insists upon categorizing these observations in a boxed-in, oversimplified sort of way, as if she can’t get past a sound-bite (or word-bite) way of thinking.

Witness her column, Pope John Paul II. (The newspaper I read the column in titled it “Convictions not shared.”) She starts off with a respectable concern over eulogies to Pope John Paul II, which “focused on his character, indeed, on the courage of his convictions more than the content of those convictions.” But she concludes that this has more to do with the fact that people admire a self-confident leader than they admire the actual moral content of a leader’s convictions. Perhaps this is true of those who are looking for a leader, period, rather than for a truly moral leader, or who are looking to a worldly leader rather than to a heavenly One.

But Goodman’s words serve to illustrate the stunted perspective of the person who can’t see past the empirical features of the world. The fact that President George W. Bush praised the former pope for “standing his ground:”
Tides of moral relativism kind of washed around him, but he stood strong as a rock.
does not merely mean that “politicians and reporters in a multicultural world looked for a secular way to praise a religious leader.” Nor does it mean that Bush and other “world leaders and church followers and the media mainstream seemed to pick and choose pieces of the garment to adorn their praise.”

And of what real consequence is it that the former pope opposed the war in Iraq? A person can be admired and respected for their character even if one does not agree with all of their views, because it’s character that matters more than agreement with all of a person's specific personal views.

It’s a person’s character, as demonstrated by their personal integrity, their principles, and their dealings with people that should earn them the trust of others, not merely their particular views and opinions. Such a trust in character does not represent a “sort of abstract support for conviction,” as Goodman claims.

At the end of her piece, Goodman displays either a misunderstanding of terms, a lack of precise definition of those terms, or a misuse of terms:
Today moral relativism has become a kind of intellectual whipping boy. It’s regarded as a weakness. But for many, moral authoritarianism is strength admired best from afar.

As for self-doubt, with all its difficulties, doubt may be the crack in the door that makes way for understanding and even change.

Self-doubt has nothing to do with moral relativism as far as definition of the term goes. And I don’t see moral relativism being an intellectual whipping boy – it is of moral, not intellectual concern, and serves as a definition and a distinction, not as something to beat on.

Whether “moral authoritarianism” is a strength best admired from afar or not depends on who or what one’s moral authority actually is.

Doubt is not always a “crack in the door;” it depends upon the nature of the doubt. But if doubt leads to humility, then that is a good thing. The two are not the same, however.

If Ellen Goodman herself is experiencing doubt, or self-doubt, I do hope that it will lead to a conviction of belief in the one True Moral Authority.

I also hope and pray to be continually kept humble by the exemplary character I observe in others – character which points me back to its Source.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Heading out...

I will be traveling for the next week, visiting family members. I don’t expect to be able to post since computer access will be limited. But you never know :-)

I want to thank my readers once again and wish everyone a great week. "See" you when I get back. :-)

On health and well-being

For me, there is a deeply-imbedded correlation between health and a sense of well-being. I suspect this is also true of most everyone else.

When I was a kid, my mother made sure to tell me what I needed to do to stay healthy, as well as what I needed to do to be “good.” I know it’s because she wanted the best for me, but I couldn’t help but sometimes combine the two (along the lines of “cleanliness is next to godliness – just substitute “healthiness” for “cleanliness.”). “Good” people were generally healthy, and “bad” people – well, bad things happened to them. Even bad things happening to good people was still “bad.” Talk of those who were seriously ill was usually hush-hush and mysterious, and the fact that some illnesses were of the mental variety made it that much more ominous.

Some of my earliest memories are of scary doctor’s-office experiences –- being poked at, examined like an exhibit on display, given painful shots. At home, I remember taking disgusting medicine and being treated somewhat leper-like if I had something contagious. I don’t believe this was the intent, but this was what I took from it.

I remember the loneliness of being isolated in my bedroom at the back of the house during a typical childhood illness. I’d contemplate the cheery smiles on the faces of my stuffed pink-and-blue cat and inflatable Dumbo, wondering what they were smiling about and why they seemed to be in a completely different world. I remember feeling entirely separated from the rest of the happy, carefree universe. I remember the smell of Lysol, which I hate to this day. I remember feeling scared when I didn’t feel “normal,” as if the sickness-bogeyman was plotting some dreadful, painful rearrangement of my entire life, of my entire future.

Perhaps the fact that there were some unsettling and confusing events which culminated in a family tragedy also influenced me; I don’t know. Family tragedy or no, though, I don’t think I’m too much different in this than most people. But folks don’t seem to talk about it except to tell great stories of triumph, or to utter platitudes.

I admit that I carry an incongruity, or cognitive dissonance (or whatever) with me: I accept the spiritual falsehood of the idea that goodness and health equate overall well-being, yet I lack the psychological (or emotional) acceptance. Lord, help me!

There are so many things associated with “good” in our culture: cleanliness, neatness, order, comfort, having needs met, being physically and mentally “well.” “Bad” is associated with mess, pain, chaos, discomfort, and feeling or being physically or mentally sick or in pain. And it’s difficult to avoid inculcating this sense in our children. I have tried hard not to pass on such traditions to mine. It helps to have medicine that tastes like a grape lollipop, bubble gum, or Hawaiian punch. But I have also prepared and cheerfully reassured and assisted my kids through their doctor visits, shots, illnesses, and a tonsillectomy – with success, I believe. It’s hard not to subtly undermine these efforts, though, by making a big deal out of avoiding injury/sickness, and by overreacting to ordinary, everyday troubles...

I have more to say on the subject...stay tuned :-)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Structures, part II: redemption

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

More flower photos

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More than a hundred years ago, the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany created a stained-glass window inspired by daffodils. This in turn inspired reproductions,* note cards, and even a coloring book!

(*The original colors are much deeper than represented in this photo.)

Elsewhere in the garden

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Miniature daffodils were the first to bloom, almost beating the crocuses.

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From the field:

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These violets barely stand two inches above the ground.

(The weather's been spectacular here lately, can you tell?!)

Monday, April 11, 2005

On Terri Schiavo and personhood

Something occurred to me that seems to have great bearing on whether or not Terri Schiavo was truly a person during the last fifteen years of her life.

Since her cognitive function was allegedly zero, it has been argued that Terri was not a person. But if one literally loses one’s mind, must one’s personhood go with it? I find such a conclusion suspect. In my mind, mere existence is enough to qualify one for personhood.

Consider this: Terri’s cognitive function was minimal at best, yet her body continued to function. She breathed on her own, her heart pumped blood, and she metabolized the food and water she received through a tube. She also had regular menstrual periods. It’s probably safe to say she ovulated as well, meaning that she was fertile. If she was fertile, then it would have been possible for her to conceive -- and conceivable that she could’ve given birth to a child.

Which leads to my question: can an individual procreate, i.e., co-create new life, and yet still not be a person? If not, then why? Can a fertile individual produce anything of greater worth than another human being? I suppose some could say that it’s worthier to win a soul to heaven than to merely produce another human life. But if a life hasn’t been produced to begin with, how can it possibly acquire a soul to be won to heaven?

Acceptance of salvation is an act of volition, as is bearing witness to God’s saving grace beyond the natural effect of salvation. The killing of another human being is also an act of volition. But no one can will the dead to life. A person can create new life via his or her body together with another, but only because God has made the human body to possess this capacity. No one would be here if that capacity was not inherent. If no one existed, no one could possess the capacity to choose. No one could achieve anything at all. Therefore, the prerequisite to cognitive function, of the type that produces acts of will, must be mere existence itself.

If no one can control the fact that he or she is alive (besides the fact that he/she can choose to terminate his/her life), then how can anyone possibly be so arrogant as to say that the value of life lies in what can be accomplished (via the will)? Besides, is not the greatest achievement that which is accomplished for others? A person with no cognitive function whatever can still achieve for others: he or she can accomplish the work of compassion, forbearance, reverence, and a host of other qualities within the hearts of those who are willing to receive them.

If Terri was capable of procreation, and if she was capable of instilling virtue in the hearts of those who were willing to accept it, then surely she possessed personhood.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The daffodil chronicles, part VII

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

The daffodil chronicles, part VI

(The chronicles begin here (middle photo) and continue
, here, and here

This was yesterday:

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(Is the suspense killing you?)

Bits and pieces, 4/09/05

The GodBlogCon website is up and running, with registration details to be posted soon. Many, many thanks to “The Instigator” Hugh Hewitt, “The Organizer” Dr. Andrew Jackson, “The Director” Dr. John Mark Reynolds and everyone else involved for putting so much heart and work into making this conference happen.

The GodBlogCon is open to anyone who affirms the historical and Biblical Christian faith*. It will kick off Thursday, October 13th with a dinner followed by an hour with Dr. Reynolds. Friday features multiple sessions, periods of free time, and an evening panel with Hugh Hewitt that will be open to the public. Saturday will bring more sessions in the morning and the conference will end at noon. See the website for more details, and check out the GodBlogCon blog!

Please pray as the schedule and sessions continue to take shape. Pray for content and inspiration. Pray for the registration process, the working out of travel discounts, and provision of travel information. Pray for those who God will bring to this conference. Pray for the ministry of Godbloggers!

*and who has a blog, until July 1st; after that to anyone else who would like to attend, up to 300 individuals.


This week’s Christian Carnvial is at Proverbs Daily. There are over 60 posts this time (I think that’s the most so far). One noteworthy post on Christians and Terri Schiavo by Neil Uchitel at Digitus, Finger and Co. caught my attention and I left a lengthy comment there.


There's been important discussion concerning the definition of personhood at Wittenberg Gate, Through a Glass Darkly, Jollyblogger and certainly others, as well as at Mr. Uchitel's blog. I only just discovered this so I haven't had a chance to read over everything yet. I hope to do so soon and to comment here.


I won't even bother making any more promises regarding my review of The Abolition of Man...since I’ve broken the last several (hanging head in shame). I do hope to continue it...I just can’t seem to get past current events.


My three-year-old daughter loves to run around without clothes on, as do most small children (though we require she cover her bum). Trouble is, our house is chilly. She always insists she’s warm, though.

Here’s an exchange from a few mornings ago:

Me: “Rosie, where are your clothes?”

Rose: “I’m not cold.”

Me: “Honey, it’s cold in this house, are you sure you’re not cold?”

Rose: “I’m....Not....COLD!”

Me: “Brrrr, I’m getting cold just looking at you!”

Rose: “Then put on a sweater!”


Just when you think you’ve heard everything:

Woman breastfeeds newborn tiger cubs


Friday, April 08, 2005

They survived

the blast...

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The insquelchability (is that a word??) of growing things never ceases to amaze me...

(It was in the 70s a couple days ago, woohoo!)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Misinterpretation and misrepresentation, part II

I’ve read over Judge George Greer’s order, dated February 11, 2000, granting Michael Schiavo’s petition to have Terri’s feeding tube removed. (The order also addressed the Schindlers’ petition to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem). I'm sure that by now most of the blogosphere has seen it. It illuminates the judicial process as well as the judicial power wielded in this particular case, as has been noted. Greer’s words are quite revealing.

I’d like to point out a few specifics, beginning with Greer’s discussion of the Schindler/Schiavo rift. This rift was apparently founded on a dispute over use of the money both Michael and Terri’s estate were rewarded from a malpractice suit.

A change in outlook on the part of Michael Schiavo surely preceded the money dispute. For several years, Michael and Terri’s parents worked together towards Terri's recovery. But after treatments failed to yield the desired effects, Michael apparently gave up on desiring even basic maintenance for Terri.

Michael Schiavo told Larry King,
Her father and mother came into the [hospice] room. And they closed the door. And they asked the big question, How much money am I going to get? And I told them I wasn't going to get any money.

Note: He received $300 000, according to Greer’s order. (p. 2)

KING: Out of the malpractice?

SCHIAVO: Out of the malpractice suit. Then he argued with me for a little while. And then he pointed at Terri in the wheelchair and says, How much am I going to get from her money?

And I said, you have to go talk to the courts about that.

...he's always wanted the money. He always wanted money out of this. He even testified in the first trial that he was angry that he didn't get any money.

According to Fr. Rob Johansen, Schindler has said: "I never asked him for money, ever." Schindler did admit to reminding Michael that they had previously discussed pursuing a certain course of treatment for Terri. It seems unclear whether Michael had actually promised to use the settlement money for this treatment. Schindler seemed to have thought he had.

Greer’s order states:

While the testimony differs on what may or may not have been promised to whom and by whom, it is clear to this court that such severance was predicated upon money and the fact that Mr. Schiavo was unwilling to equally divide his loss of consortium award with Mr. and Mrs. Schindler. ... Regrettably, money overshadows this entire case and creates potential of conflict of interest for both sides. The Guardian Ad Litem noted that Mr. Schiavo’s conflict of interest was that if Terri Schiavo died while he is still her husband, he would inherit her estate. The record before this court discloses that should Mr. and Mrs. Schindler prevail, their stated hope is that Mr. Schiavo would divorce their daughter, get on with his life, they would be appointed guardians of Terri Schiavo and become heirs at law. They have even encouraged him to “get on with his life.” Therefore, neither side is exempt from finger pointing as to possible conflicts of interest in this case. (p. 2)

It’s possible that Schindler did not actually ask Michael for money while communicating desire to have some say in how the settlement money, especially the $700 000 that Terri’s estate received, was spent. And perhaps he did hope to receive that $700 000, but there is no good reason to assume he would not have used most or all of it for Terri’s care. Did he and Mrs. Schindler have any other significant source of funding for her care, had they received guardianship? And would they have done an about-face, upon being named guardians, and petitioned to have Terri’s feeding tube removed?? Surely the Judge didn't anticipate such a scandal!

It’s clear, though, that if Terri died as result of having her feeding tube removed, Michael would receive Terri’s estate (as he in fact has) and would most certainly not spend it on Terri (except for post-mortem procedures), since Terri would be dead. How Greer failed to see or mention this, when mentioning the “potential conflict of interest that went both ways,” I cannot understand.

I also couldn’t help noticing (and maybe I read with a bias, though my intent was to not do so) that Judge Greer repeatedly and at length expressed a disdain for the testimony of the Schindlers and their witnesses, which he found to be of dubious credibility. He wrote several sentences regarding oddities in a witness' (Terri's friend) testimony, the main "oddity" of which can be explained by the fact that he was wrong about the year Karen Ann Quinlan died! (As has been noted by other bloggers.)* Greer thought that Terri’s friend's consistency in repeating the same “odd” tense usage throughout examination and cross-examination was not to her credit.

The Judge also questioned the fact that Terri’s friend had much better memory at trial than at the deposition, and appeared distrustful of her testimony that things had come back to her upon reflection. I don’t see the great unlikelihood of this happening. A friend of Terri’s wouldn’t necessarily be a “professional” witness. Greer just seems to have set the bar awfully high for Schindler testimony.

He didn’t, however, have a problem with the fact that Michael’s testimony to what Terri said about being “hooked to a machine” was corroborated only by his own family members. Greer stated that they did not appear to be “slanting” their testimony by excluding “unfavorable comments regarding those discussions” – whatever that means. And that their testimony of Terri’s phraseology lined up historically with what people “in this country in that age group” typically said about the issue. (p. 6)

I’m not aware that language regarding life support, or being “hooked up to a machine,” has changed in the last 20 years. But then I’m not exactly “hip” so maybe I missed something.

The judge also made a completely arbitrary suppostition as to why Michael Schiavo waited eight years to petition to have Terri’s feeding tube (or “life support,” as Greer refers to it) removed:

...he should not be faulted for having done what those opposed to him want to be continued. (p. 4)

As if that was the point...

If, as Greer stated, there was admittedly “potential conflict of interest” regarding money on both sides, why did he so readily give Michael the benefit of the doubt? Because of other testimony, yes...George Felos is a shrewd lawyer.

Greer also stated that it was

also interesting to note that Mr. Schiavo continues to be the most regular visitor to his wife even though he is criticized for wanting to remove her life support. (p. 4)

He did not mention, however, the evidence for his statement.

If a judge must always assume that witnesses, being under oath, are giving honest testimony, why did Greer so readily accept the Schiavos’ testimony but not the Schindlers’? He admitted that he has complete freedom to decide, on his own, who’s credible and who’s not:
The court has had the opportunity to hear the witnesses, observe their demeanor, hear inflections, note pregnant pauses, and in all manners assess credibility above and beyond the spoken or typed word. (p. 3)

But, really, how many individuals can truly “read” others without error, especially those others they don't really know? Do all judges possess superior social and logical acumen?

Why is a single individual allowed, by law, to decide whether another person lives or dies?

*Whoever typed the order didn't even know how to spell "Quinlan" -- though that's irrelevant to my point. I just find it interesting.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Winter's final (?) assault

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Tribute to Pope John Paul II

A great man has gone to his reward.

Pope John Paul II was a rarity; a man truly worthy of his position. Though I am not Roman Catholic, and do not speak as a Catholic, I admired Pope John Paul II for his tireless and gracious efforts to champion the ageless tenets of Christianity. He did not capitulate to the times. He was an exemplary leader in this regard.

Pope John Paul II was also someone who did not retreat from life, or ill health, or death. He handled them all with generosity and dignity. Right up to the end, he continued to carry out his duties as he was able, rather than seclude himself from the public. What a model for us all.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Misinterpretation and misrepresentation, part I

Whether intentional or unintentional, these both have played a large role in the Terri Schiavo saga, may she rest in peace.

The heart is deceitfully wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9) Even the true disciple of Jesus Christ is not exempt from having a dishonest or unloving heart. It’s easy to be an "armchair judge" –- to observe a situation from the outside and note what should or shouldn’t be done, and to think, “I would never do _____.” But when push comes to shove, let’s admit it – none of us are saints.

Besides that, we all have conflicts of interest. And even in our honest concern, borne out of love, we may become defensive and adversarial toward anyone not sharing that concern. How easy it is to forget the truth of Ephesians 6:12.

A few days ago, a blog commenter (not on this blog) reported that Judge George Greer has left Calvary Baptist, his church in Clearwater, FL. An article at reported this as well.

Other sources have stated specifically that Greer was asked to leave the church.

In the article, the pastor of Calvary Baptist, William Rice, is quoted as saying that he and Greer "exchanged letters about the nature of Greer's church affiliation." Earlier, The St. Petersburg Times reported that Greer told a church deacon, "If I don't like what the St. Pete Times writes about me, my only recourse is to cancel my subscription." He told the deacon he would no longer make donations to the church.

Rice reportedly told the Baptist Press, "I felt like [the Times' comments] opened the door for me to write him and ask what kind of relationship he desired to have with the church."

That's rather euphemistic language, and perhaps such language is appropriate when discussing a matter in which privacy may be an issue. But, apparently, Rice’s letter has become public. He sent a copy to the Clearwater courthouse. Why he did so has not been stated, and whether he actually intended the letter to become public is not known.

This article from the St. Petersburg Times, dated March 22, tell us that Rice wrote Greer, "it might be easier for all of us" if Greer left. "I am not asking you to do this, but since you have taken the initiative of withdrawal, and since your connection with Calvary continues to be a point of concern, it would seem the logical and, I would say, biblical course."

Since this portion of Rice's letter has become public, in light of his comments to the Baptist Press one must ask whether his words truly represent, as he claims, mere inquiry. They sound a lot like opinion to me. Or advice masquerading as opinion. Or perhaps a request masquerading as opinion/advice. What is the extent of the diplomacy here?

In other words, what did Rice really mean? What motivated him?

*sigh* God knows...

Friday, April 01, 2005

Structures, part I

Posted by Hello

Schoen Place, Pittsford, NY

Schoen Place lies alongside the towpath of the Erie Canal. At one time it was a lumber yard and coal storage area; now it houses shops and restauraunts. This shot was taken from the towpath trail near the Sam Patch (historical tour boat) boat landing.

(Meanwhile, my family fed the ducks across the towpath from this location.)