Archive for August 8th, 2007|Daily archive page

Democrats In Congress: Republicans with Blue Ties

… or skirts. Whatever.

Slate’s legal lovely, Dahlia Lithwick, wrote a killer analysis of the implications of Democrats voting to expand Bush’s wiretapping powers and Congress’ favorite punching bunny, Mr Giggles,

This past Sunday, a heap of Democrats voted to rush through changes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the law that governs electronic surveillance of anyone in this country. The new law expands the authority of the attorney general to approve the monitoring of phone calls and e-mails to suspected overseas terrorists from unknowing American citizens. Make no mistake about it. The vote to update FISA rewarded the AG for years of missteps and misstatements by giving him expanded authority to enforce the president’s alarming constitutional vision. Sans oversight. Sans judicial approval.

There is virtually no way to reconcile Sen. Mark Pryor’s, D-Ark., claim that Gonzales has “lied to the Senate” and needs to go with his vote to expand the reach of our warrantless eavesdropping program. And how can one possibly square Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s, D-Calif., claim that the AG “just doesn’t tell the truth” with her vote to give him yet more unchecked authority? You either trust this AG with the power to listen in on your phone calls or you do not, and the mumbled justifications for these “yes” votes ( … but Gonzales shares his authority with National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell; … but the bill sunsets in six months) do nothing to lessen the impression that some Democrats mistrust Gonzales when it’s convenient, but not when it’s truly important.

The whole thing should be read in full. It shows just how big the problems are.

I’m getting the feeling that the only difference whether your vote goes Blue or Red in 2008 will be the speed at which the churches take over.

Considering the fact that evangelical churches are now starting to infiltrate the Democratic party and making more and more inroads into issues like the environment, prisons and homeless shelters (temporary? – riiiiight!), it is clear that there really is no chance that America will remain a secular nation. Oh! I forgot. It wasn’t one anyway.

Don’t get me wrong. Evangelicals need to understand the issues. I’m just afraid the movements will become biblical. They won’t understand and support the issues, they simply take them over. After all it worked for the Republican Party, didn’t it?

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Don’t Run with that Pencil!

Have you ever heard or shouted that warning?

A German woman didn’t heed that advice as a child and as a result spent the next 55 years with about 8cm of pencil lodged in her brain.

According to Spiegel Online,

A woman who lived with an 8-centimeter (3.1-inch) pencil lodged in her brain for 55 years has had most of it removed in a complex operation. She is now looking forward to a life without headaches and nosebleeds and hopes to also regain her sense of smell.

“When I was four years old I fell down in Dessau with a pencil in my hand. The pencil bored its way through my skin — and disappeared in my head,” Margret Wegner, 59, told the mass circulation newspaper Bild. “It was incredibly painful.”

The pencil missed her optic nerve and a major artery by just millimeters. A doctor treated the wound, but no one dared to operate on her brain. She decided to have the life-threatening operation after 55 years, and it was successfully carried out by a surgeon in a Berlin hospital last week.

Most of the pencil — six centimeters of it — was removed but the 2-centimeter-long tip has grown in so tightly that it will remain lodged in her brain.

All I can say? Congragulations. And Blech – brain pencils.

Almost as bad as “Mr. Phineas Gage’s Famous Injury

Mr. Gage was employed as a railroad worker in Vermont and fell victim to a freak accident that involved a long metal rod called a tamping iron. This rod was used to pack sand over an explosive charge, which was used to excavate rock for the building of railroad lines. In this instance the charge exploded unexpectedly and propelled the 3-foot-long rod through Mr. Gage’s head. The 13-pound rod entered the left cheek and exited the midline of the skull anterior to the bregma, resulting in severe injury to his left and, in all probability,2 his right prefrontal cortex. The Gage case, one of the most famous and influential in neuropsychiatry, played a crucial role in the discovery of behavioral syndromes resulting from frontal lobe dysfunction. Readers interested in detailed accounts of the case and its historical context can find excellent reviews by MacMillan3 and Barker.4

By the way, “behavioral syndromes resulting from frontal lobe dysfunction” is just a nice way of saying lobotomy among loved ones and doctors.

Remember that next time you are running down the hallway with a pencil in your hand… or playing around with tamping irons. (Anvils on the other hand. Have a ball.)