and Terri Schiavo (3/31/05)
wondering whatever happened to Hugh Downs:
- I really like Spring. I'll soon
hate the heat of Summer. But I like the first three weeks of Spring.
- I've been amazed about the
Internet since I first stumbled upon it in 1996. I continue to be
amazed: Here's a site which will allows you to view the actual front pages
of today's edition of various newspapers around the country.
- The world got up in arms this
month demanding that Syria leave Lebanon. I had no idea Syria was in
- How silly was the Martha Stewart
- Some conservatives were outraged
that the Supreme Court banned the execution of juveniles this month.
And I do mean outraged. Sheesh. These kids are going to be imprisoned
for the rest of their lives and some folks are hopping mad that we
can't kill them? What a bloodthirsty society we live in.
- When Congress first subpoenaed a
bunch of major league baseball players in connection with the steroid
controversy I was ranting about how it simply was a cheap publicity
stunt. And although that is exactly what it was, it was nice to see
those overpaid, arrogant athletes sweating in front of the
- You have got to go see the
Gaylord Texan if you haven't been there. It's amazing.
- Michael Jackson's accuser claimed
he was shown porn on his very first visit to Neverland. I find that
hard to believe. As many kids as the King of Pop has paraded in and out
of his estate, this is the only kid the prosecutor can find that saw
porn on the first visit? (Note to self: Stop using the term "Neverland"
like it is no longer weird).
- Why do churches seem the most
holy during funerals and when you walk into an empty one?
- The New York Jets are
to build a new football stadium in Manhattan. Where in the world did
they find the land in Manhattan?
- Ashley Smith, the lady that was
held hostage by Atlanta judge/court reporter killer Brian Nichols, but
was able to convince him to give himself up, is a little bit odd
herself. Her news conferences were just so strange - she's so
detached. It's like she was on a handful of Xanax.
- The Scott Peterson jurors
absolutely nutcases. Most of them showed up for his sentencing (most
jurors run away from the courtroom never to return) and then they
couldn't wait to give interviews thereafter. That redheaded chick (you
know her if you saw her) was bizarre.
- In early March, rapper 50
had three of the top five hits on Billboard's Hot 100. That had never
- I said it last month and now I'm
serious: If I hear Destiny's Child's "Soldier" one more time, I'm
jumping into Lake Bridgeport never to return.
- Trying to get a little culture, I
rented The Motorcycle
Diaries. It was fair.
- "A drug deal gone bad" is a worn
- I might also jump into the lake
if I hear one more allegation of some pastor engaged in underage sex or
- Speaking of crazy jurors, I
actually saw this about three weeks ago: During Larry King Live, Larry was
interviewing one of the Robert Blake jurors who had found Blake not
guilty that very day. In the
middle of his five minute interview, he holds up a music CD that he
created about the trial which would be on sale 90 days later. Amazing!
He quickly mentioned www.liveonwebtv.com
as to where you could go to buy the CD - You have got to check out the
name of the songs.
they still have "Who's Who Among American High School Students?" Are
there people that still fall for it?
- Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi is
great name. It's not just "cherry", it's "wild cherry". That has to be
- I don't know why, but I
Dr. Timothy Johnson of ABC News.
- Collateral with Tom
Cruise was really good - kind of a run of the mill ending - but very
love rich kids and hate poor kids?
- Are things calming down in Iraq
or are we just getting bored by it?
- New Hewlett Packard CEO
Hurd was described by the AP as follows: "When in Dayton, he could be
seen in his office from about 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. He'd usually would go
home to eat dinner with his wife and two daughters, then put in two
more hours of work before bed." Man, that's a quality life. Yeah,
he's richer than everyone in Wise County combined, but what a heck of a
- With the appointment of yet
another female to the court of appeals in San Antonio, Texas now has
the first "all female" appellate court. But check out this quote from
Chief Justice Alma Lopez: "You will see a much harder-working court,"
she said. "Women look at cases much harder and differently than men.
Women are stricter on the law, and we concentrate more on our work. And
we'll probably get along much better." If a guy were to sterotype all
female judges like that, all hell would break loose.
- I don't want to see any
anchor fly in the back cockpit with the Blue Angels.
- I re-rented Bridget Jones' Diary
the other day - It's still very, very funny.
- I think the only reason the
nation went nuts on the Terry Schiavo case is the fact that she could
open her eyes.
- Maria Full of Grace, a
story about the cutest little drug smuggler you've ever seen, was
- This headline about a
Court ruling caught my eye the other day "Court rules federal law
allows people 40 and over to file age bias claims over salary and
hiring even if the employers never intended any harm." The heck
with the "intended harm" aspect of the story, I'm more stunned that I'm
in an age group that could sue for age discrimination.
- Do you remember those
old posters that they would have in the mall that, if you stared at it
long enough, you could see a different image suddenly appear? I have
never - ever - been able to see the secret image appear.
- Even though I saw Closer in the theater,
I rented it on the first day it was out on DVD. It may have been my
favorite movie of 2004.
- There have been 264 Popes.
- The Baylor Lady Bears basketball
team made the Final Four. Yeah, I know, you don't care - but they made
the Final Four.
- I have never caught more flak
than for my note last month that the Bee Gees were the worst band of
all time. I can fire off hot opinions on gays, dope, civil rights, and
religion and no one cares. Insult the brothers Gibb, and I get
And now from the category that
I should probably just shut up (And the following is a little boring
compared to the normal Skattershooting) ........
The Terri Schiavo media coverage drove me insane,
but you couldn't help be fascinated by it all. But of all the yelling
and screaming that was going on, everyone had a hard time grasping the
issue at hand. If I understand it correctly, Florida law states that a
person can have a feeding tube removed if it is proven that (1) that
person is in a constant vegetative state, (2) that the person would not
want to live in that condition, and (3) proof of the person's intention
need not be in writing. I'm a little surprised that Florida law
is that way, but so be it. But what many people don't understand is
that there was an actual trial in
the Schiavo case before a judge where all three of those
elements were established. Once a judge made those findings, he ordered
the feeding tube removed. This gave rise to a variety of appeals, none
of which overturned the trial judge's decision. The appeals did not
concern themselves with whether the "right" decision was made, but,
simply put, to make sure that all the rules were followed.
Most of us believe that is the way our legal system
should work. Let's have a trial where factual determinations are made
and then have the appeals, not for trying the case all over again, but
to insure that procedural and evidentiary rules were properly followed
All Republicans believed this until the Schiavo case
Let me poke a
little fun at the Republicans for a moment: They really lost their
collective minds in this Schiavo case. For years they have pounded
their chests in favor of "State's Rights" and against "Activist
Judges". The passage of the law a couple of weeks ago by Congress
that allowed federal review of the Schiavo legal case, was shameful in
several respects. Whether it be the sanctimonious Tom DeLay (his
political days are numbered, by the way) or the baffling Bill Frist
(who diagnosed Schiavo from afar as not being in a "constant vegetative
state"), it was enough for me to be embarrassed for them.
"State's Rights" is
a theory based upon a very simple constitutional interpretation: If the
Constitution doesn't give a particular power to the Federal Government
then the State's should be able to handle the issue in any way they see
fit. For example, most Republicans dodged the Gay Marriage issue by
saying that since the Constitution is silent on the issue, the States
should be free to outlaw it if they so desire. Florida, in the
Schiavo case, has a set of laws dictating under what circumstances life
support can be pulled from a patient. Obviously, the Constitution is
silent on the issue. Under the State's Rights policy, each state should
be able to set up its own laws on this matter. If the State of Texas
wants to pass a law that requires a signed written declaration of a
person's wishes regarding life support, it should be free to do it. If
Florida allows those wishes to be based upon the testimony of others,
so be it. But for some crazy reason, the Republicans took off on a
tangent of "let Florida law be damned" and passed a law allowing a
federal court to review the case. Delay actually filed a brief in the
Supreme Court later that week saying it was his intention that the
federal district court completely review the issue from scratch (called
"de novo"). State's Rights no longer meant a thing. It was
The other crazy
part of the Republican rant these past few weeks is that on "activist
judges". For some reason, they were pissed the federal district court,
the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court refused to get
involved in the issue even after Congress passed the emergency
legislation allowing them to do so. (The predictably deferred to
the Florida state courts and Florida law). DeLay went nuts and, at a
press conference in Houston, blamed ``an arrogant, out-of-control,
unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the
What? An activist judge does just the opposite of what the
federal judiciary did in the Schiavo case - That is, an activist judge
would decide a case based upon his personal convictions regardless of
what the law says. In the Schiavo case, an activist federal judge would
say "I think all life is precious and should never be ended, therefore,
I'm going to interpret the federal constitution in such a way that will
allow the feeding tube to be reinserted." This is exactly the
type of attitude the Republicans have abhorred. You cannot hear a
Republican running for office that doesn't utter the worn out phrase:
"Judges should follow the law and not make law". That's exactly what
they got in Florida. But when it did not satisfy their desired results
(i.e. put the feeding tube back in), they went bonkers.
The Schiavo case
was gut wrenching. I hated seeing her picture. I hated the thought of
her starving to death. I felt for her parents. I felt for every
American that thought it was the wrong thing to remove the feeding
tube. But Congressional interaction was simply wrong.
And for the record,
please pull my feeding tube if it is the only thing keeping me
(And if it wasn't for the Pope's death, we would
hearing about Terri Schiavo).
Green served as District Attorney for Wise and Jack Counties from 1993
through 2000. He is now a partner in the Decatur law firm of Smith
& Green, P.C. and is Board Certified in Criminal Law.
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