Visit this site for verifiably accurate opinions on all things political - in contradistinction to the INcorrect opinions you are likely to find elsewhere. I'm an American Libertarian Nationalist Republican. Ponder that one a while. Almost all are welcome, but at the request of management: no vegetarians or soccer fans, please. We have our reasons. Thank you and welcome to: Revealed Truth.
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005
The transparent Hubris of David Shaw
In this article in the LATimes online, he says that bloggers don't deserve the same protections against revealing their sources that "real journalists" get. Here are some samples of his smarmy prose.
"Given the explosive growth of the blogosphere, some judge is bound to rule on the question one day soon, and when he does, I hope he says the nation's estimated 8 million bloggers are not entitled to the same constitutional protection as traditional journalists — essentially newspaper, magazine, radio and television reporters and editors....
Certainly, some bloggers practice what anyone would consider "journalism" in its roughest form — they provide news. And just as surely, bloggers deserve credit for, among other things, being the first to discredit Dan Rather's use of documents of dubious origin and legitimacy to accuse President Bush of having received special treatment in the National Guard.
BUT bloggers also took the lead in circulating speculation that what appeared to be a bulge beneath Bush's jacket during his first debate with Sen. John Kerry might have been some kind of transmission device to enable his advisors to feed him answers....
Reporters in 31 states, including California, as well as Washington, D.C., are protected by shield laws. Most of those laws — and California's in particular — provide more protection than does the 1st Amendment itself. That's why the Bush administration is pursuing its cases in federal court, where state shield laws don't apply. That's also why many journalists — and several congressmen — are actively seeking a federal shield law.
I strongly favor such a law, and in this climate we have to be careful about when and under what circumstances we apply and assert the journalist's privilege. If the courts allow every Tom, Dick and Matt who wants to call himself a journalist to invoke the privilege to protect confidential sources, the public will become even less trusting than it already is of all journalists.
That would ultimately damage society as much as it would the media."
I don't know which is worse, Shaw's arrogance or his circular reasoning. Let's deal with the latter first.
Protections for journalists are important because journalists are vital to an informed citizenry. Shield laws allow journalists to protect their sources and do the jobs they need to do. But only "real" journalists should get their protection because bloggers don't have all the safeguards in place that "real" journalists do.
Like shield laws?
Shaw's arrogance is even more galling, though. For all his high-sounding rationalizations, Shaw is engaged in little more than special pleading on behalf of the Mainstream Journalist Guild. He wants the protection of shield laws denied to bloggers for the same reason trade groups lobby for government "certification" requirements: he doesn't like the competition.
Too late, Mr. Shaw. The villagers are at the gates with their pitchforks and they're about to storm the fortress walls.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
"Should we have starved Marcus to death?"
A man recently posted the story of his profoundly disabled son on a mailing list to which I subscribe. I found his posting so extraordinary and poignant that I asked for, and received his permission to republish here in its entirety.
It will, I think, be my final posting relating to the subject matter of the Terri Schiavo case. It says all about the matter that I could ever hope to say.
Should We Have Killed Him?
My son's name is Marcus. I wonder--should we have killed him?
What a fascinating year 1975 was. Arthur Ashe won at Wimbledon, the
first black man ever to do that; civil war broke out prophetically in
Lebanon; that bloody Communist beast, Pol Pot, took over Cambodia; and
Bill gates commenced his MicroSoft empire. Yes, 1975 was quite a year.
The spring and summer of 1975, the year of Marcus's birth, was
worrisome, but as nerve wracking as it was, the "Year of the Rabbit"
ended for us in a personal catastrophe. We knew something was wrong by
June when my pregnant wife's belly began to swell beyond all bounds of
normalcy. Ultrasound technology, in its infancy then, showed an
apparently typically developed fetus, but it was enclosed by an
extraordinary amount of amniotic fluid. Little Marcus swam in a
virtual sea. Doctors shrugged and recommended that things be watched
carefully. So much fluid was a sign, they said, an outrider of
In spite of the dilemma, I was going to be a dad! My mind conjured
images of teaching the boy--it absolutely had to be a boy--to ride a
bike, go fishing with his old man, play baseball, and memorize the
dictionary to help me out with crossword puzzles or possibly be a
writer. Oh yeah, I fondly conjured every one of those typical
expectations in spite of gloomy omens.
August 15, 1975 was an intermittently rainy Friday in New Orleans. I
was recruiting for the United States Marine Corps and was on leave,
awaiting the call from the hospital telling me my wife was about to
deliver. Around 10 a.m., the call came. I dashed outside and jumped
into my occasionally reliable burgundy-red Vega GT. As I cleared the
driveway and pelted down Lille Drive, I looked ahead and beheld a
glorious rainbow, scintillating, shimmering in the late morning sky.
"It's an omen," I remember saying out loud to myself, happy beyond
description that I was about to become a real dad. I should have
remembered, there are different kinds of omens.
In the hospital, the doctors called me into an examination room to be
with my wife as her labor continued and, sure enough, trouble began to
rear its unwelcome head. The staff monitored Marcus's heartbeat on
some kind of machine that spat out a long tape with green graph lines.
The awful, clicking device emitted little blips and chirps that
equated to the pulse of his tiny heart, and told us it was failing.
Yes, it was a he, but my joy quickly faded. The jagged line on that
miserable, unemotional tape dwindled steadily as the sound grew
erratic and weaker. The doctor advised us to allow a Caesarian section
to deliver Marcus, that to wait for a natural birth may be too late.
We agreed, of course, and off they went to deliver my first and only
son. I know it was tougher on my wife, but the pressure I felt was
horrendous. I kissed her and squeezed her hand as they wheeled her out
I don't recall how long the wait was except that it seemed like
hours, a seven-coffee stint backed up by candy bars, pacing, and near
collapse. Finally, the doctor returned. He approached me in the
waiting area and asked me to follow him to a private room. This was
not a favorable indication. I'm certain my face empurpled because my
heart raced in fear that my wife, baby or both had died. How
frightened I was, but the doctor allayed those fears for a moment.
"Your wife is fine," he assured me unsmilingly. "The baby was three
weeks premature and is in an incubator." I know now he was trying to
sound calm for my benefit.
My relief must have been palpable. But then he punctured my joy by
asking me please to sit down. I'll never forget the concerned look in
his eyes, large and brown as chestnuts, as he told me the rest of the
story. I detected his pain, compelled as all doctors are--all they
ever see is blood and grief--to lay out unpleasant realities.
"Son," he said, "your baby has several things wrong with him. He has a
congenital condition called Meckel's Diverticulum and this will
require surgery soon to repair; his ear canals are too narrow and
fluid needs to be drained from his inner ears. But right now, we need
to evacuate him to the Touro Infirmary immediately because he's
developed an Rh incompatibility which will kill him if left
unattended. To save his life he needs a complete blood transfer. And,
the last thing – he paused and took a deep breath – your son has
Trisomy 21, also known as Down's syndrome."
You could have floored me with a sigh. Imagine hearing all of that in
one setting. I remember riding in the ambulance with my infant son to
the infirmary. Proud to be a Marine, I'd worn my modified dress blue
uniform just for him that special day. But Marine or not, I wept as
bitterly as I ever have, and begged God Almighty to spare my little
boy. Despite uncomfortable looks on the face of the attendant, over
and over again, I prayed and wept openly and without shame. Marcus was
right in front of me, so tiny, so vulnerable, so sick, encased in a
transparent Plexiglas (r) incubator. He jostled slightly as the
ambulance waded through New Orleans traffic. No one as yet had told my
wife anything. That was left to me as soon as I could get back to the
About 5 p.m. I returned to the hospital and found my wife distraught
that she had not yet seen her baby. I don't know how I found the words
to tell her all the terrible truth, but somehow I did. Then we
embraced and cried out loud together, she in her hospital bed, me
leaning over from the bedside, bedecked in military grandeur and
wracking with uncontrollable sobs.
Before I left the hospital, head down, shoulders drooping, uniform in
shambles, a strange opportunity, if you can call it that, came my way.
One of the associate doctors accosted me in the lobby and asked to
speak to me. I was in no condition to be making important decisions
just then, but he gave me an interesting, though utterly abysmal,
"Do you want us to feed him?"
I don't remember whether I answered him.
"He will quickly pass away peacefully, never wake up. It's up to you."
For anyone rolling eyes skyward and doubting the truth of this
account, I assure you and swear before the Living God who made me that
it is absolutely true. But how does it end?
It doesn't. We fed him.
Marcus went through horrific medical crises, one after another well
past his 8th birthday. The bills were staggering and the military
often was truant in helping to pay them. But the service had other
things in store. When I received overseas orders, I was not permitted
to bring Marcus with us because they said they couldn't guarantee his
Through my wife's tireless efforts, we found an extraordinarily
wonderful woman named Jean Dandy to care for him while I served in
Asia. After three years, she'd learned to love Marcus as though he
were her own son and Jean petitioned us to adopt him. Some women have
a beatific ability to turn tragedy into happiness, to see light where
others only witness darkness. After wrenching discussions and prayers,
doubts and contemplation, we granted Jean guardianship of our little
boy, our angel unaware.
Today Marcus looks forward to his 30th birthday. He continues to face
medical problems and surgeries. He loves toy racecars and model
airplanes and picture books, all of which we have purchased in advance
and tenderly wrapped with all our love for him. We don't see him often
because he lives in California and we are on the East coast, but we
never see a day that we don't think of him and love him.
Marcus cannot speak but a few badly slurred words. Rarely does he seem
to understand what is said to him. He bears all the heartbreaking
outward signs of mongolism that some people can't help but stare at,
or worse, find "funny." I'm sure the jokes and other abuses have
happened and will continue. In almost all societies, "different"
people elicit remarks, usually unkind.
He needs help eating. He wears shunt implants in his ears to keep them
drained and has constant problems with them. And after all this time,
Jean Dandy still lives with Marcus, cares for him better (yes, better)
than us. Her stamina and fortitude is miraculous. She takes him on
wonderful holidays, including trips to England, France, the Grand
Canyon and more every year. My son has walked upon the famed parquet
floors of the Louvre.
Marcus can't speak much, but loves unreservedly, trusts implicitly,
and most of all, knows how to laugh and play.
I wonder, should we have starved Marcus to death?
(c) MCSpearing March 25, 2005