Tuesday, January 11, 2005

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: A Robot In Every Home.

Slip-Slidin' Away We often hear that the slippery slope argument is a logically flawed one; action A doesn't by necessity lead to result Z, and so forth. But the Dutch medical industry is going out of its way to prove that some slopes are more slippery than others. Long a pioneer of euthanasia (a pleasing, Greek euphemism for "doctor-assisted suicide"), Dutch doctors are now arguing for an expansion of their powers under the country's assisted suicide laws. First, they want the right to euthanize infants, despite the law's stipulation that patients who are being euthanized have to ask for such an end in writing; second, they want the right to euthanize people with no actual physical or mental illness, but who seem to be kind of, you know, bored. At this rate, by 2050, there will be no Dutch people left.

The Security President In another weird inauguration move (see last week's brouhaha over the cross being banned), the Bush administration is breaking with tradition and forcing the city of Washington, D.C. to pay the costs for the public services in use at Bush's inauguration, to the tune of about $12 million. About $40 million will be spent in funds raised from private donors, but past administrations have covered D.C.'s expenses in terms of police overtime, security checks, infrastructure, etc. The only way the city will be able to pay the bill, ironically, is by taking $12 million out of its homeland security fund. This is an administration with its priorities straight: When it comes down to a choice between protecting the nation's capital and protecting out-of-town douchebags in tuxedos and cowboy boots, there's just no question.

America: Banned in America Libraries in two southern Mississippi counties have banned the Daily Show's "America: The Book" from its shelves, while Wal-Mart continues to refuse to stock the book. The foes of the book contend that their objection is based on the page showing mock-up nude photos of the nine Supreme Court justices. While some may see this story as a chilling indication of the assault on civil liberties in America, I am much more frightened by the phrase "southern Mississippi libraries." What do you suppose they're like?

May You Never Get Sick in Tennessee, Friend The Democratic governor of Tennessee has announced a spiffy new move that will save the state roughly $1.7 billion a year: letting the poor die in their wretched garrets. Well, he didn't exactly use those terms, but here's how it works: 323,000 adults will be dropped from the state's Medicaid program. These unfortunates are people who work full-time jobs that pay them too much money to qualify for regular Medicaid, but don't provide healthcare for them. In a lavish gesture of noblesse oblige, though, the governor is permitting these folks' 100,000 or so children to continue to have access to medicine and doctors.

Doesn't Anyone Resign in Disgrace Anymore? Perhaps the hallmark of a shameless society is that things which would once mean ruin and scandal now pass before the glazed eyes of the public with nary a batted lash. Case in point: Armstrong Williams, conservative commentator and token black guy for the Right. Last week, it emerged that the federal Department of Education paid Williams $240,000 - of public money! - to hype the No Child Left Behind on his TV show, in his column, and to black journalists. In other words, the federal government bribed a prominent media personality to express approval for a controversial policy. At the very least, shouldn't Williams have to stab himself in the intestines before Ken Hamblin cuts his head off?

-Consider Arms