March 21, 2005

Sorry about the lack of posts recently; over the last week I've had several day-long depositions in Orange County, followed by the four-day holiday I take from reality every year in mid-March. Nevertheless, my silence on the Terry Schiavo matter stems from a lack of anything knowledgeable to say about the legal, medical or ethical issues involved, rather than any crunch for time. The fact that Tom DeLay and the governing clique of texans believe that the power of the federal government should intervene on behalf of a specific individual doesn't mean that there isn't some legitimate federal interest in the issue of euthanasia, but don't hold your breath that any reasoned argument is going to get made in this environment.

Concerning the media circus the day before in the Capital, the rare example of bipartisan comity over the ever-important issue of steroid use in baseball during the 1990's is addressed with appropriate rage by Mr. Welch, here and here. Up until last week, I had little sympathy for the players who took illegal performance-enhancing drugs; I rather enjoyed the candor expressed by Jose Canseco on the subject, and I felt the Code of Silence on the issue tended to punish the players who had played by the rules. And what Dodger fan doesn't want to see Barry Bonds deflated, both literally and figuratively.

But the media reaction to Mark McGwire's refusal to name names before Congress stunned me. I tend to be sympathetic to any individual who takes on the full power of the governmnet, and his unwillingness to lie about his use of performance-enhancers (as several other ballplayers no doubt did last week) was manly and appropriate. When it comes to the rights of the accused, whether it be Rick Neuheisel, Jerry Tarkanian, Tanya Harding, or Pete Rose, sportswriters tend to be hard-boiled fascists, and McGwire's exercise of his constitutional rights before the House caused what can only be described as mock outrage. One would have thought that McGwire was covering up his role in ignoring warnings about Al Qaeda attacks in the U.S. before 9/11, or that he had made false claims about WMD's and Saddam's attempted purchase of yellowcake, or that he was gouging the taxpayers through the use of no-bid contracts in Iraq, or any of the other matters that the House committee that he testified before has still not used its subpoena power to investigate. Then again, if he had, the Bush Administration would probably be nominating him to lead the World Bank, or finding a Cabinet-level post for him to fill.

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