Thursday, January 04, 2007

Controversy Of The Week

I'm sure by now everyone has read the saga of Ashley X. (or heard for the less literarily inclined)

At first, I didn't know what to think. It seemed a little odd and even slightly barbaric. But then I figured, her parents have put up a blog, why not read their side?

A fundamental and universal misconception about the treatment is that it is intended to convenience the caregiver; rather, the central purpose is to improve Ashley’s quality of life. Ashley’s biggest challenges are discomfort and boredom; all other considerations in this discussion take a back seat to these central challenges. The “Ashley Treatment” goes right to the heart of these challenges and we strongly believe that it will mitigate them in a significant way and provide Ashley with lifelong benefits.

Unlike what most people thought, the decision to pursue the “Ashley Treatment” was not a difficult one. Ashley will be a lot more physically comfortable free of menstrual cramps, free of the discomfort associated with large and fully-developed breasts, and with a smaller, lighter body that is better suited to constant lying down and is easier to be moved around.

Ashley’s smaller and lighter size makes it more possible to include her in the typical family life and activities that provide her with needed comfort, closeness, security and love: meal time, car trips, touch, snuggles, etc. Typically, when awake, babies are in the same room as other family members, the sights and sounds of family life engaging the baby’s attention, entertaining the baby. Likewise, Ashley has all of a baby’s needs, including being entertained and engaged, and she calms at the sounds of family voices. Furthermore, given Ashley’s mental age a nine and a half year old body is more appropriate and more dignified than a fully grown female body.

I have to say that their arguments seem well thought out. And realistic. They have weighed the options available to them. Home care is expensive for an adult "child". Long term care facilities are abhorrent. At an adult's size, she will become too much for the parents to handle. Plus, reducing the primary sexual characteristics and side-effects (such as menstruation) for a mentally and physically disabled person sound valid and of overall benefit.

That being said, I am not in their position. I do not have anything remotely resembling this case in my life. And hopefully, I never will.

But that doesn't stop the jerk parade. Take a gander at the comments on Fox's Speakout:
"Sick, they are sick. With their logic, anyone who's not 100% perfect could potentially be sentenced for life in a zombie like state."— Bill (Virginia)

That is so slippery slope, I don't even know where to begin. Basically, it's the one of the stupider stances to base an argument on in the long, sad history of stupid arguments.
"As a mother, I cannot believe this story. It is absolutely disgusting what they did to this child. The parents and the doctors need to be held accountable." — Lisa (Portsmouth, NH)

Yes, and as a mother I'm guessing that you have never had to deal with this, have you? Try thinking seriously about what Ashley's condition really means. And imagine both yourself and your child having to live with this condition. It's fairly easy to throw a stone from a position of safety.

These fucking mouth-breathers get so high and mighty from the trailer park during the commercial breaks between Maury Povich and the People's Court. Thank god, they're there to set us on the right and moral path of enlightenment.


Seriously, I want to hunt down the majority of the "How dare they?" commenting crowd and whack them in the head with a clue-by-four.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Given The Track Record, I'd Scorn Them Too.

I think this is more the signs of desperation, rather than confidence.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scorned U.N Security Council sanctions imposed against Iran, telling a crowd Tuesday that Iran had humiliated the United States in the past and would do so again.

Speaking in the southwestern provincial capital of Ahvaz, Ahmadinejad said the Security Council's resolution last month was invalid and had left the world body's reputation in tatters.

Actually, the UN's reputation has been in tatters for some time. What with the heinous sexual abuse by UN Peacekeepers in the Congo and the Oil-For-Food scam, to name the latest.

Ahmadinejad is facing some serious problems. He has an increasingly restless populace, especially the among the intelligentsia. The latest elections in Iran were a slap in the face with more moderates elected than had been foreseen. This erosion of Ahmadinejad's power base is also troubling to an aging theocratic council that is truly in control of Iran. His domestic influence is dribbling away. Slowly to be sure, but make no mistake, it is going away.

Ahmadinejad is also dealing with an energy issue. They are currently on a course that will basically rob them of their economic engine, oil exports. With rapidly rising internal energy demands, and an infrastructure that has not been updated since the Shah was deposed, Iran has painted itself into a corner. It desperately needs energy if it wants to improve (or even maintain) the standard of living most of it's citizens have come to expect.

On the face of it, nuclear power seems like a reasonable reaction to this crisis (perhaps the resolution of one issue can even help resolve the first). But, their willingness to sell weapons to external states (see Hezbollah and its recent war with Israel), and the concerns of other nations, specifically the US, UK, France (yes, France of all countries!) and Israel, make their statements regarding civilian application seem specious. Even the IAEA, forever reticent about making a stance one way or the other, has expressed "some concern". Everyone is terrified at the thought of some terrorist purchasing weapons-grade nuclear material.

I hope the UN sticks to its guns on this one. This, along with the North Korean issue, is an opportunity for the UN to show that it still has relevance.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

He may be retired, but thankfully Dave Barry is still doing his Year-End Review.