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Difficult Questions: When Freedom and Law Collide – Parental Rights and Medical Choices

I’ve decided to start a series on complex questions that are fodder for interesting discussion and debate.  Several issues have arisen lately that raise questions about the role of government and the courts in regulating the behavior of society.  Where the lines are drawn are certainly not cut and dry.  When do our personal rights end and the ability for the government to intervene begin?  No better example of such a blurry line is the case of Daniel Hauser.  Daniel is a 13 year old boy suffering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  His family believed that alternative medicine and natural therapies were the best course of treatment for their son.  They believed that the recommended treatment of chemotherapy was comparable to poison and therefore refused this medical intervention.


Colleen Hauser and her son Daniel

The state of Minnesota charged the parents with medical neglect.  The judge ruled against the Hauser family citing two instances of medical neglect.

There were two government rulings against the family for failure to follow “their family doctor’s decision” or “instructions from a medical professional.”

This raises some interesting questions, including:

Where do individual rights end and the right of our government or the medical profession begin?  Where do parental rights end and what are the implication of being required to follow specific medical strategies when there are many to choose from? Who should have the right to decide which are the best treatments?  What about the right to avoid the side effects?

I think it’s also important to note that there are laws in Minnesota that state that prohibit parents from relying soley on herbal and alternative treatments if a child’s life is at risk; but is this law overly invasive of personal freedoms or are there sufficient social needs that support it?

Let’s have a debate.  Ignore whether you believe in alternative treatments or herbal remedies.  Focus on the questions about where societies’ needs may supercede individual rights in this case.  There is certainly no evidence that the parents were neglectful in any other area and appear to be loving and caring.

Source article: Minnesota Judge Overrides Parents’ Objections To Son’s Cancer Treatment

Rules – stick to polite, respectful debate with no name-calling.   Violators will only be warned once.  This is a chance to give your debate chops a good workout.

Yahoo Bans Flickr User for Criticizing Obama


Don’t store your photos on Flickr. You could lose everything just like Shephard Johnson did. Via Truthdig, Johnson’s paid Flickr-Pro account and more than 1,000 of his photos suddenly disappeared after he posted critical comments about Obama’s support for a bill to prevent release of torture photos. According to Gawker,

Johnson was browsing the official White House photostream one night when he decided to post a politically-charged comment. Then another, then another. Soon, without warning, Yahoo’s photo-sharing service deleted his account, complete with 1,200 pictures.

An unrepentant Yahoo won’t say what, exactly, Johnson did wrong. His comments were about Barack Obama’s support of a bill allowing the government to suppress torture photos. They were attached to seemingly relevant images from the president’s recent trip to Cairo to ring in a new era of U.S.-Middle Eastern relations.

“I thought, this is an opportunity I can use to let the administration know how I feel about some of its policies,” Johnson told us in a phone interview.

WTF?! Is this part of the Obama administration’s new “cybersecurity” program? Or does Yahoo think Dear Leader’s popularity is so soft that it can’t survive a little public protest from one guy on Flickr?

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Breaking News – Campaign 2012

Obama Weinermobile

Obama Weinermobile

CHICAGO (AP)  Seymour Johnson, director of Symbolism and Subliminal Advertising for the Obama Permanent Campaign, announced today that they had leased the rights to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile from Kraft Foods.

Johnson stated that Obama wants to use the renamed “Obama Wienermobile” to arrive at fundraisers and enter campaign rallies (from both the front and rear.)  Although the Wienermobile isn’t armored like the limosines the President normally uses, Johnson said Obama was willing to trade protection for the intimate feel it provided.

When asked why the campaign had chosen the Wienermobile, Johnson replied that it represented the seminal quality that made Obama a superior candidate.  He acknowledged that the campaign was anticipating that Sarah Palin would win the GOP nomination, and they needed to enlarge the swelling of support that helped him beat Hillary Clinton.

Johnson added that the campaign was also negotiating for the rights to the Oscar Mayer Wiener advertising jingle, which they hoped to use in place of “Yes We Can” by altering the lyrics to say:

“Oh I wish I were O-bama’s wiener

That is what I truly wish to be

Cuz if I were O-bama’s wiener

Everyone would be in love with me”

In other news, Chris Matthews was admitted to the hospital with tingling in both legs.


Failbot troll prophylactics:

It was just a joke

I’m a comedian and that’s what we do

Obama asked for it.  So did Tweety

Get a sense of humor

How does the shoe feel on that foot?

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Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

  • Health Care Battle
  • Dems advance proposals to spread health coverage

    Democrats at both ends of the Capitol accelerated their drive to enact health care legislation on Tuesday, outlining proposals to extend coverage to uninsured millions but omitting most details on plans for raising more than $1 trillion needed to cover costs.

    The Difference Between Socialized Medicine, Single-Payer Health Care, and What We’ll Be Getting

    Health Care Spending Disparities Stir a Fight

  • The Terrorists Are Winning
  • Kansas Abortion Clinic Operated by Doctor Who Was Killed Closes Permanently

    The clinic of Dr. George R. Tiller, in Wichita, had been one of a few in the country to provide abortions to women late in their pregnancies, and for decades, women had traveled there from all over the nation and overseas. The office, Women’s Health Care Services Inc., was also the state’s only remaining clinic, even for abortions performed early in pregnancy, outside the Kansas City area.

    How a murder fed conspiracy theories about the liberal media. (Thomas Frank)

    Two weeks ago, former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline sent out a fund-raising letter asking for help paying down legal bills he incurred during one of his fights with that state’s abortion providers. After recounting his battles with Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller and others, Mr. Kline moaned that “They must silence the truth by silencing the messenger.”
    What makes this particular fund-raising missive supremely awkward is that it arrived in people’s mailboxes after Tiller himself had been silenced forever, gunned down in a Wichita church, allegedly by a man from the fringes of the antiabortion movement.

  • Stay Classy, GOP
  • Boehner: ‘First step in the Democrats’ plan to import terrorists into America’

    Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), What a Doofus!
    China airs fears: congressman (via Talking Points Memo)

    He said he told the Chinese that the budget deficit could be even bigger than predicted, due in part to the rising costs to the US economy of health care.

    One of the messages I had – because we need to build trust and confidence in our number one creditor – is that the budget numbers that the US government has put forward should not be believed

    Most don’t know who speaks for GOP

  • “Torturegate”
  • London’s Metropolitan Police accused of waterboarding suspects

    [S]enior policing officials are most alarmed by the claim that officers in Enfield, North London, used the controversial CIA interrogation technique to simulate drowning.

    Lawsuits Force Disclosures by C.I.A.

    So far, President Obama has managed to curb Congressional calls for a national commission to investigate Bush administration detention policies. But Mr. Obama cannot control the courts, and lawsuits are turning out to be the force driving disclosures about brutal interrogations.

    Sore Losers And Whiners
    Lieberman, Graham Threaten to Shut Down Senate

    Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) threatened to hold up any and all legislation in the Senate until Congress passes its legislation to prohibit the release of photos showing detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Economy Watch
  • For U.S., a Sea of Perilous Red Ink, Years in the Making (Excellent. Highly recommended by TC News Division)

    There are two basic truths about the enormous deficits that the federal government will run in the coming years.

    The first is that President Obama’s agenda, ambitious as it may be, is responsible for only a sliver of the deficits, despite what many of his Republican critics are saying. The second is that Mr. Obama does not have a realistic plan for eliminating the deficit, despite what his advisers have suggested.

    Obama Urges Congress to Tighten ‘Paygo’ Budget Rules

    10 Large Banks Allowed to Exit U.S. Aid Program

    The Obama administration marked with little fanfare a major milestone in its bank rescue effort — its decision on Tuesday to let 10 big banks repay federal aid that had sustained them through the worst of the crisis —

    U.S. banks face tough time, in or out of TARP

    It is in Beijing’s interests to lend Geithner a hand (The entire article is here)

    House subpoenas Fed over BoA-Merrill role

    The Federal Reserve was served with a subpoena from a Congressional committee on Tuesday, as lawmakers demanded documents related to Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

    Bank of America’s Chief Says Fed Pushed for Merrill Purchase

    Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Lewis said federal officials pushed him to complete the purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. after he became aware of “significant accelerating losses” at the New York-based brokerage.

    A Failure of Regulation, Not Capitalism by Ed Glaeser (Nice column but a no-kidding-Sherlock)

    The Bair maximum

    Bair’s attack has been mostly good news for those interested in seeing a stable, if not sexy, banking system. By threatening the things most precious to bank executives — their pay and jobs — she has sent a clear message to the industry: Your bailout is not without a price. We expect results.

  • War On Terror
  • First Guantanamo suspect moved to U.S. for trial

    The United States transferred the first detainee from Guantanamo Bay on Tuesday to stand trial in a U.S. civilian court in a test case for President Barack Obama’s plans to close the controversial prison for foreign

    Pacific island may take Chinese Muslim prisoners from Guantanamo Bay

    The Obama administration is close to an agreement that will see a group of Chinese Muslim prisoners from Guantanamo Bay resettled on the remote Pacific island of Palau, according to officials.

    Iraqi accused in deaths of five US soldiers is freed

    The surprise release of a Shi’ite militant linked to the killing of five US soldiers in Iraq is part of a high-stakes gambit that could result in freedom for five British hostages and a political role for a major Shi’ite extremist group with reputed ties to Iran.

    War bill tally could top $105B

    The White House’s ever-expanding wartime spending bill could soon exceed $105 billion even as President Barack Obama remains stymied by divisions in Congress and a set of terrorism-related issues that have strained relations in his own party.

  • Around The World
  • At least 15 dead in Pakistani hotel blast

    Car bomb kills 15 in southern Shiite area in Iraq

    Could North Korea Provoke a New Korean War?

  • Beat The Press
  • Love or lust, Obama and the fawning press need to get a room

    ‘It’s time to enshrine Hank Paulson as national hero’ WTF?

  • Police Brutality
  • New Jersey police officer pounds man on tape

  • What You Do For Love
  • How a hummingbird in love can move faster than a fighter jet

    The dramatic courtship dive of a small hummingbird has been found to be the quickest aerial manoeuvre in the natural world for an animal compared to its size. It even outpaces the movements of a jet fighter and the Space Shuttle on re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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    Grandma Got Run Over By A Taser

    The cops said it was reasonable and necessary.  What do you think?