VIENNA, Austria - He's now got a human name — Matthew Hiasl Pan — but he's having trouble getting his day in court. Animal rights activists campaigning to get Pan, a 26-year-old chimpanzee, legally declared a person vowed Thursday to take their challenge to Austria's Supreme Court after a lower court threw out their latest appeal.
A provincial judge in the city of Wiener Neustadt dismissed the case earlier this week, ruling that the Vienna-based Association Against Animal Factories had no legal standing to argue on the chimp's behalf.
The association, which worries the shelter caring for the chimp might close, has been pressing to get Pan declared a "person" so a guardian can be appointed to look out for his interests and provide him with a home.
Group president Martin Balluch insists that Pan is "a being with interests" and accuses the Austrian judicial system of monkeying around.
"It is astounding how all the courts try to evade the question of personhood of a chimp as much as they can," Balluch said.
I do think the world is a better place when animals are treated with decency, but pretending that they are human and trying to make them plaintiffs is just silly. Head down this path and and soon you'll be on the receiving end of a war crimes lawsuit brought by the ants in your kitchen.
He who digs a pit for another falls into it himself.
MSNBC's David Shuster is the latest pit-digger to illustrate the familiar adage.
In an interview with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Tucker Carlson's show on Monday evening, ostensibly to discuss MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" ad, Shuster sandbagged Rep. Blackburn with a demand to know the name of the last soldier from her district who had died in Iraq. When Blackburn said that she did not know, he stated the name of a fallen soldier and then needled Blackburn for not knowing the soldier's name.
One little problem. The fallen soldier was not even from Rep. Blackburn's district.
SHUSTER: Let's talk about the public trust. You represent of course a district in western Tennessee. What was the name of the last soldier from your district who was killed in Iraq?
MARSHA BLACKBURN: The name of the last soldier killed in Iraq from my district? I do not know.
SHUSTER: OK, his name was Jeremy Bohannon. He was killed August the ninth, 2007. How come you didn't know the name?
Even after Blackburn expressed her appreciation for our soldiers' sacrifice, and detailed the extensive outreach she and her office does to military families in her district, Shuster continued to attack her for not knowing Private Bohannon's name.
SHUSTER: Well, you weren't appreciative enough to know the name of this young man . . . I still think it's a little bit surprising that you didn't know the name of this last soldier killed in Iraq who's only 18 years old yet you do know so much about the MoveOn.org ad and the tactics you didn't like.
It now turns out that Army Private Jeremy Bohannon had not, contrary to Shuster's claim, lived in Rep. Blackburn's congressional district. As blogger Conservative Belle brought to NB's attention, and as she has written about at her site, Private Bohannon lived in Bon Acqua, TN. Checking his nine-digit zip code reveals that he in fact lived in Tennessee District 8, represented by John Tanner, a Democrat.
The error was later confirmed by Finkelstein, who spoke with an aide in Rep. Blackburn's office.
Once his error had been proven, Shuster made a terse on-air apology, which presumably was forced by MSNBC. Video of the Shuster apology is here. As Mark Finkelstein puts it, Shuster's apology "had all the spontaneity of a hostage video."
BARCELONA, Spain - Doctors are hopeful about a new drug to treat skin cancer by causing tumor cells to self-destruct by overloading them with oxygen.
Unlike regular cells, which naturally cannot have their oxidant levels raised beyond a certain threshold, cancer cells cannot balance the amount of free radicals inside them.
With the new drug STA-4783, doctors may be able to overload the cancer cells with oxygen-containing chemicals to the point where the cells cannot cope and simply die off, according to research presented Wednesday at a meeting of the European Cancer Organization in Barcelona. . . . .
STA-4783, which has no effect on normal cells, is the first of several such drugs planned for study, though no other companies have yet to release results from their research.
A similar treatement might have future application to other kinds of cancer as well:
It could also be used against other cancers, such as pancreatic or ovarian, as they have been shown to naturally contain higher levels of oxygen. Because cancerous tumor cells already have high oxygen levels, they are easier to overload.
In his column "Global Warming Hysteria" published today at Townhall.com, the incomparable Walter E. Williams blows the whistle on politicians who are using global warming overreaction to justify all their pet projects, from raising taxes to bringing pork to their districts:
Despite increasing evidence that man-made CO2 is not a significant greenhouse gas and contributor to climate change, politicians and others who wish to control our lives must maintain that it is.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Rep. John Dingell wants a 50-cents-a-gallon tax on gasoline. We've heard such calls before, but there's a new twist. Dingell also wants to eliminate the mortgage tax deduction on what he calls "McMansions," homes that are 3,000 square feet and larger. That's because larger homes use more energy.
One might wonder about Dingell's magnanimity in increasing taxes for only homes 3,000 feet or larger. The average U.S. home is around 2,300 square feet, compared with Europe's average of 1,000 square feet. So why doesn't Dingell call for disallowing mortgage deductions on houses more than 1,000 square feet? The reason is there would be too much political resistance, since more Americans own homes under 3,000 square feet than over 3,000. The full agenda is to start out with 3,000 square feet and later lower it in increments.
Our buying into global warming hysteria will allow politicians to do just about anything, upon which they can muster a majority vote, in the name of fighting climate change as a means to raise taxes.
In addition to excuses to raise taxes, congressmen are using climate change hysteria to funnel money into their districts. Rep. David L. Hobson, R-Ohio, secured $500,000 for a geothermal demonstration project. Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., got $500,000 for a fuel-cell project by Superprotonic, a Pasadena company started by Caltech scientists. Money for similar boondoggles is being called for by members of both parties.
If we knew with certainty that we were entering another ice age, does anyone seriously contend that we could avoid freezing temperatures just by cranking up man-made CO2 emissions? The idea is preposterous and arrogant. Yet global warming alarmists ask us to accept the inverse theory as proven fact.
One of the tools of pickpockets and scam artists is misdirection. If they can just get your attention focused on something else, they can pick your pocket more easily. Next time you hear, "Look over there! A melting ice cap!" -- you might want to check your wallet. Giving climate change alarmists the benefit of the doubt is going to cost us all dearly.
Update 1: As if on cue, here comes the Washington Post trumpeting Dingell's Wallet Depletion Act:
WASHINGTON -- Dealing with global warming will be painful, says one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress. To back up his claim he is proposing a recipe many people won't like -- a 50-cent gasoline tax, a carbon tax and scaling back tax breaks for some home owners.
"I'm trying to have everybody understand that this is going to cost and that it's going to have a measure of pain that you're not going to like," Rep. John Dingell, who is marking his 52nd year in Congress, said Wednesday in an interview with The Associated Press.
Dingell will offer a "discussion draft" outlining his tax proposals on Thursday, the same day that President Bush holds a two-day conference to discuss voluntary efforts to combat climate change.
But Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that will craft climate legislation, is making it clear that he believes tackling global warming will require a lot more if it is to be taken seriously.
"This is going to cause pain," he said, adding that he wants to make certain "the pain is shared in a way that is fair, proper, acceptable and accomplishes the basic purpose" of reducing greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels.
When a Democratic Congressman announces that he plans to tax you so heavily that it's painful, you'd better believe him.
Global warming is just the excuse the doctor ordered. Bring it on!
Update 2:Welcome, visitors from Salon. Since my earlier post did not discuss the scientific weaknesses in global warming theory, as one commenter correctly pointed out, I've linked to some earlier posts on this subject, several of which do address the scientific arguments. Other posts linked below address the issue from different angles. If you're open to considering all the evidence on global warming, click a few links and enjoy.
Also, since I'm going to the trouble of updating this post anyway, I've linked below to a few other earlier items that all visitors might enjoy.
Did you catch the story of the man who proposed to his fiancee via crossword puzzle?
It was the crossword puzzle fan's version of getting his marriage proposal plastered on a stadium Jumbotron.
Aric Egmont and Jennie Bass were working on a puzzle titled "Popping the question" in the latest issue of The Boston Globe Sunday magazine. Bass spotted her sister's name and her best friend's name, but initially thought it was just a coincidence.
Then they got to 111 across: "Generic proposal" (Jen + Aric generic). The answer: "Will you marry me?"
"We get to the `Will you marry me?' clue, and I said, `Will you marry me, Jenny?' I got up, got the ring, and got down on one knee and she screamed, and hugged me. It took her a minute to say yes," Egmont told the Globe.
Egmont, 29, of Cambridge, contacted the magazine this summer to ask if the people who create the crossword puzzles would write a special puzzle for him.
Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon, a married puzzle-writing team who have been writing Globe magazine crossword puzzles for years, agreed. Their puzzle included several variations on proposals; for example, "Macrame artist's proposal" was "Let's tie the knot."
The tricky part was writing an entire puzzle that would be clear to the happy couple, but not obscure to all the other readers who do the puzzles.
May they never exchange a cross word. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)