Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Mark Steyn: The Strange Death of the Liberal West

(Filed: 22/03/2005)
The Daily Telegraph

I am, as Tony Blair might say, deeply passionately personally deeply personally opposed to abortion. But, unlike him, I think it ought to be an election issue.

Not because of my personal beliefs: I happen to believe a lot of what we call "late-term abortion" is in reality early-term infanticide, but, if you don't accept that that's a human life that's being destroyed, my deeply personal passionate beliefs aren't likely to sway you one way or another. That's where so-called progressive politicians such as Blair and John Kerry have it all backwards: the point about abortion is not that it's a "matter of conscience" for individuals to "wrestle with", but that it's a crucial part of the central political challenge of our time.

Almost every issue facing the EU - from immigration rates to crippling state pension liabilities - has at its heart the same glaringly plain root cause: a huge lack of babies. I could understand a disinclination by sunny politicians to peddle doom and gloom were it not for the fact that, in all other areas of public policy, our rulers embrace doomsday scenarios at the drop of a hat. Most 20-year projections - on global warming, fuel resources, etc - are almost laughably speculative. They fail to take into account the most important factor of all - human inventiveness: "We can't feed the world!" they shriek. But we develop more efficient farming methods with nary a thought. "The oil will run out by the year 2000!" But we develop new extraction methods and find we've got enough oil for as long as we'll need it.

But human inventiveness depends on humans - and that's the one thing we really are running out of. When it comes to forecasting the future, the birth rate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2005, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2025 (or 2033, or 2041, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management, Systemic Racism and Gay Studies degrees). If that's not a political issue, what is? To cite only the most obviously affected corner of the realm, what's the long-term future of the Scottish National Party if there are no Scottish nationals?

When I've mentioned the birth dearth on previous occasions, pro-abortion correspondents have insisted it's due to other factors - the generally declining fertility rates that affect all materially prosperous societies, or the high taxes that make large families prohibitively expensive in materially prosperous societies. But this is a bit like arguing over which came first, the chicken or the egg - or, in this case, which came first, the lack of eggs or the scraggy old chicken-necked women desperate for one designer baby at the age of 48. How much of Europe's fertility woes derive from abortion is debatable. But what should be obvious is that the way the abortion issue is framed - as a Blairite issue of personal choice - is itself symptomatic of the broader crisis of the dying West.

Since 1945, a multiplicity of government interventions - state pensions, subsidised higher education, higher taxes to pay for everything - has so ruptured traditional patterns of inter-generational solidarity that in Europe a child is now an optional lifestyle accessory. By 2050, Estonia's population will have fallen by 52 per cent, Bulgaria's by 36 per cent, Italy's by 22 per cent. The hyper-rationalism of post-Christian Europe turns out to be wholly irrational: what's the point of creating a secular utopia if it's only for one generation?

Shortly after 9/11, I wrote in these pages about one of the most curious aspects of the new war - the assurance given to Islamist "martyrs" that 72 virgins were standing by to pleasure them for eternity. The notion that the after-life is a well-appointed brothel is a perplexing one to the Judaeo-Christian world, and I suggested that Americans would be sceptical if heaven were framed purely in terms of boundless earthly pleasures.

But, on reflection, if the Islamists are banal in portraying the next world purely in terms of sensual self-gratification, we're just as reductive in measuring this one the same way. America this Holy Week is following the frenzied efforts to halt the court-enforced starvation of a brain-damaged woman for no reason other than that her continued existence is an inconvenience to her husband. In Britain, two doctors escape prosecution for aborting an otherwise healthy baby with a treatable cleft palate because the authorities are satisfied they acted "in good faith". You can read similar stories in almost any corner of the developed world, except perhaps the Netherlands, where discretionary euthanasia is so advanced it's news if the kid makes it out of the maternity ward. As the New York Times reported the other day: "Babies born into what is certain to be a brief life of grievous suffering should have their lives ended by physicians under strict guidelines, according to two doctors in the Netherlands.

"The doctors, Eduard Verhagen and Pieter J. J. Sauer of the University Medical Center in Groningen, in an essay in today's New England Journal of Medicine, said they had developed guidelines, known as the Groningen protocol."

Ah, the protocols of the elders of science. Odd the way scientists have such little regard for scientific progress. It's highly likely that many birth defects - not just the bilateral cleft lips - will be treatable and correctible in the next decade or two. But once you start weighing the relative values of individual lives, there's no end to it. Much of that derives from the way abortion has redefined life - as a "choice", an option.

In practice, a culture that thinks Terri Schiavo's life in Florida or the cleft-lipped baby's in Herefordshire has no value winds up ascribing no value to life in general. Hence, the shrivelled fertility rates in Europe and in blue-state America: John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest birth rates; George W Bush took 25 of the 26 states with the highest.

The 19th-century Shaker communities were forbidden from breeding and could increase their number only by conversion. The Euro-Canadian-Democratic Party welfare secularists seem to have chosen the same predicament voluntarily, and are likely to meet the same fate. The martyrdom culture of radical Islam is a literal dead end. But so is the slyer death culture of post-Christian radical narcissism. This is the political issue that will determine all the others: it's the demography, stupid.

James Robbins: Al Qaeda Plans New Attacks in U.S.

The Union of the Snake

Al Qaeda planning and possibilities.

March 22, 2005, 7:49 a.m.

Recently several events have conspired to raise the question of whether the U.S. is due for another major domestic terror attack. A communiqué between Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi was intercepted in which bin Laden suggested that Zarqawi turn his attentions away from Iraq and towards hitting the United States. Meanwhile the Department of Homeland Security's "National Planning Scenarios" report was accidentally posted to the web, causing a minor stir. The report posits a variety of forbidding possibilities (such as spreading pneumonic plague in airport bathrooms) in order to aid in budgeting, planning preemptive measures, and responding to terrorist attack. The scenarios are graphic and frightening, but also hypothetical, not those necessarily thought most likely to happen, or even suggested by actual terrorists. Around the same time, a confidential FBI report cast doubt that AQ could undertake any large-scale attacks inside the US, given their lack of infrastructure and the heightened security climate. Yet information purportedly from a top Zarqawi aid indicated that he would not be looking to repeat something like 9/11 but would aim at softer targets, such as "movie theaters, restaurants and schools."

So will it happen? Apparently, they have been thinking about it for some time, and with a good degree of frustration. This same top aide said that Zarqawi fumed about the "lack of willing martyrs," of people willing to die in the process of hitting the U.S. homeland. This is a significant admission, since the popular belief is that the terrorists can draw from a bottomless well of volunteers to conduct their missions. You would think that if there were volunteers ready to do anything they would be most keen to take on the Great Satan. Hitting U.S. targets is their version of the major leagues. Any terrorist worth the label would consider striking at us the very definition of success in his profession. And it is a quick ticket to immortality. Everyone remembers Mohammed Atta; operations in Iraq just do not get the same kind of coverage. Even al Qaeda press releases are unsatisfying for the fame-seeking vest bomber. Note for example this one from a February suicide attack in Baquba:

On Monday, a martyr was wed to Paradise, and what a good martyr he was! ...One of the monotheism lions from the Martyrdom-seekers Brigade of Al-Qa'ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers carried out a martyrdom attack against the infidels and the apostates in Ba'qubah, may God grant it and the rest of the country freedom from its bondage. Congratulations to you, brother in monotheism!

O.K., but what was his name? Can't his friends and family get bragging rights for all those innocent people he blew up? Zarqawi needs to rethink his incentivization program. The jihad is not all about him.

Zarqawi may gripe privately about the sorry condition of terrorist voluntarism, but he has no problem heaping blame on the Iraqi people for not supporting him as he seeks to liberate them from the "humiliation" of freedom and democracy. In the first edition of his new online magazine, Dhurwat al-Sanam [literally the highest point on the camel's hump — in this context, the highest obligation] he published an editorial explaining why al Qaeda has lately been targeting policemen, Iraqi army troops and "everyone whose soul is debased and who assists infidels in their war against Muslims in the territory of Iraq." He has been forced to do it for their own good. The Iraqis have not mobilized their human resources to supply him with the foot soldiers he needs. They have not "united under one banner of clear vision" (i.e., al Qaeda's) to bring the fight to the infidels. They have not prevented vice where they see it. Moreover, they have the nerve to condemn the actions of the "fraternal [foreign] Mujahedin" that have come to Iraq to do the job the Iraqis should be doing for themselves. The editorial is thick with frustration. You get the idea he does not think they are winning.

Measured by al Qaeda's own strategic goals they surely are not. Recall that according to a letter captured over a year ago, al Qaeda was seeking actively to promote what many feared was going to be the natural course of events in post-Saddam Iraq, a civil war between the Shias, Kurds, and Sunnis. Al Qaeda's purpose was to promote this brand of chaos and then exploit it. However, despite their best efforts, the expected civil war did not materialize. Indeed, the Iraqis have been much more willing to live and let live than anyone would have given them credit for. Yes, there is violence, but not the full-scale ethnic conflict that many even in this country had predicted. Rationality won out over the supposed hatreds that these groups were said to harbor against each other. Al Qaeda has not given up on the strategy — witness the March 10 bombing at a Shia mosque in Kurdish Mosul, while across town representatives of the Shia List and the Kurdish Alliance were busy negotiating the details of the new government. But the bombing failed to derail the negotiations; the two sides know who the real enemy is.

Bin Laden's sense of entitlement has angered many Iraqis — a wealthy Saudi hiding in Afghanistan appoints a Jordanian malcontent the Prince of Iraq, and they proceed to declare any Muslims who participate in free elections heretics worthy of death? How many ways can al Qaeda find to offend people? This is probably why bin Laden wants to shift gears and get back to trying to attack the US directly. Bin Laden and Zarqawi are reportedly mulling over new strategies, trying to reach some kind of consensus. The Washington Post reported that some analysts have concluded from this that Zarqawi is an independent operator — despite the pledge of abject fealty to Osama he issued last October, and the fact that he renamed his group "Al Qaeda of the Two Rivers." Saddam is out of the picture yet the monomania to de-link Iraq and al Qaeda continues. It just goes to show that the government is still rife with analysts who seek to draw complexity out of simplicity whenever possible. No wonder we have not caught bin Laden yet.

Al Qaeda wants to hit us again. They have been threatening it for years. The fact that they have not managed to do so yet is a measure both of our effectiveness in combating terrorism and their relative weakness and disorganization. This does not mean they cannot attack — the soft-target scenario is especially troubling — but even if they did, it would hardly change the course of a war that they are without doubt losing badly.

— James S. Robbins is senior fellow in national-security affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council and an NRO contributor.

Thomas Sowell: 'Cruel and Unusual'

Thomas Sowell (archive)
March 22, 2005

If the tragic case of Terri Schiavo shows nothing else, it shows how easily "the right to die" can become the right to kill. It is hard to believe that anyone, regardless of their position on euthanasia, would have chosen the agony of starvation and dehydration as the way to end someone's life.

A New York Times headline on March 20th tried to assure us: "Experts Say Ending Feeding Can Lead to a Gentle Death" but you can find experts to say anything. In a December 2, 2002 story in the same New York Times, people starving in India were reported as dying, "often clutching pained stomachs."

No murderer would be allowed to be killed this way, which would almost certainly be declared "cruel and unusual punishment," in violation of the Constitution, by virtually any court.
Terri Schiavo's only crime is that she has become an inconvenience -- and is caught in the merciless machinery of the law. Those who think law is the answer to our problems need to face the reality that law is a crude and blunt instrument.

Make no mistake about it, Terri Schiavo is being killed. She is not being "allowed to die."
She is not like someone whose breathing, blood circulation, kidney function, or other vital work of the body is being performed by machines. What she is getting by machine is what all of us get otherwise every day -- food and water. Depriving any of us of food and water would kill us just as surely, and just as agonizingly, as it is killing Terri Schiavo.

Would I want to be kept alive in Terri Schiavo's condition? No. Would I want to be killed so slowly and painfully? No. Would anyone? I doubt it.

Every member of Terri Schiavo's family wants her kept alive -- except the one person who has a vested interest in her death, her husband. Her death will allow him to marry the woman he has been living with, and having children by, for years. Legally, he is Terri's guardian and that legal technicality is all that gives him the right to starve her to death. Courts cannot remove guardians without serious reasons. But neither should they refuse to remove guardians with a clear conflict of interest.

There are no good solutions to this wrenching situation. It is the tragedy of the human condition in its most stark form.

The extraordinary session of Congress, calling members back from around the country, with the President flying back from his home in Texas in order to be ready to sign legislation dealing with Terri Schiavo, are things that do us credit as a nation.

Even if critics who claim that this is being done for political or ideological reasons are partially or even wholly correct, they still miss the point. It is the public's sense of concern -- in some cases, outrage -- that is reflected by their elected representatives.

What can Congress do -- and what effect will it have? We do not know and Congress does not know. Those who are pushing for legislation to save Terri Schiavo are obviously trying to avoid setting a precedent or upsetting the Constitutional balance.

It is an old truism that hard cases make bad law. No one wants all such cases to end up in either Congress or the federal courts. But neither do decent people want an innocent woman killed because she was inconvenient and a court refused to recognize the conflict of interests in her legal guardian.

The fervor of those who want to save Terri Schiavo's life is understandable and should be respected, even by those who disagree. What is harder to understand is the fervor and even venom of those liberals who have gone ballistic -- ostensibly over state's rights, over the Constitutional separation of powers, and even over the sanctity of family decisions.

These are not things that liberals have any track record of caring about. Is what really bothers them the idea of the sanctity of life and what that implies for their abortion issue? Or do they hate any challenge to the supremacy of judges -- on which the whole liberal agenda depends -- a supremacy that the Constitution never gave the judiciary?

If nothing else comes out of all this, there needs to be a national discussion of some humane way to end life in those cases when it has to be ended -- and this may not be one of those cases.

©2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
Contact Thomas Sowell Read Sowell's biography

Monday, March 21, 2005

Malkin on High School Anti-War Spectacle and Jessica Lunsford Murder

[Michelle Malkin comments on an anti-war assembly in a Seattle high school and the evil perpetrated by John Evander Couey against Jessica Lunsford in Florida.]

By Michelle Malkin · March 21, 2005 04:32 PM

You remember the West Seattle High School anti-war student assembly we blogged about last week. Sound Politics has a follow-up, posting a firsthand account of the appalling event from Maj. Terry Thomas, USMC, who sent a letter to the Seattle School Board. Here's an excerpt:

Upon entering the theater at 12:30 PM, approximately 15 minutes prior to the event, I was taken aback by what I witnessed. As I stood there in my Marine Corps Dress Blue uniform, there before me stood numerous kids running around in sloppily dressed and ill-fitted helmets and military fatigues with utter disrespect for the symbols and uniforms of the U.S. military. The walls were covered in camouflaged netting and the stage was covered with approximately twenty white, life-sized cut-out patterns in the shape of dead women and children, all of which were splattered in red-paint to depict human blood. Onstage, children were kneeling and weeping while dressed in ill-fitted Arabic headdress with white-faced masks similarly covered in red paint to depict human blood. At a podium, children were reading a monologue of how U.S. troops were killing civilians and shooting at women and children. Moreover, several grown adults were standing on stage in bright orange jump-suits, with black bags on and off their heads, some bound and tied, and some banging symbols and gongs in a crude depiction of what I believe were their efforts to depict victims of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse episode.
Within the auditorium, numerous adults appeared to have been supervising this behavior and children were literally running amok. What is going on in your classrooms and auditoriums? Who supervised this program? Who are these grown adults dressed as prisoners and performing such the attics on the stage of our public schools? Since when has it become Seattle School Board policy to take an official anti-troops position and declare returning combat veterans from Iraq such as myself as killers of innocent women and children as if this war were some sick sport. As an Iraq war veteran I am outraged by what I witnessed going on at West Seattle High School!

Read the whole thing, and don't forget to use the e-mail addresses of the Seattle School Board members listed at the end of the letter.
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By Michelle Malkin · March 21, 2005 11:33 AM

New, horrid details are being reported on the Jessica Lunsford kidnapping/murder.
Suspect John Evander Couey was a registered sex offender who lived across from Lunsford's home.
Here is an online guide that provides links to every available state sex offender registry. Use it.

***Update: Couple of readers and bloggers remind me that Couey was visiting his sister-in-law, whose home was not the registered address for Couey. Noted.

Also, the online guide I linked to does not have current info on California's new database. It's here. (Hat tip to reader Doug Mason.)

New Jersey's, also not listed, is here.

The South Carolina link is broken. Here's a good one.

Pennsylvania's is here.

More: Ohio, Missouri

Update II: Jason Smith of Generation Why dug up Couey's criminal history...
Apparently John Evander Couey is nowhere to be found on Florida's Sex Offender Registry website. A search of PublicData.com reveals his convictions and the address in Homosassa, FL (listed as Marie Dixon's address) where he was released as an "inactive offender" on May 6, 1997. Other tidbits from his rapsheet include:

* Burglary/Forced Entry - residence - July 30, 1977 - sentenced to 10 years
* Burglary/Forced Entry - residence - July 31, 1977 - adjudication withheld
* Burglary - February 28, 1981 - sentenced to 7 years
* Lewd/Lascivious conduct with child under 16 - April 8, 1991 - sentenced to 5 years
* Forgery - April 9, 1995 - adjudication withheld
* Hot checks - February 22, 2001 - sentence unknown

This says alot about our system. A man can harm a child in the most disgusting way and get a sentence less than he would if he broke into a house. It also shows a spotty history of parole/probation supervision:

Supervision start date: Supervision end date:

* December 7, 1977 - January 19, 1978
* July 22, 1980 - July 21, 1982 - during this time he committed his 3rd burglary
* July 16, 1993 - April 5, 1996 - during this time he committed forgery
* May 6, 1997 - December 7, 1998
* April 24, 2001 - April 23, 2003

Update III: Here's Couey's Florida sex offender registry entry. (via Jason Smith)

Others blogging...

Chris Short on a sex offender in his family's neighborhood.

Random Musings of a Mom asks: "Why does Martha Stewart have to wear a monitoring bracelet on her ankle and pond scum, human debris like John Evander Couey (the confessed child killer -- a convicted sex offender -- in Homosassa, Fla.) did NOT?"

The Palmetto Pundit says the story hit too close to home.

Lorie Byrd writes about the sicko in her neighborhood.

Urban Grounds wonders about the wealthy sickos in Austin, Tx.

Update IV: Couey charged with capital murder.
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USA Today: Knight Mellows Out on Return to Sweet 16

Posted 3/20/2005 11:17 PM

By Greg Boeck, USA TODAY

TUCSON — Not long ago, Bob Knight was cast as the Scrooge of college basketball, the bah-humbug bad boy who threw chairs, bullied players, berated students and bashed the media. Once, he even insulted a country.

Times, and people, can change, as evidenced by Knight playfully whispering in one of his players ears for all to hear that he's "a lot like a latter-day Santa Claus" — and everybody, past media critics included, buying in with laughter.

This much is certain: Christmas came in March for Knight and his Texas Tech Red Raiders. Their surprising run as a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament's Albuquerque Regional continues against West Virginia on Thursday, part of an improbable journey from zero tolerance to the Sweet 16 for Knight.

The onetime incorrigible coach appears to have come full cycle since last taking a team — Indiana — to the Sweet 16 in 1994. Then, he was a ticking time bomb six years from losing his job for violating a zero-tolerance policy imposed by the basketball-crazed school after repeated behavior issues.

Now, in a far-off football hotbed where he has enjoyed life under the radar the last four years, a more mellowed Knight returns to the Sweet 16, which launched three of his Indiana teams to the national championship.

Make no mistake. At 64, 26 wins shy of surpassing Dean Smith's Division I men's record of 879 victories, Knight still brings a sarcastic wit, tart tongue and fiery passion for winning to the sidelines. Asked about approaching Smith's record, he said, "I really haven't given it any thought. I've just been trying to figure out what flies I'm going to use next time I go fishing."

But bookend Sweet 16 to bookend Sweet 16, a different coach has evolved the last 11 years.
Ask his son, Pat Knight. He was on the bench as a player for that last Sweet 16 team. Saturday, as the Red Raiders (22-10) roared from 13 points behind to eliminate No. 3 seed Gonzaga 71-69, he was on the bench as his father's associate coach.

"He won't say it," the son said, "but he's a little more laid-back. Everybody thinks he chews everybody's (tail) out. But he doesn't. You're not going to turn on "SportsCenter" if he has his arm around some guy. He's his own worst enemy. They play all the bad stuff. But he doesn't get enough credit. He's really matured over the years. He's more mellow in a sense. It's an adjustment."

Life in Lubbock, said his son, has added years to his career.
"He would have already been retired" if he had stayed in Indiana, the younger Knight said. "We're kind of in the middle of nowhere. There's only one newspaper. You don't hear a lot about him. He likes it that way. People in town are great. It's not Mayberry, but no one bothers you."

Having a blast in Lubbock

With Knight's return to the Sweet 16, there's no hiding anymore.
Knight still coaches with the driven demeanor of a man on a mission, but he appears at peace with himself, his surroundings and, mostly, his players. He has particularly taken to 6-2 guard Ronald Ross, the former walk-on who has emerged as the team leader as a senior.
"I'm not sure in my time of coaching there's been a better story than Ronald Ross," Knight said. "The kid has had such a tremendous determination to be a good player."
"He could have been bitching and whining that he didn't have a scholarship, but I never heard the kid complain about anything. I've never had a kid I have more admiration for, particularly when he hit that three" to help beat Gonzaga.
Knight smiled, an occurrence that comes easier these days.

He still challenges the media. Asked about reports he had been contacted about the Tennessee basketball vacancy, he said, "I read something at some time during the season where I was interested in coaching a job that would be one of the last jobs — I mean I'd quit before I'd have taken it. I've got a little bit tired of that over my time in coaching."
Pressed whether that was a yes or no, he answered, "If you can't get an answer from that, you ought to go back to school."

He still gets in his players faces, perhaps none more so than Ross, who will make a triumphant return to his home state of New Mexico (he's from Hobbs) as the leader of a team few expected to get this far.

In Saturday's win, Knight pulled Ross aside during a break and unceremoniously chewed him out. Ross, who scored 52 points in the first two rounds, embraced the lashing — and then nailed a three-pointer with 1:09 left to give Tech the lead for good.
"It's all learning, teaching," Ross said. "When he gets on me, I listen and observe."
Knight, his son said, picks his spots and his players these days. He doesn't treat everybody the same. "We have a couple players he puts his arm around. No one sees that."

The Red Raiders, to a player, talk in admiring, almost loving terms about their coach. Asked the biggest misconception of Knight, Ross said, "People stereotype him and his ambition to win by saying that he yells too much."
Added sophomore guard Jarrius Jackson, "A lot of people confuse his desire to win when he is just trying to be competitive. He wants to win every game, and he expects the exact same thing from his players."

The respect appears mutual. Knight is clearly fond of this bunch of overachievers and has bonded with them. His son echoed the sentiment of Knight's longtime friend, teaching guru and Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell, who said this is one of Knight's better coaching jobs.
Knight doesn't agree. "If Pete thinks that, I appreciate that," he said. "But it's not as good as 32-0," a reference to his undefeated 1976 NCAA championship team at Indiana.

Even that team, however, takes a back seat in enjoyment for Knight to this one, a season he said has been a "wonderful experience."

"It's as enjoyable a team to watch and to be around as any I've ever had."

Still has the fire but mellower

Knight is embracing the moment. The big smile, the heartfelt hug with his wife, Karen, after the win against Gonzaga and the laughter with his players during the postgame news conference all portray a more approachable Knight.

He even poked fun at himself after the victory.

Asked about bringing his wife, a former coach, on the court, where they embraced, Knight said, "My wife is a better coach than I am. I wanted to thank her for all the help she'd given me in preparing for this game and season. She deserved to be a real part of this because she doesn't always agree with the way I coach. She thinks I do a lousy job with our post players."

Few would challenge the job he has done since arriving in Lubbock, however. The Red Raiders, always second fiddle to the football team, reached the Sweet 16 in 1996 and had another winning season before four consecutive losing seasons.

Enter Knight for the 2001-02 season. With Texas Tech's little tradition and even less of a recruiting base to build on, he has produced four consecutive 20-plus win seasons, three trips to the NCAA Tournament and now a Sweet 16 appearance.
He has done it with a team short on talent but long on desire. The Red Raiders play hard for their coach.

Down the stretch Saturday, forward Devonne Giles saved the game by grabbing one rebound with his pants falling off and another falling out of bounds before he called timeout.
That's the moxie and heart Knight has infused in this team.
"We're a good family, and with Coach Knight there are no limits," Ross said. "He's been really relaxed, but at the same time he's let us know what to do.

"People always ask, "Has he mellowed out?' But I don't think his desire to win has come down any. People doubted us, but with Coach Knight, you can never doubt anybody."

Knight's son acknowledged that getting back to the Sweet 16 "meant everything" to his father, but Dad defiantly balked. It was time to defend himself against critics who pointed out he was 3-8 in the NCAA Tournament since 1994 coming into this season's first round.

"In the years we had difficult times getting anywhere in the NCAA, maybe, just maybe, it was a real positive that we'd gotten that far and maybe we'd just run out of gas," Knight said.
"I don't think we were ever seeded lower than eighth. I never felt any real remorse for not going any farther than we did."

He's feeling a lot different now, bah-humbug.

Byron York: Hillary's Election Scam Bill

By Byron York
The Hill
March 21, 2005

Let’s say it’s Election Day 2008. You really, really, really want to vote for the Democratic nominee for president, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), but you’re not registered to vote. You also don’t have a driver’s license or any sort of official photo identification that would tell the people down at the polling place who you are.You don’t even have anything to show that you’re an American citizen.But it’s Election Day, and you still want to vote for Clinton. What do you do?

Well, you go right down to that polling place, tell them you want to register, on the spot, and vote. And if anybody questions you, tell them you don’t need a prior registration, or a photo ID, proof of citizenship or anything else.

Clinton said so.

She really did — just a few weeks ago, in the form of her new bill, the Count Every Vote Act of 2005.

Although Clinton calls the measure “critical to restoring America’s faith in our voting system,” it might more accurately be described as the most wide-ranging assault ever on the idea that there should be minimum enforceable standards for voters. Just look at some of its provisions.

One section says, “Each state shall permit an individual on the day of a Federal election to register to vote in such election at the polling place ... [and] to cast a vote in such election and have that vote counted in the same manner as a vote cast by an eligible voter who properly registered during the regular registration period.”

Another provision says, “Each state and jurisdiction shall accept and process a voter registration application for an election for Federal office unless there is a material omission or information that specifically affects the eligibility of the voter. There shall be a presumption that persons who submit voter registration applications should be registered.”

And a third section adds, “The following shall not constitute a ‘material omission or information that specifically affects the eligibility of the voter’: (1) The failure to provide a Social Security number or driver’s license number. (2) The failure to provide information concerning citizenship or age in a manner other than” a simple statement that one is a citizen.

Put all those together and you have a recipe for chaos. Anyone can show up on Election Day, register and vote, and officials would have no way of knowing whether that person was eligible to vote or not. All Clinton would require is that the person “affirm” that he or she is eligible to vote.

And, as they say, that’s not all.

The Count Every Vote Act of 2005 would also require states to allow anyone to cast a provisional vote anywhere in a state, no questions asked. The number of provisional votes one might cast would be limited only by the number of polling places that could be visited in a day.

The bill would also allow felons to vote after they’ve done their time and are off probation (this is the provision that attracted a lot of criticism from conservatives, although it’s hardly the worst thing in the bill). And it would require that the federal government force states to ensure “an equal waiting time for all voters” at all polling places.Seriously. The bill actually directs the federal Election Assistance Commission to devise a formula for voting line length.

That formula would be based on “the voting age population; voter turnout in past elections; the number of voters registered; the number of voters who have registered since the most recent federal election; Census data for the population served by such voting site; the educational levels and socio-economic factors of the population served by such voting site; the needs and numbers of disabled voters and voters with limited English proficiency; [and] the type of voting systems used.”

And those are not even the most important parts of the bill, at least according to Clinton. The most crucial provision, she says, is the one requiring that voting machines produce an “individual voter-verifiable paper record” of each vote. That’s a nod to those Democrats who believe that Karl Rove somehow personally hacked the touch-screen voting machines in Ohio to deny Sen. John Kerry his rightful victory.

Making touch-screen machines produce a paper record turns out to be quite complicated, introducing new possibilities for error into the process. But what the hell? — Clinton’s entire bill introduces all sorts of new possibilities for error into the process.

In fact, the Count Every Vote Act of 2005 might be viewed as a massive, wholly intentional attempt to introduce new possibilities for error into the system, with the hope that most of the errors will benefit Democrats.

Clinton says her bill will “improve the franchise and truly improve our democracy.”

Even if she has to wreck the system to do it.

Peggy Noonan: 'Don't Kick It'

If Terri Schiavo is killed, Republicans will pay a political price.
Friday, March 18, 2005 1:37 p.m. EST
The Wall Street Journal

It appears we've reached the pivotal moment in the Terri Schiavo case, and it also appears our politicians, our senators and congressmen, might benefit from some observations.

In America today all big stories have three dimensions: a legal angle, a public-relations angle and a political angle. In the Schiavo case some of our politicians seem not to be fully appreciating the second and third. This is odd.

Here's both a political and a public-relations reality: The Republican Party controls the Senate, the House and the White House. The Republicans are in charge. They have the power. If they can't save this woman's life, they will face a reckoning from a sizable portion of their own base.
And they will of course deserve it.

This should concentrate their minds.

So should this: America is watching. As the deadline for removal of Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube approaches, the story has broken through as never before in the media.


There is a passionate, highly motivated and sincere group of voters and activists who care deeply about whether Terri Schiavo is allowed to live. Their reasoning, ultimately, is this: Be on the side of life. They remind me of what Winston Churchill said once when he became home secretary in charge of England's prisons. He was seated at dinner with a jabbery lady who said that if she were ever given a life sentence she'd rather die than serve it. He reared back. No, he said, always choose life! "Death's the only thing you can't get out of!"

Just so. Life is full of surprise and lightning-like lurches. The person in a coma today wakes up tomorrow and says, "Is that you, mom?" Life is unknowable. Always give it a chance to shake your soul and upend reality.

The supporters of Terri Schiavo's right to continue living have fought for her heroically, through the courts and through the legislatures. They're still fighting. They really mean it. And they have memories.
On the other side of this debate, one would assume there is an equally well organized and passionate group of organizations deeply committed to removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. But that's not true. There's just about no one on the other side. Or rather there is one person, a disaffected husband who insists Terri once told him she didn't want to be kept alive by extraordinary measures.

He has fought the battle to kill her with a determination that at this point seems not single-minded or passionate but strange. His former wife's parents and family are eager to care for her and do care for her, every day. He doesn't have to do a thing. His wife is not kept alive by extraordinary measures--she breathes on her own, is not on a respirator. All she needs to continue existing--and to continue being alive so that life can produce whatever miracle it may produce--is a feeding tube.

It doesn't seem a lot.

So politically this is a struggle between many serious people who really mean it and one, just one, strange-o. And the few bearded and depressed-looking academics he's drawn to his side.
It is not at all in the political interests of senators and congressmen to earn the wrath of the pro-Schiavo group and the gratitude of the anti-Schiavo husband, by doing nothing.

So let me write a sentence I never thought I'd write: Politicians, please, think of yourselves! Move to help Terri Schiavo, and no one will be mad at you, and you'll keep a human being alive. Do nothing and you reap bitterness and help someone die.
This isn't hard, is it?

At the heart of the case at this point is a question: Is Terri Schiavo brain-dead? That is, is remedy, healing, physiologically impossible?

No. Oddly enough anyone who sees the film and tape of her can see that her brain tells her lungs to breathe, that she can open her eyes, that she seems to respond at times and to some degree to her family. She can laugh. (I heard it this morning on the news. It's a childlike chuckle.) In the language of computers she appears not to be a broken hard drive but a computer in deep hibernation. She looks like one of those coma cases that wind up in the news because the patient, for no clear reason, snaps to and returns to life and says, "Is it 1983? Is there still McDonald's? Can I have a burger?"

Again, life is mysterious. Medicine is full of happenings and events that leave brilliant doctors scratching their heads.

But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?"
No, you don't.

So Congress: don't kick it. Let her live. Hard cases make bad law, but let her live. Precedents can begin to cascade, special pleas can become a flood, but let her live. Because she's human, and you're human.


A final note to the Republican leadership in the House and Senate: You have to pull out all the stops. You have to run over your chairmen if they're being obstructionist for this niggling reason and that. Run over their egos, run past their fatigue. You have to win on this. If you don't, you can't imagine how much you're going to lose. And from people who have faith in you.

Bill Frist and Tom DeLay and Jim Sensenbrenner and Denny Hastert and all the rest would be better off risking looking ridiculous and flying down to Florida, standing outside Terri Schiavo's room and physically restraining the poor harassed staff who may be told soon to remove her feeding tube, than standing by in Washington, helpless and tied in legislative knots, and doing nothing.

Issue whatever subpoena, call whatever witnesses, pass whatever emergency bill, but don't let this woman die.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag" (Wall Street Journal Books/Simon & Schuster), a collection of post-Sept. 11 columns, which you can buy from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays.