Thursday, February 26, 2009

Law firm lay offs

In this laying off frenzy, I found this bit of information funny:


Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman inadvertently announced attorney layoffs last week, when a senior partner apparently discussed the firm's situation on his cell phone in a crowded train car. Full details, however, have not yet been provided, and the firm reportedly may not actually make these layoffs until March.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Vatican and the US Congress

PBS Religion & Ethics reports on Nancy Pelosi's visit to Pope Benedict XVI:

Pope Benedict XVI apparently chastised Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over her views on abortion. Pelosi is Catholic and pro-choice. After a private meeting with Pelosi at the Vatican this week, Benedict issued a statement saying all Catholics, especially lawmakers, should work to protect all human life.

Here is the video.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stem cells: is Obama acting slowly?

The Washington Post reports that researchers are waiting for Obama to simply reverse the 2001 ban on federal funding on stem cells.

Proponents expected Obama to lift the restriction in his first week in office, when he issued a flurry of executive orders to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, make government less secretive and lift a ban on funding international family planning groups that support abortion, among other things.

Why has Obama immediately lifted other restrictions but not federal funding for stem cells?

Italy’s creeping fascism

Discussing the controversial euthanasia case that is fueling the political and ethical debate in Italy on openDemocracy, Geoff Andrews rightfully suggests that,


The country is at present dominated by intolerant public discourses and veering towards authoritarian solutions; in this febrile atmosphere, such an event threatens to become a serious constitutional crisis.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Death Ends Coma Case That Set Off Furor in Italy

Over the past few days, Italy was the stage of a private tragedy that became a topic of public debate, constitutional battles, and political shame. A woman, who was about my same age, had been in a persistent vegetative state since a car accident in 1992. After 17 years, she eventually died yesterday with the assistance of a physician.

About a month ago, a British philosopher wrote an op-ed. Here is an excerpt:

The law must be changed so that people facing fatal or self-destroying conditions do not also have to endure this agony of not being able to protect their selves and their loved ones ... Patients need to be enabled to state their preferences, the circumstances under which they want to be killed ... It is not rocket science. It is obscenely overdue.