February 25, 2005 | 5:55 p.m. ET   

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February 25, 2005 | 5:44 p.m. ET   

Jeff Jarvis of the Buzz Machine is one of our regular bloggers and it's cool how he's chatting with us via Webcam. He writes about his set-up at Buzz Machine world headquarters:

Who needs a multimillion-dollar studio? What you see above is the blogcast studio: A Logitech laptop camera atop my screen; the screen atop a box to get it to eye-level; notes for the spiels taped to the screen; MSM Messenger to show the video; a phone to get the audio back; a very long ethernet cable to get to the router so we didn't rely on wireless; lots of lamps ... et voila: TV.

I was upstairs in the den broadcasting; the family was down in the family room, ridiculing. "It looked like you were lipsyncing," said my daughter. I tried to explain frame rates and backhaul but gave up and confessed that, indeed, Daddy is Milli Vanilli (which is better than being Ashlee Simpson).

What about you? Are you a blogger with a Webcam? Or just a blogger with some interesting things to say and share? E-mail us at Connected@MSNBC.com and write "Blogger contact" in the heading. Let us know how we can get in touch with you. We just might want to include you in the Connected Webcam network.

February 25, 2005

Terri Schiavo's husband permission to remove her feeding tube in three weeks

I had a TBI four years ago and was not expected to live; the doctor asked my wife if she wanted to put me back on the ventilator.  She said, "of course."  Today I am walking slowly, teaching one course at at Taylor University Fort Wayne, Indiana, and driving a car.  One never knows the power of Faith and what the future really holds.  I'm not out of the woods, but I'm glad I have had a chance.  —Dr. William Jarvis

Mrs. Schaivo is brain damaged. She will feel no pain and no suffering from having her tube removed.  It is a painless way to die. I have a daughter the same age as Mrs. Schaivo and I would not try to keep her alive because the quality of life is gone. —Sandy Price, Ariz.

5:23 p.m. ET

E-mails on the Kansas attorney-general

This is a fishing expedition and you were right to question the motives and question why adult women were included! Big Brother is watching and we know from experience if they ask for a finger they are REALLY after the hand! Record are private, fingers and hands off! —Susan Carr
Tucson

I believe that the women/girls involved should not be revealed, nor should they be prosecuted in any way, shape or form.  Go after the damn doctors, they are the ones performing the illegal abortion.  Of course a 13-year-old girl is probably scared out of her mind to be  pregnant in the first place and will go to any lengths to have an abortion.  If these doctors are not available and punished harshly when caught, it will be harder to have the procedure done.  I have absolutely no respect for the medical profession.  They are idiots and are able to wreak havoc with no punishment.  —Sheryl Chao

More e-mails below .

5:19 p.m. ET

Blogs on the Kan. AG:

February 25, 2005 | 1:02 p.m. ET

A true heroine (Monica Crowley)

MSNBC TV
Last week, we lost a true heroine.  I’m not talking about a movie star, or a rock star, or a sports star.  I’m talking about a woman you’ve probably never heard of, but who was one of the first people to stand up to terrorism— face to face.

Her name was Uli Derickson, and on June 14, 1985, she was a flight attendant aboard a TWA flight from Athens to Rome when it was hijacked by Lebanese terrorists.  Of the 152 terrified passengers and crew, it was Ms. Derickson who took courageous control.  The two hijackers spoke no English, but Ms. Derickson spoke to them in German, even calming them by singing a German ballad they requested.  When they threatened one passenger, she intervened by explaining that his daughter had been delivered by a Lebanese doctor.  She also put herself in harm’s way, commanding the terrorists, “Don’t you hit that person!”

When a ground crew in Algiers refused to refuel the plane without payment, she offered her Shell credit card and paid the $5,000 fuel bill herself. 

At one point, the terrorists asked her to go through the passengers’ passports and single out those with Jewish-sounding names. She hid the passports instead.

After about 36 hours, she and several other hostages were released and 13 days later, the entire ordeal was over, with one death, a Navy diver.

She became the first woman to receive the Silver Cross for Valor and remained a flight attendant for years afterward.

She died last week at the age of 60.  But her spirit lives on in everyone—military and civilian—now fighting the war on terror.  Her spirit was seen in those who fought back against the hijackers of September 11: the will to stand up to evil; to hold up your hand and say, “Stop!”;  the courage to protect life against those who would take it.

Where does courage like that come from?  It comes from character.  Uli Derickson showed us that you don’t have to have superhuman strength or great wealth or fame to do the right thing.  You just have to have the courage of your convictions.  One woman stood alone against terror— and won.  That was the epitome of heroism.

E-mail MCrowley@MSNBC.com

February 25, 2005 | 12:53 p.m. ET

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12:30

Rocking the Oscars

Your coments on Chris Rock

I am looking forward to watching Chris Rock host the Emmys. However, as a 57-year-old woman, I must take exception to the Connected hosts asserting that Rock would attract a "younger, hipper" audience. Good comedy knows no age limits: funny is funny, no matter the age of the performer or the audience. And Rock is funny!! —Judy from Ohio

The decline in viewership for award shows in general, is a good sign (I hope) that the "Dumbing Down of America" has  slowed down a little, and people are finally discovering that the world really doesn't revolve around the Elitist  Hollyweird  Limo Liberals. —Walt Myers  Millville, NJ

Update on the Pope's condition

12:26 p.m. ET

Kansas e-mailers not for their AG

I’m from Kansas and am embarrassed to have Kline as an attorney general.  He ran an extremely nasty AG campaign and barely won. He is trying to position himself to run for governor in 2006.  He recently met with small groups of the state board of education to discuss putting stickers in all science texts about evolution being only a theory.  He may be in violation of the open meetings law.  He is a loose cannon. —Shelley Thull, North Newton, Kan.

Ron Reagan posed a great question:  “Is Phil Kline a medical expert?”  An even more pertinent question is “Is Phil Kline a legal expert?”  Our elected Attorney General has allowed his law license to expire three times, had tried three or fewer cases, and never run a law office prior to his election. He does have a long history of inflammatory rhetoric and outrageous statements that appeal the extra right wing Christian conservatives in Kansas. He has long condemned abortion of any type, promotes the faith of creationism as science, and seeks to create his type of Christian America.  His next step is the governorship of the State of Kansas.—Nolan H. Goldberg, Overland Park, Kan.

On the Kansas attorney general requesting records of abortions

Isn't it interesting that when the prosecutor came and seized Rush Limbaugh's records (for taking massive amounts of narcotics), the far right was outraged. Now, it seems to be okay to seize medical records? —BMC

If the man wants to look at the children's records— that is one thing— but the adult women are not the children that he says he wants to protect.  Would Monica want her personal records spread out for anyone to see?  —Linda, Greenville, Ill.

Philip Kline is inclined to go over the line. Talk about the left pursuing an agenda.  This guy isn't guided by the law, as he has sworn to do. He isolates his objective, and then cherry picks his way backwards using bits and pieces of the law to make what sounds like a reasonable argument. —Pat, Pasadena

If the AG in Kansas is so concerned about child rape he would be investigating all hospital deliveries of under age women. Is he? I don't believe so. Clearly, the constitutionally protected right to abortion is being infringed by the actions of the AG. This is a right that should be protected by government officials. This is another example of the fascist nature of right wing politicians. —Bob, Fremont, Calif.

If the attorney general was really that concerned about the welfare of children in relation to sexual offenders, he would do more to make laws tougher so these creeps wouldn't serve such light terms and be back on the streets to molest again. Instead, he chooses to intimidate women. How pathetic. —Karen, Pennsylvania

A doctor should report a case if a girl under age seeks medical attention for any reason that the law of that state is broken . Go to the hospital for a gun shot wound an it has to be reported. —Ray

Ron, don't start screaming that the government can not and should not police morality--they do it every minute of every day.  If not it would be okay to kill, rape, mame, rob, sell drugs or anything a person feels like doing, no matter the cost to others. —Linda Dell, Hennessey, Okla.

I can’t speak for Kansas, but child abortion should be reported and most likely is to the proper authorities when the result of incest or rape. If that is not the case in Kansas then they need to modify the law. That said, I agree that the Kansas AG is probably fishing and has no right to subpoena the full medical record. If he wants to file charges a redacted file is probably good enough to start. —Sandra Granich
San Francisco, Calif.


February 25, 2005 | 11:38 a.m. ET

Coming up at noon ET (Tony Maciulis, Senior Producer)

The funny thing about Christo's gates is that when they are gone, the walkways in Central Park will look empty.  As a child I remember the feeling I got when I came home from school on a January afternoon to find that all the Christmas decorations were taken down.  The tree, the garland, and the candles all boxed up again.  The rooms looked bare, like something was missing, despite the fact that 350 days of the year the room look exactly like that, sans tree.  That, I think, is what makes Christo's work so successful.  It isn't that hanging saffron silk from bean poles is so terribly innovative.  It's more the total change of perspective on a landmark, a place whose appearance is so  recognizable that it becomes wallpaper.  The Gates come down on Monday.

Today, we're discussing an ongoing legal battle in Kansas .  Attorney General Phill Kline seeks to open the medical records of 90 young women who have had abortions in the hopes of prosecuting the men who impregnated them on rape charges.  Opponents say he is simply promoting a staunchly pro-life agenda.  We have two great women who are both policy experts debating the issue.  Should be interesting.

And then, as it is the Friday before the Oscar's, Michael Musto and David Sterritt will join us to take on Chris Rock as host.  He has certainly attracted some controversy over the past few weeks, first by saying straight guys don't watch the show and later saying he would protest if Jamie Foxx doesn't win the award for Best Actor.  Whether you like Rock or not, there's no doubt the buzz could generate a ratings boost for a show that has been sagging in recent years.  Come to think of it, all awards shows have been in a ratings slump.  Could it be because there are so many of them?

And also, speaking of The Gates, a man who constructed his own mini version of the Christo design and has been getting more Internet hits than he can handle.    

February 24, 2005 | 5:57 p.m. ET

E-mail comments

With all due respect to the American Bishops, it was this Pope (Thankfully) that has been the defender of the Parish Priest throughout this so called ‘crisis’ that the Church in THIS country is dealing with.  He is arguably the BEST Pope we have ever seen, and he will remain Pope and in my prayers, until the day he dies.  It is at that point when the Church will have some tough decisions to make.  I only hope they look for next Pope to have the same Christ-like qualities that Pope John Paul II does.  May God continue to Bless Him.  —Jim Salerno, Selden, N.Y.

I want to say to the Pope:  I hope you get well soon!  —Janice Massucci, Wichita, Kan.

Although not a Catholic and not sure all what the pope does but am a universal christian of many faiths I have to admire what the pope stands for and hearing all about what he does really puts a smile on my face and makes my belief in humanity grow.  Thanks for sharing this story with us... —Sincerely, Reid, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

I am not a religious persona at all, but Pope John Paul is a true inspiration to all no matter what your faith is. His accomplishments have showed the world how much good one can do in life and how valuable life actually is. —Brandon M.

5:27 p.m. ET

Pope John Paul II had a breathing tube inserted in his throat Thursday in what the Vatican said was a successful tracheotomy to ease respiratory problems. The 84-year-old pontiff underwent the surgery hours after he was rushed to the hospital for the second time in a month, suffering fever and congestion. Click here to read more .

Here are some of your e-mailed questions which we're trying to answer (and already have):

When talking to my students about this Pope's accomplishments, how do you think they compare to the accomplishments of Pope's, say from the Renaissance forward. —Dan Cerquitella, Seattle

Does having this procedure impact how long someone will live?  What is the lifespan of someone after they've been through it? —Mike, Orlando, FL

I wish you would ask one of your guests why the Catholic Church doesn't chose another Pope.  With all the problems the church faces, isn't it better to have a younger leader who can make the changes that are needed? —Jane, Texas

More MSNBC.com reads:

Blog reads recommended by guest blogger Jeff Jarvis:

February 24, 2005 | 1:02 p.m. ET

On the Social Security debate

President Bush's scheme was tried, with abysmal results, in England over 20 years ago and they are trying to rectify this mistake. What the President's plan does not take in consideration is that they are members of the workforce who are developmentally disabled, they are covered under Social Security.  What safe guards will be in place to prevent them from living in poverty after his tax cuts, which by the way are unconstitutional, takes away programs that they need?  How will these vulnerable members of our society be protected from predators that will be preying on them?  There are people who are like me with chronic and life threatening conditions who don't want to be working until we literally drop dead.  We demand that we retire when we need to!  —Donna R.

Let's be clear.  Private accounts are not private.  The Gov. will still withhold your money, you will only have the option of 4 money market accounts, No FDIC protection on those accounts, can't touch the money early even for emergencies, and only on your retirement will you have any access or control of the money.  This proposal will only help certain Mutual Funds or Money Market Account Managers not individual people. —Nancy, Springfield, Ohio

The Swift boat vets are proven liars...as for Social Security..the British privatized it, and it is a complete mess..they learned the hard way.  I'm 82 and don't have to worry about it..but I do worry people losing money in trying to manage their accounts, and making brokers rich. —Virginia D.

Charlie Jarvis typifies the vengeful evil behind everything George Bush does. There's always a henchman. There's always a Karl Rove type willing to go to any lengths to shoot down anything or anyone who stands in their way. I've never seen such deceit and I've stopped being proud of our so-called "democracy."  In response to Jarvis and his reference to the Michael Moore branch of the democratic party. —Linda Milazzo, West Hills, Calif.

If being associated with the SwiftVets for truth is an honor, like the chief executive of USA Next mentioned, we might as well turn to Sesame Street and Barney for truthful Social Security information. USA Next is little more than a group of extreme conservative ideologues.  I wouldn't be surprised if they started lobbying for the repealing of the Bill of Rights.  After all, if they hate gays, veterans, and senior citizens, they might as well take their free speech away as well. —Tim Magaw, Akron, OH

This debate on SS bothers me. Not because it doesn't need to be discussed but because of HOW it is discussed. The media loves getting caught up in the politics and mudslinging behind issues rather than the issue itself. —Anonymous

12:47 p.m. ET
On President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin

Why didn't any of this discussion of securing nuclear material in Russia matter as much during the election campaigns? Kerry spoke vigorously of this very matter back in the fall and the media didn't stay with it nearly as much as trumped up matters like Rather-gate or the swiftboat vets.The media should have had enough perspective to know where to put its attention. They apparently did not. —ZTN

It was very interesting to hear the two Presidents speak about freedom of the press.
This is a very large issue, if Americans knuckle down to Lobbying groups, looking to control the press, by hit squads of Lobbyists going after any news organization they don't agree with. It's very scary to think that we may live in a more repressive society than the Russians! —MG

12:28 p.m. ET

President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Thursday on new efforts to keep nuclear arms away from terrorists as well as sovereign nations like Iran and North Korea. Connected starts late...

February 24, 2005 | 11:32 a.m. ET

AARP, the relationship with Russia, and life on Mars (Tony Maciulis, Senior Producer)

So, Art Linkletter is working again.  The octogenarian activist is the only person in TV history to have five concurrent shows on the air, although none of them after the first time bellbottoms were cool.  He's now stumping for a GOP lobby group in favor of the proposed privatization plan for Social Security. The group, called USA Next, has enlisted the same marketing team that brought you the anti-Kerry swift boat ads.  I have a feeling making the elderly look bad will be a much tougher sell. The AARP has a Teflon reputation and a ton of political clout. Will ask the head of USA Next if he is up to the task.

We'll also take a look at the problem of "loose nukes" in Russia. One of the issues Putin and Bush will discuss is how to secure and dispose of excess Russian weapons. This includes not just nukes, but chemical and biological stockpiles as well. These weapons can be sold on the black market to the bad guys, the terrorists. The criticism is that the Bush administration has not increased the budget for these nonproliferation programs in five years. Money is needed not just to dispose of the weapons, but to protect their transport from one venue to the next.  Two arms control experts will take this on at the top of the show.

And exciting news in the science community.  A European Mars exploration mission has determined that there was water on Mars as recently as three million years ago. That's like yesterday in cosmic talk, apparently, and they are all doing cartwheels at the planetariums.  This could mean life existed there not too long ago, and actually still could.  Don't panic, though.  That life form would be closer to the dust mite kind than the tall, green, bugged-eyed variety holding vaporizers.

Join us today, and certainly e-mail us at Connected@MSNBC.com

February 23, 2005 | 5:58 p.m. ET

Patriotism or marketing?

Like many of your fellow countrymen or women, you’re probably pretty patriotic: You sing along with the national anthem at ball games, fly a flag on the 4th of July, and get a little misty when you hear Ray Charles singing “America.”

But questions remain: Can you truly be patriotic enough? Or is it possible to take the whole flag-waving thing a bit too far?

Fayetteville, North Carolina, home to the military’s Fort Bragg, seems poised to answer both those questions. Unsatisfied with Fayetteville’s current image, the local visitor’s bureau has decided to re-brand their town as the most patriotic in the U.S.

They’ve got a ton of ideas— fireworks every Saturday night, tax breaks for flag-flyers, actors playing founding fathers roaming streets painted to look like old glory, and requiring all restaurants to serve apple pie and hot dogs.

Hmmm, yes, because nothing shouts freedom from the rooftops like forcing restaurants to reprint their menus. New York has the Statue of Liberty, Philly’s got the Liberty bell... and Fayetteville? Why in Fayetteville, you’ll be force fed pork products by an underemployed actor in a musty Lincoln costume. I love the smell of patriotism in the morning— it smells like frankfurters and that Lincoln guy’s fake beard.

Other ideas include allowing police to hand out “fake” traffic tickets to people driving foreign cars. Just a tip: If you’re car is a Peugeot, take the detour.

John Meroski of the visitors' bureau is excited by the plan, saying, “The things we’ve done in three years are remarkable, but you can only imagine what could happen in five years, 10 years.”

Yes, just imagine: Mandatory flag tattoos; compulsory fireworks attendance; Barbara Streisand forced to impersonate George Washington. Those fake tickets? They’re real now! Don’t like hot dogs or apple pie? There’s a dog kennel in Gitmo waiting with your name on it!

Sure, you’ll try to skip town, but with all the streets painted like flags, good luck finding the turn lanes.

I kid, of course. But all this is a reminder that while patriotism may be “the last refuge of a scoundrel,” it’s often the first stop in a marketing campaign.

Thoughts? E-mail RReagan@MSNBC.com

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