March 22, 2005 | 6:00 p.m. ET

The French work week (Monica Crowley)

MSNBC TV

I think it’s fair to say that over the past few years, I’ve had a bit of a problem with the French. All of that duplicitous double-dealing at the United Nations, their coddling of the world’s dictators, their priggish condescension to the rest of the world, their delusional sense of their own influence, their ingratitude to the United States— and that’s just a short list of the issues I have with the French.

But something happened today in Paris that has me feeling a bit of sympathy for the French people.  The French National Assembly approved a bill that effectively abolished France’s famous— and much envied— 35 hour work week. That means that employers can now increase working time for employees by 220 hours a year in return for better pay. 

Can you hear the collective gasp coming from across the Atlantic Ocean? Whatever will they do?

France now has a 10 percent unemployment rate.  President Jacques Chirac has spent so much of his time sticking it to the United States that he hasn’t delivered the millions of new jobs he promised. Almost one million people participated in nationwide strikes earlier this month to protest these changes to their working time. 

Seems the French have grown accustomed to their long holidays, even longer vacations, and regular weekdays off. Also seems that they are going to miss their regular three-hour lunches, spent nibbling Brie, sipping Bordeaux, and bashing the United States.

It’s soon going to be time for the French to bid au revoir to their cushy lifestyle.  No more naps in the middle of the workday.  No more chardonnay at the local bistro on your way back from the Kinko’s.  No more meeting friends at the Louvre during your extended espresso breaks. 

So, to our fellow worker bees in France, a little sympathy, oui?  Soon enough, you’ll be working almost as hard as we do.  It’s not all that bad, really. You will make more money. And you know what? Work hard enough, and you just might earn back my respect.

Stay connected at Connected@msnbc.com

March 22, 2005 | 5:50 p.m. ET

Border battle: your e-mails

Obviously, the government isn't doing it's job on border security. Now, you have a group of citizens willing to assist the border patrol and control illegal immigration. What's the problem? Deputize them like we did in the old days. (The National Guard could be doing this if they weren't in the middle of the Iraq debacle.) — Rich

The idea of having National Guard and reserve training camps on the border to help patrol should be considered. — C. Sullivan, Noblesville, Indiana

We all need to wake up. The situation is way out of control and only going to continue unles we do something about it now.  I live in Las Vegas, Nevada and the amount of illegals here is outrageous. One of the biggest promoters is the construction industry.  I would say 90 percent of the construction jobs are held by Mexicans and they have allowed the rate of pay to decline due to the fact the majority are illegals.  This is a good profession that Americans worked at for many years and built the pay scale up over time, that is no longer the case.  The money they make is not recycled into the community, it is sent back to Mexico.  I would like to know how low our unemployment would be if we sent all the illegals back home... —Valerie, Nevada

Join our discussion at connected@msnbc.com.

March 22, 2005 | 5:33 p.m. ET

Web of hate: your e-mails

It is impossible to effectively regulate Internet content without unified global communication. If a server in another country is broadcasting hate messages, there is nothing the U.S. can do about it.  —Bryan, Burnsville, Minn.

Does anyone else wonder, as I do, why it is that so many of our children seem to feel that they have nothing to live for?  —Michael Collins, Shelbyville, Ky.

Great interviews on Internet hate groups. Very constructive. Good job.  —Anonymous

I suppose that one simple solution to the issue of hate websites is to make parents aware of them and more tech savvy.  But that would mean parents would need to be more involved their lives and actually take care of their kids.  That being said, there are some kids that all the monitoring and mentoring will not help keep them from going awry.  —Ed

What is the continuing fascination with guns? Why can't Americans be this passionate about promoting health instead of death? The truth is, guns are deadly and for Americans to be so faithful to a weapon of destruction seems to be an indelible part of this group of dysfunctional Americans.  —Rey Fimbres

Barnes should pay better attention to the data and stop comparing apples with oranges. His passion does not hide his ignorance of the facts.  Without CCW (concealed carry) "shall issue" permits, only the bad guys get the firearms!  If Barnes did his homework, he would realize that CCW permit holders have background checks and training courses.  If Barnes prefers to be one of the sheep at the mercy of the wolf...so be it!  I prefer to be the sheepdog, with the ability to protect the flock!  —Robert, Maryland    

Join our discussion at connected@msnbc.com.

March 22, 2005 | 12:55p.m. ET

Houston's answer to their distinction as America's fattest city (Ron Reagan)

You've no doubt heard by now— but I suppose it bears repeating— that America is one fat country.

We're humongous and getting bigger by the day. Nomadic Mongolian families live in tents smaller than the typical American’s pants. We've got thighs bigger than Switzerland. Notice how we're driving larger and larger cars these days? We can't fit in the smaller ones.

It's no mystery how we got here. Every day, we each consume enough calories to sustain a pod of whales. For all our gym memberships, the average cadaver gets more exercise.  Of course, some of us are fatter than others and some towns are particularly known for their chubby citizens.

Houston, Texas, according to Men's Fitness magazine, has earned the distinction of "America’s fattest city." Given the heavyweight competition, just imagine what that required: the commitment to gluttony and sloth; the dumpsters full of soda pop; the sheer volume of fajitas. Whole hog farms worth of short ribs were doubtless sacrificed in pursuit of that accomplishment. But was the gustatory indulgence worth the ensuing shame?

Houston apparently thinks not. Last weekend, in an effort to stem the tide of lard, the city launched a new Tour de Houston bike fest aimed at promoting fitness in general and bicycling as a means to achieve it. Some 2000 or so Houstonians managed to heave themselves off their extra wide behinds to participate.

Said one rider, "You see things from a much different perspective on a bicycle." Yes, it's a whole new world when you're not viewing it through the bottom of a potato chip bag.

All kidding aside, the city and citizens of Houston are to be commended for lumbering forth to attempt a bit of exercise. Still, you might wonder, what was their motivation? Embarrassment over that "fattest city" thing? A sincere conversion to a healthy life style? What made so many saddle up and peddle furiously for miles? Well, actually the organizers promised everyone there would be free beer and tacos at the end of the ride.

Hey, it's a start...

Thoughts?  E-mail us at Connected@msnbc.com

March 22, 2005 | 12:45 p.m. ET

A federal judge has denied the request by Terri Schiavo's parents to have her feeding tube, which was removed on Friday March 18th, reinserted.  Yet, additional court appeals are underway and the heated debate continues.  Here are your thoughts:

Schiavo: Your e-mails

Can you imagine a Congress and Senate that works overtime and a President
that cuts short a trip to sign a bill passed in the middle of the night
dealing with healthcare reform? Or gun control? How about education, Social
Security, minimum wage, energy reform?  Instead, these people think that this level of work should be reserved only for when they feel there is a need to trump over the established judicial system for political gain. — Alexandra, Tampa, Fla.

My mother passed away several months ago, and at the end the family had to
decide whether to continue life-support. I thank God for two things: that my
mother had her wishes expressed in writing, and that she didn't live in
Florida where family wishes are irrelevant if they disagree with the
governor. — Anthony Gilpin, Lakeland, Fla.

I am very disheartened with how Congress has taken a family's personal matter and turned it into the country's concern. I believe that they have only political motivations behind themselves and do not truly care for Terri, as not a single memeber of Congress or the House has payed a personal visit to her. I am also very upset by her parents' actions as well, claiming that they want one more chance to get Terri therapy when they have had the last fifteen years to do this for her. It seems that they wait until it seems as her time is coming to claim therapy would work for her when this is a route they should have taken since day one. Even though Terri's husband may have a conflict of interest it is obvious that he is in it for Terri and has turned down various offers to keep Terri "artifically alive". He took a vow when he took Terri's hand in marriage and he is honoring that vow and her wishes and I commend him for that. — Sean-New Philadelphia, OH

Thoughts?  E-mail us at Connected@msnbc.com

March 22, 2005 | 12:25 p.m. ET

The Minnesota massacre that took place on Monday March 21st when a 16-year old killed 9, then himself, has brought back the heated debate on gun control.  Here is what you are thinking:

Gun control: Your e-mails

So let me get this straight, the way to stop gun violence is to sell more guns. We already know that the NRA favors all people to have any gun at anytime. That means the majority of gun owners will have no training and many could be prone to violence. You cannot be serious. — Shunk Wugga

I have been a proud gun owner and shooter since the age of 4.  I know what guns are capable of, and I know how to handle one, which is one of the requirements of being able to obtain a concealed carry permit.  The statistics don't lie, if a person is in the position to defend themself, criminals are deterred from acting against those people.  The fact that anyone may be carrying a weapon would have any criminal thinking twice.  And, lets not forget, not just anyone can get a carry permit, as it is a very rigorous and investigative process. — Joe, New Jersey

I have a few observations about your gun control conversation.  First of all, the gunmen in the school stootings and the church shooting.....think about what they did after the shooting......they killed themselves.  Now that was their ultimate goal.....to kill themselves.  If someone is hell bent on killing themselves and taking out others along with them, then armed citizens or not, they are still going to do the act regardless if anyone in the area is armed.  Citizens with guns are probably not going to save any more lives, after all they are not dirty harry and this isn't a movie.  Second of all Monica, doesn't having guns on school property violate the no tolerance rules in place at schools?....I know it would in my state. — Marilyn, Kansas

I would like to respectfully disagree with the congressman.  I am a Police Officer and believe that there should be a right to carry in every state.  In fact, having over 13 years of experience I have yet to personally investigate a homicide involving a firearm.  However, I have investigated/participated in the investigation of multiple homicides involving edged weapons,(knives).   Is Congress going to enact laws about pocket knives next? — Travis

If more guns made us safer wouldn't the United States, where we have the least restrictive gun laws in the world, have the fewest gun deaths per capita instead of the most? — Thomas Hanley, Fulton, New York

I am a Canadian and up here hand guns are totally illegal. We had approximatley 500 murders in our entire country last year and we are a nation of over 32 million people. How can the authour of this book actually believe that more guns will reduce crime when it is a known fact that countries like Canada , Britain and Japan have extremley low violent crime and murder rates compare to the U.S.. ...So would he say that if all of us Canadians were allowed to carry guns that our murder rate would drop from 500 a year??? I think I prefer to take my chances and keep guns off our streets. When will Americans finally get it...........dahhhhhhhhhhhh — Gregory Burley, Toronto , Ontario , Canada

More Guns are NOT the answer. The laxed laws that permit gun hoarding are the reason that so many guns are on the street.  And Monica, until they start drug testing gun owners, we shouldn't be placing more guns in the possession of addicts that eventually sell them for drugs, and report them stolen.  If you want more guns, you need serious enforcement to prevent addicts from possession of firearms.  This is a fact. I'm from Detroit and I know where the guns originate!  — Andre Willingham, Sterling Heights, MI

Thoughts?  E-mail us at Connected@msnbc.com

March 21, 2005 | 5:30 p.m. ET

Terri Schiavo case: Your e-mails

I am a hospice nurse, I feel that Schiavo has no quality of life, eating is a quality, she should have the right to die with dignity and let nature take its course.  We have had many patients with feeding tubes and have had them removed and the patient does not die painfully, they are not hungry or thirtsy and the body protects them. She would be given medication to keep her peaceful. There is no life there, they should let her go. — Angela Cariddo, RN, CHPN, Falling Water, WV

I am a pro-choice Dem. who agrees with the intervention to save Terri's life. After watching her parents last night (Larry King) show film of her literally forcing herself to open her eyes when asked to do so, it seems unbelievable that no judge in this case has seen the facts more clearly.  There is no doubt her parents should be allowed to take their daughter home. The behavior of her "husband" is so suspicious from the outset, it begs the laws be amended for more specifics as to guardianship when the cause is not able to be determined.  Her condition is so different from a brain dead or artificial means permanent state, I feel that removing her tube is, in fact, equal to killing her. — Maureen Reek

It seems to me that if 1/2 of her brain is liquified, then the other 1/2 isn't functioning well either. She is living on natural response, i.e. the lungs breathe because her body knows to do so, her kidneys filter without being asked to and her eyes blink because they get to close to her face.  As a staunch believer in life, I suspect that Mrs. Schaivo probably departed 15 years ago and what you now have is her shell. Let her body go.  — M. Cima, Illinois

If only the guards had known that that giving food and water was an extraordinary medical measure, they wouldn't have had to "torture" the detainees by putting panties on their heads.  —  Pat, Lincoln, NE

March 21, 2005 | 12:48 p.m. ET

The DaVinci Code: Your e-mails

I teach English literature and psychology at an art school to undergraduates. We have discussed the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown and find that there is some interesting facts in the book. What I feel people need to get over, in particular the Catholic Church, is the fact the IT IS FICTION. A good writer is able to make the blend of information so believable that you have trouble telling fact from fiction. That's what a good writer is able to do. Uncle Tom's Cabin is a classic, but it's a FICTIONAL account of the times. That's what Dan Brown did. It should encourage us to go and seek the truth between the fiction and the reality if we truly want to know difference. — Fred Gibbs, Manchester, NH

I read the DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons also by Dan Brown and they were great books. I am also a Catholic and I believe in Jesus and the teachings of the bible, but the Jesus I love would never ban the book. It's a book, a novel, a entertainment value. The Catholic Church and in particular The Vatican should worry about what Jesus taught. Love one another and respect each other, not worrying about a book. — Allyson Diana, Stafford, CT

Your guest claimed Dan Brown had it all wrong.  Maybe one of the reasons that people are at least willing to consider some of the claims in The DaVinci Code is that Mary Magdalene was portrayed as a prostitute for nearly 1500 years.  There are a good deal of religious historians who now assert that was a mischaracterization by Pope Gregory in the sixth century.  They believe that not only was she NOT a prostitute, but actually a respected disciple of Jesus.  We all know that those in power are the ones who write the history books (or the Bible?).  It would not be the first time that history got it WRONG!  — Tina, Mount Laurel, NJ

March 21, 2005| 12:25 p.m. ET

Terri Schiavo case: Your e-mails

I am thoroughly disgusted about the Shiavo case on multiple levels.  First, as a lawyer, I am dismayed by the contempt for state courts shown by the commentary, implicit or explicit, that has come out both from politicians and ordinary citizens.  It is not healthy for U.S. congressmen, many of whom have no courtroom experience and are not lawyers, to comment upon the qualifications of individual judges to render opinions that are of such obvious local character.  Second, it is disconcerting as a taxpayer to see Air Force One flying at who knows what cost to Washington so that our president can get a photo op.  Third, I cannot believe that Bill Frist who is a heart surgeon has weighed in against the neurological specialists who have seen the patient up close after his having watched a one-hour videotape.  — Hudson Henley, Dallas, TX

The actions by both the Congress and the President regarding the Terri Schiavo case was an outrageous abuse of power.  What is even more disturbing is the lack of factual, investigated and corroborated information presented on every news outlet.  I listened carefully to extensive interviews of Michael Schiavo and Terri Schiavo's family and the unprecedented Congressional hearing last night and believe that Terri Schiavo's wishes have been disregarded and dishonored.  Her husband is her legal guardian, and the Court has spoken.  My Mother died in a Hospice, so I really do know what I am talking about.  As to the execution of a Living Will, please inform your listeners that it is not enough.  I have a Codicil that states that should I be taken to a hospital whose staff will not honor my wishes on religious grounds, I am to be moved to one which will.  In addition, I have since learned that a Do Not Resuscitate Order is required as well.  Now, I am very concerned that I will need an additional Codicil to protect me from politican intervention.  Where does this stop?  Last night, I left the Republican Party. — Charon Husted,  Falls Church, VA

Do those wanting to keep Schiavo alive want to spend billions of tax dollars to keep all POOR people in a vegetative state alive?? Or just those with insurance? Or just those with their eyes open and a wide-open-mouth smile locked on their face much of the time?  — Tom Paine

I am listening to everything going on this weekend with this sad case. Decisions like the one being made are done on an everyday basis and I have never heard of the congress and president stepping in to make a NEW LAW. This is beyond getting into an american's personal life and it really scares me. I have never thought about what or whom would decide my medical fate in the event that I couldn't, but after all of this I have made sure that my wishes are very well known. What the government and her parents have done to this poor woman is a disgrace. This is exploitiveness at the upsmost and they should not be allowed to get away with it. — Carol Ann Fastiggi

Terri's parents should have the last word on weather she lives or dies.  And in the future parents should always be the ones (if they are available)to make that end of life decision for the children they gave life to, and the decision should be unanimous! and if not, the spouse should weigh in. When I recognize the history in this country of murder by spouses, and the statistics of its increase, I know that parents are the ones to trust, they have no monetary interest in life insurance or judgments in a case. — Zephy, Zipp City, OH

After more than 25 yrs as a Democrat, I now leave the party in disgust. Their inaction in the Schiavo case was the last straw---they've become completely useless. I've waited for an investigation into this administration, but to no avail. I've given up on my party, I've given up on my country. And I am finally able to reach this revelation because Terri Schiavo's parents cannot give up their daughter's fate to her husband, the FL courts, or God. Tom Delay is the only one who gains anything here--he gets a temporary smokescreen. The nation owes Michael Schiavo an apology for allowing our legislators, the media, evangelicals to not only make an already horrific situation worse, but to viciously slander him. — Jeannine, Richmond

In response to your question Monica, " Where does that leave the parents? Do the have no rights?"  In my opinion, no, they gave up their rights when they gave up their daughter in marriage.  They had their chance to object to the union of their daughter to this man, but did not do so.  I'm sorry, but they need to let the law stand and allow Michael to decide alone. — Philip Y., Columbia, SC

March 18, 2005 | 6:09 p.m. ET  

Ladies, you can do  better than Scott Peterson (Monica Crowley)

MSNBC TV
Scott Peterson was sentenced to death this week, for the murders of his wife, Laci, and unborn child.  Today he sits on Death Row at San Quentin, awaiting the first of probably many appeals.  But he’s also getting a different kind of appeal. 

It’s coming from women, who are offering to marry him!

A spokesman for San Quentin Prison says not one—not two— but dozens of women have called, trying to get word to Peterson, and at least two have proposed marriage.

Now, all of this is perfectly legal, and while there are no statistics on this kind of thing. Several states say that it’s not at all unusual.  Crazy, yes, but not rare.

There are even several websites out there offering to link up guys on Death Row with ladies looking for love. 

Erik and Lyle Menendez did it.  Remember them?  They are serving life sentences for killing their parents.  Lyle divorced his first prison pen-pal-turned-wife after less than a year. 

Scott Peterson Mug Shot
Getty Images  /  Getty Images
In this handout image provided by the California Department of Corrections, convicted murderer Scott Peterson poses for a mug shot Thursday in San Quentin.
Thankfully, there are efforts in some states to make this illegal—to totally cut off these inmates from the outside world.  Of course, human rights groups think that would violate the inmates’ rights. 

But maybe the law we should think about passing is one against these clearly desperate women.  Are you that hard up for a man that you need to go looking for one on death row? 

Ladies, please.  A guy incarcerated at San Quentin isn’t exactly marriage material.

And to all of those women courting Scott Peterson, just remember: he’s on death row for a reason:  He killed his wife to get OUT of their marriage.  So I really doubt he’s looking for a commitment.

E-mail MCrowley@MSNBC.com

March 18, 2005 | 5:49 p.m. ET  

Terri Schiavo case

Doctors removed Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube Friday despite an extraordinary, last-minute push by Republicans on Capitol Hill to use the subpoena powers of Congress to save the severely brain-damaged woman.

It is expected that it will take one to two weeks for Schiavo, 41, to die, provided no one intercedes and gets the tube reinserted.

The tube has twice been removed in the past, but was re-inserted within days in both cases. Similar appeals are expected to continue in the current case.

The latest removal came amid a flurry of maneuvering by Schiavo’s parents, state lawmakers and Congress to keep her alive. Committees in the Republican-controlled Congress issued subpoenas for Schiavo, her husband, and her caregivers demanding that they appear at hearings in the coming weeks. Click here to read more .


From bioethicist Art Caplan, PhD :

We have now reached the endgame in the case of Terri Schiavo. Her husband, Michael, remains unwavering in his view that she would not want to live in the state she is in. Despite the fact that he has been made the target of an incredible organized campaign of vilification, slander and just plain nastiness, he remains unmoved. Even a pathetic effort to bribe him into changing his mind with the offer of $1 million did not budge him.

He says he loves his wife and will do whatever it takes to end an existence that he believes she would not want to endure. He thinks that she would want her feeding tube stopped and that she would wish to die rather than remain bed-bound in a nursing home in a permanent vegetative state for the rest of her days.

The Schindler parents and their other children remain equally convinced that Michael is wrong.

Remember the recent debate about gay marriage and the sanctity of the bond between husband and wife? Nearly all of those now trying to push their views forward about what should be done with Terri Schiavo told us that marriage is a sacred trust between a man and a woman. Well, if that is what marriage means then it is very clear who should be making the medical decisions for Terri — her husband. Click here to read more .

Your e-mails

I appreciate the tough questions you posed to Dr. Gingrey.  As a neurologist, I would never attempt to diagnose a woman as pregnant simply by looking at her on television.  To practice good medicine, it is fundamental that the physician EXAMINE THE PATIENT.  It seems that by trying to intervene, Congress is making a purely emotional, if not simply political, decision.  This issue should be left up to those that have been provided all relevant information on the case. —Laura

What is so supremely offensive to me is the fact that this man (M. Shiavo) is unwilling to release the care and tending of his wife to those (her family) who cherish her and love her.  His obligation is over--let her parents give her the devotion they always have.  What arrogance! What inhumanity to deny her family the decisions over her care and life. — Colorado Springs

Terry Schiavo is literally a soul trapped in a shell. The parents and politicians are trying to condemn her to spend her remaining years more in hell. This is a decision best left to her husband on her behalf, and their God, not parent or politician. —Ben Harper, Springfield, Ma.

As a pro life Republican and a former resident of Florida I have to side with the democrats on this issue. Congress Should not be involved in this issue. It's a personal issue that should be handled by the family and in the courts if necessary. —Tim, Mesa, Ariz.

The real issue here IS a political issue. We talk a big talk about being an advance society, but our technology has grown far beyond our morality and our wisdom. We routinely create situations where people are made to survive situations they would not naturally survive, and call it miracles of science. Well, this is the dark side of that. What I find painfully ironic is that in this situation, it is the same politicians that profess to be a highly moral and Christian that rather than releasing these victims to the hands of God, they would rather make them suffer. —Pat Fox, Sultan Wa.

Why are these people making this poor woman hang on.  The goverment has no right to intervene. Whats next what we eat  what religeon  who we marry.  please let her pass with dignity.—Rebecca

This to me has been one of the most sickening days in recent American history. We have lost so many of our freedoms to the U.S. Government. Now, they are ready to force us to live near death even if we choose not to. What is next? If we cannot even control our own lives, will they next take our freedom of speach? Freedom of the press? Freedom of religion? The United States used to be a democracy. What will it be tomorrow? —John Miller, Memphis, Tenn.

The need to save this poor woman is urgent and there is a public out-cry to save her. —Jeff, Columbus, Ohio

Who screams loudest about making Terri Schiavo live would not change places with her for 24 hours.  She herself denied such an existence, living bed-ridden, in conversations prior to her affliction.  Michael Schiavo is simply carrying out his wife's wishes...that it's been 15 years in coming is because her parents simply can't let her go.  They'd rather condemn her to a bed for the rest of her life than suffer the heartache of letting her go.  How selfish!!! —Arlene, Orlando, Fla.

Doctor after doctor have repeatedly stated that Terry Schiavo is brain dead and only has involuntary reflex movements. Yet those who want to politicize her plight try to rest their entire case on a few seconds of film where her eyes appear to be following a balloon. I believe its time to let the woman finally rest in peace. —Robert E. Linne. Deltona Fla.

Who's paying the bill?? They should have the final say. —Wyman Sanders, M.D., Los Angeles, Calif.

If the government steps in here be ready for the government to take over your health care. Next, they'll tell you that you must take chemo if you have cancer. —Doris Everett, Many La.

If one is going to argue that only God can make the choice to release Mrs. Shiavo, it seems he has made that choice.  Having her hooked up to machines to keep her alive, seems to me, to be going against what the All Mighty has decided.  I don't recall feeding tubes being used by God, ever. —Stephen, Tallahassee

Call this what it is, a court ordered execution. Do we starve death row inmates to death? If the court was really committed in their decision, they would order the needle. —Gregg, Camarillo, Calif.

I think someone — a 3rd party — has to intervene. On the one hand, you have the parents who want to keep their daughter alive and on the other hand, you have a husband who wants her dead so he can go on with his life. He said she said she would not want to live this way but there is no PROOF. She's not on a ventilator, respirator or any form of life-support other than a feeding tube. It takes a long time to die of starvation and dehydration; it's cruel and inhumane. So I hate to say it because I hate government interference, but Congress has to step in. Otherwise, neither side will come to a mutually agreeable decision. —Rosemary E. Lloyd, Elberton, N.J.

Why do convicted murderers "deserve" a lethal injection and a painless death and Terry is sentenced to a horrific, prolongued, torturous euthanasia?  And yes, the Congress of the United States ought to speak on behalf of a helpless citizen!!!! We are not Hitler's Germany for God's sake! —Ellen Wierzewski, Park Ridge Ill.

The Terry Schiavo case is based on pure selfishness. As a former comatose person, I know what its like to be in that world. 7 years is long enough to realize its over. I'm dumbfound by the selfishness. And also she will not know the feeding tube is gone. She will not suffer. —Thomas Zwick, Mich.

I think Schiavo has every right to be kept alive as long as necessary because I think she can be rehabilitated to a certain extent. —Anonymous

If one is going to argue that only God can make the choice to release Mrs. Shiavo, it seems he has made that choice.  Having her hooked up to machines to keep her alive, seems to me, to be going against what the All Mighty has decided.  I don't recall feeding tubes being used by God, ever. —Stephen, Tallahassee

I don't have a problem with her husband being the person who decides the fate of his wife. I do have a problem with the fact that she will be starving to death.  We euthanize our pets, give lethal injections to our most heinous murders.  Can't we let Terry die a more dignified death? —Yvonne, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The fact is that Mr. Schiavo has given up his marriage to Terry by moving on with another family. Then hasn't he given up his rights as her husband? This is not euthanasia, but rather murder for money ! I know the doctors HE chose say she is in a "persistent vegetative state",  but just look at the video of her looking at her mother, smiling, and tell me she does not want to live! —Catherine, Jackson Hole Wyo.

Isn't the core issue here how death-a-phobic humanity is?  Do the people who claim to believe in God and heaven, and who claim to believe Terri will be in heaven with God if she passes, want her to remain here in her condition instead because they believe this is better for her?  Do they honestly believe her 14 years of living like this has been better for her than the heaven they claim to believe in?   Is this how faith works?  —Mary, St. Petersburg, Fla.

March 18, 2005 | 12:56 p.m. ET  

We're talking about celebrity weblogs.

Check back here for video of blogger Wil Wheaton. Click here for a list of celebrity bloggers .

March 18, 2005 | 12:54 p.m. ET  

War anniversary

Tomorrow marks two years since the world watched the first attacks on Baghdad, marking the beginning of war in Iraq.

A number of anti-war groups are planning protests in cities across the nation this weekend. One of the largest will be in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the home of Fort Bragg.

Those organizing the rally say they support the troops but want to end military and civilian deaths in Iraq. But the decision to rally outside the base is being criticized by some—who say it’s the wrong place to protest the war. They argue the focus should not  be on the troops who risk their lives in Iraq, but on the politicians that send them there.

Your e-mails

When I was on active duty during the Vietnam Conflict, I protested the war and put it in writing, going so far as to request the Navy not to require me to participate in an "immoral and illegal war".  (Didn't work, I went anyway.) Kudos to the protesters and the members of the military that have the guts to join them.  The protesters show much more love of their country and their soldiers than the people that let them die for corporate profit. —Henri Carnal, Kekaha, Hawaii

This war is a straight out lie.  And if you voice your opinion against it then people like you say we are wrong.  This war is wrong.  We were lied too.  And our troops are dying front line.  Yes, there are troops who does not want to be there and that is the bottom line.  —Christina, San Diego, Calif.

People have a right to protest the Iraq war wherever they want to. If he can't handle it, too bad! —Eric Olsen, Santa Clara, Calif.

These anti war movements better get to know the military family and their level of loyalty while serving first before they stage a protest so insensitive in front of the families and base like this! Wake up- this is why Bush won!

Instead take these energies and support them UNCONDITIONALLY as a volunteer and adopt a  soldier or family where many Americans with all sorts of feelings about the war unite and say thanks until they are home ! —Alessandra Kellermann, President, Homefront Hugs USA, Fla.

I am and always have been against this war in Iraq, however I feel it is insensitive, ignorrant and very self-centered to hold an anti-war protest so close to a base. This protest just promotes the devide between those opposing and those for this war. I find it very disrespectful to the the soldiers and their families. How can anyone think it is a good idea to hold such a protest near a millitiary base? —Veronica Veil, Portland, Ore.

March 17, 2005 | 5:49 p.m. ET  

Is St. Patrick's Day politically incorrect? (Ron Reagan)

We're all so P.C. here in America aren't we? None of us—well, make that most of us—wouldn't dream of saying anything insensitive about any number racial or ethnic minorities, women, the handicapped (Whoops! make that “the differently-abled”).

Sports teams with names like the “Braves” or “Redskins” are pressured to come up with something that doesn't insult Native Americans. Women and men file harassment lawsuits over lewd, callous and/or sexist remarks. And the n-word? We're not even going there.

While sensitivity can occasionally swell into hysteria, most of us recognize that our P.C. impulses are, on balance, a good thing. After all, insulting people over a condition of birth diminishes us, not the object of our ignorant scorn.

But it's worth mentioning this St. Patrick's day that some groups seem to fall below the P.C. radar.

Bagpipers are videotapedas they make their way up 5th avenue during St. Patrick's Day Parade
Shannon Stapleton  /  Reuters
A St. Patrick's Day reveler videotapes a member of a Pipe and Drum band as they make their way up Fifth Avenue during the 244th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade, in New York March 17, 2005.
The Irish, for instance: Granted, we've come along way from the 19th century days when restaurants would hang signs saying “No dogs or Irish allowed,” but look at the images included in today's celebration: There they are, tucked between the shamrocks and green bunting— little leprechauns.  That's the typical image of the Irish. Not James Joyce or George Bernard Shaw, not Jack Kennedy or that other recent president of Irish heritage.

No, the Irish are inevitably, if affectionately, portrayed as whisky-sodden, green beer swilling, clover-plucking, clay pipe-smoking, drunken, brawling, river-dancing comic relief.

Oh, we're granted our positive aspects too— like fiddle playing and a penchant for blarney. But mostly we of Irish descent seem to inhabit an emerald twilight somewhere between James Galway and the Lucky Charms cartoon. Worse, too often, we descendants of Eireann play along with this nonsense.

It's time we were granted the dignity our heritage deserves. And don't push us. We do have tempers, you know.

You wouldn't want us to start reaching for our shillelagh.

Cheers! E-mail RReagan@MSNBC.com.

'Connected' was pre-empted Thursday for the steroids in baseball hearings, but catch us live weekdays, 12 noon and 5 p.m. ET.

March 17, 2005 | 12:53 p.m. ET  

Delay's dilemmas (Ron Reagan)

You'd think Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay would be revelling in the Republican's dominance of washington.

Well, not exactly .

The one-time exterminator from Texas is battling yet another round of accusations over ethics, specifically, questions over alleged illegal fund-raising and improper ties to lobbyists.

Delay remains defiant. The Delay camp has said he'll sit down with members of the House Ethics panel but at the same time, Delay has voted against a Democratic measure to create a bipartisan task force to help restore public faith in the ethics process.

Delay's been rebuked three separate times by the House Ethics committee. But it seems in the eyes of the Republican Party , Delay's value to the party outweighs any of his possible disservice to the nation.

As for Delay, he continues to insist that he's done nothing wrong.

[Our guest David Donnelly writes for this blog: http://dailydelay.blogspot.com/]

Dems e-mail on Delay

Tom Delay is a criminal, plain and simple. Read the latest Time magazine, there is a big article all about the specifics. Now, watch Monica Crowley and her conservative guests call Time magazine a "biased liberal publication." That's what all the conservatives say everytime one of their own is accused of breaking the law. —Eric Olsen, Santa Clara Calif.

Tom Delay represents everything wrong with politics. Men like John McCain try to fix the problems and you have Tom Delay skirting all the rules and demostrating to the people how we have the best government money can buy. —Bob, Prescott, Ariz.

Monica, Tom Delay does not work for the President, his employers are the constituents in his district and the American tax payers.  When will Congress get it through their collective heads that they work for every single solitary American man, woman, and child and nobody else.  They are responsible for the health, welfare, and well-being of every living inhabitant of the country (I am SO angry about the ANWR vote).   —Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, Wa.

Just happened to catch Jack Burkman on connected and simply could not believe his obfuscation. Mr. Delay is being investigated because of his actions, not because newspapers are bored and looking for a story. Arrogance and abuse of power is demonstrated to the enth degree by Mr. Delay. Why else would he change the ethics committee to total ineffectiveness? —John A. Fritton

Of course there should be an investigation.  He should be able to withstand scrutiny if he is, in fact, not guilty of these allegations. As a proud Liberal,  I think perhaps we can harken back to the Clinton Administration when he was investigated for anything and everything.  Was that not politically motivated?  And he was , after all, the President, so these investigations were much more destructive and damaging. I agree there is too much money coming from loopholes exploited by corporations.  I enjoy your new show and your "non yelling, non confrontational approach.  It's refreshing. —Carol

March 17, 2005 | 12:38 p.m. ET

Steroids in baseball

The steroid hearings, is now underway on Capitol Hill where some of the game's heaviest hitters will be facing some tough questions. But do you really believe his media frenzy is going to solve baseball's drug problem?

Your e-mails

I can't believe Congress is holding hearings on baseball when there are much bigger issues to deal with. The missing $9 Billion in Iraq is very important, afterall thats a lot more than a lot of make.  —Criag Cheatum, Houston, Tex.

I have to laugh at this steroid problem with Baseball. Here Congress is all up in arms about steroids. What the hell for? Baseball is entertainment! It is nothing more. For the fan, It is a mind-numbing excursion into escapism. Like the movies it is simply entertainment. I agree it is a business and many people make a legitimate living from Baseball, but that is not what the steroid controversy is all about. —Brian David Smith

Steroids have been illegal for years now and MLB only recently has begun to address the problem. I believe another commentor mention that if a player was found to be using any other illegal substance, that player would most likely be "let go". MLB doesn't want steroids to go away any more than they mind the incredible amount of publicity that these hearings are generating. —Anonymous

Baseball is  big business . It is  no longer the national past time. Ask  any child today which sport is his or her favorite. I guarantee that it  is not baseball. I no longer watch  or go to ball games since the last baseball strike. And I really don't care if these jocks use performance enhancing drugs. It is their job to entertain  and it is their bodies . Alcohol is legal.  Tobacco is legal. Smoking is legal except where it is prohibited by law. What is the difference? —Anonymous

I can't believe that everyone is missing the point of the baseball/steroids thing.  They say there is no such thing as bad publicity and Jose Conseco is laughing all the way to the bank.  The congressman getting their face on tv and in the papers are laughing all the way to the bank.  The only person who is losing is the American public, who have to pay for more congressional "facetime" with tax dollars instead of getting real value for their money. —Jeff Brown, Palm Harbor, Fla.

This saturation coverage of the Congressional Hearing on Baseball steroid use is irresponsible and misguided.  Who cares if these drug user want to destroy their health and careers? I'm disturbed that the Congressional hearings over the ChoicePoint scandal isn't receiving 24/7 coverage. —Lamont Appleton, Plainfield, Ind.

March 16, 2005 | 5:50 p.m. ET  

Scott Peterson and death penalty

This morning was about life and death decision for Scott Peterson.

Peterson will pay with his own life—for the murders of his wife and their unborn child. And make no mistake—there are a lot of people who are very happy about this and who have pushed hard to make sure Peterson paid the ultimate price.

The jurors who convicted Peterson recommended the death sentence and today the judge in the case upheld their wishes.

Judge Alfred Delucci called the killings of Laci and Connor peterson “cruel, uncaring, heartless and callous.”   Peterson himself had the chance to speak—but did not.

Your reactions

Solitary confinement on death row is not enough to punish Peterson. Indeed, while waiting for the penality to be carried out, Peterson should be given a cell mate who  wants a "special relationship," if you get my meaning. —Sal from Flushing

I guess the Christians go more for an eye for an eye and conveniently forget thou shall not kill whenever it suits them.  The hypocracy just gets harder to justify every day. —Donna B., S.C.

Why do people fool themselves over the death penalty?  We all know that Peterson's appeals will keep him alive for years to come.  So why is everyone so emotional about distroying Scott Peterson?  He will be forgotten about in no time at all, but the memories of Laci and her unborn child will not,so I suggest we look at this realistically. —Dennis Sandine, Rockford, Ill.

I am a supporter of the death penalty.  My reason is that it is the only sure way to make sure these monsters do not see the street again.  I feel no vengence and I don't believe it saves money. —Norm, Pine City, N.Y.

I've used the Pro Deathpenalty.com website [mentioned by one of the guests] and used to frequent its chat rooms, and found it to be nothing more than an extreme right-winged Christian trying to function under the guise of a Pro DP website.  I do not think they have a firm grasp on the pragmatic issues that surround the DP and its appl;ication in the U.S. —Philadelphia, Pa.

I have no moral objection to death penalty, but it is administered inconsistently. I have looked and found no studies that advocate it as a deterent. Ms. Clements should have prepared by now to cite cases to support her pronouncements. The system is flawed. —: Michael Wells, Coconut Grove, Fla.

It wasn't too long ago that a governer stopped all death sentences in a state because of the large amount of innocent people on death row.  The death penalty will never bring anyone back from the dead.  —Christine Jonas

In recent years many innocent people have been freed. In the past we have to assume that many innocent people have been executed. —Anonymous

March 16, 2005 | 1:10 p.m. ET

I want my GOP TV! (Ron Reagan)

Maybe you've seen them on your local TV station: Pre-packaged news stories courtesy of the Bush administration designed to drive home the president's agenda on hot button issues from Iraq to aviation security. 

These are stories that made it to air in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta.

And here's where things get fuzzy: Last month, the government accountability office said pre-packaging news “for purposes of publicity or propaganda” has been banned since 1951... unless the reports are clearly labeled.

Too often, these videos are shown “as is” and sometimes TV reporters even re-record the government's exact scripts to try to make them sound more local. But is it really the White House's fault?

Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy calls it a misuse of federal funds but the justice department ruled on Friday that the videos are legal

Maybe so but this president has spent twice as much as his predecessor on PR and that's a quarter of a billion dollars.

On a similar note, MSNBC analyst Craig Crawford describes attending a few Social Security events in middle America where President Bush has (what the White House describes as) a “conversation.”  But as Craig points out, “it is more like a conversation with himself.”

What do you think? Is this too much GOP-controlled TV?

Your e-mails:

Liberal Media, is that Terry Jeffreys answer for why they have scripted townhalls as well?? Are all Democrats part of the liberal media?  Bush can do no wrong to GOP'ers Monica and Terry will justify anything Bush does they same as they accuse liberals of just being anti-Bush.  Not alot of real intellect floating around these days. After all the guy who said the Iraq war could finance itself it now being nominated for the World Bank Presidency.  If there was a worse nomination I not sure who it would be, perhaps someone who can't do math at all. — Steven Smyth

Seems to me, if the president of the United States can claim the "hearts and minds" of millions of Iraqis in a vote, wouldn't one believe he could connect with those with an opposing view here at home? Afterall, the cultural barriers certainly aren't there, and if audiences are "vetted" for compliance to the assertions presented in those meetings, well in my view, these serve no more good than any well dressed infomercial that Ron Popeil might offer the paying audience... —Jerri from Connecticut

So now it sounds like your angry right wing pundit is trying to say that “liberals” are not really Americans. Sure sounds like overtures of fascism to this viewer. Just because he is deluded into thinking this way doesn't make it so.By the way, these scripted events are TAXPAYER FUNDED!!!! Liberals pay taxes too. That means everyone should be allowed into these meetings. Otherwise BushCo should fund them from their own campaign accounts. —Larry Parker, Princeton, Tex.

This is just another example of how the Bush administration is choreographing his propaganda campaign to his own people.  He doesn't care what people want, only his self serving campaign contributors as well as the energy industries and other big businesses. —Ray Lewis, Salem, Ore.

March 16, 2005 | 12:34 p.m. ET  

Rome wasn't built in a day (Monica Crowley)

MSNBC TV
President Bush spoke to reporters earlier today, and when he was asked about the evolving situations in Iraq and Iran, you can hear the exasperation in the president's voice.  None of these issues are easy.  None of them can be solved overnight. We are talking about complicated matters of war and peace, democracy and tyranny, liberation and oppression.  We cannot wave a magic wand and expect democracy and peace to take hold in a matter of days. 

The assumption built into some of these questions asked the president is that if Iraq doesn't have a fully functioning democracy tomorrow—with all terrorist activity at an end---then the entire enterprise is a failure. Or that if the Iranian nuclear crisis is not resolved by lunchtime, that somehow this administration has dropped the ball.

Come on, now. Rome was not built in a day.  Neither was the greatest democracy on the face of the earth: us.  We went through a revolutionary war, a civil war, a Great Depression, two world wars, women's suffrage, and the civil rights movement— and we are STILL trying to get it right. 

The president knows this, but apparently the press does not.  That's why the president had to counsel patience to those who have unrealistic expectations.  It has only been a little over a year since Iraq was liberated from Saddam's tyranny; today the freely elected Iraqi assembly sat for the first time.  The winds of positive change are blowing all over the Middle East— in a way and in an incredibly short time frame that no one expected.

So everyone needs to listen to the president: Take a deep breath, exhale, and be patient.  Good things come to those who wait.

E-mail MCrowley@MSNBC.com

March 16, 2005 | 12:25 p.m. ET  

Baseball and steriods

They're two words that shouldn't be connected, but these days are.

Major league baseball says it's been looking to put this fire out all on its own. But beginning tomorrow morning, the scandal moves from the field of dreams to the halls of the House of Representatives.

What are your thoughts on this controversy? E-mail us at Connected@MSNBC.com

Let's punish Hollywood and rap for society's violence and pro sports for steroids.  Blame the for wind for the common cold while your at it. These players are role models for the young and bear some responsibility, but lets not simplify the issues of technology (steroids) and access for the major leaguers, little leaguers and everyone in between. We need to treat this as it truly is: cheating, the law and the sport. —Sasa Dix, St. Louis, Mo,

Why doesn't Congress address the other obvious steroid riddled sports—bodybuilding and wrestling? —Anonymous

I thought we still had the right not to incriminate ourselves? Baseball has the right to clean up this problem, but Congress has better things to do. I think the steroid stars should flex their muscles and plead the fifth. —Jones, Las Vegas NV

Why is Congress wasting taxpayer money investigating steroids and baseball? Of course they use steroids. Big deal. Major league sports would not be the same without steroids. It would resemble minor league sports. There are bigger issues that Congress should be dealing with— the war on terror, the cost of the war on drugs, and preserving social security, ect. —Zack Davis, Detroit, Mich.

Please tell me why athletes get to keep their jobs after positive drug tests and other Americans don't? A 10-game suspension? Is that a real punishment? —Paul, Mo.

Player stats in baseball are sacred and offer a way to compare players through the years. Steroid use has damaged this severely. A fact: 50 or more homeruns in a season has only been accomplished 35 times in MLB history, 16 of those times was between 1996-2002. —Rick Lansville, San Diego Calif.

What is the problem? Isn't baseball considered a "professional" sport? No doubt amateur and Olympic sports are places steroids don't belong. But, in any and all professional sports they should be allowed. —Derek Kline, Ney Ohio

I like baseball just as much as the next guy but the news media, your show included, is spending way too much time on a comparatively inconsequential issue. —Win Hinkle

I've been a steroid user for 4 years with many friends who have used them much longer. In response to the Congressman on your program, suicide is the last thing on someone's mind when they have a gram of testosterone in their system. —Brian

Before I say that Congress should stay out of baseball's steroid debacle, let me say that if Barry or Sammy have been using them, I will be very disappointed. However, it is most peculiar that Congress would hold hearings on a book by the likes of Jose Conseco. Now, let me say they need to remove themselves from a domain that is not theirs: Baseball! —Dwight, Aberdeem, Wa.

March 15, 2005 | 6:03 p.m. ET  

Perfect storm of corruption?

He's been one of the poster boys for alleged corporate corruption.  But today, after eight days of deliberation, a jury in manhattan announced its decision.  Worldcom's former Chief Bernard Ebbers could now be facing up to 85 years in prison.

Ebbers was convicted today in a massive accounting scandal that brought down his company.

We wanted to spend the next hour digging deeper into the corporate greed that led to the downfall of CEOs like Bernie Ebbers.

Your e-mails:

It will not be enough if Bernie Ebbers simply serves time, no matter how long, if his family still gets to live large on his ill-gotten gains.  Will he have to pay back some of those billions he cheated his shareholders out of? —Kellie Maisch

I was reading the timeline of WorldCom's growth and fall.  It started in 1999 and then the article skipped to 2002.  I was a WorldCom employee at the time, and whoever put the article together forgot to add the thousands of WorldCom employees who their jobs, in some cases their homes, their families, their cars, their retirement buffers and their confidence.  Bernie needs to do some time and perhaps someone should consider having him payback the millions he borrowed at the expense of his employees.  —Anonymous

Why are drug tests for hotel maids and other powerless employees justified by the claim that "drug use costs companies money," whereas the spending habits of greedy CEO's go un-monitored? As an investor, I'd rather CEO's have a 24 Greed Evaluator following them around then know the contents of a low-level employee's pee.  One costs investors billions; the other is simple oppression. —Dr. T.G. O'Donnell

Asking corporate leaders to accept responsibility for thier actions and be accountable for bad choices seems to be a bit hypocritical when our national leadership refuses the same standards! —Toni Boutwell, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Let's move on, and send Ken Lay from Enron... We could make a clean sweep of it,or at least a dent. it would solve our deficits, re-establish our crediability in the "eye's" of the world and ourselves, and reinstate our "moral values"... —Rich Baron, Burlington, Vt.

All CEOs caught in criminal acts while running a publicly held corporation most certainly ought to have ALL OF THEIR ILL GOTTEN GAINS confiscated and redistributed to the share holders and rank and file employees, without whom these great corporations could NOT be built. —James Mancuso, Perry, N.Y.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

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