March 30, 2005 | 1:04 p.m. ET

Objection to foie gras (Ron Reagan)

At Hurley's restaurant in Portland, Oregon, there's one thing you won't find on the menu: Pate de Foie Gras. In case you're wondering, that's a sort of liver puree, usually from ducks or geese. Oh, they've got it. But you'll have to have a private word with the waiter and you might want to whisper. Hurley's, like a number of restaurants around the country, has gone into stealth mode when it comes to this gourmet treat.

The reason: pressure from animal rights groups who say the techniques used to produce foie gras are a “cruel and unnecessary practice.” They're correct.

Foie gras is created by force-feeding grain to waterfowl in order to unnaturally enlarge their livers. Afficionados say they're simply taking advantage of a duck's natural ability to store fat. Last time I checked, there was no natural tendency on the part of ducks to shove stainless steel tubes down their throats and pump in huge amounts of half-cooked corn. That's how foie gras is made.

Now, I'm not a vegetarian, mind you. It's just that I have this funny objection to torturing small animals no matter how scrumptious their body parts might be.

And it's not just ducks and geese, is it? Our food industries are equal opportunity abusers: cows, chickens,  pigs, and a special mention to those little calves who for their short, miserable lives are locked into crates too small to allow movement just so we can eat veal.

Our mistreatment of these creatures is no reflection on their intrinsic worth, but it does reflect the state of our humanity. The picture is, to say the least, unattractive.

I know we're carnivores. Things die so that we can live. But simple decency requires that, whenever possible, we minimize the suffering of the beings under our control.

I've tasted foie gras. Yes, it's quite good. But not good enough to justify abusing animals.

I won't harangue you anymore— I know this subject makes folks uncomfortable. But here's a suggestion: next time you tuck into your foie gras and marvel at how rich and delicious it is, take a look in the mirror and remind yourself how it got that way.


March 30, 2005 | 12:49 p.m. ET

A need for an autopsy

While the legal battle continues, Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers have agreed on one thing: the need for an autopsy. Both parties have agreed to have an autopsy performed on Terri Schiavo in the hope of settling questions about the extent of her brain damage.

But just what an autopsy can reveal is a subject for medical debate.

Your e-mails

I have to agree with the scientists and doctors who are saying there is no chance of Terri ever recovering. The autopsy should close the book on this case for good. Also it would allow science to look into what happens when a person is in this state for a long period of time. —James Melton, Beverly Hills Fla.

Dr. Wecht is awesome. His was the best explanation I have seen yet. Kudos and thank you. —Michael, Jupiter Fla.

If Ms. Schiavo was bulimic as reported, would this be revealed in an autopsy? And if so, would a rib fracture be a possible side effect? —Viki Brennan

I do not understand why the courts could not keep the feeding tube in given new medical evidence from doctors who now say she could have been helped. Also, why Terri could not have had an MRI to help resolve some of the mystery surrounding this case. I would like to see an investigation into Michael's decisions over the past 15 years and on his actions which have come into question from nurses that have taken care of Terri. —Donna Langford

I am a retired RN Risk Manager and one thing I believe the autopsy of Terri Shaivo should include is a psychological autopsy, in addition to the medical autopsy. I am concerned about her history of anorexia and would be interested to know if she saw a counselor or had any treatment for this condition prior to her heart attack. This information might well reveal her wishes prior to the incident itself and would reveal an opinion that is unbiased and based on what her psycholical condition was at the time she was suffering from this disorder. —Anonymous

It's about time someone stressed how Terri first became braindead. She was afflicted with a disease which warped her self-image and she endangered her own life so she could look thinner. I don't for a minute believe that if Terri saw herself today she would want to live in this condition. Her parents need desperately to stop treating Terri like their favorite rag-doll and let go. —Joe Peshek

I am sure Michael is doing the autopsy to comfort Terri's loved ones, but I believe the results will be used against him by the politically and religiously motivated groups who are inserting themselves in to Terri's personal situation. They will find a doctor to interpret the results the way they want them to be interpreted. All aspects of this situation are wrong and just heartbreaking. Nobody can win. —LA, Chicago, Ill.

Parallels on feeding tube discussions between the Pope, Terri

Your website survey shows the same amount of people feel that a feeding tube for the Pope, or a feeding tube for Terri, is a feeding tube. The pope is speaking, can you listen? —Joey B.

The only difference between providing a feeding tube for the Pope and Terri Schiavo is the fact that the Pope doesn't have an adulterous spouse who says he can't have food and water. —Pamela, Wallingford, Ky.

Religion has always been a deterrent to medical and scientific progress. You only have to check the history books to deduce the conclusions. Therefore the truly faithful are going to see any type of medical technology that prolongs life as going against god's will; therefore being evil. How ever there are certain situations where the intrusion of technology is acceptable. The prolonging of a human life to the point where the person is incapable of surviving without it is equal to playing god. You either believe in the progress of thinking man or you believe in miracles. Sad to say but the two really does not coexist. —Wilberta Berry, Pittsburgh, Pa.

March 29, 2005 | 6:05 p.m. ET

The Great Cereal Revolt of 2005 (Monica Crowley)


Undergraduate students at Harvard University are in a protesting mood.  But NOT over what you might think: They aren't protesting the war in Iraq.  Or the war on terror.  Or the Bush administration's proposal on illegal immigration.  Or Social Security reform.  Or education, health care, or the environment.  No, the Harvard students are up in arms— over cereal.

Call it the Great Cereal Revolt of 2005.  The university, in an attempt to reign in part of its operating budget, removed brand-named cereals, such as Froot Loops and Cap'n Crunch, and replaced them with imitations, called Tooties Fruities  and Colossal Crunch.

The students, who apparently consider cereal a life-sustaining commodity, are furious.  They say that for $40,000 a year in tuition— $4,000 of which goes to the meal plan— they should be able to have the brand-named cereal they want. The Harvard students haven't taken to the streets— yet— but they have scribbled angry notes to the Dining Hall staff, saying “Bring Back Brand-Named Cereals!” 

Not exactly “Make Love, Not War,” is it?

The students also say that this cereal debacle is just the latest in a long line of food-related humiliations.  In 2002, the annual clambake featuring lobster for every undergrad— was dropped.  That led to the formation of the “Harvard Coalition for the Return of Lobster Night.”

Now THAT'S student activism!

Well, every generation has its cause: Vietnam, no nukes.  I guess cereal is the new sit-in cause celebre!  “Hell no, we won't go”…to the Dining Hall for fake cereal!  

March 29, 2005 | 5:28 p.m. ET

Are we protecting our children from sex offenders?

The man accused of abducting, sexually assaulting, and killing nine-year-old Jessica Lunsford appeared before a Florida judge today.

While Couey is in state custody, his story—and others like it—are raising troubling questions about how carefully sex offenders are monitored.

Before the Lunsford case, Couey had been arrested 26 times and was already a two-time child sex offender.

As a sex offender in Florida, Couey was required to put his name and photo on a law enforcement Website. It's designed to let the public check to see if released sex offenders are living nearby.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says the whereabouts of sex offenders are checked once a year.

And that's apparently where John Couey slipped through the cracks.

A few months after his release from jail, Couey moved to new home, Jessica Lunsford's. But he did not update his address on the sex offender Website.

In fact, there are currently some 30,000 registered sex offenders living in the state of Florida.
And a recent review by the Miami Herald found that the state had lost track of 1,800 of them in the month before Lunsford's murder.

Jessica's father Mark Lunsford is now starting  “Jessica's petition.” He's hoping to force state and federal lawmakers to toughen laws governing child-sex offenders.

Click here for a good article on the subject from former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt : Should society allow one strike... or two before putting sexual predators away for life?

Your thoughts on the subject so far:

Our nation has drifted so far in the direction of protecting criminal's rights that we forgot about our greatest asset: the children! With 20,000 registered sex offenders in Florida alone, I feel much safer now that Martha Stewart is wearing an ankle bracelet? —Betsy, Tex.

Sex offenders (pedophiles) are incurable in their depravity.  They must be kept off the streets to protect our children, regardless of class, position in society or blood relationship.  I wonder about the mind-set of your guest with the devil's island solution.  Does he plan to lock up the 18 year old high school student who has sex with her 17 year old boyfriend right along with the murderers.  Has he forgotten the laws of our country or did he just leave his brain home with his  memory? —Dan, Staten Island, N,Y.

Here in Boston, most Level 3 sex offenders are giving their local homeless shelter as their residence while in fact they are staying elsewhere. Use bracelets.  Put them in City Shelters where they can be monitored.  The way it is - they register for a shelter then roam Boston. — James, Boston, Mass.

It seems to me our courts have developed a tolerance for sex offenders. If other criminals can wear a bracelet so can sex offenders.  Our laws should also be changed to a "no tolerance" policy.  First offense 5 years and a bracelet.  Second offense should be life imprisonment. —Rob Gonzalez, San Antonio, Tex.

Let's stop bieng so politically correct with these sex offenders! Use the GPS system for goodness sakes. We use it for nonsense let's use it to keep our kids safe. As for where the money will come, from give me a break! It costs more to put these wackos on trial & keep them imprisoned than it would ever take to inject them with a microchip... let's not let jessi & the other children die in vain. —Patti C., Monroe Center, Ill.

I'm all about personal liberty and privacy, but sexually violent offenders are a different story.  Pedophiles evidently cannot be cured and most will offend again, so predators pose a public health threat and must be tracked in a reliable way. Though the use and possible misuse of GPS technology scares me, as the parent of a sexual assault victim, I do support its use in this situation.  The cost is irrelevant.  The US would spend any amount possible to keep terrorists away from children and other citizens, and we can find the funds for this. —M.J. Tyler, Pennsylvania

March 29, 2005 | 12:58 p.m. ET

What about the medical angle? (Tony Maciulis, Senior Producer)

The Terri Schiavo case has become a three ring circus, with the Schindlers, the Schiavos, and the media each desperately trying to attract the most attention.  Meanwhile, a woman is dying in a Florida hospital, and some pretty significant questions about her condition remain unanswered.

While other shows may be catering to zealots and activists who have latched onto this issue just to further an agenda on one side or the other, today on Connected we are going to offer pure information, free of elected officials and family bickering.

A panel of some of the finest doctors and ethicists in the country will assemble for the hour to answer the fundamental questions at the core of this drama: How is brain death defined?  Is it possible to recover from a persistent vegetative state?  And, most importantly, if a person is doomed to remain on a feeding tube for the remainder of her days, does that constitute extraordinary care?

These questions help illuminate not only Terri Schiavo's plight, but the situation that thousands of other families are confronting all around the country.  If you or a loved one end up with significant brain damage, what would you do?  It's best to get all the information now.

One ethicist quoted on the case this week asked a very powerful question. If you were in Terri Schiavo's position and you were able to wake up and look around for fifteen minutes, to observe your condition and know your fate, would you choose to continue the life support?  If you can answer that question one way or the other, you are ready to write your living will.

Join us for what could be one of the most important hours of television you will watch.

Your comments on the show so far:

I've been watching the doctors you've had on in the last couple of minutes.  The one with the slightly raspy voice was just superb (Dr. Schneiderman).    Dr. Williams and Dr. DeGeorgia were good, too.  And I applaud you for trying to sort this out in terms that people can think about and absorb in a "neutral" context, rather than as a part of public relations war. I have been heartsick at how various commentators have been taking sound bites from the "advocacy" side and twisting the facts on this case.  This is sad enough for all the family members (on both sides) without getting us into a feeding frenzy of vitrolic posturing. And, maybe, please, next week maybe you could do a show about death being a part of life, a natural process like birth, and that the "growing debate about life" in this country could include not only the death penalty, but also global "quality of life" issues. —Helen Gallagher

My late grandmother was in a coma and categorized as brain dead for two years. One day she woke up and returned to a normal state and survived for three years before suffering a massive stroke and dying. After that experience and talking about it I became involved with a California State Advisory Committee (during the Administration of your father Ron) dealing with the subject of when a person is brain dead and to what extent recovery can be achieved. My recollection of the deliberations of that panel was that there is a small but material percentage of people who defy the odds and predictions and achieve substantial recovery after being classified as brain dead. It would appear that your experts might be overstating the case for non recovery. —Kurt Hahn, Healdsburg Calif.

Out of all the news cast I've seen regarding the Schiavo case I got the clearest commentary regarding persistive vegetative state from the panel of doctors on your show. No panic, no hype just good cognitive information that I could understand. —Anthony Watkins

The first 10 minutes of this show was clearly the best 10 minutes on the entire Terri Schiavo story ever.  The three guest are excellent.  Please don't go off the deep end in the next 50 minutes. —Jeff Miller, Reading, Pa.

It does no good to bring doctors from across the USA together and tell me we're going to get the facts. The only way to get the facts is to receive a report from the Hospice itself. Why can't we get this report. We, as a nation, have been forced into this and I tired of all the guessing. Get the information from the Hospice as to how Terri is. —Jim Coolidge, Lewistown, Montana

I applaud Dr. Healy for her position on this tragic case.  She has raised so many of the same questions that I have had— a hospice is designed to provide end-of-life care for someone with a life expectancy of 6 months or less, so why has Terri spent years in a hospice; why has she never been afforded an evaluation by current methods (PET scans, etc.); how can simple nutrition and hydration be considered "extraordinary" measures.  Michael Schiavo and Scott Peterson both wanted rid of their wives.  As Scott Peterson sits on death row at San Quentin, Michael Schiavo has managed to get court approval of his actions.  Murder is murder.   —Margie Miller, Hermitage, Pa.

Dr. Healy was incorrect when she said that Mrs. Schiavo only was seen for 30 minutes by a neurologist in the early 1990s. She said she "knew as a fact". She should get her facts straight before she comes on TV. CNN has had the court-appointed guardian, Dr. Wolfsen, on several times. He said he spent 20 out of 30 days with Terry, Terri and her Parents and Terri and her husband. This was a few years ago, not in the early 1990s. —C. Babka, Canonsburg, Pa. [Eds note: Click here to read Wolfson's interview by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann ]

March 28, 2005 | 5:57 p.m. ET

A problem with Queen Camilla (Monica Crowley)

When Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker Bowles, they'll put a formal stamp on a relationship that's lasted 30 years— and through marriages by both of them to other people. 

There was some concern that the British subjects might not accept Camilla, since they still carry a torch for the late Princess Diana. Diana, of course, was the long-suffering wife of Charles, and she once said it was a bit crowded in her marriage since there were three of them in it: Charles, Diana, and Camilla.

The problem, surprisingly, is not with the British people, although an Anglican bishop just called on Prince Charles to apologize for his adultery. The problem is more with the fifteen sovereign nations around the world that still recognize the British monarch as their head of state.  It seems they have a problem with Camilla becoming their queen.

The marriage isn't the only reason why countries like Australia and New Zealand are thinking about excusing themselves from the British monarchy. They have long been agitating for a change in how they rule themselves.

But the “Camilla factor” has accelerated their desire to separate from London. In a recent article in an Australian newspaper headlined “Off with the English head of state,”  Allison Henry, the director of the Australian Republican Movement, said “The prospect of a future King Charles and Queen Camilla has reminded Australians about the unfinished business of the Republic.”

They don't particularly mind the idea of a King Charles, but a Queen Camilla is just too much.

It's enough to send any sovereign nation right up the wall. 

So, Camilla may have a lovely piece of ice on her hand and she may finally have gotten her Prince Charming. But in the process, she may have helped set off a chain reaction, leading to a further crumbling of the empire she so desperately wants to lead.

March 28, 2005 | 12:40 p.m. ET

Political fall-out on the Schiavo case

Florida's Gov. Jeb Bush, and his brother, the president, are sticking to their convictions, and the law, in the Terri Schiavo case. But it's looking more and more like a political misstep.

Your e-mails:

Just suppose that in the case of Terri Schiavo, that Michael was a Michelle, her "partner" rather than her husband. Does anyone honestly believe that Tom DeLay and the Bush Boys would have lifted a finger in Terry's behalf? It's not about Terri, it's about a political and religious agenda. —Dr. Bob Kizlik

I am a big Bush fan which makes me a republican. I am also pro-life. This whole Schiavo case disgusts me. I think the fact that congress has been brought into this personal family experience is disappointing. This is costing the taxpayers money. This women should have been allowed to die naturally and privately. Legally her husband had that call why have we allowed the clear water of that to muddy so?  Her parents have made her last days a circus. —Melanie

Greetings, How can anyone say that the President is not playing politics on this matter?  Review the law he passed in Texas.  Just like his father switched on abortion to further his political goals, George clearly has sold his soul to the loudest 20% of Americans.
—Patrick Lawler, Hardy, Ark.

I believe Jeb Bush would be better served doing something about the sex offenders who are killing young girls in Florida instead of fighting to save a brain dead woman who didn't want to live like this. —Darla Darnell, Elcajon Calif.

I feel that our president should weigh in on issues that he feels are important to our national character and the well-being of our citizens, provided it is within the bounds of the law. Additionally, I understand that the intent of spousal guardianship is that the spouse will have the other's interests at heart. There is a conflict here because of Mr. Schiavo's adulterous relationship with the other woman. —Christopher Ray, Salem Ore.

There was a court system in place to handle this issue. The imposition of the Bush's was another case of interference of the Executive Brance in the legislative process. Just as the Bush administration decries "Legislating Judges" he needs to take some heat for being a "Legislating Executive". His job is to stand up for the law not make it. —Anonymous

I am a pro-life conservative, but I feel that the politicians should not have gotten involved in Terri's case. If we let nature take it's course, she will be in a better place where there is no pain. —

March 25, 2005 | 5:59 p.m. ET

Schiavo battle a form of judicial activism?

Over the past several years—the legal maneuvering in the Schiavo case has been nothing short of extraordinary. Much of the legal activity this week took place in federal court— an option made available to the family only after a dramatic act of Congress.

Yet now some are saying the congressional intervention was an attempt at the type of judicial activism— and big government involvement— that conservatives have always opposed.

Sen. Rick Santorum was one of leading advocates for getting the Schiavo case into federal court. He's also been one of the most vocal in the fight against so-called “activist” judges—particularly as it relates to court rulings on gay marriage.

Your e-mails:

Talk about an activist judge? Greer, and others, ignored a plethora of evidence against the estranged husband. Clearly, the bill passed by congress was ignored because her case could not have been reviewed in an hour and a half as this judge allegedly did. For those who think this was a political football for the republicans, and congress shouldn't be involved, you're wrong. This is a testament for democracy and free speech. This story gained momentum via talk radio. A slew of hosts told listeners to contact their congressmen. Obviously they did, and congress acted. This is how our democracy works. —Rod, Chicago

Its a shame that such a tragic and deeply private family event to be co-opted for political reasons. The courts are correct in deciding that the only issue that is important is what is Mrs.Schiavo's wishes concerning artificial life support. To have Congress or the President state that they wish to err on the side of life is the "Height of Hypocrisy" Where was Mr. Bush's concern for life when he executed over 420 lives as Governor of Texas.  The ultimate lesson here that is over the heads of most of the public is that the government is defining that your right to life begins at conception, but at birth the government can and will take that right away when its serves their agenda. —Peter

Surely there will be a special place reserved in hell for those congressmen, senators, and others trying to make political hay out of this tragic situation. —Terry W Gloege, Wichita, Kan.

It is amazing to me how any discussion of judicial activism morphs into an argument about the right to life. Is there something wrong with the national intelligence? A legal discussion is a discourse about reason without emotions. —Matthew Stuart, Norwich, Conn.

Isn't it a little strange that Terri'spParents were able to work their way through the Court System all the way to the Supreme Court no less than 3 times in just over a month.  Yet a great many people have to suffer each and every day from Auto Accidents, Work Accidents, Assaults etc.  Some of these people have to wait for 6 to 8 years while their case comes to court.  These people suffer with pain all the time, but because of the Religious Right and their activism they have forced their way to the front of the line.  Now I do understand that Terri does not have time to wait, but how many times does the Court System have to bend over to give these people their day in court? —Richard MacLean, East Syracuse, N.Y.

What will they try to do next, petition to impeach about 20 judges? These protestors must realize they are only a small percentage of public opinion, and whichever way the polls lean, popular preference doesn't have an impact on interpretation of the law. This case has been decided over 20 times already. In an alledged democracy, even public uprorar will not sway an established judiciary. —Mike G., Storrs, Conn.

If the conservatives are concerned about starving people, maybe they would act, or vote differently for middle class values and issues. —Mike Bailey, Olympia, Wa.

The GOP swept into office saying they would get 'big government out of our lives' - instead it has insinuated itself into our women's wombs, our bedrooms and now in our hospital beds?  It was a lie then and it's a lie now. —Louise Palmier, Port Orange, Fla.

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

Dwindling options for supporters of Schiavo's parents

It appears the legal battle over the fate of the brain damaged woman has come to an end.

Some are calling the case the most extensively litigated “right to die” case in U.S. history.

Right-to-die cases have become more prevalent as medical advances make it possible for people in debilitating states to live longer. But while medical advances prolong life, Michael Schiavo says in this case, medicine just couldn't do enough.

Here are some of your e-mails below: (For more on Citizen Journalist entries to life-or-death decisions, click here .)

I would just like to comment to the many people that say reinsert the feeding tube and let God take over. This would not have happened if they had let God take over in the beginning without the feeding tube being inserted and no other help from the medical society. —Kim Laub

The judge in this case is killing Terri based on what Michael said she said after only knowing her only 5 and a half years.  Her parents have known her her ENTIRE life. —Monica, Gulfport, Miss.

Every day thousands of United States citizens die because they do not have medical care. Why are people are not protesting the egregious medical genocide that is going on in this country? Why don't you report that? —Jon Page

I have made a suggestion to our state legislature that a question be posed when applying for a drivers license or state ID about similar living sustaining measures. We already have the donor question, add the life support question. —Nancy, Seattle Wa.

How do the people who claim to know that Terri Schiavo is thinking and feeling, I wonder if she could be thinking, "Please let me die". —Michael Ashwell, Christainsburg, Va.

I would wager only a small fraction of people Terri's age now have living wills, or more importantly agents designated to make medical decisions. Having worked in this field, I have discussed this at length with my family - my husband and children. SO far I have never been able to talk as frankly with my mother and brother about the details of my wishes because of the sadness it brought them. —Paula Pheley

Terri's husband, stopped being her husband some time ago when he took up with another woman. He should have no say in her fate! Only her parents! —Robert Goss, Canton Ohio

How is it possible for all these doctors to claim that Terri is not in a permanent vegetative state without actually examining her? Also, how is it possible for the spokesperson for her parents to come out with statements like "she isn't talking or laughing like she was seven days ago" and not be challenged by anyone?! Is he saying that she was actually talking and laughing seven days ago? He knows full well that there is a good deal of the American population that will take those statements literally. Why is it not brought to the forefront that Terri makes her noises even when there is nobody in the room; that every doctor that has examined her has said that all of her movements and sound are purely reflexes? The lack of actual fact reporting in this whole ordeal amazes me! —K. Pollock, Minneapolis, Minn.

I think that the Shindler's should take Terri home to die and let her feel the sun on her face and the wind in her hair. They should leave the circus and go to an undisclosed location with their daughter. —Anonymous

The plug that needs to be pulled is the one used by the 24/7 cable news channels regarding the Schiavo case. Let it go and get on about reporting real news.  And if you are going to get reaction from Europe, then get other countries besides the Vatican! —D, Seattle, Wash.

We cannot allow Terri to die. Man is not the author of life. We cannot determine when we are born, nor can we determine when we are to die. This demonstrates that we are not in control of life. Death must be of natural causes and then it is God's perfect will. Failing to feed Terri is not a natural cause of death. —Anonymous

I think that if it were not for Governor Bush and President Bush this case would have been over a long time ago. I also think that the parents are not thinking clearly. After 15 years of living like this would either one of them want to stay in a similar condition? —Eva, West Palm Beach, Fla.

I am sorry to say that I find the coverage on Terri Schiavo to be severely one-sided. All that seems to be said is that this is what Michael SAID that she wanted. There is no proof of that whatsoever. —Stephen Ellis, De Pere, Wis.

It amazes me how the media can carry on this sham as if this Michael Schiavo has been lovingly standing by Terri all this time. He should have divorced her long ago, if for no other reason than to legally marry his new common-law wife and legitimize the 2 children he has had out of wedlock with her. Do you really believe that his insistence on Terri's death is out of dedication and love for her? What descent man would do this and put his new family through years of illegitimacy because he claims his devotion and dedication to Terri outweigh these other matters? —CK

I want to ask the American people, who really expects to not outlive their parents? I find the allegations that she would never have had a conversation with her husband just awful. It is entirely likely she did because she wouldn't expect her parents to be around when the time came to make such a decision. That would fall to her husband whom she would expect to be there. It is a terrible thing to watch your child pass and I feel deeply for her parents, but realistically they would not have been around to make such a decision anyway.  Terri also could have been concerned that her blood kin wouldn't have understood her wishes. Now that it seems that all legal avenues are closed to change the outcome of this situation I urge the media to take a step back and allow these people to have their privacy and dignity during this very emotional period. This is a terrible "family" tragedy, let them be in peace now. —Chris, Louisville Ky.

I enjoy your show and have found your coverage of this issue very informative. I agree with Craig Crawford that this is a right to die issue and the court is attempting to carry out Terri Schiavo's will. I am frustrated with the constant refrain of some of the husband's evil-doing. Has the court not looked at whether the husband has a conflict of interest that negates his ability to be Terri's guardian? If the husband is so compromised, have the parents brought an action of divorce on Terri's behalf on the theory of constructive abandonment? If they had and If they had succeeded, they would perhaps then be her guardian, however, the court decision of what Terri's wishes would be would  remain the same: remove the feeding tube. The dubious behavior is on the parent's part, who say they would not carry out Terri's wishes about removal of life support, even if she had executed a living will with those very instructions. —Dale Stull Demy, N.Y.

My heart goes out to the parents of Terri Schiavo... and I hope they will find it in their hearts to accept that this MUST be God's will or how else could the process have lead to this  point?  For Ms. Schiavo I wish her a peaceful passing. At long last. —Alice B., N.Y.

I am so appalled by this media attention to the Terri Schiavo case.  This is a personal issue between and husband and wife.  Both my husband and I have been through what Michael Schiavo is going through . . . we made the decision for our first spouses that we (and they) did NOT want them to live that way - both us made this decision - it's not an easy decision and comes with much trauma.  Michael Schiavo is living up to his marriage vows and should be respected for his efforts to respect his wife's wishes.  And why, after 15 years did the Parents do NOTHING to try to rehabilitate Terri??  How come no one is asking that question? —Tami Elhart

It's been a sad week, especially for the Schiavo family.The exploitation of one's death or the process of (her) death on the public media due to interest groups attempting to present their points of view is a total shame for one's life. Where is the solitude of one's life and the dignity to leave this world in a respectable and dignified way? We need to celebrate this young woman's life and allow the families to learn about the grieving process. —Jim Hillmer, Grand Rapids, Mich.

The fact of the matter is that Teri would be dead by now if the year is 1905 instead of 2005. It's one thing to bring back someone who had a heart attack, they can choose to eat better and work out more. However she has been hooked up to machines for 15 years, she isn't getting better and we have been playing God with her life. God wanted her to die but her parents decided to overrule the hand of God. She will die soon and only God can help her now, if she dies than it was meant for her to die and the only person to blame is God himself. — Adolph Vega, Arlington, Tex.

I have been watching this morning and saw the interview with Randall Terry.  Can you please confirm that he said Michael can go home bounce his baby on his knee and do the wild thing with his girlfriend. If this is the level of civil discourse in the United States. It is not a runaway judiciary that is the problem. It is the death of the belief that people of good will can have differing opinions without demonizing one side or the other. What God must be thinking of us.  —Mary Kay

Wow, I'm living in a country full of murders.. I can't believe just watching about this case and not even knowing Terry... I still cry like she was my sister. —Derek Kline, Ney, Ohio

The poll could be reflecting that a majority of people are tired of hearing all the talking heads give their opinion.  This is a family matter, and the poor patient as been in this state for 15 years.  Let her go.  There is cruelty on both sides of the family. —Nancy, San Antonio, Tex.

It seems like President Bush, Gov. Bush, and Congress don't know what the term "ethics" means.  I have worked in the medical field, and I have seen scenarios like this.  Mr. Schiavo is Terri's guardian, and he can make decisions for Terri.  Mr. Schiavo knows Terri doesn't want to go on like this, and he is respecting her wishes.  Mr. Schiavo states that Terri does not want to be on life support, and that should be that.  It is unethical to keep someone alive when they do not want to be hooked up on machines.  This should never have went to Congress and the courts; in fact, nothing should be done at all! —Bucky, Ok.

Terri's parents should have Michael arrested for bigamy.  He has a common law wife in which he has fathered two children, while still being married to Terri.  Once the divorce is final, Terri's parents should gain custodial rights.  If Terri were my daughter it would take a platoon of Marines to remove the feeding tube. —Art Espinoza, associate professor, Mt San Jacinto College, San Diego City College

My grandmother passed away several years ago at 106 in the same way as Terry Schiavo will.  She stopped eating & doctors told the family she could be kept alive with a feeding tube or peacefully pass away.  She peacefully passed away.  Was my family barbaric as some of your viewers claim?  I don't think so.  —Marilyn
N. Barrington, Ill.

Lots of people are gathering around the country to voice their opinion on whether or not Terri Schiavo should live or die, something Terri herself is not able to do. In the absence of Terri's own wishes (the ones that legally matter) we must turn the question around and ask ourselves as mature caring adults, what would we want to happen to ourselves when living in such a debilitated condition? Is keeping Terri alive really the humane thing to do? And I guarantee that many supporters of Terri's husband agree that removing the feeding tube is not the perfect answer. Euthanasia is. We have a thing called 'balance'.  in this country, and it serves as a protective function for our society. It is a shame that as a side effect it holds a women in a state of perpetual torture. —David Bitterman

While I respect the religious views as frequently expressed on "Connected," can someone please explain why the Vatican should have any effect or influence whatsoever on the politics, law and courts of this country. If any other nation tried to tell us how to treat our citizens the conservatives would be in a rage.  But that goes out the window when it comes to the Vatican. —Howard S. Kronberg, Bayonne N.J.

I have to say I'm appalled how Terri's husband still has rights over her life. This guy has chosen another wife and has two kids by this other woman. I thought this was adultery ant against the law in our wonderful US of A. To me this is not right and wouldn't have happen if Terri was still able to speak. —Mark, Liverpool N.Y.

Do we really want Congress to get involved in the personal private affairs of every family? How is it that Terri's family gets to go from court to court, perhaps until they find a Judge to reverse this decision against the husband's and Terri's wishes? Sorry to say it, but I think our American government has more important things to consider than the life of one person. Like the War in Iraq, Social Security and how to balance the budget. We have family in the Army. Can we can get the Courts to end the War in Iraq? —Don Boyd, Clinton Township, Mich.

I feel sorry for both sides but it's been 15 years. Let her go. Maybe she has been seeing the light that we will all follow some day, and maybe she has been trying to reach those gates that we all hope to go through some day, is it fair to her. —Gary Davis, Marshalltown Iowa

I think we're giving way to much media to Terri's family. What about the millions of Americans that don't have insurance at all? How many of these people die everyday? What about the law Bush signed in Texas? Seems to me if you're poor you don't deserve medical treatment there nor do your parents or spouse have any say in disconnecting life support or feeding tubes there thanks to President Bush!  —Nancy, Erie Pa.

Can Terri Schiavo's parents sue Michael Schiavo for misuse of his guardianship? It seems to me by not providing the care she needed in the last 5 years he has done so, thus causing her physical condition to deteriorate. —Rita L. Carlson, Isabella Calif.

Re: the Vatican segment this morning.  Please also report the fact that the Catholic church also holds out that "extreme" measures continuing unviable life is also a point of contention.  In any other time or in other countries, Terri Schiavo would have been allowed to die without 15 years of artificial means.  And, yes, I am Catholic. —Virginia Ennis, Houston, Tex.

I  can't see where the Vatican or the Pope have any moral high ground on anything, after the despicable way the Catholic Church has hidden and moved silently their pedophiliac priests, allowing them to harm the most innocent of us all, children. I really find hypocrisy here overwhelming! —Dana Lee, San Diego Calif.

It seems to me that God made his decision to call Terri home 14 years ago, it was humans who interfered. —L.

March 24, 2005 | 1:11 p.m. ET

This is one controversy that's about to erupt! (Ron Reagan)

There's complaints over an IMAX documentary, "Volcanoes of the Deep Sea." It's fueling what could be called a “biblical ring of fire.” Religious conservatives say the documentary contradicts creationist ideals, ignoring the “Adam and Eve theory in favor of a more Darwinian approach. The film explores a possible link between human DNA and microbes found living inside undersea volcanoes.

About a dozen IMAX theaters— most of them in the South— are now refusing to show the movie.
Lisa Buzzelli, who works for  a South Carolina IMAX theater, says: “We believe in creationism, not evolution. We've got to pick a film that's going to sell in our area. If it's not going to sell, we're not going to take it.”

It's a volatile mix of business and beliefs that is again polarizing the religious Right. About 80 years after teacher John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution in Tennessee, the battle between the bible and biology is raging on. 

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The South and and the religious right are trying to drive the United States into a new Dark Age by stopping scientific fact from being exhibited and taught.  Creationism has not been proven, it's a fable/myth that was used to explain in a pre-science world how the Earth was formed (just like Bullfinch and Edith Hamilton's books described how the Greeks and Romans explained natural phenomenon with Gods and Goddess as being the ones who made things happen).  — Donna A. Reuter, Bremerton, Wa.

This is an argument between science and religion, not science and God.  I just don't understand why people can't understand that the more science tells us about ourselves and the universe we live in, the more amazing we can find God.  Go to look at Hubble Space Telescope images, or Visible Earth....these images take nothing away from God, they make him all the more impressive.  —Shawn, Carbondale, Co.

Creationists should be careful that they don't float off into space. After all, gravitation is only a "theory." —Paul Kaminsky, Miami, Fla.

I am a creationist. I don't believe that evolution should be taught in schools. I see it and the big bang theory as a type of "religion." My religion believes "in the beginning God," and evolution/Big Bang theory believes "in the beginning dirt" or "in the beginning, Bang." How can evolution or the Big Bang theory anything other than a religion? I feel that if Evolution is going to be taught in school it should be 1) overstressed that it is a THEORY and 2) it should get just as much time in the text books as creationism (which btw is about a sentence or two). —Sheryl S., Fort Lewis, Wa,

As to evolution, I grew up in the Methodist Church in North Carolina. We were taught in church that much of the Bible is symbolic and is not to be taken literally. The fundamentalist view of a literal interpretation of the Bible is not the norm even in the South. The fundamentalist views get way too much press. —Bobby Broadwell, Clayton, N.C.

Maybe God created the Big Bang and evolution, that should make everybody happy. —Joshua Ada, Ok.

Guest-worker program a sensible idea?

The president plugged the immigrant guest-worker proposal  last month during his State of the Union address:  It's an ambitious proposal, one that would give illegal immigrants already in the United States a chance to work legally in this country for up to six years.

While the majority of Mexicans (71 percent) according to the latest Pew Poll say they would participate in such a program, the president faces some rather staunch opposition—from his own party.

A movement led by Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) calls the proposal a “pig with lipstick.” and opposes any plan giving legal status to immigrants who broke the law by sneaking into the U.S. saying “The minute you do that, you have created amnesty,” he says.

Your e-mails

Kudos to Congressman Tancredo who I have been following for 2 years on the illegal alien issue.  As to all of those jobs Americans won't take, let's try this approach.  All those on welfare who are unemployed should be required to take one of these unwanted jobs, the hiring companies would be required to pay minimum wages, and the American public would realize savings as welfare payments are reduced.  As for the "neighborhood summit" or should I say photo op, since when was Canada not a democracy?  As for Fox, he's aptly named.  He's laughing all the way to the bank as we pay for his corrupt leadership.  How stupid do we all appear to be? —Charon Husted, Falls Church, Va.

Security for our country will not be accomplished by giving amnesty to illegal immigrants already here. We must have physical control of our borders so that we know terrorists are not crossing. Think of it as a tub running over- you would first turn off the water then try to clean up the mess. —Anonymous

The reason Americans don't want these jobs is because the employers don't want to pay reasonable wages. These employers want to circumvent the system and use cheap labor from Mexico. The same capitalists that promote the free market are not willing to live by it. If they paid wages that normal Americans would be willing to work for, then they wouldn't have to participate in hiring illegal aliens. Americas would work, Americans would have more jobs. I guess you only live by the rules if it benefits the bottom line. —David Conner

Today, the millions of undocumented aliens have been blamed from crimes to terrorism. Even the most hideous criminals like child molesters and murderers have been given a chance at parole and freedom. Surely,these undocumented aliens, who have lived here for years without benefits, without rights, who have diligently worked and paid taxes and spent their hard-earned money here, faithfully obeyed the laws of the land, deserve a chance finally at "parole"? If they had meant America harm, they would have done so after all this time. Let's not forget that the terrorists were here legally. If the governement would grant amnesty to those who have been here 5years, ten years, then they would all be identified and fingerprinted and the govt would know who they all are. Then the govt could use its resources to concentrate on the more urgent pursuit of terrorists. —Maria Fernandez


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