Olympic Travesty: Give Andreea Raducan Her Medal Back

An arbitrator yesterday ruled against Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan, meaning she won’t get her gold medal back after it was stripped by Olympics officials when Raducan failed a drug tests. This whole affair represents the mean-spiritedness and tyrannical bureaucracy of the Olympics committee at its worst.

Raducan tested positive for pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medicine — Raducan was given a cold pill that contained the drug by a trainer. Stripping a gold medal for this makes no sense when you consider that,

  • Raducan had no idea she was even taking a drug containing pseudoephedrine
  • the trainer who gave it to her probably didn’t realize it was banned, since no other gymnastics competition bans pseudoephedrine — had she tested positive for the drug at the world championships rather than the Olympics, the result wouldn’t have even been announced
  • the reason it’s not banned anywhere but the Olympics, at least for gymnastics, is that even the Olympic folks conceded there is no performance enhancing benefit from taking pseudoephedrine for a gymnast

This appears to be a case of simply banning a drug because the IOC can, and robbing a talented young woman of the gold medal she deserves. Shame on the IOC.

Why Do Child Killers Spend So Little Time In Jail?

One of the things that happens if you are a reporter is that you get detached from the stories you write about, because you have to on an emotional level. I can, for example, write about how outrageous American foreign policy is in Colombia, but at the end of the day you won’t find me losing any sleep about it either.

The one topic that I get very emotional about and causes my blood pressure to start rising is the way the justice system treats people who kill infants. I have a manila folder somewhere in my house just of press clippings of such cases. For those of you not familiar with this area of law, usually such murders get very light sentences unless there is an aggravating circumstance such as a sexual crime. A person who say molested an infant and then committed murder would probably get quite a bit of jail time, but if the same person simply shakes the infant to death, it is unlikely he or she would serve more than 3 to 5 years.

A case in point is Brian Peterson who is back in the news thanks to John Rocker of all folks (Arrest at baseball stadium may put killer back behind bars). Raymond Maniaci, a New Jersey resident, threw a bottle at Rocker during a recent Yankees game. Peterson was sitting next to his friend Maniaci and was arrested for interfering with police. He claims he was trying to comply with the officer’s order to move.

In 1996 Peterson and his then-girlfriend, Amy Rossberg, murdered their newborn son in a Delaware motel room. He turned state’s evidence and testified against her. Peterson got a 2 year jail sentence; Rossberg 2 and a half years.

Peterson got time off for good behavior and was out of jail after serving only 18 months.

That’s downright obscene. Typically these people get short sentences because they are young and generally have no prior arrests or convictions. In addition, often prosecutors reach plea agreements for manslaughter convictions rather than go for a murder trial, since often there are no witnesses other than the defendant and for some reason juries tend to buy the claim that the defendant lacked criminal intent to murder, for example, when a person shakes a baby to death. Peterson was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter for what was clearly a crime of pre-meditated murder.

Aside from the very elderly, it is hard to think of a more vulnerable population than newborn infants. The sort of person who could help kill his newborn son and then several years later casually go to a New York Yankees game is not the sort of person who needs to be walking the streets a free man. People such as Peterson need to serve 8 to 10 years, not 2 to 3 years for their crimes.

Unfortunately this seems to be part of a larger societal trend in which people seem to shirk their moral and ethical duties to children. I have seen so much bizarre stuff that most of it doesn’t even shock me anymore. From the neighbor across the street who has watched pornographic films with his 9 year old son, the next door neighbor who has several kids in high school who have a Playstation but have to come to us to borrow a dictionary.

The other thing that really gets me is kids who die in hot cars. A couple years ago there was a case in Arizona where a couple of men took their kids mushroom hunting. The men left the kids locked in a car with windows closed and after 4 or 5 hours of mushroom hunting were surprised when they returned to find the kids dead. If I remember the prosecutor there did charge them with manslaughter, but how someone can be so callous and indifferent to human life is beyond me. I wouldn’t leave my cat in a closed car in Michigan’s relatively mild summers, yet alone leave my daughter even for an instant in a hot car in the middle of the Arizona desert.

The other day the local news broadcast ran an item about a support group to help new parents cope with juggling parental duties with their other obligations like work, etc. I think such groups are often extremely condescending, and I told my wife that with the barrage of support groups, offers of government aid, and other things that we hear about it’s almost as if there is this belief that we are the first generation in 50,000 years to have kids. As if people haven’t been dealing with the problems (and wonders) that children entail for literally millennia.

Then my wife reminded me of the way the neighbors treat their kids and the news stories we share by e-mail of parental abuse, neglect and indifference, and that ended that conversation.

Having children — even engaging in sex that might lead to a child — involves assuming a vast web of moral and ethical duties. Please don’t have kids if you’re not willing to accept such responsibilities.

Just How Bad Is The Olympics Coverage?

Apparently so bad that it’s driving viewers to the SciFi channel. According to SciFi.Com,

The SCI FI Channel reported a 25 percent increase in household ratings in competition against the Olympic Games on NBC. SCI FI said it also captured the highest concentration of adults aged 25-54 of any network, broadcast or cable during the Olympics and posted a 31 percent household ratings gain among such adults.

SCI FI reported a 25 percent increase in September ratings compared with the same month last year. The cable network said it is on track to finish the third quarter of 2000 with a 0.9 household rating, a quarterly record and a 13 percent improvement over the same quarter last year.

That’s pretty amazing considering the crap that the SciFi channel tends to run. Tonight they’re showing “Species II” and I swear they have to hold the record for repeated showings of the horrible Puppet Masters films. Sure they run Babylon 5 and Star Trek: TOS, but they really play a lot of horrible movies.

What Ever Happened to the Million Mom March-ers

Tanya Metaksa has a hilarious look at the aftermath of the Million Mom March at FrontPageMag.Com. Several marchers, after going on about the horrors of violence, were themselves involved in violence, including gun violence.

The march also had its share of victims; people who had suffered as a result of the criminal use of firearms or gun accidents. Many stories were poignant and heartbreaking. One victim was Barbara Lipscomb, a mother and grandmother, whose son, LeÂ’Pierre Clemons, was gunned down on Martin Luther King JrÂ’s birthday just four months prior. LeÂ’Pierre was another victim of teenage violence in the nationÂ’s capitol, and his mom told everyone she was going to the MMM to stop the violence.

Yet, 2 months later, on July 14, 2000 Barbara Lipscomb, now known as Barbara Ann Martin, found herself under arrest on a charge of assault with intent to kill. According to the Washington Post, D.C. police say they found three handguns and a TEC-9 submachine gun at her home.

Oops. Metaksa also reports that the shooting was basically an attempt at vigilantism, the only problem being Lipscomb/Martin shot the wrong man.

Of course just because some members of the MMM turned out to be hypocrites doesn’t make them wrong. What does is their bizarre logic.

Right before the MMM, I happened to catch CNN coverage of the March while working out. A woman, perhaps it was Lipscomb/Martin, was going on about how her son had been killed by gun violence and if only guns were illegal her son’s shooting might have been prevented. Very sad, to be sure.

The only problem being that they flashed where she lived and it turned out her son had been murdered in Washington, DC, where it is already illegal for people to own guns. If laws were the answer to gun violence, a reasonable observer might think that Washington, DC, would have a relatively low rate of gun violence instead of always being near the top of murders.

I should qualify that statement by the way. The same Congressman and their aides who fight for gun control have passed a special exemption that allows a member of Congress or anyone on his or her staff to carry a concealed weapon. I can’t imagine why they feel they need guns — surely a member of Congress could talk an attacker into surrendering or waiting on the oh-so-efficient DC police to resolve any disputes.

FDA Approves RU486 — With Restrictions

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today finally approved the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 after more than 12 years of battles between pro- and anti-abortion forces. Unfortunately while they approved it, the FDA attached ridiculous restrictions to the drug that will make obtaining the drug more of a hassle for women.

The drug, originally developed in France, blocks a hormone, progesterone, which in turn causes the lining of the uterine wall to thin resulting in a spontaneous abortion. The drug is more than 90 percent effect in causing an abortion if taken within 49 days of the beginning of a woman’s last menstrual period.

In a bizarre, though not unexpected, move, the FDA placed numerous restrictions on RU486 approving it only for distribution by doctors who, as the Associated Press described it, “can operate in case a surgical abortion is needed to finish the job or in cases of severe bleeding — or to doctors who have made advance arrangements for a surgeon to provide such care to their patients.”

This is ridiculous. This would be like saying that only surgeons able to preform back surgery should be able to dispense medication for back pain. Millions of people see non-surgeons for heart and other ailments which might later call for surgery without having to find a doctor who himself is a surgeon.

The Associated Press story on the approval speculates RU486 might become an issue of debate in upcoming presidential election, but oddly claimed that

Republican candidate George W. Bush opposes abortion; his father’s administration banned RU-486 from this country in 1989. The pro-choice Clinton-Gore administration worked for seven years to bring mifepristone here.

No, actually, Clinton-Gore did absolutely nothing for the past 7 years while the FDA stood around and dragged its feet on a drug approval that should have been extraordinarily routine, and apparently did nothing to try to dissuade the FDA of the ridiculous conditions they attached to the drug.


FDA approves abortion pill. The Associated Press, September 28, 2000.

Malaria Vaccine Trials Underway in Gambia

The BBC reported last week that trials of a new vaccine for Malaria are now underway in the African nation of Gambia. The vaccine has already been tested in small trials held in Great Britain which were successful, but this will be the first widespread test of the vaccine in a country with a high prevalence of malaria.

There have been other vaccines to attack malaria, but they all relied on killing the malaria parasite before it infected the cells of the body. The new vaccine, however, incorporates portions of the malaria parasite’s DNA structure and is able to target the disease when it has already infected cells.

If the Gambia trial proves successful, the vaccine could become available for widespread inoculation within 5 to 10 years.


Malaria vaccine goes on trial. The BBC, September 18, 2000.