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Friday, January 30, 2004  

People are saying

  • Wilson wants justice
  • Trish Wilson, who is unabashedly a cat person, has her dander up over a recent lawsuit, with good reason. A California man with a history of bipolar disorder and anxiety is suing his local library because of a scrap between his dog and its cat. He claims the spat amounts to denying him use of a public facility because of his disabilities. The case went to trial, with the plaintiff representing himself, yesterday.

    I think the guy in question here is just looking for an excuse to sue the city of Escondido.

    A disabled man tearfully described a library cat's attack on his assistance dog. Rik Espinosa uses the dog because he has disabilities that include major depressive and panic disorders. The cat, named L. C. for "Library Cat," has been a fixture at the library for the past eight years. The animals fought, and L. C. scratched the dog on its snout. Espinosa claims to have suffered "significant lasting, extreme and severe mental anguish and emotional distress including, but not limited to, terror, humiliation, shame, embarrassment, mortification, chagrin, depression, panic, anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, loss of sleep..."

    I don't doubt that Espinosa, who is unemployable, has the problems he describes. But, I don't believe observing the animals brawl caused or worsened his longterm medical condition. He already had the problems he is trying to make a causative link to based on the animals' scrap.

    In the interim, Library Cat died, but Espinosa wouldn't settle the case.

    He is suing for $1.5 million.

    His actual damages (lost wages, trips to the vet and his own doctor) amounted to about $325.00.

    The city offered him two settlements, one for $1,500, but he has refused.

    . . .The judge in the case has ordered it to proceed. Espinosa's response made me wonder about his motives : "Here I am, a guy without a college education, and I've whipped this deep-pocket government," he said. "I've out-lawyered the lawyers. That means this case is pure."

    I understand the city's response. The plaintiff did encounter at least minimal disruption of his daily schedule. And, if the city attorney who handled the case has a heart, he probably was willing to give the fellow, who probably can't afford to buy himself much, enough money to purchase something nice with a small settlement check. But, I believe Escondido may have made a mistake by treating Espinosa's case as if it were valid. The underlying premise - that a person with severe emotional problems needs to have a dog with him even in public places where the animal may cause disruption, is doubtful. Taking the case on in regard to its merits (or lack thereof) is much more expensive for the city. But, it was what was needed to dissuade him and people who might file similar frivolous suits in the future.

    Over the years, I've known my share of business cats and dogs, often at bookstores. I hope what Espinosa has started here doesn't catch on. The presence of animals in businesses can give them a warmth of atmosphere and provide a nexus for conversation. I would hate to see those attributes sacrificed to the selfish motives of a few people.

  • Flemming gives advice
  • Filmmaker Brian Flemming has been thinking about image, in a somewhat different way than I have below. He believes the Democratic presidential candidates have allowed the Right to determine the image that appears in people's minds when they hear the phrase 'gay marriage.' So, the ever energetic auteur has written them a letter.

    Dear Democratic presidential candidates,

    You guys are blowing it on the gay-marriage question.

    When Brit Hume or another RNC tool interrogates you about the "homosexual marriage" issue, he's purposefully trying to draw up in red-state people's minds the image of a wedding ceremony in which a couple fag grooms in leather tuxedoes shove their fists up each other's butts while Satan looks on, laughing and stroking his giant red penis.

    Your immediate obligation is to change the damn image.

    Here is the image you need to evoke immediately: A woman on her deathbed in the hospital. Is that so hard? Just use some of those adjectives you learned in politician school. The dying woman's name is, oh, I don't know, Mary. (Hey, if W. can speak in code for his base...)

    Now the next image: Mary's partner of 30 years. Stuck in the lobby of the hospital-- because she's not allowed to visit her dying partner . Those are the "rules," and there's nothing Mary or her partner can do about it. So Mary dies alone. And her partner is robbed of providing the woman she loves comfort in those dying moments. Because of the "rules."

    Even conservatives will not be able to ignore the twinge of sympathy they will feel about this Great Injustice. Of course Mary's partner should have been allowed hospital visitation.

    Well, that's what a "civil union" is. It gives Mary and her partner the civil right to hospital visitation. And of course you are in favor of that-- and you don't understand how any decent person could be against it, and you sure would like an explanation.

    Advantage: you.

    Say it for me three times: Hospital visitation, hospital visitation, hospital visitation.

    Now say it in a damned debate and get the national conversation moving in the right direction.



    Yes, Brian is the guy in the picture. And, yes, I know he is hot.

    If Flemming is ever at a loss for words - interesting ones - I haven't noticed. Read more of his.

  • Davis likes Soros
  • Natalie Davis at All Facts and Opinions expresses her admiration for the stance taken by multimillionaire George Soros.

    Please check out an excellent commentary in the UK's Guardian, in which writer, investor and philanthropist George Soros tells it straight -- "it" being what AF&O and many voices have been saying all along: Religious fundamentalism in the US has become too powerful, and as a result, this nation is ruled by dangerous extremists who will do or say anything to achieve their foul aims.

    [W]e have been deceived. When he stood for election in 2000, President Bush promised a humble foreign policy. I contend that the Bush administration has deliberately exploited September 11 to pursue policies that the American public would not have otherwise tolerated. The US can lose its dominance only as a result of its own mistakes. At present the country is in the process of committing such mistakes because it is in the hands of a group of extremists whose strong sense of mission is matched only by their false sense of certitude.

    This distorted view postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side. That is where religious fundamentalism comes together with market fundamentalism to form the ideology of American supremacy.

    Do read the article, which is an extract from Soros' new book, The Bubble of American Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power, whose primary goal is "to persuade the American public to reject ... Bush in the forthcoming elections."

    I've been doing my share to staunch the flow of Christian Right propaganda in the blogosphere lately. A longtime far Right Christian fundamentalist from Free Republic recently turned up at Blogcritics. David Flanagan regularly posts entries in which he pretends to be in pursuit of Mom, baseball and apple pie. But, each of them has an agenda detrimental to society. Most recently, he has penned lengthy pieces claiming the First Amendment's Establishment Clause denies the citizenry freedom by opposing such practices as placing the Ten Commandments in courtrooms. But, despite its conservatism, Blogcritics is not quite Free Republic. Contributors and commenters have challenged Flanagan every inch of the way.

    Reasonably related

  • We last considered Fatuous Flanagan in regard to misinformation about child abuse.
  • Silver Rights explores the connection between neo-Confederates and libertarianism. Strangely, more mainstream libertarians don't seem to realize the connection is bad for their image.
  • Sick of Bush examines another blemish on Shrub's image as a compassionate conservative - foreign aid.

  • 4:57 PM