Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

February 26th, 2002:

Dog emergency

Had a minor dog emergency this afternoon while taking Harry for his afternoon walk. He usually walks on my left, and sometimes when the leash goes slack his right foreleg will step over it, making it necessary to untangle him. I must have pulled on the leash while it was like this, and somehow the clip that holds the choke chain got attached to his paw. It’s the kind of clip that you push in at an angle to release, rather than the vertical kind, which meant that any attempt to remove it made it worse. I tried, but the pain made Harry resist.

I wound up having to carry him to the car (he’s only 45 pounds, but it’s harder than you think to carry a dog that weight, especially when he whines and writhes when he gets jostled) and off to the vet we went. They had to give him a sedative/painkiller to remove the clip. He’s walking without a limp, but has been less active than usual (a hangover from the sedative) and whining more than usual. He’s even refused a Milk-Bone, which is like Tom DeLay turning down soft money. He must really be out of sorts.

Poor Harry. I guess today wouldn’t be a good day to trade places with him.

More woes for the 55 MPH speed limit

Governor Rick “Goodhair” Perry is asking pollution officials to look for alternatives to lowering the speed limit. This just gets more and more entertaining.

One thing to keep in mind is that average speed on Houston highways during peak hours is nowhere near 55 MPH, let alone 65 or 70. Take a look at the historic freeway travel times on the Texas A&M Realtime Traffic Map of Houston and see for yourself. I know that lowering the speed limit is only part of the solution, and it’s one that’s easiest to implement, but let’s not lose sight of where the real action is.

If you care about your kids, you’ll read my blog

Today while at the bank I heard a political ad on the radio which began “I want the best for my children. That’s why I’m voting for…”

Is it too late to stick an amendment in the Shays-Meehan bill that makes it a capital crime to imply that a vote for the other guy makes you an unfit parent?

The Andrea Yates trial

I’ve avoided commenting on Houston’s other big story, mostly because I’m conflicted about it. What Andrea Yates did was horrible, but I don’t believe that killing her is in the interests of justice.

I think we can all agree that Andrea Yates is ill. Her attorneys are going for an insanity defense, but this is a tall order. According to Texas law, you must “at the time of the conduct charged…not know that [your] conduct was wrong”. However sick Yates is and was, revelations that she considered using a knife to kill her children don’t make it easy to conclude that she didn’t know what she was doing at the time.

I think what really bothers me about this whole thing is how polarized discussion of it has been from the beginning. Wanting to understand how this could happen and how we could prevent it from happening again does not mean wanting to absolve Andrea Yates from all blame. Questioning the appropriateness of the death penalty in this case does not mean that one wants to see Yates walk out of the courtroom with her freedom and a lifetime supply of Zoloft.

There’s a difference between what Andrea Yates did and what, say, Susan Smith did, and it’s not in the number of dead children. Ask yourself this question: If Yates’ erratic and ultimately lethal behavior had been caused by a brain tumor, would you feel differently about her? If the answer is yes, then why is postpartum psychosis and schizophrenia not enough to mitigate your emotions?

In The New Republic, Michelle Cottle proposes sterilizing Andrea Yates as part of her sentence. This is a can of worms in a tar baby on a slippery slope, but it’s hard to argue that another Yates pregnancy would be in any way a good thing. I’m having a hard time resisting the urge to say “And while you’re at it, let’s fix Rusty Yates, too.”

Like I said, I’m conflicted. I’m sure glad I wasn’t called to be on this jury, though I daresay they’d have voir-dired my butt out of there. It will be interesting to see what the jurors have to say after the trial, regardless of the verdict.