Saturday, April 30, 2005

Coffee Shop Employees

I love a good cup of black coffee, and I love coffee shops, so I've had my share of coffee-ordering experiences. One thing I have noticed as a result of this penchant for fine coffee is that, in every coffee shop I go to, without fail, be it Starbucks, Peet's, Caribou, or some of the local places like Evanston's Unicorn Cafe, there are incredibly nice employees. The order taker at the cash reigster always makes a joke, energetically proclaims your order to the barista but only after double-checking to make sure you want whole, not skim, milk. (E.g: "Tall vanilla half-caf latte whole milk"). A couple of minutes later, after speedily whipping up your drink, the barista announces the full drink order when it's ready and wishes you a nice day.

Why should these people, who probably get up when certain college students go to bed, be so kindly? How do they stay so friendly well into the day? After all, if my conjecture that their employer grants them unlimited coffee and coffee products is correct, they are probably fully caffeinated for a couple hours, but then, if they're like me, they start to crash towards the end of the morning. And why should these people be particularly friendly? They have their share of prickly customers, not uncommon among the people who can afford to get a 3.00+ warm beverage every morning demographic.

Service with a smile.

So my hats off to all coffee shop employees. Keep on doing what you're doing if you feel like it, but don't worry if you're ever in a bad mood. I'll understand.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

For Hire

Who: Me
When: this Summer
What: an internship
Why: time is running out and I don't have one. I currently have 3 places to hear from and just sent out one more application, and it's almost May! Summer is almost here. (one already rejected me).

If you know of any internship in the political area or really any area that seems interesting, let me know. Sure, this is a facile way to get an internship and actually just my way of publicizing my general anxiety about having no idea what I'm doing or where I will be this summer with but a month and a half till it commences.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Decipher this: Incomprehensible academic jargon excerpt of the week

And now for academic jargon at its worst. From p. 194 of Emmanuel Levinas's Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority (first of all, what on Earth does that mean?)

The Other is not other with a relative alterity as are, in a comparison, even ultimate species, which mutually exclude one another but still have their place within the community of a genus--excluding one another by their definition, but calling for one another by this exclusion, across the community of their genus.

Kudos to you if you can translate that into English.

TV not as degenerative as thought

When people talk about the golden age of television in the early 70's -- invoking shows like ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show'' and ''All in the Family'' -- they forget to mention how awful most television programming was during much of that decade.

Just to name a few pretty awful ones: "Sandford and Son," "Three's Company," "Welcome Back Mr. Kotter," "What's Happening"

Good article about how TV programs have increased in quality over the last 20-years, suggesting they have become more cognitively challenging by including various interconnecting plot strands and more sophisticated/esoteric dialogue. With shows like "The West Wing"(satisfies both qualifications), "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (satisfies first qualification), and "The Sopranos," which I don't watch but my parents love, I think this author has a point.

I also will go on record to defend the TV show "Survivor," which demands of its audience more than some might think: synthesizing the interpersonal relationships and political considerations of the characters so to figure out who might win the game.

John McCain

Remember when there were rumors that John Kerry wanted John McCain to be his running mate? Remember how some people in the Democratic party thought this was a good idea? This article is a good example of why it wasn't. Incidentally, this whole website offers great progressive journalism mostly written by college students. It's a great way to counter the active and growing college Republican presence on campuses today.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Spotlight on Facebook Club: People who are clearly jealous of Senator Obama

I should start writing a blog feature on messed up Facebook groups. The latest of the spiteful, angry Northwestern groups is named "Barack Obama is Overrated." I'm willing to admit that the man has gotten a lot of press in part because of his natural ease in front of a camera and good looks, but Obama himself has made a point of saying that his supporters shouldn't get seduced by all of the hype surrounding him. Furthermore, Obama's appeal also owes to his impressive education, his estimable career path, and his great speeches. If the creators of this group want to see overrated, they should look first to the leader of their party and keep on going from there. I'm willing to wager, however, that they are too bitter about Obama's success to seek to understand why Obama is so appealing to so many.

Furthermore, I find a problem with this group's defeatist attitude with regards to calling Illinois the "bluest" of states. Of course, it's their problem if they want to concede Illinois, and it's fine by me, but it is the general attitude of resignation regarding the supposed Red State/Blue State dichotomy that keeps people in this country polarized on politics.

Oh, and totally discrediting this group, they call Alan Keyes a "GOP Powerhouse." Even the GOP doesn't think that, much less all rational-thinking people. It's a laugh though!

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Uneducated Academic Snob

One unfortunate attitude I have run into here at Northwestern is the idea, held among some, that people who go to state schools are inferior. This sentiment is expressed regularly in a sub-par campus newspaper called the Northwestern Chronicle that unleashes its bitterness towards state schoolers every week in a mock advice column supposedly penned by a state school student.

Designated as public schools through the Morill Land Grant Act of 1862, wherein endowment from the sale of this land would go to fund the university, state schools have been for many an affordable way to get a good education and attain a good career. So why this elitist attitude towards the state schools from some at my university? How educated can certain Northwestern students claim to be with such an attitude? (If you read some of what these people wrote in the Chron, you would be surprised that they go to school at all. Link is here if you're daring enough to read it. Example: from this week's issue, there is an article claiming that Amtrak is not "revenue generating." Note to author of article: Amtrak is not a private, for-profit corporation. Sometimes, societies decide to collectively create public services that benefit everyone).

Anyway, this attitude seems to be an ungrateful manifestation of ignorance and elitism from people who tend to be privileged and unaware of what they're talking about. It reminds me of the despicable cheers that people in my high school used to chant at sports games to the effect that the students at the other school would be their underlings in the working world. This most anti-democratic, elitist (in the least educated way), and overly-privileged attitude doesn't seem to go away with the best education, or perhaps these fortunate students don't deserve the education that they seem to be squandering.

One-track mind

Once again, Daily Northwestern columnist Bryan Tolles has written an article worthy only of himself. Tackling the most important issues, as usual, Tolles provides us with a well-researched report on the ever-lively Evanston bar scene. In Nu Rejoice, Spring, bars, and booze, Tolles gleefully informs us that Evanston is "becoming the Lincoln Park of the north," which fortunately, isn't quite true (after all, Evanston has a bit more diversity, and sadly probably more homeless people). Fortunately, Tolles' columns are consistently about alcohol and sports, a comfort for those of us who, in this topsy-turvy world, like to know that we can always rely on Tolles to write about the exact same thing every week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The "Liberal Media" Loves Ann Coulter

...As Time Magazine did just include her among their 100 Most Influential People. If Time included an asterisk next to their title with the note "if people being influenced are all Matthew Hale clones," I could agree. However, Time's pick of Coulter really calls their judgement into question, not only because she is just a downright nasty person--if I were a Republican, I would much rather have almost any other pundit on this list--but because she hasn't been particularly influential outside of her narrow pundit circle. This pick does turn the tables back on Ann, who disingenuously claims that the media is liberal, as she evidently was afforded quite the puff piece in Time.

Laura Bush: What poise!...and....What poise!

Wow, this is amazingly hilarious. There is a Laura Bush club on facebook NU. The description is a laugh:

"Poise, style and class: All necessary qualities for the First Lady of the United States. Mother, wife, teacher, and First Lady, join as we applaud her as a woman and icon.

We, therefore, are strong advocates of the American epitome of grace: Laura Bush."

Here's my suggestion for the description guys, "Laura Bush: the name says it all!" Or how about, "Poise and grace: a euphemism for muteness"

'Where Everyone Knows Your Name'

I'll withhold serious comment on the new pope and just say that the guy who played Cliff Claven from "Cheers" must be overjoyed about his inlaw being named pope...oh, what's that you say, it's Joseph Ratzinger, not Ratzenberger? Never mind.

I know it's trite to call something "really depressing"

but after reading about the counter revolution in Chile in 1973, I think the characterization is merited. The insurgency led by the now infamous dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, represented not only the renewal of old, economically oppressive policies but represented the new application of executions and "disappearances" of leaders of the "revolution from below" that had complemented (and sometimes even countered) the democratically elected Allende government. One woman, who was a worker at a textile mill that had been requisitioned from its owner, only to experience fatal repercussions from Pinochet's coup, said of the counterrevolutionary movement: "they have killed my dream...It was such a beautiful dream" (Winn, 252). Which brings us back to the depressing factor: this woman's absence of hope, caused by a brutal coup against hopeful ideals for democracy and economic equality. The Pinochet coup and dictatorship should make U.S. policymakers think twice about getting involved overseas--though this seems obvious, current events suggest our government continues to make old mistakes.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Meetings are Awful...

I have it figured out (and I'm sure many people before me have it figured out too): the purpose of any meeting is twofold (1) guilttrip people into doing work for the organization (2) hear the mighty sound of your own voice, preferably announcing things that no one could care less about or that could be announced via e-mail. Some participants in these meetings seem to have nothing else to do besides sit around and talk about nothing, apparently. Well here is my message to those people (and it may sound mean, but many hours of my life have been wasted due to them): find some friends, join other clubs if needs be, do work, get a life! Don't take your need to talk out on innocents!

Getting the Most out of College

On one of the first days here at Northwestern, I remember that my peer advisor--an older student assigned to help out new freshmen during the first couple weeks of school--told me and some fellow new students that the most learning one will do in college will not derive from books but from people and experiences.

Almost three years later, I would revise that idea and suggest that the learning will derive from uncomfortable or different experiences. In the beginning, many aspects of college seem different: more freedom, more things to do, and new friends who may not be similar to friends from high school. By one's junior year, where I'm at now, the above is second nature, and when I ask myself, what have I actually learned because of college, or more specifically, from paying approximately $40,000 a year for what is purported to be a top-notch education, I have to think a little harder.

I have eventually found that what I learn has been up to me and not to a professor or to my friends or to whatever club I may partake in (or that is, what I have made of my associations with these people). This is why, in recent weeks, I have been somewhat frantically trying to figure out a thesis idea: because some of my best experiences in college--those which I took the most ownership of my learning--have come from research.

Almost a senior, I realize one can really throw his/her four years of college away. Some will even argue that college is relevant only insofar as it is a stepping stone for graduate studies that are mandatory for anyone who has professional career interests. I disagree: I think the most important aspect of college is learning and become a critical-minded citizen. More broadly, education is how successful democracies persist.

Anyhow, if any collegebound student cares for my two-cents worth, I would give two pieces of advice for getting the most out of your undergraduate career: (1) GO ABROAD. And no, go abroad is not the same as spending all one's times with Americans and taking advantage of a lower drinking age. It means getting to actually see and understand some of those abstract things you learn about in the classroom and it requires energy to want to learn. (2) Do some kind of research. It is a great way to exercise one's mind and acquire more information. Though research projects may seem unduly specialized, as I have often thought, they are in fact the best way I have found to take ownership of one's education and reap lasting intellecutal growth.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Republican agenda of fighting a fatal and expensive war in Iraq, going as far as possible to prevent women's sexual choices, from abortion to birth control, and restructuring the tax code and spending on defense to divert spending from domestic programs, to name a few items, has always struck me as immoral. More recently, I have realized that this agenda is a big waste of time, given all of the serious problems our nation should deal with.

On Tuesday night, I went to see a speaker, an editor from the French newspaper Liberation who talked about deteriorating European-American relations. Although I have been upset by certain actions in Europe, like anti-immigration and anti-Semitism, one thing that this speaker mentioned that makes European Union countries that much more advanced than some in our country is that there is little debate on "social" issues like abortion, religion in schools, and homosexuality. This is not to say that debate is stifled but just that virulent fundamentalists are few and far between.

Think about it. Isn't it counter-productive to focus one's engergies on trying to prevent women from having sexual choice? Is this the most important thing our nation must deal with today? Is it even close? With all of the other problems threatening life--what anti-choice Republicans claim to care so much about--and economic well-being, why waste money, resources, and in some cases lives by demonizing women or sending young men off to war.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Dickie Humps Uprising: Another Year, Another Northwestern Student Body Election

It's that time of year again, when a few students concerned with Northwestern's student council, Associated Student Government or ASG come out and campaign for the votes of the rest of their fellow students who usually have little idea of what ASG has done. I think ASG gets a bad rap: it's done more than people think, though it is also a paridigmatic example of how little the NU administration, under the leadership of University President Henry Bienen, cares to improve Northwestern in ways that would benefit undergraduate students, like examining the consequences on learning that results from the quarter system, promoting teaching as much or more than research, and improving the advising system, among other things. Within this inertia, I think ASG, especially over the last year, has made some useful changes, like the Target P/N, summer financial aid, and increasing campus security.

The exciting thing about the ASG elections though, even to someone like me who likes to fancy themselves interested in issues, is by far the hilarious personalities in the running. This year's elections proved especially satisfying as fodder because of Howard W. Buffett's resignation as a candidate for Executive Vice President. Buffet went out swinging, accusing his opponent, Jay Schumacher of slandering Buffett, charging him falsely with election violations, and stealing his identity (just kidding about the last one). Buffett also railed against the ASG group that he served with, saying that their were interests that wanted to stifle his supposedly reform-minded campaign so that ASG corruption wouldn't be exposed. All of this in college student government!

In other humourous news, Northwestern's most beloved write-in candidate actually received more votes than two of the candidates for ASG president. Dickie Humps, a nickname given to an actual engineering student named Richard Humphrey whose "candidacy" was launched with a write-in campaign last year, received 195 votes this year. Other write-ins who resurfaced this year were El Testicular, NUMB Fuckin' Tenor, and Library Sleeping Lady (my personal favorite). Streetwise vendor near Le Peep and Paddy McResume were some welcome new additions to the write-in list. Since two candidates were running unopposed, I indulged in writing in Tookie Clothespin and Thor Svenson proving that even serious voters like me can have fun when it comes to student government elections.

Facebook Blacklisting?

If some NU profs, most notably, Medill Professor Michele Weldon, have it their way, your membership in Facebook clubs that criticize their classes may cause you trouble. The Facebook is a popular website for university students who network with friends from their school and other schools and make clubs, usually in somewhat of a sense of jest (take a club I belong to simply titled "ROBERT GOULET," which honors the mustachioed crooner).

Some of these clubs have been challenged by professors in the Medill School of Journalism recently, to the point that the professors held an open forum with freshmen about the harm that venting on websites, for instance by creating Facebook clubs with names the likes of "Editing and Writing the News Made My Quarter Hell" and "History and Issues [in Journalism] Cured My Insomnia," is a detrimental habit. According to these profs, if one posted such "libel"ous comments when one is in the working world, there will be serious consequences for that individual.

In my opinion, these professors are possibly more offended than they'd like to admit that the Facebook clubs express dissatisfaction with parts of the Medill curriculum. Columnist Elaine Helm spins this in a positive light in her column from yesterday, entitled "
Free speech? Yes, but with supervision" but her article ends with an ominous warning from Professor Weldon: ""(The Facebook) may be your generation's mode of communication, but my generation still controls the consequences." With Medill's recent intervention in the Facebook community, it seems that nowhere, not even a little online outlet like The Facebook is safe!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

No Manners

Today I had the pleasure of being around not one but many very rude, loud people. The first instance was on the El train amongst riders going to a Cubs game. For some reason people going to Cubs games feel entitled to yell their conversations so everyone can hear. The family in front of me was no exception, with one of the travellers going on and on about her friend's hideous wedding plans and constantly yelling to her husband and father about various unimportant things.

My second experience with rudeness occurred just a few minutes ago at the library cafe here at Northwestern. I was standing in line to get a drink and I must have glanced over at the girl in front of me for a second because the next thing I know, she's saying to her friend "I hate it when people look me up in down" while standing about a foot away from me. Her friend responds, "Maybe they're intimidated by you." I should have said something back to her (like why don't you confront me if you hate it so much) but am not brave enough, and in fact it was probably better not to get involved with this self-important girl, but wow, she really overreacted. I'll admit, a sweatpants-wearing slob of a Northwestern student is pretty intimidating, but really, this girl needs to get some tact!

Friday, April 08, 2005

A letter that I wrote in response to an opinion article in the Daily Northwestern, written in favor of keeping University of Illinois' mascot, Chief Illiniwek, was published today. The letter, which is linked to here, went as follows:

Tolles wrong on Illiniwek

What Bryan Tolles fails to acknowledge in his Thursday column in support of University of Illinois' mascot, Chief Illiniwek, is the opposition to the mascot undertaken by Native Americans themselves.

Using a Native American symbol for mere entertainment is similar to the use of African American actors or actors who donned "blackface" as pure entertainment in old-time minstrel shows. Maybe the audience of the minstrel show gained a greater knowledge of the existence of African Americans this way, much as Tolles claims Illinois fans gain a greater knowledge of Native Americans because of the Chief. But is exploiting an ethnic figure for pure entertainment value really the best way to gain such knowledge?

-- Elaine Meyer,

Weinberg junior

Now let's hope that John's letter in response to Howard W. Buffett's termination of his campaign for Associated Student Government (Northwestern's student council organization)'s Executive Vice President is printed next week!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Courtesy of a loyal reader:

"Republicans think that life begins at conception and ends at birth and
starts again, I guess, when you're in a vegetative state."~ Al Franken

Shifting the Blame on Iraq

Back when I used to work in the billing department of a doctor's office, where oftentimes one has to prove to a patient or an insurance company that required claims forms were sent on time, I was given a little advice by one of the other employees there, hold onto papers as proof that you have done your job so you can C.Y.A: Cover Your Ass.

The release of the Silberman-Robb Report on the use of Pre-War Intelligence (Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction Report) reminded me of this acronym, because it seems alive and well at the White House and the Pentagon. While the Silberman-Robb Report indicts the intelligence community for its "pre-war judgements," it was explicitly prevented from investigating the use of intelligence on Iraq by policymakers.

Here is a good article about this report's huge deficiency, a report seemingly engineered by the Executive Branch to put the blame for Iraq on the CIA, and, as my co-worker would put it, play a little game of C.Y.A. One has to question the value of a war that the policymakers who concocted it are unwilling to take responsibility for.

Oh, PR

Today the annoying flyer in the center of the Daily Northwestern, my university's main newspaper, was a glossy advertisement for something called "NU Cuisine." This flyer epitomizes everything I hate about public relations, with a sub-par product hiding behind a ridiculously over-stated ad campaign. Anyone who goes to Northwestern or to any college really will appreciate this ad.

On one side of the flyer, above a picture of some sushi, reads in bold letters: "Live like a student. Eat like a celebrity."

On the other side, we are told that Northwestern is "introducing NU Cuisine." That's funny, I thought we contracted out to Sodhexo. Anyhow, NU Cuisine is "the only restaurant in town that offers so much of today's contemporary ethnic and specialty cuisines." Even our dining halls have signature specialities. Elder has "made-to-order sandwiches and salads" and "carb-friendly options." Willard, the dining hall I ate in most frequently Freshman year and that went majorly downhill after Parents Weekend, unbeknownst to me, offers "healthful menu options" and "fresh fruit." My favorite work of PR stylizing is for the Crowe Cafe (the cafe in one of the academic buildings): "Quick service cafe featuring eclectic menu, organic coffees and espresso drinks." Who knew that scones and Doritos were eclectic!

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Cost of War

Today my International Ethics professor, who I also had as a prof in France (he's the Northwestern professor who comes along every year and teaches a class about France and the EU) made an interesting point about war: he said that for instance, in the time that Robert McNamara was Secretary of Defense, defense spending took up 10% of the United States's GDP (we just watched The Fog of War, a film that centers around a McNamara interview). He said that some military guys who he meets with a few times a year call war "making rubble"--basically, destruction. On the other hand, this professor said, construction of buildings can't consume that high a percent of our country's GDP. The idea is, look at how much effort is devoted to war, to making machines and people that can destroy versus building things.

In that vein, we also have to read a book called The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. O'Brien recounts when he received his draft notice in the mail: he had always opposed the war but was never too aware of how it could affect him personally since he had done well in college and was accepted to a graduate program at Harvard. I could picture someone my age who had been afforded the good fortune in life that I have been afforded, especially in terms of receiving a great education, in the same situation if Iraq escalates, and it is a pretty sobering thought.

Thus, I wish people who support a murkily-explained war like Iraq would think over what war means rather than reciting platitudes like "well, they had it coming" or "war must be fought" to justify the war. If, after thinking over the great costs of war, one still feels he/she can support a war like Iraq, for instance, I invite that person to enlist in the military.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Leadership of Pope John Paul II: The Good, the Bad

The death of Pope John Paul II necessitates not only a mourning of this loss but also an examination of his positive and negative contributions as pope. Although I can't claim to have as much of an investment in the office of pope in a spiritual sense, since I am not Catholic, the decisions of popes to involve themselves in political questions, and more personally, with other religions like my religion, Judaism, incites myself and many others to feel invested in the type of person who holds the papacy.

Thus, as Rabbi Michael Lerner said in a recent article in the Jewish magazine Tikkun

It is the Jewish tradition that in remembering the dead, we talk honestly and not just say the good things. In fact, we consider it more of a respecting of the dead to acknowledge the full picture, and not only say what we admired, but also what challenged us. And we do that starting with the first times that we talk about the dead, in the eulogy, and during the period of mourning. Our tradition teaches us that it is this honest accounting that allows us to return from sadness in a healthy way, rather than by covering up parts that disappointed us or hurt us.

In this regard, Pope John Paul II put forth several great achievements but, unfortunately, made a lot of regressive decisions as well.

On the one hand, as Lerner says,

On the positive side, he continued and reaffirmed the strong Catholic teachings on the importance of social justice. He advanced the connection between Catholics and Jews and took some important steps to symbolically affirm the sisterhood of Christianity and Judaism. He made symbolic gestures of recognition of Islam. He courageously stood up to communist dictators in Poland and the military junta in Brazil, pleaded for an end to the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, went to Japan and denounced nuclear war. He took a step toward modeling forgiveness by visiting in jail the person who tried to kill him. He called for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of many good deeds and positive values he espoused.

On the other hand,
Rather than widening and building on that spirit of liberalization by taking actions like including women in the priesthood, allowing priests to marry, welcoming homosexuals into the church, this pope not only reaffirmed the most sexually repressive aspects of his tradition (few of them actually based in biblical texts) but also elevated these issues into the central issues of loyalty to the church.

Also supported beatifying Nazi sympathizer and enabler Pope Pius XII.
-Interefered to prevent a U.N. Resolution in Cairo in 1994 that favored abortion rights and contraception, among other things, to redress population problems
-Promoted the use of a politician's stance on sexual issues, especially abortion as a "litmus test" to determine their alleigance to the Catholic Church, which for instancee, allowed reactionary American Catholics leaders not to allow Presidential candidate John Kerry sacraments
-As Lerner says about this,
Why did they not take that same position in regard to supporting capital punishment, voting for wars, voting to give more funding to military preparations than to helping the poor?

Lerner concludes his article with a humble and eloquent extension of solidarity to Catholics:
So it is actually only because I feel a strong solidarity, an intrinsic connection, between my own connection to God and the connection to God of the Catholic world, and a strong affirmation of all that is deeply beautiful and moving in the Cahtolic tradition, that I feel a need to speak the deepest truth that I know as we witness a global mourning that partly obscures the reality of this pope and his legacy.

I will leave it at that.

Adventures at a Big Ten School that Wins Games

This weekend, I went to U. of Illinois to visit a friend and by default, to watch U. of I play Louisville in the NCAA tournament. Illinois is one school that is happy about basketball! After the Illini beat Louisville, students ran out into the main drag of Champaign, Green Street, some scaling buildings, trees, lampposts, and others being hoisted atop the shoulders of bulky frat guys.

Now, some Northwestern students have mourned the lack of school spirit here, lamenting that we're too busy with our studies to get excited about a ballgame. Being at U. of I made me realize, however, that I couldn't give less of a shit about having school spirit. While it's fun to watch a suspenseful game, the obnoxious drunk people, the noise, the mob, made me realize that I'd rather not have Northwestern win a Rose Bowl or NCAA Championship if I have to deal with all of that. I understand why people get excited, and I had a great time in U. of I, as I always do, but I could do without sports hooliganism.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The religious right's support for keeping Terry Schiavo alive through a feeding tube presented an interesting paradox on their part. For a group that has given science a lot of flack, it is odd that they would equate "God's will" with keeping Schiavo alive through the use of a feeding tube, a product of modern medicine. Of course, this problem suggests that trying to determine God's will is a fruitless task: did God will in humans the power to create technology and medicine that can prolong life or did God will that humans not subvert God's powers through science? Who knows.

Still, the religious right has so often positioned themselves against modern science, believing the Bible to offer better insight into the existence of man than empirical study. That is why it is odd that this group finds God's will is for an unconscious person to be kept alive through modern technology, a product of scientific reasoning and discovery. This is the danger of introducing the idea of God's will into the argument over keeping someone in a coma alive or not: that God's will cannot be determined by humans, and this is where the religious right, who so often take pot shots at science, get themselves in hot water.