Silver Rights

News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.

Friday, October 15, 2004  


News: Foreigners say Kerry best candidate

It is not unusual to hear those on the Right lament that foreigners hate America. But, they often seem to be confusing distaste for policies of the American government with enmity toward citizens of the United States. A series of international polls, soon to be released, say distrust of American leadership is increasing. Many people in other countries believe presidential candidate John Kerry offers the best hope for repairing our nation's declining reputation. has the details.

World seems to want Kerry

London - America's reputation around the world is hurting, according to a series of co-ordinated polls published on Friday from 10 countries, including many of the United States' closest allies.

In seven of the countries where the surveys commissioned by major newspapers were conducted, more people said their view of America had worsened over the past two to three years than improved. That question was asked in nine countries.

. . .And in eight out of 10 nations, those polled said often in landslide proportions that they hoped to see Democrat John Kerry beat US President George W Bush in next month's election. Bush won backing from a majority of respondents only in Russia and Israel.

The polls were conducted in Canada, France, Britain, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Mexico, Israel and Russia, with results to be published in the participating newspapers on Friday. Not all questions were asked in every country.

In all but two of the countries where people were surveyed, respondents said their opinion of the U.S. has worsened over the last two years. Israelis and South Koreans disagreed. Much of the rancor can be traced to the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq. Only 35 percent of those polled believe the invasion and occupation of Iraq will result in a decline in terrorism.

But, as I suspected, the disdain for America's current leadership does not necessarily extend to Americans themselves. Sixty-eight percent of those responding view citizens of the U.S. positively. Perhaps they perceive us as captives to inept leadership we don't deserve.

President Bush is fond of painting himself as indifferent about international approval. Indeed, he sounded scornful of the world opinion in the last debate with Kerry. The results of these polls remind us that his message has not gone unheard.

posted by J. | 10:20 AM

Tuesday, October 12, 2004  

News: Christopher Reeve dies at 52

Actor Christopher Reeve, my favorite Superman, has died. Reeve, who was a C2 incomplete quadriplegic, had hoped to see significant progress toward curing spinal cord injury in his life time. To encourage research and donations to the cause, he became an outspoken advocate for a cure. Reeve died of a heart attack.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Christopher Reeve, the star of the "Superman" movies whose near-fatal riding accident nine years ago turned him into a worldwide advocate for spinal cord research, died Sunday of heart failure, his publicist said. He was 52.

Reeve fell into a coma Saturday after going into cardiac arrest while at his New York home, his publicist, Wesley Combs told The Associated Press by phone from Washington, D.C., on Sunday night.

Reeve was being treated at Northern Westchester Hospital for a pressure wound, a common complication for people living with paralysis. In the past week, the wound had become severely infected, resulting in a serious systemic infection

The actor had been a very active person before the accident in 1995 that left him paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a respirator. He sailed, hiked and rode horses. It was during an equestrian competition that Reeve was injured. His horse balked instead of jumping a barrier. Reeve was thrown. The impact broke his neck.

Reeve's name was most recently in the news because presidential candidate John Kerry cited him as supporter of stem cell research. Scientists believe that stem cells can be used to regenerate cell growth in paralyzed people.

Reeve's support of stem cell research helped it emerge as a major campaign issue between President [George W.] Bush and John Kerry. His name was even mentioned by Kerry earlier this month during the second presidential debate.

Kerry favors stem cell research. Bush opposes it.

Reeve's heart attack was precipated by an infection caused by a pressure sore. Such wounds are common for paraplegics and quadriplegics. They sit or lie in the same position most of the time without the minute movements that shift weight and pressure for able bodied people. The skin breaks down. Treatment can be bed rest on the abdomen, or, in extreme cases, grafting of skin from another part of the body. It is uncommon for the chain of causation that appears to have resulted in Reeve's death to occur. Most paralyzed people live normal life spans.

Funeral plans had not been announced Sunday.

Reasonably related

~ Teddy Pendergrass, a C4 incomplete quadriplegic, described how his life of fame and fortune changed after his accident in 1982. I reviewed his book, Truly Blessed, here.

~ Reeve was a member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, which advocates increased funding and government support of medical research toward a cure for spinal cord injury. The group asked the major party presidential candidates to respond to a questionnaire. You can read the questions and answers at CAMR's site. President Bush did not respond, but his policy statement from 2001 regarding stem cell research is included.

~ One of the difficulties of being paralyzed is feeling trapped. A quadriplegic who's home was invaded by bears is fearful. Some media thought the situation was humorous.

posted by J. | 8:25 AM