For the second day in a row, a federal court has refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Georgia earlier today said in a two-to-one ruling, “There is no denying the absolute tragedy that has befallen Mrs. Schiavo. We all have our own family, our own loved ones, and our own children. However, we are called upon to make a collective, objective decision concerning a question of law.” Schiavo is the severely brain-damaged woman in Florida who has become the center of an intense family and national debate. Her husband and parents disagreed on whether she should be kept alive by artificial means. Schiavo’s mother spoke to the media Tuesday after the first federal court rejected their petition. The parents have announced they will appeal this morning’s court ruling–possibly to the Supreme Court. Lawmakers in Florida are also considering passing special legislation that would make it illegal for doctors to remove feeding tubes in cases where family members disagree on how to care for the patient.
In Minnesota, police officials say they believe Monday’s school shootings at the Red Lake Native American Reservation were carried out by a single student acting alone. Police say 17-year-old Jeff Weise first shot dead his grandfather — who was a police officer — and his grandfather’s girlfriend. He then took his grandfather’s squad car and guns to the local school where he shot dead seven people. On Tuesday FBI Agent Michael Tabman described what happened inside the school. Police say Weise had once posted messages on a neo-Nazi website where he professed his admiration for Hitler.
At the Pentagon, military planners have announced they will begin using Predator drones primarily to carry out what is known as “hunter-killer” missions. Until now the unpiloted aircraft has been mostly used for intelligence gathering and surveillance. This according to a report in the Washington Post. The next generation of Predators will be armed with as many as 3,000 pounds of precision-guided bombs or missiles. The unpiloted drones can stay afloat for 30 hours and fly at 50,000 feet. This will allow the military to strike quickly almost anywhere in the world without risking the lives of U.S. military personnel.
A coalition of liberal civil-rights advocates, conservative libertarians, gun-rights supporters and medical privacy advocates have joined forces to call on the government to overturn portions of the Patriot Act. Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr said that keeping the law intact would do “great and irreparable harm” to the Constitution. The group — the Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances — aims to overturn provisions of the law that allow government agents to carry out secret searches and to demand records from libraries, bookstores and medical offices.
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