March 31, 2005
Update: Jeff Goldstein expresses an opinion that I agree with one hundred percent:
Ive said on numerous occasions now that were Terri Schiavo my daughter, Id be storming the hospice with a bottle of Gatorade and a box of donuts. Id force the cops to shoot me or put me down with a taser gun, if only to draw more attention and sympathy to my cause.
He goes on to mention that he would do so with full awareness that his actions would be considered unlawful, based on court decisions. Yeah, I'd be aware of it too, but I wouldn't give a f*ck. You pull the plug on one of my children and you'd damn well better enter the witness protection program. I'd let God handle the forgiving because I'd be too busy setting up the meeting.
The hardest case for the culture of life is capital punishment. Some of those who wanted Terri Schiavo to live were distressed that President Bush could not simply reach down and pardon her. He couldnt do that because of her innocence; pardons are for the likes of Marc Rich, not for the guiltless.
Ugh. And I'll be treated to the spectacle of Scott Peterson's endless federal appeals for the next twenty years or so. Just to clarify, he did get convicted in a state court, right? So what the fuck is he doing appealing in federal court? To make certain that his civil rights haven't been violated? I'm very confused by this intrusion of the federal courts into a state matter. Very, very confused.
March 30, 2005
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And from Tennyson:
Sunset and evening star
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
And yes, these two poems are in keeping with my theme the last couple of weeks.
During the course of your marriage, your wife will - from time to time - say something thoughtless and brutal to you, and you will be tempted to exercise your power.
You are correct, oh great one.
When Liberals want to legislate what youre allowed to drive or what you should eat or how much support you can give to a political candidate or what you can or cant say, they are doing it for altruistic reasons. The excesses of the Left are to be excused because these folks operate from the higher moral ground and the benefit of the greater wisdom and intelligence gained from that perspective.
In a different West Coast conversation, I complained to another Liberal friend about some of the Lefts tone concerning the 2004 elections. I thought it insulting to hear those red state voters caricatured as red-necked rubes. My friend asked, Well, dont you think that people who live in large urban areas, who travel and read and speak other languages are better able to make informed choices? It turns out it is superiority, not familiarity, which breeds contempt.
Noted right-wing Christian activist Ralph Nader[/sarcasm] had this to say:
"First of all, it was a series of casual remarks that her husband and her husband's siblings alleged they heard so they are parties and interested," attorney, consumer activist, and Green-party presidential nominee Ralph Nader recently said. "We have no way of knowing that she wants this done at all, or might have changed her mind from the position that she may or may not have articulated as a young woman."
Nader adds: "It's one thing to have consent when the patient is overwhelmed with ventilators, and dialysis, and heart pumps, but it's quite another when there are non-heroic ministrations in this case simply a feeding and water tube and not having explicit consent or even credible consent in ending her life."
Nader calls this situation "court-imposed homicide." He continues: "There are police in her room 24 hours a day, and if her mother would come and dab her parched lips with a moist sponge, her mother would be arrested and taken away. That's how barbaric the local scene has become. And that introduces a coarseness throughout our society that is totally preventable, uncalled for, and inappropriate under the rule of law."
And from Jay Nordlinger:
I am asked by readers whether I think the Bushes have done enough. The answer is no. I am further asked whether Governor Jeb should go for the (Bill) Bennett option: Do what it takes to feed Mrs. Schiavo, risk impeachment and jail. Yes. There is more to being an American and more to being a leader than following the edicts of judges. At least, that's what I was taught in good ol' pinko Ann Arbor (and I believe it).
Jay also reprints letters from a couple of readers, including this one:
We have a granddaughter who was born very prematurely and suffered a brain bleed. At eleven, she's just learned to walk and can say a couple of words. This past Christmas was the first time she looked me in the eye and seemed to really acknowledge me. But every time I've ever said "I love you" to her, she has responded with a fierce hug. We love her so fiercely.
It terrifies me to think that if anything happened to this beautiful young girl, causing her to lose the little mobility and language she has, there could be people who would call her brain-dead and insist that she be killed. (Not her parents, that's for sure. I hate to think what her father would do if anyone tried to harm her.) . . .
That last sentence reminded me of a conversation that I had with my wife recently where I mentioned the little boy who was disconnected from a ventilator over his parents objections. Here was my response:
If anyone ever did that to one of my children, it would be the last thing he or she ever did>
Any threat to my family by someone will be interpreted by me as a request for assisted suicide, which request I will then make every effort fulfill. Questions to be asked much, much later.
Update: Andrea Harris has more:
Your aged and terminally ill relative who voluntarily refused food and nutrition and so died "peacefully" a couple of days later has nothing to do with the Schaivo situation. People dying of terminal diseases reach a point where they can no longer take in nutrition; in fact, it becomes a torment to them. Terri Schiavo was not dying from a terminal disease.
Your dying relative/friend/patient who was hooked up to a heart/lung machine but who showed no signs of brain activity after extensive tests, and who therefore had their "plug pulled" because they were not going to recover, have nothing to do with the Terri Schiavo case. Terri Schiavo's heart and lungs worked just fine.
The many people talking about how awful it would be to live "like that." Since none of these people really have any way of knowing exactly how awful life without much of a brain would be, this sort of speculation comes down on the side of "idle notions" and we should not be basing life and death actions on such twaddle.
Update: Gerard offers some insight into this horrible spectacle being played out before our eyes. Excerpt:
I take up that question and repeat: "What good does it do to kill this woman?"
As all can see, but nobody can stop, the killing of Mrs. Schiavo, for all the legalisms and philosophies blown in to obscure the simple fact of her death by starvation, the stark answer is: "It does no good at all."
"It does no good at all."
The discussion now and in the days to follow until the last stroke of doom will not cancel out one word of that answer.
Update: I decided against mentioning the fact that Jesse Jackson had joined Ralph Nader in opposing the crime being committed against Terri Shiavo due in part to my fear that the Apocalypse was nigh, and the next people I'd being seeing were the Four Horsemen. Misha is not so circumspect:
As a way of introducing yet another member to the Imperial Family, Suspension of Disbelief, we want you to know that we were damn near falling out of our throne when we read that Jesse Hi-Jackson had finally fallen down on the right side of an issue.
We hope it didn't hurt. No, really we do.
Now, if y'all will have His Majesty excused. We need to go check if the seas have turned into blood yet.
Update: As I expected, the 11th Circuit has declined to hear the case. What I did find entertaining was an excerpt from the majority opinion:
"Any further action by our court or the district court would be improper," wrote Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., who was appointed by former President Bush. "While the members of her family and the members of Congress have acted in a way that is both fervent and sincere, the time has come for dispassionate discharge of duty."
Birch went on to scold President Bush and Congress for their attempts to intervene in the judicial process, by saying: "In resolving the Schiavo controversy, it is my judgment that, despite sincere and altruistic motivation, the legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people our Constitution."
No word on how he feels about the judiciary establishing themselves as beings above reproach or review.
Update: Captain Ed voices his opinion in the matter:
Talk about judicial arrogance! Not only did the Eleventh Circuit openly disregard the law written by Congress, this justice arrogantly tells the other equal branches that the only branch guaranteeing a free people is the one not accountable to the will of the electorate. Bear in mind that none of the courts that reviewed this case after the passage of the emergency legislation found it unconstitutional; that at least would have put the court on record. Instead, the judiciary simply and contemptuously disregarded a law which to this moment remains legal and valid.
If Birch thinks that this law constitutes such a serious threat to the Republic, then the court should have ruled it unconstitutional. However, that would have meant a hearing on its merits, which the 11th Circuit cravenly refused to provide. Birch instead reacted in keeping with the hyperinflated notion of the judiciary in modern times as a superlegislature with veto power over actions taken by the other two branches without any due process whatsoever.
Birch's comment demonstrates that this out-of-control judiciary constitutes the main threat to the Founding Fathers' blueprint. They have set themselves up as a star chamber, an unelected group of secular mullahs determining which laws they choose to observe and which they choose to ignore. The arrogance of this written opinion will resonate through all nominations to the federal court over the next several years. It will motivate us to ensure that judges nominated will start respecting the power of the people's representatives to write and enact laws, and the duty of the judiciary to follow them or to specify their unconstitutional nature in the explicit text of the Constitution itself.
In the meantime, perhaps the Senate may want to read this opinion closely and discuss impeaching Justice Birch for his inability to apply the laws of Congress as required. This statement should provide all the proof necessary.
March 29, 2005
Jesus was wandering around Jerusalem when He decided that He really needed a new robe. After looking around for a while, He saw a sign for Finkelstein, the Tailor. So, He went in and made the necessary arrangements to have Finkelstein prepare a new robe for Him. A few days later, when the robe was finished, Jesus tried it on and it was a perfect fit!
He asked how much He owed, but Finkelstein brushed him off: "No, no, no, for the Son of God? There's no charge! However, may I ask for a small favor?" Whenever you give a sermon, perhaps you could just mention that your nice new robe was made by Finkelstein, the Tailor."
Jesus readily agreed and as promised, extolled the virtues of His Finkelstein robe whenever He spoke to the masses.
A few months later, while Jesus was again walking through Jerusalem, He happened to walk past the Finkelstein shop and noted a huge line of people waiting for Finkelstein robes.
He pushed his way through the crowd to speak to him and as soon as Finkelstein spotted Him he said: "Jesus, Jesus, look what you've done for my business! Would you consider a partnership?"
"Certainly," replied Jesus. "Jesus & Finkelstein it is."
"Oh, no, no," said Finkelstein. "Finkelstein & Jesus." After all, I am the craftsman."
The two of them debated this for some time. Their discussion was long and spirited but ultimately fruitful, and they finally came up with a mutually acceptable compromise.
A few days later, the new sign went up over Finkelstein's shop.
Can you guess what it read?
Are you sure you want to know?
Here it comes...
Don't say you weren't warned...... (check extended entry) more...
March 28, 2005
Stop by and wish them both well.
My emotional response is powerful, but at bottom it's not important. It's no more important than anyone else's, not what matters. The things that ought to matter have become obscured in our communal clash of gut reactions. Here are 10 of them:
1. Ms. Schiavo is not terminally ill. She has lived in her current condition for 15 years. This is not about end-of-life decision-making. The question is whether she should be killed by starvation and dehydration.
2. Ms. Schiavo is not dependent on life support. Her lungs, kidneys, heart, and digestive systems work fine. Just as she uses a wheelchair for mobility, she uses a tube for eating and drinking. Feeding Ms. Schiavo is not difficult, painful, or in any way heroic. Feeding tubes are a very simple piece of adaptive equipment, and the fact that Ms. Schiavo eats through a tube should have nothing to do with whether she should live or die.
6. Ms. Schiavo, like all people, incapacitated or not, has a federal constitutional right not to be deprived of her life without due process of law.
7. In addition to the rights all people enjoy, Ms. Schiavo has a statutory right under the Americans With Disabilities Act not to be treated differently because of her disability. Obviously, Florida law would not allow a husband to kill a nondisabled wife by starvation and dehydration; killing is not ordinarily considered a private family concern or a matter of choice. It is Ms. Schiavo's disability that makes her killing different in the eyes of the Florida courts. Because the state is overtly drawing lines based on disability, it has the burden under the ADA of justifying those lines.
And still, she's being killed. At this point, I can only hope for a quick death.
One more thing: saw a report that Terri is being given morphine "for the pain". What fucking pain? If she's an honest to God vegetable, then she can't feel anything. If she's physically suffering, then she's being tortured to death; making her comfortable doesn't absolve anyone from that fact.
Update: Mark Steyn is-as usual- far more eloquent. Excerpt:
We all have friends who are passionate about some activity -- They say, ''I live to ski,'' or dance, or play the cello. Then something happens and they can't. The ones I've known fall into two broad camps: There are those who give up and consider what's left of their lives a waste of time; and there are those who say they've learned to appreciate simple pleasures, like the morning sun through the spring blossom dappling their room each morning. Most of us roll our eyes and think, ''What a loser, mooning on about the blossom. He used to be a Hollywood vice president, for Pete's sake.''
But that's easy for us to say. We can't know which camp we'd fall into until it happens to us. And it behooves us to maintain a certain modesty about presuming to speak for others -- even those we know well. Example: ''Driving down there, I remember distinctly thinking that Chris would rather not live than be in this condition.'' That's Barbara Johnson recalling the 1995 accident of her son Christopher Reeve. Her instinct was to pull the plug; his was to live.
As to arguments about ''Congressional overreaching'' and ''states' rights,'' which is more likely? That Congress will use this precedent to pass bills keeping you -- yes, you, Joe Schmoe of 37 Elm Street -- alive till your 118th birthday. Or that the various third parties who intrude between patient and doctor in the American system -- next of kin, HMOs, insurers -- will see the Schiavo case as an important benchmark in what's already a drift toward a culture of convenience euthanasia. Here's a thought: Where do you go to get a living-will kit saying that in the event of a hideous accident I don't want to be put to death by a Florida judge or the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals? And, if you had such a living will, would any U.S. court recognize it?
What he said.
About 15,000 women had cosmetic surgery last year, according to figures from the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons, up from 9,916 in 2003. In the US, about 6.2 million people need plastic surgery for medical reasons, mostly following the removal of a tumour. The same number again have plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons. Professor Mao has developed a method of isolating the patient's stem cells, culturing them into a fatty tissue mass, and then building it around a "scaffold" of the correct shape for breasts or lips.
Professor Mao said he first took adipose stem cells from a human donor and isolated the fat-generating cells. These were mixed with a chemical, hydrogel, "which can be moulded into any given shape or dimension". Hydrogel is a lightweight material licensed for use in medicine.
Notice anything interesting about the paragraph above? No embryonic stem cells were used. I'm certain that Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Peter Jenning and Tom Brokaw will lead with that fact. Any. Minute. Now.
March 25, 2005
Listen, I oppose vigilantism as much as anyone, probably more than most, but these people aren't "taking the law into their own hands"™ , they are trying to protect the laws that our elected officials swore an oath to uphold. This reminds me of the argument that I had with some friends over the Guardian Angels, the group of self-nominated crime fighters patrolling the streets of some wretched neighborhood. My misguided friends stated repeatedly that these people were THLITOH. However, I believe that they were missing the bigger picture. The US Constitution serves not only as the basis for the laws of this country, it serves as a social contract between the government and its citizens. When the government fails to hold up its end of the bargain(i.e., protecting its citizens from criminals by refusing to send officers into crime-ridden areas), the citizens have the right- and the obligation- to take whatever means necessary to defend themselves. A social contract, just like any other, can be considered void when one party neglects to honor their end of the agreement. Since the fed's have chosen to not uphold the laws they're duty bound to protect, the citizens must do so. And listening to elected officials bemoan those efforts makes me want to fucking puke.
As a result, Shatner is so damned awesome, so abundantly unexpected, so fucking necessary, he's practically Biblical. It would be an insult to Shatner to compare him to some other celebrity and suggest they are equivalents. There's only one other celebrity who comes to mind as being even one iota as cool as Shatner, in the way that Shatner is cool, and that's Leslie Nielsen. And the only way that Leslie Nielsen could ever be even remotely as cool as Shatner is if he'd spent the first half of his career flying around the cosmos banging space broads on Styrofoam rocks.
Couldn't have said it better myself.
March 24, 2005
Update: John Kass decides to stop using euphymisms:
I'd rather consider a photograph of Terri and her parents, her mother stroking her face, and Terri's eyes looking up at her, almost smiling, perhaps involuntarily. Perhaps she feels nothing, but her parents feel it. They want to care for her and should be allowed to. But the law says no, the state has decreed, and hands are clean.
I wouldn't want to live that way. And I'm writing something down to inform my wife that if I am ever like that, they should let me die. But there was nothing in writing for Terri. And her parents want to care for her. Still, she's being killed.
So let's not cheapen this by avoiding what is happening to Terri Schiavo. Let's use a real word, the kind of word that repels the bureaucrat in each of us, not some insect's word, but an ugly word that stands on two feet, a word of consequence, a word with some real blood to it:
Thanks Spoons for the link.
Update: Soon to be the last in this series. SCOTUS, predictably, declined to hear the appeal. Only thing left is whatever will Governor Bush can muster.
I expect Terri to die either today or tomorrow. The life expectancy of this country will also begin to die with her, as we will have made, as a society, the following decisions:
1) the government has life and death power over us all
2) members of the judiciary are now the final arbiter of all things, not just those that relate to the law
Funny. My civics/social studies classes were years ago, but I could have sworn that the legislature, executive and judicial branches were supposed to be co-equal. I guess this is truly the case of one branch being more equal than the others.
Update: Seems like I'm not the only one that feels this way. Excerpt:
But here comes the "right to die" crowd trying to put Terri to death saying that no legislature or executive agency can do anything that might even stall the court for one minute because that would violate "separation of powers". The court has given the big "f*ck you" to all other government branches saying "we've made our decision, this woman dies and there is nothing you can do about it".
Well kids, it strikes me that the courts no longer recognize checks and balances as any restriction on what they can do, even in putting someone to death. Can we honestly say that this is a Republic? Where is the democracy of one man in a robe ordering someone to death and allowing no other branches of government, much less a jury of peers, have any say in the matter?
When and if Terri dies, the Republic is buried with her. We're in a juristocracy then.
Update: And of course no discussion would be complete with input from the spot-on Moxie. Excerpt:
So, if a feeding tube is considered "life support" and ordered removed and if what I've read is true -- Terri is capable of eating if someone feeds her -- why aren't her parents allowed to provide their daughter with sustenance?
To me this implies that the idea is not to remove "life support" but rather to outright murder her.
"Well, John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it."
Update: Ann Coulter and I are on the same page here. Scary.
Hey Judge Greer! How many national guardsmen answer to you? Just curious.
Update: Jonah Goldberg offers his opinions on this subject. Excerpt:
Even so, there's a particularly important lesson here for Democrats. The Republicans had a serious advantage in this debate: They had a real argument about the specific merits of this particular case and why it should be an exception to the rule. Meanwhile, liberals were nearly silent on why Terri should die, opting instead for cheap ad hominem. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, for example, contented himself to impugning the motives of conservatives and making "jokes" about Frist lacking a brain and Schiavo being no more alive than a zygote. But, most of all, liberals mocked conservative "hypocrisy." That's certainly fair game in politics, but pointing out how others inconsistently apply their own principles is not a substitute for having principles of your own.
The Schiavo incident demonstrates that conservatives are going to use their legitimate power under the Constitution to act on their convictions. Obviously, pro-life conservative convictions will be different than pro-choice liberal ones. If liberals don't like that, they'd better come up with a better strategy than simply borrowing arguments they never believed themselves.
March 23, 2005
Update: Vox offers his opinion:
A number of you have asked me why I haven't commented on the Schiavo case. There's a few reasons, the primary one is that I don't find it either surprising or very interesting. What else would you expect once the usual drums began booming and it became obvious that the step from abortion to euthanasia was in the cards? Second, I view this as a lose-lose situation. Increasing central government power in order to save "just one life" strikes me as the usual liberal-socialist tactic and doing the wrong thing for the right thing usually doesn't turn out very well. If it is determined that the ultimate power over life and death rests with the federal government, well, that just doesn't sound very positive at all.
In the end, I suppose I see this sort of thing as a tar baby trap for conservatives.
Update: And one more thought from Captain Ed. Excerpt:
The failure of the federal courts to acknowledge the demand from Congress for a de novo consideration of the case will result in the killing of a non-terminal disabled person who left no instructions on her care other than a offhand comment after a movie remembered suddenly years later by her husband. A de novo order means that the federal court should have started from scratch in the case, ordering new testimony and medical tests. It would have had the effect of removing Judge George Greer as Terri's guardian ad litem, a role he assumed inappropriately as the only finder of fact in the entire Florida process.
The federal court has instead decided to disregard the clear language and intent of the emergency bill passed by Congress and abstain from a new process of finding fact in Terri's case. In doing so, they will allow a non-terminal, disabled woman to die a slow death on the word of an estranged husband and his years-long repressed memory. It will be the first federal endorsement of euthanasia, a precedent setting case that will allow for the disposal of many such disabled people in the future.
Update: Andy McCarthy offers some thoughtful legal analysis about the denied appeal. Excerpt:
Judge Wilson also disputed his colleagues conclusion that the Schindlers could not succeed on the merits the finding on which the refusal to grant the injunction on ordinary grounds was based. Particularly when the irreparable finality of death looms, he argued, a party seeking an injunction need not establish that he can hit a home run, only that he can get on base, with a possibility of scoring later. Here, Terris parents have raised significant due process issues: the fairness and impartiality of the state trial, the fact that Terri did not have independent counsel, the denial of equal protection, and unjustified burdens on her free exercise of religion. Again, it was the manifest purport of Terris Law that these claims be fully and carefully considered in the federal courts before Terris death could be brought about by a state legal process.
The case now proceeds on two probable tracks: an appeal to the entire Eleventh Circuit sitting en banc, and an application to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (the Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit) for an emergency stay with a reinsertion of the feeding tube. Judge Wilson has given them a compass.
Meanwhile, Terri has been starving and dehydrating for over 110 hours.
Not certain that you'll like Linux? How about an operating system and a complete of applications that boots and runs directly from your CD-ROM drive, allowing you to become familiar with Linux before making the switch? Still not sold? How about if I told you it's free?
I've been testing Knoppix(donwloaded the ISO image and burned the CD with DVD Decrypter) for a few weeks now and am very pleased.
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