Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Here's the link to the Weekly Standard article referred to by Howard Kurtz.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
The fundamental issue in Terri's case is disability rights -- not the right to die. Throughout all the extensive media coverage of the case, there has been only slight mention, but usually none at all, that nearly every major disability-rights organization has filed legal briefs to prevent what they and I regard as judicial murder. The protests are not only from pro-lifers and the Christian Right.This makes more sense than anything else I've read on this issue.
I sincerely wish folks on the Left would read laws and the history behind them before screaming one version or another of "Bush lied, people died!"
In this case, the Left is screaming that Bush killed a baby this time, and on top of that, was inconsistent in signing the Schiavo law. Here's a Google Search of the Words Bush, Right to Die and Texas. The caterwauling can give one a headache.
Read the Texas law Bush signed. You can find it here.
The key part the Democrats are so incensed about is:
§ 166.046. PROCEDURE IF NOT EFFECTUATING A DIRECTIVE OR
Look at the hoops that have to be jumped through before a physician can go against the guardian's wishes.
One more thing: This case was just decided Feb. 15th 2005, six years after Bush left the Texas governorship. Here's what the Right to Life groups in Texas are saying:
The 1999 state law Mr. Bush signed allows hospitals to disconnect patients if the doctor and a hospital ethics committee agree it's appropriate. But in a nod to right-to-life groups, the law requires hospitals to give families 10 days to find another institution to provide care.
"We considered that a big victory," said Mr. Pojman, of the Texas Alliance for Life.
Mr. Hooser agreed that it was a win for right-to-life lobbyists, who were at the table because Mr. Bush vetoed a 1997 version of the bill. He vetoed that piece of legislation – drafted without right-to-life groups' participation – "on the basis that it was pro-assisted suicide," Mr. Hooser said.
The Schiavo case differs from that of baby Sun Hudson, cited by Ms. Schultz, and another recent Houston case, that of 68-year-old Spiro Nikolouzos. They both required a breathing machine. Ms. Schiavo can breathe but can't eat or drink unassisted.
In the case of the Hudson baby, born with a fatal birth defect, the Texas law signed by Mr. Bush was followed when Texas Children's Hospital unplugged him after several months of delays and repeated court battles. He died after the ventilator tube was removed last week.
In the case of Mr. Nikolouzos, his family found alternate care, and he was transferred Sunday from St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital to a San Antonio nursing home. An invalid since 2001 after bleeding in his brain, he fell into what doctors called a hopeless condition recently.
The 1999 Texas law was an effort to clarify and simplify previous law on end-of-life issues, previously covered in a disjointed series of statutes.
Here's what the hospital said regarding the removal of the ventilator:
"From the time Sun was born ... he was on life support because his chest cavity and lungs could not grow and develop the capacity to support his body. He was slowly suffocating to death," Texas Children's said in a statement today.
Texas Children's contended that continuing care for Sun was medically inappropriate, prolonged suffering and violated physician ethics. Hudson argued her son just needed more time to grow and be weaned from the ventilator.
You'll find the rest of that story here. The Houston Chronicle placed the above quote toward the bottom of the story, where few would read it. They worked hard to present this case in as bad a light as possible for President Bush, but you can still see the real story if you read between the lines. The hospital called 40 other facilities, none of which would take this baby just to watch him slowly suffocate to death. I happen to know a thing or two about slow suffocation. It's not a pleasant way to die, especially over several months. The tragedy is not lost on me. This mother's frantic clinging to a life blinded her to the fact that there was no hope, and to the extreme suffering of this infant.
One more thing: Most, though by no means all, of those screaming the loudest about this baby's death are the same ones who would have screamed for the right to kill it seven months earlier. Inconsistency, anyone?
Friday, March 25, 2005
I find it ironic that on this day we also await the death of Teri Schiavo, witnessing her trial and torture by starvation and dehydration. Unlike the Resurrection story, we do not know the outcome of her Passion. Not yet. Peggy Noonan puts the issues in stark perspective:
Terri Schiavo may well die. No good will come of it. Those who are half in love with death will only become more red-fanged and ravenous.
And those who are still learning--our children--oh, what terrible lessons they're learning. What terrible stories are shaping them. They're witnessing the Schiavo drama on television and hearing it on radio. They are seeing a society--their society, their people--on the verge of famously accepting, even embracing, the idea that a damaged life is a throwaway life.
Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.
Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.
I'm hoping that Peggy is wrong this time. I'm praying she is wrong. I fear she is not.
No one on that Friday evening long ago believed any good could come from the agonizing death of Jesus. They could not see Sunday morning through their Friday tears. May this dark time in our national life be the catalyst for a resurrection of the knowledge that all human life, from conception to old age, is precious, and worth saving.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Jackory has been one of the great musical influences on my life. Sometimes, he's led me toward great music, sometimes he's made me flee in horror at some of the stuff he listens to. I've not met anyone with more eclectic musical tastes.
This post from Jackory's Listening Room is very much worth a read. His top 5 Male Country Music stars is the pick of the crop. Not sure I would have picked Porter Wagoner, but then I've never heard Rubber Room either. Being a therapist who worked on locked psych units for ten years, that certainly peaks my curiosity...
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
From USA Today:
Terri Schiavo has lingered for 15 years in what many neurologists call a persistent vegetative state. Because the public has seen her plight largely through a political prism — right to life vs. right to die — core medical issues have been overlooked and distorted.
Regardless of where one stands on this issue, as a physician, I'm disturbed that the medicine of this case has become an afterthought. Doctors have become the medical marionettes as the courts and attorneys pull the strings.
It get's better. Read the whole thing.
I'm thinking she didn't like my answers to such questions as:
Do you support President Bush's stance on
The economy. Strongly support
Iraq: Strongly support
Signing the Schiavo bill sent to him by Congress: Strongly Support.
She said the poll would be in Time next week.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
7. Terri’s medical condition was systematically distorted and misrepresented. When I worked with her, she was alert and oriented. Terri spoke on a regular basis while in my presence, saying such things as “mommy,” and “help me.” “Help me” was, in fact, one of her most frequent utterances. I heard her say it hundreds of times. Terri would try to say the word “pain” when she was in discomfort, but it came out more like “pay.” She didn’t say the “n” sound very well. During her menses she would indicate her discomfort by saying “pay” and moving her arms toward her lower abdominal area. Other ways that she would indicate that she was in pain included pursing her lips, grimacing, thrashing in bed, curling her toes or moving her legs around. She would let you know when she had a bowel movement by flipping up the covers and pulling on her diaper.
8. When I came into her room and said “Hi, Terri”, she would always recognize my voice and her name, and would turn her head all the way toward me, saying “Haaaiiiii” sort of, as she did. I recognized this as a “hi”, which is very close to what it sounded like, the whole sound being only a second or two long. When I told her humorous stories about my life or something I read in the paper, Terri would chuckle, sometimes more a giggle or laugh. She would move her whole body, upper and lower. Her legs would sometimes be off the bed, and need to be repositioned. I made numerous entries into the nursing notes in her chart, stating verbatim what she said and her various behaviors, but by my next on-duty shift, the notes would be deleted from her chart. Every time I made a positive entry about any responsiveness of Terri’s, someone would remove it after my shift ended. Michael always demanded to see her chart as soon as he arrived, and would take it in her room with him. I documented Terri’s rehab potential well, writing whole pages about Terri’s responsiveness, but they would always be deleted by the next time I saw her chart. The reason I wrote so much was that everybody else seemed to be afraid to make positive entries for fear of their jobs, but I felt very strongly that a nurses job was to accurately record everything we see and hear that bears on a patients condition and their family. I upheld the Nurses Practice Act, and if it cost me my job, I was willing to accept that.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Please read it before you come down on either side of this remarkably sad story. I'm printing it out as I write this to read it more fully before commenting myself.
An Update: 10:32 pm
The debate occurring in the House of Representatives is an excellent airing of the issues involved in this case. Barney Frank (D-MA) has made a profound case for why the House should not be involved in this issue. Not enough to sway me from believing the Congress is doing the right thing in this narrow, individual case, but still a powerful argument. Frank continues to impress me as an honest politician, partisan and liberal to the core, but sincere all the same. This, despite fairly well proven allegations that his former lover using his office as a gay whorehouse. Sigh.
Friday, March 18, 2005
A final note to the Republican leadership in the House and Senate: You have to pull out all the stops. You have to run over your chairmen if they're being obstructionist for this niggling reason and that. Run over their egos, run past their fatigue. You have to win on this. If you don't, you can't imagine how much you're going to lose. And from people who have faith in you.
Bill Frist and Tom DeLay and Jim Sensenbrenner and Denny Hastert and all the rest would be better off risking looking ridiculous and flying down to Florida, standing outside Terri Schiavo's room and physically restraining the poor harassed staff who may be told soon to remove her feeding tube, than standing by in Washington, helpless and tied in legislative knots, and doing nothing.
Issue whatever subpoena, call whatever witnesses, pass whatever emergency bill, but don't let this woman die.
This is about far more than one woman's life. Republican lawmakers better figure that out fast.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Given: Baseball has done little or nothing about it.
And the biggest given of all:
Given: Congress loves to stick its collective nose where it doesn't belong.
Today's show trial gave both Republicans and Democrats the chance to be in the spotlight, to look like they were DOING SOMETHING. Hopefully showing off for the cameras is all the damage they will do.
Henry Waxman (D-CA) and his fellow Dems had another agenda. They want federal regulation of sports in the US. And some RINOs(Republicans in Name Only) went along with it!
Even the baseball players, with their Deer-Caught-in-the -Headlights stares agreed to regulation of sports.
Is it any wonder Will Rogers said that the country is only safe when Congress is out of session?
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Yes, we're being discriminated against, and yes, that's wrong. But by going to the courts on constitutional grounds as a first resort, we give our opponents no other choice but to use constitutional amendments as their only defense to our wins. We open with a "game-over" argument, and they respond with their own. The problem is that their "game-over" argument is the one the majority of Americans agree with.
For every win in a Massachusetts, we're going to get a loss in an Ohio, a Michigan, and an Oregon. And for each of those losses, we're going to have to go in and overturn a constitutional amendment, starting at a weaker position than we were before.
So, like the California Log Cabin Republicans suggest, we have to go to the legislatures and the people, educating them and appealing to their good will. It's the only way we will secure our right to marry in every state.
He's right. If gays want to redefine marriage, then convince a majority that's it makes sense. Trying to do it through a judge, even a Republican one, smacks of Judicial tyranny. And that is becoming more and more the battle cry of Conservatives across the country.
Thanks to Devil's Advocate for this post. There is much more on this decision on his site.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Regardless, Harry standing on the steps of the Capitol reminded me of this:
Customer: Now that's what I call a dead parrot.
Owner: No, no.....No, 'e's stunned!
Owner: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Norwegian Blues
stun easily, major.
Customer: Um...now look...now look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of
this. That parrot is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not 'alf an
hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein'
tired and shagged out following a prolonged squawk.
Owner: Well, he's...he's, ah...probably pining for the
Customer: PININ' for the FJORDS?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that?,
look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment I got 'im home?
Owner: The Norwegian Blue prefers keepin' on it's back! Remarkable
bird, id'nit, squire? Lovely plumage!
Customer: Look, I took the liberty of examining that parrot when I got
it home, and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on its perch
in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.
Nailed to the perch. Yep, that's a pretty good description of Harry and the Democrats....
Monday, March 14, 2005
You can't have it both ways. If the weapons were "looted" then they had to be there. But the MSM has worked hard to make us believe they were never there. Our hapless intelligence agencies concurred., after the fact. Do I hear an apology out there. How about an admission from the left that they were wrong? I won't hold my breath.
Dr. Araji said equipment capable of making parts for missiles as well as chemical, biological and nuclear arms was missing from 8 or 10 sites that were the heart of Iraq's dormant program on unconventional weapons. After the invasion, occupation forces found no unconventional arms, and C.I.A. inspectors concluded that the effort had been largely abandoned after the Persian Gulf war in 1991.
Dr. Araji said he had no evidence regarding where the equipment had gone. But his account raises the possibility that the specialized machinery from the arms establishment that the war was aimed at neutralizing had made its way to the black market or was in the hands of foreign governments.
"Targeted looting of this kind of equipment has to be seen as a proliferation threat," said Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a private nonprofit organization in Washington that tracks the spread of unconventional weapons.
Dr. Araji said he believed that the looters themselves were more interested in making money than making weapons.
By the way, targeted "looting" implies someone knew what was there ahead of time. Dr Araji has no evidence of where the nonexistent weapons have gone. Can you say Syria? How about Bekaa Valley, home of terrorist training camps for decades?
One more thing. Looting implies mobs. This was targeted and done with great skill. There was no mob involved, but an organized effort to move WMD. There is speculation that much of this movement of WMD occurred during the time spent battling our "allies" in the UN.
Friday, March 11, 2005
These myths simply cannot be answered in one post. So, coming soon, mythologies of the Left, beginning with the myth that the US is not "really" at war. Sigh.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
At the end of the day, whatever is to be said for and against secularism, there can be no legitimate claim for secularism to be a "neutral" doctrine that deserves privileged status as the national public philosophy. As MacIntyre has argued, secularism (which he calls liberalism) is far from being a "tradition–independent" view that merely represents a neutral playing field on which Judaism, Christianity, Marxism, and other traditions can wage a fair fight for the allegiance of the people. Instead, it is itself a tradition of thought about personal and political morality that competes with others.
Secularism rests upon and represents a distinct and controversial set of metaphysical and moral propositions having to do with the relationship of consciousness to bodiliness and of reason to desire, the possibility of free choice, and the source and nature of human dignity and human rights. Secularist doctrine contains very controversial views about what constitutes a person—views every bit as controversial as the Jewish and Christian views. Secularism is a philosophical doctrine that stands or falls depending on whether its propositions can withstand arguments advanced against them by representatives of other traditions. I have tried to show that secularist orthodoxy cannot withstand the critique to be advanced against it by the tradition of Christian philosophy.
This is hard to plough through, but well worth the effort.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
The very fact that you are able to write your comment is a direct contradiction of your statement. Please read The Case for Democracy, especially the distinction between a Free society and a Fear society. To honestly say with a straight face that we live in a dictatorship shows a lack of understanding of what the word means. Ask someone who has escaped from Iran, or Saddam's Iraq, or Syria, or North Korea, or China.
Please present your evidence that "Bush Knew!" Even the DNC had to back off of that hair brained idea. There have been at least 4 separate investigations of Abu Ghraib. Each one has been unable to validate your baseless charge. You simply can't find any proof of your charge beyond allegations on fringe websites. Please don't make such claims until you can back them up.
And yes, I can say 9/11. The impact of that day continues to resonate through our political culture, and my own thoughts. In fact, few days pass that I don't think about that morning in September. No event has impacted me more profoundly. The very fact that we don't even have to mention the year says much about it's significance to us all.
We don't fight "made up" enemies in order to draw attention from our own problems. This is a strategy of fear societies. There are over 3000 lives that give the lie to your implication that we focus on terrorism, and the nation states that sponsor it, are somehow distractions. Few books have presented that day more clearly than 102 Minutes.
Can you say, dirty bomb in Los Angeles? How about smallpox in Chicago, or Oklahoma City?
The reason you can't is because of the stand the Administration has taken, including sending terrorists to countries where interrogation can occur. Is this practice what would occur in a time of peace? Of course not. But we are not at peace, and may not be for a long time.
The truth is that if there had been another terrorist attack, you would be whining about how "King George" could have missed all the signs, and how inept he was not to have been more vigilant to prevent it.
The laws on enemy combatants are clear. They are not covered by the Geneva convention in any way, as the Geneva convention applies to armies in uniform, and expressly forbids operating as terrorists, without uniform or country. To seek to apply the rights of our Constitution to these people is at best misguided, and more likely downright dangerous.
If you would like to know about violations of human rights, ask someone who survived Saddam's rape rooms. Ask one of the kids freed from Iraq's children's prisons by what you would call their "occupiers." . Ask the families who found their son, or daughter, or mother or father in the mass graves all over Iraq. Ask the millions who turned out to vote last month rather they would prefer to return to a true fear society.
Compare fear societies to The United States, and then tell me this country is a dictatorship, or an "empire." Such talk is the foolishness of a spoiled teenager born in luxury who turns on his parents because he's never known anything else. The best cure is to send the child to work in a third world country, in order to learn the true value of what he has. We have seen this proven in the faces of freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Ukraine and Lebanon.
It's always fascinating to me that the countries in Europe who call us "Imperialists" are those with no recent history of tyranny, born in the luxury of a Free Society. This luxury was bought at a high price, and the United States has cemeteries in those countries as a testament to that price.
To the countries of Eastern Europe, and to those who still live in tyranny, we are still the Shining City on a Hill. They know what true Fear is, and can therefore appreciate Freedom in a way we can only begin to comprehend. We would do well to remember our Liberty, lest it be taken from us through our own apathy and negligence. Such a fate would bring the darkness of tyrany not just to us, but to those around the world who hope for Freedom from our example.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Our strategy to keep the peace in the longer term is to help change the conditions that give rise to extremism and terror, especially in the broader Middle East. Parts of that region have been caught for generations in a cycle of tyranny and despair and radicalism. When a dictatorship controls the political life of a country, responsible opposition cannot develop, and dissent is driven underground and toward the extreme. And to draw attention away from their social and economic failures, dictators place blame on other countries and other races, and stir the hatred that leads to violence. This status quo of despotism and anger cannot be ignored or appeased, kept in a box or bought off, because we have witnessed how the violence in that region can reach easily across borders and oceans. The entire world has an urgent interest in the progress, and hope, and freedom in the broader Middle East.
Read the whole thing before your grandchildren see it in their history books.
Monday, March 07, 2005
But this letter is a moving answer to Churchill's form of narcissism. It's simply too profound to do an excerpt. Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Jac at RSDotcom for showing me this.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
At the age of 17, when he was still a junior in high school,
Christopher Simmons, the respondent here, committed murder. About nine months later, after he had turned 18, he was tried and sentenced to death. There is
little doubt that Simmons was the instigator of the crime. Before its commission
Simmons said he wanted to murder someone. In chilling, callous terms he talked
about his plan, discussing it for the most part with two friends, Charles
Benjamin and John Tessmer, then aged 15 and 16 respectively. Simmons proposed to commit burglary and murder by breaking and entering, tying up a victim, and
throwing the victim off a bridge. Simmons assured his friends they could “get
away with it” because they were minors.
The three met at about 2 a.m. on the night of the murder, but Tessmer left before the other two set out. (The State later charged Tessmer with conspiracy, but dropped the charge in exchange for his testimony against Simmons.) Simmons and Benjamin entered the home of the victim, Shirley Crook, after reaching through an open window and unlocking the back door. Simmons turned on a hallway light. Awakened, Mrs. Crook called out, “Who’s there?” In response Simmons entered Mrs. Crook’s bedroom, where he recognized her from a previous car accident involving them both. Simmons later admitted this confirmed his resolve to murder her. Using duct tape to cover her eyes and mouth and bind her hands, the two perpetrators put Mrs. Crook in her minivan and drove to a state park. They reinforced the bindings, covered her head with a towel, and walked her to a railroad trestle spanning the Meramec River. There they tied her hands and feet together with electrical wire, wrapped her whole face in duct tape and threw her from the bridge, drowning her in the waters below. (Note from Mark: per witness testimony at the time, Mrs. Crook had freed her hands from the duct tape, which was why the bastards had to retie her. The Court summary also leaves out the broken ribs and other injuries that appear to have happened before her suffocation at the hands of these "children.")
By the afternoon of September 9, Steven Crook had returned
home from an overnight trip, found his bedroom in disarray, and reported his
wife missing. On the same afternoon fishermen recovered the victim’s body from
the river. Simmons, meanwhile, was bragging about the killing, telling friends
he had killed a woman “because the bitch seen my face.”
The next day, after receiving information of Simmons’ involvement, police arrested him at his high school and took him to the police station in Fenton, Missouri. They read him his Miranda rights. Simmons waived his right to an attorney and agreed to answer questions. After less than two hours of interrogation, Simmons confessed to the murder and agreed to perform a videotaped reenactment at the crime scene.
Per Justice Kennedy, and his 4 cohorts, to put Simmons to death would be "cruel and unusual punishment" as he had not reached a mature understanding of his actions. Interesting that his girlfriend, if he had one, would have been mature enough to kill her baby in her womb, and not have to inform her parents in any way. Inconsistency, anyone?
Let's remember what the evil creep Simmons did. But wait, according to Justice Kennedy, he wasn't old enough to be responsible for his actions. Interesting that his girlfriend would have been responsible enough to kill her baby in her womb at age 13 without having to tell her parents, per the Supremes. Inconsistency, anyone?
From the Majority Opinion:
At the age of 17, when he was still a junior in high school, Christopher Simmons, the respondent here, committed murder. About nine months later, after he had turned 18, he was tried and sentenced to death. There is little doubt that Simmons was the instigator of the crime. Before its commission Simmons said he wanted to murder someone. In chilling, callous terms he talked about his plan, discussing it for the most part with two friends, Charles Benjamin and John Tessmer, then aged 15 and 16 respectively. Simmons proposed to commit burglary and murder by breaking and entering, tying up a victim, and throwing the victim off a bridge. Simmons assured his friends they could “get away with it” because they were minors.
The three met at about 2 a.m. on the night of the murder, but Tessmer left before the other two set out. (The State later charged Tessmer with conspiracy, but dropped the charge in exchange for his testimony against Simmons.) Simmons and Benjamin entered the home of the victim, Shirley Crook, after reaching through an open window and unlocking the back door. Simmons turned on a hallway light. Awakened, Mrs. Crook called out, “Who’s there?” In response Simmons entered Mrs. Crook’s bedroom, where he recognized her from a previous car accident involving them both. Simmons later admitted this confirmed his resolve to murder her.
Using duct tape to cover her eyes and mouth and bind her hands, the two perpetrators put Mrs. Crook in her minivan and drove to a state park. They reinforced the bindings, covered her head with a towel, and walked her to a railroad trestle spanning the Meramec River. There they tied her hands and feet together with electrical wire, wrapped her whole face in duct tape and threw her from the bridge, drowning her in the waters below.
By the afternoon of September 9, Steven Crook had returned home from an overnight trip, found his bedroom in disarray, and reported his wife missing. On the same afternoon fishermen recovered the victim’s body from the river. Simmons, meanwhile, was bragging about the killing, telling friends he had killed a woman “because the bitch seen my face.”
Yet, in a 5-4 decision, the court ruled putting this criminal to death would be deemed "cruel and unusual" punishment. Someone tell that to Steven Crook. Someone tell that to Shirley Crook while she was suffocating from the duct tape in the Meramec River, after being trussed up and tortured for hours before dying.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Originally I was with Mindspring, which was my all time favorite ISP. I was deeply concerned about the merger, but it went well, despite some bumps.