Uh... Judge Greer DID Rule by Law, Dearie

From Sounding the Trumpet (one wonders idly if the trumpet refers to gusts of flatulence sounding from one's ass):

George Greer seems to think that he is the High King, and everybody must obey his every word. He does not seem to realize that their is a difference between his position, and that of the Turkmenbashi (of Turkmenistan, of course he realizes that he has a different jurisdiction). Thus he struts about, ordering people to be starved to death, and law enforcement officers not to intervene.

If he was a simple justice, his duty would be to interpret the law, and to defend it, but he seems to think that his duty is to make it, and to tell all other leaders to obey.
Judge Greer - who happens to be a devout Christian, someone who identifies himself as deeply socially conservative, and believes very much in the "right to life" (BIG reason for the quotes around that one) - DID interpret and defend the law.

I have little doubt that Greer the man probably wanted very much to rule to keep Schiavo alive regardless. But the Greer the judge knows the law, interpreted it correctly, and acted as he should. He's done so repeatedly (and his decisions upheld endlessly by courts both very similarly and far differently configured than his own) despite non-stop death threats and being forced to resign from his Southern Baptist church.

Would that the world and this country had more men like Judge Greer, who can feel passionately about something and still respect.

In fact, he would only be a poor, so-called activist judge had he ruled for the family given that his and other courts had deemed the husband the fitting guardian of this woman. I think watching what her family is willing to do - flaunting law, invoking phrases like "judicial homicide, and parading endless strangers in and out of her room - may give us some insight into why the family never managed to get any custodial rulings on their behalf despite their endless access to courts that - in fact - should not have considered the same case over and over again.

Odd, too, that when courts were stopping and intervening endlessly when the feeding tube was removed before, when there was NO legal precedent for doing so, the Rabid Wrong didn't mind Judge Greer (and I didn't hear so-called liberals shouting for the man's death then while so many on the "right" ::cough:: are now). Only now, when he's properly respecting the law he's charged to handle, has he become an "activist", the antiChrist, and an unholy ruler.

Uh, Jeb? You've Got Patients Dying Who Aren't Named Schiavo

Michael at Discourse.net weighs in:

Jeb Bush is all for ‘life’…as long as it doesn’t get in the way of more tax cuts.
    Agency probes group homes’ deaths: A federally funded watchdog group is investigating the recent deaths of four disabled Floridians amid an aggressive campaign by the state to cut millions of dollars from programs that provide medical care for disabled people in community settings.

    Two developmentally disabled adults who lived in group homes in Brandon, and two others under the care of The ARC in St. Lucie County, have died since October 2004, a month after the state required the operator of the two Brandon group homes to change the way residents received nursing care.

    A woman at one Brandon home developed such a severe infection at the site of her feeding tube that she has been hospitalized in intensive care since Feb. 13.
Will we see Randall Terry demonstrating about this outside the statehouse? Somehow I rather doubt it.
Doubt it, too, Michael.

The Culture of Selfish Zealotry Keeps Families From Their Dying Loved Ones

This is exactly what I was talking about.

Jennifer Johnson, barefoot and in her pajamas, ran to her grandfather's bedside once a hospice worker said his death was moments away.

She got there - one minute too late.

Johnson said the chaos outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo is dying kept her from saying goodbye. When Johnson arrived, a police officer demanded identification; she had none. And after a hospice employee cleared her, another officer halted her for a search with a metal detector.

The delays lasted three to four minutes - the last of her grandfather's life.

"It's a terrible, extra obstacle to put in front of a family. ... Everything is about Schiavo," Johnson said. "It's all about her and in my family's case, it cost us dearly."

Woodside Hospice has 70 patients besides Schiavo, whose parents are desperately trying to have her feeding tube reconnected. Dozens of protesters have arrived from across the nation since the tube was removed March 18, and at least 15 have been arrested, prompting a police barricade around the facility and unprecedented security.

Family members visiting patients must pass through a police checkpoint to park, then show identification outside the door before another security screening inside. They also must walk by scores of signs decrying Schiavo's "crucifixion," "torture," and "starvation," plus navigate around hordes of media who have been camped outside.

"To have to maneuver through all of this and have a hostile environment outside when all they want is peace and quiet and to enjoy those few days they have left with a loved one is a horror," said Dr. Morton Getz, executive director of Douglas Gardens Hospice in Miami.

Getz said many people with a family member in a hospice have to make the same excruciating decision that courts have made for Schiavo.

"It's causing a lot of grief and questions in their own mind on whether they did the right thing," he said. "It's unconscionable to have a family member to be near the end stages of life and to get there, you have to walk through signs that say, 'Murderer."'
I'm sorry that the Schindler family hasn't been able to see beyond their own no-doubt-considerable grief to ask publicly that protestors stop this. That's not to blame them although I think they feel that these people are important to their cause.

So perhaps it's time to move Mrs. Schiavo to a different facility, one where the circus can't parade into her room all the time. There is no reason for the Schindler family lawyers, all these religious and political types who have no association with Mrs. Schiavo, and all the others to be there. We keep hearing how "private" Mrs. Schiavo was in her life and yet someone - and I do not believe it is Mr. Schiavo - keeps supplying CNN with increasingly pathetic looking pictures of her (I've seen two in recent days). However, it's not clear from the pictures how much is wasting and how much is the fact that she is no longer being made up with cosmetics as she was in videos. Yes, I think it's worth questioning who is supplying the images and with what permission?

At this point, everything should be done to make the situation as calm and peaceful and painless for Mrs. Schiavo as possible. No one but her husband, family, specially chosen friends, and medical staff should be anywhere near her. Hospices always have a very adequate spiritual team on hand so there is no reason to bring in armies of outside ministers, priests, etc.

But that same situation should extend to other patients and their families at the hospice. Just as with Mrs. Schiavo, they've done nothing to deserve this terrible intrusion into a most difficult time in their lives.

Speaking of the School Rampage

Why did the president not address this in any way until today, and then only to point out one brave man during his weekly radio address today?

In the same time period, he or one of his spokespimples have addressed Terri Schiavo and the "culture of life" several times, with even a couple of "activist judge" comments thrown in. He's commented on every other such shooting since president.

I assume Native Americans don't count with him? Or at least he feels no need to comment when it's a "non-white" population outside of an election year ("when them funny colored people" actually make it up on the GOP Web site)?

Apparently Hoping Armed Teachers Will Shoot Students Who Won't Say the Pledge...

"ChristianLibrul" at Not in My Bible points us to this story and notes:

The NRA's Veep wants to arm teachers. How many teachers did you know whom you'd have wanted to be armed? I taught high school for 26 years, and I knew maybe half a dozen besides myself.

Not that such a ludicrous idea has a snowball's chance in hell. We all know this is purely a fundraising pitch for her nutjob members who think guns can solve any problem.

For the record, I'm a veteran and a recreational shooter (not a hunter). But I reiterate, this woman is an idiot.
I've heard them suggest teachers not only should be armed, but that it must be a requirement that they pack heat. Geez, and I didn't even like the ruler the nuns used.

As I've stated here many times before, I hate guns but I'm not a believer in outlawing them everywhere. Outlawing things seems to have this bizarre effect of making more people want whatever it is.

What I'd like is for us all to come to a decision as a society not to have them. But I'm not expecting that to happen any decade real soon. Since 2000 and 2001 especially, our humanity has regressed by leaps and bounds (it reminds me strangely out of the old joke, "insanity doesn't run in; it gallops!").

I would not only agree with "Christian" that the woman is an idiot, I'll take it one step further: I think this is the worst idea I've heard in at least four years (and that's something considering the Bushies are in power).

It's Just Sad When People Aspire to Be a Rush or an O'Reilly (Bill, Not the Great Publishing Company)

So now some of the nutjobs are coming after me as someone who "wants Terri Schiavo dead". That I expect from them. I also was not surprised that they missed little points like the fact that I've had to deal with this within my own family and regarding my own life, that I've stated ad nauseum that this isn't a decision for any of us to make except for her guardian, or how I'm not sure I could be as brave as her husband in doing what he feels she would want.

Of course, they don't mention how saddened I am that the 6-month-old Texas baby - a poor, black child - was disconnected from his feeding tube because of a law our president actively endorsed and signed allowing health care facilities to terminate support services against a family's will based solely on financial considerations.

This child's story is nothing more than an inconvenient fact to these wacky wingtips and we know what Rabid Wrongies do with inconvenient facts; they ignore them or spin them faster than a top (or Jenna Bush on Cuervo on a bar stool). Hate makes their world go round and it just kills 'em that we won't join the kool-aid lynch mob.

The only thing I didn't suspect that even they would have the audacity to allege is that they are "reality based" in their thinking.

Fine. Let 'em fill my mailbox and lie about me elsewhere. As long as they're boring the hell out of me, they aren't stealing guns to try to kill the judges, sending their 10-year-olds to storm the hospice with food to try to force-feed a woman for whom a simple bite of food would be fatal, and trying to incite others to harm Mrs. Schiavo's husband.

Dick Cheney is Being Courted to Run in '08?

God help us.

For Some Intelligent Schiavo Discussion

(Since I'm burning out rapidly out of fear court buildings, hospices, and judges are about to be blown up in this madness - sadly, I suspect someone's going to die soon but I'm not entirely convinced its poor Mrs. Schiavo)... check out Majikthise.

Well, What's Planned for Easter Sunday?

Will Karl Rove have Mr. Bush dress up as Captain Flightsuit (complete with sock-stuffed groin again) to force his way into the hospice, shooting other terminal patients (probably because they didn't have enough money) who got in the way of carrying Terri Schiavo out on his back so James Dobson and Jerry Falwell can make her rise again?

I mean, it's more believable than that nutcase woman lawyer who insists that Terri - after not speaking a word in 15 years - suddenly articulated the words, "I WANT TO LIVE".

Oh yeah, and Atrios shows all these organizations soliciting money for Terri Schiavo. Except Terri Schiavo is paid for. So the money is going to either line the Schindlers' pockets or these groups (more likely, both). Since the Schindlers approve of these appeals (supposedly, THEY requested Randall Terry and several other of these groups get involved), one has to wonder. Unfortunately, court documents dating back to 1993 show that Mr. Schindler sought financial compensation. But the compensation was not to pay for his daughter's expenses since they were covered. And, my apologies, but this point is not sitting well with me. I'm afraid it's left me feeling like the Schindlers are not quite all they seem. I've also never heard them once encourage their supporters to calm down.

As I Said, Jeb DID Try to Seize Schiavo

From the Miami Herald (and thank you, city police who prevented this):

Hours after a judge ordered that Terri Schiavo was not to be removed from her hospice, a team of state agents were en route to seize her and have her feeding tube reinserted -- but they stopped short when local police told them they would enforce the judge's order, The Herald has learned.

Agents of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement told police in Pinellas Park, the small town where Schiavo lies at Hospice Woodside, on Thursday that they were on the way to take her to a hospital to resume her feeding.

For a brief period, local police, who have officers at the hospice to keep protesters out, prepared for what sources called ``a showdown.''

In the end, the squad from the FDLE and the Department of Children & Families backed down, apparently concerned about confronting local police outside the hospice.

...It also shows that agencies answering directly to Gov. Jeb Bush had planned to use a wrinkle in Florida law that would have allowed them to legally get around the judge's order. The exception in the law allows public agencies to freeze a judge's order whenever an agency appeals it.
And Jeb, BTW, hid out instead of attend a "Stations of the Cross" Good Friday service where a lot of the protestor nutjobs were camped out.

One thing we know about the Bush boys is that Courage isn't exactly their middle names.

Scary Stuff

Oliver Willis has the story about another man - separate from the one soliciting Michael Schiavo's and Judge Greer's death - who tried to steal a gun from a gun store because "something had to be done" about poor Terri Schiavo being killed.

Yes, the man is so firm in his religious zeal that he not only had to break that really BIG commandment (kill), he had to break another one by stealing because - God forbid - you wouldn't want him giving up the case of beer for the weekend or the "I HEART GOD BY KILLING JUDGES" t-shirt they have on sale down at the Wal-Mart.

Judge Greer, in the meantime, has been forced to resign from his Southern Baptist Church and now must move about with a phalanx of bodyguards.

Uh... these are the folks we're told re-elected Mr. Bush last November. These people vote? I'm not sure I want them in the gene pool. Wait. I am sure. I do NOT want them in the gene pool I don't want them near a public pool either.

Wait.. now there's a good criterion for preserving the sanctity of marriage:

    You can't get married unless you can a) spell chromosome and b) can prove that your idea of the culture of life doesn't start with killing everyone who doesn't agree with you.
And if that passes, I've got a far more rigorous requirement before you can have children. I mean, if they want to tell a woman what to do with her body, I only think it's right we tell these assholes whether they're allowed to use theirs.

For One Family, the "One More Chance" Goes on Forever

Listening to the Schindlers today, especially the father, getting on TV at every opportunity to say "the people who want to kill my daughter are getting their way" and using terms like "judicial homicide" to refer to the judges and telling us how "sick dogs are treated better, made me think.

I found myself thinking of the black Texas baby who at six months of age on March 15th had his feeding tube removed by a Texas hospital against the mother's wishes because the compassionate George W. Bush had signed a law stating medical facilities could terminate care against patient/family wishes if the patient/family has no money to pay.

Vigils weren't held for that baby except by his family. The mother held the child from the time they disconnected his feeding tube until he died in her arms.

Millions of dollars weren't diverted to that family to help them find a way to let that little boy live. CNN and MSNBC and all didn't elevate that mother to saint status and have her in front of the cameras every moment they could get. No one asked questions in the press asking if it was "right" to starve that tiny boy to death. No one except the hospital and the politicians the top tier of the health industry bought and paid for (hello Mr. Bush) wanted to terminate his brief stay on the planet.

Congress didn't convene a special session for him (in fact, Mr. DeLay had just helped push through a Bush budget that cut more than $15 billion for the care of uninsured and under-insured Americans leading long-term care - a fact that would have hurt that baby rather than helped him).

Mr. Bush certainly didn't spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to rush back to Washington to grandstand and save that baby. And his brother, Jeb, certainly wouldn't have skipped his first meal in years to hold press conference after press conference trying to seize that baby from the hospital to save him as he has with Terri Schiavo.

Millions in state and federal tax dollars weren't devoted to give that baby's family endless access to courts that have heard the Schiavo case more than 30 times now.

None of those great Christians trying to push into Mrs. Schiavo's hospice with milkshakes and burgers for her probably ever considered even buying the black child's family a sandwich while they watched a system sentence that baby to death for being poor. Bet they wouldn't even consider slipping a dollar into an envelope to help with the expenses of the black child''s funeral.

And the lovely man in Carolina who offered a small fortune for a hit man to kill Terri Schiavo's husband and the brave Judge Greer who ruled by law rather than emotions would not have offered that money to rub out the head of the hospital who terminated the black child's care or a judge who just followed the law in allowing the baby's feeding tube to be disconnected.

Nor did I hear that the Pope had prayed personally for that child or that the Vatican was imploring the White House to protect the child from summary death.


Faux's John Gibson is Just So Bright

He suggested tonight we should storm the hospice, seize Terri Schiavo, and give her peanut butter sandwiches and milkshakes until the rose comes back to her cheeks.

Someone needs to scan Gibson's head and see if his cortex has liquefied as well.

Bush's Election Consultants Politicized Hurricanes

Gee, what a surprise:

Democrats in Washington said the records confirm suspicions that the federal government used the hurricanes to funnel money to Florida, a key battleground state in the presidential election. "They weren't really asking for information, yet they were just doling out this money like it was Christmas," said Lale Mamaux, spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton.

"It's not surprising to learn that [Republicans] played politics with the hurricanes that tragically affected hundreds of thousands of Floridians last year," said Josh Earnest, spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.

FEMA officials, the governor and the White House have steadfastly denied suggestions that politics played a role in the distribution of hurricane aid in Florida...

But politics was foremost on the mind of FEMA consultant Glenn Garcelon, who wrote a three-page memo titled "Hurricane Frances -- Thoughts and Suggestions," on Sept. 2.

The Republican National Convention was winding down, and President Bush had only a slight lead in the polls against Democrat John Kerry. Winning Florida was key to the president's re-election. FEMA should pay careful attention to how it is portrayed by the public, Garcelon wrote in the memo, conveying "the team effort theme at every opportunity" alongside state and local officials, the insurance and construction industries, and relief agencies such as the Red Cross.

"What FEMA cannot afford to do is back itself into a corner by feeling it has to be the sole explainer and defender for everything that goes wrong," he wrote. "Further, this is not what the President would want. Plenty is going to go wrong, and his Department of Homeland Security does not want to assume responsibility for all of it."

Garcelon, a former FEMA employee, recommended that "top-level people from FEMA and the White House need to develop a communication strategy and an agreed-upon set of themes and communications objectives."

DeLay Lied About Soros' Ties to Groups Investigating DeLay's (Lack of Any Discernable) Ethics

To ditto what Atrios said, George Soros hasn't given me money either.

I am, however, available for adoption should Mr. Soros suddenly feel a need for a slightly used adult child who is:

    * fairly well toilet trained
    * won't run up a huge phone bill talking to all my friends
    * able of making him a nice but not elaborate father's day cake
    * not apt to fall off bar stools on an hourly basis like the Bush twins (I don't like bars and rarely drink alcohol)

Gee, Who Should We Capture as a Priority? Osama bin Forgotten or an Aging Chess Champ?

Well, apparently the answer is the chess champ. Between this and the FDA sending marshals out to capture seven "killer hospital beds" this week, we should feel much safer.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go videotape the funny little thing on my toe so Tom DeLay and Bill Frist can make a diagnosis by video. They're soooo good at that sort of thing, it's just amazing.

Vermont Teachers Fund Becomes First to Stand Against Bush Retirement "Reforms"

From the Vermont Press Bureau/Times Argus:

MONTPELIER — The Vermont State Teachers' Retirement System Tuesday became the first public pension board in the country to take formal action against President Bush's proposed Social Security reforms.

The trustees of the largest of Vermont's three public pension boards, in a 4-2 vote, threw a roadblock in front of investment firms that favor the President's reform proposal. The vote will make it harder for those firms to be picked to manage the $1.2 billion in assets in the state's teachers fund.

The two dissenting votes were cast by trustees appointed by Gov. James Douglas.
For you Flatlanders, Jimmy Douglas is NOT ONLY Bush's bestest friend this far north (Canada doesn't seem to care for our King George) but he spent most of his first term outside the state of Vermont campaigning for George (silly man, Diebold already had that whole thing taken care of).

Oh, yes, and one more thing. Vermont governor James Douglas makes G. Gordon Liddy seem like a quiet, loose-as-a-goose stoner by comparison.

And the Los Angeles DA Steve Cooley Professionalism in Service Award Goes to...

In real life, murder trials don't always last much more than a few days. Most mortals don't begin to have the funds to put up a true defense when they're indicted/arrested for murder - guilty or not - so it's the state's show. Juries in criminal cases usually believe the prosecutor/police - it's a built-in "well, they wouldn't have said he was guilty if he wasn't" response from the public.

Only in California (well, not only, but close) do murder trials take anywhere from four months to one-plus years. And you don't have to be OJ or the lawyers with the killer dogs from San Francisco or Robert Blake. Scott Peterson's trial seemed to spend a few months just playing tapes from his pissed-off girlfriend. Heck, it doesn't even take murder. Somebody please explain why a child molestation trial - where we aren't talking about the horrific abuse such cases often entail - should take 4-6 months as with Michael Jackson.

But after the prosecutors invariably spend tens of millions of dollars of tax money and then - even with pretty much everything tipped in their favor - can't get a conviction (you know, because they perhaps did not prove their case), California DAs seem to have this penchant for calling the juries "incredibly stupid". Chris Darden and Marcia Clarke must have taught LA DA Steve Cooley well.

I have no idea if Robert Blake is guilty or not. I suspect only about 15 people cared. But why go after the jury when you don't have sufficient evidence to convict?


Nutcase Feeding Frenzy is Getting Truly Frightening

I made the mistake of taking a couple of hours off this evening just to relax a little, something I rarely do. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trying to watch the news and peruse some off-the-beaten path Web sites.

With the exception of Keith Olbermann's "Countdown" on MSNBC, this has been one of the most frightening debacles I can remember, even worse than the Elian Gonzalez nutfest a few years back (the only thing missing is people threatening to kill Bill Clinton for daring to reunite a 5 year old with his father).

CNN and MSNBC (I did not have the stability of stomach to even do a fly-by on Faux) were 20 dipshits deep, usually averaging 15 serious nutjobs for every moderately sane voice (only the nutjobs make sure the sane voices can't be heard).

In 2 hours, I heard on TV or read:

    * people say Terri Schiavo's husband should be locked up and starved to death, imprisoned for the rest of his life, and forced to submit to lie detector tests and truth serum (at least two suggested he be shot to protect Terri)
    * people who insisted they were in much worse shape than Terri Schiavo and yet they now are nuclear scientists (Larry King's booking rep should be shot, hung, and burned at the stake)
    * scurrilous lies about the husband (they get worse with each passing day)
    * cries for all Americans to head down to that hospice and rescue Terri en masse
    * suggestions that the hospice ("a horrible place of death") should be blown up or burned down
    * that we as Americans have a right to demand that Terri be kept alive for another two years for further study
    * that "murdering" Mrs. Schiavo sends a message to millions of disabled people that they will be killed next
    * that MRIs and CT scans are not scientific
    * that liquified brains do indeed firm up and begin to add new brain cells (you have to love the Concerned Women of America who has never let a fact get in the way of any of their homophobic, human-and-puppy-hating bullshit)
    * that "even gay people" deserve better treatment than "that saint" Terri Schiavo is receiving (gee, really, even gay people? What about black people? And Jews? How about Mexicans and green eyed people? There's Christian kindness at its best!)
    * that the president should have marshals or the National Guard (you know, the three guardsmen NOT in Iraq without body armor) storm the hospice and remove Terri so she can get cared for by Dr. Frist
And I know I'm forgetting a few that threatened to give me a brain hemorrhage.

What's scary is that we keep giving these people - through TV and high traffic Web sites - a disproportionately loud voice considering what a small percentage of the population appears to feel this way. A new poll tonight says that 4 out of 5 evangelicals strongly disapproves of the government's handling of this and that this roughly matches the reaction of other groups who describe themselves as religious.

Why are we giving the most hateful, the most uninformed among these people the microphone?

And where are the people to present information that has been accepted by the courts, such as:
    * that Michael Schiavo has steadfastly been by his wife's side
    * that he says he has remained married to Terri because it was a promise he made to her (and as for his second family - please, is this man entitled to no life?)
    * that Terri's father told the court that he actively encouraged Michael to date and see other women
    * that the medical facilities where Terri has been a patient have all stated Michael has been an exceptionally caring caregiver
    * that Michael has the right to decide this, just as other families have the choice
    * that as recently as this year, Terri's mother admits she does NOT KNOW what her daughter would have wanted in this situation
    * that as recently as the last few years, both Terri's parents and their lawyer(s) have acknowledged she is in a permanent vegetative state and cannot recover
    * that it is more than Michael who says Terri voiced concerns about being kept alive in such a state (friends also report this)
    * that the courts have found reason to question the exact nature of Terri's parents' desires in this case (friends of the family report that Terri's father made a financial demand of Michael and when Michael refused, the animosity began)
    * that the medical malpractice suit the Schiavos won paid just 1.3 million dollars MANY years ago; that Terri's entire share went to her care with Michael being awarded $300K separately because of the damage to his life (hardly an unreasonable amount or the great fortune often implied)
    * that much is made of the fact that there is only about $50K of Terri's money left, as if that's the reason Michael wants NOW to terminate her feeding tube; Michael began this process 7-8 years ago - only funding from right-to-life groups have financed the Schindlers (while the ACLU and some legal groups have helped the husband)
I think both parts of Terri's family - Michael and her parents - care very deeply. We do not have to demonize one to believe in the other.

But ultimately, this comes down to the decision of the person who is legally responsible for Terri. That's her husband, and he made his decision. Other families in similar situations may have done something different. That doesn't make one right and the other wrong.

Sad Schiavo Prediction

Tomorrow - on the holiest day of Holy week before Easter - Jeb Bush and/or Congress will seize Terri Schiavo and place her back on a feeding tube. Don't even begin to think the timing this week hasn't been ever so carefully choreographed, right through to the time her feeding tube was removed, putting her in a most desperate situation for Good Friday.

Now MSNBC Is Saying We Have to Save Terri Schiavo for the Pope

Because it wouldn't be fair to this man to let her die.

I've got this really unique idea: why don't we let the person who has been closest to Terri in her adulthood, the man she chose to spend the rest of her life with, the one she exchanged vows with, and the man who went to nursing school to be able to better care for Terri - namely, her husband - decide what's best for her. If Michael Schiavo changed sides and fought for her survival, I'd wish him the best just as I wish him this now.

But Terri's life and her death should not be based on what's best for the Pope, for Tom DeLay, for Jeb and George, or even what you and I may want.

I don't want to see this woman die. You look at her face in those early photographs, and she is the personification of life just as those early photos with her husband show the personification of love. If I had a magic wand, I'd restore her cortex (and help a few thousands of others in a similar predicament).

But eight years ago, based on medical evidence, seven prior years of experience, and after searching his soul, the man Terri chose to marry came to the decision that it was time to act on what he and others say Terri wished: not to linger in a state like this. I can understand - to some degree - why courts were called in to consider whether this was the best action (a scrutiny most of us would not face in a similar situation. But they did decide.

Let Michael handle this on his own. I have no doubt he loved her and that he loves her. It is his private decision based on how he knew his wife.

Perhaps It's Time for the Peaceful Republic of Vermont to Declare War (of Sorts)

Vermont should NOT become what Texas, Florida, and some of the other states have become - a place where the residents' own best interests take a fourteenth seat to the national stage of Tom DeLay and George Bush. Vermont needs senators whose minds are very much on Vermont and what's best for its people (all people and not just the percentage of us who vote).

Oh, I expected the evil side of the GOP (which I do not believe has replaced all of the GOP yet) to come after Jeffords for his 2001 defection. But the level of nastiness since that date has been extremely high and we're now on notice that it's going to get even worse.

The Vermont GOP is actively seeking out-of-state money to slay Jumpin' Jim.

So the rest of us - the ones who feel Vermont should stay out of the cesspool partisanship part of the rest of the country enjoys vacationing in - need to keep it sane and in the state.

Jeffords may not be a Republican nor is he a Democrat. That's fine. Many Vermonters resist the "tag" of one of the two national political parties. More power to them (only in politics would be allow just two choices - imagine picking a car or a home from just two types).

True, we may not always like the way he votes. But on average, Jeffords represents the people of Vermont perhaps far better than our resident governor does. Between Jeffords, Leahy, and Sanders, we have elected officials in the national forum who remember what Vermont is and what it sacrifices to remain.

Jeffords has done what a national stage official should: he votes for the health of our nation, but without forgetting the people back home (us). He's not perfect and I'm not here to say that he is (got a few votes I'm not pleased about). But unless and until the Democratics or a third party put up someone who we can be sure would a) win (that seems to matter) and b) offers us much better representation, I think Jeffords deserves our respect and support (and many good suggestions on what he can do better).

Beyond that, however, and regardless of whether there is a better Dem/third party challenger, I think we owe it to Jeffords to protect him against the money and influence Tom DeLay and others will feed into Vermont. Protecting Jeffords in this case protects Vermont.

Who here would like Mr. DeLay of Texas or one of the wise, omnipowerful Southern states who seem to decide our elections to determine who represents the people of Vermont in the Senate? Not I.

Vermont GOP Goes After "Turncoat" James Jeffords

Well, while I don't love Jeffords' every single vote, a few (hundred thousand) of us might like Jumpin' Jim to stay where he is (I voted for him in 2000 when he was a Republican):

Declaring that it's payback time, the Vermont Republican Party is seeking money from out-of-state donors in its bid to oust Sen. James Jeffords, the independent whose defection from the GOP in 2001 stripped control of the U.S. Senate from the party for two years.

"Elected as a Republican, Turncoat Jeffords decided to single-handedly turn over control of the U.S. Senate to Tom Daschle and the Democrats," said the fund-raising letter, which was mailed to thousands of people in other states and signed by James Barnett, chairman of the state GOP.

"By working together, we can give Jim Jeffords what he deserves — forced retirement — and warn those who might think of doing the same thing in the future that they should think twice before pulling a 'Jim Jeffords,'" the letter said.

The tone of the letter — which Barnett said has already resulted in "healthy" donations — was immediately denounced by Jeffords' campaign manager as mean-spirited and unseemly.

"What surprises me the most is that a Vermonter would call for a nationwide attack on our senator," said Carolyn Dwyer, Jeffords' recently hired campaign manager who most recently managed Sen. Patrick Leahy's re-election bid last fall. "This isn't Washington, this is Vermont, and this type of gutter politics doesn't belong here."

The letter even drew a rebuke from at least one Republican lawmaker, who said that the state party should be ashamed of itself.

"This is just trash," said state Sen. Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden. "This is not an appropriate way to campaign."

DeLay Slashes Care for Others, But Curries Salvation with Schiavo Case

Let me pare Maureen Dowd into three important paragraphs:

The president and his ideological partners don't believe in separation of powers. They just believe in their own power. First they tried to circumvent the Florida courts; now they're trying to pack the federal bench with conservatives and even blow up the filibuster rule. But they may yet learn a lesson on checks and balances, as the federal courts rebuffed them in the Schiavo case.

Mr. DeLay moved yesterday to file a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court asking that Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube be restored while the federal court is deciding what to do. But as he exploits this one sad case, Mr. DeLay has voted to slash Medicaid by $15 billion, denying money to care for poor people in nursing homes, some on feeding tubes.

...it's not about her crisis at all. It's about his [DeLay's] crisis.

On a Personal Note

Happy birthday, Mr. J.

May you have a splendid day and many, many thanks for your three decades or so of fine friendship.

The Previous Post Brings Us to This Point

Also postured by DC Media Girl but something I've said before: CNN (and others) should NOT be using Faux News as the role model for anything except how not to be a news network. From DC Media Girl:

Over the past few months, we’ve all read an interminable number of articles which outline CNN chief Jon Klein’s grand plan for CNN. He blathers on quite a bit about "storytelling" and other such nonsense, but you and I both know that when push comes to shove, he’s really only talking about one thing: Beating Fox.

...CNN is competing against the wrong folks. Why? Because they’ve been suckered into playing along with the fiction that Fox is a "news" channel, which it isn’t. Fox is a delivery mechanism for a news-like product consisting of propaganda and infotainment, but one thing it DOESN’T broadcast is news. For more on this I refer you to OUTFOXED. And yes, I realize that the word "News" is Fox’s middle name, so to speak, but so what? I’m reminded of Stan, the character Eric Idle played in THE LIFE OF BRIAN, who asked his fellow revolutionaries to start calling him Loretta. Just because they obliged didn’t make him a woman, you know.

Since FNC is really in the entertainment business, perhaps it would be useful to compare the ratings of one of its primetime shows to another in the same time slot. Compare, if you will, THE O’REILLY FACTOR, the program Fox boasts the loudest about, to TNT’s LAW AND ORDER, with which it competes. On any given night, a ten-year old episode of L&O consistently beats "The Factor" by at least a million viewers, if not more. It’s fun to compare apples to apples for a change.

So here’s my message to Jon Klein: Cut it out.

And I'd love to see how DC Media Girl handled herself on a venue like CNN or MSNBC. But we won't get that chance. Not the way cable news (or network news, for that matter) is going, which is an express trip down into the public sewers.

GOP Lawmaker: The Party of Lincoln is Becoming the Party of Theocracy


The Times points out two notable dissenters (Sen John Warner and Rep Chris Shays) to the mad GOP personal tragedy power trip known as the Schiavo case:

Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, the sole Republican to oppose the Schiavo bill in a voice vote in the Senate, said: "This senator has learned from many years you've got to separate your own emotions from the duty to support the Constitution of this country. These are fundamental principles of federalism."

"It looks as if it's a wholly Republican exercise," Mr. Warner said, "but in the ranks of the Republican Party, there is not a unanimous view that Congress should be taking this step."

In interviews over the past two days, conservatives who expressed concern about the turn of events in Congress stopped short of condemning the vote in which overwhelming majorities supported the Schiavo bill, and they generally applauded the goal of trying to keep Ms. Schiavo alive. But they said they were concerned about what precedent had been set and said the vote went against Republicans who were libertarian, advocates of states' rights or supporters of individual rights.

"My party is demonstrating that they are for states' rights unless they don't like what states are doing," said Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, one of five House Republicans who voted against the bill. "This couldn't be a more classic case of a state responsibility."

"This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy," Mr. Shays said. "There are going to be repercussions from this vote. There are a number of people who feel that the government is getting involved in their personal lives in a way that scares them."

Newly Discovered

See what you can find in the Comments section? A few new post-ers also have blogs, including:

See? This Doesn't Hurt a Bit

If you caught Jon Stewart last night or a couple of other venues, you may have seen CNN's newest lame anchor, Rick Sanchez, take a jolt from a shock belt that they want to use on prisoners coming into court to make sure they don't misbehave.

Now, if any of you remember Rick the Dick from MSNBC as I do, you may have fostered some considerations such as "couldn't happen to a nicer guy" (a thought I had to keep from my mind). Ricky was just such a cheerleader for Bush, for the Miami family during the Elian Gonzalez mess, and for the Iraq War. And you just knew there isn't enough voltage anywhere to shock some brains into that head of his (but CNN isn't known for its bright news anchors the last several years).

But let's look at DC Media Girl points us to a piece in The Times on it (and you can see the video for yourself at Crooks and Liars) which is more reasoned than mine:

In a segment last Wednesday on the program "Paula Zahn Now," for example, Rick Sanchez, a former local news anchor who worked for Mr. Cheatwood in Miami and who joined CNN last year, strapped on a device known as a shock belt - worn around the waist, it can deliver 50,000 volts of electricity to a person’s body - and then gave a simple command: "Do it."

Moments later, Mr. Sanchez moaned audibly, crumpled to the floor, and, still panting after being helped to his feet, reported: "It hurts. It’s painful. But no one’s dead." Mr. Sanchez was attempting to show first-hand how a device like the shock belt might have prevented the courthouse rampage in Atlanta in which a judge and three others were killed by a rape suspect.

The morning after his program was broadcast, Mr. Klein was euphoric."I thought it was great," he told several dozen producers and editors...
Well, actually, yes, you would have some people dead from such a device which delivers more voltage that tasers/stun guns.

And let's not forget that we've had law enforcement types suggesting that using stun guns even when a "perp" is not yet giving an officer a tough time is a "nice little way of letting them know who's boss". Democracy Now ran a piece on this about a month back.



I've seen a number of newcasts where family members of brain injured people are saying the Schiavo case is just murder because...."this is our story".

But while sometimes people who are pronounced as tremendously brain damaged can make amazing progress, we can't confuse "brain damaged" as a catch-all category with the Schiavo case. Parts of Mrs. Schiavo's brain are liquified. This isn't someone who's going to magically eat a pretzel next week or go on the "Ellen" show next month.

Here's another misnomer: that a feeding tube isn't life support. It is. When you have a feeding tube inserted in such a way in a person who cannot - because of severe brain damage - even do something as involuntary as swallow, a feeding tube is indeed life support.

Do I still agree there should be a much better way for her to die than to be deprived of food and water? Oh yes. But the same people who are hell bent on raising Terri from the dead for Easter week are the same people who try to block every piece of legislation designed to allow people who choose to die on their own terms with proper medical palliative support from doing so.

When these people call themselves "champions of life", what they really mean is that they're willing to fight and perhaps kill to insist that YOU live YOUR life according to THEIR dictates. God gave us free will, these people take it away. God gave us minds, and these people insist they don't use theirs and will do all in their power to keep you from using yours.

If these people are indeed the great Christians they insist they are, I'd sure hate to see the bad Christians because they hate everything that our maker gave us.

Sadly, I Don't Buy That the DeLayites and Bushies Will Go Down for This

I've read in a few other places a theory that the whole Schiavo mess will ultimately be the downfall for the DeLays and Bushies of the world. But - as much as I would like to see them finally go down and stay down - I don't begin to believe they will.

These are the same people who brought us the impeachment, the wildly religiously orgiastic furor over a 5-year-old boy who was finally rightly returned to his father (Elian Gonzalez), and some of the worst abuses of corporations over average Americans. They see no shame on using a woman with no cortex to tout their platform. And Americans, sadly, will not punish them because they're naturally far more worried about the whole mess over the American Idol miscast votes, the Jackson trial, Paris Hilton's latest sex video and the shocker of the week: Whitney Houston back in Rehab.

New Poll Up

Over at the right somewhere plus I updated the ever-lengthening blogroll.

Dear George Letters

Regarding a previous comment I made suggesting flippantly that probably only favorable letters would be welcome for submission at Dear George Letters, a site that collects personal letters to the president, the fellow behind the project dropped a note to say that he tries to be fair and balanced in what is included. That's great to hear and makes me feel far more favorable about such a project.

National Right to Life Groups Fund the Schindlers

Almost all of the money coming into the Schindlers, which amounts to many millions of dollars, are being supplied by national Right to Life groups, according to a report on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show. Since then, their money has resulted in three or four situations like the current one where Terri was disconnected by law from the feeding tube and these people put her back on.

CBS News Polls on Schiavo

82% of all Americans are opposed to Congress and the president being involved, including:

    * 76% of all conservatives
    * 72% of all Republicans
    * 70% of all white evangelicals

Call in the Hounds!

Karlo has reappeared so I'll have to stop spreading the rumors that he was:

    * kidnapped by Jeff Gannon and sold into sex slavery
    * surreptitiously given the Koolaid and was now locked in a room being trained to be a good brown shirt by Ann Coulter
    * or (my personal favorite) that he was having a good time elsewhere (and how dare he?)

The Gospel of Rick Warren: The Purpose Driven Life

I just saw this fellow, the author of "The Purpose Driven Life" on Hardball. One deduces quickly that this is a used car salesman who dreamed up a way to get big sales with a book that appeals to the desperate.

He kept saying "Why is Michael Schiavo in such a rush to have her die?"

Fifteen years? That's a rush?

In other words, how dare Rick Warren? Man, any interest I might have had in at least perusing his book was gone once I heard this man - this chunky Bruce Willis wannabe - talk.

And yes, I'm sure Ricky boy's next book will be on this matter. He's repeating stories about how Terri always begins to talk when Jesus' name is said. Yeah.

The Other Patients in Schiavo's Hospice

At this point, it would almost be a blessing for the other patients at the hospice where Terri Schiavo is located if she could be moved to a different facility.

Hospices are specifically designed to provide quiet and peace along with palliative care and support services for terminal patients in their families. All the nut cases parading in and out of Schiavo's room and protesting outside must be making the situation hellish for the other patients and their families.

While it would be sad to move Terri from a place where she's familiar, it's really time to consider others for a change.

This is especially in this situation where the parents are not only being allowed "another" change at the courts, they're being allowed to go back and forth between courts who've ruled again and again their case has no legal merit. I can't recall another case ever that has been refused by the US Supreme Court three separate times only to have Congress force them to consider it yet again.

And for all the talk about returning Terri to her parents' loving care, court records I've seen posted indicate the Schindlers have actually been missing for periods of time from Terri's room for years. Not because the husband forced them out; because they simply were not there. If the court records are to be believed, the Schindlers haven't paid for her care or assumed much of it. A worker at the hospice sometime back said that it was Michael Schiavo and his girlfriend who went out of their way to bring Terri special things to wear and to take these things home to launder them. You know, the same people villified in the press.

If they win this case, they won't be taking Terri home and they won't be there to provide her care. That doesn't quite fit my definition of compassionate care.

It's not that I don't feel for the Schindlers. But personally, I wonder if the cause and their perceived rights have made Terri the person long since take a back seat. This happens unfortunately and is probably most likely in a situation where so many competing agendas are the ones offering the Schindlers all this backup.

The Dollar Continues to Fall

Numerous sources today indicate the American dollar is headed into unprecedented territory as it continues its freefall against other world currencies. Too bad this gets almost no attention in a world fascinated with Jackson, Schiavo, and multi-millionaires taking steroids.

In another report, the number of employers providing full benefits for their workers has also reached record lows.


FDA Seizes Killer Hospital Beds

I kid you not. This is a CNN headline.

My God, these beds are supposedly responsible for as many as seven patient deaths.

Now was it 27,000 or 55,000 estimated dead from Vioxx complications before the FDA ordered a voluntary recall only to reverse itself based on a panel populated with doctors getting money from the pharm industry?

Because I tell you, as a former Vioxx user, that I can now rest easy tonight because of federal marshals being sent out to seize beds. You'd almost think there are terrorists or something we could be using marshals for.

Donald Rumsfeld: "The insurgency slows progress"

And we pay him money for that snappy analysis?

Hell, Jeff Gannon could have told us that and Jeff's trigger might be cocked but his magazine is definitely empty, if you get my drift. Put the president and Jeff together in a room and the cumulative IQ has to get up around the triple digits (when they keep their mouths closed).

Poor, Poor, Poor Tom DeLay

You have to read this CNN piece on DeLay but please, if you have high blood pressure, please take your pills first.

The violins are really out in this piece about a man known "affectionately" as the Hammer (imagine what they say about him when the press isn't there).

You know what I would love? For this passion play this week to end with Jesus rising again on Sunday, getting on TV, and smiting Tom DeLay right in front of the nation. Perhaps the Messiah could throw in a warning for all men like DeLay who commit atrocities in the name of Christ.

Roy Moore: Creationism IS Science

The nut judge of 10 Commandments fame says (Hardball tonight) creationism is proven science while evolution is just a theory. I mean, you should hear him: "You have to teach creationism in science classes because you can't prove their isn't."

Activist judges indeed.

I need something for a headache and it's not Roy Moore.

And I'm Not Easily Impressed These Days

But these people - Americans for a Just Peace in the Middle East - impressed me with what I've read. I'm unfamiliar with the organization, however, so if anyone knows anything, give a shout.

Like their site states, I have to say that I think peace in the Middle East can be achieved only once we look at both sides of the issue and treat them equally and fairly. But we're forever hamstrung if we only see one side or equip just one side.

The Chicagoist Brings Us The Rise of the Machines

Joanne points us to The Chicagoist - an interesting stopover in the windy city (minus the wind and traffic around the loop, of course) - and a discussion of cryopreservation and connecting one's brain to a cybernetic body.

DeLay: "God Has Brought Us... Terri Schiavo"

From The Carpetbagger Report:

DeLay's comments to the FRC, delivered the same night the GOP memo reached lawmakers, should help expose this exploitative charade entirely.
    On Friday, as the leaders of both chambers scrambled to try to stop the removal of Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube, Mr. DeLay, a Texas Republican, turned his attention to social conservatives gathered at a Washington hotel and described what he viewed as the intertwined struggle to save Ms. Schiavo, expand the conservative movement and defend himself against accusations of ethical lapses.

    "One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," Mr. DeLay told a conference organized by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. A recording of the event was provided by the advocacy organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

    "This is exactly the issue that is going on in America, of attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others," Mr. DeLay said.

    Mr. DeLay complained that "the other side" had figured out how "to defeat the conservative movement," by waging personal attacks, linking with liberal organizations and persuading the national news media to report the story. He charged that "the whole syndicate" was "a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in."

The Irony: One Mother's Wishes Count; Most Mothers Do Not

It's with particular irony that the Rabid Wrongies want to acknowledge the profound desires of one mother - Mary Schindler - while they try to ram through an agenda that will take the rights of choice from all other women who may become pregnant.

It's frighteningly amazing too that Congress seeks to grant one woman extreme power over the rights of her 41-year-old daughter when other women will lose control over their own bodies when the child in question remains just a matter of cells that cannot survive outside the woman's body.

Shopping for the Right Schiavo Decision

As predicted, when yesterday's federal judge refused to order Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reattached, the parents flew into Federal Appeals court. And forgive me if I doubt there was any coincidence that the judge picked yesterday was a Clinton appointee there to look bad when he made the only legal decision possible (one reached in between 19 and 23 other court cases on this same matter): that there was no legal precedence to overturn the guardian's decision.

The Supremes have already refused to hear this case two or three times, saying the matter was for lower courts to decide and that the lower courts had followed the law. But I have no doubt the Schindlers will go there again and that Congress and Bush will somehow require them to act (and the "right" way, too, damn 'em).

Although it was a very dramatic lie, DeLay and Frist and Bush&Co kept saying that the parents of Terri Schiavo and Terri herself deserved their day in court. They pretended like the Schindlers have not already had endless days in court.

But exactly how many times and how many courts do the Schindlers get? They've litigated for eight years; they have never been upheld in a single decision (and in several of the courts, the judges were conservatives, religious, and believed in Bush's so-called "culture of life").

Among legal experts, they say that all the court proceedings to date have issued rulings based on very sound legal judgment. The Washington Post has a story today stating that the experts do not see how any court can rule for the Schindlers based on law. And throughout all of this, even the sympathetic and conservative judges have been greeted by death threats and other nastiness simply for ruling against the Schindlers and the Rabid Wrongies.

So what's the next step? Will DeLay and Bush create a special judge just for this case? Will they push through broad new law just to allow them to protect Terri's non-life so they can eliminate abortion? I think it's fairly clear that these people don't know when to stop.

Bush's Ownership Society: The Rich Own and We Just Pay

From USA Today:

In President Bush's vision of an "ownership society," people would have more choices and assume more risk in nearly every part of their lives. The result, in theory: They would save more, own more and rely less on the government - even if they're elderly, low-income or both.

"I think all public policy, or as much public policy as possible, ought to encourage people to own something," Bush says. The more people own, he adds, "the more they'll have a stake in the future of this country." (Related item: Some decisions easier to 'own', poll finds)

In practice, skeptics say, Bush's version of an "ownership society" would mean "you're on your own" - unless you are well-heeled, well-informed and already an owner. "It's a wonderful phrase," says former Clinton Labor secretary Robert Reich, a professor of social and economic policy at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. "But in fact, it's going to further concentrate ownership in fewer and fewer hands."

We'll Need Another Excuse

Uh oh. Kofi Annan reports that Syria will meet demands to withdraw from Lebanon completely. This means Mr. Bush will need a new excuse for attacking Syria.

Possibilities include:

    * We need to free them from themselves
    * Only 10-20% of Syria is Christian; Terri Schiavo would want it to be 100% Christian and to ban gay marriage, too
    * We need to bring them democracy in the form of more bad American chain fast food restaurants
    * "But Condi already bought the right boots to wear for announcing the invasion!"
    * We need to do something with the millions of Americans who will respond to the government's generous decision to open the draft...er... the Reserves and Guard to 30+-somethings
    * "The president promised the twins they could run a country into the ground just like dear old dad did."
    * Israel wants us to.

So Who's Making Assumptions?

Thanks to kos, I visited a wire service article stating how much the Rabid Wrongies (my new terminology for the people who call themselves GOP conservatives but who bear about as much resemblance to strong conservative or former GOP idealogy as I have to Kate Moss) are all giggly about the "opportunities" the Schiavo case represents for them to push forward their agenda.

Now, for days, we've heard so many - including the MSM - criticize anyone who dares imply that DeLay and Company have an agenda they're hammering into us.

Yet more and more, you see the completely unhinged Randall Terry, the "Operation Rescue" basket case who is not chief strategic advisor to Schiavo's mother), having a total almost sexual meltdown on the topic on every media outlet and we're hearing more and more of how Schiavo is the darling of their anti-abortion cause.

Here's a snippet from the wire article:

Christian evangelicals, a key component in President Bush's Republican Party, believe the case of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo may help inject new life into their long campaign against abortion.

"The right-to-life issue has been with us for over 30 years but never has it dominated the news headlines day after day as it is doing now," said Louis Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition (news - web sites).

"This case has generated a kind of inspirational activism. It is giving revival and renewal to millions of people who feel strongly about the culture of life and the protection of life," he said.

Republican leaders and President Bush had little choice other than to respond to Christian evangelical demands on the Schiavo case or risk alienating a crucial part of their political base, political analysts said.

"Bush and the Republicans can't do all that much on many of the things the religious right cares about. They can't end abortion rights and they can only ban gay marriage so many times," said American University political scientist David Lublin, who has studied the evangelical community.

"Here's a way they can tell their supporters, 'Look, we're acting on your agenda,"' Lublin said.

...Polls have shown a majority of Americans support Schiavo's husband, who has been fighting to allow her to die. For example, an ABC News poll on Monday found 63 percent favored keeping Schiavo's feeding tube out; only 28 percent wanted to have it reinserted. The poll found 70 percent of people said it was inappropriate for Congress to get involved.
And many polls show stronger opposition and less agreement than this one.

There's not even any noticeable cognitive dissonance among the media that the Rabid Wrongies are saying the same thing opponents like me state. ::shaking head::muttering::refusing to take map of Canada out of my filing cabinet again::

Living Will Redux

If nothing else, the Terri Schiavo case reminds us of the need to set our wishes down regarding "extraordinary" measures should we be unable to care for ourselves.

But a living will - and I say this as one who has had one since my 20s when as a hospice volunteer, I saw people in terrible shape, begging to go, being "brought" back - isn't a magic fix. Many hospitals won't recognize them or take them into account far less than other factors like ability to pay, like the Texas baby who was withdrawn from feeding because of a law then Governor George Bush signed into effect.

Your best bet is to find a doctor and a hospital near you who respects the concept of a living will and to openly discuss this with your family and friends. It's a tough subject, yes, but if you don't make your wishes known now, it's going to be hard for people to discern them later.

And even then you could still have men like Tom DeLay and Jeb and George Bush try to take the decision from you. We need to eliminate men like that from our political base.

Airline Passenger Restrained to Death

Boy, I'd like to know more about a case where a demand for another beer ends up with the passenger dead.

I think we've all had some miserable plane experiences, but I've noticed that egregious behavior in first class, for example, rarely ends up with the offender in handcuffs and certainly not - as in this case - dead.

However, I've had a number of friends and acquaintances tell me that they've seen real overreaction going on inside planes now. So I'm sort of wondering if that may be the case here. I have no idea.

Here's one example of what I mean: one told me of a flight to Chicago (I think) where a man who clearly wasn't feeling well was basically dragged out of a bathroom (where he was ill) and handcuffed. His offense seemed to be that he looked like a Saudi. While the person reporting said the man did get upset, it was only after they would not allow him to return to the bathroom where he'd been vomiting that he himself began to fuss.

Another: What was reported here was that a fellow with an accent that "might have been Middle Eastern" called the flight attendant over complaining because the kids sitting in back of him kept hitting him on the head.

The flight attendant blew him off and the mother of the kids started mocking the man and saying he had no right to complain because he wasn't even an American (I'm sure nationality matters when you're getting hit). The kids keep it up and at one point, throw something that hits the screen of the man's laptop. Guy gets out of his seat, now pretty mad. But he's not touching the kids or using profanity; he's saying the mother needs to control her children.

The flight attendant and air marshal jump all over the guy and tell him that if he doesn't sit down and shut up, they'll put him in cuffs. When one or two other passengers who've witnessed the extreme behavior of the kids, these passengers are told to shut up or they'll be in cuffs with the man. Guy sits down again and poof, one of the kids dumps the contents of a beverage container right over his head. Before the guy does more than start to get out of his seat, in fly the attendant and marshal again and - yes - the man sits cuffed the rest of the flight and gets turned over to police at the airport when the plane lands.

Is it illegal to cuff children? Should it be? ::grin::


Gee, I Can Think of a Few Things I'd Like to Tell Captain Flightsuit

Letters to George. Go write your own.

And unless it's slavering, don't expect it to make their cut. ::cough::

(With Apologies) Michael Jackson

Trust me, I had no great desire to write about this but...

I'm someone who has tremendous respect for Jeralyn Merritt, a defense attorney who has taken up the legal gauntlet for many people who would not have had adequate representation otherwise, including Tim McVeigh (feel how you want to about Tim McVeigh - OK City was an atrocity although I think perhaps we might be worrying that this Iraq War will bring us more McVeighs; he deserved representation as everyone does and Jeralyn was one of his lawyers).

But tonight - well, still love Jeralyn but I feel like Michael does't quite "Merritt" the sympathy. Jeralyn posted on her blog, TalkLeft, that it was unfair that the judge in the Jackson case was not interrupting the trial

Michael had his third, fourth, fifth, or 17th emotional crisis of this trial today, arriving in court late again, with a doctor in tow, crying, shaking, men on either side of him holding his arms and/or hands. He no sooner takes his seat than he gets upset and gets up to leave; so the trial goes on hold while lawyers and the doctor go into chambers. Michael has fallen and got hurt, we hear. Well, he fell less than two weeks ago, too. He seems to fall a great deal. Then there was his great flu with "a fever of 96.9" that stopped the trial for a week because he had to be hospitalized (only he slipped out of the hospital a day later).

Now, I actually do feel a little sorry for Michael. I don't think the story put up by this kid and his family is true (my opinion). But Michael insisted on flaunting his strange fondness for "the beauty of sharing your bed with a child" AFTER he paid off the first kid who he probably didn't molest either. He put the world on notice then that he was vulnerable and when tested, would pay. Probably not wise. However, I do appreciate that he may have felt it was required to pay off the first kid to keep his career. But his odd behavior pretty much derailed that career.

Michael is a tender creature. He's definitely not.. uh.. quite the same as everyone else. I appreciate that you can't cookie cutter everybody and every situation. Hell, I'll even go on record as saying California DA Tom Snedden should be prosecuting ANY PARENT WHO LETS THEIR KIDS GO to Michael Jackson's house.

But, Jeralyn, Michael made his bed, he let children lie in it, and now... well, the California judicial system and those jurors really don't deserve to have the process grind to a halt every time Michael can't cope. Michael can't cope a lot. This trial would never go forward. And there are far more important trials than Michael's. Many innocent people are probably being held in jails awaiting trial to try to prove their innocence, but Michael - and the nitwits who made this a 6 month trial - are making them wait.

The rest of us - those without celebrity - would have to sit there and go through it. Michael should, too. If this week has taught us nothing, it should be that celebrity causes and celebrity solutions are inherently unfair.

Um? Can You Pass a Unanimous Vote with Just Three Senators?

From Rude Pundit:

So, like, the AP story, the CNN story, the Fox "News" story and others all say that the Senate "unanimously" passed the thank-Christ-we're-not-talking-about-Social-Security Terry Schiavo bill.

Technically, this is true. But all these articles fail to mention what the Miami Herald does distinctly note: "Only three members were on the floor and the bill's prime sponsor, Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, served as presiding officer."

And those three members proudly raised their voices, and yes, technically the bill passed unanimously, just as technically Terry Schiavo is still "alive."

The Day from Hell

I hate to complain but.. well, I am.

Today started with a visit by an IRS employee who came to explain a tax problem and then assured me that "if you don't work with us, I will be your worst enemy. I'll take your car, your house, and whatever other assets we can find" (the kinder, gentler IRS). My last day of three weeks in ICU the summer before last, I got a notice from the IRS that I owed $9,000 extra in taxes for a year where I paid more in income tax than I have made in total any year since. Silly me, but I keep asking them to explain why I owe this money. It's never been explained. Still hasn't been.

I'd almost happily pay them just to go away, but I made about $20K/yr the last two years (one of the companies I do work for went bellyup leaving me with a lot of unpaid work plus the medical problems haven't left me gushing in money). Just medical expenses alone run me about $1,000 per month now so... oh, it's just a little tough to figure out how I cut a check for $9K.

So, silly me, I thought we could work out some plan since any year we're talking about, I pay more in income tax than many of America's top corporations. But no. So the IRS has graciously given me three whole weeks to do the impossible or, like Uncle Vinnie and Cousin Rocco, they take away my breathing privileges. This is a hoot!

So I go from the IRS man telling me the "worst nightmare" line to a mammogram where everything that could go wrong did. From there, I go to pick up a urinalysis kit, expecting that cut little jar. Nope. I walked out with a huge bag of big containers into which I must pee for the next few days. Let's see... yeah, that'll be great for my self esteem. Perhaps the IRS will take pee, y'think?

Then there was the lovely lady who managed to drop a large can of baked beans on my head at the grocery store as I bent down to get garbanzo beans while one of those people who like to use those motorized carts managed to knock into me from behind in one aisle and nipped my little toe in another. I did notice he was able to navigate fine off the motorized cart when he was getting a case of beer.

Unfortunately, that was the good part of the day.

And now Randall Terry (Operation Rescue) is screaming on MSNBC and managed not to let anyone else speak.

Would someone be nice enough to pull my feeding tube? I'm tired and I want to go. ::grin::

Jebba the Gut Jails Five-Year-Old for Tantrum

Now if only we could arrest his little brother for it.

General JC Christian has the story and just a darling photo of Jebba the Gut.

My Heart Bleeds

From Sludge..er...Grudge...no no Fudge... ah shit... Drudge (and no, I do not link to Drudge) and provided by reader CK:

PLAYGIRL editor-in-chief Michele Zipp has been stripped of her duties after she revealed how she voted Republican in the 2004 election.

Zipp, in an e-mail, claims she was fired after an onslaught of liberal backlash.

"Hello Drudge,

"After your coverage of my article about coming out and voting Republican, I did receive many letters of support from fellow Republican voters, but it was not without repercussions. Criticism from the liberal left ensued. A few days after the onslaught of liberal backlash, I was released from my duties at Playgirl magazine.

"After underlings expressed their disinterest of working for an outed Republican editor, I have a strong suspicion that my position was no longer valued by Playgirl executives. I also received a phone call from a leading official from Playgirl magazine, in which he stated with a laugh, "I wouldn't have hired you if I knew you were a Republican.

"I just wanted to let you know of the fear the liberal left has about a woman with power possessing Republican views."
Uh.. based on her e-mail and writing style, I suspect the woman's lack of talent may have had more to do with her release than her politics.

But you could tell she was Repug because of the sneering way she said "Underlings".

In other words, this is a woman who's making up a story. Perhaps she thinks Weekly Standard or Faux will hire her if she cries on Matt's oh so sympathetic, oh so manly, oh so greasy shoulder.

Just Too Many Good Places (If Only Life Would Offer More Such Problems)

BTW, this reminds me how many good sites I see around these days. I fell in love with online analysis of issues back when Media Whores Online was active but while I'm constantly checking new sites, I found that there were a dozen I "tried" to get to every day and those same dozen didn't change much (except as some like Counterspin, Media Whores, and others stopped blogging).

But just in the last week or two, I've found so many others, including several very savvy women (not that I - unlike Kevin Drum - ever felt a dirth of them - wink, wink, wink) I hadn't heard from before. DC Media Girl is one. Jesse Taylor's "fellow" female blogger at Pandagon is another along with Cookie Jill at Skippy's.

The Carpetbagger Report - not a woman-driven blog - is another great find that several of us seemed to discover all at once, and I loved my visit to Discourse.net yesterday and a bunch of others I'd never seen before.

Of course, there was also My Foot Your Ass that seems to have a particular um..er..uh... fondness for Ana Marie Cox of Wonkette:In the ass fucking capital of the world Ana Marie Cox was spotted at the Wired’s Rave awards. No word on how many drinks it took to get Ms. Juicy Ass wired (did she just bring her own bottlebag?) or whose dick she had to suck to get invited. Anyone have any pictures? Preferable with her fully clothed but smashed.It reminded me that I used to avoid Wonkette like the plague because it always struck me that there were far more serious things to worry about. But I have to admit that site's ended up on my "visit once a week" list. In between a lot of snark, there is some meat. But I still enjoyed Screaming Mimi's (one of the bloggers at My Foot, Your Ass) take.

I've got to figure out how to manage my links better because I swear I've found a good 100 more blogs/info sites this past week I want to include. And many of you - including Craig (The Intense Inane whose link I can't find right now) and other regular readers - have great blogs that aren't inherently political but are every bit as enjoyable.

Prostitution Media Style

DC Media Girl brings us a pointer to one of the best and truest lines I've ever read in The New Republic (before, during, OR after Stephen Glass) or just about anywhere else recently:

Prostitution is legalized in two places in America: in Nevada and on the airwaves.
This refers to the Ashley Smith case and the way the media went nuts over her "hero" status. The article's a good read; I encourage you to take a peek (registration required but it's free and less invasive than most).

MissM Raises an Excellent Point...

If only, only, only George Bush had acted as quickly on 9-11 as he did for Terri Schiavo.

Or maybe he's planning to go down to Florida and read her, "My Pet Goat."

When to Let Go

Craig in comments brings up a good point in discussing someone he worked with who was in a coma for about a year but came back from it. There are definitely cases like this, although (sadly) pretty few and far between. And we're still learning about the human brain. Technology, while not perfect, also gives us various scans and analysis devices that can give us a much more accurate reading on the state of the brain - electrical, chemical, and physical - than we had even a decade ago.

However, even owing to mystery and science yet to catch up, there are some things that seem like pretty clear indicators of a brain that cannot recover at the state of medicine today. Many people who suffer comas, for example, do not necessarily experience - and may not for some time - the kind of physical, chemical, and electrical changes that get put in the grab bag we call "brain death". Comas develop for a number of reasons - including some illnesses like the one I had a couple of years ago which we treat by inducing coma.

Terri Schiavo, very sadly, lost a great deal of her functioning brain on the day she had her cardiac crisis 14-15 years ago. She's not in a coma but a permanent vegetative state (they call it persistent on the news but once you reach the year mark, it's called permanent). Most of her brain has no detectable brain activity. Between 40-60% of her brain had been replaced by fluid. For her, there is not going to be a time when she will be able to control any bodily event, let alone live by our common definition of same.

If Terri did not have this extent of damage, if there had been ANY sign in 15 years that she might ever have progress, I don't think we'd be here. The only thing actually that has kept Terri alive so long is the fact that her husband achieved a settlement for her to pay for her custodial care. Yet he's being villified.

So yes, I think we have to be very careful about who we consider "lost" because, like Craig's friend and two people I've met, there can be recovery. But we know there isn't recovery and regeneration of various parts of the brain, and Terri, sadly, is missing more than one key part.

But the same Congress and president who pushed this through have written law to endanger people with more quality of life than Terri and to allow health care facilities and NOT family to decide when to discontinue support. So why Terri's case has become so hot is very much open to question.

Idiots Passed the Damned Bill

May this come back to haunt ALL the signers in both sides of the house, regardless of party.


Frist Messaging CNN Telling Them He Knows More About Brain Damage and Terri Schiavo Than Doctors on Her Case

Not joking.

Frist is a liar, a fool, and flat out evil.

Tim Russert Can't Even Write?

(rolling eyes)

From Grove in NYDN:

HELP TIM RUSSERT WRITE HIS NEXT BEST SELLER! Now that Random House is planning a Father's Day 2006 release of the "Meet the Press" host's sequel to "Big Russ and Me," Russert's partly ghost-written paean to his salt-of-the-earth dad, he's looking for free writing samples to fill up the pages. Russert's Web site, bigrussandme.com, exhorts: "Tell Tim a story about your Dad!" If Tim uses your story, forget about being paid, but you will get an autographed copy of the book.

CNN Med Experts Keep Saying That No One

who has gone more than a year with Terri's medical condition has EVER come back, even in cases where there was less brain loss than in hers.

But CNN keeps then having non medical experts who insist that they have permanent coma patients tell!!! them all the time that they were glad they were not disconnected from life support. I'm starting to think not all the brain damaged people are in nursing homes. A lot of them appear to be in Congress and on CNN tonight.

Jobs in Bush's America: Corporate Profits Never Higher; Employee Benefits Never Lower

Here. Snip:

Slashed sick leave is part of a broad assault on labor — roundly ignored in the last election — across a downsized workplace as the burden of risk shifts from employers to employees, who, if anyone's listening out there, are livid about it, whether Republican or Democrat or independent. Companies are cutting or eliminating vacation leave (nearly a third of American women don't get any; a quarter of men), pensions, health insurance and ergonomics rules. Meanwhile, the Economist reports that corporate profits in the U.S. are higher than they've been in 75 years as benefits — including sick leave — shrink.

Holy Week

Oh yeah and don't think yourself too cynical if you notice that Congress planned this whole Schiavo debacle for Holy Week. Perhaps on Easter, Frist is planning to play hands on poor Terri and make her spit out the 10 Commandments.

Another Piece of Irony

Bush rushes back for Terri Schiavo....

But he didn't rush back from more than a month off in Summer 2001 with all those terror threats to do anything that might have made 9-11 less successful for its planners.

He doesn't rush back from Crawford to make certain Americans have body armor when sent to war.

But for this, he rushed back. One woman=one cause is more important than almost any other American life, even those who have given their lives for Mr. Bush and this country.

For God's Sake, Let's Get the Science Out of Science!

I've seen this various places (and I wish I could remember to credit them all), but this one is taken from Seeing the Forest by David Johnson:

A New Screen Test for Imax: It's the Bible vs. the Volcano
    The fight over evolution has reached the big, big screen.

    Several Imax theaters, including some in science museums, are refusing to show movies that mention the subject - or the Big Bang or the geology of the earth - fearing protests from people who object to films that contradict biblical descriptions of the origin of Earth and its creatures.
Thanks to The Blogging of the President.

The Bill Congress Wants to Pass

is a law being created for one person. When Jeb Bush got the Florida legislature to do this, courts determined it was unconstitutional.

The Supremes have already refused this case for sometime and for several times. Federal courts have declined this.

And the family's back on CNN making statements that fly in the face of the record in the court. "Terri could be on the floor of Congress now testifying." "A lady just woke up in Kansas and is fine (the woman in Kansas does not have a cortex turned to Jell-o)." "That more medical experts say she can completely recovered than not." "That no court has really reviewed this case."

And the legal settlement they keep referring to the husband getting was rather small: a couple million. Care like Terri's costs hundreds of thousands a year. Plus there are legal fees. So where do they get off saying the husband absconded with the money? The "loving" Schindlers do not pay for her care.

Watching the House Debate

Robert Wexler and Debra Wasserman Schultz have been particularly effective thus far. But it's horrific this is going on. They didn't even want to allow real debate on the matter, saying that Democrats were callously allowing Terri to starve for extra hours.

And the foreign press is just aghast with many of Sen Bill Frist's comments who has outright lied about the medical facts of the case and spouts medical "facts" without ever examining her or her record and of Tom DeLay's horrible comments about the husband.

I love this. Debbie Wasserman was making some excellent point so - BOOM - Judy Woodruff jumps in cutting off the coverage so they could go to commercial. Debbie was giving some unpleasants facts like the Texas baby taken off life support against the objections of all his family because the family had no money, and about Bush's "futile" med case law that allowed hospitals rather than families to decide when to pull the plug.

CNN=Conartist News Ninnies

Now We're Lying About North Korea, Too

Pointed out in The Post by Hunter at Daily Kos:

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that North Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state.

But that is not what U.S. intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction. North Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride -- which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium -- to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key U.S. ally with its own nuclear arsenal, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence, the officials said, that North Korea knew of the second transaction.

Pakistan's role as both the buyer and the seller was concealed to cover up the part played by Washington's partner in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders, according to the officials, who discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity. In addition, a North Korea-Pakistan transfer would not have been news to the U.S. allies, which have known of such transfers for years and viewed them as a business matter between sovereign states.

The Bush administration's approach, intended to isolate North Korea, instead left allies increasingly doubtful as they began to learn that the briefings omitted essential details about the transaction, U.S. officials and foreign diplomats said in interviews. North Korea responded to public reports last month about the briefings by withdrawing from talks with its neighbors and the United States.

Proving the Schiavo Case Should Have No More Exit Strategy than Iraq

From The Times:

Insurgent attacks flared across Iraq today, leaving at least 30 people dead, including an American soldier, exactly two years after the American military began its campaign to topple Saddam Hussein.

The attacks showed that the guerrilla war still burns fiercely here, long after President Bush proclaimed major combat operations to be over and despite a high turnout among Iraqis in the Jan. 30 elections. In what appeared to be a pitched battle, insurgents and American forces fought at noon on the outskirts of Baghdad. The American military said that 24 insurgents were killed and seven wounded, and six American soldiers were injured. It did not give more details.

Tensions between the Iraqi and Jordanian governments exploded again today, as each government called home its envoy from the neighboring country. Leaders of the two countries have been at odds since Shiite politicians in Iraq called for protests against a Jordanian man whom a Jordanian newspaper said last week may have been involved in a recent suicide car bombing. That attack killed at least 136 people in the town of Hilla, the worst death toll of any single bombing here.

In Amman, a military court sentenced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who is the most wanted man in Iraq, to 15 years of hard labor for his role in planning the bombing of the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad in August 2003, news agencies reported. An associate of Mr. Zarqawi's who had been detained by the Jordanian authorities was sentenced to three years in prison. Mr. Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for ambushes, bombings and beheadings that have killed hundreds in Iraq, and the American government has placed a $25 million bounty on him.

The American soldier who died today was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in the morning near the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk, the military said. At least 1,520 American soldiers have died in the war. Three other soldiers were injured in the attack. The explosion came a day after three Iraqi police officers were killed in Kirkuk in the bombing of a funeral procession of a police officer who was fatally shot on Friday.
Thank God all we talked about yesterday was a woman for whom 9-11 and neither Iraq War or Bush Administration has happened.

Books for Soldiers

Buzzflash.com also points us to what looks like a GREAT program.

Give soldiers the gift of a book.

A Conservative Asks "Where's the Outrage on Torture?"

Here from Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe. Thanks to Buzzflash for the point.

Texas Withdraws Life Support From Poor Baby

From Mark Kleiman who cites a case I have not heard before. I was not aware Bush had signed into law a measure that allows hospitals to terminate care solely on the basis of inability to pay. Why aren't the right-to-whatever-life-I-want-to-controllers upset about this?

Sun Hudson, a six-month-old boy with a fatal congenital disease, died Thursday after a Texas hospital, over his mother's objections, withdrew his feeding tube. The child was apparently certain to die, but was conscious. The hospital simply decided that it had better things to do than keeping the child alive, and the Texas courts upheld that decision after the penniless mother failed, during the 10-day window provided for by Texas law, to find another institution willing to take the child .

Where, I would ask, is the outrage? In particular, where is the outrage from those like Tom DeLay, who referred to the withdrawal of Terry Schiavo's life support as "murder"? If it's appropriate to Federalize the Schiavo case, what about the people being terminated simply because their cases are hopeless and their bank accounts empty?

Sun Hudson is dead, but 68-year-old Spiro Nikolouzos is still alive, thanks to an emergency appeals court order issued yesterday. However, his life support could be cut off at any moment. A nursing home is willing to take him if his family can show that he will be covered by Medicaid after his Medicare runs out. Otherwise, the hospital gets to pull the plug.

The Texas cases contrast with the Schiavo case in two ways:

1. Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, but isn't terminal. The two Texas patients were terminal but not vegetative. It seems to me that the distinction between a patient who is aware and a patient who isn't aware is the morally relevant one, while the disctinction between a death that is sure to occur soon and a death that is sure to occur eventually is morally irrelevant. (Try pleading as a defense to a murder charge that the victim had a terminal ailment.)

2. Terry Schiavo's husband has decided that she would have wanted to die, and the courts have upheld his view against the view of her parents. The mother of Sun Hudson wanted her child to live, and the wife and children of Spiro Nikolouzos want him to live. So while the Schiavo case is an intra-family dispute, the two Texas cases pit the families against health-care institutions motivated at least in part by financial considerations.

GOP Senators See Schiavo 2006 Elections "Dividends"


Republican officials declared, in a memo that was supposed to be seen only by senators, that they believe their attention to the issue could pay dividends with Christian conservatives, whose support is essential in midterm elections such as those coming up in 2006.
But this is buried WAY down in a story that begins like this:
Congressional leaders tried again after being rebuffed by a determined Florida judge and agreed Saturday to pass a compromise that they said will require doctors to restore sustenance to Terri Schiavo for the third time in four years.

The extraordinary intervention by Washington for a single person, in a wrenching question that families typically wrestle with in private, required a Saturday session of the Senate during Easter recess and will bring both chambers back to the Capitol today, Palm Sunday.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., stepped into a nearly empty chamber at 6:15 p.m. Saturday and said Congress "has been working nonstop over the last three days to do its part to uphold human dignity and affirm a culture of life."

Frist said he is committed "to see this legislation pass and give Terri Schiavo one last chance at life."

The legislation, which congressional leaders said they plan to pass today or Monday, would allow a federal court to review the case. Lawmakers said Schiavo's feeding tube will have to be restored while that review is underway.

President Bush has said he would swiftly sign such a law. The legislation would prolong a medical and legal drama that has pitted the incapacitated Florida woman's husband against her parents.
Remember Bill Frist? The compassionate doctor who held up Tsunami rescue and relief operations so he could get his photo taken in front of multiple disaster sites?

The HMO many-times-over millionaire who's gotten rich on sick people - and not because he treated many of them either? That one.

You Have to Hand it to Them

From CNN:

As Congress considered legislation today that could lead to the re-insertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, her mother urged members to set politics aside. "Please gentleman, don't use this bill as your own personal agenda," Mary Schindler said. Shortly after on Capitol Hill, House Republicans delayed a possible vote and scrambled for support in the face of Democratic opposition.
This is accompanied by a picture of Mrs. Schindler looking like a martyr before the cameras, all these religiously frocked people laying their hands on her as she speaks, directly in front of a lovely sign that says "Auschwitz Pinellas Park Division."

I'm not a Jew but I'm deeply offended by that comment. Comparing the Schiavo case to the extermination of six million plus Jews, Catholics, dissidents, and others in Nazi death camps is a bit extreme, even for the nut crowd.

I'm also offended by CNN's constant postering on this... the carefully chosen images that are clearly meant to evoke sympathy toward one side alone, the dramatic words from the mother telling Congress to set partisanship aside (which is ridiculous given that it's a particular agenda that's allowing this to consume Congress and the White House alone), just before they wrap it up by making the Dems seem like the bad guys.

Faux, of course, was worse. The two times I've turned on the station since Friday, they refer to it as "starving to death a young woman" (who's 40 who hasn't said a word, felt deep pain stimulus, recognized when she's peeing or defecating, or lived a moment of life in fifteen years). But all of the channels are making the husband and the court seem like executioners.

Meanwhile the judge in Florida who has been handling this case with careful consideration for more than five years - a man described as socially conservative and deeply religious - is receiving death threats and threats to remove him from the bench. Why?

That's a rhetorical question: most of the "don't abort fetuses but go ahead and execute minor children" crowd is very happy to inflict death in many cases. They're the ones who love to see fourteen-year-olds sentenced to death, who wouldn't pay an extra tax penny to feed a hungry child unless they see an angle in it, and among whom doctors who practice proper gynecology and obstetrics are targeted for murder.

Some of the abortion changes drafted in the last few years NO LONGER weight the life of the mother in risky pregnancies as a major factor in determining whether a termination of pregnancy can take place. The intent here is to weight the fetus, an incomplete human being, as worthy of more protection than the mother and having more rights than the mother.

But aside from all this crap comes one simple issue: the court has repeatedly recognized (and appeal courts upheld) that the woman's husband serves her best interests as guardian, that there is sufficient case to believe that she would not have wanted to live in this state, that all reasonable medical evidence indicates there is no hope for recovery, and that we have 15 years of evidence that she will not progress.

This is a private family decision. Every day in this country, families face it. Not everyone agrees with the decision ultimately made but courts don't have to recognize anyone but the accepted guardian. Congress, the president, and all those people touring this woman's room have no right to interfere.

Unless you want Congress to tell you how to live and die and what choice you make for your loved ones, I think we need to be sending a message to them that's it time to leave this case alone.