This morning I read about an individual with health problems who keeps
her living will in her refrigerator. She figures the paramedics will check the fridge to see what medications she's on, and
they will find it there.
But I thought, why not post it online? I'll have lots of witnesses that way. So,
in the likely event that someday I'll be too incapacitated to speak for myself, please:
1. Don't take my picture wearing some ugly-ass hospital gown and make it public.
I will haunt you.
2. If Randall Terry comes within three miles of my hospital bed, shoot him.
3. If Randall Terry survives the shooting, please dress him in an ugly-ass
hospital gown and send the photo to Faux Nooz.
4. The following objects are not to be permitted anywhere near my home or hospice: Giant styrofoam spoons; bowling pins, especially if juggled; video
or film cameras; clowns and/or politicians. If such persist in hanging around, perhaps a display of Randall Terry's head on
a pike will discourage them. Worth a try.
5. If the time comes that my higher brain functions such as cognition, memory, and
self-awareness are truly gone, please do not waste resources on me. Take me off the tubes and pull out the needles and dump
me out of the bed, and use those resources to save someone who still has a life.
6. However, if by some miracle the only person on the planet who might need those
resources is Randall Terry or some other Fetus Person, keep me hooked up as long as possible. It's what they would want, I'm
7. Also, before carrying out request #5, get a second opinion.
8. To my family, know that whatever decision you make is OK with me, so don't beat
yourself up over it.
9. In the unlikely event I leave an estate, use some of the money to throw a really
outrageous party and make a large donation to any respectable organization working to provide single payer health care for
10. Otherwise, if you check under the sofa cushions and the kitchen cabinet drawer
under the microwave, you might find enough loose change to buy a six-pack. Enjoy.
Only a day after the New York Post cried "Enough!" Terri Schiavo complied, ending a brief life and the intense media circus that
has surrounded her impending death. Well, check that; maybe it isn't ending. The banner on the Fox News web site (" Terri Schiavo's death—reaction and the continuing debate on FNC")
hints that while the prayer circles may disperse from Woodside Hospice, the story isn't going to go away. [Village Voice]
The monkey is reaching For the moon in the water. Until
death overtakes him He'll never give up. If he'd let go the branch and Disappear in the deep pool, The whole
world would shine With dazzling pureness. Hakuin
bunker mentality n. An attitude of extreme defensiveness and self-justification
based on an often exaggerated sense of being under persistent attack from others.
Michael Fletcher writes in the Washington Post that the White House is requiring President Bush's cabinet secretaries to spend
several hours a week at the White House compound.
Under a directive instituted by Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr.
at the start of Bush's second term, Cabinet secretaries spend as many as four hours a week working out of an office suite
set up for them at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. There, they meet with presidential
policy and communications aides in an effort to better coordinate the administration's initiatives and messages.
The secretaries are chirping about how wonderful this practice
is and how it is helping them build a "cohesive team." Others aren't so sure:
Paul C. Light, a professor of public service at New York University
and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, sees its purpose differently. "This administration has been very conscious
in the second term of the need to control what happens in Cabinet agencies and to make sure Cabinet officers don't get too
far out there," he said. "I find it absolutely shocking that they would have regular office hours at the White House. It confirms
how little the domestic Cabinet secretaries have to do with making policy."
Some scholars said the new office-hours requirement continues
a trend in which Cabinet secretaries have become less architects of policy than purveyors of initiatives hatched by the political
and policy officials in the White House.
Apologists on the Right Blogosphere point out that Bush is running the White
House on a "business model," which should concern anyone who knows what happened to all of George W. Bush's businesses. But,
of course, it's a bad excuse, anyway. Anyone who has worked in even a middle-management level of even a medium-size business
knows that meetings are not about getting work done; they are about setting agendas and coordinating strategies.
In fact, in my experience, a staff can be over-meetinged to the point
that the meetings interfere with the business. I've seen it many times, and it's usually an indicator of
a really incompetent department head. Some of the best bosses I've had rarely called meetings. If circumstances
require several meetings a week, that's usually an indicator of crisis mode.
And since cabinet secretaries are something like division heads of a really
big company, frequent meetings make even less sense. Division heads of Procter & Gamble don't work that closely
together. The head of the Toothpaste Division and the head of the Disposable Diaper Division are not working out of the same
office suite. I suspect they see each other only a few times a year.
The only reason for the secretaries of Agriculture and Education to be working
together that closely is if they're up to something other than Agriculture and Education. Instead of a business model, the
White House seems to be working with a bunker model. Instead of working in support of the nation's policies, they're working
in support of Administration politics.
"This issue is beginning to permeate. People, whether they're sitting
on a tractor or anywhere else in society, are beginning to hear the message: We have a problem," Bush told the mostly Republican
audience. ... Bush said Wednesday that the public is realizing the extent of the problem and will soon start asking, "What
are you going to do about it? How come you are not solving it?"
But it appears that Republicans in Congress are slowly
working up the courage to publicly admit that the public ain't buyin'.
key GOP lawmakers who joined President Bush on Wednesday as he pitched restructuring Social Security said that Bush has failed
to sell the American people on his plan to change the 70-year-old federal retirement system.
"Today, the public has not found his personal account approach
compelling," Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) said in an interview late Tuesday, less than 24 hours before appearing with Bush at Kirkwood
Community College here.
Leach went on to say that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles
E. Grassley, a fellow Iowa Republican, "is convinced the momentum is not there, and I am convinced the partisan goodwill is
not there." Leach is one of several GOP members who have refused to endorse private investment accounts, the centerpiece of
the president's Social Security plan.
Grassley, chairman of the Senate panel responsible for
Social Security, said in a separate interview Tuesday afternoon: "I don't think [Bush] has made much progress on solving the
solvency issue or what to do about personal accounts. It concerns me because as time goes on, I was hoping the president would
be able to make my job easier. We are not hearing from the grass roots that, by golly, you guys in Congress have to work on
this." Grassley supports private Social Security accounts.
I don't remember seeing this much resistance to any Bush initiative
in the first term.
This is speculation, of course, but seems to me Bush's eroding
approval numbers and the continued resistance to Social Security reform has either sent Dubya into postal mode, or else he's
oblivious to it. Either one is bad. Either one might be reason to head for the bunker.
John Danforth was my senator, a long time ago, when I still lived in
Missouri. I don't believe I ever voted for him, but he turned out to be OK. Missouri has sent much worse people to the
Senate, although maybe a few better ones.
On the whole, John Danforth has always struck me as a man who makes up
his own mind about things and who doesn't always march in lockstep with other Republicans. So, even though I disagreed
with him often, and even though he played a large role in the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, I believe
him to be an essentially honest man, and a man of principle.
So with that faint praise, I point to an op ed in today's New York Times, in which Mr. Danforth says, "By a series of recent initiatives, Republicans
have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians." And Danforth makes it clear he thinks
this is a bad move.
The problem is not with people or churches that are politically active. It
is with a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious
When government becomes the means of carrying out a religious program, it
raises obvious questions under the First Amendment. But even in the absence of constitutional issues, a political party should
resist identification with a religious movement. While religions are free to advocate for their own sectarian causes, the
work of government and those who engage in it is to hold together as one people a very diverse country. At its best, religion
can be a uniting influence, but in practice, nothing is more divisive. For politicians to advance the cause of one religious
group is often to oppose the cause of another.
Have I mentioned that Mr. Danforth is also an ordained Episcopal minister?
Anyway, this is essentially the same argument I made in my American Street post this morning, although Mr. Danforth says it more concisely.
I have a quibble about this paragraph:
In my state, Missouri, Republicans in the General Assembly have advanced legislation
to criminalize even stem cell research in which the cells are artificially produced in petri dishes and will never be transplanted
into the human uterus. They argue that such cells are human life that must be protected, by threat of criminal prosecution,
from promising research on diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and juvenile diabetes.
It is not evident to many of us that cells in a petri dish are equivalent
to identifiable people suffering from terrible diseases. I am and have always been pro-life. But the only explanation for
legislators comparing cells in a petri dish to babies in the womb is the extension of religious doctrine into statutory law.
My quibble is that Danforth implies the Missouri legislature has only recently
begun to enact an extremist religious agenda. Nah, they've been up to that for years. The voters elect perfectly
reasonable people to the legislature, and they go to Jefferson City and turn into whackjobs. I think there's something
in the water.
Now, forgive me for being judgmental, but is there a bigger asshole in
America today than Hugh Hewitt? Rush Limbaugh himself may be worse, but as Rush is the prototype of assholeness, the standard against which all
other assholes must be judged, I'm not sure he counts.
Hewitt, who does not mention the fact that John Danforth is an ordained Episcopal
minister, writes that Christian conservatives are perfectly willing to work with the Republican Party on secular issues as
well, but ...
[Religious conservatives] also have an agenda
that seeks to reduce the number of abortions, to empower parents in the lives of their children, to preserve marriage as it
has always been, and to assure that schools are not the preserves of left-wing ideology. It is simple arrogance
to assert that these goals are not consistent with the historic traditions of the party of Lincoln, which began as a party
of moral certainty that slavery was wrong. In demanding that morality not play a part in the party's council's, Danforth
is the one arguing for an abandonment of the GOP's history.
The paragraph above is populated by several straw men. Mr. Danforth certainly is
not arguing "morality" not play a part in public policy. But "extremist right-wing Christian agenda" and "morality" are not
synonyms pseudonyms. And Hewitt is hardly one to talk about arrogance.
What Hewitt and others miss is that there is an enormous difference between allowing
your religious beliefs to inform your judgments -- that slavery is wrong, for example -- and enacting purely
sectarian religious doctrine into legislation, like banning stem cell research. The only reason to ban stem cell
research is that it violates the religious dogmas of some Christians. If you don't happen to believe that human DNA is, literally,
sacred, then the stem cell ban makes absolutely no sense. Slavery, on the other hand, is wrong on a humanist basis
as well as a religious basis. And, the fact is, in the antebellum South a lot of slave owners defended the peculiar institution by citing
their religious beliefs.
Update: I've been reminded here that stem cell research isn't banned, which is true, and it was sloppy of me to say so. It's so severely restricted in the United States it can barely be done at all. But it's not banned.
Another argument is that, because some people think stem cell research is immoral,
they shouldn't be forced to pay for it with their tax dollars, so the government must not fund it. This is a juvenile argument.
I've met a few pacifists who, in an act of civil disobedience, refuse to pay the portion of their federal taxes that go to
the military. I respect peaceful civil disobedience, and I think this is a far more adult measure in this circumstance. I
hope the pacifists reflect on the fact that they live in a nation that might not be here had it not fought for survival
a few times, however.
But you can take this further. Creationists should be objecting to tax dollars going
to medical research that is in any way based on evolution theory, which could be most of it. You could probably make a case
that they wouldn't want to fund the Center for Disease Control, which spends a lot of time tracking evolution of viruses. They
should also resist making federal territory available for oil drilling, since by their logic petroleum shouldn't exist.
People who object to using animals in all medical research (which I believe strongly
should be limited to tests that are not inhumane) shouldn't have to pay to fund that, either. Maybe vegetarians should object
to paying for meat inspectors.
Look, in this country, you can probably find a few people who object to just about
anything the government does. If a minority of people want to object to a particular thing the majority want to pay for, they
should go the civil disobedience route. And, they can always try to persuade others to agree with them and eventually make
a majority. That's how this republican government thing is supposed to work.
Under Bush's approach, personal accounts "are complicated," wrote Alex J.
Pollock, a finance expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, in a paper he will present at AEI today. "To
many people, they are downright confusing and even frightening, and they require diverting a portion of payroll taxes away
from the U.S. Treasury."
Conservative Harvard University economist Robert J. Barro broke with the
White House in the April 4 issue of Business Week, writing, "Overall the accounts are a bad idea." Tyler Cowen, a free-market
economist at George Mason University, has linked his Web log, Marginal Revolution, to Barro's dissent, declaring, "Robert
Barro agrees with me on Social Security."
The conservatives interviewed have diverse reasons for their misgivings.
Some of them are long-time supporters of the idea of private Social Security accounts, but they say they don't like Bush's
plan. This is interesting, because he doesn't actually have a plan, just goals. And that may be part of the problem.
Kevin A. Hassett, director of economic studies at AIG, said the splintering
of ideas among conservatives is only natural. For all of its talk, the White House has yet to formally propose a comprehensive
overhaul of Social Security, and in its absence, intellectuals have jumped into the fray.
But with so many ideas in play, the White House has to step in soon
with a plan around which conservatives can coalesce, Hassett said.
"If the White House doesn't have a plan soon," Hassett
said, "it's very unlikely the White House will win."
The article doesn't say this, but I can't help but
think that some of these guys are just appalled at the Bush's gross mismanagement of the nation's money. And, though
they still may want Social Security privatization someday, they may believe the Bush Administration cannot
be trusted to execute a privatization plan without screwing it up.
I also think it's interesting these guys are crawling
out of the woodwork now, just as the Mighty Rightie Coalition is coming apart over Terri Schiavo.
Also, see Liberal Oasis to read about how the Mighty Righties are cracking over support for Tom DeLay.
Also in WaPo, Dana Milbank reports that "President Bush, his brother Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and congressional leaders have all but abandoned their efforts to
keep Terri Schiavo alive." Will the Religious Right ever forgive them?
CBS News reports that Michael Schiavo's brother's
wife was approached by a stranger who threatened to kill her. We're going to be very lucky if no one is murdered in the name of Terri Schiavo in the next few days.
Paul Krugman writes that we've been way too slow to recognize how dangerous the extreme Right has become.
Randall Terry, a spokesman for Terri Schiavo's parents, hasn't
killed anyone, but one of his former close associates in the anti-abortion movement is serving time for murdering a doctor.
George Greer, the judge in the Schiavo case, needs armed bodyguards.
... The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time,
not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already
killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk.
Krugman says that it's time for moderates to stand up to the
extreme Right. Well, some of us have been trying, haven't we?
But what what institutions are there to counter the Right? The
Democrats at the moment are stepping aside to let the Republicans hang themselves, which is tactically smart. The so-called
"news media" continues to cater to the whackjobs, so they're no help.
But where are the religious moderates who might speak up? Maybe
we need to add another verse to "Where Have All the Flowers Gone." There are many religious moderates in America, but I can't
think of a single moderate religious leader who is reasonably well known and widely respected.
Awhile back I wrote about the way the two biggest Christian denominations in the U.S. -- the Catholics and the Southern Baptists -- have
been deliberately purging themselves of moderate and liberal members. And the rate at which allegedly Christian ministers
have ignored Matthew 7:1 (Judge not, lest ye be judged) and piled on the let's-smear-Michael-Schiavo scrimmage is downright
alarming. Last night on some bobblehead show I caught a bit of Robert Schuller, whom I had considered fairly innocuous, explaining
that Michael Schiavo's love for his wife is not genuine, but just selfish. 'Scuse me, Reverend Schuller, but how
the hell do you know that?
These guys flatter themselves that they're on a crusade to fight
evil, and thus they've been co-opted by evil. This is how evil works. The Bible thumpers should stop thumping Bibles and read them instead.
The first major-party presidential nominee to use television "spot" ads
as part of his campaign was Dwight Eisehnower, in 1952.
At the time, many people found this outrageous. It was undignified, they
said, to sell a president as if he were toothpaste. Eisenhower's opponent, Adlai Stevenson, said of the ads, "I think
the American people will be shocked by such contempt for their intelligence. This is not Ivory Soap versus Palmolive."
The father of all American presidential campaign ads was a Madison Avenue
advertising executive named Rosser Reeves, who was also the creator of the M&M “melts in your mouth, not in
your hands” campaign. Reeves convinced Eisenhower that spot ads would be a more cost-effective way to reach voters than stumping
around the country giving half-hour speeches.
Of course, Eisenhower won by a landslide, and in the rematch of 1956 Stevenson used
television ads, too. But Stevenson still didn't like it. "The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like
breakfast cereal," he said in 1956, "is the ultimate indignity to the democratic process."
"Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. I would say to John, 'Let me
put it to you this way. The Lord Almighty, or Allah, whoever, if he came to every kitchen table in America and said, "Look,
I have a Faustian bargain for you, you choose. I will guarantee to you that I will end all terror threats against the United
States within the year, but in return for that there will be no help for education, no help for Social Security, no help for
health care." What do you do?' My answer is that seventy-five per cent of the American people would buy that bargain."
—Joe Biden, in TheNew Yorker, on what he would
say to John Kerry
"Look, the answer is, we have to do an unbranding. We have
to brand more effectively. It's marketing."
—Kerry, in the same piece, on the Democrats' need to sell themselves
In fifty years we've gone from thinking of political
marketing as some newfangled gimmick to not being able to see politics in any other way but as marketing. It's
all spin, positioning, talking points. In the 2008 televised debates, expect the candidates to yell at each other: "Less filling!"
Although I admit I'm having fun thinking of "Melts in your mouth,
not in your hand" as a campaign slogan.
Last week I wrote about the product testing of Hillary for President ("She's grrrrreat!") and despaired that Dem insiders will be clueless enough to push her to the nomination. Along the same
lines, Matt Taibbi looks at the way Dem insiders still think the way to America's heart is through war, in spite of the fact
that support for our ongoing wars has eroded into minority approval numbers.
In the midst of all of this, the Democratic Party is preparing
its shiny new 2008 position on Iraq and terror. Described in Goldberg's New Yorker article, the political plan is centered
around a new faction that calls itself the "National Security Democrats" (a term coined by that famous liberal, Richard Holbrooke)
and is led by revolting hair-plug survivor Joe Biden. The position of the "National Security Democrats" is that the party
should be "more open to the idea of military action, and even preemption" and that the Democrats should "try to distance themselves
from the Party's Post-Vietnam ambivalence about the projection of American power." Additionally, the Democrats ought to reconsider
their traditional stance as an opposition party and learn to embrace Republican heroes like Ronald Reagan. ...
It would be easy to dismiss the Biden revival as a cheap stunt
by a discredited party hack with all the national appeal of the streptococcusvirus, except for one thing. Biden's
"national security" camp includes all four of the expected main contenders for the Democratic nomination—Biden himself, Hillary
Clinton, Indiana senator Evan Bayh, and John Edwards. New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, another outside contender, is also
a member of this camp. We are going to be hearing a lot about "National Security Democrats" in the next three years.
First, John Edwards ("The best a man can get!") needs to get
away from these zombies, now. Go back to North Carolina, John. Walk the hills. Grow a vegetable garden. Get to
know the cashiers at the Wal Mart and the waitresses at Betsy's Breakfast Nook. Reconnect with flesh-and-blood Americans again.
Taibbi goes on,
... we have come to expect that the cultural figures
we call the Democrats will respond to electoral failure first by sniveling and finger-pointing, and then by puffing up their
chests and telling their dates they know how to handle themselves in a bar fight. From the Republicans we expect just the
opposite; beaten at the polls, they immediately start cozying up to snake-handlers and gun freaks and denouncing school lunches
Gawd, ain't that the truth?
But another way to look at this is to understand the GOP base as a coalition of niche markets. Republicans go to
the Gun People and promise to save their guns. They go to the Fetus People and promise to save the fetus. They go to
the Money people and promise they can keep their money and get a lot more on top of that. But the Dems' pitch is,
"Our soap is blue like their soap and comes in an orange box like their soap and cleans as good as their soap." Not real compelling,
especially when customer surveys indicate that 51 percent of soap purchasers long for a green liquid soap in a blue
I'm not saying the Dems should start pandering to a lot of interest
groups, because (as the GOP may be learning now) that strategy has its limits. I'm saying (first) that its time for the Dems
to stop thinking of politics as just another kind of marketing. People are being marketed to every waking hour these days,
and we've gotten numb to it. I think we need a whole new approach to political campaigning, especially at the presidential
level. I don't know what that would be, but I strongly suspect John Kerry ("The champagne of bottled beer!") and Joe
Biden ("Pork: The other white meat!") aren't the ones to come up with it, either.
Second, I'm sick to death of the righties snickering that liberals
have run out of ideas. First, it's not as if the righties have had any really new ideas since Goldwater;
and second, anyone who spends time on the Left Blogosphere knows there are some brilliant, original thinkers on the Left
with lots of innovative ideas about good governance. However, the beltway zombies don't know we're here and aren't listening
to us. I'm not sure what to do about that, either.
But until we sort it out, remember: Government of the people,
by the people, and for the people. It's good to the last drop.
Thomas Jefferson must be spinning in his grave. Recently I've noticed righties talking about a "constitutional" right to life, which was news
to me, but of course they were talking about the Declaration of Independence. From the Weekly Standard:
This matters because abortion, not assisted suicide,
is the mother of all American social issues. We say American, and not Russian or Chinese or British, because it is the American
founding document that guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and asserts as its only authority
that of the Creator--the authority of Nature and of Nature's God. If you had to pick one reason that there is a pro-life movement
in America and not Europe, it is the nature of our founding.
Talk about a fuzzy-headed, ideological muddle! The authors (Jeffrey Bell
and Frank Cannon) are too dishonest to come out and say they're talking about the Declaration; instead, they call it a "founding
document" (do they think we won't recognize it?). And then they misrepresent what it says. Let's take a look:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers
from the consent of the governed ...
If it were up to me, Mr. Bell and Mr. Cannon would be sent to a very large chalkboard
and compelled to write "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
several thousand times. The righties always seem to overlook that part. Yes, Jefferson attributes the Rights of
Man to a creator, but the Rights of Man applied to all men, not just Americans, including Russian and British,
although Jefferson like most 18th century men struggled with whether the Rights of Man applied to nonwhite
people. There are some still struggling today. (Hat tip: Stirling Newberry)
Further, it might interest them to know that abortion was legal in Britain and its colonies at the time the Declaration was written. It didn't occur to the Founders to make it
illegal. The movement to make abortion illegal began after the Civil War. So if the argument is that opposition to abortion
is a bedrock American tradition -- bunk.
Further, the Declaration doesn't "guarantee" anything. Nothing in it was meant to
be legally binding to a nation that didn't exist yet. In 1776 it may not have occurred even to Jefferson that there would
be one American nation instead of several. But when the Founders got around to writing the Constitution, notice that it doesn't
mention God at all.
This is why the Fetus People so love the Declaration; it's the one slender thread
of documentation they can find to strengthen their case that America was "founded" on religious principles. But the Declaration
didn't "found" anything; all the "founding" came several years later.
This article is titled "The Politics of the Schiavo Case," but it says very little
about Schiavo, or politics. Mostly it seems an attempt to console the Fetus People that although they've lost the battle,
they will still win the war.
On to more muddle-headedness: The Los Angeles Times reports that in 1988, Tom DeLay decided, with other members of his family, to end his father's life support and let him die. Naturally,
many on the Left Blogosphere engaged in bloggerly snickering about this, as reported on Memeorandum. But Michelle Malkin objects:
The DeLay and Schiavo cases are worlds apart, for heaven's
sake, and it is patently unfair to compare the two. DeLay's father's had suffered broken ribs and a brain hemorrhage; he needed
a tracheotomy and ventilator to assist his breathing; his kidneys failed; multiple infections ravaged his body. Unlike Terri
Schiavo, he was in a state of steady deterioration and at death's imminent doorstep within days of his accident.
And Terri Schiavo would have died fifteen years ago without medical
intervention, but never mind ... Malkin and others on the Right make a distinction between assisted breathing, which they
consider "life support," and assisted eating, which to them is not life support. Frankly this seems to me to be a bugaboo
in their own minds, and my understanding is that law tends to consider feeding tubes to be life support just as much as respirators,
as do I.
The significant difference to me is that, according to the Los Angeles
Times, Mr. DeLay was comatose. If so, it's possible he was aware of everything going on around him, which is
not the case of Terri Schiavo. I'm not saying the DeLay family made the wrong call. But I've known people who lingered for
months after a massive brain hemorrhage, slipping in and out of comas, occasonally enjoying a few fleeting moments of lucidity.
So, it seems to me, removing life support from someone who is comatose is a much harder call, not an easier
one, than it is for someone in a persistent vegetative state.
You'll like this: Later in her article, Malkin says, "Couldn't the reporters have found a single medical expert to make the point for balance?" Notice she says "balance" instead
of "understanding the medical facts." The amazing rightie brain at work. But after several days of getting "balance"
from mouth-foaming politicos, grandstanding media bobbleheads, TV psychics, and has-been pop singers on the Terri Schiavo
case, the notion of listening to "medical experts" seems almost original.
Update: Malkin makes another argument that I didn't
address, which is that the DeLay family agreed unanimously to withhold life support; it wasn't Tom DeLay's decision alone.
Malkin and this guy believe family unanimity make the DeLay case entirely different from the Schiavo case.
In other words, if Terri Schiavo dies while her parents want her to live,
it's murder, but if the whole family agrees to let her go, it's not murder? If the whole family gets together and decides
to smash in Grandma's head with a shovel, is it not murder?
The question of what is or is not murder is a legal one, and the law says
the husband is next of kin and makes the call. The Schindlers were given due process -- more than due process --
and now the law and nature are taking their course. Tom DeLay stepped way out of bounds to interfere with established
process. His prior experience with end-of-life decisions suggests he was not acting out of principle, but political expediency.
Malkin can make all the excuses she wants, but plain facts are plain facts. [end update]
Speaking of medical experts: Here's a medical expert who explains why the videos that appear to show Schiavo smiling and responding to her mother don't prove anything.
Meanwhile, our President is showing resolve and moral courage in the face
of roiling public disagreement by hiding out on his ranch. Michael Kinsley writes today that Bush "enjoys the stubborn conviction of the unreflective mind." But today he seems to have taken his stubborn
convictions out of sight.
And those of you who still think Ralph Nader might make a great president
should read this.
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the
president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is
morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt, 1918
The War Prayer
I come from the Throne -- bearing
a message from Almighty God!... He has heard the prayer of His servant, your shepherd, & will grant it if such shall be
your desire after I His messenger shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say its full import. For it is like
unto many of the prayers of men in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause & think.
"God's servant & yours has prayed his prayer. Has
he paused & taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of
Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken & the unspoken....
"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered
part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you
in your hearts -- fervently prayed, silently. And ignorantly & unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these
words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is completed into
those pregnant words.
"Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also
the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our
hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved
firesides to smite the foe.
"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody
shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown
the thunder of the guns with the wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire;
help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their
little children to wander unfriended through wastes of their desolated land in rags & hunger & thirst, sport of the
sun-flames of summer & the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of
the grave & denied it -- for our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter
pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded
feet! We ask of one who is the Spirit of love & who is the ever-faithful refuge & friend of all that are sore beset,
& seek His aid with humble & contrite hearts. Grant our prayer, O Lord & Thine shall be the praise & honor
& glory now & ever, Amen."
(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire
it, speak! -- the messenger of the Most High waits."
· · · · · ·
It was believed, afterward, that the man was a lunatic,
because there was no sense in what he said.