While We Were Out

(Update: Michael Jackson died today also; strange day.)

I’m not quite up to writing anything substantive today, but I want to point out what’s been going on while everyone has been talking about Mark Sanford.

President Obama’s health care “television special” struggled for viewers, and in part thanks to the Sanford circus doesn’t seem to be getting much buzz now. And I missed it, too.

One health question asked of the President that is getting a little buzz is futile care. That is, what measures do you take for people who are unquestionably terminal? The President said something about families getting better information so that dying people aren’t subjected to “additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care.” Naturally the Right is distorting this as one of the Evils of Obamacare. But of course at least one state has a futile care provision already, signed into law by a Republican governor in 1999, that allows “hospitals to discontinue life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient or guardian ten days after giving written notice if the continuation of life-sustaining treatment is considered medically inappropriate by the treating medical team,” per Wikipedia.

Steve M. has a post on health care that’s worth reading.

Farrah Fawcett died today. On the other hand, reports of Walter Cronkite’s imminent demise are exaggerated, his family says.

It’s not clear to me what’s going on in Iran, so I’m not sure what to link to for latest news. This backgrounder in Salon is informative, however.

9 thoughts on “While We Were Out

  1. I didn’t see it either, and I think it is a bad idea, the campaign is over. The infomercial thing seems a little slimy to me, like something Karl Rove would stage. His answer to any questions about “what to do about this condition or that condition” should be whatever ones doctor and family come to agreement on. Any answer other than that will always be used by the wingnuts (insurance, for profit health industry hacks) against any reform. He should get a decent bill and pass the god dam thing, he has majorities in both houses. The repubs have shown they have no intention on compromise so I say pass the bill without them, who cares. Bipartisanship is highly overrated!

  2. Does anyone else remember that, at the same time of the Terry Schiavo case, a hospital in Texas dismissed the objections of a mother who wanted them to continue care for her baby and discontinued all treatment. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it??

  3. Your mention of Farrah Fawcett and the question about “futile care” has me wondering what we’d learn from a profile– on Frontline, say– of the cancer treatment Farrah Fawcett or Patrick Swayze have received, compared to the cancer treatment Mrs. Jane Smith of Quahog, Rhode Island, or Mr. Harry Jones of Albuquerque have received for their identical types of cancer. Then we’d compare those to the quality of cancer treatment available to members of the U.S. Congress, or their families.

    I remember a story that Hillary Swank told in an interview, about her health insurance coverage (iirc, provided through the Screen Actors Guild) suddenly disappearing not long after she’d won the Oscar for Boys Don’t Cry, because her salary for that film (or perhaps during that year) was below a Guild minimum. The winner of the Best Actress Oscar had just lost her insurance, because essentially she was considered to be “part-time.”

    Maybe we’d learn that we really are all in this together– unless we’re Congresscritters. Could be a bit of a motivator.

  4. For the next week, look for nothing but Michael Jackson coverage. It will make Anna Nicole Whomever’s coverage look minor.
    Jackson’s death will be covered like Reagan’s funeral. It will be like a State Funeral.
    Unless something absolutely earthshattering happens, nothing else will be shown (all the better to screw us on health care, My Dears).

  5. What’s weird about the health care situation is that polls report something like 75 % of the public wants a strong government role (I forget the wording exactly), and so it’s hardly controversial. No wonder people didn’t tune in. I’ve also sensed a resignation among those I’ve talked with, that real health care reform isn’t going to happen. It’s the perfect way to win a war: sow doubt in an enemy, so they never even show up to fight.

    It is a weird day: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I’ll never forget her famous pinup poster which brought a fine, 70s feminine grace to an old college buddy’s dorm room. Many perfectly fine hours were spent gazing thereupon.

  6. I saw the the teevee “town hall” last night, and it was another exercise in futility. By refusing to consider single-payer, Barack Obama is making the same mistake Hillary Clinton made 16 years ago. The Democrats still haven’t learned anything. They’re still trying to negotiate a compromise with the beneficiaries of a corrupt and broken system, one that makes Wall Street seem like a paragon of virtue and efficiency. I’m worried that it won’t work, and that we’ll miss a great opportunity. And then there’s Charlie Gibson …

  7. Old Gov. Sanford has to be quite happy tonight. The death of Michael Jackson will take all the media oxygen for at least a week. I think he’ll get off Scott Free!

    You know the man (Jackson) had some talent, and he was my homeboy, but I don’t feel he lived his life very well. If you ask me he wasted alot of opportunities that 99.9% of us never get. All that fame, wealth, notoriety and for what? Pretty much nothing but just tabloid fodder. To much bizzaro acting out, but that is what we seem to like in this country. We love those god dam celebrities don’t we!

  8. Hunter has an interesting essay over at DailyKos:

    I can imagine no worse curse to afflict someone, in America, than dying while famous.

    He was strange to the point where he became a poster child for strange, but it was all the sadder because you could tell exactly where the trouble had come from. Since he was a child, he never once had a normal life or happy family or, apparently, any stable cadre of friends that would not defend him against his own absurdities, or screw him over for a little money…. He was a superstar, and perhaps an addict. He was a dominant American force, and perhaps something malevolent. He was undoubtedly unbalanced, mentally and physically frail, maybe even insane. And he was brilliant.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald could have written his life story. His was the essence of modern American fame and wealth; an icon of both the selflessly good and the shockingly bad; famous, but alone; shining genius and grotesque self-destruction in constant competition.

    Even at his peak he was a tragic figure, already isolated. Wasn’t it always obvious why he used his millions to build himself a full-fledged childhood? And how sad it was that he had, apparently, nobody around who could act as an adequate foil. He surrounded himself with friends as he could, but also with fools and clowns and hangers-on.

    He was like the kid from the Twilight Zone, I always thought, the one who could get anything he wanted, or wish anyone he wanted into the cornfield, and nobody would or could say a thing about it… He was not human, not like them. And he seemed to feel it exquisitely. He mutilated himself — there was no other word for it. Over decades, he tried to turn himself physically into something else — a thing in his own image.

    Michael Jackson was a dismembered soul; bits and pieces of him had been long ago sold off, and of his own volition….

  9. There’s a thing they do on the local news here, and probably everywhere else, where the local ASPCA or whatever comes on the set with the “dog of the day.” They tell that particular dog’s sad story, then they get 10,000 calls from people who want to adopt That Particular Dog. Tomorrow, they do the same thing.

    I keep thinking, what about the larger dog problem? There is a kennel full of dogs with stories that you can adopt. But people are able to wrap their heads around That Particular Dog but not the greater problem. I think they’re overwealmed by the bigger problem.

    I can wrap my head around Farrah Fawcett. We all could have donated our money to fighting her particular cancer, and taken an interest in her disease, and can mourn her death. The greater issue of cancer in America is overwealming. Everyone got wrapped up in Terry Schiavo and paid no attention to the million other people who had the plug quietly pulled that day.

    The big problems are just too big.

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