Saturday, March 26, 2005

I Was Wrong - Jeb Has Lost His Mind

I suppose if I saw my national political career going down the tubes I might panic, too. Especially if I was the anointed one, the older, one, the smart one, the one who was supposed to be President first. It has to be galling to watch brother dumbBush preening from the throne Jebbie was supposed to occupy.

Speaking of "occupy", apparently Jeb sent law enforcement officers from two different Florida state agencies to seize poor Terri Schiavo, take her from her hospice & reinsert her feeding tube.

Police 'showdown' averted

Apparently one of those law enforcement officers realized they were being sent into a hornet's nest without a bee hood, because they called ahead to warn local police they were coming. Local police said Hell, No, no court order, no deal.

Insane. Were they going to hold a gun to a physician's head to force the reinsertion of the feeding tube? No doctor who wanted to have a medical license tomorrow would undertake a surgical procedure on the most famous hospice patient in the world.

God save me from becoming a political football. Fifteen years in a persistent vegetative state.

Did you know that until 2000, the parents of this poor woman admitted that she was in a PSV? According to the Miami Herald, in January of 2000 their own lawyer even admitted this in open court:

''We do not doubt that she's in a persistent vegetative state,'' Pam Campbell, then the Schindlers' lawyer, told the court. Later, Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos, asked Mary Schindler, ''Is Terri in a vegetative condition now?'' to which she replied, ``Yes. That is what they call it.''

And there's no way the parents can "take care" of this woman. They couldn't do it 15 years ago; they certainly can't to it today. From the same article:

Michael Schiavo and the Schindlers brought Terri home briefly in the fall of 1990, but were overwhelmed.

There is a time to let go. It's long past. Stop the insanity & let this woman go.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Crackpot TV

I swear, I have never seen so many completely off-their-rocker people on TV before. Fox & CNN are competing to see who can put more right-wing nutjobs on the screen in an hour. Fox is of course winning but CNN is making a valiant effort. Just now, on CNN, the brainless newsreader breathlessly asked an "on-the-scene" reporter in Florida, (I'm paraphrasing here) "We just had [right-wing crackpot] on, and they are asking Governor Bush to throw out the Florida Constitution in order to save this woman's life. Is the governor considering this?" And she was SERIOUS, she gave this kind of wild, insane speculation credence.

Does CNN think Jebbie's cerebral cortex has liquified, too?

Apparently the religious wingnuts have decided that Jebbie is responsible, that if Terri Shiavo dies it's on his head & they will bring him down. Check out If Terri Dies It's Jeb's Fault on World O'Crap for the threats being made on Jebbie's political career. (Click on March 23rd when you go on World O'Crap.)

Years ago I had a client who had lung cancer. He loved Jack Kevorkian. My client had undergone incredibly painful & aggressive treatment for his cancer, and he was determined that when he couldn't take it anymore the decision to let go would be his. He thought Dr. Kevorkian was a hero & should be given a medal. My client died long before Kevorkian was put in jail for assisting two people with Alzheimer's to end their lives. He would have been horrified about Kevorkian being in jail. And he would be railing about Tom Delay, Bill Frist and the other meddling hypocrites in Congress for stepping into this very personal, painful & private decision.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

In Sync With Katha Pollitt

I swear, I didn't read this:

Invisible Women by Katha Pollitt

Or maybe, like so many op-ed editors, they just don't see women, even when the women are right in front of them.

Before I wrote this:

Why I Can't Get a Column at the LA Times

Men just hire people who look like them (other men) and then look about wonderingly when women cry foul.

Read Katha, she's right on.

The Numbers Don't Lie

Benjamin Disraeli was right. There ARE lies, damned lies, and statistics. Barry Bond's statistics are the ultimate damned lie.

If I hear one more sportscaster (hello Hazel Mae!) say, in reference to Barry Bonds, "When it comes to Barry Bonds, the numbers don't lie", I will scream.

Hello, THAT'S THE POINT. The numbers of an admitted juicer are all lies. He cheated to get the stats. Therefore, the statistics are lies.

Could we stop saying that, please?

Christy Todd Spineless

Christy Todd Whitman was dumbBush's first EPA chief. She did nothing for the environment, let Cheney dictate policy, and resigned to write an "Aren't I a good Republican" book.

Bill McKibben lets her have it: Christy Todd Whitman: When Courage Was Called For, She Punted

Bush promised to lower carbon dioxide emissions during the 2000 campaign, actually had her to go the G-8 summit and promise the same, and then when she got back to DC he called her in & changed the policy. Now, says dumbBush, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant & the US will not agree to caps.

Did she fight this? Go all Elliott Richardson on Shrub & resign in high dudgeon over this? Oh, no. As McKibben describes it:

I can't think of an instance in modern U.S. history when a Cabinet member had been so neatly, quickly and publicly kneecapped. But instead of doing the right thing, Whitman did nothing.

In a spectacular display of political cowardice, she settled down at the EPA, devoting herself to minor pieces of legislation such as the one that extended limits on diesel emissions to vehicles for "non-road uses," like tractors and backhoes. Not a bad law, but in the end no big deal. Whitman had a chance to make a real difference on what one panel of Nobelists after another has called the worst dilemma human civilization yet has faced, and she'd passed it up.

Imagine what would have happened if she had simply quit, accusing the president of reneging on a promise, undermining relations with our allies and, more to the point, neglecting the most crucial environmental challenge that's ever appeared.

It would have lifted the issue out of its relative obscurity and set it at the center of American political debate. Whitman could have done more to move the United States off the dime about global warming than any politician before or since.

Whever any Democrat or liberal tells me we need to support moderate Republicans, I think of Christy. Not exactly a profile in courage. I'll stick with the Dems.

Bonds Turns Juice Into Whine

Woe is Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds is tired. Tired. Tired. The media has made him jump off a bridge (the Golden Gate?) Everyone is against him. It's making his children cry. Boo-hoo, woe is me, nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms.

I gotta agree with Gary Peterson, in his article on MSNBC today: No one's buying Barry's pity party: Star has nerve to blame media for image he created

His concluding grafs:

For him to attempt to invoke pity is as impressive a feat as his low-orbit home run off Troy Percival in the 2002 World Series. Because, when you get right down to it:

Nobody told him to associate with trainer (and childhood friend) Greg Anderson, and nutritionist Victor Conte, two of the four targets in the BALCO case.

Nobody told him, when questioned by the BALCO grand jury in November, 2003, to give the literally unbelievable testimony (later leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle) that he used cream and clear substances thinking they were flaxseed oil and arthritis balm.

Nobody told him to keep a mistress for 10 years, an arrangement that is currently biting him in the hinder as she rats him out as a potential felon.

Nobody told him to sneer and scowl his way through the summer of 2001, when he set the single season home run record.

Nobody told him to loaf on ground ball outs to the point that local radio broadcasters were criticizing him on the air.

These are choices Bonds made, as is his right. The shocking thing is, he can't see how those choices have led to his stature as the least-loved player in the game.

But there he was on Tuesday, strapping on his pity party hat above sad, boo-hoo eyes. That's just another reason why, should this be the beginning of the end for Bonds, should he fail to hit the 53 home runs he needs to become baseball's all-time leader, a lot of people will be partying for another reason.

And they won't all be at Hank Aaron's house.

Monday, March 21, 2005

While MSNBCNBCFOXNEWSCSPAN et al are convulsed over the Schiavo case, very little of substance has hit the airwaves.

Here's the best commentary on the case, from the blogs(of course it's from the blogs, you were expecting actual news from the media?):

The Facts:

The Terri Schiavo Information Page, by Michael Conigliaro, from the Abstract Appeal blog

The Ethics:

Terri Schiavo, by hilzoy on the Obsidian Wings blog

Terri Schiavo, Part I: The Medical Post
Terri Schiavo, Part II: The Ethical Post by Rivka, on the Respectful of Otters blog

The politics are rather obvious.

I'd like to make it clear that it is my wish that I NOT be kept alive through medical treatment if I were in this situation. Give me a big dose of morphine & let me go.

Profile in Courage?

The judge who's been assigned the Schiavo case is named James Whittemore. Here's his bio:

Whittemore, James D.
Born 1952 in Walterboro, SC

Federal Judicial Service:
U. S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
Nominated by William J. Clinton on October 20, 1999, to a new seat created by 113 Stat. 1501; Confirmed by the Senate on May 24, 2000, and received commission on May 25, 2000.

University of Florida, B.S.B.A, 1974

Stetson University College of Law, J.D., 1977

Professional Career:
Private practice, FL, 1977
Assistant federal public defender, Office of Federal Public Defender, 1978-1981
Private practice, FL, 1981-1990
Judge, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court, Florida, 1990-2000

Race or Ethnicity: White

Gender: Male

Terri Schiavo Case

While Corporate Media reports every 15 minutes on "The Fight To Save Terri Schiavo", the phrase with which every story on MSNBCNNCNBCFOXNN is prefaced, here's what is missing from the coverage; from Digby:

By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schiavo's because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.

Those who don't read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is "stepping in to save Terry Schiavo" mimicking the unctuous words of Tom Delay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.

This is why we cannot trust the mainstream media. Most people get their news from television. And television is presenting this issue as a round the clock one dimensional soap opera pitting the "family", the congress and the church against this woman's husband and the judicial system that upheld Terry Schiavo's right and explicit request that she be allowed to die if extraordinary means were required to keep her alive. The ghoulish infotainment industry is making a killing by acceding once again to trumped up right wing sensationalism.

This issue gets to the essence of the culture war. Shall the state be allowed to interfere in the most delicate, complicated personal matters of life, death and health because a particular religious constituency holds that their belief system should override each individual's right to make these personal decisions for him or herself. And it isn't the allegedly statist/communist/socialist left that is agitating for the government to tell Americans how they must live and how they must die.

As an attorney, I am waiting to see if the federal judge who gets this case has the guts to declare the law unconstitutional and dismiss.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Why I Can't Get a Column at the LA Times

Shorter Michael Kinsley ("He wrote, she wrote") in today's Washington Post:

I can't hire women columnists because I have to give equal time to conservatives, and they're all white men.

Here's what he says:

Newspaper opinion sections also want diversity of political views. In recent years, that, frankly, has led to reverse discrimination in favor of conservatives. And an unpleasant reality is that each type of diversity is at war with the others. If pressure for more women succeeds -- as it will -- there will be fewer black voices, fewer Latinos and so on.

Why should this be so? Aren't there black women and conservative Latinos? Of course there are. There may even be a wonderfully articulate disabled Latino gay conservative who is undiscovered because she is outside the comfortable old-boy network. But there probably aren't two.

Hey moron, I got news for you: Every other group but gender has half men and half women! Really! You can look it up! Age, race, disability, nationality, ethnic origin, even sexual orientation, pretty much every group is half men & half women!

Men just hire people who look like them (other men) and then look about wonderingly when women cry foul.