Thursday, March 31, 2005

Rest In Peace

Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo has died.

Unconfirmed reports are that her parents were not allowed to be with her at the time of her death.


Blogs for Terri reports:

Michael Schiavo threw the Schindlers out of Terri's room - trusted source. (I can't post the rest of the message, and am biting my tongue to keep from saying what I really feel)


The Associated Press has confirmed Terri's parents and siblings were not allowed to be a Terri's bedside at the time of state-sanctioned death.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bigoted Supreme Court

Supreme Court permits Terri's death.

Over thirty years ago the Supreme Court decided the Constitution permitted the taking of life within the womb, and now they have stamped their imprimatur upon the extermination of the disabled. The Supreme Court is unfailing in finding new ways to take life, but cannot spend any time thinking about what it means to protect life.

We have made this bed, and many innocents will continue to be killed in our nation because we pretend we can know what life is worth living.

Again, I recommend Joe Ford's piece.

Like many others with disabilities, I believe that the American public, to one degree or another, holds that disabled people are better off dead. To put it in a simpler way, many Americans are bigots.

As a nation at one time we were slaveholders, then we discriminated against the descendents of slaves, but now we are more enlightened.

Now we only engage in the "painless extermination of the miserable," be they unwanted infants or the inconvenient.

OK, we don't have the "painless" part down yet, since we crush the skulls of the unwanted infant and for some unexplained reason inject morphine into a vegetable that we are told cannot feel pain.

Do you ever feel that you live in the world of George Orwell's 1984?

After all, we are being told ad nauseum that death by dehydration and starvation is peaceful and beautiful.

I've never found Auschwitz peaceful or beautiful.

No Surprise

11th Circuit confirms Terri's Death Sentence.

Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review Online suggests:

Check out this concurrence by Bush I appointee Stanley Birch, which declares the congressional act trying to save Terri Schiavo's life to be unconstitutional. Some of the rhetoric about congressional intemperance seems to me to be intemperate itself (as well as self-glorifying).

A single judge can decide the facts which order the death of an innocent in America.

The shining light on the hill just got a great deal darker.


And Jesse Jackson swings and misses as well.


Captain Ed is miffed by the judicial arrogance as well:

Talk about judicial arrogance! Not only did the Eleventh Circuit openly disregard the law written by Congress, this justice arrogantly tells the other equal branches that the only branch guaranteeing a free people is the one not accountable to the will of the electorate. Bear in mind that none of the courts that reviewed this case after the passage of the emergency legislation found it unconstitutional; that at least would have put the court on record. Instead, the judiciary simply and contemptuously disregarded a law which to this moment remains legal and valid.

If Birch thinks that this law constitutes such a serious threat to the Republic, then the court should have ruled it unconstitutional. However, that would have meant a hearing on its merits, which the 11th Circuit cravenly refused to provide. Birch instead reacted in keeping with the hyperinflated notion of the judiciary in modern times as a superlegislature with veto power over actions taken by the other two branches without any due process whatsoever.

Birch's comment demonstrates that this out-of-control judiciary constitutes the main threat to the Founding Fathers' blueprint. They have set themselves up as a star chamber, an unelected group of secular mullahs determining which laws they choose to observe and which they choose to ignore. The arrogance of this written opinion will resonate through all nominations to the federal court over the next several years. It will motivate us to ensure that judges nominated will start respecting the power of the people's representatives to write and enact laws, and the duty of the judiciary to follow them or to specify their unconstitutional nature in the explicit text of the Constitution itself.

In the meantime, perhaps the Senate may want to read this opinion closely and discuss impeaching Justice Birch for his inability to apply the laws of Congress as required. This statement should provide all the proof necessary.

CodeBlueBlog Challenge

Award-winning medical CodeBlueBlog is getting tired, "Real Tired," of people playing neurologist and bioethicist for the media.

[H]ave you had enough of bioethicists for a while? Why is it they all have the same opinion and they all start out their spiels by saying "this is a tragic case for everyone involved..."

The Doctor is putting his money where his mouth is:

To prove my point I am offering $100,000 on a $25,000 wager for ANY neurologist (and $125,000 for any neurologist/bioethicist) involved in Terri Schiavo's case--including all the neurologists reviewed on television and in the newspapers who can accurately single out PVS patients from functioning patients with better than 60% accuracy on CT scans.

I will provide 100 single cuts from 100 different patient's brain CT's. All the neurologist has to do is say which ones represent patients with PVS and which do not.

If the neurologist can be right 6 out of 10 times he wins the $100,000.

Will anyone take the challenge?

Are neurologists experts at CT interpretation?

In a word, No:

Then there's the infamous Dr. Ronald Cranford, who has the double-whammy credentials of neurologist AND bioethicist (have you had enough of bioethicists for a while? Why is it they all have the same opinion and they all start out their spiels by saying "this is a tragic case for everyone involved...") who also defined Terri's CT of the brain as  being as bad as he's seen.

So What Have You Seen?

I've watched a steady stream of neurologists, bioethicists, and neurologist/bioethicists from Columbia, Cornell, and NYU interviewed all week on Fox and CNN and MSNBC. They all said about the same thing, that Terri's CT scan was "the worst they'd ever seen"or "as bad as they've ever seen."

Here's the problem with these experts: THEY DON'T INTERPRET CT SCANS OF THE BRAIN. RADIOLOGISTS DO.


You see, a neurologist will look at the CT of the brain of one of his patients, but this is entirely different from interpreting CT's of the brain de novo, for a living, every day, without knowing the diagnosis and most times without a good history. In addition, whereas I heard Dr. Crandon say he's "seen" a thousand brain CT's... well I've interpreted over 10,000 brain CT's. There's a big difference.

When I look at a CT of the brain every case is a new mystery about a patient Idon't know. I must look at the images, come to a conclusion, dictate my findings and report a conclusion. This becomes a part of the official legal record for which I am liable. I bill Medicare for a CT interpretation and am paid for this service.

Neurologists do not do this. They don't go on the record, alone, in written legal documents stating their impressions about CT's of the brain. The neurologist doesn't get sued for making a mistake on an opinion of a CT of the brain THE RADIOLOGIST DOES.

An observation born of experience:

I have seen several neurologists -- in the printed media and on television -- put up a Representative CT of the brain of a normal 25 year old female and contrast this with Terri Schiavo's CT. This is a totally spurious comparison. No one is disputing that Terri Schiavo does not have the CT of a 25 year old female.

What I'm saying is that Terri Schiavo's CT could be the brain of an eighty or ninety year old person who is not in a vegetative state. THOSE are the CT scans we should be showing next to Schiavo's, because in THAT case you would see similar atrophy and a brain much closer to Schiavo's.

This is a must read medical blog.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Pro-Life on the Left

Tom Maguire has a round up of known liberals speaking out on behalf of Terri.

This is great news.

Nat Hentoff of the Villiage Voice has been pro-life for years, and his passion hasn't waned.

For all the world to see, a 41-year-old woman, who has committed no crime, will die of dehydration and starvation in the longest public execution in American history.

Next, Liberals For Terri discuss the award-winning medical CodeBlueBlog question: IS THIS REALLY TERRI'S CT?

Blogs for Terri has been doing a great job in making the fight for Terri's life non-partisan.

Must See Video!

This is incredible.

Anyone who sees this cannot pretend Terri is in a Persistent Vegetative State (and more evidence that Greer is unfit to hear this case).

Obviously, the video was taken before her forced starvation and dehydration.

Please spread the word and see other videos at Blogs for Terri.

Cruel Joke or Miracle in the Making?

Kathryn at NRO asks:

Is this some kind of cruel joke? On the 13th day of her starvation and dehydration?

More here and at Blogs for Terri.

Pope May Need Feeding Tube

Thankfully he doesn't live in Florida.


Why is it that now even National Geographic is telling us that Terri cannot feel pain if she is in a Persistent Vegetative State (aka PVS), and yet she is being administered morphine?

And get these whoppers in the last two paragraphs of the National Geographic article:

According to Bernat, hospice nurses and doctors say that terminally ill, dying patients who do not eat or drink do not suffer. "They are given mouth care—moistening of dry mouth—and sometimes medications if they are restless. But they usually die very peacefully," he said.

Despite the general consensus that people in a persistent vegetative state feel no bodily pain, Schiavo's caregivers at Woodside Hospice recently began administering the painkiller morphine to her. "Since some relatives claim she is not in PVS, this practice reassures them she will not suffer," Bernat said.

First, how many times do we need to scream from the rooftops that Terri is not terminally ill?

The ignorant reporting on Terri continues to bewilder.

Second, the last paragraph implies that Woodside recently decided to start the administration of morphine when, in fact, an Exit Protocol has existed since at least 2003.

What is wrong with my thinking:

If she is PVS, she cannot feel pain.

And yet, she is being given morphine.

The contradiction might imply that she is not in a PVS and hence being killed by the actions of Michael Schiavo and the State of Florida.

The National Geographic had better stick to pictures of elephants in Africa. Anything else is clearly beyond their ability to be accurate.

More on Morphine

More folks are beginning to ask the obvious question I (and others) noted earlier:

Why does Terri Schiavo need morphine -- she's a vegetable, right?

Well, No.

Ramesh Ponnuru points to observations and questions being asked at Liberty Files.

Morphine has only palliative value. It can only relieve pain and add comfort. But why on earth would a brain-dead person whose expedition towards the hereafter is described by Felos as "very peaceful. She looked calm..." require relief of pain? They claimed earlier that her alleged persistent vegetative state and alleged absence of cerebral activity precluded any experience of pain.

. . . [W]hat is one to make of Felos' claims that Terri is exhibiting "light moaning and facial grimacing and tensing of arms," which was the reason the morphine was administered? A response to the pain and suffering of starvation? Or yet another flippantly dismissed "involuntary reflex action"? But then why administer the morphine?

Whatever we make of this development, it cannot in the least be interpreted to be in any way consistent with any of the diagnostic statements made by the Schiavos. And so it seems that Terri's life and death have become a painful means to wicked, self-serving ends for these men. To Michael Schiavo it was a means to a financial end (the settlement cash) which he could not have touched had he simply divorced Terri. And to Felos, a right to death advocate, she may simply be one of the eggs you have to break to make an omelet.

The more I read about Felos, the more I see him as "a shill for the creepy right to die movement."

Monday, March 28, 2005

Contrary Views

United Methodist pastor Donald Sensing of One Hand Clapping has a rational view of the Schiavo perspective.

I simply do not have his faith in our Judicial System, but I do appreciate his rational discussion (even if he does try to steal a base in his description of us "err on the side of life" folks).

Professor Bainbridge notes that we cannot compare the Federal intervention in the Civil Rights era to the Schiavo case since the Executive was enforcing court orders in the 50's and 60's, not proposing to ignore them as would be the case for Jeb or W.

Which, in the end, simply proves Joe Ford's contention that we are bigots against the cognitively disabled, else Jeb or W could have moved to rescue Terri.

Will we ever have a Disabled Rights era?

Felos: Fool, Fanatic or Fiend?

James Taranto's Opinion Journal Best of the Web today suggests perhaps a mix of all three.

Possibly the creepiest moment in the Terri Schiavo saga came Saturday afternoon, when George Felos, Michael Schiavo's lawyer, appeared at a press conference without his client. Felos described having visited Mrs. Schiavo, who at that point had gone eight days without food and water. "Frankly when I saw her . . . she looked beautiful," Felos told the assembled reporters. "In all the years I've seen Mrs. Schiavo, I've never seen such a look of peace and beauty upon her."

OK, we understand "peace": She's not suffering, she would have wanted to die, etc.--of course Felos is going to make that argument. But beauty? Felos is aestheticizing this poor woman's death, after having helped bring it about? That's just weird.

It turns out that Felos's weirdness goes deeper still. In a 2003 article, Florida Baptist Witness editor James Smith looked at Felos's 2002 book, "Litigation as Spiritual Practice." Felos's views on the "right to die" are informed by a "syncretistic" spirituality that "mixes diverse religious traditions--including generous citations from the Bible and references to Jesus Christ--creating a composite of his own spiritual worldview."

Smith quotes at length a story from Felos's book about Estelle Browning, the subject of Felos's first right-to-die case:

As I continued to stay beside Mrs. Browning at her nursing home bed, I felt my mind relax and my weight sink into the ground. I began to feel light-headed as I became more reposed. Although feeling like I could drift into sleep, I also experienced a sense of heightened awareness.

As Mrs. Browning lay motionless before my gaze, I suddenly heard a loud, deep moan and scream and wondered if the nursing home personnel heard it and would respond to the unfortunate resident. In the next moment, as this cry of pain and torment continued, I realized it was Mrs. Browning.

I felt the mid-section of my body open and noticed a strange quality to the light in the room. I sensed her soul in agony. As she screamed I heard her say, in confusion, "Why am I still here . . . Why am I here?" My soul touched hers and in some way I communicated that she was still locked in her body. I promised I would do everything in my power to gain the release her soul cried for. With that the screaming immediately stopped. I felt like I was back in my head again, the room resumed its normal appearance, and Mrs. Browning, as she had throughout this experience, lay silent.

And this guy has never lost any court case involving Terri's life.

Wonderful, just wonderful.

Disabled Bigotry

My heart aches more for Terri, her family and our nation after reading this article written by Harvard student Joe Ford who happens to have severe cerebral palsy.

Many of the right-to-die crowd do not understand (or do not care, and against these people we must be consistently vigilant) that their beliefs have intellectual roots in Nazi Germany (even if they comfort themselves with Orwellian language).

“Misery can only be removed from the world by painless extermination of the miserable.”

a Nazi writer quoted by Robert J. Lifton in The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide

Joe Ford speaks plainly, and we all must ask ourselves if he speaks truthfully.

The reason for this public support of removal from ordinary sustenance, I believe, is not that most people understand or care about Terri Schiavo. Like many others with disabilities, I believe that the American public, to one degree or another, holds that disabled people are better off dead. To put it in a simpler way, many Americans are bigots. A close examination of the facts of the Schiavo case reveals not a case of difficult decisions but a basic test of this country’s decency.

Our country has learned that we cannot judge people on the basis of minority status, but for some reason we have not erased our prejudice against disability. One insidious form of this bias is to distinguish cognitively disabled persons from persons whose disabilities are “just” physical. Cognitively disabled people are shown a manifest lack of respect in daily life, as well. . . .

The result of this disrespect is the devaluation of lives of people like Terri Schiavo. In the Schiavo case and others like it, non-disabled decision makers assert that the disabled person should die because he or she—ordinarily a person who had little or no experience with disability before acquiring one—“would not want to live like this.” In the Schiavo case, the family is forced to argue that Terri should be kept alive because she might “get better”—that is, might be able to regain or to communicate her cognitive processes. The mere assertion that disability (particularly cognitive disability, sometimes called “mental retardation”) is present seems to provide ample proof that death is desirable.

Essentially, then, we have arrived at the point where we starve people to death because he or she cannot communicate their experiences to us. What is this but sheer egotism? Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, this is obviously an attempt to play God.

Not Dead Yet, an organization of persons with disabilities who oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia, maintains that the starvation and dehydration of Terri Schiavo will put the lives of thousands of severely disabled children and adults at risk. . . . Not Dead Yet exposes important biases in the “right to die” movement, including the fact that as early as 1988, Jack Kevorkian advertised his intention of performing medical experimentation (“hitherto conducted on rats”) on living children with spina bifida, at the same time harvesting their organs for reuse.

Besides being disabled, Schiavo and I have something important in common, that is, someone attempted to terminate my life by removing my endotracheal tube during resuscitation in my first hour of life. This was a quality-of-life decision: I was simply taking too long to breathe on my own, and the person who pulled the tube believed I would be severely disabled if I lived, since lack of oxygen causes cerebral palsy. (I was saved by my family doctor inserting another tube as quickly as possible.) The point of this is not that I ended up at Harvard and Schiavo did not, as some people would undoubtedly conclude. The point is that society already believes to some degree that it is acceptable to murder disabled people.

As Schiavo starves to death, we are entering a world last encountered in Nazi Europe. Prior to the genocide of Jews, Gypsies, and Poles, the Nazis engaged in the mass murder of disabled children and adults, many of whom were taken from their families under the guise of receiving treatment for their disabling conditions. The Nazis believed that killing was the highest form of treatment for disability.

As the opening quote suggests, Nazi doctors believed, or claimed to believe, they were performing humanitarian acts. Doctors were trained to believe that curing society required the elimination of individual patients. This sick twisting of medical ethics led to a sense of fulfillment of duty experienced by Nazi doctors, leading them to a conviction that they were relieving suffering. Not Dead Yet has uncovered the same perverse sense of duty in members of the Hemlock Society, now called End-of-Life Choices. (In 1997, the executive director of the Hemlock Society suggested that judicial review be used regularly “when it is necessary to hasten the death of an individual whether it be a demented parent, a suffering, severely disabled spouse or a child.” This illustrates that the “right to die” movement favors the imposition of death sentences on disabled people by means of the judicial branch.)

"Favors the imposition of death sentences on disabled people by means of the judicial branch."

Joe Ford concludes by referring to Terri's "Exit Protocol".

In the midst of her starvation, Terri will most likely be treated for “pain or discomfort” and nausea which may arise as the result of the supposedly humane process of bringing about her death. (Remember that Schiavo is not terminally ill.) She may be given morphine for respiratory distress and may experience seizures. This protocol confirms what we have learned from famines and death camps: death by starvation is a horrible death.

This apparently is what it means to have “rights” as a disabled person in America today.

Hat Tip: PowerLine.

I will support Blogs for Terri and Not Dead Yet in their efforts to change the law and provide protection for the defenseless.

Morphine? I Thought She Is a Vegetable.


Under normal circumstances, considering how well hydrated and nourished Terri has been due to receiving the balanced nutritional elements in enteral feedings, it would seem reasonable for Terri to live for another week, or so. However, what was reported by her family tonight, has presented my worst fears. Terri's breathing has changed and has recently become very labored. I am assuming this is happening so quickly because of the possible initiation of Woodside's "exit protocol." A protocol which delivers to her nebulized morphine, a narcotic which suppresses respirations. The "exit protocol" was obviously written to enhance her death process. Woodside claims morphine was to be administered to provide her with so-called "comfort" measures. Odd, however, they would find it necessary to administer morphine to a patient who [Michael] Schiavo and [George] Felos have declared all along has no pain, is without any feelings, and is "brain dead."

Hat Tip: Winterr's words via Blogs for Terri where I also found this devastating question:

How can any civilized country allow a judge to prohibit oral feeding????

I simply do not know.


Susan Konig writes:

When I saw The Passion of the Christ, the moment that affected me the most was Mary trying to get to Jesus as he labored under the cross through the streets of Jerusalem. A disciple led her through the back streets past the crowds to her son and the whole time I'm thinking, what will she say when she gets to him? What could anyone say to someone who is suffering so much, who is so seemingly without hope? When she finally reaches him she says the perfect thing — the words any child wants to hear from his mother, "I'm here." . . .

I've been thinking about this a lot lately — I'm writing this on Good Friday. Watching Terri Schiavo's tragedy unfold in front of the world, I think of the videotape where her mom moves her daughter's head to be able to look into her face and suddenly Terri's eyes brighten and she seems to smile. Her mother, Mary Schindler, is there saying, "I'm here."

What else is a mother to do? . . .

Her parents . . . have no such barriers to their interest in their daughter's well being. And they have not been visiting an unconscious person all these years. They have interacted with the disabled person their daughter has become. Being able to touch her, to nurture her, and to get a smile or a sound from her seems to have been enough for the woman and her mom and dad.

Your child is always your child. And the thing that a parent can do for a child as long as they live is to always be able to tell them, "I'm here."

Read the whole thing.

The Law is a Ass

So says Mr. Bumble in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist.

Jack Dunphy discusses common sense in his National Review Online piece.

If Terri Schiavo were able, she would go to the nearest telephone, dial 9-1-1, and tell the operator that people are trying to kill her. Police officers would respond, and they would take whatever action was necessary, up to and including laying down their own lives, to ensure that no harm came to this innocent, defenseless woman. If the perpetrators were identified, they would be arrested and prosecuted, perhaps to receive very lengthy sentences in prison. She cannot make that phone call, of course, but those who love her have made it for her, crying out to any and all who might have the authority to stand in the path of what now appears inevitable: the very public starvation and death of Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo.

How on earth can this be? . . .

The details of the case have been exhaustively reported here on NRO and elsewhere, but Ms. Schiavo's fate can be traced through a nearly impenetrable cloud of legal rulings, page upon page of citations and references and footnotes, all of it laced with words like movant and respondent and all the other esoteric terms that seem to flow so freely from the lips and pens of lawyers and judges. It is this specialized language that allows those employed in the law to imagine themselves superior to the rest of us, the unwashed of the lower orders, to whom such language is foreign. And it is this language that the various lawyers and judges will hide behind when Terri Schiavo dies, when all their writs and motions and petitions have flown from office to office and courthouse to courthouse before floating down and congealing into a massive pile of recyclable rubbish.

We have certainly bumbled our way into this nightmare -- a nightmare created not by common sense, but tactically by the inaction of those who could have exposed and halted Terri's torture by enforcing Congressional subpoenas, and strategically by those who have acquiesced in the rise of the Imperial Judiciary and the devaluation of marriage.

Regarding the tactical errors, I strongly support turning the heat up on Congressional leaders who did nothing to enforce their subpoenas (so if I ever get one, I too can thumb my nose at the House and Senate, right?).

Elk Saved from Starvation

And yet the the United States of America starves an innocent woman.

If only she were an elk:

After consulting with acting [Division of Wildlife Resources] director Miles Moretti, the five living bulls were shot to avoid a slow death from starvation.

We have not even begun to comprehend the path we have chosen.

(Thanks to National Review Online's Kathryn Lopez.)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Court Making Sausage, er, Law

The Florida Supreme Court and feeding tubes.

Let's take a step back. Statutes are one form of law in Florida, but there is another form of law that's higher: the Florida Constitution. In 1980, Florida's citizens amended Florida's constitution to add a right of privacy to Floridians' fundamental rights. The Florida Supreme Court addressed this right in the 1990 case In re Browning. Florida's high court determined that the constitutional right of privacy includes the right to decline any medical treatment, including the use of a feeding tube. The court said:

Courts overwhelmingly have held that a person may refuse or remove artificial life-support, whether supplying oxygen by a mechanical respirator or supplying food and water through a feeding tube. We agree and find no significant legal distinction between these artificial means of life-support.


I'll lead with my wife's question:

Terri had a stroke, and her husband who claims she didn' t want to live that way, sues the doctor for malpractice (he kept her alive for all of this). He gets a lot of money to get her rehabilitated, never uses a cent to do the rehabilitation, then he sues to pull her tube. I can' t figure out how a judge makes any sense of all this.

Obviously a rhetorical question since it is emminently unanswerable when you try to reconcile with Greer's rulings.

A Michelle Malkin reader asks:

If left to fend for themselves, advanced stage Alzheimers patients will starve just like Terri S. Is that an acceptable course, if the husband says so now?

I would also add a longer list of people with conditions ranging from cerebral palsy to autism to chronic pseudo-obstruction, i.e. anyone who does not meet someone else's quality of life definition, anyone who requires enteral or parenteral nutrition, etc. Where does it end?

Patterico asks:

Do you oppose an attempt to feed her liquid, to see if she can swallow it on her own? If so, why?

This by the way, may be the question that provokes Governor Bush to Executive action.

Patterico keeps 'em comin':

What is the difference between providing federal habeas review for Terri Schiavo, and providing it for someone sentenced to death in state court?

A question interesting to those interested in the law -- the comments section is interesting.

Tom Maguire notes the disabled community are asking tough questions (and not getting answers):

To [disabled] people, the case of whether Mrs. Schiavo should be kept alive looks very different. And who better to understand the issue than those whose lives hinge on the same question?

As Rick Brookhiser noted today, the slippery slope argument is definitely in play, and it is "Time to take a stand."

This time Tom Maguire doesn't ask an explicit question, but wonders:

Maybe We Need A "Futile Blogging Law"

He goes after bloggers trying to make political hay over W's signing of The 1999 Advance Directives Act in Texas. Tom notes the open, inclusive process by which the Texas law came about and does ask: "Has that happened in Florida?" Uh no. The courts have defined the rules in Florida. Not an open nor inclusive process by any stretch of the imagination.

CodeBlueBlog asks a medical question (Hat Tip: Blogs for Terri):

Does Terri Schiavo Have Hydrocephalus?

Oh, how the cascading questions can overwhelm.

Next, two questions on the theme of pain simply wrench the heart.

First Blogs for Terri note an NRO Corner item that is an answer to the question: Does Terri feel pain?

Doctor says Terri is Aware and Feels Pain.

Patterico demolishes the insipid Los Angeles Times and their claim that dehydration and starvation bring euphoria.

The L.A. Times has a story today about how much fun it is to be starved and dehydrated to death. I kid you not. The story describes the “characteristic sense of euphoria that accompanies a complete lack of food and water.”


There is zero mention of the perspective provided by Kate Adamson, who was mistakenly diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state, had her feeding tube pulled, and lived to tell about it. I told you about Adamson’s experience the other day, in this post. Among other things, she said:

When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I was – thought I was going insane. I was screaming out don’t you know I need to eat. . . . [T]he hunger pains overrode every thought I had. . . . It was sheer torture . . .

Where is the question you ask? Simply, does the LA Times really believe the nonsense they are printing on dead trees? Where are the environmentalists when you really need them? I digress. . . .

More Phony Polls

I was about to comment on the latest polls, but Rick at Stones Cry Out has done the heavy lifting.

Questions 8 and 9 mention "feeding tube" and not "life support," but notice these phrases: Q8: "doctors say brain activity has stopped" and Q9: "in a coma with no brain activity."

Questions 8 and 9 clearly do not describe Terri's condition as she is NOT brain dead. She is severely brain damaged and large portions of her brain have atrophied, but the phrases "brain activity has stopped" and "no brain activity" are not accurate in Terri's case. I suggest that this is important because of the survey's question progression.

Nowhere in the survey is it explained that "persistent vegetative state" does not mean that "brain activity has stopped" or that the patient has "no brain activity." In other words, the questions leading up to the questions specifically about Terri's case seem to be hinting that Terri is brain dead when she clearly is not.

Mischief if you ask me.

Imperial Judiciary

Both Rush and Laura Ingraham (who clerked for Justice Thomas) have been extraordinary in their support of Terri.

Rush and Laura have been particularly pointed in their challenge to our judiciary, as well as the sophistry being employed by those arguing that it is OK for Terri to be killed

I've expressed my concerns previously. Samples here, here, here and here.

Ken Masugi of The Remedy provides this interesting legal tidbit from a friend:

However, it is clear from the dissent that the All Writs Act gives federal courts power to issue an injunction in an unusual case like this without going into that test. Plus courts have inherent equity power. In addition, the district court judge and the majority on appeal keep invoking the "substantial likelihood" language of their precedents when in fact it is also taken to mean "substantial merit" which obviously is a lower standard.

Note that the original Senate bill included terms requiring the court to issue an injunction, but this was deleted at the insistence of Senator Carl Levin. As enacted the law says "may" issue the injunction.

The dissenting judge, Wilson, also noted the intent of Congress that the case be heard as a new trial, de novo. To effectuate the intent of Congress, and in view of the All Writs Act and its inherent equitable power, the court should grant the injunction.

Also note it was impossible for any of the judges to decide whether the case has substantial merit in such a short time, given the voluminous record.

The majority in the appellate decision make a number of nasty asides against the dissent, and also complain that a new trial would take months or years -- which they have no problem doing with appeals by death row inmates.

Clearly the majority is engaging in willful denial of Congress' intent; their opinion is written in a mean spirited, hair splitting tone....

Greer is simply a symptom of a larger disease infecting our judiciary including our Federal system including the Supreme Court.

Not only do our courts now make laws, but they thumb their nose at their two co-equal branches in Terri's case.

It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court disses both the Legislative and Executive branches.

Unfortunately, I have little doubt they will disappoint me.


Hugh Hewitt also shares his exasperation here and here.


I've yet to be convinced that Greer is corrupt, but I do believe he possesses an arrogant pride unbecoming of a judge.

More Media Lies

Powerline shows once again why they were names 2004 Blog of the Year by Time.

They broke the Dan Rather Memo Scandal, and now they have once again caught the Legacy Media holding a fake memo.

At least that's what everyone (including me) will say until they can produce the memo which reportedly shows Republicans licking their chops over the political hay to be made by the dehydration and starvation of Terri Schiavo. If someone did write the memo, they should be fired, but ABC needs to prove such a memo exists.

Sorry, but I can't believe a known lying profession until they provide proof.

Catch this nonsense (and hold your nose at the spelling):

the memo discussed a republican bill and was distributed to repulbican senators. That's what we reported. we are obviously not going to divulge our multiple sources. I appeciate your questions, but believe you are approaching this from the wrong end.  We asked numerous sources - all confirmed that senators had received the memo in conjunction with one of the bills on the floor.  For three days none of those sources has given us any reason to think there is more to the memo than a particularly naked expression of the politics of Shivo case.

As Hindrocket notes:

[T]he network admits that it knows nothing about who authored and distributed the memo.

The arrogant stupidity of these clowns never ceases to amaze.


Can a legally blind judge be effective in the Schiavo case?

It's not clear if Powerline's Hindrocket knows that Greer is legally blind, but he asks an important question:

I think that the biggest reason why so many people have been passionately engaged in the Terri Schiavo case is the video footage that millions have seen. I think pretty much anyone who sees it thinks--she's not dead. Severely disabled, yes. Dead, no. Deliberately starving her would be a terrible thing. That's how I reacted to it, anyway. . . .

There may have been a time in my life when I had more faith in experts and studies than in my own eyes. But that was a long time ago.

It's not clear to me if anyone who can't keep his dates straight would believe his lying eyes.

Nose Stem Cells

Great news -- stem cell research from Down Under.

Professor Alan Mackay-Sims, deputy director of the Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapy at Griffith University, says he has been studying smell and the unique properties of the cells he found in the nose.

"Essentially cells in the nose are replaced throughout adult life - that lead us to think there would probably be a stem cell up there, and the base of this regenerative process," he said.

He says unlike embryonic stem cells, nose cells could theoretically be harvested throughout someone's life.

"We found cells that could turn into lots of cells that you wouldn't normally find in the nose, like liver or heart or muscle, so these cells apparently have the ability similar to embryonic stem cells to generate other kinds of cells if they're given the right opportunity," he said. . . .

"It's great to think that one could have one's own cells for any kind of cell transplantation therapy.

And here's the really good news -- Australia may be taking the lead in replacing the need for embryonic stem cell research.

Prime Minister John Howard may also take up the study as he prepares to argue the case against embryonic stem cell research when he meets state premiers next week. . . .

The research was partially funded by a $50,000 grant from the Catholic Church's Archdiocese of Sydney.

Sydney Archbishop George Pell has welcomed the findings, saying he will refer the work to the Vatican, as it would appear to provide an alternative to embryonic stem cell research.

Oh yeah, Christians are afraid of science. . . .

Counter Evolution?

Have researchers at Purdue University found evidence countering the theory of evolution?

Wired reports:

Challenging a scientific law of inheritance that has stood for 150 years, scientists say plants sometimes select better bits of DNA in order to develop normally even when their predecessors carried genetic flaws.

The conclusion by Purdue University molecular biologists contradicts at least some basic rules of plant evolution that were believed to be absolute since the mid-1800s, when Austrian monk Gregor Mendel experimented with peas and saw that traits are passed on from one generation to the next. Mendelian genetics has been the foundation of both crop hybridization and the understanding of basic cell mutations and trait inheritance.

In the Purdue experiment, researchers found that a watercress plant sometimes corrects the genetic code it inherited from its flawed parents and grows normally like its grandparents and other ancestors.

Scientists said the discovery raises questions of whether humans also have the potential for avoiding genetic flaws or even repairing them, although they said the actual proteins responsible for making these fixes probably would be different in plants.

Details of the experiments appear in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Flash -- Jeb Doing What the Courts Won't

Blogs for Terri has this update:

he Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, just completed a press conference with Tampa Bay media. He says that the Department of Children and Families, through Adult Protective Services are conducting an investigation of abuse against Terri Schiavo. As part of that, a neurologist by the name of Dr. Cheshire, observed Terri, lengthy videos of her and her case record. He has concluded that she is not in a persistent vegetative state. Rather, he felt she was minimally conscious if not functioning higher.

Needless to say, this is cause for tremendous alarm with Terri not receiving nutrition and hydration in more than 5 days.

There is a 3.45 pm hearing on this matter. Developing...

Why didn't the courts do this?

Prayers are needed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

No Crutches for the Crippled in America Today

11th Circuit denies food and water to Terri.

Blogs for Terri will have further details as they are received.

Reading the news just after posting this was rather sobering.

For the first time in my idealistic life, I'm ashamed of my country.

Crutches for Crippled Children

Ignorance reigns, and Charmaine Yoest teaches:

There in the plexiglass display case, in Mesa Verde National Park are two crude crutches from our stone-age past. We spent yesterday exploring the cliff dwellings of pre-historic Pueblo Indians -- they built their homes in the sides of sheer rock walls. They did not have the wheel; they did not have feeding tubes. They had to climb cliffs to get into their homes.

But they did fashion crutches for crippled children.

If you have ever screamed at the TV or Radio when ignorant folks discuss Terri, you are not alone.

Today, a federal judge has declined to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. This is impossible to believe. . . .

[V]ery smart people are getting this issue all wrong. And it revolves around one simple, central point:

It's hyperalimentation, not hyperventilation.

What's "hyperalimentation?" It's food offered through a tube. . . .

There are two ways to do this -- enteral and parenteral feedings, by gut and by intravenous catheter -- a feeding tube into your stomach with pureed food or an IV catheter into your arm with a nutrient admixture. Terri receives food through a simple hose into her stomach.

Here's the key point: food is not medicine.

Yet another Civilization Gut Check:

It must have been quite a burden for the prehistoric cliff dwellers to care for a crippled child. Climbing was an essential part of their lives; and their lives were consumed with survival in a way we cannot imagine except through visiting a dig. They certainly had easy ways to dispose of inconvenient people -- the cliffs loomed.

Yet still, they sat in the dirt and lovingly crafted a crutch.

How is it possible that these pre-historic people were more civilized in this than we?

Easily the best piece I've read today. Read the whole thing and thanks to Kathryn.

What Is Going On II?

This day has been long for many, but too long for Terri.

While are sclerotic court system counts the angels dancing on pinheads, and while counting, partakes in hydration and nourishment, Terri lies dying.

The more I read of "Judge" Greer and his opinions, the more obvious it is to me that he is a man who should have left the bench long ago.

Patterico discusses a ruling which may likely cost Terri her life. Greer, when required to find "clear and convincing evidence" that Terri wanted to die, dismisses the testimony of a witness because Greer can't keep his dates straight. It would seem that our laws would require the burden of proof to be upon those wanting death, not life. But, our laws do not favor life, at least not seriously since 1973.


It is more sickening to read Greer's paean to Michael Schiavo when reconciled with the affidavits of additional nurses reporting Michael Schiavo withheld medical treatment for Terri.

"I know that Terri did not receive routine physical therapy or any other kind of therapy. I was personally aware of orders for rehabilitation that were not being carried out. Even though they were ordered, Michael would stop them."

And, of course, the Lazy Legacy Media continue to lie and tell us that Terri cannot eat and is on "life support":

"At least three times during any shift where I took care of Terri, I made sure to give Terri a wet washcloth filled with ice chips, to keep her mouth moistened.

"On three or four occasions I personally fed Terri small mouthfuls of Jello, which she was able to swallow and enjoyed immensely. I did not do it more often only because I was so afraid of being caught by Michael."

And there are people pretending to be serious and argue that those arguing that Terri be given food and water are destroying the sanctity of marriage.

What is even more laughable is that the Legacy Media take these people and this argument and Michael Schiavo seriously.

Prayers and Peace

Prayers for the grieving families in Minnesota.

Mark Roberts was moved almost to tears on today's show as we discussed the Minnesota murders.  That's his pastor's heart, grieving for those who grieve.  Too few people will be so moved. That's the core of the problem, I think.  Too few people really care that human life is being snuffed out left and right.

Hugh also notes:

The judge considering Terri's case has a very heavy burden.  Pray for him as well.

And Peace for Terri Schiavo.

Push Polling Your Way to Murder

Captain Ed takes apart the ABC News Poll which shows 7 in 10 want Terri dead.

[A] look at the questionnaire shows that ABC News completely misrepresented Terri's medical condition, which undoubtedly impacted the responses given. Question 2, which asks the central question, claims that Terri is on life support:

2. Schiavo suffered brain damage and has been on life support for 15 years. Doctors say she has no consciousness and her condition is irreversible. Her husband and her parents disagree about whether she would have wanted to be kept alive. Florida courts have sided with the husband and her feeding tube was removed on Friday.

What’s your opinion on this case - do you support or oppose the decision to remove Schiavo’s feeding tube? Do you support/oppose it strongly or somewhat?

Terri has never been on life support.

As Wizbang! asks:

Once again, the people who want her dead are willing to stretch the truth to kill her. Why? If they were doing the right thing why do they have to lie to defend their actions?

A question for the ages.


For those who enjoy creative writing, James Lileks is a treat.

His Monday Thoughts are a great read (and he will take you "Where No Man Has Gone Before").

His Culture of Life vs Death War visual makes me want to scream, "Hit the brakes -- Now!"

But you never think you have need of any chocks until you're in the truck, and you realize it's rolling down the hill. Backwards.

Intolerable Life

Killing Terri is the blunt title of an article by another member of The President's Council on Bioethics, James Q. Wilson, The James A. Collins Professor of Management and Public Policy Emeritus at the University of California Los Angeles, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Professor George of Princeton discusses Lives Unworthy of Life while Professor Wilson explores the Intolerable Life theme.

The intolerable life argument has support from many doctors and bioethicists. They claim that a person can be "socially dead" even when their brains can engage in some functions. By "socially dead" they mean that the patient is no longer a person in some sense. At this point their argument gets a bit fuzzy because they must somehow define what is a "person" and a "non-person." That is no easy matter.

Professor Wilson also discusses living wills, and answers a fundamental question I've been wrestling as I prepare a living trust and will.

But scholars have shown that we have greatly exaggerated the benefits of living wills. Studies by University of Michigan Professor Carl Schneider and others have shown that living wills rarely make any difference. People with them are likely to get exactly the same treatment as people without them, possibly because doctors and family members ignore the wills. And ignoring them is often the right thing to do because it is virtually impossible to write a living will that anticipates and makes decisions about all of the many, complicated, and hard to foresee illnesses you may face.

For example, suppose you say that you want the plug pulled if you have advanced Alzheimer's disease. But then it turns out that when you are in this hopeless condition your son or daughter is about to graduate from college. You want to see that event. Or suppose that you anticipate being in Terri Schiavo's condition at a time when all doctors agree that you have no chance of recovering your personhood and so you order the doctors to remove the feeding tubes. But several years later when you enter into a persistent vegetative state, some doctors have come to believe on the basis of new evidence that there is a chance you may recover at least some functions. If you knew that you might well have changed your mind, but after entering into a PVS you can make no decisions. It is not clear we would be doing you a favor by starving you to death. On the contrary, we might well be doing what you might regard as murder.

There is a document that is probably better than a living will, and that is a durable power of attorney that authorizes a person that you know and trust to make end-of-life decisions for you.

Thank you Professor.

Again, read the whole thing and Hat Tip to Kathryn Lopez.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Lives Unworthy of Living

National Review Online interviews Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and a member of the President's Council on Bioethics.

This is clear thinking at its best.

What we must avoid, always and everywhere, is yielding to the temptation to regard some human lives, or the lives of human beings in certain conditions, as lebensunwerten Lebens, lives unworthy of life. Since the life of every human being has inherent worth and dignity, there is no valid category of lebensunwerten Lebens. Any society that supposes that there is such a category has deeply morally compromised itself. As Leon Kass recently reminded us in a powerful address at the Holocaust Museum, it was supposedly enlightened and progressive German academics and medical people who put their nation on the road to shame more than a decade before the Nazis rose to power by promoting a doctrine of eugenics based precisely on the proposition that the lives of some human beings — such as the severely retarded — are unworthy of life. . . .

In any event, it is clear that the only reason for Michael Schiavo's decision is that he considers Terri's quality of life to be so poor that he wants her to be dead. He claims that she would want that too, which I don't grant, but even if he's right about that, we should treat her like anyone else who wants to commit suicide. We rescue, we care. We affirm the inherent value of the life of every human being. Our governing principle should be always to care, never to kill.

Professor George also provides an enlightening discussion of federalism, one sentence of which sums it up in my mind.

The fact is that, under color of law, Michael Schiavo is seeking to deprive Terri of sustenance because of her disability. Under federal civil-rights statutes, this raises a substantial issue. It cannot be waved away by invoking states' rights.

Read the whole thing.

Failing Western Civ

Mark Steyn reminds us:

But, on reflection, if the Islamists are banal in portraying the next world purely in terms of sensual self-gratification, we're just as reductive in measuring this one the same way. America this Holy Week is following the frenzied efforts to halt the court-enforced starvation of a brain-damaged woman for no reason other than that her continued existence is an inconvenience to her husband. In Britain, two doctors escape prosecution for aborting an otherwise healthy baby with a treatable cleft palate because the authorities are satisfied they acted "in good faith."

Western Civilization Gut Check.

The Netherlands is currently failing (as is America in my opinion):

You can read similar stories in almost any corner of the developed world, except perhaps the Netherlands, where discretionary euthanasia is so advanced it's news if the kid makes it out of the maternity ward. As the New York Times reported the other day: "Babies born into what is certain to be a brief life of grievous suffering should have their lives ended by physicians under strict guidelines, according to two doctors in the Netherlands.

"The doctors, Eduard Verhagen and Pieter J. J. Sauer of the University Medical Center in Groningen, in an essay in today's New England Journal of Medicine, said they had developed guidelines, known as the Groningen protocol."

Ah, the protocols of the elders of science. Odd the way scientists have such little regard for scientific progress. It's highly likely that many birth defects - not just the bilateral cleft lips - will be treatable and correctible in the next decade or two. But once you start weighing the relative values of individual lives, there's no end to it.

Classic Steyn: "Odd the way scientists have such little regard for scientific progress."

Indeed it is.

What Is Going On?

Andrew McCarthy is rightfully concerned and asks:

But what possible good reason is there for not ending the ongoing starvation and dehydration forthwith?

He explains what is meant by de novo review.

The law passed by congress and signed by the president last night provides that in a lawsuit such as the one Terri’s parents have brought: “the District Court shall determine de novo any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings. The District Court shall entertain and determine the suit without any delay or abstention in favor of State court proceedings, and regardless of whether remedies available in the State courts have been exhausted.”

McCarthy also explains why the right thing to do is to protect the innocent during this process.

De novo review regardless of what went on in the state courts should mean it is a brand new ballgame – the federal court owes no deference to any of the matters raised or ruled on in the state courts. Given the voluminous nature of the record generated in Florida, there is no way this case can be decided quickly if it is to be reviewed responsibly. Terri Schiavo would be dead in the time that would take. So, manifestly, the only proper thing for the judge to do was to order the feeding tube replaced forthwith the minute the case was filed. If Terri’s parents lose their case, the tube can always be removed again. But if Terri dies while the judge is spinning his wheels, she and her parents can never be made whole.

So, just what is going on?

What is this Clinton appointee doing -- and has he eaten dinner tonight?

I'll bet he's even had something to drink.

Imagine if this were a death penalty case and a law got passed staying the execution until a new judge could completely review the case. Imagine also that this law had gotten passed while the capital defendant was being walked by jailers to the execution chamber. Does anyone think the authorities would keep walking the defendant to the lethal injection table, strap him in, and begin the execution while waiting for the judge to perform his de novo review?

Of course not – the very first thing that would have happened would have been the immediate return of the capital defendant to the safety of his cell. The status quo would be preserved without prejudice to either side, and with the knowledge that if the judge later ruled against the defendant there would be plenty of time later to walk him back to the death chamber and get on with the execution.

Why is this hard? You can argue about how the judge’s de novo review should be decided. But what possible good reason is there for not ending the ongoing starvation and dehydration forthwith?

I have no idea.

America is learning a very important civics lesson.

Will we (and our representatives) pass the test? Or will we continue to hand more and more power to fewer and fewer people -- the courts?

How to Defeat a Home-Schooler

Don't allow them to compete against you.

La Shawn is miffed.

Home-schoolers are making government school kids look so dumb that officials have surreptitiously changed the rules so home-schoolers won’t be eligible to compete.

From The Union Leader:

Prior to this year, the Savages said, it was possible for home-schoolers to take part by competing in local competitions held at schools, an option denied to public school students attending a school not hosting a local bee. This year, though, the rule was changed so that home-schoolers could only compete through contests which home-school associations had set up. . . .

"We're trying to reach out to all different groups to make sure the kids can take part," Elden said.

"Reach Out" and disqualify someone -- especially those pesky home-schooled kids who keep winning.

What petty bureaucrat stayed up all night to think of this?


Only Judges Can Decide?

Michelle Malkin has posted her Monday early morning Terri updates.


Yet again, Schiavo's fate now rests in the hands of a judge. It is not known when the judge will rule . . . .

I've stated my misgivings on this Judges Only strategy as well.

I prefer the more robust approach.

Michelle also links to Liberals for Terri -- a site with a bite.

A Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy?

"Why are all of the links on this page for right-wing websites?"

Exactly. That's what I've been asking myself for month. Why isn't there anyone out there except LCM willing to stick up for the Schindler family or give a hoot about the incriminating behavior and medical and legal fraud committed here? It's mystifying.

From The White House

Statement by The President:

Today, I signed into law a bill that will allow Federal courts to hear a claim by or on behalf of Terri Schiavo for violation of her rights relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. This presumption is especially critical for those like Terri Schiavo who live at the mercy of others. I appreciate the bipartisan action by the Members of Congress to pass this bill. I will continue to stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities.

Will it all be in time?

Prayers of Wisdom for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

NY Times Flips and Endorses Torture

OK, so it's my headline, but keeping up with The New York Times these days is a bit of work, but Tom Maguire of Just One Minute is keeping score.

Thank heaven for experts!  Well, as various states rule out specific methods of execution for capital crimes on the basis that it is cruel and unusual, it is good to know that we can always fall back on "death by dehydration", with the endorsement of the NY Times. 

And remember, the next time you overhear someone saying "I'm dying of thirst", just answer, "Yeah, ain't it great!"

What's Up With Google?

Are they adding Nazi sites to say, "See, look at those kooky Right-Wingers!"

PowerLine's Big Trunk shares a note from LGF's Charles Johnson:

You're not going to believe this one. After turning down Little Green Footballs, Michelle Malkin, Roger L. Simon, and many other intelligent sites for inclusion in their index, Google News has now admitted NATIONAL VANGUARD -- the web site of the American neo-Nazi radical fringe.

At Little Green Footballs, Charles is rightfully mystified by what I would label as Google mischief:

I thought I’d seen everything.

But Google News has now added the unspeakably vile neo-Nazi white supremacist web site National Vanguard to their index of “legitimate news sources.” . . .

And LGF has been turned down. Twice.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Drudge [and Family Research Council have] Audio

Of Terri from Friday, March 18, the day the starvation started.


DRUDGE RADIO to present audio of Terri Schiavo responding to her father on Friday, immediately following the removal of her feeding tube.... Check local listings...


Family Research Council has posted the audio


Updated sources of the audio at Blogs for Terri.

The Intelligence of the Radical Left

Another brilliant supporter of the Radical Left leaves a comment regarding this Sierra Faith post (WARNING: Not for little eyes).

What can one say in light of such overwhelming intellect?

I love how the kooky kristians have their panties in a knot over terri s. you guys are funnier than the sunday comics. you don't give a rat's ass about iraqis being murdered, marines being maimed. but you are horrified at letting a woman who has effectively been dead for fifteen years die.

earth to kristians: mary was a wh---. jesus was a b-----d. get the f--- over it.

Just What is Torture?

National Review Online's Andrew McCarthy asks more obvious questions.

After the feeding tube that sustains Terri Schiavo was removed on Friday afternoon, National Review's John Miller asked a question (on NRO's weblog, The Corner) which was penetrating in its trenchant simplicity: "If somebody put a pistol to [Terri] Schiavo's head and pulled the trigger — you know, to give the "dying process" a little nudge — would the shooter be guilty of murder under Florida law?" Well, given that we've had no small amount of propaganda from right-to-die activists about the purported humaneness of letting Terri wither and die, why doesn't someone just shoot her — or at least administer the procedure employed to execute in capital cases. It would, after all, be quicker and thus more humane, right?

It is not being done because its crude blatancy would too obviously spotlight that what's happening here is cold-blooded murder. Terri is not a person who is brain dead or a corpse being sustained by artificial means. She is alive and merely needs nutrition, like any child or incapacitated adult needs food and water. She will not be dead unless someone actually takes action to kill her. . . .

The starvation and dehydration process will cause Terri extreme, sustained physical and perhaps even mental suffering. Throughout the months of Abu Ghraib fanfare, the mainstream media, the American Civil Liberties Union, and some congressional Democrats — while contending that a Justice Department memorandum had shamed the United States by purportedly authorizing the use of torture against terrorists — repeatedly reminded us that the legal definition of torture, at least under federal law, is "an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control." (18 U.S.C. Sec. 2340(1).)

That is plainly what Michael Schiavo and his helpers are committing. They have her in their custody, they are preventing anyone from providing her assistance, and though she is alive and in their care, they are denying her nutrition, which will gradually cause her immense discomfort and distress. They will putter, naturally, that it's not their intention to inflict pain but to effectuate Terri's purported "choice" to kill herself. But even if we accept this claim at face value, it speaks to motive not intent.

Legally, the two are critically different. The bank robber doesn't get out from under by claiming: "I needed the money to pay for mom's surgery." His crime is intentionally stealing the money from the bank — that he purports to have had a noble reason for the robbery is irrelevant to the issue of whether he is guilty of the robbery. Similarly, people who withhold needed nutrition knowing it will cause severe pain and eventual death obviously intend the consequences of their actions. It is not a defense to a charge of torture or murder to say the victim would have wanted it that way — even in the highly unlikely event that the victim really would have wanted it that way.

Federal torture laws apply only outside the U.S. Domestic torture is generally a state matter. Not surprisingly, Florida has an anti-torture law — not to mention murder and murder-conspiracy laws — directly applicable to Terri's situation. And it is much more expansive than the federal provision. . . .

If a federal judge told the CIA: You should feel to starve and dehydrate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed until he tells you everything he knows about the 9/11 plot, would anyone contend that that was a lawful order? Would anyone claim that the judge had the authority to override U.S. anti-torture laws? Of course not — the streets would be rife with angry protesters and the editorial pages with stinging condemnation. So why are we acting as if we must simply abide a similar order from a state judge in Florida that has no purpose other than to cause enduring pain and eventual death? . . .

It is time to ask: What is the legal rationale for the judicial allowance of torture in Terri Schiavo's case? If there isn't one: (a) Why is it happening, and (b) Why isn't someone in handcuffs?

Read the whole thing -- it has more punch than my shortened version above, but you get the feel of the question: Just what is going on?

LA Times Supports Polygamy Too

Who Knew?!

Stephen Brainbridge exposes advocacy masquerading as reporting.

The LA Times ran three articles on Terry Schiavo this morning. (One, two, three.) (And I'm not even counting the related one that basically asked why the Pope won't hurry up and die.) Almost all of them quoted Michael Schiavo complaining that his rights were being abused. Not one, however, mentioned Michael's conflicts of interest - wanting to get remarried, wanting to collect on Terry's life insurance, and so on. So much for objective reporting.

Exit Protocol

Father Johansen wrote this great piece on what can and should be done for Terri.

Now, he has provided the details of dehydration and starvation that Terri is experiencing now.

This is difficult reading:

In her research, Ms. Ford found a document titled "Exit Protocol" in Terri's file. The document is on Hospice of the Florida Suncoast "Patient Care Notes" stationery, and is dated April 19, 2001. This document lays out, in clinical detail, the procedures to be followed in bringing about Terri's death by starvation and dehydration.

. . . Upon discontinuation of enteral feeding the following signs/symptoms may or may not occur. The following is a brief list of symptoms for which to monitor and recommended interventions. . . .

3. Monitor symptoms of pain/discomfort. If noted, medicate with Naproxen rectal suppository 375 mg Q8* prn.

Wait a minute! George Felos, Michael Schiavo, and all the other advocates of feeding-tube removal have been saying repeatedly that dying by denial of nutrition & hydration is "peaceful" and "painless". They've both said so in interviews and press conferences, such as on Larry King Live. So if dying by denial of nutrition and hydration is, as Michael said, "painless and probably the most natural way to die", then why is medication needed for pain and discomfort?

Hat Tip: National Review Online's The Corner.

Schiavo Sources

For those trying to capture context with the flurry of news surrounding Terri Schiavo, there are many good sources, but I'll recommend two.

Blogs for Terri is an excellent resource for on the ground reporting and context and reaction to events both at the hospice (this is a must read) as well as in the Legacy Media, both print and electronic.

National Review Online's The Corner. Kathryn Lopez has been providing outstanding and appropriately passionate updates on the machinations in Washington, DC. Her discussions and updates have drawn in the incomparable Mark Levin regarding such topics as Federalism and the squealing presently coming from the Radical Left on this case. This is a great source for real-time civics. You'll learn a great deal.

Classic Levin:

The idiocy of the Left with their phony federalism arguments cannot be overstated. It underscores how completely devoid of arguments they are to support government-ordered starvation. And Ramesh is exactly right on another score, i.e., the issue of death (or life) is already a federal matter, as highlighted by the Left's favorite institution -- the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. Did the New York Times reverse course today and argue that Roe usurped state authority? Not the last time I checked. The Florida legislature and governor attempted to resolve this some time ago. The Florida Supreme Court stopped them. As I see it, Congress is coming to the aid of state elected officials. Moreover, Congress can and should say that the federal constitutional issue here is the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and it need not cite foreign law to prove that government-ordered starvation meets the test. I am, however, unconvinced that federal court jurisdiction, which is what Congress is fighting for, is the answer.

What If

Terri Schiavo Dies?

Lee Duigon asks:

Before Terri Schiavo dies of starvation and thirst, there are two questions that must be answered.

1. Even if we were to concede, for the sake of argument, that this woman is irreversibly and totally vegetative, what possible objection can there be to her parents assuming custody of her and, at their own expense, taking care of her?

2. Are the members of the United States Congress so faint-hearted, feeble, and foolish that the best they can do is to get another judge involved in this case? . . .

Why should her parents not take care of her? There is simply no reasonable answer to that question.

Congress, meanwhile, has intervened--but only by kicking the case upstairs to a federal judge.

This is shameful. These are the people's elected representatives. From them we want decision, not a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. . . .

After this case, after Terri Schiavo dies according to a judge's fiat, where do we draw the line and tell the judges where to stop? What power, if any, is to be withheld from them?

Read the whole thing -- it's a quick read.

Do I Know My Country?

It's a beautiful night in Tahoe (even with the avalanche howitzer blasting away as I type), and it has been a beautiful day.

Beautiful snow began painting the pines and firs this morning and our granite boulders and manzanita brush remain blanketed.

I had the joy of making a snowman with Carolyn and the family of a former highschool classmate of my wife.

I gave Carolyn a bath, and always most precious, read the Bible to her as she fell asleep. She knows about Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham (Father Abraham, Had Many Sons!), Moses. It is a Joy to have her say their names to complete the sentences being read to her. And, to hear her say "Jesus." . . .

You may wonder about my Terri Schiavo All The Time thoughts recently.

I'm an unabashed idealist. God gave me that gift before I knew the Gift that God gave me in His Son.

I look at history, and I look at evil in history.

I know that God is in control, but that is quite different from doing nothing.

Those who are not Christians and make this argument are not serious people -- if they were, and since they worship reason, they would have to ask why any Christian bothers going to work, going to the grocery or even eating food, after all, God is in control, right? Nonsense.

Similarly, many ask why these Holy Rollers are not protesting the death sentence of Scott Peterson. Again, ignorant people saying ignorant and silly things. There are many Christians who are against the death penalty, and who do protest and work against it. Only silly people would expect someone to be both in Florida and Redwood City, California at the same time (many worship reason, but choose to ignore their god when it proves inconvenient -- a not uncommon fault of man). This is not to say that there are no strong theological arguments for the death penalty. I merely wanted to highlight ignorant silliness.

Here is the rub:

Why are Christians risking loss of liberty and property through arrest to save the life of an innocent Jewish woman?

Because God and His Word come before anything else, and God commands us to protect the innocent.

Why aren't NOW and other supposed women's groups clamoring for the preservation and healing of Terri?

It's pretty simple, they side with a husband's right to kill one of his wives -- the wife of greatest inconvenience. Sure, they'll wrap a nice bow around it and call it "Right-To-Die," but again, they are supporting the uncorroborated claims of a man. They cannot escape that simple (and apparently meaningless to them) fact.

Being Smart and being Wise are not the same.

This is not Smart:

There have been a few arrests. One man from out of state approached the front door of Hospice with Communion for Terri and asked the Hospice personnel to deliver it to her. He was hauled off. Another man, whom I don’t know, crossed the police line in front of Hospice with a symbolic cup of water and chunk of bread. He was hauled off.

However, it is Wise and Right. It sheds light on our society's present priorities.

I don't know my country right now, but I love her. And that is why this is so painful on two levels. First, we are mocking God, and second, we are mocking the deaths of those who have fought to give us the Right To Life.

Did soldiers die in Germany, and are soldiers dying today so a "Judge" can starve a woman in Florida?

To be fair to the "Judge," the "Husband" can stop this senselessness now.

But he will not, and only God (in addition to Michael and his cohorts) knows why.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Let Her Live

Or, as I was about to write on Friday, God Before GOP.

Congress heard many voices over the past several weeks. The pleas have reached a crescendo, and Peggy Noonan said what many of us have been thinking.

At the heart of the case at this point is a question: Is Terri Schiavo brain-dead? That is, is remedy, healing, physiologically impossible?

No. Oddly enough anyone who sees the film and tape of her can see that her brain tells her lungs to breathe, that she can open her eyes, that she seems to respond at times and to some degree to her family. She can laugh. (I heard it this morning on the news. It's a childlike chuckle.) . . . She looks like one of those coma cases that wind up in the news because the patient, for no clear reason, snaps to and returns to life . . . .

Again, life is mysterious. Medicine is full of happenings and events that leave brilliant doctors scratching their heads.

But a "Judge" claims she should starve to death.

"Judge" Greer is legally blind. How can he make an informed decision without seeing videotape of Terri Schiavo?

Sorry, I'm just not that Politically Correct to see how he can, and I say this in his defense. If he could see the tapes and still starve her to death, then, well, the man is simply blind in another more important sense, humanity.

And Yes, I've read paeans to "Judge" Greer. One simple question, if this "Judge" would allow acupuncture for someone with a living will, why does he not allow therapy for a woman who does not and shows much greater signs of sentience?

It appears his pride is at stake, and for that reason alone, he should recuse himself. He has decided not to, but the United States House of Representatives and Senate have stepped in to move this to another venue, the Federal courts.

It will be very interesting to see how our Federal courts reconcile Michael's actions with Terri's Civil Rights:

· Terri Schiavo may be the victim of ongoing negligence and injustice. She has been denied therapy and rehabilitation by her guardian since 1991. Florida’s guardianship laws REQUIRE that these necessary services be given to her.

· In 1992, Terri’s husband Michael won $1.7 million in negligence lawsuit under the pretext of funding her rehabilitation and care. He testified, “I believe in the vows that I took with my wife. Through sickness, in health, for richer or poorer. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that.” Since that time, Terri has received no rehabilitation, all beneficial forms of stimulation (e.g. music) have been prohibited and basic health care, such as treatment for a life threatening urinary tract infection, has been purposefully withheld at Michael’s direction.

· Even though Terri’s husband has started a family of his own with another woman and their two children, he refuses to end his marriage to Terri or relinquish her care to her immediate family.

· Terri’s “collapse” has become controversial after a previously unavailable bone scan surfaced in 2002 which revealed multiple fractures consistent with a traumatic event. To date, no investigation has been conducted to determine the source of Terri’s injuries, but a radiologist gave a sworn statement that the date of those injuries would fall within the period of her mysterious collapse.

· Advancements in the understanding of brain activity and misdiagnosis and the recent recovery of a patient after 20 years in a persistent vegetative state, further calls into question any decision that would end the life of Terri Schiavo.

I pray Terri's case will be heard by Wise judges, not smart judges. Smart judges can write and decide almost anything. What we need at this time is Wisdom.

Again, Peggy Noonan said it best:

So Congress: don't kick it. Let her live. Hard cases make bad law, but let her live. Precedents can begin to cascade, special pleas can become a flood, but let her live. Because she's human, and you're human.

A final note to the Republican leadership in the House and Senate: You have to pull out all the stops. You have to run over your chairmen if they're being obstructionist for this niggling reason and that. Run over their egos, run past their fatigue. You have to win on this. If you don't, you can't imagine how much you're going to lose. And from people who have faith in you.

Bill Frist and Tom DeLay and Jim Sensenbrenner and Denny Hastert and all the rest would be better off risking looking ridiculous and flying down to Florida, standing outside Terri Schiavo's room and physically restraining the poor harassed staff who may be told soon to remove her feeding tube, than standing by in Washington, helpless and tied in legislative knots, and doing nothing.

Issue whatever subpoena, call whatever witnesses, pass whatever emergency bill, but don't let this woman die.

They've taken an important step. Will they take all the necessary legal steps to beat back the insidious and odious Culture of Death?

Pray for Wisdom and Courage for all in positions of leadership.

And pray for the hearts of your fellow countrymen.

Polygamy Legal in Florida

As long as you want to starve one of your two wives.

· Even though Terri’s husband has started a family of his own with another woman and their two children, he refuses to end his marriage to Terri or relinquish her care to her immediate family.

Either there is no such thing as Common Law marriage in Florida, or "Judge" Greer has decided to vanquish Michael's polygamy not by punishing Michael Schiavo, but by starving his first wife.

Why is our Justice System so fundmentally, and unalterably stupid at times?

Much Remains to be Done

As you may now know, the House and Senate have reached a compromise on restoring Terri Schiavo's hydration and nutrition.

Near the end of this AP article was this troubling paragraph:

GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the measure was "narrowly targeted" and did not set a precedent.

And why not set a precedent? Although a shameful compromise (and compromise is the definition of politics), it is a significant victory in a crucial battle in the larger Culture War.

Terri's case is very different from those who sign living wills and do not desire heroic treatment in terminal cases.

Only an uncorroborated claim by her estranged husband has forced her into living without therapy that has been life-changing to so many people. He can certainly no longer claim she still wants to die.

The evidence that she wants to live is far greater than anything her husband has explained.

This stopgap is important, but much remains to be done to further the Culture of Life. Obviously, Congress needs to address the absurdity that many like Terri do not have the protection afforded a terrorist.

But in the end, as Christians know, and as W has said before, only "changing hearts will change our entire society."

We have fought too many wars and spilled significant blood to ensure that the state would never kill the unwanted.

Now is not the time, as our friends on The Left are wont to exclaim, to turn back the clock.