Thursday, April 21, 2005

Benedict XVI and Cats

I knew I liked this Pope.

First, this from Germany:

"I went with him once," said Konrad Baumgartner, the head of the theology department at Regensburg University. "Afterwards, he went into the old cemetery behind the church.

"It was full of cats, and when he went out, they all ran to him. They knew him and loved him. He stood there, petting some and talking to them, for quite a long time. He visited the cats whenever he visited the church. His love for cats is quite famous."

And, this from Australia:

Barry Hickey offers a charming insight into the new Pope - as told by the parish priest at the Vatican. Joseph Ratzinger, so the story goes, is in the habit of taking his late night stroll around the Vatican gardens. After saying The Rosary, he feeds the stray cats in the gardens.

The Catholic Archbishop of Perth concludes with a brief summation of the new pope : "I think you have a man who in his heart is good and will be sympathetic to people with problems and troubles, but who is not going to be shaken on fundamental truths."

And fundamental truths do not change with daily polls.

Cross-posted at Sierra Faith.

House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

There are many who are working feverishly to divide this nation.

Hugh Hewitt has the latest example from Senator John Kerry.

Forces outside the mainstream now seem to effortlessly push Republican leaders toward conduct that the American people really don't want in their elected leaders, inserting the government into our private lives, injecting religion into debates about public policy where it doesn't apply. . . . Will Republican senators let their silence endorse Senator Frist's appeal to religious division, or will they put principle ahead of partisanship and refuse to follow him across that line? . . . Are we going to allow the Majority Leader to invoke faith to rewrite Senate rules to put substandard, extremist judges on the bench? . . . When you have got tens of thousands of innocent souls perished in Darfur, when 11 million children are without health insurance, when our colossal debt subjects our economic future to the whims of Asian bankers, no on can tell me that faith demands all of a sudden that you put the Senate into a position where it is going to pull itself apart over the question of a few judges. No one with those priorities has a right to use faith to intimidate anyone of us.

Over a few judges.

Who, by the way, decide if someone is to live or die [When in doubt, the answer is you shall die -- Ed.].

Or, whether my property belongs to me or the government [The government, of course -- Ed.].

Over a few judges.

Did Senator Kerry just say the Judicial Branch of our government is not really that important?

It is not obvious to me what this incomprehensible speech is saying except one thing: Senator Kerry and his comrades most desperately want to enforce a religious Test for appointees, and orthodox Christians need not apply.

If The Left lose the Judicial Branch, they have no means of implementing their worldview (OK, they still have the US Senate where the GOP does not have a clue what it means to be in the majority).

By conspiring to enforce a Constitutionally prohibited (Ariticle VI, Clause 3) religious Test, Kerry, et al., must engage in nauseatingly Orwellian rhetorical gymnastics to make folks think a religious Test is not being applied.

The only way this can be done is to vilify those with whom you disagree to the point that Americans will not consider disqualification to be part of any religious Test, but rather good sense judgement by those who will not allow orthodox Christians to hold office.

Who is going to call these orthodox Christian abusers to account?

Is leadership today defined as taking action only if sufficient support is read in the blogosphere?

This is not leadership.

And there are depressingly few leaders in the Legistlative Branch of our Federal government today.

Alas, we get what we vote for, but we also have the opportunity to get what we demand.

If the people need to lead their representatives, we have the technology to calibrate them on a daily basis.

Cross-posted at Sierra Faith.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Benedict XVI and the Inexpressibly Lonely

A thinker will lead the Catholic Church.

As many have been saying, he certainly does not lack a paper trail.

Excellent resources (among very many) on today's announcement:

Kathryn Lopez is a one lady information center covering the good, bad and the ugly.
The Anchoress is simply a delight, and having fun keeping a scorecard.
Roman Catholic Blog is new and a must visit -- just keep scrolling and celebrate this day of Joy with our Catholic Brothers and Sisters.
• Hugh Hewitt is, well, Hugh Hewitt in his relentless pursuit of media bigotry.
Don Singleton also has a nice roundup of commentary.

I'm particularly fond of Professor Bainbridge's response to Andrew Sullivan's rather, how shall we call it, narrow thinking.

Cliff Notes version:
So why is Sullivan so worked up? Here's his real gripe in his own words:

... the impermissibility of any sexual act that does not involve the depositing of semen in a fertile uterus ....

It's always about sex with Andrew, isn't it?

Will the Church grow smaller as many now predict?

Benedict XVI has already covered this ground (remember, he is a thinker, and will probably always be miles ahead of others who like to think of themselves as thinkers) and is not afraid:

The Church, then Cardinal Ratzinger said, will
become small, and will to a great extent have to start over again. But after a time of testing, an internalized and simplified Church will radiate great power and influence; for the population of an entirely planned and controlled world are going to be inexpressibly lonely…and they will then discover the little community of believers as something quite new. As a hope that is there for them, as they answer they have secretly always been asking for.

[F]or the population of an entirely planned and controlled world are going to be inexpressibly lonely.

This is why Benedict XVI is now Pope -- he gets it.

Cross-posted at Sierra Faith.

Respect for Law

I have written on this topic in the Schiavo context, but we also see the weakening of the respect for law, its makers, interpreters and executive in the context of citizenship.

La Shawn Barber cuts to the chase in two simple paragraphs:

As you may know, the Senate is voting today [It failed -- Ed.] on George Bush’s amnesty-for-illegal-aliens scheme. The so-called AgJobs bill will, among other things, direct “the Secretary of Homeland Security to grant qualifying alien agricultural workers (and their spouses and minor children) temporary resident status and subsequently lawful permanent resident status upon the fulfillment of specified agricultural work and residency requirements,” according to the Congressional Research Service.

Let that sink in. The person in charge of the security of our nation will grant “temporary resident status” to people who didn’t bother going through legal channels to get here. Criminals, in essence, will be rewarded by the Department of Homeland Security for breaching the security of United States!

(Even the Govanator agrees.)

Is this really a floodgate for the disrespect of law we want to open?

Politicians usually think near-term, but they do not see (or do not care) about the long-term implications for the rule of law and how Joe Citizen views the law.

If breaking the law is rewarded, what does that mean?

Cross-posted at Sierra Faith.

Ohio Rivals California for Stupidist Senator

Voinovich should, in a just world, be laughed out of the Senate chambers to go back home and swim in Lake Erie.

Senator Clown doesn't show up for the hearings, expresses support for Bolton, then decides, after listening to the howls of John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden or Chris Dodd, to stab Chairman Lugar, Secretary Rice and President Bush in the back and say, with a straight face:

"The passion on the other side on this, I don't think is political."

What a laugher.

This likely kills Bolton's nomination as UN Ambassador. At a time when we need grown-ups at the UN (let alone the US Senate -- to be clear, Chairman Lugar had better options as Rich Lowry reveals), Senator Clown seemingly decides we need Oprah Winfrey to be our UN Ambassador as Michelle Malkin rightly grumbles:

The New York Times account is up, with Voinovich making iggly remarks and prattling about his "conscience"--which didn't awaken until after he missed the two Bolton committee hearings last week.

Hey Senator, try showing up for your job every once in awhile. There is the trivial (which you were obviously pursuing), and the important.

Senator Clown, however, obviously believes the Oil For Food scandal is the trivial, and the UN is just fine and dandy the way it is and doesn't need plain speaking.

What an absolute, unadulterated ass.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Touch of Peace

Stones Cry Out shares a powerfully moving celebration of life.

There are many things that Jessica will not be able to do in her life. To some, Jessica should never have been born.

Please take a moment for this quick read to find out why our Darwinian Death Culture is wrong.

Oh, so wrong.

Cross-posted at Sierra Faith.

What is Illegal?

Detaining illegals?

The Arizona Republic has additional details:

Patrick Haab, the Army Reservist arrested for holding seven undocumented immigrants at gunpoint at an Arizona rest stop, says he is overwhelmed and encouraged by an outpouring of legal, financial and moral support.

Schiavo Politics

Being vigoriously pursued by Howard Dean and our Democrat friends.

Professor Bainbridge asks the Rhetorical Question:

I wonder what the left and its MSM allies will say now that the head of their party - not some unknown staffer - is pledging to use the Schiavo tragedy for political gain:

"We're going to use Terri Schiavo later on," Dean said of the brain-damaged Floridian who died last month after her feeding tube was removed amid a swarm of political controversy. ... "This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it's going to be an issue in 2008," Dean told about 200 people at a gay rights group's breakfast in West Hollywood .... (LA Times)

PowerLine also takes note.

Democrats for Death just doesn't sound like a vote getter to me. Perhaps I'm politically tone deaf.

Isn't it lovely to see the Chairman of the Democrat Party jazzed about someone's tragic and government-sanctioned death?


Not only is George Felos planning to get richer from the fact Terri Schiavo is now ashes, his former wife is planning to cash in as well.

Quoted from her release: “Upon the release of the autopsy report, she can analyze the results and weigh in on the important matters of how--by reason, not emotion--the "persistent vegetative state" diagnosis of Terri Schiavo was arrived at, and why.”

The Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation would like to take this opportunity to point out that not only was Ms. d’Angelis co-counsel to George Felos during the guardianship proceedings on behalf of Michael Schiavo, she is not qualified to interpret or analyze a Medical Examiner’s report. She is only licensed as an attorney and as a massage therapist.

Ms. d’Angelis is the former owner of and the author of “Pancha Karma - A Life Changing Experience”.

She aided George Felos in bringing forth a petition to remove ‘artificial life support’ from Terri Schiavo that originated in 1998 though current law at that time did not provide for the removal of a feeding tube under Terri’s circumstances.

Pancha Karma?

These folks are real sweethearts.


The release of the Florida Department of Children and Families reports should be a comfort to Michael Schiavo, but the reporting to date is superficial at best -- media fatigue or are there inconvenient facts remaining?

I would love to be wrong, but why don't the media snuff out such questions as those raised here?

Until more substantial reporting is published, I'll have to settle for:

DCF investigators said they made unannounced visits to Woodside Hospice and interviewed the facilities' doctors before clearing the cases.

"She appeared to be well cared for and here were no signs of any medical problems or distress,'' one 2003 DCF report noted.

"During the time Mrs. Schiavo has been a patient of hospice, the spouse has always been courteous and very compassionate toward his wife,'' the investigator continued. "They (staff) have never heard him make any statements pertaining to wanting her to die. He is rarely alone with her when he visits and has never compromised her care.''

The DCF investigators noted that Michael Schiavo did not have the freedom to spend money in his wife's medical trust fund without court approval. . . .

But where is the debunking of other claims:
Carla Sauer Iyer worked as a caregiver for Terri Schiavo and the story she tells is incredible. She claims that she reported Michael Schiavo to her supervisors and police for injecting Terri with Insulin in an effort to deepen her comma or bring death to her quicker. She states she was fired from her job when she reported these and other allegations to proper authorities. And viewers, according to Carla, a police report was filed.

If all of this is pure nonsense and fabrication, I'm sure the State of Florida has evidence that Carla Sauer made it up.



Tim Blair makes it simple to understand:

CASE ONE: The fight over removing Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube “is a great political issue ... and a tough issue for Democrats ... This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue.”—Republican legal counsel Brian Darling in a memo first reported on March 18.

Result: Much left-wing rage, many on the right embarrassed, Darling resigns.

CASE TWO: “We’re going to use Terri Schiavo later on. This is going to be an issue in 2006, and it’s going to be an issue in 2008.”—Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, April 15.

Result: Pending.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Public Education is a Disgrace

Thanks to administrators who allow developmentally disabled children to be sexually assaulted and do nothing to stop what they know is a crime.


POSTED: 2:25 pm EDT April 12, 2005
UPDATED: 9:11 am EDT April 13, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A 16-year-old disabled girl was punched and forced to engage in videotaped sexual acts with several boys in a high school auditorium as dozens of students watched, according to witnesses. . . .

The girl was forced to perform oral sex on at least two boys, according to statements from school officials, obtained by The Columbus Dispatch.

Part of the alleged assault was videotaped by a student who had a camera for a school project.

School officials found the girl bleeding from the mouth. An assistant principal cautioned the girl's father against calling 911 to avoid media attention, the statements said. The girl's father called police.

Her father said the girl is developmentally disabled. A special education teacher said the teen has a severe speech impediment.

Catch this outrage (emphasis added):

Also, the principal, Regina Crenshaw, was suspended and will be fired for not calling police, school officials said. And three assistant principals were suspended and will be reassigned to other schools.

If the assistant principals were aware, they should be fired immediately.

And, they should never be allowed near a public school position of responsibility ever again.

Absolutely incredible.


Captain's Quarters comments section has some even more infuriating details (from The New York Times):

When the father arrived, he asked whether the school administration was going to call the police, [Special Education Teacher] Mrs. Upshaw said in her statement. "[Assistant Principal] Mr. Watson said, 'No, we don't want to do that. We don't want the police,' " she told the investigators.

The father then stepped into the hallway and called the police on his cellphone.

Mr. Watson and other administrators told investigators that the principal, Regina B. Crenshaw, had also advised the father to avoid calling the police, the investigation report says. Mrs. Crenshaw recommended that the father return the next morning and report the incident to a police officer who was usually stationed at the school but who was not there on March 9, the report added.

"Do not call the police; let our officer handle it tomorrow, and you will be happy with the results," Mr. Watson said Mrs. Crenshaw told the father, the investigation report says.

I'm speechless. . . .

Now, the article also suggests Assistent Principal Watson (and other administrators) reported the action was consensual.

Color me stupid, but first of all, that is irrelevant. This is a school, not some adult playground.

Secondly, color me really stupid, is it consensual when she is beaten and her mouth is bleeding?

And, she told her special education teacher minutes after the incident?


Comments (including those of my compatriot in South Africa, Cousin Nancy!) have rightly observed that this does not happen only in public schools. I will not argue the obvious, that we are all sinners and capable of unspeakable horrors, but I will argue that those who cannot escape the public school system have no choice.

I think we can all agree that the fact that, as of this writing, Assistant Principal Watson has not been fired is inexplicable.

Wizbang! and Blue State Conservatives are exasperated as well.


Weekend update from the AP:

The district said it will fire Principal Regina Crenshaw and has suspended three assistant principals. Police have not said who will face charges, but a city attorney said school officials could be prosecuted along with the alleged assailants.

Witness statements to school investigators paint a picture of a slipshod response to the alleged assault, which came on the heels of other problems. Earlier in the day, administrators had to deal with an assault on a Somali student and a report that a student had a concealed weapon [Did the students know the school policeman was out for the day? -- Ed.]

Just after noon, the girl said four boys grabbed her by the arm. Students said one assailant punched the girl in the face and she dropped to her knees. One of the boys told her, "If you scream I'll have all my boys punch you."

She was forced to perform oral sex on at least two boys, according to statements from school investigators.

A student who had a camera for a school project videotaped the alleged assault, illuminated by light from a cell phone. Another witness said at least 15 people were in a room that looked into the auditorium because they had heard what was happening.

When some students eventually went to look for an adult, the boys involved in the alleged assault fled.

Police have not said how many boys may be charged, but plan to give their evidence to prosecutors early this coming week. Potential charges could include delinquency counts of rape and pandering obscenity, said spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio.

The boys, who have not been publicly identified, are not expected to return to class this school year, district spokesman Andrew Marcelain said.

Whether school administrators will be charged is unclear. State law requires officials to immediately report cases of abuse to law enforcement or face up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine, said City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr.

However, he said officials would be charged only if someone filed a complaint. So far, no complaint has been filed. An attorney for the girl's father would not say if he planned to file one.

The father is probably waiting to see if the Assistant Principals are fired.

If not, he would have significant motivation to file charges.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Where Does America Stand?

America's unfortunately dynamic stance on Life can be found several places around the blogosphere, but Blogs For Terri and Pro-Life Blogs are great starting points.

Mae Magouirk Updates:

• The Life-and-Death Struggle over Mae Magouirk.
BlogsForTerri Exclusive: Judge Donald Boyd's Complete Response VERSION 2.

Terri Schiavo Reflections:

How "Terri's case" was Handled in Argentina.
Misdiagnosing PVS - Cranford and Terri Schiavo.
Lawmaker proposes bill in response to Schiavo death.
Pravda: Terri is Gone, I hope liberals are happy.

Euthanasia Updates:

Euthanasia of Infants by Doctors Responsible for Nearly Half of Newborn Deaths in Belgium.
The Ugly Face of Euthanasia.
Before You Sign . . . On the Dotted Line.

Stem-Cell Updates:

Big Companies Initiate Embryonic Stem Cell Research.
Massachusetts Gov. Vows to Veto Embryonic Stem Cell Bill.
Stem Cell Bill Fails in Seattle.

Abortion Updates:
Hospital admits abortion at 34 weeks.
UN Steps Up Vigorous Call for Universal Access to Abortion.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

65th Christian Carnival


Showcasing thoughts from a Christian perspective.

Previous submission can be found at the 64th Christian Carnival.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Culture of Death California Update

California Panel OKs Right-to-Die Measure.

Associated Press Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A legislative committee Tuesday approved a measure modeled after an Oregon law that would allow the terminally ill to end their lives with a doctor's assistance.

The bill cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee after more than a dozen hours of testimony and debate spread over three hearings. It now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, and finally to the floor. The Senate would then have to take up the legislation.

Euphemism Watch:

Democratic Assemblywoman Patty Berg said the bill was "about autonomy."

"It's about providing a safe venue for patients to have a conversation with their doctors, a conversation that a huge majority of Californians say they would like to be able to have if they are ever put in a position to do so," she said.

Ask Terri Schiavo about safe venues.

What unadulterated nonsense.

Fortunately, there are still some doctors who understand the original Hippocratic Oath:

Opponents said the bill could lead to the killing of patients who weren't terminal or didn't want to die.

"Physician-assisted suicide is the wrong answer to the right question," said Dr. Robert Miller, former president of the Association of Northern California Oncologists. "The focus should be on doing everything we can to improve care at the end of life."

Diagnoses of terminal illness can be inaccurate, he added.

Of course this AP story does not reference any of the controversy over Terri Schiavo's diagnosis as context (more context from CodeBlueBlog can be found here and here).

That might, well, provide context.

Not only do we have a living Constitution, we also have a Hippocratic Oath redefined annually by vote (emphasis added below).

The trend among many medical schools, though, is to have each graduating class hammer out an oath of its own that reflects the professional ideals of its members.

“Each class is asked to think about what the Hippocratic Oath means, what its purpose is, and how they want to articulate that,” says Nancy Angoff, M.D., assistant dean for student affairs at the Yale University School of Medicine. “There is much discussion about the nature of the oath as something that connects students to the practice of medicine and the physicians who have come before them. In that regard, they want to keep it reminiscent of the original oath as the first ethical grounding of their profession,” she says. “But at the same time they are not willing to accept all of the original words because they don’t believe all of them and they feel their integrity is at stake.”

Dr. Angoff says the democratic process of deciding on the oath’s specific wording forces students to reflect on their definition of an ethical physician. Some years the oath is simply an altered version of the original; other years, it is the unique declaration of a specific class. . . .

With so many differently worded oaths claiming the name of Hippocrates, Dr. Lasagna sticks to his suggestion that a competition be held to choose a common oath for all new physicians. “To the extent that we have everybody going their own way, we lose that thread of commonality preserved in the original Hippocratic Oath,” he remarks. “And I think that’s a pity.”

A pity indeed.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Expensive Fires

$1 Million per day.


Life in the Sierra

Many Blessings expressed in pictures.

Simply gorgeous! Carolyn had no problems skiing down from the top of the mountain (I'll never catch up). . . .

Christmas Card?

My Babes in Blue.

Babes in Blue!

Carolyn wonders if her Dada has back problems. . . .

Problem with your back, Dada?

Now she's really worried. . . .

Dada, you really need your back checked!

Hurry up Dada! Time's a Wastin'!

What are we waiting for?!

Speaking of Time on Great Grandpa Victor's watches. . . .

What Time Zone is This?!

Music of time. . . .

Stereo Clocks!

Tick, Tock, Zzzz. . . .

Tick, Tock, Zzzz

I promise not to bite, but I can't promise I won't lick you Hermie!

Oh No, My Tongue!

I'll scratch your back. . . .

Scratch My Back!

Carolyn and Hermie reckoned one another. . . .

What a Big Beak You Have!

Please pass along to my agent. . . .

Please forward to my agent

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Happy or Hopeless Hell

Much passion and prayer have been focused recently on life and death.

With Karol Wojtyla passing from this world to his Creator, some have suggested that while John Paul II was an admired leader and all other such effectively patronizing nonsense, he did not do much for the Catholic Church. Clearly the thinking of empirical rather than eschatological minds.

Has all of this reawakened thinking, or more importantly, a reflection on Heaven and Hell?

I do not know, but I can only have the Hope that it has.

Happy Hell can only be a place in our minds where God lets us smoke pot, engage in adultery of the mind or body, and otherwise offend His Word, and He simply pats us on the head and says, "I still love you no matter what you do." This is a place where God is Loving but not Holy. Did Jesus have to die if God is not Holy?


What cultural and historical events like Terri Schiavo and the John Paul II epoch have illuminated is that there are Truths that we deny at our own peril and the peril of civilization itself.

We deny life only by playing God when there is no compelling need to do so except to placate our own selfishness rationalized through bigotry.

We also risk being intoxicated by the narcotic of narcissism when we think John Paul II was a conservative crank who would have done much more for the Catholic Church by passing out condoms and bananas.

My respect will endure for someone who celebrated Mass in the forest out of sight of the Communist Deity in 20th Century Poland. My respect will never exist for those who think it helpful for us to teach children how they can safely indulge their senses without regard to the health of their heart here on Earth and their soul for eternity.

No, I am not saying that sin cannot be forgiven. On the contrary, it is!

However, Grace is not without price, and Heaven does not exist without Hell.

Father Lombardi, in his public debate with Italian Communist leader Velio Spano in Cagliara on December 4, 1948 stated, "I am horror-struck at the thought that if you continue in this manner, you will be condemned to hell." Spano replied, "I do not believe in hell." Father Lombardi replied, "Precisely, and if you continue, you will be condemned; for to avoid being condemned, one must believe in hell."

Believing in a non-existent or Happy Hell only leads to a Hopeless Hell.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Power of Light

You have probably heard by now (unless you get your news from TV), that Mae Magouirk has been removed from the hospice and is now in a hospital.

An 81-year-old Georgia woman who went without nourishment and water more than a week was airlifted from a LaGrange hospice to UAB Hospital Saturday to begin treatment, relatives said. . . .

A LaGrange probate judge on Monday ordered three doctors, including one UAB cardiologist, to decide her future. They decided late Friday that the heart condition was treatable and had her airlifted Saturday morning, Mullinax said. . . .

"Hospice is only for the dying, and my aunt has many more years to live," [nephew Kenneth Mullinax] said. "A crime was being committed by having a person in a hospice who was not terminally ill. I hope that this never ever happens again."

Was she being starved and dehydrated?

Mae's nephew Ken Mullinax reports her cardiologist Raed Aqel, M.D. told them:

Mae is SO DEHYDRATED after her stay at Hospice LaGrange, that it will take at least two days of intense hydration therapy to get her back to a level that is acceptable to him.

Blogs for Terri has much more from Mae's nephew (as does Wizbang!).

Random rhetorical observations:

• Setting aside, for the moment, why Mae was even in a hospice in the first place, why wasn't her living will honored?

• Would Mae be in the hospital now without the Internet?

• Will we have to rely on the blogosphere to save us from an unwillingly forced death by starvation and dehydration since our justice system cannot and will not?

• How many are dying as you read this because their family members do not understand lawful options, and are being lied to by doctors, lawyers and hospices around this country?

• Why are we even fighting about this?

Because some consider the defenseless Useless Eaters whom we should help to hurry up and just die already?

After all, the Nazis asked:

Would you, if you were a cripple, want to vegetate forever?
--Dr. Tergesten, in the propaganda film Ich Klage an! (I Accuse!, 1941)

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Culture of Death in Georgia and Belgium

[Please note interesting Updates at bottom -- Are Terri supporters being played by a Democrat -- or not? -- Ed.]

It appears that Living Wills are simply a racket in Georgia (and elsewhere?) -- instead, please consider a Will to Live.

I (and many others) have previously highlighted the tragic plight of Mae Margourik who may be experiencing forced dehydrated and starvation.

This point is not clear at this time. WorldNetDaily has an important update which suggests nutrition and hydration may be taking place, but we have no independently confirmed evidence one way or the other at this time (I have also written an email to the LaGrange News reporter covering the story).

To summarize:

Mae Magouirk of LaGrange, Georgia, is currently being deprived of nutrition and hydration [see note above -- Ed.] at the request of her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy. Mrs. Magouirk suffered an aortic dissection 2 weeks ago and was hospitalized. Though her doctors have said that she is not terminally ill, Ms. Gaddy declared that she held medical power of attorney for Mae, and had her transferred to the LaGrange Hospice. Later investigation revealed that Ms. Gaddy did not in fact have such power of attorney. Furthermore, Mae's Living Will provides that nutrition and hydration are to be withheld only if she is comatose or vegetative. Mae is in neither condition. Neither is her condition terminal.

Furthermore, under Georgia law, if there is no power of attorney specifying a health care decisionmaker, such authority is given to the closest living relatives. Mae's brother, A. B. McLeod, and sister, Lonnie Ruth Mullinax, are both still alive and capable of making such decisions. They opposed Mae's transfer to hospice, and are fighting to save her life. But in spite of the lack of a power of attorney, and the fact that there are closer living relatives who should be given precedence by Georgia law, Ms. Gaddy sought an emergency appointment as guardian from the local probate court. The probate judge, Donald Boyd (who, I am told, is not an attorney and does not have a law degree), granted Gaddy's request, thereby giving her the power to starve and dehydrate Magouirk to death, though such an action is contrary to the provisions of the living will.

Mae's granddaughter is also sole beneficiary of Mae's will.

My questions to Joel Martin at the LaGrange News:

1) Is Mae receiving hydration and nutrition presently?
- Some are reporting she is.
- Mae's nephew, Kenneth Mullinax, suggests she is not (per your and others' reports).
- What does the hospice say?

2) Is it true that Mae's granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, did not have a medical power of attorney prior to April 1, 2005?

3) Is it true that Georgia law provides that the closest living relatives shall have medical authority if there is no medical power of attorney?

4) Is it true that the probate judge Donald Boyd is not an attorney and does not have a law degree?

What is deeply troubling to me is that it appears we can negotiate the terms of a living will away as if it never existed at all.

Here is my best understanding at this time:

In her living will, Magouirk stated that fluids and nourishment were to be withheld only if she were either comatose or "vegetative," and she is neither. Nor is she terminally ill, which is generally a requirement for admission to a hospice. . . .

Two weeks ago, Magouirk's aorta had a dissection, and she was hospitalized in the local LaGrange Hospital. Her aortic problem was determined to be severe, and she was admitted to the intensive care unit. At the time of her admission she was lucid and had never been diagnosed with dementia.

What good is the law if it does not protect us? The details are still flowing on this case, but if her living will is as has been reported, we have a serious problem with lawless law in this country.

And, how rare are these occurrences of dehydration and starvation?

Not very rare at all according to Ron Panzer:

Ron Panzer, president and founder of Hospice Patients Alliance, a patients' rights advocacy group based in Michigan, told WND that what is happening to Magouirk is not at all unusual.

"This is happening in hospices all over the country," he said. "Patients who are not dying – are not terminal – are admitted [to hospice] and the hospice will say they are terminally ill even if they're not. There are thousands of cases like this. Patients are given morphine and ativan to sedate them. If feeding is withheld, they die within 10 days to two weeks. It's really just a form of euthanasia."

Fortunately, Blogs For Terri is all over this case here, here, here, here and here. Also, contact information here and here.

Do we really want people who have glaucoma and a heart problem to starved and dehydrated to death?

Meanwhile, in Belgium. . . .

Michelle Malkin has a very important update on baby killing (no, not abortion, but baby killing outside the womb after birth).

From the Lancet:
Nearly half the newborn babies who died in Flanders over a recent year-long period were helped to die by their doctors, a new study reported yesterday. Paediatricians in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium either discreetly stopped treating the babies or, in 17 cases, illegally killed them with lethal doses of painkillers.

The study, published in The Lancet, examined the deaths of every baby who died within a year of birth in Flanders between August 1999 and July 2000. The results of a survey on the causes of death were stark: paediatricians who responded to the survey admitted they had taken "end of life" decisions in more than half the cases. Most commonly, that involved withholding or withdrawing treatment because physicians believed the baby had no real chance of survival or the baby had no chance of a "bearable future".

In 40 cases, opiate pain killers were used in doses with a potentially life-shortening affect. In 17 cases, a lethal dose or lethal drugs were administered. Overall, the research yielded information on 253 out of the total of 298 infant deaths in the region over the period. The lethal doses of painkillers, which broke Belgian law, were mainly administered to babies less than a week old.

Most were premature babies with severe congenital malformations or handicaps and what was described as a poor quality of life, or very premature babies with severe brain damage. Four fifths of the doctors who completed an "attitudinal survey" agreed that "the task of the physician sometimes involves the prevention of unnecessary suffering by hastening death".

The Lancet introduces this piece via (emphasis added):

End-of-life decisions for critically ill infants Physicians are increasingly confronted with end-of-life decisions concerning critically ill babies and infants. Veerle Provoost and colleagues report that more than half of deaths among critically ill neonates and infants in a study in Belgium involved physicians making end-of-life decisions. The study also shows how three-quarters of physicians believe that making end-of-life decisions was a necessary part of their work. . . .

Did Hitler really win World War II after all?


Tom Maguire has very important updates and perspective as well on Ken Mullinax.

And there may be more than the usual enmity between Mr. Mullinax and Republicans - in the last week of the 2004 race, Dem candidate Bill Fuller's house (which doubled as campaign HQ) caught fire.  Per this story the police did not immediately see anything suspicious about the fire, and I have seen no follow-up; however, some local Dems suspected foul play. . . .

So, my questions for the nephew, Mr. Mullinax. . . .

Last fall, prior to the election, there were some Democrats who were concerned that Bill Fuller may have been the victim of foul play.  Was his house fire of last October investigated to your satisfaction?  Did you then, and do you now hold the view that your candidate may have been attacked by a fringe right wing group?

I imagine my point is obvious.  Trust, but verify. . . .

The local LaGrange paper provides a more balanced view.

Straight Up with Sherri has lots more - scroll around.  And here is an interesting comment, from which I excerpt this:

The details are many, but in short, the grandmother is not being denied anything, but refuses herself to eat (there never was a feeding tube).

Worth noting - according to Mr. Mullinax, Mae Magouirk has a hereditary ailment that hospitalized her sister (his mother) in 2002 (and she is not well now); it may well be that she is quite familiar with her care options and prognosis, and has been clear about her wishes in discussions with the granddaughter.

UPDATE:  I am going to come up aces on this.  We have exchanged e-mails; Mr. Mullinax ducked my specific question about Hilliard and Fuller, but told me that he was an aide to Paul "Bear" Bryant and Gov. George Wallace (Dem.) and has been a public servant in Birmingham and Washington for many years.  I have sent off a  follow-up asking Mr. Mullinax if he could focus on a yes/no response to my seemingly simple questions - did he work for Ike Hilliard and Bill Fuller?

Time will tell.

Read the whole thing.


Wizbang! is on the story also with a different take than Maguire.

I just spend 20+ minutes speaking to Kenneth Mullinax, who is the nephew of Mae Magouirk. . . .

Here are some things you probably don't know unless you have followed the story closely.

• Mae Magouirk can (could) eat on her own. (to a point) Ken and his family have been feeding her Jello and she can swallow water. The problem is that she can not get enough nourishment to heal without the feeding tube.

• As of Monday she was asking if she could go home. She is (was) far from a vegetative state. The lack of food has however caused her to become "not lucid lately" as Ken put it. Earlier in the week she recognized and greeted all the members of her family who went to visit.

• David Gives [should be Gibbs -- Ed.], who was the lead attorney in the Schiavo case, has volunteered his services.

Meanwhile, is she receiving hydration and nutrition. . . ?

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Useless Legislators

The weakest branch of our government -- the legislative branch.

Senator Frist states "we have a fair and independent judiciary today."

Obviously debatable, but a branch of the government that throws laws (and subpoenas) against the wall to see if they stick in the vain hope that the judiciary will heel and save a woman's life because the President interrupted his vacation is childish naivete.

Now, they want the issue of the sanctity and protection of life to go away.

Useless legislators with seemingly little passion to protect those whom they probably label Useless Eaters.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Useless Eaters

More mischief -- this time in Georgia.

Is Mae Magouirk being starved and dehydrated simply because her granddaughter wants the money? We need to see the court documents and living will to confirm that Mae's wishes are being violated -- and the clock is ticking. If Mae's wishes as codified in a living will are being violated and the courts are turning a blind eye, then we have a problem that will require federal intervention.

If the law does not protect the defenseless when they have requested protection via the law (and this again highlights the uselessness of living wills), then it is time to calibrate our laws and the manner in which they are interpreted as Senator Cornyn has suggested.

This smells of the larger issue of Checkbook Euthanasia.

According to a 2002 report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, the frequency of persistent vegetative state in the United States is 64 to 140 per million people. Thus, somewhere between 538 and 1,176 North Carolinians are probably afflicted with this condition. At a cost of about $80,000 a year per person, this translates to an annual financial burden to the North Carolina health-care system of $43 million to $94 million—enough to hire between 1,500 and 3,500 additional public school teachers.

It was easy for the media to chronicle and champion the Civil Rights Era since people were sitting at lunch counters and in the front of the bus, but how will the media champion the Disabled Rights Era when many are quietly starving and dying of thirst in hospices all over this country?

People without a voice.

Will we speak for them?

More importantly, will we demand action by our legislators to protect them?


The title of this post comes from a Life Matters! post which points us to this Journal of Special Education article which highlights the evil thinking from the previous Century to today:

In Binding and Hoche's terms, [the former] were "useless eaters" whose "ballast lives" could be tossed overboard to better balance the economic ship of state. In speaking of those with disabilities, and explicitly advocating involuntary euthanasia, Binding and Hoche wrote:

Their life is absolutely pointless, but they do not regard it as being unbearable. They are a terrible, heavy burden upon their relatives and society as a whole. Their death would not create even the smallest gap--except perhaps in the feelings of their mothers or loyal nurses.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

John Paul the Great

Pope John Paul II certainly conserved that which is best about the Catholic Church in my opinion, but Micah Halpern suggests he was a visionary that we will remember for all the ages (Hat Tip PowerLine).

On most issues the Pope was a theological conservative. When it came to approaching Jewish issues, he was a theologically visionary.

For the Pope, Antisemitism was wrong, plain and simple, wrong. Antisemitism symbolized the Dark Ages. Given his understanding of history and the Bible, the hatred of the Jew on the theological level was totally unjustified. Moving away from Antisemitism was moving the Church, finally, out of the Dark Ages. Theologically eliminating the hatred of the Jews was the perfect symbol of the modernization of the Church. It was a move toward modernity that neither touched nor eroded mainstream theological issues like marriage, homosexuality, and abortion, issues that might shake the foundations of Church teachings. . . .

On his visit to Jerusalem's Western Wall the Pope, as tradition dictates, placed a note between the centuries old stones of the Wall. The text of the note was later made public. This is what he wrote, please note that it was addressed to "God."

God of our fathers, you chose Abraham and his descendants to bring your name to the nations: We are deeply saddened by the behavior of those who in the course of history have caused these children of yours to suffer, and asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant.

Those few words explain it all.

In a few sentences the Pope transformed the Church's perspective of the Jew. Jews were moved from the world of persecution where it was accepted and even requisite to oppress them for their past and for what they had done and embraced in brotherhood. For the first time, Jews were recognized for their original contribution in setting the foundation of Christianity.

How amazingly simple and correspondingly profound.

The Pope was not only eliminating officially sanctioned Antisemitism because it is wrong. The Pope was bolstering, protecting and insuring the future of his Church. He was helping the Church confront future challenges.

John Paul II. The Jew's Pope. Everyone's visionary. May his memory be blessed.

A man whose life spanned loss of mother and brother at a young age, living in Nazi-occupied Poland and, of course, Stalin.

He was a man who loved God and His people. All people.

With one kiss, the pope gave Tony Melendez what other Roman Catholic officials had denied.

Born without arms after his mother took the prescribed drug Thalidomide during pregnancy, Melendez said he had been rejected from the priesthood because he was unable to deliver the Eucharist.

So Melendez learned to play the guitar with his toes and performed a song for John Paul II when he visited Los Angeles in 1987. The pope hopped down off a stage and kissed him on the cheek.

“It’s more than the kiss. As a Catholic I’ve been able to start a ministry because of that moment,” Melendez said. “The ministry that flowed from that day, just by one song and a kiss ... he doesn’t know how much has flowed from that. He kissed me and passed on responsibility.” . . .

The pope quietly praised Melendez’s song, “Never Be the Same,” telling him “It sounds nice,” before returning to the stage to address him in front of the crowd of thousands.

“You are a courageous young man,” the pontiff said for all to hear. “And my wish for you is to bring hope to all the people.”

If you have seen the video of Pope John Paul II kissing Tony Melendez, you know how easy it is to shed a tear. It is also one of many examples where the Pope took an opportunity to elevate a performance into a sublime message.

The spontaneity. The Love. The Joy.

The Hope.

Thank you Jesus for Karol Wojtyla.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bigoted Educators

More nonsense from folks who pretend to be in a profession called education.

A federal grand jury punished a public school superintendent for rejecting a vice-principal applicant because she refused to remove her children from a private Christian school.

The jury unanimously said the constitutional rights of Karen Jo Barrow were violated and ordered former Greenville, Texas, Independent School District Superintendent Herman Smith to pay back wages of $15,000 and $20,000 in punitive damages.

My questions is, why didn't the school board fire the Superintendent for such bigotry?

Another example of a random jury having more sense than elected folks who claim to be leaders.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Home School Access

Bill Hobbs argues home-schooled kids should have equal access to public school extracurricular activities such as sports, music and art.

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association is opposed.

One of their reasons for opposition is rather amusing:

''We have some tough academic rules,'' Carter said. ''Tracking that is an issue.''

Oh yeah, the public schools have a great academic track record of late.

However, once the state's camel's nose is inside the tent, it is hard to shoo him away:

Tracking is also an issue for home-school families who don't want public schools or others checking up on their progress and telling them what to do. In fact, support for the measure is mixed among families who teach their children at home.

''The concern in the home-school community is that they'll have to submit to some oversight,'' said Kay Brooks, founder of a home-school information clearinghouse and network in Tennessee. ''That's the big Mack truck hole — what are the eligibility requirements.''

Devin Moon, a home-school student from Murfreesboro, doesn't like the idea of playing by public- school rules.

''When we give the government this much power over home-schoolers, it's going to be used against us,'' said Devin, 16, who participates in home-school speech and debate leagues. ''Strings are going to be attached.''

He suggested that the home-school community spend its time improving the number and quality of the teams and activities it offers for students.

But some say it's not that easy. While these teams exist and they're growing, they aren't everywhere, and they don't come close to offering the same competition, experiences and exposure as the public schools.

I would be very cautious about giving the State the opportunity to knock on my home-school door.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Deadly Details

I had missed this detail which resurfaced during the Terri Schiavo tragedy.

John Leo notes, in the context of discussing the abysmal performance of the news media in reporting the Schiavo case, that the US Supreme Court has already ruled that feeding tubes are life support.

The behavior of the news media: Terrible. "Pro-life" columnist Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice called it "the worst case of liberal media bias I've seen yet." Many stories and headlines were politically loaded. Small example of large disdain: On air, a CBS correspondent called the Florida rallies a "religious roadshow," a term unlikely to have been applied to Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights demonstrations or any other rallies meeting CBS's approval. More important, it was hard to find news that Michael Schiavo had provided no therapy or rehabilitation for his wife since 1994 and even blocked the use of antibiotics when Terri developed a urinary infection. And the big national newspapers claimed as a fact that Michael Schiavo's long-delayed recollection of Terri's wish to die, supported only by hearsay from Michael's brother and a sister-in-law, met the standard for "clear and convincing evidence" of consent. It did nothing of the sort, particularly with two of Terri's friends testifying the opposite. The media covered the intervention by Congress as narrowly political and unwarranted. They largely fudged the debates over whether Terri Schiavo was indeed in a persistent vegetative state and whether tube-feeding meant that Schiavo was on life support. In the Nancy Cruzan case, the Supreme Court said that tube-feeding is life support, but some ethicists and disability leaders strongly dispute that position.

Why is a feeding tube life support and someone's cholesterol medication not?

Because it is a certainty a person needing a feeding tube will die without it, while without my cholesterol medicine I may live longer than Winston Churchill?

What about my blood pressure medication or my medication after a heart attack -- you get the idea.

It is hard to understand how the court can claim food is medicine.

I prefer the riskier, but defining approach of Justice Scalia which Matthew Franck discussed last week. He first rips Chief Justice Rehnquist's reasoning which has led to a "right" to die -- buried in "interests" of the individual which the Court must weigh, rather than a "principle" which the Court would protect.

So the chief justice was announcing a "right" to starve oneself to death — a right of which no competent person otherwise situated like Cruzan, Finn, or Schiavo (i.e., physically and even mentally disabled but not dying) could be expected to avail himself. In light of such a patent absurdity, for whom, then, was this "right" actually conjured into being? Why, not for the competent at all, but for the incompetent, of course, so that others may act on their behalf and bring about the death that we know for a certainty they would not choose if they were competent at the time the death was to commence. Only the incompetent are fit subjects for such a death, for only they are incapable of articulating a choice and will have such a death chosen for them, and only they will go more or less quietly, having no ability to beg us for a drop or a morsel.

In short, Rehnquist's preposterously invented "right" was the Court's way of blessing a practice called "substituted judgment": the process, varying from state to state, by which parents, spouses, or other close kin establish to a court's satisfaction either that when the patient was competent, he did express a desire not to live as an otherwise healthy incompetent, or (in states a bit more lax) that if he had thought about it when he was competent, it would have been his desire not so to live. This legal practice may have made sense at first, beginning as it did with the cases of patients kept alive on respirators or other "life-support machines" who would die very rapidly of underlying causes as soon as these measures ceased, or whose suffering could be brought to an end by a simple "do not resuscitate" order in the event of a cardiac arrest. But thanks to statutes and judicial decisions, "substituted judgment" in many states in 1990 was already moving toward the withdrawal of food and water from otherwise physically healthy patients, and Rehnquist's "right to refuse lifesaving hydration and nutrition" gave this fateful step a veneer of principle putatively derived from the U.S. Constitution.

Deadly Decision

Justice Antonin Scalia concurred in the Cruzan decision, because the result was rightly to uphold the state's power to set standards for patient care and to regulate the decision to die. But he plainly stated his divergence from Rehnquist's opinion for the Court when he wrote separately to remind us that, traditionally, "American law ha[d] always accorded the State the power to prevent, by force if necessary, suicide — including suicide by refusing to take appropriate measures necessary to preserve one's life." In the tradition the Court was unraveling that day, Scalia noted, it was fully within the power of the state to prevent suicide or assisted suicide, even by the supposedly "passive" step of refusing or withdrawing necessary sustenance, and "even when it is demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that a patient no longer wishes certain measures to be taken to preserve his or her life." Of course, Scalia conceded, it is within the state's power to offer less protection than that to human life — as Missouri did in the laws the Court upheld that day — but he wrote to defend the power of the state to protect innocent human life completely, unfettered by any claims of constitutional "rights" or "liberty interests" to kill yourself by refusing nutrition and hydration.

Scalia was also alone on the Court that day in 1990 in calling killing by its right name. In an argument that has been replayed in macabre echoes in the Schiavo case, Scalia wrote that "[s]tarving oneself to death is no different from putting a gun to one's temple as far as the common-law definition of suicide is concerned." And if starving oneself was suicide, starving another was homicide: Scalia cited late 19th-century precedents holding that "[i]n the prosecution of a parent for the starvation death of her infant, it was no defense that the infant's death was 'caused' by no action of the parent but by the natural process of starvation, or by the infant's natural inability to provide for itself." As for those who think the critical factor is that Terri Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state" or that "she would never have wanted to live that way" (and here we can assume those much disputed "facts" for the sake of argument), Scalia quoted another precedent from that era holding that assisted suicide "is declared by the law to be murder irrespective of the wishes or the condition of the party" who is sent to his death. Such precedents put paid to the notion that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment carries, hidden in its recesses, some longstanding traditional "right" to dehydrate oneself to death. And they remind us that we were once a more enlightened country than we are today, at least in this respect.

Scalia disposed handily of another bit of sophistry that has been bandied about by the "let her die" crowd in the Schiavo case. Stepping outside the purview of a judge for just a moment to speak to legislators directly (a futile gesture, since the Court had just announced a "right" he rejected), he wrote that "the intelligent line does not fall between action [e.g. the gun] and inaction [the withdrawal of a feeding tube] but between those forms of inaction that consist of abstaining from 'ordinary' care and those that consist of abstaining from 'excessive' or 'heroic' measures." It is just so in Terri Schiavo's case: No respirator can be "unplugged" for a quick death caused by her body's inability to perform its basic functions. She was the recipient of no extraordinary measures beyond hydration, nutrition, and hygiene. Her death is being brought about by the failure to meet these ordinary standards of care.

Perhaps the best summary of how euthanasia has crept into the legal mainstream can be found at Pregnant Pause.

Be prepared -- this is not easy reading for those who believe we are playing God, and that our Orwellian rationalizations to end life our becoming easier, not more difficult to make.

Indeed, as Priscilla King, RN writes:

When we decide that there is such a thing as a life not worth living, we have crossed into dangerous territory, especially when we empower anyone to make life-or-death judgments for another based on that person's estimation of his or her "quality of life." The trend in American law is clearly to allow third parties to withhold care when a person's quality of life is considered too poor to be worth maintaining. This trend should be particularly disturbing in light of the German and Dutch experiences. With so many taking up the cry of diminishing resources and increasing health care costs, with the trend to managed (and therefore limited) care, we dare not believe "it could never happen here."

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.


Blogs For Terri has an excellent round-up of thoughts regarding the consequences of the death of Terri.

From Eric Cohen's Wrong Questions Yield Wrong Answers:

FOR ALL THE ATTENTION we have paid to the Schiavo case, we have asked many of the wrong questions, living as we do on the playing field of modern liberalism. We have asked whether she is really in a persistent vegetative state, instead of reflecting on what we owe people in a persistent vegetative state. We have asked what she would have wanted as a competent person imagining herself in such a condition, instead of asking what we owe the person who is now with us, a person who can no longer speak for herself, a person entrusted to the care of her family and the protection of her society.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Great Christian Witness

Kathryn Lopez interviews George Weigel on John Paul II.


He was the great Christian witness of the last quarter of the 20th century, the man who took the Christian proposal to more of the world than anyone else. . . .

This was the most intellectually consequential pontificate since the Council of Trent. The Church will be digesting the teaching of John Paul II for at least a century, and possibly longer. In addition to that, and at a more personal level, John Paul inspired literally tens of millions of Catholics to live lives of radical Christian conviction. That will extend his influence far into the future.

He reminded Christians by his example that the Christian way is always the Way of the Cross. He reminded everyone that there is no such thing as a disposable human being.

No such thing as a disposable human being.


Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

More Questions than Answers

BlogsforTerri notes Schindler Coroner Nixed From Terri Autopsy and Terri Schiavo Cremated, Schindlers Denied Autopsy Reviewer.

Even though there has yet to be anyone who can explain these actions, Wesley Smith reminds us Threatening Michael Schiavo is Wrong!

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Next Time It Will be Easier -- Who's Next?

On Terri's Eighth Day of Starvation, Wesley Smith noted the case of Robert Wendland.

There have been other food and fluids cases almost identical to Terri Schiavo's. And these people had higher capacities. For example, Robert Wendland could roll a wheelchair down a hospital corridor and yet, a hospital ethics committee thought it was A-okay to dehydrate him to death. Wendland made news, but nothing like Terri Schiavo did.

Michelle Malkin points to an excellent Mark Steyn article (does he write any other kind?) on Terri Schiavo who begins by remembering the Wendland case:

Do you remember a fellow called Robert Wendland? No reason why you should. I wrote about him in this space in 1998, and had intended to return to the subject but something else always intervened . . . . Mr Wendland lived in Stockton, California. He was injured in an automobile accident in 1993 and went into a coma. Under state law, he could have been starved to death at any time had his wife requested the removal of his feeding tube. But Rose Wendland was busy with this and that, as one is, and assumed there was no particular urgency.

Then one day, a year later, Robert woke up. He wasn’t exactly his old self, but he could catch and throw a ball and wheel his chair up and down the hospital corridors, and both activities gave him pleasure. Nevertheless Mrs Wendland decided that she now wished to exercise her right to have him dehydrated to death. Her justification was that, while the actual living Robert — the Robert of the mid-1990s — might enjoy a simple life of ball-catching and chair-rolling, the old Robert — the pre-1993 Robert — would have considered it a crashing bore and would have wanted no part of it.

She nearly got her way. But someone at the hospital tipped off Mr Wendland’s mother and set off a protracted legal struggle in which — despite all the obstacles the California system could throw in her path — the elderly Florence Wendland was eventually successful in preventing her son being put down. He has since died of pneumonia, which is sad: the disabled often fall victim to some opportunist illness they’d have shrugged off in earlier times, as Christopher Reeve did. But that’s still a better fate than to be starved to death by order of the state.

ProLifeBlogs notes that Living Wills may not provide the protection from starvation and dehydration that some are claiming -- especially in California.

National Review asks Who's Next?:

There was an honest, forthright case for ending the life of Terri Schiavo. It was that her life no longer had any value, for herself or others, and that ending it — the quicker the better — would spare everyone misery. We disagree with that view, holding it wiser to stick with the Judeo-Christian tradition on the sanctity of innocent life. But the people who made this case deserve some credit for straightforwardness.

But while the public may have agreed with the removal of Schiavo's feeding and hydration tube, apparently there are limits to the public's willingness to tolerate euthanasia — and apparently its defenders recognized these limits. So we saw euphemism after euphemism deployed to cloud the issues. . . .

Next time it will be easier. It always is. The tolerance of early-term abortion made it possible to tolerate partial-birth abortion, and to give advanced thinkers a hearing when they advocate outright infanticide. Letting the courts decide such life-and-death issues made it possible for us to let them decide others, made it seem somehow wrong for anyone to stand in their way. Now they are helping to snuff out the minimally conscious. Who's next?

Now BlogsForTerri notes a Zogby poll suggesting the public does not support death by starvation and dehydration.

Are eyes beginning to open?

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Emerging from Persistent Vegetative State

Michelle Malkin has this encouraging PVS story from WFTV:

He's been in a persistent vegetative state for more than a month, but a popular high school basketball coach has awakened.

Bishop Moore coach Rob Graham, 33, collapsed of a heart attack in February during a championship game. When a police officer tried to resuscitate him with a portable defibrillator, the device failed and it took another 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.

Doctors say they had slim hopes he'd survive. But, on Good Friday, he suddenly showed signs of recovery.

"Nurses were coming from all over, and they started getting him to follow thumbs up and sticking his tongue out and then he turned to the picture of his girls and smiled, and I'm crying with him because I can't believe it. It was a miracle," said Rob's wife Tammy.

Ah, but the doctors know everything, and Terri was just a vegetable.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

The Passing of a Champion for Life

Pope John Paul II has died.

As Michelle Malkin says, these words from the Pope are Words to Live By:

We are coming to the end of a century which began with confidence in humanity's prospects of almost unlimited progress, but which is now ending in widespread fear and moral confusion. If we want a springtime of the human spirit, we must rediscover the foundations of hope. Above all, society must learn to embrace once more the great gift of life, to cherish it, to protect it, and to defend it against the culture of death, itself an expression of the great fear that stalks our times.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.


Apparently Fox jumped the gun.

Regardless, please enjoy accounts of an incredible life. Michelle Malkin has an excellent resource list, and the folks at NRO's The Corner are sharing memories and thanks for a great man.

From Kathryn Lopez:

It's a great thing he's been here as long as he has. Really an amazing life--from fighting communism, to being a thinker (way before he was someone we all knew), devotion to the dignity of human life... Thank God we've had him. And you don't have to be Catholic to be grateful for this gift of a man.


I have always been struck by the Pope's tragic childhood. He was eight when his mother died and 12 when he lost his beloved older brother to scarlet fever. He lived alone with his devoted father. A priest in the parish where Karol Wojtyla was an altar boy said he saw "the shadow of early orphanage on him."

And this:


I suppose I'm with Ramesh. Though I am not a Catholic, I can muster many emotions at the the thought of John Paul II passing away. But grief really isn't chief among them. The man has been suffering for a long time and he has endured that suffering with greater dignity than most of us could dream of mustering. He lived a long life of great courage and conviction, acting nobly when acting otherwise would have been much easier and less dangerous. Through his actions and his example he left the entire world a better and safer place than when he left it. When his time comes, be it in hours or days or whenever, few will say he hadn't done more than his fair share. This is no tragedy. His life isn't being brought short by the hand of man. There's no cause for rage. But there's room for gratitude and the sort of remorse one feels when the world is made a little less by the loss of someone it sorely needed. So why overly grieve for a man who is surely worthy of reward in the next life?

Perhaps the answer is simple, because it is human to do so.

Lastly, an email follow-up:


Lo[ts] of this sort of email:


Although I am not Catholic in exactly the same way you are not Catholic, I think I will take the time to grieve Pope John Paul II. Because it is human to do so, yes, but also because after being constantly reminded over the past couple of weeks how less than ordinary most of us are, it makes me sad and lonely to lose someone that is extraordinary.

More, I'm sure, throughout the day at The Corner


Jawa and Hyscience provide more details on how earlier reports were mis-reported.

A tip from Hyscience who tells me that earlier reports based on mistranslation. Word was 'dying', not 'died'

And Kevin at Wizbang! calibrates us all:

As Vatican watchers will tell you there is a protocol for announcing (or rather signaling) the death of a pope. It doesn't involve The Drudge Report or the Kentucky Lake Times...


We lose a great man on this earth.


Don Singleton has a great photographic history.

Better Dead than Disabled?

You may remember an earlier post I shared where Charmaine Yoest told us of an earlier civilization more advanced than our own in caring for the weak and disabled.

Another central theme: Food is not Medicine.

Here are more thoughts from a wise mother (and a friend of my Sister) who, like many of us, cannot comprehend the thinking that leads to and encourages the devaluing of life in our many forms of Glory:

As the mother of a child who not only is fed by a feeding tube, but also a central line for the last 8 yrs, I am appalled by what has happened to Terri. My mother in law is also fed by a tube, so for our family, tube feedings are very typical and normal. And in no way can they be considered life support. We all need to have nutrition and hydration to live, and a feeding tube, nor even a central line to provide the nutrition is really not all that uncommon nor is it as complicated and technical as many in the media and elsewhere make it seem.

There are thousands of people who are living full and meaningful lives while using various alternative ways to maintain nutritional status. There are also thousands of disabled persons in our communities who have fought incredible odds to survive and have quality of life.

Terri Schiavo was not given the opportunity to show what she could do, the day that her husband refused any kind of rehabilitation for her. God gives us all a meaningful life, and I find it so terribly sad that her husband could not look past her injuries to see the possibilities. At least to give her the chance to prove that there WERE possibilities.

Sometimes my children say to me "I can't" or "It's too hard", or "I will never be able to do that". I work with them, and despite the negative feelings they have, eventually they are instead able to say "I CAN" or " I Did it!". Do the disabled in our communities and our lives not deserve the same opportunities to at least try, or be given the chance to see what they can do? Terri was not given that chance, and I fear for our society that so devalues life when it is not "normal" or "typical". Where are we going in the future, when it seems so many feel "better dead than disabled".

Terri's husband may not have been able to clearly see the possibilities for her future, or maybe there was something more sinisiter at work. I do not know the answer, but Mr. Schiavo does, and so does the Lord.

I pray for the Schindler family, who saw Terri as more than a person in a vegetative state, they saw her for her possibilities. And I pray for this country, that somehow good can come from this, and that disabled people everywhere are seen not as to be pitied and to let die because of their disablities, but seen as human beings, created by God, and allowed to thrive and grow in whatever situation they may be.

Better Dead than Disabled -- vile thoughts we had extinguished after spilling much blood from the last century.


National Review Online asks, Who's Next?

Hat Tip ProLifeBlogs.


Blogs for Terri is determined to fight for our future.

The answer to Who's Next? must be nobody.

It will take much prayer, time and effort, but we need to demand a Disabled Rights Era.


More Right-to-Starvation nonsense from Chris Matthews while on the Don Imus Show:

The parents... the father seems to be having, I hate to say this, a good time. I don't know why, maybe it's the focus, maybe he's giddy with sadness of the tragedy that has been going on for so long.

Michelle Malkin has pictures of Terri's dad "having a good time."

Kevin at Wizbang! raises an eyebrow as well.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Disabled Rights Era

We need to start the Disabled Right Era.

The Civil Rights Era was a mixture of the law changing minds, but even more importantly, a movement where the heart informed lawmakers and eventually the law to be Right and Just.

My argument is that while the Americans with Disability Act continues to do much good (as well as enable much silliness), it obviously does nothing to protect people like Terri Schiavo.

These fundamental rights should be incorporated into our Civil Rights laws, but until then, we need to continue to highlight the plight of those considered by many as disposable (with Orwellian language as window dressing to make us feel comfortable and pleased with ourselves).

It is my Hope and Prayer that the many groups who worked together in the valiant attempts to save Terri's life, will continue to work together to this end.

This is a non-partisan issue, and if kept that way, will have significant impact on state houses and Capitol Hill alike.

Peace to Terri and her family.

Many hearts have been broken.

But, many eyes have been opened, and we must fight for those who cannot protect themselves.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.

Peace vs Anger

Thoughts of Peace from the Schindlers at Blogs for Terri.

The Schiavos on the other hand plan to deny the Schindlers access to the burial:

LEVITTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- Terri Schiavo's ashes will be buried in an undisclosed location near Philadelphia so that her immediate family doesn't show up and turn the burial into a media spectacle, a member of the Schiavo family said Thursday.

"If Mike knew they would come in peace, he would have no problem with it," Scott Schiavo, Michael Schiavo's brother, said during an interview at his home.

After an autopsy, Michael Schiavo plans to have his wife's body cremated and her ashes brought to Pennsylvania, where she grew up. Scott Schiavo said the ashes would be buried in a plot left by an aunt and uncle, but the family does not plan on providing the specficic location for the burial - underscoring the bitterness of the dispute.

And Michael Schiavo's actions speak louder than any words to the contrary:

Scott Schiavo expressed relief that his sister-in-law's ordeal was over, and anger at those who have attacked the Schiavo family.

"This isn't over by a long shot, We're going to get our name right," he said. "The world is going to know who Mike was, they're going to know Mike wasn't a beast."

Pray, do tell.

I will be the first to admit I was wrong.


Hyscience is exasperated too.

Cross-Posted at Sierra Faith.