New Civilization News: An Open Letter To The Bush Brothers: Erring On The Side Of Life    
 An Open Letter To The Bush Brothers: Erring On The Side Of Life27 comments
picture25 Mar 2005 @ 12:07, by Richard Carlson

Would that life were like the shadow cast by a wall or a tree, but it is like the shadow of a bird in flight.

---The Talmud

In other words, apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?

---Harold Pinter

A hundred thousand words are flowers in the sky
a single mind and body is moonlight on the water
once the cunning ends and information stops
at that moment there is no place for thought.

---Han-Shan Te-Ch'ing

In the photo from the Tucson Citizen, Jill Gwinn, 52, and her 13-year-old niece, are detained in connection with an egg-throwing incident outside Tucson Convention Center. The two were cited by police.

Hey Guys!

I don't know what it is about George, but everywhere I go the dude shows up. Buddy, my trip to Tucson this week was supposed to be strictly pleasure---and mostly it was!---but the whole place got knocked out of joint, which is typical for your "events", by your decision to have one of your "conversations" with us. We all remember how much you love Ohio and all the times you breezed through last fall. The one time I actually tried to catch a glimpse in Parkersburg, West Virginia, you left orders to greet me with a helmeted, black-uniformed, fully-armed SWAT team ( [link] ). Well, I got the hint---so this time I checked my appointment book first---and, sure enough, I was not among the 1500 specially invited "guests" with whom you insisted on being surrounded at the Tucson Convention Center Monday ( [link] ). Let's see, is that taxpayer money that pays for Presidential appearances?

So I spent Monday out in the Sonoran Desert. Wonderful wildflowers in bloom, and I think a golden eagle was calling up in those mountains. But I heard you 2 interrupted your other affairs to take an interest in the tragic Terri Shiavo case. It's certainly understandable because the whole country is talking about it...and the media covers little else. Jeb, I understand your government even extended your strong arm of custody her way to get rid of that husband ( [link] ). Certainly the Christian Conservative thing to do, sanctity of marriage and all! And George, you told us in Tucson that " extraordinary circumstances like this, it is wise to always err on the side of life" ( [link] ). I presume that's Life as in pro-life.

Of course boys, from your dossiers on war, interrogation of "suspects", and killing folks on death row, you lead the way in the political expediency of pro-life. (Interesting editorial in today's Forth Worth paper, George, about the 152 people executed in Texas while you were governor [link] .) But I notice in the whole, difficult debate about the Shiavo case, one element has yet to be mentioned by anybody. Money. Surely a good person would cringe, especially during Holy Week, at the mention of cash in the argument---but its reality does emerge for someone who's been through any kind of significant medical procedure. I remember when we had to remind your father what shopping for a loaf of bread is like, so I know you haven't had to dirty your hands in your upbringing like the rest of us. When I noted to my doctor that recent X-rays she prescribed cost $2000, she said, "But the insurance pays for it." Yeah, and I have work-related insurance---so why do I even read the bills...except for the part that says, "You owe $10"?

My wife and I are in very large health insurance groups. I never was in a hospital until last year, and have paid a share of my health benefits through most of my 45 years of work experience. But this last year, various treatments for me have amassed colossal bills. I envision my attempts to continue to live have affected the potential income of colleagues in the Athens City Schools. I have concern about that and want them to know it. Were I in a smaller work situation, there is no doubt that fellow employees would be aware of my need for their help through our insurance plan. Employers sometimes try to get rid of staff who have chronic claims. Perhaps the Bush boys and their supporters don't need to think about these everyday needs, but I do have to.

I don't know anything about Michael Shiavo's insurance or monetary situation. I have no idea what 15 years of Terri's kind of care has cost---or if this issue even enters in. Boys, it's another angle on this I'm thinking about. Eighteen years ago next month, the issue entered my father's mind. I know it because he said so in his suicide note. I wrote the story about this a while back, and you may read it here~~~ [link] . In a nutshell, my father faced a situation of increasing total care for his wife of 50 years. They were lifelong Republicans. At the time there was no insurance compensation for Alzheimer's, because the only diagnosis allowable involved an autopsy. I won't go into the details of his options and help offered by family right now, but I need to tell you ultimately it came down to seeing his savings and estate vanish in a flash. To prevent that (and leave a legacy for their grandchildren, he wrote) they carried out a secret suicide pact.

I don't think Michael Shiavo is facing anything like this kind of dilemma for himself, but there are increasing numbers of aging couples in this nation who do face it. Jeb 'n George, you're right: it is a complex case with serious issues. I think everyone's life becomes one, sooner or matter what simplicity we strive for. You guys have stepped up to the plate and put your beliefs on the line. But I don't see clearly what they really are. I wonder how open you are to theological "conversations." Your governments certainly reek of religious dogma, but on this Good Friday what is it about erring "on the side of life" that seems so mandatory? Can you imagine standing on the strength of love?

Happy Easter,

[< Back] [New Civilization News]



25 Mar 2005 @ 14:21 by jmarc : War on poverty
"The idea of killing the incurably ill was posed well before 1939. In the 1920s, debate on this issue centered on a book coauthored by Alfred Hoche, a noted psychiatrist, and Karl Binding, a prominent scholar of criminal law. They argued that economic savings justified the killing of "useless lives" ("idiots" and "congenitally crippled"). Economic deprivation during World War I provided the context for this idea. During the war, patients in asylums had ranked low on the list for rationing of food and medical supplies, and as a result, many died from starvation or disease. More generally, the war undermined the value attached to individual life and, combined with Germany's humiliating defeat, led many nationalists to consider ways to regenerate the nation as a whole at the expense of individual rights.

In 1935 Hitler stated privately that "in the event of war, [he] would take up the question of euthanasia and enforce it" because "such a problem would be more easily solved" during wartime. War would provide both a cover for killing and a pretext--hospital beds and medical personnel would be freed up for the war effort. The upheaval of war and the diminished value of human life during wartime would also, Hitler believed, mute expected opposition. To make the connection to the war explicit, Hitler's decree was backdated to September 1, 1939, the day Germany invaded Poland."  

25 Mar 2005 @ 17:20 by jmarc : If Jeb Bush
doesn't march into that hospital with the national guard in the next hour or two, he can forget about ever getting my vote for him as president. Come on Jeb, where are those famous Bush skydiving, aircraft carrier landing balls?!  

25 Mar 2005 @ 23:46 by astrid : "Only the Ones who ...
....are COOL enough to be cruel enough are meant to live!".... is the BOTTOMLINE Life Motto for these people.... and --of course-- they have to have their slaves... ten to each ONE of them, I think is the number they have in mind. The Q. is: HOW LONG IS THE REST OF MANKIND ACCEPTING THIS TO REMAIN UNCHALLENGED?????? ... and WHY???...Maybe "because of" Convenience, which is to say MATERIALISM, Complasancy, which is to say to defend one's MATERIALISM, Complicity, which is to say to protect one's MATERIAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS... Yes, the list could be made longer...
In the end it all boils down to Mental LAZINESS!.... too much for Humans to think of/about... "let the LEADERS do the THINKING"!....
When too many humans in the position where they COULD PROTEST don't, but makes us all think "well this IS the 21st Century after all an' this IS the highest of Standard of LIVING any way"... then we all get a life that is hanging in the's all a toss of the dice today!...til enough many START TO THINK AND ACT UPON THE NEW THINKING!
Like...."what IF we really COULD force some change for the sake of..."  

26 Mar 2005 @ 02:34 by jerryvest : Standing on the Strength of Love
Very sobering indeed, Richard. My partner and I have been open to discussing death and what my love wants me to do for her should she become critically impaired--not even sure what this means. She has had her spleen, gallbladder, and lung removed. Only, recently she had some brain surgery for a malignant tumor and on Ap 1 will receive some Gammaknife therapy. She tells me that she will know when it is time to go--and, it is not now. However, we have been together for 43 years and know what we must do, even beyond words. I won't allow my partner to suffer and will do all I can to assure that her dignity and love for life are respected. We are not afraid to die as we are not afraid to live. We are not fearful of God, rather we know that it is our destiny to return to our Creator--all in good time, or more accurately--in No Time.

I'm sorry that the zealots are so fearful of a loving God and of Death. Change and transformation does come hard for persons filled with negative beliefs, insecurities and prejudices. Would be neat to see them "standing on the strenght of love." Thanks, Richard.  

26 Mar 2005 @ 09:35 by jazzolog : The Vegetative State
Thank you Jerry and Astrid in sharing the extremes of the internal struggle with these matters. I realize JMarc's prayer to Jeb is an extreme too---at least I hope it's not the norm (yet)---and I'd never like him to think I ignore his views, so please accept this remarkable column from Keith Olbermann posted Thursday~~~

• March 24, 2005 | 8:00 a.m. ET
Some truths in the Schiavo case (Keith Olbermann)

SECAUCUS— The e-mail arrived over a week ago. It asked me to stop telling the “lie” that Terry Schiavo was brain-damaged. When I replied politely that independent physicians had concluded otherwise, the e-mailer wrote back.

She called me a “Nazi.”

Hysteria is a strong term to use, but it may be the correct one in the Schiavo case. A poll released Wednesday night by CBS News poll showing that an amazing 82 percent of all respondents believe the Congress and the president should not have gotten involved in the Schiavo case— and the interior numbers were even more startling. 76 percent of all Conservatives thought what the government did over the weekend was inappropriate. 72 percent of all Republicans. And even 68 percent— of all white, evangelical Christians.

The story is missing only two things: an explanation of how just one of the estimated 30,000 cases of individuals in a persistent vegetative state was elevated— and funded— into international prominence (we’ll address that below), and an obvious and respected, neutral observer, a fact-finder— someone acting not for Terry Schiavo’s husband, or her parents, or her congressman, or the politicians— but acting for her.

Actually, it once had such an individual, aman who, in October 2003, was appointed by a Florida court to spend 30 days reviewing every aspect of the Schaivo case— legal and medical (two areas in which he is fully accredited)— and then recommend to Governor Jeb Bush, how to proceed. He is Jay Wolfson, professor at the University of South Florida, a PhD in public health, with a law degree and I spoke with him on the Wednesday Countdown.

OLBERMANN: Let me start with this news of the day, the governor's announcement that there is a neurologist who thinks that perhaps Mrs. Schiavo is not in a persistent vegetative state but might have been misdiagnosed and could be minimally conscious. Is that plausible to you, or is it a red herring?

WOLFSON: There are several physicians across the country who have expressed that very opinion. I'm not familiar with what he did nor when he did it, nor how he did it. I understand from what you just said that he did not actually evaluate nor examine Terri. People are going to have different opinions.

And honest people are going to differ about their opinions. The fact is we're dealing with 15 years worth of medical evidence and legal evidence that were admitted through the Florida judicial system, based on laws that were created by the legislature, rules of evidence in the Florida courts, rules of civil procedure and the guardianship law in particular, which over 15 years evolved with very carefully designed bipartisan political and religious cooperation.

And you're either going to believe the facts that have been accepted by the courts, using the standards of competent evidence and clear and convincing evidence, or you're not.

And there's a reason why you won't. The reason why you won't is because it's hard. For those of us who are parents, I've got three sons. It's incomprehensible for to us imagine what it's like for these really good— the Schiavos are really good, decent people. I've got to tell you. They're the people I grew up with in Chicago. Their kids are the kids I played with. These are fine, decent people. But I cannot imagine one of my sons or anybody's son in a position where they're no longer capable of interacting and the idea of them dying by pulling a tube. It's extraordinary.

But the evidence that was submitted and the process that was used throughout the Florida judicial system and the federal judicial system substantiated that information about her state and about the evidence that was used to establish her intentions.

OLBERMANN: In your term as guardian at law, as the person asked by the court to represent Terri Schiavo and not her husband and not her parents, as good people as they might be, just her, what was the core issue about her health that you thought you needed to understand and what did you find out about it?

WOLFSON: Well, I sat with Terri for— I had only a month to do this, and I had to review 30,000 pages of document: medical records, legal records, extraordinary amounts of information. I spent time with her family. I tried to get to know Terri indirectly, and I spent about 20 days when I was in town by her bedside, as many as four hours at a time.

I spent time with her parents, with her husband. And I held her hand, and I held her head and I looked in her eyes and I stroked her. And I played music for her, and I asked her to help me.

I was looking for some consistent pattern of responsiveness, some consistent evidence that she was responding, as opposed to reflexing. And the clinical data, the clinical information about persistent vegetative states is that it consists of waking periods and sleeping periods.

And during the waking periods, the eyes move, the eyes are open. People make noises. And some of those noises sound like cries and some of them sound like laughter and some of them are groans, which some of your listeners may have heard. But there was, as hard as I tried, I couldn't get a consistent responses. I couldn't solicit any evidence.

And again, going back to the data in the files, the medical evidence and the legal evidence, there was nothing to indicate that she was not in a persistent vegetative state, given the standards of evidence and the medical knowledge that we have. The best we can do.

Justice Rehnquist said in the Cruzan case that we've got good law. We've got to apply the good law as well as we can. And I extrapolate that and say we've got to take best science and the best medicine we have.

I've got tremendous respect for Governor Bush. He's a wise and conscientious man. In his heart, I know what he feels. I really do.

And the Schindlers are wonderful people. It's not about Governor Bush, and it's not about the Schindlers, and it's not about the decent people outside of the hospice, and it's not about the Florida legislature. It's not about the Florida courts. It's not about the United States Congress. It's not about the U.S. courts. This is about Terri. It's about what her intentions might have been.

And if you don't believe what Michael and others have said about what she expressed after two funerals of her family members, which would have been in context, who were on respirators and who died. And she said, "I don't want to be like that." If you don't believe that, then nothing is going to change your mind.

But if the evidence is credible, and it was deemed so through the legal process, as much as any of us would say, God -- I'm not saying -- people say, do you want Terri to die? Goodness, no. Any more than I want my mother to die or my children to die. You and I don't know each other. I don't want to you die.

But this is a family private matter. How do we resolve these terrible things? I just pray that in the end, Terri's interests will be served best through this process.

OLBERMANN: You investigated, as part of this, not just the medical but the legal and the husband. How much insurance money this was worth to the husband? The children outside the marriage, his relationship that ensued outside the marriage. The conflict with the in-laws. What were your conclusions about the bona fides and the goodness of Michael Schiavo?

WOLFSON: I found nothing in the evidence, nothing— and some of the people who have been presenting evidence recently saying that there's been abuse. They shared that evidence with me a year and a half ago, as well. And I've seen it rather recently again.

There's no evidence to support that she was abused. For 15 years, she hasn't had a bed sore. Ken Connors, who was the governor's attorney was a plaintiff's attorney who made a lot of success in nursing home -- nursing home injuries. She's never had a bed sore in 15 years.

For many years, Michael kept such good care of her that the nursing home staff tried to get a restraining order against him at one point, because he was demanding so much. I think she's been cared for very much by Michael.

And you know, the issue of his other relationship, I'm not going to pass judgment on anybody, Keith. That's not why I'm here. But, you know, just because I love my mother doesn't mean I can't love my wife. Nor does it mean that relationships I had with people that were very intimate years ago, make it impossible for me to continue to care for those people.

Michael is not a warm and fuzzy man. His parents, the Schindlers are, but that doesn't make him a bad guy.

OLBERMANN: Ultimately, when you were involved in this case, what were your recommendations to Governor Bush and would you give the same recommendations under these circumstances today?

WOLFSON: My recommendations were that additional swallowing tests and neurological tests should be performed for the purpose of resolving the dispute between the parties. Because the legal process and the medical process, I felt, had been competent and had met the standards of proof. But only if the parties agreed in advance as to how the results of those tests could be used.

If you'll look at my final report, we had a draft agreement. And we almost got there. At 11:50 p.m. on the 30th of November, Sunday night, before my report was due on the first, all of us were pretty much agreeing to walk into that room and talk about how we would do that.

Mr. Felos called me at 11:50, Michael's attorney. And he said, "Jay, I can't do it. I can't do it, because I'm challenging the law that appointed you, the constitutionality of it. And if I accept anything that you're proposing, then I am diluting my legal and constitutional challenge. I can't."

He was right in doing that legally. And as you know, the law was deemed unconstitutional and then everything I did was technically moot.

OLBERMANN: What about now? What would happen if someone said to you, we need your opinion on this and we need it in a hurry, what would it be?

WOLFSON: My opinion doesn't count. I'm just a guy. You know, I just attempted to use the modest legal skills and clinical and technical skills and scientific skills I have. And I brought to the table the issue of using good medicine, good science and good law.

This is not about me. It's not about anybody else. It's really about Terri.

OLBERMANN: And that, sir, is perhaps the best answer to the question, "what is your opinion" that I have heard yet in this case and the coverage of it.

Besides Mr. Wolfson, I was joined by an individual who gave us a glimmer into how Terry Schiavo’s parents have been able to survive literally millions of dollars’ worth of legal bills over the years they have fought their son-in-law.

Glenn McGee is the director of the New York Institute For Bioethics, and editor-in-chief of The American Journal Of Bioethics.

OLBERMANN: Do you know where this money is coming from? The Schindlers can't possibly have afforded this on their own, can they?

MCGEE: Well, Keith, my research group at Albany Medical College has been looking for the past couple of days into the question you just raised. Namely, if there were 30,000 persistent vegetative state patients around the country, how is it that this one case attracted so much attention and so much litigation?

And what we found is that on both sides of the aisle on this set of legal actions, there's been an enormous amount of money. Some of it's actually been money to support lawyers but most of it has been gifts from large law firms and lobbyists to enable multitasking firms, the kind of
thing we saw in the O.J. trial, on behalf, mostly, of the Schindlers.

OLBERMANN: Do you know where that money came from? Do you know how much it amounted to?

MCGEE: Well, we don't know exactly how much it amounted to. Because as I said most of is it what you would call in kind contribution by lawyers who, in essence, agree with the cause.

So for example, among the representatives of Michael Schiavo's side, the American Civil Liberties Union most recently, and a number of different lawyers who work for firms that specialize in this sort of thing.

But more interesting, the Schindlers have enlisted legal assistance that's amounted to millions of dollars at this point, mostly from national right to life associated groups.

OLBERMANN: Millions of dollars.

MCGEE: At least $20,000 for each filing. And on top of that, there's procedural funding and funding for each and every action that moves up through the system.

You have to remember, Keith, when a case gets to the 11th District Court, it's moved through at least 25 different judges. And appellate lawyers have examined constitutionality questions in teams of 20 and 30. Many of these lawyers billing as much as $500 or $600 an hour.

OLBERMANN: You said 30,000 persistent vegetative cases in the country. Do you have any idea how often two parts of a family in a case like this disagreeing about whether or not to continue care? And are those cases resolved simply in the courts? Simply by arbitration? Or are all the other cases going to wind up in the public eye like this one

MCGEE: Well, in all my years in bioethics, I've never, of course, seen a case that's as much of a train wreck or has involved so much national grief as this one.

But it is regularly the case that when a patient ends up in a persistent vegetative state, the family is aghast. I mean, they don't know what to do. And even relationships that are good can fall apart, because people want the best for that family member, and they can't quite recall what someone said.

And particularly, in my own state of New York, where there's no real law about who's in control, those fights can be exacerbated.

OLBERMANN: What do the very carefully crafted tenets of bioethics say?

MCGEE: Well, these days, we're not feeling like we've done such a great job. But I can tell you that bioethics does agree on one thing. And that is that this kind of decision needs to be made early. It shouldn't be made in this kind of last-minute fashion.

And you know, it sounds like Monday morning quarterbacking, to not be glib about this horrible situation, but frankly, a lot of this really could have been avoided. And around the country, people are asking themselves, do they have it written down? Have they really express what had they want?

In this case, Michael Schiavo may very well be relaying what he believes that his wife said. But the very possibility of those doubts is what's created this problem.


See Countdown with Keith Olbermann weeknights 8 p.m. ET/12 p.m. ET.  

27 Mar 2005 @ 18:07 by jerryvest : Vegetative State
I think that it is disgraceful and disrespectful to identify a human condition as vegetative. I realize that this diagnostic label was created many years ago so why hasn't the medical community awakened to the fact that vegetables represent a totally different kingdom of creation? Perhaps we can best describe the AMA as representive of the, non reasoning vegetable kingdom.

Perhaps they will stop maligning humans and put into practice their principle of "cause no harm." A little empathy and compassion will go a long way to improve human care and relationships.  

27 Mar 2005 @ 21:29 by jazzolog : Looking For Roots
Interestingly "vegetate" comes from the Latin verb "vegetare", which means to grow.  

27 Mar 2005 @ 23:49 by astrid : Dear Jerry...
.... The way your exclamatory statement is put out here, I get the feeling you think the Plant Kingdom is LESSER than the Animal Kingdom where you and I , for instance, belong. WHY IS THAT?????? What happens to the Plant Kingdom will happen to US, call us Humans or whatever; just a Man made label!.... ( what we force to happen to the Mineral Kingdom too, will happen to us!.... Make no mistake! )
There is no evidence that Plants REASON ( think analytically = split a concept ever smaller till no cohesion/Unity/One'ness is left... what the un-balanced Males have been so good at ( look at where it has gotten us!) BUT THERE IS "MILLIONS" OF EVIDENCE that PLANTS THINK,FEEL RESPOND TO LOVE/HATE/ DISPARIRING THOUGHTS/FEELINGS TOWARDS THEM -providing one cares to listen/pay attention enough to catch what they say, when they say!..... You are playing with FIRE and GASOLINE!.....
Of course when "AMA" ( how do we know it was them???? It could have minted much before AMA, like some old Farts in the Old Mother Land, before even US of A was "invented".... though I 'agree'; AMA is BAD news to ALL LIFE!... )  

28 Mar 2005 @ 00:56 by jerryvest : Not Superior or Inferior- we are one
I didn't mean to imply that vegetables and plants were lesser than or more than a human being. I know we are interdependent, but humans are different than cucumbers, radishes and lettuce. We have different patterns although we are all a part of the entire Pattern. We are probably more lost and confused and forget why we are here and who we are with--inside and out.

I have wonderful feelings about my plants and nature. I'm feeling that we humans are so disrespectful of our mother earth and take her nourishment for granted. I don't really like labels at all and it just strikes me that labeling a human as a vegetable is both unkind to the plant and the human kingdom--we are one.  

28 Mar 2005 @ 15:37 by Quinty @ : The sanctity of life?

Olbermann was right. Hysteria has taken over. The use of the term "vegetative" is meant to describe an extremely reduced state of sentience, and, as a descriptive term, I'm sure, is accurate. You, me, anyone can become a "vegetable" if our brain cortex should die. If we cease to think and be aware of our external surroundings, reacting only in a sensory manner to stimuli, like plants which close up at night. Literally, no. We are not vegetables. Figuratively , though, such a characterization is true.

The hysterics outside Terri's hospice praying have come to believe whatever they want to believe. The same, unfortunately, is true of the parents. That is why the court dismissed the claim that Terri had verbally pleaded for her life. The feelings of those who love Terri can be understood. But because they have denied both logic and reality does not mean that everyone else should, including the courts, the medical profession, and the husband. Unfortunately, the mass news media has been inflaming this hysteria.

Once again, we are making ourselves the laughing stock of the world. Why mention this? Because we so often pride ourselves in being better than everyone else in the world, the "envy" of the world. We have much growing up to do in this country.  

31 Mar 2005 @ 23:08 by jazzolog : Into Thy Hands
O Lord, we commend thy servant, Terri, our dear sister, as into the hands of a faithful Creator and most merciful Savior, beseeching thee that she may be precious in thy sight. Wash her, we pray thee, in the blood of that immaculate Lamb that was slain to take away the sins of the world; that, whatsoever defilements she may have contracted in the midst of this earthly life being purged and done away, she may be presented pure and without spot before thee; through the merits of Jesus Christ thine only Son our Lord. Amen.

---The Book of Common Prayer, p. 488

1 Apr 2005 @ 00:57 by ankh : Don't you think
that if there is this God that you pray to, he, she, whatever, will know exactly what to do without your prayer or direction and interference? Wouldn't the same go for Terri's soul? Sounds like you're very fearful of God. Where's your trust, your faith, your unconditional love and respect? And where's that love to let Terri go on her own, afterall she's been really practically dead for 15 years.  

1 Apr 2005 @ 07:24 by jazzolog : The Errors Of God's Ways
I'm sure I'm not the first April Fool on the globe to worry that God has lost the thread and needs my advice. Appeals to God to do or give us stuff certainly are the weakest of prayers, I agree. I read somewhere recently (might have been in one of our Chats) that a guy was recalling how he spent weeks praying to God for a new bicycle. No bike arrived. Finally he decided he had misjudged the very nature of God. God's purpose is not to sit on high responding to prayers to hand out presents. So the guy said he went out and stole a bike. Then he prayed to God to forgive him.


I hope your Profile comes out of hiding soon Sparticle, so we can get better acquainted. :-)  

1 Apr 2005 @ 16:54 by dempstress : I only know
that were I in a similar situation to Terri Shiavo I would not want to live. However, I'm not sure I would want my end to come through dehydration and starvation either. Whatever happened to the kind, quiet overdose to see us peacefully on our way?  

1 Apr 2005 @ 21:54 by Quinty @ : Terri's last
I'm not a Christian though I am a great admirer of Jesus Christ and his teachings and often wish Chistians were more Christlike, especially the rightwing fundamentalists who don't balk at taking life if that person is on death row, non-white, a Muslim or an Arab. Though they are very good about protecting fetuses and cut toe nails. Which I'm sure will ensure the longevity and safety of many stem cells (Can stem cells be derived from toe nails?)

Though having just established my lack of bona fides when it comes to organized religious practices and beliefs it seems to me Richard merely expressed a sentiment - beautifully worded, by the way. If I may digress again, I sometimes wonder if American society lost something when nightly Bible reading was supplanted by the marvels of modern technology? The King James version of the Bible rivals many poets and writers in its beauty and literary worth. Shakespeare and the Bible: you could do worse. And having offered a prayer for Terri's soul after she departed shouldn't be construed as an expression of wobbly faith. It seems to me that God is so abstract a being that almost any profound religious conviction has some validity. For we are dealing, after all, with an eternal mystery. But let's not go into theology.

I don't think Terri's well being in her final moments should be a matter of great concern to us. They know how to keep you (the generic you) comfortable in a good hospice during your last moments. And Terri, after all, wasn't really aware of much of anything except, to use that word again, in a "vegetative" manner. She was not conscious nor posessed the awareness a human being has of his/her outside world. She was a "vegetable," to put it simply. And no secret Terri was bouncing around inside yearning to get out. Terri was through for fifteen years: at least that was the conclussion of the medical profession and the19 judges who looked at this case.

She was alright when whe left. Don't listen to the hysterics! Those who will tell yoy that she was like a condemned person pleading for water.

Have a good evening......  

1 Apr 2005 @ 23:24 by martha : In the end each person
must ask their heart and spirit (one in the same actually) what do they want the quality of their life to be as they approach the obvious decline of their body. If you are deeply connected to spirit the answer is easy. If you have fear blocking your honest connection to spirit then hysteria arises.
There is nothing to fear from death except the loss of one's body and I tell you mine ain't what it use to be...LOL
Each person has the choice how they might end their life including accidental deaths since there are no coincidences in life. Everything is connected. The choice can be made by another or you can make it. My choice is to make my living will and make my wishes clear. I have no fear of death and never have even when young and very ill. I am not afraid to take my life as Jazzy's parents did. I am not afraid to just gently fade with time. I'm not crazy about someone taking my life through violence since I've already had much of that in past lives. What ever the end for me i want to be the one in control if possible.
And where is the empathy for Terri's soul? Who are any of us to judge what Terri might have wanted but never wrote it down? Who is to say that Terri's soul might now be grieving because the people she loved the most were fighting, angry and vindictive? Or was it Terri's gift to us all to face our own death and make it clear to our loved ones what one wishes if they were in Terri's place? I prefer to see the positive in this story that she was greatly loved by many family members and her spirit got us all thinking about our own mortality.  

1 Apr 2005 @ 23:55 by Quinty @ : Living wills

A kind of odd admission that Terri wanted to die was made by the devout prancing about outside her hospice by their insistent claim that if Terri were cognisant today she would change her mind and plead for her own life. That her wishes, as a young woman, weren't relevant today.

An illogical claim.

But one which should perhaps make us pause if this issue is about to be decided by Tom DeLay and Senate Majority Leader Frist. For if the argument holds then those of us who make living wills may discover that our wishes (that is, if we were capable of discovering any of this) won't be adhered to. Since the argument they (the far right) propose is that if we were fully awake and aware we would change our minds. That we would agree with them and not abide by our original wishes.

The far right is attempting to link fetus saving with terminal end of life saving. If they, the far right, have their way living wills will have no influence on whether we are disconnected or remain connected to machines or not after we enter a terminal vegetative state. I recall my grandfather when he keeled over at the age of 95 back in 1963 and, having arrived at his time, was taken to a hospital where he was hooked up, unconscious, for the next two or three months until finally even the machines couldn't keep him alive. My mother and I were appalled by this treatement but there was absolutely nothing anyone could do for if anyone in the family or at the hospital disconnected him and allowed him to die that person would have been arrested for murder!

Such have been the advances of modern medicine. Now, at least, we have living wills. But the far right, in their infinite lack of wisdom, now desires not only to regulate the beginning of life in all its aspects but the end as well. They, the great believers in individual freedom (when it suits them economically) will determine and codify all the aspects of life. While, of course, reminding us of its sanctity.

Aren't we lucky? To have such superior wise beings telling us how to live?

I agree with Martha. How I (and others) end is a matter which I (and others) should be able to determine. I am not, frankly, interested in the scrupples of fundamentalists who insist upon imposing their fanantical and irrational phantasies upon me. And if it turns out I am wrong, and go to Hell, at least I won't be with them.  

2 Apr 2005 @ 04:16 by ankh : Politics
I was watching Bill Maher's show and about the Schiavo case he asked, "Didn't Bushie put his hand on the bible and swear to uphold the Constitution? Not the other way around?" And Bush - who said to err on the side of life when he executed so many people, who were retarded or didn't have an attorney that was awake...  

2 Apr 2005 @ 14:34 by jazzolog : I May Be Talking Through My Hat
but in response to these wonderful comments from such dear friends (even Sparticle---whoever it is, who crumpled me up with laughter this morning) I have to agree that...yes, the dear and tragic Terri probably was carried off with the best medications we know how to provide---as the time became appropriate for such. What is wonderful to me is the husband who remained at her bedside and silent about all this the whole time, except to assert it is his understanding this is what she wanted all along. He has not complained about the responsibility or cost of these 15 years. He has not lost his temper---as I'm sure I would have---and yelled at her parents, "OK guys, I'll sign the papers and you take over!" Nor did they, with all their financial backing from pro-lifers, offer to do far as I ever heard.

I really don't know much about the case because, even though a difficult public issue which includes our whole attitude toward elderly people, it seems a private one for this family. CNN and Fox were absolute vultures in their coverage of the last hours. I know this because Dana and I were stuck in a surgery waiting area while Ilona had some work done on a finger she broke. That's the only TV that was going in all 5 rooms at Riverside Hospital in Columbus. They almost were counting the final breaths per minute in the gruesome business...and of course emphasizing she was starving to death and showing the hymn-singers outside and all that. Yuck. Anybody remember the wonderful folk song from the '60s written by Phil Ochs called Crucifixion? "Show us a picture of the pain!" Thanks for tackling the issue friends, and for considering the situation my parents faced...and how my father felt he had to intervene.  

2 Apr 2005 @ 15:27 by Quinty @ : An Informed Population

I've read and heard most Americans get their news from TV. No wonder we are the laughing stock of the world!  

2 Apr 2005 @ 22:37 by ankh : The Pope
Pope John Paul II did not want to be kept alive artifically, nor to be resusitated if he died. That was respected and carried out. BUT, when Terri Schiavo died the same way, the Pope and church called it murder! Not only that, but the church stuck their nose in her private business and in our politics. I thought the Pope represented human rights and dignity.  

2 Apr 2005 @ 23:06 by Quinty @ : A conservative Pope

This pope was quite conservative: and since the Catholic Church has been regulating private affairs and all aspects of life (like many another religion) for millennia he simply kept up the old tradition. He was against the war. As well as the death penalty. But he also hammered upon the old themes some of us grew up with of abstinence for birth control and, yes, butted into the Terri Schiavo affair, since, presumably, he saw that as an aspect of his job. As a moral shepherd and leader.

A pope attempts to speak as Christ would have. The problem is, there has been about two thousand years of intervention between Christ's time and ours. And some popes, who kept harems, in effect, were easily bribable, waged war and keenly lusted after power have left their influences on a most conservative Church. And in terms of theology the closed minded have always battled with the open minded or out and out fanciful. Will the next pope carry on the reforms of John XXIII? Or will he return to the stodgy conservative ways? Pius the Twelfth was, for Christ's sakes, a fascist! And in Spain the clergy was often seen to raise its arms in the fascist salute after Franco.

If I were Catholic (and I had an aunt who was a nun and a great, great uncle who was a bishop) I would be conflicted. For Americans - the saner ones, not these fundamentalist crazies - have a certain secular aspect and grounding about them, and may not want to create enormous families simply because the Pope doesn't believe in birth control.  

3 Apr 2005 @ 01:15 by astrid : The reason....
"the Pope" has NEVER believed in ANY sort of birth contro, was because the worlds pooulation --hence possible RCC-Prospects to bring in WEALTH, was iffy to say the least throughout History. Not until year Nineteen hundred was Earth's Human Pop. ONE billion!.... During the Black Plague the WORLDWIDE population went down to only 200 million -as a high estimate!.... RCC always needed SERFS and the monarchies usually needed both Serfs AND CANNONFODDER!!!! Sooo. THIS is THE TRADITION and the secret behind it!....that is how much revernce in LIfe and so called religion it all is!.....  

3 Apr 2005 @ 06:26 by ankh : Quinty
thanks for a comprehensive history - well done. Does anyone know why the pope's body will be embalmed? The flag atop the White House is at half-mast for the pope.

Jazz - look it up in a search engine - sparticles have to do with quantum physics and super string theory. I'd do a log entry on it, but for some reason I can't create one, can't find one - problem on the site, I suppose.  

4 Apr 2005 @ 05:44 by vaxen : sparticle:
"Sparticle" is a merging of the words "supersymmetric particle." Supersymmetry, one of the cutting-edge theories in current high-energy physics, predicts the existence of these "shadow" particles. According to the theory, when the more familiar leptons, photons, and quarks were produced in the Big Bang, each one was accompanied by a matching sparticle: sleptons, photinos and squarks. This state of affairs occurred at a time when the universe was undergoing rapid phase change, and theorists believe this state of affairs lasted only some some ten trillionth of a ten trillionth of a nanosecond (10 e-35 seconds) before the particles we see now "condensed" out and froze into space-time. Sparticles have not existed naturally since that time.

However, if theory is correct, it should be possible to recreate these particles in high-energy particle accelerators. Doing so will not be an easy task; these particles may have masses up to a thousand times greater than their corresponding "real" particles. Current colliders do not have the power to create these supermassive particles, but the Large Hadron Collider, now under construction at the CERN site in Switzerland, will be able to achieve collisions in the 14 TeV (tera-electron-volt) range, more than adequate to determine if these superpartner particles exist.

su·per·sym·me·try (su'p?r-sim'i-tre) ("supersymmetric")
A grand unified field theory that attempts to unify the fundamental forces by postulating a symmetry relating the known fermions to hypothetical bosons and the know bosons to hypothetical fermions.

elementary "particle"
Any of the subatomic particles that compose matter and energy, especially one hypothesized or regarded as an irreducible constituent of matter. Also called fundamental particle.

The possibility is discussed to observe the sparticle decay modes of the heavy MSSM Higgs bosons at the Large Hadron Collider. We focus on the heavy neutral Higgses, and argue that their decay into neutralinos may access an interesting region in the MSSM parameter space up to masses around 450 GeV for low and intermediate values of tan beta. If neutralinos and sleptons are light enough, this channel - leading to a four lepton final state topology - can complement the reach of the SM channels.

"Supersymmetry" is a part of an advanced model of high energy physics derived from the multiple-dimension model that is used to explain electromagnetic photon propagation and strong and weak interactions. This 6th dimension model predicts the existence of particles and supersymmetric particles called "sparticles." WIMPs are the lightest kind of sparticles.

MUCH more information here:



Gee Vax, where can I see some of those "heavy MSSM Higgs bosoms"? Do I have to enlist with the Large Hadron Collider for that?


4 Apr 2005 @ 06:20 by jazzolog : My Living Will
St. Petersburg Times

Living will is the best revenge
By ROBERT FRIEDMAN, Perspective Editor
Published March 27, 2005


Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.

* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.

* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.

* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress - especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my case. And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the economy.

* In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.

* And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.

* I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should have remained private.

* Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as governor of Texas - to claim he was intervening in my case because it is always best "to err on the side of life."

* I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.

* And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human being on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be in any position to argue.

Robert Friedman is editor of Perspective. He can be reached at

© Copyright 2003 St. Petersburg Times.  

4 Apr 2005 @ 08:06 by ankh : The collider
is the ONLY place you'd see those bosons, not bossoms, Jazz. LOL Gonna jump in and watch some particles blast apart and collide with each other? Yes, vaxen, that's correct, you did your homework and thanks for posting it.  

Your Name:
Your URL: (or email)
For verification, please type the word you see on the left:

Other entries in
29 Sep 2007 @ 23:50: Volunteers Needed for our NCN Global Touch Project
13 Dec 2002 @ 02:57: TAO for XMAS
25 Nov 2001 @ 18:01: Cost getting you down?

[< Back] [New Civilization News] [PermaLink]?