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SILVER LINING LOCATED

“It’s a horrible story,” writes Daily Kos of Terri Shiavo’s impending death by starvation, “but there’s a silver lining in it all.”

That silver lining? Republicans would be embarrassed by a memo that identified the Shiavo case as a wonderful tool to use against Democrats. And they should be embarrassed … but not nearly so much as Daily Kos. Or this exultant fellow, who seems to think the starvation of brain-damaged Schiavo is revenge against the occupant of the White House. You might have stolen two elections, pResident Hitlerburton W. Chimpowitz, but a woman in Florida has had her feeding tube removed! WE WIN!

Troubling, too, is Tim Dunlop’s view that murderers executed in Texas under then-Governor Bush were less deserving of termination:

Where was the culture of life as he signed each execution warrant? It seems to me that there is a reasonable case that every one of those subjects of Governor Bush’s death warrants had a better claim to the “culture of life” (that is, life)—on a purely physical human level—than a poor woman whose cerebral cortex has liquified.

“Shame on all those seeking political advantage,” concludes Tim, having apparently just done so. The rest of his post, however, contains some worthwhile thoughts. Speaking of which, check Professor Bunyip:

Here’s our chance, brothers and sisters and comrades! Here’s our chance to scream about Tom DeLay’s scandals and rant about his hypocrisy. And best of all, we can do it while we pretend to care, to really care. At that’s why we want her dead. Because we care so very bloody much …

It’s all very confusing—and entirely beside the point, because the issue couldn’t be more simple: Is the feeding Schiavo has received until now a medical treatment? Her heart beats and would continue so long as she is nourished, which makes her exactly the same in that most basic detail as every other one of us. Yes, we’ll almost certainly never know where Terri Schiavo stands on Iraq’s liberation, whether she would side with her executioners or rescuers, or even if she is aware of the fly in the corner of her room. But her capacity to harbour still a flicker of the life force, even a semblance of a flicker, to smile and grimace and inhabit the form of humanity, well that defines precisely what she is and remains: Human, human still—and made more so by the love of the thwarted and now powerless parents, whose anguish the compassionards dismiss with a caring shrug.

Let the poor woman be fed. Let her not become a mere pawn in our incessant and obsessive attempts to control her life for our and not her benefit.

UPDATE. “In honour of World Water Day the WHO could at least have insisted Terri Schiavo be given a sip.”

Posted by Tim B. on 03/23/2005 at 11:28 AM
  1. Who is right on this issue?  Beats me.  I can’t even decide on it myself.  Do you help a poor defenseless woman preserve her most fundamental right, the right to live?  Or do you help to carry out what might very well had been her wishes, the right to die with dignity?

    Sometimes with certain issues no one wins.

    Posted by wronwright on 2005 03 23 at 12:44 PM • permalink

  2. Bloody hell! I completely agree with Tim Dunlop on something. Must..have…cup of tea and a lie down.

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 23 at 12:50 PM • permalink

  3. wron - I can understand that feeling, but really, if there’s no way to tell how she felt, and if the wishes of her legal guardian are suspect, butressed by tainted evidence, then I don’t see how Terri shouldn’t be given the presumption of life.  Nor do I see how she’s somehow terminal, since she’s been alive without food and water for the past 107 hours.

    A Do Not Resuscitate order is exactly that.  What she has now amounts to a Do Not Suscitate At All order.

    The hell of it is that the people of Florida, in the person of their elected officials, decided in ‘99 to enact a law that gives the right to withhold a feeding tube.  I believe the technical term for the current result is “reaping the whirlwind.”

    Posted by Nightfly on 2005 03 23 at 01:11 PM • permalink

  4. Re the alleged memo, I repeat here what I said over at the Anchoress’ blog:

    ********************************
    Hindrocket sez:

    ``It does not sound like something written by a conservative; it sounds like a liberal fantasy of how conservatives talk. What conservative would write that the case of a woman condemned to death by starvation is “a great political issue”?’‘

    On that basis alone I’m willing to believe it’s a fake. Liberals trying to impersonate conservatives are like British humor writers trying to write ``American’’ dialogue: they NEVER get it right.

    *********************************************

    As for Kos and the rest of the rabid raccoons out there:  look at them.  They hate George Bush so much that they’re willing to cheer on the slow murder of an innocent woman because Bush doesn’t like it. 

    Dante, in the Inferno, describes the denizens of Hell as those who have ``lost the good of intellect.’’  These people are throwing it away and trampling it underfoot.

    Posted by Sonetka's Mom on 2005 03 23 at 01:24 PM • permalink

  5. null says it best

    Posted by Jack from Montreal on 2005 03 23 at 03:32 PM • permalink

  6. I’ll get there - Currency Lad says it best:

    Live Aid Organisers Were Having Us All On
    “Lack of food and water ‘usually a peaceful death’.”

    Posted by Jack from Montreal on 2005 03 23 at 03:33 PM • permalink

  7. Gee, Kos, that’s one hell of a silver lining. Just like the tsunami had a silver lining - just think, a severe setback in third-world overpopulation. Sure, it sucks that those people died and all, but hey, ZPG is such Grail that’s worth it!

    Posted by Sonetka on 2005 03 23 at 03:59 PM • permalink

  8. Stop fucking around send in the fucking marines to take over the hospital ward and reconnect Terri.

    Posted by steve68 on 2005 03 23 at 04:13 PM • permalink

  9. Where was the culture of life as he signed each execution warrant? It seems to me that there is a reasonable case that every one of those subjects of Governor Bush’s death warrants had a better claim to the “culture of life? (that is, life)—on a purely physical human level—than a poor woman whose cerebral cortex has liquified.

    Yet Timmy Dunlop would still argue that murdering a fetus is a good thing.

    Posted by swassociates on 2005 03 23 at 04:28 PM • permalink

  10. I’m under the impression that Texas governors have very little say about executions.

    Of course, there’s also the issue of the standards of proof (not to mnetion guilt) in a criminal case vs. those in the civil cases involved here. (For those outside the US, civil cases have a much lower standard of proof; the proponderance of evidence rather than beyond reasonable doubt.)


    But, hey, anything to get at Bush, I guess.

    Posted by Sigivald on 2005 03 23 at 05:19 PM • permalink

  11. Mr. Dunlop, as do most liberals, fails to distinguish between people who DESERVE to die and those who are INNOCENT.

    I find the “culture of life” entirely consistent.  Death to those who do not respect life, death in accordance with the death which they willingly caused.  Life for those who have done nothing to deserve death. 

    Michael Schiavo is a freaking monster.  Insulin injections to cause coma and death, denial of therapy, denial of medical care and dental care and gynecological care, “is the bitch dead yet?” comments to the nursing staff…  He is a demon from hell..  and the liberals are, predictably, on his side…

    Posted by texasdave on 2005 03 23 at 05:37 PM • permalink

  12. Just on the subject of taking political advantage of the situation, you might want to keep your eye on some of the questions being asked at the Powerline blog about last Friday’s memo leaked to ABC News and the Washington Post which purports to be a Republican message on how to use the Schiavo case against the Democrats. No smoking gun to knock down the memo’s authenticity yet, but the Post’s Mike Allen seems to be in danger of auditioning for the Dan Rather role in this story.

    Posted by John57 on 2005 03 23 at 05:43 PM • permalink

  13. Stop fucking around send in the fucking marines to take over the hospital ward and reconnect Terri.

    Wisest comment on this horror posted anywhere on the Internet. I don’t think Bush will do it, frankly; his courage doesn’t impress me. I hope I’m wrong. In any case it is now 5 full days and some hours since the tube came out, and time is running away fast.

    I would add that I am surprised and vaguely pleased that Kos is human enough to see this as “horrible”. I presume he regards it as a necessary evil, but he is showing more morals than many others.

    Posted by radtrad on 2005 03 23 at 06:48 PM • permalink

  14. “I presume he regards it as a necessary evil, but he is showing more morals than many others.”

    Er—interesting definition of “morals” there.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 03 23 at 06:57 PM • permalink

  15. Governor Bush may go and kick that hospital door in himself.
    I hope so.

    Posted by Donnah on 2005 03 23 at 07:35 PM • permalink

  16. It’s an awful case and I feel for those involved. I’m torn about which way I’d go on this. One would think though that any appeal process would automatically entail the feeding tube be reinstated so the case wasn’t decided by nature’s own proxy.

    I think I agree with one critic on the weekend who said that while she is unlikely to ever recover and it might be the most humane thing to turn the machines off actually doing so would send us down a slippery path to the killing of the disabled in the name of expidiency.

    Posted by tssk on 2005 03 23 at 08:22 PM • permalink

  17. She wasn’t on any machine.

    Posted by Donnah on 2005 03 23 at 08:34 PM • permalink

  18. I’ve noticed that the Australian media has conveniently left out the fact that Schiavo’s lawful husband is engaged with two kids and has a vested interest in her dying asap.

    Posted by murph on 2005 03 23 at 08:46 PM • permalink

  19. Yay!!! The Marines will fix it.

    And we can fix those soft dick liberals by sending 100,000 feeding tubes and respiraters to Iraq - and hooking up every towel-head that doesn’t die straight away.

    We have the technology.  We can keep them all ALIVE until they establish their democracy, or until Jesus returns - whichever comes first.

    People will stop laughing at us then.

    Posted by ssssabre on 2005 03 23 at 08:57 PM • permalink

  20. texasdave has the right of it.  Kill the killers and force everyone else to live, NO MATTER WHAT.

    Because I don’t have any medical knowledge or skill, I’m not qualified to keep people alive.

    But I’m real good at sniffing out the guilty.  What’s the best way to do it?  Small neighbourhood committees that meet and evaluate bad behaviour?  Or do we need to be nationally coordinated.  Perhaps a Committee for Public Safety.

    I’d be happy to serve Lord!

    Posted by ssssabre on 2005 03 23 at 09:01 PM • permalink

  21. Another keeper of a quote from Kos.  Rest assured, Moulitsas, you and yours will hear it again…

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 03 23 at 09:08 PM • permalink

  22. murph,

    Not the media I read. It was noted in The Australian.

    No matter. That he is engaged with children is relevant how?

    /sarcasm

    If you suffered the fate of this lady, I presume then, you would expect your widow to keep a lone bedside vigil in perpetuity?

    /sarcasm

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 23 at 09:21 PM • permalink

  23. BTW,

    The memo thing is BS I presume.

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 23 at 09:23 PM • permalink

  24. I would not expect my husband to be a monk, but if he wanted to move on I would expect him to divorce me and give the responsibility of my care to my family.

    When your husband goes and lives with another woman and has children with her it somehow dilutes the marriage vows.

    I think this is barbaric. If they were going to let her die, they should have done it years ago and never put the feeding tube in or put her through all this in the first place. But to wait until years after the fact and a big lawsuit and then say Terri would not want this is ridiculous.

    I went to the office today of the health care agency I work for and ask some professionals there what they thought and everyone of them thought this was wrong.

    If some judge is going to give an order to kill this woman then he should have ordered a lethal injection, this is cruel and unusual and I doubt seriously that many people who have experienced starvation or deydration would call it “euphoric”.

    If Christopher Reeve had asked to die it would have been a crime to help him. But this judge can order the state of Florida to do what other people go to jail for.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 23 at 09:56 PM • permalink

  25. terryelee

    “If some judge is going to give an order to kill this woman then he should
    have ordered a lethal injection, this is cruel and unusual and I doubt
    seriously that many people who have experienced starvation or deydration
    would call it “euphoric”.”

    Absolutely agree

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 23 at 10:06 PM • permalink

  26. I read at polipundit that there is going to be a case in PA. The mother and daughter of an Alzheimer patient are going to court.

    great.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 23 at 10:33 PM • permalink

  27. Hey, ssssssssabre? Do you have some sort of problem? If you don’t want people to keep you alive in the event something crushes your skull and renders you a lump of animated meat instead of the scintillating personality we all know and love then please draw up the proper paperwork instead of working yourself into a froth of paranoia over imaginary Thugz4KKKhrist who are going to force you to live forever attached to a machine with tubes, or whatever your damage is. The rest of us are somewhat concerned that the whole basis for this notion that Terri Schiavo should be killed is simply because of some vague statement she allegedly made while watching some tv show (a claim made by 1. her husband, who just so happens to be the one insisting she “would have wanted it this way,” and 2. the relatives of… her husband.

    All I can say is I am glad most of my family are dead and gone or too far away to matter because if not I’d be living in mortal fear that some off-the-cuff remark that I’d made in my twenties when death and disability were far-off unlikely happenings would be used to put me down the minute I closed my eyes to sleep. But hey, go ahead and be flippant, and sneer at religious people, if that makes you feel safer.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 03 23 at 10:38 PM • permalink

  28. Oh, and that goes for the rest of you too, by the way. And terrylee, whatever you’ve “heard” on someone’s blog we don’t, in general, kill people because they’ve come down with Alzheimer’s, not yet anyway. But if you are eager to regenerate the eugenicist movement you’ll have lots of fellows, it looks like, so chin up!

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 03 23 at 10:40 PM • permalink

  29. The truth is she can actually swallow. She doesn’t need the tube. It was only there for medical expediency. Her husband is demanding that food and water be withheld because he, his brother, and his brother’s wife all testified that she wouldn’t want to be “a vegetable.” Never mind that she isn’t technically a vegetable. The judge found that she was and found the testimony of the husband and his family credible (even though their courtroom testimony is different from their deposition testimony) and that is why the state is insisting on denying her food and water to kill her.

    Pray it never happens to you. Your family can’t help you because their love for you reflects an inherent bias, therefore they lack credibility. And the media will never tell the story straight.

    Pray it never happens to you.

    Posted by The Apologist on 2005 03 23 at 10:49 PM • permalink

  30. Andrea Harris wrote:

    “I presume he regards it as a necessary evil, but he is showing more morals than many others.?

    Er—interesting definition of “morals? there.

    Sorry; I suppose I should have used some scare quotes there. I don’t love Kos, I just think his apparent regard for Terri as more than a “useless eater” is a pleasant surprise in the middle of a dreadful week. It’s sort of like a whore having more morals than a death camp officer.

    Posted by radtrad on 2005 03 23 at 10:56 PM • permalink

  31. Sleep with one eye open.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 03 23 at 10:56 PM • permalink

  32. Andrea:

    My “great” was meant to be sarcastic. As in oh goodee another relative wants to use the court system to off the old man when he is at death’s door anyway.

    I think that this is awful. And I think the judge that made it happen knows that too. Like I said, if he can’t give her as easy a way out as any baby killer would get then I think they should leave her be and let her mother take care of her.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 23 at 10:59 PM • permalink

  33. This is going to be a turning point, regardless of how Terri fares. Dred Scott comes to mind…

    Posted by radtrad on 2005 03 23 at 11:04 PM • permalink

  34. Yep, it’s a fake memo alright.

    Posted by Leigh on 2005 03 23 at 11:04 PM • permalink

  35. Terrylee: oh okay. Just checking! Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket…

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 03 23 at 11:17 PM • permalink

  36. Andrea:


    I am your friend.

    honest

    really

    I am going to bed now.

    she said slipping away.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 23 at 11:27 PM • permalink

  37. Dean

    Firstly, she wouldn’t be my widow because I would be still alive.

    Secondly, Schiavo was paid a large $1m+ compensation amount to help with Terri’s care.  Is he going to give that back?

    Thirdly, since he is unable to get his marriage anulled and he is interested in “getting on with his life”, he has a vested interest in seeing his wife die.  So he’s going stand by and watch her starve for the sake of his convenience.

    The solution might be to get an anullment since he is obviously unwilling to care for her any longer, thereby transferring responsibility of care to her parents.  By his own actions Mr Schiavo is completely unfit to determine was is best for his wife.  Her life should not be terminated on the whim of her husband.

    Posted by murph on 2005 03 24 at 12:34 AM • permalink

  38. “If Christopher Reeve had asked to die it would have been a crime to help him. But this judge can order the state of Florida to do what other people go to jail for.”

    If I remember correctly… Christopher Reeve did ask to be allowed to die after his accident. Of course, you’d expect one to be a bit depressed just after losing everything below C1. Not granting this wish was a good thing, I guess. (I know, it’s not PC to remember things like this. Let’s just say I’m “unreconstructed”.)

    Posted by nofixedabode on 2005 03 24 at 01:28 AM • permalink

  39. Get this!

    From http://www.envoymagazine.com/PlanetEnvoy/Update-TCollins-TerriS-Jan04-Full.htm

    Terri Schiavo is surrounded by major players in the Right-To-Die movement. Michael Schiavo chose well when he hired George Felos as his attorney and Dr. Ronald Cranford as an expert neurologist. ...

    Dr. Ronald Cranford was a member of the board of the former Euthanasia Society of America, which eventually merged with Partnership for Caring. Partnership for Caring lists Mary Labyak as a current member of their Board of Directors; she is also the CEO of the hospice where Terri Schiavo lives. Both George Felos and Barbara Sheen Todd have served on the Board of Directors for that same hospice; Mr. Felos was in fact the Chairman of the Board until Terri Schiavo was moved there. Mrs. Todd serves as a Pinellas County commissioner. Judge George Greer served with her for eight years; it is he who has ordered Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube removed. He also appointed a supposedly “neutral” neurologist, Dr. Peter Bambakidis of Ohio, to break the tie between doctors who disagreed about Terri’s diagnosis. Dr. Bambakidis had never before testified in a case like Terri’s, but his brother and George Felos have both served as officers in the American Hellenic Education Progressive Association.

    I don’t know how seriously to take the link between Todd and Greer and maybe it’s not all that odd for Felos to pick a neurologist that he already knows even if the guy is inexperienced at being an expert witness and has to come all the way from Ohio to testify.  But the rest is worrying.

    Read the whole thing and then consider how far we have come from the 70s and early 80s when euthanasia activists furthered their agenda by using horror tales about 80 and 90 year olds with terminal cancer and dementia who had heart attacks and were resuscitated and then kept alive on machines, with tubes sticking out of them everywhere, for as long as they could be kept alive.  Now we’re down to killing a young woman because she’s brain damaged and needs help eating.

    Can Greer be impeached?

    Posted by Janice on 2005 03 24 at 03:19 AM • permalink

  40. Andrea, Thugz4KKKrist, hey that’s good, I’m going to use that.

    Posted by ssssabre on 2005 03 24 at 05:54 AM • permalink

  41. “I’m under the impression that Texas governors have very little say about executions.

    “But, hey, anything to get at Bush, I guess.”

          Sigivald, you are correct.  A Texas Govenor may delay a given execution once, and once only.  He does not have the power to pardon.

          But anything, indeed, to get at Bush.

    THE SAUDS MUST BE DESTROYED!

    Posted by Saintonge on 2005 03 24 at 07:45 AM • permalink

  42. Why not be merciful and just get a gun and shoot her between the eyes?

    You wouldn’t let a diseased dog die of slow starvation like this.

    Either way is murder, at least shooting is quicker.

    I like Americans, but this has just left me gobsmacked.

    Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2005 03 24 at 08:59 AM • permalink

  43. “Why not be merciful and just get a gun and shoot her between the eyes?

    “You wouldn’t let a diseased dog die of slow starvation like this.

    “Either way is murder, at least shooting is quicker.

    “I like Americans, but this has just left me gobsmacked.”

          Hell, Pedro, I AM a USAmerican, and I don’t get it either.

          Right from the first, I’ve thought any sane person, hearing about this tangled case, would immediately agree that all issues of fact and law should be reviewed before killing this woman, by people who had nothing to gain or lose with any outcome.

          And if the decision was made to remove the feeding tube, Terri should then be heavily sedated.  As Rachel Lucas said,

    And it’s also the reason why I think that you are completely batshit insane - not to mention a rotten human being - if you truly think it’s wrong to let her live in a PVS state because she is capable of suffering by persisting in that state, but it’s okay to starve her to death, because she is incapable of suffering from the long, slow, painful death of dehydration and starvation.

          But suggestions like this gather all kinds of angry denunciations.  For reasons I can not fathom, Terri Schiavo must die, soon, and horribly.

          Ever read Shirley Jackson’s story “The Lottery”?  I feel like I’m living in it.

    THE SAUDS MUST BE DESTROYED!

    Posted by Saintonge on 2005 03 24 at 10:43 AM • permalink

  44. Understand — this case is about the right of the husband to define the woman as his property: “this is my wife.  Just because I’m done with her doesn’t mean anybody else can tell me what to do with her.”

    Let’s see them defend that.

    Janice — The dependency courts in the US are rife with that sort of incestuous corruption.  I would imagine that Florida, with its large population of elderly retirees geographically estranged from their families, is particularly rich pickings for these parasites.

    And the problem is only going to get worse as childless boomers start lining up at the managed care wards.

    If anything good could have come from this, it would have been a serious investigation into the conduct of these judges and the community of lawyers and “healthcare” providers who circle them.  Don’t look for any “progressives” to call for this, though.  Judges are the new priests of the secular left.

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 03 24 at 10:57 AM • permalink

  45. The Supreme Court has rejected the family’s appeal.

    I’d expected this. The courts, from top to bottom, are all swollen with their hubris and worthless; none of us should have put any faith in them. Apart from a literal miracle, the only thing that was ever going to save Terri Schiavo was armed intervention by Bush and/or his brother Jeb. I have no faith that the President will do anything whatsoever; I’ve never thought he was as tough as he talked. Jeb Bush might, but that seems a long shot too.

    Dred Scott was denied his freedom, but slavery was ended. I think we are seeing the same thing here.

    Posted by radtrad on 2005 03 24 at 01:52 PM • permalink

  46. Also, if any of you want to call the White House and demand action: 202-456-1111

    Jeb Bush 850-488-4441

    I don’t presume to guess how much good it will do, but it’s better than just waiting.

    Posted by radtrad on 2005 03 24 at 02:01 PM • permalink

  47. If I understand this correctly; the lady’s parents have not been successful in any one of the more than 20 legal actions they have launched up and down the hierachy of courts covering issues such as her prior intentions and medical condition.

    I presume this would have involved many judges of various jurisdictions. And now, not the least of which is, the 9 Supreme Court members have all refused to consider the appeal.

    If you are now positing that this is the result of some vast internecine conspiracy within those courts then, well, you’re in tinfoil-hat territory folks.

    The alternative possibility is that the Husbands case is sound.

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 24 at 02:12 PM • permalink

  48. murph,

    You couldn’t seriously be suggesting that the husband is putting his wife, new partner and children, his former in-laws and himself through all this terrible and public trauma just “to be rid of her.” Let’s be rational.

    I have no doubt both sides of the legal argument have the lady’s interests at heart.

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 24 at 02:19 PM • permalink

  49. You couldn’t seriously be suggesting that the husband is putting his wife, new partner and children, his former in-laws and himself through all this terrible and public trauma just “to be rid of her.? Let’s be rational.

    Assuming that everyone is rational is irrational. Especially Michael Schiavo.

    Posted by radtrad on 2005 03 24 at 02:42 PM • permalink

  50. Let’s see. Terri Shiavo is neither brain dead, on life support, nor suffering a terminal illness, but the husband can ask a court for permission to withhold food and water from her so as to cause her death.

    Withholding food and water from anyone will result in their death.

    And yet, some people don’t have a problem with this judicially sanctioned killing?

    Terri is disabled, and as such she is an incovenience and a burden to her husband, her family, and society.

    But isn’t the province of society, nee mankind, to protect the weak and the defenseless among us from those that would prey upon them?

    Isn’t it the oath of physicians to “first, do no harm”?

    Food and water is not medical care, it is sustinance. Yet doctors are taking orders from judges to cause death by starvation. This is not care at all, but much harm, indeed.

    Judges will devine your everlasting intention from the ether. Where have we seen that before?

    Florida judges—isn’t that an oxymoron?

    Truly the Culture of Death is upon us, where authority figures will pass judgement upon your worth—the inconvenient will be dispatched in a mumbo jumbo of legalese. Only the “fit” shall remain among us—eugenics by any other name.

    Terri Shiavo—where a gunshot to the head would have the same outcome: death, and the same moral implication: a crime.

    Shame on you who think the legal argument has it right. May your humanity never be perceived as merely inconvenient.

    Posted by Forbes on 2005 03 24 at 03:18 PM • permalink

  51. Dean, in the absense of any directly recorded expressed wish of Terri Schiavo to be “allowed to die” in the case that she should become severely mentally incapacitated (please try to remember that the basis for the idea that “this is what Terri would have wanted” is the husband’s assertion that Terri made some sort of remark about “not wanting to live like that” after watching something or other on television, and that the only other “witnesses” to this are two of his blood relations), and leaving aside (since modern minds won’t stand for absolute sexual freedom to be questioned) the fact that he has moved on in his own life to another woman, what exactly is the objection to turning over guardianship and care of this woman to her parents as they keep asking?

    And for that matter, since when is the killing of severely brain-damaged but otherwise physically healthy adults in the absence of prepared, recorded statements by the adults when they were healthy, and in the presence of a number of people who are not only willing but eager to take on the care of these braindamaged adults, standard practice in the United States of America? I am not talking about “customary, yet hushed up” practice which we all know has gone on and still goes on, nor am I referring to the need for the usage of your precious tax dollars to care for these people, nor am I referring to people at the end of their span of life or people who are suffering from some painful terminal illness.

    The situation seems clear to me: this woman needs very little care other than some liquid nutrition and someone to bathe her and keep her clean and warm. Her parents are willing to do that. Her husband is not. His claim that his wife would not have wanted to be left alive in that state is based on a conversation about a tv show nearly twenty years ago. He has another wife and two children. The idea passed about that he can’t get a divorce from his braindead wife in the state of Florida because she “can’t consent” is nonsense; all he has to do is pay an extra fee. I will not speculate as to his motives—I have never done so, my disgust at his actions is based in my own personal ideals about how husbands should behave to crippled wives—but surely you must admit his actions and those of his lawyer are extremely suspicious, as is his assertion that he is going to have his wife cremated immediately after she dies (correct me if this is just a rumor). I don’t have to be a member of the FBI to find something very weird about his insistence that she die; though I am willing to admit that he may simply have gone on so long in this position, whether out of stubornness or what-have-you that he can’t back down now or he will look suspicious.

    Leaving that aside. Here’s another thing about this case: the pro-killer movement claims simultaneously that she is suffering in her braindead state so it is a mercy to kill her, and that she is too braindead to suffer so starving her to death won’t be painful to her. They can’t have it both ways.

    The thing that gets me is this woman is being killed for no good reason. She is not doing anyone any harm, and to all outward appearances she is no more miserable than the average newborn. She has people willing to take on the burden of caring for her. These are the physical, at-base facts of the case; but instead we’ve heard a lot of kipple and gush about constitutional overreach, crazy rightwing antiabortionaists vs. depraved liberal babykillers, a lot of high-minded ideas about quality of life, and the whole rest of the coffeehouse bullshitter undergradspeak. Anything to keep unpleasant reality from intruding, I guess.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 03 24 at 04:17 PM • permalink

  52. Personally, I hardly know where I stand on this complex issue.
    But I just checked a poll at the SMH. There were over 11,000 votes, which is much more than usual for their polls (hey, they hardly have this many readers these days, do they!), which suggests that people care about the issue. But only 12 percent wanted to have the feeding tube reconnected. I find this disturbing somehow. Never mind what this issue says about Americans - what does this say about us Aussies (or SMH readers at any rate)?

    Posted by BS on 2005 03 24 at 05:11 PM • permalink

  53. BS:

    Online polls are not very reliable.

    If you ask people if they thought the elderly should be done away with when they get senile you would be amazed how many people would say yes.

    It never occurs to the young that they will be old and it never really occurs to the strong and whole that they might be helpless themselves someday. That’s people. sad but true.

    But I still say this is barbaric, I don’t give a damn what she told her husband.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 24 at 05:40 PM • permalink

  54. “In honour of World Water Day the WHO could at least have insisted Terri Schiavo be given a sip.?

    Too bad that, if you did that, she wouldn’t be able to swallow it, since swallowing food and water are higher brain functions that she is not capable of. In fact, she’d probably aspirate some of it into her lungs and either suffocate or develop pneumonia. But I understand the value of a good piece of snark.

    I won’t share my opinion of this case, though I will share my opinion of politicians and propagandists on both sides of this: disgust all around, from the manipulative emotionalism of some on the right (the kind we usually mock when it comes from the left) to the callous and intemperate derision and grotesque point-scoring (“The rethugs care more about a vegetable than poor black babies” blah blah) of some on the left.

    I wish that the federal government had stayed out of this matter. As Justice Scalia wrote on another case in Missouri:

    I would have preferred that we announce, clearly and promptly, that the federal courts have no business in this field; that American law has 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; that the point at which life becomes “worthless,” and the point at which the means necessary to preserve it become “extraordinary” or “inappropriate,” are neither set forth in the Constitution nor known to the nine Justices of this Court any better than they are known to nine people picked at random from the Kansas City telephone directory; and hence, that even when it is demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that a patient no longer wishes certain measures to be taken to preserve her life, it is up to the citizens of Missouri to decide, through their elected representatives, whether that wish will be honored. It is quite impossible (because the Constitution says nothing about the matter) that those citizens will decide upon a line less lawful than the one we would choose; and it is unlikely (because we know no more about “life-and-death” than they do) that they will decide upon a line less reasonable.

    Cruzan v. Director, MDH, 497, U.S. 261 (1990)

    But oh well.

    Posted by goldsmith on 2005 03 24 at 07:45 PM • permalink

  55. goldsmith:

    I had a client like this and he could swallow. He loved sherbert. He could drink water very sparingly. We used the feeding tube because it was an easier way to give him his meds and because it took a long time for him to take nourishment any other way. And he could aspirate, but so could my stroke patients. I have had clients on feeding tubes for all kinds of reasons, some that could be fixed and some not. A wet swab would offer her some comfort.

    Obviously Scalia is a lot smarter than I am, but as for the federal government getting involved all Congress ask for was a de nova, a fresh look. It went from one court to another and the republic still stands.

    We can debate if it was necessary, but then a lot of people in Mississippi did not think the federal government had any right telling them how to run their schools either. Today we can’t imagine a world in which segregation and poll taxes were tolerated but if the federal government had not involved itself in the business of states these things might never have changed.

    I think someone needs to get involved because this nonsense about how you can kill your wife in one state but not in another is unconstitutional. She is not his property, he can not speak for her. If she had been a citizen of Missouri or New York or any number of states this would in all probability never have come about on verbal hearsay the husband.

    Believe it or not this is as important as a highway bill.

    But what the hell, she will be dead soon and all the folks that are pissed at Congress can be happy knowing her husband was not interfered with.

    For years I have watched severely disabled people be treated like they were less than human. They tend to be stuck away out of public view and are often abused and neglected. You can say people manipulated this, perhaps they did. But if people did not hide from these kinds of situations and refuse to deal with them openly and honestly people would not be so easily manipulated.

    What happened to this woman, could happen to any of us.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 24 at 08:59 PM • permalink

  56. Judging by the hysterical invective being directed at folks like Neal Boortz,we may be witnessing the earthquake on the fault line of the libertarian/conservative alliance.

    The lefties must be beside themselves with joy.

    Posted by Dave S. on 2005 03 24 at 09:28 PM • permalink

  57. Stop the presses! Neal Boortz is sad.

    Who the fuck is Neal Boortz?

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 03 24 at 09:55 PM • permalink

  58. Stop the presses! Andrea is free-associating again.

    Do you even read posts before you respond to them? Did I say “Neal Boortz is sad”?

    Posted by Dave S. on 2005 03 24 at 10:04 PM • permalink

  59. Andrea,

    You seem to dismiss “this is what Terri would have wanted? as simply the husband’s assertion. I understand this proposition has been tested, at length, in several court actions. Doesn’t it seem disingenuous to dismiss that process out of hand.

    I am not a doctor, but after reading about the case, both neutral, pro and con medical sites it appears to me that the lady is not crippled or brain damaged, because her brain is no longer there. The cerebal cortex has gone. She does not exist anymore. To maintain the body’s existence is, to my thinking, grotesque.

    I and my family have also sat with a close relative who’s brain was damaged beyond recovery, to the point of absolute brain death, by a stoke and witnessed all the activities ascribed in this lady. You latch on to each squeeze of the finger, the occasional smile, or sound, and worse the opening of the eyes, recognition of a look then the mouth opens,...and nothing. You don’t want to believe the doctors who tell you these are simply reflex or random activities, you think they’re obviously incompotent or uncaring. Years after the event you realise with hindsight they were right. There was nothing left of the actual person in all that which lay on the hospital bed.

    The pro-killer movement? A base use of rhetoric I thought that, from your writing, would be beneath you. These sorts of terms have no place in any reasoned argument. This would be as if I described your views as pro-suffering, which is patently absurd.

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 24 at 10:17 PM • permalink

  60. Who is Neal Boortz?

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 24 at 10:20 PM • permalink

  61. I’m Neal Boortz and so is wife.

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 24 at 10:22 PM • permalink

  62. Sorry ‘bout that. It’s Good Friday morning here and all the pubs are shut, nothing for it but yard work.

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 24 at 10:24 PM • permalink

  63. Okay Dave S., you got foulmouthed with me. That’s it. You’ve been obnoxious to me before but I passed it off because you’d been a longtime commenter here. But now I see you have dropped the mask and are just another jerk.

    As for you, Dean: I see you are a worshipper of the Mighty Courts. They have Ruled. Nothing more is to be said. Do not blaspheme against the Mighty Court!

    It’s nice to know, though, that you think the justice system in my state is perfect and infallible. And I do so love to be lectured on manners by people. It just makes me want to curl up into a little ball of shame and die because I didn’t fit your definition of a lady. And by the way, sorry about your relative, but this has nothing to do with her. This is an entire other person we are talking about. But thanks for playing the emotional card and while at the same time lambasting me for it. Cute.

    Posted by Andrea Harris, Administrator on 2005 03 24 at 10:27 PM • permalink

  64. If it was her desire that she not be on feeding tube why did her husband let them put one in to begin with? Just asking.

    Folks, I am not saying this lady will not end up singing with the angels [like Neal] and that life will not go on.

    I am saying it is barbaric to let her lie there and starve to death.

    But hey, if the Democrats can survive Soros and Moore…I think the conservatives will survive this…

    if you think this gets folks going..just bring up immigration.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 24 at 10:38 PM • permalink

  65. DEan:

    Her brain is no longer there?

    sheesh.

    well she ain’t the only one.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 24 at 10:40 PM • permalink

  66. Remind me never to be hospitalized in Sydney…

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 03 24 at 11:29 PM • permalink

  67. Ahhhrrrggghhh!

    Why cannot anyone see the fine line here?

    I wholeheartedly support euthanasia, and when I am lying in a hospital bed facing a painful and undignified end, I will certainly be asking for a therapeudic overdose.

    I am not one of Andrea’s Thugs4KKKrist, and in fact I do not believe in an afterlife, or a God.

    The fine line is what defines us as humans - to protect those who cannot (for whatever reason) protect themselves. 

    Terri Schiavo is not “brain dead”.  She is brain damaged.  She is apparently an inconvenience to her former husband, but not to her parents who are willing and able to look after their daughter.

    She responds to her family.  This has been documented on numerous occasions.

    She is not on life-support.  She breathes on her own.  No constant medical treatment is required to keep her alive.  All that is necessary is food, water, warmth and shelter, basic human rights.

    Food and water is not medication.  It is not an issue of withdrawal of medication.

    The fine line is between the laudable notion of euthanasia, and the abominable Malthusian notion (that now appears to have tacit legal approval in the U.S.A.) that inconvenient “sub-humans” can be put to death.

    The most appalling aspect is the death by starvation.  If the Courts could countenance an order necessitating the killing of a damaged but viable human being, why not be merciful and order a lethal overdose?  The effect is precisely the same.

    I am utterly beyond belief about all of this.

    Posted by Kaboom on 2005 03 24 at 11:36 PM • permalink

  68. In all the emotional words written about this very sad case it is good to see some salient points and clarity laid out at this web site-
    http://abstractappeal.com/schiavo/infopage.html

    From a professionaland personal perpective- As a nurse I have cared for many such as Therese- I can assure those of you who are convinced that she could take food orally- you are totally incorrect- with such extreme damage to her brain where brain tissue has been replaced by cerebro spinal fluid there is no way she could have any cognitive abilities ‘gag reflex’ ability to chew or swallow. Any attempt to feed food or fluids would be ‘aspiriated’ that is it would be flushed into her lungs and she would drown even a micro drop would cause her to develop aspiration pnuemonia. There is no way after 10 years she could be fed other than with High Protein supplements such as she has been receiving via the gastrotomy tube- one drop of this heavy viscous fluid would cause her to drown/asphyxiate. A nasal tube is not an option as the fluid again would enter her lungs if dislodged or kinked and she would be unable to indicate that something was amiss. This could happen as she was being turned and cleaned.
    Another point, this food supplement being liquid id fed throught the stomach and the waste- that is faecal matter is pure liquid-black foul copious and frequent requiring washing and changing throughout each 24 hours. I do not know whether she has an indwelling catheter for her urine- if she has this too can lead to infection and the urine too very malodourous. If she is just having diapers/nappies then this can cause a breakdown in skin integrity through the caustic nature of urine. Her mouth, and nose has to be scruplously kept clean to prevent ulceration and secondary infection.
    Terri was a girl who was not happy as she was, because of the pressures on young wwoman -to be thin or feel unworthy, she fell victim to bulemia- I have not met any young woman who have such concern over their appearance who would wish to endure this appalling existance with not one shred of privacy nor dignity left. She would have hated her appearance and would hate her family for continuing this tragic charade of caring for her.
    I feel they are totally selfish and should be getting on with their lives and having quality time with their other daughter.
    I have never met any family who want to persist for so long, rather most want to see their loved ones die peacefully and remember them the way they were not what she has become.
    On a personal note- my mother was diagnosed with advanced cancer of the oesphagus-after hiding the fact that she had difficulty swallowing for over a year-because she feared the worse. By the time she sought help it was too late to operate,the only option was a gastric tube when she could no longer swallow.
    This she totally rejected and when she came to me she had 2 weeks when she could take about 4 teaspons of baby jelly or puree vegetable or sips of fluid to wash down medication and later small amounts of morphine mixture which she would only take at night- so determined to stay in control to the end. It took another 5 weeks to starve to death. Despite 40 years as a nurse-I still have not got over the pain of seeing her stubbornly suffer.
    In conclusion I had to have Mum’s little dogs
    euthanased when she first went to the frail aged accomodation-they were unable to adapt without her after 14 years of her total devotion- what a difference to be a dog-the vet-kind and gentle,one injectin as I stroked them-no pain and asleep in less than a minute. Please God- let me come back as a dog in my next life.
    No it is not murder to let Terri die PEACEFULLY- it is inhumane that we have a society that will not allow one to be given the dignity in death that we allow our beloved pets. Starve a dog and be prosecuted.

    Posted by Rose on 2005 03 25 at 12:02 AM • permalink

  69. Andrea , “I didn’t fit your definition of a lady.” “...lectured on manners.”

    What the fuck are you talking about?!

    When have I ever cast an opinion or aspersion on your personal demeanour or gender. I have always attempted to be polite, with the odd lapse, in this sensitive debate. If you read offence I apologise for the misunderstanding. It was not intended.

    I never write anything I wouldn’t say to a someone, in person, in public. So read carefully; What I did intend to imply was that the “pro-killer” tag is simply rude, regardless of your gender! I do find that offensive and I infer that is what you intended.

    Posted by Dean McAskil on 2005 03 25 at 12:12 AM • permalink

  70. I agree with Kaboom.

    The sad thing is I have actually had to make the decision for a dying family to have a feeding tube removed.

    I had to watch both my parents die and they died hard.

    So I know what it is like to have to make hard choices. I don’t want government interfering either, but this is beyond the pale.

    Posted by terryelee on 2005 03 25 at 12:50 AM • permalink

  71. Dean said:

    The alternative possibility is that the Husbands case is sound.

    It might be logically sound, Dean, but it could also be morally and ethically bankrupt.  You could consider that.

    Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 03 25 at 01:16 AM • permalink

  72. Has anyone seen the cartoons here?

    Posted by nwab on 2005 03 25 at 01:39 AM • permalink

  73. terryelee,

    I realize that online polls are not very reliable, and never more so than when those being polled are (predominantly leftist)SMH readers. But here are the latest “results” of this poll:
    Terri Schiavo’s fate

    Where do you stand?
    Keeping her alive - 12%

    Removing her feeding tube - 44%

    Not keeping her alive but not starving her either - 36%

    Undecided - 6%

    Total Votes: 12661

    So here we have a minimum of 80% of respondents who want her dead and a maximum of 20% who wish her to live. I would have thought that, in reality, the split on this issue would be 50/50 to 60/40 either way. But even allowing for the unreliable aspects of this type of polling, I find this 80/20 to 90/10 split to be quite astounding, and to say something very disturbing about the “population” being sampled here, whatever it may consist of.

    Posted by BS on 2005 03 25 at 02:57 AM • permalink

  74. Apologies if this is stale or corrected news, but there are two observations that favor the Let Terri Live camp. 

    One reported on Radio Netherlands, that of the three European nations allowing judicially sanctioned “death with dignity? legislation (Swiss, Belgian, Dutch) NONE of the three would sanction withdrawal of life support in a case like Schiavo’s since there’s only second-hand testimony that she’d want it withdrawn.

    More importantly, it’s self-interested testimony, since there was apparently a Wall St Journal article (subscription only) casting light on the matter.  This is a second hand quote from WSJ so treat with caution, but:

    “It was not until 1993, after a medical-malpractice jury awarded him roughly $1 million for Terri’s long-term care, that he began to seek his wife’s death.? WSJ 21mar05

    My WSJ-subscribing source’s comment:  As long as Terri is alive, he has to spend the money on her.  If she’s dies it goes to him.

    Regard it as a potent argument for or against such laws as you like, but there’s enough doubt here to err on the side of caution in such a public case, as Nader says.
    I-stuff

    Posted by Immistuff on 2005 03 25 at 10:20 PM • permalink

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