Saturday, March 19, 2005

Culture of Life Double Feature 

From Florida:

Culture of Life

Schiavo, 41, spent a full day off of nourishment and fluids today at a hospice in the Gulf Coast suburb of Pinellas Park, Fla. Her feeding tube was removed Friday afternoon after a state judge ignored subpoenas from Congress and enforced a deadline that lawmakers had thought they could thwart by declaring her a witness who must be protected for a future hearing they would conduct at her bedside.
Schiavo's husband, Michael Schiavo, raged against Congress in a series of interviews, saying on CNN that the government is "getting in the middle of something they know nothing about."

Culture of Death

Republican officials declared, in a memo that was supposed to be seen only by senators, that they believe their attention to the issue could pay dividends with Christian conservatives, whose support is essential in midterm elections such as those coming up in 2006.
Outside Schiavo's hospice in Florida, tension and anxiety rose among the demonstrators who have turned the roadside into a small tent city. At least three protesters were arrested early today, including a man who said he is a priest and who walked toward the hospice demanding to administer Holy Communion to Schiavo.
Republicans acknowledged that the intervention was a departure from their usual support for states' rights. But they said their views about the sanctity life trumped their views about federalism.

A one-page memo, distributed to Republican senators by party leaders, called the debate over Schiavo legislation "a great political issue" that would appeal to the party's base, or core, supporters. The memo singled out Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is up for reelection next year and is potentially vulnerable in a state President Bush won last year.

"This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue," said the memo, which was reported by ABC News and later given to The Washington Post. "This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a cosponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats."

And from the Netherlands:

Culture of Life

In the past two years, [Dr. Eduard] Verhagen, the clinical director of pediatrics at the University Medical Center, Groningen, has presided over the medically induced deaths of four extraordinarily ill newborns.
A father of three who spent years tending to sick children in underdeveloped countries, Verhagen became a pediatrician with the sole intention of saving lives, not ending them. And that is exactly what he did until Sanne was born on his ward four years ago with a severe form of Hallopeau-Siemens syndrome, a rare skin condition. In the best-case scenario, she would live until her 9th or 10th birthday and then die of skin cancer.

Her skin would literally come off if anyone touched her, leaving painful scar tissue in its place.

The top layers of mucous membranes inside her mouth and esophagus fell away any time she was fed, which was done by tube.

Verhagen tried to evoke the kind of pain he says Sanne was in. He clenched his fists and mimicked the way she balled her tiny hands. Her cry was not that of a normal, healthy baby but the shriek of an extraordinarily sick one.

And her vital signs - heartbeat, blood pressure and respiration - reflected those of a child in extreme stress, Verhagen said.
Her parents demanded an end to her suffering, which moved Verhagen to consider euthanasia.

Culture of Death

For his efforts to end what he calls their unbearable and incurable suffering, he has been called "Dr. Death," a second Hitler and worse, mostly by American opponents of euthanasia.
The pope has condemned infant euthanasia and Verhagen, indirectly, for advocating it. Hate mail from the United States bombards the hospital with comparisons to the Holocaust.

"My first reaction to most of the criticism is: ridiculous, uninformed," Verhagen said. "Then the question arises in me: How is it possible that people themselves feel free to say such horrible things about other people they don't know?"

Annular Flashback: The Terrorists Won (In Case You Hadn't Heard) 

From March 18, 2004:


Purported Al Qaeda Letter Calls Truce in Spain

The statement said it supported President Bush (news - web sites) in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry (news - web sites), as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."

In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization."

"Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Comment bag 

SKR writes, in response to my "Courage" post below:

You are right that the girl's mouth is a black hole of hate. But for goodness sake, it is not the heart of the contemporary Republican party. Surely there are Republicans out there today who are vile and hateful, but to suggest that such hatred represents the essence of the party is absolutely irresponsible. I was born in suburban Chicago in 1977, 20 years after this photo was taken. I was raised to believe in racial equality and revere civil rights leaders. If anything, I was raised to hate what the girl in this picture represents. In my twenties I have come to identify myself as a libertarian member of the GOP because I believe in limited government. And let me tell you, a belief in limiting the influence of government *in the economic sphere* is the only thing holding the Republican party together right now. If anything represents the essence of the party, it is this belief, and NOT virulent hatred. I resent being lumped together with those members of the party, and I find it incredibly sad when people do so because it both represents and fosters a total lack of understanding between decent people like you and I whose goals for society are very similar but whose idease for how to achieve those goals are very different. So please, for the love of god, try to be a little more nuanced in your characterization of an entire political party. And sorry to rant at such great length.

I appreciate the comment and think it deserves a response. What do others think?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Rhodes Returns 

I'm really not looking forward to the return of Randi Rhodes to Air America Radio on Thursday (she's been off for several weeks for a planned surgery). She's annoying, loud, tells bad jokes, pedantically adheres to a small set of daily talking points at the expense of many other worthy things to say, is rude to her callers, shouts over her callers, berates even friendly callers for not slavishly dittoing her daily talking points, is an egomaniacal name-dropper with an unironically inflated sense of her own importance in politics.

During her absence, I so enjoyed listening to her substitutes (Sam Seder, Thom Hartmann (sp?), Mike Malloy) that it only emphasized what we were not missing.

I'm increasingly impressed with the Majority Report (Seder for his sharp commentary, manner with callers and interview subjects; Garafolo for her humor) and the Mike Malloy Show. Malloy, even though he is by far the angriest and most rhetorically scathing host, understands how to shut up when a caller is talking and actually listen to what he/she is saying. Even with troll/wingnut callers, he lets them say their piece before tearing into them. Randi just shouts and whines. She also has this thing where only she can criticize Democratic congresspeople for their flaws and shortcomings, but not you.

I know her heart's in the right place, but sorry--radio is radio--and Air America should seriously considering truncating, if not dispensing with Rhodes' show.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?