Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Terri Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state
The autopsy on Terri Schiavo showed that
she had massive and irreversible brain damage and was blind, the medical examinerâ€™s office said Wednesday. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused.
You may remember that Terri Schiavo became, briefly, a cause célèbre about three months ago. Not that she would have known it; she hadn’t known anything for about fifteen years, a fact which the autopsy confirms, but which virtually every doctor who actually examined her agreed on before her body was finally allowed to die.
Her husband said (and independent witnesses agreed) that Terri Schiavo would not have wanted to be kept alive in that state. Her parents, tragically for them, refused to believe that Terri Schiavo was in a PVS, and even the evidence of the autopsy has not persuaded them.
I felt sorry for the Schindlers, who seemed to have been used and abused by the “pro-lifers”, by Tom DeLay (who was then being investigated for wrong-doing, as I recall, and found Terri Schiavo a very convenient white flag to wave), and by the charlatans who claimed that (among other things) Terri Schiavo’s eyes were tracking movement and this proved she was still “there”. (The autopsy proved that Terri Schiavo had been blind for 15 years: as often happens in PVS, her eyes might open and close and show movement, but she wasn’t seeing anything.)
But of all the people involved, I felt most sorry for Michael Schiavo. Throughout the years, he seemed to have behaved as well as anyone could. Terri Schiavo’s body was well taken care of. Although he had the legal right simply to override her parents wishes and carry out Terri’s expressed wishes, he didn’t: he had the Florida courts appoint a guardian ad litem, who painstakingly, carefully, looked at the evidence, and concluded that yes, Terri Schiavo was in a PVS, persistent and permanent, and yes, she had never wanted to be kept alive like this. (Then the Schindlers challenged it and it was all to do again. And again, as I recall.)
Now it’s definite. Aside from her parents, who can be forgiven irrational behavior, there is really no excuse for anyone still trying to claim that Terri Schiavo was just alive but paralysed.
There were a lot of mean-minded and vicious “pro-lifer” attacks on Michael Schiavo in the weeks before Terri Schiavo died. There were death threats from “pro-lifers”, whose belief in the “culture of life” was evidently so strong that it overrode anything like common sense.
Are these people going to apologise to Michael Schiavo for the things they said about him?
Somehow I doubt it. A mob who could ignore the CT scan evidence are unlikely to care about an autopsy.
Why am I bothering to post this? The “pro-lifers” have all moved on; Tom DeLay no longer needs the distraction of a white woman whom he can claim he’s rescuing; that was months ago.
I suppose because it was so absolutely foolish at the time - a complete nonsense of a cause. What the Schindlers needed was psychiatric help to deal with their daughter’s death fifteen years earlier and her body’s terrible survival in PVS ever since. What their grief and horror got was… to be used. The facts were unimportant. The truth was unimportant. No human feeling was important to these “pro-lifers”: not a husband’s for his wife, not parents who needed to accept and to grieve for their dead child. Only the political cause mattered.
And, for the doctors who examined Terri Schiavo and then lied to her parents, telling them what they wanted to hear and not what the facts were: I wish I could think they’d lose their licence to practice medicine. They surely deserve worse.
My Republican BaggagePyrro posed a great question to me during my self-aggrandizing â€œbuy my book next year!!!â€? diary. He asked what baggage I brought from my time as a Republican. Not in a accusatory, â€œwhat are you doing hereâ€? kind of way, but in more of a â€œwhat do you still believe that we might find surprising to hear you say.â€?
Iâ€™m familiar with this notion. While writing a diary on why I hated Clinton so much I realized I still believed a really screwball conspiracy theory about Vince Fosterâ€™s suicide. No, â€˜believedâ€™ is the wrong word. It was really more of a â€˜suppressed memory.â€™ I had never revisited one of the things you took as gospel as a dittoheadâ€”that Vince Foster was killed in his office at the White House, but discovered by police the next day on a park bench. Itâ€™s embarrassing, but there was â€˜my understandingâ€™ lying dead on its back at the bottom of the stagnant pond of my dittohead existence. Iâ€™d never bothered to scoop it out and give it a decent burial.
But that really isnâ€™t â€˜baggageâ€™ per say. Thatâ€™s more of a â€˜cheap gift you bought at the airport.â€™ The â€˜baggageâ€™ concept deals more with the question of â€œhow long before this advisorjim guy says something like â€˜ABORTION IS MURDER!!!,â€™ or â€˜TORTURE IS FINE!!! ITâ€™S US OR THEM, ASSHOLE!!!â€™?â€?
Fortunately the answer for those two comments is â€˜never.â€™ In fact, running through most of the issues facing America today I have to say I side overwhelmingly with the Democrats. And a few of my â€˜idearsâ€™ would probably be considered â€˜fringe.â€™ For example, I happen to believe in full equality for homosexuals. Anything two straight people can do, two gay people should be able to doâ€”health insurance, marriage, beneficiary designations, protection from hate crime, inheritance. I donâ€™t even understand the thinking behind supporting something that â€˜stops short of marriage.â€™ I meanâ€¦why not just say homosexuals count as 3/5ths of a person?
â€œWhy canâ€™t a man marry a dog, then?â€? Rick Santorum asks with a gleam in his eye. Because dogs (much like children or Republicans) donâ€™t have the cognitive capacity to understand whatâ€™s going on. Itâ€™s not a decision between intellectual equals-itâ€™s dominance and submission. â€œWhy not three men and two women, then?â€? Bill Oâ€™reilly asks between bites of his falafel. Because that would require a whole new set of laws applying to an entirely different social and economic reality. How do you decide child support and alimony when a single-income man divorces two out of three wives? Who gets custody if the second wife spends more time with the kid than the birth mother? Gay marriage involves applying the same set of existing laws to a fundamentally identical relationship.
I also believe in the legalization and regulation of drugs in this country. News flashâ€”the War on Drugs is over. We lost. Itâ€™s a classic example of why you canâ€™t effectively legislate morality.
I donâ€™t know how many Missouri apartment complexes need to explode before we just say â€œlook, we know youâ€™re going to do it. Itâ€™s bad for you. Itâ€™ll kill you, and weâ€™re going to regulate it and tax the hell out of it, but weâ€™re going to keep it safe and legal.â€? It frees up prisons, helps people put their lives back together, reduces crime, and cleans up neighborhoods, just like it did after prohibition.
Bear in mind I have no stake in this argument. I have never taken an illegal drug in my life. No coke, even though Iâ€™m a stockbroker. No meth even though Iâ€™m a southerner. Not even pot, even though I went to college. Zip, zilch, zero, nada. Iâ€™m not on a high horse about my non-use. I just never did, and it never seemed like something I wanted to try. No big whoop. I like hikingâ€¦and beerâ€¦and basketballâ€¦(my buddy â€˜Freezerâ€™ has an email sig that reads â€œMy name is Freezer, and my anti-drug is porn.â€?)
But there are a couple of bags that I carry around that Iâ€™m still rather fond of, and I donâ€™t see a reason to put them away just yet.
The most surprising (and probably the most infuriating to lifelong Democrats) is that Iâ€™m actually still really fond of Reagan. Part of it stems from the fact that he was President while I was growing up, and maybe we all have fond memories of our childhood Presidents. I understand the criticism of Reagan, and I donâ€™t get all knee-jerk when people say â€œGod, that Reagan was a prick!â€? I just happen to have a favorable impression of him, and many of my fellow Democrats find this to be disturbing. Itâ€™s an issue we can disagree over without having to divide over it. That, and I just love to see the look on Republicanâ€™s faces when I say â€œif Reagan were alive today heâ€™d go back to being a Democrat!â€? Try it sometime (assuming you can say it without making a â€˜bitter beer faceâ€™). The response from the right is most gratifying.
Secondly, I think moving class action lawsuits to the federal level was a great idea. Iâ€™ve always been of the opinion that class actions lawsuits suck. Company Aâ€™s product kills dozens of people, lawyers representing the class action group make millions of dollars, and the actual litigants wind up getting a coupon for 50% off the product that Company A makes that killed their loved one.
As a financial advisor Iâ€™ve seen literally dozens of class action lawsuits where the company paid the equivalent of a modest fine, the lawyers made mega-bucks, and the litigants got screwed. Oh, and as an added bonus, if you didnâ€™t figure out until later that you got screwed over, and you try to file an individual case, you can'tâ€¦because your claim was already covered by the class action suit. Too bad, so sad. NEXT!
Fortunately the law of unintended consequences will come back to bite these companies in the ass. Without access to class action suits, the number of individual cases for meaningful damages against offending companies will skyrocket. Instead of finding out that annuity you bought thatâ€™s now worthless was already covered by a class action suit, youâ€™ll be able to sue as an individual to get the entire amount back that you are owed. Unintended Consequencesâ€”my favorite law right after Occamâ€™s Razor....and I supposed 'Gravity.'
Other than that Iâ€™m really just a harmless, lovable little fuzzballâ€¦to borrow a phrase.
What A Friend We Have in Jesus Freaks
Arriving in LA today after a 5 hour flight I had run out of things to read. Why is it I always have only a chapter or two left on the book that I don’t want to wait a week to finish? Having finished the NY Times and McPaper I found the front section of the LA TIMES and my heart sank with the front page story. It broke my heart as I’m sure it would anyone’s but as a gay person it hit home especially because this is the predicament we all fear as teenagers but to see this happening to these boys was surreal as in anyone else’s home they would be golden boys, literally. The photo of Gideon looked like a baby Brad Pitt.
Abandoned by his family, faith and community, Gideon Barlow arrived here an orphan from another world. At first, he played the tough guy, aloof and hard. But when no one was watching, he would cry.
The freckle-faced 17-year-old said he was left to fend for himself last year after being forced out of Colorado City, Ariz., a town about 40 miles east of here, just over the state line.
“I couldn’t see how my mom would let them do what they did to me,” he said. When he tried to visit her on Mother’s Day, he said, she told him to stay away. When he begged to give her a present, she said she wanted nothing. “I am dead to her now,” he said.
Gideon is one of the “Lost Boys,” a group of more than 400 teenagers â€” some as young as 13 â€” who authorities in Utah and Arizona say have fled or been driven out of the polygamous enclaves of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City over the last four years. His stated offenses: wearing short-sleeved shirts, listening to CDs and having a girlfriend. Other boys say they were booted out for going to movies, watching television and staying out past curfew. Some say they were sometimes given as little as two hours’ notice before being driven to St. George or nearby Hurricane, Utah, and left like unwanted pets along the road.
Authorities say the teens aren’t really being expelled for what they watch or wear, but rather to reduce competition for women in places where men can have dozens of wives.
“It’s a mathematical thing. If you are marrying all these girls to one man, what do you do with all the boys?” said Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff, who has had boys in his office crying to see their mothers. “People have said to me: ‘Why don’t you prosecute the parents?’ But the kids don’t want their parents prosecuted; they want us to get the No. 1 bad guy â€” Warren Jeffs. He is chiefly responsible for kicking out these boys.”
The 49-year-old Jeffs is the prophet, or leader, of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FLDS, as it is known, controls Hildale and Colorado City. The sect, which broke from the Mormon Church more than a century ago, has between 10,000 and 15,000 members. It believes in “plural marriage,” that a man must have at least three wives to reach the highest levels of heaven.
Then as we ate dinner tonight the local NBC station was profiling a Catholic school in LA that has told 2 twin kindergarten boys that their parents cannot come to school functions together, the reason? They’re gay. The school principal (a nun) has been relieved of duties after 31 years because she supports the children’s parents and refused to expel them. A group of 30 parents signed a letter supporting the ousting of the children, they are outraged that the children of gays are going to school with their children. It’s time to put our own prayer thread on Exile_lsf and title it “Oh Lord, save us from your followers”.
If I can find a link to this story I will put it up. They said other parents would protest tomorrow in support of the principal and they said they are starting a website called SAVE SISTER. Check it out and post a comment to support her.