Federal Intervention in Schiavo Case Prompts Broad Public Disapproval
March 21, 2005 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Federal Intervention in Schiavo Case Prompts Broad Public Disapproval Blowback? "The public, by 63 percent-28 percent, supports the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, and by a 25-point margin opposes a law mandating federal review of her case. Congress passed such legislation and President Bush signed it early today...."
posted by Postroad (264 comments total)
 
I think that the judge not ordering the tube reinserted before passing final judgment speaks volumes.

But then, I have been wrong before. ;-P
posted by mischief at 3:41 PM on March 21, 2005


Since the election, I get the impression that the majority in congress and the president could care less what public opinion was as long as people act disinterested to do anything about it.

Case in point, the bankruptcy law was not supported by even close to a majority of Americans. Yet, it passed without much of a whimper. People were not for it, but were not inclined to get pissed off about it passing.

The only time this hasn't seemed to hold true is with social security reform. On that issue there does seem to be an energized and pissed off majority against Bush's plan.

The Schiavo case...where is the outrage?
posted by UseyurBrain at 3:42 PM on March 21, 2005


A few links: the bill passed by Congress and signed by the President, and the complaint [pdf] filed today by Schiavo’s parents for a temporary restraining order, as well as declaratory and injuncitve relief. Incidently, the Texas Futile Care law, the law that led to Texas Children’s Hospital ending life support for a baby last month, was signed into law by Texas Governor George W. Bush in 1999.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:43 PM on March 21, 2005


These numbers are not GOP-friendly enough. Isn't ABC part of the liberal media conspiracy?
posted by AlexReynolds at 3:45 PM on March 21, 2005


As long as his base is "excited," that's all that matters. The rest of us can go hang, as far as Dubya & Co. are concerned. Well, we could go hang, that is, if they weren't so deeply dedicated to their culture of life here and abroad.
posted by scody at 3:45 PM on March 21, 2005


http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/40549 is still an active thread on this.
posted by sciurus at 3:48 PM on March 21, 2005


Let her die. She, Terry Schiavo, ceased to exist 15 years ago, they are keeping her body alive for no reason save sentiment.
posted by fenriq at 3:48 PM on March 21, 2005


One of best analyses I've read of the legal considerations (or sheer disregard for them, by Congress) is this Slate article by Dahlia Lithwick, published today.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:50 PM on March 21, 2005


I think at this point, if I were Schiavo's husband, I'd be like "You guys want to keep her alive so bad? Go for it. As long as you're paying for it, you can keep her on life support till the end of time. Drain your life savings on a pointless cause. Make her a lawn ornament for all I care. It's not like she'll know the difference anyway. I give up."

Anything to keep her from becoming a prop for Republicans.
posted by fungible at 3:54 PM on March 21, 2005


It's interesting how quickly the folks who rail against "government interference" turn into fans of rapid legislation when it fits their agenda. What an appalling experience this must be for her husband.
posted by 327.ca at 3:55 PM on March 21, 2005


in before...

wait, it's all been said already!

Due Process - 0
Horseshit - 1
posted by plexiwatt at 3:56 PM on March 21, 2005


What bothers me is that Congress and the President are willing to fly back to Washington, in the middle of the night, during a vacation, to attempt to move Heaven and Earth to "save" this woman. Meanwhile, the same amount of effort could save hundreds or thousands around the globe if these people would pay attention to situations like Sudan.
posted by crazy finger at 3:58 PM on March 21, 2005


What's actually starting to scare me is that fact that she's very likely going to die over Easter weekend, possibly Good Friday- at which point I will be very worried about a significant portion of this country and the fact that they all have access to camping equipment and firearms.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:58 PM on March 21, 2005



It's interesting how quickly the folks who rail against "government interference" turn into fans of rapid legislation when it fits their agenda.


That and all these "sanctity of marriage" zealots are the same ones now crying that her husband's got no say but her parents should make the call. Didn't she "cleave to her husband, forsaking her parents" when she got married?
posted by tristeza at 4:00 PM on March 21, 2005


As long as his base is "excited," that's all that matters.

But their base isn't excited. The numbers are closer than they are in the overall poll, but the majority of conservatives and evangelicals are still against what Bush and Congress is doing. At this point, I wonder how many politicians who are supporting this know it's idiotic but are going ahead 'cause they don't want to lose face.

With these poll numbers, I doubt she's going to get the feeding tube put back it. The review committee will quietly support the court's decision, Schiavo will die, and Rove will find something to distract the public from this PR disaster as quickly as possible.
posted by schroedinger at 4:01 PM on March 21, 2005


Er, are doing.
posted by schroedinger at 4:02 PM on March 21, 2005




I don't know...i'd be very worried about my own safety if i was that Judge. These "sanctity of life" people would kill him in a heartbeat. The husband too.
posted by amberglow at 4:05 PM on March 21, 2005


Watching the arguments in Congress last night, the most offensive part came when one of the Republican members railed Terri's husband and how he now "lives with another woman" as if it's some kind of crime, some horrible mark on his ethics, when he's been free to divorce Terri for all these years, and has stayed married apparently until this can be resolved as she, Terri, expressed to him.

Sanctity of marriage indeed – this one isn't even over and already it's being disrespected by these politicians.
posted by odinsdream at 4:05 PM on March 21, 2005


at which point I will be very worried about a significant portion of this country and the fact that they all have access to camping equipment and firearms.

August, just chill, pal.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:10 PM on March 21, 2005


Republican members railed Terri's husband and how he now "lives with another woman"

Some guy on NPR's new Tavis Smiley Lite show this morning repeatedly referred to "Michael Schiavo and his girlfriend and their two children", just to hammer the point home. I guess it's one of the talking points now.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:10 PM on March 21, 2005


I think at this point, if I were Schiavo's husband, I'd be like "You guys want to keep her alive so bad? Go for it. As long as you're paying for it, you can keep her on life support till the end of time. ..."

Evidently you're not, given that he hasn't divorced her, has turned down offers of money exactly like this, has spent all the settlement money on the health care of this not merely brain-dead but at this point brain-absent body, etc. There are many easy roads he could've taken and hasn't.
posted by Aknaton at 4:12 PM on March 21, 2005


I don't know...i'd be very worried about my own safety if i was that Judge. These "sanctity of life" people would kill him in a heartbeat. The husband too.

Absolutely. I saw Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother, speak a couple of weeks ago, and the comments I heard from some people in the audience made me wonder just how many people don't realize that they're hypocrites for thinking it would be proper to assault either the judge or Michael Schiavo.

I still feel sorry for the Schindlers. The protracted litigation and intense media attention have to have made it just that much harder for them.
posted by oaf at 4:15 PM on March 21, 2005


the problem is that Republicans don't care what the majority of Americans think--they care what primary and off-year voters think (a much more religious and conservative bunch than normal people).
posted by amberglow at 4:16 PM on March 21, 2005


What are they hoping to achieve by keeping her alive? What possible good is served by forcing a body to keep living when the brain has already packed it in?

This whole situation sucks, there is no win here, there is only resolution. And it won't be resolved if there's no conclusive end to all of this.

My question is, what would Terri (sorry for the misspelling above) want? Would she really choose to have her body kept alive without any hope of recovery? I doubt it but you never know.

It is for instances like this that I am strongly inclined to make myself a living will.

oaf, the hypocrisy of the rabidly Pro-Life set is grotesque.
posted by fenriq at 4:17 PM on March 21, 2005


My outrage fatigue has become so bad I can only come at this from a cynic's perspective.

The GOP done stepped in some poo.
posted by TungstenChef at 4:17 PM on March 21, 2005


I love the idea that we have a poll about whether this poor woman will be allowed to die or not. Democracy in action, right here on Network XXIII!
posted by Nelson at 4:19 PM on March 21, 2005


God called that poor woman home 15 years ago. And we, in our profane desire to keep people locked into the coil of suffering for as long as possible, in our feeble attempts to prevent the children of God from returning to their eternal home, we will lock a woman into a state of catatonia that defies any definition of an Earthly prison sentence. Her parents should be ashamed!
This disgusts me; it flies in the face of any belief, metaphorical, figurative, or literal, in any happy afterlife.
When I see her in the green meadows after this, I only hope I have the words to tell her how sorry I am that she was subjected to this torture.
Faith in God's promise, indeed. More like an irrational fear of death!
(/evangelical rant)

Now that I've gotten that off my chest - didn't Bush, or one of his toady's make some comment about how, "This law only applies in this special case"? Does anybody know who said that?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:21 PM on March 21, 2005


What are they hoping to achieve by keeping her alive?

That we'll talk about this and not the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Mission Accomplished, no?
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:28 PM on March 21, 2005


August, just chill, pal.

As soon as FreeRepublic stops running comments that say "what would happen if Michael Schiavo was killed?" and "what are we all willing to sacrifice to protect Terri?" I will.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:32 PM on March 21, 2005


Y'all are being pretty unfair to conservatives. There are more important considerations here than Michael Schiavo's comfort. First of all, we must take all possible steps to uphold the principles of states rights and the sanctity of marriage.

Wait... um...

Anyway, secondly, it's absolutely imperative that Terry not be allowed to obtain a natural death, but must be forced to linger on as an eternal martyr to scientific abomination. She must... not... be... allowed to reach Heaven!!!

'Cause consistency is the hobgoblin... Oh, Hell - I give up. Maybe there's a good reason they insist on claiming the brain dead as one of their own.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:33 PM on March 21, 2005


Look, there's many of us good guys that have the camping gears and the firearms. The Freepers will not be uncontested, okay?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:35 PM on March 21, 2005


nicely said, Baby--this non-evangelical thinks she should be set free too. most people do.

they worded the law to only apply to her, but that's unconstitutional i believe. eventually, someday, this will be declared so.
posted by amberglow at 4:35 PM on March 21, 2005


posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson
best new username of 2005 : >
posted by amberglow at 4:36 PM on March 21, 2005


Lets see.... no to abortions, yes to death penalty, poor can't file bankruptcy but rich can, 150 billion to Iraq 'war' (give it time; we will get there. certainly not going to get a refund from it...), and now the entire government seems to be focused on a person that for all practical purposes died 15 years ago.

I never really cared a lot for Bush, but for me this is the singular defining moment that puts him into the science fiction type of light where the leader goes 'mad'. He wakes up at 1:30 AM to sign off after congress does their stuff? What? All the other truely relevant events in the world; and the president of the country is fooling with this? Excuse me? Leadership... hello... leadership... can we PLEASE have some leadership, be it popular or not?

If the actions aren't stupid enough, think of the on/off feeding process. Will we have a third removal/reinsertion of the feeding tube?

Is there any way to appear more dense to the rest of the world?
posted by buzzman at 4:37 PM on March 21, 2005


It bears repeating that Schiavo's care was paid for by a lawsuit - the kind that many in the RNC would like to cap to prevent "abuse;" and that if her parents win this and can no longer afford to pay their credit card bills they will find it a lot harder to declare bankruptcy; and that many Americans still can't afford, you know, medical insurance.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:42 PM on March 21, 2005


It bears repeating [...]

Nicely summarized here.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 4:47 PM on March 21, 2005


What are they hoping to achieve by keeping her alive?

From where I'm sitting, they don't give two figs about keeping her (or anyone else) alive. What they care about is extending the power of government -- their government -- into every single facet of our lives under the guise of "morality." They are saying that they have the right to review your medical care. From there, it's a teensy short step to anything else. Abortion, yes. But what else are they going to decide is immoral?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 4:50 PM on March 21, 2005


Blowback? Why do they hate America? Until Terry Schiavo can talk again, we'll never know where the WMDs are!

Ah the hell with it.

Joey Michaels's point is much better than mine, so I'll just repeat it in its entirety: "It bears repeating that Schiavo's care was paid for by a lawsuit - the kind that many in the RNC would like to cap to prevent 'abuse;' and that if her parents win this and can no longer afford to pay their credit card bills they will find it a lot harder to declare bankruptcy; and that many Americans still can't afford, you know, medical insurance."
posted by orthogonality at 4:50 PM on March 21, 2005


I think that the judge not ordering the tube reinserted before passing final judgment speaks volumes.

Yes. It shows that unelected judges are *still* trying to impose their liberal, pro-gay, anti-Christian agenda on us ordinary Americans.

Do I win the prize?
posted by Slothrup at 5:03 PM on March 21, 2005


yes, you get to become OfDeLay, Slothrup, or OfSantorum--your choice.
posted by amberglow at 5:10 PM on March 21, 2005


FYI, it wasn't just Republicans - The Senate voted a UNANIMOUS YES on this bill.

The Dems are a bunch of pussies.

I called Rep. Howard Berman, my district, to find out why he abstained from the vote. The woman in his office said it was because Rep. Berman believes Congress should not be interfering at all. I told her I agreed, but that NOT voting was the wrong message to send. Taking to the floor and putting it on RECORD as to why he was not voting would have been a better choice.

This whole thing is FUCKED.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 5:21 PM on March 21, 2005


As Armitage Shanks points out, if Shiavo were in Texas and couldn't pay her bills, GW's legislation would have her out on the street before you could say 'medicare reform'. If she were African, they'd give her a promise keepers key and let her die in the dirt.

I suspect Bill Frist owns stock in the managed care centre where this woman is. I hope the neocons have jumped the shark, but they've done so much worse, and this is much less destructive than waging war in the Middle East and spending the country into bankruptcy. Maybe we should be finding more pet projects for the hypocrite in chief? Save the Cube-kittens anyone?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:29 PM on March 21, 2005


I suspect Bill Frist owns stock in the managed care centre where this woman is.
That and the abortion-providing hospitals that have made him millions should be enough to sink him in 08. And his medical license should be revoked immediately--since when are doctors allowed to diagnose from edited videotape?
posted by amberglow at 5:35 PM on March 21, 2005


FYI, it wasn't just Republicans - The Senate voted a UNANIMOUS YES on this bill.

It was "unanimous" because it passed on a voice vote- there were three Senators present.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:36 PM on March 21, 2005


Frist, *bah* Frist killed kittens.
posted by edgeways at 5:39 PM on March 21, 2005


XQUZYPHR: The only proper response to that is riotous laughter. Not happy laughter, either.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:39 PM on March 21, 2005


"The Senate approved the measure on an unchallenged voice vote during a rare Palm Sunday session that came amid charges of cynical political maneuvering. Only three members were on the floor and the bill's prime sponsor, Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida, served as presiding officer."

(...and XQUZYPHYR beats me to it.)
posted by Guy Smiley at 5:40 PM on March 21, 2005


Except that this is much more insidious than that, gesamtkunstwerk. This is about extending morality legislation at the expense of individual liberties. May not be unjustified war, but it's dangerous all the same.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:40 PM on March 21, 2005


Are there no quorum rules in the Senate?
posted by casu marzu at 5:43 PM on March 21, 2005


Possibly. The Constitution states:

"Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide."

It appears that the answer is no from the first half and yes from the second. I know in the Senate, quorum is only taken when requested.

Nevertheless, yes. This bill passed in the Senate because three guys came in the middle of the night and played Congress for a few minutes.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:49 PM on March 21, 2005


Yes, I see that there is.

"Cynical political maneuvering" is an understatement, then.
posted by casu marzu at 5:51 PM on March 21, 2005


Point well taken, LMC. It's another instance of the GOP ceasing control over a woman's body for their own cynical enjoyment.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:51 PM on March 21, 2005


Oops. Seizing control.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:52 PM on March 21, 2005


Not to be callous at all, but what this whole thing screams to me is the question, "Why the fuck is this allowed to happen? Is our government really based on rules that allow this kind of shit, or is everyone just asleep at the wheel?"

For instance, there are significant reasons why congress should, for all I can tell, absolutely not be allowed to write a bill like this and pass it. That's nice and all, but where's the oversight? Who says "Nope, that's actually not allowed by our form of government." ?

Or, why the FUCK can three senators do ANYTHING? Where's the oversight there? Is there no reason to have oversight? Do they just have to be awake at 4am to do WHATEVER they want? I don't get it. How did we get to this point, and why didn't we reach it until now?

Is anyone else concerned? At all?
posted by odinsdream at 6:05 PM on March 21, 2005


Or, why the FUCK can three senators do ANYTHING? Where's the oversight there? Is there no reason to have oversight? Do they just have to be awake at 4am to do WHATEVER they want? I don't get it. How did we get to this point, and why didn't we reach it until now?

Perhaps this is the tipping point. I wonder which way it's tipping...
posted by 327.ca at 6:09 PM on March 21, 2005


I think (some) people are concerned, but will they actually do anything other then write letters and yell about it via blogs. Politics is so far removed from the individual that most have little to do with it. I am in a county that had one of the highest If not the highest) voter turnout last election (against Bush), still people accept what happens pretty placidly.
posted by edgeways at 6:11 PM on March 21, 2005


yup, odins. i think there's "contempt of the senate" or something that can be brought against members by other members, or the Supremes can rule against them doing stuff (as will happen with this), but otherwise i dunno.
posted by amberglow at 6:13 PM on March 21, 2005


By god, perhaps there is hope for the USA. If the citizenry would get off their arses and tell their various government representatives that they are pissed with the way things have been going these past five years or so, maybe some good changes would come about.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:23 PM on March 21, 2005


odinsdream writes "Or, why the FUCK can three senators do ANYTHING? Where's the oversight there? Is there no reason to have oversight? Do they just have to be awake at 4am to do WHATEVER they want? I don't get it. How did we get to this point, and why didn't we reach it until now?"

After the Bolshevik Jews burnt the Reichstag, emergency measures had to be taken.
posted by orthogonality at 6:31 PM on March 21, 2005


And then, perhaps there is no hope save an open revolution. The problems with the US Administration are so deep and ingrained that I am beginning to doubt the checks and balances even exist any more.

By all appearances the US Administration is free to do whatever the hell it wants, and get away with it scott-free. Maybe lose an election but, meh, so what? That's only the office of the President. There's lots and lots of other ways a politician can turn a buck or gain some power. On a risk-reward basis, it pays to screw the constituents.

Open armed revolution, guys. You're going to have to do it sooner or later.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:34 PM on March 21, 2005


Don’t you know it’s gonna be, alright?
posted by LouReedsSon at 6:37 PM on March 21, 2005


FFF-- The checks and balances are clearly not working. My only question is whether or not the Democrats care. I'm deeply cynical about their will to fight.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:41 PM on March 21, 2005


us voting Dems care--the ones in power, i don't know.
posted by amberglow at 6:49 PM on March 21, 2005


What bothers me is that Congress and the President are willing to fly back to Washington, in the middle of the night, during a vacation, to attempt to move Heaven and Earth to "save" this woman.

He rushed back to town for this, but when he got a memo saying al Qaeda was determined to strike inside the US, he stayed on the ranch to cut brush. He doesn't stop his vacations for just anything.

Liberal Common Sense has a profile of Judge James Whittemore, the judge in the new case.

Here's the motion [PDF] filed by Terri Schiavo [!] and her parents.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:50 PM on March 21, 2005


The time is right for an armed insurrection! All of the military is stuck in the mud over in some middle eastern quagmire!

Brothers and Sisters! To the pitchforks and torches! We roast some politicians tonight!
posted by crunchland at 6:51 PM on March 21, 2005


Open armed revolution, guys. You're going to have to do it sooner or later.

I don't think so. Things look pretty fucked up, but I'd like to think that democracy still means something.

A few posts earlier, edgeways (whose userid I covet!) said "I am in a county that had one of the highest If not the highest) voter turnout last election..." I don't think that's actually true. I can't find really recent figures, but here's more or less what I mean. Many jurisdictions have higher voter turnouts than the US.

Given the recent election, you may think you couldn't possibly do more to elicit votes and sway public opinion, but I think you can.
posted by 327.ca at 6:53 PM on March 21, 2005


RudePundit has more: ... No, this is about the Congress, primarily the Republicans, who are practicing Fallujah politics - the barbarous belief that you need to destroy something in order to re-create it according to your ideological whim. Whatever gets in your way must be wrecked, bombed to the ground, and shat upon. In this case, it's the Constitution, the judiciary, the bond of marriage. Look at this chilling statment from DeLay, whose very stare makes children want to kill baby animals: "The sanctity of life overshadows the sanctity of marriage. I don’t know what transpired between Terri and her husband. All I know is Terri is alive . . . Unless she has specifically written instructions in her hand, with her signature, I don’t care what her husband says."

And there's everything you need to know about contemporary conservatism and its evangelical remoras. Nothing matters - not medicine, not courts, not even the word of a spouse. All that matters is what DeLay says. Or Bush. Or Frist. ...

posted by amberglow at 6:54 PM on March 21, 2005


I bet 63% favor the tube removal b/c they believe Terri is in a "persistent vegetative state", and they don't think that means what it means.
posted by iwearredsocks at 6:55 PM on March 21, 2005


iwearredsocks, that is the biggest pile of bullshit I have ever read.
posted by rafter at 7:04 PM on March 21, 2005


Are there no quorum rules in the Senate?

Sure, but you have a quorum until you officially notice that you don't -- until someone doubts the presence of a quorum. The minority party is usually careful to keep someone around on the floor to make the point of order.

That they didn't this time is probably just a reflection of the bill's inevitable passage -- the Democrats had a choice between having the bill pass up-front with a bunch of them casting votes that would likely appear in the next election cycle, or having the vote pass in a sneaky underhanded way without their vote.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:04 PM on March 21, 2005


that link is full of lies and delusional people not capable of dealing with reality, iwear.
posted by amberglow at 7:05 PM on March 21, 2005


Sorry if I was uneccessarily harsh. The article, at it's best, is wishful thinking.
At first blush, the video of Terry Schiavo appearing to smile and look lovingly at her mother seemed to represent cognition. This was also true for how she followed the Mickey Mouse balloon held by her father. The court has carefully viewed the videotapes as requested by counsel and does find that these actions were neither consistent nor reproducible. For instance, Terry Schiavo appeared to have the same look on her face when Dr. Cranford rubbed her neck. Dr. Greer testified she had a smile during his (non-videoed) examination. Also, Mr. Schindler tried several more times to have her eyes follow the Mickey Mouse balloon but without success. Also, she clearly does not consistently respond to her mother. The court finds that based on the credible evidence, cognitive function would manifest itself in a constant response to stimuli.
From here. Terri is not responsive nor concious of her surroundings (nor concious of anything, period), as much as her loved ones (and lawyers, apparently) would like to believe.
posted by rafter at 7:10 PM on March 21, 2005


iwearredsocks, the woman has NO CEREBRAL CORTEX. She is not interacting. She is not responding. I'm sorry for her family, but pretending that she is functional when HER BRAIN IS LIQUIFIED is neither rational nor honest.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 7:14 PM on March 21, 2005


"In a memo distributed only to Republican senators, the Schiavo case was characterized as 'a great political issue' that could pay dividends with Christian conservatives, whose support is essential in midterm elections such as those coming up in 2006."
posted by crunchland at 7:14 PM on March 21, 2005


A nation of ribbons. Did you notice there was a black upsidedown ribbon and a green ribbon?

I bet 63% favor the tube removal becasue they haven't been bombarded by such tripe long enough to be swayed.
posted by edgeways at 7:15 PM on March 21, 2005


"As sunlight came into the room, Terri’s eyes widened and she was obviously very pleased."

Yeah, obviously.
posted by belling at 7:15 PM on March 21, 2005


327.ca, thanks for the covet, er Im not sure if I was unclear or just misread. I did say county, not country. As in St. Louis county MN. Had 77% voter turn out.
posted by edgeways at 7:26 PM on March 21, 2005


I did say county, not country.

I'm sorry, edgeways. I didn't read that carefully enough.
posted by 327.ca at 7:30 PM on March 21, 2005


So I'm watching MSNBC and this Dr. William Hammesfahr is on, saying he treated Terri and she's not in a vegetative state at all and far more aware than "the people you see in the mall with cerebral palsy using wheelchairs to get around." She also didn't have a heart attack, he says. He says she was leaving her husband the day she "collapsed."

I've read many of the various trial documents. I can't believe this quack is being put on the air.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:34 PM on March 21, 2005


But I have to say, PR-wise, the array of interests wanting to keep Terri alive are absolutely kicking the asses of the right-to-die people.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:35 PM on March 21, 2005


She also didn't have a heart attack, he says. He says she was leaving her husband the day she "collapsed."

There are no words for how sick this makes me. I want to launch into a string of expletives right now, but even bold and capslocked profanity could not express my anger and disgust.

But I have to say, PR-wise, the array of interests wanting to keep Terri alive are absolutely kicking the asses of the right-to-die people.

It's easy to run PR when you invent the truth. I think I'll go on CNN tonight and say, "Terri Schiavo was a devil worshipper who ate babies for breakfast, and since her heart attack has been speaking in tongues and pissing on the crucifix."
posted by rafter at 7:49 PM on March 21, 2005


The judge is skeptical:
'I think you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that you have a substantial likelihood' of ultimately winning the case, U.S. District Judge James Whittemore of Tampa told the parents' lead attorney. That is the usual threshold for the issuance of a preliminary injunction. Latest Miami Herald story.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:50 PM on March 21, 2005


they're already calling him a Clinton-appointee.
posted by amberglow at 7:52 PM on March 21, 2005


Cnn's poll is up at Americablog
posted by amberglow at 7:54 PM on March 21, 2005


they're already calling him a Clinton-appointee

Of course they are. Countdown to the fulfillment of Slothrup's prediction in five. . .four. . .three. . .
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:04 PM on March 21, 2005


DailyShow is covering it now.
posted by amberglow at 8:05 PM on March 21, 2005


it's good.
posted by amberglow at 8:08 PM on March 21, 2005


Damn Bill Frist. He's a doctor. He KNOWS what her state is, and is just lying through his teeth. Again.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:15 PM on March 21, 2005


and here's a little blast from the past from Randall Terry-- currently championing Teri Schiavo's parent's: "I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good... Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a biblical duty, we are called on by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."
--Randall Terry, The News Sentinel, (Ft. Wayne, IN.), 8/16/93
(found on Americablog's comments)

Frist is not a doctor--he plays one on TV. and in the Senate. and on talk shows...
posted by amberglow at 8:17 PM on March 21, 2005


The question remains: should I offer my body to Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert? Decisions, decisions.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:18 PM on March 21, 2005


Colbert is creepy--he's too perfectly cast as a tv newsman. Go with Stewart, definitely.
posted by amberglow at 8:21 PM on March 21, 2005


Frist is a HEART SURGEON. He plays a neurologist on TV. A neurologist who diagnoses via videotape.

LittleMissCranky, I'll take Jon, you take Colbert. Everyone is happy.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:23 PM on March 21, 2005


bush is grinding up soldiers in iraq and afghanistan, torturing prisoners in gitmo, looting the financial future of our grandchildren, but hey, he's preserving the life of a brain dead vegetable. whoever said God works in mysterious ways sure wasn't shitting.
posted by quonsar at 8:24 PM on March 21, 2005


It is clear now, with this overblown case and the campaign for Social Security abolition, that the Bush Administration and the Republican Party feel they no longer have to give the slightest impression that they care about what the majority of American people feel.

There are only three possible explanations for this:

(1) They have collectively lost their minds and will commit mass political suicide by the 2006 Congressional elections.

(2) They are confident that their control of the mechanisms of voting will allow them to "win" elections even if two-thirds of Americans vote against them.

(3) They know that they will rally America behind them following the next regularly schceduled terrorist attack in the coming months.

Maybe (2) AND (3). You can't be too careful.
posted by wendell at 8:26 PM on March 21, 2005


I begged her to try very hard to say, “I want to live.” To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri’s eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, “Ahhhhhhh.”

Gotta love ambulance chasers.
posted by Ptrin at 8:27 PM on March 21, 2005


I think I've got to agree with Amberglow, but I'm a giver, CunningLinguist. Shall we contact Congress for their approval?

Even a heart surgeon knows what liquefactive necrosis looks like. I don't expect him to tell the truth; I do expect him not to use his medical credentials to advance a bold-faced lie. Sadly, looks like I flunk the cold-light-of-reality test once again.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:28 PM on March 21, 2005


2 and 3, wendell--and God help us all.
posted by amberglow at 8:33 PM on March 21, 2005


So I'm watching MSNBC and this Dr. William Hammesfahr is on, saying he treated Terri and she's not in a vegetative state at all and far more aware than "the people you see in the mall with cerebral palsy using wheelchairs to get around."

Could that be any more absolutely fucking insulting? I'm with rafter on the no words thing. I saw those fucking videos of Terri; if she's more aware than some of the people I've known with developmental disabilities or cerebral palsy then apparently I've been a crack smoker my whole life.

On a lighter note: go for Stewart. Seriously. Rawr. Even if he did just admit to having "issues" with his big gun.
posted by livii at 8:36 PM on March 21, 2005


I wonder if Rove had ordered the Republicans to raise the stakes on this issue, or if instead the Administration was simply caving in to their pet special interests. With the stakes raised now and popular sentiment against them, they'll find it hard to extract themselves gracefully from the fallout.

Still, that says nothing about whether this will have any effect at all on the midterm elections, nevermind the next presidental one. Americans have terrifically short memories and are easily distracted by shiny thi-- hey, what's that over there? *wanders off*
posted by DaShiv at 8:37 PM on March 21, 2005


bush is grinding up soldiers in iraq and afghanistan, torturing prisoners in gitmo, looting the financial future of our grandchildren, but hey, he's preserving the life of a brain dead vegetable. whoever said God works in mysterious ways sure wasn't shitting.

OK I am finally ready to order my Quonsar Fan Club shirt. URL please?
posted by Danf at 8:39 PM on March 21, 2005


Legal Experts Say Parents Are Unlikely To Prevail (washpost)

Great kicker quote.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:43 PM on March 21, 2005


Danf, do as we did--we all promise to pull his plug when it's time, and to not let DeLay or anyone in office ever get involved. : >

That kicker makes me think he'll cave--to protect his life if for no other reason. they'll all kick it upstairs and then Scalia will have a "change of heart" from his previous rulings and rule in favor of the parents.
posted by amberglow at 8:50 PM on March 21, 2005


apropos Oliphant cartoon
posted by amberglow at 9:01 PM on March 21, 2005


I'm going out on a limb here, but you heard it here first. My prediction: the blowback on this is real and Tom DeLay is toast. I've worked on the Hill for over a decade and have been a keen observer behind the scenes. I give him less than 2 weeks before his minions abandon him and he is an ex-House Majority Leader. His ethical troubles alone weren't enough to do him in, but they were enough to make him uncomfortably embarassing to his colleagues. By offering himself up as the poster boy for the "Culture of Life," he has publicly tied himself to a issue that is a real loser proposition and it will do him in, IMO.

Why? DeLay's source of power has been based on a combination of: 1) ruthless intimidation--both his friends and enemies risked severe retribution by crossing him, and 2) a relative solidarity in the GOP ranks--those in his party willing to overlook ideological differences and put up with his unsavory methods and dirty tricks as long as they furthered the party's power and reach. We've already seen some cracks in the ranks on Social Security, and his grandstanding in the Schiavo case will fail miserably to distract attention from his own ethical and legal troubles.

Every minute he's in front of a camera feeling Terri's supposed pain, or dodging the seriousness of his swirling ethics problems is time he can't spend arm-twisting his colleagues. Under the increased media scrutiny, even he can't simultaneously square his newly-assumed role as apolitical humanitarian with his traditional "Hammer" role. As his party usefulness and control rapidly evaporates, even a small number of members distancing themselves from DeLay will start the ball rolling...emboldening others to do the same. If he is perceived as a lost cause, there will be half-assed rallying behind him until they sense his stranglehold on power is waning, they will discard him like they did Gingrich and Livingston.
posted by MrSoyBoy at 9:26 PM on March 21, 2005


i hope you're right, MrSoy, but what about the rest of them? Santorum's been waiting for DeLay to drop so he could move into his place--lots of them probably are.
posted by amberglow at 9:29 PM on March 21, 2005


And has there been one story on DeLay's ethics "problems" since this broke? It had only just started to be covered on tv. Will CNN and the others all of a sudden start asking "this crusader for life" tough questions about his illegal doings? I can't see it.
posted by amberglow at 9:30 PM on March 21, 2005


I begged her to try very hard to say, “I want to live.” To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri’s eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said,...

"Are you fucking kidding me? I've been in a persistent vegetative state for 15 years. I wouldn't have wanted to live like this for a day. Who the hell believes in sanctity of life so much that they'd let me "live" like this the rest of my days? Every single one of you posturing for me better look me straight in the eyes and say you'd take my place in a second. Oh, by the way, what happens when my parents are infirm or dead? Who cares then?"
posted by DonnieSticks at 9:33 PM on March 21, 2005


Power Abused, Democracy Corrupted
posted by amberglow at 9:35 PM on March 21, 2005


LittleMissCranky writes "Damn Bill Frist. He's a doctor. He KNOWS what her state is, and is just lying through his teeth. Again."

Bill Frist is a medical professional, a U.S. Senator, and the Republican Majority Leader. He wouldn't lie.

I mean what, next you lying lib'ruls will say he'd go to the local Humane Society, tell them he wanted to adopt a pet cat, take the cat home and cut it up without anesthesia in order to improve his surgical skills in order to get ahead at a competitive medical school, and then go to another Humane Society the next day to repeat the process. Now who'd be stupid enough to believe that Frist would do that, lie his way into "adopting" cats just to vivisect them for his personal benefit?

I mean, there's no way Bill Frist is just using Terry Schiavo's brain-dead body as some meat puppet to advance his own dark ambitions. Only paranoid lib'ruls would could up with unbelievable fantasies like that.

STFU lib'ruls!

posted by orthogonality at 9:35 PM on March 21, 2005


I hope Michael Schiavo has a good bodyguard. Some of those freepers say some mighty nasty things about him.
posted by beth at 9:38 PM on March 21, 2005


They're definitely going to try something against him, or try to rush the hospice or something, and that judge is now in big danger.
posted by amberglow at 9:40 PM on March 21, 2005


How can anyone imagine that someone who values life so much that they want Terry Schiavo to live, damnit! could ever EVER hurt someone even as evil as that adulterous Michael Schiavo or that activist Clinton-appointee judge?! I just don't believe it's possible!
posted by papakwanz at 9:45 PM on March 21, 2005


I'm not one to underestimate DeLay's ability to slither, bully and manipulate his way out of things. However, the sheer size of the media hurricane surrounding the Schiavo case guarantees he is now unavoidably the human face of the congressional meddling that is disapproved by sizeable majority of Americans. If events in this case continue on their current path, the situation is going to implode--and the resulting general disgust for politicians nakedly appropriating this tragedy for political gain is going to deal a body blow to an already weakened DeLay. If nothing else, the media can be trusted to smell blood in the water and finish him off.
posted by MrSoyBoy at 9:46 PM on March 21, 2005


I just hope if something ever happens to me, that the President and Congress are just as willing to pass a special law to benefit me and me only.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:00 PM on March 21, 2005


SisterHavana writes "I just hope if something ever happens to me, that the President and Congress are just as willing to pass a special law to benefit me and me only."

That's just the sort of snark I expect from lib'ruls like you.

This special law doesn't just benefit Terry -- it benefits all Christian Americans who believe in Right-To-Life!

(And all Republican politicians in districts intentionally gerrymandered -- with the consent of Democrats also desirous of keeping their seats without any real contest -- to contain a majority of the Right kind of Christian American.)

As for the non-Christians and the Christians who aren't Right-To-Life, well, they're going to Hell anyway.

So STFU, lib'rul!
posted by orthogonality at 10:12 PM on March 21, 2005


Wow. If you ever asked me if it were even remotely possible that one day I would read a Freeper thread in which torture is condemned, a boycott of Florida is urged (I shit thee not!,) not feeding the hungry is deemed murder, MLK's 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail' is invoked, the tyranny of a judicial system with life-and-death power is decried, Federal Marshals are called upon to defend civil rights, and a Fox News legal analyst is labeled a 'Death-o-crat', I'd tell you "no fucking way," then demand a hit off of whatever you were smoking.

I still had a few lingering doubts about whether the events of the past five years have rendered hallucinogens obsolete. I no longer doubt it.
posted by trondant at 10:17 PM on March 21, 2005


Heh. The Freepers invoking the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights was hilarious. I thought their stance has always been that the UN was a fraud with no legitimate jurisdiction over anything involving the United States (or Israel). Guess UN charter documents are a-okay (even if it's a non-binding one like the UDHR is).
posted by DaShiv at 10:42 PM on March 21, 2005


That's too bad they aren't killing her humanely and just letting her starve to death.
posted by Dean Keaton at 10:45 PM on March 21, 2005


That's too bad they aren't killing her humanely and just letting her starve to death.

Except that she's already brain dead, so the snide accusation of inhumanity doesn't quite apply. But since Repubs haven't let facts and reality and such stop them so far, I suppose that kind of rhetoric is still fair game.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:08 AM on March 22, 2005


It appears that the good doctor (Dr. William Hammesfahr) does not have a single article published in a peer reviewed medical journal (as per Pubmed). He does have an institute though.
posted by gonadostat at 12:12 AM on March 22, 2005


Holy shit; how is it possible that I haven't heard about the thing with Frist and the cats before this? My jaw is on the floor. Bill Frist is a monster.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:30 AM on March 22, 2005


mr_roboto writes "Holy shit; how is it possible that I haven't heard about the thing with Frist and the cats before this? My jaw is on the floor. Bill Frist is a monster."

Meow! I can't wait (oh, for so many reasons!) for the 2008 Republican primary, to see how Karl Rove sells that story on Jeb's behalf, without making it look like Karl Rove is selling it on Jeb's behalf. But will Republican primary voters care?

Ironically, Frist claims he was inspired to go into medicine after, as a youth, healing a friend's dog. Meow!
posted by orthogonality at 12:39 AM on March 22, 2005


I miss our patriotic, small-government, personal-freedom-loving Bush fans on this thread. where are they?

I also notice that more than a few Bush fanboy and fangirl sites are staying away from this new disaster.

If Schiavo could actually be hurt by Tom DeLay and the other scary men piling in on this political gangbang I'd be very sad -- thank God, she has no cerebral cortex anymore, she's a corpse who, in a particular case of bad luck, still has a heartbeat.

but she wouldn't particularly mind if DeLay doused her in gasoline and then set her on fire. she certainly can't suffer for what they're doing to her, turning her into a new political prop for the insane Right. so I'm almost amused by this new disaster. what a bizarre laughingstock, for all America and the world to see.

wendell makes a very important point, the GOP doesn't really care about US public opinion anymore. their confidence (in the bankruptcy case, in this one, in many others) can only mean one or two of wendell 3 hypotheses, we'll see. thank Allah for Diebold anywyay. I'm also sure that President Jebby (the real religious nut in the family, W's the "reformer with results" compassionate one, remember) will give us so much more of this goodness, so let's fasten our seatbelts.

Schiavo died 15 years ago, unless you define the miracle of human life as "having a heartbeat, regardless of brain functionality". she doesn't mind DeLay's cruelty, she can't.
posted by matteo at 3:20 AM on March 22, 2005


Why are those bleeding heart conservatives always making excuses for people who ruin their lives through their own actions? What's the difference between a drug addict and a bulimic? Is there one?
posted by Optamystic at 4:10 AM on March 22, 2005




Drug addicts are aren't also soccer moms who vote. Bulimics are.
posted by orthogonality at 4:18 AM on March 22, 2005


Washpost: GOP May Be Out of Step With Public


The poll suggests that Democrats have an opportunity to speak for a significant portion of Americans who feel the GOP is overreaching.

But they AREN'T. God, how pathetically scared can they be? They didn't speak up about this appalling farce at first, when it was the right thing to do, and now that polls show it's also a smart thing to do, they still don't speak up.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:29 AM on March 22, 2005


Except that she's already brain dead

Well, actually, she's not. Brain death requires the cessation of all brain function, including brain stem activity, which Schiavo appears to have. She is, however, lacking activity in her cerebral cortex (actually, she is lacking her cerebral cortex as an organ), which is the sight of all of her higher-order processes. I'd still argue that "Terri" died ages ago, but this isn't a brain death case.

CunningLinguist, that's for damn sure. The GOP may be stinkingly evil, but lordy our guys are dumb.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 4:49 AM on March 22, 2005


Here's the order (pdf)

It's very interesting. The judge's grounds are that the Shindler's have been unable to show they have any chance of winning their appeal.
The judge was pretty sharp about all the attacks on the state judge. "These contentions have no merit."
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:08 AM on March 22, 2005


Shindlers. I hate that mistake. Jeez.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:08 AM on March 22, 2005


I've heard it's a "why stop them when they're hanging themselves" thing. Smart if true.


It would appear that the judge has refused to reinsert the tube.
Does it now go to the next highest Federal Court?
posted by amberglow at 5:08 AM on March 22, 2005


And now Frist is taking some heat.

LAT: Critics say the majority leader, whose M.D. title could be an asset in 2008, overstepped in giving an opinion on Terri Schiavo's condition....William J. Winslade, a bioethicist and law professor at the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, was more direct. Frist "has no business making a diagnosis from a video," he said.

Now we go to the 11th Circuit.
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:17 AM on March 22, 2005


ahh.

they have to disbar Frist, or whatever it is they do to doctors.
posted by amberglow at 5:38 AM on March 22, 2005


oh, after the 11th Circuit are the Supremes, right?
posted by amberglow at 5:38 AM on March 22, 2005


Does it now go to the next highest Federal Court?

Who knows. They're now trying to petition the Vatican to annul Michael's marriage to Terri as a symbolic gesture. The concept of final authority was lost on these people 17 or 18 judges ago.

I think we've reached the point where people are going to be disappointed if God doesn't come down from heaven on Easter Sunday and say "you know what, I've got room for her too."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:40 AM on March 22, 2005


The Supremes have already turned it down at least once, twice I think. I don't think there's much question now that the Shindlers have lost. Now it's all about the politics and how things shake out.

Why isn't the Vatican making pronouncements about all the other people being removed from a feeding tube today?
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:48 AM on March 22, 2005


it hits too close to home for them, obviously. i've heard that at any given time in the country, 30,000+ people are in the same situation.
posted by amberglow at 5:52 AM on March 22, 2005


I've heard it's a "why stop them when they're hanging themselves" thing. Smart if true

I hope so, amberglow. . .but if we've learned anything in the last couple of years, it's that we need to wrest control away from the right-wing opinion-making machine. I would really like to see the dems get into this, particularly from a government-interference level. The democrats really are much closer to the beliefs of the old-school conservative than the current administration is, and we need to capitalize on that.

Wait, didn't we have this same discussion in reverse a couple of weeks ago?

they have to disbar Frist, or whatever it is they do to doctors.

Eh, it's really, really hard to get the AMA to do anything to doctors who engage in questionable (even shitty) practices. They're sure as hell not going to do it to Frist. Particularly since they try so hard to retain a non-partisan stance.

Who knows. They're now trying to petition the Vatican to annul Michael's marriage to Terri as a symbolic gesture. The concept of final authority was lost on these people 17 or 18 judges ago.

They really shouldn't be able to do that, since the parents have no legal or ecclesiastical claims to guardianship at this point. However, given JPII's interest in the case (or the interest of whoever is working the strings and levers), I wouldn't be surprised if it went through. Then maybe we could have a whole new round of this, based on the fact that Schiavo would then NOT be Terri's husband in the eyes of the church, giving her parents one more specious claim on which to challenge his guardianship.

CL, the Vatican often makes its "moral authority" pronouncements on things that are receiving adequate publicity. Usually doesn't have much sway in the US unless it's already in line with what members of the religious right want to hear. To wit: abortion bad -- yes, we like that. Death penalty bad, Iraq war bad -- forget it.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:57 AM on March 22, 2005


I know....I was being bitterly facetious.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:01 AM on March 22, 2005


I'm beginning to understand their obcession with Terry Shiavo-- she's really their idea of a perfect woman-- white, fertile, and completely passive. I'm surprised Frist hasn't appointed her a spokesperson for women's issues.

On a serious note, this isn't about one woman. It's about collecting quotes and soundbites for future elections. Passive voters will forget about this. Those who lie can continue to spin yarns to inspire the faithful. When this woman is gone they can twist her image to fit their needs.

These hateful bastards know exactly what they are doing. My guess is that they will be able to hoodwink the dregs of American Christians.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:04 AM on March 22, 2005


Even if annulled by the Vatican, they would still be legally married. (You two probably know that, so I am just pointing out the obvious.)
posted by mischief at 8:13 AM on March 22, 2005


Open armed revolution, guys. You're going to have to do it sooner or later.
I don't think so. Things look pretty fucked up, but I'd like to think that democracy still means something.


People thought democracy might mean something in Yugoslavia a couple decades ago, but Milosevic manipulated the media and the polls to ensure he retained power. It took an all-out civil war and international intervention to bring things back to a semblance of sanity.

If the good citizens of the USA don't get their shit together and force their politicians to clean up their act, I predict civil war will be necessary within the next twenty-five to fifty years.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:27 AM on March 22, 2005


Brain death requires the cessation of all brain function, including brain stem activity, which Schiavo appears to have.

Brain death is not a medical term, it's a political one. But I humbly submit that this is not a good definition of 'brain death' either, because if a person has no brain stem activity their organs (like, say, hearts or lungs) do not work.
posted by norm at 8:36 AM on March 22, 2005


The poll suggests that Democrats have an opportunity to speak for a significant portion of Americans who feel the GOP is overreaching.

But they AREN'T. God, how pathetically scared can they be? They didn't speak up about this appalling farce at first, when it was the right thing to do, and now that polls show it's also a smart thing to do, they still don't speak up.


The Democratic Party is in a persistent vegetative state. Stop trying to keep it alive artificially, and let it go.

As for the Republican Party, it's still alive, but didn't your parents ever warn you about the evils of drugs? When you're high, you're on top of the world and you think you're God. But afterwards, when you come down from being high? That's a right bitch, what with all the convulsions and self-destructive behavior.
posted by casu marzu at 8:45 AM on March 22, 2005


I predict civil war will be necessary within the next twenty-five to fifty years.

Yeah, and the wingers can't wait to fire the first shots, "patriots" that they are.

Got to say, though, the longer this whole Schiavo thing goes on, the more I think we're watching the wingers in the act of jumping the shark - in slo-mo.

Of course, then Terri Schiavo will die on Easter Sunday, thereby becoming some sort of martyr/icon...
posted by kgasmart at 8:46 AM on March 22, 2005


Orlando Sentinel: "Supporters of Terri Schiavo have swamped state leaders with about 100,000 e-mails, but the promised throngs of protesters have never materialized outside the hospice where she is dying.

The contrast raises the question of whether religious conservatives misjudged the groundswell of support that would rise up in protest of the removal of the severely brain-damaged woman's feeding tube. "
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:46 AM on March 22, 2005


That's too bad they aren't killing her humanely and just letting her starve to death.

Some years ago, I temped at a hospice. One of the things I had to do was put together the information packets given to families/patients when they enroll in Hospice. One of the things in that packet was a booklet that explained the dying process and what happens to the person as he or she goes through that process. One of the things that happens is that the person stops eating and drinking altogether...as the book said, it's because he or she no longer needs physical energy for the dying process, more like a spiritual energy.

I wish I could find that booklet online, but this site also has a good explanation of the dying process.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:56 AM on March 22, 2005


There are two odd things that struck me from reading this thread.

1.) Excluding the crass political side of this, the Schiavo situation is one of conflicting beliefs of compassion.

2.) Given the level of anger on all sides, not just in this case, but say in the ongoing gay marriage debate, I worry about the next few years. There seems to be an undercurrent of rage for many people. Bush is the last person who should be president right now. not because his politics differ so much from, say, mine, but because we need a president who is able to calm people down, reassure them, and that is not something he seems able to do. As noted many times in the past we seem to be in a culture war. Clinton, apparently, enraged people, Bush enrages people. We may need a boring president. But can such a person get elected.
posted by edgeways at 9:18 AM on March 22, 2005


The second terms of American presidents are usually a downhill ride...is it safe to think that this misstep, coupled with the slow-motion failure of Bush's Social Security reform, is a sign that the high-water mark of Bush's presidency has long since passed?
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:22 AM on March 22, 2005


We may need a boring president. But can such a person get elected.

Well, yeah. But back then, Republicans loved Florida judges.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:30 AM on March 22, 2005


Delay Says Terri Schiavo Mulling Run in 2006
"She's every bit as lucid and competent as any other member of the caucus."
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:53 AM on March 22, 2005


Frist/Schiavo for President 08?
*shivers*

Everyone, please email you senator or rep about National Health Care--if all their lipservice about "the sanctity of life" has any meaning at all, it means that millions shouldn't go without healthcare. Let's make lemonade out of this.
posted by amberglow at 10:03 AM on March 22, 2005


your
posted by amberglow at 10:03 AM on March 22, 2005



I think at this point, if I were Schiavo's husband, I'd be like "You guys want to keep her alive so bad? Go for it. As long as you're paying for it, you can keep her on life support till the end of time. Drain your life savings on a pointless cause. Make her a lawn ornament for all I care. It's not like she'll know the difference anyway. I give up.


As would I, but her husband is a religious man, and you'd have to be pretty evil to leave her trapped like that if you believe in an afterlife.
posted by Malenfant at 10:17 AM on March 22, 2005


A quote from the Yahoo News article: ``President Bush signed the bill almost immediately after its passage early Monday, vowing in a statement to "stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities."

"In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life," he said.``

Now didn't this same guy execute at least one mentally disabled prisoner while governor of Texas? Has anybody forgotten about that?

five fresh fish, and others discussing the prospect of revolution: The problem with that idea is that historically the disparity between the weapons available to the citizenry and the government has been very small- swords, and later muskets, cannons, rifles, etc. Thus the people on both sides of the conflict were, even if not equal, at least equally well armed. These days, however, the weapons our government possesses are far superior to anything we could lay hands on. The only possibility for regime change here is some sort of internal coup, whether from the military or inside the government itself. But make no misake, we ordinary citizens are screwed regardless.
posted by baphomet at 10:19 AM on March 22, 2005


fff, just leave the borders open for those of us who need to run for our lives when the time comes.
posted by amberglow at 10:23 AM on March 22, 2005


Joey Michaels's point is much better than mine, so I'll just repeat it in its entirety: "It bears repeating that Schiavo's care was paid for by a lawsuit - the kind that many in the RNC would like to cap to prevent 'abuse'
posted by orthogonality at 4:50 PM PST on March 21


Except, tort reform doesn't cap actual damages so she still would have all of her medical bills paid. This comment shows a gross lack of understanding about the nature of tort reform and legal damages. As such, your point that you felt necessary to repeat is completely and totally incorrect and petty.

the Texas Futile Care law, the law that led to Texas Children’s Hospital ending life support for a baby last month, was signed into law by Texas Governor George W. Bush in 1999.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 3:43 PM PST on March 21


Interesting point except for the fact that the Bill made it more difficult for a hosptial to refuse care and was an improvement to patients' rights. Though you seem to be offering it as some allegation of hypocrisy, the facts of that bill is that Bush wanted to make it more difficult to take away health care. The compromise bill that Bush signed was intended to improve the law. So I'm not sure how people are attempting to use this against Bush since he was trying to improve the law and patient's rights. If you want to hand the guy, hang him for some reason based on the facts.

Frist is not a doctor...
posted by amberglow at 8:17 PM PST on March 21


This is plainly wrong. You know its wrong. So does that make it a lie?
posted by dios at 10:25 AM on March 22, 2005


He's not a neurologist, though. I don't think our government will survive this, by the way, if things continue as they have. I feel confident in saying that.
posted by raysmj at 10:50 AM on March 22, 2005


I don't think our government will survive this, by the way, if things continue as they have. I feel confident in saying that.

Good. Time for regime change, anyway...
posted by kgasmart at 10:54 AM on March 22, 2005


We may need a boring president. But can such a person get elected.

Really good question.
posted by 327.ca at 10:59 AM on March 22, 2005


They'll all be sorry when she finally breaks loose and starts eating everybody's brains.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:08 AM on March 22, 2005


158 comments and finally dios got his GOP talking points!
posted by wendell at 11:08 AM on March 22, 2005


Dios: firstly, amberglow was quoting a popular line from television: "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV." I don't remember the original source, but it's a relatively well-known way to insinuate that although one claims to practice a profession, they may undertake actions which appear to be incompetent, or out of character, for a member of said profession. So, no, technically, amberglow was being satirical, not lying.

secondly, the law you cite was created: to protect hospitals and physicians from lawsuits in case their recommendations for ending or not initiating life-sustaining care do not agree with the wishes of the relatives of the patient (likewise in cases where the doctor recommends care contrary to relatives' wishes); and also to call for an ethical review board to evaluate any and all disagreements. Read it yourself--it appears to codify rights which already existed, with the principal aim of saving hospital and taxpayer money, not lives.
posted by plexiwatt at 11:11 AM on March 22, 2005


Though you seem to be offering it as some allegation of hypocrisy
Dallas lawyer Tom Mayo, who helped draft the 1999 law, said the Schiavo case would have come out the same under the Texas statute.

"In Texas our law would protect the decision that Michael Schiavo made, with her physicians, to remove the artificial nutrition hydration just the way Florida law does," said Mayo, associate professor of law at Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law.

The Texas law was intended to control in cases in which medical teams and patients' representatives disagree on treatment. In the Schiavo case, the medical team and Schiavo's husband agreed that there was no hope of improvement in her condition, determined by lower courts to be a "persistent vegetative state."
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/217023_texas22.html
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:13 AM on March 22, 2005


Actually, I'm beginning to think that the only fitting ending for this is for Congress to actually bring Terri Schiavo to Washington to "testify."

Why not? We've put the poor soul on display in an utterly obscene manner anyway; why not go whole hog? Wheel her out in front of the kleig lights and let America get a good look at her, without the constantly replayed selective videos. Let the country gaze upon her and see, really see, her condition.

Republicans want to do this? Bring it on.
posted by kgasmart at 11:14 AM on March 22, 2005


Well, if nothing else, she'd be twice as articulate as Sammy Sosa.
posted by crunchland at 11:18 AM on March 22, 2005


Actually, I'm beginning to think that the only fitting ending for this is for Congress to actually bring Terri Schiavo to Washington to "testify."

You have a point. She'd probably be more forthcoming that Mark McGwire, and she still more mental capacity than Jose Canseco.
posted by casu marzu at 11:20 AM on March 22, 2005


I know Prof. Mayo personally. He is a great resource on bioethics in Texas. He taught me that class, and he is on retainer at my law firm. He works with us frequently. (A local news search for the local CBS affiliate would show an interview with him on a case that I worked on regarding compelling treatment for two Jehovah's witness infants). We do health law and represent hospitals exclusively. He would tell you the same thing I told you: the law that Bush signed made it more difficult for hospitals to refuse care. Yes the Schiavo case would ultimately come out the same. But that wasn't the point of monju's original comment: he was alleging that Bush passed a law that allowed a little black baby to die.

Prior the law passed by Bush, there was no rights when a hospital made the decision to cease furthering care. Bush passed a law that increased patient's rights. The law made it MORE DIFFICULT for hospitals to refuse care. The law is at Texas Health and Safety Code 166.046 and 166.052. Hosptials are now required to give patients a review before a committee and then a 10 day for transfer. The hospital is required to assist the person to find another hospital and pay for the care until transfer is completed. Only after that 10 day period may a hospital refuse further treatement. Furthermore, the Texas Health Care Information Council was mandated to maintain a registry of to help facilitate the transfer of patients.

I know all about the law. It was a patient's right law. It was a compromise because it allowed hosptials from being compelled to permanently treat patients. Before the law that Bush backed was passed, hosptials didn't have to give administrative review or arrange a transfer. The law gave patients those rights.
posted by dios at 11:27 AM on March 22, 2005


Prior the law passed by Bush, there was no rights when a hospital made the decision to cease furthering care.

Except absent actual regulatory law occupying the field, a patient could assert either common law or constitutional law claims to assert their rights. Codifying it in statute meant that the legislative act trumped any common law right the patient might have had. I am profoundly skeptical that the Texas state legislature did anything to protect the rights of individuals, as that would be quite out of character for them.
posted by norm at 11:42 AM on March 22, 2005


norm, you are looking at this from the wrong angle. The question was: could a company (a hospital) be compelled to incur costs to treat someone who couldn't pay. There was no common law right of a patient to compel a hospital to pay to keep giving treatement when renumeration became impossible. But Bush's law required them to have an adminstrative hearing and then 10 days notice where another facility willing to give treatment could be found.

Thus, hopsitals became statutorily required to do certain things prior from refusing further treatment. That included going through a burden of trying to help find another facility. Prior to this law, there was no right, either by statute or common law, that required a hospital to do anything to give treatment to a person who could not pay.
posted by dios at 11:58 AM on March 22, 2005


What if a patient can't find another hospital? What if they can't afford to pay? Where are the patient's rights if they're poor and don't have other options, like this woman who lost her daughter?

Turning sick people out on the street, or disconnecting them is not "patient's rights" by any stretch of the imagination. Hospitals exist to care for people, not make a profit. It's all part of the "culture of life", no?
posted by amberglow at 12:16 PM on March 22, 2005


amberglow: Bush passed a law to trying help those thing you just stated.

I don't think you are reading or understanding the issue here, so lets try on a more basic level.

Those concerns you have....

Before Bush's law:

NO PROTECTION

After Bush's law :

SOME PROTECTION

He couldn't pass a law requiring private hospitals to permanently care for patients who couldn't pay. But he did try to raise the culture of life by giving patients' rights when treatement was going to be cancelled.

He didn't do what many on the Left are accusing him of: he didn't pass a law making it easier for corporations/hospitals to refuse treatment to poor people.
posted by dios at 12:29 PM on March 22, 2005


Whether he intended for that result or not, that is the result. It is now easier for hospitals to pull the plug on patients, especially poor patients--even without the parent's consent, if it's a minor.

Did hospitals have that power before this law?
posted by amberglow at 12:51 PM on March 22, 2005


It is now easier for hospitals to pull the plug on patients, especially poor patients--even without the parent's consent, if it's a minor.

No. That is wrong.

Did hospitals have that power before this law?
posted by amberglow at 12:51 PM PST on March 22


Yes.

I have said this many times. It is MORE difficult for the hospital to pull the plug after the law. Now they have to give a hearing and spend 10 days trying to find the indigent a hospital that will care for them. Before they didn't have do any of that. Just give 72 hours notice that the plug would be pulled. How many times do I have to say this?
posted by dios at 12:55 PM on March 22, 2005


What kind of Godforsaken state is that--where the hospital can pull plugs without familial consent?

Whether it's 72 hours or a hearing and 10 days is not helping the patient either way.
posted by amberglow at 1:09 PM on March 22, 2005


As far as I know, it is the same as the law in every state: you cannot require a private entity to pay for the healthcare of someone. Outrage, notwithstanding.
posted by dios at 1:16 PM on March 22, 2005


Hospitals are required to care for everyone who comes through the front door, regardless of their ability to pay. The Texas law means that they can turn off the lights on chronic patients, even if those patients have their full mental faculties.
posted by bshort at 1:24 PM on March 22, 2005


Hmm. Interesting....

I just got told that the local CBS affiliate is on their way over to my firm right now to interview my senior partner on this exact very topic for the news tonight. We just had a meeting about it yesterday to discuss this, and ironically CBS called us.

Thought that might be interesting since it is on this topic to anyone can watch the DFW CBS news.
posted by dios at 1:38 PM on March 22, 2005


Wow, you must feel pretty special.

Does it seem to anyone else dios is 111?
posted by bshort at 1:41 PM on March 22, 2005


I'm sure I'm not the first to notice this, but it hasn't been mentioned yet: There is a remarkable hypocrisy at work here.

The root defense of the Parents was that although no treatment for Terri's condition exists at this time, future medical advances could 'cure' her. Basically, she should be kept alive because one day we could grow back the damaged portions of her brain. Thus, we should keep her alive against the will of her legal guardian, and arguably, Terri herself.

Now, the right-to-lifers are getting behind this in a big way, while simultaneously stamping out the ability of researchers to access and experiment with stem cells that might be just the ticket to developing the future treatment that Terri needs.

Left hand, you might want to check out what right hand is doing over there...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:58 PM on March 22, 2005


Hospitals are required to care for everyone who comes through the front door, regardless of their ability to pay.

In emergeny room situations that's true. But: The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, or EMTALA, leaves plenty of room for interpretation, especially on terms such as "emergency" and "treat." Cancer may be a killer, for instance, but a cancerous lump in the breast is not, by law, an emergency. Furthermore, EMTALA requires only that the patient be stabilized. I'm not sure the law is 100% decided on how this act applies to long-term care.

More information on EMTALA.
posted by Cyrano at 2:05 PM on March 22, 2005


Wow, you must feel pretty special.
Does it seem to anyone else dios is 111?
posted by bshort at 1:41 PM PST on March 22


I'm not even sure what/who 111 is. But I wasn't trying to brag or make this discussion about me. I just found it coincidental that as I was chatting about this here, my boss got a call from the local news to be interviewed about the same thing. Its the local news, after all, and the topic of "hospitals rights to pull the plug in Texas" has a very limited demographic with expertise. It isn't that suprising then that the local news would contact someone I know to do their story on this.

I just thought I would share that. I hope no one took it as bragging or the like.
posted by dios at 2:14 PM on March 22, 2005


I know our Public Hospitals here in NYC can't pull anyone's plug, whether they have a penny or not. It's inhuman.
posted by amberglow at 2:15 PM on March 22, 2005


Why isn't there a provision in the law where the person gets transferred to a public hospital automatically then? Why are they allowed to die if the family doesn't want them to?
posted by amberglow at 2:17 PM on March 22, 2005


Cyrano: EMTALA would not apply to long term care. Once the patient is stabilized, it quits applying. The patient then is usually sent to a tertiary care center (such as Parkland Hospital in Dallas) that treats people even if they have no money. It is a public care facility.

The question of when a patient is "stable" is an interesting one. A short way of looking at it is, if the patient will die once he walks out the doors of the hospital, then he isn't stable. If he can make it home, then he is probably stable. If he requires elective treatment, such as a stint after a heart attack, that procedure isn't covered by the EMTALA. If the patient isn't ever stable, the hospital has to get them stable enough to transfer him before it can extinguish its EMTALA requirements.
posted by dios at 2:24 PM on March 22, 2005


I know our Public Hospitals here in NYC can't pull anyone's plug, whether they have a penny or not. It's inhuman.
posted by amberglow at 2:15 PM PST on March 22


That's a public hospital. Private hospitals can't be compelled. The problem is that public hospitals have a limit to the number of beds and sometimes refuse transfer. That occuring is extermely rare, which is why so few patients actually have the plug pulled under the Futile Care law. A public hospital like Parkland will usually take anyone if they have the physical space to fit them in.

Again, the issue here is whether a private hosptial can be compelled to pay for permanent care to someone who cannot be medically saved.
posted by dios at 2:26 PM on March 22, 2005


Ah. "these people scare the shit out me" update time courtesy of Free Republic:

"Ten thousand brave souls could liberate Terri easily, but they'd have to be armed with more than the Holy Sprit. Fear not, the answer is available in the sporting goods section of any Wal Mart!"

Oh. That's just great.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:26 PM on March 22, 2005


Culture of life baby!
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:45 PM on March 22, 2005


That Free Republic post is absurd. No more absurd then the idiots at DU. But still idiotic. The fringe of both sides are equally embarassing and revolting.
posted by dios at 2:50 PM on March 22, 2005


And exactly what makes you think that you need to qualify the nutcases, dios? I've yet to read a DU thread calling for the violent liberation of a vegetable ...

*Wah* *Whine* You side is as bad as mine! *Wah*

(Sorry, I know that's strident, but dios' response was just too stupid for rational words.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:28 PM on March 22, 2005


Does it seem to anyone else dios is 111?

I knew 111, and sir, dios is no 111.

/all differences aside, 111 never made an effort to be reasonable, logical, or to explain himself. He is an angry, angry little man trying to make others as miserable as he must be. Dios is making a genuine effort to argue his case, and while I may not agree, I have learned something from him today/
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 3:33 PM on March 22, 2005


[Thankyou, gesamtkunstwerk. I was just about to say the same.]

So, anyway... the gist of the Texas Futile Care Law is that the (private) hospital decides whether or not to pull the plug on a patient?
posted by jaronson at 3:41 PM on March 22, 2005


The fringe of both sides are equally embarassing and revolting.

yes!
too bad one side has the POTUS and Congress catering to their every disgusting need, like in this case.

the other doesn't, nor will in the foreseeable future (200 years?)

dios, why do you keep providing us all those fish in a barrel? and for free?
America is being run according to the Freepers principles. deal with it, and enjoy it politely. learn to love your inner John Bircher, dios. between meetings with your bigshot boss, of course.

*snicker*
posted by matteo at 3:51 PM on March 22, 2005


So, anyway... the gist of the Texas Futile Care Law is that the (private) hospital decides whether or not to pull the plug on a patient?

(Caveat: I'm in favor of the Futility Policy)

Uh, sort of. It's intended to resolve the situation in which a patient, or more frequently, a patient's surrogate decision maker, requests treatments that are medically futile. A very clear-cut example would be a patient's insistance on a heart transplant when he is already in multi-organ failure. You can give him the transplant, but it's not going to do him a damn bit of good. In this case, the doctor would go through the ethics committee and follow a bunch of protocols to refuse treatment. This same sort of thing happens in life-support cases. It happens more often than anyone would like that families of patients who have no hope of recovery would like to keep the patient on a ventilator indefinitely and/or give them medically inappropriate treatments.

This is where it gets sticky: if you have the money to pay for all this, you can always find someone to do it for you, no matter how ridiculous it is. The problem arises when people are NOT paying for their own medical treatment -- the hospital is -- and still want to keep a near corpse on $3000/day life support, plus whatever treatment they read about on the internet. Thus, the law is aimed pretty much exclusively at people who can't pay.

The futility policy pretty much just codified the procedures that had already been in place in most Texas hospitals anyway. I certainly wouldn't call it "protection" for patients -- it's protection for the hospitals. On the other hand, the problem had to get solved somehow. As much as I don't want to put money against a human life, hospitals aren't bottomless pits of money, and wasting resources on medically inadvisable treatments limits the assistance that they can give people who aren't futile cases.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 4:18 PM on March 22, 2005


I wonder if there is a possibility that this law can be declared unconstitutional because of the absence of a quorum in the senate.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:19 PM on March 22, 2005


KJS, yes, but that won't happen because the judiciary wants to KILL, KILL, KILL! It's all about the desires of Congress at this point.

"What he's saying is, 'I don't have to hold a new trial because I've already determined that her rights have been protected,'" Santorum said.

"That's nice for him to say that. But that's not what Congress told him to do," he added. "Judges should obey the law. And this judge - in my mind - simply ignored the law."


From here Via here.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:26 PM on March 22, 2005


Here's a nice article about the futile care law.

(I'm not sure where I got the link from)
posted by cillit bang at 5:07 PM on March 22, 2005


Are they sure the infant was really futile tho? He had already beaten great odds. I haven't seen anything in the article or anywhere to prove he was.
posted by amberglow at 5:40 PM on March 22, 2005


amberglow: yes. Baby Sun had thanatophoric dysplasia, which is a condition classified as "incompatible with life." It wasn't so much that the baby had "beaten great odds" as it was that we can keep basic life functions going under some pretty terrible circumstances. The longest a child has ever lived with TD is about 4 years, but that was entirely dependent on a ventilator and without any meaningful interaction with the world. Yes, we can keep them technically alive for a long time, but that doesn't make it life.

It should be added that Texas Children's Hospital paid the legal bills for the mother to challenge their decision.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:59 PM on March 22, 2005


It would be e'ersonice were our culture to grow the hell up and recognize that death is fucking inevitable.

There many babies being rescued that should never have come to term, yet out of some desperate need to defy nature, we keep them minimally alive for years at a time, sacrificing -- by any sensible definition of the word -- quality of life in a blind attempt to cheat death.

Much the same happens at the other end of the scale: over-the-top attempts to stave off death another day or two despite that it's obviously going to happen regardless the desperate measures that are taken.

Sad to say the medical system has lost all sense of humanity. We're all just meat to be kept minimally alive as proof that death is not in control.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:33 PM on March 22, 2005


I disagree, fff. I think the medical system is perhaps the place where people recognize the need for quality of life most of all.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:38 PM on March 22, 2005


thanks, LittleMiss, i hadn't heard all the details.
posted by amberglow at 6:51 PM on March 22, 2005




"she's really their idea of a perfect woman-- white, fertile, and completely passive."

I'm curious why he isn't still sleeping with her. What would be the objection from the "culture of life"ers?
posted by Smedleyman at 7:12 PM on March 22, 2005


Sad to say the medical system has lost all sense of humanity. We're all just meat to be kept minimally alive as proof that death is not in control.

Actually, from my stint working as an aide at a nursing home, dealing with some of the people in my care who were *completely gone* alzheimer's patients, it occurred to me that they were being kept alive because the checks kept coming in.

Cha-ching, baby!

I basically just shook my head sadly and vowed that I'd never let myself become like that. I couldn't do it to my daughter. They basically get parked there until something or other kills them. Alzheimer's is mighty slow with the final curtain.
posted by beth at 7:21 PM on March 22, 2005


Pot calling kettle, and the nerve of him: ... "One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," Mr. DeLay told a conference organized by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. A recording of the event was provided by the advocacy organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"This is exactly the issue that is going on in America, of attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others," Mr. DeLay said.

Mr. DeLay complained that "the other side" had figured out how "to defeat the conservative movement," by waging personal attacks, linking with liberal organizations and persuading the national news media to report the story. He charged that "the whole syndicate" was "a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in." ...


Someone please buy him a mirror.
posted by amberglow at 8:49 PM on March 22, 2005


and this is telling: G.O.P. Right Is Splintered on Schiavo Intervention-- ... "My party is demonstrating that they are for states' rights unless they don't like what states are doing," said Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, one of five House Republicans who voted against the bill. "This couldn't be a more classic case of a state responsibility."

"This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy," Mr. Shays said. "There are going to be repercussions from this vote. There are a number of people who feel that the government is getting involved in their personal lives in a way that scares them." ...

posted by amberglow at 8:56 PM on March 22, 2005


Sing it, Shays. I've said it before, but it's crap like this that I just. don't. get. With say, Reagan republicans, things made sense. I didn't agree with them, but I could see where they were coming from. Why there hasn't been a mass exodus of those sort of people from the republican party is totally beyond me.

Wow, DeLay. He is one crazy motherfucker.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 9:07 PM on March 22, 2005


It's kinda that they have no where to go--decades of demonizing Dems make it unpalatable. I'm in the same boat--i have nowhere to go and could never vote for a party that demonizes me.
posted by amberglow at 9:19 PM on March 22, 2005


amberglow writes "'This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy,' Mr. Shays said. 'There are going to be repercussions from this vote"

Oh, there'll be repercussions. First, no more committee chairmanships for Congressman Shays, and much less pork for his district.

We all remember what happened to liberal Republican Lowell Weicker, right?

(You don't remember? The Republicans, realizing that it's better to have an opponent than a prominent party member "off the reservation" got behind Democratic candidate Joe "Joementum" Lieberman, who's been delighting Republicans ever since as their token conservative Democrat, always ready to cheer torture and Social Security reform. What a great deal we Democrats got: a senator who didn't put us over 50 votes and who goes on Hannity to undermine his fellow Democrats!)
posted by orthogonality at 11:00 PM on March 22, 2005


they are for states' rights unless they don't like what states are doing.

Hehe... I said that a few days ago.
posted by drezdn at 11:08 PM on March 22, 2005


Joe Lieberman has been a Republican (not a conservative, that would be an insult) for as long as I can remember.
posted by Eekacat at 12:09 AM on March 23, 2005


This thread is evidence of why it is over.

I want to challenge someone to post a Terri Schiavo FPP that gets no comments whatsoever, but always refreshes somewhere near the top. Would it be possible?

This shit is none of our business. In fact, it's madness. Without a doubt, somebody is trying to drive America absolutely mad. Delivering us into conflict. Schiavo is a case in point of the GOP's craven belief that it can manipulate the mind of the general public at will. Look at the Internet, the blogosphere, whatever. We're reacting to something we didn't even forsee happening a week ago. The sooner we stop reacting to this absurdist production and begin a popular strike of ignoring this crap, the better off we'll be.
posted by crasspastor at 3:29 AM on March 23, 2005


Upheld by the 11th Circuit. (PDF) On to the Supremes!

What will Congress do now?

This is going to add tremendous passion to the coming fight over judges, which was going to be a knock down drag out already.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:50 AM on March 23, 2005


I wonder what they'll do to distract us (and calm down their base) if the Supremes say no again?
posted by amberglow at 5:03 AM on March 23, 2005


amberglow writes "I wonder what they'll do to distract us (and calm down their base) if the Supremes say no again?"

Hmm, Syria?
posted by orthogonality at 5:06 AM on March 23, 2005


Marie Cocco--Newsday: ...
When Florida Gov. Jeb Bush first intervened in the Schiavo case in October 2003, I became alarmed. Here was a governor so bent on furthering his personal and political agendas that he would subvert his own state laws and courts.

I quickly typed up a paragraph outlining what I would want done in similar medical circumstances. I signed it, gave a copy to my husband and mailed one to my elderly parents.

Now I fear this piece of paper provides my family no refuge from the passions of strangers. They have decided that the course of our lives - and our deaths - is their business and not ours. How can any American, even one of the few who have a "living will," feel safe from their reach?

In passing the legislation to "save" Terri Schiavo, Congress overturned two centuries of legal precedent that gives states the power to regulate such matters and state courts the power to settle disputes over them. If they are not deterred by the U.S. Constitution or legal history or by the Florida rulings issued after painstaking consideration of Schiavo's case, why would they be stopped by my simple paragraph? How can anyone, in any state, be free from fear that the congressional cops will appear beside our hospital beds?

Many Americans are disgusted, but even that seems insufficient. We should be very afraid of people with this much power who know no decency, and who will stop at nothing.

posted by amberglow at 5:46 AM on March 23, 2005


and if it does now go to the Supremes, remember this, by Scalia about Nancy Cruzan: I am concerned, from the tenor of today's opinions, that we are poised to confuse that enterprise as successfully as we have confused the enterprise of legislating concerning abortion -- requiring it to be conducted against a background of federal constitutional imperatives that are unknown because they are being newly crafted from Term to Term. That would be a great misfortune.

While I agree with the Court's analysis today, and therefore join in its opinion, 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 his or 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.

posted by amberglow at 5:55 AM on March 23, 2005




That's great amber.


This is funny. That quack doctor I saw on TV 600 posts ago saying Terri is perfectly fine really?
MediaMatters dug up some dirt on him which is pretty ho hum, but the transcript of how many times his bogus "Nobel nomination" was referred to is hilarious.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:33 AM on March 23, 2005


In my more cynical moments, I think that republicans are really using this as an attempt to change the judiciary or create a large amount of outrage aimed at judges. After all, post 2004 election, conservative writers have turned their attention to cranking out books denouncing the judicial system. The whole thought is far too unbelievable.
posted by drezdn at 7:15 AM on March 23, 2005


CunningLinguist writes "the transcript of how many times his bogus 'Nobel nomination' was referred to is hilarious."

Sweet catch!

drezdn writes "I think that [R]epublicans are really using this as an attempt to change the judiciary or create a large amount of outrage aimed at judges.... The whole thought is far too unbelievable."

That's one great thing about the Bush presidency -- so many thing I'd have called unbelievable just a few short years ago -- things I'd have called poor and over-stretched parody -- are true. Wolfowitz erroneously says the Iraq War will pay for itself -- and is nominated to head the World Bank. An Attorney General who could double as leader of the Spanish Inquisition. Tom DeLay impugning anyone's integrity, much less a man who nearly got a restraining order for being too insistent his wife be impeccably cared for while she was in a permanent vegetative state, Bill Frist "diagnosing" from video tapes. A president who flies back from his ranch to keep a brian-dead women from going to her rest, but won't fly back to prevent Osama from murdering 3000 Americans. I could go on, but what's the point? Even torture sanctioned by the White House counsel doesn't even make America flinch anymore.

Welcome to Looking-Glass Land. What's so unbelievable about your cynical guess? So far all but the most paranoid predictions from the Left have come true and in spades.
posted by orthogonality at 7:46 AM on March 23, 2005




In my more cynical moments, I think that republicans are really using this as an attempt to change the judiciary or create a large amount of outrage aimed at judges.
Really? 'Cause that's what I think all the time.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:00 AM on March 23, 2005


CunningLinguist writes " Frist has has pulled the plug on a 'regular basis,' his office acknowledged yesterday."

On people or cats?
posted by orthogonality at 8:06 AM on March 23, 2005


that's it for him in 08 : >

ha-ha! /Nelson Muntz
posted by amberglow at 9:31 AM on March 23, 2005


Hmmm... keeping her alive while killing soldiers and citizens in Iraq... how do those two thoughts come out of the same person??? (I know, I know, you can't really compare them.)
posted by cass at 9:50 AM on March 23, 2005


donth, that's so sick.

I've heard that the right-to-lifers justify the death penalty as divine justice or something. ridiculous. maybe that's how they feel about dead Iraqis and US Soldiers?
posted by amberglow at 10:16 AM on March 23, 2005



[via Low Culture]
posted by schyler523 at 10:21 AM on March 23, 2005


Cause, you know? This page wasn't taking long enough to load the way it was...













posted by spock at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2005


Wow. mnftiu has still not yet learned the subtle art of funny. Those Schiavo album photoshops were way better.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:05 PM on March 23, 2005


I wonder what the "Culture of Life" would say if Terri Schiavo's husband said he wanted the food tube put back in because he has decided that they should have another child?
posted by spock at 12:08 PM on March 23, 2005


I'm surprised the Weekly World News (currently NSFW) doesn't have a headline already: Terri Schiavo PREGNANT!
posted by spock at 12:23 PM on March 23, 2005


Like a zombie in a horror film, It doesn't stop. Schiavo's parents, having had the 11th Circuit's three judge panel rule against them, now wants the full Circuit, en banc to hear the case, and Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, is asking the Florida Senate to re-convene to pass another law to force Schiavo's doctors to re-insert the feeding tube.

To recapitulate: after seven years in the Florida state courts, and previous interventions by Jeb Bush, and after a private bill in the US Congress, and George Bush flying back to sign it, and another hearing based on that bill, and an appeal based on that bill, the family wants yet another hearing and Florida may pass yet another bill.

Man, you think if these people devoted even half of the energy they put into this to -- oh, I dunno -- actually finding Osama or finding a way to fund universal health care for the millions of people who, unlike Terry Schiavo, could actually be helped medically, that -- oh, right, those things aren't about a "Culture of Life"
posted by orthogonality at 12:28 PM on March 23, 2005


Wow, total Hail Mary by Jeb Bush just now.

Now...does this bring up a constitutional issue, since the Florida courts have found that Schiavo is in a persistent vegitative state, and Gov. Bush is declaring that she isn't in that state at all, but rather a state of "minimal consciousness" and that Adult Protective Services could possibly take her into protective custody? Would the lower-level courts have to revisit their findings of fact in this issue?
posted by Vidiot at 12:32 PM on March 23, 2005




What I really don't get at this point are all the dipshits who are getting arrested for their symbolic attempts to "bring Terri a glass of water." Seriously, they should just let them in and give it to her. I'm no fancy medical expert or anything, but last time I checked the act of forcing water into the throat of someone who can't swallow is called "drowning."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:54 PM on March 23, 2005


excellent spock--thanks : >

What's Jeb doing? Are they going to storm in there and grab her?
posted by amberglow at 12:57 PM on March 23, 2005


XQUZYPHYR writes "What I really don't get at this point are all the dipshits who are getting arrested for their symbolic attempts to 'bring Terri a glass of water."

Yeah, it took me a second to get it too. Gospel of John, Chapter 19, verses 28-30 (KJV, of course):
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
The Save Terry law was passed just after Palm Sunday, and the Republicans are so fervent because they want her to die on Easter Sunday as a re-enactment of Christ.

It's a Passion Play to out-do Oberammergau and Mel Gibson both, a Passion Play with a (more or less) living Jesus who will actually die, not on stage or on screen, but for real. With Democrats standing in for the Jewish Sanhedrin, doctors for the Roman centurions, medical paraphernalia for Gibson's whips, and a feeding tube for the crown of thorns.

The back and forth between George Bush and the US Congress in Washington and Jeb Bush and the Florida statehouse is a kindler, gentler version of Jesus being shuffled between Pilate and Herod, except this time "Pilate" and "Herod" will be the "good" guys, sympathizing with the "Culture of Life" and the "victim" of the "abortionists".

The parallels between Terry's sufferings and Jesus's will be trumpeted in every fundamentalist Christian pulpit on Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the Christian calendar, and remembered for years to come. Her "killing" will be linked to their Christ's killing, Terry's so-called enemies to Jesus's.

Years from now, the pro-lifers and the fundies will still be telling us what a "miracle" it was that Jesus saw fit to "take Terry home" on the anniversary of His own death, underscoring that the new "Christ-killers" are not the Romans and the Jews, but the Democrats and the Liberals.
posted by orthogonality at 1:18 PM on March 23, 2005


Wouldn't she have to die on Good Friday to be Christ?
posted by COBRA! at 1:25 PM on March 23, 2005


Uh, I think the story goes that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter and died on Good Friday.

On preview, just adding to what COBRA! wrote.
posted by jaronson at 1:27 PM on March 23, 2005


Yeah, thanks for the correction, Good Friday.
posted by orthogonality at 1:35 PM on March 23, 2005


Hold me, mommy. The USA religious culture scares me.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:49 PM on March 23, 2005




The public, by 63 percent-28 percent, supports the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube, and by a 25-point margin opposes a law mandating federal review of her case. Congress passed such legislation and President Bush signed it early today.
Speaking of nuts; looking at this majorities polling opinion. Does not match Bush's Presidential popular vote.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:19 PM on March 23, 2005


you have to make me shiver, ortho? : P

(i bet you're exactly right tho--sadly.)

thomcat, CNN and FOX also did polls saying pretty much the same thing, but haven't been repeating the info like they usually do--it doesn't fit with their storyline-at all.
posted by amberglow at 3:20 PM on March 23, 2005


majority's
posted by thomcatspike at 3:29 PM on March 23, 2005


thanks amberglow - think they should pull the plug on them and bush
posted by thomcatspike at 3:31 PM on March 23, 2005


i know--totally.

It's a good thing tho--that the majority of us aren't dumb and willing to believe whatever they say--about this or Social Security. It gives me a little hope : >
posted by amberglow at 4:14 PM on March 23, 2005


The latest CBS News poll has amazing numbers on the Schiavo issue. And, those numbers are not at all good for Bush and Congress....they really stepped in it:

An overwhelming 82 percent of the public believes the Congress and President should stay out of the matter.


Just 13 percent of those polled think Congress intervened in the case out of concern for Schiavo, while 74 percent think it was all about politics. Of those polled, 66 percent said the tube should not be inserted compared to 27 percent who want it restored.

posted by amberglow at 5:34 PM on March 23, 2005


Salon has a great story on how the media's treating this (watch ad)

Since last Friday, cable news channels have covered little else other than this right-to-die case, while reporters and pundits have mostly ignored a crucial element of the story -- public opinion.

Recent polling data, in outlets from Fox News to the Washington Post, shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans back the position of Michael Schiavo, Terri's husband, that he, and not his wife's parents, should have the final say about removing the feeding tube of his wife, who has been severely brain-damaged and incapacitated for the past 15 years. The polling data seriously undercuts the notion that Americans are deeply divided on the Schiavo case. Yet ever since March 18, when Republicans began their unprecedented push to intervene legislatively in a state court case that had already been heard by 19 judges, the press has all but disregarded the polls.

The Schiavo episode highlights not only how far to the right the GOP-controlled Congress has lunged -- a 2003 Fox News poll found just 2 percent of Americans think the government should decide this type of right-to-die issue -- but also how paralyzed the mainstream press has become in pointing out the obvious: that the GOP leadership often operates well outside the mainstream of America. The press's timidity is important because publicizing the poll results might extend the debate from one that focuses exclusively on a complicated moral and ethical dilemma to one that also examines just how far a radical and powerful group of religious conservatives are willing to go to push their political beliefs on the public. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:55 PM on March 23, 2005


Tom DeLay Uncensored (the whole transcript of his speech to the Family Research Council)
posted by amberglow at 6:19 PM on March 23, 2005


The court rules against reinserting the tube.

I'm not too surprised.
posted by Alison at 7:13 PM on March 23, 2005


The parents just filed with the Supremes.
posted by amberglow at 8:13 PM on March 23, 2005


What happens when the Supremes tell them to go screw?
posted by bshort at 8:50 PM on March 23, 2005


but will they? Will Scalia and Thomas and Rhenquist really do that? Bush v. Gore 2000 says no. They inserted themselves into a state issue then.
posted by amberglow at 8:59 PM on March 23, 2005


well, there's always one more stop after the Supremes...

(Of course, I speak of Diana Ross.)
posted by crunchland at 9:01 PM on March 23, 2005


Diana's too busy with Michael Jackson, i'm sure. Maybe St. Oprah?
posted by amberglow at 9:04 PM on March 23, 2005


EVERYONE gets a feeding tube!!!

/oprah
posted by yhbc at 9:17 PM on March 23, 2005


exactly, yhbc : <
posted by amberglow at 9:25 PM on March 23, 2005




and fafblog: ... Senators, from this day forth none of you will be allowed into Congress without dragging along AT LEAST one (1) vegetative American with a partially liquified brain. Remember, the more you bring with you, the more compassionate you are! You can use them however you want - wave them around, pose them in interesting shapes, demonstrate their need for private Social Security accounts - but you must use them AT ALL TIMES THROUGHOUT THE DAY. If you go without referencing them for thirty seconds, you must either stop to bounce them or pass them to another player on your team.

News media: from now on all your stories must be about Terry Schiavo or Terry Schiavo-related activities. If you are reporting on the war in Iraq, don't tell us if we're "winning" or "losing," tell us what would Terry Schiavo think of the war in Iraq? Can Terry Schiavo follow a balloon in Iraq? Even Saddam Hussein wouldn't unplug Terry Schiavo's feeding tube! ...

posted by amberglow at 9:41 PM on March 23, 2005


Maureen Dowd--... The president, who couldn't be dragged outdoors to talk about the more than a hundred thousand people who died in the horrific tsunami, was willing to be dragged out of bed to sign a bill about one woman his base had fixated on. But with the new polls, the White House seemed to shrink back a bit.

The scene on Capitol Hill this past week has been almost as absurdly macabre as the movie "Weekend at Bernie's," with Tom DeLay and Bill Frist propping up between them this poor woman in a vegetative state to indulge their own political agendas. Mr. DeLay, the poster child for ethical abuse, wanted to show that he is still a favorite of conservatives. Dr. Frist thinks he can ace out Jeb Bush to be 44, even though he has become a laughingstock by trying to rediagnose Ms. Schiavo's condition by video.

As one disgusted Times reader suggested in an e-mail: "Americans ought to send Bill Frist their requests: 'Dear Dr. Frist: Please watch the enclosed video and tell us if that mole on my mother's cheek is cancer. Does she need surgery?'"

Jeb, keeping up with the '08 competition, vainly tried to get Florida to declare Ms. Schiavo a ward of the state.

Republicans easily abandon their cherished principles of individual privacy and states rights when their personal ambitions come into play. The first time they snatched a case out of a Florida state court to give to a federal court, it was Bush v. Gore. This time, it's Bush v. Constitution. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:52 AM on March 24, 2005


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