Friday, March 25, 2005

At least try to think

Re this post from Bill Quick, saying that "ceasing food and fluid can be painless". In case one, BQ says "everything she ate, she painfully vomited back up". If that was more painful than doing without eating, than her choice is clear without assuming that it was also painless.

In case #2 with Mr. Quick's father, it's clear that the man had chosen not to eat. We don't know how much other pain he was in, and if he wanted to die this might well have been his only avenue after living 98 years and having a broken hip. Again, based on what he posted alone, it doesn't support his "Hooey" statement.

Perhaps Mr. Quick has better evidence. I encourage him to post it.

And I encourage Mr. Quick and some of those who commented on his post to look at Mr. Schiavo with a more critical eye. Don't let his possible complicity in her condition be obscured in the glare of right to life issues. And ask why it's so important for him to maintain control of her remains (he'd lose that if he divorced her), to the point of rejecting a big payday, and why he wants her cremated.

Miscellaneous Schiavo rants

Let's not hear another peep about "federalism" from people who don't agree that Roe v. Wade should be thrown out on its bloody ass. That's not "pro-life", it's respect for democracy and the Constitution.

Under what conceivable circumstances could we see an outcome where Terri Schiavo was to be neglected to death under armed guard and call it justice? If our legal system decides that she must die, at least do it in a way that would be permissible if done to a condemned prisoner, or even a rabid dog.

If we were putting a govt together from scratch, which idea would come up first? Justice, or federalism? If you could only have one of the two, which would you pick?

So the Republicans had the stones and compassion to pass a very narrowly tailored law explicitly described as not being a precedent with the intent of addressing a clear miscarriage of justice and preserving an innocent woman's life. Instead of hearing universal praise for political heroism in giving her the benefit of the doubt, we're actually hearing some whining about federalism. IMO those people were happy to see Terri Schiavo go all along, but wanted a more respectable reason.

Oh, the Republicans were just performing on cue for their masters, the Christian Right! Good grief. Yeah, there may be an unsigned memo out there alleging that, but then there's Powerline.

I don't hold out much hope for Terri Schiavo now. But once she's dead Michael Schiavo will no longer be in position to deny her parents things they want. You know, like seeing their daughter - what possible justification was there for him *ever* to deny them this? But with that inhibition gone, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Schindlers hit him with a big nasty wrongful-death suit, dragging in the 1991 bone scan and other things that suggest that the events that led to Terri's predicament were not accidents. And let's make sure he doesn't make a dime off her corpse with books, movies et al.

Advice to life insurors - don't write any policies for Jodie Centonze.

A guardian ad litem found that Terri Schiavo's care had been excellent. A nurse has testified that Michael Schiavo would modify her charts.

Or how about this:
When Michael visited Terri, he always came alone and always had the door closed and locked while he was with Terri. He would typically be there about twenty minutes or so. When he left Terri would would be trembling, crying hysterically, and would be very pale and have cold sweats. It looked to me like Terri was having a hypoglycemic reaction, so I’d check her blood sugar. The glucometer reading would be so low it was below the range where it would register an actual number reading. I would put dextrose in Terri’s mouth to counteract it. This happened about five times on my shift as I recall. Normally Terri’s blood sugar levels were very stable due to the uniformity of her diet through tube feeding. It is my belief that Michael injected Terri with Regular insulin, which is very fast acting.

That and numerous other tidbits appears on this affidavit, and if it's true, it's probably fair to say that Terri Schiavo *does* want to die rather than spend another minute under control of the monster she married.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Double take

Today I saw a Google ad like the following:

brain damage
Great deals on Brain Damage
Shop Today on Official eBay Site

It had to be a joke or a goof, right? See for yourself.

Judicial malpractice

I'm not a lawyer, so I may get some of the terminology wrong in what follows. But in essence, we have trial courts which make findings of fact, and appeals courts which can be used to remedy procedural or legal errors in trial courts or lower appeals courts.

Then there is technology. What is state of the art today is tomorrow's doorstop. Or, in the case of medical technology, what is invariably fatal today is routinely cured or ameliorated tomorrow.

Yet here we have Terri Schiavo trapped in a time warp. The trial court's findings of fact about her condition, however accurate they might have been by the standards of the time, can at least in principle at least become inappropriate in the light of new knowledge. Accordingly, there should be provisions for updating findings of fact or bases for appeal that can take into account this ever-improving technology. (But no, we can't even get her an MRI. Ha, we can't even feed her).

Will Terri Schiavo have to be neglected to death to make this happen? Or shall we ignore improvements in technology that might have occurred in the meantime lest we inconvenience some judges? (After all, they need time to handle all the process for prisoners on Death Row...)

I can't draw for beans, but try this punch line: "Sorry Galileo, but the court has already made the finding of fact that the sun and planets revolve around the earth".

UPDATE: I've had a bad case of fatfingers today, posting things twice instead of saving them as drafts. This post has been modified.

Explain this to me

Why is it that if I want to draft a Living Will I have to sign it before witnesses, but Terri Schiavo can be starved to death legally based on hearsay from a man with a conflict of interest?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Eat like a rock star

Add Custom Messages to your M&M'S® Candy in 13 Custom Colors OR create your own blend with 21 Colors to choose from!

They're hours of fun for OCD people too. You can count them, line them up by color like little histograms (or rainbows for you artsy types), eat them in a particular color sequence, turn them all so the little m's are aligned, peel off the shells,...they ought to advertise on "Monk".

Or with the right boards you could use them to play checkers, Chinese checkers, parcheesi, Aggravation, go, Othello....maybe even chess or Trivial Pursuit if there are enough different colors. Marbles? - maybe, but not for long. Got no board? - play Lite-Brite.

Snopes says that the green ones really aren't an aphrodisiac, but how could they know?- they never have any fun anyway, and some of us need all the help we can get. That and other M&Ms lore are addressed here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Judicial Confirmation Statistics

...or "who's screwing whom"? Right here, via Betsy's Page.

Metaphor abuse

in this comment from Betsy's Page.

Paean this

Aside to Susanna - the red ink isn't so bad, it's that confounded Liquid Paper that's really a PITA.

America’s first known serial killers

Right here.

Cashing in

Now that Michael Schiavo has become a celebrity it's time to cash in. He's feeding us so much about his devotion to his wife's wishes, I figure the world is ready for a bunch of songs to let him show how he really feels about his wife.

What songs should he perform? We don't want the cliches here - let's give him a chance to develop his own style while sticking with proven but perhaps obscure hits. Here are a few suggestions:

Pat Travers' Boom Boom (out go the lights)
Guns 'n Roses' I used to love her
Rod Stewart's Foolish Behaviour
Robert Cray's Smoking Gun
Harry Nilsson's You're Breakin' My Heart

You're welcome to add suggestions in the comments.

It might well be that Mr. Schiavo hasn't yet had enough exposure. Perhaps he could benefit by teaming up with another like-minded Floridian whose name is better recognized. Do you suppose he could do a duet with OJ Simpson?

Unsolicited advice

Hmm, sounds like a good name for a blog. Anyway, IMO these guys need one of these.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Guaranteed instant weight loss

But read the fine print.

But at least he didn't push abstinence education

From the Urbana Champaign Indymedia: "Did you know that Bill Clinton, (who smoked but didn't inhale and was a Rhodes scholar), signed a bill which denies federal financial assistance to any student with a drug conviction, even for simple marijuana possession."

Sunday, March 20, 2005

What is Michael Schiavo hiding?

I suppose watching too many cop shows with twisted plots can affect your thought patterns. You'll be tempted to violate wisdom like "when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

And of course in criminal justice you must come up with suspects and investigate them. At the end they're cleared or indicted. No matter how huffy someone might get, there's no shame in being a suspect per se - speaking of "accusations" is pointlessly inflammatory. The justice system owes it to you to clear you or indict you as soon as possible. As for the suspect, it only makes sense that they should be forthcoming with evidence that clears suspicions.

One other thing before I start. Some relatives of mine had a daughter with metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD). A bright little girl, her descent into total incapacity started at about two. Her parents insisted on caring for her, and beyond all expectations she lived into her twenties. (Of all things, it turns out that her father was an insurance executive, and her healthy sister is an attorney.) I have to wonder what they would have done if someone had decided their girl should be deprived care while they were willing to give it.

Anyway, that's my baggage as I look at Michael Schiavo's behavior and the legal process to date. It seems clear to me that absent something compelling to the contrary, this woman's life is more important than upholding some right of her husband's to withhold her feeding.

Some questions haven't been answered to my satisfaction, or might take more digging that I have been inclined to do. Hey, bloggers know everything - let's see what turns up.
  • When Terri was taken to the hospital at the beginning, did anyone consider the possibility of foul play? Her husband Michael Schiavo's is the only account of what happened before he called 911. A bone scan in 1991 found evidence of past trauma, and there's more than one way for a woman to be deprived of oxygen Incidentally, Michael Schiavo is 6' 6" and 250 lbs.
  • I've read that Michael Schiavo wants to cremate her immediately after she dies. Why? Why not have an autopsy?
  • Similarly, why not have an MRI? A group of neurologists has written that that such testing would be expected in the normal ourse of a diagnosis of "persistent vegetative state"
  • A group of neurosurgeons has signed a letter saying that a diagnosis of PVS is not warranted despite testimony from doctors at earlier trials. The reasons which could ultimately amount to pettifoggery - from what I've seen it seems likely that as the expression goes, the lights are on but no one's home. But I would expect a court to impose a high burden of proof on those who are advocating an irreversible result like death, especially when her parents are willing to take her over. If the diagnoses were not per standards of the neurological profession, IMO the court failed in its fact-finding function and maybe some professionals need to be disciplined.
  • Near as I can tell, no one said anything about Terri Schiavo's desire to die until after Michael Schiavo received a malpractice settlement, and those are Michael Schiavo and two of his relatives. Her own relatives say otherwise. Whatever MS's rights as husband might be, how is it that the court determined who was telling the truth, if anyone? (sheesh, has everyone talked about this?).
  • As her husband, absent the claim about her wishes, he could have decided to pull the plug on her anyway, right? The advantage of claiming that she wanted to die shortly after the settlement arrived would be that he would have cover to put her down sooner, laving more of her treatment money for him to use for his own purposes. It would look cynical if not suspicious if he decided to off her right away. In fact, I understand he's spent about $300K of the $700K awarded for her care on lawyers and has withheld physical therapy on numerous occasions.
  • The court that found medical malpractice conclude that she was viable enough to be worthy of a $700K award for her care. But judging by how long Michael Schiavo has been trying to withhold life support and other care, she's allegedly been beyond help for years. What has changed about her health since the original malpractice settlement? If there have been changes, can it be traced to Michael Schiavo's supervision of her care? (incidentally, he got a $300K award for loss of consortium)
  • We've heard complaints about "demagoguery" by those who would keep Terri alive. OTOH Michael Schiavo has presented himself as one who has been steadfast in carrying out his wife's wishes despite the efforts of her parents, even rejecting a $10M offer to turn her over to her. That seems inconsistent with his and his lawyers' overtly political remarks implying of Congress's recent attempt at intervention that this could happen to you. (Yeah right - Congress will start passing lots of laws to regulate our behavior at the individual level. Yup, only a couple hundred million more Acts of Congress to go. Sheesh, that ought to be enough to make the tinfoil hat crowd blush). And he said this on CNN while, as he put it, he should have been "holding his wife's hand" (which one? - the one he wants dead, or the common law one who he's had two kids with without divorcing Terri?). By his choice of appearing on TV instead, is it fair to conclude that he was telling us that his political fight is more important than his wife now? He could have sent his lawyer, who as it turns out showed up anyway.
  • Why has Michael Schiavo ever denied Terri's family access to her? Surely he didn't think they were going to kill her...
I could probably come up with more. Meanwhile check links here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Hey, Michael Schiavo could be totally blameless, in which case I and countless others owe him huge abject apologies. But IMO questions like the above must be answered before we can determine that.

And lookie here - I did it all without mentioning the Bible once!

UPDATE: How could I leave out a link to Patterico, who has been following this for ages when not shredding the LA Times.


If nothing else will get your boy interested in science, try this. How can you go wrong with exhibits like this?:
A life-size cow replica, which issues thunderous belches, is a see-through model baring the inner workings of ruminants, with as much information on cud-chewing as most people want to know. More, maybe.

A cow produces some 220 quarts of saliva a day. Humans manage only about one. The other end of the cow works, too. The tail flips up each time.

Would such an exhibit be as popular with girls? I doubt it, even at risk of forever forfeiting my chances to be president of Harvard. But in fact the idea is that of a woman, whose inspriration came as she was clipping her toenails.

CNN did not include pictures, but the exhibit does have a website here.