Thursday, March 24, 2005

As predicted...

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the appeal of the parents of Terri Schiavo, hopefully ending this legal circus. As I said days ago, it was obvious that the Court wouldn't do anything about this case, since they have always previously rejected it. The only way they would take it up would be to rule on the constitutionality of the law, and precedent would argue against that factor. I feel worst for Terri Schiavo and Michael Schiavo. Both of them have unwillingly, really, been subject to a horrible invasion of their privacy. He had to go public to counter the charges against him, while she is unaware that she's become a prop for political gain. It's a sick case, and I hope it is through soon.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


On CNN, I feel for the Schindler family. I really do. But Bob Schindler twice has said Judge Greer, a RESPECTED judge in Florida, is on a crusade to kill his daughter. Oh, yeah, he's also said judges are running the country and that his daughter can talk. This is nothing more than PR bullshit. Now, they want to have an investigation into Michael Schiavo and this hospice abusing Terri. For God's sake, GIVE UP. For the love of the Almighty, there are many doctors who have testified to a flatlined EEG. No therapy can help someone in that state. And the doctors he's citing are mainly Republican congressmen, none of who have seen her.
Yes, it's hard to let go. I had to do it with my father. IT SUCKS. It's an awful, crushing moment. I was numb for days after. But it has to be done sometimes.
What I think is awful about this case is that the images and PR has been entirely one-sided. Michael Schiavo's voice and the decisions made by numerous courts have been drowned out by meddling politicians and desperate parents. They have come up with a diagnosis that is medically unsound, that most of them have no experience in. The doctors hired by the Schindlers have a vested interest in saying, of course, she's not in PVS. The pro-life movement has gone nuts on this. They have little children holding these signs, knowing that it will touch the hearts of TV viewers.
This is a battle of substance over image. Substance, so far, thankfully, is winning, despite the dominance of image in the reporting of this case. This hasn't been a month, a year, or five years. This is fifteen years later. She isn't recovered. Her brain scans show a scary black hole in her brain. The Schindlers don't want to face reality, and I can understand, having been there with my father and his heart. But I had to face reality, and so do they. I hope they understand. I don't think Michael Schiavo is evil. I think he found another woman because he needed support after years of agony. I think he is acting on Terri's wishes, and the courts have agreed, after eight years of hearings. This case has blown open the life of a family. This case has demonized a seemingly good man. This case has been unfairly meddled with by politicians. This case is an awful case, because there is no clear line, but that is why the courts exist, and everyone has sided with Michael Schiavo, based on evidence, not emotions. There's a reason for that, and there's a reason we have a court system and the Constitution: to allow for dispassionate review of a situation like this. We are better off for the actions of courts, on the whole, and for once, just once, politicians should respect that. The vast majority of Americans do. Congress needs to get back in touch with more than a fraction of the population. So does the Bush family.

And now for the last try (we think)

The appeals court, as I predicted, rejected the appeal of Terri Schiavo's parents this morning, right as I went to bed. In a 2-1 decision, judges Ed Carnes and Frank Hull wrote, "We agree that the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a substantial case on the merits of any of their claims. We also conclude that the district court's carefully thought-out decision to deny temporary relief in these circumstances is not an abuse of discretion."
Now, they are going to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, who twice before has rejected a hearing over their appeals, and quashed Congress' subpoenas last week. If they take the case this time, it will likely be, in my view, to decide the constitutionality of this law that brought the case to the federal courts, and would reject both the law and the appeal. At that point, if Congress or any other legislative body tries anything else, then it will be clear to millions of voters that they are pandering to a certain constituency and not fulfilling their oaths of office. "Protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States."
This law is unconstitutional, the measures used to pass it were incredibly undemocratic, and the end result of such a law is a weakening of individual rights. Conservativism used to be about individual freedom. Now it's about the government dictating religious belief by congressional fiat and interfering well beyond their constitutional bounds. It is disgusting, and next year, us voters need to make them account for their sins.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Redemption and hypocrisy

CNN Newsnight led with a story about Karen Quinlan, the first right-to-die case. Her mother seems to be more sympathetic with Michael Schiavo. Then Jeff Greenfield follows with a pretty good analysis of the whole situation and outs DeLay for the liar he is.

I said it on Kos, and I will say it here: Given the ABC News story showing her CT scan, it is time for everyone to face the facts: her brain is shot. Her cognitive function is gone. She has only the most basic, instinctual movements of her head and eyes. The look there is blank, not one of recognition. I believe her soul is already with God. It went there the moment she first slipped into this condition. 19 judges have reviewed the case. All the state courts agreed with Michael Schiavo. Now, the federal district judge has ruled for him. If the appeals court rules for him, and I would think they would, then I highly doubt the Supreme Court would, after two prior rejections, take up the appeal, which would bring us to the same ending that was there last Friday.

Meanwhile, in other news, the IRS is investigating a black church in Florida for hosting John Kerry in an alleged "rally." You know, all those actual Bush rallies at churches across the country will get investigated too, right? Oh, wait, I forgot, the government only governs its side. It rules the other side. This administration and these Congressional leaders will stoop to any low to retain power, whether using the IRS like Nixon did, or using the brain-dead body of a woman as a symbol for their fringe movement. The woman wanted to die if she ended up in this state, as expressed by the findings of multiple courts, but is being kept alive by others for their political gain. I'm disgusted with this nation's leadership.

Enough already

So, round one in the federal court fight goes to Michael Schiavo, as if that were a big surprise. The federal judiciary sees the same things the Florida courts did: that Terri Schiavo's parents do not have proof that she didn't want to be this way. However, the quote I read today really ticked me off. The Schindlers' lawyer, David Gibbs, said that Terri Schiavo's religious rights were being infringed. He added that if she dies before a full review by the federal courts, the courts will have denied the will of Congress (let it be noted here that the will of Congress was three senators and half of the House, hardly the will of a full body) and will lead to "eternal damnation of her soul."
YES. There it is. It's the religious right, in all its glory. I'm Catholic, but I don't think in any situation that God would be damning my soul if I were in the state of Terri Schiavo. She has NO cognitive function. She doesn't suffer from "cognitive disabilities." My brother suffers from that sort of thing, but he can still basically think and function and care for himself. He has the mentality of a child, but he's okay. Terri Schiavo is a vegetable, and she will not emerge from that state. She is being held alive against her will, and if there's any doubt of her will, there is seven years of court precedent that shows otherwise. If the Schindlers lose, will Congress try to buck the courts again? The vast majority of Americans think Congress was wrong. For the love of God almighty, they need to stop now. Otherwise, I'd think that it's the souls of these meddling Congressmen who will face "eternal damnation."

Monday, March 21, 2005

I hate Congress

Republicans have urged the Florida legislature to overcome its impasse on the issue and try to override the state court's rulings, which could make federal intervention unneeded...Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) accused the Florida courts of "enforcing a merciless directive." He invoked the civil rights movement and said it "required federal judicial action" to right the wrongs of southern courts.

That is from the original article that went up on after the federal court hearing on Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. The contempt that Congressional Republicans are showing for the state of Florida is unreal. The move to put the matter in the federal courts is ridiculous. The U.S. Supreme Court twice rejected an appeal of the state court's decision, meaning no matter what, the Court is not going to take the case, or if they do, it will be in Michael Schiavo's favor.
It's a fait accompli, and in the meantime any little remaining respect that was left for checks and balances went out the window. The Congress and the President of the United States have once again thumbed their nose at the rule of law. This is what happens when a majority party filled with zealots is allowed to run amok. They sat there and said, "Guess what? We don't like the courts' ruling on the law, so let's go change the law. Let's issue a bill of attainder, which by the way is completely unconstitutional, to keep Terri Schiavo alive so we can have a great political issue for 2006, because we've been getting our asses kicked on the real issues."
How much time is being wasted on interfering in an issue where Congress DOES NOT BELONG? The state has handled it, allowed more than enough appeals on the subject, and it should be closed. If there wasn't an evangelical base, the GOP wouldn't give a damn about this. It's politics and it's disgusting. God help us on the next thing they attack.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


David Broder has a column in today's Washington Post which discusses Republican Rep. Clay Shaw's version of Social Security change, and the way I read it, Shaw has moved over to a bill that closely matches much of what the Democrats have been offering or suggesting for Social Security. The only problem is that it entails borrowing $3.4 trillion from Treasury, but Shaw says the mechanics of the plan would pay the debt back off as we get to that 75-year mark down the line when things would allegedly be non-solvent. It's an interesting thought, and it's the first one that might be worth looking into as Democrats. I emphasize the might, though. News columns give broad strokes, not important details.

Random rock notes

Steppenwolf's performance on PBS is proof positive that some rockers need to stay retired. The music was on target, but the vocals sounded like a 70-year old geezer instead of that familiar growl that permeates the studio tracks. It was sad. John Kay seemed to be killing his legacy right there on stage. Music=great. Vocals=terrible. John, please retire, or at least TRY to use your rock voice, not the old man voice.