Thursday, March 31

MISDEMEANOR? PLEA BARGAIN DEAL!

Recall the Sandy Berger scandal that seemed to do an emergency deep dive under the surface of the mainstream media before it could be fully developed in the press? Well, looks like the man will get a slap on the wrist from the U.S. Justice Department for finally admitting to (after a flurry of initial denials) having purposefully removed classified documents from the National Archives, some documents of which were hidden in his clothing!

Tell me, why do we need a "Freedom of Information Act" if all you risk is a misdemeanor by removing classified materials in the pockets of your cargo pants?

Just another fine example of "Homeland Security."

UPDATE: The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that the plea bargain deal, which must be approved by the court, exempts Berger from any jail time for his misdemeanor offense. He'll only have to pay a fine of $10,000 and surrender his security clearance for three years. Meanwhile ...

He returned most of the documents, but still missing are some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration's handling of al-Qaida terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration.


Looks like the Justice Department really played hardball.

STATEMENT OF THE SCHINDLER FAMILY

The following statement of the Schindler family is courtesy of the BlogsforTerri site.

« A Culture War Turning Point | Main

March 31, 2005

Statement of the Schindler Family

Pinellas Park, FL – As you are aware, Terri is now with God and she has been released from all earthly burdens. After these recent years of neglect at the hands of those who were supposed to protect and care for her, she is finally at peace with God for eternity. We are speaking on behalf of our entire family this evening as we share some thoughts and messages to the world regarding our sister and the courageous battle that was waged to save her life from starvation and dehydration.

We have a message for the volunteers that have helped our family:

Thank you for all that you’ve done for our family. Thank you to the hundreds of doctors who volunteered to help Terri. Thank you to the fifty doctors who provided statements under oath to help Terri. Thank you to the lawyers who stood for Terri’s life in the courtrooms of our nation. From running our family’s website, to driving us around, to making meals, to serving in so many ways—thank you to all of the volunteers who have been so kind to our family through all of this.

We have a message for the supporters and people praying worldwide:

Please continue to pray that God gives grace to our family as we go through this very difficult time. We know that many of you never had the privilege to personally know our wonderful sister, Terri, but we assure you that you can be proud of this remarkable woman who has captured the attention of the world. Following the example of the Lord Jesus, our family abhors any violence or any threats of violence. Threatening words dishonor our faith, our family, and our sister, Terri. We would ask that all those who support our family be completely kind in their words and deeds toward others.

We have a message to the media:

We appreciate your taking Terri’s case to the nation. Please afford our family privacy to grieve at this time.The patience and graciousness of the on-site media here at hospice has been deeply appreciated by our family.

We have a message to the many government officials who tried to help Terri:

Thank you for all that you’ve done. Our family will be forever grateful to all of the outstanding public servants who have tried to save Terri.

We have a message to all of the religious leaders who tried to help Terri:

Thank you to all people of faith who demonstrated love for Terri and strength of conviction to defend the sacredness of all human life as a precious gift from God.

Our family is highly honored that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, would speak out so boldly on behalf of our sister, Terri.

We have a message of forgiveness:

Throughout this ordeal, we are reminded of the words of Jesus on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Our family seeks forgiveness for anything that we have done in standing for Terri’s life that has not demonstrated the love and compassion required of us by our faith.

We have a message to parents worldwide:

Our family would encourage parents to spend time with their children and to cherish each and every moment of each and every day with them as a precious gift from God.

We have a message to Terri from her family:

As a member of our family unable to speak for yourself, you spoke loudly. As a member of our family unable to stand under your own power, you stood with a grace and a dignity that made your family proud. Terri, we love you dearly, but we know that God loves you more than we do. We must accept your untimely death as God’s will.

Terri, your life and legacy will continue to live on, as the nation is now awakened to the plight of thousands of voiceless people with disabilities that were previously unnoticed. Your family intends to stand up for the other “Terri’s” around this nation and we will do all that we can to change the law so others won’t face the same fate that has befallen you.

We have a final thought to share:

Our family had hoped this day would never come, but as it has now arrived, we ask ourselves a question in these incredibly sad circumstances: What would the Lord Jesus ask us to do in a moment like this? In John’s Gospel, Jesus responded to the questions of the rabbis, who asked why a man had been born blind. He said: “it is so that the works of God might be made manifest through him.”

God’s plan for Terri is unfolding before our eyes. Our prayer at this time is that our Nation will remember the plight of persons with disabilities and commit within our hearts to defend their lives and their dignity for many generations to come.

A PRAYER FOR THERESA MARIA SCHINDLER SCHIAVO

Please click here and pray for Theresa and the Schindler family, while commemorating her life -- a life that should have been saved, rather than snuffed out.

May her soul rest in peace.

LET US PRAY ...



This CNN story on the Pope's condition, citing an unnamed Vatican source, has been linked by Matt Drudge.

UPDATE: This story out of Reuters, in which the Pontiff's condition is now listed as "very grave," is most disturbing. It's midnight here in southeast Texas and I fear I may awake to news of Pope John Paul's death.

DEDICATED TO MICHAEL SCHIAVO'S IGNOBLENESS

EROS TURANNOS

She fears him, and will always ask
What fated her to choose him;
She meets in his engaging mask
All reaons to refuse him;
But what she meets and what she fears
Are less than are the downward years,
Drawn slowly to the foamless weirs
Of age, were she to lose him.

Between a blurred sagacity
That once had power to sound him,
And Love, that will not let him be
The Judas that she found him,
Her pride assuages her almost,
As if it were alone the cost. --
He sees that he will not be lost,
And waits and looks around him.

A sense of ocean and old trees
Envelops and allures him;
Tradition, touching all he sees,
Beguiles and reasures him;
And all her doubts of what he says
Are dimmed with what she knows of days --
Till even prejudice delays
And fades, and she secures him.

The falling leaf inaugurates
The reign of her confusuion;
The pounding wave reverberates
The dirge of her illusion;
And home, where passion lived and died,
Becomes a place where she can hide,
While all the town and harbor side
Vibrate with her seclusion.

We tell you, tapping on our brows,
The story as it should be, --
As if the story of the house
Were told, or ever could be;
We'll have no kindly veil between
Her visions and those we have seen, --
As if we guessed what hers have been,
Or what they are or would be.

Meanwhile we do no harm; for they
That with a god have striven,
Not hearing much of what we say,
Take what the god has given;
Though like waves breaking it may be,
Or like a changed familiar tree,
Or like a stairway to the sea
Where down the blind are driven.

-Edwin Arlington Robinson-

"THE BEAUTY, SHATTERED BY THE LAWS"

The day that we have long dreaded has arrived. Michael Schiavo, attorney George Felos, and Judge George Greer have prevailed. So, too, have the forces of nihilism that sadly abound in this country.

Theresa Maria Schindler Schiavo is dead.

God have mercy on her soul.

That this 41-year old woman -- handicapped, cognitively-disabled, but a joy to her parents, brother, and sister, and an inspiration to those of us who loved and fought for her -- died in such an inhumane, appalling manner is a dark stain on American jurisprudence. Beyond that, her death represents one of the gravest examples of man's inhumanity to man this country has ever known. Indeed, in a country known for its boundless charity and heartfelt compassion, there was neither for Theresa from those who sought her demise. In a country in which the "Declaration of Independence" was nobly authored, death was ignobly authored by the courts.

But, I tell you, this death will not soon be forgotten. I tell you, this death will never be forgotten.

It is a sad, sad day in America. It truly is. It profoundly is. Because evil has won over good.

The dark side of secularism was effectively summoned and did its dark deed. A philandering, cold-as-steel husband, who found steadfast accomplices in black robes, was able to have his hapless, helpless wife -- a wife he deserted for another, but refused ever to divorce -- put to death by refusing her food and water. Just as he coldly euthanized his wife's cats, so too did he direct the death of the woman he took vows with years ago to love, honor, and cherish, in sickness and in health, 'til death do they part.

But Michael chose to part from Terri in a much different, more dastardly way, while seeking her death and while sleeping with another. And that is not a marriage. That is not a bond. That is not the love of which the poets write. No, that is an abomination. That is a sinister, ghastly form of selfishness that good men find incomprehensible and women should fear.

Michael, it most assuredly can be said, proved far sicker than his wife ever was. All Bob and Mary Schindler wanted was to be given legal guardianship of their daughter, so Michael could move on with his life, his girlfriend, and his two children by her. They just wanted to love their daughter, care for their daughter, and try to give her, as parents, what Michael refused her -- much-needed medical tests, rehabilitative therapy, dental care, and a long overdue dose of sunlight, fresh air, and warm affection. The Schindlers wanted no more than to rescue their daughter from years of lock-down confinement in a grim hospice room; to provide her a real home, real tenderness, and a place to live that was alive with life, rather than encircled by death.

But Michael would have none of that. No, Michael wanted something far different. He wanted "the bitch" dead, he wanted her body cremated, he wanted her ashes placed in the ground well before her time had come, long before God would have called her. And, were this not callous and calculating enough, Michael wanted those ashes far removed from his in-laws, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law. What he made difficult for the Schindlers while Terri was alive, he now wants to make more difficult after her death. His malice knows no bounds. This sad excuse for a man even denied the family their poignant request to be at Terri's side when her breathing expired and her spirit slipped away. Cruelty, thy name is Michael Schiavo.

And what did this brutality, this barbarism, this pulling of the feeding tube, all come down to? Because a court-appointed neurologist testified that Terri was in a persistent vegetative state and much of her cerebral cortex had liquified? Is that sufficient cause in this country to execute someone and in a manner deemed unfit and, constitutionally, "cruel and unusual" even for our nation's most egregious killers? Must a life that is compromised be compromised altogether? Is death the sentence now for being different? If fetuses aren't sentient, if they're not real persons, if they're erroneously deemed incapable of pain, if they're expendable as a matter of convenience, is such a diminution of life and God's creations not now the order of the day for the elderly, the handicapped, the cognitively-disabled, the people in wheel chairs, in hospital beds, and warehoused because they are mentally challenged? Does taking life in such a grotesque way and for such unconscionable reasons hold no more import than weeding one's garden?

Tell me, if you're a nihilist, a non-believer, a right-to-die proponent, a champion of euthanasia, an apologist for mercy killing, a liberal Democrat with a deaf ear and a camouflage suit, an out of sight, out of mind type -- tell me why Michael's empty heart wasn't cause enough to starve and dehydrate him to death, too? If a suspect brain has become the sin quo non to a court-ordered death, than why has not a suspect heart? Why is Michael Schiavo deified by you people who callously called Terri Schiavo a "potted plant" and so disrespected her value to society, her parents, and her siblings? Why was her death so damn important to you? Why was the concept of "beyond a reasonable doubt" not reaffirmed, rather than discarded, just as Terri's life was? So many questions; so many chances missed; so much passion expended just to kill someone.

So now she's gone from us. And a portion of this country's humanity has died with her. But we who champion life over death are comforted in knowing her soul has passed to a place that requires neither mercy, nor suffers the caprice of men in black robes or the calumny of fools. Theresa becomes in death the beauty who was shattered by the laws; but a woman, nonetheless, for whom our memories will form a furious fight for justice, the rights of natural law, and of nature's God.

Some may have won the battle, Theresa, but others will win the war. Others will win the war.


FOR A DEAD LADY

No more with overflowing light
Shall fill the eyes that now are faded,
Nor shall another's fringe with night
Their woman-hidden world as they did.
No more shall quiver down the days
The flowing wonder of her ways,
Whereof no language may require
The shifting and the many-shaded.

The grave, divine, definitive,
Clings only as a faint forestalling;
The laugh that love could not forgive
Is hushed, and answers to no calling;
The forehead and the little ears
Have gone where Saturn keeps the years;
The breast where roses could not live
Has done with rising and with falling.

The beauty, shattered by the laws
That have creation in their keeping,
No longer trembles at applause,
Or over children that are sleeping;
And we who delve in beauty's lore
Know all that we have known before
Of what inexorable cause
Makes Time so vicious in his reaping.

-Edwin Arlington Robinson-

JESSE JACKSON'S GRANDSTANDING DENOUNCED

Well, it appears I have some company in support of what I wrote yesterday regarding Jesse Jackson's so-called better-late-than-never appearance outside of Terri Schindler Schiavo's hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, and his subsequent unproductive meetings in Tallahassee with Florida Governor Jeb Bush and some of the Florida state senators who voted against legislation that might have saved Terri's life.

Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of BOND (Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny), views Mr. Jackson's belated entry into the fray as self-serving.

He is using this case to get himself back in the news, just as he has done in the Michael Jackson molestation case.

Until Jesse Jackson repents for condoning the culture of death and the killing of millions of black babies in the black women's womb, he cannot be trusted.
But, while the good reverend's lobbying efforts on behalf of Terri Schiavo were, alas, all for naught, it appears to have led to the emergence of an interesting pair of bedfellows amid the woof and warp of this ongoing controversy. Sean Hannity has wholeheartedly endorsed Jesse Jackson's efforts on behalf of Bob and Mary Schindler. Who would have ever thought?

Wednesday, March 30

HAS PRESIDENT BUSH HAD AN EPIPHANY?

I don't think so, not on the thorny, but all too clear problem of illegal immigration. And I agree wholeheartedly with Frank Laughter that the sudden decision of the president's to place 500 additional U.S. Border Patrol agents on the Arizona-Mexico border is not driven by a newfound recognition of this country's preeminent national security problem.

No, it came instead on the heels of a recent meeting with Presidente Vicente Fox at Baylor University and with a serious problem looming that U.S. citizens' efforts to do what the government and both major political parties refuse to do may turn into a bloodbath. Add to that fact that Fox had the gaul to demand intervention by Bush in heading off the Minutemen and in protecting the rights of illegals and you understand, in part at least, what has motivated the president.

It would be a lot more reassuring to know that George Bush had come to his senses and had begun recognizing the illegal immigration problem for what it is and the egregiously reckless situation in which he and the Congress had placed U.S. Border Patrol officers. But don't hold your breath.

After all, if a presidential epiphany had occurred or was on the immediate horizon, a conservative journalist-blogger like Michelle Malkin would not have felt compelled to organize a new group blog to focus exclusively on illegal immigration.

The nation is being poorly served by President Bush in terms of its border security and the Department of Homeland Security will never be taken seriously until those borders have been secured.

CLARITY IN THE LIGHT

Justin Katz, among my favorite writers in the blogosphere, points in this post to his blog's slippage in John Hawkin's quarterly ranking of his "40 Favorite Blogs" and seems dismayed that he's been unable to do more writing of late and laments that his talent (which I think is considerable) has not been on display sufficiently to sustain his popularity (at least with John). Well, if "A Certain Slant of Light" was wedged in between any two sets of blogs on Mr. Hawkin's list (or even dead last, for that matter), this writer would be proud as punch.

Interesting, isn't it, that in revealing both a bit of discouragement in where "Dust In The Light" landed, while noting how the "circumstantial perceptions" of others may well distort our own essential value as human beings, Justin arrives at a sublime truth: that despite such misappraisals, real or perceived, we are all -- each and every one of us -- equal in the sight of God and our fundamental humanity cannot be depreciated or distorted no matter whether the trappings of what we do in life or the occasional honors bestowed upon us are humble or extravagant.

In this regard, there was no dust in the light in the crystal clarity of Justin's observations. Keep writing, Justin, whenever and wherever you're able to!

WERE I BOB SCHINDLER (BUT I'M NOT)

It's the photograph of Mary Schindler's heartache more than the CNN news story itself about yet another federal appeals court loss for the Schindlers that grips me this afternoon. After all, there are not enough fingers and toes to count all the times that they've gotten their noses bloodied in this ever-protracted legal fight to save their daughter Terri's life. How do they withstand judge after judge after judge refusing their motions? This last from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seems particularly cruel.

Were I Bob Schindler, I would have gotten the message some time ago and would have ceased the futile legal efforts in this case that are destined for ineluctable rejection. And, I most certainly wouldn't have called in the likes of Jessie Jackson in the 11th hour, as in my mind his moral standing in this country has long since diminished.

But, I'm not Bob Schindler and it is not my daughter who is being killed inhumanely by the state, so unless one has walked a mile in his shoes, it is too easy to question his tactics and those of his attorneys. Desperation at the horror of a dying daughter must make the mind race for ways out of that hellish travesty of justice that is claiming his Theresa.

UPDATE: The Schindlers will be making yet another appeal to the United States Supreme Court following their loss before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. There's no quit in this family, but you must wonder why they persist in going to the men in the black robes.

FURTHER UPDATE: The United States Supreme Court has declined to intervene for the sixth time! Surely all legal appeals have been exhausted now.

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY TO CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGE

If there is anything honorable in this otherwise dishonorable man, at least this former Boy Scouts of America high-ranking official, Douglas S. Smith, Jr., plead guilty to child pornography charges and did not seek a plea bargain from prosecutors, according to the Associated Press.

Nor did Douglas Smith suggest that he is somehow being persecuted and is the equivalent of well-known public figures who have been vindicated after politically-motivated or vindictive assaults on their beliefs and personal character. Indeed, Mr. Smith has been described as contrite, which is more than can be said for other men who have worked with and been around young boys as trusted adult figures, while harboring stashes of child pornography.

It just goes to prove there's nowhere to run and nowhere to hide for children these days, and adults and adolescents alike must be ever vigilant. It's sad that we must teach our children and grandchildren to be wary, but to do otherwise is to deny the reality that exists. Predators and potential predators lurk in our neighborhoods and even within our noblest, long-standing institutions, and it is just a damn shame that the innocence of childhood has itself now become a liability.

FIRST STUN GUNS, THEN FRUIT FIGHTS, NOW A KGB-STYLE INTERROGATION?

My goodness, such dreadful, draconian tactics from an otherwise classy lady? First there was her thought of brandishing a stun gun. Next she thought she'd drop her weapon, but maybe hurl some fruit at us if we weren't compliant. Now Corie of "Insane Troll Logic" is brushing up on KGB-style interrogation tactics for her upcoming stint as moderator of a "Blogging The Revolution" panel discussion at Houston Community College next Tuesday, April 5th, for which I'm a designated panelist (and erstwhile lab rat).

Corie is an English professor and is hoping that she can force one of the four panelists -- Jack Cluth, Chris Doelle, Robin Reagler, or yours truly -- to "cry out for mercy."

Well, seeing she is well-steeped in English Literature, I had better find an approriate way to let her know it will not be me among the group who will desparately plead for sanctuary:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley-

COMMODUS ARRIVES PREDICTABLY LATE ON THE SCENE

There's an early scene in the movie, "The Gladiator," in which the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius' son Commodus reveals his essential character flaw and why, while bloodline heir to his father's throne, he'll nonetheless be passed over. Maximus, a beloved general in Emperor Marcus Aurelius' army has just led his troops to a magnificent defeat of the fearsome barbarians of Germania and with Marcus Aurelius looking on in admiration of not only Maximus' splendid generalship, but his unwavering, son-like loyalty to him. As the two men -- Caesar and his triumphant general -- stroll together through the ranks of victorious Roman legions, there suddenly appears out of nowhere on a hard-charging, white stallion none other than Commodus, resplendent in full body armor. Commodus leaps from his horse, rushes up to his father, and breathlessly asks: "Have I missed it -- have I missed the battle?" To which Marcus Aurelius responds contemptuously: "You have missed the war!"

That scene and Commodus' pusillanimity came to mind this morning as I read the reports of Reverend Jessie Jackson's belated entry into the fight to save Terri Schindler Schiavo's life. He's arrived in time to still get sufficient camera time before a vulturous worldwide press -- as is his proclivity -- but likely to accomplish little else, as Terri completes her 12th day without food or water. And, to be sure, he's arrived at the behest of the Schindler family and their late-inning appeal to him, although that desparate importunity seems to have been lost in the shuffle of the auspicious opportunity afforded him for showboating. If Jackson regards himself as a moral force, then where was he early on when he might have been of use to the pro-life forces? If, in Jackson's own words, the Terri Schiavo case is "one of the profound moral and ethical issues of our time," then why was he not compelled of his own volition to enter the fray much earlier when he might have accomplished something meaningful for her, rather than just for himself? He says he cares. Why does he care now in the final days and hours of the death watch?

A typical example of Jackson's self-aggrandizing grandstanding were his unsuccessful efforts yesterday to enter the Woodside Hospice and assist a Catholic priest in giving Terri Communion. Was this necessary? After all, where was he the day Terri's feeding tube was removed by order of Circuit Court Judge George Greer and the "Last Rites" of the Church administered to her? And to be calling Governor Jeb Bush (and waiting for a return call) to imply to the press that his lobbying of Florida's Senators has been more productive than the governor's smacks of petty politics. It's highly questionable at this point that his 11th hour lobbying can accomplish anything anyway!

Jesse Jackson has run for the Democratic Party's nomination more than once hoping to win the ultimate brass ring -- the presidency of the United States. In doing so, he has been willing, as a minister of the church, to represent a party platform supportive of abortion rights. So how can abortion be acceptable to him in the context of his political aspirations, but Terri Schiavo's court-ordered death unacceptable in the context of his ministry? It's not just center-right Republicans like myself asking that question. Jackson's histrionics are a most unwelcome addition to what should be the solemnity of the moment, as a handicapped woman's life is snuffed out by the state of Florida.

UPDATE: Jessie admits to failure in belated efforts. But, he garnered a lot of publicity and his morality meter probably enjoyed an uptick. (HAT TIP: ProLifeBlogs)

Tuesday, March 29

PROBLEMS WITH "BLOGGER" TODAY

"Blogger" was down most of the day today and that is why I haven't been posting. I've spoken with several of its users and they've experienced similar problems in trying to publish and edit. The system has been real quirky. The "Blogger" service has been on again, off again, for much too long now -- at least the past three weeks. It's getting old. I hope their technicians are able to get things rectified in short order, because it is taking the joy out of blogging. I've even lost entire posts and now must copy each and every post to Notepad in advance of trying to publish, as you never know what is going to happen.

Thanks for coming by today! My readers are probably more patient than is this writer and for that I am most appreciative.

OF TERRI SCHIAVO AND KAREN ANN QUINLAN

Frank Laughter of Common Sense Junction provides his readers in this thought-provoking post with a link to a Florida attorney's insight into why Terri Schiavo is being starved and dehydrated by court order (namely, that the Schindlers have been thoroughly out-lawyered all along the way, but particularly at the critical beginning of this case, by Michael Schiavo's attorney, George Felos). Tell me where in the MSM you've read or heard anything like this? Frank's readers are also treated to a well-done account of the famous Karen Ann Quinlan case.

One thing about Frank is whether he is expressing his view(s) on a subject or providing links to support his thesis, he doesn't pull any punches. You know where he stands and you can follow his line of reasoning. That's why I am a regular reader of his blog! I don't care much for fence-sitters and writers who equivocate.

Monday, March 28

OF STUN GUNS, FRUIT FIGHTS, AND GARISH PAJAMAS

It appears that Corie Schweitzer of Insane Troll Logic has heard me and is now forsaking the use of a stun gun and instead will likely be packing Texas-size grapefruit, as moderator of "Blogging The Revolution," in order to keep her intractable panelists in line. As for the notion that her hand-picked panelists may show up pajama-clad, well, I don't cotton to pajamas unless the Houston Community College's coeds, who will be in attendance, insist we all wear them! Ooops, now the panel discussion might segue from blogging to sexual harrassment. Mea culpa! I withdraw my impolitic comment and promise to don raimant suitable for this august occasion -- maybe slacks and a polo shirt bearing an FEC logo. See ya there, Corie!

A NATION OF LAWS: FOR WHOM?

Are you aware that the United States Supreme Court -- the highest court in the land that has refused on four different occasions to hear appeals filed on behalf of Terri Schiavo's God-given right to life -- has agreed to "consider whether Texas and other states can execute 51 Mexicans who say they were improperly denied legal help from their consulates," according to this Fox News report? Among those fifty-one Mexican nationals are five gang members who were convicted in U.S. courts of "raping and murdering Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16, in Houston in 1993."

Are you aware that the United States Supreme Court -- the highest court in the land that has refused on four different occasions to hear appeals filed on behalf of Terri Schiavo's God-given right to life -- rejected an appeal today "to reinstate a state law requiring girls under age 18 to get parental consent for abortions execpt under the most dire medical emergencies," according to this Fox News story? And, further, did you know that in doing so the Supreme Court was upholding a decision of the notoriously liberal, San Francisco-based, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals?

Does it make you angry that the Supreme Court will grant a hearing over the right to life of convicted Mexican nationals, but predictably dismisses out of hand and without comment an emergency application to have Terri Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted?

Seems if you're a hapless, handicapped, cognitively-disabled, American woman married to a philandering husband bent on your death by dehydration and starvation, the U.S. Supreme Court has no time for you, your civil rights, or "due process" guarantees (too bad Terri isn't an illegal alien).

But, then again, just remember this is the same court that overturned a law in Nebraska that made partial birth abortion illegal -- a ghastly procedure in which an unborn, sentient, human being, usually in the late second trimester of its development, "is partially pulled from the womb, its skull punctured, and its brains then suctioned out."

A court that sees no immorality or patent illegality in destroying a helpless human being's brains is not going to get too excited about the gruesome death of a woman who some neurologists claim has a non-functioning brain. Makes you wonder who is really "brain-dead."

MARK STEYN WRITES THE SUI GENERIS COLUMN ON TERRI SCHIAVO'S COURT-ORDERED DEATH

Those of us doing our level best in the blogosphere (many of whom are linked at BlogsforTerri and ProLifeBogs) to make a cogent case for life over death in the Terri Schindler Schiavo controversy, and to bring true facts to bear on this human tragedy, have no doubt been frustrated in our perceived failure to cause sufficient reflection among this nation's secularists to convince many in their flock that the sanctity of life ought to be championed by all Americans, rather than viewed as some sinister concept of the Christian Right designed to impinge on everyone's freedom.

Then along comes a column like Mark Steyn's and you realize that your efforts, while noble and persistent, pale in effect against the strength of superlative writing.

This is a column that needs to be linked widely in the blogosphere, as it may well be the sui generis column on this entire controversy!

A flavor of Mark's commentary:

This is not a criminal, not a murderer, not a person whose life should be in the gift of the state. So I find it repulsive, and indeed decadent, to have her continued existence framed in terms of ''plaintiffs'' and ''petitions'' and ''en banc review'' and ''de novo'' and all the other legalese. Mrs. Schiavo has been in her present condition for 15 years. Whoever she once was, this is who she is now -- and, after a decade and a half, there is no compelling reason to kill her. Any legal system with a decent respect for the status quo -- something too many American judges are increasingly disdainful of -- would recognize that her present life, in all its limitations, is now a well-established fact, and it is the most grotesque judicial overreaching for any court at this late stage to decide enough is enough. It would be one thing had a doctor decided to reach for the morphine and ''put her out of her misery'' after a week in her diminished state; after 15 years, for the courts to treat her like a Death Row killer who's exhausted her appeals is simply vile.

Michael Schiavo took a vow to be faithful in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do them part. He's forsaken his wife and been unfaithful to her: She is, de facto, his ex-wife, yet, de jure, he appears to have the right to order her execution. This is preposterous. Suppose his current common-law partner were to fall victim to a disabling accident. Would he also be able to have her terminated? Can he exercise his spousal rights polygamously? The legal deference to Mr. Schiavo's position, to his rights overriding her parents', is at odds with reality.

As to arguments about ''Congressional overreaching'' and ''states' rights,'' which is more likely? That Congress will use this precedent to pass bills keeping you -- yes, you, Joe Schmoe of 37 Elm Street -- alive till your 118th birthday. Or that the various third parties who intrude between patient and doctor in the American system -- next of kin, HMOs, insurers -- will see the Schiavo case as an important benchmark in what's already a drift toward a culture of convenience euthanasia. Here's a thought: Where do you go to get a living-will kit saying that in the event of a hideous accident I don't want to be put to death by a Florida judge or the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals? And, if you had such a living will, would any U.S. court recognize it?

Hat tip to Captain Ed.

POLLING ON SCHIAVO CASE: PLAUSIBLE OR POLEMICAL?

JunkYardBlog has published what I regard to be a critically important, must-read post on the subject of the polling that has been conducted on the Terri Schiavo controversy and published in the legacy media -- polling which portrays the vast majority of Americans as thinking that the court-ordered removal of Terri's feeding tube was the right thing to do.

That media push polling is what has had this blog and lots of other pro-Terri blogs up in arms this past week. It seemed like every other day or so a new press poll would debut with worse numbers for Terri than polls the day before. The American people, known for our generosity in helping the unfortunate more than perhaps any other people in the world, seemed to be saying "Ah, take the vegetable off life support and let her die." Which was odd, because Terri isn't a vegetable, has never been on life support and the only way she'll die is if we allow some judge to withhold food and water from her. We have been allowing that crime to progress for more than a week, even witnessing the arrest of 10-year-olds who apparently have more of a conscience than the average American adult. Hopefully that isn't true.

Question whether these polls have become grist for the mill for the Right-To-Die secularists? If so, read this and this.

UPDATE: Here's a post at Polipundit on the same subject and with additional links worth reading.

THOUGHTFUL POSTS ON THE TERRI SCHIAVO TRAGEDY

These are among some well-written, thoughtful posts I recommend you read on the tragedy of Terri Schiavo's imminent death by court-ordered dehrydration and starvation, and where the writer has seen implications in what our judicial system has countenanced:

From Anchor Rising.

From Common Sense Junction.

From IrishLaw.

From Professor Bainbridge.

And, for a different perspective (let's keep our minds open, Dear Readers), from Hog On Ice.

WHAT "PAIN OF DEATH?" THERE WAS TO BE NO PAIN!

The Washington Times reports this morning that Terri Schiavo is being given "a morphine drip to ease the pain of death." What pain? Haven't we been told by countless neurologists, bio-ethicists, mainstream media news outlets, pro-death bloggers, left-of-center pundits, Michael Schiavo's brother, and none other than the preeminent euthanasia-proponent himself, attorney George Feros, that Terri, purported to be in a "persistent vegetative state" -- a dubious diagnosis upheld by the courts -- is absolutely incapable of experiencing pain? Isn't she serenely beautiful and altogether comfortable as she lays in her deathbed oblivious to the devastating effects of nine consecutive days of court-ordered dehydration and starvation?

Then why, pray why, is morphine needed? Shouldn't Michael Schiavo be on morphine instead of Terri -- you know, to dull his senses over his abject inhumanity to the wife he cheated on and withheld medical tests, medical treatment, and rehabilitative therapy from, while confining her to years in a dreary hospice room, as if she had been put on death row? Come to think of it, Michael, George Felos, and Judge George Greer did sentence her to death row for the capital offense in the state of Florida of being handicapped and cognitively-disabled.

Pain, what pain? I stand by this earlier post of mine. We are bearing witness to an abomination.

DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH, BETSY!

Betsy Newmark at Betsy's Page posts this morning on yesterday's Chris Matthews' Sunday morning show and how the normally in-your-face, know-it-all Chris played possum with guest Tucker Carlson, as if he hadn't a clue about the story that gained legs in the MSN that Republican congressional leaders had circulated a talking points memorandum on how the party could benefit from the Terri Schiavo controversy by going to bat for her parents in their ongoing legal battle in the Florida courts.

Betsy asks:

Will any broadcast news put on a story on the evening news about a Democratic operative writing up a phony memo and distributing it to the media to damage the GOP?

My answer: Don't hold your breath, Betsy!

"THE IMMIGRATION BLOG" (BLOGROLL IT)

Michelle Malkin has just launched a new group blog, "The Immigration Blog", which no doubt will become in short order the sine qua non to a comprehensive understanding of the threat to America's security that uncontrolled immigration represents and particularly with respect to this country's porous, southern, contiguous border with Mexico. Michelle will pace a team of well-regarded writers on the subject; and if, as with me, the knotty problem of illegal immigration is squarely on your short-list of "hot button" political issues, then you no doubt are already well aware of Michelle's incisive writing in this area. One just knows intuitively that Michelle and her co-bloggers will illuminate the subject and bring talented journalism to bear on a problem that more and more patriotic Americans rail about, but which, incomprehensibly, the president and both political parties turn a deaf ear to.

I strongly suggest that you place "The Immigration Blog" in your blogroll. You'll find it in mine under the heading, "Vincent Omnia Veritas," along with other excellent blogs/links on the subject.

And if you need a nudge in the direction of beginning to comprehend just how odious a problem illegal immigration is (and I've written a large number of posts on the subject), then take a look at this appalling story linked by Matt Drudge.

Members of a violent Central America-based gang have been sent to Arizona to target Minuteman Project volunteers, who will begin a monthlong border vigil this weekend to find and report foreigner sneaking into the United States, project officials say.

James Gilchrist, a Vietnam veteran who helped organize the vigil to protest the federal government's failure to control illegal immigration, said he has been told that California and Texas leaders of Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, have issued orders to teach "a lesson" to the Minuteman volunteers.

More than 1,000 volunteers are expected to take part in the Minuteman vigil, which will include civilian patrols along a 20-mile section of the San Pedro River Valley, which has become a frequent entry point to the United States for foreigner headed north.

About 40 percent of the 1.15 million foreign nationals caught last year by the U.S. Border Patrol trying to gain illegal entry to the United States were apprehended along a 260-mile stretch of the Arizona border here known as the Tucson sector.

This is a war, Dear Readers! Our country is being invaded from the south and illegal aliens are streaming across the border, being protected in their journey by armed thugs bent on brutalizing any Americans -- civilians and law enforcement agents, alike -- who dare stand in their way. Are we just going to allow our politicians in Washington to continue talking "Homeland Security" out of both sides of their mouths, while ignoring the clear and convincing danger that is uncontrolled immigration?

Sunday, March 27

THE CANARD OF TERRI SCHIAVO'S SERENE DEATH

Patterico, in this pertinent post, dispels the patently euphemistic notion of a "serene death" that co-conspirators Michael Schiavo and George Felos are feeding to the mainstream media, as Theresa Schindler Schiavo slips away from us in her protracted, altogether gruesome death struggle. It's galling, but to be expected of two men so hell-bent on the death and cremation of a cognitively-disabled woman. More worrisome, however, is how the mainstream media seem so willingly complicit, as if they have an axe to grind, rather than just obective reporting to do.

AN EASTER MESSAGE THAT TOUCHES THE HEART AND SHAPES THE MIND

I have no doubt that all of us will come across many poignant, heartening, thought-provoking posts this Easter weekend, but for me this one at IrishLaw was particularly special, as are so many of her posts. She has a way of touching the heart, while shaping the mind, and that is why I am a regular reader of hers.

Some people seem to want Terri Schiavo to die not because they know for certain that she would have wanted it (an unclear assertion) but because they look at her, profoundly disabled, and see a life not worth living. They'd probably look at the Downs baby I know and wonder why he wasn't just aborted so his parents could save themselves the heartache -- and in fact, so many of those children are aborted because of their parents' fear or much-less-understandable desire for "genetically perfect" children only. They'd look at Alzheimers patients or people with terminal cancer or dementia and wonder why not put them out of their misery by ending their lives -- instead of seeking first to ease pain, coming to see the presence of grace, and seeking always to show love by caring even if it inconveniences or makes others uncomfortable. The worth of individual human beings simply isn't dependent on the ability to reason or to live independently, but rather it comes from God. And if we struggle to find meaning in suffering, still we must remember that no suffering is as great as that endured by Christ, who suffered for all our sakes and bore the heaviest cross of all; and no suffering, anticipated or real, can justify a human decision to end life prematurely, for to do so is to deny the role of God and of love in our lives.
Amen!

"BLOGGING THE REVOLUTION"

Corie Schweitzer of "Insane Troll Logic" -- a fellow blogger, Professor of English, and Assistant Chairman of the English Department at Houston Community College -- has invited me to be a panelist in a panel discussion on blogging at the college on April 5th and I have gratefully accepted. Corie's blog is in my blogroll (under "Quid Pro Quo") and if you have not read her writing previously I urge you to do so.

If you live in the greater Houston area and are able to attend, I'll look forward to meeting you there. I must admit to some concern about Corie (who will be the panel discussion's moderator) brandishing a stun gun. I've been told more than a few times in my life that I have a propensity for being long-winded verbally and, as readers of this site have come to know, anything but pithy in my posts. It follows, then, that Corie at some point during the panel discussion may be compelled to take dead aim and the thought of me flopping around on the floor while dozens and dozens of college students and faculty look on is ... well ... downright nightmarish.

So I urge you in advance of April 5th to earnestly importune Corie (yes, that was a split infinitive, Professor Schweitzer) to go easy on me and holster her Flash Gordon weapon. Meanwhile, I commit to watching Gary Cooper in "High Noon" at least a dozen times in advance of my appearance on campus in order to learn how to emulate his character's (Marshall Kane's) gift of pith, particularly while under intense stress, which is what I'll be experiencing in front of that microphone and audience. And, for good measure, I'll forsake my love of William Faulkner and James Joyce, and read instead a bit of Earnest Hemingway over the next week. Indeed, I'll try my best to emulate his austere, noun-predicate (sans adjectives and adverbs) writing style by authoring a book of my own -- "Old Man For A Fee" -- in anticipation of my morning with Corie and my co-panelist colleagues.

Saturday, March 26

IT ONLY GETS MORE DESPICABLE AS THE DAYS PASS

BlogsforTerri, via a NewsMax report, advised this morning that Michael Schiavo plans to have Terri Schiavo cremated after her death and her remains taken to Pennsylvania and buried in a cemetery plot owned by Michael's family. Just as he has restricted visitation rights for Terri's parents and siblings (and priests) during this macabre and protracted death watch, harrassing them at every turn, now he intends that Terri's gravesite be as inconvenient to the family as possible. And this man is seen as some kind of hero by the right-to-die crowd? I've yet to read any quotes attributed to Michael that Terri, in addition to expressing her desire while in her twenties to die by death and starvation should she ever become disabled, also wanted to be cremated. I guess as her court-sanctioned legal guardian he could roll her off the stern of a shrimp trawler if he wanted to. Judge Greer is a one-man cheerleading team for anything Michael contemplates doing to this hapless woman.

Then I listened this afternoon to Laurie Dhue of Fox Cable News report that Michael's attorney George Felos held a press conference today outside of the hospice where Terri is being deprived of food and water (and has been for eight days now) and reported that she looks beautiful, serene, comfortable, and is not in any imminent danger of dying. Those gross distortions are purposefully designed to contradict Bob and Mary Schindler, as well as Terri's brother and sister, and to mollify the outrage over this court-sponsored execution of a severely handicapped woman. Of course, what else would you expect from a euthanasia activist.

George Felos is unctuous, but his smoothness before the microphones doesn't obscure his ghoulish bent; Michael Schiavo, by contrast, articulates his betrayal of his wife through his sinister expressions and cold-blooded demeanor before the cameras. His mission cannot be camouflaged. The actions and rationalizations of each are ever more despicable with each passing day of Theresa's suffering and her parents' heartache. They and Judge George Greer have delighted in scripting a human tragedy for the world stage.

A LOVELY POST ON THERESA ON THIS EASTER WEEKEND

Amid the boiling vehemence of the exhausting exchanges between those being demonized as "tube-pullers" and those being chastized as "pro-tubists," comes this lovely post from Corie at "Insane Troll Logic." Enjoy it, as I did. It soothes the soul, muffles the madness, and casts Theresa Maria Schindler Schiavo in a most deserving, inspirational light.

DEDICATED TO PRO-LIFE BLOGGERS, BLOGGERS FOR TERRI, AND THE GOOD PEOPLE KEEPING VIGIL AT TERRI'S HOSPICE

These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration: -- feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love.

-William Wordsworth-

YET ANOTHER OPEN LETTER TO JEB BUSH

DEAR GOVERNOR BUSH:
This is what I wrote and posted on my blog this week and it expresses how I feel this morning, the day after Good Friday and the day before Easter.


WHAT IS NEEDED IS AN ACT OF POLITICAL COURAGE

John F. Kennedy had a deep, abiding admiration for acts of political courage and enough so that he felt compelled to write a book on that very subject, "Profiles In Courage," that went on to win the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In that book he wrote:

In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this, each man must look into his own soul.
That is precisely what is needed now. Floridians, the nation, indeed the world, are looking to Florida Governor Jeb Bush to step up in the Theresa Maria Schindler Schiavo controversy and do the right thing, rather than continuing to seek a permission slip from Circuit Court Judge George Greer before protecting a handicapped woman's civil rights and saving her from the clutches of starvation and dehydration -- the ignominy of a Catholic woman being executed because she is perceived as expendable and not worth saving by secularists with their noses in the law, rather than their hearts in that hospice room.

Political courage has many meanings. As used by President Kennedy, the words refer to elected officials who, acting in accord with their conscience, risk their careers by pursuing a larger vision of the national, state or local interest in opposition to popular opinion or powerful pressures from their constituents.
Jeb Bush is a good-hearted man -- a moral man with strength of character. He wants to do the right thing. He believes with all his heart and soul that Terri Schiavo deserves to live and that her parents should become her legal guardians. But he keeps looking for a course of action that will leave him legally and politically unscathed and no such convenient, trouble-free path exists for him. If the rule of law is irrevocably sacrosanct in this country, if the barricades are never to be stormed, if doing the right thing must inevitably succumb to that which the black robes permit, then this nation would have a much different history and may not have even become a nation. It never would have defied King George; it never would have ended slavery; it never would have had a civil rights movement.

The famous, now deceased, political columnist Walter Lippmann once wrote:

With exceptions so rare they are regarded as miracles of nature, successful democratic politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle, or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding threatening elements in their constituencies. The decisive consideration is not whether the proposition is good but whether it is popular-not whether it will work well and prove itself, but whether the active-talking constituents like it immediately.

Perhaps Governor Jeb Bush ought to reflect on this statement by President Teddy Roosevelt:

There is nothing brilliant or outstanding in my record, except perhaps this one thing. I do the things I believe ought to be done. And when I make up my mind to do a thing, I act.

I wish to God you'd make up your mind and act. So many of us in America cannot imagine what prompted you to hold a press conference to tip your hand that you would use a Florida agency to intervene on behalf of Terri Schiavo and take her into custody. Then, were that not bad enough, you first sought the judicial blessings of Circuit Court Judge George Greer before so directing that agency. He, of course, told you (and predictably so) that you could not take her into custody, that you would be in contempt of court, and subsequently advised the police authorities to arrest anyone from that state agency who attempted to intervene at the hospice venue. With that you conveniently announced that your hands were tied and, as governor, you would not exceed your authority and contravene the law. What a clever ploy! And ever so apropos this week of Easter and Christ's passion.

What is needed so desperately now that Terri Schiavo has entered her eighth day of starvation and dehydration at the hands of the state, and while on your watch, I should add, Governor Bush, is an act of profound political courage, not continuing conformity to the tyrannical rulings of Judge Greer.

Had you lived then and been a prominent political figure of the day, would there ever have been a Boston Tea Party, a Declaration of Independence, or a revolution against the British Crown? I think not. I think you would have played it safe then, just as you are playing it safe now. You have a good heart; and I am convinced you are an honorable man and firmly believe what is being done to Theresa Maria Schindler Schiavo is morally wrong. Sadly, however, you won't step up, you won't act, you won't demonstrate the courage your convictions require if they are to be meaningful. Good intentions are simply that: good intentions.

Watching Terri bear this cross is akin to watching "The Passion of The Christ." Watching you refuse to act is akin to watching Shakespeare's "Hamlet."

Voters will remember. Unlike you, we'll not go quietly into the night. Laws, legislators, and judges need to be changed.

Sincerely,

BERNARD HIGGINS

NOTE: This was emailed to Florida Governor Jeb Bush moments ago.

UPDATE: I do not know the voracity of this story, but I read it subsequent to sending my email to Governor Bush and publishing this post, so in fairness I feel obliged to provide the link. If it is true, I will credit the Governor with doing something -- trying anyway. But, I will still fault him for signaling his intentions publicly in advance of this purported rescue attempt.

Friday, March 25

NON-COOPERATION WITH EVIL IS A MORAL OBLIGATION, DEAR GOVERNOR

In the second chapter of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s autobiography, the famous civil rights leader who championed civil disobedience over physical violence wrote:

I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate in getting this idea across than Henry David Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest. The teachings of Thoreau came alive in our civil rights movement; indeed, they are more alive than ever before. Whether expressed in a sit-in at lunch counters, a freedom ride into Mississippi, a peaceful protest in Albany, Georgia, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, these are outgrowths of Thoreau's insistence that evil must be resisted and that no moral man can patiently adjust to injustice.
Many American citizens today, horrified at the sanctimonious activism of the courts and the steely-cold disregard their rulings have betrayed for the life of a handicapped, cognitively-disabled woman, have begun echoing the sentiments of Martin Luther King and Henry David Thoreau, and those resonant chords of resistance to tyranny that have resounded from America's birth and throughout its 200+ year history.

As Thoreau wrote:

I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterwards. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.

As Thoreau continued:

Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse then the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil.
A defenseless woman is being starved and dehydrated to death by the state -- by the government of Florida and with the chilling uninterest of the federal appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court. That same government could not do this very thing to a convicted murderer sentenced to death. The courts would disallow it as a form of "cruel and unusual punishment," prohibited by the U.S. Consitution. But simply because some doctors have opined that Terri Schindler Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and that, because of her severe brain injuries, she'll not feel the pain associated with such barbarity (indeed, that hers will be a "serene" death), a circuit court judge ordered her feeding tube removed and federal courts have been unalterably complicit in this action.

Is this not an outrage? What is ruled perfectly acceptable as a means of death for a severely handicapped woman in Florida is altogether unacceptable, indeed patently illegal, for the likes of self-admitted child-killer John Evander Couey, who, should he be convicted and sentenced to death, will die in a matter of minutes by lethal injection, in contrast to Terri Schiavo, who still lingers despite seven days now without food or water.

Cannot the supreme executive of the state of Florida intervene and put a stop to this cruelty without a signed permission slip from Judge Greer? If we rolled back the film and all of us today were under the rule of King George, would George and Jeb Bush content themselves that it was our solemn obligation under the rule of law to abide the tyranny of the British Crown?

AN OPEN LETTER TO MICHAEL SCHIAVO

The esteemed and eloquent defense attorney Clarence Darrow, in a now famous debate with Alfred J. Talley, a New York City judge and proponent of capital punishment, made the following remarks on October 27, 1924, that are altogether pertinent to you on this day, March 25, 2005. Please consider them:

Nobody kills anyone for love ... but they kill the one they hate.

The human mind is blind to all who seek to look in at it and to most of us that look out from it. Justice is something that man knows little about. He may know something about charity and understanding and mercy, and he should cling to these as far as he can.

I will tell you. There is just one thing in all this question. It is a question of how you feel, that is all. It is all inside of you. If you love the thought of somebody being killed, why, you are for it. If you hate the thought of somebody being killed, you are against it.

Nature loves life. We believe that life should be protected and preserved. The thing that keeps one from killing is the emotion they have against it; and the greater the sanctity that the state pays to life, the greater the feeling of sanctity the individual has for life.

All people are products of two things, and two things only -- their heredity and their environment. And they act in exact accord with the heredity which they took from all the past, and for which they are in no wise responsible, and the environment, which reaches out to the farthest limit of all life that can influence them. We all act from the same way. And it ought to teach us to be charitable and kindly and understanding of our fellowman.
In your obstinancy in wanting your wife dead, you continue to claim it was her expressed wish and that you are determined to carry out that wish. You no doubt view such determination as noble and loving, and the high watermark of your character. Your brother reported on television last night that he sat with you while you were crying and as you wondered out loud why so many people in this country and around the world question that you are doing the right thing. Let me tell you what that springs from and, unlike many, I will do so without calling into question whether your wife Theresa actually told you that she would not want her life maintained in the circumstances in which she has lived since her brain injury in 1990.

It springs from the fact that you have been faithful to that one wish of hers, but not to others, and it troubles us that you view her veritable lockdown for years in a facility that specializes in caring for the terminally ill and now her protracted death by dehydration and starvation as somehow fulfilling your vows, and in a manly, courageous way. Yet the vows you made to love, honor, and care for her, in sickness and in health, until death do you part, have been conveniently ignored by you. After all, you did not legally divorce your wife before taking another woman, living with her, and having two children by her. Seems you abide by the laws and morality of your choosing, as they suit you, not as they suit your wife. Your love for Theresa became as expendable, when you needed someone else, as her life is today. How sadly ironic that you clearly want to move on with your life, but remain so intractably unwilling to divorce Theresa and return your legal guardianship of her to her parents, who are willing to do for her as parents, what you are unwilling to do for her as a husband. Why must a gruesome death break those ties, rather than a legal divorce? You clearly use the law selectively and only to advance your own selfish aims.

For the love of God, if we are asked by you to believe that a woman in her twenties was categorically adamant about never wanting to be kept alive with a simple feeding tube, then we ask you why you will not accept that we believe unequivocally that Terri put her faith, her whole being, in those wedding vows and expected you, as her husband, to be faithful to her, to honor her, and to cherish her, all the days of your lives.

And how is it that we are being asked to believe that your wife would have wanted you to refuse her important diagnostic tests, rehabilitative care, dental care, medical treatment for a urinary tract infection, and to deny her the articles and sacraments of her Catholic faith? And how is it that we are being asked to believe that when Terri became your wife, that she wanted you forever more to disavow and disrespect her parents and siblings, their love and wishes, and the blood that courses through her veins? You've even kept them capriciously at bay and under the watchful eyes of security, when you reluctantly and only periodically allow them to join your wife at her deathbed.

You ask so much of us, but you are loathe to allow us to ask anything of you. You strain credulity in so many ways and with a disingenuous earnestness, as if you don't even see the contradictions in your own conduct and purpose. You are not a martyr, though you behave as if you are. This is not about you! Terri is the one suffering; Terri is the one whose life is being snuffed out; Terri is the one who has lost all dignity at your hands; Terri is the one who has been denied food and water for seven days!

Are we to believe that Terri told you that if she ever became severely disabled, she would want you to have her die by starvation and dehydration over one to two weeks, and that she'd want you bedding down with another woman and having children by her without benefit of divorce or subsequent marital vows? I think not. You know not.

Yours is not a noble cause, a shining example of a husband's love for his wife. Good men protect women, protect their wives and families. You walked away from Theresa in one important way, but refused to walk away from her in another. You have put life inside Jody, unabashedly giving her two babies, but you are removing without compunction that which sustains Theresa's -- her food and water. Theresa must lament, as her parents, brother, and sister surely must, the day she ever met you.

I have no doubt even the great Clarence Darrow, were he alive, could not prevail in changing that death wish mentality that has formed and taken root in your mind. No one can move the great Michael Schiavo to end this controversy without ending Theresa's life.

Nobody kills anyone for love ... but they kill the one they hate.

WHAT IS NEEDED IS AN ACT OF POLITICAL COURAGE

John F. Kennedy had a deep, abiding admiration for acts of political courage and enough so that he felt compelled to write a book on that very subject, "Profiles In Courage," that went on to win the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. In that book he wrote:

In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow. The stories of past courage can define that ingredient – they can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this, each man must look into his own soul.
That is precisely what is needed now. Floridians, the nation, indeed the world, are looking to Florida Governor Jeb Bush to step up in the Theresa Maria Schindler Schiavo controversy and do the right thing, rather than continuing to seek a permission slip from Circuit Court Judge George Greer before protecting a handicapped woman's civil rights and saving her from the clutches of starvation and dehydration -- the ignominy of a Catholic woman being executed because she is perceived as expendable and not worth saving by secularists with their noses in the law, rather than their hearts in that hospice room.

Political courage has many meanings. As used by President Kennedy, the words refer to elected officials who, acting in accord with their conscience, risk their careers by pursuing a larger vision of the national, state or local interest in opposition to popular opinion or powerful pressures from their constituents.
Jeb Bush is a good-hearted man -- a moral man with strength of character. He wants to do the right thing. He believes with all his heart and soul that Terri Schiavo deserves to live and that her parents should become her legal guardians. But he keeps looking for a course of action that will leave him legally and politically unscathed and no such convenient, trouble-free path exists for him. If the rule of law is irrevocably sacrosanct in this country, if the barricades are never to be stormed, if doing the right thing must inevitably succumb to that which the black robes permit, then this nation would have a much different history and may not have even become a nation. It never would have defied King George; it never would have ended slavery; it never would have had a civil rights movement.

The famous, now deceased, political columnist Walter Lippmann once wrote:

With exceptions so rare they are regarded as miracles of nature, successful democratic politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle, or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding threatening elements in their constituencies. The decisive consideration is not whether the proposition is good but whether it is popular-not whether it will work well and prove itself, but whether the active-talking constituents like it immediately.

Perhaps Governor Jeb Bush ought to reflect on this statement by President Teddy Roosevelt:

There is nothing brilliant or outstanding in my record, except perhaps this one thing. I do the things I believe ought to be done. And when I make up my mind to do a thing, I act.

UNREASONING RAGE

John Podhoretz of the "New York Post" echoes in this column sentiments similar to those expressed yesterday by Peggy Noonan, in describing the "unreasoning rage" of those so hell-bent on seeing Terri Schiavo die by dehydration and starvation, as if being different, being handicapped by a brain injury, ought to be a preordained death sentence. For too many secularists, this whole macabre process is tantamount to a victory over the forces of religion, rather than a poignant human tragedy compounded by a ghoulish execution.

For some reason, the conviction of those who believe in the divine fills the scientific rationalists with unreasoning rage.

The refusal of the federal courts to hear the last-ditch appeals of Terri Schiavo's parents has caused some of their number to respond with glee. That response is doubtless due to the feeling that Republicans and conservatives have suffered a political defeat, so it can and should be dismissed as merely partisan and ideological.

But as you read this, in a Florida hospice, a woman is being starved to death, and nothing can stop it from happening now. This is not something that anyone should celebrate.



Thursday, March 24

PEGGY NOONAN STANDS TALL AND WRITES ELOQUENTLY

Do take the time to read Peggy Noonan's eloquent column in WSJ.com Opinion Journal. She appropriately points to the nastiness and hate-mongering of the zealot "tube-pullers" and tries to plumb the depths of their contempt for life.

Everyone who has written in defense of Mrs. Schiavo's right to live has received e-mail blasts full of attacks that appear to have been dictated by the unstable and typed by the unhinged. On Democratic Underground they crowed about having "kicked the sh-- out of the fascists." On Tuesday James Carville's face was swept with a sneer so convulsive you could see his gums as he damned the Republicans trying to help Mrs. Schiavo. It would have seemed demonic if he weren't a buffoon.
She continues:

I do not understand their certainty. I don't "know" that any degree of progress or healing is possible for Terri Schiavo; I only hope they are. We can't know, but we can "err on the side of life." How do the pro-death forces "know" there is no possibility of progress, healing, miracles? They seem to think they know. They seem to love the phrases they bandy about: "vegetative state," "brain dead," "liquefied cortex."

You'll find those kinds of phrases in "Comments" responding to my posts. I've left them there, except for the most detestable and profane, as examples of the extremist, pro-death Left.

There have been a number of thoughtfully written "Comments" challenging my thinking and commentary on the Terri Schiavo controversy. I respect their deep-felt beliefs and that's why I allow the posting of "Comments" at my site. To be contrary is not to be wrong. To be contrary is not to be unintelligent or uncaring.

I listened intently to Congressional Democrats and Republicans alike (viewing them on CSPAN) voicing opinions far different than my own and expletives and execrable descriptions of brain-damaged people were not necessary to make their case. What is it with these fringe people? Why do these captains of death boil with rage?

Ms. Noonan goes on:

The pull-the-tube people say, "She must hate being brain-damaged." Well, yes, she must. (This line of argument presumes she is to some degree or in some way thinking or experiencing emotions.) Who wouldn't feel extreme sadness at being extremely disabled? I'd weep every day, wouldn't you? But consider your life. Are there not facets of it, or facts of it, that make you feel extremely sad, pained, frustrated, angry? But you're still glad you're alive, aren't you? Me too. No one enjoys a deathbed. Very few want to leave.
Most compellingly, Peggy Noonan points to the impact this controversy and the extremist views it has fomented may have on this nation's children, as they ponder and absorb the discourse of those who find the term "sanctity of life" the empty phraseology of contemptible "do-gooders":

Terri Schiavo may well die. No good will come of it. Those who are half in love with death will only become more red-fanged and ravenous.

And those who are still learning--our children--oh, what terrible lessons they're learning. What terrible stories are shaping them. They're witnessing the Schiavo drama on television and hearing it on radio. They are seeing a society--their society, their people--on the verge of famously accepting, even embracing, the idea that a damaged life is a throwaway life.

Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.

Once you "know" that--that human life is not so special after all--then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.


"THE SCHIAVO PROTOCOL"

Joe Carter at "The Evangelical Outpost" links to this excellent post, written by Charlie Lehardy at "AnotherThink," that makes the case that much would be different had Theresa Schindler-Schiavo married a better man than Michael Schiavo:

What might have happened if Terri Schiavo had married someone better than Michael? He seems to have responded to her illness with anger and resentment, not on her behalf, but towards her. At a time when she needed him most, he abandoned her for another woman, without even the respect to file for a divorce. He got on with his life and left her to die. In an earlier age, a man like that would have been branded a cad.

Enter the Schiavo Protocol. Men and women who are incapacitated, even when they face no immediate risk of dying, may now be declared unfit for further life-sustaining care. If an estranged husband can achieve this result over the objections of his wife's own parents, surely insurance companies, the Veterans Administration, Medicare, and other health-care funding agencies will realize that they might make use of this precedent as well, to cut off care for chronically ill patients when they have become a drain on our national healthcare resources.

A compassionate nation does not leave its wounded by the side of the road. The Schiavo Protocol is exquisitely Darwinian but appallingly inhumane. Completely apart from the dictates of any religious faith, the qualities of mercy, compassion and sympathy for the weak set us apart from every other species; they are core values in what we proudly call "civilization."

We have crossed the Rubicon. In the name of some twisted view of compassion, the Schiavo Protocol will arrogantly permit the killing of vulnerable men, women and children. Passive euthanasia—the denial of food and water—will lead inevitably to active euthanasia: assisted suicide and "mercy killing." Those who cannot walk the plank will be pushed off the boat.

There is no doubt that technology has leapt far ahead of our ethics. Many have said that we have no right to "play God." Tens of thousands are having their life-spans extended by amazing surgeries and miracle medicines. These same technologies can prolong life when the possibility for recovery is slim, or none.

We need to be realistic about a patient's prospects. We also need to respect doubt, and when there is doubt, to err on the side of life.

If only those making decisions in support of Michael Schiavo and his attorney George Felos had the commonsense and prescience of Mr. Lehardy.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Frank Laughter at "Common Sense Junction" pulls no punches in his assessment of the fundamental driver in Terri Schiavo's court-mandated death by dehydration and starvation.

Terri Schiavo is being killed because the money ran out and there’s no longer any prospect of getting a new source of revenue from her. The healthcare institutions that were caring for her must now rely on state-fed funding. That pays less than insurance and/or private funds.

In our own lives we believe that all’s well as long as we’re able to get a second opinion whenever a doctor gives us bad news. But people like Terri who can’t communicate their desires to a court, are killed by the medico-legal system that they thought was there to serve them.

You bet the legislatures and Congress need to get involved and they need to start with laws to remove the conflicted (they always lean to the money) healthcare “pros” and to remove untrained, inexperienced judges from the decision loop and install people trained in these life and death matters to evaluate, communicate and arbitrate with all family members.

Terri Schiavo is being killed because the money ran out. End of story.

ARE WE ALL BEING EUTHANIZED WITH EFFRONTERY?

Don't let these persistent reports from neurologists anesthetize your humanity or euthanize your outrage. If Terri Schindler Schiavo has experienced pain from menstrual cramps to the point of her eyes filling with tears (and this is a matter of record), then do any of you believe for a minute that dehydration and starvation are not painful and inhumane ways, and over a protracted period, of taking her life? Good God, are Michael Schiavo and George Felos using the mainstream media as macabre violinists, soothing our senses and sensibilities on her death watch?

LORIE BYRD OF POLIPUNDIT WRITES FROM THE HEART OF TERRI SCHIAVO'S PLIGHT

This, for me, is the must-read of the day and among hundreds of well-written, heartfelt posts on the wrenching subject of Theresa Maria Schindler Schiavo's gruesome passing from this world to the next. And I salute Lorie Byrd and her colleagues at "Polipundit" for the outstanding work they have done, in leveraging their large readership, to get the facts out in the blogosphere on this tragic case and in putting to a test all of the misinformation and distortions being bandied about by the MSN.

EMERGENCY APPEAL TO SUPREME COURT REJECTED

The series of unfavorable court rulings in the past several days, including now from the United States Supreme Court, have crashed over Bob and Mary Schindler's hopes of saving their daughter Terri's life like a terrible wave of boiling disappointment. The Supreme Court has refused to grant their application for a stay. They're no doubt crushed and feeling terribly forlorn. And they have yet to hear the decision expected from Circuit Court Judge Greer midday today and that, too, when it comes, will no doubt add further insult to injury. The Schindlers, like their daughter, have been brutalized.

In the final analysis, the black robes have contented themselves that Terri Schiavo did not want to live via a feeding tube (believing Michael Schiavo's questionable and belated claim that his wife had verbally expressed this to him) and that there was no likelihood of her recovery, even in part, thus putting credence in the medical evidence admitted by Judge Greer that she is indeed in a "persistent vegetative state" (and despite contrary medical opinion that abounds and that Greer refused to admit as evidence).

Judge Greer stacked the deck early on in Michael Schiavo's favor and then dug his heels in and held the governor of Florida, the Florida legislature, the U.S. Congress, the President of the United States, and the Schindler family at bay. Even the Vatican was unable to change minds and intercede with success on the basis of Terri's religion and religious convictions as a practicing Catholic prior to her brain injury in 1990.

Indeed, it mattered not that a reasonable doubt exists in the minds of many that Michael Schiavo has been truthful with respect to his wife's wishes. The MSN and the courts have put reliance on his statement and despite all of the relevant evidence that impugns his integrity and showcases his clear conflict of interests in this matter.

So, her death is now inevitable. I only pray that she'll pass quickly now and leave this world that failed to protect her.

As for the executive and legislative branches of the Florida and Federal governments, they didn't get the job done and hundreds of thousands of voters in this country will not abide a "we tried, but the courts overruled us" rationalization. They failed, they didn't even get their acts together until the eleventh hour, and many, many voters will have long memories that this haplass woman was put to death by the state by dehydration and starvation -- a most cruel, unusual, and inhumane form of punishment.

Ours is a nation of laws, to be sure. But Theresa Maria Schindler Schiavo was not protected by those laws or treated with the dignity and compassion all human beings deserve. Eagles, dogs, cats, cattle, and convicted, first-degree murderers are afforded more protection in Jeb Bush's state than was a hapless, handicapped, cognitively-disabled woman, whose parents wanted to care for and endeavor to rehabilitate.

If Micahel Schiavo only had the best interests of his wife at heart then he would have honored his marriage vows, he would have honored a commitment he made to a court that awarded him substantial sums of money to provide medical care and rehabilitative therapy for her, and he most certainly would have given her over to her parents, brother, and sister, who wanted to do for her what he would not. Instead, he had her warehoused like damaged goods, in a hospice for the terminally ill when she was not herself terminally ill, and denied her medical treatment, rehabilitative therapy, dental care, sunshine and fresh air, articles of her religious faith, and simple acts of kindness and of love.

If this is what the law permits, if this is why so many judges at so many levels ruled such savagery just, then we had better change laws in this country, and we had better find the legislators who can write them properly and the executives who will see that they are executed.

This travesty, this abomination, this horrific example of man's inhumanity to man, is not legitimized by the ruling of judges. They may have properly upheld current law, but they cannot sanctify what has occurred. This country is too good a country, and with too many fine people in it, to simply go on about its business, as if Terri's life, her plight, and what was done to her, had no meaning. Morality and God's laws must, in the final analysis, transcend the exigencies of government and the caprice and imperfections of man.