.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

 

Salon cites unlikely liberal/conservative coalition pushing hybrids

Salon Politics War-Room

If the U.S. doesn't invest in hybrid cars, the terrorists have already won. Or so says a group of national security hawks, who have formed an unlikely alliance with enviro-friendly outfits like the Energy Futures Coalition and the National Resources Defense Council to call for reduced dependency on foreign oil. In an open letter to the President on Monday, such unlikely Prius advocates as former CIA director James Woolsey, Reagan administration national security advisor Robert C. (Bud) McFarlane, and Center for Security Policy head and Reagan-era Defense Department official Frank Gaffney, asked that the Bush administration pledge $1 billion over the next five years for hybrid technology research.

Full story.

 

Canadian Press offers insights on moral implications of pope's ministry

Canadian Press/News Alert

Pope John Paul, a world traveller who worried about the moral ills of the modern age

Victor L. Simpson
Canadian Press

Sunday, April 03, 2005

John Paul's Polish roots nourished a doctrinal conservatism - opposition to contraception, abortion, women priests - that rankled liberal Catholics in the United States and Western Europe.

A sex abuse scandal among clergy plunged his church into moral crisis, with allegations that he didn't react to it swiftly enough. And while championing the world's poor, he rebuked Latin American priests who sought to involve the church politically through the doctrine of "liberation theology."

Warm and straightforward, an outdoorsman who wrote plays and poetry, the 264th pope stood as a moral voice for the world, battling what he called a "culture of death" in modern society. It made him a hero to those who saw him as their rock in a degenerating world, and a foe to those who felt he was holding back social enlightenment.

"The church cannot be an association of freethinkers," John Paul said.

As the abuse scandal struck in the waning years of his papacy, he summoned U.S. cardinals to the Vatican and told them: "The abuse which has caused this crisis is by every standard wrong and rightly considered a crime by society; it is also an appalling sin in the eyes of God."

His was a papacy of groundbreaking change - his pilgrimage to his native Poland in 1979 in the teeth of the communist dictatorship; his appeal to God to forgive the sins of Catholics through the ages; his Vatican's long-delayed recognition of Israeli statehood; his conciliatory gestures toward Islam and the estranged Orthodox Church.

No pope ever travelled so much or so far: He visited more than 120 countries, reaching out especially to Asia and Africa as fertile ground for missionary work. He kissed the earth in each country, even though in his late years he was so frail he had to kiss soil in a bowl held out before him.

No pope delivered so many speeches: He warned in vain against wars in Iraq and the Balkans, deplored the plight of Palestinians and visited a mosque during a visit to Syria, the first pope to step into a Muslim house of worship.

His reign in the waning years of the millennium allowed him to shape the church for the next. He placed like-minded conservatives in the Vatican government and key dioceses, and named most of the cardinals who will elect his successor, expanding the College of Cardinals in 2001 to a record 183 members.

"Nazi paganism and Marxist dogma are both basically totalitarian ideologies and tend to become substitute religions," he wrote in 1989 in an apostolic letter hailing democratic reform in Poland.

As before, his words were directed beyond Poland's borders, and clearly bolstered the will of the opposition in the Soviet bloc.

In taking over from his Italian predecessors, John Paul brought a piece of Poland to his third-floor apartment in the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter's Square. His personal secretary, the nuns who served him and the food he ate were Polish.

His trips to his homeland - where for years the church had been the unifying opposition force - prompted an explosion of patriotism and anti-communist feeling. His 1979 pilgrimage helped foster the birth of Solidarity; his 1983 and 1987 tours kept alive the spirit of the trade union movement after Communist party cracked down.

In 1991, with the Iron Curtain gone, the Pope returned to a free Poland for the first time, and cautioned Poles and other eastern Europeans not to take their freedom lightly.

"We cannot simply possess freedom, we must constantly fight for it. We fight for it by putting it to good use and using it in the cause of truth," he said.

John Paul was the most accessible modern pope, meeting with reporters on foreign trips, listening to the problems of everyday people in parishes and receiving visitors ranging from kings and presidents to circus performers and victims of terrorism.

He recited the rosary on a best-selling CD and directed that his 11th encyclical - his strongest denunciation of abortion - be released on compact disc as well.

He expounded a message he felt was needed in a secularized, dispirited society - hope, confidence, firm values, moral integrity, brotherhood, social justice and the simple life.

He delivered ringing condemnations of human rights violations, hunger, the arms race and restrictions on religious freedoms.

Italians criticized the Pope when he praised doctors who refused to perform abortions, and when he called for the repeal of the country's liberal abortion law. But they hailed him for denouncing the Mafia.

The Pope's hard line toward communist governments initially earned him the Kremlin's wrath. Relations were further strained by allegations - never proved - that the Soviets supported the assassination attempt.

But the rise of Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985 opened a new era. Eager to invigorate his doddering superpower and win allies abroad, Gorbachev lifted restrictions on religion, and in 1989 became the first Soviet leader to visit the Pope at the Vatican. (The Pope never was able to fulfil his dream of visiting Russia.)

Another wall fell when Fidel Castro visited the Vatican in 1996 and invited John Paul to Cuba, one of the last bastions of communism. John Paul made the trip in January 1998, giving the church a firmer foothold on the island.

John Paul also championed better relations with Jews - Christianity's "older brothers," as he put it - and the Vatican formally recognized Israel in 1993. The Pope - who had drawn criticism for meeting with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat in 1982 - then pushed for diplomatic relations with Palestinians.

During his visit to Jerusalem in March 2000, John Paul prayed at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine. Copying a Jewish custom, he tucked a note between the stones in which he apologized to God for the behaviour of those who made Jews suffer over the centuries.

His approach to doctrine was unyieldingly conservative. In his view, there were rights and wrongs that no moral shading could change.

He reaffirmed the church's ban on artificial birth control and denounced in vitro fertilization, abortion, euthanasia, divorce, sex outside marriage and homosexual relations. In his later years, he led a campaign against same-sex marriages.

He demanded celibacy of Roman Catholic priests. He reaffirmed the church's ban on women priests and sought to close debate on the subject. However, he did give in to the demands of liberal Catholics to allow altar girls.

But that did little to satisfy the liberal wing of his church, which claimed he was overstepping his authority.

His name appeared on a Nazi blacklist in 1944 for his activities in a Christian democratic underground. B'nai B'rith and other organizations testified that he helped Jews find refuge from the Nazis.

Stories circulated after he became Pope suggesting that Wojtyla was married during the Second World War to a woman who was killed by a Nazi. The Vatican denied the reports.

The Pope himself made a teasing reference to the rumours during his 1979 visit to Poland. He abruptly curtailed a reminiscence of his family by saying: "Well, that's enough of the past. I'm not going into details. There are a lot of reporters around, ready to investigate. Matters of the heart and youth should be left to God, who calls human beings at different stages of their lives."

Full story.

 

AP says Schiavo parents denied observation of autopsy

Yahoo News/AP

TAMPA, Fla. - Terri Schiavo's body was cremated Saturday as disagreements continued between her husband and her parents, who were unable to have their own independent expert observe her autopsy.

The cremation was carried out according to a court order issued Tuesday establishing that Michael Schiavo had the right to make such decisions, said his lawyer, George Felos. He said plans for burying her ashes in Pennsylvania, where she grew up, had not yet been completed.

Michael Schiavo has not spoken publicly since his wife's death, but Felos said Saturday: "He's holding up. It's very difficult for him."

Michael Schiavo is required to tell his wife's parents of any memorial services he plans for Terri Schiavo and where her ashes are interred.

The Schindlers had sought to have independent medical experts observe their daughter's autopsy at the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's office, but the agency refused their request, family attorneys David Gibbs III and Barbara Weller said Saturday.

The autopsy was completed Friday, the day after Terri Schiavo died, and results are not expected for several weeks.

Representatives of the medical examiner's office did not return a call seeking comment Saturday. The examiner's office has said it would conduct routine examinations and look for any evidence of what might have caused her 1990 collapse.

The Schindlers have accused Michael Schiavo of abusing his wife, a charge he vehemently denies.

Over the years, the couple have sought independent investigation of their daughter's condition and what caused it. Abuse complaints to state social workers were ruled unfounded — although one investigation remains open — and the Pinellas state attorney's office did not turn up evidence of abuse in one brief probe of the case.

Gibbs said the medical examiner's videotape, pictures and tissue samples from the autopsy could be reviewed by other experts if the family asks. While the autopsy report will be a public document, images will not be made public under a 2001 law passed after the death of race car driver Dale Earnhardt.

 

Reuters reports Schiavo body cremated today

NewsAlerts/Reuters

Brain-Damaged Florida Woman's Remains Cremated
Sat Apr 2, 2005 03:57 PM ET

MIAMI (Reuters) - The remains of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who had been at the center of a highly politicized right-to-die dispute, were cremated on Saturday, her husband's lawyer said.
Schiavo, 41, died on Thursday at a Florida hospice, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed under order from a state court. She had been severely brain-damaged since a 1990 cardiac arrest.

"The remains ... were cremated this morning at approximately 9:00 a.m. at the National Cremation Society, in accordance with an order of the Pinellas County Probate Court," the office of Michael Schiavo's lawyer, George Felos, said in a statement. "No further plans have as yet been determined."

Forensic experts performed an autopsy on Schiavo's body and it was made ready for release on Friday. The district medical examiner's office in Largo, Florida, said that the final results of the autopsy might not be available for weeks.

Michael Schiavo's lawyer George Felos said that his client hoped an autopsy would dispel doubts that he was trying to hide something by seeking to cremate his wife's body.

The battle between Schiavo's parents and husband over whether she would have wanted to die had wound its way through countless appeals in state and federal courts, and the relatives were also divided about funeral plans.

It took a court order to rule that, as her legal guardian, Michael Schiavo could cremate the body, and bury the ashes in his home state, Pennsylvania.

The parents had wanted to bury her in Florida without cremation. A spokesman said the Schindlers planned a funeral Mass in Florida next Tuesday.


 

Newsday gives touching remembrances of pope

Newsday

Long Island Msgr. touched by pope, absorbs his forgiveness message

Some thought the television lights caused Msgr. Donald Hanson to perspire profusely, but Hanson said it was nerves. Whatever the reason, the sweat was visible enough for Pope John Paul II to take action after morning prayers at St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1979.

The pontiff beckoned Hanson, who had just finished conducting a 12-member choir in psalms and responses, and when Hanson did not respond, he summoned him more forcefully.

When Hanson approached, the pope took a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the director's face.

"I've been a priest now for almost 34 years and you hope that maybe one day you'll get to Rome to see the pope from the back of the audience hall," said Hanson, now pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Carle Place. "But to actually come into close contact with him ... I was just totally dazed."

Hanson, 59, said the experience left a deep impression on him. When Pope John Paul II traveled to an Italian prison to forgive Mehmet Ali Agca for trying to kill him, Hanson assumed the duty of forgiving in a special way: preaching the message to others, writing about it in parish bulletins, and sending a personal letter to President Bill Clinton expressing his discontent over America's inaction during the genocide that occurred in Rwanda.

"Certainly it was a strong example for everyone ... but it was intensified and magnified for me," Hanson said. "It was as if he had become a kind of conduit, a channel ... a pathway between God's love and our daily life in the world."

During the pope's final hours, Hanson remained glued to his television, switching between CNN, RAI, an Italian public broadcast channel, and the Long Island Diocese's channel.

"I guess there is something special from my encounter which makes this kind of more necessary," Hanson said. "It's sort of like when someone close to you dies, you want to be close to them."



 

AP reports Pope dies at 1:37 pm CST today

AP/Austin American Statesman

Vatican Says Pope John Paul II Dies at 84
By VICTOR L. SIMPSON
Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II, the Polish pontiff who led the Roman Catholic Church for more than a quarter century and became history's most-traveled pope, died Saturday night in his Vatican apartment. He was 84.

"The angels welcome you," Vatican TV said after the announcement came from papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

"The Holy Father died this evening at 9:37 p.m. (2:37 p.m. EST) in his private apartment. All the procedures outlined in the apostolic Constitution `Universi Dominici Gregis' that was written by John Paul II on Feb. 22, 1996, have been put in motion," Navarro-Valls said.

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican No. 2 official, led a tearful crowd of 70,000 people in St. Peter's Square in prayers for the pope.

Some people held their hands to their heads in disbelief. Others cried uncontrollably as they stood in the massive plaza beneath the pope's still-lighted apartment windows.

A Mass was scheduled for St. Peter's Square for 10:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. EDT) Sunday.

John Paul declined rapidly after suffering heart and kidney failure following two hospitalizations in as many months. Just two hours before announcing his death, the Vatican had said he was in "very serious" condition, although he was responding to aides.

Since his surprise election in 1978, John Paul traveled the world, inspiring a revolt against communism in his native Poland and across the Soviet bloc, but also preaching against consumerism, contraception and abortion.

John Paul was a robust 58 when the cardinals stunned the world and elected the cardinal from Krakow, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

In his later years, however, John Paul was the picture of frailty, weighed down by ailments that included Parkinson's disease. Although he kept up his travels, he was no longer able to kiss the ground.

April 2, 2005 - 2:19 p.m. CST

 

CNN reports Pope's condition still very grave

CNN World

Pope John Paul II's condition remains unchanged and "very grave," and he is showing the first signs of losing consciousness, the Vatican says. However, a spokesman said the pope is technically not in a coma and opens his eyes when spoken to.

 

Delay's menacing comments on judges draw ire of Senators Kennedy & Lautenberg

Washington Post

Washington Post this morning reports:

The majority leader said Thursday he wants to examine what he called the "failure" of state and federal courts to protect Schiavo, who died 13 days after the court-ordered withdrawal of her feeding tube.

DeLay issued a statement asserting that "the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." He later said in front of television cameras that he wants to "look at an arrogant, out-of-control, unaccountable judiciary that thumbed their nose at Congress and the president."

Democrats continued to criticize DeLay yesterday, with Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) charging that the Republican might have broken a federal statute against threatening U.S. judges.

"Threats against specific federal judges are not only a serious crime, but also beneath a Member of Congress," Lautenberg wrote. "Your attempt to intimidate judges in America not only threatens our courts, but our fundamental democracy as well."

DeLay's comments reflected the frustration and anger that some conservatives say they felt when no judge or justice was willing to act in response to congressional legislation, which President Bush flew home from Texas to sign last week, calling on the federal courts to review the case, which has been handled by Florida courts.

The Senate confirmed about 200 of Bush's judicial nominees during the past four years, and most of them were considered to be conservative. Nonetheless, DeLay and many other conservatives say they feel betrayed by the courts in the Schiavo case.

DeLay told Fox News interviewer Brit Hume on Thursday that there are "a lot of questions that need to be answered."

"We need to look at this case," DeLay continued. "We need to look at the failure of the judiciary in Florida. We need to look at the failure of the judiciary on the federal level."

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said Thursday that "at a time when emotions are running high, Mr. DeLay needs to make clear that he is not advocating violence against anyone."

Dan Allen, DeLay's communications director, said that DeLay was "once again expressing his disappointment in how the courts clearly ignored the intent of the legislation that was passed."

 

Conciliatory FOX News says Schiavo autopsy may resolve disputes

FOX News

After weeks of provocative, one-sided and misleading reports, FOX News this morning appeared more conciliatory, conceding some of the hype from the Schindler camp may come out in the wash of the autopsy. FOX said:

The Pinellas County medical examiner's office said an autopsy of Terri Schiavo's body had been completed. Results will not be released for weeks.

Security remained high following death threats made by people upset that her feeding tube was removed. Sheriff's deputies guarded the medical examiner's office, local papers reported. Michael Schiavo's whereabouts were undisclosed; he and his family were still under police protection.

Michael Schiavo and his in-laws stopped speaking in 1993 as disagreements over Terri's condition grew more and more irreconcilable. The atmosphere among the once-close family members has grown only more poisonous since.

The family's internal war was thrust into the national spotlight several years ago when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush took a personal interest in the Schindlers' cause. The endorsement of his brother, President Bush, further fanned the flames.

As TV news cameras looked on, politicians and interest groups threw down for either side. What had started as a family matter became a rallying cry for religious pro-life activists and those fearful of intrusive government.

A medical examination of Schiavo's body may settle some disputes.

Michael Schiavo hopes autopsy results will put the lie to allegations he beat his wife and abused her body after she had fallen into a persistent vegetative state. The Schindlers and their allies have painted Schiavo as a less brazen Scott Peterson, nudging his wife to her death so he could be free to pursue other women.

Schiavo, who has two small children with his girlfriend, has said his in-laws encouraged him to move on with his life when it became clear their daughter would not recover.

A planned examination of Terri Schiavo's brain may also settle the question of her diagnosis. The consensus among doctors who have examined her has been that the damage was so extensive that the woman known for her quick smile and intriguing laugh had died long ago. Her parents have resisted that assessment, claiming she began to talk in her final days and said she wanted to live.

Friday, April 01, 2005

 

DeLay tells FOX News federal courts thumbed nose at Congress, President

Special Report With Brit Hume

In a transcript published today of an interview by Brit Hume of Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX), DeLay links the federal courts' refusals to overrule the state judge's decision to withdraw the feeding tube on Terri Schiavo to "judicial activism," as follows:

HUME: what you [in Congress] did is to authorize the judiciary to look at the matter afresh. Which means presumably with an evidentiary hearing, if the court chose to do that. The courts did not choose to do that.

Is it absolutely clear to you, Congressman, that this was a violation of the law you passed? Or simply the court taking jurisdiction in the matter and deciding to uphold the lower courts?

DELAY: Well, the House of Representatives has taken on judiciary activism for the last two years. I mean we passed six bills limiting their jurisdiction. We've looked at the makeup of their courts. We're taking responsibility for being the checks and balances on an overactive, out-of- control judiciary.

And in this particular case, the judiciary was given an opportunity, the same opportunity that death row inmates have, to have one more court look at this. And rather than to look at process, look at all the evidence anew. They chose not to do that. They thumbed their nose at the Congress and at the Executive Branch. And we need to take a hard look at that

HUME: You said, "We will be looking at arrogant, out of control judiciary that thumbed their nose," as you indicated today. What can you imagine can be done, assuming this for the sake of discussion, that you're right about the judiciary. That it was acting in a way that it is arrogant and out of control, and unaccountable. What is it that you would propose to do?

DELAY: What I would propose to do is ask the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives to take a good, hard, objective look at this, and what occurred. And then make recommendations to the House as to how to proceed

HUME: Now, talk to me about your view on this case in particular. May I take it that your view is that Terri Schiavo should have been allowed to continue to live because she was not dying? Or what?

DELAY: Terri Schiavo was a living human being, an innocent living human being. Brain damaged, yes. Incapacitated, yes. Disabled, yes. But she was a living human being. She was not being sustained on any artificial means — by any artificial means. All she was being done — all that was being done was she was fed through a tube instead of her throat.

This system as failed as it is, this system allowed her to be starved to death. I just feel that that's very barbaric in our society.

HUME: Would you have felt differently about it, and do you think as a matter of law it would have been different had her wishes in this regard been explicit and unmistakable?

DELAY: Oh, it would have been totally different

HUME: So, in other words, if she had left in writing a statement to the effect that if I ever reach the point where I'm in a vegetative state, unable to think and act on my own, that I don't wish to continue to live. Pulling the feeding tube in that instance with you would have been acceptable?

DELAY: Well, no. Then you have to define what is a vegetative state. And that's one of the problems with this case. As the judge listening to different sides, listening to activists in the euthanasia movement, doctors that are activists in the euthanasia movement, decided on his own. One person decided that she was in a vegetative state, when others refuted that. So that is the question that needs to be answered.

HUME: They refuted it or disputed it?

DELAY: They disputed it

Full interview.



Thursday, March 31, 2005

 

FOX says Republicans declare war on judges over Schiavo

FOX News

GOP Goes on Judicial Offensive
Thursday, March 31, 2005
By Liza Porteus

Republicans, many of whom led the charge to focus federal attention on Terri Schiavo, are vowing to hold the judiciary system responsible for rulings in the case that some believe were tantamount to murder.

"This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Thursday after receiving news of Schiavo's death.

"The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another."

Schiavo died Thursday after going almost 14 days without food, water or nutrients following the removal of her feeding tube on March 18. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, had argued for years that his wife would not want to continue in the persistent vegetative state that court-appointed doctors said she was in. But Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, had maintained their daughter would want to live and that she could get better with therapy.

While Democrats on Thursday lamented Congress' intervention in the ordeal, some Republicans vowed to cure what they considered to be a moral injustice.

Full Story

 

Washington Post predicts more morals battles after Schiavo

Washington Post

Reporting on Terri Schiavo's death an hour ago, the Washington Post's online edition says the political battles over Schiavo are indicators of more battles to come over social issues:

(Senate Majority Leader Bill) Frist and other Republicans seized on the issue as a chance to affirm what President Bush has called "a culture of life" that he seeks to promote in U.S. society. But there were also signs that some Republicans viewed the case in political terms as a way to rally socially conservative core supporters.

An unsigned memo distributed to Republican senators as they were considering legislation in the Schiavo case said, "This is an important moral issue and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue." The memo called the case "a great political issue" and suggested that it could be used against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who is up for reelection next year, because he had refused to co-sponsor the legislation. GOP leaders later disavowed the memo, insisting that their motives were life-affirming, not political.

In any case, any political dividends seemed to vanish when polls showed Americans overwhelmingly opposed the federal intervention in the Schiavo case, and President Bush's approval rating plummeted to an all-time low.

 

Abi-Demian reports background stories prior to Schiavo's death

The Abi-Demian

The background stories prior to Terri Schiavo's death, on the legal squabbling between her parents and husband, can be found at The Abi-Demian.

 

FOX News says Schindler parents squabbled with husband Michael at end

FOX News

FOX News says the parents argued with Michael over which of them would be present with her during Terri Schiavo's final minutes:

Terri Schiavo died Thursday morning around 10 a.m. EST after her parents had plead with her husband Michael Schiavo to allow them to be at their brain-damaged daughter's bedside in her final hours, a spokesman for the family said.

 

CNN reports Terri Schiavo has died

CNN News

Terri Schiavo has died

Thursday, March 31, 2005 Posted: 10:07 AM EST (1507 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old brain-damaged woman who became the centerpiece of a national right-to-die battle, died Thursday morning, nearly two weeks after doctors removed the feeding tube that had sustained her for more than a decade.

Brother Paul O'Donnell, a spokesman for Bob and Mary Schindler, Schiavo's parents, said the couple was with their daughter's body and praying.

 

Miami Herald reports Jeb Bush strokes Jesse Jackson

Miami Herald

The Miami Herald reports today:

The conservative (Fla. Gov. Jeb) Bush said he gave the liberal (Rev. Jesse) Jackson a briefing on the role of the governor's office in the case.

''Jesse Jackson deserves credit for expressing a very humanitarian concern,'' said Bush, who later added that the presence of Jackson in his office was like ``Nixon going to China.''


 

CNN reports Florida court releases videotapes of Schiavo being tested

CNN News

Apparently in response to right-wing commentary saying Terri Schiavo was never tested, the court responsible has released videotapes showing doctors examining her, CNN reports:

The Pinellas County Probate Court has released nine of 11 videotapes of Terri Schiavo recorded in the summer of 2002 and shown in a Florida appeals court hearing on her medical condition.

The videos show several doctors talking to and examining Schiavo to get ready for their court testimony. The tapes were recorded from July to September 2002.

Family members, including her mother and husband, also appear in the video.

Two of the 11 tapes remain sealed by the court, but it was unclear why.

In October 2002, Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal heard a week of testimony from five doctors who examined her, including two picked by Michael Schiavo, two by her parents and one picked by the court.

Three doctors, including one appointed by the court, testified that Terri Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery. The two doctors selected by the Schindlers testified they thought she could recover.

The appellate court concurred with a lower court decision that Schiavo had no hope of recovery and that her feeding tube could be removed.

 

Right-wing rag compares Bush to Truman

Washington Times

The right-wing Washington Times today compares Bush's low approval rating to Harry S Truman's and says it's for "taking on tough problems."

Yeah, sure. Truman dropped the A-Bomb on Japan, presided over the start of the UN, initiated the Marshall Plan to resurrect Western Europe, started the modern civil-rights movement by executive order, and stood against Communist expansion in Korea.

Bush is trying to gut social security, and has bombed out on trying to get the federal courts to override Florida courts' decision to allow a brain damaged woman in Florida to die with dignity. Really courageous action there, Rev. Moon.

(Rev. Moon's affiliates own the Washington Times.)

 

Prince Charles grumbling about media

This is London

Britain's Prince Charles, on holiday at a Swiss ski resort a week prior to his wedding, expresses disdain for the media and photo-ops, unaware of sensitive microphone in front of him.

Full story: www.thisislondon.com

 

CNN reports US Supreme Court's overnight rejection of another Schindler appeal

CNN News

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has jurisdiction over Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and could have ruled on the latest Schindler petition on his own, referred the appeal to the entire Supreme Court at 10:40 p.m. Wednesday.

There was no breakdown of the vote, and the high court issued no explanation for its decision. The petition had been filed earlier in the night.

It was the second time in a week the high court had refused to hear the Schiavo case, and the sixth time since 2001.

 

Buzzflash & Petoskey News Review report militia plan to "resurrect" Schiavo

Petoskey News Review, cited by Buzzflash

I promise, I'm not making this up. Norm Olson, a Michican pastor and advisor to a militia group, tried to organize a militia capture of Terri Schiavo. The plan was thwarted when Olson notified Schindler parents' attorney, David Gibbs III, and his office instead informed the FBI.

Olson's intercepted emails reportedly said "we the people" are the 4th branch of government, and "we" really represent the people, instead of those "blacked robed devils," referring to judges.

I suppose the Founding Fathers are groaning and turning in their graves.


 

AP story shows Black leaders including Jackson Sr & Jr split on Schiavo

Newsday

Black Leaders Split on Schiavo Case

By ERIN TEXEIRA
AP National Writer
March 30, 2005, 5:13 PM EST

The Rev. Jesse Jackson's presence in the turmoil surrounding Terri Schiavo highlights a simmering debate among black politicians: While Jackson's appearance on behalf of Schiavo's parents reflected a strain of social conservatism, others say the attention on one tragic case is excessive and unfair because it obscures larger concerns for poor Americans.

Political observers say that the case of the brain-damaged Florida woman is a tricky one for some black leaders, who often take liberal stands on civil rights and other social issues but come out of a traditional religious background.

"Even though African-American church leaders, in particular, have been very committed to a liberal political agenda as it relates to collective rights, empowerment and justice issues, there's always been a very strong current of moral conservatism," said R. Drew Smith, a professor who studies black religion and politics at Morehouse College.

"I think Rev. Jackson's intervention in this case is probably reflective of that tendency."

Indeed, days before publicly supporting Schiavo's parents -- who want their daughter reconnected to a feeding tube over the objections of her husband -- Jackson had criticized Congress for intervening.

While noting that he thought the tube should be reinserted, Jackson said the government should do more to feed all hungry and disadvantaged Americans.

"I implore them to apply this same passion for Terri Schiavo to the young infants and children dying of starvation and lack of prenatal and postnatal care," Jackson said in a statement released by the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, his Chicago-based group. "Those on food stamps need a feeding tube to fend off poverty."

The dichotomy of the Schiavo case also turned up when Congress debated whether to let federal courts get involved earlier this month.

Of the 23 members of the Congressional Black Caucus who voted -- 17 did not attend -- 10 supported the Republican-sponsored bill. They included Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., and Albert Wynn, D-Md., who in a statement said it was a "question of conscience."

Full Story

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

 

Admitted atheist liberal Nat Hentoff says Schiavo case is judicial murder

Village Voice

Jesse Jackson is not the only liberal weighing in on the Schindler parents' side in the case of Terri Schiavo.

Nat Hentoff published a column in the Village Voice this afternoon saying Schiavo is a victim of "judicial murder."

Hentoff denies Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state, contrary to the weight of medical opinion.

He says she never has been allowed "to have her own lawyer represent her." Court records show she has had attorneys represent her at every major stage.

Hentoff took the side of numerous discredited charges against Terri's huband Michael.

He says she "has never had an MRI or a PET scan, nor a thorough neurological examination." Again, contradicted by the voluminous record.

He says, "The attorneys for Terri's parents have submitted 33 affidavits from doctors and other medical professionals,all of whom say that Terri should be re-evaluated." But it has been documented that only one of these ever bothered to examine Mrs. Schiavo.

Hentoff's piece, in short, is a rant of the contrary evidence that Judge George Greer has been reviewing for 7 years along with the evidence supporting his decisions, which Hentoff ignores. The judge has weighed it all, as judges are supposed to do, and reached a result Hentoff does not like.

Are we to trust our judges, or our op-ed writers, for the truth of contested cases in this country.

But this is not the first time Hentoff has butchered the facts on a major story. Three months ago he felt a Cupertino, California, 5th grade teacher was having his religious liberties denied when the principal refused to let this teacher proseletize the Christian faith to his history class using the Declaration of Independence as his jumping off point. See my critique of that, "Coercing Faith in Class," found at .

 

FOX News gets Schiavo ruling wrong again

FOX News

Wednesday evening, FOX News was reporting on the 11th Circuit's refusal of the Schindlers' request for rehearing en banc (rehearing by the entire court) saying [with my comments afterwards in brackets]:

"While the members of her family and the members of Congress have acted in a way that is both fervent and sincere, the time has come for dispassionate discharge of duty," Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr. wrote for the majority. [Actually, Judge Birch did not write for the majority. There was no majority opinion, just a short order saying that the request failed to receive a majority vote of the judges and was therefore denied. Judge Birch wrote a specially concurring opinion, that is, he spoke only for himself.]

For the appeal to be granted, the parents' request would have needed the support of seven of the court's 12 judges. Judge William H. Pryor Jr. was recovering from surgery and did not participate, and Judges Charles R. Wilson and Gerald Bard Tjoflat dissented.

Birch also addressed the "activist judges" label, which has been tossed at all the jurists involved in the case, using the term's definition in his criticism of President Bush and Congress.

"Despite sincere and altruistic motivations, the legislative and executive branches of our government have acted in a manner demonstrably at odds with our Founding Fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people — our Constitution," he wrote.

Since Schiavo's feeding tube was removed on March 18, mostly Republican lawmakers and the president have taken extraordinary and unprecedented steps to nullify prior court decisions. State and federal court rulings have consistently sided with Michael Schiavo, who has successfully argued that his wife did not want to be kept alive artificially.

Birch scolded the "legislative and executive branches of our government" for muddying the separation of powers. [The bulk of Judge Birch's concurring opinion was devoted to showing how the special Act of Congress on behalf of Terri Schiavo, to receive a new review in federal court disregarding the prior state court rulings, was unconstitutional. Unconstitutional, because it invaded the province of the courts and purported to tell the courts how to decide the case.]

FOX News' Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Wednesday's rejection spelled the end of the road for their legal battle. [However, several news sources reported Wednesday night the Schindler parents' intention to appeal once again to the U.S. Supreme Court.]


 

NY Post reports 11th Circuit rejects Schindler appeal

NY Post

AP Top News at 5:08 p.m. EST
Schiavo Appeal Rejected Again in Atlanta

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (AP) - With time running out for Terri Schiavo, a federal appeals court Wednesday rejected her parents' latest attempt to get the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube reconnected. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to consider an emergency bid by Bob and Mary Schindler for a new hearing in their case, raising a flicker of hope for the parents after a series of setbacks in the case. But the court rejected the bid 15 hours later - the fourth time since last week the court ruled against the Schindlers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

 

CNN explains spousal consent laws

CNN Law Center

Michael Schiavo's role has ties to civil, biblical law
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 Posted: 3:30 PM EST (2030 GMT)

PINELLAS PARK, Florida (AP) -- Marianne Clark cannot understand why Terri Schiavo’s mother Mary Schindler counts less to the courts than the husband who asked that Schiavo's feeding tube be removed.

"You have a husband who hasn't been faithful, and he's the one the judges all listen to," the Sarasota woman said from a protest line outside the hospice where Schiavo was in her second week without food or water. "There's nothing like a mother. A mother knows her child, and nobody else should be able to make that decision."

Some Christian conservatives and others who want to prolong Schiavo's life do not see why her husband gets to decide her fate. But the role of the spouse as next of kin and decision-maker has deep roots in both civil and biblical law.

"It's odd that conservative Christians would be making this claim," said Christopher Schroeder, director of the public law program at Duke University. "You can find biblical passages that say once you have a union like this, the union's all that matters. The parents drop out of the picture."

"The courts didn't ask Michael Schiavo, 'What do you want to do to Terri?' They asked him, 'What do you think Terri would want you to do?"' said University of Florida research associate Barbara Noah, who lectures on medical law and bioethics.

Michael Schiavo, as the husband, has been allowed to make all kinds of intimate decisions about her care. The courts not only gave him permission to have the feeding tube removed March 18, but let him determine how often she is given Holy Communion, where she will be buried and whether even to allow her parents to attend the funeral.

"Marriage is viewed as a consensual contract entered into by people who have legal capacity to marry, to in effect forsake all other bonds and cleave only to the other person, to take the words from most marriage ceremonies," said Herma Hill Kay, an expert on marriage law at the University of California at Berkeley.

Mrs. Clark and other protesters have accused Michael Schiavo of violating "God's law" by withholding nourishment from his wife and by having had two children over the years with the girlfriend with whom he lives.

But the legal tradition now separating Terri Schiavo from her parents' presumed protection also has a foundation in biblical law. In Genesis 2:24, it reads: "Therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."

Terri Schiavo had the right to leave written instructions giving someone else control over her medical care, and that person would have taken precedence over the husband, Noah said. In the absence of written instructions, the spouse generally gets precedence over the parents, on the presumption that the spouse lived with the incapacitated person and was most familiar with the patient's recent thinking, Noah said.

In the case of the Schiavos, they were married nearly six years before Terri Schiavo was stricken. If she had become incapacitated after a whirlwind Las Vegas courtship and wedding, Noah said, estate law would still probably have upheld her husband as her sole legal heir. But his opinion about what she would have wanted done with the feeding tube would probably not have carried much weight in court. "Things might have come out a lot differently," Noah said.


 

CNN reports Jackson's intrusion into Schiavo case

CNN Law Center:

Jackson says feeding tubes should be mandatory in all cases

PINELLAS PARK, Florida (CNN) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson arrived Tuesday at Terri Schiavo's hospice and called on Florida lawmakers to have the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube reinserted.

"This is one of the profound moral, ethical issues of our time, the saving of Terri's life," the civil rights leader said. "And today we pray for a miracle."

Jackson said he contacted Schiavo's husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, to request a visit with her, but "he said he thought no."

Michael Schiavo had no immediate reaction to Jackson's comments.

Schiavo has said his wife would want the tube removed, and he has called on outsiders to stop trying to violate her wishes.

Jackson said he is "sensitive" to the struggles and pain that both Michael Schiavo and Terri Schiavo's parents and siblings, the Schindlers, are undergoing.

He said it is his belief that Terri Schiavo should be kept alive. "While law is important, law must be tempered with mercy to have justice," he said.

Jackson said he spoke with several state senators, pushing them to pass emergency legislation, and plans to contact more senators.

While he has sided with the Schindlers, Jackson said in a statement last week that he had "serious misgivings about the appropriateness of Congress intervening with the legal court process on a specific, individual matter."

In his statement, Jackson added, "a consistent moral and ethical position would extend a feeding tube to all who are confronted with starvation -- to demand public, government policy to feed the hungry."

Jackson traveled to Florida at the invitation of Bobby Schindler, Terri Schiavo's brother.


 

DNC spending $5M on conservative Democrat for Va. gov.

The American Prospect

A Virginia gubernatorial candidate tries to teach Democrats how to attract religious voters.
By Rob Garver

Meet Tim Kaine. His views on abortion are roughly in line with those of George W. Bush. He thinks John Kerry spent too much time on the campaign trail talking about windsurfing and not enough time talking about God.

And the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is spending an unprecedented $5 million to help him get elected governor of Virginia.

Kaine says Democrats are wrong to attack the "religious right." Attack bad ideas, but not someone's religion, this Democrat Catholic says.

Read full article.




 

UK Guardian says Schiavo's dad pulled plug on his mother

UK Guardian

In a Nov. 4, 2003 story, the UK Guardian reports

Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob & Mary Schindler, can barely avoid mentioning her husband Michael's name without writhing in hatred. They have reinforced their accusations that he is neglecting Terri by suggesting that he tried to murder her, and that she was a victim of domestic violence.

The Schindlers' lurid accounts of abuse and neglect don't seem to tally with past events. In the early years of their marriage, Michael appeared to be on good terms with the Schindlers. The young couple lived in the Schindlers' condo after settling in Florida in the mid-80s. After Terri's accident, Michael and the Schindlers shared living quarters and the burden of care for Terri.

Those family bonds snapped in 1993 - the same year that a court awarded Terri $1m in a medical malpractice suit, and granted her husband authority over the money to use for her care. Each party now accuses the other of trying to get their hands on the funds. The cash question became even more urgent four years later, when Michael arrived at his momentous decision to end his wife's life. If Terri died, he would inherit the funds remaining in the malpractice suit; so long as she lived, the Schindlers had a hope of challenging his guardianship over Terri, and his control of the money. [Those funds are all but exhausted by 2005.]

By 1997, when Michael was set to remove the feeding tube for the first time, the stage was set for an epic confrontation. It is unclear what led to the change of heart, but Scott Schiavo, Michael's elder brother, says he arrived at the decision soon after the painful death of his own mother. "It sort of woke him up when he was watching my mother die," he says. "One day he just stood up and said: 'I can't do this any more. I can't do this to Terri.'"

Six years later, it has come down to this: videos of a stricken woman on the internet, accusations of murder, and lining up television interviews in a rented trailer.

Today, the Schindlers are spending much of the afternoon with a crew from the Christian Broadcasting Network, operated by the evangelist Pat Robertson. There is no question which side the CBN is on. "There is a spiritual battle going on. There is a pro-death movement out there right now, and it nearly killed Terri," says reporter Wendy Griffith. "From our perspective, it is a spiritual battle. It basically comes down to good and evil, life and death."

Outside the Christian right, such clarity over Terri's fate - or indeed the best recourse for any person condemned to live for years with virtually no brain function - is generally difficult to obtain.

But, given the vehemence with which he has been fighting to prolong Terri's life, it is a little surprising to learn that Robert decided to turn off the life-support system for his mother. She was 79 at the time, and had been ill with pneumonia for a week, when her kidneys gave out. "I can remember like yesterday the doctors said she had a good life. I asked, 'If you put her on a ventilator does she have a chance of surviving, of coming out of this thing?'" Robert says. "I was very angry with God because I didn't want to make those decisions."

 

Miami Herald reports Schiavo family still bitterly at odds

Miami Herald

The looming death of Terri Schiavo brought no end to the hostility between her parents and her husband.

BY NOAH BIERMAN, PHIL LONG AND MARTIN MERZER

mmerzer@herald.com

PINELLAS PARK - The battle over saving Terri Schiavo's life now over, her parents and her husband tangled publicly Monday over the details of her condition and the progression of her death.

Schiavo clung to life in her 11th day without food and water, surrounded in her hospice room by flowers, music and a stuffed animal described by her husband's attorney as a ``tabby cat.''

But the relative serenity of that image was offset by continuing acrimony between the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, who fought passionately to reconnect her feeding tube, and the husband, Michael Schiavo, who fought with equal tenacity for what he called her right to die after 15 years on that form of life support.

Unable to declare a truce, they aired precise details of the most private of issues -- a person's looming death.

Her father said the brain-damaged woman was ''emaciated'' and ''begging like hell to live,'' and he feared that the hospice would administer large doses of morphine to hasten her death.

''She's very, very, very weak,'' he said. ``She's still showing facial expressions. I hug her and I kiss her. And she's reacting to that.

``She's trying to talk, but it's very, very subdued. I don't want to overestimate her condition. She's failing, but she's still with us.''

Suzanne Vitadamo, Schiavo's sister, said: 'The look on her face is, `Please, help me.' ''

The husband's attorney, George Felos, said Schiavo did appear to be failing, and he acknowledged that she has received morphine, though he said only two small doses had been administered thus far.

After visiting with her, he shared details of those treatments and of her declining condition, but said: ``I saw no evidence of any bodily discomfort whatsoever.''

Responding to Schindler's comments about morphine, Louise Cleary, a spokeswoman for Hospice House Woodside, which is caring for Schiavo, said: ``We would never do anything to hasten anyone's death.''

Doctors said pain relief is often prescribed in such circumstances to ease symptoms -- such as labored breathing -- that might give the appearance of struggle. ''In the instance when the family is present, you want to avoid any seeming discomfort,'' said Dr. Morton Getz, director of Douglas Gardens Hospice in Miami. ``If the patient is truly vegetative, there is no suffering.''

Felos said Schiavo's second dose came after hospice nurses reported ``light moaning and grimacing and tensing of arms.''

He also said that Michael Schiavo, whose plans to cremate his wife's body have been criticized by some, has asked the Pinellas County medical examiner to conduct a full autopsy.

A spokesman for the parents, Randall Terry, said they want to know whether she ever suffered any broken bones. Some supporters of Terri Schiavo's parents have issued unsubstantiated allegations that she might have been abused before suffering a heart attack and brain damage in 1990.

Attorney Felos explained that the autopsy was announced to answer just such unsubstantiated claims.

Mrs. Schiavo's parents say she was and remains responsive; her husband and most doctors who have examined Schiavo have concluded that she is in a persistent vegetative state.

Felos said he touched her on the cheek Monday, an action that caused her to open her eyes. He called that ''an involuntary reaction,'' again disputing more vivid accounts of physical responses relayed by Schiavo's parents. ''There's no cognitive reaction of Mrs. Schiavo . . .,'' Felos said. ``To someone who wants to believe there's something there, it's understandable.''

Protesters and others called again on Gov. Jeb Bush to take action, but the governor said that despite the ''blistering'' criticism he has received from both sides, the only thing he could do now was to seek answers to difficult questions. ''After passions subside,'' Bush said, the Legislature should take another look at end-of-life issues. ''We need to review how we go about defining a persistent vegetative state,'' he said.

Herald staff writers Erika Bolstad, Jacob Goldstein, Nancy San Martin and Noaki Schwartz contributed to this excerpted report.

Monday, March 28, 2005

 

NY Times explains Schiavo autopsy plans

NY Times

George Felos, the lawyer for Ms. Schiavo's husband, Michael, said that Mr. Schiavo believed that it was "important to have the public know the full and massive extent of the damage to Ms. Schiavo's brain" to counteract accusations that she was cognizant, communicative and being starved to death against her will.

In addition, he said, Mr. Schiavo wants to allay accusations from some of those fighting to keep his wife alive that he would have her cremated with undue haste, perhaps because he had something to hide, like abuse or physical trauma.


 

CNN reports Michael Schiavo's plan to have autopsy

CNN Law Center

Husband seeks autopsy on Terri Schiavo

Monday, March 28, 2005 Posted: 9:54 PM EST (0254 GMT)

PINELLAS PARK, Florida (CNN) -- Terri Schiavo's husband has asked that an autopsy be performed on his wife after she dies so that a full report can be done on the extent of her brain damage, an attorney for Michael Schiavo said Monday.

Attorney George Felos said the autopsy will be performed by Dr. Jon Thogmartin, the chief medical examiner of Pinellas County.

Felos said Michael Schiavo decided to come forward with the autopsy plans for Terri Schiavo after "opponents to carrying out her wishes" suggested Michael Schiavo had an ulterior motive in his plans to cremate his wife.


 

Religious-right group misrepresents Schiavo's doctors

Media Matters for America

Media Matters for America reports tonight that religious-right group Family Research Council president Tony Perkins made misleading claims about medical affidavits filed in the Terri Schiavo case. Perkins' comment were made on yesterday's CBS' Face the Nation, and were similar to other instances in which supporters of Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler -- including a family attorney and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) -- have misrepresented the contents of the affidavits in arguing for restoration of Schiavo's feeding tube.

While many of the affidavits on the Schindlers' website are from doctors who have proposed possible treatments for Terri Schiavo, only one is from a doctor who has actually examined her. That physician, Dr. William Hammesfahr, was disciplined in 2003 by the Florida Board of Medicine and has falsely boasted of being a Nobel Prize nominee. Several are from nurses who claimed romantic interest in Michael Schiavo or claimed other improper behavior.

All have been fully considered by all the courts involved and given appropriate evidentiary weight. Many have been a matter of outsiders second-guessing the judges' decisions.

 

FOX News admits Schiavo video clip misleading

FOX News

FOX News admitted in a story posted today that most neurologists who have examined Terri Schiavo have concluded that the apparent awareness showing on the video the network has been showing repeatedly for days on end is not actually conciousness at all, but is nothing more than the reactions of a mechanical robot.

 

CNN Reports DC lobbying for Terri Schiavo

CNN Law Center

Fight over Terri Schiavo moves to Washington
Monday, March 28, 2005 Posted: 4:23 PM EST (2123 GMT)

Rev. Patrick Mahoney, a conservative Christian activist who has been leading demonstrations outside a Florida hospice where Schiavo lives, took his fight to Washington on Monday.

"We are here demanding answers," said Mahoney, standing in the rain across the street from the White House with about a dozen supporters behind him.

"If we cannot protect the rights of a disabled woman who needs our help in advocacy, then what have we become as a nation?" Mahoney said.

Mahoney said he would push for congressional leaders -- including House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay -- to enforce a subpoena issued by a House committee. The subpoena orders Schiavo to appear before Congress.

That subpoena was issued March 18, the day Schiavo's feeding tube was removed by order of a Florida state judge. That same judge quashed the House subpoena, and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal of that decision by Republican congressional leaders.

Numerous state court judges have sided with Schiavo's husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo, who says Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and would not want to continue living under such conditions.

 

Haigler answers more Schiavo propaganda

Abi-Demian

A few questions & comments about these articles Daine1945@aol.com sent:

<< From - "Death Be Not Proud" by Frank Salvato,
Sunday, March 27, 2005:


<< Reasonable doubt is rampant in this case.>>

Whose? Who gives you the authority to judge on this? How do you presume to know more than Judge Greer and all the other judges who've affirmed his decisions?

<< It is clear there are questions as to the ... $1.2 million in inheritance – >>

What are you talking about -- the malpractice award? Credible media reports say that has almost entirely been spent on Terri's care. Do you think you can buy total care like that for 15 years for $1.2 million or less?

<< There is a family, blood relations who are literally begging for the opportunity to take care of her.>>

Judge Greer heard both sides of the family squabble 12 years ago and made findings that the Schindlers broke fellowship with their son-in-law because they demanded part of the malpractice settlement for themselves, and he refused and insisted on spending it for her care.

<< The shallow and contemptible miscreants of the elected left, in Washington and elsewhere, are trying to deceive the American public into believing that an elected majority equates to absolute power. They do so because they embrace ideology that exists outside the boundaries of common sense and decency. They do so for political gain. They cry of wolf in the face of reality.>>

This sounds like a Rush Limbaugh rant. It is not the "elected left" who are in control of this government. Judge Greer is not part of the "elected left." He's a right-wing conservative Republican Southern Baptist who just got run out of his church because they didn't like his rulings on Schiavo. It is the elected right-wing that tried to assert "absolute power" to overrun the judiciary here. The Republicans circulated a letter that got leaked to the press saying Terri's case was a "godsend" for them to gain even more power behind Bush's attempt to cram 10 right-wing judges down the senate's throat. They miscalculated -- 82% of Americans support Judge Greer. How's that for Democracy? Moreover, Republican "conservatives" have appointed 70% of the federal judges who refused to overrule Judge Greer. Democrats and progressives have not called for killing Schiavo or revelled in her impending death; they have merely cried foul at some of these spurious claims like I'm answering now.

<< In the case of Terri Schiavo we are bearing witness to the machinations of absolute power and the resultant tyranny.>>

No. Again, the tyranny attempted here is a small group of Fundamentalist and Dispensational church people trying to overrun our judicial system and wipe out the independent judiciary and carefully-crafted 3-part balance of powers that our Founding Fathers gave us. See my piece, "Constitutionalism or Chaos," at Haigler op-eds, if you're interested in how this tyranny is being attempted. I am not some atheist, anti-Christian. I have fought for the faith and for religious freedom for decades, and don't need to take a back seat to anyone in terms of Christian commitment. I have the battle scars to credibly claim that this small group of Fundamentalists and Dispensationalists are dead wrong, Biblically and constitutionally. They are an embarrassment to Christianity and America's true history.

<< Michael Schiavo will cremate his “wife,” Terri, immediately after her death, not even allowing her blood-family – her real family – the opportunity of ritual to pay tribute to her life and mourn her.>>

And who are you to question the next-of-kin's burial plans? And how many hours have you spent at her bedside like he has, always leaving the room when the Schindlers want to visit, because of the hatefulness they have spewed upon him for refusing to give them part of the malpractice settlement?

<<...the breaking of his own wedding vow, “’Til death do us part.” Justice demands that he be haunted by the memory of Terri all the remaining days of his life.>>

How many of you reading this judgmental statement are sexually-interested people who have lived 15 years celibate during your sexual prime? If so, then you have credibility to throw the first stone against Michael Schiavo. I've lived 5-6 years celibate in my sexual prime, because of a divorce, and I don't feel qualified to judge him. God help you, if you do.

<< there is a wrong being done that will last the ages, the blood drying on the hands of our legal system. >>

Why don't you check out the facts in a balanced way, instead of suckering for everything FOX News tells you?

<< Unless we empower ourselves to rein in the tyranny of our judicial system ....>>

God help us if your point of view guts our independent judiciary. Thankfully, 82% of Americans see the light and it's only a matter of time until the electoral pendulum swings the other way and we get the stranglehold of the Repubican majority off of our government.

<< Re:Terri Schiavo's Death, Written by Barbara Stock
Monday, March 28, 2005 >>


<< George Felos, perhaps trying to ease his guilt ....>>

Only God can judge the heart; who are you? Mr. Felos merely contradicted some strident statements from the Schindlers saying Terri's tongue was cracked and bleeding, and such like. The overwhelming weight of medical opinion says she cannot feel pain, and she's getting morphine just in case -- which is a merciful thing even beyond pain relief.

<< All of the chaos surrounding Terri’s impending death isn’t just about Terri or her family. It is about what we as a society are going to be willing to accept in the future.>>

It is your side of this debate that has made this a circus. Those in authority are fighting to allow a death with dignity.

<< The court rulings, all in favor of the legal murder of a non-terminal human being, ...>>

And who are you to determine who's terminal and who isn't? That is not even the issue. The issue was, whether she was in a permanent vegetative state. No credible medical testimony of anyone who's thoroughly examined Mrs. Schiavo has contradicted the determination that she is in that PVS. And you're a nurse who's not even been there; right?

<< She was illegally admitted to the hospice where she is now being killed because she was not dying.>>

Again, I ask for the writer's legal credentials. I asked this once before, and a friend of yours wrote back saying, "just because it's legal doesn't make it right." But, again, your writer is the one making legal statements. People who are a law unto themselves are utterly lawless. My Bible speaks of lawlessness being a time when everyone does what is right in his own eyes and submits to no authority. The authorities have spoken, and you are railing at them; thus you judge yourself.

<< Terri never had her own lawyer to represent her. >>

Again, I ask, Have you even read the record? The record I've read says she's had a lawyer at every phase of the court proceedings, just as the law requires. Several of them have been interviewed and testified to the fairness of the proceedings. Sometimes, this gets beyond a matter of opinion and becomes intentional ignorance of the facts, a polite way of saying, you're lying.

<< In fact, they don’t swallow their own saliva, a sign of severe brain damage.>>

Have you even read the credible reports that the reason she was ordered to have holy communion before the tube was pulled on March 18 was for the very reason that she cannot swallow?

<< Has anyone noticed that Terri does not drool? >>

Maybe she didn't in the 5 second video that FOX News played a thousand times, and that is the basis of most of the uproar over this case. FOX News made no presense of balanced reporting.

<< the law clearly states that minors and those who cannot speak for themselves are protected and if those in charge of their care refuse treatment for them, the state makes that child or person a ward of the state for treatment.>>

Again, you're practicing law without a license. What the court actually does is to make an inquiry whether the guardian is acting in accordance with the ward's wishes and best interests. If not, a new guardian is appointed. Michael Schiavo has been her guardian all along and never has there been a finding he was acting out of line with his legal and moral duties. To override that would be to force treatment on someone who doesn't want it, much like the protestant street preachers were trying to force holy communion on his Roman Catholic patient Easter Sunday. Totally illegal, wrong and immoral.

<< For reasons that simply cannot be explained, the legal system turned Terri’s fate over to the two men who stood to benefit from her death. George Felos has benefited financially in the litigation involved in killing Terri. It has been reported that as much as $600,000 of Terri’s money has been paid to George Felos. Judge Greer even allowed Terri’s money to be spent by Felos to “deal with the media.” Michael Schiavo reportedly spent most of the money that he was awarded on personal expenses, impressing a long string of girlfriends, and in his quest to kill his wife. He certainly didn’t spend much of it on Terri. The taxpayers have been paying her bills for the last five years. >>

Again, where do you get these facts? What I've read is that all but about $50,000 of the malpractice settlement has gone for Terri's care. Are you expecting Mr. Felos to work for free, while the entire weight of the Republican White House and Congress descends upon him? Do you think Mr. Gibbs is working for free? $600,000 represents almost the entire malpractice award for Terri's care; are you saying Mr. Felos got all of this? The reports from credible media say Terri's bills are being paid for privately and not by taxpayers.

<< Judge Greer waved off all the sworn statements from people claiming ....>>

Judge Greer did what judges are supposed to do -- he heard competing claims and decided who was credible. Were you there for all the years of litigation? Who are you to second-guess this? There were a couple of short-term nurses who didn't even treat Terri whom the Schindlers called to trash Michael Schiavo, and Judge Greer smelled a rat and didn't believe these people. Again, what judges are supposed to. This guy has had a lot of courage to stand down an illegal U.S. Congress subpoena, and he's now under protection of several U.S. marshals because of death threats. He should get a medal instead of the unfounded abuse you're hurling on him.

<< A lie repeated often enough will eventually be believed.>>

Obviously, a principle you're practicing from the experience and example of FOX News.

<< In truth, no one knows what Terri wants. When she was finally asked what she wanted, the same judge that condemned her to death decided that her response was not “credible.” He took nearly an entire day to issue a rejection he probably knew he would issue after five minutes. Did he hope she would die and save him the trouble? Why did Judge Greer never go sit by Terri’s bed and observe the woman now dying because of his order?>>

Have you? Who are you to judge? What happened was, some of the Schindler family and one of their lawyers said to Terri, "Repeat after me; I want to live." And she supposedly moaned, "Ah wa." She at best never finished the sentence. She could just as easily have meant, "I want to die." That's what we don't know from present communications, because she cannot now communicate. The court's decision was based on credible recollections of repeated statements she made over the years while she still had a working brain and could communicate.

<< People must understand the goal of those who support the euthanasia of human beings. They are not talking about the terminally ill. Those people have been allowed to leave this earthy plain without intervention for a long time. The “Right to Die” supporters want the legal right to “humanely kill” anyone disabled or infirm that is deemed a burden or that is “suffering” because of their condition.>>

You simply cannot make a euthanasia case out of this. Cry wolf too often and nobody will listen to you. Your beef is really with the "conservative" Republicans in the White House and Congress who want to cut medicaid funds. It's those funds that are keeping our senile grandmothers alive now. Remember, it was Bush a year or so ago who attended a veterans event and, that same day, went back to the White House and cut veterans medical benefits from his budget.

<< In the early days of Nazi Germany,...>>

Oh, pull-eaze! Spare us the dramatics. It was the Jews the Nazis were after. It's the "liberals" this present government is demonizing now, not the infirm. If you wanna make comparisons to Naziism, which I'm not doing, you might look at what we're doing in Iraq, "liberating" unwilling people, not what is happening in Florida.

<< Terri is now being given morphine to “ease her pain.” >>

You claim to be a nurse and make this statement with a straight face. You must know the real reason for morphine, besides pain, is to speed up and remove the anxiety of an imminent death process; it's a routine procedure, whether the patient actually has pain or anxiety. You do it, you don't test for anxiety or pain to see if it's needed.

<< You should be afraid, very afraid.>>

No, you should sign a living will and give a medical power of attorney to someone you trust.

<< About the Writer: Barbara J. Stock is a registered nurse who enjoys writing about politics and current events.>>

She should concentrate on the facts and not make this an anti-euthanasia cause. i've devoted several hours to answering a lot of this, and it's all I can afford to do today. I hope you folks found some of this helpful.

Cheers,
Dave Haigler
lawyer/mediator/NASD securities arbitrator

 

Check the Abi-Demian for latest updates on Schiavo case

Abi-Demian

The Abi-Demian is updated weekly or sooner when stories develop.

 

More hate mail attacks Haigler

Demlog

Pam Bain pmc20003@yahoo.com wrote Dave Haigler as follows:

You don't know me. But you sent an email to several people that forwarded it to myself. I would like to say that first you are entitled to your opinion, just as everyone else, and should you not agree with them well so be it.

IN your email I will cut and paste the points I'd like to comment on....

<< And where did this finding of "judicial tyranny" come from, when some 29 or so judges have unanimously ruled against your point of view. >>

You mention these 29 or so judges (don't you know the exact number?) that ruled against our points of view, but don't mention the number of ones that agreed with our points of view.
I realize you are a lawyer--and yes maybe what they are doing to Terri is legal, but that doesn't make it right. Defense lawyers defend guilty defendants and can win a case on a technicality because it is the law--that doesn't make it right.

I urge you to educate yourself in what it means to die of dehydration. Here is a link in particular I would like you to check out.

http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9504/harvey.html

I wonder how you would feel if Terri was your mother or grandmother... Wouldn't you do all that you could to save her?? Wouldn't you be outraged if you were denied each and every time in court???

The nation is grieving the upcoming loss of a woman. Can't you keep your crap to yourself and allow them to grieve?

Pamela
pmc20003@yahoo.com

Dave Haigler responded:

Ms. Bain:

Let's first start with your subject, "your spam email." I sent no spam. I received a group email from someone named: MJCoppi@cs.com, complaining of "judicial tyranny" in the Schiavo case. I responded to the group.

Yours is the 3rd hate mail I've received from that group.

Secondly, you complain because I have not claimed to keep count on the number of judges who have ruled in favor of Terri Schiavo's right to die. Nor do I intend to. All the courts that have heard this matter have been consistent. Yes, there was one dissenter on the 11th Circuit federal 3-judge panel, and two dissenters from the en banc (entire court) of the 11th Circuit. If you think it means anything to keep score counting judges, like this was some kind of sports game, then that's your right, but it means nothing legally or morally.

Third, you say, "Defense lawyers defend guilty defendants and can win a case on a technicality because it is the law--that doesn't make it right." Lady, lawyer bashing has been a favorite sport in this country for 20 years now, ever since the insurance industry invented the fraud of "tort reform" in 1985; and I have a hobby of collecting lawyer jokes. But these are absolutely irrelevant to the Terri Schiavo tragedy. There is no "higher law" here that applies to countervail the court decisions on Schiavo's right to die. The appeals to "higher law" are anarchistic, plain and simple. Calling these court decisions "judicial tyranny," which was the original point I responded to, is utter lawlessness. There are forces in this country, springing out of Fundamentalism and Dispensationalism, who would like to dismantle the Founding Fathers' carefully-built 3-part separation of powers and gut the judiciary, and they are dangerous -- which is why I take time to painstakingly rebut such nonsense. They sometimes invoke the Founding Fathers, but they know nothing of these giants. If you and your friends on this list i responded to would care to educate yourselves to the real tyranny going on, you might read some of the articles I've written starting at Op-Ed Articles by Dave Haigler.

Fourth, you invoke the pain of dehydration. I am aware of that. Unlike your group, I have considered all the arguments pro and con on this case. But, you see, the pain of dehydration is inconclusive to resolve Terri Schiavo's case, for two reasons: 1. in the condition of her brain that the courts have conclusively found her to be [persistent vegetative state], there is no feeling of pain as we know it; and 2. just in case, the care providers have started a morphine drip -- a medical procedure that often mercifully shortens intractable pain when there is no medical hope and eventually allows the patient to stop breathing on his or her own.

Fifth, you try to personalize this case to my mother or grandmother. If I were or had been on my mother or grandmother's medical power of attorney, then I'd look into her end-of-life wishes and comply with them as best I could -- just as Michael Schiavo has. Some people have expressed a desire to be kept alive in such circumstances, and some have not. Terri Schiavo said not. The opposition in this case is not doing that; rather, they are imposing their own values on a situation that is foreign and unknown to their values -- much like the protestant street preachers who presumed to offer communion to this Roman Catholic woman who cannot now speak for herself. How in God's name could these idiots think protestant communion would be acceptable to Terri Schiavo -- is beyond me. That is the only outrage here. Yes, I would be outraged if I were the person with the responsibility to act for someone who could no longer act for himself or herself, and the doctors or courts disregarded those wishes. Much as I was in fact outraged one time when I was on a friend's medical power of attorney and a new nurse on duty refused to allow me access to my friend's medical chart, after I had been visiting him daily for weeks and checking his chart every time. I informed the nurse that I had the authority to remove this patient from her care and would not leave until she allowed me access to his chart. She called the doctor at home, who promptly ordered her to allow me access. But what if this man's estranged family had injected opposing wishes? I, and the courts backing me up, would have excluded their contrary wishes and instructions, just as the Schindler family has been. You see, under any system of law and order, someone gets to decide, and all others don't.

Finally, you say the nation is grieving and i should keep my "crap" to myself. This is evident of the impudence and lawlessness of your group's position. Polls show 82% of the country agrees with Michael Schiavo and all the courts who have considered this case and support Terri Schiavo's right to die with dignity. You are part of an 18% minority who want to override the one with the authority and the entire court system that supports him. This is anarchistic, as I said to start with. If you were to put action to your beliefs, you would be arrested and convicted as criminals, and rightly so. This is the same kind of self-righteousness that crucified Jesus Christ. And yet it sometimes is invoked in the name of Jesus -- being the spiritual blindness that it is. But you have a nice day and a nice life, because in this country you still have the right to express insurrectionist thougths, as long as you don't act on them. You should thank whatever god you worship that the courts you attack still back that right up.

And unless you have something constructive to say in response, as distinguished from the kind of personal attacks you're expressed so far, please do not write me anymore. Thank you very much.

Cheers,
Dave Haigler
civil lawyer/mediator/NASD securities arbitrator

Sunday, March 27, 2005

 

MSNBC reports Schiavo receives Easter communion

msnbc

The Rev. Thaddeus Malanowski said he gave Schiavo wine but could not give her a fleck of communion bread because her tongue was dry. He also administered the last rites, annointing her with holy oil and giving a blessing. Schiavo last received both sacraments on March 18, just before her feeding tube was removed.

 

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Hatemailer attacks Haigler & he responds

Demlog

Daine1945@aol.com said this to Dave Haigler:

<< You are so wrong. You don't show any caring feeling for Terri. Just wondering how you would feel if you were one of the parents. I personally would not want to live like this. But there is no proof that this is Terri's wishes. I do have a living will now. If this was one of my animals, I would put it to sleep not have it hang on so long. You don't know me. So why are you judging? >>

Dave responds:

You accuse me of being heartless, wrong and non-caring, and then say I'm judging you!?

All I've done is share news stories showing both sides of this dispute. I've not taken sides. I would not presume to say the feeding tube should be replaced or left out. All the courts who've heard this case have concluded the tube should be left out, and who am I to second guess them? It is you and the mailing list you're on who are attacking the wisdom of these 19 or 29 judges now, I've lost count, who've sided with the husband with the legal & moral authority to make decisions, and the overwhelming weight of the witnesses who have testified for a decade now that Terri Schiavo did not want to live like this.

The other side of this is grieving parents and siblings, who understandably don't want to see their daughter/sister die, but who 12 years ago broke fellowship with their son/brother-in-law because he refused to share the malpractice settlement with them, when they had no legal or moral right to any of it.

People are judging Mr. Schiavo for taking up with another woman, when the Schindler in-laws encouraged him initially to do this, and when the easier thing for him to have done would have been to divorce Terri and go on with his life, but instead, he kept caring for her. Who could judge him who in the prime of their adult life remained celibate for 15 years? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone, my Bible says.

I have not judged you at all, lady. If I were to judge you, it would be solely on your written words to me, which demonstrate a lot of ignorance of the reported facts on this story. If you want to discuss this further, then all I ask is that you read up on both sides, and don't blather me further with notions that Terri's wishes are not known. The court heard evidence on that years ago and made its decision and no court has been able to find any fault with that since.

I say again -- people who are attacking these courts are anarchists. Read your Bible in Romans 12 & 13 and see what it says about that, please.

Cheers,
Dave Haigler

 

LA Times: money & morals taint Schiavo/Schindler in-law relationship

LA Times

Michael Schiavo summed up his position during an appearance this month on CNN, saying: "I made a promise to Terri. I'm going to stick by her side, and I'm going to do this for her. Terri is not a piece of property you pass back and forth. She didn't say, 'When I become sick, give me back to my parents.' "

Though he maintains a vigil at his wife's bedside, he has also tried to move on with his life. He met and began dating Jodi Centonze 10 years ago. He has referred to her as his fiancee for five years, and the couple have two young children.

At first, the Schindlers urged him to see other women. They understood that he might need new companionship, according to court records and family members. But since the family split, the Schindlers have argued that his new relationship amounts to adultery. They have called him an abuser and murderer, suggesting he was a controlling, anger-prone husband.

This story also describes the fight over the malpractice settlement money.

 

Washington Post says Schiavo case has hardened Catholic teaching on feeding tubes

Washington Post

The Roman Catholic Church has taken a strong stance in the saga of Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman whose parents are fighting to keep her alive. Her Catholic faith has been such an important issue in the case that a court ordered doctors to deliver the sacrament of Holy Communion through her feeding tube before it was removed March 18. Pope John Paul II has said feeding tubes are "morally obligatory" for most patients in vegetative states [as long as it "provides nourishment" and "alleviates suffering"], and high-ranking cardinals have followed up by referring to Schiavo, saying that removing her feeding tube could lead to legalized euthanasia.

 

Herald says Schiavo parents begged husband to allow Easter communion

Miami Herald

Paul O'Donnell, a Roman Catholic Franciscan monk, said the Schindler family urged Schiavo's husband Michael to allow Terri to receive the sacrament of communion for Easter. Terri Schiavo, who cannot swallow, would have a minuscule piece of bread and a drop of wine placed in her mouth.

Michael Schiavo had arranged for Terri to receive communion on March 18, the day the feeding tube was removed, and one more time before she dies.

 

Miami Herald reports Schindlers driven by desperation for daughter Terri

Miami Herald

Desperation fuels fight by family, friends say

The Schindler family has rallied the support of politicians, the president, even the pope. Family friends say sheer desperation drove them forward, despite the setbacks.

 

USA Today says Schindler-Schiavo dispute was over sharing malpractice money

Yahoo/USA Today

USA Today reports that after a Jan. 2000 court hearing, Florida Circuit Judge George Greer issued an order on Terri Schiavo's case finding:

"On Feb. 14, 1993, this amicable relationship between the parties was severed," Greer wrote. "While the testimony differs on what may or may not have been promised to whom and by whom, it is clear to this court that such severance was predicated upon money and the fact that Mr. Schiavo was unwilling to equally divide his loss of consortium award with Mr. and Mrs. Schindler."

Daniel Grieco, the attorney who handled Michael Schiavo's malpractice case, says his client never promised money to Bob Schindler. He also said Schindler never understood that he wasn't entitled to money under Florida law.

Grieco says the money is at the root of the estrangement. "It was the precipitating factor," Grieco says. "That was the fracture. That was the basis of it."

Note: "loss of consortium" is the legal term for lost intimacy in a marriage relationship when one spouse becomes injured in some way. Michael Schiavo is Terri's husband. The Schindlers are her parents.

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