Marlowe's Shade

Friday, July 29, 2005

Nitschke Basks in the Limelime of Controversial Death

From The Age

Voluntary euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke and Melbourne activist Dr Rodney Syme yesterday admitted advising terminally ill man Steve Guest on how to end his life.

The two euthanasia activists yesterday challenged the grey areas of the law relating to doctors advising patients on suicide while the State Coroner yesterday confirmed Mr Guest's death was under investigation.

Mr Guest died on Wednesday morning at his Point Lonsdale home after a 10-month battle with cancer of the oesophagus.

Both doctors admitted yesterday they had visited Mr Guest in the final days of his life and had discussed options of how he could end his life.

"He asked a number of questions about ways, if you like," Dr Nitschke said yesterday. "He asked about drugs, he asked about all sorts of questions and had done in previous times while he had been a member of Exit (the right-to-die organisation founded by Dr Nitschke)," he said.

Dr Nitschke said the coronial inquiry into Mr Guest's death was "interesting" as he believed the death certificate signed off by a local GP stated bronchial pneumonia as the cause of death.

Neither Dr Nitschke nor Dr Syme was with Mr Guest when the former media adviser died on Wednesday.

Mr Guest received publicity after advocating voluntary euthanasia in emotional pleas on Melbourne radio in the weeks leading up to his death.

Under the Crimes Act, it is illegal to "aid or abet any person in the commission of suicide" but euthanasia campaigners believe it is a grey area under the law whether doctors giving advice to patients constitutes aiding or abetting.

"I don't fear prosecution at all," said Dr Syme, who as president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Victoria welcomed renewed debate on the law.

"You don't prosecute doctors for good medical practice, surely," he said.

"I firmly believe - and Steve Guest illustrates it in spades - that if you give people advice and put them in control, the quality of their life is enhanced enormously."

Mr Guest, 58, had two daughters and was separated from his wife.

Meanwhile, Dr Nitschke said last night he was considering taking up an invitation from the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand to move his right-to-die organisation across the Tasman to thwart new federal legislation that comes into effect next January
papijoe 6:48 AM |

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Save a Pro-Life Movie from Box Office Oblivion

I haven't seen it yet, but from the reviews it seem like all of us that value life should make a point of seeing Michael Bay's The Island. From the paltrey 12 million it grossed last week, it certainly needs a some help.

I'll rely on Jeff Rubin's synopsis and review in Human Events:

The story is a grabber: An evil -- well, evil to us radical right-to-lifers, anyway -- company makes clones of rich-and-famous “clients” for “insurance” against future illness (or mere aging), in the event of which the clones’ organs (or skin) will be harvested for transplant -- killing them, of course. Some female clones are used to conceive and bear children for infertile “clients” and then “disposed of.”

Naturally, the clones can’t know any of this. So they are kept in a high-tech underground complex and misled to believe that they and their keepers are the sole survivors of an environmental catastrophe that has rendered the outside world uninhabitable – all except for a single, paradisal island that can accommodate a select few inhabitants, who are chosen by a randomly occurring lottery. The “winners” of the lottery, it turns out, are actually being called up for harvesting.

All is proceeding smoothly – and profitably – until one of the clones, Lincoln Two Echo (McGregor) uncovers the truth about the “special purpose” for which he and his fellow clones have been bred. I won’t give away any more. Suffice to say that The Island, while a tad overlong at 2¼ hours, is never boring, and it builds to a conclusion that – incredibly for a sci-fi action film – brought me to the verge of tears (which is as close as I get). It also includes scenes and images so shockingly resonant of abortion, euthanasia, the mischaracterization of brain-damaged patients like Terry Schiavo as “vegetables,” and the medical exploitation of the unborn – all of which, in a scene near the end, is unmistakeably linked to the Holocaust -- that one can only ask oneself how such a movie ever got made – by the House of Spielberg, no less

Rubin praises the film not only for a sympathetic view of the sanctity of life, but being entertaining as well.

So, why is such a terrific film such a colossal flop? Does it prove that American audiences don’t want a film that challenges their “right” to exploit or destroy others’ lives to improve or lengthen their own? It may well. But it may also have something to do with the critical mugging this film received. Perhaps, too, Dreamworks, being inexplicably insensible to the moral-political implications of the film, never thought of marketing it specifically to conservatives and Christians, the way Mel Gibson did The Passion of the Christ. In any event, it’s probably too late to save the film’s theatrical run -- but here’s hoping they wake up in time to salvage its potential DVD sales. God willing, The Island will be just the beginning, not the end, of Hollywood’s recovery of moral sanity.

As there is a brief sexual interlude (although supposedly tame by current standards) and some gruesome scenes of the "processing" of the clones this is probably not a family movie. But I'll be seeing it this weekend and may even try to catch it in the second run theaters. If you would like to see Hollywood produce more movies like this, rather than dreck like "Million Dollar Baby", I encourage you to do the same.
papijoe 7:10 AM |

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Padding the Iraqi Body Count

From NRO, hat tip: lawhawk

Shortly before the war in Iraq started, a small outfit named Iraq Body Count (IBC) coalesced in the ether of cyberspace with a singular goal: to tabulate the civilian deaths resulting from a U.S. invasion. The group predicted famines and plagues, citing U.N. surveys that said there would be “starvation and homelessness for millions,” and at least “two million refugees.” Within weeks IBC web counters, replete with the image of bombs dropping from a plane, peppered left-wing websites and noted the escalating civilian casualties, updated as soon as the now-massive IBC database was.


The report itself is premised on two years worth of newspaper and web data — well, “data” in a loose sense. IBC rests its laurels on numbers generated from newspaper reports of deaths and newspaper reports of mortuary and hospital logs. The methodology is flawed from the get-go, and though the citations are noted, there are no links to the articles. (That’s not exactly true; there are a couple links to particularly gory stories, like one with the headline, “I saw the heads of my two little girls come off.”) The lack of transparency, however, is only a small flaw in an ocean of methodological errors. Deaths only have to be verified by two of their accepted sources — which include (the non-fair and balanced), Al Jazeera, and ReliefWeb — and often the second source is just a reprint of the first. A death count only has to be mentioned in passing in the article, like a doctor or bystander who gives a reporter casualty estimates.

IBC’s counters also give themselves wriggle room, by displaying a minimum and maximum body toll to account for situations where numbers may not be clear. These generally come from ambiguous interpretations of words like “probable” or “most”: For example, if a doctor says 50 people were killed in an air raid, and “most” were civilians, IBC will add 26 to its minimum, and 49 to its maximum. In other cases, they’ll invent percentages and play the same trick, by defining words as they see fit. Constant fiddling with numbers to generate minimums and maximums, and long-winded explanations of how this is done, provide the pseudo-scientific cover IBC relies on for its high-profile publicity.

So much for the "reality-based community". It is clear that when they run out of arguments, the Left and the MSM will simply lie.
papijoe 8:14 AM |

Ulster MP Fights BMA Euthanasia Decision

From News Letter

A campaign to reverse the British Medical Association's controversial new stance on euthanasia is being headed by a Northern Ireland MP.

DUP Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson is leading a group of MPs who claim the BMA's decision not to oppose physician-assisted suicide will " withdraw protection" from the most vulnerable patients.

The MPs criticised events at the recent BMA annual conference where it is claimed only 175 of 304 eligible voting delegates were present for votes on euthanasia.

They have tabled two Early Day Motions in the House of Commons on the issue.

Mr Donaldson said: "We are confident that a majority of doctors would oppose the BMA motion which has now been adopted and which withdraws protection from the most vulnerable patients.

"Last year, a similar process was used by senior members of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Physicians when they gave evidence to a House of Lords Committee considering a Bill on euthanasia.

"They stated that the Royal College was not opposed to physician-assisted suicide and took a neutral stand.

However, they have now had to reverse this policy resulting from demands by grassroots members who oppose all forms of euthanasia.

papijoe 7:22 AM |

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Glamour Magazine Discovers the "Roe Effect"

From via Jill Stanek

After I resisted the temptation to write a piece blasting the ridiculous inherent bias of the authors, I found that the article actually has a lot of encouraging news for pro-life voters. First of all, the article begins with the premise, established by various polling organizations, that support for unrestricted legal abortion has taken a nose dive among females aged 18-29.

For instance, according to a CBS/New York Times poll cited in the article, 49% of 18-29 year old women believed that abortion should be "available to anyone who wants it" in 1993. In 2003 among the same age group, only 35% of respondents believed abortion should be "available to anyone who wants it." In 2005, only 28% of respondents favored making abortion "available to anyone who wants it."

Furhtermore, in 1993, 30% of female respondents in the 18-29 year old age group believed that abortion should be "available, but with stricter limits." By 2005, the number had risen to 40%.

Most encouraging of all, only 19% of respondents in 1993 believed that abortion should be "not permitted." By 2005, the number had risen to 30%.

Although the article blames a number of factors from complacency to sonograms they missed the most likely reason which was first posited by James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal, which he calls the "Roe Effect"

More than 40 million legal abortions have been performed and documented in the 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court declared abortion legal. The debate remains focused on the legality and morality of abortion. What's largely ignored is a factual analysis of the political consequences of 40 million abortions. Consider:

• There were 12,274,368 in the Voting Age Population of 205,815,000 missing from the 2000 presidential election, because of abortions from 1973-82.

• In this year's election, there will be 18,336,576 in the Voting Age Population missing because of abortions between 1972 and 1986.

• In the 2008 election, 24,408,960 in the Voting Age Population will be missing because of abortions between 1973-90.

These numbers will not change. They are based on individual choices made--aggregated nationally--as long as 30 years ago. Look inside these numbers at where the political impact is felt most. Do Democrats realize that millions of Missing Voters--due to the abortion policies they advocate--gave George W. Bush the margin of victory in 2000?

The number of abortions accumulate in size and political impact as the years roll along. Like an avalanche that picks up speed, mass, and power as it thunders down a mountain, the number of Missing Voters from abortion changes the landscape of politics. The absence of the missing voters may not be noticed, but that doesn't mean its political impact disappears. As seen during a famine, what no longer exists becomes as relevant as what does.

Although it may seem obvious, parents who value the life of their child will tend to pass on these values to the next generation. However this simple lesson seems lost on the editors of Glamour.
papijoe 7:42 AM |

Fr. Pavone Steps Up in Supreme Court Battle

From US Newswire

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, announced today that his organization will launch a special two-month educational campaign to bring Americans to a deeper understanding of how extreme the Roe vs. Wade decision is, and how out of step it is with the opinions of the American people.

The campaign is meant to counteract the view that opposition to Roe is extreme -- a view that will be assumed in many discussions during the Supreme Court confirmation battles.

"Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion nationwide throughout all nine months of pregnancy. Most Americans don't know that and most Americans oppose that policy."

Priests for Life is the nation's largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit

Fr. Frank Pavone was at the forefront of the battle to save Terri Schiavo. I'm glad to see him taking the initiative in the fight to confirm John Roberts.
papijoe 6:50 AM |

Monday, July 25, 2005

More Stem Cell Chicanery

From ProLifeBlogs, I came across a Steve Milloy column on how disingenuous the various ES proposals are. I'm no fan of the Kass compromise, but it's fascinating how it's opponent's criticisms end up being an indictment of ES research as a whole.

Meanwhile Jill Stanek reports on the the failure of a recent bill to federally fund ES and the underhand attempts to sneak it through in an appropriations bill.
papijoe 6:17 AM |

Friday, July 22, 2005

Australian "Dr Death" Holds a Town Meeting

From Geelonginfo

GEELONG residents yesterday asked Australia's `Dr Death' Philip Nitschke the best way to end their lives.
The Geelong West Town Hall supper room could not contain the 150 people who came to hear Dr Nitschke explain the ``peaceful pill'' and how to circumvent the law that deems it illegal to assist or advise suicide


``How about we just go to a Melbourne nightclub, get some ecstasy and go out on a high?'' asked another woman, greeted by laughter.

Dr Nitschke said, although it was asked in humour, the question was not uncommon, as many people considered narcotics such as heroin as a euthanasia drug.

``Keep away from narcotics, it won't necessarily end your life,'' he said.

He also ruled out the sleeping pill diazepam, along with all other such drugs and relaxants.

``They're all non-lethal. They're good sleeping tablets and taking a lot might mean you sleep really well but sleeping isn't the same as dying.''

Earlier, Dr Nitschke explained the most effective euthanasia methods and how to skirt the law.
papijoe 6:35 AM |

Thursday, July 21, 2005

John Roberts Nomination: Humor and Derision

In the spirit of some of my neighbors who are already waving their "Filibuster Roberts" signs in my fair city, only the genius of iowahawk captures the true spirit of their grassroots efforts:

He or She Is The Wrong Man or Woman For The Court
Critical Urgent Community Action Bulletin
from the Progressive Action Network For American Progress
For Immediate Release

The Progressive Action Network For American Progress is extremely concerned by today's news that President Bush has selected ___JOHN ROBERTS___ as his nominee for the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. Unlike outgoing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the widely respected and admired moderate consensus-building sensible mainstream compromisist, ___JOHN ROBERTS___ has a shocking record of extremely extreme fringe legal positions that fill us with grave concerns about ___HIS___ fitness for this critically crucial office.

Make no mistake: no one should be fooled by the administration's public relations efforts or ___JOHN ROBERTS___ 's seemingly "moderate" appearance. ___JOHN ROBERTS___ has a record that suggests that ___HE___ would deny women the right to reproductive choice, stop important life-saving medical stem cell research by extending the Patriot Act to draft their unwanted fetuses, and turn these conscripted fetuses over to dangerous tax-supported 'Creationist' religious indoctrination laboratories. The Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment, and America needs to know whether ___JOHN ROBERTS___ supports the GOP's secret plan of a Rush Limbaugh Jesus army of unwanted, unquestioning fetus zombies programmed to urinate on the Korans of Guantanamo detainees.

We should also point out that our opposition to ___JOHN ROBERTS___ has nothing to do with the nominee's race and/or gender. We at the Progressive Action Network For American Progress have long been on record of standing up for the civil rights of ___WHITE MEN___ , rights from which ___JOHN ROBERTS___ ironically, has benefited. Sadly, rather than create programs and begin to work on the real problems that concern ___WHITE MEN___ , the Bush administration has cynically forwarded an unqualified, token candidate like ___JOHN ROBERTS___ to mask its callous indifference to the plight of the ___WHITE MAN___ community.

The rest includes a hilarious list of supporting organizations such as "Sitcom Producers for the American Way".

Liberal Larry of course is not to be outdone:

John Roberts is a DUDE!
My progressive friends and I were discussing plans to fight Bush's extremist, right-wing, totally unacceptable nominee for the Supreme Court when word coincidentally reached us of his pick. Judge John Roberts. The name sounds oddly unfeminine, doesn't it? In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb here and wager that John Roberts is a DUDE.

I know - I was just as shocked as you are. As a progressive, my intense hatred for all things masculine has mutated into an almost oedipal obsession with motherly figures in politics. And I'm not the lone voice squealing like a piggy in the wilderness this time. Indeed, ever since Sandra Dee O'Connor passed away, the general consensus among a majority of Americans was that Bush should replace her with a nurturing womyn who could provide much needed balance to the grunting cesspool of testosterone the Supreme Court is now. Preferably, someone unencumbered by years of legal training and a mile-long list of annoying credentials. Someone whose mind is an empty vessel waiting to be filled with liberal dogma and democrat talking points, which she would then regurgitate into her court decisions. Instead, Bush gave us an ideologue.

We all pretty much expected that the Shrub would pick someone just to the right of Adolf Hitler, but like most democrats, I was willing to give him a chance to unite America with a mainstream female nominee who was gung-ho for abortion and gay marriage. Unfortunately, he's chosen to divide us once again - this time between those who care about the fundamentals values of freedom and liberty that our Founding Fathers expressed in the Constitution, and those who throw little baby tantrums when you take away their guns and land.

If there is any laughter going on among the anti-Roberts clique, it seems to be directed toward the American people:

Amazing, isn't it? The Democrats are so arrogant that they cannot refrain from publicly boasting to fellow New York Times-reading elites how they manipulate the yahoos out there (that is, you and me).

One example of yahoo-deception in this New York Times Sunday Magazine article is the successful Democratic effort to fool the public into believing the Constitutional design of checks and balances was being gutted by Republicans who were trying to stop Democratic efforts to filibuster the Administration's appointments of Federal judges.

In reality, this principle of checks and balances refers to the reasoning behind having three separate branches of government. It does not refer to a parliamentary tactic using a minority of Congressmen to frustrate majority rule. Indeed if anyone can be accused of abusing tradition it would be the Democrats who have misappropriated the filibuster power of the Senate, blocking majority-supported nominees as they had never before been blocked in the entire history of that august body.

Geoff Garmin, a leading Democrat pollster, blithely admits that the Democrats manipulated the public's view of this issue because the concept of a filibuster was "beyond the pay grade of the American voter."

This helps explain how my moonbat neighbors can flaunt their support for the anti-democratic filibuster that allows the minority to oppose the will of the majority. They think the rest of us are too stupid to see the irony.
papijoe 6:21 AM |

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sea Change in Canada?

From Asian Pacific Post

Which ever side you are on, the same-sex marriage issue which has torn Canadians apart is setting the tone for a nasty and ugly federal election slated to be called sometime in early 2006.

Add to this Justice John Gomery‘s final report on Liberal corruption and fraud, warnings that the fiscal cupboard is becoming rather empty and the NDP screaming betrayal after not getting what they were promised for helping the government pass the budget, Prime Minister Paul Martin‘s promise to go to the polls early next year is sounding more and more like a political death wish.

Leading the charge to oust incumbent MPs, mainly Liberals, who voted for Bill C-38 are Catholics incensed that their institution of marriage “has been hijacked by the government and sinister forces.“

This strong and growing lobby which some polls show has the backing of two-third of Canadians, is working behind the scenes from coast-to-coast painting those who voted for the same-sex marriage bill as being anti-pro life, for abortion, for euthanasia and anti-family values.

The strategy is already rattling some Liberal MPs who say they don‘t want to go to the polls next February and are urging Martin not to call an election 30 days after Justice Gomery releases his final report, as was promised.

One of them who articulated his fear recently was Catholic Liberal MP Tony Martin who said the forces that are not pleased with Bill C-38 “are actively organizing and working and getting ready for the next election.“
papijoe 6:51 AM |

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Vaccines from Aborted Cell Lines

My ignorance is almost as sickening as the issue itself.

Apparently this has been going on for years and currently there are three vaccines whose sole source is aborted fetuses. More are being developed.

In today's Black Kettle Blog we learn that the Vatican has just issued a statement condemning this practice. At least I'm not the only one who's been in the dark on this issue.
papijoe 6:53 AM |

Monday, July 18, 2005

Stem Cell Agenda Becoming Clearer

Last week I commented on a relatively unfamiliar topic for me, embryonic stem cell research. I was still trying to get my head around why ES research was being pushed so hard. This Chicago Tribune column by Steve Chapman was helpful in cutting to the heart of the matter. First he explodes some of the myths about the current embryos available for research:

By now, we all know the crucial question about embryonic stem-cell research. Advocates have put it plainly: Should we let unused frozen embryos residing in fertility clinics be dumped down the drain--or should we use them to cure diabetes, Alzheimer's, paralysis and other health scourges?

Confronted with that question, the U.S. House of Representatives voted last month to provide federal funding for experimentation on these embryos, despite the threat of a presidential veto. As Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) put it, the only embryos that would be destroyed for medical research are those that "would otherwise be destroyed. That is, embryos that held the promise of life but are certain not to fulfill that promise."

It's a persuasive argument that many well-meaning people find hard to reject--but one that is constructed almost entirely out of myths. The choice we face is one very different from that portrayed by its advocates.

Start with the claim that 400,000 frozen embryos otherwise would go to waste. The truth is that most of them are anything but "surplus." According to a 2003 survey by researchers at the RAND Corp., a California think tank, 88 percent of them are being stored for their original function: to make babies for their parents.

Just 2.2 percent of the embryos have been designated for disposal and less than 3 percent for research. The latter group amounts to about 11,000 embryos.

OK, so ES research advocates may have exaggerated the number of embryos available. But according to Chapman, the deception doesn't stop there.

The biggest myth, though, is that scientists will be content with using existing, leftover embryos. The 11,000 embryos, according to the RAND study, would yield no more than 275 stem-cell lines. For the task of curing major diseases, an article in Scientific American last year said "hundreds of thousands" of lines may be needed--which "could require millions of discarded embryos."

But there is no prospect of getting millions of discarded embryos. So what will advocates of embryonic stem-cell research do when their needs exceed the supply? They will ask for government subsidies to produce additional embryos for experimentation.

Actually, that's not what they will do--it's what they've already done. Last year, California voters approved $3 billion in state funding for stem-cell research, including experiments on embryos created through "therapeutic cloning." That ballot initiative had the enthusiastic endorsement of such groups as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

As in my last post on ES research, I can't help seeing parallels to the slippery slope of the right-to-die movement. And in any debate involving the sanctity of life, one small compromise is a the proverbial camel's nose under the tent. Chapman spells it out for us:

So why have the advocates pushed for the much narrower federal bill passed by the House? Because they want Americans to get used to the idea of destroying human embryos in research. Then it will be a small step to get the public to accept what they really want--creating human life in order to destroy it.

And on a final pessimistic note, we see the same hallmarks of the euthanasia debate in public support based not on facts but perception manipulated by a sympathetic media. As important as it is, this is not just a debate on morality. The facts are simply not getting out.
papijoe 7:12 AM |

Friday, July 15, 2005

More on BMA Euthanasia Decision

Yesterday accusations were raised that the BMA's recent vote not to oppose euthanasia was engineered by political maneuvering:

A LANDMARK vote by doctors to abandon their opposition to euthanasia was fixed, a Mersey MP claimed yesterday.

Claire Curtis-Thomas, Labour MP for Crosby, condemned the British Medical Association for the late staging of the vote, after nearly half the delegates had left its annual conference.

The MP also attacked the failure to vote on a separate motion that would have maintained the BMA's resistance to terminally-ill patients being helped to die.

And she warned the move was a big boost to euthanasia supporters, who include an independent peer preparing to reintroduce his own Bill to legalise it.

Ms Curtis-Thomas claimed: "The vote was deliberately held at the end of the conference because many doctors opposed to euthanasia had to leave.

"The only other explanation is that the BMA did not believe the vote would be of interest and I don't think many people would believe that. This is definitely a bit murky."

But the claim was ridiculed by the BMA, which insisted the late timing was simply a result of the huge pressure to debate as many as possible of a suggested 700 motions.

A spokeswoman said: "The vote was not fixed. We had a fair, honest and open debate."

The BMA agreed that the criminal law in relation to assisted dying was "primarily a matter for society and for parliament".

Therefore, the motion stated: "The BMA should not oppose legislation which alters the criminal law, but should press for robust safeguards both for patients and for doctors who not wish to be involved in such procedures."

It came ahead of the reintroduction of Lord Joffe's Bill to allow terminally-ill people to kill themselves, after it ran out of time before May's general election.

Meanwhile the BMA decision has initiated a domino effect, and the New Zealand Medical Association is considering a similar change in policy:

The New Zealand Medical Association will re-examine its position on euthanasia because its British counterpart has taken a more neutral stance on the issue.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has dropped its policy of automatic opposition to euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide and will now let parliament determine the issue.

New Zealand Medical Association Chairman Ross Boswell says the BMA is effectively its parent association, so the NZMA will now re-examine its position.

He says the BMA has decided it is neither opposed to nor in favour of euthanasia.

Boswell says that position challenges the World Medical Association, which is still ethically opposed to doctors being involved in euthanasia.

Euthanasia campaigners say it would be a significant step if the New Zealand Medical Association went ahead with a review of euthanasia policy. They say a review of the issue is not only necessary but would recognise that the current NZMA policy is outdated.

Lesley Martin from Dignity New Zealand says the NZMA should respond to the fact that doctors admit to carrying out euthanasia in this country.

But the pro-life group, Family Life International says changing the NZMA stance on euthanasia would mark a frightening moment in New Zealand medical history.
papijoe 6:55 AM |

Thursday, July 14, 2005

California Euthanasia Bill Defeated

From TODAYonline

Legislators in California have shelved plans to push through a socially explosive law that would allow doctors to help terminally ill patients commit suicide, officials said.

The Death With Dignity Act, which would have given dying patients the right to hasten their own deaths by taking a lethal but legally prescribed dose of medicine, was derailed, at least temporarily, by political opposition to the move.

The bill, which would have made California only the second US state to sanction euthanasia, failed to muster the 41 votes needed in the state assembly to pass it, its sponsors said.

"This is something we will not take up for the rest of this legislative session," said Crystal Strait, communications director for Democratic state assemblyman Lloyd Levine who backed the bill.

"Support is not quite there yet, but we had way over 30 votes so we were not that far off, but we want to do this right," she told AFP of the bill which tackles a highly divisive issue in US politics and society.

The bill, if passed, would make California only the second US state to allow physician-assisted suicide after the northwestern state of Oregon passed a similar highly-controversial law in 1997.

But supporters vowed not to allow the proposed law to die after religious and political groups strongly opposed the proposed law change, saying they would reintroduce it next January.

"This issue is so important that we need to take time to educate members. Death is a very difficult subject and the opposition did a good job of spreading lies and mistrust of what it does and does not do," Strait said.

Euthanasia has long been a hot-button issue in the United States, but it sprang to international attention in March when rival family members of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo fought bitterly over whether to allow her to die.

The California bill was very closely modelled on Oregon's assisted suicide bill which the administration of President George W. Bush strongly opposes.

The US Supreme Court has agreed to review Oregon's euthanasia law after an appeals court in May 2004 blocked attempts by the government to reverse it.

In a decision that angered Washington, the federal appeals court in San Francisco barred the US government from punishing physicians who take part in euthanasia in Oregon.

Sponsors of the California bill said they wanted to ensure that their law was not defeated in a vote as such a failure would fuel the administration's argument for opposing the Oregon law.

"When California does something, the rest of the country follows, so we want to make sure that we do it right," said Strait.

The bill would have allowed a mentally competent patient who is terminally ill with only six months or so to live the right to apply for a lethal doctor's prescription on condition they have been diagnosed by at least two doctors.

A survey conducted by the Field organisation in February found that 70 percent of Californians support the concept.

But opponents of the measure, including the Roman Catholic church and disabled advocates, strongly denounced plans to permit euthanasia and said they would kill the bill if it is reintroduced into the assembly next year.

"We will continue to strongly oppose this bill and will do our best to see that it dies if they reintroduce it in January," Molly Israel of Californians Against Assisted Suicide told AFP.

"There is no way to safeguard how such a law would be used and we fear it has the potential to be expanded to people with disabilities as well as the terminally ill," said Israel who is also a member of California Disability Alliance.

Advocates for the economically-struggling disabled people claim the bill allows cynical health officials a cheaper solution to long-term care for people facing expensive treatments for chronic pain and disability.

"This could be used as a cost-savings measure when they're looking at the bottom line for medical corporations," said Bill Jennett of Western Service Workers, a volunteer association of low-income disabled workers. — AFP Legislators in California have shelved plans to push through a socially explosive law that would allow doctors to help terminally ill patients commit suicide, officials said.

The Death With Dignity Act, which would have given dying patients the right to hasten their own deaths by taking a lethal but legally prescribed dose of medicine, was derailed, at least temporarily, by political opposition to the move.

The bill, which would have made California only the second US state to sanction euthanasia, failed to muster the 41 votes needed in the state assembly to pass it, its sponsors said.

"This is something we will not take up for the rest of this legislative session," said Crystal Strait, communications director for Democratic state assemblyman Lloyd Levine who backed the bill.

"Support is not quite there yet, but we had way over 30 votes so we were not that far off, but we want to do this right," she told AFP of the bill which tackles a highly divisive issue in US politics and society.

The bill, if passed, would make California only the second US state to allow physician-assisted suicide after the northwestern state of Oregon passed a similar highly-controversial law in 1997.

But supporters vowed not to allow the proposed law to die after religious and political groups strongly opposed the proposed law change, saying they would reintroduce it next January.

Kudos to the California assemblymen who opposed this and please keep fighting!
papijoe 7:13 AM |

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Nostalgia for Toys

When I overload on politics and the general state of the world I often use (and sometimes abuse) the internet to go in search of a virtual version of more carefree days.

The other day it was toys. I'm amazed at how lousy today's offerings seem compared to what must have been the golden age of kid's toys and games. A lot of them survived; I still play Candy Land Parchesi and Uno, albeit with my daughter.

Others were lost in the mists of time. Until now. Thanks to sites like this and this I was able to track down some of my favorites.

I didn't even remember the name of the coolest toy I ever had. It was like a hot plate covered with a plastic chamber and a built in vise-like mechanism. It came with this colored plastic squares that you put on the hot plate and as they warmed up they unfolded into a variety of beasties and monsters. Then you could heat them again and press them back into the squares. This is what the original box and the toy itself looked like:

At an even younger age, I was obsessed with a series of secret agent toys by Mattel called "Agent Zero M" They were basically ordinary items which turned into weapons:

I hope you are all tracking with me on this. I mean, it looks just like a short wave radio, but it turns into a rifle! How freakin' mint is that?

Here's another classic:

For the life of me, I can't figure why they wouldn't bring this one back. OK, the name would have to be changed. Are the production costs too high? Modern toys like most products seem to be heavy on engineering and cheap on everything else.

I blame electronic games for the apparent decline of "real" toys. If you've been pining for a favorite toy, let me know if you find it here
papijoe 8:00 AM |

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Exposing the Embryonic Stem Cell Pipe Dream

From as seen in ProLifeblogs

Jean Swenson is a quadriplegic from a spinal cord injury. As someone with a strong personal interest in any therapy that would reverse her condition, she is very unimpressed with the therapeutic prospects of stem cells taken from fetuses.

As a quadriplegic who could possibly benefit from stem cell research, I fear many of us are being sold an imaginary garment of hope—a fictitious belief that embryonic stem cells will cure us.

In reality, no such cures exist now or in the near future. Like the truthful child we must cry out, “But there is nothing here at all!”

Stem cells, found in embryos, umbilical cord blood, and adults, can change into specialized cell types. Their value lies in replacing diseased or damaged tissues. However, embryonic stem (ES) cells have serious problems that currently prevent human use. Adult and cord blood cells do not, and are already being used to treat nearly sixty conditions. (See )

For over twenty years scientists, using animal ES cells, have failed to solve the same roadblocks faced by researchers working on human ES cells. Problems such as tumor formation, tissue rejection, and genetic instability are enormously complex and must be overcome before ES cells can have medical applications.

The Lancet, a British medical journal that favors ES cell research, calls cure headlines “sensationalist” and “hype.” In fact, this journal reports that “no safe and effective [embryonic] stem cell therapy will be widely available for at least a decade, and possibly longer.”

According to Cornell University stem cell scientist Shahin Rafii, “Just injecting stem cells is not going to work. First, you have to be able to differentiate the cells into functional, transplantable tissues. We don’t really know how to do this yet.”

Many ES cell researchers acknowledge that ES cells are more useful for basic research than for cure applications. James Thompson, who first isolated human ES cells in 1998, states, “[Basic research] is the most important legacy [of ES cells].” He adds, “I’m very hopeful that there will be some transplantation applications for this technology, but they’re going to be very challenging. And it’s been so hyped in the press that people expect it to come the day after tomorrow.”

People who want government to fund ES cell research are expecting taxpayers to pay for science projects that knowledgeable investors will not. William Haseltine, ES cell research advocate and CEO of Human Genome Sciences said, “The routine utilization of human embryonic stem cells for medicine is 20 to 30 years hence. The timeline to commercialization is so long that I simply would not invest. You may notice that our company has not made such investments.”

Those serious about clinical trials and treatments—not just basic research—are using adult stem cells or cord blood. The Spinal Cord Society (SCS), based in Fergus Falls, MN, with 200 chapters worldwide, is on the cutting edge of spinal cord applied research, meaning they’re trying to find treatments that really work. SCS will be starting human trials using cells from patients’ own nasal cavities. SCS leadership have said they would use ES cells “if they worked for us.” But because of ES cell medical problems, SCS is currently pursuing adult stem cells and avoiding embryonic

Russian scientist Dr. Andrey Bryukhovetskiy has tried both ES cells and adult stem cells in his quest for spinal cord injury cure. He has concluded that adult cells are much more effective than ES cells in restoring function.

After President Reagan died, people were led to believe that Alzheimer’s could be cured by ES cells. Yet, according to Alzheimer researcher Michael Shelanski, “The chance of doing repairs to Alzheimer's brains by putting in stem cells is small. I personally think we're going to get other therapies for Alzheimer's a lot sooner

The tremendous pro-life blog, Jivin Jehoshaphat uncovers some blatant ES propaganda masquerading as news in a media blitz reminiscent of the Soros/RWJF campaign to promote euthanasia.

I need to do more research, but so far embryonic stem cell research appears to be another deranged experiment being foisted upon us. Part research boondoggle, part political ax to grind against Bush's opposition of anything involving abortion, it doesn't add up as good science or ethical policy.
papijoe 7:34 AM |

Monday, July 11, 2005

Folkloric Thinking

Reading Garcia Marquez has got me thinking along a certain about how Left views the world. In Gabo's case it was apparent that magic realism wasn't just a literary device, it is how he actually sees the word. In his memoirs there is a surreal episode in the aftermath of one of his drunken parrandas in which he sees a faun get on the streetcar he's riding home. I've also commented before that Leftist Baby Boomers and their protégés are particularly susceptible to the subliminal suggestion via television, although other media (and chemical substances) can also help construct alternative realities.

I've come to characterize this worldview weaving that exists based more on desire than objective facts as folkloric thinking. Sometimes it is semi-conscious (though impervious to irony) as this very amusing article relates:

The next afternoon, I head to a Chicago peace rally in search of normal, non-communist, protesting soccer moms. It's actually much harder than it sounds.

"The media is completely whiting us out," Margaret Kemp says to me. "I mean, they'll probably say there were only about 200 people here today!"

I look around, noting aloud that there are only about 200 people here today.

She stares at me. "See!?!"

But more often than not Leftists make up fantasies out of whole cloth then believe them with their entire being. I admit there are times when I suspect cynically that Leftist must be consciously lying on certain issues, rather than sadly deluded, but the unsettling truths often is that they are indeed that truly out of touch with reality. Let's take a look at the Leftist claim that the mainstream media not only has no liberal or anti-American bias, but in fact has a right wing one! Although leftist bias can be quantitatively demonstrated it is an article of faith with leftists that the media is either unbiased (when it is attacking Bush or Israel) or has a right wing bias (when failing to sign on to the most ridiculous conspiracy theories).

Ex-patriot/expatriate David Druker, in his parting shot to America gives us another glowing example of folkloric political thinking:

How has this changed? Well, it's not only about hating (yes, I must admit it, I hate) the man who sits in the Oval Office, as well as the craven Vice President. It's not only about how the country is clouded over with signs that read 'Call 311 for suspicious activity' and TV Networks that spew political propaganda that Pravda would have been happy to print or broadcast. It's not only about more homeless on the street with no attention paid to their plight, or the fact that children no longer learn music or art in many public schools, or that people seem to think that a magnetic ribbon on their gasoline-gulping SUV constitutes support for the troops in a war that just goes on and on as far as the eye can see. It's not only the growing cultivation of religious fanatics, both here (the Christians) and abroad (the Muslims). It's not only the fact that atheists are not even considered citizens and scientists are seen once again as heretics for teaching the facts of evolution. As far as I look on the horizon, I see decline for the US, socially, politically, intellectually, economically, and philosophically, and that saddens me more.

David's post gloriously illustrates what makes folkloric thinking so hard to address. There are so many layers of partials truths, facts out of context constucted into chains of dependencies, and just plain fables. Which end of the truth spectrum to start with? Certainly untruth in whatever form needs to be addressed, but it is daunting. In the case of Garcia-Marquez and Colombia, folkloric thinking has been what has kept the open political wounds from healing since the time of Bolivar. It's increasing popularity in this country will cause similar anguish.
papijoe 11:39 AM |

AARP Paves the Way for Euthanasia

AARP is the largest and most well known advocacy group for retirement-aged persons. It's political and economic clout is enormous. They are also full partners in the right-to-die movement along with the usual suspects (George Soros, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,the Hastings Center, Choice in Dying, etc.) The trusty LifeTree Timeline gives a the highpoints of AARP's involvement with the the right-to-die movement:

Nov 1995 - Soros' foundation hosts conference at Project on Death in America headquarters: Cummings, RWJF, Commonwealth, AARP and others

Sept 2000 - American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) $560,000 (for a special companion piece in Modern Maturity. The title of the lead piece was "The Last Taboo.")[to support Bill Moyers "One Our Own Terms" documentary]

March 2002 - NHPCO receives $100,000 grant from AARP Andrus Foundation for NHPCO's National Quality Partnership Program.

March 2003 - AARP's Modern Maturity magazine publishes article supporting assisted-suicide.

Based on the background information, guess which European country AARP recently picked as the best place for people to grow old:

AARP The Magazine has named the Netherlands the leader in providing a high quality-of-life for its older citizens. This news, among other findings, was derived from an exclusive survey of 16 industrialized nations on key issues such as: health care, benefits, pension coverage, taxes and social programs. Through this survey, AARP The Magazine hopes to shed light on the benefits retirees enjoy elsewhere in the world as a reference point for America’s own policies

Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy in Media had some interesting comments about AARP's apparent direction:

AARP also gave an award to Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, a European Socialist and former director of the U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO). Brundtland participated in AARP's "Global Aging Program" to help develop its policies in this area.

Nobody in their right mind wants to suffer from a terminal illness. Medical treatments that only prolong the dying process and continue suffering don't make any sense. But in the name of "sustainable development," popularized by Brundtland, the U.N. and much of Europe are moving toward population control measures, including those that target the elderly for elimination. Brundtland, once labeled "The Mother of Sustainable Development," believes there are too many people in the world.

While many people might accept the idea of planning their own death, in the sense that a "living will" avoids prolonged suffering, the embrace of the Netherlands model by AARP seems to suggest it wants us to move toward embracing government intervention into our lives for the purpose of facilitating of causing our deaths.

The WHO is reformulating a "new ethics" which emphasizes the importance of "economic" resources and the likelihood of success in treating people. Analyst Marguerite Peeters says, "The system of priorities in the new WHO paradigm will necessarily lead to the marginalization of certain people. There will be no available resources for certain 'categories' of patients, those deemed less important to public health: the elderly, the handicapped, and perhaps even the members of minority groups."

It is noteworthy that, 50 years ago, the Nazis were prosecuted for war crimes for their government-sponsored euthanasia program. Now, the Nazi program is being accepted under the cover of "sustainable development." How can they "sustain" the earth when there are so many people on the planet? The obvious answer is to get rid of some of them, especially those who are sick and elderly or handicapped.

The WHO, under the leadership of AARP favorite Brundtland, the former leader of Norway, implicitly supports this practice.

It is significant that AARP also supported Hillary Clinton's socialized medicine scheme. Once the health care system has been completely nationalized, it can be easily linked to a global network under the supervision of the U.N.'s WHO, in which the "new ethics" can be used to guide the Social Security and health care systems, including Medicare. In this context, it must be recalled that the WHO played a role in developing Hillary's original plan.

On the Social Security front, the most likely political outcome is stalemate, with the liberals using the ongoing crisis as a pretext to seize even more government control over the health care system, ration treatments to the elderly, and then eventually implement a government-sponsored euthanasia program to target and eliminate some of the most "nonproductive" and "useless" people. This will "solve" the Social Security "problem" and the government will remain in charge of the system. Taxes will continue to rise and we will live in a full-fledged socialist state. That is, if we live.

According to the orginal article cutting costs is the key to the Netherland's "success":

How do the Dutch do it? How do their euros stretch further than our dollars? The key factor is lower costs. Although medicine isn't completely socialized—physicians and pharmacists, for example, aren't state employees—the government regulates almost all health expenses. That helps explain why, in the view of Professor Gerard F. Anderson of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "in the U.S. we pay a lot more than anybody else for pretty much the same stuff." In analyzing health systems in the Netherlands and other industrialized nations, Anderson found that drugs, hospitals, and physicians' services were from 30 to 50 percent more expensive in the U.S., "and their health status is as good or better than ours."

Although economics is widely cited by the right-to-die movement as a justification for assisted suicide and euthanasia, and is certainly a factor in the Netherlands, nowhere is this mentioned in the article.

This sharpens the focus a bit, and the "final solution" to the crisis of the aging baby boomers and Social Security and other health benefits becomes more apparent. You can bet your nest egg that any national healthcare system will eventually incorporate right-to-die policies like those in Oregon and the Netherlands. And unless their membership wakes up to see they are being lead to the slaughter, AARP will be the Pied Piper of the boomers.
papijoe 7:14 AM |

Friday, July 08, 2005

"Mexican Bishops Urge Anti-euthanasia Law"

From Reuters

Mexico's Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday said there was no such thing as a right to death amid pressure by some lawmakers, doctors and academics to have a national debate on euthanasia.

The Mexican Bishops' Conference, or CEM, representing some 120 bishops, said it sought a law protecting life "from the moment of conception until natural death."

"Today we have numerous methods of strengthening human capacities and reducing physical pain. We cannot intervene for anybody's death, even in extremely painful situations," said Bishop Francisco Javier Chavolla, who leads the Diocese of Toluca near Mexico City.

"The right to death does not exist," he told a news conference at the end of the conference's general assembly.

Euthanasia is not allowed in Mexico, the second-biggest Catholic nation after Brazil. Some 85 percent of Mexicans are Catholic.

The Mexican church, following the Vatican line, said that helping anyone to end their life is wrong and that terminally ill people should be encouraged to fight on.

Matehuala Bishop Rodrigo Aguilar referred to Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman who provoked an international uproar when her husband had her feeding tube removed against the wishes of her parents and the Vatican.

"Terri Schiavo was a human being and should have been treated with dignity. Her death was provoked," said Aguilar. "We must respect and defend human life."

At the other end of the life cycle, the bishops said they were concerned about human embryos being treated like merchandise and kept in refrigerators for research using embryonic stem cells.

Mexico has kept the church and state strictly separate since its 1910 revolution. But the clergy's clout has increased under conservative Vicente Fox, a committed Catholic and the first Mexican president to kiss a papal ring.
papijoe 8:18 AM |

African Economist Says Aid Does More Harm Than Good

Posted by BigDana at LGF from Der Spiegel

A real eye-opener from Kenyan economist James Shikwati:

When there's a drought in a region of Kenya, our corrupt politicians reflexively cry out for more help. This call then reaches the United Nations World Food Program -- which is a massive agency of apparatchiks who are in the absurd situation of, on the one hand, being dedicated to the fight against hunger while, on the other hand, being faced with unemployment were hunger actually eliminated. It's only natural that they willingly accept the plea for more help. And it's not uncommon that they demand a little more money than the respective African government originally requested. They then forward that request to their headquarters, and before long, several thousands tons of corn are shipped to Africa ...

... and at some point, this corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unscrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN's World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It's a simple but fatal cycle.

Thus falls another of my untested liberal legacy presupositions...

Will the US and Europe heed Shikwati's plea for tough love?
papijoe 6:02 AM |

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Strange Coincidence?

I may have lost my marbles, but it seems very weird to me that a few days ago the British Medical Associate dropped it's opposition to euthanasia.

Today the building was covered with blood.

Image Hosted by

I know how that must sound to some, but I can't shake the connection.
papijoe 3:42 PM |

London Attacked

America sends our prayers and wholehearted support! God bless England!

Image Hosted by

Colt from Eurabian Times is liveblogging from London at Winds of Change
papijoe 7:55 AM |

Pro-Life Group Warns PAS Imminent in Canada

From Lifesite

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is warning that pending legislation before the House, Bill C-407, seeks to legalize assisted suicide for Canada. Bloc Québécois MP Francine Lalonde introduced the private members bill last month.

“Make no mistake that this bill introduces the slippery slope we’ve seen in the Netherlands where people who don’t want to be euthanized are,” cautioned Jean Echlin, EPC vice-president and palliative care nurse, according to a London Free Press report. “Canadians have to wake up because it’s coming.”

Echlin, speaking to a London City Kiwanis group Monday, is urging Canadians to become vocal in actively opposing passage of the bill. “I worry they’re going to rush this through without consultation with all Canadians,” she said.

The bill seeks to allow euthanasia for individuals who “appear to be lucid,” and who request assisted suicide twice with at least a 10-day period between each request. Echlin asked the group, “Must appear to be lucid — what does that mean?” She cited concerns that the bill was full of loopholes that could lead to abuse, including eliminating protections that prevent the indiscriminate killing of those who may not want to die.

Echlin, a palliative care “pioneer,” emphasized that now is not the time to introduce assisted suicide legislation, as palliative care is just “coming into its own” as a system of medicine, and it is not necessary for chronically ill or terminally ill patients to suffer pain.

“Of course, when a person’s in pain that isn’t properly managed, they’re going to ask for euthanasia,” Echlin explained. “There is absolutely no excuse in 2005 for a person to face the end of life with pain when so much can be done now to relieve that pain.”

EPC Executive Director Alex Schadenberg highlighted the large number of deficiencies found in the proposed legislation. “This bill is not about allowing a ‘death with dignity,’” he emphasized. “It legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide for people who suffer chronic physical and mental pain that is treatable.”

“Bill C-407 allows any person to kill another person,” Schadenberg added. “Once society allows one person to kill another person it soon becomes impossible to protect people who are otherwise viewed as a ‘burden’ on society. Bill C-407 is an attack on people with disabilities, people with chronic conditions and other vulnerable Canadians who are already devalued by many members of society. People who need to be protected
papijoe 6:16 AM |

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Evangelical Alliance Condemns BMA’s Euthanasia Decision

From Christianity Today

The Evangelical Alliance UK (EAUK) and a number of Christian and pro-life groups and charities have strongly condemned the decisions by the British Medical Association (BMA) to vote in favour to adopt a 'neutral' stance in the issue of euthanasia during the BMA's conference held on 30th July 2005.

A release by the EAUK stated, "The Evangelical Alliance deeply regrets the BMA’s announcement of its amended position with regard to euthanasia and also to abortion."

The protest comes about from the leading Evangelical group in the UK, who commented, "The physicians’ Hippocratic oath requires doctors to save and preserve life, so their unwillingness to support a reduction in the abortion limit and to become neutral rather than remain opposed to euthanasia is deeply worrying and inconsistent."

The EAUK statement continued, "Looking first at abortion, advances in science have convincingly shown that a foetus is a sentient human being much earlier than previously thought. The BMA’s refusal to accept such evidence and press for a reduction in the 24-week abortion limit is very disappointing."

The calls by the Evangelical Alliance has been backed by Roger Smith, the Head of Public Policy for CARE said: "It is deeply disappointing that the BMA has shifted its stance from outright opposition to neutral on the question of euthanasia."

"It fails to take responsibility for the massive change in the relationship between doctor and patient that would follow any change in the law on homicide."

CARE is the well-established mainstream Christian charity, which seeks to combine practical caring initiatives with public policy on social and ethical issues. It aims to bring Christian insight into all parts of society and one of the concerns is the issue of bioethics.

Dr Don Horrocks, who is the Head of Public Affairs at the Evangelical Alliance UK said, "the same time the BMA seems to be opting out of the debate on assisted dying and passing the decision on this issue to politicians, thus appearing to pave the way for the re-introduction of Lord Joffe’s Bill later this year. Euthanasia is consequently portrayed as a humane act especially to many elderly people and those suffering terminal illnesses as well as for their family and friends. But the long-term implications for society in legalising, assisting and encouraging assisted suicide are immense. We should be caring for the most vulnerable people in our society, whatever the cost, and stressing the alternatives to killing."
papijoe 7:45 AM |

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

USMC Birthday

[ev and zorkie were nice enough to post this yesterday at Discarded Lies]

"Everybody get on line! NOW!" We scrambled to line up on both sides of the aisle of the squadbay, and locked it up.

Oh Lord, now what. It was a holiday, like Sunday with church service, and the Drill Instructors were supposed to leave us in relative peace...unless someone screwed up. Screwing up had become a daily drama, and thanks to one recruit or another. Drill Instructor Staff Sargeant Sh**ts, our second hat aka "Stress Monster" had been digging us every day in the Pit. Then he'd send us to chow still coated with sand and the third phase recruits would taunt us. "You must be some nasty recruits, gettin' dug this early, hah-hah..."

Someone must have screwed up and we would all pay and our dream of one Pit-less day was gone.

"Who knows what day it is?" DI SSgt Sh**ts bellowed.

One of the forgettable recruits from south of the Mason Dixon line yodelled, "It's the Fourth of July, sir!"


Terror dimpled my skin and the very hairs on my arm stood at attention. I had learned the efficacity of prayer on Parris Island, I think that was one of the goals, so as not to render the old saw about atheists and foxholes untrue. Please G-d, let July 4th also be some famous day in Marine Corps history.

"Someone knows and they're not saying. We got an integrity violator here." I abandoned all hope. One of the few honest things my recruiter told me was not to reveal my birthdate on Parris Island. DI SSgt Sh**ts must have noted the notorious date in my record. I waited for the inevitable, unwilling to be the agent of my own doom.

"Oh yeah someone knows...WHAT DAY IS IT, RECRUIT FRANKENSTEIN?" The nickname referred to my height and how the lack of hair actuated my lantern jaw and elongated skull.

"It's this recruits birthday, sir"


"Sir, no sir. That's not necessary, sir..."


Push ups. Sit ups. Sidestraddle hops (slightly less goofy USMC nomenclature for jumping jacks). Ferocious muscular pain, to the point of collapse and beyond. Delirium.
The whole time DI SSgt Sh**Ts was talking. Not to me of course, a Drill Instructor would never address a recruit in the same way they would another human being. So it was sort of a soliloquy in his raspy buzzsaw of a voice, holding forth on his philosophy of life and whatever else came to mind during my torment. It's not like I was taking notes, so I remember little else but one lucid realization that it was all an act and that althought he was in all other ways terrifying the large man barking commands between the monologue was not a psychopath.

After I broke my leg I was in a rehab platoon briefly before being declared FUBAR by the Navy. I was eating chow when I heard a familiar voice bellowing in my ear.


The others at the table froze in terror, I locked up and yelled, "Outstanding, sir!"

He stomped off, finally I explained casually, "My old second hat", and added with an arrogance I now reserve for discussions of what some consider torture at Abu Graib and Gitmo, "I was in Third Battalion..."
papijoe 9:26 AM |

Friday, July 01, 2005 Uses Terri Schiavo in Supreme Court Ads

Hat tip: NY Nana

I couldn't fit my outrage into the headline, but in one of the most disgustingly cynical ads I've ever seen, has time the release of this to co-incide with the announcement that Justice O'Connor will retire.

Is there no end to the indignities that the Schindlers have to endure?
papijoe 12:54 PM |

Dark Days Ahead for UK: BMA Drops Opposition to Euthanasia

From The Telegraph

Long-standing opposition among doctors to euthanasia was effectively dropped by the BMA yesterday.

Doctors voted at their conference to change the association's policy and adopt a neutral position, which means, in practice, that they will neither campaign for nor against any future change in the law.

They would not oppose legislation on "assisted dying" but insisted that any legislation should include "robust safeguards" for patients and doctors who did not want to be involved.

Dr John Chisholm, a leading GP, said: "We need to ensure that vulnerable patients are protected, they have quality palliative care and pain relief is available."

Dr John Garner, from Edinburgh, called on the doctors to go further and support an "open and transparent" system that allowed patients to request an assisted death.

"I have no compunction about saying that if I was dying from a terminal illness, and life had become completely joyless and I was in pain, I would want to consider assisted suicide," he said.

But Dr Ian Bailey, a member of the BMA consultants' committee, said doctors should not support physician-assisted suicide. "It is not a doctor's role to be involved. We should not be involved in intentional killing," he said.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the BMA, said that a "conscientious objection clause" would be necessary. She believed that many doctors would not want to be involved in helping patients to die.

She said safeguards would also need to reflect fears that the elderly could feel coerced into assisted suicide because they did not want to be a burden.

Dr Evan Harris, the MP who had called for the BMA to change its stance, welcomed the vote as a "historic change of policy". "This is now a matter for Parliament to decide and the role of the medical profession is to press for the necessary safeguards, not to oppose an overdue move."

Why do they still speak of "safeguards" as if there is some mystical protective power they can invoke?

But both Care, the social action charity, and the Christian Medical Fellowship were dismayed by the decision.

Roger Smith, a Care spokesman, said: "Doctors are supposed to be the agents of life, not agents of death."

Dr Peter Saunders, general secretary of the fellowship, accused the BMA of "turning its back on the Hippocratic Oath".

Well said Dr. Saunders. The Oath was the safeguard and his colleagues have abandoned it. Again we see physicians renouncing the awesome responsibility they have held since the days of Galen, yet the significance hasn't hit me until now. They have given up their role as healers to become the political instruments of secular social policy.

Like the mined ramparts of Helm's Deep in Two Towers, the strongest bastion against euthanasia in Britain has fallen. Or more accurately they have thrown open the gates and stood aside. Tolkien would have despaired of his England.
papijoe 6:04 AM |