Friday, March 18, 2005

Stuff I Don't Understand About the Terri Schiavo Mess

  1. Why does everyone care so much? Really -- why is the status of one woman in a persistent vegetative state since 1990 the cause of concern for so many (Florida legislators -- some who show they care by comparing her to currency, Jeb Bush, several thousand concerned prayin' protestors, Republican members of Congress)? I am sure many will find this uncaring, but why has this (in some sort of JonBenet way) captured attention of the Congress of the United States?
  2. On the Congressional subpoena issue -- why is this a priority now (other than the obvious)? A statement from Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) said the purpose of the hearing was to review health care policies and practices relevant to the care of non-ambulatory people. Fine - I'll believe that for the sake of argument. However, how many other people in vegetative states (who do not require constant life-support systems) have been invited to this hearing? If the answer remains "none", then how does this differ from the sort of actions complained about from "activist judges"? The court system (including the U.S. Supreme Court) has refused to block removal of the tubes, and, whether that was correct or not, this is an obvious end-run around it. Seems to be a tad bit inconsistent.
  3. As a practical matter, can the Senate Health Committee serve a subpoena upon someone incapable of testifying? This committee today, in a bald attempt to prevent Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube from being removed, subpoenaed her and her husband to testify. According to a press release from Senate Majority Leader Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) notes that it is a federal crime to harm or obstruct a person called to testify before Congress. Very subtle.
  4. Do the folks who think Michael Schiavo is awful [for wanting (taking him at his word) to respect his wife's wishes and not keep her on life support] think it would be ethically/morally better to offer him $1 million to agree to keep her alive? Why doesn't the jackass who made that offer donate the $1 million to research facilities that would provide care for the incapacitated? Whatever intellectual sympathy I had for the "Save Terri" movement died when no one criticized the crass behavior of an alleged supporter engaging in horse-trading for the woman's life.

As a parent, I understand that this is a difficult situation for Ms. Schiavo's parents. However, the grandstanding, not to mention the divorce petition filed on their child's behalf (!!), don't seem to be done in the best interests of their child (their precise criticism of the husband).

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

ANWR (Not the Dude from American Idol)

A sharply divided Senate (by 51-49 vote) today voted to open the ecologically rich Alaska wildlife refuge (this ANWR, not that Anwar) to oil drilling. Three facts: this was done via attaching a proposal to the budget (because the budget, unlike every other bill, cannot be challenged via filibuster) ; environmentalists are mad; and oil companies are happy. Knowing those three facts alone should give anyone pause.

During the several hours of debate yesterday, Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., noted that that, even at peak production, ANWR would account for less than 2.5 percent of U.S. oil needs. “How in the world can this be the centerpiece of our energy policy?” Well, Dickie, Iraq is still the center of the "war on terror" policy, folks with questionable (at best) track records keep getting rewarded, and "news" now needs to be in quotations. I'd say this is par for the course.