Saturday, March 26, 2005

He's the King of Crap

Sucker DeLay is such a Liar!

CANYON LAKE, Texas — A family tragedy unfolding in a Texas hospital during the fall of 1988 was a private ordeal -- without judges, emergency sessions of Congress or the raging debate outside Terri Schiavo's Florida hospice.

The patient then was a 65-year-old drilling contractor, badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Among the family standing vigil at Brooke Army Medical Center was a grieving junior congressman -- U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

Boom O'Reilly

ha ha.

Floridians to Congress - Bugger Off


The poll shows approximately 63 percent of likely voters in Florida disapproved of the intervention last week by Congress and the president.


The poll surveyed 600 likely voters by phone in Florida. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points. Among Republicans polled, 56 percent say they disapproved of the intervention while 41 percent approved. Among Democrats and independents, 67 percent and 68 percent disapproved respectively.

A Consequence of Recession

One inevitable consequence of recession, especially one which accompanied an interest rate spike which made meeting mortgage payments difficult (either because you're unemployed or because you took Uncle Alan's advice and got an ARM), would be that large numbers of people would dip into their 401(K) plans. They'd pay their taxes, pay the 10% penalty, and drain the accounts.

On a positive note, however, this could cause the stock market to crash so much that price earnings ratios would fall to levels low enough that the future growth predictions by privatizers would be plausible!


Stephen Roach has what seems to be a comprehensive sober realist view of the current economic situtation of the U.S.

Let me just add that the montery and fiscal policies under the Bush administration have encouraged asset accumulation and physical investment rather than job creation. And, now we're in a position where, as Roach argues, appropriate Fed policy is a fast increase of interest rates. But, due to the crappy post-recession jobs recovery, asset bubble led inflation means that Greenspan will have to hike interest rates in the middle of a fairly weak labor market.

perfect storm? Let's hope not.

I Did Not Know That

I'd heard a lot about Wolfowitz of Arabia's girlfriend, but I too don't remember hearing anything about, you know, his wife.

It's a rather strange thing, really, which parts of our personal lives our media consider to be okay to print, and which parts they don't. In Wolfofwitz's cases frequently details about his girlfriend have been deemed acceptable, but not details about his wife.

...ah, interesting - it appears that Pravda on the Potomac accepts the official view that they're divorced, but that this is perhaps not true.

She also refused to confirm her marital status - reports of his appointment repeatedly describe Wolfowitz as divorced but The Mail on Sunday has been unable to find any records. Asked if she is separated or divorced, Clare replied: "That's my business."

On the claim that she wrote a letter to Bush, she said: "That's very interesting but not something I can tell you about."

A friend of Wolfowitz insisted last night that he had not been unfaithful: "Paul and Clare have been separated since 2001. It is my understanding they are now legally separated."

Where Faith Thrives

From uggabugga.

Quotes of the Day

"I advocate the use of force to rescue Terri Schiavo from being starved to death.
I further advocate the killing of anyone who interferes with such rescue." -- Hal Turner.
Second Quote of the Day:

"Web Site Updates Temporarily offline.
I am traveling to do something important."
--Hal Turner.

More on Turner here and here.


Now that I've been up for awhile I can confirm what my initial sense was - that CNN has completely ignored the story about the "possible showdown" between local police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It's a bizarre thing really, as it follows the narrative to the logical end. Crazies demand Jeb Bush "do something" and Bush getes his people ready to do just that - though, apparently, saner heads prevail. The unwillingness of the media to confront this story, which is the logical conclusion of having Jeb Bush try to substitute his authority for that of a judge, a storyline that the media have been desperately pushing all week, is to me an unwillingness of them to confront their own role in encouraging this. The orders of Bush and the orders of a judge are only as good as peoples' willingness to obey them, or the ability and desire of law enforcement agents to enforce them.

Two authorities, two law enforcement agencies -- what do they think would happen?


At some point my email address got lumped onto one of the various mass email lists for media out there, so occasionally I get an eruption of massive wingnuttery in my inbox.

The latest bit is that "Terri said she wanted to live!" based on her parents' lawyer's contention that she "tried to express a will to live" based on that tape of awful groaning they had...


and, the story of Jeb sending his thug squad in should be getting more play, and, generally, shame on CNN for putting the shitty in "shitty news channel."

Late Night

Have fun.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Open Thread


Friday Cat Blogging

Wiley watches his favorite show:

and, what else, nap time:

Cowardly Jeb Cancels Appearance

Gov. Bush Cancels Appearance at Good Friday Service for Fear of Facing Schiavo Supporters

To: National Desk

Contact: Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition [phone number removed]

TALLAHASSEE, Fl., March 25 /Christian Wire Service/ -- Governor Jeb Bush was scheduled to attend and participate in an outdoor Good Friday service at 12:30 pm, at Florida State University. According to event organizers, the Governor canceled at the last minute.

As part of this event Jeb Bush would have publicly read from a printed program that includes the following text entitled the Fifth Station of the Cross; "Lord Jesus, sometimes I don't want to do what is right or to help someone in need, but you want me to respond positively to the needs of others in my life. Help me to say 'yes' and be willing to give heroic assistance to all who are in need."

"It is clear that Governor Bush canceled his scheduled participation in this Stations of the Cross service out of fear and guilt of seeing supporters of Terri Schiavo pleading for her life. Our prayer for Governor Bush is the same prayer he would have prayed publicly on this Good Friday, had he kept his scheduled appointment.

Pretty Dubious

By now all sensible people understand that the long run rate of productivity growth assumed by the Social Security trustees - 1.6% - is completely incompatible with the belief that the stock market returns will be at historical rates. One of those assumptions has to be incorrect - either long run productivity growth is assumed to be to low, stock market returns too high, or some combination.

Today DeLong informs us that the methodology the trustees used to arrive at their anemic 1.6% long run productivity growth letters was only put into place last year. And, if previously methodology had been used, the long run rate of productivity growth would be 1.9%, substantially lengthening the solvency of the trust fund.

Wanker of the Day

In a day with so many wankers, the honor goes to Tom Coburn.

"Thick, Gayproof Padding"

The medium lobster has some advice about how to prevent the implantation of gay nanobots.

Crazies with Guns

Well, it looks like we're heading towards violence..

Cheney Disclosed

Holden updates us on the Veep's bamboozlepalooza activities.

Tin Jesus


Videotape of Terri Schiavo blinking at her parents has inspired donations from people around the country to the foundation set up to help pay for the family's legal battle. But many other groups are soliciting donations in her name as well, some for a much broader agenda.

"Help Save Terri Schiavo's Life!" says the Web site of the Traditional Values Coalition, a Christian conservative group best known for its campaigns against gay rights. Next to a link to the Web site of her parents' foundation is a pitch to "become an active supporter of the Traditional Values Coalition by pledging a monthly gift."

"What this issue has done is it has galvanized people the way nothing could have done in an off-election year," said Rev. Lou Sheldon, the founder of the group, acknowledging that the case of Ms. Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged Florida woman, had moved many to open up their checkbooks. "That is what I see as the blessing that dear Terri's life is offering to the conservative Christian movement in America."

Reminds me of a song:

Stop wasting my time
You know what I want
You know what I need
Or maybe you don't
Do I have to come right
Flat out and tell you everything?

Gimme some money
Gimme sone money

Morning Thread

Have fun.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Fox News had John Edwards (the guy who talks to the dead, not the former senator) come on to give his expert opinion on the Schiavo case (as seen on the Daily Show).

...crooks and liars has the video.

Bobo's World

Alabama bill would outlaw gay people from adopting, though how they'd determine your level of gayness is unclear. Maybe for men they'll show you pictures of Ken Mehlman and see if your little soldier snaps to attention.

Open Thread

Have fun. On Air America shortly.

Rule of Law

Fox's John Gibson:

Just to burnish my reputation as a bomb thrower, I think Jeb Bush should give serious thought to storming the Bastille.

By that I mean he should think about telling his cops to go over to Terri Schiavo's (search) hospice, go inside, put her on a gurney and load her into an ambulance. They could take her to a hospital, revive her, and reattach her feeding tube. It wouldn't save Terri exactly; she'd still be in the same rotten shape she was in before they disconnected the feeding tube.

But the point is, the temple of the law is so sacrosanct that an occasional chief executive cannot flaunt it once in a while, sort of drop his drawers on the courthouse steps and moon the judges, as a way to protest the complete disregard courts and judges have shown here, in this case, for facts outside the law.

psss... John, it's "flout" not "flaunt."


The Poor Man.

"More Demagoguery Please"

Yes, someone needs to lock the "eat your vegetables caucus" and the "pain caucus" in the basement for a couple of years.

I'm all for responsible lawmakers doing responsible things, but when Hillarycare went down the Republicans didn't say "okay, let's do something responsible now" - they kept beating it even after it was dead and then won a bunch of seats.

There's no chance of doing anything genuinely decent with social security as long as the people who want to kill it are in power. The minority may be able to stop social security, but they can't pass their fantasy social security plan.

Besides, while Tim Russert may pat you on the head if you cut benefits, the voters sure as hell won't.

Fristy Flashback

From October:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist attacked Sen. John Edwards on Tuesday over a comment the Democratic vice presidential candidate made regarding actor Christopher Reeve.

Edwards said Reeve, who died Sunday, "was a powerful voice for the need to do stem cell research and change the lives of people like him.

"If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of that wheelchair and walk again," Edwards said.

Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, called Edwards' remark "crass" and "shameful," and said it gave false hope that new treatments were imminent.


Frist, who was a heart surgeon before coming to the Senate, responded Tuesday in a conference call with reporters arranged by the Bush-Cheney campaign.

"I find it opportunistic to use the death of someone like Christopher Reeve -- I think it is shameful -- in order to mislead the American people," Frist said. "We should be offering people hope, but neither physicians, scientists, public servants or trial lawyers like John Edwards should be offering hype.

"It is cruel to people who have disabilities and chronic diseases, and, on top of that, it's dishonest. It's giving false hope to people, and I can tell you as a physician who's treated scores of thousands of patients that you don't give them false hope."

Lies and the Lying Liars


For the record, Soros hasn't given me $7 million either, though I wish he would.

Open Thread

Enjoy. Complain. Whatever.

Mrs. Atrios

Clown Show to Infinity and Beyond!

Members of Congress write letters:

The fate of Terri Schiavo


Sworn court testimony disputes editorial's stance

We only have to go to the opening paragraphs of FLORIDA TODAY's Tuesday editorial "An outrageous act" about Congress's involvement in the Terri Schiavo case to see that even basic assertions of fact are at best disputable.

It states that Terri is in "a persistent vegetative state for 15 years since her heart attack" and "medical evidence showed Terri has no chance of recovery."

Did the editors interview registered nurse Carla Iyer, who personally treated Terri for a year and a half?

She said in a sworn court affidavit that Terri "was alert and oriented. Terri spoke on a regular basis saying things like 'mommy' and 'help me" and 'hi' when I came into her room."

Iyer says Terri would sit up in the nurse's station from time to time and laugh at stories they told. She felt pain and would indicate so. Carla fed her by mouth and not by tube. Does this sound like a woman in persistent vegetative state for the past 15 years?


Or are the editors aware of Dr. William Hammesfahr, Nobel Prize nominee neurologist, who examined Terri for 10 hours and said, "Terri does not require a feeding tube to be fed" and that "with proper therapy she would be able to regain some speech and mobility."

This is a story about a woman neglected proper care and therapy by those now wishing to see her expire. It's a story about disguising a right-to-kill edict in right-to-die clothes.

I only pray that our judicial system won't continue to be party to it.

U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon
District 15

Morning Thread

have fun.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


You are the 50 millionth visitor to Eschaton!(yistfs*)

*yes i stole that from skippy

Late Night Thread

Because 353 comments in 100 minutes demand it.

Open Thread

Just to annoy the people who don't think I'm keeping it real anymore.

Run Away! Run Away!


CBS/AP) Congressional leaders have insisted their only motivation in getting involved in the Terri Schiavo case was saving a life. But Americans aren’t buying that argument, a CBS News poll finds.

Just 13 percent of those polled think Congress intervened in the case out of concern for Schiavo, while 74 percent think it was all about politics. Of those polled, 66 percent said the tube should not be inserted compared to 27 percent who want it restored. The issue has generated strong feelings, with 78 percent of those polled -- wheter for either side of the issue -- saying they have strong feelings.

Public approval of Congress has suffered as a result; at 34 percent, it is the lowest it has been since 1997, dropping from 41 percent last month. Now at 43 percent, President Bush’s approval rating is also lower than it was a month ago.


Democrats tried to block the legislation from coming to a vote on the floor of Congress, and some accused the Republicans of acting out of political motives.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said "Congressional leaders have no business substituting their judgment for that of multiple state courts that have extensively considered the issues in this intensely personal family matter."

"This rush to exploit a personal tragedy is not fair to those involved and will not create good policy," she said.

And Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said, "If you don't want a decision to be made politically, why in the world do you ask 535 politicians to make it?"

Craptacular AP

The AP article which drove all of the coverage of Social Security today was really horrible for reasons described here and here. It also contained a major factual error.

Toot Toot

Florida Senate tells Jeb to shove it... over to you, Governor...

...and, Bush screams Run away! Run away!

Meanwhile, President Bush suggested that he and Congress had done their best to help the parents prolong Schiavo's life, and the White House said it has no further legal options.

...Jebbie tries to kidnap her, Judge orders law enforcement not to do it... You can't make this stuff up....

DeLay - Unfiltered

From Think Progress, which also has the audio file.

And so it’s bigger than any one of us, and we have to do everything that is in our power to save Terri Schiavo and anybody else that may be in this kind of position.

And let me just finish with this: This is exactly the issue that’s going on in America. That attacks against the conservative movement, against me, and against many others. The point is, it’s, the other side has figured out how to win and defeat the conservative movement. And that is to go after people, personally charge them with frivolous charges, and link that up with all these do-gooder organizations funded by George Soros, and then, and then get the national media on their side. That whole syndicate that they have going on right now is for one purpose and one purpose only and that’s to destroy the conservative movement. It’s to destroy conservative leaders and it’s, uh, not just in elected office but leading. I mean Ed Feulner, today at the Heritage Foundation, was under attack in the National Journal. I mean they, they, this is a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in, and, and you need to look at this and what’s going on and participate in fighting back.

Don’t, you know, the one way they stopped churches from getting into politics was Lyndon Johnson, who passed a law that said you couldn’t get in politics or you’re going to lose your tax exempt status because they were all opposed to him when he was running for president. That law we’re trying to repeal; it’s very difficult to do that. But the point is, is when they can knock out a leader then no other leader will step forward for awhile because they don’t want to go through the same thing. When, if they go after and get a pastor then other pastors shrink from what they should be doing. It forces Christians back into the church and that’s what’s going on in America: “The world is too bad. I’m going to go get inside this building and I’m not going to play in the world.” Uh, that’s not what Christ asked us to do. And, and so this, they understand that it is a political maneuver, and, and they are, uh, going to try to destroy the conservative movement and we have to fight back.

So, please, this afternoon, each and every one of you, if you know a senator give him a call. Tell him, they’ll say, “Our bill can pass in the House.” Tell him, “That’s fine. Your bill’s okay but the House bill is better and, uh, I want the House bill.” Particularly if you know Democrats, uh, don’t let them get off the hook, um, by hiding behind one House and the other is adjourned. We can do anything we need to do to pass any bill that we need to pass. So I appreciate what you’re doing. God bless you and thank you for the Family Research Council.

Quote of the Day

"The entire hip, awesome 'South Park Republican' caucus could stand on a beer mat with the entire anti-torture Republican caucus and still leave room for a beer."

Clown Show Marches On

11th circuit refuses to hear case en banc, and Jeb Bush has a "renowned neurologist" who has come up with a different diagnosis, and now the Florida State Senate is supposed to do something, though I didn't figure out what.

Sadly, the "renowned neurologist" wasn't the one who has been making all of the Fox News rounds and making a bunch of fools look even more foolish than usual. The guy has been going around telling people he's a "Nobel Prize Nominee" for medicine, because a very silly congressman nominated him. But, it gets funnier.

The congressman actually wrote to nominate him for a "Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine," which doesn't, you know, exist. And, okay, we'll cut him some slack and say that what he meant was Nobel Prize in Medicine. But, said member isn't eligible to nominate anyone for the Medicine prize.


We can debate whether this would be the best way to deal with long term funding issues for Social Security -- as long as Republicans are running around calling the trust fund a "myth" it quite clearly isn't. And, in any case, I'd prefer at least a modest increase in the income cap if we're going that way. However, here's the economy-destroying measure which would make the program able to pay fully promised benefits for the next 75 years:

Assuming the Trustees' intermediate assumptions are realized, the deficit of 1.92 percent of payroll indicates that financial adequacy of the program for the next 75 years could be restored if the Social Security payroll tax were immediately and permanently increased from its current level of 12.4 percent (combined employee-employer shares) to 14.32 percent.

As I said, I don't support doing that because a) "pre-funding" is a sucker's game as long as Zombie Greenspan and his Republican Acolytes roam the Earth and b) it makes the tax code more regressive. But, nonetheless it's pretty damn painless.


Pull the plug fristy:

Frist wrote a book in 1989 called Transplant where he advocated changing the definition of "brain dead" to include anencephalic babies. Anencephalic babies are in the same state as Terri Schiavo except that she suffered a physical trauma that put her into a vegetative state while the anencephalic babies are born that way.

This remarkable discovery buttresses the argument that Frist's advocacy for Schiavo is wholly political. How does he explain this remarkable inconsistency? Here is the relevant passage on Frist as quoted by the New Republic in 2003:

"And, although Frist writes frequently about the ethical issues surrounding transplants--for example, the question of when death begins--he approaches these issues in starkly scientific terms, with little patience for religious objections.

"Near the end of the book, for example, Frist suggests changing the legal definition of 'brain death' to include anencephalic babies, who are born with a fatal neurological disorder but show just the slightest hint of brain-stem activity. Such a change would make it possible to harvest their organs for transplant--something the Catholic Church and pro-life groups oppose. 'Three thousand anencephalic babies were born a year, enough to solve our demand many times over--but we never used them.'"

Bobo's World


Show Biz

Will Bunch asks:

When will somebody pulled the plug on CNN's sorry decline?

Let the Wonkery Begin

New trustee estimates are in, and they pushed the insolvency date up to 2041. Time to dive in and see what nonsense they pulled to get there...

first pass - significantly lowered mortality rates from previous year, lowered the already ridiculously low immigration rates...

...increased near term inflation estimates...

Max says:

Some minor cookery in view: they bumped the two key years back one each, so they can say, look, things are gittin worse. The Trust Fund cash deficit is presumed to begin in 2017 instead of 2018, and the Fund's assets exhausted in 2041 instead of 2042. The actuarial imbalances get marginally larger, as predicted here this morning. The only question is how they jigger the assumptions, which evidently they do, albeit to minor effect.

It looks like the biggest jiggering is with the mortality tables. What I'd love is a model ran with last year's assumptions intact, with the 2004 actual data added, but that I'll never see...

...they do discuss how changes affect the long run actuarial balance, but not the solvency year.

Anyway, summing up, from what I can glean:

people live longer
teenagers work less
inflation higher
old people work less


Wow, some Democratic members of Congress sure are wimps.

In a March 9 e-mail, David Sirota, a fellow at CAP, accused 16 pro-business Democrats of supporting bankruptcy-reform legislation because they received political contributions from the commercial banks and credit-card companies that stand to benefit if the legislation becomes law.

The e-mail coursed through the blogosphere and generated angry phone calls from liberal activists to the offices of the 16 centrist Democrats. Sirota, a former minority spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, criticized 16 of the 20 Democrats who wrote Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) March 7 urging him to bring bankruptcy reform to the House floor.


Nearly every lawmaker who arrived at Thursday’s meeting with Podesta, former President Clinton’s last chief of staff, voiced concern about the Sirota broadside, calling it overtly personal and unhelpful to the two organizations’ shared goal of helping the Democratic Party grow.

It was unclear if Podesta was invited to the centrist group’s meeting as a result of Sirota’s e-mail, but the invitation came after the missive was sent March 9.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who did not support the bill in committee, told The Hill that he found the e-mail “personal and inappropriate.”

Call Adam Schiff's office and tell him that he'll be hearing from a lot of people just how "personal and inappropriate" this bankruptcy bill atrocity is if he votes on its final passage, especially when they're sentenced to a lifetime of indebtedness to hospitals and credit card companies.

And, tell him to stop being such a baby. He has lots of power, the people whose lives this bankruptcy bill will help to destroy don't.

Washington D.C.
326 Cannon HOB
Washington D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4176
Facsimile: (202) 225-5828

Pasadena, California
35 S. Raymond Ave. #205
Pasadena, California 91105
Phone: (626) 304-2727
Facsimile: (626) 304-0572

[EDITS IN BOLD] The House hasn't voted on final passage of the bill yet.

Morning Thread

The Supremes - the Clown Show's last stop?

...I certainly have no love for Rehnquist, but as we see from Drudge apparently the new spin is that because Rehnquist is ill he's somehow tainted. Lovely.

Run away! Run away!

Ad Nags:

This is a clash between the social conservatives and the process conservatives, and I would count myself a process conservative," said David Davenport of the Hoover Institute, a conservative research organization. "When a case like this has been heard by 19 judges in six courts and it's been appealed to the Supreme Court three times, the process has worked - even if it hasn't given the result that the social conservatives want. For Congress to step in really is a violation of federalism."

Stephen Moore, a conservative advocate who is president of the Free Enterprise Fund, said: "I don't normally like to see the federal government intervening in a situation like this, which I think should be resolved ultimately by the family: I think states' rights should take precedence over federal intervention. A lot of conservatives are really struggling with this case."

Some more moderate Republicans are also uneasy. Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, the sole Republican to oppose the Schiavo bill in a voice vote in the Senate, said: "This senator has learned from many years you've got to separate your own emotions from the duty to support the Constitution of this country. These are fundamental principles of federalism."

"It looks as if it's a wholly Republican exercise," Mr. Warner said, "but in the ranks of the Republican Party, there is not a unanimous view that Congress should be taking this step."


"My party is demonstrating that they are for states' rights unless they don't like what states are doing," said Representative Christopher Shays of Connecticut, one of five House Republicans who voted against the bill. "This couldn't be a more classic case of a state responsibility."

"This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy," Mr. Shays said. "There are going to be repercussions from this vote. There are a number of people who feel that the government is getting involved in their personal lives in a way that scares them."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Y Kant Donald Read?


Late night

Chat away.

Open Thread

Have fun.

What Katha Said

Here. And, these numbers are just stunning.

She wrote great columns on the New York Times op-ed page when filling in for Tom Friedman — so why isn't she at The Times (soon to be seven men plus Maureen Dowd) or the Washington Post (18 male pundits plus Anne Applebaum)? Other names off the top of my head: Debra Dickerson, Ruth Rosen, Dahlia Lithwick, Nina Totenberg, Rebecca Traister, Joan Walsh, Sharon Lerner, Wendy Kaminer, Ruth Conniff, Laura Flanders, Natalie Angier, etc. etc. etc! Why doesn't Time (11 columnists, no women, even in Arts and entertainment) give Molly Ivins a slot?


Jesselee is right to suggest that this may prove to be the undoing of Tom DeLay. DeLay has been smart enough to lay low so that he didn't become a household name. He hides behind Hastert even though he's the real power in the House and has never really put himself into the public consciousness.

Wankers of the Day



Ezra writes:

In three little paragraphs, Tom has called the woman with a liquified cerebral cortex a gift from God, compared her situation to his own, and used her to uncover a vast left-wing conspiracy determined to topple Tom DeLay and the values of America conservatism.

"Judicial Tyranny"

And the Republican clown show continues:

U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore has defied Congress by not staying Terri Schiavo's starvation execution for the time it takes him to hold a full hearing on her case, a leading Republican senator said Tuesday.

"You have judicial tyranny here," Santorum told WABC Radio in New York. "Congress passed a law that said that you had to look at this case. He simply thumbed his nose at Congress."

"What the statute that [Whittemore] was dealing with said was that he shall hold a trial de novo," the Pennsylvania Republican explained. "That means he has to hold a new trial. That's what the statute said."
"What he's saying is, 'I don't have to hold a new trial because I've already determined that her rights have been protected,'" Santorum said.

"That's nice for him to say that But that's not what Congress told him to do," he added. "Judges should obey the law. And this judge - in my mind - simply ignored the law."

Organize, Organize, Organize

Chris Hayes has an article everyone should read.

The Question

Kilgore writes:

So the question will remain: having framed the Schiavo case as "murder" and "barbarism" and "medical terrorism," does Tom DeLay now just say, "Well, the family had its day in court," and forget about it? Or will the culture-war implications of the case make it escalate?

Having set this issue up as he has, DeLay really can't back down. Though, I suppose the clock is ticking and there is a time limit.

Well, This is All Effed Up

Lack of coverage is odd, too. Well, I guess they can only handle one story at time.

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Reuters) - A 17-year-old who killed nine people and himself on a Minnesota Indian reservation identified himself as an "angel of death" and a "NativeNazi" on Internet postings, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Officials sealed off the remote town of Red Lake, 60 miles south of the Canadian border, while they investigated Monday's bloodbath, the worst U.S. school shooting since the 1999 Columbine massacre.

Floyd Jourdain Jr., chairman of the Red Lake Indian council, called the tragedy "the darkest day in the history of our tribe."

The shooter was Red Lake High School sophomore Jeff Weise, according to witnesses and school officials.

Weise identified himself in Internet site postings as "Todesengel," German for "angel of death" and "NativeNazi," the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

He also claimed to have been questioned by police in 2004 about an alleged plot to shoot up the school on the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday, but said he had nothing to do with that, the report said.

"I guess I've always carried a natural admiration for Hitler and his ideals, and his courage to take on larger nations," the newspaper quoted Weise as saying in one forum used by neo-Nazis.

CDs and DVDs

Barry has a post up about the differences in pricing strategies for DVDs and CDs. Let me just add that while there are numerous reasons for flat CD sales - shitty product, shitty radio/mtv, etc... - I imagine the single greatest one is the fact that they frequently cost more than DVDs.

One of Those Days

First Brooks writes a column bashing Republicans almost entirely without any false equivalence Democrat-bashing, and now the San Diego Bishop has changed his mind about a denying a funeral for a gay man.

Morning Thread

Have fun.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Holy Crap




Nonetheless, if the distinction among the cases is so fine-grained, it's hard to credit the sincerity of people who throw around terms such as "murder" and "Dachau" when talking about Schiavo but make no objection to the Texas law, especially since the Texas law specifically lists "artificial nutrition and hydration" as among the services that can be discontinued.

Moreover, the law allows for (even if in the Hudson and and Nikolouzos cases it did not actually involve) the termination of life-sustaining treatment for patients with "irreversible" conditions (i.e., conditions from which they will not recover and which leave them unable to care for themselves) even if their higher brain functions are completely normal. Indeed, the law contemplates that a fully competent patient may be served by his health-care provider with a 10-day notice to find another provider or have his plug pulled; it even provides that the patient has the right to attend the committee meeting at which his fate is to be decided. (Sec. 166.046) And the law provides no substantive guidance other than the provider's decision that the requested life-sustaining care would be "inappropriate."

So, if I read the Texas law correctly, it would allow for Terri Schiavo's feedling tube to be disconnected if her health care provider so decided, and if her family couldn't find another provider willing to take the case, even if her higher brain functions were entirely normal (rather than, as appears to be the case, entirely absent), even if she were awake and asking to be allowed to live.

So, I repeat, where's the outrage? If you think Terri Schiavo is being murdered, you think that George W. Bush signed a bill allowing murder in 1999, and that bill is still on the books. Perhaps Mr. Bush flew to the wrong capital on Sunday; some people in Austin seem to need instruction about the "presumption in favor of life."

Open Thread

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Upyernoz does raise an interesting issue -- the fact that a law passed without a quorum is probably unconstitutional. Or, I guess, more to the point - a bill passed without quorum is not in fact a law.

Next Step?

It's almost a given that the federal judge will rule against the parents of Schiavo, at which point he'll be called an "activist" judge, where "activist" means "doing anything we don't like."

But, the lunatics have been whipped up into a fervor and the Republican Congress has made them think there's actually something they can do about this...

Open Thread

Have fun.

McClellan Too?

Oh no, it's another lying Republican. What will we tell the children?

Regular Reminder

It's not the sex, it's the lying...The Bugman:

"She talks and she laughs and she expresses likes and discomforts," he said Sunday evening. "It won't take a miracle to help Terri Schiavo. It will only take the medical care and therapy that patients require."


Yglesias writes:

Speaking of Iraq policy, I seem to have misset my clock radio last night and instead of the usual NPR got what I think was C-SPAN Radio where they had Marina Ottaway on. She, unlike pretty much everyone else one ever hears talking on this subject, did an admirable job of raising the elephant in the corner of American Iraq policy, the fact that near as anybody can tell the administration is still trying to finagle some kind of permanent military basing agreement in Iraq. That the administration has managed to hew consistently to this agenda without ever stating that this is one of their major policy goals is astounding, and that the American media is consistently unwilling to discuss the point is appalling. What's even more astounding about it is that one regularly hears and reads in expert commentary that we ought to "make clear" that this isn't what we're doing. Apparently, it's impolitic to note that Bush isn't making it clear that we don't want permanent bases because we do, in fact, want permanent bases.

It's one of those completely true things which is at best ignored and more frequently treated as a crazy conspiracy.


Read the Polls


- 70% of Americans say it is inappropriate for Congress to involve itself in the Schiavo case.

- 67% of Americans “think the elected officials trying to keep Schiavo alive are doing so more for political advantage than out of concern for her or for the principles involved.” (Just 19% believe the elected officials are acting out of concern for her or their principles.)

- 58% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 63% of Democrats oppose federal government intervention in the case.

- 50% of evangelicals oppose federal government intervention in the case, just 44% approve of the intervention.

- 63% of Catholics and a plurality of evangelicals believe Schiavo’s feeding tube should be removed.

Look, Americans tend to be a "privacy and freedom of choice for me but not for thee" lot on the whole, but most people are sensible enough to not want Tom DeLay making these types of decisions for them.

It also should be emphasized just how out of touch the media (specifically, the cable nets) is on this issue. They've been almost completely on one side of this.

Chicks in Print

One thing that strikes me in the swirling debate about the lack of female columnists is that so many people are deliberately pretending to misunderstand what the issues are - specifically whining that there shouldn't be "affirmative action" or "quotas" or whatever and that even raising the issue (cough anne applebaum cough) somehow discredits the women who have been given slots in leading papers.

First, if there's any field which is clearly the antithesis of meritocracy it's punditry. I don't mean that simply as a slam against the numerous hacks who practice it, it's simply a recognition that decisions about such things as awarding columnist slots are based on numerous reasons which have little to do with "how good" of a pundit someone is.

Second, the reason to make an extra effort to add women isn't about practicing the sort of affirmative action which leads to women who are less deserving than men to get the slots (as if there were a "g" score for pundits or something) -- it's about recognizing that for various reasons absent conscious and consistent effort "good women" are more likely to be overlooked.

And, finally, absent her turning them down the fact that Dahlia Lithwick doesn't have a regular column at a top daily is proof that "good women" do, for some reason, get overlooked. Anyone who can elevate Supreme Court reporting to the level of quality literature should've been snatched up long ago...


I'd love to know who (cough bugman cough) twisted arms to get this to happen:

A Friendswood man in a persistent vegetative state was transferred to a nursing home in San Antonio on Sunday, ending a battle between St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and his family over whether to take him off life support.

At 7:30 a.m., Spiro Nikolouzos, 68, was hooked up to a portable ventilator, feeding tube and other support lines and taken by ambulance to Avalon Place, which had rejected his application just nine days before. Facility officials confirmed his arrival about 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

"Thank God that was an ambulance taking Spiro to another health care facility, not another car taking him to a funeral home," said Nikolouzos' wife, Jannette. "I can't tell you the relief and excitement I feel that my husband is still alive."

Dr. David Pate, St. Luke's chief medical officer, said he was "very surprised" Avalon Place agreed to take Spiro Nikolouzos — more than 30 facilities had rejected him — but that he is glad the matter has been resolved to the family's satisfaction. The hospital's ethics committee had argued continued care would be futile and inhumane.

The surprise relocation capped three weeks during which the Nikolouzos family and St. Luke's looked for an alternative facility to accept him and the family's lawyer filed one temporary restraining order after another to prevent the hospital from pulling the plug. Nine days ago, one of those orders was granted just a few hours before St. Luke's planned to act.

Morning Thread

have fun

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Pop Quiz

How many U.S. soldiers died while in custody of the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War?



god, this bullshit is getting wall to wall coverage. No mention yet of Texas law...

Open Thread



Digby says:

By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schivos because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.

Those who don't read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is "stepping in to save Terry Schiavo" mimicking the unctuous words of Tom Delay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.


What the fuck is happening when 5 year old kids are getting arrested for throwing tantrums...

Unconscious Sexism

It appears my inner sexist has caused me to err. I do believe now would be an excellent moment for Messrs. Goldberg and Beinart to enlist to show all the "softs" how it's done, but as Roxanne reminds us, there's nothing preventing Michelle Malkin from doing likewise.

Another Scary Precedent

One element of this Schiavo circus that hasn't yet gotten a lot of attention is the fact that we have a sitting member of Congress using his bully pulpit and media access to target and attack the character someone who is mostly a private citizen and who has not been accused of or convicted of any crime. I'm sure this isn't entirely without precedent, but the level of volume and personal vitriol which Tom DeLay has directed at Michael Schiavo should give us all pause, as should the fact that the media is treating it as a perfectly ordinary thing. It's one thing to have Harpy Grace flaying you on CNN, it's another thing when Congressman DeLay feels it's a part of his job description.

Open Thread


Trial By Legislation

This is what they're up to:

QUESTION: So the years of state-court litigation would be wiped off the map, as if it never took place?

ANSWER: If Congress gets its way, yes. That's why the legislators in Washington put the words "de novo" into the legislation, so that the federal courts would not be bound by anything the state courts in Florida had done. Terri Schiavo's parents still would have to convince the federal judge that her rights are being violated, and they would have to have the medical evidence to back that up (which they did not have in the state case), but the state case would not act as a mandated precedent in federal court.

QUESTION: What does that concept do the regular give and take between the court systems, the idea of comity and cooperation between judges?

ANSWER: It destroys it. But that's the whole point of this Congressional action. Not liking a particular result in a case that has been litigated fully and completely by a court with competent jurisdiction, Congress now has said that the game must be re-done with new rules that heavily favor one side over the other. The implications of this move are astonishing. Just think about it. Anytime Congress doesn't like the result in a particular case, it could swoop in and call a "do-over," which is essentially what this legislation represents. And this from a Congress that has for a decade or so tried to keep all sorts of citizens-- including disabled employees-- out of federal court. If this law is declared valid, no decision in any state court in the country will be immune from Congressional second-guessing. It would throw out of whack the entire concept of separation of powers. The constitutional law expert Tribe calls it "trial by legislation" and he is right.

QUESTION: You are getting agitated again. Doesn't the legislation specifically say that it does not "constitute a precedent with respect to future legislation, including the provision of private relief bills"?

ANSWER: Yes, it says that. But so what. It said that the last time Congress did this and it didn't stop Congress from doing this now. Look, there is no other way to put it: this is the most blatant and egregious power-grab by one branch over another in my lifetime. Congress is intruding so far into the power of the judiciary, on behalf of a single family, that it is breathtaking. It truly will be fascinating to see how federal court judges react to this-- whether they simply bow down to this end-run or whether they back up their state-court colleagues. And it will be interesting in particular to see what the Supreme Court does with this case. Even the conservatives on the High Court-- and the Chief Justice in particular-- must be concerned about ,the precedent this sort of legislation would set.

...oh lordy, this is just horrible:

Ho Ho Horowitz

While the spectacle of of watching Horowitz dig himself even deeper has been amusing, one serious issue does come out of this -- student privacy rights, which are extreme, make it extraordinarily difficult for professors and institutions to defend themselves against this kind of public attack.

Governor Bush and the Culture of Death

Kleiman has more.

Facts vs, Beltway Conventional Wisdom

From a Time press release:

Less Than Half (46%) Think Recent Steps Toward Democracy in
Middle East are Result of Bush’s Efforts

Morning Thread

Have fun.