CRACKED BELL [Andrew Stuttaford]
Here’s the response of Guardian cartoonist, poor, dumb Steve Bell, to the Schiavo affair. Typical of Bell’s dim-witted daubings, the image is unfunny, ignorant, childish and crude. Many readers here will find it offensive, some deeply so, but most, I hope, would agree that Bell has the right to express himself in that way, and the Guardian has the right to pay him to do so.
At the same time, ask yourself this. Do you think that the Guardian would have run that sort of cartoon if it contained similar imagery mocking the faith of a Muslim or a Hindu leader?
Somehow I doubt it.
Posted at 08:07 PM
SPORTING HERO [Andrew Stuttaford]
From the Daily Telegraph:
“When he signed up for a television diet programme, he weighed 30 stone and drank 25 bottles of lager a day and got out of breath walking down the street: meet Andy Fordham, the new face of English sport. Mr Fordham, 42, a contestant on Celebrity Fit Club, on which he struggled to improve his lifestyle and so far has lost more than two stone, is a world champion at darts, which gained official recognition as a sport yesterday.”
And so it should.
Posted at 08:06 PM
TRANSATLANTIC SPAT [Andrew Stuttaford]
Good grief. What happened? I go away for a few days to the Gomorrahs of London, Stockholm and Amsterdam, and return to find inhabitants of this usually happy Corner burning the Union Jack, exchanging blows over British conservatism and arguing over who is the more hysterical, the Brits or the Yanks. So here goes...
On British and American conservatism: there are two key distinctions to be made. The first is the most important. Basically, American conservatism grew up in response to the failure of the American right to organize an effective response to the FDR years. It developed a specific ideology, which defined itself as much against its fellow travelers on the right as it did to the enemy on the left. Like any ideology, it comes with ideologues, and ideologues are always uncomfortable with dissent.
Contemporary British Conservatism, by contrast, was far less of a conscious creation. It evolved in response to the seemingly unstoppable rise of the Labour Party in the UK and grew to encompass just about anyone (with the exception of that collection of freaks and misfits better known as the Liberal Party) who rejected Socialism. It was a broad church. It had to be. Broad churches have little room for narrow ideologies. Add to that, the native British distrust of ideological rigor and idle philosophical speculation, and you are bound to get a far fuzzier ‘conservatism’ than its equivalent in the US.
And then there’s religion. Much of the intensity of the US conservative response to the tragedy of Terri Schiavo (and other matters) can only be understood as a reflection of the way in which much of American conservatism is intertwined with a strong sense of religious faith. This intertwining was in part deliberate (American conservatism was also a response to the perceived failings of the increasingly secular nature of mid-century America) and, of course, was also a reflection of the fact that America always has been a profoundly religious country.
The Brits, by contrast, have long been more secular than their cousins across the Atlantic, and have a tradition of suspicion of those who are too enthusiastic in professing their religious belief (Blair’s open religiosity undoubtedly costs him votes). There are any number of reasons for this, but a good place to start would the country’s experience during the 1640s civil war and its aftermath, but now is not the time to go into that. Suffice it to say that British conservatives are thus less interested in the specific teachings of the church than the role that it can play a maintaining a reasonably decent, adequately functioning, tolerably orderly society. Actual ‘belief’ was not, and is not, required of Conservatives. Winston Churchill explained that he was not a “pillar” of the Church of England, but a “buttress”: he supported it from outside. That seems to me to be an entirely sensible point of view.
Finally, hysteria. Traditionally, I would have said that the Brits did put more emphasis on restraint, moderation and that most maligned of virtues, emotional repression than did the Yanks, but then Princess Diana died…
Posted at 08:05 PM
SPARING ELK A PAINFUL DEATH [K. J. Lopez]
"Five stranded elk shot; they faced slow starvation"
Posted at 09:01 AM
DEATH BY TRADE [John J. Miller]
This just in from the halls of academe: Free trade killed the Neanderthals.
What does this tell us about anti-globalization protestors?
Posted at 05:43 AM
Friday, March 25, 2005
RE: RE: DELAY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
True, Jonah--I meant to include a link to that post. I didn't mean to be implying any wrongdoing on your part, just wanted to note that this topic had come up here.
Posted at 07:04 PM
RE: DELAY AND SCHIAVO [Jonah Goldberg]
Ramesh - It's late on a Friday so we'll leave the merits for another time. But I should note, just for the record, that fifteen minutes after I posted the item about Delay and that quote, I did post a reader-email suggesting that he'd been quoted out of context. Whether he was or not we can discuss another time.
Posted at 06:16 PM
CENSORSHIP WATCH [Andrew Stuttaford]
One of the more sinister aspects of EU integration is the way that the existence of a common EU extradition warrant can be used to punish behavior that would not actually be criminal in the country where it took place.
Lets take a look at the case of Gerhard Haderer. He’s an Austrian cartoonist who published a satire on the life of Jesus. Like most satires, it is not very respectful, but it contravenes no Austrian law. Unbeknown to him, however, the book was republished in Greece, a country not known these days for its attachment to freedom. The book was banned, Haderer was found guilty of blasphemy and sentenced to jail. He’s appealing, but if he loses, he can under EU law be extradited to Greece to serve his time and Austria cannot do anything about it.
That’s bad enough in its own right, but the implications are worse.
What, for example, if a writer posts an article on the internet that is perfectly legal in his country, but contravenes the law elsewhere in another EU state (perhaps one of those ludicrous, but increasingly fashionable and increasingly repressive laws directed against ‘xenophobia’)? If that article is then downloaded in that country, is there a chance that its author could find himself extradited, convicted and silenced?
I think there is.
John Miller, plan your travel, very, very carefully.
Posted at 04:51 PM
CHIRAC THEN [Andrew Stuttaford]
These days Chirac may like to compare economic liberalism with the horrors of communism, but here’s what he was saying in 1984:
"Liberalism seems to be working... Faced with a state machine that has become crazy, faced with a state bureaucracy that is growing monstruously, faced with an already difficult situation that will become even bleaker in the coming years, what will the next political leader be able to do, after the next election? He won't have any other choice than liberalism. More to the point: liberalism won't be a choice, but a necessity."
Back then, of course, he was looking to win an election against the Socialist president Mitterand.
Times, quite clearly, have changed.
The reader in France who sent me that quote adds this:
“Let us not forget that Chirac in his youth was a communist, distributing l'Humanite, the French communist newspaper, on street corners. [He] is more of a "girouette" (wind vane) than Clinton ever was...”
Posted at 04:40 PM
ELIZABETH WHELAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
loses some credibility with this op-ed. Are we really supposed to take seriously the idea that the only people with "agendas" (or beliefs) on this issue are on the other side from her? I neither believe nor disbelieve William Cheshire's conclusions, but I don't see how his position on stem cells matters any more than Whelan's does. (See here for my critique of her allegedly scientific, agenda-free take on this topic.) See here, here, and here for responses.
Posted at 03:58 PM
DELAY AND SCHIAVO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
You may have read--in the New York Times but also here--that Tom DeLay had suggested that God gave us the Schiavo case to bring our attention to what truly matters, and not to the scandal charges against him.
I've gotten a copy of the DeLay speech in question. (A partial version, which includes the excerpts below, is online.) It may be relevant that the person who introduced DeLay had said that liberals were engaged in a co-ordinated attack on him. At the start of this passage, which comes toward the end of the speech, he is talking about the Schiavo case.
"This is critically important. I know you know that. It is more than Terri
"And let me just finish with this. This is exactly the issue that is going on
"That whole syndicate that they have going on right now is for one purpose
"You know one way they stopped churches from getting into politics was Lyndon
"If they go after and get a pastor, then other pastors shrink from what they
"So, please, this afternoon, each and every one of you, if you know a
Whatever else can be said of DeLay's comments, it seems clear to me that they cannot bear the construction put upon them by his critics.
Posted at 03:42 PM
PROGRESS IS THE MOTHER OF PROBLEMS [Jonah Goldberg]
Update Grrr. Because of some weird editing oversight -- i.e. I failed to catch the edit before it went out -- my column doesn't mention that Beaconsfield was in fact Benjamin Disraeli. I was not intending to be so cryptic.
Posted at 02:51 PM
RE: NOT STARVING [Jonah Goldberg]
I listened to Michael Schiavo's lawyer on the radio complaining at the outrageous rhetoric from opponents of having her feeding tube removed. Starvation and dehydration, he explained, are part of the natural process of death. Thousands of patients dying from cancer and the like stop eating when the end comes he explained. It is natural to refuse sustenance when dying, he assured reporters more than a bit indignantly.
The only problem is that she hasn't refused food and water, she's been denied food and water. She isn't dying of something that causes her to taking food and fluids, she's dying because she's being denied such things.
If she must be put to death can we at least speak clearly that this is what's being done?
Posted at 02:39 PM
WHAT HAPPENED IN TEXAS [K. J. Lopez]
I'm still hearing the talking point about how Bush is a hypocrite re Schiavo because of a bill he signed in Texas. This post, from earlier in the Week here, I think is helpful:
WHAT PRESIDENT BUSH DID IN TEXAS [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 11:59 AM
IN THE FLORIDA COURTS [K. J. Lopez]
ST. PETERSBURG - More than 20 years ago, a jury took only about an hour to convict James Floyd of murdering an 86-year-old woman in her home. They took another hour to send him to death row.
Posted at 11:53 AM
KYRGYZSTAN [John Derbyshire]
If you've read this morning's newspapers, you'll know about the coup in Kyrgyzstan.
And if you thought you'd never have to pay attention to wretched places like Kyrgyzstan, that's because you haven't been reading my columns.
Posted at 11:09 AM
THE FALLING OUT [Rich Lowry]
Long USA Today piece on the history of the falling out between Michael and Terri's parents.
Posted at 10:49 AM
BUSH JOB APPROVAL RATING [Rich Lowry]
...is at an all-time low, 45%, according to the latest USA Today poll. But something seems screwy since the percentage of Democrats is way up since last week's survey, which had Bush at 52%.
Posted at 10:47 AM
THAT HEARTENING RAID... [Rich Lowry]
...by Iraqi forces on the insurgent training camp may have been over-blown...
Posted at 10:42 AM
UN... [Rich Lowry]
,,,points Syria's way in the Hariri assassination...
Posted at 10:37 AM
HOW LIBERALISM FAILED [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 10:36 AM
CHIRAC, AGAIN [Andrew Stuttaford]
The death toll from communism is, roughly speaking, one hundred million people, the number of other victims is, quite literally, countless. Jacques Chirac, however, thinks that free market principles are “the new communism of our age”.
The London Times is not impressed. Chirac’s comments, it said, “will be a surprise to those who had the misfortune to spend time in the labour camps. In reality, what this sad saga and his ludicrous statement illustrate is that Chiracism is the new infantilism of our era. His crass protectionism is naked populism pure and simple. In a similar vein, as part of yet another political tack, he opted yesterday to embrace the cause of poverty in the Third World (as if those souls had not suffered enough) and this despite his unrelenting refusal to contemplate the wholesale overhaul of a Common Agricultural Policy that condemns millions of people there to abject misery.”
Quite why any of the EU’s Eastern European leaders should now want to be in the same room as Chirac now escapes me. He has insulted their history, and belittled the memory of their dead. What a disgrace.
Posted at 10:33 AM
NEWS FLASH [Rich Lowry]
Schiavo is not being starved or even really denied food and water, according to the New York Times...
Posted at 10:33 AM
ZAKARIA CONT. [John J. Miller]
In an email, Nick Schulz of TechCentralStation chimes in on Zakaria:
"That Zakaria stuff is an outrage. He has no idea what he’s talking about. All the interesting ideas about development in recent years have come from the political right or from non-ideological folks (Hernando de Soto, William Easterly, etc.). Fareed cites the WHO success in smallpox. He’s right, and that was the WHO’s most notable success – almost two generations ago. Since then the WHO has become a highly politicized agency that has strayed wildly from its core mission. It has badly bungled treatment of malaria and TB – which, ironically, Fareed mentions at the end of his piece as chronic problems without mentioning WHO’s role in blowing it. And he doesn’t dwell on HIV/AIDS, which the WHO is also managing badly (while the conservative Bush administration has stepped up with serious money and smartly-designed treatment programs). WHO is a textbook case of what’s wrong with global aid today. The green revolution has been successful, but it’s not typical of the kind of aid conservatives criticize – namely, government to government transfers. What conservatives have championed (technology transfer and private sector involvement) were instrumental in the green revolution. I’m not surprised at the gratuitous swipes at conservatives from Fareed, but he might want to get his facts right in the future. Most Africans would put more ‘work’ into op/ed columns than he did."
Posted at 10:25 AM
"IN DEFENCE OF BRITISH CONSERVATISM" [Jonah Goldberg]
I don't particularly want to continue yesterday's thread, but let me just respond to this fairly representative email from a conservative at the London School of Economics:
Dear Mr Goldberg,
Me: Just to be clear, I take a back seat to nobody in my entirely irrational, almost hysterical in the grand American tradition, Anglophilia. I support the monarchy to the extent I think the Brits would be enormous idiots to get rid of it. I like British conservatism and find much to admire in it. My only point in this regard was that conservatives in different places want to conserve different things.
Posted at 10:21 AM
THE SCHIAVO CONNECTION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
When party leaders have a view of reality that is at odds with that of their base, they've got a looming political problem. I suspect that Hill Republicans think that they have just gone the extra mile for pro-lifers with the Schiavo bill and therefore should be cut a little slack on stem cells. Most motivated pro-life voters, on the other hand, are going to be coming at this with a totally different mindset: By their lights, the Republicans waited until the last minute to act in the Schiavo case--and then failed. They are not going to be happy with Republicans who are deliberately and freely choosing to highlight an issue where the politics are difficult for pro-lifers right after they have had a bitter defeat.
Posted at 10:12 AM
HOUSE LEADERSHIP SELLOUT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Rick Weiss reports in WaPo that the House leadership has promised Rep. Mike Castle (R., Del.) a vote on his bill to expand taxpayer funding of embryo-destructive research. Based on the story, it looks as though the leaders didn't even consult with pro-lifers first.
Bush has pledged to veto any funding expansion, but for the House to go on record for it would be demoralizing for pro-lifers and potentially politically costly for the president. (It would be likely to be his first veto.) Pro-lifers' strategy should be to keep the House from passing it, certainly as a stand-alone proposal. It is very likely that there is majority support for Castle's bill in the House, so that's going to be difficult--but not impossible. The thing to do now, it seems to me, is to attach popular pro-life amendments to the bill. A majority of the House--not including Castle and his co-sponsor Diana DeGette (D., Colo.)--has gone on record against all forms of human cloning. Put that on the bill, and see if Castle and company are still eager to pass it. Another amendment would be to set an age limit on the human embryos that can be used in research, public or private.
And pounding the House leadership a little wouldn't hurt, either.
Posted at 10:07 AM
ZAKARIA & AFRICA [ Jonah Goldberg ]
As someone who got a lot of grief for arguing we should consider invading Africa in order to save it (see here and here ), I suppose I'll chime in too. Although I think Ramesh makes the most salient point. The right -- loosely defined here as the people the left dislike -- has been very interested in coming up with new ideas about how to save Africa. The left, it seems to me, has been mostly interested in the same old remedies -- debt relief, direct aid, increasing budgets for NGOs etc. I do think there are a lot of very sincere liberals and lefty types who work very hard and do great work in Africa. But if the issue is "new ideas" I don't think Zakaria's swipe holds much water. Poke around Tech Central Station if you want to find an endless series of innovative ideas about Third World development, particularly in Africa to see what I mean. Zakaria is more than smart enough to know better than to engage in this sort of strawmanism.
Posted at 10:01 AM
RE: ZAKARIA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
For two decades, Hernando de Soto's ideas about helping the Third World poor through property rights have been more popular on the American Right than on the Left. Whatever else you think of those ideas, they're not part of Zakaria's "catechism."
Posted at 09:21 AM
11TH CIRCUIT & "LEGISLATIVE INTENT" [Jonathan H. Adler]
The 11th Circuit panel majority did cite a Senate colloquy in its decision, but I don't think that this demonstrates that the decision was based upon an inappropriate use of legislative history, nor do I think the colloquy was necessary to support the decision. As the court noted, Congress knew how to require a stay -- indeed a prior draft of the legislation included language that would have required a stay -- but such language was not in the final statute. Quoting one, ten or twenty legislators doesn't change this fact. The 11th Circuit panel was required to review the district court's decision for abuse of discretion -- a very demanding standard -- and the majority properly exercised that obligation. This does not mean there was no injustice in the Flroida courts, only that there was not a federal constitutional violation.
Posted at 09:18 AM
"BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT"? [Jonathan H. Adler]
With all due respect, I think Andy is stretching the law quite a bit to argue that federal law, indeed the Constitution, requires that the burden of proof for criminal cases ("beyond a reasonable doubt") must be applied in civil proceedings that will result in the end of life. I understand the rationale for such a standard, but I don't think it can be plausibly argued, as Andy does, that this is the law today. There is certainly nothing in Cruzan or other cases to suggest as much. I understand and appreciate Andy's motivation, but I simply don't think this argument can hold water any more than his substantive due process claims.
Posted at 09:11 AM
WHITTEMORE SAID NO [K. J. Lopez]
again this morning
Posted at 08:35 AM
ZAKARIA, CONSERVATIVES, AND AFRICA [John Derbyshire]
J.J.: Zakaria’s comments are not completely invalid. An awful lot of aid money to Africa DOES end up in Swiss bank accounts, and a lot of conservatives have pointed this out. Can’t see anything wrong with that. I honestly don’t believe, though, that I have ever heard or read a mainstream conservative saying that Africans don’t want to work. I myself have said the opposite thing, here.
Posted at 08:33 AM
ONE MORE TRY [K. J. Lopez ]
Andy McCarthy's latest:
I respectfully believe the attorneys for Terri’s parents should go back to the federal district court and seek the reinsertion of her feeding tube--whether by a temporary restraining order (TRO) or the court’s power under the All Writs Act--on the narrow but epically important ground that due process in the United States requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt before a court may issue an order that results in the taking of life, a right that Terri has been denied.
Posted at 08:27 AM
I AM A TATRA MOUNTAIN SHEEP DOG [Jonah Goldberg]
What dog breed are you? Note: to play click on the link to the right of the screen.
Also note: I would prefer if I didn't actually hear from too many people telling me what breed they are.
Posted at 08:13 AM
THE WILLIAM SHATNER FAME AUDIT [Jonah Goldberg ]
I didn't know about this site before, but I like it.
Posted at 08:04 AM
GOOD FRIDAY [K. J. Lopez]
We're not posting a new site today--though expect a few new pieces in the next hour or so, and as events warrant. Corner will be operating as always, of course.
Posted at 08:03 AM
IRRITATING [John J. Miller]
Here's Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek: "It is often said in Washington these days that conservatives are full of fresh ideas while liberals defend old orthodoxies. At least in the realm of fighting poverty, the opposite is true. On those few occasions when they think about the subject, conservatives recite a stale catechism of clichés based on virtually no research or experience. You've heard them often: foreign aid is a waste, all of it ends up in Swiss banks; poor countries should just free up their markets and they will grow; Africans don't want to work."
Africans don't want to work? I don't recall a conservative ever saying such a thing. This is another example of how the media portrays the Right as racist, without a shred of evidence. Talk about old orthodoxies.
Posted at 05:55 AM
Thursday, March 24, 2005
"I THIRST" [Rod Dreher]
Here's a gut-wrenching description of what it's like to die from thirst. Terri Schiavo is living through this right now. We do not know if she is aware of what is happening to her.
Posted at 10:26 PM
THE COURT "HAS ORDERED HER TO BE MADE DEAD" [K. J. Lopez]
Ralph Nader joins the voices for Terri Schiavo.
Posted at 10:25 PM
RE: THE CRACK UP [Jonah Goldberg]
From a friend of NRO:
The third paragraph of your l:38 posting should be hung up in offices everywhere. Did anyone ever hear of the FDR coalition? The one with KKK members and the civil rights movement; with Midwest farmers and Greenwich Village bohemians; with crypto-communists and southern grandees?
Posted at 06:03 PM
HARRIET MCBRYDE JOHNSON... [Rich Lowry ]
...was on Aaron Brown's show last night. A bit from the transcript:
BROWN: Let me try and ask the question a little bit differently. No state in the country allows a non-terminally ill person to commit suicide. Every state in the country would intervene in that matter.
Posted at 05:29 PM
TREE HOUSE [John Derbyshire]
A reader wishes to know how my famous tree house weathered the storms of winter.
Answer: Like the Rock of Gibraltar! Danny & a friend were up there all afternoon.
I build to last, in seculae seculorum -- nothing ephemeral.
Posted at 05:12 PM
JIM JEFFORDS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Not, apparently, an SMTP.
Posted at 05:03 PM
RE: THAT E-MAIL JONAH POSTED [K. J. Lopez]
That fella says:
I have noticed, by the way, both anecdotally in speaking to people and even in the Corner, that the more that people learn about the case, the more they begin to have sympathy for Michael Schiavo.I've seen the exact opposite dynamic at work with many folks. After reading Dr. Chesire's affadavit, for instance. Or any number of other documents we've made available this week... The more you realize there are so many questions...why not get them answered is the instinct.
Posted at 05:00 PM
CONJUGATION [John Derbyshire]
I think this is one of those irregular verbs, you know
I am a sane, moderate, thoughtful person;
You are a fence-straddler;
He's all over the place.
Posted at 04:56 PM
EAST TURKESTAN EVENT [John Derbyshire]
The inestimable D.J. McGuire alerts me that the East Turkestan Government-in-Exile will be hosting a reception Saturday for Rebiya Kadeer, just released after 6 years in the Chinese Gulag.
You can read about Ms. Kadeer here.
The reception is from 10 to 2 on Saturday at the George Mason Regional Public Library (7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA). Ms. Kadeer will make a brief appearance around noon. She'll talk a little about her imprisonment, the plight of her people, and her plans to continue the fight for them.
Posted at 04:54 PM
ANTI-CASHEW BACKLASH AND SCHIAVO [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader who has many sensible things, so when I am Czar I shall merely claim his left baby toe as payment for his impertinent questioning of the cashew.
Posted at 04:40 PM
OH, RE: BRITISH HYSTERIA [Jonah Goldberg]
There was that recently beatified secular saint. What was her name again...? Oh Right: Di something.
Also, I do seem to recall that large numbers of young British men tend to get into a bit of a tizzy at soccer games.
Posted at 04:30 PM
SMTPS & THE LAW [Jonah Goldberg ]
The other day I got into a little spat with Sam Rosenfeld over his celebration of "outcome" based "instrumentalism" -- i.e. whatever works -- as the core of liberal governing philosophy. Well, Andrew Sullivan offers a good example of what I'm talking about. He's very upset with non SMTPs (i.e. National Review) for their stance on Schiavo (though it sounds like he and Derb see things eye-to-eye on this one. Heh). But when Gavin Newsom defied the courts and the legally expressed will-of-the-people and performed gay marriages, Andrew celebrated it. Indeed, it's almost impossible to think of a time when Andrew objected to a procedural shortcut to gay marriage. This is what I mean by instrumentalism and why I dislike it so. Demanding that others play by the rules when you refuse to abide by them yourself is a very frustrating form of argumentation. It's particularly frustrating in this case when you ask, "Would he react the same way if this was a case of Congress intervening to legalize gay marriage?"
I think the Florida court ruled incorrectly -- it's hard to know for sure -- but I still think the intervention was probably a mistake. But Andrew's complaint that the right is run by a "crew of zealots and charlatans" who will do anything because "God is on their side" is classic rhetorical excess. If these hucksters and crusaders recognize no limits on their power why did they choose the fairly modest option of having a federal judge review the case? Why are they abiding by the federal judiciary's decision? All they did was offer Schiavo a modicum of the federal protections routinely offered to serial killers. Andrew understands pro-life theology and arguments far better than I do, which is why I am at such a loss to understand why he can't muster even the tiniest benefit of the doubt that some of the folks trying to save Schiavo's life are neither zealots nor charlatans.
Posted at 04:26 PM
THE H-WORD [John J. Miller]
Andrew, two words: "mad cow."
Posted at 04:20 PM
KERR & ADLER [K. J. Lopez]
will be on Hugh Hewitt's show tonight, Jon tells me...
The Andy McCarthy man will be on too...
Posted at 04:15 PM
HYSTERIA [Andrew Stuttaford]
John, one word: 'Alar'.
Posted at 04:12 PM
SMTPS, CTD. [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Ross Douthat--who I think counts as an SMTP--makes a theological point (in the P.S. section).
Posted at 04:07 PM
MORE SMTPS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
"Here's a principle: the government should stay out of living rooms, bedrooms and marital bonds. That used to be called conservatism." The trouble is, that's a slogan, not a principle. I think SMTPs would have a hard time taking it seriously as a principle. They might think that if, say, a husband were killing his wife in the bedroom, maybe the government should step in. There are circumstances in which all SMTPs would support the government's getting involved. It's possible that two equally sane, moderate, thoughtful people might disagree about the proper governmental response to the kind of fact pattern you have in the Schiavo case. (Really! There are SMTPs out there who disagree with Andrew Sullivan!) But either one of them, presumably, would want to draw a line somewhere to prevent at least some spousal killings. You can certainly make an argument for drawing that line with a bias toward letting spouses do as they wish, although I would not myself agree with that argument. But asserting that government should "stay out of the bedroom" (and, I guess, hospital), and that all SMTPs agree about this, does not strike me as advancing that (or any other reasonable) argument.
Posted at 04:00 PM
MAD DOGS [John J. Miller]
"In peacetime the British may have many faults," said a fellow named Lord Gladwyn some years ago, "but so far an inferiority complex has not been one of them."
Here in America, we may have a few hysterics, but we also aren't scared to death of biotech food, fox hunting, or the right to bear arms. And don't get me started on the royal family, which has perhaps been the source of more hysteria than any other single institution on the planet.
Posted at 03:54 PM
"SANE, MODERATE, THOUGHTFUL PEOPLE" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
They may not all have liked the William Bennett/Brian Kennedy piece on NRO today, but I'm pretty sure that sane, moderate, thoughtful people--let's call them SMTPs for short--won't flip out at the idea that a Constitution is not whatever the courts say it is and that the courts shouldn't always have the last word about its meaning. Otherwise SMTPs would have to reject, e.g., Abraham Lincoln.
Posted at 03:47 PM
WHERE'S THE LIBERAL FEMINIST CARE FOR WOMEN? [K. J. Lopez ]
By the way, here’s my first syndicated column for United Media. It actually started appearing in some papers two weeks ago, but I’m posting them on NRO late--want you’all to get your local papers to subscribe!
Actually wrote this first one while pretty sick, so it became just a rant on liberal feminists—but a well-deserved one—they’re lack of interest in Terri Schiavo’s life, of course, makes their lack of interest in representing anything but their abortion politics crystal clear.
Posted at 03:45 PM
THE CRACK-UP [Jonah Goldberg ]
I think this reader's got it pretty much exactly right. Conservatives argue all of the time about first principles. As a few serious liberals have recently noted , liberals spend most of their time arguing about strategy and "framing" while conservatives often have knock-down drag-outs about first principles and philosophy. The liberals (and some conservatives) look at these arguments as a sign of internal tensions when they're really signs of internal health. Anyway, from a reader:
Posted at 03:32 PM
MORE ON SCHIAVO [Rich Lowry ]
A very compelling piece in Slate, by a disability-rights lawyer named Harriet McBryde Johnson--although reading good cases for keeping her alive just makes what's happening all the sadder. I was struck in particular by the argument in these two points (she makes ten all told):
4. There is a genuine dispute as to Ms. Schiavo's awareness and consciousness. But if we assume that those who would authorize her death are correct, Ms. Schiavo is completely unaware of her situation and therefore incapable of suffering physically or emotionally. Her death thus can't be justified for relieving her suffering.
Posted at 02:47 PM
PSYCHIC FLAME [John Derbyshire]
Not to beat a rather inconsequential point to death, but there are some aspects of national vitality that no-one has yet figured out how to quantify. Rodney Gilbert, writing from China in the 1920s said: "In China the psychic flame burns low, for want of fuel." Modern Britain presents somewhat the same spectacle in relation to the US. The psychic flame burns rather low over there.
Now I am trying to recall a quote by, I am pretty sure, Ernest Bevin, British Foreign Secretary in the late 1940s. An American diplomat asked him, in some context or other, what the desires of the British people were. Bevin: "The British people have no desires." (Or something close to that.)
It's stuck in my mind. If anyone knows the actual quote & context, I'd appreciate it.
Posted at 02:38 PM
FEEBLE, LANGUID, SEMI-SERIOUS DEFENSE OF THE BRITS [John Derbyshire]
Don't know why I should bother, since I'm not one of them any more: but to your reader's "Select Few with True Vision," Jonah, I should think that by anyone's standard, that phrase is much more applicable to the American lady I quoted ("Republicans want to force me to have babies!") and to her mirror images, the people on the Right who make it a dead-on certainty that, if I express my mildly pro-abortion views on NRO, I shall get emails calling me a murderer.
I don't suppose I shall ever get into step with the forced-pregnancy/Derb-is-a-murderer mindsets. They continue to strike me as weirdly hysterical, and I suppose always will. Political equivalent of not being able altogether to lose your foreign accent. I came here too late in life. I *am* now enough of an American, though, to see that there is indeed something unpleasantly smug about Brit-conservative condescension, and I apologize if I have been guilty of it. (Brit-lefty condescension is another matter -- but lefties everywhere are appalling, what else can one say?)
Posted at 02:36 PM
BRIT-PICKING: FATALISM [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Jonah, I think we need to bear in mind that what is deemed "hysteria" by the cool natured British would more likely be referred to as "a little riled up" in our American parlance. We are a fighting nation. Our forebearers struggled tremendously to overcome great odds and create this magnificent nation, and that fighting spirit is still alive and well in a goodly portion of our society. It's isn't hyteria to be passionate about something you believe in. I consider it a point of honor. I also believe it is the reason we have the greatest military in the world (my husband included!). The British are far too quick to resign themselves to whatever fate appears to be their lot. I find this sort of fatalism irksome in the extreme.
Posted at 02:29 PM
KYRGYZISTAN [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll try to read up on all that tonight. But I do hope Al Jazeera has a camera crew at the scene.
Posted at 02:24 PM
NOT A JOKE [Byron York]
Air America, the liberal radio network, has announced that Jerry Springer will have a program on the network beginning April 1. Springer will apparently fill the spot vacated by the abrupt and unexplained departure of host Lizz Winstead last month.
Posted at 02:17 PM
PICK ON THE BRITS, CONT'D [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Remember Britain’s Daily Mirror headline following the Bush victory: “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?”
Posted at 02:12 PM
DENIED [K. J. Lopez]
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- A state judge has ruled Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida's social services agency don't have legal ground to take custody of Terri Schiavo.
Posted at 02:08 PM
RE: BRITS [Jonah Goldberg]
Another view, from a reader:
How about this: British conservative no longer have the slightest idea of what they are trying to conserve, mainly because they have so little to choose from and still can't decide. Privatizing a coal mine in a milieu of entrenched Fabian socialism and a widespread conversion to what is essentially cultural Marxism doesn't quite do the trick.
Posted at 02:01 PM
FIFA -- PHOOEY! [Jonah Goldberg]
In a decent, civilized, society this man would be disemboweled on national television for such thought crimes:
You rube. You hick. You maroon! Let me let you in on a little secret. You stating unequivocally that cashews are the best nut to accompany adult beverages is a little like the college freshman pontificating to his Budweiser drinking high school friends that Corona is what knowledgeable people drink (not realizing that Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout is the finest beer available in the States).
Posted at 01:55 PM
BRITS [Jonah Goldberg]
Just for the record, I've found British lefties to be just as capable as American lefties of performing pirouettes of hysterical jackassery. British animal rights activists, for example, are far more batty on the whole than American ones.
I do think, however, that Derb is on to something about British conservatives. But I think this has something to do with what British conservatives want to conserve versus what Americans wish to conserve. As Hayek and Sam Huntington have both argued, American conservatives are among the only conservatives in the world who wish to conserve fundamentally liberal, even radical, notions and institutions. When Hayek wrote his essay "Why I am not a Conservative" he was referring mostly to continental conservatives, but also to some British conservatives. In America, however, conservatives were still defenders of liberty because we seek to conserve and defend our constitution, the principles in the Declaration, property rights, liberty, etc.
British conservatism, which does have a lot going for it, is much more rooted in temperment and tradition, and is eager to defend such institutions as the monarchy which, needless to say, is not an institution America's founders had much use for.
Posted at 01:51 PM
"THE COWS SUFFERED TREMENDOUSLY." [K. J. Lopez]
Vermont farmer prosecuted for starving his cattle to death.
Posted at 01:43 PM
WEIRD AND HYSTERICAL [John Derbyshire]
I dunno about that, Ramesh. The USA has thrown up its fair share of (to use the appropriate Thatcherism) "wet" conservatives; you can fill in the names yourself. And the "weird, hysterical" strain is evident as much on the Left as the Right. When a well-educated young woman tells me, as one actually did, that she could never vote Republican because "Republicans want to force me to have babies," I know I'm in America. On the moral issues that stir such passions in the USA, neither Churchill nor Mrs. Thatcher had much to say -- though I grant you that the opposition of both to Soviet communism was morally grounded, not mere Great Game statecraft.
Posted at 01:39 PM
ARE WE WITNESSING A CONSERVATIVE CRACK-UP, AGAIN? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Glenn Reynolds tackles this perennial lament and links to others as well. The smart bet must be, "no" if for no other reason than people have been lamenting or celebrating the "conservative crack-up" for decades and so far reports of conservatism's demise have been accompanied with a boom in conservatism's prospects.
The problem is that all serious and large political and ideological movements contain internal contradictions. Internal contradictions come with growth. Perfect internal consistency comes with contraction and insularity. Small cults are internally consistent on every point. Large movements must deal with coalitions of competing interests.
This doesn't mean such contradictions don't create problems and challenges, but if you're looking for a major coalition to fall apart, you should look less for intellectual contradictions and more for conflicts of interests between major segments of the coalition. The intellectual conflicts are interesting to intellectuals -- that's why we call them "intellectuals" -- but they don't always reflect concrete antagonisms within the movement. Frank Meyer's fusionism -- the marriage between traditional or social conservatism and anti-state or libertarian conservatism -- never really worked on paper very well. But despite this internal contradiction -- capitalism versus stability -- the conservative movement prospered because it believed such a marriage would be useful ideal even if it couldn't be attained in practice.
Those who want to find in the Schiavo case proof of a movement-splitting schism need to demonstrate that a major constituent of the conservative movement -- free marketers, for example -- can no longer abide by fighting side-by-side with pro-lifers or social-conservatives. I just don't see that there's much evidence of this, which is one of the reasons I think the political consequences of the Schiavo case will be minimal.
Posted at 01:38 PM
NOT PVS [K. J. Lopez]
More on doctors who think Terri Schiavo is not PVS patient.
Posted at 01:38 PM
LET HER DRINK [K. J. Lopez]
A Massaschusetts doctor says he thinks Terri Schiavo could eat and drink orally:
THE CHIPS ARE DOWN. We have had a surfeit of due process. It is now well past time to consider the facts which process has willfully ignored. There is no reason, medical, moral, or legal, to refrain from an attempt to provide Terri Schiavo with orally administered liquids....
Posted at 01:30 PM
IRAQI FORCES... [Rich Lowry ]
...with US help, take down insurgent training camp.
Posted at 01:28 PM
WOLFOWITZ... [Rich Lowry ]
Posted at 01:28 PM
NRODT ONLINE [K. J. Lopez ]
The new issue of National Review is up for subscribers and with it a whole new digital display—a lot more user-friendly than it’s been. You’ll like it.
If you don’t have access now, I hope you’ll consider signing up. You can subscribe to NR Digital only here. You can subscribe to the paper version, which includes digital access, here. Here’s the cover of the new issue, which has an important cover piece by Otto Reich.
Posted at 01:27 PM
GOOD FRIDAY [K. J. Lopez]
Tomorrow is Good Friday which means, among other things, Fr. George Rutler's world-famous three-hour meditation on the last words of Christ in NYC (he wrote a book on it, too). It's from noon to three at the Church of Our Saviour on Park, full location details here.
Posted at 01:23 PM
BRITAIN AND AMERICA [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Let me get this straight: Iain Murray thinks that Leon Kass should be canned over some trivial offense, and it's the people who say he shouldn't be canned who are the hysterics?
It may very well be that Murray's general point is correct: that there is an element to the American national character that is absent from the British, and that this element is what an opponent of it would describe as a "weird hysterical strain." It may be that this difference in national character has something to do with the popular vitality of conservatism in America, and its pathetic weakness in Britain.
Posted at 01:15 PM
TAKE THAT LEGUME-O-PHILES [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 01:07 PM
CONSERVATIVES IN BRITAIN [Peter Robinson]
Britain produced two great Conservatives in the twentieth century, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. Often accused of being “hysterical,” to use Iain Murray’s word (see “Abortion in Britain,” below), both insisted upon moral clarity, disdaining pragmatism. One crushed Hitler. The other transformed the British economy and played a critical role in the defeat of the Soviet Union.
Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, Harold MacMillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Edward Heath, and John Major? All “tend[ed] toward the pragmatic,” to quote Murray once again. What did they accomplish? Broadly speaking, nothing.
Posted at 01:07 PM
SOROS [Jonah Goldberg]
From Armand in Paris:
One reason to have no doubt Soros is guilty indeed : when it comes to insider trading, we in France REALLY know what we're talking about.
Posted at 01:01 PM
PARENTAL GUSH [John Derbyshire]
May I gush, please? Thank you.
A few weeks ago I posted a brief paternal gush about seeing my 9-year-old son sparring for the first time down at the local boxing gym. Well, yesterday I took my camera along. It's a cheapo digital number so the picture quality isn't great, but here is my boy in action against trainer & former champ Tony White.
Posted at 01:00 PM
ROLL OVER MENDEL [Jonah Goldberg]
No one will fall out of their chair in shock when I admit I don't know a lot about genetics, specifically plant genetics. Nonetheless, I can't shake the vague sense that the story yesterday about the possible revolution in our understanding of the laws of inheiritance could -- if upheld -- have far more dramatic repurcussions than anything we've been discussing lately. Obviously, I could be incandescantly wrong about this, but it just seems like a really big deal to me.
Posted at 12:58 PM
RE: SOMETHING WE CAN ALL AGREE ON [K. J. Lopez]
Yeah, so, where's the scotch, Jonah?
Posted at 12:41 PM
"PROFOUND SADNESS AND DISAPPOINTMENT" [K. J. Lopez]
DeLay, Sensenbrenner Statement on Supreme Court Ruling
Posted at 12:40 PM
"SHUT UP" [K. J. Lopez, American Hysteric]
Believe it or not, I've spared you most of my e-mails, but here's one, of a sentiment that keeps rolling in:
Dear Kathryn,Shutting up would be the absolute wrong thing to do if the power you've got is use of a media that runs on doing anything but shutting up. As has been expressed below, these defining life-and-death issues are not killed with this woman.
Posted at 12:38 PM
SOMETHING WE CAN ALL AGREE ON [Jonah Goldberg]
Cashews are the best nut to eat with scotch, whiskey and other grown-up cocktails in civilized settings, hence they are the best of all nuts. On this there can be no debate.
Update I knew the legume-o-philes would pile on to note that cashews are not strictly nuts . I suppose I could have anticipated the email and said they are the best legumes/nuts, but I chose not to for the same reason I call spiders bugs even though they aren't.
Posted at 12:28 PM
WEISE ON THE NET [K. J. Lopez]
Michelle Malkin's doing some disturbing Internet researching on the Minnesota school shooter.
Posted at 12:26 PM
LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE FRENCH [Jonah Goldberg]
French Court find George Soros guilty of insider trading.
Posted at 12:23 PM
ABORTION IN BRITAIN [John Derbyshire]
Iain Murray at the Competitive Enterprise Institute comments: "I've been following the debate on The Corner and have been struck by the intensity of the arguments levelled at you. I was similarly nonplussed when James Q Wilson reacted (overreacted in my opinion) so hostily to my suggestion last week that Leon Kass may have made an error in judgement. Why do Brit conservatives always tend towards the pragmatic in moral cases and why does this annoy American conservatives so? I think Stuart Reid has an excellent summation of the reason in the new Spectator: 'We don't have the moral intensity of Americans, nor do we have their Manichaean certainties. In other words, we are not as good as the Americans, but neither are we as hysterical.' ... (but I think you need a subscription).
"I think I'm fine with not being as good but being less hysterical. I think this fits with the fact that I had never heard the expression 'Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good' until I came to this country. It's a very American failing."
This is very characteristic. One of the stock topics of conversation among Brit expats in the USA is the weird hysterical strain in US politics. This seems as peculiar and foreign to Brits and Brit-raised (so I'm going to include myself here) as the War Dance of the Sioux, and we can't understand how it came up in a fundamentally Anglo-Saxon country. The way I look at it, it's just the mildly annoying downside of the earnest and passionate American desire to be good, and to be known to be good. I suppose Brits want to be good; but they don't want to half as much as Americans do, and they don't give a fig whether anyone else thinks they're good or not. I have always thought that the phrase (now extinct, unfortunately) "no better than she should be," spoken of a loose woman, is very British.
Posted at 12:17 PM
RE: JUDICIAL MISCHIEF [Andy McCarthy]
1. The point of my post is that it was inconsistent to critique the mischief of courts resorting to legislative history to get around statutory commands when that's exactly what the Eleventh Circuit itself did in this case. I take it you agree with that as you seem to have dropped the subject that prompted me to respond in the first place.
2. The fact that equitable authority is malleable doesn't mean its use is improper. On a life-and-death issue in connection with a matter as to which congress directed a de novo review, it would have been appropriate to use this equiatable authority to maintain the status quo. If it turned out after a reasonable time for filing claims that there was no cognizable federal right, then that would have been the end of it. But the courts, like the congress, belong to the American people, not the Schindlers. Regardless of whether the Schindlers can prevail (a matter on which requiring of them a pre-demonstration that they were likely to prevail is certainly reasonable), the public has an independent interest, when its congress gives its courts jurisdiction and direction to conduct a plenary review of a matter, to have that matter fully reviewed in the courts absent third-party interference, unless and until someone demonstrates that the statute providing jurisdiction and direction is unconstitutional.
3. I am not shrinking from the substantive due process charge. I readily cop to it. I haven't been avoiding you on it. I think it's an important question and deserves as thoughtful a response as I can give it, and I'm working on that. Admittedly, the Supremes have just knocked the wind out of my sails a bit, so I'm less than inspired to keep plugging away on this. But I'll try to buck up.
Posted at 12:10 PM
JAILHOUSE COVERSION [Mark Krikorian]
The Supreme Court yesterday refused to overturn the death sentence of a murderer who said the jury should have been able to take into account his newfound Christian faith in deciding his fate. This is something that has long bugged me – any attempt by a supposedly remorseful murderer to overturn his death sentence ought to be prima facie evidence that he is not, in fact, remorseful. Part of remorse is accepting the fact that you deserve the law's punishment for your heinous crime – in fact, if you’re a Christian, you deserve damnation, which you hope you will be spared by God’s grace. As the penitent thief at Calvary rebuked the other thief who mocked the Lord, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss."
Posted at 12:08 PM
UNION CHEESECAKE [Mark Krikorian]
Try to imagine what the cover of the magazine of the International Association of Machinists would look like – maybe beefy men with wrenches or power tools? Then look here at their spring issue. I think organized labor is in more trouble than I thought.
Posted at 12:07 PM
NEUROLOGISTS DEFER TO COURTS [K. J. Lopez]
From USA Today:
"Terri Schiavo has had no food or water since Friday, which has led her parents and their supporters to complain that she could be experiencing a painful death. But neurologists on Wednesday said that based on court findings of her condition, her body gradually will shut down in a painless process that will lead to death."
Posted at 12:03 PM
TECHNOLOGY AND POLITICS [Jonah Goldberg ]
Oh, on that I agree with Kathryn and Derb entirely. I think the longterm challenges and problems represented by the Schiavo case are enormous and hardly unique to her.
Longtime readers know this is an issue I'm really interested in, if not particularly expert on. I think the big changes in politics are often -- but not always -- driven far more by technology than by ideas. As Chesterton said, "progress is the mother of problems" -- or something like that. This is a point I've tried to address many times. I think first here and most recently here.
Posted at 11:41 AM
STRANGE POST [Ramesh Ponnuru]
from Andrew Sullivan. Is the point that nobody who objects to same-sex marriage can sincerely believe in civil rights in another context? That it's wrong to make the case for feeding Terri Schiavo if you've received $250,000 from the Bradley Foundation? That the conservative movement 30 years ago would have been pleased as punch about her death by starvation? That when you want to associate your opponents with straw-man arguments, you can just say they're making those arguments "subtly"? This isn't Sullivan at his best, I think.
Posted at 11:26 AM
THE CASE AGAINST PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION [John Derbyshire]
Reading about the school shooting in Minnesota, I can't get out of my head the name of the cult the homicidal teenager signed up with: the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party. Their emblem is a swastika on a green background.
Pop quiz: Would you describe this party as left-wing, or right-wing?
Posted at 11:14 AM
ABOUT JONAH'S PREDICTION [John Derbyshire]
I am very glad that for once in this sorry business I can agree with Kathryn. At both ends of life -- the very beginning, and the very end -- we have some serious collective thinking to do. Technology is going to push Rauch's "hidden law," which we have muddled through with up till recently, out to the margins.
By way of illustration, note the rising prominence of the abortion issue in Britain -- the very home and hearth of muddle-through social policy. This is technologically driven -- by improved prenatal imaging devices.
Posted at 11:12 AM
COULD BE? [K. J. Lopez]
One usually sharp observer of things e-mails me:
There's a significant cohort of folks out here in flyover country for whom this is a watershed moment. Just as the Elian Gonzalez case harmed Gore among Cuban- Americans in Florida 2000, the Terri Schiavo case has energized those people enraged by courts and politicians perceived as taking either a passive or adverse position on preserving Terri's life.
Posted at 11:06 AM
RE: OUGHT VS. IS [K. J. Lopez]
As I said, I do think you're unfortunately right about the is part. Though if we can do anything to sway that...a little standing athwart history feels in order.
Posted at 11:05 AM
OUGHT VS. IS [Jonah Goldberg]
Kathryn - Just to be clear I wasn't necessarily saying it's good news that this will change little of the political landscape but that I simply think it is so.
Though I should add I think the pro-life movement is now much more committed, publicly, to "life" issues across the board and not just abortion. Obviously this was largely the case before, but not so much in the public's eye. How that affects the internal dynamics of the right and how the right is perceived politically in the long run I don't know. But as for the electoral issues, I think this is largely a flash in the pan -- at the national level.
Posted at 11:00 AM
TV ON TERRI [Tim Graham]
MRC’s Rich Noyes discovered looking at the evening newscasts that 59 percent of soundbites (including the statements of network reporters) attacked Congress for acting in Terri Schiavo’s defense and 60 percent of soundbites presented the husband’s kiss-her-goodbye case to only 40 percent presenting the parental counterargument.
Posted at 10:53 AM
POLY-POSTING [Stanley Kurtz]
As a sequel to yesterday’s polyamory piece, here’s a fascinating post on the connection between gay marriage and polyamory by a pro-polyamory activist.
Posted at 10:50 AM
RE: PREDICTION [K. J. Lopez]
Jonah writes, " most Americans on both sides of the issue will be relieved to say goodbye to the topic entirely." I hope that's not entirely the case. She'll be dead, having not gotten a fair hearing, and we'll have a lot of unsettling questions we should be dealing with for a long time to come. Do we err on the side of life or death? It's a question that hits us on a lot of fronts. And, while I know Jonah's right inasmuch it's all so uncomfortable and unsettling and complicated in it's ugly details that most people don't have the time or mental energy to fully deal with them when we all have our own closer to home problems and decisions and tragedies to deal with. But, as a society, we need to be facing these issues, especially as technology only makes it easier to both end and create life.
Posted at 10:44 AM
PREDICTION [Jonah Goldberg]
The negative political consequences in the long term for the Schiavo manuevers by the GOP will be near-zero, even though a majority of Americans will view them negatively. This episode is simply too unique, awful and conflicting for anybody except a very small number of people to hold a grudge about it. Recall, liberals insisted that the Republicans would pay dearly for impeachment, that really didn't pan-out either. Also -- as Ramesh has pointed out many times -- every "sophisticated" student of American politics has insisted for decades now that abortion politics hurt the GOP even though there is scant evidence to back that up either. Regardless, while some significant number of pro-lifers will carry the Schiavo cause for a very long time (and the GOP leadership can claim to be true to the cause), most Americans on both sides of the issue will be relieved to say goodbye to the topic entirely and few will remember it come the next election and virtually no Democrats will use it against Republicans in their campaigns.
Posted at 10:37 AM
just refused to take the case.
Posted at 10:28 AM
JUDGE GREER [K. J. Lopez]
just denied a motion from Florida to unseal records in the Schiavo case.
Basically, how about I just tell you if a judge ever says yes to something?
Posted at 10:24 AM
RE: JUDICIAL MISCHIEF [Jonathan H. Adler]
Andy -- I believe the 11th Circuit majority properly appled the relevant legal tests and standards of review. Judge Wilson's only real arguments to the contrary relied upon the courts' equitable authority -- not the strongest ground given the malleability of equitable principles -- and, as I noted before, no federal judge has yet to suggest that there is any merit whatsoever to the underlying federal claims. We can agree that there was real judicial mischief in the Florida state courts. The problem is that not all state-level judicial mischief merits making a federal case out of it -- even when a life is at stake. Indeed, that was part of the point of the habeas reforms that conservatives championed. It takes much more than judicial mischief to create a constitutional violation remediable in the federal courts. Again, this does not mean that Terri Schiavo should be killed (I'm not in Derb's camp on this one), but that there may not be a valid federal claim. Speaking of constitutional violations, Andy, I'm also still wondering how your claims from before are anything other than substantive due process arguments.
Posted at 10:22 AM
HERE'S THE AMICUS BRIEF [K. J. Lopez]
the House of Representatives filed yesterday.
Posted at 10:08 AM
ATLANTA DREAMING [Kate O'Beirne]
Are my other NRniks looking forward to our Atlanta event as much as I am? I think we agree that it has been really enjoyable meeting our unfailingly smart and likeable readers. I know that each time we have gotten together I have learned something important and interesting. That doesn't happen when I hang out on Capitol Hill. So, y'all come, y'hear? Maybe I'll do my southern accent in person.
Posted at 10:06 AM
RE: STAY AWAY, SEAN [K. J. Lopez]
For a lot of the media, this is another feeding frenzy, not doubt. But, from the little I've seen, Hannity's been able to undo some of the damage some of the other not-paying-attention or hostile types have done with their disinformation. I, for one, am grateful to him and no doubt the Schindlers are. And I know many NRO readers are, too.
Posted at 09:54 AM
STAY AWAY, SEAN [John Derbyshire]
One of the depressing -- I am not being facetious, it really does depress me -- features of the past couple of days has been watching the talking-heads left-right programs on the telly and wishing I could cheer on the righty -- the side of any argument I would instinctively support -- but not being able to.
Watching Hannity & Colmes Tuesday night I found myself nursing a devout hope that if I ever enter a persistent vegetative state, Sean Hannity is nowhere in the neighborhood.
Posted at 09:52 AM
RE: KERR V. HEWITT [Andy McCarthy]
Jon's point would be well taken if the "judicial mischief" had not already occurred in--and been absolutely critical to the outcome of--this case. But in declining to reinsert the tube, the two-judge majority of the Eleventh Circuit panel expressly relied not on the statutory language of the law passed Sunday night but on the legislative history: to wit, Senator Levin's argument--well prior to passage, and before the bill underwent important language changes--that the bill did not require the federal court to grant a stay (which would have reinserted the tube) so that the de novo review congress was seeking could occur. See Op. at 5-7 (citing and quoting "[t]his enlightening exchange" between Senators Levin and Frist). See also id., at 15-16, dissent of Judge Wilson ("Because the language of the statute is clear, the majority's reliance on legislative history is unwarranted and incorrect.")
I have great respect for the views of Jon and Orin Kerr. But it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to wax on about the abstract mischief of bank robbery while failing to acknowledge that the vault is long since open and the loot is gone. It's a perfectly understandable position to say the actual language of the statute is far more important than, say, the comments by Rep. DeLay that Hugh Hewitt cites, which evince a clear intent that the statute would obligate the judge to reinsert the tube so the case could be considered. ("We are confident this compromise will restore nutrition and hydration to Mrs. Schiavo as long as that appeal endures. Obviously, the judge will have to put the feeding tube back in or she could die before the case is heard.") (Emphasis added.) But then why not concede that legislative history--which is so mischievous precisely because it can be used to torture the meaning of the actual words of a statute--is in fact exactly what the Eleventh Circuit used to deny the stay against the clear intent of the actual language of Terri’s law.
Posted at 09:51 AM
ANOTHER BOGUS MEMO? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Powerline has been all over the alleged "GOP Talking Points" memo covered in the press that purports to show that the Schiavo legislation was a crass political move. If not a fake, Powerline has certainly presented evidence that the memo's significance was oversold.
ABC first reported the memo as a bombshell that disclosed Republican strategy. Now it says that the memo "discussed a republican bill" and was "distributed to [some] repulbican [sic] senators." Whatever ABC may think of the "politics of the Shivo [sic] case," the network admits that it knows nothing about who authored and distributed the memo.More here and here.
Posted at 09:23 AM
THE SUPREME COURT PETITION [K. J. Lopez]
can be read here.
Posted at 09:11 AM
SCHIAVO AT THE SUPREMES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Howard Bashman rounds up the coverage here.
Posted at 09:08 AM
7-5? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Could the 11th Circuit vote have been 7-5? That's what someone suggested at SA. It's also worth remembering that a vote to take a case en banc is not the same as a vote on the merits. Sometimes judges believe a case is en banc-worthy even if they think it was correctly decided. (The converse is possible as well, though much less likely.)
Posted at 09:06 AM
AT NOON [K. J. Lopez]
they'll be a decicion on hearing with Judge Greer in Florida re the state's attempt to take custody of Terri Schiavo, according to FNC just now. All this time waiting...does she have it?
Posted at 09:04 AM
KERR V. HEWITT [Jonathan H. Adler]
I have tremendous respect for Hugh Hewitt (and I enjoy his radio show), but I think Orin Kerr gets the best of him on Schiavo. As Orin explains, at the end of the day, the law is what Congress actually enacts, not what any given member (or members) says, nor what any member (or members) intended. Asking Court's to follow legislative "intent," rather than legislative text (as informed by precedent), is a recipe for judicial mischief.
Posted at 09:02 AM
"THE REAL LOSER WAS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY" [K. J. Lopez]
That's Richard Cohen today, upset that more Democrats didn't take a stand to have Terri Schiavo killed.
And, um, sir, I kinda think Terri Schiavo, starving and dehydrating right now, for almost a week, is the actual loser in this horrible incident.
Posted at 08:59 AM
A DAWNING REALIZATION ON THE LEFT [NRO Staff]
From a blogger at The American Prospect:
Suddenly it occurs to me that the Republican fight against the courts on Terri Schiavo has been, among many other things, a perfect set-up for the Republicans' next major congressional initiative: packing the courts with President Bush's conservative judicial nominees. Just take a look at how George Bush reacted this afternoon, after a federal appeals court refused to re-insert Schiavo's feeding tube:
Posted at 08:46 AM
"IN LOVE WITH DEATH" [K. J. Lopez]
Peggy Noonan makes an observation I've seen in my in-box a-plenty. And has kept me consistently disturbed over the last week.
Posted at 08:42 AM
P.S. RE: GOODMAN'S COLUMN [K. J. Lopez]
I'm annoyed by some of the folks who have run down to Florida to hog camera space in front of Terri Schiavo's hospice of death, too. But they don't make her life any less worthy of being protected.
Posted at 08:34 AM
ELLEN GOODMAN VS. TOM HARKIN [K. J. Lopez]
A few people have made this observation: Is the Left so certain Terri Schiavo should die because the likes of Tom DeLay and President Bush want to protect her life? Goodman gave me that impression again, here.
Posted at 08:31 AM
I HAVE RETURNED [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sorry, I was up in NYC for the day dealing with stuff I needed to deal with. I had a piece on the Schiavo stuff in USA Today yesterday, fyi.
Posted at 08:31 AM
REVOLUTION IN [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 08:15 AM
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
FILED [K. J. Lopez]
FNC is reporting the Schindlers just filed their Supreme Court petition..
Posted at 11:01 PM
THE TIME OF THE MONTH TO GIVE THIS WOMAN FOOD AND WATER... [K. J. Lopez]
One last thing from that Cheshire affadavit: "The nurses at Woodside Hospice told us that she often has pain with menstrual cramps. Menstrual flow is associated with agitation, repeated or sustained moaning, facial grimmacing, limb posturing, and facial flushing, all of which subside once she is given ibuprofen...."
Posted at 08:22 PM
LANNY DAVIS [K. J. Lopez]
wants Michael Schiavo to step aside and let Terri's parents take care of her--he was just on O'Reilly's FNC show...
Posted at 08:18 PM
YUSHCHENKO [K. J. Lopez]
will speak to a joint session of Congress.
Posted at 08:17 PM
SLIPPERY SLOPES & SCHIAVO [Rick Brookhiser]
We speak of slippery slope arguments dismissively, as if these were arguments that true first class minds would have no truck with. But it depends what weight you give to politics. First class political minds heed them all the time (e.g., the Declaration of Independence).
Who is driving all before them on such issues? Christians praying in the street, Congress, the President? Or a band of pro-death lawyers and sympathetic judges? Clearly not the former.
Time to take a stand.
Posted at 07:45 PM
JEB'S ATTEMPT TO PROTECT TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
This is the Florida petition.
Posted at 07:22 PM
CHESHIRE’S BIG PICTURE [K. J. Lopez]
…How medicine and society choose to think about Terri Schiavo will influence what kind of people we will be as we evaluate and respond to the needs of the most vulnerable people among us. When serious doubts exist as to whether a cognitive impaired person is or is not consciously aware, even if these doubts cannot be conclusively resolved, it is better to err on the side of protecting vulnerable life…
Posted at 07:14 PM
MORE CHESHIRE [K. J. Lopez]
…Terri Schiavo demonstrates behaviors in a variety of cognitive domains that call into question the previous neurological diagnosis of persistent vegetative state. Specifically, she has demonstrated behaviors that are context-specific, sustained, and indicative of cerebral cortical processing that, upon careful neurological consideration, would not be expected in a persistent vegetative state.K. J. Lopez
Posted at 07:11 PM
RE: RE: READ IT AND WEEP [K. J. Lopez ]
More from Dr. Cheshire’s affidavit:
There is a remarkable moment in the videotape of the September 3, 2002 examination by Dr. Hannesfahr that seemed to go unnoticed at the time. At 2:44 p.m., Dr. Hammesfahr had just turned Terri onto her right side to examine her back with a painful sharp stimulus (a sharp piece of wood), to which Terri had responded with signs of discomfort. Well after he ceased applying the stimulus and had returned Terri to a comfortable position, he says to her parents, “So we are going to have to roll her over….” Immediately Terri cries. She vocalizes a crying sound, “Ugh, ha, ha, ha,” presses her eyebrows together, and sadly grimaces. It is important to note that, at that moment, no on is touching Terri or causing actual pain. Rather, she appears to comprehend the meaning of Dr. Hammesfahr’s comment and signals her anticipation of pain. This response suggests some degree of language processing and interpretation at the level of the cerebral cortex. It also suggests that she may be aware of pain beyond what could be explained by simple reflex withdrawal.
Posted at 07:02 PM
RE: READ IT AND WEEP [K. J. Lopez]
This neurologist who Jeb Bush mentioned in his press conference earlier today, William Cheshire, says outright that he believes that "it can be ethically permissible to discontinue artificially provided nutrition and hydration for parsons in a permanent vegetative state." But having "met and observed Ms. Schiavo in person" he doesn't believe this should be happening to Terri Schiavo.
He states that "There remain, in fact, huge uncertainties in regard to Terri's true neurological status." She hasn't been fully evaluated by a neurologist for three years, he says, has not had an MRI or a PET. And some of the technology to determine if a patient is in a minimally conscious state has only emerged in the last few years. "New facts have come to light in the last few years that should be weighed in the neurological assessment of Terri Schiavo."
He writes that Terri Schiavo “demonstrates a number of behaviors that I believe cast a reasonable doubt on the prior diagnosis of PVS.” Among these observations, he pinpoints: “Her behavior is frequently context-specific. For example, her facial expression brightens and she smiles in response to the voice of familiar persons such as her parents or her nurses…Several times I witness Terri briefly, albeit inconsistently, laugh in response to a humoroius comment someone in the room had made. I did not see her laugh in the absence of someone else’s laughter.”..
Posted at 06:54 PM
READ IT AND WEEP [K. J. Lopez]
A doctor who has seen Terri Schiavo this month says she seems to be aware of what's going on and appears to feel pain.
This is painful.
Posted at 06:07 PM
RE: 10-2? [Shannen Coffin]
New York Times gets a similar award for excellence in legal reporting.
A federal appeals court in Atlanta today turned down a request by Terri Schiavo's parents for an emergency review of a decision issued before dawn in which a divided three-judge panel of the court refused to order Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube to be reinserted.[Update: The NYTimes story has been corrected to remove the 10-2 reference.]
Posted at 04:55 PM
10-2? [K. J. Lopez]
Seems to me NRO understands the court system better than the AP:
ATLANTA (AP) -- For the second time in less than a day, a federal appeals court Wednesday rejected a bid by Terri Schiavo's parents to have her feeding tube re-inserted. Florida lawmakers, meanwhile, debated another last-ditch effort to prolong her life.(See Shannen, Byron, Adler below...)
Posted at 04:48 PM
PETER, STEVE [Rich Lowry ]
I don't disagree with a thing you've written on this--thanks for thoughtful posts...
Posted at 04:33 PM
SCHIAVO & FEDERALISM [Jonathan H. Adler]
Those who think there are not serious federalism issues in the Schiavo case should read these thoughts from SA's William Watkins, law prof Rick Hills (posted on the Volokh Conspiracy), and the Charles Fried NYT op-ed linked below.
Posted at 04:17 PM
RICH, PETER, AND REAGAN'S GENIUS [Steve Hayward]
Let me wade into the middle of Peter and Rich's discussion about Reagan's "intuition" about the Soviet Union. May I suggest that what we are trying to pinpoint is Reagan's insight, which, while often unique and unable to be replicated in someone else, is not irrational or supra-rational, as "intuition" might be made out to be.
Years ago I followed Michael Novak's advice to read Bernard Lonergan's weighty tome on the idea of insight. Insight, Lonergan argues, is reached “not by learning rules, not by following precepts, not by studying any methodology. . . [Insight] is a function not of outer circumstances but of inner condition, pivots between the concrete and the abstract, and passes into the habitual texture of one's mind.” Insight is discovery, not deduction; it shares the same element of genius that creates great new art. “Were there rules for discovery,” Lonergan adds, “then discoveries would be mere conclusions. Were there precepts for genius, then men of genius would be hacks.”
Let us say, then, that Reagan had the genius of great insight, in much the same way Churchill did about both the Nazis and the Soviet Union. (Churchill predicted in 1953 that Eastern Europe would throw off Communism about 30 years later, which was almost exactly the schedule.)
Posted at 04:12 PM
SIGH [K. J. Lopez]
U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights , Article 25:
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Posted at 04:11 PM
PRYOR & SCHIAVO [Jonathan H. Adler]
Yes, Judge Bill Pryor has very strong pro-life views. But, as I and many others argued in defense of his confirmation, he is also a firm believer that judges should apply the law, irrespective of their personal beliefs. That is what good judges are supposed to do. If Pryor felt the legal case for overturning the Florida state courts was weak, I have little doubt he would have voted accordingly, no matter how much he would regret the end result. That is how it should be, and it is one of the reasons why Bill Pryor merited his nomination and deserved confirmation in the Senate.
Posted at 04:10 PM
11TH CIRCUIT EN BANC [Jonathan H. Adler]
Of course, one reason there may have been only two public dissenters on the Eleventh Circuit is that the legal claim (as opposed to the moral claim) is particularly weak. Even Judge Tjoflat's opinion is focused exclusively on whether a writ should issue to keep Terri Schiavo alive so as to allow for additional proceedings in federal court. To date, not a single federal judge has even hinted that there is much merit to the legal claims at issue. Faced with that reality, and the fairly unprecedented nature of the legislation at issue, it would not surprise me that many judges would take a pass.
Posted at 04:06 PM
RE: PRYOR & CO. [Shannen Coffin]
Byron, that's absolutely correct. There simply is no way to know. Judges may decline to write a dissent from a denial en banc, even though they voted in favor of the petition to hear the case en banc, for any number of reasons. Perhaps they view it as futile, lacking in precedential value, etc. So the only folks who know how Bill Pryor -- or others for that matter -- voted are currently employed by the 11th Circuit.
Posted at 03:58 PM
PRYOR AND THE 11TH CIRCUIT [Byron York]
In the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision not to hear the Schiavo case en banc, two judges out of twelve -- Tjoflat and Wilson -- wrote dissenting opinions. William Pryor, who was filibustered by Senate Democrats and then placed on the court by recess appointment, did not make any public dissent. It is not known if Pryor, who expressed his strong personal pro-life views at his Senate confirmation hearing, voted with the majority, but he made no public statement.
Posted at 03:56 PM
RE: SCHAIVO [Shannen Coffin]
Here's what I find fairly extraordinary about all of this. The Congress and President of the United States thought this issue important enough to drop everything and focus entirely on this single case in enacting legislation designed to address what they viewed as a matter of critical national importance. You are free to disagree with their assessment if you choose, but it strikes me as the height of judicial arrogance that the District Court and at least six of twelve judges of the Eleventh Circuit do not view the legislation enacted as sufficiently important enough to extend Terri Schaivo's life a few days in order to allow a more careful examination of the issues in the case. The Justice Department's theory of the case today was to request a short stay in order to more fully vent the issues. But the courts, in their infinite wisdom, saw fit to decide the matter in hours, based on hurriedly thrown together briefs and no more than a short argument before a district court. Sometimes I wonder about Marbury v. Madison.
Posted at 03:45 PM
HERE'S THE NEW ELEVENTH CIRCUIT [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 03:43 PM
RE: THE 11TH CIRCUIT [Shannen Coffin]
The Eleventh Circuit is composed of 12 judges. It takes 7 to grant a petition for rehearing en banc. Unfortunately, under 11th Circuit practice (unlike a number of other circuits), you can't tell what the final vote was. Two judges, Tjoflat and Wilson (who was the dissenter on the original panel decision this morning) wrote separate dissents, but that does not mean that this was a 10-2 vote. It's impossible to tell, but it is quite possible that other judges also dissented but, for one reason or another, did not join in the written dissents. So the vote might have been closer than it appears.
Posted at 03:34 PM
RE: PETER [Peter Robinson]
Exactly, Rich. Over and over again, people would leave Ronald Reagan's Oval Office wondering what the old man thought he was doing--only to marvel, a few months later, that he'd gotten something big right once again. (My own favorite instance: When the Gipper told us speechwriters that he was convinced Gorbachev would get out of Afghanistan. This was months before anyone else was making such a prediction, and even though we walked out shaking our heads. Ronald Reagan himself seemed to have gone soft on Communism.)
It is indeed fair to say that Reagan was intuitive--but only in the way that Thomas Hoving is intuitive in the opening segment of Malcolm Gladwell's latest book, Blink. Hoving, as you may recall, is able to tell at a single glance that an ancient Greek statue, purchased not long before by the Getty museum, is actually a fake. But what lay behind that single glance? Hoving had spent a lifetime spent studying medieval and ancient art.
Likewise the Gipper. After devoting virtually his entire adult life to the struggle against Communism, he was able to grasp certain things more quickly than the rest of us. Intuition of a kind, certainly. But intution informed by longer study and a finer mind that is generally acknowledged, even today.
Posted at 03:25 PM
CONTRA DERBYSHIRE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Reader WM has persuaded me to wade back in.
Derbyshire's linguistic point does not bear scrutiny. To deny that what he wants is to have Terri Schiavo killed is precisely to "fool around with language." Whether he considers his state of mind to be typical of those who say they want to kill someone is entirely beside the point. Derbyshire thinks it best that Mrs. Schiavo physical life end, and we have a word for that in English. There are arguments for killing Mrs. Schiavo--with which I, obviously, disagree--but those who advocate it should not require the rest of us to share their squeamishness.
Which brings us to another point. If we are to assume that Mrs. Schiavo is no longer alive, that she no longer feels anything, and that to end her physical life is not to commit any offense, then why is it "compassionate" to end her life? She doesn't, on this assumption, feel any anguish at her life's continuation. It is true that some people are made unhappy by it--the only obvious member of this category is her husband--but more people seem to be unhappy about her death. If, on the other hand, we are to assume that she does feel something, then all we have on the other side of the ledger is Derbyshire's implausible arguendo claim that she probably wants to die. And we don't generally think it compassionate to grant that wish to anyone who happens to have it.
As for the law: Derbyshire would have us give great weight to the vote of Florida's legislature, accepted by Florida's governor, to deny food and water in some cases. Andy McCarthy has pointed out the illogic of Derbyshire's legal argument. (Whether that will have any effect on someone who has repudiated both logic and rhetoric is another matter.) But in any case, why should we heed that law, and ignore the law, passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, to save Mrs. Schiavo's life? Derbyshire is trying to have it both ways here, as elsewhere.
Posted at 03:21 PM
11 CIRCUIT, AGAIN: DENIES REHARING SCHIAVO CASE--BREAKING [KJL]
Posted at 03:16 PM
IRAQIS FIRE BACK... [Rich Lowry ]
...at insurgents--and enjoy it...
Posted at 02:35 PM
PETER, [Rich Lowry ]
Point well taken. What I was trying to get at is this: I'm not sure anyone else would have subscribed to Reagan's exact views (his advisors with the exception of George Schultz hated his nuclear abolitionism and he basically secretly worked to foist SDI on the administration) or have recommended his exact path (sometimes very hard-line, sometimes quite soft), but it all worked. He had a great sense of what the moment required at any given time...
Posted at 02:34 PM
STUDENTS AND SUMMERS [Stanley Kurtz]
Harvard University’s graduate students have held their own vote on the two resolutions regarding Lawrence Summers passed recently by the Harvard faculty. The motion of no confidence in Summers failed narrowly. The vote to censure Summers for his remarks on women passed overwhelmingly. The Boston Globe plays the narrowly failed no confidence vote as some sort of victory for Summers.
I don’t see it that way. Too little attention has been paid to the second resolution, censuring Summers for his remarks on women. This was passed comfortably by the faculty and overwhelmingly by the graduate students. For Summers to be censured by Harvard’s faculty and graduate students for remarks that were utterly reasonable as stimulants to debate–and put forward in exactly that spirit by Summers–is shameful. Lately the faculty has been downplaying the math remarks and focusing on complaints about Summers’s governance. That’s because they know the public is appalled by their attempts at censorship. But let’s not forget that the faculty, and now the grad students, have comfortably passed resolutions censuring Summers for his remarks on math and women.
That the grad students have censured Summers overwhelmingly affirms the core problem of today’s academy. Undergraduates are getting more conservative. Unfortunately, that will not make for change. Now that radicals have gained control of the academy, the tenure system will enable them to reproduce themselves indefinitely. The Globe has missed the story here. The news is not that the grad students very narrowly failed to follow the faculty censure motion. That was just a belated attempt to peel back Harvard’s evident humiliation at this gesture, so reviled by the public. No, the real news here is that on the matter of Summers’s remarks about women, America’s future professors are even more censorious than the faculty.
Posted at 02:21 PM
BOBBY SHORT, RIP [Rick Brookhiser]
Terry Teachout has a wonderful memory of Bobby Short. I wrote about him and one of his favorite composers, Cole Porter, in NR in the nineties.
New York is ever irrigated by small town boys (and girls). The classic case politically was Thomas Dewey (of Owosso, Michigan). Short was from Danville, Ohio, though he couldn't have ended up anywhere else but here.
Posted at 02:17 PM
MORE MARCH MADNESS [Mark Krikorian ]
Tancredo advances to the next bracket, beating Limbaugh in the mock 2008 presidential sweepstakes.
Posted at 02:13 PM
UNA NACIóN? [Mark Krikorian ]
I missed this story from Saturday's Post on schools having students recite the Pledge of Allegiance -- in Spanish! More proof, if we needed it, that the problem with today's immigration is the changes in our own society. And until we put our own house in order, we've got no business taking in a million-plus newcomers a year, illegal or legal.
Posted at 02:12 PM
DUAL CITIZENSHIP [Mark Krikorian ]
Occasional NRO-nik John Fonte of the Hudson Institute has a piece on how Mexico's dual citizenship law threatens the premise of American nationhood.
Posted at 02:10 PM
"SCHIAVO PROTESTERS NOT ALL CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES" [Jim Boulet]
Eleanor Smith of Decatur, Georgia, sat on Tuesday in a motorized wheelchair in front of the hospice, baking in the sun, with a sign on her lap reading, "This agnostic liberal says 'Feed Terri."' ... Smith, 65, had polio as a child and described herself as a lesbian and a liberal ... "At this point I would rather have a right-wing Christian decide my fate than an ACLU member," Smith said.
Posted at 02:07 PM
RE: REAGAN AND BUSH [Peter Robinson]
Yesterday, Rich, you write, “Long before he took office Reagan intuited the weakness of the Soviet Union (its economy) and a way to exploit it (the arms race) that was dismissed as nuts by the experts.” Careful there. I know you don’t mean it this way, but to say that Reagan “intuited” those matters is to suggest that he was a sort of idiot savant.
Take a look at Reagan’s pre-presidential radio addresses and speeches. What you’ll see is that Reagan spent more than two decades reading and writing about the Soviet Union incessantly. Reagan may not have used the language of the academy, but he did use its principal tool: intellect.
Posted at 01:48 PM
DARTMOUTH UPDATE [Peter Robinson]
A reader: “Did you get elected to the Board of Trustees at Dartmouth? I don't remember seeing a posting on The Corner re: the outcome of the election.”
Me: That’s because the election is still taking place. Balloting, which began on March 7, will continue, online and by mail, until April 22. In the meantime, anyone who’d like to so do can read about the election brouhaha on a number of marvelous weblogs run by Dartmouth students and recent graduates, including Voices in the Wilderness, Dartlog, the Dartmouth Observer, and Joe Malchow's Dartblog.
Blogs like these are springing up at colleges and universities around the country, by the way, and their existence has major implications for the governance of all institutions of higher learning: From now on, it’s going to be much, much easier for alumni to learn what’s taking place on campuses. Faced with propaganda in magazines, newsletters and other organs controlled by administrators, alumni will be able to get news directly from students instead.
Posted at 01:47 PM
IT'S ABOUT POLITICS [K. J. Lopez]
Robert Alt on our national life after Schiavo:
I have seen a number of news broadcasters and commentators suggest that the moral of the story is that everyone should have an advance directive. But this is only part of the story. The real moral of the story is that courts—both federal and state—are not particularly good venues for deciding these kind of contentious moral issues. Contrary to all the screaming about the influence of politics on this matter, it is precisely the political branches that should be weighing in, and passing laws to prevent future Schiavos. (Indeed, Krauthammer has suggested that they weigh in to specifically save Schiavo.) Anyone who doubts the respective capacity of the branches to resolve disputed moral questions need only recall that the representational function of government which gave us the Declaration of Independence (" . . . all men are created equal . . .), and the judicial branch which has given us such glowing statements as Dred Scott and Plessy.
Posted at 01:43 PM
Q&A [K. J. Lopez]
Q, from many a reader: "Can someone please explain to me why a president or governer can commute a death sentance imposed by the courts on a guilty prisoner without it being a seperation of powers issue, but they can't commute a death sentence on an innocent woman which has been imposed by the same courts?"
A, from my kitchen legal cabinet: "The president and governors have either constitutional or statutory pardon authority granted to them. But the pardon authority relates only to crimes committed. It simply has no bearing on non-criminal proceedings. There is no such authority committed to the executive for these circumstances. So the Executive is essentially powerless to help."
Posted at 01:10 PM
FRIED ON SCHIAVO [Jonathan H. Adler]
Former Reagan Solicitor General Charles Fried has an op-ed in the NYT criticizing Congress' Schiavo legislation, and he quotes Justice Scalia's Cruzan opinion for good measure.
Posted at 11:53 AM
RE: ABANDONED TO RHETORIC [Andy McCarthy]
John, I have resisted getting into this with you because I have enormous respect for you, I don't think your position is unreasonable (I just don't buy it), and I sense I have already burdened people enough with my views about this case -- they can decide at this point for themselves. But I don't believe I have abandoned myself to rhetoric. I have committed myself to logic.
First of all, I do not doubt the propriety of the people of Florida governing themselves, or that they may deny sustenance to a person who (a) actually is in a PVS and (b) actually has asserted in a knowing and intelligent way a rejection of life saving measures in certain dire circumstances. What I object to here is the appallingly suspect evidentiary record on these two crucial questions -- especially on PVS, where it seems indisputable that fairly standard tests, which would be easy to do in relatively short order and which could give us confidence in the PVS finding, have not been done. If we can be confident that Terri is a PVS case -- and particularly that her brain damage has left her largely insensitive to pain -- I seal my lips and accept the outcome, however much I may question its wisdom insofar as society's general regard for life is concerned. Under such circumstances, the Supreme Court has said sustenance may be withheld, and the absence of pain would destroy my contention that she is being tortured.
I am not interested in attacking the motives of Michael Schiavo (something that seems to be of importance to you) unless the evidence against him becomes more reliable than it is now -- although I do believe his incentives are highly relevant on the question whether Terri actually evinced a desire not to have life sustaining measures because he is the primary witness on that score. But I must say that on this score it has seemed to me, reading your exchanges with others, that it is you who is abandoned to rhetoric. Much as I instinctively agree with you that a spouse should be given great deference in these matters (and as I would try to ensure that my own wife had a free hand in making them for me), the law is that it is not the spouse's decision. It is the individual's decision, and it cannot be removed from the individual because you decide that in your own life you would not want intrusion into what you regard as your affairs. My view is that the proof that Terri actually made this election is highly suspect. (It is worth noting that a court, for example, is not permitted to allow something so comparatively inconsequential as a confession into evidence in a criminal case without clear and convincing evidence that the defendant's waiver of the Fifth Amendment privilege was knowing and intelligent.) I would like to see the issue fully reviewed by an impartial federal court (as I believe there is great reason to question the impartiality of the judicial proceeding in Florida). Again, if after a full and fair hearing the federal court determines that Michael is credible and Terri did make this assertion, I have nothing to complain about. As the Supreme Court's Cruzan case indicates, the proof in this regard need not be inarguable, but it does have to be credible.
Finally, your argument that the difference between starving and dehydrating someone versus shooting her is that "for crying out loud ... one thing is morally acceptable to the US public (including me), and the other isn't," hardly seems to me like a model of logic over rhetoric.
We are talking about different methods to induce death for an arguably non-PVS person. Your suggestion that lock-em-in-a-cell versus shackle-and-flog-em is somehow an apt analogy is beneath someone of your superior intellect. Locking someone in a cell is detention; shackling and flogging someone is torture. They are different not only in degree but in kind -- they are not even aimed at the same end. That is not a worthy comparison. But if it's the other side's shooting analogy you think is silly, fair enough. Let's leave that aside.
The argument is here is about analogous methods of denying sustenance, let's say starving/dehydrating versus suffocating (instead of shooting), aimed actually at achieving the same end: death by court order. My point is, if the person is non-PVS and aware of pain, both are forms of cold-blooded murder. The only meaningful difference is one is slow, less blatant, and designed to be less offensive to the spectator (regardless that it may be more painful to the victim), while the other is swifter, colder and more offensive to the spectator. It is not more immoral -- just more obviously immoral (even if it is actually more merciful to the victim). If your point here is that the latter is unacceptable but the former is OK for no better reason than that you and some polled majority of some cross-section of the population thinks so, I don't think that's very principled.
Posted at 11:19 AM
WHAT YOU SAY [K. J. Lopez ]
About National Review fundraisers:
The National Review fundraiser [in NYC] was a pleasure to attend. I enjoyed speaking with NR writers and editors, and I also enjoyed meeting fellow NR readers. Best of all, it was for a superb cause.—Josh AbramowitzCome to our next one, in Atlanta—all the details are here.
Posted at 11:09 AM
"INFORMING" DUE PROCESS [Jonathan H. Adler]
Andy - I'm afraid you're still not convincing me. The Eighth Amendment -- a substantive protection -- should "inform" the standards for due process? How is this anything other than substantive due process through the back door? Indeed, I'm tempted to ask how your interpretation of the Schiavo legislation is not itself premised upon a notion of substantive due process. It seems to me that the claim that Florida courts violated her procedural federal due process rights -- the one's the Constitution actually protects -- is fairly weak.
Posted at 11:07 AM
FROM THE HEART? [K. J. Lopez]
Eric Pfeiffer in Beltway Buzz tells a revealing story about professional protesters along the Bush Social Security Reform Roadshow here.
Posted at 10:59 AM
PRESS DISCOVERS CONSERVATIVE DISCORD [Jonathan H. Adler]
The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer report on conservative disagreement over the Schiavo case. The latter quotes Rich and yours truly.
Posted at 10:44 AM
ADLER IN D.C. AND NYC [Jonathan H. Adler]
I'm talking on federalism and environmental protection at the Center for American Progress (yes, that Center for American Progress) and NYU on Thursday and Friday, respectively. For those interested, I've posted the details here.
Posted at 10:31 AM
THE WILSON DISSENT [Jonathan H. Adler]
The problem with the Wilson dissent is that it never explains how Terri Schiavo's parents have any likelihood of success on the merits, let alone a substantial one. That's the relevant legal standard for a TRO. Indeed, the WIlson opinion seems to concede that even were a temporary writ restoring food and hydration granted, the ultimate outcome would be the same. Orin Kerr has similar thoughts here.
Posted at 10:28 AM
THE AGONY OF HOLY WEEK [Peter Robinson]
As Terri Schiavo is being starved to death, reports indicate, the successor of St. Peter is finding it impossible to hold down his food. A young woman, martyred by the culture of death. An old man who has poured out his life combatting it.
Sitio. I thirst.
Posted at 10:24 AM
MORE OF ANDY MCCARTHY'S [K. J. Lopez]
"rhetoric" here--his read of the latest court action (or non-action, as it were) and the glimmer of hope he sees..
Posted at 10:18 AM
SCHIAVO ROUND-UP [John Derbyshire]
Just a few points from the Schiavo mailbag.
---[Reader] Mark Steyn nailed it in his column yesterday: "In practice, a culture that thinks Terri Schiavo's life in Florida or the cleft-lipped baby's in Herefordshire has no value winds up ascribing no value to life in general."
---[JD] I love Mark as a man and a brother, and perhaps the most brilliant opinion journalist of our time, but on this point he is wrong. His argument is that demographic vitality correlates with uncompromising respect for human life in all conditions. Does it? The most sensational demographic explosion that England ever enjoyed was in the Regency and early-Victorian periods, when families of 15 or 20 children were common. Respect for life in that time and place can be examined in the novels of Charles Dickens. But why leave the present day for a counterexample? My Economist handbook of world facts and figures shows the most demographically vital nations (avge. number of children per woman, 2000-05) as Niger, Yemen, Somalia, and Angola. On Mark’s thesis, the Schiavo parents should sneak their daughter out of that hospice and ship her off to Niger. Will Mark be recommending this course of action to the Schindlers?
---[Reader] You think we Right-to-Life proponents are 'absolutists' and you trash Intelligent Design, yet you call yourself a conservative?
---[JD] It is news to me that you have to sign on to Roman Catholic dogma or swallow pseudoscientific claptrap before calling yourself a conservative. In any case, I decline to do either thing (though I would do the first long before I did the second).
---[Reader] Since you are willing to starve Terri to death, what do you say to just shooting her in the head? What’s the difference?
---[JD] The difference, for crying out loud, is that the one thing is morally acceptable to the US public (including me), and the other isn't. You can construct any number of bogus arguments like this. Sample: "Since you are willing to see convicted criminals locked up in cells, what do you say we hang them on the wall in shackles and flog them with piano wire twice a day?" What laws do is, they draw lines, according to the general sense of the people at any time. The general sense of the people of Florida at this time is that they are willing to countenance starvation of PVS cases. We know this because their representatives passed the relevant law, with no great public clamor; and their elected governor, Jeb Bush, signed it. The people of Florida are not, however (I feel sure) willing to countenance shooting in the head. Neither am I. Is this logical of us? Probably not; but we are speaking of human affairs, not trigonometry. Is 55mph a more logical speed limit than 65, or 54, or 155? Why can we execute for a crime committed at 18, but not for one committed as 17¾? Isn’t it illogical? I suppose it is; but on this kind of argument, we’d have no laws at all. If you don’t like this law, go down to Florida and agitate to have it changed, and stop bothering me with shallow sophistries.
---[Reader] For all you know about what's going on inside Terri’s skull, she might be dreaming the most beautiful dreams in there.
---[JD] I suppose she might. She might also be in her 16th year of agonized uncontrollable screaming. I should think the latter, if she has any self-awareness at all, is far more probable.
---[Reader] Why don’t you just come right out and say you want to kill Terri Schiavo?
---[JD] Because I am a person who tries to be scrupulous in my use of language. If I hear someone say: "I want to kill X," that signifies to me that the speaker is in a certain state of mind. I am not at all in that state of mind. Fooling around with words gets us nowhere. Strictly speaking, keeping children confined in schools all day is a form of imprisonment. Strictly speaking, clipping my fingernails is a form of self-mutilation. (I believe there is a Hindu sect that refuses to clip fingernails on precisely these grounds.) Would you, or any sane person, actually use the words "imprisonment" and "self-mutilation" in those contexts? Of course not. We try to use language to convey facts about the world and about our own inner states. My own inner state in re Terri Schiavo is not at all the one conveyed by the words "want to kill..." I don’t even know the woman, and have no power to do anything to her anyway. I am paid to express my opinions, though; and my opinion is, that the desire of Terri’s husband that she starve to death is more humane and compassionate than the desire of her parents, Andy, Ramesh, Kathryn, and the Pope – all of whom I admire and respect -- that she linger indefinitely in her present condition. I may as well accuse Andy, Ramesh, etc. of "wanting to trap her helplessly in a hospice bed for another 15 years." I don’t talk like that because I have scruples about language.
---[Reader] You have a dog, which you tell us you love very much. Would you sit and watch your dog starve to death?
---[JD] If he was in a PVS and the prognosis was for 15 more years of the same, I certainly would. And though I resist the analogy from animals to humans, I must say, it is plain to me that Boris is far more aware of what is happening to him than Terri Schiavo is.
Posted at 10:15 AM
ABANDONED TO RHETORIC [John Derbyshire]
Andy, I fear you have, as Robert Morley says in Around the World in 80 Days, "abandoned yourself to rhetoric."
You write: "Consider, say, a month ago, before Terri's plight took center stage, if you had asked someone in the abstract: 'How would you feel about starving and dehydrating a defenseless, brain-damaged woman?' The answer is easy to imagine: 'Outrageous, atrocious -- something that wouldn't be done to an animal and couldn't be done to the worst convicted murderer.'"
Why try to imagine the answer? The people of Florida were asked that in 1999. See here, for example:
"In 1999, in response to a Florida Supreme Court ruling, the Florida legislature updated its 'end of life' statutes, which were first put into place in 1990. The House and Senate voted unanimously in support of a number of changes to the text. One of those changes added to the list of 'life-prolonging procedure': including artificially provided sustenance and hydration, which sustains, restores, or supplants a spontaneous vital function.
"Governor Jeb Bush signed the bill in June of that year.
"So in 1999, the entire Florida legislative and executive branch voted for a law that authorized the withdrawal of sustenance to a PVS patient at the request of an appointed guardian or a licensed social worker, in the event that no interested relative was available.
"The 1999 bill wasn't unusual in any way and is consistent with many other states--in fact, it is considered a model for state law. Withdrawing sustenance is standard procedure for PVS and comatose patients, even though they can't speak for themselves. The St. Petersburg Times covered a few local cases that occurred in March alone."
Terri Schiavo's situation has been considered, in its generality, by the deliberative bodies of the State of Florida. Whatever is happening to her now is happening with all the levels of approval of which a democratic state is capable. Is is as well authorized as anything can be under our Constitution and laws.
I understand that you feel strongly about this; and it is of course possible that you are right and the people of Florida wrong. (In which case, you should agitate to have these laws, and the similar laws in many other states, changed.) Still and all, some token word of respect for the democratically expressed will of We the People would not go amiss.
Posted at 09:56 AM
DOCTOR BLOGGING [K. J. Lopez]
on Terri Schiavo's brain.
Posted at 05:38 AM
LATE-BREAKING NEWS [John J. Miller]
The top story in the Washington Post today is headlined "Cheney Defends Bush Appointments." It's about how the Bush administration is trying to promote "White House loyalists and supporters of the Iraq war to key diplomatic posts." You know, as opposed to White House disloyalists and antiwar protestors, which apparently would be a bit less controversial to the Post's writers and editors.
Posted at 05:21 AM
NO. AGAIN [K. J. Lopez]
Appeals court says no to Terri Schiavo's parents. The panel vote was 2 to 1. Here's the opinion. [Read Clinton appointee Wilson's dissent, especially.]
Posted at 04:15 AM
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
AS WE PASS 100 HOURS OF STARVATION AND DEHYDRATION ... [Andy McCarthy]
it is worth remembering that the excruciating slowness of the execution here, the incremental-ness of death, is designed by its champions to inure us to it. After the first hour, the second passes with far less fanfare, and the third less still. I've been following this closely, and I needed to remind myself today how many hours Terri Schiavo has actually been without sustenance by counting the days since Friday afternoon and multiplying by 24. How much more easily the time passes, and the world around us changes, for those following only fleetingly, or not at all.
Why should we think this is intentional? Consider, say, a month ago, before Terri's plight took center stage, if you had asked someone in the abstract: "How would you feel about starving and dehydrating a defenseless, brain-damaged woman?" The answer is easy to imagine: "Outrageous, atrocious -- something that wouldn't be done to an animal and couldn't be done to the worst convicted murderer."
But then it actually happens ... slowly. You're powerless to stop it, and ... you find your life goes on. There are kids and jobs and triumphs and tragedies and everyday just-getting-by. An atrocity becomes yet another awful thing going on in the world. After a day, or maybe two, of initial flabbergast, we're talking again about social security reform, China, North Korea, Hezbollah, etc. A woman's snail-like, gradual torture goes from savagery to just one of those sad facts of life. As is the case with other depravities once believed unthinkable, it coarsens us. We slowly, and however reluctantly, accept it. We accept it. The New York Times no doubt soon "progresses" from something like "terminating life by starvation," to "the dignity of death by starvation," to "the medical procedure that opponents refer to as starvation." And so the culture of life slides a little more. The culture of death gains a firmer foothold.
Of course, the physical needs of the body are not limited to food and water. There is also air. But no judge, even in Florida, would ever have had the nerve in Terri's case to permit "the medical procedure that opponents refer to as asphyxiation." Too crude. Too quick. Too obviously murder of a vulnerable innocent. Brazen, instant savagery might wake us from our slumber. For the culture of death, better that we sleep.
Posted at 10:47 PM
WHERE WE ARE [K. J. Lopez]
Meghan Gurdon reads the writing on the wall on Schiavo and some other things.
Posted at 06:11 PM
RICK SANTORUM [K. J. Lopez]
on the death penalty
Posted at 05:34 PM
SCHIAVO REAX [Rick Brookhiser]
1. The argument that compassion, or justice, or any other good thing must be reasonable is as old as Socrates. In practice it means that the best reasoner is the best person in the room. That is certainly how Socrates used it.
2. The Eighth Amendment does not apply to Terri Schiavo because she was first punished in the Court of Life, which recognizes no amendments. Her husband and parents, and by now the nation, are dealing with the after-effects.
3. What John said about the traditional quietus of the unofficial overdose of morphine is true, and I suspect would always be so, in the absence of the strictest regulation. Is that state of things better than, say, Holland, with brightly marked express trains to easeful death (and overeager conductors hauling people off the platforms into them?). I think so. Is it better relatively--because fewer killings happen--or absolutely--because the killings that happen are not in fact bad?
Posted at 05:09 PM
HARVARD STUDENTS FOR TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
At 3 p.m. today, in solidarity with Terri Schiavo, I and a group of Harvard students (who have signed with me below) began a hunger strike that will last until Terri’s feeding tube is reinserted or until the hour she dies by sanction of the U.S. courts at the behest of her husband Michael Schiavo and his lawyers. So far we have been joined by a student from Weston Jesuit School of Theology and we welcome others to join with us as well. We have been inspired in this effort by the example of Terri Schiavo's sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, and of a number of other concerned individuals mentioned in the news.
Posted at 05:03 PM
WHY DO I EVER HAVE CROSSFIRE ON? [K. J. Lopez]
James Carville just brought up Pet Goat on 9/11 to show that W has messed up priorities in caring about Terri Schiavo's right to life.
Posted at 04:48 PM
DOJ [K. J. Lopez]
A Department of Justice source tells me a "Statement of Interest" was filed today by the Department of Justice in the Terri Schiavo case.
Posted at 04:47 PM
VALEDICTION [John Derbyshire]
Just one last thing -- personal, anecdotal, and utterly irrelevant to the rights & wrongs. As I intimated in an earlier post, at the back of my head while reading this Schiavo stuff has been the voice of my late Mom, a kind and loving person who was also the epitome of a dedicated professional nurse, the nurse you should pray to have at your hospital bed in a crisis, saying: "Let the poor thing die!" -- As I actually heard her say many times about similar cases.
Well, at lunchtime Rosie and I got discussing the case. "For heaven's sake," said Rosie, "Why won't they let that poor woman die?"
So perhaps it's true: we marry our Moms.
Posted at 04:40 PM
AT THIS POINT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
though, I have to sign off too--not to do anything as productive as write a book (best of luck on that to Derb). I'm going on Kudlow & Company. I'll be on around 5:30 Eastern, talking about something else entirely.
Posted at 04:39 PM
THE PAIN OF SUSTINANCE DEPRIVATION [K. J. Lopez]
This is horrifying.
Posted at 04:37 PM
RE: RE: FEELINGS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Jonah: The question of whether it can be right to act contrary to compassion, even properly understood, is an interesting one, but I don't think I've engaged it here. I'm making the more limited claims that reason can (and should where it can) guide our compassion, i.e., help us identify what the truly compassionate thing to do is, in some situations; that what is the truly compassionate thing to do is an important subject of dispute between the proponents and opponents of killing Schiavo; and that invoking compassion as our lodestar, and merely asserting that one side of the dispute is acting compassionately, therefore doesn't get us anywhere in resolving the issue.
Posted at 04:34 PM
RE: FEELINGS [Jonah Goldberg]
It is possible that the uncompassionate thing to do is the right thing to do, right? Or is misguided compassion in the short run always self-defeating?
I may be misreading Ramesh's post, but he seems to be suggesting that the truly compassionate thing to do is always consistent with reason. I just don't know that that's the case.
I can imagine an argument -- I'm too lazy and busy to make fully here -- which might go something like this: the compassionate thing to do for Schiavo is to put her to death (I still reject this starving-is-better stuff). But because of slippery-slopes or bad precedents or the need for bright lines the compassionate thing to do for millions of un-named individuals, some yet to be born, is that Ms. Schiavo must endure her current predicament. I could see it the other way around as well. That the compassionate thing to do is to let her live, even if that will have deleterious consequences down the road. People of good will disagree about what the compassionate policy regarding Schiavo is. But perhaps the compassionate policy and the right policy aren't automatically the same thing? I don't know the answer to that.
Posted at 04:27 PM
HONEST DISAGREEMENT [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: I would never call you, nor Ramesh, nor any colleague, a bad person, just because of an honest disagreement on a point of ethics. We're all doing our best with this. It is a matter of real gravity, and I hope we are dealing with it in that spirit. I think it is cruel to let this woman linger on in her degraded and hopeless condition. You think it would be cruel to let her die. I doubt either of us will convince the other. There are plenty of honest conservatives on both sides, though, as my email bag -- and I'm sure yours too -- testifies. I can't think of a better use for The Corner than airing issues like this.
Alas, my book, which I am supposed to have finished May 1st (eeeeek!) is now one day further behind, and I have to drop off the debate.
Posted at 04:25 PM
RE: LET THEM FIGHT AND THE JOYS OF CORNER ARGUING [K. J. Lopez]
Me, hyperventilating again. I usually agree entirely, but I'm too busy being concerned about the "unworthy of life" sentiments so close to home this time.
Posted at 04:20 PM
DERB'S FEELINGS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
That will not do. The fact that compassion is something one feels does not mean that anything one feels is the compassionate thing to do actually is the compassionate thing to do, or that reason cannot be brought to bear on the matter. The post to which I was responding attempted to claim your side of this argument as the compassionate side on the basis of your feelings, and that is sloppy thought rather than fine feeling.
Posted at 04:13 PM
RE: EIGHTH AMENDMENT [Andy McCarthy]
Jon makes a fair point about my Eighth Amendment argument this afternoon. The Supreme Court related in Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 664 (1977), that "[a]n examination of the history of the [Eighth] Amendment and the decisions of this Court construing the proscription against cruel and unusual punishment confirms that it was designed to protect those convicted of crimes. We adhere to this longstanding limitation." Terri has obviously not been convicted of a crime, even though I believe -- elevating substance over form -- that she has effectively been sentenced by a court to a grisly death that would not be permitted under the Eighth Amendment if a state tried to do it to a capital defendant.
Given that Terri has committed no crime at all and the findings in her civil trial were made on weaker evidentiary standards ("preponderance of" and "clear and convincing" evidence) than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard that capital defendants get the advantage of, it seems the height of absurdity that a criminal defendant should get the benefit of the Eighth Amendment from a court but a civil litigant such as Terri should not. But on the other hand, extending the Eighth Amendment out of the criminal context would, as Jon says, run afoul of originalist principles.
Perhaps more importantly, it would invite the extension of the Eighth Amendment to other contexts -- such as custody and interrogation by the military in wartime. As I've argued in that other context, it is the Supreme Court's limitation of the Eighth Amendment to criminal judicial proceedings that Congress relied on in limiting our country's acceptance of the UN Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment. (That is, the sub-torture hijinks that happened at Abu Ghraib do not violate the "Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment" provisions of that treaty because Congress limited U.S. application of that provision to the 5th, 8th and 14th amendments, which generally apply to criminal judicial proceedings, not military detentions).
It would have been better for me to argue that Eighth Amendment principles inform the due process analysis than to have taken the next step of claiming that the Eighth Amendment had itself been violated. This may be a distinction without much of a difference, but it would have been more accurate than what I contended.
Posted at 04:12 PM
RE: SIMPATICO WITH DERB [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: My heart skipped a beat when I saw that subject line. What--a colleague is coming out to join me in the let-her-die corner? Oh, disappointed.
But it's time for a collective acknowledgemnt to the many readers who've emailed in to say (usually before expressing an opinion one way or the other) what fun it is to see Corner folk taking contrary positions. Thank you! -- that's the acknowledgment. That's it.
NR/NRO isn't that broad a church, and shouldn't be. You won't find anyone here standing up for (say) Fidel Castro, welfare-on-demand, massive tax increases, judicial definitions of marriage, or unilateral nuclear disarmament. I think and hope it's generally true, though, that when American conservatives are divided, as they surely are on this issue, we are divided too. If that's self-congratulatory, and institutional self-congratulation get up your nose... too bad.
Posted at 04:11 PM
LET THEM FIGHT! [Jonah Goldberg]
Things are too collegial around here anyway. They're big boys and if they break the furniture while rough-housing, the suits will just take it out of their pay.
Posted at 04:11 PM
BEER AT DERB'S HOUSE [K. J. Lopez]
Call me a bad person, but skip the invite for me for that one, Derb.
Posted at 04:05 PM
THERAPY AND MICHAEL SCHIAVO [Rich Lowry ]
Of course, Rev. Robert Jonhansen had a distressing look last week at Terri's more recent care. Personally, I favor a de novo review to get to the bottom of everything...
Posted at 03:50 PM
RE: RE: LOGIC, COMPASSION [John Derbyshire]
Ramesh: I can't see that my self-regard is either here or there; but it is an indisputable, however regrettable, fact that compassion is most essentially a matter of feelings. No scare quotes required.
Posted at 03:50 PM
TENSION BREAKER? SIMPATICO WITH DERB [K. J. Lopez]
I never really banned myself from talking about Duran Duran in The Corner, but I sorta kinda took John's advice about having a little fun on birthdays--see the title of Jim Robbins's piece today.
Of course, I send you to a piece on al Qaeda to break the tension--what a day.
Posted at 03:46 PM
RE: LOGIC, COMPASSION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I am sure you do "feel" that you're being very compassionate here, Derb, but I don't think that your self-regard is a decisive argument.
Posted at 03:38 PM
EIGHTH AMENDMENT?!? [Jonathan H. Adler]
Andy, I understand everything in your piece today (even if I don't agree with all of it), but the Eighth Amendment?!? I agree that starving Terri Schiavo would be "cruel" and perhaps even "unusual," but it is not "punishment" within the meaning of the amendment -- certainly not as an originalist matter, and not even under the Court's modern, embellished interpretations.
Posted at 03:36 PM
DIONNE ON FILIBUSTERS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
So let me get this straight: Republicans have to amend the Constitution to get rid of judicial filibusters? They have to go for straight plebiscitary democracy if they're going to be consistent? Just think how easy it would be to run the reverse argument against Dionne: To consistently stand against majority rule, do the Democrats have to amend the Constitution to get rid of all its democratic features? This is a lame, lame argument.
Posted at 03:36 PM
RE: SACRIFICE [John Derbyshire]
Readers are telling me the link doesn't work. Sorry, try again.
Posted at 03:32 PM
RE: MERCURY [Jonathan H. Adler]
There's more on mercury at The Commons Blog here and here. (Also see prior posts here and here.)
Posted at 03:21 PM
LOGIC, COMPASSION [John Derbyshire]
I don't know about my logic, Ramesh; but if we are setting logic up against compassion, I feel fairly sure I know which of the two I have on my side.
Posted at 03:19 PM
MERCURY POISONING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'd been wondering about this--glad Gregg Easterbrook is on the case.
Posted at 03:15 PM
EVERYMAN [John Derbyshire]
When I started paying attention to the Schiavo case, three days going on a hundred years ago, I got regular e-mails from readers saying: "Check out this Michael Schiavo guy. When you find out what he's like, you'll come round."
I have been obediently checking him out. (Just one google on "michael schiavo" will keep you busy for an afternoon.) The more I have found out, the more I find my original, very vague, impression supported.
Michael Schiavo, as best I can judge, is Everyman. He has not behaved with high nobility; but then, very few of us do, certainly not for 15 years at a stretch. He seems to have done his best for a decent while, then given up in despair and turned back to his life, to the degree the situation and his conscience would let him. It's possible I've missed something, but I haven't seen any point in Michael Schiavo's trajectory this 15 years past where I couldn't all too easily see myself doing pretty much what he did. For all I can see, this is Ordinary Joe doing his imperfect and occasionally erroneous best with an appalling situation.
I think I have now read all the slanders against him, including the really lurid ones. All I can say about that is: If all the people who hate Michael Schiavo have, after all these years, not been able to persuade the authorities to charge him with anything, then the presumption of innocence seems to me a pretty good position to take.
I'll say this publicly to Michael Schiavo: Michael, if you are ever in Long Island for any reason, you're welcome to drop in at my house for a beer and a chat. By all means bring Jodi and the kids. National Review has my address.
Posted at 03:13 PM
RE: MICHAEL SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
I'm glad you called that out, Rich. Demonizing Michael Schiavo isn't helping anyone (even given some legitimate queries). Nor demonizing Frist, DeLay, or anyone hanging around Terir Schiavo's hospice. I thought Fred Barnes called the case out clearly in his really quick way yesterday here.
Posted at 03:03 PM
RE: ABSOLUTISM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Derbyshire comes out and says it: "The life Terri Schiavo has is not worth living. I wouldn't want to live it, and I wouldn't want anyone I care about to live it. For once, I believe, the courts have got it right. For pity's sake, let this poor woman die." Let her die? She has no terminal illness. She is being killed by the denial of food and water. On Derbyshire's logic, there is no reason why we shouldn't--and every reason why we should--make things easier on Terri and ourselves by immediately giving her a lethal injection. It would be quicker, more efficient, and possibly less painful for her.
Posted at 02:59 PM
NO THERAPY? [Rich Lowry ]
I believe I have also heard conservatives say on TV that Terri has not received therapy (and KJL asks about that allegation below). Maybe she hasn't recently, but here are some more passages from the Guardian Ad Litem report:
Theresa spent two and a half months as an inpatient at Humana Northside Hospital, eventually emerging from her coma state, but not recovering consciousness. On 12 May 1990, following extensive testing, therapy and observation, she was discharged to the College Park skilled care and rehabilitation facility. Forty-nine days later, she wastransferred again to Bayfront Hospital for additional, aggressive rehabilitation efforts. In September of 1990, she was brought home, but following only three weeks, she wasreturned to the College Park facility because the “family was overwhelmed by Terry’scare needs.”…
Posted at 02:34 PM
DERB ON THE LAW [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Derb counters Prof. George with the claim that it "is Mr. Schiavo's decision and presumption, in custom and in law," whether his wife's life is worth living and whether she would be better off dead. A good portion of George's comments in the interview are devoted to establishing that, in truth, the law does not grant anyone the right to decide that someone else's life is worth living. He claims that the law merely recognizes a right to refuse burdensome treatment for someone else who lacks the capacity to exercise that right herself. The law contemplates situations in which someone will turn down a treatment in order to bring about death, and does not always punish people who have done that, but it does not do so because it recognizes a right to do that. (Note that Mr. Schiavo is not claiming that the treatment places a burden on Mrs. Schiavo; he is claiming rather that it is keeping her from dying, which he regards as a problem.)
Posted at 02:29 PM
RE: ABSOLUTISM [K. J. Lopez]
If it is true that this woman has not gotten the full possibilities rehab has to offer her life is not worth living? I'm clearly what you call an "absolutist"--though is there any recognition between the differrence between active and passive euthanasia?--but I shudder to think where this "life not worthy" living stops--I look to Holland where the depressed can be mercy killed and to the Australian doctor who would give teens a peaceful death bill and am...a wee bit concerned.
Posted at 02:24 PM
MICHAEL SCHIAVO [Rich Lowry ]
Some pretty rough things have been said by conservatives about Michael Schiavo, especially on TV. For all I know he is indeed operating from the worst intentions here, but it is also quite possible that long ago he simply despaired of Terri recovering, which is what this passage from the Guardian Ad Litem report (linked to by Byron yesterday) tends to suggest:
After the malpractice case judgment, evidence of disaffection between the Schindlers and Michael Schiavo openly emerged for the first time. The Schindlers petitioned the courtto remove Michael as Guardian. They made allegations that he was not caring for Theresa, and that his behavior was disruptive to Theresa’s treatment and condition.
Posted at 02:22 PM
MEMO TO SELF: [Rich Lowry ]
Be sure never to blot my copybook.
Posted at 02:21 PM
ABSOLUTISM [John Derbyshire]
"And, can it actually be true that 'most medical professionals' would consider people who are on but food and water - not life support - 'unworthy of life.' That's a bit chilling - I don't think you have to be an 'absolutist' to feel that way."
There is the nub of our disagreement, Kathryn. I think that, after FIFTEEN YEARS, you *do* have to be an absolutist to think that way.
The life Terri Schiavo has is not worth living. I wouldn't want to live it, and I wouldn't want anyone I care about to live it. For once, I believe, the courts have got it right. For pity's sake, let this poor woman die.
Posted at 02:19 PM
RE: DELINKING DELAY [Rod Dreher]
Oh man, Jonah, so now we've got a besieged Republican politician denouncing a Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy?! Mark your calendars, people; this might well be the day that the GOP jumped the shark.
Posted at 02:18 PM
WHO WROTE THE GOP TALKING POINTS MEMO? [Jonah Goldberg ]
Powerline asks a good question. I'd be stunned if it turned out to be another Rathergate deal. But it's worth finding out.
Posted at 02:16 PM
PURPOSEFULLY OBTUSE? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Derb: Is that better or worse than being purposelessly obtuse? Never mind. Look back at the context. Professor George is saying "what's really going on here" is that Mr. Schiavo has decided that his wife's life is not worth living as a way of pulling our attention away from what he regards as a distraction--the question of what Mrs. Schiavo's intentions were or would be. He does not present himself as unveiling a "revelation" or "the Rosetta Stone," and I doubt anyone but you has taken him to be doing that.
Posted at 02:12 PM
H2O DAY [K. J. Lopez]
Explains the Google graphic. I had been wondering...I thought it was "blue" I'm getting older.
Posted at 02:10 PM
NINTH CIRCUIT 0-3 [Jonathan H. Adler]
The Supreme Court released three decisions today. Details here. None were earth shattering. One interesting note: All three decisions reversed the Ninth Circuit.
Posted at 02:09 PM
RE DE-LINKING DELAY [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Posted at 02:07 PM
INKY BLOTS [John Derbyshire]
Ramesh: I think you are being purposefully obtuse. Prof. George blotted his copybook by presenting as a revelation ("What's really going on here..."), that his readers might face with great reluctance ("I don't think we can afford to kid ourselves about this"), a piece of common sense that most human beings would take as obvious and unobjectionable, and that our laws wholeheartedly support.
"Terri's husband has decided that hers is a life not worth having... He has presumed to decide that his wife is better off dead."
That is Mr. Schiavo's decision and presumption, in custom and in law. If that were my wife lying there, I should take them as my decision and my presumption, too, and would jealously guard them against the intrusions of politicians, religious dogmatists, and theory-mongers.
To present this simple fact about conjugal responsibility as if one were revealing the secrets of the Rosetta Stone is, from a person as awesomely credentialed as Prof. George, a blotting of the copybook.
Posted at 02:04 PM
VATICAN SCIENCE [John Derbyshire]
Peter: I am very glad to know that the Vatican has an astronomical observatory in Arizona.
Where is their biotechnology lab?
Posted at 02:01 PM
RE: THE CHURCH AND EVOLUTION [Peter Robinson]
From a reader, this postscript:
I also have a nice collection of papers in astrophysics from a colloquium supported in part by the Pontifical Acacdemy of Sciences.
Posted at 02:01 PM
FEDERALISM AND SCHIAVO [Ramesh Ponnuru]
This isn't a post trying to settle the question of whether authentic federalist principles should have barred Congress from doing what it has done (and what some congressmen have tried to do)--or even venturing an opinion on the matter. I just wanted to note that conservatives should be wary of the argument that it doesn't matter if there's a violation of federalist principles because the cause of life is more important. Assuming that the congressmen did violate federalist principles, then the fact that they were acting in a good cause may reasonably affect how harshly we judge them. But we can't just say that "the Constitution is not an assisted-suicide pact" and move on.
If the Constitution really does bar congressmen from acting here, it is not commanding them to do anything unjust--just to refrain from acting against that injustice. And if it is not commanding them to do anything unjust, they have a moral duty to obey it even if their obedience causes terrible consequences, just as we have a moral obligation not to kill or torture people even where our not doing so causes terrible consequences.
Longtime Corner readers may recall that Prof. Adler and I have debated the constitutionality of a federal ban on partial-birth abortion--he thinks the ban can't be constitutionally justified, I think it can. If I believed as he did, however, I would certainly stop advocating for it (at least until the Constitution were amended).
Posted at 02:00 PM
WHAT'S WRONG WITH TODAY'S RULING [K. J. Lopez]
Andy McCarthy weighs in again on the Schiavo case, explaining, again, a lot of those details things.
Posted at 01:59 PM
UNFORTUNATE TIMING [K. J. Lopez]
Today, I kid you not, is U.N. decreed World Water Day.
Posted at 01:58 PM
ME IN PERSON [Jonah Goldberg]
I'll be debating Peter Beinart about media stuff at West Virginia U this coming Monday. Details to come.
Posted at 01:56 PM
ROBBINS IN PERSON [K. J. Lopez]
Calendar reminder: Tonight:
Jim Robbins "Winning the War on Terrorism."It's sponsored by the good folks at Cliff's Foundation for the Defense of Democracy.
Posted at 01:51 PM
DE-LINKING DELAY [Jonah Goldberg ]
Hey look, I am entirely sympathetic to the charge that the media gets nudged by liberal interest groups and the like, including groups like Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I'm also open to the suggestion that Tom Delay is being railroaded by his enemies, though I'm not convinced either way (the Post's assault has too many holes). But can we agree that Tom Delay is not a stand-in for Terri Schiavo? This is from today's New York Times:
Me: Again, as I've been reading Byron York's excellent new book I think it's entirely plausible that there's a whole "syndicate" determined to undermine conservatism, Republicans et al.
But I think it's at minimum tacky and ill-conceived to suggest that God put Terri Schiavo into her condition to help highlight the unfairness of attacks against Tom Delay or conservatism in general. Nor is it against God's plan to criticize Tom Delay. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that Schiavo's plight is symbolic of any number of things, but if Delay's ethics problems are real he shouldn't hide behind Schiavo and if they're fictitious, he shouldn't hide behind Schiavo.
Posted at 01:49 PM
DERB [Ramesh Ponnuru]
If that's the most eloquent email you've received on this subject, it might be better to leave the inbox unattended for a few days.
It is certainly true that some of those on the feed-Schiavo side of this debate have embraced accusations against Mr. Schiavo without evidence--which, you may note, NRO's editorial criticized them for. But it is also true that there are good reasons for questioning whether he ought to be making these decisions for Mrs. Schiavo--questions your correspondent skips over. It's not as though the pro-feeding side hasn't heard this "sanctity of marriage" argument over the last few days and responded to it. And he makes insinuations against the Schindler family with much less evidence than has been brought to bear against Mr. Schiavo. Finally, the use of the word "kill" and its cognates in this discussion is "beyond the pale" only for people who recoil from plain language. The disconnection of the tube will cause her death and was done with the intent to cause her death. The word "kill" nicely covers the situation.
As for your own post: I fail to see how Professor George has "blotted his copy book" when he has said something that you yourself concede is true. Professor George's mistake, on your account, was not to take account of an argument against the conclusion that his true statement leads him to. But the "argument" isn't much of an argument: the fact that many or most people believe X is hardly a proof that X is the correct position. Nor is the "absolutist" tag an argument. And the slippery slope you vaguely invoke would need to be spelled out further to have any force at all as an objection.
Posted at 01:37 PM
"FOOD IS NOT MEDICINE" [K. J. Lopez]
Interesting post from Charmaine Yoest.
Posted at 01:34 PM
REAGAN & BUSH [Rich Lowry ]
I had a review in Sunday's Washington Post of this fascinating new book on Reagan, Ronald Reagan and His Quest to Abolish Nuclear Weapons by Paul Lettow. We tend to forget that Reagan was an utterly committed nuclear abolitionist. Couple of things occurred to me in reading the book:
1) There is a certain value in principled impracticality. Reagan's deeply held utopian view is what prompted him to be so creative in terms of policy, embracing SDI and never giving it up, thus giving the Soviets a big push toward the dustbin of history. I have been occasionally critical of Bush's unmodulated pro-democracy rhetoric, but it is reflective of a deeply-held, somewhat-utopian belief that has made him adamant about breaking with decades-worth of US policy in the Middle East.
2) There is no substitute for imagination and intuition. They are so much more important to a leader than area-expertise or intellectual sophistication. Long before he took office Reagan intuited the weakness of the Soviet Union (its economy) and a way to exploit it (the arms race) that was dismissed as nuts by the experts. He then had the imagination to believe that his basic beliefs on this question could be acted on, work, and change the world forever. He was right. The parallels with Bush in the Middle East are obvious.
3) You don't have to be all hard-line all the time. Reagan pushed the US arms build-up to change the fundamental power relationship between the US and the USSR, but then was willing to engage in intense personal diplomacy with Gorbachev, which very well may have helped nudge the Soviet leader along the path of change. In a similar way, after the Iraq invasion created a major new reality in the Middle East, Bush is resorting to other means as circumstances warrant, including intense diplomacy in Lebanon and (for now) a compromise approach with the Europeans over Iran.
Posted at 01:24 PM
“MOST MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS” [K. J. Lopez ]
Just very quickly: I agree with you, Derb, that neither one of us knows all the facts in this case. But that there are enough questions (which I’ve read on this site, among other—too few--places), as there are here, seems more than enough reason to err—for a hospital to, on the first level--on the side of life. And, can it actually be true that “most medical professionals” would consider people who are on but food and water—not life support—“unworthy of life.” That’s a bit chilling—I don’t think you have to be an “absolutist” to feel that way.
Posted at 01:17 PM
I KNOW YOU ARE BUT ... [Jonah Goldberg ]
Sam Rosenfeld goes to admirable lengths to dismiss my complaints about liberal hypocrisy when it comes to championing states' rights. Not surprisingly, I'm unpersuaded. His case largely rests on the assertion that liberals haven't been as gung-ho for federal power as my alleged strawman suggests. Instead, liberals have been "instrumentalists." He writes:
Liberals have always taken a much more honestly instrumentalist approach to questions of federal-state balance. We’re guided by the prospect of specific policy outcomes in rendering our judgments on such matters; conservatives are quite obviously guided in the same damned manner to the same extent, only they still seek to hold fast to “federalism” and “states’ rights” as parts of some fundamental ideological credo.
Translation: liberals have an ends justify the means attitude towards policy "outcomes." If state courts get the job done, hooray for state courts. If liberals can't get what they want from state courts, let's see what the federal courts will do for us. If the federal courts are no good, maybe referenda, legislation, regulatory fiat, goat entrails, etc. will get the job done. This was the strategy of the progressives and it remains the strategy of liberals today. Put nicely, "instrumentalism" is another way of saying we'll run with the ball wherever the field is open. That's why liberalism has become basically a lawyer's and bureaucrat's business for the last 30 years -- their policy prescriptions don't sell at the ballot box. Affirmative action, abortion, gay marriage etc lose in elections and referenda so liberals spend their time opposing statewide ballot initatives and convincing unaccountable judges to do for them what they can't do democratically.
If the instrumentalist approach is concerned with policy outcomes, then the policy outcome liberals favor -- according to Rosenfeld -- must be that Schiavo be slowly starved to death. And if death is the policy outcome he favors, I'm still confused why he wouldn't argue in favor of Schiavo being executed quickly and painlessly rather than take the risk that the New York Times is wrong when it says starving to death over two weeks is no worse than a trip to the beach.
I do have serious reservations about Congress' intrusion here. But I'm also willing to accept that my preferred political system would allow for local jurisdictions to do things I consider to be outrageous and immoral without interference from the Federal government. Rosenfeld admits that his governing philosophy is not so restrained. Instrumentalism, by definition, is a philosophical approach to government which does not overly concern itself with the limits of governmental power.
But, oddly, that doesn't stop him from pounding the table about how conservatives have abandoned the rule of law and judicial autonomy thanks to the Republicans' "inability to recognize any limits on their actions." This seems like a pretty grandiose indictment in the wake of a congressional effort to give a federal judge oversight of a single case. If they don't recognize any limitations on their actions, why didn't they try something they don't have the legal authority to try? (As far as I know, no liberal constitutional scholar has claimed Congress doesn't have the authority to do what it did.) Indeed, if conservatives are so instrumentalist, why didn't they try an "outcome based" approach which resulted in something other than rolling the dice with a federal judge?
Posted at 01:03 PM
RE: THE CHURCH ON EVOLUTION [Peter Robinson ]
1. The reader who told you that “the Catholic Church neither accepts nor rejects the theory of evolution” is correct.
2. Your “vague general impression” that, “having got far more bad publicity than it bargained for from the Galileo business,” the Church “made some collective decision a couple of hundred years ago to keep itself a good safe distance from scientific controversies of any kind” is incorrect, and, as stated, risible. Even cursory examination of the Galileo controversy shows it was a lot more complicated than Galileo-right-Church-wrong, and no pope or council has ever suggested the Church keep itself a “safe distance” from any aspect of human endeavor.
What the Church has done, particularly under the present Pope, is to define the spheres and methods of inquiry proper to theology on the one hand and science on the other, while demonstrating support for science per se. Why, for example, does the Vatican support an observatory in Tucson, Arizona? Because, as a Jesuit who works there explained to me, John Paul II took a look at the centuries-old observatory at Castel Gandalfo, the papal summer retreat, then pulled the staff of that observatory together and told them, in effect, to get with the program.
Posted at 12:48 PM
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: I agree that it is tiresome to be offered opinions prefaced by: "I don't know the details, but..." Unfortunately, some of the key details in this case seem to be unknwon and/or unknowable. What was said in private conversations between Michael Schiavo and his wife? What would she have wished for herself? How much is she experiencing and feeling? What are the prospects for her condition improving? On key issues like this, I have no clue, and neither have you. The Hannity and Combes show had a senior physician on last night arguing that Terri could be rehabilitated. We are promised another senior physician tonight arguing that she can't. Uh-huh.
The key ethical point is the one raised by Robert George: "What we must avoid, always and everywhere, is yielding to the temptation to regard some human lives, or the lives of human beings in certain conditions, as lebensunwerten Lebens, lives unworthy of life." It is perfectly OK to be an absolutist on this. That is, in fact, the only position that offers a completely confident and consistent take on the Schiavo case.
Unfortunately -- and this is the source of the negative email you have been getting -- most people are not absolutists on that. Most medical professionals are not; most husbands, wives, parents, sons, and daughters are not; I am not; and our laws are not.
And for all Prof. George's insight and expertise, even he blots his copy book on key points.
"What's really going on here - and I don't think we can afford to kid ourselves about this - is that Terri's husband has decided that hers is a life not worth having. In his opinion, her continued existence is nothing but a burden - a burden to herself, to him, to society. He has presumed to decide that his wife is better off dead."
That is true: but the law, and common opinion, does in fact grant Schiavo that presumption. Should we take steps -- legislative, constituional steps -- to remove that presumption from Michael Sciavo, and other spouses, parents, offspring, etc.?
Perhaps we should: but you ought at least acknowledge that there is a slippery slope behind THAT, too, just as much as there is one behind removing the absolutist restriction Prof. George favors, but which the American people at large -- conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat, religious and indifferent -- plainly do not.
Posted at 12:46 PM
YOU THINK THEY EVER GAVE THEIR ‘ADOLF’ AWARD TO RALPH NADER OR ED CRANE? [Cliff May]
www.nazi.org is the website of the “Libertarian National Socialist Green Party.”
Posted at 12:45 PM
STEM CELL BREAKTHROUGH [Jack Fowler]
Yesterday’s The Australian is reporting that Professor Alan Mackay-Sim of Griffith University has just “published the results of a four-year project that succeeded in growing adult stem cells harvested from the nose. The cells appear to be able to deliver everything that embryonic stem cell research promises, but without the medical and ethical side-effects.” Before getting too excited, let’s not forget that a big reason Culture of Death priestesses have made a sacrament of embryonic stem cell research is that it justifies the greatest of sacraments – abortion. I’ll wager they’ll refrain from (pardon the allusion) picking the nose over recycling the sliced-up body parts of unborn babies. By the way, the study was in part funded by the Catholic Church, and approved by Sydney Cardinal George Pell (which gives new spiritual meaning to the term “:Pell Grant”). Many thanks to NR’s favorite Aussie, BJH, for passing on this news.
Posted at 12:45 PM
MATALIN TO SIMON & SCHUSTER [Rich Lowry ]
New York, N.Y., March 22, 2005 -- Mary Matalin, the celebrated political strategist, author and commentator, will head up a new publishing imprint, it was announced today by Carolyn K. Reidy, President of the Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group.
Posted at 12:39 PM
KEN MEHLMAN HAS JUST… [Rich Lowry ]
..sent around a memo on Social Security polling. An excerpt:
…as Americans hear more and more about possible reforms, support for Personal Retirement Accounts has increased. A recent Gallup survey found that 58% of Americans believe that Social Security Legislation should "include a provision that would allow people who retire in future decades to invest some of their Social Security taxes in the stock market and bonds."
--Support for Personal Retirement Accounts has increased. According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, fifty-six percent (56%) of Americans support allowing workers to invest some of their Social Security contributions in the stock market, while 41% oppose such an idea. The number of Americans who support PRAs has increased by a net of 6% since last December, when 53% supported the plan and 44% opposed it. This is the highest level of support for PRAs since the Post first asked the question in 2000.
Posted at 11:21 AM
LEBANESE FLAGS... [Rich Lowry ]
...are a booming business.
Posted at 11:05 AM
JAMIE RUBIN... [Rich Lowry ]
Posted at 10:58 AM
RE: BABY'S GOT BOOK [K. J. Lopez]
I expected that to be a post from Jonah congratulating his wife for her victory with the new Department of Ed rules out. She, of course, wrote the book on Title IX.
Posted at 10:26 AM
RE: THIS MORNING'S RULING [K. J. Lopez]
O. Carter Snead, who is general counsel for the Council on Bioethics and has previously written about the Schiavo case e-mails (Note: His comments are his own and don’t reflect the views of the council, which has varying views on varying things:
The state of Florida, through its judiciary, has ordered the termination of Terri Schiavo's life. This is an interest clearly protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Thus, before Florida can order such action, it must accord Schiavo with the full measure of process that is due to her. Unfortunately, a review of the record shows that such process was never provided.
Posted at 10:21 AM
BABY'S GOT BOOK [Jonah Goldberg]
Whether you're offended or amused, this really is an impressive bit of work. A Christian parody of Sir Mix-a-lot's "Baby Got Back." Sample lyric: "Well bless me, bless me and teach me about John Wesley..."
Posted at 10:19 AM
OW [Jonah Goldberg]
Brett Stephens peels Nancy Soderberg's book like a grape (at the WSJ, so it's behind a forcefield). An excerpt:
Posted at 10:14 AM
BOLTON [Stanley Kurtz]
After the Bolton nomination brought howls of opposition from Democrats, I wondered out loud what Peter Beinart would say. Now we know. In his column in today’s Washington Post Beinart says Bolton is the wrong man for the job. Beinart explains that in the era of Ambassadors Moynihan and Kirkpatrick, the U.S. was in need of tough-talking champions because it was besieged by Third World dictatorships at the U.N. Yet now that we must lead a group of friendly democracies at the U.N., says Beinart, a bomb-thrower like Bolton is not what’s required. Actually, at a moment when European bureaucrats are straining to nullify the concept of national sovereignty, John Bolton is exactly what we need. At a moment when the U.N. is about to face down nuclear misbehavior by Iran and North Korea, John Bolton is far and away our best bet.
But why look at the merits of the case? It’s more likely that Beinart is cleverly positioning himself for his purge of Democrat doves. By opposing Bolton, Beinart gains the sort of credibility with the Democrat street that will allow him to turn against MoveOn.org. Whether or not the Arab street is a myth, the Democrat street is all too real. I can see why Beinart needs to kowtow to it on Bolton. I just don’t think he’ll ever be able to cross the Democrat street–without getting flattened. And I still say opposing Bolton is going to make the Democrats look bad with the country as a whole.
Posted at 10:07 AM
RE: PLAYGIRL [K. J. Lopez]
That settles it: CLEARLY Derb doesn't read The Corner.
Posted at 10:06 AM
SACRIFICE [John Derbyshire]
A reader draws my attention to this moving article, and asks me to air it in The Corner. Glad to do so.
Posted at 10:03 AM
LASERS! [Mark Krikorian]
I am not making this up: "Arafat Killed By High Tech Laser Attack."
Posted at 10:00 AM
COME TO ATLANTA! [K. J. Lopez]
Jim Craig, who attended our NYC fundraiser last month writes of the night:
It was truly my pleasure to have met, and had personal discussions with so many of the NR/NRO editors and contributors that I have read and enjoyed over my many years as a subscriber, and my fewer years as an online guest. It was a special pleasure to meet Mr. Buckley.Get all the details on the Atlanta shin-dig here.
Posted at 09:54 AM
ALL SCHIAVO ALL THE TIME [Jonathan H. Adler]
While I may not agree with the majority of NRO's folk on the Schiavo legislation, I understand, appreciate, and support the depth of the coverage NRO has given the case. Unlike most stories that dominate cable news, this actually involves serious legal, ethical, and political issues. Congress was in session over the weekend to address it and the President flew back from Crawford to sign legislation. I would also add that, as a constitutional law professor, posting documents like Prof. Destro's letter explaining the legislation is very useful too.
Posted at 09:47 AM
YES [K. J. Lopez]
I am vowing to begin to use spellcheck, by the way. The Corner encourages dangerous habits, even from editors.
Posted at 09:46 AM
GLOBAL WARMING [K. J. Lopez]
could trigger ant invasions!
Posted at 09:40 AM
STUNNING REVELATION [K. J. Lopez]
This news story was a stunning revelation to me.
That there was a Republican editor at Playgirl magazine? No, that Playgirl magazine still exists.
Posted at 09:34 AM
“ALWAYS TO CARE, NEVER TO KILL” [K. J. Lopez ]
I’m kinda at the end of my rope reading angry or disappointed e-mails from people who say they don’t know the details of this case, but then who go on to say NR is wrong, or that our coverage is too much. Obviously, I expect and welcome disagreement, but we’ve now published a series of articles--both of the more polemical and well-researched variety--not just in the last few days, but over the course of a few years now. We’ve published primary documents that raise all sorts of questions. A lot of her details are out there—and even a cursory reading makes clear there are questions in this case—over whether she has been fairly represented in court, over whether she has gotten the best care. But still the question people seem to fall back most on in deciding Schiavo should be “allowed to die” is “I wouldn’t want to be on all sorts of machines.” I understand the instinct. But, I’d argue, this woman deserves a focus on her specifics. She’s needs feeding. She’s not on all sorts of extraordinary machines. And there’s a case out there that she has not had a decent shot at rehab, and the people who gave her life want to get it to her.
I remain with the president, if there are questions, we should be erring on the side of life. This should be the presumptive course of action on the hospital level, shouldn’t it? And, yes, I am heartsick it is not.
Anyway, I would read Robby George if you're looking for something to read. He says it all better than I do. And it's a Q&A, so easy to go through--unlike, say, a court brief.
Posted at 09:32 AM
RE: CONSERVATIVES & SCHIAVO [Jonathan H. Adler]
Jonah, your correspondent from yesterday erred. There is no need to incorporate the 5th Amendment's due process protections against the states as the 14th Amendment explicitly bars states from from depriving individuals of "life, liberty, or property without due process of law."
Posted at 09:27 AM
PRYOR AT THE SUPREMES [Jonathan H. Adler]
Justice Stevens wrote an opinion respecting yesterday's denial of cert in the case challenging Judge William Pryor's recess appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. It notes that the cert denial says nothing about the merits -- a point reporters too often forget -- but also suggests that the Supremes are unlikely to ever address the issue.
Posted at 09:26 AM
FYI [K. J. Lopez]
Fox reports the appeal has been filed
Posted at 09:13 AM
SCHIAVO CASE -- ONE DOCTOR'S OPINION [John Derbyshire]
Huge email bag on this of course, still coming in. This was one of the, if not the, most eloquent to date:
Mr. Derbyshire---I am a physician, a board certified Internist, who cares for many patients in nursing homes. I am also a conservative, at least I think I am. I am greatly disappointed by the tone of most of the posts in The Corner regarding this case, and was relieved at least to read yours. Let's assume for a moment that Mr. Schiavo loves his wife dearly and that sometime when she was well and competent they had a discussion in which she told him she did not want to be kept alive by artificial means, or at least not indefinitely, by artificial means. She say's to him "promise me you won't do that to me". He says "I promise". This is a conversation many loving couples have and one I have had with my wife. Unfortunately, Mrs. Schiavo apparently never produced a document stating this clearly. This is the norm not the exception, particularly in younger people. Now, you are left with a man, if my assumption is correct, who spends a great deal of time with that promise ringing in his head. The thing she asked him to do, that she made him promise to do, and he can't do it. That man would be tormented.
Posted at 09:01 AM
SCHIAVO [Jonathan H. Adler]
Like Jonah and Derb I have reservations about the Schiavo legislation. While Congress clearly has the authority to regulate federal court jurisdiction, and to provide for such jurisdiction so as to ensure that state courts act within constitutional constraints, I feel the legislation is in appropriate on several grounds. First, state courts make these sorts of decisions all the time in life-or-death situations, including death penalty cases without equivalent federal interference. Second, this creates a terrible precedent for ad hoc federal interference in high-profile cases of injustice. Private relief legislation is rightfully disfavored. Third, after-the-fact efforts to undue state court judgments are also a bad thing. If Congress wants to use this case as the basis for new legislation to provide for federal court jurisdiction where state courts violate incapacitated individuals' federal due process rights, that would be fine and dandy. Unprecedented ex post facto challenges to state court judgments, on the other hand, should be avoided -- even when the cause is just (and, yes, even when a life may be at stake). Finally, I would also note that the act in question is likely to be a futile symbolic act. With all respect to Professor Destro, whom I respect greatly, I do not think the federal constitutional claim has much weight at all -- and evidently the federal district court judge agreed. Others with some sympathy for the claim concur. For instance, Ann Althouse was similarly skeptical (and her post on the federalism aspects of the case is also worth reading).
Posted at 08:56 AM
A "DISASTROUS CHOICE" [Jonathan H. Adler]
Yep, that's how the NYT characterizes a potential nomination of Justice Scalia to succeed Justice Rehnquist as Chief Justice.
Posted at 08:55 AM
THE CHURCH ON EVOLUTION [John Derbyshire]
From a reader who, since his first name is Sean, and since I can't be bothered to do the necessary googling, I am going to assume knows what he's talking about:"Mr. Derbyshire---The Catholic Church neither accepts nor rejects the theory of evolution. In fact, it has no authority to do either. Catholics are free to accept or reject this scientific theory. The only thing the Church has said is that the theory of evolution is compatible with the Catholic faith. The only necessary for Catholics is that God created everything out of nothing, and that the human soul was created directly by God."
I have the vague general impression that the Catholic Church, having got far more bad publicity than it bargained for from the Galileo business, made some collective decision a couple of hundred years ago to keep itself a good safe distance from scientific controversies of any kind.
If I am correct about this, I think the decision was a wise one.
Posted at 08:52 AM
SCHINDLER'S APPEAL WILL BE FILED [K. J. Lopez]
in the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, according to cable news and other sources.
Posted at 08:25 AM
WHITTEMORE'S DECISION [K. J. Lopez]
can be read here.
Posted at 08:09 AM
DEHUMANIZING TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
Boston Globe editorial: "They say they are doing God's work, but should consider that it is man's machinery that has prolonged this sad shell of a human being."
Posted at 07:43 AM
FEDERAL JUDGE RULES AGAINST THE SCHINDLERS [K. J. Lopez]
(see here.)Terri Schiavo will continue to dehydrate and starve....
Posted at 07:13 AM
"THEY'RE FINDING A WAY TO WEAKEN TITLE IX" [K. J. Lopez]
At last, I say! What Bush administration has seemingly allowed the weakening of a government-imposed quota system, making the rules make more practical sense--and be fair to the boys who tend to get the shaft. Here's USA Today's write-up of the new Dept. of Ed guidelines for sports in schools.
Posted at 04:33 AM
"THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT CONSERVATIVES. THEY ARE RADICALS WHO EAGERLY IGNORE THE NEEDS AND DESIRES OF TERRI SCHIAVO TO FURTHER THEIR OWN AGENDA." [K. J. Lopez]
With all the talk that Republicans are just supporting Terri Schiavo's parents you'd think their position were actually, to put it crassly, polling well, which, seemingly it is not. So they're heartless opportunists who are blind to numerical facts?
Posted at 04:30 AM
LIFE, DEATH, AND SOUNDBYTES [K. J. Lopez ]
I’m about to make a real dumb naïve remark (and I make it having supported congressional action, I realize), but here goes anyway (at least you’re warned this time): The worst part about this Schiavo frenzy, besides the obvious impending death of a helpless woman, is that it’s now so much about politics. Republicans blaming Democrats for her starving. Now Democrats and everyone else blaming Republicans for doing anything they've done just to get "pro-life" votes. It’s all so crass. This is a woman’s life we're talking about here. This is a daughter and sister her family just wants to love. But it’s become, too, the stuff of overwrought and rotten editorials and op-eds and punditry. Just seems to make a terrible situation all the most distasteful—as if that is even possible considering the life-and-death level of it all
Posted at 04:26 AM
TERRI SCHIAVO AND THE COURTS [K. J. Lopez]
The Times does manage to connect Schiavo and the battle ove judges, at least
Republicans have traditionally championed respect for the delicate balance the founders created. But in the Schiavo case, and in the battle to stop the Democratic filibusters of judicial nominations, President Bush and his Congressional allies have begun to enunciate a new principle: the rules of government are worth respecting only if they produce the result we want. It may be a formula for short-term political success, but it is no way to preserve and protect a great republic.
Posted at 04:11 AM
TERRI SCHIAVO AS A ZYGOTE [K. J. Lopez]
While accusing Bill Frist and Tom DeLay and co. of acting "without a brain," Richard Cohen makes an awful lot of assumptions in his case for death. Has anyone--outside of a libertarian, none-of-our business types--made a sane, convincing case why there should not be a leaning toward life in a case with so many questions like this one? Richard Cohen's nasty and nauseating column (pre-dawn today, Derb may be right about me hyperventilating this time) surely isn't it.
Posted at 04:03 AM
ABOUT TEXAS [K. J. Lopez]
Larry King last night fed Michael Schiavo the Texas Bush bashing line of choice which bears a little background I direct you to in case you missed.
Posted at 04:00 AM
Monday, March 21, 2005
"YOU'D BE HARD PRESSED TO CONVINCE ME" [K. J. Lopez]
Judge Whittemoredoes not sound like he was happy to be in that courtroom.
Posted at 11:33 PM
"LEGAL EXPERTS SAY PARENTS ARE UNLIKELY TO PREVAIL" [K. J. Lopez]
A Dana Milbank piece up now.
Posted at 11:30 PM
HARVARD TAKES ANOTHER STEP [K. J. Lopez]
toward human cloning.
Posted at 11:25 PM
GOOD NEWS [K. J. Lopez]
Feminists are mad at the Bush administration on Title IX--sports in education. Excellent. From my quick understanding of the new guidelines from the Department of Ed, schools will be able to comply with the law via interest surveys--i.e. if there is no interest in girls wrestling, the guys won't have to lose their team. Good, fair stuff, it seems on the surface. And the right people are disappointed, as you see...
Posted at 09:39 PM
SCHIAVO PROBLEMS IN THE FLORIDA COURTS [K. J. Lopez]
Another useful read, here, from January.
Posted at 06:48 PM
RE: SCHIAVO FEDERAL HEARING [Andy McCarthy]
K-Lo’s post has CNN indicating that the hearing ended inconclusively, without any determination of when or whether there will be a decision on anything, including whether to reinstate the feeding tube. I would regard this as a VERY bad sign.
The law passed by congress and signed by the president last night provides that in a lawsuit such as the one Terri’s parents have brought: “the District Court shall determine DE NOVO any claim of a violation of any right of Theresa Marie Schiavo within the scope of this Act, notwithstanding any prior State court determination and regardless of whether such a claim has previously been raised, considered, or decided in State court proceedings. The District Court shall entertain and determine the suit without any delay or abstention in favor of State court proceedings, and regardless of whether remedies available in the State courts have been exhausted.” (Italics and other emphasis mine).
De novo review regardless of what went on in the state courts should mean it is a brand new ballgame – the federal court owes no deference to any of the matters raised or ruled on in the state courts. Given the voluminous nature of the record generated in Florida, there is no way this case can be decided quickly if it is to be reviewed responsibly. Terri Schiavo would be dead in the time that would take. So, manifestly, the only proper thing for the judge to do was to order the feeding tube replaced forthwith the minute the case was filed. If Terri’s parents lose their case, the tube can always be removed again. But if Terri dies while the judge is spinning his wheels, she and her parents can never be made whole.
Imagine if this were a death penalty case and a law got passed staying the execution until a new judge could completely review the case. Imagine also that this law had gotten passed while the capital defendant was being walked by jailers to the execution chamber. Does anyone think the authorities would keep walking the defendant to the lethal injection table, strap him in, and begin the execution while waiting for the judge to perform his de novo review?
Of course not – the very first thing that would have happened would have been the immediate return of the capital defendant to the safety of his cell. The status quo would be preserved without prejudice to either side, and with the knowledge that if the judge later ruled against the defendant there would be plenty of time later to walk him back to the death chamber and get on with the execution.
Why is this hard? You can argue about how the judge’s de novo review should be decided. But what possible good reason is there for not ending the ongoing starvation and dehydration forthwith?
Posted at 06:09 PM
SCHIAVO FEDERAL HEARING [K. J. Lopez]
Cnn reports it is over.... No indiction when they'll be a decision--or any order to reinstate feeding tubes; Terri Schiavo's on her third day without food or water...
Posted at 05:06 PM
I NEVER EVEN THOUGHT TO ASK THIS QUESTION [K. J. Lopez]
I'm sure y'all know the answer to this. I watched "Annie Hall" for the first time in a long time last night, and noticed the reference to National Review. Woody Allen finds a copy in Diane Keaton's apartment and asks her why she has it, to which she responds: "I like to get all points of view." I was just wondering what issue it was and what the cover story was. I couldn't make it out. It would have been 1975.I knew about the Annie Hall mention, of course, but no idea what issue.
Posted at 04:58 PM
RE: CAPTAIN KIRK COMPLEX [K. J. Lopez]
Oh the ironies. Guess who shares a birthday with William Shatner (as many readers have, not surprisingly, pointed out)? Well, besides Orrin Hatch? Yup, you guessed it, not Jonah but K-Lo.
Posted at 04:24 PM
"WHO WILL DECIDE WHEN YOU SHOULD DIE?" [K. J. Lopez]
Nat Hentoff from 2003. He wrote this, too.
Posted at 04:07 PM
"SCHOOL OF MIRACLE WORK..." [K. J. Lopez]
[P.S. Spock reference here, too!]
Posted at 03:45 PM
MADNESS [K. J. Lopez]
A reader suggests: "You guys following college basketball? You and Jonah could go head to head with brackets. He wins, you dress up like a star trek character. You win, he dresses up like Simon LeBon circa 1980's. These costumes could be worn at the Atlanta get together. I'd pay to see that."
Posted at 03:34 PM
JORDAN EMPTIES [K. J. Lopez]
its Iraqi embassy
Posted at 03:33 PM
I GOTTA IDEA [K. J. Lopez]
Down in Atlanta (are you signed up yet?), how about Jonah just go as a Star Trek character?
Posted at 02:54 PM
JAMES Q. WILSON [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 02:38 PM
ONE DOWN [K. J. Lopez]
Now I can give Stuttaford that David Hasselhoff CD I bought Jonah.
Posted at 02:25 PM
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JONAH [K. J. Lopez]
From Mr. Lileks: Terri Schiavo and Star Trek. (Really.)
Posted at 02:23 PM
RE: RE: NEW TRADITION [K. J. Lopez]
This is not just because I'm a kill-joy. Seriously, a few actual practical problems. I'll have to listen to the whining when whoever decides to start a mac vs. pc debate realizes it was a terrible idea (that's partially selfish and partially generous--sparing you, the beloved reader. Also, since Stuttaford and I share a March 22 birthday, tomorrow is a disaster waiting to happen, Corner-wise. I'm getting to old to handle whatever Stuttaford wants to pull from Amsterdam.
Posted at 02:18 PM
RE: NEW TRADITION [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 01:54 PM
SUGGESTION ON A NEW CORNER TRADITION [John Derbyshire]
Kathryn: Jonah makes a good point. The Corner has accreted a fair number of traditions, protocols, and prohibitions in the few years of its existence. Let's add one more.
I propose that each regular Corner correspondent be given, on the day of his or her birthday, a waiver on some Corner prohibition.
Jonah could write about Star Trek. I could submit off-color limericks. And ANYBODY could freely debate the merits of Macs versus PCs. Whaddya say?
Posted at 01:53 PM
OPPOSITES [John Derbyshire]
A reader sent me the following. ----------
How I met my wife
Posted at 01:52 PM
BIRTHDAY BOY [K. J. Lopez]
Better not press his luck.
Posted at 01:50 PM
LIFE AND DEATH [John Derbyshire]
Reading my e-bag, one thing that comes out clearly is the profound effect that death, especially a "bad" death, has on those who observe it. These personal encounters seem to be a key determinant, though not always in a predictable way, of people's attitudes to the Schiavo case.
A reader, after recounting such an experience:
"But is it necessary for everyone to go through these experiences before they can grow out of the denial that seems to be the standard attitude about death in our society? Or can we bring about a healthier realization of its naturalness and inevitability at the same time we work to extend length and quality of life? (And by the way, aren't good conservative Christians taught, especially this week, to see death as a beginning, not an end?)"
Posted at 01:26 PM
RE: UVA TALK [Jim Robbins]
Jonah, it would only reinforce my Captain Kirk complex.
Posted at 01:25 PM
OH, AND BY THE WAY [Jonah Goldberg]
Star Trek bans do not apply to birthday boys.
Posted at 01:12 PM
RE: UNHINGED [Jonah Goldberg]
I am still in search of an "ert" substance.
Posted at 01:12 PM
EMINENT DEMEAN [John Derbyshire]
"Eminently sensible" means "agrees with me." When my colleagues don't agree with me, they are, of course, "hyperventilating."
Posted at 01:10 PM
RE: HEAR JIM [Jonah Goldberg]
Would it be completely unfunny if Trek-loving Corner readers showed up and every time Jim made a good point liberals disliked the Cornerites chanted "tell them Jim! Tell them Jim!"
Posted at 01:09 PM
RE: "UNHINGED" [K. J. Lopez]
I can always count on the guys...
Posted at 01:09 PM
"UNHINGED" [John Derbyshire]
That's one of those cases where you never see the opposite adjective used. What would it be? "Hinged"? "Well hinged"? If the hinges are supposed to be supporting a door, the precise and correct opposite would be "well hung"... but let's not go there.
Posted at 01:08 PM
RE: KEEPER [Jonah Goldberg]
Alas, I don't always hear "that's a keeper" either. Here's one I got Friday:
Posted at 12:58 PM
HEAR JIM [NRO Staff]
Jim Robbins will speak at the University of Virginia, Tuesday, March 22nd, 7:30-8:30pm, in the Commonwealth Room of Newcomb Hall. The topic will be "Winning the War on Terrorism."
Posted at 12:55 PM
RE: KEEPER [K. J. Lopez]
Sometimes I'm told "that's the most unhinged piece you've written yet, K-Lo"....
Posted at 12:53 PM
HIDDEN LAW [John Derbyshire]
Yeah, that's the one, Jonah. A "keeper" as people occasionally tell me about one of my columns. TOO occasionally...
Posted at 12:51 PM
RE: SCHIAVO IMAGES [K. J. Lopez]
Derb, I take your point about the pictures, but I have something weird to say: There’s actually something humanizing about those pictures, although I suspect unintentional. If you’re instinct is life ends once you’ve had a trauma like Schiavo has had happen to her, confining her to bed, maybe a look at the love a family has for her even now is good for us all to see—if there can be good that comes from such a terrible situation (I refer not just to her medical condition, but the legal mess, the media blitz, all of it). In some ways it reminds me of what I think the pope has been trying to show people, Catholic and non, that life doesn’t end with disease or old age, and, ultimately, how to die, yes, with some dignity, which doesn’t have to translate into taking it, or having someone end it.
Posted at 12:51 PM
RE: EMINENTLY SENSIBLE [Jonah Goldberg]
From one of Derb's e-fans:
Is being called "EMINENTLY SENSIBLE" by Derbyshire like being called a "Consensus Builder" by Harry Reid?
Posted at 12:49 PM
RE: SCHIAVO [John Derbyshire]
Two of the best pieces from my own reading so far are this one from a back issue of First Things, and the WSJ piece by James Q. Wilson that Kathryn linked to (but needs a subscription).
I'm still reading. Here's one point that has nagged me for some time though. Inattentive as I have been to the details of the case, I have caught TV news clips over the past few months. Most of them seem designed to show Terri Schiavo in the most unattractive light. Fox News has played over and over and over some footage shot from below, i.e. looking up the poor woman's nostrils. NOBODY looks entirely human from that angle. Possibly there are some constraints here I don't know about -- imposed by the parents, the husband, or the institution -- but anyone who's been confined to a hospital bed wants to look their best for visitors, and it seems a shame that the same thing can't be arranged for Mrs. Schiavo, when her "visitors" number in the millions.
Posted at 12:43 PM
MY EMINENTLY SENSIBLE COLUMN [Jonah Goldberg ]
Several readers have asked which column of mine Derb was referring to. I believe it was this one.
Posted at 12:37 PM
RE: SCHIAVO CASE [John Derbyshire]
Mailbag pretty evenly split on this (as, to judge from polls, is the country http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,149433,00.html ). Strong feelings on both sides: I am either (a) an accomplice to murder, or (b) a lone voice of sanity on NRO. (Though most emailers are thoughtful and reasonable, I hasten to say.)
The emails I really cherish are the nutty ones. This one, for instance: "Mr. Derbyshire---The reason you may not be receiving a lot of emails from prolife people on the issue of Terri Schiavo is perhaps because of the position you have taken on evolution. Those of us who are non-evolutionists do not believe that an evolutionist such as yourself can come to a prolife position in cases such as these, based on your worldview. Therefore, it's not reasonable to take the time to argue our case with you. Is it not true that 'the survival of the fittest' trumps any humane considerations?"
No, of course it isn't. And if acceptance of evolution rules out one's having an opinion on right to life, then the Catholic Church, which accepts the theory of evolution, is thereby ruled out.
Posted at 12:30 PM
SCOTUS NEWS [Shannen Coffin]
The Supreme Court declined today to hear several challenges to the President's recess appointment of Judge Bill Pryor to the Eleventh Circuit. Judge Pryor is thus unencumbered to serve the rest of his recess term. More serious, however, is the question of a permanent appointment, currently pending before the Senate.
Posted at 11:58 AM
PRINCETON'S ROBBY GEORGE [K. J. Lopez]
weighs in here on Terri Schiavo and the associated questions about ethics, government, and more
Posted at 11:46 AM
MEDIA VS. TERRI [Tim Graham]
MRC's Brent Baker says ABC wins hands down for the most biased Schiavo coverage over the weekend.
Posted at 11:39 AM
PAMPERED POLITICAL PROS AT POLITICS AND PROSE [Jonah Goldberg]
For those of you who know the Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington DC, the cover story about it in today's Wall Street Journal will no doubt strike many as highlarious. The store is run by -- what some might call -- snobby old reds. The owners of P&P let the employees boss them around. And the fifty employees were scandalized to discover that a prospective new owner might want to run the place... like a business. The buyer had to work in mufti as a staffer for a long time in order to grasp the psychological complexities of the staff (think Robert Redford in the first part of "Brubaker."). The hopeful buyer's plan almost succeeded until he dared kiss an employee on the cheek at her birthday party. For this effrontery, the staff finally rebelled and put the kibosh on the sale.
Posted at 11:35 AM
MORE HYPERVENTILATING [K. J. Lopez]
Unfortunately James Q. Wilson this morning in the Wall Street Journal is subscription only, but I'd grab a copy if you can. Some of it:
That moral imperative should be that medical care cannot be withheld from a person who is not brain dead and who is not at risk for dying from an untreatable disease in the near future. To do otherwise makes us recall Nazi Germany where retarded people and those with serious disabilities were "euthanized" (that is, killed). We hear around the country echoes of this view in the demands that doctors be allowed to participate, as they do in Oregon, in physician-assisted suicide, whereby doctors can end the life of patients who request death and have less than six months to live. This policy endorses the right of a person to end his or her life with medical help. It is justified by the alleged success of this policy in the Netherlands.But that excerpt alone doesn't do it justice, unfortunately.
Posted at 11:24 AM
WHILE I GET A GRIP [K. J. Lopez]
and try to get the image the pleading Schindler family out of my head, I'd second Byron's recommendation on those primary docs. You might also check out this Bob Destro letter. I also recommend Andy McCarthy this morning on lingering questions and our editorial, up fresh this morning also. None of the aforementioned strike me as hyperventilating.
Posted at 11:08 AM
TERRI SCHIAVO [John Derbyshire]
I was braced for a flood of e-mails calling me an inhuman monster for not being on board with my colleagues in re Terri Schiavo (or Schindler, as the more politically correct among you would prefer -- Hillary Clinton must be smiling somewhere).
There have been a couple like that, but I am finding a lot of agreement, too.
Hyperventilating about the inalienable right to life of everybody under all circumstances strikes me as silly. Anyone who has mixed much with medical professionals knows that "soft" euthanasia -- letting hopeless cases die, often with a gentle push to help them on their way -- was everyday practice, at least until the tort bar became the nation's Fifth Estate. Jonah Goldberg wrote something eminently sensible about this in a column a couple of years ago. And, to be blunt, I am all for it, and hope someone will do me that favor if the awful time comes.
Whether Terri Schiavo's case properly comes under that scope, I still don't know. I took no interest in it until this weekend, and am reading up. I would appreciate it, though, if some of you out there would get a grip on yourselves and tone down the hysteria.
Posted at 11:02 AM
SCHIAVO DOCUMENTS [Byron York]
Much of the television commentary in the Schiavo matter has failed to delve very deeply into the facts of the case, or at least the differing versions of the story that are available. But there are three documents that might be worth reading for people interested in the case. The first is the report of Jay Wolfson, who was the short-lived Guardian Ad Litem appointed after the passage of Terri's Law in 2003. The second is the Schindler family's March 16 appeal to the United States Supreme Court. And the third is the Supreme Court's ruling, and in particular Justice Scalia's opinion, in the 1990 case Cruzan v. Director, MDH, also available at Findlaw.com, which dealt with the issues involved in the Nancy Cruzan case.
Posted at 10:59 AM
FILIBUSTERS [Shannen Coffin]
"Deacon" over at Powerline had this terrific post yesterday on George Will's filibuster piece:
George Will argues that the filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominees should be allowed. Will shows that there is a very respectable conservative argument in favor of not changing the Senate rules to end the filibusters. Ultimately, however, I find his argument unpersuasive.
Posted at 10:35 AM
MARCH MADNESS [Mark Krikorian]
A GOP polling firm in St. Louis has a takeoff of March Madness for the Republican presidential nomination. Tom Tancredo clobbered John "Open Borders" McCain in the first round! He's up against Limbaugh in Round Two; other matchups include Condi Rice vs. Roy Blunt and Tom Ridge vs. George Pataki.
Posted at 10:34 AM
PLAYING HIMSELF IN THE MOVIE [Mark Krikorian]
I love these
Posted at 10:33 AM
WHAT THEY SAID [K. J. Lopez]
the first in an occasional series of testimonials from folks who attended NR/NRO's NYC fundraiser in February: "I felt like Cinderella, just come from the ball." -- Rebecca Bynum, Nashville, Tenn.
Posted at 10:14 AM
PEACHY [K. J. Lopez]
Are you signed up for our Atlanta bash yet?
Posted at 10:12 AM
ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI [K. J. Lopez]
Just in: Supreme Court declines hearing his appeal.
Posted at 10:08 AM
WHAT PRESIDENT BUSH DID IN TEXAS [K. J. Lopez]
I got into this a little last night, but here’s a little more background on something I suspect you might have heard yesterday and will continue to hear today. During the debate over Terri Schiavo’s life in Congress on Sunday, Democrats in the House of Representatives argued that President Bush is inconsistent in his support for Terri Schiavo because when he was governor of Texas he signed a bill that was recently used in a terrible case in Texas to deny lifesaving treatment to a baby against the child’s family’s wishes.
But according to a source familiar with what went down in Texas, the then-governor signed into law the best bill he could get at the time, improving an already bad situation. Here’s some background explained:
In August 1996 the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article describing procedures then in effect in Houston hospitals. Under these procedures, if a doctor wished to deny a patient lifesaving medical treatment and the patient or the patient's surrogate instead steadfastly expressed a desire for life, the doctor would submit the case to the hospital ethics committee. The patient or surrogate would be given 72 hours notice of the committee meeting would be allowed to plead for the patient's life at it. During that short 72 hour period, the patient or surrogate, while preparing to argue for life, could also try to find another health care provider willing to give the lifesaving treatment, food or fluids.
Posted at 10:07 AM
RIGHTS AND SCHIAVO [Mark R. Levin]
The right to live, or more specifically, the right not to be killed, is a fundamental right. And it's a right recognized in our founding document, the Declaration of Independence. So ingrained in our society is the notion of life, that the 8th Amendment prohibits "cruel and usual punishment" (even short of death) and the 14th Amendment prohibits states from depriving any person of life without due process of law. This has nothing to do with federalism, unless you ignore the 8th and 14th Amendments. (Unlike the Left, that contorts the 14th Amendment, I'm recognizing its literal meaning.)
What really offends the Left is Congress asserting its constitutional power over a court, and not in service to the liberal agenda. Article III specifically empowers Congress to determine the jurisdiction of the federal courts, which is all it did today. It authorized a federal court to determine whether Terri Schiavo's due process rights and the right not be subject to cruel and unusual punishment were properly protected by a state court. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decided on its own that abortion was a federal question, not to be left to the states, without any constitutional basis whatsoever. It preempted every state court and legislature (and Congress, for that matter). And the Left celebrates this decision.
As for why Congress is acting here, as opposed to any other case with overlapping issues, I suppose that question could be asked whenever Congress acts. The Schiavo case has risen to national attention. So, Congress is responding. That's how representative government works. The week after the Titanic sank, Congress held its first hearings to change U.S. maritime laws.
We must not allow the Left to define the terms of this debate. It is willing to make almost any argument to protect the supremacy of the courts. And even though Congress here is instructing the federal courts to review the case, the Left objects to any congressional exercise of constitutional authority over the judiciary. As Rep. Jim Moran (Dem, VA) said yesterday, "The judiciary has spoken."
Posted at 10:07 AM
SCHIAVO CASE [John Derbyshire]
I don't feel at all easy about commenting on the Schiavo case. It is a horrible moral conundrum -- a whole concatenation of such, in fact. Parents vs. spouse, judges playing God, federalism, right to life, cruel and unusual.. Oh, Lord.
I wish I could share the clear conviction of some of my colleagues, but I just can't. I know my wife pretty well, and she knows me pretty well, and we both have a lot of sympathy for Michael Schiavo. It strikes me as a bit glib to just thump the table and say: "He wants his wife to die!" I don't find it hard to imagine circumstances in which I would want my wife to die, too; nor circumstances in which my wife would, I hope, do everything she could to have me die.
We all bring personal baggage to this kind of issue, as witness Linda Stasi in this morning's New York Post I myself have never had a loved one in that situation. I did grow up among medical chatter, though. My mother was a professional nurse -- an exceptionally dedicated and conscientious one, from all I have seen since. I spent several hundred hours of my childhood sitting in rooms with Mum and her colleagues (a high proportion of whom, by the way, were Catholic women from the Republic of Ireland -- that's how the nursing profession in England was structured) listening to their nurse talk. A recurrent theme was some patient in a terminal condition being kept alive on tubes and drips by, as these nurses would say, some damn fool doctor. (The nurse-doctor relationship is a very fascinating one.) "Let the poor thing die!" one of the nurses would say, to sympathetic nods of agreement all round.
People who deal with the human frame and its ailments every working day develop an understanding of the rightness and natural-ness of death that isn't often vouchsafed to the rest of us. I don't know the fine details of the Schiavo case. Knowing nothing of Michael Schiavo's motives, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he just wants his wife to be at peace rather than linger indefinitely in her present wretched state. There is nothing ipso fact ignoble or shameful about that. The guy might be operating from some ulterior motive, I suppose, but does anyone have actual evidence of this? Judging from the few quotes of his that I have read and heard, he doesn't seem like a bad sort.
I haven't heard much from medical professionals about this case. If anyone from the doctoring or nursing professions has any thoughts, I'd be very interested to hear them. Is the medical sensibility I described above still operative, 40 years later?
Posted at 10:05 AM
3 PM FEDERAL HEARING SET [K. J. Lopez]
in the Schiavo case (according to FNC)
Posted at 09:57 AM
TERRI AND ELIAN [Jonah Goldberg ]
An interesting comparison at the American Thinker.
Posted at 09:27 AM
CONSERVATIVES & SCHIAVO [Jonah Goldberg]
I know a lot of this has been covered already by Andy, Mark and others. But here's an email in response to my post last night. I think he makes a good argument even if I still have reservations which I'll spell out in a bit:
On the Corner, you complained that "I do think conservative Republicans are at a minimum inconsistent in their sudden love of the fourteenth amendment and an activist federal government." I spent last night explaining this same issue to my father. Here's why you're wrong. The Constitution very simply guarantees that no person "be deprived of life . . . without due process of law." That's the Fifth Amendment, not the Fourteenth (although Florida is bound by the Fifth Amendment because of the Fourteenth). Republicans complain about how expansive due process has become, but have never claimed that the due process of law should be eliminated. This isn't a case of whether due process guarantees a right to sodomy or cushy conditions for prisoners. Simply because Republicans dispute the outer limits of due process jurisprudence does not mean they are inconsistent when they demand that courts administer the absolute core of due process as the Founders envisioned it: arrest, charging, trial by jury and conviction (the 'beyond a reasonable doubt' part was added later, but is not controversial). Due process, since the time of the Founders, has also included petitions for habeas corpus and the executive's prerogative to commute a death sentence. All of these basics are missing in the Schiavo case. Of course, she's never been accused of any crime and I think that's what galls people the most: because she is completely innocent, the decision of whether she lives or dies is made by a judge on a civil standard of proof. No jury, no cross-examination, her husband - who admittedly has interests adverse to hers is acting as her representative, no pardon by the Governor, etc. There's nothing inconsistent in claiming that Schiavo has been deprived of the most fundamental, uncontroversial Constitutional rights available to any serial killer.
Posted at 09:19 AM
SLOW NEWS DAY [John Derbyshire]
Or what? Here is the front page -- FRONT PAGE -- lead in America's Newspaper of Record.
"A bitter custody battle has erupted between two Long Island families that both claim to be the rightful guardians - of a Chihuahua. Their bone of contention is a year-old pooch with two names whose fate will be determined beginning today in a Mineola courtroom."
Posted at 09:13 AM
THE ROLL CALL FROM LAST NIGHT, FYI [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 09:02 AM
TODAY’S LIBERAL LINEUP [Tim Graham]
The wife looked at me funny today for fussing about the liberal articles in today's Washington Post. Well, it shouldn't be surprising, especially on a Monday, when a newspaper often goes casting around for news, allowing for a little more indulgence of the ideological impulses. Above the fold in nearly every section (save Sports) the Post signals its liberal agenda. I wouldn't stay these stories aren't worth reporting (or reading), but they do put the lie to people thinking the Washington Times is the one biased newspaper in town. Scan them quickly with me.
1. On the front page, another story on John Negroponte's term as the ambassador in Honduras, with the subheadline "Focus Renewed on Intelligence Pick's Knowledge of Death Squads in 1980s." Let's just call that the passive-partisan tense. "Focus renewed," by whom? Democrats and their friends at the Post.
2. Front and center, in color, on the front page of Business, another episode of Stuck In the Eighties. "The General and His Banker," the latest installment of the Post's obsession with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and his relationship with the local Riggs Bank.
3. On the front page of Metro, "Antiwar Parent Endures Enlistment, Death" of her son in Iraq. She asked her son, "Why do they want you to join the military and hurt people?" Metro's top is liberally perfect, actually. On the top left, Georgetown University students go on a hunger strike for the university's janitors. On the top right, resistance to charter schools remains strong in Maryland.
4. And finally, on the front of the Style section, a huge two-thirds of the page is devoted to "Joe Steffen, the Ehrlich Aide Who Gossiped His Way Out of a Job." The Post wants Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich to lose, and has already put the gossip-and-firing story on the front page when Steffen was found spreading marital-infidelity rumors about Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, one of two Democratic contenders battling to run against Ehrlich. Spread out over a big picture of Ehrlich with his arm around Steffen is a Steffen quote from FreeRepublic.com touting himself with the nicknames "The Prince of Darkness," "Doctor Death," and "Doctor Ice."
Posted at 08:24 AM
PROGRESS ON HAIFA STREET [Jonah Goldberg]
A must-read in today's New York Times. John F. Burns offers a sober and cautious but ultimately very positive perspective on progress in Iraq.
Posted at 08:22 AM
JONAH [K. J. Lopez ]
Best wishes and prayers to him on today, his birthday. He and his family have had some straining times of late, as you know, and I know I speak for everyone in wishing them all the best. (Rather than bombard his e-mail box, send any regards to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be passed along.)
Posted at 08:19 AM
THE LATEST ON SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. (CNN) -- A U.S. district court judge early Monday was considering whether to order that Terri Schiavo's feeding tube be reinserted.
Posted at 08:16 AM
TV [NRO Staff]
Cliff May will be on CNN at 8:30.
Posted at 08:00 AM
BANNER EMAIL WEEK [Jonah Goldberg]
Reposting my ANWR piece has invited a whole new crop of Very Angry People to the game. For example:
I don't think i've read anything quite so frightening as your piece, Ugh Widenress. I know the Bushleague and it's syncophants are prepared to, cheat, steal, deceive in every possible manner and cover up their perfidious behavior on their march back into the dark ages; but i didn't realize you are actually willing to commit mass murder not only of animals and plant species just to make a few extra bucks but that you are willing to destroy yourselves as well. You will someday be able to look back and say that you were among the orcs that dealt the final blows to the earth itself. congratulations: you have come to epitomize the union of unrelenting stupidity and limitless greed.
Posted at 07:37 AM
RADIO [NRO Staff]
Andy McCarthy will be on the radio w/ Linda Chavez at 735am and Laura Ingraham at 1035am.
Posted at 07:12 AM
SPY BOOKS [John J. Miller]
I haven't done much if any linking to the weekly books page I edit for the Washington Examiner, but today's edition contains a fun interview with former CIA director Jim Woolsey on spy novels: Which is the best as a piece of literature? Which is the best at providing a realistic depiction of the CIA? Which is the best book on Aldrich Ames? Read the interview here.
Posted at 05:50 AM
SIGNED [K. J. Lopez]
From the White House, right now (from the press secretary):
On Monday, March 21, 2005, the President signed into law:And from the president:
Today, I signed into law a bill that will allow Federal courts to hear a claim by or on behalf of Terri Schiavo for violation of her rights relating to the withholding or withdrawal of food, fluids, or medical treatment necessary to sustain her life. In cases like this one, where there are serious questions and substantial doubts, our society, our laws, and our courts should have a presumption in favor of life. This presumption is especially critical for those like Terri Schiavo who live at the mercy of others. I appreciate the bipartisan action by the Members of Congress to pass this bill. I will continue to stand on the side of those defending life for all Americans, including those with disabilities.
Posted at 01:25 AM
DELAY'S POST-VOTE RELEASE [K. J. Lopez]
WASHINGTON - House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) today hailed passage of the compromise legislation concerning the case of Terri Schiavo.
Posted at 01:07 AM
THE TOTAL VOTE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
One hundred fifty-six Republicans and 47 Democrats voted yes; 53 Democrats and those 5 aforementioned Republicans voted no.
Posted at 12:53 AM
THE 5 REPUBLICAN NOS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Ginny Brown-Waite (Fla.), Mike Castle (Del.), Charles Dent (Penn.), David Reichert (Wash.), and Chris Shays (Conn.)
Posted at 12:52 AM
DO NO HARM. DO LESS HARM. [K. J. Lopez]
During the debate tonight, Democrats in the House have said that the president is inconsistent on Terri Schiavo because when he was governor of Texas he signed a bill that was recently used in a terrible case in Texas to deny lifesaving treatment to a baby against the child’s family’s wishes.
But according to a source familiar with what went down in Texas, the then-governor signed into law something better than what Texas hospitals were already doing. There were not enough votes in the Texas legislature to require life-saving treatment to patients, which is what the governor would have preferred….
Posted at 12:42 AM
HOUSE HAPPENS [K. J. Lopez]
128 have voted yea in the House...so the bill passes the House (our unofficial count)...as soon as the vote is official, it heads to the White House...
Posted at 12:33 AM
SCHIAVO UPDATE (ON THE OFFCHANCE YOU'RE READING THE CORNER RIGHT NOW AND NOT WATCHING C-SPAN) BARNEY FRANK JUST REQUESTED A ROLL CALL... [K. J. Lopez]
(as expected); 218 yeah votes needed to pass it.
Posted at 12:21 AM
Sunday, March 20, 2005
THIS IS THE TEXT OF THE BILL THE HOUSE IS DEBATING TONIGHT, BTW (AS PASSED BY SENATE) [K. J. Lopez]
Posted at 11:10 PM
SCHIAVO AUDIO [K. J. Lopez]
Family Research Council has audio up of Terri Schiavo interacting with her father on Friday.
Posted at 10:27 PM
RE: A FAIR JUDICIAL SHAKE FOR TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez]
This comes from a letter lawyer Robert Destro (who has represented Terri Schiavo’s parents) sent to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (which Sensenbrenner put in the Congressional Record tonight):
Terri’s parents have alleged that the law created by Florida courts in Terri’s case violated both Terri’s rights and theirs because:
Posted at 10:20 PM
SPEAKING OF ANNOYING MEDIA FIGURES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
How pathetic was Dana Milbank's apologia? The fact that some liberals accuse him of conservative bias and some conservatives accuse him of liberal bias does not prove that he is doing a good job. The fact that Ari Fleischer notes that the press was tough on Clinton does not disprove (and is not even pertinent to) the idea that the press has a bias on issues. The fact that the RNC and DNC cite stories in the Washington Post when they support their positions does not prove that (and is barely pertinent to the question of whether) the paper is even-handed.
Then there's this: "Would liberals really favor the absence of a press that calls into questions the Bush administration's claims about Iraq's weapons and ties to al Qaeda? Would conservatives really favor the absence of a press that brought the Clinton scandals to light?" Um, has anybody, on either side, who complains about bias been saying that we shouldn't have a press at all?
Posted at 09:50 PM
JUDY WOODRUFF [Ramesh Ponnuru]
is being awfully argumentative with the Schindler family right now. No doubt that has nothing to do with her own politics.
Posted at 09:43 PM
ROBERT WEXLER ASKED A BIT AGO, ON THE HOUSE FLOOR [K. J. Lopez ]
“If the Florida courts had found in favor of Terri Schiavo’s parents, would we be here this evening?”
Not if the courts actually gave her a fair shake, which is the point here….
Posted at 09:42 PM
"WHY FILIBUSTERS SHOULD BE ALLOWED" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
That's the title of George Will's latest column. I think the first half of his column, explaining why the Constitution does not prohibit filibusters of judges, is stronger than the second, on the supposedly dire consequences of ending such filibusters.
Posted at 09:41 PM
CHIMING IN [Jonah Goldberg]
Look, I've had a very bad week which has distracted me from all of this Schiavo stuff. I need to read and think more about all of it. But I think it's fair to say I'm not exactly on the same page with a lot of my conservative friends and colleagues on many of the issues involved. I'll write more on the issue later. But I have to say I'm disgusted with the faux moral outrage from liberals who are stunned by the idea that the federal government might get involved in issues like this. This is the party which danced a jig over the Violence Against Women Act and which has defined a vast swath of its political raison d'etre around the idea that the federal government should jealously guard the right to abortion and the right to appeal a death sentence in federal courts. And it is now scandalized that the Republican Party is trying to prevent a state court from killing a woman. It's okay for Washington to meddle when a husband slaps his wife, but it's outrageous when Washington tries to stop a husband from killing his wife? It's mandatory that a federal judge make sure a minority isn't passed-over for a promotion, but it's a rejection of the rule of law for a federal judge to make sure that a woman isn't wrongfully starved to death? Thanks to the hard work of Democrats states can't set their own drinking age or voting age, but suddenly state judges should be The Word of God when it comes to slowly killing citizens. I don't get it.
I do think conservative Republicans are at a minimum inconsistent in their sudden love of the fourteenth amendment and an activist federal government. But liberals are no less inconsistent in their sudden love of states' rights on such issues. The difference is that Republicans are embracing a principle they've spent some time upholding -- a culture of life -- while Democrats are spending most of their time whining about the "hypocrisy" of their opponents. I would respect the Democrats more if they had the courage to argue that Terri should die. That is their position.
Posted at 09:30 PM
SENATE INFO [K. J. Lopez]
This is what I heard from a plugged-in Senate source: "You know who's been great on this? Kent Conrad. [He's a] Democrat from a red state who's in cycle [that is, up for re-election next year], and he's been awesome. Harkin's staff has been engaged too. Bill Nelson's name is being tossed around, but he's been less helpful."
Posted at 08:54 PM
BORDER BOLDNESS [Mark Krikorian]
The White House may not care, but at least Sen. Jon Kyl is defending America's sovereignty against Mexico: "President Fox does not appear to grasp the high level of frustration over illegal immigration in states like Arizona, and his pre-emptive threats to file lawsuits on behalf of those crossing the border unlawfully is hardly helpful, since it presumes that illegal aliens have more of a right to break American law than American citizens have to peacefully assist authorities in enforcing it."
Posted at 06:51 PM
"DEMOCRATS HAVE COST MRS. SCHIAVO TWO MEALS TODAY" [K. J. Lopez]
I could have done without that, especially in light of that awful memo reportedly out there someone wrote....
Posted at 05:23 PM
MORE DELAY RE: "PALM SUNDAY COMPROMISE" RE: SCHIAVO, IN PRESS CONFERENCE, RIGHT NOW [K. J. Lopez]
“The legal issues are complicated, but the moral ones are not.”
Posted at 05:20 PM
CANNABLOGGING [Andrew Stuttaford]
Sitting here in Amsterdam 'observing' the goings on in one of the city's, um, 'coffee' shops. Very low-key (I'd use the word 'respectable', but I'm not sure that it would be entirely appropriate)..
Not a den of vice, which is a disappointment. No hippies, which is not.
Posted at 05:19 PM
VISITORS [K. J. Lopez ]
Tom DeLay just repeated something I had previously heard but not well-sourced: That Michael Schiavo is now refusing to allow visitors (his parents and siblings) to Terri Schiavo.[CNN says on air (Bob Franken) that this did go on today for a few hours.]
Posted at 05:17 PM
TOM DELAY, LIKEWISE [K. J. Lopez ]
Just said in a press conference: “We hope to resolve this in time for her to get some food and water tonight.”
Posted at 05:15 PM
A SCHIAVO LAWYER [K. J. Lopez]
A bit ago, spoke in a press conference (caught on CNN) earlier, very optimistic about court speed in the middle of the night, hoping that food will get back to Terri Schiavo early Monday morning.
Posted at 05:14 PM
THE SENATE HAS NOW PASSED [K. J. Lopez]
The Senate has just passed "Terri's Law"...House debate is going to start around 9, I'm told.
Posted at 05:07 PM
“SCHIAVO CASE TODAY MAKES ME LOVE DEMOCRACY” [K. J. Lopez ]
I thought this was an interesting comment Judy Klinghoffer made in an e-mail today:
No, I am not a right to lifer. I am a pro choice absolutist. Moreover, my daughter is so sick of hearing me tell her I do not want any extraordinary measures to prolong my life that she promised to throw me down the stairs if things go wrong.http://hnn.us/blogs/3.html?id=1366
Posted at 04:33 PM
SCHIAVO: MYTH VS. REALITY [K. J. Lopez]
A very quick useful link.
Posted at 04:24 PM
RE: ATTENDANCE [K. J. Lopez]
The bad rain in the northeast today is not helping House members get back to D.C. before midnight....
Posted at 04:21 PM
RE: MIDNIGHT [K. J. Lopez ]
In case you’re wondering about all this night stuff, here’s my understanding of it all from a few conversations with House folks today: Legislation can be placed on the “suspension calendar” as of Monday (can’t on Sunday). Leaders would prefer a voice vote for passing the Schiavo bill, but as we know, that’s not going to happen, members who object to the bill are either going to call for a quorum and (or) request a roll-call vote. Attendance is key: The bill on the suspension calendar can only pass if it has 2/3 of those voting and present voting yea. (If the roll-call vote is requested, as Barney Frank promised earlier it would be, at least 218 members need to be present and voting. 146 must vote year.) Sources tell me that the Senate is prepared to pass the House bill this time by unanimous consent. That gels with vibes Carl Levin was giving off on CNN earlier.)
Posted at 04:12 PM
I'M STILL TRYING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
to sort through the issues and get up to speed. But you don't need to be fully up to speed to see some flaws in the Mike Allen/Manuel Roig-Franzia front-pager in this morning's Washington Post. Here's graph 3: "The extraordinary intervention by Washington for a single person, in a wrenching question that families typically wrestle with in private, required a Saturday session of the Senate during Easter recess and will bring both chambers back to the Capitol on Palm Sunday." Hmm. . . wonder which side our reporters are on? Graph 6: "The legislation, which congressional leaders said they plan to pass today or tomorrow, would prolong a medical and legal drama that has pitted the incapacitated Florida woman's husband against her parents." Just getting this woman dead already would certainly be quicker.
The story also mentions the Senate Republican memo on the political upside of this fight. Whoever wrote it should be canned.
Posted at 03:41 PM
NOT SO FAST MICKEY [Jonah Goldberg ]
But I will concede to the core of Mickey's basic objection -- Clinton did have an independent desire to reform welfare. I think that is a fair point and I may have been too broad in invoking political opportunism as Clinton's sole motive on the issue. However, I think Mickey -- who knows a lot more about welfare than I do (though I spent a lot of time on the subject at AEI) -- would be disingenuous to suggest that political calculation hadn't played an enormous role in the form welfare reform took. If I remember correctly, Clinton vetoed two less dramatic reforms in the hope of passing his own more generous proposals which included increased spending and a new jobs program. He was pulled dramatically to the right by the Republican Congress (and by RNC ads which zinged him on his commitment to welfare reform going into the presidential election) and he ended up signing a bill he surely would have vetoed in, say, 1994.
Regardless, whether Mickey's objection is 100% correct or not doesn't detract from the larger point of my column -- that liberals had no monopoly on "empiricism" in those days, or now.
Posted at 02:57 PM
MIDNIGHT [K. J. Lopez]
They'll be a recorded vote starting sometime early Monday morning, right after midnight... A big question seems to still be how many members will be there for it...and how many among them will support the bill.
Posted at 02:50 PM
THE INSENSITIVITY AWARD FOR 2005 GOES TO … [Cliff May]
In Canada, Dr. Howard Dean calls Republicans “brain dead.”
Posted at 02:09 PM
BECAUSE OF CONGRESSIONAL ACTION ON TERRI SCHIAVO [K. J. Lopez ]
“There is no bedroom safe in America….” [David Wu of Oregon] just said at this objectors’ presser.
Posted at 01:51 PM
RE: COOL [K. J. Lopez]
That piece was a bit shocking to read in the Washington Post. I'm so glad, not just for our friend Mark, but for all of us, that his important book on the important issue of judges is being read far and wide.
Posted at 01:44 PM
POSSIBLY THE MOST POSITIVE THING I’VE HEARD FOR DAYS [K. J. Lopez ]
Jim Moran (D., Va.) just said he’s expecting the objectors to lose this debate. (I'm still not so sure they don't in the end--beyond Congress. But as I've said, I'm delighted to be proven wrong.)
Posted at 01:43 PM
COOL [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Congrats to Mark Levin.
Posted at 01:41 PM
IF YOU'RE SICK OF READING "GENTLE DEATH" OF TERRI SCHIAVO STORIES [K. J. Lopez]
like this one in the NYTimes, read Andy McCarthy's new prosecute the torturers piece, just up, here.
Posted at 01:40 PM
MORE JIM DAVIS [K. J. Lopez]
"Congress is about to overthrow the separation of powers." Wonder how long this newfound appreciation for the separation of powers will last on the Left.
Posted at 01:38 PM
JIM DAVIS (D.) OF TAMPA BAY, FLA., AT A PRESS CONFERENCE RIGHT NOW: [K. J. Lopez]
"What Congress is about to commit is another tragedy."
Posted at 01:37 PM
OR MAYBE NOT... [K. J. Lopez ]
Hastert just kept the House in recess...no chance for Dems to make their 1:00 objections...(there's a press conference upcoming instead of a floor objection in a few...)
Posted at 01:05 PM
THREE FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN WILL OBJECT TODAY… [K. J. Lopez ]
According to Fox: Wexler, Davis, Wasserman-Schulz
Posted at 01:01 PM
FROM THE ASSISTED-SUICIDE STATE [ K. J. Lopez]
According to AP: [O]ne Oregon congressman is doing all he can to stop the [Schiavo] bill."...
Posted at 12:54 PM
YEAH GREAT STUFF [ K. J. Lopez ]
I haven't seen the whole thing and don't know who it came from, but this kinda memo is inappropriate and unhelpful.
Posted at 12:51 PM
MO & MIKE [Cliff May]
Michael Kinsley writes this morning that Maureen Dowd is “the most influential columnist of our time.”
And of course, there are world leaders who routinely have translations of Dowd’s columns waiting on their desks in the morning. Which world leaders? Ask John Kerry. He talks to them all the time.
The Kinsley column is here.
While I have your attention, my Scripps column on the appointment of Karen Hughes and Dina Powell to the top communications jobs in State – “Fighting the War of Ideas – Not a job for sissies” is here.
Posted at 12:35 PM
"I WILL BREAK LEBANON" [Rich Lowry ]
Excellent New York Times piece on the background to the Hariri assassination. Here is an account of Hariri reporting to fellow Lebanonese politicians after a meeting with Assad in Damascus last August:
After a few moments, he leaned forward and described how the Syrian leader had threatened him, curtly ordering him to amend Lebanon's Constitution to give President Émile Lahoud, the man Syria used to block Mr. Hariri's every move, another three years in office.
In October there was this warning shot:
As Marwan Hamade, the former minister of economy and trade and a Hariri ally, drove away from his seaside apartment building on Oct. 1, a roadside bomb flung his Mercedes into the air. He clambered from the flaming wreckage and collapsed to the ground at the very moment the car's fuel tank exploded, sending shrapnel flying in all directions. Mr. Hamade managed to survive with head injuries, severe burns and a broken leg.
Meanwhile, Lahoud was in his speedos:
Among Lebanese, Mr. Lahoud, 68, has a reputation for lounging through most afternoons in his Speedos by the pool at the Yarze country club, reading Paris-Match magazine and holding a tanning mirror. News accounts that he was swimming during Mr. Hariri's funeral reached such a crescendo that he felt compelled to deny them. "I swim every day - it's my workout - but on that specific day, I did not swim," he told a gathering of the Journalists' Union Council.
Posted at 11:23 AM
HERE, HERE! [Rich Lowry ]
Tom Friedman nominates Sistani for a Nobel Peace Prize...
Posted at 10:47 AM