Wednesday, December 21, 2005

quote for the day

"It is part of the pathology of U.S. power today that the evident need for a constitutional check on the world's most powerful state - a constraint the United States would welcome if it were true to its political heritage - is now seen to stem from spiteful anti-Americanism."

-from Robert W. Tucker and David C. Hendrickson, "The Sources of American Legitimacy", Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004

i'm probably on somebody's list other than Santa's now...

saw this wonderful editorial in my hometown newspaper today. it's quite amazing that this editorial-page editor survives in a redder-than-red hick town like mine, actually; "ballsy" is definitely the appropriate descriptor for Mr. Borden.

but i thought his words deserved support, hence the following letter in response.

To the Editor:

I applaud Robert Borden's thoughtful and courageous editorial ("It's amazing what we will overlook", December 21). The very fact that this country is now engaged in a bitter political and legal dispute over the Bush Administration's cavalier, frightening approach to intelligence gathering is a heartening sign. In fact, it gives me hope that, despite this administration's attempts to deprive the United States of America of its greatness and its exceptional role in the evolution of human freedom, such a loss has yet to occur.

Only the people of a free nation, one dedicated to liberty and equality and the maximizing of every one of its citizens' individual potential, would object to Bush's actions. Despotisms, by their very nature, adopt any means to justify their desired ends. Functioning democracies, on the other hand, correctly reject such behavior by their leaders. Responsible people in this democracy, precisely because it is now endangered, are finally fighting back against that craven, fear-driven mentality.

One of the fundamental aims of terrorism, as scholarly observers have known for decades, is to provoke targeted governments into extreme and repressive responses that, in turn, alienate the targets' citizens and allies. By that measure, the September 11 attackers have – so far – tragically succeeded. But we, as freedom-loving Americans, still possess the power to deny them final victory. That – not embracing intrusive, clandestine measures that potentially threaten our privacy and our freedom – is what the real "war on terror" is all about. Contrary to Bush's fear-mongering and opportunistic assertions, it is his domestic opponents—not his supporters—who are now patriotically waging that war on behalf of all Americans.

"The Constitution is not a suicide pact." That phrase, frequently on right-wingers' lips these days, has a certain resonance. But it falls short of another time-honored American motto: "Live free or die."


i know Borden's going to get hammered by the local Bush-worshipping goobers; we'll see if my little contribution stimulates any additional conversation. ;-)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

funny, all this time i thought Wells lived a long time ago...

But in these plethoric times when there is too much coarse stuff for everybody and the struggle for life takes the form of competitive advertisement and the effort to fill your neighbor's eye, there is no urgent demand either for personal courage, sound nerves or stark beauty, we find ourselves by accident. Always before these time the bulk of the people did not overeat themselves, because they couldn't, whether they wanted to or not, and all but a very few were kept "fit" by unavoidable exercise and personal danger. Now, if only he pitch his standard low enough and keep free from pride, almost anyone can achieve a sort of excess. You can go through contemporary life fudging and evading, indulging and slacking, never really hungry nor frightened nor passionately stirred, your highest moment a mere sentimental orgasm, and your first real contact with primary and elemental necessities the sweat of your deathbed.

- H. G. Wells

Friday, August 05, 2005

eloquence, defined

beautiful writing about that which is inexpressibly, and inescapably, ugly.

too bad that--as usual--those who most need to read it are the ones least likely to do so. that reality is, in fact, precisely what enables the bloodthirsty mountebank about whom Doctorow writes here.

An Essay by E.L. Doctorow

Edgar Lawrence Doctorow occupies a central position in the history of American literature. He is generally considered to be among the most talented, ambitious, and admired novelists of the second half of the twentieth century. Doctorow has received the National Book Award, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howell Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the residentially conferred National Humanities Medal.

Doctorow was born in New York City on January 6, 1931. After graduating with honors from Kenyon College in 1952, he did graduate work at Columbia University and served in the U.S. Army. Doctorow was senior editor for New American Library from 1959 to 1964 and then served as editor in chief at Dial Press until 1969. Since then, he has devoted his time to writing and teaching. He holds the Glucksman Chair in American Letters at New York University and over the years has taught at several institutions, including Yale University Drama School, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the University of California, Irvine.

=================================================

I fault this president (George W. Bush) for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty-one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.

On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear. But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it!

You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life…'' They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission – accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that rather than controlling terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it.

So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options, but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

This president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing — to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children.

He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead; he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty; he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance; he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills — it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneously aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over the world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

E.L. Doctorow

Monday, June 20, 2005

read this, and remember...

...remember when our leaders sounded like this a lot more often. it may be hard to remember something that distant in the past, of course.

i have to agree with
The New Republic: this is the best case i've seen made for liberalism in quite some time. it's made without excessive sentimentality or divisive polemic (of the type which, i must admit, i myself indulge in entirely too much of the time) or typical woolly-headed utopian rhetoric. it's as practical as a box of carpentry nails.

and the best thing about it is that Obama's not just asking us to remember the past - he's challenging us to forge a future, TOGETHER.

i may be biased, but i think this message leaves Shrub's myopic 'ownership society' hogwash in the dust. though TNR may also be right in their contention that the same thing might have to be said over and over and over to get through all the doctrinaire static in the air right now.

see if you agree.


Commencement Address by Senator Barack Obama
Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois
June 4, 2005

Good morning President Taylor, Board of Trustees, faculty, parents, family, friends, the community of Galesburg, the class of 1955—which I understand was out partying last night, and yet still showed up here on time—and most of all, the Class of 2005. Congratulations on your graduation, and thank you for the honor of allowing me to be a part of it. Thank you also, Mr. President, for this honorary degree. It was only a couple of years ago that I stopped paying my student loans in law school. Had I known it was this easy, I would have run for the United States Senate earlier.

You know, it has been about six months now since you sent me to Washington as your United States Senator. I recognize that not all of you voted for me, so for those of you muttering under your breath "I didn't send you anywhere," that's ok too. Maybe we'll hold—what do you call it—a little Pumphandle after the ceremony. Change your mind for next time.

It has been a fascinating journey thus far. Each time I walk onto the Senate floor, I'm reminded of the history, for good and for ill, that has been made there. But there have been a few surreal moments. For example, I remember the day before I was sworn in, myself and my staff, we decided to hold a press conference in our office. Now, keep in mind that I am ranked 99th in seniority. I was proud that I wasn't ranked dead last until I found out that it's just because Illinois is bigger than Colorado. So I'm 99th in seniority, and all the reporters are crammed into the tiny transition office that I have, which is right next to the janitor's closet in the basement of the Dirksen Office Building. It's my first day in the building, I have not taken a single vote, I have not introduced one bill, had not even sat down in my desk, and this very earnest reporter raises his hand and says:

"Senator Obama, what is your place in history?"

I did what you just did, which is laugh out loud. I said, place in history? I thought he was kidding! At that point, I wasn't even sure the other Senators would save a place for me at the cool kids' table.

But as I was thinking about the words to share with this class, about what's next, about what's possible, and what opportunities lay ahead, I actually think it's not a bad question for you, the class of 2005, to ask yourselves:

"What will be your place in history?"

In other eras, across distant lands, this question could be answered with relative ease and certainty. As a servant in Rome, you knew you'd spend your life forced to build somebody else's Empire. As a peasant in 11th Century China, you knew that no matter how hard you worked, the local warlord might come and take everything you had—and you also knew that famine might come knocking at the door. As a subject of King George, you knew that your freedom of worship and your freedom to speak and to build your own life would be ultimately limited by the throne.

And then America happened.

A place where destiny was not a destination, but a journey to be shared and shaped and remade by people who had the gall, the temerity to believe that, against all odds, they could form "a more perfect union" on this new frontier.

And as people around the world began to hear the tale of the lowly colonists who overthrew an empire for the sake of an idea, they started to come. Across oceans and the ages, they settled in Boston and Charleston, Chicago and St. Louis, Kalamazoo and Galesburg, to try and build their own American Dream. This collective dream moved forward imperfectly—it was scarred by our treatment of native peoples, betrayed by slavery, clouded by the subjugation of women, shaken by war and depression. And yet, brick by brick, rail by rail, calloused hand by calloused hand, people kept dreaming, and building, and working, and marching, and petitioning their government, until they made America a land where the question of our place in history is not answered for us. It's answered by us.

Have we failed at times? Absolutely. Will you occasionally fail when you embark on your own American journey? You surely will. But the test is not perfection.

The true test of the American ideal is whether we're able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them. Whether chance of birth or circumstance decides life's big winners and losers, or whether we build a community where, at the very least, everyone has a chance to work hard, get ahead, and reach their dreams.

We have faced this choice before.

At the end of the Civil War, when farmers and their families began moving into the cities to work in the big factories that were sprouting up all across America, we had to decide: Do we do nothing and allow captains of industry and robber barons to run roughshod over the economy and workers by competing to see who can pay the lowest wages at the worst working conditions? Or do we try to make the system work by setting up basic rules for the market, instituting the first public schools, busting up monopolies, letting workers organize into unions?

We chose to act, and we rose together.

When the irrational exuberance of the Roaring Twenties came crashing down with the stock market, we had to decide: do we follow the call of leaders who would do nothing, or the call of a leader who, perhaps because of his physical paralysis, refused to accept political paralysis?

We chose to act—regulating the market, putting people back to work, expanding bargaining rights to include health care and a secure retirement–and together we rose.

When World War II required the most massive homefront mobilization in history and we needed every single American to lend a hand, we had to decide: Do we listen to skeptics who told us it wasn't possible to produce that many tanks and planes? Or, did we build Roosevelt's Arsenal for Democracy and grow our economy even further by providing our returning heroes with a chance to go to college and own their own home?

Again, we chose to act, and again, we rose together.

Today, at the beginning of this young century, we have to decide again. But this time, it is your turn to choose.

Here in Galesburg, you know what this new challenge is. You've seen it.

All of you, in your first year in college, saw what happened at 9/11. It's already been noted, the degree to which your lives will be intertwined with the war on terrorism that currently is taking place. But what you've also seen, perhaps not as spectacularly, is the fact that when you drive by the old Maytag plant around lunchtime, no one walks out anymore. I saw it during the campaign when I met union guys who worked at the plant for 20, 30 years and now wonder what they're gonna do at the age of 55 without a pension or health care; when I met the man who's son needed a new liver but because he'd been laid off, didn't know if he could afford to provide his child the care that he needed.

It's as if someone changed the rules in the middle of the game and no one bothered to tell these folks. And, in reality, the rules have changed.

It started with technology and automation that rendered entire occupations obsolete—when was the last time anybody here stood in line for the bank teller instead of going to the ATM, or talked to a switchboard operator? Then it continued when companies like Maytag were able to pick up and move their factories to some under developed country where workers were a lot cheaper than they are in the United States.

As Tom Friedman points out in his new book, The World Is Flat, over the last decade or so these forces—technology and globalization—have combined like never before. So that while most of us have been paying attention to how much easier technology has made our own lives—sending e-mails back and forth on our blackberries, surfing the Web on our cell phones, instant messaging with friends across the world—a quiet revolution has been breaking down barriers and connecting the world's economies. Now business not only has the ability to move jobs wherever there's a factory, but wherever there's an internet connection.

Countries like India and China realized this. They understand that they no longer need to be just a source of cheap labor or cheap exports. They can compete with us on a global scale. The one resource they needed were skilled, educated workers. So they started schooling their kids earlier, longer, with a greater emphasis on math and science and technology, until their most talented students realized they don't have to come to America to have a decent life—they can stay right where they are.

The result? China is graduating four times the number of engineers that the United States is graduating. Not only are those Maytag employees competing with Chinese and Indian and Indonesian and Mexican workers, you are too. Today, accounting firms are e-mailing your tax returns to workers in India who will figure them out and send them back to you as fast as any worker in Illinois or Indiana could.

When you lose your luggage in Boston at an airport, tracking it down may involve a call to an agent in Bangalore, who will find it by making a phone call to Baltimore. Even the Associated Press has outsourced some of their jobs to writers all over the world who can send in a story at a click of a mouse.

As Prime Minister Tony Blair has said, in this new economy, "Talent is the 21st century wealth." If you've got the skills, you've got the education, and you have the opportunity to upgrade and improve both, you'll be able to compete and win anywhere. If not, the fall will be further and harder than it ever was before.

So what do we do about this? How does America find its way in this new, global economy? What will our place in history be?

Like so much of the American story, once again, we face a choice. Once again, there are those who believe that there isn't much we can do about this as a nation. That the best idea is to give everyone one big refund on their government—divvy it up by individual portions, in the form of tax breaks, hand it out, and encourage everyone to use their share to go buy their own health care, their own retirement plan, their own child care, their own education, and so on.

In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society. But in our past there has been another term for it—Social Darwinism—every man or woman for him or herself. It's a tempting idea, because it doesn't require much thought or ingenuity. It allows us to say that those whose health care or tuition may rise faster than they can afford—tough luck. It allows us to say to the Maytag workers who have lost their job—life isn't fair. It let's us say to the child who was born into poverty—pull yourself up by your bootstraps. And it is especially tempting because each of us believes we will always be the winner in life's lottery, that we're the one who will be the next Donald Trump, or at least we won't be the chump who Donald Trump tells: "You're fired!"

But there is a problem. It won't work. It ignores our history. It ignores the fact that it's been government research and investment that made the railways possible and the internet possible. It's been the creation of a massive middle class, through decent wages and benefits and public schools that allowed us all to prosper. Our economic dependence depended on individual initiative. It depended on a belief in the free market; but it has also depended on our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we're all in it together and everybody's got a shot at opportunity. That's what's produced our unrivaled political stability.

And so if we do nothing in the face of globalization, more people will continue to lose their health care. Fewer kids will be able to afford the diploma you're about to receive.

More companies like United Airlines won't be able to provide pensions for their employees. And those Maytag workers will be joined in the unemployment line by any worker whose skills can be bought and sold on the global market.

So today I'm here to tell you what most of you already know. This is not us—the option that I just mentioned. Doing nothing. It's not how our story ends—not in this country. America is a land of big dreamers and big hopes.

It is this hope that has sustained us through revolution and civil war, depression and world war, a struggle for civil and social rights and the brink of nuclear crisis. And it is because our dreamers dreamed that we have emerged from each challenge more united, more prosperous, and more admired than before.

So let's dream. Instead of doing nothing or simply defending 20th century solutions, let's imagine together what we could do to give every American a fighting chance in the 21st century.

What if we prepared every child in America with the education and skills they need to compete in the new economy? If we made sure that college was affordable for everyone who wanted to go? If we walked up to those Maytag workers and we said "Your old job is not coming back, but a new job will be there because we're going to seriously retrain you and there's life-long education that's waiting for you"—the sorts of opportunities that Knox has created with the Strong Futures scholarship program.

What if no matter where you worked or how many times you switched jobs, you had health care and a pension that stayed with you always, so you all had the flexibility to move to a better job or start a new business? What if instead of cutting budgets for research and development and science, we fueled the genius and the innovation that will lead to the new jobs and new industries of the future?

Right now, all across America, there are amazing discoveries being made. If we supported these discoveries on a national level, if we committed ourselves to investing in these possibilities, just imagine what it could do for a town like Galesburg. Ten or twenty years down the road, that old Maytag plant could re-open its doors as an Ethanol refinery that turned corn into fuel. Down the street, a biotechnology research lab could open up on the cusp of discovering a cure for cancer. And across the way, a new auto company could be busy churning out electric cars. The new jobs created would be filled by American workers trained with new skills and a world-class education.

All of that is possible, but none of it will come easy. Every one of us is going to have to work more, read more, train more, think more. We will have to slough off some bad habits—like driving gas guzzlers that weaken our economy and feed our enemies abroad. Our children will have to turn off the TV set once in a while and put away the video games and start hitting the books. We'll have to reform institutions, like our public schools, that were designed for an earlier time. Republicans will have to recognize our collective responsibilities, even as Democrats recognize that we have to do more than just defend old programs.

It won't be easy, but it can be done. It can be our future. We have the talent and the resources and brainpower. But now we need the political will. We need a national commitment.

And we need each of you.

Now, no one can force you to meet these challenges. If you want, it will be pretty easy for you to leave here today and not give another thought to towns like Galesburg and the challenges they face. There is no community service requirement in the real world; no one is forcing you to care. You can take your diploma, walk off this stage, and go chasing after the big house, and the nice suits, and all the other things that our money culture says that you should want, that you should aspire to, that you can buy.

But I hope you don't walk away from the challenge. Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. You need to take up the challenges that we face as a nation and make them your own. Not because you have a debt to those who helped you get here, although you do have that debt. Not because you have an obligation to those who are less fortunate than you, although I do think you do have that obligation. It's primarily because you have an obligation to yourself. Because individual salvation has always depended on collective salvation. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.

And I know that all of you are wondering how you'll do this, the challenges seem so big. They seem so difficult for one person to make a difference.

But we know it can be done. Because where you're sitting, in this very place, in this town, it's happened before.

Nearly two centuries ago, before civil rights, before voting rights, before Abraham Lincoln, before the Civil War, before all of that, America was stained by the sin of slavery. In the sweltering heat of southern plantations, men and women who looked like me could not escape the life of pain and servitude in which they were sold. And yet, year after year, as this moral cancer ate away at the American ideals of liberty and equality, the nation was silent.

But its people didn't stay silent for long.

One by one, abolitionists emerged to tell their fellow Americans that this would not be our place in history—that this was not the America that had captured the imagination of the world.

This resistance that they met was fierce, and some paid with their lives. But they would not be deterred, and they soon spread out across the country to fight for their cause. One man from New York went west, all the way to the prairies of Illinois to start a colony.

And here in Galesburg, freedom found a home.

Here in Galesburg, the main depot for the Underground Railroad in Illinois, escaped slaves could roam freely on the streets and take shelter in people's homes. And when their masters or the police would come for them, the people of this town would help them escape north, some literally carrying them in their arms to freedom.

Think about the risks that involved. If they were caught abetting a fugitive, you could've been jailed or lynched. It would have been simple for these townspeople to turn the other way; to go live their lives in a private peace.

And yet, they didn't do that. Why?

Because they knew that we were all Americans; that we were all brothers and sisters; the same reason that a century later, young men and women your age would take Freedom Rides down south, to work for the Civil Rights movement. The same reason that black women would walk instead of ride a bus after a long day of doing somebody else's laundry and cleaning somebody else's kitchen. Because they were marching for freedom.

Today, on this day of possibility, we stand in the shadow of a lanky, raw-boned man with little formal education who once took the stage at Old Main and told the nation that if anyone did not believe the American principles of freedom and equality, that those principles were timeless and all-inclusive, they should go rip that page out of the Declaration of Independence.

My hope for all of you is that as you leave here today, you decide to keep these principles alive in your own life and in the life of this country. You will be tested. You won't always succeed. But know that you have it within your power to try. That generations who have come before you faced these same fears and uncertainties in their own time. And that through our collective labor, and through God's providence, and our willingness to shoulder each other's burdens, America will continue on its precious journey towards that distant horizon, and a better day.

Thank you so much class of 2005, and congratulations on your graduation. Thank you.

Friday, April 15, 2005

i'm likin' it



just go there. oh, and here too.

Friday, April 01, 2005

DIY legal help

i think the following should DEFINITELY be put out there in PDF form as yet another helpful option for 'do-it-yourself' legal action in This Day And Age.

Living Will is the Best Revenge
By ROBERT FRIEDMAN
Published March 27, 2005

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:

* In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

* I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.

* I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

* I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.

* I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

* I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

* I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

* I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

* I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

* I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.

* Even if the "Bobby's Law" idea doesn't work out, I want Congress - especially all those self-described conservatives who claim to believe in "less government and more freedom" - to trample on the decisions of doctors, judges and other experts who actually know something about my case.

And I want members of Congress to launch into an extended debate that gives them another excuse to avoid pesky issues such as national security and the economy.

* In particular, I want House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to use my case as an opportunity to divert the country's attention from the mounting political and legal troubles stemming from his slimy misbehavior.

* And I want Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to make a mockery of his Harvard medical degree by misrepresenting the details of my case in ways that might give a boost to his 2008 presidential campaign.

* I want Frist and the rest of the world to judge my medical condition on the basis of a snippet of dated and demeaning videotape that should have remained private.

* Because I think I would retain my sense of humor even in a persistent vegetative state, I'd want President Bush - the same guy who publicly mocked Karla Faye Tucker when signing off on her death warrant as governor of Texas - to claim he was intervening in my case because it is "always best to err on the side of life."

* I want the state Department of Children and Families to step in at the last moment to take responsibility for my well-being, because nothing bad could ever happen to anyone under DCF's care.

* And because Gov. Jeb Bush is the smartest and most righteous human being on the face of the Earth, I want any and all of the aforementioned directives to be disregarded if the governor happens to disagree with them. If he says he knows what's best for me, I won't be in any position to argue.



Robert Friedman is editor of Perspective. He can be reached at friedman@sptimes.com

Thursday, March 24, 2005

nope--STILL a "government of laws, not of men"

"CNN Breaking News -- U.S. Supreme Court refuses to intervene in Terri Schiavo case. Lower court decision to remove feeding tube stands."

looks like poor Ms. Schiavo is going to be moving on to the next part of her adventure at last... in which i wish her well, of course.

the amazing thing is that the Right is already starting the next phase of spin here. they're now hammering on about how "the liberals" have hijacked the judiciary in this country, so it's That Much More Important now to scrap the Senate filibuster rules so they can get some "decent" judges in there.

of course--in addition to continuing their efforts to milk the tragedy of a dying woman for political gain--these twits are conveniently ignoring the FACT that, of the now 22 judges who have at some point ruled in the present case, the majority of them are Republican appointees--either Dubya's, his dad's or Reagan's (or the Republican administration in Florida, in the case of the state judges). but hey, why let the truth get in the way of a good morality fable, right?

(and isn't it amazing, btw, how we nefarious out-of-power liberals can continue to control things? how do we do it? mirrors?)

fucking hypocrites, charlatans, pusbags. i wish there was a sudden "epidemic" of acute coronary infarctions in Washington--so Shrub, DeLay, Frist, Hastert and the rest of 'em could go off and be with Sonny Jesus (which--to hear them talk--should please them, after all). "ditto" with shitheel radio schlock jocks Limbaugh, Hannity, Liddy, Dr. Laura et al. one "rapture" for all of you--coming right up!!!

and then we hellbound humanist commie faggot/dyke terrorist liberals could have some peace and quiet around here for a change.