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Concord Coalition: 14.4 Trillion Dollar Deficit

Friday, August 28, AD 2009

14.4 trillion

In this earlier post I reported that the Obama administration is predicting a 9 trillion dollar deficit over the next ten years.  Now, the non-partisan Concord Coalition is predicting here a 14. 4 trillion dollar deficit over the next 10 years.

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Ted Kennedy and the "A Word"

Thursday, August 27, AD 2009

Ted Kennedy Abortion Letter

 

Hattip to the ever alert Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia.   Michael Sean Winters at the Jesuit publication America launched a diatribe at Patrick Madrid for his response to Sister Maureen Fiedler’s lament on the death of Senator Kennedy at National Catholic Reporter, He Made Me Proud to Be Catholic, in which Madrid pointed out the obvious:  Kennedy was a total pro-abort.  Poor Mr. Winters!  He didn’t realize he was about to enter the fisk machine of Father Z!  You may read the results here.  Here is Madrid’s response.  Note to liberal Catholics:  if you are going to lionize a person like Kennedy, who was ever deaf to the cries of the unborn since his switch on the issue, see above letter,  back in the early seventies, there are plenty of other Catholics who are going to point out this very unpleasant fact.

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47 Responses to Ted Kennedy and the "A Word"

  • Mr. McClarey:

    Did not Christ teach us not to judge???

    For shame!

    Who are you to do thus, especially when Christ taught us, his very followers, that we are not to judge our fellow man!

    Besides, who gives a squat about the screams of millions of babies being severed within their own mother’s wombs — good riddance to the innocent; they deserve to be heinously murdered.

    Kennedy was nothing more than a misunderstood wreck who was actually a good man.

    The killing of millions of children he was actually responsible for is merely a small blemish that we shouldn’t even consider.

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  • E forgets that verse of Scripture which says, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

    Kennedy openly and publicly opposed Church teaching on every non-negotionable issue.

    What is even sadder is that the people of Massachusetts preferred a raging active alcoholic who killed Mary Jo Kopechne represent them in the Senate than a sober person who actually valued human life.

    As Thomas Jefferson said, “The people deserve the government they get.”

    It’s 1st Samuel chapter 8 all over again. It’s not God’s Prophet we reject, but God Himself.

    And that my friends is the hallmark of the putrid sickening disease known as liberal-ISM: I, Self and Me.

    There’s more here:

    What’s Wrong with Liberal Catholics
    http://commentarius-ioannis.blogspot.com/2009/08/whats-wrong-with-liberal-catholics.html

  • From the link in the last comment: “yes, if the Russians had ever attacked the U.S. and I got ordered “to push the button” (extremely unlikely since I was a reactor operator, not a torpedo man), then I would have pushed the button without a second thought”.

    There you have it — a man who professes proudly that he would commit an intrinsically evil act, all the while lambasting his fellow Catholics for not doing enough to fight another intrinsically evil act. This cognitive dissonance sums up exactly what is wrong with the noisy form of American Catholicism that seems to be over-represented in the blogosphere.

    And by the way, Donald, you are a “liberal Catholic” yourself. Your radical individualism on everything from the economy to gun ownership gives you away as a pure child of the Enlightenment, especially in its Scottish form. Embrace it!

  • I’m trying to think if MM is aware that he’s just made several arguments that all boil down to, “Oh yeah, well you’re just as bad as me, so nya!” and if so, if he thinks this is actually a good argument, even if true — which in the case of his aspersions against Donald it clearly isn’t. (Which is not to presume guilt against Paul, I just haven’t looked into MM’s claim.)

    Honestly, Winters and Minion are clearly in an untenable position in regards to Kennedy. On the one hand, they desperately want to lionize him as a great Catholic legislator of a certain era — on the other Sen. Kennedy himself, while he was eager to stand up for those elements of Church teaching which he considered to be conveniently aligned with the agenda of the party he was already a member of, never chose to buck the liberal consensus on a single major Church moral issue to which his party was opposed: abortion, euthanasia, cloning, gay marriage, etc.

    I think it’s appropriate not to make a big deal of this right now, as Kennedy’s family and friends are in mourning (and contrary to the example which, as I recall, MM himself set in viciously attacking William F. Buckley on the day he died) but that doesn’t mean it’s time to whiten the sepulcher.

  • Yes, if I recall correctly, on the day of his death, Mr. Buckley – who by any objective measure was arguably the equal in stature on the American right as Sen. Kennedy was on the American left – was deemed to be “not a great man” and “just another cafeteria Catholic who simply refused to put the Church ahead of his secular ideological leanings”.

    And what, praytell, was the reason Mr. Buckley was dressed down, while his body was still warm, as not great and insufficiently Catholic? Because he allegedly coined a phrase that he never actually coined (“Mater si, magister no”) as a cover story that was never actually a cover story, and was a proponent of free markets. For that, on the day of his death, Mr. Buckley was held up as an example of a “cafeteria Catholic” unworthy of being honored.

    Meanwhile, we are told that we are “boors” if we don’t gloss over Sen. Kennedy’s despicable record as one of the most vocal advocates for unrestricted abortion on Capitol Hill, who used his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose any effort at resticting abortion via legislative means (yes, even the PBA ban) and to oppose (even resorting to slander and innuendo) any federal judge who might even think about overturning Roe v. Wade. And that’s not even covering his record on issues such as ESCR, same-sex “marriage”, etc.

    No, we simply MUST NOT consider Sen. Kennedy to be, like Mr. Buckley, “just another cafeteria Catholic who simply refused to put the Church ahead of his secular ideological leanings”; rather, we are to agree with Sr. Fiedler that Sen. Kennedy was the very model of a modern Catholic in the public square (despite the clear problems Sen. Kennedy’s stance on abortion – a lead that was soon followed by a great many other Catholic politicans – has caused the Bishops), lest we be deemed “callous”, “inhumane”, and “indecent” by some blogger at America with his own partisan axe to grind.

  • I am grateful that Sen. Kennedy wrote this letter, and I hope it will be a good witness for him at the Judgment despite his fall. RIP.

    e. writes: “The killing of millions of children he was actually responsible for is merely a small blemish that we shouldn’t even consider.”

    Given Kennedy’s philandering, he was likely personally responsible for several dozen abortions. We should remember that many vocally pro-choice men and women have procured abortions themselves.

    We should remember this both out of compassion for their consciences and out of interest in evaluating the political and moral debate.

    On a different note, to repeat a comment I’ve posted at Mark Shea’s:

    I recently talked to a pro-life Democratic veteran of my city’s politics. He told me how much his political career has been hamstrung because he won’t go over to the pro-choice side.

    The conversation made me realize that Democrats who became pro-choice did not simply undergo a change of opinion. They became part of the political network which would otherwise suppress them. And they then aided in the suppression of their former comrades.

    Who was the last Massachusetts pro-life Democrat Sen. Kennedy threw his weight behind? Since his change of view, when has he supported a pro-life Democrat in a primary race against a pro-choice Democrat?

    I fear Kennedy helped strangle the careers of many pro-life Democrats in his state and his national party. Am I wrong?

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  • “And by the way, Donald, you are a “liberal Catholic” yourself. Your radical individualism on everything from the economy to gun ownership gives you away as a pure child of the Enlightenment, especially in its Scottish form.”

    No, Tony my political positions “give me away” as an American conservative in this century and a devotee of the Founding Fathers of this country. Of course one of my political positions is unyielding opposition to abortion, something that liberal Catholics like yourself find entirely dispensable when deciding who to vote for and who to lionize after death. Liberal Catholics in this country have a major problem in that most of them, with certain very honorable exceptions, support politicians who view abortion as a sacred right. This simply cannot be squared with Catholicism, and all the sophistry in the world will not do it.

  • Jay:

    Yes, if I recall correctly, on the day of his death, Mr. Buckley – who by any objective measure was arguably the equal in stature on the American right as Sen. Kennedy was on the American left – was deemed to be “not a great man” and “just another cafeteria Catholic who simply refused to put the Church ahead of his secular ideological leanings”.

    And what, praytell, was the reason Mr. Buckley was dressed down, while his body was still warm, as not great and insufficiently Catholic?

    Well, my dear Watson, there are several possible answers:

    1. The proponent has no shame whatsoever;

    2. The proponent suffers from an incurable dualist world view that divides people along American political lines; or

    3. If irony were iron we’d all build our houses out of steel.

    You were saying something recently about self-parody…

  • Donald, this one’s for you:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBKBI7DOLHA&hl=en&fs=1&]

  • MM himself set in viciously attacking William F. Buckley on the day he died

    Attacking with flagrant dishonesty, by praising G. Alkon for telling the truth about Buckley even after Alkon had admitted that he was wrong in every detail.

  • My admiration of Kennedy is based on his lifetime of fighting for healthcare reform and social and economic justice – things that don’t seem to be taken that serously around here. To define him based on his awful change of mind on abortion is a bit ridiculous. (On the other hand, Bush and Cheney WILL be defined by their war and torture policies, that being central to their legacy).

    So often, it seems to be that abortion is used as a respectable cloak to hide opinions that are not so respectable. I’ve noticed that many Catholics who oppose healthcare reform hammer on the abortion issue, but are also opposed on principles of free market liberalism. Let me ask this – if Kennedy had not changed his position on abortion, and did everything else the same, would you laud his lifetime of achievements?

    Oops, I’ve juts noticed who is commenting here. I’ll not stay here and debate when one who has threatened violence against me is in the room. Perhaps some other time.

  • Another day, another lie, eh, Tony? It’s remarkable how easily it comes to you.

    By the way, I’m here *a lot*. Thus, it sounds like you won’t be. What a shame.

  • debate when one who has threatened violence against me is in the room. Perhaps some other time.

    You know, you’re not really worth the time responding to, but when you change the topic of debate and then impugn the character of someone else in an effort to avoid talking about your own deficient understanding of Catholic teaching, then you need to be called out for your bs.

    First of all, he’s not just being called out for a change of heart on abortion, though the fact that you so easily dismiss this topic is very revealing about your own lack of concern about the unborn. Frankly you’ve never expressed any sort of feeling on the issue that demonstrates that your supposed pro-life stance is simply a respectable cloak to hide a true opinion that most Catholics would find not so respectable, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Getting back to Ted Kennedy, he was a womanizing alcoholic who let a woman asphyxiate under water while he slept it off, and then later evidently joked about the whole affair. He was a virulent supporter of abortion rights, and defamed a would-be Supreme Court Justice who certainly would have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, and did it by engaging in one of the most obscene demonstrations of demagoguery in the history of the US Senate. The fact that you can gloss over these aspects of his personal life and public persona again is more indicative of where your priorities lie. Evidently the death of a woman due to Kennedy’s negligence isn’t as important as the fact that he supported universal health care.

    And your dig at Dale is incredibly transparent. You mocked the man for relaying a personal experience, and then essentially lied about it and exaggerated it in future communications. Truly despicable, but it’s easy to be so callous when you know you are unlikely to run into Dale. You’re noticeably a little more deferential to those who you might actually have to encounter.

  • Paul Primavera:

    It seems you missed the irony in my comments that were actually a carry-over from a previous thread wherein I and all those critical of Kennedy were castigated for having criticized Kennedy for the evils he was actually responsible for.

    The last statement in my comments should’ve clued you in on that.

    In other words, to put it mildly, I regard the man with ill disrepute.

  • Kevin Jones:

    Kennedy in his official capacity as Senator affected policy, pure and simple, such that his actions carried with them severe repercussions, not therefore only limited to his personal “indiscretions” (for those like Mr. Primavera who might misconstrue this, I am of course merely employing a euphemism for outright murder), but to the vast populations of millions of United States citizens wherein he facilitated by legislative support and, thus, enabled the very murders of hundreds of other children.

    We cannot forget that those who hold such high responsibilities will also suffer the highest penalty, pursuant to Scripture, should they abuse their position of power for evil.

    And there is no greater evil, as we know from Our Lord Himself, than harming, let alone, purposely killing children!

  • Let me ask this – if Kennedy had not changed his position on abortion, and did everything else the same, would you laud his lifetime of achievements?

    Actually, there’s a pretty clear example to look at here. If you look at the conservative Catholic reaction to the life achievements and death of Sen Daniel Patrick Moynihan, it was significantly more positive than the reaction to Sen. Ted Kennedy. Moynihan was pro-choice as well, but at least he wasn’t as rabidly and unrepentantly so as Kennedy — and unlike Kennedy he opposed partial birth infanticide/abortion. Also unlike Kennedy, he actually cared about helping the poor rather than just demogauging them, and so he acknowledged the extent to which the Great Society programs which Kennedy had been a key proponent of had come to harm the very people they sought to help, and worked to mitigate those harms.

    Nor did he have all the unfortunate (to put it mildly) personal qualities which Kennedy embodied.

    The real question is: Why do partisan leftist Catholic like you and Winters not find a better target for your admiration?

  • Why do partisan leftist Catholic like you and Winters not find a better target for your admiration?

    Partisan is exactly right. This passing, like that of Sen. Wellstone, has turned into another absurd moment to preen by many on the left. (And for Catholics to lionize someone who was a strong advocate for abortion and was the direct and unrepretant cause of death of another person is distrubing – and no I am not calling for his demonization either.)

    Fortunately, the CBO and many less than politically engaged Americans are putting a big hurt on the attempts to ram through legislation, supposedly in his “honor.”

    This is also strange and sick, if true:

  • jonathanjones02:

    I take issue with your having generalized the disillusioned, if not, deluded body of mad admirers for such a murderer as he to encompass the general assembly of Catholics, as apparently indicated in your “and for Catholics to lionize”.

    It is not we “Catholics”; it is more so those who merely think they are “Catholic”.

    Clearly, those who would be so ignoble as to support the deliberate dismembering of an innocent baby in such a heinous manner, as in abortion, are not.

  • “Donald, this one’s for you:”

    I thank you Dale and my Celtic ancestors thank you!

  • Well, MM, among the Catholic crowd here, there’s almost universal admiration for Governor Casey, who was as far left as Kennedy on issues like the minimum wage and healthcare but didn’t vote like a card-carrying member of NARAL on abortion. That suggests that it is indeed abortion, and not left-wing economics, that people object to in Kennedy (who, anyway, on economic issues was much more willing to compromise or ignore left-wing orthodoxy–as when he supported transportation deregulation–than on bioethical issues)

  • Agreed Zak. I have often lauded Bob Casey, Sr. who was a hero in the fight against abortion. I have voted for pro-life Democrats in the past, including Glenn Poshard when he ran against George Ryan for governor of Illinois. I would inquire of Tony as to whether he has ever voted for any pro-life Republican.

  • Excellent point, Zak. I’d have voted for the late Bob Casey in a heartbeat.

    Another example is Sen. Kennedy’s sister, the late Eunice Shriver, and her husband Sargent Shriver, who, although old-time liberal Democrats, are universally admired by those who don’t hold Sen. Kennedy in very high esteem.

  • It was reported that our Pope was “holding close to his heart Eunice as she is called home to eternal life” and that she be rewarded for her ardent faith and generous public service, particularly for those who are physically and mentally challenged. Have we heard anything from the Vatican regarding Senator Kennedy’s death?

  • Have we heard anything from the Vatican regarding Senator Kennedy’s death?

    The much beloved Pope might have just as well mouthed in sotto voce, “God is Good!”

  • TRANSLATION: “May he rest in peace, along with all his sordidly monstrous baby-murdering policies!”

  • I get your point, e., but let’s follow the Holy Father’s eminent example in maintaining some decorum in our rhetoric.

  • Would it break decorum to suggest to Minion and Michael Sean Winters that they take up a more hygienic hobby than selling sh** sandwiches?

  • Has there actually been any eminent example set by His Holiness, especially as concerning how we should in fact conduct ourselves when it comes to either genocidal or even infanticidal despots?

    One of the principle advantages that such men like Kennedy have over Hitler is that Hitler’s atrocities were done ostensibly right out in the open while the formers’ atrocities are done under the most innocuous veil: their mother.

    Perhaps such men will suffer an eternity of tormented screams from all the souls of those innocent babies, who though while still living, their bodies were in fact so terrifyingly dismembered, suffering a most excruciating death.

  • Paul: “your own deficient understanding of Catholic teaching”. Really? Care to elaborate? Or are you one of those who aligns Catholicism with the strand of right-wing American liberalism that calls itself conservatism?

    Paul: “Getting back to Ted Kennedy, he was a womanizing alcoholic who let a woman asphyxiate under water while he slept it off”

    I find it absolutely disgusting that you bring that up. This is something that Kennedy had to live with his whole life. I know somebody who (when swerving to avoid a deer) ran head into an oncoming car, and killed the driver. Let me tell you that this guy has been seriously screwed up since that day, and will never be the same again. I pray to God that neither you nor I ever have to live with such a burden. And however negligent he was in this accident (you seem to liken it to homicide), we all know that his sin has been forgiven in confession.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for any recognition from you that Bush and Cheney were complicit in the death of innocent people — both people who were tortured to death based on policies they laid down, and civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I even remember Bush making fun of people he executed in Texas. Are they truly repentent, I wonder? I doubt it.

    Let’s take this a bit further shall, we? Both Bush and Kennedy come from wealthy, priviliged backgrounds, from families with a clear sense of entitlement. Both made some pretty bad choices when they were young, and both reformed. But Kennedy devoted his life to helping the poor and the underprivilged, while Bush devoted his public career to rewarding his rich friends and starting wars. And yet Bush is the pro-life one????

  • MM,

    I find it absolutely disgusting that you bring that up. This is something that Kennedy had to live with his whole life.

    Some might find it rather disgusting that seem to care so little for the woman killed, and for the facts. The reason Kennedy is blamed for his part in this is not that he had an accident, as anyone might. He’s blamed because his account of it is clearly at least partly a lie, because it’s quite evident part of the reason he drove off the bridge is that he was drunk at the time, and because he failed to report the accident to authorities for nearly ten hours, despite numerous opportunities to do so — which according to the rescuers might even have resulted in the victim being saved in time. What makes this gross negligence particularly galling is that for all your sympathies that “Kennedy had to live with this”, any order in citizen who behaved that way would have had to live with it from the confines of jail with a manslaughter or reckless endangerment conviction. The utter corruption of his state and family mean that Kennedy merely had his license suspended a couple months.

    Seriously, have you no shame?

    Both Bush and Kennedy come from wealthy, priviliged backgrounds, from families with a clear sense of entitlement. Both made some pretty bad choices when they were young, and both reformed. But Kennedy devoted his life to helping the poor and the underprivilged, while Bush devoted his public career to rewarding his rich friends and starting wars.

    The other differences have to do with the fact that Kennedy never reformed, but continued his carousing and womanizing thorughout his life, that he anandoned his wife for one of his numerous adulturous relationships, and that his “helping” of the poor and underpriviled involved being one of the key forces in the legal regime of mass slaugher which is “pro-choice America” — a slaughter which, of course, was heavily inflicted upon the poor and minorities. Indeed Kennedy abandoned moral principles any time it was pleasurable to him personally or convenient for his career. Some help and devotion.

    Kennedy was a loud and effective foot soldier for your party of choice, and for that you are welcome to miss him, but please do not assualt reason with claims he was any sort of Catholic hero. From a Catholic point of view he was a deeply, deeply flawed politician. Perhaps one of the worst examples of a Catholic in public life in this country in the last forty years.

  • Morning Minion:

    Your blatant hypocrisy, not to mention, your natural facility for equivocation is not only disconcertingly alarming as it is repugnant.

    For one thing, you hold Bush and Cheney to be complicit for their purportedly Churchillian belligerence when it came to foreign affairs; yet, you hold Kennedy guileless in his own mindfully deliberate pro-abortion affairs which have led to the murdering of countless innocent children!

    Just why exactly you consider your platform, let alone, yourself “Catholic” is simply beyond me!

  • Mr. Bush was a heavy drinker between 196? and 1986. He was arrested for drunk driving once; a local copper in Maine discovered his inebriation after pulling him over for driving too slowly. It is a reasonable inference he may have used LSD at one time or another between 1964 and 1974. Mr. Bush has been married just once; he has no known history of sexual misconduct. Just what is it that indicates he suffers from a pathological ‘sense of entitlement’?

    Ted Kennedy has had a number of things hanging over his head for some time; he also beat a vehicular manslaughter rap, courtesy connections. Allowing a women to suffocate while you shamble back to your cabin to brainstorm with your aides (and pass by proximate opportunities to call for help) is a rather more deliberate act than having a collision while avoiding a deer.

    It was a crime to go to war in Afghanistan? Since when has the Holy See concocted and imposed upon the whole Church an obligation to pacifism?

  • Kennedy devoted his life to helping the poor and the underprivilged…

    Problem is, some of us consider the unborn and the infirm as poor and underprivileged. We may or may not think raising the minimum wage a quarter will help many people or that it may hurt more than help. But we do consider it an obligation to guarantee that those people can be born and not killed. That they can live long enough to have to worry about making a living wage.

  • My admiration of Kennedy is based on his lifetime of fighting for healthcare reform and social and economic justice – things that don’t seem to be taken that serously around here.

    Just out of curiosity, how are you defining ‘social and economic justice’?

  • I find it absolutely disgusting that you bring that up.

    To echo what others have said, I find it disgusting that you are more concerned about his advocacy for socialized medicine than that he basically killed a woman. Again, your priorities are sad.

  • I even remember Bush making fun of people he executed in Texas.

    He made a sneering reference to a statement by one Karla Faye Tucker during an interview she gave on Larry King Live (Tucker had murdered a woman by plunging a pick axe into her again, and again, and again).

  • What is “absolutely disgusting” is how tribal political preferences, pathetic name-calling, disdain, and a persistent insistence to assume the worst of others poisons discourse.

    That a public figure of your religion agrees with your political preferences is no basis for emulation. Kennedy both personally endured was personally responsible for a lot of heartache. He should be at the end of any list for Catholics in positions of public responsibility to emulate, regardless of one’s policy positions. Any figure that refuses to advocate for the most vulnerable of our society does not deserve praise. We must instead loudly, comprehensively, and respectfully demand a change of position. Had Kennedy listened to his Church on those matters, the country would be significantly better off.

  • I find it absolutely disgusting that you bring that up. This is something that Kennedy had to live with his whole life.

    Any normal person would find it disgusting that you adopt such a preening pose about a subject that Kennedy himself found humorous: http://hotair.com/archives/2009/08/28/one-of-his-favorite-topics-of-humor-was-indeed-chappaquiddick-itself/

  • To define him based on his awful change of mind on abortion is a bit ridiculous.

    Actually, the man made this one of his defining attributes. He embraced it, proclaimed it, campaigned on it, filled his coffers on it, and he fought for it. He made it a virtue and hallmark of what he was about and he tore down those who were opposed to it.

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  • Well, MM, among the Catholic crowd here, there’s almost universal admiration for Governor Casey, who was as far left as Kennedy on issues like the minimum wage and healthcare but didn’t vote like a card-carrying member of NARAL on abortion.

    Kennedy could not possibly measure up to Bob Casey, nor even to his conservative, pro-choice successor Tom Ridge.

    Any figure that refuses to advocate for the most vulnerable of our society does not deserve praise.

    I have not been able to find out any information of Kennedy’s charitable works. Did he found any charitable foundations with his millions? Did he serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless in Boston?

    He made a sneering reference to a statement by one Karla Faye Tucker during an interview she gave on Larry King Live (Tucker had murdered a woman by plunging a pick axe into her again, and again, and again).

    His sneering reference was justified, as Tucker was a nithing.

    Since when has the Holy See concocted and imposed upon the whole Church an obligation to pacifism?

    Such an obligation to pacifism did not exist in the eleventh century.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for any recognition from you that Bush and Cheney were complicit in the death of innocent people — both people who were tortured to death based on policies they laid down, and civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Who were these innocent people tortured to death?

    . I have voted for pro-life Democrats in the past, including Glenn Poshard when he ran against George Ryan for governor of Illinois.

    He brought up the “licenses for bribes” scandal back in the 1998 campaign.

    n the other hand, Bush and Cheney WILL be defined by their war and torture policies, that being central to their legacy

    Who were these torture victims?

    And since when was torture against Catholic teaching? You have heard of the Inquisition, right ?

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16 Responses to 10 Reasons Not to Go To Law School

  • Well-said! May I also add that if one has philosophical ideas about learning the ins and outs of legal thought through the ages (jurisprudence), do not go into law. Your philosophical urges will be crushed – it’s really a business in many ways. Make the cleanest argument one can for one’s client, throw in equity if you must (though judges will usually ignore it), but don’t gum up the works with such arguments.

    Go into philosophy, political history, or somesuch.

  • Excellent list, Don, highlighting many of the reasons I left the practice of law early on in my career (I still do “law-related” work for a legal publishing company).

    When people ask, I recommend against going to law school.

  • I think number 7 says it all. I’ve considered law school many a time – even as I was winding down my Ph. D, but then basically sobered up. Many if not most of my friends are lawyers, and I’ve seen the consequences of said profession. You have to go to some miserable law firm for five years of hell if you want to be able to pay off your debt. If you get a job that you actually enjoy, your compensation will make it difficult to pay off that debt in a timely fashion.

    Law school just seems like a big fat racket. I know that the laws have multiplied many times over since the time of Lincoln, but he managed just fine without once setting step inside of a law school. Learn what you need to know, get some real experience, and then practice law. That seems like a reasonable way of doing things to me.

  • Speaking of the Simpsons and law school, who can forget:

    Jimbo Jones: You let me down, man. Now I don’t believe in nothing no more. I’m going to law school.

    Homer: Noooo!

  • A classic Paul! I would have posted that if I could have found a video clip of it.

  • As a fellow shyster, and in the spirit of Proverbs 18:17, let me offer this rebuttal:

    1. I know it’s going to sound like I’m saying molten lava makes a great skin cream, but if anything there are too few lawyers in this country (if you are inclined to doubt this, consider how expensive hiring even a lousy lawyer can be, and what that suggests about the relative supply of and demand for legal services).

    2. It’s true that much of legal work is, well, work. My understanding is that this is true outside the law as well.

    3. Lots of lawyers aren’t rich. However, I’ve found that attorneys tend to have an exaggerated view of what it means to be “modestly compensated.” When I was in law school I interviewed for a position at a county prosecutor’s office. The guy doing the interview emphasized how poorly paid the position was, and how other students had turned down offers when they found out how much it paid because “you can’t live on that.” He then quoted me a figure that was above the median salary for Americans.

    4. If you go into certain areas of the law, you will see people at their worst (the same would be true, I suppose, if you become a cop, or social worker). On the other hand, most legal jobs involve either transactional work or civil litigation that doesn’t involve dealing with heroin addicts on a regular basis.

    5. People dislike lawyers in the abstract, but I’ve never had anyone be rude to me or treat me with contempt or disdain when I tell them I’m a lawyer. The truth is that being an attorney is actually a fairly high status profession in these United States. And it’s a good way to learn some funny jokes.

    6. See supra at 2.

    7. College tuition is reaching frightening levels in general, though it is probably worse with the law. On the other hand, student loans tend to be low interest, and as one of my law professors said “if you die before you’ve paid off your student loans, it’s like you’ve pulled one over on them). Most schools also have a loan forgiveness program if you do a couple years of “public interest” law after you graduate.

    8. I can’t argue with this. A lot of lawyers are jerks, particularly among litigators. If you can’t cope with this, the law may not be for you.

    9. It’s true that a lot of what you need to know about the practice of law you don’t learn in law school. So what? Maybe it would be better if you could skip straight to legal practice. But that ain’t the way it is, and all things considered school ain’t that bad.

    10. Lots of people hate their jobs, and attorneys have better exit options than most. If attorneys say they hate their job but keep going, this strikes me as being cheap talk.

  • I feel what you’re saying, Donald, but I like what Blackadder says a lot.

    And I’ll toss in another good point about the profession: Every now and then, you participate in something that looks–to even the most disinterested and objective observers–a whole lot like justice.

    [And, yes, I borrowed the essence of that last line from “Philadelphia.” It’s no less true for that.]

  • “Every now and then, you participate in something that looks–to even the most disinterested and objective observers–a whole lot like justice.”

    Oh I have had those moments too Dale. What I have seen more often however is the application of the law, which, depending upon the circumstances, may or may not be justice. One of the courtrooms I haunt has the motto “Fiat Justicia” on one of the walls. I have often translated it to clients, frequently to their intense amusement.

  • Then there is Our Lord:

    “46 But he said: Woe to you lawyers also, because you load men with burdens which they cannot bear, and you yourselves touch not the packs with one of your fingers”. Luke 11.

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  • Blackadder said:
    I know it’s going to sound like I’m saying molten lava makes a great skin cream, but if anything there are too few lawyers in this country (if you are inclined to doubt this, consider how expensive hiring even a lousy lawyer can be, and what that suggests about the relative supply of and demand for legal services).

    More lawyers won’t make their services any cheaper. There are lots of unemployed lawyers.

    I don’t regret law school but it’s definitely oversold.

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One Response to Scary Music From the Sky!

  • Actually, a true sign of the imminent apocalypse would be if some other late ’70s overblown romantic ballad like “Sometimes When We Touch” or Rex Smith’s “You Take My Breath Away” began blaring from the sky…

Oops!

Tuesday, August 25, AD 2009

three stooges

Ah the glories of government medicine!  1200 veterans were recently informed by the VA that they had Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

 

Former Air Force Reservist Gale Reid received a letter from the Veterans Affairs Department that told her she had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and she immediately put herself through a battery of painful, expensive tests. Five days later, the VA said its “diagnosis” was a mistake.

The Montgomery, Ala., resident was among at least 1,200 veterans who received a letter about disability benefits for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, even though they hadn’t been diagnosed with the illness, according to the National Gulf War Resource Center. Veterans were initially suspicious of the letters, but still went through the agony not knowing exactly whether they had the fatal disease, which typically kills people within five years.

At least 2,500 letters informing veterans of disability benefits for ALS were sent out, and of those, some 1,200 were a mistake, according to the National Gulf War Resource Center. The wrongly sent letters were supposed to inform veterans of an undiagnosed neurological disorder, according to the Gulf War veterans group, which provides information, support and referrals about illnesses to veterans.

No one knows for sure exactly how many letters were mailed to veterans treated at VA hospitals and how many were a mistake. VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts didn’t return telephone messages or an e-mail Monday.

Read the whole story here.  The last line in the story says it all for what we all have in store for us in the unlikely event that ObamaCare ever becomes a reality.

 

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6 Responses to Oops!

  • Actually I’ve worked in the VA system and what I’ve saw there and what I’ve seen regarding surveys of VA patients, it is almost always ranks as the highest rated health care provider in the United States. Higher than the best private insurers!

    What this story shows is a mistake that happens in ALL large institutions, including the big insurance companies. Don’t be fooled into thinking private companies are the pillars of efficiency – see, Enron, Lehman Brothers, AIG, GM, etc. You just rarely hear about their problems because they fix them in private or hide them and people can not use the Freedom of Information Act to find out what is going on.

    Also, there is no such thing as ObamaCare. He hasn’t articulated or chosen any one of the half-dozen plans out there.

    Finally, philosophically as a nation we figured out that we wanted the military, the police dept., the fire dept., the interstate freeway system, the FBI, etc. to be publically (government-run) because even if we don’t need the police, fire fighters or each and every freeway personally, it makes sense to put vital national services like those in a government system. They still need to follow free markets, but I as a citizen if my house is on fire, I don’t have to go to the yellow pages and choose a private fire fighting company. We want businesses that produce things (milk, cars, toothpaste) and serve normal service functions (dry cleaning, architects, etc.) to be capitalistic free market driven institutions.

    I feel health care somewhere in between fire fighting and toothpaste manufacturing, so I don’t mind government regulations or a public option that works with private corporations. It works for FedEx and security companies and all sorts of businesses that do more than what the government itself is charged to do – so why not health care?

    Just let people have a choice beyond the multinational bureaucracies!

  • Contra your statement MacGregor, the VA throughout most of its history has received terrible marks for its care. Most veterans who went to it did so only because it was “free”. Towards the end of the Bush administration during the Iraq War conditions improved because large amounts of money were spent and because Bush took a personal interest in making sure that veterans received adequate care. Like most government entities the VA has only performed well when the people at the top made it a clear priority.

    A good brief overview of some of the VA problems prior to the push by the Bush administration to resolve some of the more glaring defects is linked to below.

    http://www.publicintegrity.org/investigations/broken_government/articles/entry/1041/

  • There is a good recent article in the London INDEPENDENT on a report from a nurses’ association that over one million elderly patients were neglected or maltreated in NHS hospitals.

  • Hi Donald: I understand your need to make Bush out to be the one who took a “personal interest” in the VA system, but it was he who cut funding by a significant amount until people in the media and other lawmakers started making it a scandal.

    The website link you indicate is hardly unbiased and obviously ignores the longer more complete history of the Walter Reed story. Websites like The Center for Public Integrity are good for bringing up issues that the bland corporate media ignores, but I would take its publications with a healthy dose of skepticism, just as I would for left-wing websites … even if you do believe in their political slant.

    Again, I worked for the VA hospital in Portland Oregon and I’ve worked for a large private hospital, Emanuel Hospital, also in Portland and many of my family has worked in private practice and in public medical clinics.

    ALL HAVE PROBLEMS!!! They just have different problems and they all depend upon how good the administrators are and how effective they medical staff performs. For every report on one million elderly being neglected in British govt. hospitals, I can give you one on one million elderly being neglected in private US institutions. Have you folks forgotten the private nursing homes that were the death of so many in New Orleans?

    My wife worked in the health field as a surgical nurse for 20 years in private practice. She made a great deal of money and enjoyed it. But she eventually grew to hating the system that she realized she was supporting. She saw the pharmaceutical companies bribe doctors with dinners, workshops overseas, generous kickbacks for using their products regardless of what the patient really needed. She saw the fraud in the radio-oncology practice that over estimated EVERY expense to the insurance companies and the insurance companies never asked or investigated because it simply meant they could increase rates and keep the money machine working. She was paid $15,000 to be on-call for one weekend a month in case there was an accident that needed her assistance (brain trauma) and 90% of the time nothing happened. This was in the PRIVATE SECTOR.

    Like I said, she eventually could not morally work in that system anymore which seemed to only favor unethical doctors and profits over patient care.

    I can understand that so many people are skeptical about government run systems, but if you think private care is sustainable and ethical you are completely ignorant or willfully ideological.

    What the 20th century taught us, was that neither government nor the free-market have a monopoly on wisdom. Neither liberals nor conservatives have a monopoly on virtue, and you can come up with websites that support any ideology you want.

    The important thing is to remain curious, intellectually honest and open to changing your mind – otherwise you are not approaching the issue like an ethical adult.

    So why do you think health care should be run like the financial industry and not like the fire fighting industry?

  • “I understand your need to make Bush out to be the one who took a “personal interest” in the VA system, but it was he who cut funding by a significant amount until people in the media and other lawmakers started making it a scandal.”

    Simply untrue. Bush increased funding throughout his administration for the VA.

    http://www.factcheck.org/funding_for_veterans_up_27_but_democrats.html

  • Donald: Thanks for sending that FactCheck site. Those are good numbers and I see that I was incorrect in saying that he cut benefits … at least by 2004. Obviously the last wars in Iraq and an aging veteran population had put real pressure on each of the last Presidents to increase the VA budget, and Kerry’s claims were unfounded … kind of like Bush’s claims about McCain’s war record.

    Yet the same article showed that even with increasing discretionary funding, the increases were less than the increases in the demand. Clinton did not increase the budget as much as Bush obviously as the first Iraq war vets were just beginning to leave the military.

    As much as I admit my error, and I am not particularly anti-Bush, it was a rather minor point of my post and doesn’t say anything about government health care … at least from a Catholic, moral perspective. I also know from my brother’s experience in Iraq as a marine that most of the problems he had medical coverage wise, was a problem with the military in general and not in the administration or benefits or competence of the medical staff.

    The article also does a good job of showing how good the VA benefits package is. It is probably more than what needs to happen in civilian health care, but again I propose that a public option is not by definition immoral or ineffective. It is just somewhat liberal and it seems that some people are more interested in espousing a conservative or Republican opinion than simply espousing a Catholic or moral opinion. I doubt Christ would have much issue with health care from a government or private source as long as it truly helped the sick. At least that seems to be what the gospels say.

    Again, thanks for the information Donald.

Ad Orientem

Tuesday, August 25, AD 2009

Bishop Edward Slattery of the Diocese of Tulsa is a champion of Ad Orientem.  Here you can read his thoughts on the subject.  The National Catholic Reporter wrote a piece on the subject which Father Z has put through his patented fisk machine and which may be read here.  I of course am all in favor of Ad Orientem.  Priests should render the sacrifice of the Mass at altars when possible and not at the Protestant-lite communion tables that have come into vogue since Vatican II, in a well-intentioned but completely wrong-headed attempt for greater involvement by the laity in the Mass.  Quotes from Pope Benedict regarding Ad Orientem are here at the wonderful blog New Liturgical Movement, which I had not read until researching this post.  What do you think?

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3 Responses to Ad Orientem

  • I never “got” all of the carrying-on about Ad Orientem until I attended a triple of back-to-back Masses (for All Souls), where the celebrant did the first Mass “the regular way”, the second Ad Orientem in English, and the third Ad Orientem in Latin.

    Oh. The difference was striking: in the first Mass it was to some degree the “Father X Show”, while in the second and third the priest was not so much “Father X” as he was the archetypal Priest.

  • Precisely Karen! Ad Orientem underlines that the Mass is a sacrifice to God and our greatest act of worship. It is all about Him and not all about us. After Mass there is plenty of time for the extensive duties that God mandates that we owe to our neighbors.

  • If “ad orientem” means towards the East, what does one do for the many churches in NYC which are built North / South?

John Wayne-Cardiac Catholic

Monday, August 24, AD 2009

 

 

John Wayne died on June 11, 1979.  Like many Americans at the time I felt as if a personal friend had died.  Growing up, Wayne was a part of my childhood both on TV and at the local theater.  Remarkably, more than three decades after his demise, he still routinely appears among the top ten favorite actors in polls.  For three and a half decades he dominated American film screens and became the archetypal Western hero.  Frequently savaged by film critics in his life, something which bothered him little, his appearance as a Centurion in the film The Greatest Story Ever Told, the video clip which begins this post, was a special target,  Wayne’s work has endured the test of time.  A staunch conservative, Wayne upheld a love of country when such love was popular and when it was unpopular.  Eventually he became a symbol of America, recognizable around the globe.  What is less known about Wayne is his religion, and, at the end, his conversion to Catholicism.

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9 Responses to John Wayne-Cardiac Catholic

  • Great post!

    Glad to know that both my childhood favs, Bob Hope & John Wayne, in the end ultimatley became Catholic.

    As for the “certainty that their Catholic faith gave them”, this is so remarkably true!

    I find it ironic then many Protestants lay the charge of how tremendously troubling Catholicism is due to some sort of uncertainty it brings about to the believer; no doubt, a sad symptom of that Lutheran mindset that emits cries of adolescent angst, not understanding the wealth of comfort that a genuine Christian faith as that actually brings.

  • e.,

    great point. There is a story (I believe unfounded) that on her deathbed Luther’s mother declared to him that “his religion was easier to live by, but hers was easier to die by”.

    Regardless of the attribution, it is a very true statement.

  • Matt,

    In other words: live Protestant, die Catholic.

  • e.,

    Theoretically, if we knew the hour of our passing then yes. As Christ made abundantly clear nobody knows but the Father, so best bet is to assume it’s immediate.

  • e,

    Only if easier = better.

  • Steve,

    very succinct and very accurate.

  • <3 John Wayne.

    I wonder if my mom's dad grinned a bit when John Wayne passed… Papa loved Mr. Wayne's movies, and my granny converted the entire family to the Catholic faith some time in the 50s. The Church is surely a good place for men like John Wayne and my grandfather.

  • My favorite John Wayne film sequence:

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Yeah, But Who's The Senior Partner?

Sunday, August 23, AD 2009

Obama and God

 

On August 19, Obama told a group of rabbis on a teleconference to support ObamaCare that “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.”  The always indispensable Iowahawk reveals here that Obama was speaking literally.  I guess this is in line with the joke, at least I hope it is a joke, going around the country.  What is the difference between God and Obama?  God doesn’t think He’s Obama. 

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2 Responses to Yeah, But Who's The Senior Partner?

One Response to Live and Let Die

3 Responses to The Great Gate of Kiev

Remember that 7 trillion deficit? Make that 9 trillion.

Friday, August 21, AD 2009

Obama Ink

As Obama goes on vacation, the Administration saw fit late Friday afternoon to release the news that the projected deficit was going up over the next ten years from 7 trillion to 9 trillion.  No doubt the Congressional Budget Office will have even more dire numbers, as the administration has consistently put the best face on the increasingly dire deficit numbers.  As I have constantly warned on this blog, our economy is about to hit a debt wall that will lead to a horrendous economy for years to come.  Fiscal lunacy, simple fiscal lunacy.  Some of my prior posts on the process by which we are careening towards national bankruptcy are below.

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9 Responses to Remember that 7 trillion deficit? Make that 9 trillion.

  • Banking crises are expensive to resolve. S.H. Hanke last fall noted that resolution of recent crises had resulted in public sector commitments ranging in size from a sum equal to 16% of annual domestic product (Korea) to a sum equal to 52% of domestic product (Argentina). Please note that by 1940 the ratio of public debt to annual domestic product was 0.52 and by 1945 it was 1.19. The difference is that we had large pools of accessible private savings in 1945. We also had as President Harry Truman, who may have been more devoted to fiscal balance than anyone who has occupied the office since 1933, and he in 1945-47 faced a Republican Congress led by men of late Victorian upbringing. We have been in worse shape before; regrettably for us, both the populace and the political class were once of a higher calibre.

  • As much of an admirer of Truman as we might be, Bill Clinton was probably more devoted to fiscal balance, considering the mess he inherited from Reagan-Bush, and what he was able to accomplish, thanks largely to a peaceful decade after Gulf War I.

    It’s cute how the deficit is packaged, regardless of the party in control. Try asking someone, “How much do we owe, and what will the payments be?” Lots of people can answer the first about their house or car. Very few the latter question. Try asking either populace or the political class (oxymoron?) the question on the fed budget.

  • “As much of an admirer of Truman as we might be, Bill Clinton was probably more devoted to fiscal balance, considering the mess he inherited from Reagan-Bush, and what he was able to accomplish, thanks largely to a peaceful decade after Gulf War I.”

    Well Todd you got one point right. Clinton came in after the Cold War and he ignored the rising jihadist threat and thus there were no wars on his watch. He was basically a typical spend through the roof Democrat, but he was saved from his own instincts by the GOP taking control of Congress in 1994, largely due to his botched attempt to saddle the country with ClintonCare. Plus the tech bubble generated ever-increasing amounts of revenue throughout the 90s. Bubba had better fiscal fortune than any president since Calvin Coolidge.

  • Here is good article from 98 on Bill Clinton and the budget:

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=5656

  • Todd,

    Deficits as a ratio of domestic product were abnormally large in the years running from 1981-93. The tax cut legislation implemented in 1981-84 is partially responsible for this, as was the recession in 1981-82, as was the increase in military expenditure implemented from 1979-85. The Democratic Party had control of Congress for half that time, however, and was never without organizational leverage through control of the House Budget and Appropriations Committees through the whole twelve years. Both the administration and Congress agreed on proportionate reductions in military expenditure and tax increases after 1988. That, the antagonism of the Republican Congress after 1994, and eight years of unchecked economic growth allowed the deficit to be extinguished in 1999. The previous surplus budget was in the fiscal year concluding in 1969, also at the close of a period of unchecked and abnormally high economic growth.

    It is forgotten that Pres. Truman and Congress faced in 1945-47 the most difficult economic situation of any which arose during the period running from 1938 to 2008. Output was declining at a rate of 10% per year in 1946 and the Army and Navy disgorged some 9 million men as the country demobilized. If I am not mistaken, the nominal value of the outstanding public debt actually declined during Truman’s eight years in office, something it has not done since.

  • …President Harry Truman, who may have been more devoted to fiscal balance than anyone who has occupied the office since 1933…

    Heh

  • What this tells me is that we can expect inflation in a big way. Good grief. Can you even imagine a number like 9 Trillion and the taxes that will be levied to meet it. Not only that but the government never gets their numbers right. I’m looking to secure what money I have in things that will hold value. This morning I’m looking at gold and silver spot prices with the widget http://www.learcapital.com/exactprice and thinking that I might very well see a buying opportunity shortly. Of course I can’t help but wonder if this admin is capable of what FDR did by confiscating gold and making it illegal to own back in his presidency.

    The fact that our government continues to refuse to give numbers and access to those numbers by it’s citizens on the gold reserves our nation holds is my opinion is telling me we may see the precious metals move in a big way in the coming year.

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Obama Administration to Severely Wounded Vets: Suicide is Painless!

Friday, August 21, AD 2009

As the Wall Street Journal reports here, the Veteran’s Administration is providing seriously wounded veterans with a pamphlet entitled “Your Life, Your Choices“, which encourages veterans to refuse treatment and die.

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14 Responses to Obama Administration to Severely Wounded Vets: Suicide is Painless!

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  • Is it a co-incidence that neither Mr. Clinton nor Mr. Obama served in the armed forces?

  • What makes the Clintons and Obamas think their contribution to society is better than a helpless person who needs care? Their culture of death brings a sorrow to society greater than the unselfish loving care for others making a suffering life as good as possible, Some day they will value life when they find themselves useless ,or will they choose suicide? Would they talk their own parents or children into suicide if they thought their life not worth living? Their actions are not compassion. They are coldly eliminating undesirables.

  • Did you read this pamphlet? It is not about committing suicide. Where is “Compassion and Choices” listed as a resource? The resource mentions Choice in Dying which is a link to a website about advance directives. Here is the link to the actual pamphlet.
    http://www.rihlp.org/pubs/Your_life_your_choices.pdf

  • Holly, please. The whole thing is an advertisement for embracing the Grim Reaper. Page 21 is a riot. The smart people who put this together knew what they were doing, and it was to encourage Vets in tough health situations to give serious consideration to ending it all. As to Choice in Dying, I do not know why the Wall Street Journal article referred to Compassion and Choices although I think the author may have been referring to an earlier version of the pamphlet. Heaven knows that Choice in Dying is little improvement. Read more about the organization here.

    http://usspecialinterestgroups.com/choice-dying-cid

    “The most controversial right-to-die issue with which the CID has been involved recently is physician-assisted suicide. According to CID, physician-assisted suicide refers to a situation where a physician provides medications or other interventions to a patient with the knowledge that the patient will use the medications to end their life. This differs from withholding care or otherwise allowing a sick patient to die, because the physician is acting to help end the patient’s life, rather than ceasing treatment that might prolong it.”

    “The legality and morality of physician-assisted suicide has been hotly debated. CID has advocated for an open discussion of the issue, rather than supporting or opposing the practice.”

  • “V.A. Bureaucrats in Retreat? [Jack Fowler]

    Jim Towey’s powerful Wall Street Journal article — “The Death Book for Veterans” — was published Tuesday and revealed how the Obama administration has resuscitated a once-kiboshed end-of-life primer, Your Life, Your Choices: Planning for Future Medical Decision, which Towey says steers “vulnerable individuals to conclude for themselves that life is not worth living.”

    Sarah Palin picked up on it yesterday and put out an APB via Facebook. Then Fox announced that Chris Wallace was going to have Towey on FNS to discuss the V.A. program. And I’m told Rush Limbaugh went to town on it.

    Surprise, surprise: The PDF file for Your Life is now carrying a front-page warning that wasn’t there this morning:

    The following is a 1997 publication that was produced under VA IIR Grant No. 94-050, “Development of an Advance Care Planning Workbook,” 4/01/95 – 3/31/97. The document is currently undergoing revision for release in VA. The revised version will be available soon.

    Curious: Since this disclaimer is now on the cover page, does that mean the V.A. isn’t covering up?”

    From National Review today:

    http://corner.nationalreview.com/

  • I wonder if Holly read the pamphlet. The case studies were pieces of work. Note how in several the “unknown” wish of the patient is for non-treatment–how convenient!

    I’m horrified that wounded kids and elderly veterans are being issued this disaster of a handbook. It’s tough enough to deal with the life changes that a serious injury or illness can present without having people with no personal stake in your survival trying to steer your thinking in the directions it promotes.

    Even if the brochure were a completely innocuous education campaign, when soldiers (sailors, airmen) are sick and hurting is the worst possible time to bring up the advanced directive question. If the VA thinks having an advanced directive is that critical, they should be promoting it to active duty members of the military, not wounded warriors.

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  • Donald, I think the money quote in the CID description you cite is about 5 paragraphs down in the History section:

    “Choice in Dying officially became an organization in 1991 with the merger of Concern for Dying and the Society for the Right to Die.”

    If I recall correctly, Concern for Dying used to be known as the Hemlock Society.

    What is really disturbing about the VA booklet is the fact that many troops disabled in Iraq/Afghanistan suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Depression is a known side effect And the VA is handing them booklets in which they’re encouraged to reflect on whether “not being able to shake the blues” may constitute a “life not worth living.” They need treatment, not a push off the cliff.

  • Can’t find in the article where the obama admin said “Suicide is Painless!”, can someone help me out?

  • The title of my post Dominic is my editorial comment on what I think the pamphlet amounts to.

  • From the words to the theme song of MASH:

    Through early morning fog I see
    visions of the things to be
    the pains that are withheld for me
    I realize and I can see…

    [chorus]:

    That suicide is painless
    It brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.

    I try to find a way to make
    all our little joys relate
    without that ever-present hate
    but now I know that it’s too late, and…

    [Chorus]

    The game of life is hard to play
    I’m gonna lose it anyway
    The losing card I’ll someday lay
    so this is all I have to say.

    [Chorus]

    The only way to win is cheat
    And lay it down before I’m beat
    and to another give my seat
    for that’s the only painless feat.

    [Chorus]

    The sword of time will pierce our skins
    It doesn’t hurt when it begins
    But as it works its way on in
    The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…

    [Chorus]

    A brave man once requested me
    to answer questions that are key
    ‘is it to be or not to be’
    and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

    ‘Cause suicide is painless
    it brings on many changes
    and I can take or leave it if I please.
    …and you can do the same thing if you choose.

  • Just what I would expect from Obama & Liberals.

6 Responses to Stop the Abortion Mandate

  • Most Democrats would never vote for a bill that didn’t cover abortion? Why not?
    The truth is that no one is FOR abortion. Just a woman’s right to decide.
    Republicans want to cover Viagra because they feel “erectile dysfunction” is a “medical condition”. If Democrats can’t cover abortion, then Republicans shouldn’t be allowed to cover Viagra.

  • “The truth is that no one is FOR abortion. Just a woman’s right to decide.”

    Rubbish. That is akin to saying that no one was pro-slavery but merely the right of a white to decide whether he owned a black. Thank you for proving my point that for most Democrats and their members of Congress the right to abortion is the holy grail.

  • Erectile dysfunction is a disorder that is corrected by medication. Pregnancy is a natural condition whose end is a live, human infant. The equating of the two shows in part why you, and Democrats in general, don’t understand the issue.

  • Though I will say, at a pragmatic trade off level, I’d be willing to see people with erectile disfunction have to pay for medication out of pocket, if the trade off would result in a total ban on any funding for abortions — not because I’d see them as the same thing, but because I’d see them as of much different levels of importance. I just don’t think that that party of NOW and NARL has any interest in making the trade.

  • I wouldn’t disagree with that. I don’t think everything can or should be covered. The illustration for rdean is that given medication for erectile dysfunction is a form of health care. Directly terminating a pregnancy is a form of murder. Two very different things.

  • Perhaps I am getting senile, but I do remember Senator Boxer asking [some years ago, of course] “Since when is pregnancy a disease.”.

ObamaCare and Medicare

Thursday, August 20, AD 2009

An ad put together by Dick Morris for the League of American voters.  Morris is Bill Clinton’s campaign manager from 1996.  I’ve always regarded him as 80% bovine droppings artist and only 20% shrewd political analyst, but I think this is a highly effective ad.  The elderly are quickly becoming aware that any cost savings in regard to ObamaCare are going to be wrung out of medicare.   As a lifelong Republican, I also find it hilarious that Democrats, Democrats!, are coming a cropper on medicare.  Payback may not be an angry female dog, but it is rarely pleasant for the recipient.

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2 Responses to ObamaCare and Medicare

  • Douthat wrote a good column on this, although his advice was that the Republicans should be more cautious in playing the anti-Medicare-cost-savings role. I think I agree with him that it’s a “win the battle, lose the war” type move for Republicans.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/17/opinion/17douthat.html?_r=1

  • Two thoughts on this.

    First, there’s been a lot of snide commentary over the last month about people telling congressmen to “keep your government hands off my Medicare” and whatnot, with the implication being that grandpa doesn’t realize Medicare is a government program. What the comments seem to suggest, however, is a fear on the part of seniors that creating new government health care entitlements elsewhere will result in cutbacks on Medicare, which is precisely what Obama is in fact proposing. There may be more artful ways to express that fear in a sentence, but saying “keep your government hands off my Medicare” is not such a bad way of putting it.

    Second, I know a lot of people on the left (and on the right) view the public option as a step closer to single payer. But if Medicare is any indication the opposite is true. If the government hadn’t adopted Medicare and Medicaid in the midsixties we’d probably of had some sort of universal health care system years ago. As it is seniors are one of the major obstacles to expanding coverage.

Nat Hentoff on the Death Panels

Wednesday, August 19, AD 2009

Obama Fear

Nat Hentoff has always been my favorite Leftist atheist.  A strong pro-lifer in a New York milieu where pro-lifers are regarded with less tolerance than cannibals, Nat Hentoff is a man of the Left who always has been a strongly independent voice and mind.  In an article today, which is here, Hentoff confesses to being scared of the Obama administration:

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17 Responses to Nat Hentoff on the Death Panels

  • All that any government panel would do here is say what the government pays for; you’d be free, as always, to buy your own medical care above and beyond that. It’s quite odd to see so many conservatives acting as if a government welfare program absolutely must pay for anything and everything that someone wants, without regard for necessity, quality, or usefulness.

  • SB under ObamaCare there would rapidly be no private insurers. Without private insurance there would be no effective recourse from denial of coverage for treatment except for the independently wealthy which is precisely the case in Great Britain. This is of course why the US routinely is the destination for medical treatment by wealthy idividuals seeking treatment in this country that will not be paid for by the national health care plans in their country. This leaves aside the issue that many national health care plans forbid private payment for health treatment.

  • Donald, didn’t you and Nat Hentoff get the memo from Sharon Begley? This stuff about ‘death panels’ is all a ‘lie’.

  • Having just returned from Europe, I can report a great exasperation over the US debate. For what it’s worth, the NHS is by far the most popular part of the welfare state. When a Tory MEP went on American media to criticize it, Cameron stronly rebuked him. Europeans are absolutely disgusted that there can be opposition to the simple goal, the human right, of providing healthcare for all.

    And as for “death panels”, it is precisely the for-profit system that weighs human life by cost. In states today, hospitals have the power (even if family does not agree) to terminate life in cases where they deem not worth living. And for a direct comparison of the US and UK, consider what happened to Elizabeth Anscombe’s daughter.

  • Europeans are absolutely disgusted that there can be opposition to the simple goal, the human right, of providing healthcare for all.

    Well, bully for them

  • And bully for the Catholic church, which also sees it as a basic human right. And yet I have yet to see a single credible plan from the opponents of reform that would guarantee universal healthcare.

  • We will simply have to bear up under the disapproval of Europeans.

    In regard to the British National Health System here is a section of an article written in defense of that system which appeared in the New York Times recently:

    “But there are limits. Without an endless budget, the N.H.S. does have to ration care, by deciding, for instance, whether drugs that might add a few months to the life of a terminal cancer patient are worth the money. Its hospitals are not always clean. It is bureaucratic. Its doctors and nurses are overworked. Patients sometimes are treated as if they were supplicants rather than consumers. Women in labor are advised to bring their own infant’s diapers and their own cleaning products to the hospital. Sick people routinely have to wait for tests or for treatment.

    Because resources are finite and each region allocates care differently, waiting times can vary widely from place to place. So can treatment, as in the United States, regardless of how it is paid for.

    Limited in what treatments they can offer, doctors sometimes fail to advise patients of every option available — or every possible complication. American doctors, conversely, often seem strangely alarmist about your future and overeager to prescribe more expensive treatment.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/weekinreview/16lyall.html

  • Donald,

    I fully expect that in this iteration, there will be a market for non-approved care (and perhaps insurance to pay for it). Should non-approved care be deemed illegal in the next iteration, as was proposed in Hillarycare, this would be a black market. This, of course, would be the exclusive province of the wealthy.

    What I yet fail to grasp about the whole proposal is how doctors will stay in business with malpractice risks remaining static, and thus malpractice insurance premiums remaining high, while approved compensation is reduced.

    The “right” to healthcare becomes more difficult to obtain when there are fewer doctors.

  • Death Panel a Lie? The bill stipulates 11 people, none a spiritual advisor, come up with the guidelines for what a “provider” (not necessarily a Dr.) will be required to tell you regarding end of life counseling then record your wishes (answers) in a database. The goal is to quit spending money to keep people alive. “Death squad” is strong language, but not entirely out of line.

    Funny I have never heard any real evidence that people would actually chose to quit suffering. Certainly you could argue that families are keeping people alive that may have opted out of critical life support, but equally there are people who’s loved ones pulled the plug, where the patient may have decided not to. What makes anyone think the margin of error is not 50/50. Additionally what about the people like me that let my wife know my wishes, but have given her the permission for final say so. I worry about her burden more then my suffering. Suffrage is part of our salvation.

    Can you see it now, a spouse arguing “keep him alive” and the government computer with a DNR checkmark next to the patient’s name, which was made by a government worker put in a database built overseas to the lowest Bidder? National rent a car just charged my business rental to my home credit card. They blamed a “software refresh”.

  • In regard to the British National Health System and euthanasia, I don’t know what else to call this except deathcare:

    http://www.tldm.org/News12/Britain'sPathwayToEuthanasia.htm

  • “The “right” to healthcare becomes more difficult to obtain when there are fewer doctors.”

    Oh DMinor, ye of little faith! His Obamaness will simply bring forth new legions of doctors through government fiat: complete government control of their practice, less money, longer hours, who could resist that!

  • I have been following the uproar in the British press regarding MEP Daniel Hannan’s comments. The thing that struck me was that both his critics and supporters seem to agree that mixed sex wards are a bit much.

    I think most Americans would balk at the very idea of wards, nevermind mixed sex ones! I have had more experience of being a patient than I would have liked over the past few years. Being an inpatient is not fun, even if you have a private room. Being in a ward with 29 strangers of both sexes – oh, yes, that’s quite “progressive” – by the standards of 1870.

  • Anyone who thinks that citing European snobs is helpful when arguing with Americans is letting his passion get the better of his ability to make an argument.

    Anyway, I don’t get the passion here. I care about whether people are healthy. But, as any literate person knows, insured-status is a very poor proxy for whether someone gets healthcare, and then getting healthcare is a very poor proxy for whether someone is actually made healthy.

    For the information of people not blinded by ideology and rage, listen to this amazing fact: The number of people killed by getting healthcare (hospital infections, doctor error, etc) is 43 TIMES the number of people who die for lack of health insurance. (Compare http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2004/mar2004_awsi_death_02.htm and http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/healthcare/2002-05-22-insurance-deaths.htm).

    43 times the number of dead people. Killed by healthcare.

    Too startling a figure, you say? A more conservative estimate comes from Barbara Starfield’s JAMA article in 2000, which estimated that 225,000 people die every year from getting too much healthcare. That’s 12 times the number allegedly killed for a lack of health insurance.

    But people who wouldn’t know a JAMA article from a NEJM article are all whining about how to give more healthcare to more people.

  • S.B.’s argument that from 12 to 43 times as many people die FROM healthcare as from a lack of health insurance would seem to indicate that we should be arguing for LIMITING health insurance coverage instead of expanding it.

    Or, rather, it would if you followed the same logic as those who insist that the allegedly vast numbers of people dying from lack of health insurance proves we need a national or universal health care system.

  • Ivan Illich was something of a crank, but he did have a point to make about the degree to which life expectancy is fairly insensitive to the sophistication of medical practice and the degree to which illness can be iatrogenic. I have a wretched example in my immediate family.

  • MM,

    Did you see fit to inform your European interlocutors that Americans are (when they bother to think of the continent) totally disgusted with the collapse of religion and the family in Europe, with the overall low wages and economic opportunity, and with the social acceptability of sport event violence and public drunkeness? Or do you only convey disapproval one way — from former colonial masters to their ex-subjects who better stop dragging their knuckles and bloody-well get with the program? Overall, the fact that more Europeans relocate to the US than Americans relocate to Europe probably tells us more about how people really feel than your discussions with like-minded friends across the pond.

    SB,

    In a sense, the comparison is a bit simplistic. I think a better analysis might be the percentage of people admitted to hospital who die from (or are seriously injured by) hospital contracted diseases and malpractice versus the percentage of the uninsured who die from lacking essential mediate care.

    Still, the overall point is very important: Health care and health are not synonymous. For example, if you eliminate accidents, suicides and homicides, the US actually has a higher life expectancy than any of the countries our health care system is usually compared to. And although everyone (except apparently MM) recognizes the UK’s NHS is a total cluster, and death rates from nearly all specific ailement (especially preventable hospital-contracted diseases resulting from lack of sanitary conditions) are much higher in the UK than elsewhere in Europe, their life expectancy is actually pretty much the same as in countries with much more functional health care systems.

    Medical care can help individual people life longer, but the effect of health care provision on overall population life expectancy is much more remote. (I suppose because how long you live _after_ beign diagnosed with cancer doesn’t have all that much effect on the overall population life expectancy — as compared to factors like how common cancer and heart disease are overall.)

  • Elaine — that’s an interesting idea. For example, there is a very good case for having the government implement a Pigouvian tax or a fine on the use of antibiotics. The overuse of antibiotics has led to resistant superbugs, such as MRSA, which then kill or maim people. It’s a public health hazard. It’s surreal that we’re talking about making the health hazard worse (i.e., helping people pay for antibiotics).