Desert Cat's Paradise
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." - Proverbs 27:12.
Thursday, March 31, 2005
ABC News: DeLay Targets Legal System in Schiavo CaseComments
There are a select few judges that may deserve impeachment (Whittenmore (sp?) for one), but the better place to focus is on new laws that clear the muddy waters that this case waded through and establish a clear standard that in cases where no advance directive is given, and there are significant questions about the wishes of the disabled or incapacitated person, that the presumption shall be made in favor of life.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:06 PM | permalink
And, as usual, the Europeans are wrong.Comments
Europeans See Issue As Strictly Medical (washingtonpost.com)
But why, I ask again, do we give a flying rip about what the Europeans think, except as a measure of what we should NOT be doing?
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:55 PM | permalink
Whipping therapy cures depression and suicide crises - PRAVDA.Ru:Comments
Siberian scientists believe that addiction to alcohol and narcotics, as well as depression, suicidal thoughts and psychosomatic diseases occur when an individual loses his or her interest in life. The absence of the will to live is caused with decreasing production of endorphins - the substance, which is known as the hormone of happiness. If a depressed individual receives a physical punishment, whipping that is, it will stir up endorphin receptors, activate the "production of happiness" and eventually remove depressive feelings.
The whipping therapy becomes much more efficient when a patients receives the punishment from a person of the opposite sex. The effect is astounding: the patient starts seeing only bright colors in the surrounding world, the heartache disappears, although it will take a certain time for the buttocks to heal, of course,' Sergei Speransky told the Izvestia newspaper.
There's at least one more thing it would stir up...
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:22 PM | permalink
I hate to pull excerpts, because the whole thing is so good, but here goes:
On the bright side, after two weeks of TV coverage of the Terri Schiavo case, I think we have almost all liberals in America on record saying we can pull the plug on them. Of course, if my only means of entertainment were Air America radio, Barbra Streisand albums and reruns of "The West Wing," I too would be asking: "What kind of quality of life is this?"
Now CLICK and read the rest...if you can handle it.
dead mousie to Rodger
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:31 PM | permalink
Big Surprise -- Not
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:21 AM | permalink
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Terri Schiavo DiesComments
Terri Schiavo died Thursday morning around 10 a.m.
...about 1/2 hour ago, as I write this.
They succeeded. They killed her.
Rest in peace, my sister...
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:36 AM | permalink
Family: Terri Schiavo growing weaker, condition deteriorating"Comments
Pavone said Schiavo was "breathing very rapidly and shallowly. She is obviously very gaunt and drawn, and her face is sunken." He called it, "the face of inhumanity."
"In looking at her, you can tell this is someone in great distress and great agony," Pavone said. "Her facial expression, if you had to put an emotion on it, is one of great distress, even approaching terror."
As the deer pants for streams of water,
He and some of her family members visited her this morning.
Bobby Schindler and his sister, Suzanne Vitadamo, were "sitting there praying, holding her hand, stroking her hair," Pavone said.
"We were saying to her, 'Terri, there are a lot of people around the country praying for you,'" Pavone said. "We were all saying the same things, assuring her that we are here, we're not going away."
Standing with you, praying with you, holding your hand, whether in the Spirit or in person, crying out in the Spirit on your behalf. We're not going away, until you have gone from us...
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:57 AM | permalink
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
In better news, Frank J of IMAO fame, proposed to the lovely Miss Sarah K.Comments
I'm doing the Cheshire Cat impression about now...
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:28 PM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:15 PM | permalink
O I love it when someone parodies the Big Dogs of the Blogosphere!Comments
Go click. Laugh. Return. (Don't we all need a laugh about now?)
Blogging the moon landing
dead mousie to Kathy K
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:39 PM | permalink
POPE PUT ON FEEDING TUBEComments
How long before someone suggests his life is not worth living anymore, and the tube should be pulled to allow him to starve/dehydrate to death?
If you haven't yet read that David Brooks article (next post), please do. It's about the best way I've seen for either side to understand the fundamentally different origins of the other side's perspective.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:23 PM | permalink
"My opinion" David BrooksComments
David Brooks has a fair comparison-in-a nutshell here, of the social liberal versus social conservative positions regarding the case of Terri Schiavo, and the fundamental difference of perspective it highlights.
I don't want to highlight any part of it, as it needs to be read in its entirety for proper context.
In fact if you read this article, you need not read any more opinion writing on the topic, as he has nearly perfectly encapsulated each side.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:05 PM | permalink
Most of the time, we never know for sure what a starved or dehydrated person experiences. But in at least one case -- that of a young woman who had her feeding tube removed for eight days and lived to tell the tale -- we have direct evidence of the agony that forced dehydration may cause.Comments
At age 33, Kate Adamson collapsed from a devastating and incapacitating stroke. She was utterly unresponsive and was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). At the urging of doctors, who believed she would never get better, her nourishment was stopped. But midway through the dehydration process, she began to show subtle signs of comprehension, so her food and water were restored.
Adamson eventually recovered sufficiently to author "Kate's Journey: Triumph Over Adversity," in which she tells the terrifying tale. Rather than being unconscious with no chance of recovery as her doctors believed, she was actually awake and aware but unable to move any part of her body voluntarily. (This is known as a "locked-in state.") When she appeared recently on "The O'Reilly Factor," host Bill O'Reilly asked Adamson about the dehydration experience:
In preparation for this article, I contacted Adamson for more details about the torture she experienced while being dehydrated. She told me about having been operated upon (to have her feeding tube inserted in her abdomen) with inadequate anesthesia when doctors believed she was unconscious. Unbelievably, she described being deprived of food and water as "far worse" than experiencing the pain of abdominal surgery, telling me:
The agony of going without food was a constant pain that lasted not several hours like my operation did, but several days. You have to endure the physical pain and on top of that you have to endure the emotional pain. Your whole body cries out, "Feed me. I am alive and a person, don't let me die, for God's Sake! Somebody feed me."
But what about the thirst, I asked:
I craved anything to drink. Anything. I obsessively visualized drinking from a huge bottle of orange Gatorade. And I hate orange Gatorade. I did receive lemon flavored mouth swabs to alleviate dryness but they did nothing to slack my desperate thirst.
Apologists for dehydrating patients like Terri might respond that Terri is not conscious and locked-in as Adamson was but in a persistent vegetative state and thus would feel nothing. Yet, the PVS diagnosis is often mistaken -- as indeed it was in Adamson's case. And while the courts have all ruled that Terri is unconscious based on medical testimony, this is strongly disputed by other medical experts and Terri's family who insist that she is interactive with them. Moreover, it is undisputed that whatever her actual level of awareness, Terri does react to painful stimuli. Intriguingly, her doctor testified he prescribes pain medication for her every month during the course of her menstrual period.
From here: A "Painless" Death?
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:42 AM | permalink
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
This is breaking news as of late Tues/early Wed. Is this a 13th hour (too late) development? I pray a ruling does not come too late, if the ruling is made in Terri's favor...Comments
Yahoo! News - Federal Appeals Court OKs Schiavo Review
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:08 PM | permalink
Jesse Jackson Blasts Terri's 'Violent' DeathComments
"Rev. Jesse Jackson has broken with his fellow Democrats to blast what he said was the 'violent' execution of Terri Schiavo, calling it 'a great moral and ethical crisis that we should address.'"
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:36 PM | permalink
Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and an attorney and consultant for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. His current book is the revised and updated "Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope From Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder."Comments
Read his article here: A Painless Death?
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:35 PM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:59 AM | permalink
If I hear a cackling, shrieking laughter from the next room, I know that Daisycat is reading Ballard Street comics. They seem to hit dead-center on her funnybone!Comments
Me, I'm mildly amused, but my funnybone seems to be located elsewhere.
Ballard Street is now linked on the right sidebar.
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:10 AM | permalink
Monday, March 28, 2005Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:18 AM | permalink
CTV.ca | Supporters of Schiavo's parents to push caseComments
"They've begun to give her morphine drip for the pain. And at this point, we would say Terri has passed the point of no return," Gibbs said.
To those who want to see her die, who say she has no awareness left, no way to feel pain or to be aware that she is dying, in short, no person there to have a right to life--if this is true, then WHY GIVE HER MORPHINE FOR PAIN?!
"Just in case...?"
If the question is "just in case" she is feeling the agony of dying of dehydration, then for the love of all that is good and right and just in this country, GIVE HER FOOD AND WATER until a proper examination of her true state of existence can be made!
An MRI and a PET scan, previously prohibited by her "husband", would allow a convincing diagnosis as to whether she is minimally conscious or if she really is in a persistent vegetative state.
"Just in case"... The courts prefer to err on the side of state sanctioned murder of an innocent?! God help us all.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:56 AM | permalink
Sunday, March 27, 2005
U.S. Newswire : Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader, Author Wesley Smith call Upon Florida Courts, Gov. Bush and Concerned Citizens to Take any Legal Action Available to let Schiavo LiveComments
" The court is imposing process over justice."
Yes! That is exactly what my point was. And it is on this point that I'm disgusted with some folks on the right. Which is really more important? Are we so enamored with the system we have set up, that we are willing to overlook a gross miscarriage of justice in order to preserve the system as it stands?
Look, I've heard the arguments (Federalism, yadda, separation of powers, yadda...) but as I noted before, every jury that is seated in a trial is empowered to render justice. They do not judge the merits of the process. When a jury goes into deliberation, they have the power to say, "the law and the facts presented appear to dictate Verdict X. However we do not believe that Verdict X would result in justice being served. Therefore we return Verdict Y."
Judges and lawyers press hard for juries to consider the merits of the case and the letter of the law, but this does not change the fact that juries are empowered to judge the law itself. Most jurists realize they are not scoring a debate, where the result is points on a scorecard. They are judging real-life consequences.
Justice is the bottom line. Not process.
It seems to me that the process, the system itself has become corrupt. When the courts can freely thumb their nose at a constitutionally valid exercise of Congressional power, the imbalance in the system has just been clearly illustrated. This is most certainly tied to the concern the Right has long expressed about judicial activism and the overreaching judiciary.
And is the Right really so consistent on issues of Federalism? No. What is with the recent tort reform legislation then? That legislation, just recently passed by a Republican Congress and signed by our Republican President effectively removed jurisdiction for certain lawsuits from state courts to federal courts! Why? Because it was the judgement of the majority in Congress that justice was not being well-served when these suits were tried in state courts. It was a constitutional exericise of the Congress' power to dictate the jurisdiction of the courts.
Looks like I'm a couple days late in noting this, but Ralph Nader coming down on this side of the question strikes me as quite an interesting side note to this whole tragedy. I'm still not sure what to make of it. More from Nader:
After the first trial in this case, much evidence has been produced that should allow for a new trial-which was the point of the hasty federal legislation. If this were a death penalty case, this evidence would demand reconsideration. Yet, an innocent disabled woman is receiving less justice.
Click here to read more
What would be the right thing to do at this point? Congress required the courts to re-examine this case de novo. The courts have refused to do so. On what basis? That question, as well as the de novo examination of the case will be moot if Terri is killed. The bottom line is justice for Terri, not the political ramifications. The State of Florida must take Terri Schiavo into custody to save her life until the courts can be compelled to carry out the Congressional requirement to re-examine her case from scratch. Governor Bush has the power to do so--if he has the will. It appears that he does not. Does this reflect more respect for law than the rights of citizens the law is supposed to protect? Or just an effort to appear "middle of the road".
There's only one thing in the middle of the road--roadkill.
Lefties--remember Elian Gonzales? Remember that the courts (the very same court as this case, by the way) said he should not be returned to Cuba? Remember what Janet Reno and Clinton did ANYWAY? A Clintonista said it was "the right thing to do", to hell with what the courts said, to hell with the process. Those who supported the actions of the Reno Justice Department in the Elian Gonzales case would have no leg to stand on if Governor Bush were to do something similar.
There are lousy precedents being set all over the place here. Meanwhile an innocent woman is dying.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:00 PM | permalink
More information here from Michelle Malkin regarding the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of living wills.Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:50 PM | permalink
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Daisycat and I went to see Dougie MacLean in concert Thursday night. Just a guy and a guitar, singing his Scottish tunes. With my melancholy over Terri Schiavo, his reflective tunes about life, meanings, and family ties, just added to my sober reflection.Comments
Beautiful, simple music.
Photos of Dougie MacLean "poking" about Tucson
Brin-Marie also saw him in concert Friday in her town. Click the link to read her review.
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:33 PM | permalink
WorldNetDaily: Terri's money used to pay for starvation deathComments
This is a rather in-depth examination of many of the background issues, specifically the financial finagling that may have led to Michael Schiavo's decision to terminate Terri's care.
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:06 PM | permalink
"Africa has been a troubled region for some time. Unstable politics, genocide, aids outbreaks, mass starvation - we do what we can to help, we send money to Sally Struthers, but do we really think Africa is going to get better and be a fully functional continent again? Sure, we can keep things patched together, but each day Africa exists is just another day of suffering. It's time we face up to reality and give Africa the peace it needs in a natural end.Comments
It's time we starve everyone in Africa to death"
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:04 AM | permalink
Friday, March 25, 2005
This blogger has a firsthand account of what it is like to be without food and water for several days. No pleasant euphoria is this!Comments
I disagree with her conclusions about what must be done, but READ THIS if you're still convinced that death from dehydration is a pleasant, painless proposition: I Can Hear The Ocean
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:24 PM | permalink
Frank J. weighs in: "Should anyone ever die to preserve the principle of checks and balances?"Comments
From the comments of that post, Joel V reminds us of the following:
Starvation may be relatively painless, but that is not what Terri faces. She will die of dehydration. Have you ever been so thirsty you were in a state of panic, and would do anything for a drink of water? I have, and it is not a good feeling. Plus, when you are extremely dehydrated, you start to get horrendous headaches, and your muscles start cramping. THIS IS NOT A PLEASANT WAY TO DIE.
This seems to be consistent with my impressions...
posted by Desert Cat @ 4:24 PM | permalink
...to copy paste and point to on this blog. But I'll try.Comments
From Dave at Garfield Ridge in the comments of this post at Ace of Spades:
This issue came up earlier in the week, in Peggy Noonan's excellent piece on Schiavo, where she talked about how life-- all life-- would be precious to Christian conservatives because it was a gift from the Almighty.
Very good point! In fact a true atheist/materialist has far more to lose, based on his/her belief system than does a Christian. But there is a venomous, frothing mindset anongst many on the left, that any of the positions or beliefs held dear by Christians are automatically wrong, Wrong, WRONG for the country as a whole. I present to you Dave at Garfield Ridge, as Exhibit A to illustrate the irrationality of that mindset.
posted by Desert Cat @ 2:34 PM | permalink
Many have been using the Terri Schiavo situation to remind people to prepare a living will, in the case that they are incapacitated, and do not wish for certain measures to be taken to preserve their life. That is a worthy goal, for people who do NOT want to receive life extending or life enhancing treatment if they are incapacitated.Comments
However, Terri Schiavo plight has brought into the awful spotlight the truth that, absent any explicit wishes to the contrary, the courts, healthcare providers, and estranged spouses are likely to terminate your life for their own convenience. The presumption is no longer in favor of life in this country, regardless of what your own wishes would have been.
If you believe, as I do, that Terri did not and would not have wanted her life to be terminated in this gruesome manner, and YOU would not want to endure the same fate, then I strongly urge you to take a look at these suggested guidlines for preparing your own "Will to Live" document. The guidelines are state specific and permit you to declare in advance that you DO wish to receive life extending and/or life enhancing care, (and to also declare under what specific conditions you do NOT wish to receive care).
This may or may not be sufficient to stop determined courts, healthcare providers and/or relatives from terminating your life early against your wishes, given the present legal climate and "culture of death" in this country, but it is far better than doing nothing at all.
NRLC--Will To Live Project
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:56 PM | permalink
Thursday, March 24, 2005
They've sentenced you to die, sentenced you to die, for no more crime than living too long.
I am so incredibly sorry...
All the king's horses and all the king's men flapped their arms and smacked their gums, and said "there's nothing more we can do". Nothing, that is, except doing that which is right...
When I reached out, I was surprised to find you there, pleading for your life. I promised to intercede for you. I promised to carry you with my prayers to the end, whatever the outcome.
I felt your fear--cold fear that gripped you when you awoke, only to find the world was still the same. I felt your grief--the bitter betryal, the sharp stab of loss--for your own life being snatched away. I cried the tears that you could not cry.
I will cry more of them before you are gone.
Now when I reach out, I no longer find you awake and aware. Though you yet live, you are elsewhere, perhaps drifting in and out, wandering the half-worlds between this one and the next. Or perhaps you tarry at the portals of your destiny, waiting as a bride who awaits her bridegroom.
And you are His bride, and He is your bridegroom. Dressed in white as you were years ago, but more beautiful yet, if that is possible. He will come for you, and though it was His desire that you live, He is ready to take you home.
Someday I will join you, though I hope for it to be under more favorable circumstances. In a certain way I envy you, but as you wished, I too wish to live out every day under the sun that is given to me to live. Every breath is sacred, even unto the bitter end, and there is an accounting for the sake of all those whose lives are cut off unjustly. When my last is reached, I too will join you in that city, in that realm, seated with you at the feast table of the King.
And there we will have peace--there where all things are fulfilled, where all things are made right. There in the eternity of a moment, in the presence of the One we lived for, our joy will be made complete.
Update: 3/25 AM, Agony! PM, nausea, drifting in and out of feverish dreams, vaguely aware of surroundings, passing thought, "it's almost suppertime, when will they come by and feed me...", dreams and perception blending together somewhat incoherently. Are they giving her morphine intermittently? This might explain the variability of awareness.
3/26 AM, This morning she's awake, in "somewhat" less pain (compared to yesterday). She can see out her window--sees the sunlight on the trees. Someone told her the fight is nearly up in the courts--she's feeling a return of despair. I'm praying, praying she can stay focused on her family members when they visit, their love, their care, and for the Spirit's abiding presence, to soothe the feelings of loss.
posted by Desert Cat @ 2:23 PM | permalink
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Charles Krauthammer has a thoughtful article here on the situation surrounding Terri Schiavo:Between Travesty and Tragedy (washingtonpost.com)Comments
I very much agree that this tragedy should prompt a very serious look at the laws that apply in a case like this, to ensure something like this never plays out in this manner again. As Krauthammer said, call it "Terri's law" and make sure that the presumption is in favor of life, where there is any question about the will of the person affected.
It won't help Terri any, but I am grieved to confess, I think it might be too late for her at this point anyway, save for the last hope that may lie in Gov. Bush's efforts.
Lord help us to forgive those who trespass against us...
dead mousie to Bill@INDC
UPDATE: What I want to know is, if the law, scrupulously followed, leads to a morally repulsive result (as Krauthammer puts it), why is it there no will in the judiciary to correct that result? Even juries have the power of nullification if the law in question is unjust!
Not that there isn't that will, when the issue has to do with anything besides right to life issues. In fact, liberal judicial activism is one of the bugbears of the right. But God help that poor woman if the question of her right to life hits the courts! Then the law is followed scrupulously, to the letter, to the dotted I and crossed T, and the result is declared RIGHTEOUS, however repugnant!
I haven't looked at it in detail, but Article 14 is allegedly where Congress' authority to pass this emergency legislation came from. This howling about Federalism is misguided in this case. The one place where the Federal government has an overriding concern is in the preservation of fundamental liberties, including the most fundamental right to life.
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:20 PM | permalink
Rodger at Curmudgeonly & Skeptical takes a dark humor approach...Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 4:10 PM | permalink
The Globe and Mail: Appeals court rejects Schaivo plea: "Meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush suggested that he and Congress had done their best to help the parents prolong Schiavo's life, and the White House said it has no further legal options."Comments
Arm flapping and gum smacking...
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:58 PM | permalink
If there is one thing that is becoming clear to me in the midst of this tragedy it is this: the American left, it seems, wants to believe it can wipe out human suffering by wiping out humans who suffer.Comments
We've been here before. And just in the last century, too.
Then they have the gall to call us Nazis.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:35 AM | permalink
Gullyborg has published his Living WillComments
Sounds damn good to me. Lest anyone mistake my own will to live, I feel just about the same as he does. And don't think that just because I'm a nice Christian boy, I won't find some way to haunt your ass if you dare to yank my plug!
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:25 AM | permalink
CBS News | 2nd Judge Says No Feeding Tube: "A federal appeals court has refused to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube, denying an emergency request from the brain-damaged woman's parents. The parents are expected to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, their final option. "Comments
My prayers continue to be with you, sweetheart.
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:14 AM | permalink
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Sorry for no link. Found secondhand from the comments section of this post.Comments
From the NY Times:
February 8, 2005 Signs of Awareness Seen in Brain-Injured Patients By BENEDICT CAREY
Thousands of brain-damaged people who are treated as if they are almost completely unaware may in fact hear and register what is going on around them but be unable to respond, a new brain-imaging study suggests.
The findings, if repeated in follow-up experiments, could have sweeping implications for how to care best for these patients. Some experts said the study, which appeared yesterday in the journal Neurology, could also have consequences for legal cases in which parties dispute the mental state of an unresponsive patient.
(...click THE SANDBOX (below)to read everything in the middle of the article here...)
The research showed that the brain-imaging technology, magnetic resonance imaging, can be a powerful tool to help doctors and family members determine whether a person has lost all awareness or is still somewhat mentally engaged, experts said.
"This study gave me goose bumps, because it shows this possibility of this profound isolation, that these people are there, that they've been there all along, even though we've been treating them as if they're not," said Dr. Joseph Fins, chief of the medical ethics division of New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. Dr. Fins was not involved in the study but collaborates with its authors on other projects.
Other experts warned that the new research was more suggestive than conclusive, and that it did not mean that unresponsive people with brain damage were more likely to recover or that treatment was yet possible.
But they said the study did open a window on a world that has been neglected by medical inquiry. "This is an extremely important work, for that reason alone," said Dr. James Bernat, a professor of neurology at Dartmouth.
Dr. Bernat said findings from studies like these would be relevant to cases like that of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman with brain damage who has been kept alive for years against her husband's wishes. In that case, which drew the attention of Gov. Jeb Bush and the Legislature, relatives of Ms. Schiavo disagreed about her condition, and a brain-imaging test - once it has been standardized - could help determine whether brain damage has extinguished awareness.
The patients in question have significant brain damage. Three million to six million Americans live with the consequences of serious brain injuries, neurologists said. An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 of them are in what is called a minimally conscious state: they are bedridden, cannot communicate and are unable to feed or care for themselves, but they typically breathe on their own.
They may occasionally react to instructions to blink their eyes or even reach for a glass, although such responses are unpredictable. By observing behavior in a bedside examination, neurologists can determine whether a person is minimally conscious or in a "persistent vegetative state" - without awareness, and almost certain not to recover.
In the study, a team of neuroscientists in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., used imaging technology to compare brain activity in two young men determined to be minimally conscious with that of seven healthy men and women. In a measure of overall brain activity, the two groups were vastly different: the two minimally conscious men showed less than half the activity of the others.
But the researchers also recorded an audiotape for each of the nine subjects in which a relative or loved one reminisced, telling familiar stories and recalling shared experiences. In each of the brain-damaged patients, the sound of the voice prompted a pattern of brain activity similar to that of the healthy participants.
"We assumed we would get some minimal response in these patients, but nothing like this," said Dr. Nicholas Schiff, an assistant professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan and the study's lead author. The two men showed near-normal patterns in the language-processing areas of their brains, Dr. Schiff said, suggesting that some neural networks "could be perfectly preserved under some conditions."
Although the number of patients studied was very small, the specificity and intricacy of the patterns made it all but impossible that the results were a fluke, said Dr. Joy Hirsch, director of the Functional MRI Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center and the study's senior author.
One of the two minimally conscious men lay still in a brain-imaging machine while his sister recounted his toast at her wedding and recalled times playing together as children. Although his eyes were closed, the researchers found that visual areas of his brain were active, suggesting that he might have been producing images, Dr. Hirsch said.
"We do not know for sure what is happening in this man's head, but if he were imagining things at the sound of his sister's voice, that would suggest some connection to emotion," Dr. Hirsch said.
Since the study was completed, Dr. Hirsch said, the team has run the same kinds of tests on seven similar brain-injury patients, with similar results: the language processing networks in their brains display seemingly normal patterns upon their hearing the voice of a loved one. The government has provided financing for the team to conduct a larger study of mental activity in minimally conscious people.
A better understanding of brain patterns in minimally conscious patients should also help cut down on misdiagnosis by doctors, Dr. Fins said. He said one study had found that as many as 30 percent of patients identified as being unaware, in a persistently vegetative state, were not. They were minimally conscious.
Moreover, mental states can change over time, and some patients have almost completely recovered function after being thought vegetative. Brain imaging would be one way to track these changes, and even link them to efforts at treatment. Doctors have no cure for either a minimally conscious or persistently vegetative state.
"The most consequential thing about this is that we have opened a door, we have found an objective voice for these patients, which tells us they have some cognitive ability in a way they cannot tell us themselves," Dr. Hirsch said. The patients are, she added, "more human than we imagined in the past, and it is unconscionable not to aggressively pursue research efforts to evaluate them and develop therapeutic techniques."
Which is why a presumption in favor of life is so crucial!
What is happening to Terri is breaking my heart. I am convinced that this is NOT what she wanted. That is the witness that I've received.
"Sweet Jesus, cradle her in your arms, comfort her and give her peace."
(Click Here to return to Main Page)
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:27 PM | permalink
Vox blasts away at both sides from his lofty perch:Comments
I hope you will forgive me if I don't bother trying to fake any sense of outrage over the Schiavo affair. Although there are those who will attempt to deny the 'slippery slope' argument, it is easily demonstrable in both historical and current terms, which is why I have long expected this. The process of legitimizing murder by defining humanity in such a way to exclude the unborn, the disabled, the sick, the elderly and the undesired is a well-known one and since parts of Europe - Holland, particularly - have already moved well along this process, it is no surprise to see the usual suspects following suit in America.Continue reading...
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:54 PM | permalink
The words of Jesus:Comments
Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'Matthew 25:34-40
Lord, I am interceding on behalf of my sister today! May that which is right in your sight prevail today--and not that which is right in the sight of men. Let those who have the power to restore food and drink to Terri Schindler, do so before it is too late!
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:59 AM | permalink
Last Visit NarrativeComments
The most dramatic event of this visit happened at one point when I was sitting on Terri's bed next to Suzanne. Terri was sitting in her lounge chair and her aunt was standing at the foot of the chair. I stood up and learned over Terri. I took her arms in both of my hands. I said to her, "Terri if you could only say 'I want to live' this whole thing could be over today." I begged her to try very hard to say, "I want to live." To my enormous shock and surprise, Terri's eyes opened wide, she looked me square in the face, and with a look of great concentration, she said, "Ahhhhhhh." Then, seeming to summon up all the strength she had, she virtually screamed, "Waaaaaaaa." She yelled so loudly that Michael Vitadamo, Suzanne's husband, and the female police officer who were then standing together outside Terri's door, clearly heard her.
PLease go read the rest...
More Here and Here.
Terri & Mom
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Monday, March 21, 2005
US Congress, Bush vote for life:Comments
"The US Congress and President George W. Bush have made a strong pitch for life in the right-to-die case involving Florida's brain-damaged Terri Schiavo, who has been in a vegetative state for 15 years and is supported by a feeding tube.
Thank you sir! Thank you Congresscritters. For once, your actions are speaking as loudly as your words. Don't think we haven't noticed.
Of course this only starts the next round. Perhaps this time her parents will prevail and be allowed to care for her as they clearly wish to. Perhaps now she will have the chance to receive therapy, and a chance to receive a more careful examination of her cognitive functioning and her prognosis for some measure of improvement.
To Michael Schiavo I would say, "take the $1M that was offered to you and bug out! No one believes you when you say you love your wife and only want for her what she would have wanted. You're a lying, scheming jackal--a vulture hovering and waiting for the meat to grow still and cold. Take your bone and scram! Let her family care for her, even if you won't."
But the bottom line is that our leaders had the cojones to draw a line in the sand against the forces that would cheapen life, reducing it to a commodity that can be weighed against its "burden", or bargained away for the sake of someone else's convenience. Thanks again! And thanks to God for answered prayers!
UPDATE: It's not over yet, prayer warriors. Keep on praying!
Judge Won't Issue Decision on Schiavo Yet
UPDATE 2: Does anyone doubt that this woman should be permitted to live? Take a look at these video clips filmed by her family, about halfway down the page: Terri Schindler-Schiavo Foundation.
She is clearly not a living corpse, surviving only on life support. She is a severely disabled woman who is nevertheless aware of her surroundings. She responds with a warm smile to her mother's minstrations, opens her eyes wide after some effort when asked to do so, and is able to track movement around her room. There is clearly a person there, however limited she is in her capabilities.
And as a person, she is said to be "endowed by (her) Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." To deny her nutrition and hydration is to deny her life, just as surely as denying an infant nutrition would be.
Nevertheless she has been ordered to be killed by dehydration, by a judge who sides with her "husband's" wishes to be rid of her.
Is this what we want in this country? Persons with severe disabilities to be euthanized when certain people no longer want them around? How severe should the disability be? How inconvenient must a person be, to justify euthanasia? How soon will it be in this country before someone else is making life and death decisions about your worth?
UPDATE 3: Judge refuses request for tube reinsertion, parents to appeal
May her blood be upon your hands, Judge James Whittemore.
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:20 PM | permalink
Sunday, March 20, 2005
...of glory divine.Comments
Yesterday Daisycat and I went wildflower hunting. I've got dozens of photos to process and upload, and I hope to do so in the next couple of days. Meanwhile enjoy the foretaste of what is to come!
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It's tax time, and in the Cat household I celebrate the joy of being the one to sift through mountains of receipts and forms to prepare for the annual raping.Comments
Rather than sit inside, where I am sure to develop a headache, a backache and an attitude problem to go with the pre-existing pain-in-the-ass, I dragged my laptop out to the garden. It's partly cloudy, breezy and mid-60'ish. The citrus are all in bloom as well as the Jasminum grandiflorum. The scent is--as you can well imagine--heavenly, whenever the breeze wafts it this direction. The fig has leafed out, the lotus in the pond are putting out new little leaves...and I can spot a dozen gardening chores from here.
Nonetheless, the paperwork beckons. Armed with a stack of rocks and big binder clips (to hold the stacks still), I begin my task undaunted.
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Friday, March 18, 2005
If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals--if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
So when I call myself a 'libertarian conservative', I suppose I am using a definition similar to what Reagan used for 'conservative'. Not all that came from his administration was libertarian, by far (think: drug war), but he was certainly one of the most libertarian presidents of the twentieth century.
Too bad for the modern Republicans that they don't seem to be able to grasp just what it was that people liked about Reagan's politics, and are blithely heading off in the opposite direction.
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Herald.com | 03/18/2005 | Judge rejects Congress' subpoenaComments
So what will it be, Republicans? Do what must be done? Or flap your arms and your gums and claim to be helpless? You're in power now.
Are you truly for life, or not?
There is no reason this woman should be killed. She is not in a "persistent vegetative state" as some have claimed (the tests that have been permitted are "inconclusive"). She is severely impaired, but then so are many of the stroke patients that Daisycat treats, most of whom recover some or all of their function with proper therapy.
Terry has been denied rehabilitation services that could have allowed her to recover much more than she has. She needs to be taken out of the custody of the man who wants nothing more than to see her dead so that he can use her money for his own selfish desires.
If nothing is done to stop this brutality, a severe blow will be struck against the sacredness of human life in this nation. Is the abortion holocaust to now be extended to the severely disabled? How soon before other "inconvenient" people are judged to be unworthy of life? The elderly sick who are too much of a "burden" to their families? Fully birthed children who are sick or disabled? Who next? People with "inconvenient" attitudes, beliefs and faiths? Don't be so quick to dismiss the possibilty. History is rife with examples, as we well know. Not to mention that infanticide and the termination of the elderly is already happening in Europe.
I pray to God that she be allowed to live and recover, and not be killed.
Schindler family attorney David Gibbs on Terri's condition:
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Here's what's happening and where in the Arizona desert wildflower scene:Comments
DesertUSA - Arizona Wildflower Update
Tomorrow Daisycat and I are going to take a roadtrip out into it, to get our share of this rare event.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Yesterday was International Eat An Animal For PETA Day, but Daisycat wasn't feeling too well. So instead we went today toComments
Famous Dave's Barbeque.
This is seriously about the best barbecue a person is going to find outside of Texas or the deep south, and it probably could hold its own against many genuine "down home" establishments. It is awesomely good! Click on the link, they have a restaurant finder by zip code, to see if there is one near you.
I have decided that my favorite item is the Georgia Chopped Pork, although the Barbequed Ribs are very close seconds. But the way to go if you've never been there, or if you're with a group of people, is to order the All American Feast
There's enough food loaded on that garbage can lid to feed 4-5 people (or so they say). I know Daisycat and I could polish it off between the two of us if we came hungry enough. Or rather, Daisycat would eat just what she wanted and I'd polish off the rest.
They've got a selection of no less than six barbecue sauces to choose from at each table, ranging from mild all the way up to "Devil Spit". My favorite for the chopped pork is called "Georgia Mustard". Fabulous stuff!
You know what's really crazy? I just came from the restaurant two hours ago, and looking at their website is making me hungry for more!
They've got a bumper sticker too, that says "We love vegetarians, they make us laugh". I think I need one.
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When the waters get rough, the best thing you can do is to stay in your boat and paddle furiously. But it is always an unfamiliar stretch of water, even if you've shot similar rapids in the past. You still don't know what is around the next bend, or just where the hidden rocks are, even if you've learned to read the water. Is your paddling taking you away from danger, or toward it? Is that rock you're about to swing around hiding a huge vortex that will suck you down, smash your boat, and leave you battered and broken on the shore?Comments
It is times like this that you wish for a tillerman who is intimately familiar with these waters--someone who knows every rock and eddy, and someone who can direct your paddling to ensure that you get around and through the dangers, instead of being smashed by them.
"And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:9-13
Father, thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit!
Holy Spirit, thank you for being my tillerman. Thank you for your voice of assurance, and your direction through rough waters! Knowing you are back there, with your hand on the rudder, makes all the difference in the world. Help me to listen to your direction, to navigate these waters.
Jesus, thank you for making the way through possible! What you did to open the way is a gift that no one can repay, except with their love and devotion. May your Name be praised forever! Amen.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:55 AM | permalink
Lest my readers be misled, there are others on the Internet who have misappropriated my name. It is not unusual for me to sign up for one site or another, only to discover that some pimple-faced geek is trying to enhance his/her status by calling him/herself "Desert Cat".Comments
Not that I can copyright the name as an identity, so far as I know. But it still irks me. That has been my online name for nearly 11 years now--predating the Worldwide Web even. I've even seen my avatar in use elsewhere. Not that I own that image either. (I keep expecting the owner to harass me about using it sooner or later.)
There is also an ATV model called the "Desert Cat", and a brand/model of a lithography machine of some sort called the "Desert Cat" (go figure ANY connection there...). There was some dinky software company in existence a couple of years ago that called itself "Desert Cat Software". Not me. I think this same guy is still sitting on the desertcat.com domain too. Dog in a manger!
So just know that not every "desert cat" is really Desert Cat.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2005
There are few things as relieving and satisfying as extracting a large cactus spine from one's digits. My world feels two shades brighter now.Comments
A sort of funny cactus spine story here: Shortly after I moved to Arizona I worked as a surveyor's assistant for an old surveyor who was an Arizona native. In the course of doing a survey one day, I managed to get a large prickly pear spine firmly embedded in my thumb. I continued to work with it there for the rest of the day.
At the end of the day I asked him if he had a pair of pliers I could borrow to extract it. When I pulled it out--all 3/8 inch of it--he nearly fell over backwards in a swoon. He marveled that I was able to keep working all day with that monster embedded in my thumb!
I thought, "Wimp. And here he is, an Arizona native!"
Funny guy he was. I had learned how much water one needed to drink to keep hydrated while working in the hot sun. One day we were surveying in the worst of the heat. I was downing about a cup of water every 15 minutes or so. I noticed he wasn't. I asked him about it, but he brushed it off.
A little while later I was on the other side of a large parcel with my survey rod, and I wasn't able to reach him on the radio after repeated tries. Finally he answered me and asked me to bring the truck around and pick him up. Seems the heat baked the strength out of his legs.
I thought, "Wimp. And here he is, an Arizona native!"
Then there was this time I almost stepped on a rattlesnake while surveying. Actually I almost did that twice. Dang! You've never seen a cat jump so high! Arizona natives just whip out a pistol and blast 'em.
So ok, I'll just call it even then.
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Monday, March 14, 2005
I bought a bottle of 190 proof Everclear to dilute my aromatherapy essential oils and to clean my diffuser. It makes an excellent low odor solvent for this purpose.Comments
But much to my surprise, it also actually tastes pretty good!
How can something that is nearly pure ethanol have any taste at all, let alone be fairly smooth and have a slightly sweet taste to it?
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:56 PM | permalink
This is a rather impressive feat of Lego (TM) architecture and engineering. As reader babalu noted, the creator of this structure is 'either very good, compulsive as hell, a frustrated artist, or simply someone with entirely too much time on her hands . . . or all the above.'Comments
Take a look: Abston Church of Christ
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:10 PM | permalink
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Click to enlarge.
Shamelessly stolen from eClaire @ KISP
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Saturday, March 12, 2005
I did not know, but Harvey at IMAO is a poet and songwriter! Go read the lyrics to his newest creation, The Happy Bunny Song.Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:59 PM | permalink
Do you value those freedoms that are enshrined in the First Amendment? If so, then you were probably as concerned as I was about this article by Federal Election Commission member, Bradley Smith: "The coming crackdown on blogging".Comments
A bipartisan group of bloggers (and THAT is a minor miracle, by the way) has formed a coalition to oppose this move to further restrict free speech in the name of "Campaign Finance Reform". Click here to SIGN THIS PETITION, and help ensure that the Internet remains a place for the free exchange of ideas, political and otherwise.
And when the time comes, don't forget who foisted this travesty upon us: my own Senator, John McCain. There is no way this sorry excuse of a Republican should be permitted to get anywhere near the nomination for President in 2008. No. Way.
Dead mousie to e-Claire@KISP
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:39 PM | permalink
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Got a filling replaced today. I was tense for other reasons as well, but having a drill in my mouth wasn't going to help. So I requested nitrous oxide.Comments
Ah ha ha ha! Smooth sailing!
I'll never go without it if I can help it. I mean why not? As long as you can play it straight enough to follow the dentist's simple directions, drink deep and enjoy a few moments of blissful oblivion! Roto-rooter in my head? Who cares? Just keep breathing deeply and it doesn't matter, no not a whit!
Heh. The receptionist is trying to tell me something or other about my deductible. I think I understood her, but who knows.
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:20 PM | permalink
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Netimperative - Web catching up with papers for politicsComments
More than a quarter (28%) used news services from portals such as AOL and Yahoo!, which carry reports from traditional news sources like The Associated Press and Reuters.
Bwahahaha! No! Really??
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:18 AM | permalink
Monday, March 07, 2005
Time to finally add him to my daily diet.
What do you think?
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:22 PM | permalink
Shamelessly stolen from HERE
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Sunday, March 06, 2005
Key has a hilarious story here that reminded me of my own bratty little brother when he was that age.Comments
He wasn't quite the hellion as Key's brother, but nevertheless the age differential always meant we (my sister and I) had to treat him nice while he could get away with everything.
One of his favorite ways to annoy us was to stick together several of his "bristle blocks" to make a microphone and then pretend to be a singer, loudly belting out his "LA LA LA LAAAAA!" at the bottom of the steps below our bedrooms. He would do this regularly in the early morning hours while we were trying to catch our last winks of sleep before getting up for school. We both suspected Mom encouraged him though, as a way of waking us for school so she wouldn't have to.
Key's story reminded me of this particular incident:
My friend Billy and I were playing badminton in the side yard of my house. Billy lived just down the road on our rural cul-de-sac. He was quite a character and had a fairly quirky sense of humor.
My little brother, who may have been about 5 at the time, was fooling around with a hammock that was strung between two trees nearby. As can happen with hammocks if you're not careful, it flipped over and dumped him unceremoniously on the ground with a thump, flat on his belly. It couldn't have been more than eighteen inches from the hammock to the ground. But we both looked over to see if he was okay. He got up, covered with bits of leaves and dirt. As the corners of his mouth curled up in the classic crybaby expression, he rubbed his chest and belly and wailed, "I HURT ALL O-OVE-E-R-R!!"
This proved to be too much for Billy. He doubled over laughing, tears streaming from his eyes. My little brother, having now had insult added to his perceived injury, continued wailing and went inside to tell Mom all about it. I had to join Billy in laughter though. (Cruel? Nah. He wasn't really injured.)
For the longest time afterwards whenever Billy thought of it, he'd bust out laughing about it all over again, mimicking my little brother rubbing his chest and wailing, "I HURT ALL OVER!!"
It still makes me giggle.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:20 PM | permalink
Friday, March 04, 2005
Bill has an excellent piece here discussing the ideological differences between social conservatives and conservative libertarians, and the comments section is equally insightful.Comments
Go read, be enlightened:
INDC Journal: How To Avoid Cutting Noses and Spiting Faces, Part Two
More here from Protein Wisdom and Ace.
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:49 PM | permalink
My Way NewsComments
I can't imagine how I'd feel if one of my cats went through this...
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:58 AM | permalink
Thursday, March 03, 2005
FEC regulating Blogging?Comments
This is not good.
In fact this is an abomination. If this comes to pass, the First Amendment is effectively dead. Thanks oh so much Senator John McCain!
More reaction from the blogosphere HERE
This is one of those rare moments when I find myself on the same side of the issue as Daily Kos readers and commenters. This is also a rare moment for a unified blogosphere to make our voice (and power) felt before it's too late.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:53 PM | permalink
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
As you can see below, it is always easy to find the bad news--it blares from headlines in every major news outlet. To find the good news, you have to dig a little bit. Here is a huge cache of good news out of Iraq. Read and be edified:Comments
Opinion Journal--'Delightful for Its Ordinariness', A roundup of the past two weeks' good news from Iraq.
And don't fail to note that the author of this piece, Arthur Chrenkoff, is a blogger, posting on blogspot no less!
UPDATE: Bill at INDC on a related note.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:41 PM | permalink
A Blog to the BloggersComments
With an audience your size, you ought to think before you spew. That's too little too late.
"Many" is not even close. "Some", or more likely "a few", would probably be much closer to the truth. But to admit that would be admitting too much on your part, perhaps?
You have one crank stalking you online and in person, and you wish to extend your feelings about him to all bloggers? One does not make "many" even, except in the fevered imaginings of the paranoid.
Apology not accepted.
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