Petulance and Pride?

According to a recent NYT profile of the presiding judge in the Terri Schiavo case, Judge Greer has such poor vision that he doesn’t drive. Think about that when you read the following excerpts from a Crisis Magazine article:

“Many have seen the now-famous videotape that the Schindlers distributed to the press that the Schindlers distributed to the press in their effort to show the world that Terri is not a vegetable. In this video, Terri gives every appearance of looking directly at those speaking to her, reacting to her mother’s embrace, and following (with her eyes) a balloon around the room. While many who saw the video found it compelling evidence that Terri is in fact conscious, Judge Greer did not.
Although he had to be asked twice to look at his monitor and to put his glasses back on so he could see it clearly, he did not find the video evidence sufficiently “consistent and reproducible.”

A man who cannot see well enough to drive took off his glasses and refused to look at the monitor when confronted with videotaped evidence that contradicted his ruling that Terri was not responsive. Judge Greer has been acting as Terri’s guardian ad litem, a highly questionable state of affairs, ever since he dismissed the first one- when the first one said he did not believe there was enough evidence to rule that Terri’s wishes included being starved to death. The judge has never met with Terri, and he avoided looking at the video tapes.

“Interestingly, Judge Geer and Felos sought to suppress the video, and Judge Greer ordered the Schindlers not to photograph or videotape Terri in the future, under threat of legal sanction.”

I have also read that any pictures that Terri’s parents take of her now automatically become the property of Michael, by order of this judge. Is this because he doesn’t want to risk another embarrassing revelation of Terri’s impudence in daring not to be completely brain dead, in spite of his ruling to the contrary? Is there a good reason for Terri’s parents to be denied the right to take pictures of their daughter?

From this article:

“Other motions by the Schindlers ask that some news reporters be allowed to see Terri Schiavo’s interactions with her parents, since they contend she responds to them; that they be allowed to take pictures with her before she dies and that those photographs not become Michael Schiavo’s property, as a current court order now requires…”

To return to the Crisis Magazine article:, instead of the neutral evidence of a videotaped session with Terri, he prefers to rely on these witnesses:

“…Judge Greer accepted the medical testimony presented by Michael Schiavo that Terri is in a PVS and will not recover. That conclusion becomes even more dubious when you examine Felos’s well-known ties to the euthanasia movement and the background and testimony of Michael Schiavo’s principal medical witness, Dr. Ronald Cranford.
Felos has been a member of the infamous Hemlock Society. Amazon.com, on the Web page for Felos’s book Litigation as Spiritual Practice, describes him as “spearheading a social revolution to enable death with dignity in the state of Florida.” He certainly spearheaded the effort to bring about Estelle Browning’s death, spurred on by his belief that he can spiritually commune with those in a PVS. Although she couldn’t speak, he claimed that he detected her soul crying out to his soul, asking, “Why am I still here?”
In light of Felos’s association with the euthanasia movement, it’s hard to imagine that his choice of Cranford is coincidental, as Cranford is perhaps the leading medical exponent of the pro-death movement.
Cranford jokingly refers to himself as “Dr. Death” and, for a fee, will come to a trial and testify that the person whose life the plaintiff wants to end is in a PVS. He was the leading medical voice calling for the deaths of Paul Brophy, Nancy Jobes, Nancy Cruzan, and Christine Busalucci, all of whom were brain-damaged but not dying. Nonetheless, he advocated death for all by dehydration/starvation, just as he has for Terri.
Nancy Cruzan—one of his “patients”—required no skilled nursing, no care but food and fluids, hygiene, and turning to prevent bedsores. She didn’t even need tube feeding, but Cranford testified that he would even consider spoon-feeding “medical treatment.” Cranford wrote in the summer 1998 issue of Concern for Dying that he foresees “that there may be extreme situations, and in the future increasingly common situations, where physician-assisted suicide may not only be permissible, but encouraged.” In a 1997 op-ed for the Minneapolis–St. Paul Star Tribune, Cranford advocated the starvation of Alzheimer’s patients. “

Why would Judge Greer prefer Cranford’s evidence, to Dr. Hammesfahr, a neurological specialist who has more qualifications that Cranford?

“In contrast to the twelve hours Hammesfahr spent examining Terri, Cranford spent approximately 45 minutes. Rus Cooper-Dowda, who has endured neurologic exams himself, upon seeing the videotape of Cranford’s exam described it as “physically brutal.” He said that Cranford “clumsily poked, prodded, thumped, shoved, and pinched her.” Although Cranford admitted that Terri pulled away from him when he approached her, he did not deem that a voluntary response. When Terri moaned after he “thunked her hard between the eyebrows,” Cranford told the court that it wasn’t a response to pain.
Cranford prides himself on the fact that he was very influential in the development of the criteria used in diagnosing PVS. But in 1996, Dr. Keith Andrews, the medical director of the Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London, along with several other staff members, published an article titled “Misdiagnosis of the Vegetative State” in the British Medical Journal. In that article, they revealed that 43 percent of patients sent to that hospital with the diagnosis of PVS—some of whom had been presumed to be in a PVS for more than a year—were not in a vegetative state at all. They found that the misdiagnosed patients had severe communication problems as a result of their disabilities, but with the proper clinical measures, “nearly all were able to communicate…some to a high level.” They concluded that:
The vegetative state needs considerable skill to diagnose, requiring assessment over a period of time; diagnosis cannot be made, even by the most experienced clinician, from a bedside assessment [emphasis mine]…. Recognition of awareness is essential…to avoid inappropriate approaches to the courts for a declaration for withdrawal of tube feeding.
The growing awareness of the difficulty in diagnosing PVS, and the widespread errors in making the diagnosis, have led many leading hospitals, such as the Northwestern University Rehabilitation Institute, to routinely reassess patients referred to them as PVS.
Cranford has testified that patients in a PVS have “no hope of recovery,” but this is simply untrue. A number of people found to be “unrecoverable” have, in fact, recovered. Cranford himself diagnosed Sergeant Richard Mack, a police officer shot in the line of duty, as “definitely…in a persistent vegetative state…never to regain cognitive, sapient functioning.” Almost two years later, Mack “woke up.” He eventually regained almost all his mental abilities.
Kate Adamson, who appeared on Fox News’s O’Reilly Factor on November 6, recounted her own chilling story. She had also been diagnosed as in a PVS, and doctors removed her feeding tube.
I could see and hear everything going on around me, and I had no way…of communicating with anyone…. I was completely paralyzed…. When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I was—thought I was—going insane. I was screaming out [in her mind], “Don’t you know I need to eat?” …Michael [Schiavo] on national TV had mentioned last week that it’s a pretty painless thing to have the feeding tube removed. It is the exact opposite. It was sheer torture…”

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Here’s a surprising bit of news: Judge Greer used to be a member of a local Baptist church. See more about that here:
Judge in Terri Schiavo Case Quits Baptist Church He Attended

William Rice, pastor of the church,

“…said he received a letter from Greer Thursday confirming he has rescinded his long-standing membership after the church. The Greer letter came days after Rice made public comments in news reports disagreeing with Greer’s decisions related to Terri.

Rice said the two exchanged letters about the nature of Greer’s church affiliation after the judge commented publicly about his religious views.

The pastor told Baptist Press he had offered to meet with Greer and received the letter as a response.

According to a St. Petersburg Times news report, Greer, earlier this month, said he told a church deacon, “If I don’t like what the St. Pete Times writes about me, my only recourse is to cancel my subscription.” He told the deacon he would no longer make donations to the church.”

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Holy God, We Praise Your Name

The Whole earth is full of His glory; Isaiah 6:3

Holy God, we praise your name; Lord of all, we bow before you;
all on earth your scepter claim, all in heav’n above adore you.
Infinite your vast domain, everlasting is your reign.

Hark, the loud celestial hymn angel choirs above are raising;
cherubim and seraphim in unceasing chorus praising,
fill the heav’ns with sweet accord: “Holy, holy, holy Lord.”

Lo! the apostolic train join your sacred name to hallow;
prophets swell the glad refrain, and the white-robed martyrs follow;
and from morn to set of sun, through the church the song goes on.

Holy Father, Holy Son, Holy Spirit, Three we name you;
while in essence only One, undivided God we claim you,
and adoring bend the knee, while we sing this mystery.

Words by Ignaz Franz, w. in 1774; translated by Clarence A Walworth in 1853
Music: Katholischches Gesangbuch, Vienna, wr. 1774

Midi File

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Collected Quotes, Quote 2

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God?”
Thomas Jefferson

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Felicitous Find

Some of us went to a library book sale this morning. It was their dollar a bag day. We filled three bags. Actually, we filled two bags, and then had some spill-over into the third bag. Frugal soul that I am, I hated to see all that space go to waste, since I paid a dollar whether the bag was full or empty. A certain gleeful abandon to unmitigated booklust had nothing to do with it, of course.

The Head Girl picked up a delightful book called _Thou Improper, Thou Uncommon Noun_ by William R. Espy.

I chortled over the title page, sighed in delight over the dedication page (‘Learn the right/ of coining words in the quick mint of joy. -Leigh Hunt), and laughed aloud over the acknowledgments section and foreword, calling Equuschick to ‘come and listen to this’ at least five times.

1. “I proceeded to gorge myself on eponymous words like a starving cannibal bolting down a missionary.”

2. “If you want the whole missionary- and I promise you, missionaries taste mighty good- read the books listed in my reference.”

3. In a thanks to his editor, he says “Louise… vetoed a number of my infelicities. She did not, however, lay an impious hand on Benet, Brewer, Britannica,….”

4. Thanking his typist: “Now that my mother is gone, Mignon is the only person who can read my handwriting”

5. From the foreword, by Heywood Hale Broun: “Every writer keeps what used to be called a commonplace book in which he jots thoughts or quotations or useful bits that he may someday stick into his own work. There is among some writers the wistful hope that if one becomes famous the commonplace book can simply be handed to a publisher and sold as the gleanings of a great mind, but for most of us it is just a ragbag in which the thing we need has either simply not been written into the book in the first place, or has been stuck into the pages in clipping form and fallen out somewhere, or is identified with what once seemed like an adequate hint. Such a clue as “See Trollope on l.d.h., page 348″ is at least under T in my notebook, but there organization ceases. If I knew which of the great man’s many novels discussed l.d.h. on page 348 I might then discover what l.d.h. means.”

I haven’t even gotten to the introduction of this work of ‘lexicographic sophistication, but I am In Love.

I believe that this book shall be the price the Head Girl pays me for the gas and time I spent taking to the book sale. 🙂

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Something to Say

As we have mentioned here before, one of our daughters is profoundly retarded. She doesn’t speak and can only sign approximately 20 words right now. She did have more, but she regressed when we moved last. Shifting environments has a deleterious affect upon the mentally retarded, and it will take us some time to bring her back up to her previous accomplishments.

She does laugh, giggle, cry, pout, vocalize with an “I want that” noise and a distinctly different “I don’t want that and don’t you try to give it to me” noise. She makes up signs. Some of them make sense (the sign she made for ‘tea’ looks like somebody shaking out a teabag), and some of them we have never figured out.

Some of her made up signs I think she made up just to make me look bad. She makes these gestures at strangers, and the strangers look at me and say, “What is she saying?” I have to shrug my shoulders and say I don’t know. In fact, even as I type this I think she must be reading my mind, because she is smirking at me. Perhaps she’s not really reading my mind, but only plotting her next trick.

She hides things. Of course, we always catch her, because she’s so pleased with her tricks that she starts giggling while she slowly makes her way to the hiding place she has in mind for somebody else’s precious belonging. We hear that particular giggle and know we should investigate.

She pinpoints what it is that will particular bothersome to a person, and that’s how she teases that person. For the First Girl and I, she finds our books and removes the bookmarks, losing our places. For a sartorially splendiferous friend, she would find his sartorially splendid leather coat, wave it at him in the manner of a bull fighter flourishing a red cape- and drop it on the floor the moment she got his attention. For a pregnant and easily nauseated friend, she would stand firmly in front of her and put her finger up her nose, holding it there and smirking.

When she decides guests have outstayed their welcome, she brings them their car keys and points to the door.

The last time a qualified professional tested her I.Q. we were told that the results of the test indicated that our daughter could not do anything we had taught her how to do, because she was profoundly retarded. I was asked if there was anything specific I’d been trying to teach her that I needed help with (we homeschool, the testing was through the public school). I said, yes, that I wanted her to learn to undo her seatbelt and wasn’t getting very far. They told me kindly that I probably shouldn’t bother. It was a waste of my time and hers, and was not something she would ever be able to do. We left the appointment and drove home. When we pulled up into the driveway, she undid her seatbelt.

She has Cerebral Palsy, too. In her case it’s very mild. It means she walks very slowly and never runs. It means that some of her difficulty with sign and speech might be the C.P. rather than the retardation, but nobody knows for certain. It means she needs a leg brace. If it were worse, it would mean she could barely communicate at all, since nearly all of her communication is so physical. She needs her hands, her arms, her body language, the ability to turn her head this way and that, the facial muscle control necessary to make her smirks, her grins, her self-satisfied little gloating smiles, and her sad faces, her pouty faces, her gloom and despair they won’t give me a cookie faces. I wonder about people like her who don’t have the physical range of motion and expression she does. What do they wish they could say but can’t?

She used to have a t-shirt with a slogan I loved- it said, “Not being able to speak does not mean I have nothing to say.”

Too many people do not believe that. Too many people think life is all about the mind and think very little of the heart and soul.

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