Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Making a Stink: Robert Reich on the Public Option.
Now email the president. Call your Senator. Call your Representative. And tell your neighbor!
Labels: health care
Just Say Know: Faith-Based Sex Ed Online.
The new guide is intended to help religious leaders and communities capitalize on the growing momentum toward comprehensive sexuality education nationwide. Nine major Christian and Jewish denominations, the National Council of Churches and the Unitarian Universalist Association have all adopted policies supporting comprehensive sexuality education in public schools. A majority of Americans of every faith, including Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians, also support school-based sexuality education.
Oh Nos! The Mennonites Are Against Israel Too.
His basic points?
*Mennonite-supported peacemaking institutions have been at the forefront of the effort to discredit Israel to audiences in North America. These institutions portray Jewish sovereignty as the cause of conflict and suffering in the Middle East and downplay Muslim and Arab hostility toward Jews and Israel.
*The prescription for peace offered by these activists-especially those affiliated with the Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Peacemaker Teams-is for Israeli Jews to abandon their insistence on maintaining Israel as a sovereign Jewish state and acquiesce to a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This prescription fails to take into account overwhelming evidence that a Jewish minority would not be safe in a Muslim- and Arab-majority country in the Middle East.
*Mennonite expressions of hostility toward Jewish sovereignty and indifference to the plight of Jews in Arab- and Muslim-majority states are ironic and hypocritical. Mennonites enjoy safety and wellbeing by virtue of other people's willingness to engage in acts of violence. Israeli Jews enjoy no such privilege.
*Mennonite anti-Zionism is emblematic of an inability to deal with the reality of evil and the power needed to confront it.
The last two points are basically a theological attack on Mennonite pacificity. The first two points are basically the same charges pitted against any group or individual who wishes to broker or support peace between Israel and Palestine.
Van Zile starts off his article with the premise that Mennonites are uniquely positioned to understand the challenges of Israel because during and after the Radical Reformation they suffered greatly under the church or governmental authorities of the countries in which they lived. The wandering Jews and the wandering Mennonites may have persecution and displacement in common, but the whole Zionism thing makes the comparisons a hypothetical game. WWII does too.
I think what Van Zile is really saying to MCC and other Mennonite organizations who are working diligently to bring peace to Israel-Palestine is, "Your religion is weaker than ours 'cause we have big US guns we're not afraid to use and our very own country. Now back off and don't tell us what to do with our Arabs." Becoming and helpful to the peace process, isn't it?
Great News: Silent Light on DVD.
Review of a Review: The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.
1) Legal historians are wrong to suggest that the law has increasingly legitimized suicide over the past few centuries. Rather, changes in law reflect the identification of suicide as a symptom of mental illness and a recognition that posthumous "punishments" meant to deter suicides merely add to the suffering of bereaved families.
2) Once euthanasia and assisted suicide are accepted as legitimate options for terminally ill patients, there remains little rational basis for keeping anyone from seeking euthanasia or assistance in committing suicide.
How so? Death with Dignity has very strict requirements: the terminal patient must be within 6 months of death; they must be of sound mind; they must self-administer the medicine. A doctor's responsibility becomes writing a prescription. The doctor is even forbidden under Oregon and Washington's laws, from mentioning assisted suicide.
Let's be clear: euthanasia is "mercy killing" of those deemed a burden to society. It is a term which implies the Holocaust or what municipalities do to stray dogs and it is a term that has no place in this discussion. (Unless you want to talk about "pulling the plug" or "principle of double effect" which doctor's seem to have no problem with because they are the ones making the decision, not the patient. See below.)
And the only thing assisted about assisted suicide as pertains to the Oregon and Washington laws is the doctor's writing of a prescription. The burden of death lies with the patient, not the doctor. I see no difference from a terminal, suffering patient having access to necessary medications (as is currently only obtained illegally or through a doctor) and a person standing on the roof of a 60 story burning building. Death comes; pick your method.
3) Regulation of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide in the Netherlands and in the State of Oregon (where physicians are allowed to prescribe lethal drugs to assist in suicide) is shockingly haphazard. Reporting procedures are practically worthless and in Oregon the law makes no serious effort to keep patients suffering from treatable depression from receiving lethal drugs for the purpose of suicide. Despite the decriminalization of euthanasia in the Netherlands, in many cases doctors do not go to the trouble of following official procedures in performing euthanasia. More generally speaking: by definition, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide are matters of life and death, but when decriminalized they have -- astonishingly - invited much less concern for malpractice than do normal medical procedures.
Conservatives Banking on "Culture of Death" to Perpetuate Their Beloved Culture Wars.
Height of All Self-Importance: 9.11 Catholics Against Obama Care Campaign
Beloved Catholic blogger Jean Heimann of Catholic fire has started a grassroots movement called
Catholics Against Obama Care
Catholics Against Obama Care set September 11 as Day of Prayer and Fasting for defeat of Health Care Reform
For Immediate Release
(September 8, 2009) Catholics Against Obama Care is calling Catholics as well as those of other denominations to participate in a day of prayer and fasting on September 11, 2009, for the special intention that Obama health care reform be defeated.
Catholics Against Obama Care acknowledges that Catholic Church has always advocated health care reform; but Obamacare, as delineated in the HR-3200 Bill, is not health care -- it is death care. Mandated abortion, health care rationing, and euthanasia are not health care. Obamacare is government control over people's lives and, as Jon Voight points out the removal of a person's free will. Voight said in an interview on Fox News with Mike Huckabee, "They're taking away God's first gift to man -- our free will and no man no matter what his title, even if he's president of the United States, has the consent of God to decide he's God."
Las Vegas in the Rear View Mirror.
My friend Angela is out in Vegas and responded to an email with tales of swimming pools in the desert and weddings in the sun.
From my reply to her reply:
Ah, my very favorite drive in the world is from Vegas to LA at about 3 in the morning. Nothing compares to ascending out of the desert bowl that Vegas slumps and primps in, albeit brightly, and climbing into the high desert. All those lights and glitz in the rear view mirror?! And then just straight empty dry dark desert for miles and miles until you hit Joshua Tree where the climbing is good and the ground is covered with granite kitty litter. And then Palm Springs where the architecture is good and the sprinklers keep every lawn artificially emerald. Ah, then you pass the dinosaurs on your right and the outlets on all sides and then the crazy 10 drops your disoriented ass into the belly of LA. Or rather, incorporates you into one of her vital arteries. It's a trip I will always love!
Vegas has been an oasis to me at times. Even while living here and visiting LA, I've flown to Vegas for the cheap flight and rental car - and the drive. I was in Vegas - at the Flamingo actually! - when Frank Sinatra died. And more than once I've skipped out of life and dropped into a Motel 6 there. Air conditioning, take out, TV. Better than anywhere else I have yet found, you can contemplate your own loneliness when holed up in Vegas without being lonely. All those people around you, filling up that desert bowl, even when your shades are drawn and you can't see them, having a glorious time or a shitty time, losing money, winning money, getting married, hustling, getting hustled. Artificial lights 24 hours a day. It's a microcosm of all human drama. And then when you've learned something about yourself or run out of money for the hotel room, or just tired of trying to make sense of anything, you hop back into your car and head back over the mountains to the edge, the Pacific, the sprawling city with red air and broad thoroughfares.
It's no secret that I've been west coast home sick all spring, summer and now fall. Maybe I need to check fares to Vegas? I do have a birthday coming up (think Marfa, TX last year). Anybody else in?