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August 24, 2005

What's a Physician For?

Boss Squirrel has had his share of health problems, including cancer. While I'm thankfully cancer free at the moment, I do take alot of medication, including steroids. This has made weight an issue. Oh, and I love to cook and eat. That doesn't help the weight issue, either! I've been blessed with doctors who are very honest with me - about my personal habits and condition that could give me serious problems in the not so distant future. One of them is weight - and as my primary care physician puts it, "You can't blame all of the extra weight on meds". So he constantly questions my physical activity level, my eating habits, etc. He could probably make more money by not nagging me about such things, and wait for me to drop and go back into the hospital, but he believes that part of his job is to advise me on how to avoid health crisis.

But I heard today an amazing story. An obese woman referred a doctor to the Board of Medicine in New Hampshire for disciplinary action for telling her she was obese, and should do something about it:

"Dr. Terry Bennett says he tells obese patients their weight is bad for their health and their love lives, but the lecture drove one patient to complain to the state.

"I told a fat woman she was obese," Bennett says. "I tried to get her attention. I told her, 'You need to get on a program, join a group of like-minded people and peel off the weight that is going to kill you.' "

He says he wrote a letter of apology to the woman when he found out she was offended.

Her complaint, filed about a year ago, was initially investigated by a panel of the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, which recommended that Bennett be sent a confidential letter of concern. The board rejected the suggestion in December and asked the attorney general's office to investigate."

That's absolutely amazing. I don't care what the doctor actually said, or if he insulted her. His job is to help her with her health. And the complaint has gone all the way to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office, which launched an investigation!

If I lived in New Hampshire, I'd be furious. But not at the Doctor.

Jonah Follows Up on Stephanopolous

More via Jonah from Stephanapolous' Newsweek column in 1997 on assassinating Saddam Hussein:

"Readers want to learn more. Here are some extra excerpts from his article:

Philosophers have long argued that there are times when murdering a murderer is not only necessary but noble. "Grecian nations give the honors of the gods to those men who have slain tyrants," wrote Cicero. Targeting Saddam also seems in accord with the "just war" principles first developed by Augustine and Aquinas. We've exhausted other efforts to stop him, and killing him certainly seems more proportionate to his crimes and discriminate in its effect than massive bombing raids that will inevitably kill innocent civilians. To those who argue that assassination is the moral equivalent of terrorism, Michael Walzer's "Just and Unjust Wars" reminds us that "randomness is the crucial feature of terrorist activity." Terrorists kill the innocent to coerce the powerful. Assassination, by contrast, is the least random act of war. Relaxing the moral norm against it is a regrettable but justifiable price to pay when confronted with someone like Saddam who is unique in his capacity to inflict evil on his own people and the rest of the world. It's one of the extremely rare circumstances where killing can be a humanitarian act that saves far more lives than it risks....

....Overcoming the practical difficulties is much more problematic. Experts like former CIA director Robert Gates have said that assassination is a "non-option" because Saddam is so elusive and well protected. That's the strongest argument against assassination. But it loses some force when stacked against the alternatives: an indefinite extension of the sanctions that punishes the most vulnerable Iraqis without weakening Saddam or eliminating his ability to build weapons of mass destruction; or a massive military campaign that will crack the gulf-war coalition, risk allied troops and kill innocent Iraqis without ensuring Saddam's fall.

And here's the last line:

A misreading of the law or misplaced moral squeamishness should not stop the president from talking about assassination. He should order up the options and see if it's possible. If we can kill Saddam, we should.

Where Have We Heard This Before?

Again via Jonah at NRO, a reader writes in reference to yesterday's news conference by Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld:

"At yesterday's Pentagon press conference, Secretary Rumsfeld was commenting on all the doom and gloom about the Iraqi constitution, and he observed how there are always naysayers who see defeat around every corner. He said something like, "At the height of World War II, a prominent American diplomat predicted that 'democracy is finished in Britan, and probably in America too.'"

That "prominent America diplomat," of course was Joseph Kennedy. Isn't that just about the most delightful statement to come out of a press conference in the last six months? Somebody go down to the bar and tell Teddy: "Rumsfeld just slapped down you and your old man in the same breath."

It truly is fun to watch a master at work."

Like father, like son!

Pat Robertson is a Private Citizen!

I've been getting a kick out of the coverage of Pat Robertson's remarks concerning assassinating Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez. Lost in all of this is the fact that Pat Robertson is a private citizen, and has no sway in any foreign policy or military decision making at all. And he didn't exactly say "please Mr. President assassinate Chavez now" - as the media would like you to think. Here's what he said:

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability...We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator...It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with...You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

As far as I can tell, he was offering his personal opinion. And it's still ok to do that in the United States, I think. As to the propriety of a religious leader suggesting assassination, it's probably not the greatest idea. But if you think that any of the criticism in the media today is coming from an overwhelming sense of religious motivation, you've got another thought coming.

Soon I'll do a major post on Chavez, but let's just say the American public has not been given a real good look at Chavez by our media. This guy is a murderer and a thug. He 'won' re-election last year under questionable circumstances (although Jimmy Carter blessed it, of course). Immediately after his win, Chavez sent his minions out to systematically kill his opponent's organizers and supporters in various cities and towns across Venezuela. After which, guess what happened? Several Senators, including my own Lincoln Chafee, met with him to make nice. In fact, Chafee asked Secretary of State Rice, during her confirmation hearing, why we weren't being nicer to Chavez. Rice, to her credit, didn't rip Chafee to shreds at that cring-inducing moment.

And speaking of assassination, guess who was advocating assassination of another thug in 1997. None other than George Stephanopoulos. Jonah Goldberg has this tidbit over at NRO's The Corner:

"ASSASSINATION [Jonah Goldberg]

Pat Robertson? No....George Stephanopoulos, in the December 1, 1997 Newsweek, explaining why Bill Clinton should have Saddam Hussein offed:

But what's unlawful -- and unpopular with the allies -- is not necessarily immoral. So now that I'm not in the White House, I can say what I couldn't say then: we should seriously explore the assassination option. Even though the current crisis may be subsiding temporarily, we don't know what the future holds. A direct attack on Saddam would no doubt be politically risky -- the president, concerned about his place in history, would be torn between the desire to get rid of a bully and the worry that an assassination plan gone awry would embarrass him late in his term. But the president should think about it: the gulf-war coalition is teetering and we have not eliminated Saddam's capacity to inflict mass destruction. That's why killing him may be the more sensible -- and moral -- course over the long run."

So stop with the righteous indignation. If assassination isn't being considered against our enemies, it should be. It shouldn't be just willy-nilly, and must be part of a larger plan that includes regional stabilization, but it should be considered.

Back Again, Things Were/Are Dicey...

Well, I thought I'd be back to posting after my Dad got transferred to rehab, but it was not to be. He caught double-pneumonia, and it's been a rough week. It's apparently going to be a longer recovery than we thought. I'll be posting as I'm able.

August 14, 2005

The Packaging of Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan is a clearly disturbed person being used by the Left. Here is some more evidence, as posted to DailyKos (with a nod to LGF who pointed this out). DailyKos is one of the most important Democratic blogs out there - a bible to the Democrats and the Left. Here is one of their suggestions as to how to 'package' Cindy Sheehan:

"We are making errors with references to Cindy Sheehan.

What are we trying to accomplish with promoting her?

Emphasizing her sacrifice.

Emphasizing her stating truth to power.

Emphasizing her plain speaking, clear statements.

Relate her vigil over her dead son to universal archtypes of all vigils over dead children killed by dictatorial rulers throughout all history.

My suggestions below:

1. We should call her “Mother Sheehan”. We should never call her Cindy; I don’t know her. “Mother Sheehan” is her title, and expresses her ceremonial status as a bereaved mother, calling forth over the dead body of her son. She is not a person now, she is a mother, which is not an expression of her individuality, but rather the expression of her eternal character: the mother, the bringer of life who has been wronged by state power.

2. We should use the word “sacrifice”. She has sacrificed the most precious thing a mother has, the life and promise of her child.

3. We should use the word “useless” frequently. The death of her son is a useless sacrifise, done for the vanity of the ruler.

4. We should not use the name of her son. Her son is a symbol of all sons who have been sacrificed for this useless and criminal war.

5. The term “vigil” should be used to describe the persons and their patient petition to the dictatorial ruler. It is a vigil over the body of the dead son, killed by the ruler for his own purposes.

6. The right will try to INDIVIDUALIZE and SPECIALIZE her complaint. We must try to make her cry the UNIVERSAL and ETERNAL cry of all mothers whose children have died at the whim of the tyrannical and dictatorial ruler, who has made the decision to push children to the front of the army for his own, useless purposes. We must seek to make this like funeral vigils over all time. This is not Mother Sheehan’s vigil, this is a vigil over the dead son, killed by the ruler for his own selfish reasons.

7. If there are any persons who are theatre professionals at the Sheenan vigil, they should arrange things much more theatrically.

8. If I was there, I would not let Mother Sheehan talk to the press, but I would have her talk only through a spokesperson. In particular, I would not allow her to argue with critics, and would allow no critics to approach her. Her dignity must be preserved. If lesser emissaries from the ruler arrive (C Rice, etc), these should not be allowed to speak to Mother Sheehan."

I'm curious if James Carville or Paul Begala has anything to do with this strategy?

What's the Difference Between Cindy Sheehan and Radical Islamists?

Not much, apparently. Here's Cindy Sheehan in a bile-filled speech linkshe gave last Monday:

"You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine"

Here's the Palestinian cleric Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris in a televised speech last May:

"You will find that the Jews were behind all the civil strife in this world. The Jews are behind the suffering of the nations...The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews — even the stones and trees which were harmed by them…The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew.”

Now when Sheehan talks of Palestine, she references an old geographical name that no longer exists (and hasn't since the early 20th Century). But she has chosen her words carefully, I'm sure. The Palestine that she speaks of is the land that now encompasses Israel. When she says Israel out of Palestine it's code for get rid of Israel. And that has been the goal of 99% of the terrorists that we have fought over the last few decades, including all of those we fight today.

So what's the difference between Cindy Sheehan and Radical Islamists, more correctly referred to as terrorists? Increasingly not much.

VDH Implores Us to Listen...

Victor Davis Hanson has a remarkable column over at NRO where he simply takes the recent words of characters such as a prominent Palestinian cleric, Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris that was broadcast on a Palestinian Authority station and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri (al Qaeda’s second in command) that was broadcast all over the world and does a simple analysis on what they are actually calling for. This is what is being broadcast day after day by official and 'free' media in the PA and throughout the world simply to incite hatred and prod radical Islamists to murder. Here's what Hanson asks us to do:

"So as we try to assess the causes of Islamists’ venom toward the West, it seems wiser to listen to what they say rather than what we say they say."

Take that CAIR!

August 12, 2005

Cindy Sheehan...

I feel sorry for Cindy Sheehan. Here is a person who has clearly suffered a great loss - the loss of a son. Unable to come to terms with the fact that her son was a grown man who had volunteered for duty and unfortunately died nobly, she has deteriorated mentally and is unable to protect herself from being taken advantage of by just about every left-wing hack in the country. Have they no shame? Her family has denounced her (bet you didn't know about that from the fawning anti-war propaganda that is passing for news these days) and I'm willing to bet that her son would be embarrased by and for her.

James Taranto has the scoop that you won't hear on tonight's news over at OpinionJournal's Best of the Web:

"The Sad Story of Cindy Sheehan

Cindy Sheehan suffered a grievous loss for a noble cause: Her 24-year-old son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, died in combat in Iraq. Because of this, it seems churlish to criticize her. But enough is enough.

Sheehan has been camping out a few miles from President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch, staging a protest that has received extensive media attention. Her demand: a meeting with President Bush. "I want to ask George Bush, 'Why did my son die? What was the noble cause that he died for?' "

In fact, Sheehan has met with President Bush, as her hometown paper, the Reporter of Vacaville, Calif., reported in June 2004. At the time, although she clearly held antiwar views, she pronounced herself pleased with the meeting:

Sincerity was something Cindy had hoped to find in the meeting. Shortly after Casey died, Bush sent the family a form letter expressing his condolences, and Cindy said she felt it was an impersonal gesture.

"I now know he's sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis," Cindy said after their meeting. "I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith." . . .

The trip had one benefit that none of the Sheehans expected.

For a moment, life returned to the way it was before Casey died. They laughed, joked and bickered playfully as they briefly toured Seattle.

For the first time in 11 weeks, they felt whole again.

"That was the gift the president gave us, the gift of happiness, of being together," Cindy said.

That gift seems not to have lasted. The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald reports that Sheehan and her husband, Pat, have separated and that "family members of Sheehan denounced her actions Thursday in an e-mail":

Sent to a San Francisco radio station Thursday, the first public acknowledgment of a family rift came from Cherie Quartarolo, sister-in-law to Cindy Sheehan and godmother to her son, Casey.

Reached by phone Thursday, Quartarolo said she consulted with other family members before releasing the brief statement, but she declined to elaborate. She signed the memo on behalf of Casey's paternal grandparents, as well as "aunts, uncles and numerous cousins."

Noting that her family is still grieving the loss of Casey, Quartarolo wrote: "We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She now appears to be promoting her own personal agenda and notoriety at the expense of her son's good name and reputation."

Casey's father, Patrick, of Vacaville, was not mentioned. He has acknowledged that he and his wife are separated, but he has avoided the spotlight that surrounds his wife's high-profile protest.

The family's e-mail, however, said "The Sheehan family lost our beloved Casey in the Iraq War and we have been silently, respectfully grieving. The rest of the Sheehan family supports the troops, our country and our president, silently, with prayer and respect."

What are we to make of Mrs. Sheehan's demand for a second meeting with President Bush? She claims she wants an explanation of why her son died, but she acknowledges that her mind is already made up. This is an excerpt of a speech she gave Monday, as transcribed on the Web site of an outfit called Veterans for Peace, describing how she conceived of her protest (quoting verbatim):

I'm gonna tell them, "You get that evil maniac [the president] out here, cuz a Gold Star Mother, somebody who's blood is on his hands, has some questions for him."

And I'm gonna say, "OK, listen here, George. #1, you quit, and I demand, every time you get out there and say you're going to continue the killing in Iraq to honor the fallen heroes by continuing the mission; you say, except Casey Sheehan.' "

"And you say except for all the members of Goldstar Families for Peace' cuz we think not one drop of blood should be spilled in our families' names. You quit doing that. You don't have my permission."

And I'm gonna say, "And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for." And if he even starts to say freedom and democracy' I'm gonna say, bullshit.

You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don't tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.

Cuz, we're not freer. You're taking away our freedoms. The Iraqi people aren't freer, they're much worse off than before you meddled in their country.

You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine

(massive round of applause)

And if you think I won't say bullshit to the President, I say move on, cuz I'll say what's on my mind.

According to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, "the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute." So we now have it on absolute moral authority that America is a cancer, that Iraqis were better off under Saddam Hussein, and that Israel must be destroyed? The question is somewhat facetious, of course; Dowd is not known for thinking through the implications of the things she writes.

Yet thousands of American parents have lost children in Iraq, and thousands more in, among other places, Afghanistan, Germany, Iran, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, New York, Pennsylvania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tanzania, Virginia and Yemen, either fighting Islamist terrorism or as a result of the failure to fight Islamist terrorism with sufficient determination. Although these thousands of parents doubtless have a wide range of opinions on the Iraq war and other subjects, we'd venture to say that not many--especially among those whose children were in the military--agree with Cindy Sheehan.

Indeed, we are now starting to see stories like this one, from the Gloucester County (N.J.) Times:

Marine Cpl. Marc T. Ryan, of Gloucester City, was killed in an explosion in Ramadi, Iraq in November.

"I would tell Cindy Sheehan that, as one mother to another, I do realize your loss is your loss and there's nothing you can do to heal from it," said the corporal's mother, Linda Ryan.

"George Bush didn't kill her son, it's the evildoers who have no value of life who killed her son. Her son made a decision to join the Armed Forces and defend our country, knowing that, at any time, war could come about," Ryan said. . . .

"George Bush was my son's commander-in-chief. My son, Marc, totally believed in what he was doing," she said.

Sheehan, she believes, is doing what she's doing because of the agony over losing her son.

"She's going about this not realizing how many people she's hurting. When she refers to anyone killed in Iraq, she's referring to my son. She doesn't have anything to say about what happened to my son," said Ryan.

Losing a child is probably the saddest thing that can happen to anyone. Unlike the death of a parent or a spouse, it is not part of the ordinary course of life. Yet somehow the vast majority of parents who suffer such a loss are able to maintain some perspective while coping with the experience.

That Cindy Sheehan has been unable to do so makes her story all the sadder. But it does not validate the hateful views she is espousing, nor does it make her pain more important than that of Linda Ryan or the thousands of others who have lost a child but maintained their dignity."

Dad Moved to Rehab/Blogging to Resume

Moved Papa Squirrel from Kent Hospital to Epoch on Blackstone Blvd in Providence for rehab. I cannot say how much I respect and appreciate the care that my Dad is getting. I believe it was Warwick's Battalion 6 that responded when we called the rescue - they were remarkable in dealing with my father as well as my mother, who also suffers from some health woes and is very capable of taking ill herself in times of extreme stress, which this certainly was. The doctors, nurses, and staff at Kent Hospital in Warwick were great from beginning to end. As just nine months ago my father had had a bad experience at Rhode Island Hospital (an overnight stay turning into many weeks in the hospital, a few weeks in a nursing home, and months of therapy), his stay at Kent was the exact opposite. And my father was able to get into his rehab of choice - Epoch in Providence. He was admitted to the same floor and has the same people caring for him that he did in December. Everyone welcomed him back like he was family. A few weeks of rehab and he should be home (for more rehab). With luck he'll be in good shape for the holidays, which he mostly missed last year.

Now that the pressure is off a bit, I'll be back to blogging. Which will be a great relief to fellow commuters who have watched me seemingly arguing with myself as I drove back and forth to the hospital. I never realized how much of an outlet writing this blog has become. I vent to the computer and the blogosphere - much healthier than muttering to yourself all the time...