Saturday, March 26, 2005

Reaction to Lani Davis on Schiavo Case

Lanny Davis, former Attorney for President Clinton, on the Bill O'Reilly Show when interviewed about the Schiavo case (today Mar 27th) basically shocked his usual audience (not Reilly's) of centrist Democratic listeners when he said he did not understand the husband's interest in hastening Schiavo's death particularly when he felt the parents were willing to help her continue living. I am just loosely paraphrasing what Davis said but I can't help but wonder where he is getting his information on the case. It is obvious by his remarks that Davis does not trust the motives of Terri Schiavo's husband Michael and has decided to defend the likes of Tom De Lay and the other right wing religious zealots on this issue. O'Reilly thanked him at the end of the show for being on the right side and O'Reilly is correct to thank Davis for siding with the very right on this issue. (By the way I do not listen to O'Reilly just looked up the interview up after seeing a quick flash of Lani Davis' statement on the matter mentioned on the tv news).

Davis feels there is some connection with the Schiavo case and the right of prisoners on death row. I fail to see the connection but he must feel there is some legal precedence here and that by losing the case, death row inmates will not get their numerous chances to appeal their convictions. O'Reilly mentioned he does not believe in the death penalty so the two of them are closer on these issues than one might expect from his point of view. Davis also mentioned arguing with his own son about the case. Good to know someone in his family has some common sense. In this case, I think Davis has taken leave of his senses and is not grasping
or empathizing with the real victim in his case, Terri Schiavo. Does he not understand there is no dignity or even grace in this kind of mental lifelessness?
To keep Terri Schiavo alive is the selfish act of two parents who can only think of their own needs not their daughters.

Davis must be very unfamiliar with the dying process to take this stand on the Schiavo case. It is a real last minute surprise. I don't want to make it seem as though I think all liberal leaning folks and I am not sure how liberal Lanny Davis is (probably more in the middle) should walk in lockstep on any one issue but I have to say his lack of insight into this case really takes the cake. I can see someone saying there might be some gray area in regard to this case but not on the points Davis brought out in the interview. Davis said we should err in the favor of life.
I say that is wrong when it is clear there is no life being lived that adds up to anything any of us would sensibly want for ourselves. These people who actas though they are pro-life are in dreamland.To be Pro-life should mean wishing for a good life at least an awareness of life as long as we can have it and when that is gone to be able to let go. I'd sure like to know what's up with Lani Davis.

Sharon & Mina SF City Hall Feb. 15th 2004: Our Marriage

Picture taken when Sharon on left and Mina on right came out from City Hall after getting married. It was a historic time for the 4000 plus who married during that short time period.
The marriage was voided legally several months later but not in our hearts. There are people at the bottom of steps applauding us. We were the last ones out that day.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Concert conducted by Christian Zacharias

Artists: Christian Zacharias, conductor/piano Disney Music Hall, Los Angeles March 25th: (A Personal Observation not a Music Review)

Haydn: Symphony No. 31, “Hornsignal”
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 6, K. 238
Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 19 in F, K. 459
Vanhal: Symphony in G minor

My partner Mina and I just came from a wonderful concert conducted by Christian Zacharias. We had never heard him conduct or play before. He is marvelous in every respect both as conductor and pianist. It is like getting two for one. Zacharias doesn't use a baton instead uses his hands like a signer for the deaf, wearing a black flowing top the white of his hands stands out and magnetizes the viewer/listener. We happened to be facing the conductor as we had unusual seats facing toward the conductor and looking out and up to the rest of the audience.
I highly recommend sitting in them at Disney Hall. The seats are low priced, are really long benches with back and are very comfortable and roomier than seats with armrests.

All four composition presented were played marvelously by the LA Philharmonic Orchestra. Haydyn No. 31 was lovely and each first player in each section of orchestra was given a chance to show her or his stuff including the first string bass (being my own instrucment when I was young) I thought it was special to hear.
I was surprised when the conductor came out for the second composition and sat down on a stool acting both as piano soloist as well as conductor. Zacharias seamlessly was able to move from playing to conducting and in a sense do both at the same time when necessary. It was pure genius. He is very into his music. It was fun to watch him the entire time.

After the intermission, Zacharias returned and played the second Mozart composition this time with the same intensity and sophistication. The second composition involved more challenges with conducting and playing at the same time and Zacharias pulled it all off with zest and great dexterity and love. I haven't had so much involvement with a conductor since I was a young person watching George Szell conduct the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra in the fifties. The Vanhal piece was beautifully played by the orchestra. I was not familiar with the composition but it kept my interest and was conducted and played by the orchestra with the same seemingly effortless and lovely sense of elegance as the first three more famous compositions. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I highly recommend seeing
Christian Zacharias conduct and play again the next time he conducts. The whole experience is a delight.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

sharon with mina032

sharon with mina032
Originally uploaded by sm1raphael.

Implications of The Terri Schiavo Case: Assisted Suicide Option

The Schiavo case is bringing to the fore the lack of options associated with end of life decisions in this country for those who are terminally ill or facing a life with no quality of life i.e. no self awareness as the result of severe brain damage. People appear apalled that her feeding tube has been disconnected. That seems to be more of a stumbling block in this case than any other factor, how she will die rather than how she should live.

It is clear that the option to live is clouded with a future that will continue for Terri Schiavo to have no quality life and no chance of recovery. We show more mercy to our pets at the end of their lives than we do to our own fellow human beings. When I allowed my beloved dog Jenny to be injected by a veterinarian, she succumbed within seconds and died peacefully in my arms. My Father who died painfully of terminal cancer and who expressed his desire to die over and over in the hopsital was not allowed that option because it is and was against the law. He was not even given enough medication to keep his pain in check because the nurses said that would kill him. In many medical situations, that has changed and more pain medication is given especially in hospice settings but I would not be surprised if in some cases the practice is the same as what my Dad experienced.

Assisted Suicide which is allowed in only one state (Oregon) in the USA should be allowed across this country. Given the power of the pro-Lifers it is doubtful this will happen in the near future but it is evident this is the option that is needed the most and is highlighted the most by the Schiavo case. If people don't want to see the tubes removed and to witness a lingering death, then why not consider or at least allow people to consider another option. In Teri Schiavo's case assisted suicide cannot even be considered as she did not have advanced directives and is unable to express her desires but her case highlights the need for this option and the publics distaste for the option she is experiencing now.An option that faces many of us in the future, if we do not take care of business and face the facts of death and dying as they are not as we wish them to be. Assisted Suicide should be an option for those who desire it and feel it is a better alternative to death by withholding of nutrition.

Monday, March 21, 2005

More to The Left and Right

What amazes me is the way the political continuum from left to right has changed and shifted since George W. Bush took office and the NeoCons took power. Of course, the shift to the right probably began even before Bush took office but it is more evident than ever before now. For instance, those who used to be considered a mainstream Democrat like an Al Gore or a Patrick Leahy from Vermont are now consideredto be on the left side of the continuum.

What used to pass for a mainstream Republican like a Richard Luger or even an Orrin Hatch are now considered left of right Republicans. And then there are the former mainstream Democrats who have moved further to the right on thier own accord i.e. Joe Lieberman or Diane Feinstein and still remain in many ways perceived as on the left by many in the media and by those on far right. Bill and Hillary also have tried to move the Democratic Party to the middle in what seems a vain attempt to keep up with the changing times and first and foremost for votes. The fact that Howard Dean was looked upon as a leftwing rabble rouser by the media and many others particularly those on the right and was not allowed to move into the inner circle the closer he got to winning the primary altogether is witness to how quickly and completely the new shift to the right in this country has taken hold.

The propaganda machine i.e. Fox News and Talk Radio and all the right wing owned newspapers made sure that anyone who had any tendencies at civil minded thinking i.e wanting a clean environment or a thoughtful discussion of the War in Iraq is now put in the camp of kooks and crazies. Plain old conservatives are now viewed with suspicions like the ones who see this frenzy around The Terri Schiavo case as an invasion of the federal government into the privacy of family life. This is all a dangerous turn of events.

Thank goodness for MoveOn.Org, and a Barbara Boxer and the internet and at least a majority public that is seeing through this Schiavo mess and those others who alert us to the dangers coming from a minority of right wing zealots. Any chance the pendulum will swing back to something many of us think of as more sensible and earthly once the public sees what a mess we are in now as a result of the left right shift that has the right practically out to the moon and the new left (formerly Dems in the mainstream) who used to be in the middle perceived by the right somewhere on Venus?