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Saturday, March 19, 2005
euthanasia, crouching humanoid hidden remote control, audio bird watching
Listening to:Adam Curry, DSC
Reading:got a suggestion?
Weather:23, getting ready to be sunny
Wonder if Terry Schiavo is hungry today? They took out her feeding tube yesterday and it's the only way she gets nutrition. In case you're not already hip to Terry, a brief catchup: She was in a accident 15 years ago and sustained massive brain damage. She can't talk or take care of herself or eat, she's been in a healthcare facility since the accident. Her husband, who now has 2 kids with his girlfriend, says she wouldn't have wanted to live this way and has been fighting in the courts to have her feeding tube, which is necessary for her survival, removed. Her parents are his adversaries, saying she recognizes them and responds to them, and though she's severely disabled, she clearly wants to live.

Unfortunately this particular manifestation of the issue of euthanasia is somewhat like the most well-known manifestations of assisted suicide in that the players are fucked up and fraught with conflicts of interest. Dr. Kevorkian, the self-appointed ambassador for assisted suicide, is also a poster child for super freak. He's clearly a wacko. The true interests of the patient never rise to the top of the discussion because it's so hard to see past Dr. Death the nutcase. This is particularly unfortunate because assisted suicide is an serious bioethics issue with substantial points on each side. I think euthanasia is similarly obfuscated by this well-known case of Terry Schiavo because the primary adversaries here, parents v. husband, have their own major agendas which are very much in conflict with Terry's own interests (parents: have their baby alive with them forever, husband: new life with new family and pile of Terry's accident settlement money). And what makes the whole thing critical is that Terry can't tell us what she wants.

Nor did Terry leave us an advance directive, like a living will, to consult. But even if she did, how can any of us know what it will be like to become severely disabled? Most non-disabled people I know say they would not want to be kept alive on machines. And most disabled people I know say they want to be kept alive at almost all costs. Interesting, isn't it? Patients in America generally have the legal right to be informed about, choose, and refuse medical treatment. Hard to exercise your rights when you can't communicate. Equally hard when you can't understand what the hell is happening because your brain is severaly damaged beyond comprehension. But just because it's hard for you to exercise your rights, you still have them, yes? The trick is how do we help you exercise them. Right now I'm thinking if we remove the tube we permanently lose the opportunity to know what Terry wants, so let's keep working on exploring the issue.

I'm a little hungry this morning, I wonder if Terry is, too.

Big non-sequitur: How about the movie Robots? I highly recommend it. Liv and I saw it last night. She is an insufferable bitch, BTW, just thought I'd throw that in there to elicit some sympathy from any of you parents of teenagers. Anyhoo, Robots has a great cast, sensationally beautiful animation, witty dialogue and one-liners for the adults to enjoy, awesome creative engineering and dominoes stuff, and tons of allusions. It's a wizard of oz, truth-justice-American way, gotham city, lord of the rings little guy saviour, triumph over evil corporate greed kinda movie, complete with ball bearing ballet. And Robin Williams, who rarely fails to entertain me. My only real complaint is the pacing is too fast. This is my complaint with great animated kids movies since Shrek 2. There so much cool shit to look at, and you don't have time to actually see most of it because the kid attention span pacing is too fast for the be-here-now adult to enjoy. That said, go see Robots, I think there's something for virtually everyone to dig.

The birdies. Yesterday morning the cacaphony of birdsong was so incredible on my porch, that I wanted to record some for potential podcasting use (this is my latest ear lens: should I capture this sound for the podcasting library?). Couldn't quite get and keep my shit together for that, including low battery on the portable minidisker, the timing of morning car traffic, my cat wanting to go out and scare the birdies, etc. So this morning I haul my fat ass up at 6 and set up the mic and freshly-recharged gear, hit record, and go back in to type this to you. I just brought it in to check and though there are some amazingly good sounds on there, there is also a repeating whoosh noise that sounds like it might be the machine. Dagnabbit!! Oh well, time for some tweaking. I had input mic volume all the way up, maybe I'll try rolling some of that off next time. More on this sound capture experiment later.

Glorious day out there, dig it!

permalink posted by cat 6:13 AM

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euthanasia, crouching humanoid hidden remote control, audio bird watching