Ripped from the headlines.

Life is unfair. This should be neither a surprise nor particularly upsetting to anyone older than 17 or so, but still, it can sting the most hard-hearted of us. I wonder, should Sen. Tim Johnson recover enough to read the stories about his sudden illness and surgery yesterday, if he’ll be terribly vexed that the political angle to his story emerged in paragraph five and not 25:

Apart from the risk to his health, Johnson’s illness carried political ramifications. Democrats emerged from last month’s elections with a 51-49 Senate majority. If he were forced to relinquish his seat, a replacement would be named by South Dakota’s GOP Gov. Mike Rounds. A Republican appointee would create a 50-50 tie, and allow the GOP to retain Senate control.

Get well soon, senator.

I accepted an editing job yesterday, for a friend, which meant I extended the special Friend Rate of $0 per hour and dinner at my choice of restaurants in the Fort Wayne metroplex sometime during Christmas week. While I try to limit my pro bono work to NN.C, I guess there’s something about the holiday season that puts me in a giving mood. What the hell, it’s only 7,000 words plus multiple appendices and I owe him one. Which is my way of saying, I may be scarce around here for a while, and when I am here, I’ll be boring. But let’s not hold ourselves back from making hash of the issues of the day, shall we?

I see that 10 years later, we’re finally able to put a lid on the death of Princess Diana. The verdict: It was just another tawdry drunk-driving accident, mitigated by pursuing photographers but otherwise pretty routine, as these things go. No one was pregnant, MI5 wasn’t involved, Prince Philip has no blood on his hands. No conspiracy. Also — and I’m amazed this wasn’t in paragraph two — no seat belts. Four people in one of the best-designed cars in the world hit a fixed object at 60 miles an hour, killing three; what did the survivor do that the rest didn’t? He buckled up. If you need a clearer lesson from this tragedy than this, I can’t help you.

OK, maybe this one was clearer: Don’t drink and drive, especially if your job is driving princesses.

I get as irritated with Mark Steyn as any other moderate-lefty, but I still think he wrote one of the most perceptive pieces about these incidents way back when; you can find it here. Bonus: Trashing of a Free Press columnist, and a moment with Whitney Houston.

Proof that those meth labs out in the sticks may be leaching creepy stuff into the groundwater: Seven-legged, hermaphroditic deer killed in Wisconsin. By what else, residents of deer-y states? Yes, a truck. Still. Ewww.

Big news here: Creepy Dr. Kevorkian is being paroled, free to live out his remaining days — of which he is said to have only a few — outside the walls. This is sparking the usual reactions here and there, but mostly they boil down to: Yawn. Also, this: He won, they lost. People outside Detroit either forget or never knew in the first place that the multiple unsuccessful prosecutions of Dr. Death led to the ousting of the Oakland County prosecutor, by an electorate who said, basically, “Time to move on.” (He’s now with Tom Monaghan’s legal eagles, fighting for intelligent design.) Brian Dickerson states the obvious:

No physician I’ve talked to believes physician-assisted suicide ended with Kevorkian’s incarceration, and there is reason to believe it has become more common — albeit under the guise of aggressive pain management, since Kevorkian has been out of circulation. The legal debate over euthanasia will continue, and Kevorkian’s moment (and Michigan’s) at the epicenter of it is probably over for good. But wherever he spends his final days, Kevorkian can rest assured the market forces he set in motion will survive him.

“Market forces” is kind of a cold-hearted phrase, but regrettably, it’s probably accurate. Medical ethicists have long noted that our technology always outpaces our ethical framework for dealing with it. If Kevorkian caused us to at least start that discussion, then he can die in peace.

Posted at 10:39 am in Current events |

16 responses to “Ripped from the headlines.”

  1. brian stouder said on December 14, 2006 at 11:19 am

    You draw an intriguing parallel in today’s news.

    It struck me as odd, too, that the subhead on the story about the senator from South Dakota was about the political aspect of the unfortunate turn his health took…time enough for that on Day Two or Three of the story – yes?

    And then we have Dr Death creeping out of the slammer –

    which raises some interesting historical ghosts… If Senator Johnson were to end up essentially gone (but still alive) – there is precedent for simply keeping him in the Senate anyway!

    If that happens – a genuinely black coemdy will unfold, as the old Schiavo debate leaps back out of the grave, but with the political polarity REVERSED!! (hilarity ensues)

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  2. Joe Kobiela said on December 14, 2006 at 12:01 pm

    After reading about the 7 leg deer I enjoyed the last part.
    “And by the way I did eat it and it was tasty”
    Cheers from Auburn In

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  3. mary said on December 14, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    That deer story was really funky. Not cool funky. Icky funky. Remind me to not accept any dinner invitations from that guy.

    And speaking of invitations, lately I’ve been seeing the word invites used instead of invitations. It sounds very Jed Clampett to me. Am I a snob?

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  4. nancy said on December 14, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    Mary: No.

    “Invites” is like “veggies” — one of those words that started as a snarky abbreviation and now seems to be shoving the original aside. I hate that.

    I had another usage revelation yesterday, and I thought it was a pretty good one. Unfortunately, since I was in the car and couldn’t write it down, and because I’m now in my late 40s and have entered the Swiss-cheese-brain years, I can’t remember it.

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  5. brian stouder said on December 14, 2006 at 12:53 pm

    The other day I had a fingernail-on-the-chalkboard moment.

    The word ‘effort’ was used as a verb! In writing!

    as in “we are efforting to complete this project”


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  6. alex said on December 14, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    Leave it to the Fond du Lac newspaper to refer to dew claws as “du claws.” And not show us the parts of that damn deer we really wanted to see.

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  7. nancy said on December 14, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    You haven’t heard those fingernails until you’ve seen “effort” adjectivized into “effortful.” The dictionary gives it a nod, but I h-a-t-e it.

    (Actually, the word I thought of yesterday wasn’t a noun-gone-verb, which is usually the case, but a verb turned into a noun. Now it will drive me crazy until I think of it again.)

    Alex, I noticed those “du claws” too. As for the ambiguous genitalia, they say that was one we’d have to take on the word of the deer’s consumer, because the guy gutted it before the DNR could show up. But yeah, I’m thinking: And he doesn’t own a digital camera?

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  8. mike dooley said on December 14, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    Hey, Nall:

    I don’t know why we had to wait to find out what was behind the demise of Diana Spencer. Mojo Nixon spelled it all out in his song, “Drunk Divorced Floozy.” Yeah, sometimes the title does say it all.


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  9. Ricardo said on December 14, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    Tinfoil hatter that I am, my first thoughts on hearing about Tim Johnson included two Democrat senators whose private planes went down and polonium. Good wishes for Tim.

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  10. Dorothy said on December 14, 2006 at 2:14 pm

    Well Mary mentioned she did not want to have dinner with the guy who shot the deer. And Brian brought up a fingernails-on-a-chalkboard moment. I’ll tie those two together and say I took a gander at the pictures of said deer. The hunter has the nastiest fingernails! Then again, he WAS handling a dead deer. Still…. gagged me. I definitely wouldn’t want to eat with him, either!

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  11. peris said on December 14, 2006 at 3:14 pm

    Sorry Nancy, but your seatbelt clucking here doesn’t wash. In a head-on deceleration of that magnitude, seatbelts are largely irrelevant, unless the vehicle lacks functional airbags. The two on the left side died because that was the side that directly impacted a concrete pillar. The front passenger survived because of his airbag and because there was no steering wheel to crush his chest.

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  12. brian stouder said on December 14, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    After the soy/estrogen/breast cancer discussion, I thought this was interesting –

    In a startling turnaround, breast cancer rates in the United States dropped dramatically in 2003, and experts said they believe it is because many women stopped taking hormone pills.

    The 7.2 percent decline came a year after a big federal study linked hormone replacement therapy used at menopause to a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease and other problems. Within months, millions of women stopped taking estrogen and progestin pills.

    A new analysis of federal cancer statistics, presented Thursday at a scientific conference called the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, revealed the drop in tumors.

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  13. John said on December 14, 2006 at 5:59 pm

    Just curious what your favorite restaurants in the Fort are? Surely Powers tops the list? For the amount of work you will be doing, and the low rate I suggest dinner in Roanoke at Joseph Decuis.

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  14. MarkH said on December 14, 2006 at 9:05 pm

    In today’s political/news cycle climate, why is everyone (at least the newspeople types on this blog) so surprised that the threat of change to the senate make-up would make it to paragraph two of Tim Johnson stroke coverage? The covereage cycle for Democratic takeover of congress started in November of 2004, and continued for four weeks after Nov. 7, when it was finally decided they squeaked ahead in the Senate by one seat. And, now (yes, due to tragic circumstances) it may revert back to an even split with Cheney able to break a tie. That consequence is as much news as Johnson’s condition and should be noted as such, all political sentiments aside. Without the threat of a change in senate power, I submit Johnson’s condition wouldn’t make it above the fold, if it was even on page one.

    And, when did “doable” become a word, as in “able to be done”? I have a 20-year-old Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and it does not have that variation of the word “do”. I have always applied “workable” instead. Is that any better, though?

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  15. brian stouder said on December 15, 2006 at 10:31 am

    Hey – now HERE’S a story ripped from the headlines that should get lots of play this weekend (imagine if the plane landed at O’Hare!)

    an excerpt –

    DUBAI – The screams were louder than the roar of the engines when more than 100 passengers on board a Saudi plane fought off an invasion by 80 stowaways: mice.

    Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Friday that the mice escaped from the bag of a traveler on the internal Saudi Arabian Airlines flight and started falling on the heads and scurrying between the feet of panic-stricken passengers.

    “An hour after it took off from Riyadh, the aircraft was at an altitude of 28,000 feet when passengers were surprised by the mice…” the paper quoted Omar al-Jarrah, an airline official as saying.

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  16. Bob said on December 15, 2006 at 11:04 am

    The mice probably were deliberately infested with some pestilence, maybe plague-carrying fleas, and were intended for use as biological WMDs.

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