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.