Saturday, 9 June 2007


I just saw an amazing comeback. My adopted Texas Rangers trailed the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-0, in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Brewers brought in their closer, Francisco Cordero.  Coco (as he was known in Texas when he played here) has had a fabulous year for the Brewers. He has saved 22 games in 22 opportunities and has a ridiculous earned-run average of 0.36. You guessed it: The Rangers scored four runs off him to win, 4-3. Michael Young drove in the winning run. The ballpark was rocking. Cordero blew many games when he pitched for the Rangers. Perhaps the memory of those failures disconcerted him this evening.

From Today’s New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Dr. Kevorkian’s Wrong Way” (editorial, June 5):

Dr. Jack Kevorkian may have gone about helping people die the wrong way. Yet aid in dying (much more accurate terminology than assisted suicide) is happening every day.

Rather than continuing this illegal, underground and unregulated practice, laws, like the one you mention in Oregon, with strict safeguards, should be enacted. Oregon’s aid-in-dying law, where prescribed lethal medicines for dying patients must be self-administered, has been remarkably successful.

Only a small number of terminally ill people have used the medicines (292 patients in nine years), but thousands of people have been comforted knowing they have a choice at life’s end, an escape as a last resort.

Almost 90 percent were enrolled in hospices (three times the national average) and almost all had health insurance. There have been no abuses. It is time for other states to follow Oregon’s lead.

David C. Leven
Executive Director, Compassion and Choices of New York
New York, June 5, 2007

Note from KBJ: First there was “pregnancy termination” (to avoid the word “abortion”), and now there is “aid in dying” (to avoid the word “suicide”). Will people fall for it?

Note 2 from KBJ: Here is a typology of death:

                             S dies 
                  S is killed                   | ~(S is killed) 
            S kills S            | ~(S kills S) | 
 T helps S |     ~(T helps       |              | 
 kill S    |      S kill S)      |              | 
-----------|---------------------|              | 
           | T kills  | ~(T      |              | 
           | S        | kills S) |              | 
           |----------|----------|              | 
     1     |    2     |    3     |      4       |       5

Here’s how to read it. Everyone who dies is either killed (“S is killed”) or not killed (“~(S is killed)”). (By “killed,” I mean caused to die by one or more human beings.) Everyone who is killed is either killed by himself or herself or not killed by himself or herself. Everyone who is killed by himself or herself is either assisted in doing so or not assisted in doing so. Those who kill themselves without assistance either have a joint killer or do not have a joint killer. (Two or more people can jointly kill someone.) Category 1 is assisted suicide. Category 2 is a combination suicide-homicide (with joint agency and causation). Category 3 is unassisted suicide. Category 4 is homicide. Category 5 includes natural deaths (e.g., those from disease), accidental deaths, and deaths brought about by animals. Please note that the typology says nothing about either the motive with which the killings are carried out (the motive could be anything from mercy to malevolence) or the wrongness of the killings (some killings are morally permissible). It’s designed solely to display the logic of death, so that arguments about wrongness can stay focused.


I’m confused. The editorial board of The New York Times opposed the immigration plan. Remember? But now that the plan has been thwarted, the board is outraged. Which is it? Do you oppose the plan, or do you support it? By the way, the board puts the very worst spin on conservative opposition to the plan: It’s because—wait for it—conservatives don’t like Mexicans:

The anti-immigrant hard-core—no amnesty today, no amnesty tomorrow, no amnesty forever—must not be allowed to hold the nation hostage. Like nativists of generations past, they think the country is being Latinized, and they fear it.

Two can play this game. The members of the editorial board support open borders so they can get cheap lawn care.

A Year Ago