What should we call it?

Nebraska U.S. Senator Deb Fischer’s video production staff has been busy, focusing on the mess of U.S. policy in Syria, and have put together 2 short videos on the subject.

The first looks at President Obama’s interview with 60 Minutes:

The next looks at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on the issues, and CBS’s report featuring Senator Fischer’s questions and statements:

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Fischer has a particular responsibility to ask the hard questions of the Administration’s foreign policy and military actions.

It is pretty clear that she is not interested in letting the President skate on this breakdown.


The name game

Wesley J. Smith writes in National Review about proponents of assisted suicide making great efforts to re-label euthanasia practices. He quotes Kirsten Powers, saying…

We aren’t supposed to refer to self-inflicted death as “suicide.”

Rocky Shaw, president of the California State Coroners Association, told the Los Angeles Times that before California’s new law passed if someone took a lethal dose of drugs it would be ruled a suicide. But the new law states that “death resulting from the self-administration of an aid-in-dying drug is not suicide.” This, according to Shaw, “leaves a question about how to classify” a physician-assisted death.

This is no doubt because Compassion and Choices, a national “right-to-die” organization that lobbied for the California law is working furiously to, according to its website, “Normalize accurate, unbiased language throughout the end-of-life choice discussion (’aid in dying’ instead of ‘assisted suicide’).”

This caught my attention, because the local papers are jumping into the re-naming game as well.

In the Lincoln Journal-Star, they say…

Lawmaker wants bill to allow use of life-ending drugs

(Italics mine)

The Omaha World-Herald says..

Chambers ponders bill on medically assisted death, likely to face stiff opposition

At least the OWH does wade into the issue of terminology, saying…

“…what opponents call ‘assisted suicide’ and supporters term ‘death with dignity.'”

Some of this is a legal issue though, as the LJS also notes that the legislation that State Senator Ernie Chambers is pursuing states:

The patient’s death certificate would list the underlying illness as the cause of death, not suicide by drug overdose, and insurance companies cannot deny payouts or annuities because the death was medically assisted.

This is an extremely emotional issue for both sides.

Julie Schmidt-Albin of Nebraska Right to Life was Tweeting a story in TIME about the pressure on the poor in terms of assisted suicide.

And she notes this story about a nurse whose mother suffered from brain cancer, and is stridently against assisted suicide.

And on the other side, here is an emotional blog post by Dilbert cartoon creator Scott Adams, discussing his father’s painful hospital struggle, entitled, “I hope my father dies soon.”

But the name game is an interesting one. One only has to look at “Nebraskans for Public Safety“, the group against the Death Penalty, to see the role semantics plays in politics.

As Wesley Smith concludes…

There is a purpose behind such mislabeling prestidigitation: When anti-euthanasia advocacy and arguments are branded “religious”–a meme ubiquitously pushed in media stories about assisted suicide–it furthers the pro-assisted suicide tactic of branding opponents theocrats who are trying to force their dogma on unbelievers.

And he wonders where the alleged media bias on the topic will go.


Yes, Ben Carson in Omaha next week!

ABCNews wrote the other day that Dr. Ben Carson was “suspending” his Presidential campaign to go on a book tour.

The Carson campaign said yesterday that that is “nonsense” and that the ABC reporter was “misinformed” —  the campaign is going full force.. and includes some book tour stops.

Well, part of that will include Omaha.

Carson will make a stop in Omaha next week, on October 23rd at the new Bookworm at Loveland Center at 90th & Center at 7:30pm.

(Many of you will lovingly remember that new shopping center as the former home of taco-night location, Señor Matias.) (sniff…)

With the current lead Carson is developing in Iowa, and the excitement of his supporters, it would probably be best to get there early…


Casino Ralston?

Hey, have you downloaded or listened to the latest podcast of The Wheels Down Politics Show featuring my interview with Keep the Money in Nebraska‘s Scott Lautenbaugh? (Speaking of playing with titles…)

Lautenbaugh discusses the initiative petition and Constitutional Amendment for expanded Casino Gambling in Nebraska.

Here’s a 60 second clip to whet your appetite:

On the Ralston issue, that’s no joke (as I originally thought). Under the petition language, a Casino could be as far as 2,500 yards from an existing horsetrack. The Ralston arena (and hotel) is about 1,400 yards away.

I’m not saying that’s the plan, but you could certainly imagine the folks in Ralston making a play for that sort of expansion, right on 72nd Street.

Once again, the ballot in November 2016 is going to be (assuming these guys get their signatures) VERY interesting.


Tweet to the rescue

I noted Texas Governor Abbott’s Tweet the other day, prematurely celebrating an all-Texas team American League Championship Series.

Well Abbott, a Republican, at least came back with a funny after both teams lost…

Have a great weekend, Go Huskers!, and thanks for being the cool one who shares Leavenworth St. and Wheels Down Politics with your friends (and enemies)!


  1. Sparkles says:

    My favorite part of Sen. Fischer’s Youtube videos – other than her made for TV address to an empty Senate Chamber at the 50 sec mark of video 2 – are the bold solutions she put forward.
    Bold solutions which, were they to exist, would be certain to include hundreds of billions, if not trillions of American of dollars and countless thousands of dead American soldiers.
    Just think how much America’s citizenry stands to gain by inextricably tying ourselves to the quagmire that is the ongoing thousands years war in Syria.
    It would be especially sweet if we could fly our fighter jets immediately along side the Russian fighter jets, each bombing opposing factions of muslim religious fighters.
    I don’t see any potential problems at all arising from such a scenario.

    Because… Murrica!

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”
    Jan. 17, 1961
    – President Dwight Eisenhower

    “..should we really be up in arms over a temporary projected shortfall of about 100 Navy and Marine strike fighters relative to the number of carrier wings, when America’s military possesses more than 3,200 tactical combat aircraft of all kinds? Does the number of warships we have and are building really put America at risk when the U.S. battle fleet is larger than the next 13 navies combined, 11 of which belong to allies and partners? Is it a dire threat that by 2020 the United States will have only 20 times more advanced stealth fighters than China?
    May 8, 2010
    – Robert Gates, speaking at the Eisenhower Library

  2. Sparkles says:

    According to a June 18, 2014 Gallup survey, 7 in 10 American support euthanasia.
    “Strong majorities have supported this for more than 20 years.”

    I’ve sat at the bedside of a parent as she cried out, for weeks on end, for her beloved Jesus to please end the pain, to please take her home.

    We treat animals better.

    Of course, my mother and I should have thought to call Julie Schmidt-Albin. Because it would have been imperative we factor in her religious beliefs pertaining to my mother’s certain death. A welcomed end, attainable only after enduring weeks of inconceivable pain.

  3. bynd says:

    It is a sad day but I have to agree with Sparkles. Not of her criticism of Sen. Fisher, but it would seem her underlying presumption that we should get out of the middle east.

    It would appear that Ricketts Fulton’s greatest and smartest president ever is a clone of GW. I believed in the Afghanistan war to be necessary but not Iraq. Although for the life of me, I don’t understand why the politicians don’t fight wars to win and get out in the shortest amount of time. But Obama has already started his war in Syria and is perpetuating the war in Afghanistan.
    and dong a terrible job. Political half steps will only get more American military killed.

    Especially since Russia has joined in the ISIS fight. Let them make the same mistake they made in Afghanistan, again. Face it, the last words Putin said to Obama is, you’re my b—h.

    I do support Israel to some degree. The kicker is, as a believer in the Bible, even though it doesn’t always show, America is not one mentioned to save Israel, but God is. It specifically shows him taking the action necessary. Let him handle it and we can help when he tells us. That doesn’t include stupid and useless negotiations for a two state solution. It won’t happen until the Arabs stop supporting the people they love to hate and that won’t happen either.

    Military power is no longer the greatest power on earth. It is money and economics. That is where power now resides. We should get ahead of the curve and become the preeminent economic power in the world. But, old men/women will continue to push American exceptionalism so they can send our young men and women to die. I hope they instill a draft for women. First, to give them what they asked for. (One should be careful what they ask for.) Then they will see what it really means to have someone else control their body, the military. Secondly, when the women start dropping like flies, then maybe it will be a catalyst for change. If they can’t cut it with the men, make them groups of their own and see how that works for them. Like the 54th Massachusetts.

    Exceptionalism doesn’t just mean the good things, it includes stupid also. JMHO

  4. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    Sweeper, Thanks for citing Wesley Smith (he knows his stuff, we had him speak at the Nebraska Walk for Life in years past) and the other links. The headline on the LJS front page, above the fold print version was even more sugar-coated: :”Compassionate Suicide Bill Eyed”. The comments on the LJS Facebook post of this article are even more frightening. Hundreds of people buying into the “quality of life” mentality. Sparkles, I’m sorry your Mother died a painful death. Why do you think I come at this from a religious perspective ? I’ve been in the pro-life movement for 34 years and have watched the progression from dehumanizing the unborn child to where we are today with some people being deemed to have a lesser “quallity of life” than others and therefore they need to be encouraged to kill themselves. Who do you think will be most at risk here? It won’t be the person of means. It will be those in the shadows of life, the mentally disabled, medically vulnerable, people with little income or advocates. It won’t stop at terminally ill “you have less than six months.” We won’t be on a slippery slope, we’ll be in a free fall from which there is no return. Google: Netherlands, Euthanasia if you want to see where we’re headed. And the fact that the leader is Ernie Chambers should give you pause. He is the cheerleader in Nebraska for dehumanizing unborn children but protecting mountain lions and prairie dogs. He wouldn’t allow his pet poodle to undergo what happens to babies who are aborted but they’re just unborn non-sentient blobs of tissue who don’t feel pain so it’s all good. He rails against life-ending drugs for death row inmates who have had years of due process but wants life-ending drugs for the frail Grandma who is no longer a productive member of society. You also can’t legalize involuntary euthanasia without allowing active euthanasia. The person who is mentally incapacitated and can’t give consent is to be afforded the same legal right to die as the person who can give consent, under the Equal Protection Clause.

  5. Sparkles says:


    You state:
    “..some people being deemed to have a lesser “quallity of life” than others and therefore they need to be encouraged to kill themselves.. ..It won’t stop at terminally ill..”

    That’s nothing short of delusional.

    At your behest, I googled –
    Euthanasia in the Netherlands
    “Under current Dutch law, euthanasia by doctors is only legal in cases of “hopeless and unbearable” suffering… Helping somebody to commit suicide without meeting the qualifications of the current Dutch euthanasia law is illegal”

    And, when the law was enacted (2002), a whopping 1.34% of all deaths (2003) were physician assisted euthanasia.
    So, 98.66% died by natural or other causes, while 1.34% were with physician assistance.

    In 2010, there were 3136 cases of physician assisted euthanasia in the Netherlands.

    By comparison, In 2011 America there were:
    21,175 suicides by Firearm (bullet assisted euthanasia)
    10,062 suicides by suffocation (pillow assisted euthanasia)
    6637 suicides by Poisoning (Jim Jones, here we come)

    So yea, the death with dignity movement is a Netherlandian catastrophe of epic proportions.
    Truly the End Times.

  6. Abortion will remain safe and legal. Thank Goodness. says:

    After several inquiries it seems that Rick’s Boatyard not paying taxes for two years is in somewhat uncharted territory. It could be that by paying (or not paying) rent to the city then taxes owed would be paid to the city of Omaha. But isn’t it up to Douglas County to collect taxes?
    So I was referred to Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing and Douglas County Assessor Diane Battiato and I should direct my questions to them.
    So I asked how a business can get out of paying taxes for two years. Still waiting for a response. And I contacted the Omaha City Council and Mayor’s office to ask if I could get out of paying my taxes for two years.
    I did not know that the Mayor of Omaha could just let somebody out of their taxes. Maybe it’s Stothert’s way of protesting the restaurant tax she claimed she hated but now loves?
    It looks like a big mess, and whatever shenanigans everybody is pulling on this you have to admit that this mayor is absolutely terrible and does a lousy job and it would be a crime for us to let her and Rod Yates do a three hundred million dollar deal for the Crossroads Mall and give Yates 90 million dollars of taxpayer money.
    That would be totally totally totally stupid.

    ricky from west omaha

  7. repentinglawyer says:

    There have been a number of studies of the Dutch record on physician assisted and performed euthanasia, most do not support a dire prediction. In addition the Netherlands has a rather unique situation since the law there grows out of the lesser evil or necessity defense, unlike most of the statutes in Europe and the US. The Dutch count as euthanasia actions that in other places are treated as double effect or indirect and not as euthanasia, Vaca v Quill. Ernie has been studying the issue for more than 25 years and I respect his considered judgment on this. In addition there seems to be little if any evidence of the abuses that frighten right to life folks, and I some times wonder about the fixation on killing grandma, perhaps something from Freud. Evidence makes the anti arguments on this issue shop worn.

  8. TexasAnnie says:

    My dear repenting lawyer: Ernie has already filed on this issue in years past. But no bill has been reported out of committee, frankly, because Julie is so powerful!!!

    But Julie is wrong on this issue, just as she is wrong on the issue of abortion. A very (and I do mean VERY) close relative of mine is a staff attorney at Compassion and Choices. I have good inside knowledge about that organization and there is nothing amiss with altering the language we use when discussing a right to die. Remember A J Ayer’s “Language, Truth and Logic?” It’s a great read for those trying to determine whether “statements of ethical value can be translated into statements of empirical fact.” (p.104) Of course Julie cares not for logical constructions about this issue, but I’ll leave you with this thought: To possess a RIGHT, implies choice-making. How could one have a right to life, without a corresponding right to die?

    Sparkles: Sorry to hear about your mom’s suffering. I’m doing the little I can to alleviate this sad situation across this land!

  9. TexasAnnie says:

    Oh, and Julie, I agree that public policies usually don’t work out well for the poor and infirm. For example, public spending on the DD population there in Nebraska has been inadequate since I began watching, —and that’s about twenty years now!

  10. bynd says:

    Ricketts Fulton: Are you smarter than a fifth grader? The answer would certainly be no.

    Anyone can stop paying their property taxes. In most developments for housing, the owner of lots do not pay taxes until they have a sold house on then and then pay the taxes off. At sometime the county or whomever will foreclose and put the lot up for auction. Then even you can buy the lot for back tax. Except the original owner has “x” amount of time to redeem the lot and you loose out. So quit paying your taxes, by the time they take action, you’ll hopefully be long dead.

    Stothert could not cut a deal for taxes not to be paid to another political subdivision.

    Omaha is,
    #1. top ten best cities to raise your family in
    #2. on the top 9 up and coming cities for music
    #3. for most economic development projects
    #4. one of top 50 military friendly cities
    #4. top ten midsize cities of the future
    #6. Most secure place to live in the USA
    #7. 10 fittest cities in the mid west
    #7. best cities for job seekers
    #7. top ten best American cities to live in
    #9. top ten cities for college graduates to live in
    #9. top ten cities for a young entrepreneur.
    #10. best cities to start a business in
    #1 best place to raise children in Nebraska
    #8. best place to live in America
    12 more top ten lists.

    Ricketts Fulton, this is why Dems and liberals should not be in charge of anything. Not only do you look stupid, you have no idea what a good place to live is. So you keep complaining about Omaha and it’s government. Because all people need to know is that you speak for the left and who the hell would be ignorant enough to vote for the likes of you.

    Julie, I have always admired your stand on abortion. But who is anyone to tell me how I can die? It’s my decision not yours or anyone else. Will you force me to have extreme measures to save my life as I die at the end of my life also? It is my living will not anyone else. That is the slippery slope we are on now.

    Saving babies is one thing, telling a mature adult how they can run/end their life is way out bounds. As for your examples, they can be accounted for in the law. Work for the compromise or you are no different than the likes of the NRA. (And I have no issues with guns, just the NRA loony bullies.)

  11. Macdaddy says:

    From a study in Pediatrics in 2004:
    “In the Netherlands, an estimated number of 10 to 15 cases of euthanasia in newborn infants take place yearly.15,16 This number has remained stable be- tween 1995 and 2001. Seventy-three percent of neo- natologists in France have made the decision to ad- minister drugs with the purpose of ending the life of a newborn infant.7 Their colleagues in Italy (2%), Spain (2%), Germany (4%), United Kingdom (4%), and Sweden (2%) are making this decision less often. The majority (68%) of pediatricians in Flanders, Bel- gium, would be prepared to shorten the terminal suffering of a newborn by using lethal drugs.17 They see prevention of suffering as a professional task. In Flanders, lethal drugs were given to actively end the life of 17 newborns in 1 year.”

    It may not be legal but it is acceptable in those countries so much so that doctors don’t get convicted for murdering children. The umbrella that allows this is the fact that it is legal and completely acceptable for adults. But OH MY F’IN G if we were to execute a scumbag who pulled a mother of two out of her car and shot her dead. THAT would be outrageous but not the fact that doctors will skate with killing people on purpose and with the government’s full complicity.

  12. bynd says:

    TA: I applaud your single mindedness about DD children and this state. However, ever since my daughter was diagnosed as pregnant with a downs child, the local authorities have done nothing but been there for him and his family. 9 years now. Is it a most people are adversely affected thing, or just a few who got screwed? Nothing is perfect. I don’t know but I don’t think it is as bad as some make it out to be.

  13. TexasAnnie says:

    Oh thank-you bynd for your inquiry! I am hoping against past experience that things are getting better there. The children I worry(ied) about were wards of the state. Of course a child presenting with PARENTS is more likely to have medical insurance coverage AND advocates at the IEP!

  14. NE Voter says:

    Anyone else remember when Nebraska’s United States Senators had real clout in Wahington, D.C.? Whether or not you liked any of them, Exon, Kerry, Nelson and Hagel were influential figure both within their caucuses and nationally.

    Now we have Ben Sasse tweeting narcissistic musings on Twitter and Deb Fischer spending untold amounts of taxpayer money on videos criticizing the President. Vidoes no one will watch, remember or care about.

    Wake up, People!

  15. Mean Jean and JSA Two Peas in a Pod says:

    Both have failed in their jobs. Abortion still goes on in Nebraska every day. In a legal way thank goodness nobody wants back-alley abortions. Luckily for the women of Ne JSA does not get her way.
    And, the mayor of Omaha, who is a nurse by trade, has absolutely failed in her job as well.
    And it’s kind of sad in a way the first woman mayor of Omaha and it has to be a Republican who puts the GOP ahead of the city, and a woman who would infringe on the rights of other women.
    Get a life girls!


  16. repentinglawyer says:

    McDaddy, how many of those children in Europe would have been allowed to die in US from non treatment? Emotion aside, how real is the difference between the practice here and in Europe? The distinction between doing and allowing is largely a piece of Catholic moral theology of whose validity is at least doubtful; In any event no American legislation authorizes involuntary euthanasia and the moral posse would be watchful here.

  17. Liberal tools of the democrat party. says:

    Wow! It’s really annoying to hear you liberals try to cheer on each other. I also love how you try to get each other to perpetuate the lie that your views are held by the majority of Nebraska voters. How dare Julie take a stand on a subject that she and the majority of nebraskans think could be used to “cleanse the populace of undesirables”. That sounds vaguely familiar. Wasn’t that what your deity Margaret Sanger started planned parenthood to accomplish? Doctors never make mistakes or place money ahead of ethics right? I want them to be able to make a buck of off of me by killing me with drugs when I’m unconscious. Good game liberals good game!

  18. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    Bynd: There’s this misperception that Right to Lifers want to force everyone to be hooked up to every last machine and treatment available. That is not the case. In end of life situations where the natural dying process has started, we recognize that futile and heroic measures would only prolong the inevitable. There is a huge difference though in making a doctor an agent of you ending your life by taking a suicide concoction. You have your Advanced Directives, every health facility requires people to have them on file now prior to surgery, etc. In fact, National Right to Life has a pro-life Advanced Directive tailored to each State’s statutes called The Will To Live. Go to their website and check out Nebraska’s version. When do we ever encourage someone to commit suicide? In Oregon, only 23% of those using the “Oregon Death With Dignity Act:” ugh,, cited fear of uncontrollable pain as the reason they wanted control over ending their lives. The “quality of life” ethic has succeeded in letting people believe they can determine their own deaths legally with the aid of others. Human beings shouldn’t be categorized on the same level as animals who have to be put down. Where does it all end?
    TA: Interesting you should mention Compassion and Choices, where Ernie is going for his model legislation. The forerunner of that group was The Hemlock Society. You can see how they have learned to sanitize not only the headlines Sweeper mentioned above but also the names of their organizations. Derek Humphry is almost as controversial as Jack Kervorkian, going through two wives with breast cancer. The first was “assisted” out of life and the second, took her own life, leaving a suicide not wherein she claimed Derek pushed her into killing herself.

  19. repentinglawyer says:

    Julie Schmit-Albin, The evidence is there is so little conversation between doctors and patients that advanced directives are either ignored or misunderstood. Original ACA would have contained a provision that was designed to change that but got turned into death committees and was removed. A lot of the difference in views involves the distinction between direct and indirect euthanasia, you see a deep difference but you do not say why. Might also point to something beyond Google and the Netherlands to support your dire predictions, particularly because of the very different approach in the Netherland’s Penal Code.
    I for one have no view as to what most NE voters think, and there seems to be no way to silence J S-A, and I would not want to. Eugenics was a sad stain on American history, but left and right were complicit.

  20. bynd says:


    Actually it is a honor to be able to discuss this subject with you.

    First of all. My machine example was presented to show we are already on a slippery slope when it comes to end of life decisions. Hence the Republican’s red herring of death panels. If you trust that the slope to keep one alive, when they don’t want to extend their life by medical means, can be managed, it is not rational to not also trust that the slippery slope of self death can be controlled also. The argument is valid for both positions. However, the best option is always to keep government out of the control of a mentally capable adult’s life.

    No doctor is forced to participate in end of life actions. Just like doctors or medical professionals can not be forced to participate in an abortion. So the participation of medical professionals is a moot point.

    I do not believe that any end of life law states that pain is the only reason to end one’s life. Although pain is usually part of it. Quality of life could be as little as being able to feed yourself without a tube. Or not wanting to sit in your diaper you defecated in until some one else finds the time to change it. I can think of many reasons that I may want to end my life. Who is anyone to judge?

    The standard is, death within 6 months. I will point out that my mother in law was given a year after being diagnosed with liver cancer. Yet she made it five. By the same token, some who have gone into surgery for something as minor as having their tonsils removed did not make it out alive. Medicine is not an exact science. But it goes both ways. That is why all the disclaimers when any medical procedure is performed. They do the best they can, you make your decision based on that and other pertinent factors.

    Finally, as a believer in God, it is between him and me and no one has a right to interfere with my relationship with God. Especially when one truly believes that death is no more than going home. Death is not to be feared, it is to be anticipated and welcomed. No one has a right to deny me going home when I choose to. What this really boils down to for me, is another’s irrational fear of death adversely impacting me. Remember, Jesus committed suicide to free me from the patterns of this earth.

    Fetus need protection from others, I do not, so please don’t treat me like one.

  21. bynd says:


    PS, The brain starts deteriorating at age 20. Which is pretty much when one starts to die. The only variable being time. Which we can not control no matter how many laws we pass:)

  22. Macdaddy says:

    Repenting lawyer, being allowed to die from non treatment of a life-threatening illness is not the same as going out of your way to end someone’s life. You should know that intent counts for a lot. You’re a lawyer, right?

    Bynd, you are right that physician’s aren’t being forced to participate…yet. With the all out assault on religious beliefs, we are only one executive order away from physicians being required to accommodate those requests or you can’t participate in Medicare. And lastly, physician assisted suicide increases the rates of other suicides. This is what happens when you normalize certain behaviors. Surely we should be able to figure that out by now.

  23. TexasAnnie says:

    Julie: Derek Humphry is not and has not been associated with Compassion and Choices. He is with ERGO. I have read that his second wife had mental illness before taking her own life. And the name change from Hemlock Society to Compassion and Choices involved a break-up of Hemlock (due to Kervorkian publicity) splinter groups, and the eventual merging of two successful groups.

    repentinglaywer: Actually the prominent philosopher, Peter Singer, proposes that newborn babies with severe disability be permitted euthanasia under the sole direction of the parents. So here is an even finer line between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. I have read Singer’s work and realize it’s affect on persons of Catholic persuasion (i.e sanctity of life), hence the slippery slope rebuttal. Also, I point out to you that Nebraska itself has ‘dabbled’ with eugenics. I’m sorry that I can’t give which year(s), but between the two world wars eugenics legislation was in vogue up there. (Where was the Catholic church then?) Of course reasonable persons are able to distinguish between taking the life of someone who adamantly wants life, and one begging for and/or needing death. At any rate I prefer the counsel of philosophers to that of theologians on this particular subject. Evidently you do too!

  24. Sparkles says:

    Ms. Schmit-Albin’s “slippery slope” toward mass extermination and her expressed concern for the less educated/fortunate has been thoroughly studied. Her concerns have been found without merit.

    An independent study published in the October 2007 issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics reports there was “no evidence of heightened risk for the elderly, women, the uninsured, people with low educational status, the poor, the physically disabled or chronically ill, minors, people with psychiatric illnesses including depression, or racial or ethnic minorities, compared with background populations.”

    You can read the study by googling:

    Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act passed in 1994. It’s been 21 years and we’re still awaiting Julie’s promised mass extermination of the poor and illiterate.
    Throughout those 21 years, 859 patients (avg of 41 per year) have chosen death with dignity by ingesting physician prescribed life ending medication. Their median age was 71, with 78.0 percent of patients suffering from malignant neoplasms (cancer).
    Of those 859, the primary end of life concerns were loss of autonomy (91.5%), inability to make life enjoyable (88.7%), and loss of dignity (79.3%).

  25. repentinglawyer says:

    Texas Annie and McDaddy, My point was that Catholic moral theology draws the distinction between active and passive, not that I endorsed it. I have trouble seeing a deep distinction between intending to kill and intending to let die. On the other hand Annie Singer is extreme among bioethicists in his utilitarian views and most of the tribe disagree with him.
    Annie you are right that NE had a eugenics statute and was one of the last to repeal it, late 60s early 70s, which rather refutes the notion that it was a left wing notion, Margaret Sanger was not a NE hero.

  26. repentinglawyer says:

    McDaddy, As a technical matter the law usually works with reckless disregard rather than negligence leaving no room for double effect, but the same result is often reached through privilege and no duty rules.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Sweeper: The person at 4:16PM October 16th has a propensity to name call and make nasty remarks and or slams that contribute little to nothing to the discussion. It was done on another blog and it appears it is now moved on to this one. i.e. “So quit paying your taxes, by the time they take action, you’ll hopefully be long dead.” Really? Maybe he/she can get their own Facebook page and unload without restraint, but it reflects poorly on what you present for comment appreciatively so which was, and I hope stays, as a great place for political discussion instead of a cafeteria food fight for bullies.

  28. bynd says:

    Anymous @ 11:20
    I was not wishing death on anyone. It was an expression of time. Will you ask for the standard to be applied to anyone who calls anyone else names on here? Since you haven’t expressed that desire I would guess you are not in favor of being fair and unbiased.

  29. Oracle says:

    Julie, at some point on Leavenworth Street, someone commented that if your organization was pro-life, why did it not also work to abolish the death penalty? Your response was that Right to Life was a single issue group that was only concerned with abortion. But now I see you wading into the Death by Dignity issue which has nothing to do with abortion. I’d have a bit more respect for you if you were consistent and wouldn’t make statements that you contradict shortly thereafter. Sparkles has correctly pointed out that your fear-mongering on this subject has been satisfactorily refuted by reality over time.

  30. Crossroads Mall Update says:

    If the city of Omaha can not administer one restaurant and get them to pay rent and taxes why should we believe this administration (and city council) can handle a huge project like the Crossroads Mall?
    This is a disaster waiting to happen. Rod Yates is an out of state developer who doesn’t care about Omaha except how much give-aways he can take from us. Does he own the land or is it this Krecji guy?
    The city is proposing a occupation tax type tax on the area. So business will have to tack on this tax on all purchases inside Crossroads. Why then wouldn’t people shop somewhere else without the tax?
    And of course TIF money and infrastructure brings the total taxpayer contribution to about $90 million dollars last I heard. That is ridiculous.
    I say since it’s taken this long, we wait until 2017 when we have another mayor who knows what they are doing. There are other developers who probably would do it with minimum taxpayer help if we made them.


    PS The guy that owns the Bucky gas station stores told me Stothert told him that 72nd and Dodge would never be the site of a gas station – convenience store. Instead we have that fake library which will probably lose millions of dollars a year doing what ever it is they will do there.

  31. Mark Andrews says:

    Ricky, I’ve been a librarian 30 years. The digital library going in at 72nd & Dodge in the old bookstore is a very good experiment in library service, and a generous experiment too.

    Rather than put up with further idiocy from the City of Omaha (which just a soon eliminate its public libraries entirely) some public minded folks – the same ones who gave us our great zoo – decided to build a modern library with the latest in research & creative technology.

    Anybody in town will be able to walk in that building and use that gear, and get help with it, too, if they are new to things like 3D printing. Why you could make a Clinton bobble-head doll from scratch; it’d be easy with that empty head & all, very low material cost.

    This is what libraries the nation (and the world) over are doing, especially libraries that are free to innovate. Those same libraries offer other services that Google can’t, like library services to little kids, e.g. 3 – 4 year olds. I read to those kids when I worked at the library in Columbia, MO, even though the bulk of my job was in computers. Introduce kids to books when you’re young and you end up with a kid like mine, who started to read at age 5, and now, at 12, competes with teenagers in geography & spelling bees.

    Would that our library-hating mayor had such foresight.

  32. Macdaddy says:

    The Netherlands’ doctors put 5300 people to death in 2014. That rate translates to 80,000 Americans. They put to death 41 mentally ill people. That would be over 600 Americans at the same rate. But I’m sure we’re better than the Dutch people, right? Ernie Chambers and his supporters like Sparkles, Texas Annie, Repenting Lawyer, and ricky from Omaha wet their pants at the thought that a hardened criminal might be put to death but leap for joy whenever a doctor sucks out a viable infant and drops her in a bucket for the researchers and now want to do the same for people who think they have no other option. I will graciously leave the rest of you out of whether or not you appreciate a cop getting killed like Ernie seems to, but you need to put some serious thought into how far you want to take your worship of death. Death for everyone but criminals, that is.

  33. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    Oracle, Anytime I discuss NRL’s single issue position I reiterate our mission statement which is to restore legal protection to innocent human life from fertilization through natural death. I then go on to state that our narrow focus is opposition to abortion, euthanasia and unethical medical research using human embryos. We do not take a position on the death penalty, same sex marriage or any myriad number of other issues that people think “pro-life” should encompass. There actually should be an Op-Ed showing up in the LJS soon in this topic. We have been involved in euthanasia issues as long as I have been in the movement *a long time, and I’m sure it was taken up very early on with National Right to Life’s mission. Just opposed LB 490 last year that is on the periphery of this issue and brought in our Director of Medical Ethics to testify against it and try to work with sponsor to try and incorporate some NRL language in it.

  34. TexasAnnie says:

    WRONG Macdaddy! I never opposed the death penalty. (Of course, I do hope the sentencing is done with an eye to justice!!! And whether or not taking any life may be called “just” is still debatable.)

    But Julie, saying you are “pro-life” encompasses doing what is necessary to sustain the lives of the DD population there. And you did not do that when the BSDC deaths occurred a few years ago. Indeed, you still have not come to the defense of those forgotten beings who have been taken into state custody. Is this an example of how NRL skews LANGUAGE to sanitize it’s real goal: that of limiting freedom? Will you admit that NRL plays name games too? Will you admit that you use the term “baby” when what you really mean is fetus? Will you admit that you use the term “murder” when what you really mean is abortion? Will you admit that your political perspective is not shared by the majority of Americans?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Since NRL advocates life until natural death, it ought to broadcast it’s influence for containing health care costs. It would be a win-win. If the old folks just die naturally, without medical intervention, we all could save a bundle on Medicare costs!

  36. Mark Andrews says:

    Annie, you say “forgotten being” in place of “human being.” Any other word or phrase for a human being is an affront to human dignity and a denial of human rights. That definition is fixed as is the goal of fully humane treatment for all human beings at all stages of human existence. We see the results of alternative views daily and it’s sickening.

    My nephew with Down Syndrome is not a “forgotten being.” He was not and is not an inconvenient mass of human cells that only has value when chopped into chum so some “worthy” can use his parts in a lab or to extend their life. He was fully human from the first moment of his existence. That is recognition of his intrinsic worth, a worth I can only recognize, not grant. Same for you, same for me, same for all. Your care for your daughter comes from this same place and I praise it; what you’ve done for her I extend to all, at all stages of existence.

  37. repentinglawyer says:

    McDaddy, At this point we have enough American and other European data that continued reliance on the Netherlands is not relevant. The Dutch law is totally different from voluntary right to die statutes and includes involuntary euthanasia is based on a lesser evil system and includes letting die. Are you suggesting the last three Popes, all of whom opposed capital punishment, wet their cassocks over capital punishment, or the American Catholic Bishops, not bad company.
    Mark Andrews, I fail to seethe denial of human dignity in right to die legislation, which vindicates human choice, rather different from the right to life approach, which imposes its values on others on the assumption that dignity does not include choice.

  38. Macdaddy says:

    I get a kick out of you Alinsky-ites but my hats are off to you with your successful sneakiness. Your tactics are like the nose of the camel. You take the most heart-wrenching stories and convert them into laws that end up hurting way, way more people than you helped. You’ve done it with abortion, no-fault divorce, the war on poverty, gay marriage, marijuana, and now death worship. In all these areas, you claim, “but it hasn’t happened!” But you leave out the word, “Yet.” Because just as sure as you point to your sweet Grandma who begged for death because of intractable pain, you will ignore people who will be manipulated into dying by subtle and not-so-subtle pressure. The amount of pain that is the so-called unintended consequence of what you think is a good idea is legion. No-fault divorce? The sexual revolution? Abortion? You look the other way at the Kermit Gosnells and the unpaid child support and the broken families while saying “but, but, but…Farah Fawcett in The Burning Bed!” You ignore the closing of businesses and $135,000 in fines over a cake and kids languishing in foster care because adoption agencies have closed their doors just because they don’t agree with your morals. And so now you have set your gaze on killing people and having people kill themselves. We see what you are doing. You are either too stupid to see it or a liar. The end game is that innocent human beings will be killed on purpose and it will get easier and easier and easier.

  39. repentinglawyer says:

    MacDaddy, The sky will fall is your prophecy, but I am dubious. None of the things you list did more harm than certainly not abortion or no fault divorce, though we have really have not had anything else for 50 or more years, and I did practice under the so called fault system. As to the war on poverty, it was dismembered before it had a chance and them blamed for not having changed what was already the case. Medical marijuana, the case for prohibition is silly. Gay marriage no case against that I can see.On your approach since the worst serial killer in the English speaking world was a GP, we should abolish family practice out of a fear of murder. As to Alinsky, 60 years ago I was given a copy but I lost it unread years ago. I do love your Archie Bunker impression. O’Connor would be pleased were he still with us.

  40. repentinglawyer says:

    On no fault divorce, people with money could go to Nevada and NY with the most restrictive divorce law, adultery only, did recognize foreign divorces including for a time Mexican. The woman in AZ who started a lot of the push for abortion law change after she took talidomide[sp.] went to Scandinavia. The Irish lady who challenge the Irish ban on doctor assisted suicide and lost went to Switzerland and died, though the Supreme Court was sympathetic to her plight but thought change should come by legislation. Little evidence that abortions increased much after Roe, and most are 1st trimester, where a good casein be made that act is birth control. Letting die includes involuntary cases and often includes food and hydration. That was long an open question in Catholic moral theology, most famous American Catholic expert Kelly, a MO Prov. Jesuit thought it was ok, and even now under CDF ruling still may be cases where appropriate, and in any event CDF and John’Paul II treated food and water as basic human entitlements, a view not widely accepted by American Conservatives.

  41. Mark Andrews says:

    Life precedes liberty, repentinglawyer.

    Personal liberty is not and can never be the single, absolute, pivotal value by which all other rights & responsibilities, whether innate or granted, are judged.

  42. repentinglawyer says:

    Mark Andrews, Life and liberty are co arising, or as Jefferson put, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty in the same breath.” How negative liberty would conflict with anything else is a little difficult to see, since it defines a choice space where others may not interfere.While I am not sure I buy this prevalent model, enriched with ideas about basic endowments necessary for freedom, it is the best I can do in political philosophy in our divided land. I have enough trouble with my own fallen nature without wanting to closely manaed other lives, particularly where the justifications are religious.

  43. TexasAnnie says:

    I disagree, Mark. While I fully regard the BSDC rejects as “human,” they clearly don’t have the same “rights,” in Nebraska as you! What have I witnessed about the DD population, by living there 16 years? Well, they don’t have an Art. VII, Sec. 1, Neb. Const. “right,” as I exposed over your protest. (You thought I should state my grievance and then shut up about it!) And they don’t have a “right” to medical treatment on site, as evidenced by Heineman’s veto which was not overridden the session directly before the deaths occurred (Heineman advised just calling an ambulance when these medically fragile beings have health issues); and they don’t have a right to live among all the “human beings” who do work and recreate together as “human beings,” —usually very social animals indeed! I used to believe that all humans shared the same (natural) rights. Nebraskans taught me otherwise. But I’m trying to get my hope reinvigorated. Will you take time to investigate what is happening with children experiencing downs syndrome but who do not have PARENTS to protect them from your state and local governments? It’s not easy because your govt(s). do conceal truth. But with diligence, it can be done, if one cares enough, that is.

    Mark, you gave me pause when you said “Life precedes liberty” which may be substituted for “existence precedes essence,” a very succinct statement about existentialism. But then I considered repentinglawyer’s rebuttal of co-arising life and liberty aspects, and I felt like I was in a philosophy survey class all over again! If there were a God, then I might presume life precedes liberty. But since I can’t perceive a god, and since the “godly” among us do not practice what they preach, well…

  44. repentinglawyer says:

    TexasAnnie, no particular secret, I am retired lawyer, NE Bar 50 years, and a retired Creighton Law Prof, 42 years. I was involved in teaching bioethics and the law most of that time, which involves a lot of philosophy.

  45. TexasAnnie says:

    Biomedical Ethics! Now there was a subject taught me by a British professor who was an intellectual snob. He inspired DOUBT that truly “informed consent” may ever take place. All we can do is inform others of their “right” to give consent, —to that which they do not understand!

    While professing law at Creighton, did you teach Ernie Chambers? He talked about Creighton a lot while on the floor of the unicam.

  46. Macdaddy says:

    Wow, repentinglawyer, I feel sorry for your students. Did Creighton realize you thought abortion was a net positive when you were teaching there? Same for divorce. I’m blown away by your contention that the war on poverty was dismembered when it goes merrily on its way, changing nothing for the better even though we have spent over $30 trillion on the poor as a nation since President Johnson’s War on Poverty. As for your ignorant contention that abortions didn’t increase much after Roe v Wade, the numbers contradict you by every measure available. Even today, the abortion rate per 1000 live births is still higher than in 1973 and that’s with free birth control, decades of sex ed, and Planned Parenthood providing so many valuable women’s “health services.” BTW, I’ll gladly be Archie Bunker if the alternative is being Meathead.

  47. repentinglawyer says:

    MacDaddy, I never thought it was the job of a law professor to create followers or to preach doctrine. In bioethics I always tried to clearly state Church teaching where they applied though I am not a Catholic. Resource I used last couple of years was by a Dominican named Fisher now archbishop of Melbourne. Family law. was not my field of teaching and the war on poverty did not come up. I do not agree with your assertions on poverty or abortion. If disagreeing with you is what it takes to earn the title of meathead, then I view it as a title of honor
    Texas Annie, Ernie and I were classmates and we have been friends for more than 55 years now. I did teach Lee Terry and Mile Johan, and Hal Daub and I have been friends since we debated against each other in high school, Benson in his case and Prep in mine.

  48. TexasAnnie says:

    Ernie seems an unlikely friend, to anyone. I previously had contact with Lee, Mike and Hal, all three! I considered Hal my pen pal as he diligently responded to my incessant letters about DD services through the City of Omaha (recreation needs). He liked to rebut with this: “Government can’t be all things to all people,” to which I replied, “but can government be anything to the developmentally disabled?” And gentle Mike Johanns: By the magic of leadership, he did put those children (at least the ones I was aware of) back in school who had been denied enrollment under Ben Nelson’s, uh, “leadership.” But it wasn’t until the year 2000 that the guilty unicam finally changed the faulty residency statute. I never cared for Lee Terry. He never seemed sincere and appeared drunk on power. So you see, repentinglawyer, I have been a one-trick-pony! At least so far as Nebraskans are concerned…

  49. Sparkles’ post is the usual tedious exercise in dishonesty. If there were 3136 cases of physician assisted suicide in the Netherlands, then that’s more than all but 8 causes of death, and close to the breast cancer death rate. Remember the population of the Netherlands is a tad under 17 million, so multiply by almost 20 before you compare with the US. If you do that, their suicide rate is staggeringly higher than hours.

  50. Sparkles says:


    The Scandinavian countries, including the Netherlands, have long been ranked among the finest education systems in the world.
    It comes as little surprise that the Netherlands is a much more enlightened nation than the U.S.

    And, in case you weren’t aware, ‘Suicide Tourism’ is a booming Industry In Switzerland.

  51. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    Repenting Lawyer: There’s a chart floating around (sorry but you know about the links rule) that shows 57 MILLION unborn babies have been aborted in the U.S. since 1973. That’s 1.6 million a year, 4,383 every day. While it is true that the abortion rate has been dropping and in Nebraska we attribute that in part to passage of state legislation such as the fetal pain ban, that is still a staggering number. No one can or cares to get their head around the enormity of it. At the Nebraska Walk for Life we release several hundred pink and blue balloons in memory of the babies aborted, just as a reminder of the numbers but it is still unfathomable. When the legalization of abortion was touted as answer to the inflated numbers of back-alley abortions, who knew we would be where we are today with late term abortionists who will kill babies through the 9th month of gestation and Planned Parenthood dickering over the price of fetal tissue and organs? And you think the pro-life movement is knee-jerking on physician-assisted suicide? We pay better attention to what is going on than the average person, we have good reason to be fearful of a future where doctors prescribe suicide pills.

  52. repentinglawyer says:

    Julie Schmit-Albin, As I have said I am not persuade that 1st term abortions are inappropriate or indeed those prior to 20 weeks, though pain is not in my view central. Later abortions seem to be up to Justice Kennedy at the moment. As Sparkles pointed out there is no evidence to support you fears regarding Oregon type laws. We just disagree.
    On the Netherlands, the law there is so different and what it encompasses includes cases treated as letting die in US that I do not see the point in arguing about what has happened there, though debates on that issue are a cottage industry. While stated with a certain snide twist Anonymous’s comment about Dutch military does illustrate the cultural differences between US and the Netherlands which make comparisons even less relevant.

  53. Sparkles says:


    Thank you.
    Thank you for connecting previously disparate bits of knowledge. For making me aware; the culture of fear is among America’s most lucrative frontiers.

    Emotional entrepreneurs.

    I’ve been aware of the fear-for-profit business model (perfected by Roger Ailes) of Fox ‘News’ and hate radio for many years. (gold, survival seeds, food insurance etc..)
    It’s not until know that I’ve recognized how truly ubiquitous this business model has become.

    Media outlets, politicians, and businesses all have learned to capitalize on this distinctly modern sense of dread, and thus profit from finding ways to cultivate it.
    From birth to death, it pervades every facet of our modern culture.

  54. Ed Stevens says:

    to “Yawn” –

    It’s not the blog … it’s those “same five” commenters . No responsibility for their fantastical claims, no willingness to own their weird (and usually inaccurate or just blatantly made-up) assertions by letting us know who they are. In short, no accountability at all … that is the harvest one reaps from anonymity (note that I do not include Dr. Harbison in my indictment – I don’t always agree with him, but at least he has the stones to sign his name to his posts).

    So let me recommend that you do what I do – read the blog posts – I often learn things that I find no where else – and if you MUST read the comments, skip those under the names of … well, you already know them.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Ed thinks badly about ‘anonymous’ posters, but gives guidance to the anonymous ‘yawn.’

    Let’s all go over to Ed’s blog and see what he posts. Oh. He forgot to post over the past couple years.

  56. Sparkles says:


    In addition to your propensity to attack other posters, you and Gerard share in common the cry of “fantastical claims” by those with whom you disagree.

    Yet, I don’t recall ever seeing you present evidence to refute said claims.
    Were they truly so “fantastical”, this would seem an easy task.
    Therefore, it would seem a much easier target of your attack would be the merits of the post, instead of the integrity of the poster.

  57. TexasAnnie says:

    Geez Ed, I’ve still got the public papers that prove my claims about SPED and Ben Nelson. And we’ve all got access to the news reports of those BSDC medical neglect deaths. What has been fantastical about my claims?

  58. TexasAnnie says:

    Well you haven’t been entertaining, Mark. You lectured me about modifying the use of the term ‘being,’ and when I gave a perfectly RATIONAL defense, you ran away! C’mon back and defend your position!

  59. The Grundle King says:

    So much for Texas Annie’s creds as a libertarian. Most libertarians believe that people should be free to do as they please, so long as the exercise of their rights don’t infringe on others exercising their own rights…the whole, “Your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.”

    Not TA. When it comes to the matter of abortion…punch that little unborn baby right in the face.

  60. TexasAnnie says:

    Again, Grundle, I haven’t paid dues to the Libertarian Party since I was a delegate to the national convention from The Great State of Texas in 2008. Let’s just say I like the philosophy, but not the party. And you’re wrong about what MOST Libertarians think about abortion.

  61. The Grundle King says:

    I said nothing of your partisan affiliation.

    And I suppose you MUST be an expert on what libertarians believe, what since you haven’t been keeping up with them for the past several years.

  62. Anonymous says:

    I’m always amazed at the ridiculous extrapolations people like GK make. Just because TA hasn’t paid dues to an organization, one can’t infer that she hasn’t been “keeping up with them”. The lack of logic exhibited by too many on this site makes my head hurt.

  63. The Grundle King says:

    Well, if pointing out the fact that a supposed libertarian (with a little ‘l’) who apparently harbors significant disdain Libertarians (with a big ‘L’), yet somehow feels qualified to speak as a representative for Libertarian (with a big ‘L’) beliefs, is a little bit absurd…if THAT causes discomfort in your brain, then I’d suggest that perhaps you have a fragile mind.

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