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Life Sharing

Re: Lawrence Henry’s Organ Sharing: Some Thoughts:

My husband had a heart transplant. We belong to an active support group with over 100 transplant patients — hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs, corneas, etc. We also encourage patients waiting for a transplant to join our group. Have at least ten and often a great many more. This way they can talk to people who know what to expect and their spouses or other caregiver have the opportunity to talk to those who have been there.

We take very seriously our responsibility to get out the word about organ donations. Members of our group have talked to health classes in many of the school in our area and have plans to cover every high school in a three-county area. We arrange for booths at health fairs, regular fairs, the local airplane show, visit license bureaus weekly, and even make a point of wearing our shirts (have the words Transplant Recipients of Southwest Florida on them) on cruises.

If every area of the country had such an active group there would probably be more people signed up to be donors.

In the article on organ donations the author mentioned the states that can take a willing donor’s organs even if the family doesn’t agree. Florida is one of those states, but the procurement agency does not want to do that because of the bad publicity that could follow. There are enough “horror” stories out there — as one who visits the license bureaus I hear plenty of them — without creating more.

We wish Mr. Henry the best and pray this kidney will work. We also hope that he and his will continue to work to get more donors enrolled.
Martha Craig

I think Mr. Henry gives short shrift to the possibilities of compensation for organs and somewhat soft-pedals the “presumed consent” implications. Who, exactly, owns whom here?

I used to have one of those little donor tabs on my licenses. However, seeing the interesting use donated organs can go to (like ensuring a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunion concert) and the big goose-egg that would go to my children (a Hallmark card will not pay much tuition), I decided to drop out of the ranks of potential donors until there is something offered my survivors for the use of my parts. It goes back to simple economics; you want something in abundance, you make it worthwhile, you want a paucity of something, you demand it for free.

Tangible benefits to the donor’s surviving family, even just enough to pay for the casket, might loosen up a few more kidneys, livers and corneas. Appeals to altruism seem to be working as well as did appeals to aspire to the New Soviet Man. Last time I checked, (organs) from each according to his ability, to each according to his need is still not a viable plan. But maybe we can talk a little futures deal on my left lung…
Harvard R. Fong

An interesting concept to increase the availability of available organs briefly surfaced a few years ago. The thought was that (a) people could sell an organ of their own, and (b) a properly empowered person (family member, friend, or other beneficiary) could sell the organs of a decedent. “Properly empowered” means either a power of attorney or “living” will, either stating permission of the decedent for the transaction.

As I recall, the largest volume of protest screams came from the socialist Democrats. Poor people would be harvested for their kidneys. Widows and orphans would be forced to part with a chunk of liver to keep Snidely Whiplash from foreclosing on the family farm. And so on and on far into the night.

As usual, the leftist rhetoric was used to obscure some very fundamental real world concerns. From time to time, real people really do find themselves in major difficulty that requires money to resolve. If it’s a choice between losing your home and everything you’ve worked for, and selling a kidney, some people might consider that. Everyday fathers and mothers die with profound regrets that they were unable to bequeath anything to their offspring. Everyday people die regretting the inability to endow their church, or favorite charity or cause. Why shouldn’t those people have the chance to dispose of their most prized possessions on the open market to accomplish those last wishes.

There’s the rub. Opinion after learned opinion pronounced that a citizen of the United States does not have the right to sell a body part. Period. Since you can sell what you own, and you can’t sell what you don’t own, the elite opinion of the U.S. is that a person does not have property rights to his or her own body. The conclusion to that argument is that since the person doesn’t own his/her body, it must belong to the government, since it ultimately owns everything. (True private property is an illusion. People may control “their” property only so long as the government doesn’t confiscate it in one way or another. Ask any wetlands owner.)

So, the next time you hear a feminist or socialist or some other pro-abortionist talk about a woman not being told what she can and can’t do with her body, remember: if it’s the government talking, she certainly can be told how her body may, or may not, be used. As can we.
John Jarrell
San Antonio, Texas

There is a simple solution to the organ shortage — give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to sign donor cards. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. About 70% of the organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven’t agreed to donate their own organs when they die. People who are too lazy or too selfish to register as organ donors shouldn’t be eligible for transplants as long as there is a shortage of organs.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. They do this through a form of directed donation that is legal in all 50 states and under federal law. Anyone can join for free at LifeSharers has 3,125 members, including over 300 minor children enrolled by their parents.
David J. Undis
Executive Director, LifeSharers
Nashville, Tennessee

I find it incredible and hypocritical that a woman can be paid enormous amounts of money to have someone’s baby but the same person cannot make their organs available for sale when they die. Instead of eBay maybe we can have eOrgan.
Don Herion

Perhaps the donor’s estate could be given a tax deduction for the retail value of the transplant?
Walter E. Wallis
Palo Alto, California

For decades I have contended that any usable body parts, from eyes to hearts, should be involuntarily removed from the bodies of executed murderers and used to save and enhance the lives of others. It would even provide the killers a much more merciful death, by injection!

Today’s political climate and the predictable reluctance of the “mainstream media” to promote this idea make it unlikely any such laws could now be passed. However, I’ll bet a sustained campaign would gain momentum and eventually succeed. The Catholic Church will never agree, but many liberals would cross over if it became clear they’re unable to put an end to capital punishment.
Brooks Hughes
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Lawrence Henry replies:
Potassium, the active poison used in lethal injections, spoils all internal organs.

Re: George Neumayr’s Blind, Deaf, and Dumb:

George Neumayr intertwines the Schiavo and Durbin stories perfectly, pointing out yet another liberal hypocrisy. When checking for synonyms in Microsoft Word, when will they add “hypocrite” for “liberal”?
Mark Franceschina

I am fed up with all the PC treatment of people wanting to kill me. Here’s hoping the Dems keep up their screams, if it turns off most Americans like it does me, the Republicans will do very well in 2006. This business of having to wear gloves to handle the Koran is just way out in left field. These terrorists blow up their churches — do they remove their “Good Book” before they do it?
Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Where were Durbin, et al., when Janet Reno deliberately tortured and murdered innocent American women and children at Waco?

It’s a sad commentary on the American people that our Senate contains such a reprehensible excuse for a human being. To quote my long-dead, conservative Democrat father, “The man is only fit to use up air!”

If the Senate had its feeling on the pulse of the country, they would censure Senator Durbin as an exercise in attempting to regain some of their lost “respect.”

Is it any wonder the ordinary conservative American is sick to death of our Congress?

If this is the best government money can buy, we are indeed doomed!
R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

These radical left wing Dems certainly are overdue for a good tongue lashing — Bush did a perfect job to bring attention to the ridiculous behavior of these treasonous bent disgraceful senators — Durbin, Mrs. Clinton, and Teddy should be at least censured if not impeached for their behavior on Guantanamo distortions encouraging the enemy and knocking our military — these people are unfit to be in our Senate.

What we have here, I believe, is one helluva firestorm. I’ve spent most of the day listening to talk radio, reading on the web, writing to everybody I can think of, and still my spleen is about to split wide open. I hope you guys will get on this big time, and stay with it long term, until that smug, smarmy, treasonous bastard Durbin is ridden into the slimiest, most worm-infested depths of the dirt where he belongs. Immediately following is the text of the email I earlier sent to Senators John Warner, Mitch McConnell, and Jeff Sessions calling upon them to move to censure Durbin in the Senate. I have of course also written to the president and to my Pennsylvania senators calling upon them to personally and very publicly denounce Durbin’s comments. And I’ve written to others, many others, including Senator Joe (Know-It-All) Biden, wondering when, since he so recently and so publicly disassociated himself from the comparatively innocuous comments of Howard Dean to the effect that all Republicans are a bunch of hateful whiteys and that the president is an inarticulate boob, we can look forward to him (Biden — self-perceived man of character, integrity, and truth-telling no matter the cost, to say nothing of boundless and unbridled hubris) publicly denouncing the comments of Durbin which, apparently, are already having the direct effect of providing aid and comfort to our enemies, thus encouraging our enemies, and thus further endangering our troops in the field, if not our entire national security. Will Senator Smarty-Pants speak out? Doubtful, although in my email to him I offered $500 to the charity of his choice (or even if he wishes, God forgive me, to his own next reelection campaign) if only for once he will stop criticizing all of our efforts and instead publicly criticize one of his cronies who has, by his words, gone way beyond the pale in an effort to undermine all of our efforts.
Charles R. Vail
Glenolden, Pennsylvania

Mr. Durbin was and is a low-wattage party hack who takes his marching orders from the fifth floor of city hall in Chicago. An unoriginal thinker, he was happy to be part of Teddy Kennedy’s band of obstructionists. Then along came Barack Obama, the dynamic youngster who wowed the convention. Seeing the junior senator vaulted to the highest level of the party and being touted as a presidential prospect (or at least Hillary’s running mate), Mr. Durbin must have felt some remorse. Were these charges not so revolting and perhaps seditious they could be laughed off as a feeble attempt by Mr. Durbin to retrieve some of the spotlight from Mr. Obama.
Randall Ferrari
Western Springs, Illinois

Here is the real tragic data about Soviet Gulag deaths, documented by Rudolph Rummel, the foremost scholarly authority on genocide.

A comparison of Gitmo to Soviet Gulags is frankly sickening and should be abhorrent to ALL Americans!
Kim Peyser

Re: Eleanor Stables’s From Russia With Love:

Eleanor Stables paints a very grim picture. The accuracy of the piece does not warrant rebuttal but some of the characterization might.

The first “The orphanage is surrounded by smokestacks, heavy, dark forests and, a few hundred yards away, a graveyard. The nearby city of Kazan hosts a statue of Vladimir Lenin.” One has to understand the nature of a typical Russian city. People live in large apartment blocks. A city the size of Santa Barbara would be wholly contained in a one square mile area if in Russia. Everyone is in proximity to everything else. As to the dark forest comment, it is the Volga basin all heavily forested. Yes Kazan still has a statute of Lenin, or did in 2003 when I last visited, but then hundreds of cities across the country do. What’s the point?

One might also acquire a perception that Russian parents are just dumping children which is not so. Russians typically spoil their kids rotten to the extent that they can just like here. Alcohol abuse is a rampant issue, and highly male centered in that country. But that is not the sole reason that Russian males die so early. Work conditions in many heavy industries are dire, lacking an OSHA-like organization. Access to modern medical treatments and an unwillingness to take preventive measures on the part of the individual also contribute heavily to the early death statistics.

My second observation is that we here in the U.S. have rebranded our efforts. It is no longer orphanages but foster care. In my own state of Texas, 47,400 confirmed child abuse cases are reported by Child Protective Services in 2003. The same organization has adoption rates in the low 2200/year (2001-2261; 2002-2248; 2003-2450). If only 10% of the abuse cases result in placement of the child in foster care that’s roughly 5000 children, nearly double the adoption rate. Running some numbers, there are somewhere around 1m to 1.5m children in foster care in any given year nationwide.

Foster parents, God bless them, are under extreme pressure as there are not enough of them for the number of children that need placement. There are Boys Ranches and Girlstowns in many states in the U.S. That the state places a child in a foster home or Boys Ranch does not remove the fact that one is orphaned. That such arrangements result in better care for the child, I have no doubt. That relief organizations are making head way in Russia is commendable.

That the Russian system has many faults there is no doubt. But we should not be casting stones by how I read this piece, what with child pornography, pedophiles in and out of churches, and considerable child abuse occurring. We need to be sure the left hand is protecting our own children while our right hand is offering hope to others around the world.
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Re: Paul Sperry’s With Friends Like These:

Valuable observations on Pakistan’s true colors. But one question, if you don’t mind:

If India is our true friend, then why is its Navy and Air Force equipped so heavily, if not almost exclusively with Russian gear? There are probably more MiGs guarding New Delhi than Moscow.

I seriously question if ANYBODY over there is our friend.
Martin Owens
Sacramento, California

You want Bush to close the training camps in Pakistan? We can’t even get him to close our borders to illegals coming in from Mexico.
Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Re: David Hogberg’s Report on a Deluded Mind:

I cannot stop laughing at Paul Krugman’s comments on Canadian Health Care. He does not have a clue! I live in Alberta, a province that has wanted to have private health care as well as the system we have now. It has been shown that people are actually dying waiting for care in Quebec and I am sure here as well.

My son had a back problem that was very painful. He went to his family doctor, well actually they don’t have a family doctor, as we do not have enough in Calgary so we go to the med clinics that are on a first-come, first-serve basis. So he saw “a doctor” who sent him to a specialist. The specialist, two months later, told him he needed a MRI to help find out what was needed to help him.

Now, he would have waited for another two months to have the MRI, then waited to see the specialist, then waited who knows how long for a surgery time. It is a disgrace here how the people wait for surgery, a real hard wait as most of them are in pain.

So, he decided to go to a private clinic, as in “for profit” to get his MRI. He paid $700.00 to get it done. It was done in two days. He had the clinic send his results to the specialist who phoned him to tell him he needed surgery and it could take some time. He knew it could take a very long time, so he told the doctor he was available night or day and if phoned would be there in a matter of an hour.

Three weeks later he was operated on, stayed in the hospital for one night…went home the next day and is fine. No more back pain.

So, Mr. Krugman, what do you say to that arrangement? The only people who see a specialist fast are the very sickest and they still have to wait for some time. If you go to the ER, you will be waiting for some time unless you are near death and if is found you need surgery they will handle it then.

We have two MRI’s in the hospital, but they are in use nearly twenty-four hours a day and there is still a long list. If you have $700.00 handy, it is fine and many here do, it is a rich province with no debt so for the cost of a television (small) you can get a MRI, bump the line and leave room for someone else. It should not work this way, either. He went ahead of someone on the list, and it may have been he was so willing to be available.

Our premier is a believer in having both systems in order to meet the needs of Albertans. Also, there is no scrimping where children and babies are concerned. They are nearly finished building a new children’s hospital that will have the very latest in everything needed. However, the seniors are not having an easy time of it. There are doctors who will not take older patients as they are so time-consuming.

It is not the health care system we used to have. It is terrible — patients with severe pain in their hips go for months to have surgery. They are building a new hospital simply for this problem. Too many patients, too little time with them and they are not happy with the long waits for treatment or a MRI. We lose a great deal of money in time taken off for something that could be diagnosed in a very short time if they had access to a MRI quickly. The patients have to deal with the pain and take medications that help, but not enough. It is not hard to become addicted to a strong medication in this type of scenario.

We have good and caring doctors who are working too hard as the demand is so great. I am used to going to a walk-in clinic where you are told there will be at least an hour wait, if not more.

No, Mr. Krugman, you are very, very wrong. The single payer system does not work in today’s world. Health care is expensive and it takes the federal government and the provincial government to give us the terrible health care we have now. It is simply not working. It did for many years, but we must change how it is handled now as it simply costs too much for the government to cover all the needs.

I do not know the answers to this problem, and actually no one seems to in Canada. I do know my son travels in the states a lot and swears by your system. He knows how great they are as he was surfing and fell on a surfboard and hurt his ear badly. They were great, looked after him right away, and told him they could not promise his hearing would return. Well, it has and I wonder how that would have played out in one of our ERs. I suspect not as well. Mind you, he paid a lot for the care, but like he says, health care is important to everyone and it should be better here. Our Prime Minister and many other wealthy people go to the states for their health care, so what does that tell you?

So, Mr. Krugman, come on up the next time you need a doctor, surgery or just general everyday care. It will be a shock and there will be no “he is a writer for the NYT” and is important. I do not imagine they will care about that as they will not know who you are. Try it! You won’t like it!

Re: George Neumayr’s Benedict 1, Europe 0:

Oriana Fallaci’s Italian persecutors should be required to review the words of Winston Churchill on Islam from The River War (1899), his account of the Sudanese campaign. Winston Churchill was a man whose prescient warnings about Hitler were ignored by the world. Europe and an Italian judge appear to be doing the same today. What’s next, banning Churchill’s writings in Europe?

“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property — either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

“Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science — the science against which it had vainly struggled — the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”
E. Patrick Mosman
Pleasantville, New York

Re: Tom Bethell’s Civil War Between the Greens:

Mr. Bethell, I’m laughing aloud at your Green Civil War piece. What a bunch of dorks. I used to drive through Altamont Pass twice a day on my way to my news editor job at the Fremont Argus. What a waste of engineering. Anyway, the point of this note: Do these idiots (hereafter known as FIs) know how many golden eagles are thousands? How many golden eagles live in a square mile? The FIs have probably never seen an eagle in the wild. I have. They don’t congregate on hills like Altamont Pass. Anyway, I’ll supply the ammo if the FIs want to escalate. Keep up the good work.
Earl Wright, CEO, Concourse Communications

In the Altamont Pass these 20-year-old windmill farms are starting to be dismantled — but many hundreds remain. I drive by many of them on Patterson Pass Road on the commute to work every weekday morning. It has come to light that the enviro-crazies are now attacking Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) and his farming/landholding family for sponsoring legislation for increasing building of windmills — for personal profit (GASP). It seems that the Pombo family owns the land where many of these windmill farms reside.

Like the Plague, the Democrats seek to spread their Deaniac/Pelosi Plague from the Bay Area across the hills to target a Republican Congressman too close to Looney-Toons ground zero. But – I get the picture:

Republican Wind Power – BAD
Democrat Wind Power – GOOD

Republican PROFIT – BAD
Democrat PROFIT – GOOD

Republican SEX – BAD
Democrat SEX – Nobody’s business

As I get closer to retirement – I’m running out of places to run away to. I’m really starting to hate this place.
Mike Horn
Tracy, California

Re: Robert F. Casselberry’s letter (under “Professional Discipline”) in Reader Mail’s NIMBY Recruitment, Mike Spencer’s letter (under “Assessing Justice”) in Reader Mail’s Keep Plugging, Ben and Robert F. Casselberry’s letter (under “Medical Courage”) in Reader Mail’s <<A HREF=> Superman Ben:

It appears that Mr. Casselberry and I studied the same subject in college — chemical engineering. And it seems that he signed himself with “Esq.” only to establish that he was a lawyer who understood the issues, and not to be pretentious. Touché, Mr. Casselberry, I had a good laugh over that! I am glad to hear that you are not an ambulance-chasing lawyer, but a corporate lawyer instead. I occasionally work with corporate lawyers (mostly over patents), and I find most of them to be of high moral character.

I will take Mr. Casselberry’s excellent suggestion and write my congressman about passing laws to make it easier to convict incompetent doctors and remove them from the profession, which will improve the safety of our health. However, I will also ask him to pass a tort reform bill, to better secure my job and the financial security of my family. You see, a company I used to work for filed for bankruptcy due to asbestos lawsuits, even though this large company never manufactured products with asbestos in them. It did make the unfortunate mistake of purchasing a small company which did produce products with asbestos, although it had stopped many years prior to its purchase. However, this small link was enough to cause a swarm of greedy trial lawyers to destroy the company. Many thousands of jobs were lost, and many employee and retiree company stock savings became worthless (a very hard lesson on the importance of investment diversity). Many hard working, middle class people’s lives must be sacrificed, it seems, so that a few trial lawyers can live high on the hog.

Unfortunately, the odds of meaningful tort reform (or asbestos liability) legislation passing are about the same as the ratio of engineer congressman to congressman with law degrees. It seems that the lawyers are running the show. However, I will be glad to work with Mr. Casselberry on medical malpractice reform if he will work with me on tort reform. Two chemical engineers (even if one is no longer practicing that profession) can accomplish great things if they work together. I only have one question for Mr. Casselberry: who wants to be Don Quixote, and who wants to be Sancho?
Mike Spencer
Midland, Michigan

Re: Ralph R. Reiland’s The Liberty Reader:

I thought books didn’t kill people, people killed people. Following the logic of making books responsible for deaths, the Koran and the Bible killed more people than the Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, etc., etc.
Chris Orlet
Columbia, Illinois

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