Patterico's Pontifications


Some Good News at Last

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 7:55 pm

Blogs for Terri reports that Mae Magouirk has had her feeding tube reinstated, and is being airlifted from the hospice to Atlanta-Birmingham Medical Center. She’s 81 and has been without food or water for ten days. The nephew thanks bloggers for helping to raise awareness of the issue, but points out that the granddaughter who had the tube removed (contrary to Ms. Magouirk’s living will) is still her legal guardian. Still, what a welcome change after a month of death and defeat.

Here’s a WorldNetDaily article with more information, as well as proper spacing between the rest of the words. (That’s almost as bad a title as “TechCentral Station“.)

H/t to the Petite Powerhouse, again.

ADDENDUM: This may be one of the biggest victories for blogs and electronic media like WorldNetDaily so far. The rapid reaction and publication of this story–well ahead of the mainstream media, as far as I can tell–may have actually helped to save someone’s life. Had we waited on the MSM to pick up this story, instead of just ten days, Ms. Magourik may have been deprived of nutrition until it was too late.

I’m not one for triumphalism, and it is as yet impossible to measure the impact of this publicity upon the decision to reinstate Ms. Magouirk’s care, if there was any impact at all. This could be a case of the rooster deciding the sun rose because he’d crowed at it. Nonetheless, the facts of this case are so egregious that I believe the little bit of sunshine we had started to shine on it may have made a difference in the outcome.

Let’s remember also that this coverage would not have happened without the massive interest and conviction generated by Terri Schiavo’s state-directed destruction. Terri’s death was not in vain.

And finally: I have seen (in a different site’s comments, especially) cynical critics of the “Right to Lifers” insisting that Terri Schaivo was cynically elevated to the national stage because she was young, pretty, and female. The generous reaction to Ms. Magouirk’s peril disproves that. There would have been a similar concern about this state-approved murder regardless of the victim’s age, sex, or race.

TRIUMPHALISM UPDATE: (10:13 PM PDT) Dafydd ab Hugh is deeply suspicious of WorldNetDaily’s reporting on this matter, and points us to this WXIA-TV article indicating the judge in this case disagrees with Magouirk’s nephew Ken Mullinax’s characterization of events. My addendum above uses the subjunctive voice for a reason; the story certainly requires further sourcing and confirmation. I should point out that I was relying primarily on Fr. Rob Johansen’s reports and also Blogs for Terri up till now–the WND link was an afterthought. But WXIA confirms my thesis about the role of blogs in this particular case:

Just a few years ago, the most that would normally happen would be a few letters to the local paper and that would be as far as it went. But now, bloggers can get hold of a story, and instantly galvanize opinion worldwide.

Bloggers from the Schiavo case heated up the Internet and swamped the judge’s phones and computer with what he said are wildly false charges.

“I’ve even been accused several times of murder and I’ve had, I would say, close to a hundred e-mails,” Boyd said.

I’ll respond further to Dafydd’s points in the comments section.

13 Responses to “Some Good News at Last”

  1. Could not find your email, so here’s your invite to join us in battle against the Left and their Constitution 2020 plans. Email me for an invite.



    Travis (ba0c7d)

  2. See Dubya, I would be a little slower to embrace this claim; I said on Captain’s Quarters that I suspect there is a lot less to this case than meets the eye.

    There are a number of very troubling inconsistencies in the WorldNetDaily story… and now the judge has weighed in and said that WND’s version is completely false. Until some serious questions are answered, I think we should hold off on the hallelujahs.

    I have been very skeptical all along. Here is my (fairly lengthy) reasoning:


    [Agreed. WND is good fun, but I wouldn’t take it as gospel. — Patterico.]

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  3. I’m glad this end-of-life stuff is being discussed, but I second Dafydd’s skepticism. Here’s stuff at InstaPundit, in particular a denial by the hospice, and Tom Maguire notes that there may not have been a feeding tube at all, and notes an interesting political angle.

    Something is fishy here.

    Matto Ichiban (c076da)

  4. Dafydd–

    The Wizbang crew has spoken with Ken Mullinax who is digging in on his version of the story. They are inclined to favor his account, and cast aspersions on the contrarians.

    It boils down to this, for now: one side has presented a clear, if alarming, portrait of the threat to Ms. Magouirk. Ken Mullinax has appeared on talk shows and contacted several bloggers with consistent statements about the details of the case. Meanwhile the other side has made no effort I can see to clarify their position. As Wizbang points out, the press release from the hospice commits to very little. The judge disputed Mullinax’s account of things, but there’s no indication of exactly what was wrong. And this could have been stopped days ago had the attorneys for the granddaughter merely e-mailed .pdf’s of the relevant judgments, medical charts, etc. to interested bloggers and media sources. The fact that Mr. Mullinax has been willing to put his case before the public eye, and the other side has not, lends credibility to his version of events. When they weigh in, maybe we’ll learn something new.

    As for Tom Maguire’s really odd conclusions from a bit of googling about Ken Mullinax, I am quite unimpressed. He believes Mullinax has some position within the Democratic party and therefore he is yelling, Admiral Ackbar style, that “It’s a Trap!” The notion that this is a vendetta sting operation he cooked up against the national Republican party because his former boss’s home was burned down during a political race strikes me as a positively yogic stretch.

    I hail from a yellow-dog-democrat part of the country that is deeply religious and arch-conservative in these matters. Furthermore, even liberals such as Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader came to support Terri Schiavo’s continued existence for quite understandable reasons. These end-of-life cases make strange bedfellows and blur the usual coalitions. I am not surprised to see Mr. Mullinax reaching out for help to a community that tried so hard to save someone in a similar situation. In fact, as a politically savvy fellow, that’s exactly what I’d expect him to do.

    Ms. Magourik has been moved from a hospice, where people go to be palliated, to a hospital, where people go to be healed. This is a good thing.

    See-Dubya (85b967)

  5. See Dubya responds:

    It boils down to this, for now: one side has presented a clear, if alarming, portrait of the threat to Ms. Magouirk. Ken Mullinax has appeared on talk shows and contacted several bloggers with consistent statements about the details of the case. Meanwhile the other side has made no effort I can see to clarify their position…. The fact that Mr. Mullinax has been willing to put his case before the public eye, and the other side has not, lends credibility to his version of events.

    Johnny Cochrane and Barry Sheck spent innumerable hours on talk shows, giving press conferences, media events, and doing everything possible to “put [O.J. Simpson’s] case before the public eye.”

    By contrast, Marcia Clark and Chris Darden did virtually nothing for PR, holed up in the DA’s office, and “made no effort I [could] see to clarify their position.”

    So you would conclude…?

    Ms. Magourik has been moved from a hospice, where people go to be palliated, to a hospital, where people go to be healed. This is a good thing.

    Yes, See Dubya; it’s a good thing that came about because the doctors that the judge himself appointed evidently came to the conclusion that she should be in a hospital — and the judge concurred, ordering her moved there.

    Again, you have not answered any of the question I asked, presumably because you cannot: the WND story itself says the judge ordered Magouirk fed and hydrated — which alone moves this out of the category of “euthanasia” into which you shoehorned it. Was WorldNetDaily wrong about that? Does even Ken Mullinax dispute that?

    And does Mullinax now claim, as he did not in either of the WorldNetDaily stories, that Magouirk is right now, today not in either a coma or a vegetative state? I’m not asking what the case was when she entered the hospice… can you tell me what her case is at this very moment — and point me to some independent evidence of it?

    I wish you would make an effort to understand my point: I am not saying now, I have never said, that I know for a fact this story is wrong; I have grave suspicions about it because of the unreliability of the source (WorldNetDaily) and of their source (Mullinax), because there are many points in the stories that simply make no sense (or imply the polar opposite of the conclusion they draw), and because Mullinax has not presented a shred of evidence beyond his own say-so.

    Incidentally, you also misunderstood Tom Maguire’s point. He never claimed or implied that Mullinax had hatched some “vendetta sting operation” against the Republicans — what, he’s suddenly going to whip the rug out and laugh… ha ha, the old bat’s really not being starved after all! — is that what you imagine Maguire is claiming?

    This is silly and irritating, See Dubya. What Maguire noted is that Mullinax appears to be a professional media spokesman, who would of course have extensive media contacts, especially in the local community. Clearly, it’s in his interest to have as many newspapers as possible writing stories about this case… that is, if he’s telling the truth.

    So how many of his media friends has he contacted? Why hasn’t any of them responded with a story? What caused them to decide not to run with it? If such a thing were alleged by, say, Mike McCurry, do you think it would be ignored?

    This, too, is odd enough that it cries out for an answer. Hence, I caution some caution before hurling ourselves to the barricades. Nothing more, nothing less, See Dubya.


    Dafydd (df2f54)

  6. Dafydd, I think I’ve made the merest tap at the barricades. I’m sure more information will emerge on this–probably Monday–and we can start the next round based on that. In the meantime, the Corner links to this Birmingham News article–which like most of the other information we’re dealing with rides primarily on Ken Mullinax’s say-so so there’s not much new there. But it does show he’s contacted local papers and one has run with a story. Plus the local TV news article I linked to last night.

    Clark v. Cochran: Clark made a mistake and let her opponents dominate the media battlefield. It hurt them. The granddaughter’s lawyers ought to come up with something soon.

    The ruling: if a judge had already decided to let Mae Magourik live and ther was never any danger, why did Ken Mullinax approach the media in the first place? And if that’s true why did he approach them with a lie? He would have nothing to gain and his reputation to lose.

    As for Maguire, he does echo your point and mine about media contacts, but what point was he making with this question he has for Mullinax? He’s flailing around for a motive here:

    (4) Last fall, prior to the election, there were some Democrats who were concerned that Bill Fuller may have been the victim of foul play. Was his house fire of last October investigated to your satisfaction? Did you then, and do you now hold the view that your candidate may have been attacked by a fringe right wing group?

    What do you think he meant by that? (If Tom Maguire reads this, what did you mean by that?) I think Maguire is implying that this may be a hoax or a scam perpetrated by Mullinax in revenge against a perceived attack by a “fringe right wing group”. And it looks like you and I agree that that’s a pretty silly idea.

    Even if Mullinax were Scott McLellan, however, there is no guarantee that papers would run his story. Just because it doesn’t show up in the papers at first doesn’t mean it’s not news, or not true. See, inter alia, Rathergate.

    Your call for caution is duly noted, and I shall refrain from bombthrowing until new information emerges.

    See-Dubya (85b967)

  7. Personally, I find the theme of the WND story highly suspect. The local newspaper, the LaGrange News, tells a completely different story. In fact, according to them, Ms. Magouirk never had a feeding tube in the first place. Furthermore, the much-maligned granddaughter has been feeding her grandmother, not starving her.

    Mullinax, btw, appears to have an agenda and has been the sole party beating the Terry Schiavo drum. (Even Ms. Magouirk’s own brother and sister have not been as strident as Mullinax.) I find his comments, in light of the fact that he agreed with the judge’s ruling, filled with passionate rhetoric that doesn’t match the facts, as we know them. I’m sure he cares deeply about his grandmother, but he seems to have blown this case completely out of proportion.

    You can find all of this documented in this post.

    I’m still waiting (eagerly and with anticipation) to Patterico’s followup to Dayfdd’s comments, which he promised us. 🙂

    Oh, one last thing – the airlift to the hospital was done per the agreement reached between the parties (including Ken Mullinax) in court and ordered by the judge.

    antimedia (a1acdf)

  8. Sorry to disappoint you, antimedia, but this is my post, and that was my followup!

    See-Dubya (85b967)

  9. Did I promise a followup? I don’t remember that.

    All I know is it’s nice to be back home where I can comment normally, rather than doing these annoying appendages to other people’s comments.

    My basic feel on this story is “wait and see.” I don’t think we know what the facts are.

    Then again, there isn’t always time for wait and see. . .

    Patterico (756436)

  10. Oh, I see: antimedia thought the TRIUMPHALISM UPDATE was mine.


    Patterico (756436)

  11. Your call for caution is duly noted, and I shall refrain from bombthrowing until new information emerges.

    Excellent, See Dubya, that’s all I counsel. And you ask some very pertinent questions yourself (of Maguire and the granddaughter), to which I’d love to see some answers.

    This whole story is pretty queer on both sides.


    Dafydd (df2f54)

  12. so this pretty much just dropped like a stone, didn’t it?

    I guess they’re living happily ever after…

    See-Dubya (85b967)

  13. It is late and I can not follow all of the back and forths on this one. I suspect Karl Rove and John Dean are actually twins separated at birth who found out this news a few months ago and are now filling the blogosphere and airwaves with so much confusion they hope to run for Co-president/Vice President in 2008, and 12, and 16, and 20 (trading off who uses up their years of eligibility as president). They feel by that time the risk of a constitutional amendment allowing non-US born citizens to run for president will be over.
    In all seriousness, whether this situation was or was not what some said it was (it was) or wasn’t, every day decisions are made on the basis of one person’s opinion whether or not another person’s life is worth living. It is simply rare that it gets into a situation that brings it to the attention of a larger audience. As said previously, our system of government is wholly inadequate for any but a virtuous people. As virtue seems to play second fiddle to out-maneuvering, we have a problem.

    MD in Philly (b3202e)

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