NEWS O' THE DAY:
America's Favorite Vegetables Dies; Next
Up May Be A Kennedy as Prince Ranier of Monaco
And Pope John Paul II Simply Not American Enough
- Guest Blogger Sparky
The neighbor who found Joan Bennett Kennedy
lying on a sidewalk this week said she had no idea the woman she helped was a member of one of America's best-known families. Kennedy, 68, the former wife of U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, was recovering Thursday at Massachusetts General Hospital after suffering a concussion and broken shoulder.
It remained unclear exactly what happened to Kennedy, who has battled alcoholism for years. There was an ambulance call record but no police report on the incident and family members have declined to give any details. Constance Bacon, 35, who lives in the affluent neighborhood where Kennedy has a condominium, said she was returning home Monday evening when she saw a well-dressed woman sprawled on the sidewalk in the rain. There was a cut on her head.
"She said she was OK, but she didn't look OK," Bacon told The Boston Globe. There was no indication Kennedy had been drinking, Bacon said. Bacon helped her to her feet, called Emergency Medical Services and held her umbrella over Kennedy until an ambulance arrived five minutes later. Bacon said she didn't know who Kennedy was until a television crew came to her home Wednesday. Kennedy's son Rep. Patrick Kennedy earlier told the Boston Herald his mother was taken to the hospital at 3 a.m. Tuesday, but EMS records show an ambulance was dispatched at 5:20 p.m. Monday, around when Bacon recalled finding Kennedy. The congressman's office did not immediately return a phone call Thursday seeking comment on the discrepancy.
Kennedy was awaiting shoulder surgery, according to close friend Stephanie Warburg. Kennedy, who splits her time between a home on Cape Cod and the Back Bay condo, has been through several rehabilitation programs following a series of arrests for drunken driving. Her three children - Kara Kennedy Allen, 45, Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., 44, and Patrick Kennedy, 37 - recently took temporary guardianship of their mother to ensure she receives alcoholism treatment. Patrick Kennedy is also seeking to become her permanent legal guardian.Well Duh
The Vatican denounced the "arbitrarily hastened" death of Terri Schiavo on Thursday as a violation of principles of Christianity and civilization, and a cardinal described her end as a "death sentence executed through a cruel method." It smacks of a poor ethical choice to those of other faiths as well. My bet is we'll all see "Wrongful Death" lawsuits brought against the Florida judges. Maybe the Schindlers will get a nice apology from Judge Greer. Expect tear jerker TV movies of the week for this tale of woe.
To sum up the MIKE SCHNEIDER AP news article
Schiavo died at 9:05 a.m. at the Pinellas Park hospice where she had lain for years while her husband and her parents fought over her in what was easily the longest, most bitter - and most heavily litigated - right-to-die dispute in U.S. history. The feud between the parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, and their son-in-law continued even after her death: The Schindlers' spiritual advisers said the couple had been at their daughter's bedside a few minutes before the end came, but were not there at the moment of her death because Michael Schiavo would not let them in the room. Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 after her heart stopped because of a chemical imbalance that was believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder. Court-appointed doctors ruled she was in a persistent vegetative state, with no real consciousness or chance of recovery.
She left no written instructions, but her husband argued that his wife told him long ago she would not want to be kept alive artificially. His in-laws disputed that, and contended she could get better with treatment. They said she laughed, cried, responded to them and tried to talk. Over and over, Pinellas County Circuit Judge George W. Greer said that Michael Schiavo had convinced him that Terri Schiavo would not have wanted to be kept alive under such conditions. The feeding tube was removed with the judge's approval March 18 - the third time food and water were cut off during the seven-year legal battle.
Both sides accused each other of being motivated by greed over a $1 million medical malpractice award from doctors who failed to diagnose the chemical imbalance. However, that money, which Michael Schiavo received in 1993, has all but evaporated, spent on his wife's care and the court fight. Just $40,000 to $50,000 remained as of mid-March. Michael Schiavo's lawyers suggested the Schindlers wanted to get some of the money. And the Schindlers questioned their son-in-law's sincerity, saying he never mentioned his wife's wishes until winning the malpractice case. The parents tried to have Michael Schiavo removed as his wife's guardian because he lives with another woman and has two children with her. Michael Schiavo refused to divorce his wife, saying he feared the Schindlers would ignore her desire to die.
Schiavo lived in her brain-damaged state longer than two other young women whose cases brought right-to-die issues to the forefront of public attention - Karen Quinlan and Nancy Cruzan.
In other news
-- No one is going to starve the Pope:
Doctors Wednesday inserted a feeding tube through the Pope's nose and into his stomach to try to boost his strength and help his recovery.
"If you add up Parkinson's disease, his age, his previous stomach operations, his breathing difficulties, his digestive problems, it makes for a pretty grim picture," the priest said. The Pope has difficulty swallowing because Parkinson's Disease limits muscle movement. He has had a breathing tube, known as a cannula, in his throat since Feb. 24. The cannula is expected to be permanent. The nasal feeding tube is expected to be temporary but if he does not regain the ability to eat normally it may have to be replaced with a permanent tube inserted directly into his stomach.
And this tidbit
: Failed assassin Mehmet Ali Agca who gutshot Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, while the pope was riding in an open car -- has alleged that Vatican prelates helped him carry out the 1981 shooting in St. Peter's Square -- a claim that was quickly dismissed Thursday by a cardinal.
"Without the help of priests and cardinals, I would have not been able to carry out that action," Agca was quoted as saying in an interview Thursday with the Italian daily La Repubblica. "The devil is within the Vatican."
He has given conflicting reasons for the attack, and his motives remain unclear.