quick bites

And what’s for brunch?

Nelson Pritchett is the poster boy for death and he just kept on dying during a National Press Club breakfast November

21. “I am a Republican,” he said. “I am a Southerner. And I am dying.”

The director of the Hemlock Society, Faye Girsh, put it more graphically for the breakfast crowd: “he is drowning in his own bodily fluids.”

While Pritchett continued dying for the gathered press, it was Girsh who did most of the talking. Her Hemlock Society’s motto, “Good life. Good death,” (also known at Hem-lock as “self-deliverance”) has powerful appeal to middle-class white people who call themselves liberals. Their collective idea of a good death involves summoning a caring physician to their bedsides. (They seem not to notice that the supply of such items has shrunk drastically of late.)

It’s ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, that’s got Pritchett’s number, which explains the scaffolding under his chin. But what explains his reluctance to follow the hallowed Southern tradition of DIY? “Too violent for me,” he said. — L.G.




Living, ran for the CIL’s basement tornado shelter — if they could run. A small first-floor room was allotted to wheelchair users.

Pollution: all in your head

— Pollution may not be a problem. German researchers report that environmental dangers are likely to effect only people who are over-civilized and high strung.

They arrived at this conclusion, they said, when comparing environ­mental health complaints in more advanced nations with developing countries where air and water quality are measurably poorer.

Residents of developing nations, they found, seldom complain of environmental health problems. There. All better.

Your latest human right

— France’s highest court ruled on November 28 that the parents of a boy with Down syndrome should be compen­sated because doctors didn’t warn them that he would be born so tragically handicapped.

BBC News described the case as “establishing in law a disabled child’s right not to be born.” His parents say they would have aborted him had they but known.

Olmstead case shakes state

— New Hampshire residents who have spent years in nursing homes when they could have lived at home with some assistance were dressed to go to U.S. District Court on Decem­ber 3 when the state blinked. An earlier decision in the same court had ordered that inmates of the Laconia State School “must be moved into home-like settings.” The director of Crotched Mountain Rehab Center, where 15 people are on waiting lists for community services, noted that “the judge didn’t say, ‘When you find the money...’ He said, ‘Do it.’”

Nice knowing you!

— During an October tornado scare in St. Louis, as weather forecasters warned of an impending tornado touchdown, the people of Paraquad, the St. Louis Center for Independent