Jack Kevorkian is dead

It’s the end of a tremendously ethical man:

Jack Kevorkian built his suicide machine using parts gathered from flea markets and stashed it in a rusty Volkswagen van.

But it was Kevorkian’s audacious attitude that set him apart in the debate over whether gravely ill people could seek help ending their lives. The retired pathologist who said he oversaw the deaths of 130 people burned state orders against him, showed up at court in costume and dared authorities to stop him or make his actions legal. He didn’t give up until he was sent to prison.

Kevorkian, who died Friday at a Michigan hospital at 83, insisted suicide with the help of a medical professional was a civil right.

The justifications for assisted suicide hold up – and they’re consistent. The justification for harvesting the organs of the brain dead, or for allowing those in comas to die with dignity, or even for administering morphine, is fundamentally the same across the board. It is not quantity of life that matters, but rather quality. Kevorkian recognized that where so many were so stubbornly blind and ignorant. He will be missed.

“You’ll hear people say, `Well, [physician assisted suicide] in the news again, it’s time for discussing this further.’ No, it isn’t. It’s been discussed to death,” he told The Associated Press. “There’s nothing new to say about it. It’s a legitimate, ethical medical practice as it was in ancient Rome and Greece.”

Romney fact check

It’s sad that this is probably the best the Republicans can actually do:

ROMNEY: “Instead of encouraging entrepreneurs and employers, [Obama] raises their taxes, piles on record-breaking mounds of regulation and bureaucracy and gives more power to union bosses.”

THE FACTS: Romney ignores ambitious tax-cutting pushed by Obama. The stimulus plan early in his presidency cut taxes broadly for the middle class and business. He more recently won a one-year tax cut for 2011 that reduced most workers’ Social Security payroll taxes by nearly a third. He also campaigned in support of extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all except the wealthy, whose taxes he wanted to raise. In office, he accepted a deal from Republicans extending the tax cuts for all. As for tax increases, Obama won congressional approval to raise them on tobacco and tanning salons. The penalty for those who don’t buy health insurance, once coverage is mandatory, is a form of taxation. Several large tax increases in the health care law have not yet taken effect.

Romney, of all people, ought to recognize that the only form of tax anyone has seen from President Obama is in the form of health insurance penalties in the years to come. And that’s even going to save money across the board. The fact is, taxes under President Obama are lower than they ever were under that average president Ronald Reagan. I know this upsets Republicans, but the facts are the facts.

ROMNEY: “The expectation was that we’d have to raise taxes but I refused. I ordered a review of all state spending, made tough choices and balanced the budget without raising taxes.”

THE FACTS: Romney largely held the line on tax increases when he was Massachusetts governor but that’s only part of the revenue story. The state raised business taxes by $140 million in one year with measures branded “loophole closings,” the vast majority recommended by Romney. Moreover, the Republican governor and Democratic lawmakers raised hundreds of millions of dollars from higher fees and fines, taxation by another name. Romney himself proposed creating 33 new fees and increasing 57 others — enough to raise $59 million. Anti-tax groups were split on his performance. The Club for Growth called the fee increases and business taxes troubling. Citizens for Limited Taxation praised him for being steadfast in supporting an income tax rollback.

I know Romney will never get the Republican nomination if he sticks by his record, but he would be more likely to get my vote.

Thought of the day

The great corporations which we have grown to speak of rather loosely as trusts are the creatures of the State, and the State not only has the right to control them wherever need of such control is shown but it is in duty bound to control them.

~Teddy Roosevelt