A4 THE HAYS DAILY NEWS OPINION WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14,2ooe Edltnfal Cancer data Ann Coulter: Tall, blonde and nasty In the final days of life, treatment more aggressive, but there is a time to stop A study of patient records backs up anecdotal evidence that cancer patients are being treated ever more aggressively in the final days of their lives. At a national meeting of oncologists earlier this month, cancer specialists shared the results of a large review of Medicare records. The study showed that nearly 12 percent of cancer patients who died in 1999 received chemotherapy in the last two weeks of life, which was up from nearly 10 percent in 1993. The percentage probably is even higher today, researchers said. The study also found that more patients were admitted to intensive care in the last month of life. And to emergency rooms. And it showed an increase of patients entering hospice in their final three days. All that points to doctors who may be focused more on beating the cancer, even when it is futile, than on quality of life of a dying patient. Entering hospice when death is days away defeats much of the purpose of hospice, which is to prepare the patient emotionally and physi- cally for death. Neither patients nor physicians want to give up, commented Roy Herbst, cancer specialist at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "There is a time to stop," said Craig Earle of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. "It's sometimes easier to just keep giving chemotherapy than to have a frank discussion about hospice and palliative care." The problem with that is not just dishonesty. Many chemo treatments are excruciating for the patient and seemingly, at some point, have an effect opposite of extending life. Even if they do buy some time, that time might be spent in pain and misery. Newer treatments are less toxic, which is good. Ceasing life-saving treatments is an extremely difficult decision for a patient and family — maybe the most difficult in life. But it gets much more complicated when doctors are singularly focused on the cancer rather than on the human being. This is good data, good for the healthcare community to digest. It is, after all, not just about medicine but about health care. That goes for emotional as well as physical health. Editorial by John D. Montgomery firstname.lastname@example.org The editorials represent the opinion and institutional voice of The Hays Daily News but are signed by the author for the reader's information. Guest editorials are from other newspapers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Hays Daily News. Other content on this page represents the views of the sgned column^, cartoonist or letter-writer. The Opinion Page is intended to be a community forum. Guest editorials and syndicated columnists are selected to present a variety of opinion. Apparently, it's news that Ann Coulter Is a nasty piece of work. I had rather thought that was the attraction, at least for those people who find her attractive. So forgive me for being mildly mystified by last week's headlines about her most recent spasm of trash mouth, i.e., her attack on four women who lost their husbands in the Sept. 11 attacks. But then, the attack is vicious even by Coulter's standards: In her latest book, whose title you won't read here, she savages the widows as "self-obsessed" and "witches." "These broads are millionaires," she writes, "lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief- arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." Evidently, the widows' sins are that they pushed for an independent commission to investigate 9/11 intelligence failures, they are critical of the Bush administration, and they endorsed John Kerry for president. The nerve of them. Coulter's tirade has drawn bipartisan condemnation — New York Democratic Sen, Hillary Clinton called it "vicious," while the state's Republican governor, George Pataki, declared Coulter "far worse than insensitive" — but c'mon. This is all part of the shtick for this chick. I mean, we're talking about the woman who said Timothy McVeigh's only mistake was in not blowing up the New York Times Leonard Pins Jr. COMMENTARY building and that we should invade Muslim countries, kill their leaders and convert the people to Christianity. Frankly, it's easy to do what Coulter does. Just say the most outrageous thing in the most inflammatory way. Just give moral and mental cover to that small-minded, anti-intellectual strain of the electorate that recoils like Superman in the face of Kryp- tonite from complexity and incertitude. And when people call you on it, just wrap yourself in the flag and declare yourself a straight shootin' conservative under siege by that mean ol' liberal media. It plays like gangbusters in Peoria. And never mind that it's a brazen lie. Meaning that Ann Coulter is not reviled because she is conservative. Some of the best and most respected pundits in the country are conservative: George F. Will, Kathleen Parker and Charles Krauthammer, to name just three. They offer smart, snarky, cogent analyses of world and national events, and if you disagree with them, as I not infrequently do, you will be required to do some mental heavy lifting to dismantle their arguments. They challenge you. No, Coulter is reviled because she is mean, malicious, the barbed-wire frontwoman for a cabal of bloviators, bully boys and blowhards (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and too many others) who are pleased to regard themselves as the guardians of conservatism's soul. Conservatism's soul should sue for slander. But again, it plays in Peoria. And why not? It is loud, simple and stupid. Not unlike "The Jerry Springer Show." The nation's political discourse has never been as polite and decorous as we like to think. Abraham Lincoln's political foes called him a baboon; Lyndon Johnson once said that Gerald Ford played too much football without a helmet. When, however, even widows (and orphans?) become fair game for a viperous harridan with an ax to grind and books to sell, maybe decent people should wonder at the lines we have crossed and the type of nation we have become in the process. Coulter's victims, by the way, felt compelled to release a statement. It said in part: "Contrary to Ms. Coulter's statements, there was no joy in watching men that we loved burn alive. There was no happiness in telling our children that their fathers were never coming home again." In a better nation, that would go without saying. Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald. leonardpMs9mtnd8prtng.com Only 2 percent of Americans are paid that amount of money for a year's work, but Lee Raymond is one of the lucky ones. Until he retired last December, Lee was CEO of ExxonMobil for 13 years. Oh, mind you, he wasn't paid $144,000 a year... or even a month... or for a week's worth of work. Lee took $144,000 in pay each and every day of his 13 years at the helm. He drew this daily pay even on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. His total haul during his 13-year tenure was $686 million. And now we learn that Lee has been given another sweet dollop of largesse by ExxonMobil. Instead of a gold watch and a pat on the back, Lee was given a pension package worth $400 million. Factor in this wad, and Raymond walked away with the equivalent of $229,000 a day for his years as CEO. Assuming he worked eight hours every day, that's $28,000 an hour! An official Exxon statement said simply that this kingly sum was a fair reward for Lee's "outstanding leadership of the business." Well, yes, ExxonMobil flourished during the Raymond years, Jim Hightower COMMENTARY especially at the end of his term — and the executive suite at corporate headquarters even was dubbed "The God' Pod." But corporate governance experts note that the company's success was not due to any god-like genius by Raymond, but to easy profits generated by the windfall rise in oil and gasoline prices. Exxon's oil wells pump out more crude every day than Kuwait's, and it is the world's largest refiner of gasoline - so it's wallowing in profits from both its wells and its gas pumps. So remember, every gallon of Exxon- Mobil gasoline you buy will be pumping a little more of your cash right into Lee Raymond's pockets. Jim Hightower, a radio talk-show host and author, is a former agricultural commissioner of Texas. Reader Forum Zoning should protect residents from objectionable businesses I've been reading the comments against zoning for rural Ellis County. Admittedly 1 haven't attended any of the hearings, so I don't understand all of the ramifications. The way I understand zoning in the rural areas it was to protect us from someone or business from coming onto land next to us to start up an objectionable business. With several rural water districts in the county along good roads it would be possible for a swine farrow-to-fmish operation to come in, or a cattle feedlot, or one of the big California dairies, or a big oil pipeline pump station. I'm sure Mrs. Anderson would not want the landowner across the road from her house to sell to someone to put in operation one of the above. Another objectionable deal would be a trash landfill (dump) with paper blowing all over as it does north of Hays. Several years ago the U.S. government contemplated putting a missile site northeast of Hays in the Sweetwater Ranch area, which is in my backyard. Fortunately, after several hearings the In search of relevance idea was abandoned. To me these are things rural zoning would protect us from. I realize that it does limit us landowners from being able to sell to someone at a big price without regard of the consequence to our neighbor. Bob Dickinson Gorham County candidate proud of record, ready to move forward I have served as a Hays city commissioner for seven years and am proud of the many accomplishments that we have achieved. Most of all, I am happy to report that the city is in better financial condition than it has ever been, with over $27 million in savings and fewer city employees than when I took office in 1999. If elected to the Ellis County Commission this November, I will resign my position on the city commission. It has been an honor to work with so many dedicated elected officials and city staff, and I look forward to building on these relationships in the future. Henry Schwaller IV Hays \ Sen. John Kerry's brand-new legislation to withdraw our troops from Iraq is the latest example of Democrats undermining our war effort and trying to make themselves relevant. Kerry said his legislation would pull the majority of U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2006, contingent upon establishing a schedule with the Iraqi government. "This will legitimize the new Iraqi government, enable the Iraqis to become more self-reliant, and undermine support for the insurgency." Try to forget, if you can, Kerry's ridiculous statement that a bill telegraphing U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would "undermine support for the insurgency," when it would do precisely the opposite. Every time there is good news coming out of Iraq, such as Abu Musab al- Zarqawi's death, Democrats can't allow the news cycle to pass without trying to put a damper on it. It's as if they're saying, "Hey, look at us. We matter, too. We also have ideas on Iraq. Pay no attention to the good news. The news is all bad all the time. Remember: Bush is a liar." What was the Democrats' response to the January 2005 Iraqi elections establishing a transition government and the phenomenal voter turnout? They joined the administration in celebrating the historic event, right? Wrong. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., convened her ad hoc group of some 20 Democratic congressmen (the "Iraqi working group") to formulate the party's response to the elections. I kid you not. They believed they needed to prepare a response to the Iraqi triumph, as jf Iraqi's good news was their bad news. Of course, from their perspective, It probably was, because it was also good David Umbaugh COMMENTARY — -,.... news for President George Bush. Just a fluke, you say? Well, then how do you suppose they responded after the December 2005 elections to establish a permanent government for Iraq? Pelosi briefly congratulated Iraq's progress toward democracy, then issued a statement berating President Bush for diverting our resources from capturing Osama to Iraq - a staggering non sequitur. It was like saying, "Our success m helping to bring constitutional self- rule to Iraq as a result of President Bush's visionary decision to attack Iraq and oust Saddam Hussein is proof that we made the wrong decision in attacking Iraq." But it gets worse. Pelosi added "There are ways for the United States to make Iraq more stable that do not require 160,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and which would make the American people safer and the Middle East more secure" Remember now, that was her response' to the Iraqi election. Why did she feel it necessary to gratuitously criticize Bush's policy in the wake of that event other than to downplay the fruits of ' Bush's policy decisions, and at the same time make sure Democrats were includ ed in Iraq-related news? The Democrats' behavior is indeed part of an unmistakable pattern. John Kerry's latest legislative proposal is not the only recent example. On "Fox News Sunday' Democratic Congresswonian Jane Harman, D-Calif., said that we are not succeeding militarily in Iraq, that our objectives "can best be achieved politically, not militarily," and that we ought to "redeploy our troops ... start -moving them out of Iraq, putting some in Kuwait and Jordan," and more in -Baghdad. When Newt Gingrich wisely admonished Harman that on specific decisions as to troop deployment "we ought to rely on General Abizaid and General Casey," because they deal with these issues, on the ground, every day, Harman disagreed, sort of. She said she admired Abizaid and Casey but, the president and his advisers ought to make the decision and it ought to focus on a political strategy. But, then she said we ought to have a "redeployment strategy led by the generals," not Congress making armchair decisions on the withdrawal or redeployment schedule. Another glaring non sequitur. In the brief span of a few minutes Harman said: (a) we ought to redeploy our troops now irrespective of what the generals recommend, (b) the president ought to make these decisions, and (c) the generals should make the decisions. In other words, she would simultaneously follow the generals' advice and ignore it. Harman is not a stupid woman, but she is advocating flagrantly inconsistent positions. The only explanation is that along with the rest of her party's teadership she is seeking to establish Democratic Party relevance on Iraq, while discrediting President Bush. And that s giving her the benefit of the doubt. David Umbaugh la an author and political commentator. A community Is best served when residents are willing to discuss issues publicly. 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