July 27, 2005

Fog on the Brain

Sen. Rick Santorum has introduced legislation to privatize the National Weather Service so that anyone who wants to know what the weather is has to pay for it. He wants to put the entire thing into private corporate hands. The National Weather Service Employees Organization is rallying against Santorum. Among other things, they think it's a pretty whacky idea. Just imagine family farmers all across the country, who live on the edge and who depend on knowing what the weather is, having to pay some corporation for weather reports and forecasts. Just imagine an underground of illicit meteorologists providing a network of farmers with weather reports and forecasts. Just imagine them going to jail.

Just so you have some even clearer idea where Santorum is coming from and how he thinks about things, here is a small part of a piece written by Mark Leibovich in the Washington Post on April 18, 2005.

In his Senate office, on a shelf next to an autographed baseball, Sen. Rick Santorum keeps a framed photo of his son Gabriel Michael, the fourth of his seven children. Named for two archangels, Gabriel Michael was born prematurely, at 20 weeks, on Oct. 11, 1996, and lived two hours outside the womb.
Upon their son's death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen's parents' home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.

OK, it's easy to understand how people are emotionally traumatized by the loss of a child (I had it happen twice in my family). But what kind of warped thinking is it that compels parents to force their very young children to cuddle and kiss a corpse for hours and sing to it?

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