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Death Panelist 

I've got some big political news — at least it's big to me — to share with you today.

High-placed people have given me to know that I'm on the short list to be appointed to President Obama's “death panel” once his health-care reform legislation is enacted.

I didn't even know there was going to be a Death Panel until Sarah Palin spilled the beans about it last week – and now I'm going to be a member of the rascal. Wonders never cease. I must've made a nice little campaign donation back there that I don't remember. Or perhaps the president follows my sage existential ruminations here in the Arkansas Times and recognized the perfect fit.

So it'll soon be ol' moi that the old coot in the TV commercial has to grouse to when he can't get insurance for his hernee operation while the trollop next door gets her free government-paid abortion. “TFB, Pops,” it'll be my pleasure to tell him.

Like it or not, my fellow Death Panelists and I are going to be your health-care deciders. Sarah Palin said our job would be approving some people for treatment and dooming others to medical neglect “based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society.' ”

I don't know whose quote that is about the judging standard we'll be using. And I don't know how Sarah Palin came to know so much about a Democratic special-ops project that even now is so top secret it doesn't even exist and hasn't yet even crossed anybody's mind who's 35 or 40 per cent sane.

Maybe she's psychic. Maybe she's an auspex who got it from arctic terns. Maybe a wolf told her whose pup she shot. Maybe it came from her bud Pat Robertson, who got it straight from his bud God, who normally makes such disclosures on his blog. Or  Dick Armey, Michelle Bachmann, Matt Drudge — other authorities in the health-care sector.  

In any  case, once she had unbagged the cat, lesser Republican lights — Rush and Sean and Glenn and them — got busy inventing and blabbing our Death Panel agenda, and it was from them I  learned that our panel will be based on the old Nazi model. I'm hoping that means there'll be only a small number of us panel members.

A Death Panel with too many panelists — more than a half-dozen, say — would be inefficient and unwieldy. Each panelist would want his or her family, friends, Sunday School class, hunting club members, poker circle, chatroom regulars, fantasy football team, and fellow townhall-disruption mob members on the approved-for-care list.

And everyone on that list would all want their own doctor, and a private room when they went to the hospital, and unlimited MRIs, and the health-care system would soon be overwhelmed again, and the Death Panel would be back to square one. So a small Death Panel — preferably sociopaths, at least misanthropes, certainly no one with empathy — would do a much better job. 

My priority as a Death Panelist will be to free the health-care system from its present burdensome obligations to undesirables.

Correctness prevents my being more specific, except to say that our doctors and nurses didn't go through all the rigors of long medical training just to waste their days treating, at bargain-basement rates, the horde of illegals, ethnics, heathens, subversives, slackers, hypochondriacs, gimps, geeks, spastics, retards, senility cases, and pre-existings who take up all the good clinic parking places and bogart the best waiting-room couches and magazines.

Removing that crowd from the health-care system would be like giving it a big can of STP.

 Separate them out and then let some other agency decide what to do with the rejects. Some of them might choose the Soylent Green Option, and so be it if they do. If not, the government might want to blow the dust off of one of its old Trail of Tears Options and outsource an update. Maybe we could herd a contingent toward some of those abandoned housing developments out West. Or funnel a passel of them into Blackwater, which is said to provide excellent benefits, even if you're used up or broken down, as long as you once did whack-for-wack work for Cheney, Pinochet, Milosevic, or others of their like.

Or we could federalize Jerry Jones' new billion-dollar football stadium in Texas and corral a slew of them there like the Katrina survivors enisled at the Superdome or the Miniconjous and Hunkpapas penned at Wounded Knee.

Any number of health-care reform possibilities once you've got a good Death Panel going. I promise I'll do what I can for your grandma. She'll not be dessert for O.J. if I can help it. I'll not play favorites or take bribes, even from  state lottery officials who wouldn't ever miss it.

And I'll wool the euthanasia cases hardest. For one thing, who can say for certain in those cases what's voluntary and what's not? Common sense might raise a flag if Doyle Webb's involved, or if there are greedy, impatient, prospective heirs. But if you honestly hanker to go into the light, and know in your heart that it's time, and aren't being shoved, and have got the proper clearance, who am I, who are any of these controller bureaucrats, who are any of these sideline moralizers, to tell you that you can't?

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