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Will Supreme Court answer monks’ prayers?

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The Washington Post
Published: November 14, 2012

By George F. Will

Shortly before 123 million voters picked a president, 38 Louisiana monks moved the judiciary toward a decision that could change American governance more than most presidents do. The monks’ cypress caskets could catalyze a rebirth of judicial respect for Americans’ unenumerated rights, a.k.a. privileges or immunities.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina damaged the trees that the monks of Saint Joseph Abbey near Covington, La., harvested to support their religious life. So they decided to market the sort of simple caskets in which the abbey has long buried its dead. Monasteries in other states sell caskets, but these Louisiana Benedictines were embarking on a career in crime

In 1914, Louisiana created the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. Its supposed purpose is to combat “infectious or communicable diseases,” but it has become yet another example of “regulatory capture,” controlled by the funeral industry it ostensibly regulates. Nine of its 10 current members are funeral directors.

Read the full report at The Washington Post

Thanks to Death Midwifery in Canada for alerting us to this article.

 

Be Careful How You Leave: Creating Peace for All Parties

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OK to Die Blog
13 November 2012

I pulled the stifling surgical mask off my face as I left my last patient’s room. I had just finished suturing a complicated facial laceration and was bone-tired from the evening. Glancing at the clock, I saw that mercifully, my shift was over.

Collapsing into my chair to finish up my charting, I was slightly annoyed when my nurse held a clip-board in front of my face, “Here is your next patient.”

“No, really, I’m done…” I started to explain to her until I saw what was written on the papers held by the clip-board… “Patient is ready to quit dialysis. Son doesn’t want him to.”

“Oh,” I said slipping down deeply into the chair, “I guess this is my patient.

Read the full article at OK to Die Blog

 

Flush and bone: the future of alkaline hydrolysis in Virginia

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The Roanoke Times
Roanoke VA
November 11, 2012

By Phil Olson
Assistant Professor
Department of Science and Technology in Society
Virginia Tech

Thanks to modern chemistry, new alternatives for the final disposition of the formerly living are emerging. If you haven't thought about having your body dissolved in a mixture of water and alkali, you soon might. But Brenda Pogge would rather you didn't. On Jan.10, Pogge, a Republican delegate representing the 96thDistrict in Virginia, introduced House Bill379 to the commonwealth's Health, Welfare and Institutions Committee. The bill would have made it a class one misdemeanor for anyone to dispose of human remains using a relatively new disposition technique called alkaline hydrolysis. The bill did not make it out of committee, but you can rest assured that Virginia's lawmakers soon will resurrect discussions about alkaline hydrolysis.

Read the full article at The Roanoke Times

Thanks to the FCA of Virginia Blue Ridge (Blacksburg VA) for alerting us to this article.

Last Updated ( Monday, 12 November 2012 14:45 )
 

Death - A Nice Opportunity for Regret

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The New York Times
Published: November 9, 2012

Nothing focuses the mind, or stirs reflection on remorse, like mortality.

THOMAS ARNOLD KEMP was executed this past April through lethal injection. He stole $200 from a college student in Tucson in 1992 and then murdered him. It took seven minutes for Mr. Kemp to die. His last words: “I regret nothing.”

 Really?

I have been thinking about Mr. Kemp and death and regret, perhaps obsessively. Regret incites us to review and reflect on our actions; when we miss the mark, regret  generates disappointment and grief. Regret would not have kept Mr. Kemp alive. But it might have kept him decent.

Regret is an essential part of repentance in Jewish law, and, as a rabbi and Jewish educator, I find myself thinking about regret each year before Yom Kippur. As part of my research into the subject this year, I handed out index cards to my students from age 18 to over 80, and asked them to list a small regret and a large regret.

Here is a random sampling.

Read the full article at The New York Times

 

How Thinking About Death Can Lead to a Good Life

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ScienceDaily
April 19, 2012

Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values, according to a new analysis of recent scientific studies. Even non-conscious thinking about death -- say walking by a cemetery -- could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.

Read the full article at ScienceDaily

 


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