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As ThinkProgress reports today, Sarah Palin was for end-of-life counseling before she was against it.

As governor, Palin declared April 16, 2008, "Healthcare Decisions Day," signing a proclamation to "encourage medical professionals and lawyers to volunteer their time and efforts to ... increase the number of Alaska's citizens with advance directives."

An advance directive can be a living will, which describes the medical treatments you do or do not want at the end of life, or a power of attorney, which designates someone to make those decisions for you.

Palin has been railing against a provision in the House health care bill which would reimburse doctors for counseling patients about such advance directives. She says that provision really calls for a "death panel," where government bureaucrats would decide who could get life-extending care based on their usefulness to society. This claim has been thoroughly debunked.

The proclamation was part of National Healthcare Decisions Day, an effort to get more people to plan ahead for end-of-life care. Both houses of Congress and several other states also signed on, and you can see the extensive list of NHDD's participants here.

More of Palin's proclamation:

WHEREAS, Healthcare Decisions Day is designed to raise public awareness of the need to plan ahead for healthcare decisions, related to end of life care and medical decision-making whenever patients are unable to speak for themselves and to encourage the specific use of advance directives to communicate these important healthcare decisions. [...]

WHEREAS, one of the principal goals of Healthcare Decisions Day is to encourage hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and hospices to participate in a statewide effort to provide clear and consistent information to the public about advance directives, as well as to encourage medical professionals and lawyers to volunteer their time and efforts to improve public knowledge and increase the number of Alaska's citizens with advance directives.

WHEREAS, the Foundation for End of Life Care in Juneau, Alaska, and other organizations throughout the United States have endorsed this event and are committed to educating the public about the importance of discussing healthcare choices and executing advance directives.

Here's a thought: If you own a major supermarket chain that caters to a great deal of liberal-minded people with money, don't rail against the evils of health care reform in the Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately, that advice comes a few hours too late for Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who did just that.

Mackey began his piece with a quote from Margaret Thatcher--"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money"--and went on to warn that "a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system."

As a result of this misguided effort, it seems, his company's website has been fielding angry comments all afternoon, and has had to set up an online forum where customers can vent their frustrations, and, oh, call for a boycott!

Not seeing the "good for business" angle here.

The CBS affiliate in Raleigh, WRAL-TV, reports that sources close to John Edwards expect the ex-Senator and former presidential candidate to admit that he is indeed the father of his former mistress Rielle Hunter's child.

It's unclear exactly when he would admit this, but the station's sources said it could occur before the end of the current criminal investigation into whether Edwards illegally paid Hunter money from his campaign. The central allegation is that hush money was funneled to Hunter in order to keep her from revealing the affair.

Edwards admitted in the summer of 2008 that he did in fact have the affair with Hunter, but strongly denied that he was the father of her child. Hunter had previously stated that the father of her child was a former Edwards staffer, Andrew Young.

The death panel canard has so completely taken over the debate over health care reform this week that even President Obama had to stop and assure the country that nobody planned to "pull the plug on grandma."

Though the death panel's origins lie in dishonest brokers like Betsy McCaughey and Sarah Palin, Obama addressed the allegation almost as if it were raised in good faith. "It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, et cetera."

That's basically been the extent of the debate. "Death panels!" vs. "No! Not death panels! End of life counseling!" And though the latter claim is the accurate one, it doesn't really give you a sense of just how standard a practice these "death panels" already are among clinicians.

"I'm a medical oncologist so I deal with cancer patients," said Dr. Emad Ibrahim, a southern California doctor who's been in practice for 11 years. "Many patients are terminal or could become terminal over the course of their care."

"We routinely do counseling and advise patients on advance directives."

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In a further sign that she's not leaving the public stage, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has now relaunched her Twitter account with a new name -- SarahPalinUSA.

The old handle was "AKGOVSarahPalin," which is obviously out of date now that she's not associated with the state government anymore. But her new name, on the other hand, ties her into the identify of the whole country.

As Stephen Colbert might say, Sarah Palin is America -- and so can you!

(The plain old handle "SarahPalin" was already taken by a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota, who says in her bio: "NOT I repeat NOT, the gov of Alaska, just have the same name. Terrible dontcha know")

Take me out to the corrupt ex-Rep. Traficant prison release party?

Alas, no -- a planned "Traficant Release Night" was canceled today by the Single-A Cleveland Indians affiliate in the disgraced former congressman's district after angry residents complained, the AP reports.

Read More →

Major Garrett, the Fox News reporter who today accused the White House of breaking the law by mixing politics with official business, later backtracked on those allegations pretty clearly.

At the daily press briefing, Garrett implied that White House emails might go out to people who've signed up for email lists for Organizing for America, the Democrats' political group, or President Obama's campaign web site.

In a later appearance on Fox News, he said, "I should not have done that."

"There is no evidence whatsoever that anything that's at the Democratic National Committee comes anywhere near the White House in this health care debate or anything else. I want to get that on the record absolutely clearly," Garrett said.

He did say, however, that he's still going after reports that people who haven't signed up for White House emails received a message today from senior adviser David Axelrod about health care reform.

Here's the (rather heated) exchange from the press briefing:

You just had to figure that Rush Limbaugh was a big-time supporter of Sarah Palin on the "death panel" stuff:



"But I would suggest that anybody who doubts her intellectual heft or her ability to learn and study," said Limbaugh, "go to her Facebook page, look at the notes that she's taken -- it's right there -- the study that she has done and engaged in, in order to learn about Section 1233."

Limbaugh also said that you don't have to be old for the death panel -- you just need to have a disease that the government decides is too expensive to treat. And he says of President Obama "He wants the White House, he wants the Executive Branch, to be making determinations of who lives and who dies, which will lead to the regulation of every lifestyle or life in this country."

Bioethicist and presidential adviser Ezekiel Emanuel today called talk of "death panels" by Sarah Palin and others "an absolute outrage."

"It's an absolute outrage that you would take, first of all, a provision written in the bill," Emanuel told ABC News, "and turn it into the suggestion that we're going to have euthanasia boards -- that's a complete misreading of what's there. It's just trying to scare people."

In a piece defending her use of the phrase "death panels," Palin used Emanuel's writings as proof that the administration would give care based on who is most productive in society.

"There's no basis for that claim either in any of my writings or the legislation. It has no grounds in reality. It's surreal and Orwellian, the idea that this legislation or my writings suggest that her son Trig shouldn't get health care," he said. He said he "abhors" people like Palin "cavalierly distorting those writings and the work that I've done over 25 years to help improve medical care in America for vulnerable people who often have no voice."

He added that in the papers in question, he was analyzing arguments for such things as rationing scarce health care resources, but not in any way endorsing them.

Emanuel, who is the brother of President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, has been an opponent of euthanasia for years.

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