Friday, August 26, 2005

 

"Dance Me to the End of Love"


"Dance Me to the End of Love"
Originally uploaded by Agnieszka.
This is a photo of and by my friend Agnieszka, and is copyrighted by her, so DO NOT TAKE IT. Please visit her Flickr photos page by clicking here, and see her stunning work for yourself. She is an artist with a camera, and I hope one day she publishes a book of her photos and gains the worldwide recogniton she so deeply deserves.

I'm posting this picture because it's lovely, haunting, evocative, and I need a break today from serious things, from thinking, from the bloody world around me.

 

Gimme a break!

This is one of the weirdest things I have ever heard of:

LONDON (AFP) - London Zoo unveiled a new exhibition -- eight humans prowling around wearing little more than fig leaves to cover their modesty.

The "Human Zoo" is intended to show the basic nature of human beings as they frolick throughout the August bank holiday weekend.

"We have set up this exhibit to highlight the spread of man as a plague species and to communicate the importance of man's place in the planet's ecosystem," London Zoo said.

Spread of man as a plague species? You've just gotta wonder how much of Britain's insanely high taxes goes to fund this garbage. As if supporting the Queen and her wildly dysfunctional family (I exclude here only Prince William, who seems to have inherited a social conscience from his Mum) weren't enough...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

 

Walter Reed Medical Center to close

As if Veterans didn't already have enough trouble receiving decent (or even halfway decent) medical care, now comes this news from AP:

WASHINGTON - A federal commission signed off Thursday on the Pentagon's plan to close the crown jewel of the Army hospital system as part of an effort streamline medical services across the armed forces. Located in the nation's capital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington has treated presidents and foreign leaders as well as soldiers and veterans.

 

Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson has apologized for his remarks. Good for you, Pat. Never mind that the damage is done, and you still look a fool for what you said. You should, next time, think about the effect your words will have before you speak them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

 

Roller coaster

Here we go again. And, as was the case with Terri Schiavo, the hospital in question in the article below is fighting against the parents' wishes. I have pasted the entire article here, for clarity, and it can be found at its original source here.

Charlotte Wyatt, the child with serious lung damage whom doctors predicted would not live past her first weeks of life, is improving dramatically. However, Portsmouth [United Kingdom] Hospital Trustees went to court to make sure that when Charlotte had a breathing crisis she would not be ventilated, as her parents desperately wished, on the grounds that her life was overly burdensome and should not be prolonged.

On Jan. 28, 2005, the judge sided with the hospital, but Charlotte, now nearly two years old, continues to fight for her life.Charlotte was born with damaged lungs and was not expected to live through last winter. She was never expected to improve and has never left the hospital in which she was born. The doctors argued in court that intensive care, should she enter a breathing crisis, would be an "intolerable" burden to her and that they would withhold treatment.

Now, however, the hospital is saying that they had always had the intention of treating Charlotte if she showed signs of improvement. The hospital said in a statement, "The existence of the order does not mean that we would never resuscitate Charlotte under any circumstances." The hospital said Charlotte's improvement has been "remarkable." She is breathing more easily and there is evidence that she is seeing and hearing and doctors are even considering the possibility that she may go home, though in court proceedings, the hospital said that there had been "unanimous" agreement that she would never be able to go home.

Despite the statement, however, the hospital will still be fighting against the request by her parents, Debbie and Darren Wyatt, to remove the 'do not resuscitate' order." Perhaps the doctors think that resuscitating Charlotte could set her back, but her lungs are less fragile now. Charlotte needs this order lifted," said Darren Wyatt.

Hospital ethics boards are increasingly deciding against intensive care in cases of serious illness in favor of a set of criteria based around an arbitrarily judged "quality of life." If a person's quality of life is judged by a doctor to be below standard, that patient will often be in danger of passive or even active euthanasia by refusal of treatment or starvation and dehydration. Courts are more often siding with hospital boards who often have pragmatic reasons for not wanting to prolong the lives of patients deemed "hopeless" cases.

Minutes from a meeting of the Portsmouth Trust board said, "The trust would be prepared to go to the courts rather than send Charlotte to the intensive care unit. From past experience the court would agree with the doctors as they would feel that doctors cannot be forced to treat a child in a way they believe to be against the child's best interests -- despite the wishes of the parents."In the hearings, Wyatt told the court "When you grow to love someone, you can't just throw them away." The Wyatts, who are devout Christians, hold that life has inherent value in spite of suffering.

 

It's about time

It's about time someone took a strong stand against the fomenting of terrorist teachings, and it's Britain that's doing it. The article below is taken from here.

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain published guidelines on Wednesday for barring foreigners the government believes inspire terrorism, as part of a broad crackdown on Islamist preachers after last month's deadly bombings in London.

In a move that sparked sharp criticism from civil rights groups, the government released a list of unacceptable activities which would trigger deportation or an entry ban.

"The terrorist threat facing the UK remains real and significant and it is right that the government and law enforcement agencies do everything possible to counter it," said Interior Minister Charles Clarke.

"That includes tackling those who seek to foster hatred or promote terrorism, sending a strong message that they are not welcome in the UK."

Two waves of bomb attacks in London which killed 52 commuters last month prompted a series of new anti-terrorism measures and British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the "rules of the game are changing."

The list of activities deemed unacceptable, which covers non-UK citizens in Britain or abroad, includes expressing opinions which "foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence" or seeking to provoke others to commit terrorist acts.

The government said the guidelines, which take immediate effect, applied to views conveyed through written or published material, including Web sites, as well as public speaking.

 

Thanks a lot, Robertson

One question, Mr. Pat Robertson--what the bloody hell do you think you're playing at?

Robertson said on Monday's "700 Club" program that the Venezuelan leader would make his nation "a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent." Killing Chavez, an ally of Cuban President Fidel Castro, would be "a whole lot cheaper than starting a war," Robertson said. He added: "We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200-billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with." (from Yahoo News)

We are already embroiled in a mess trying to defend the President's continued insistence on a presence in Iraq (which, by the way, I agree with. If we pull out now, then all we have accomplished will be for nothing). We do not, as Conservatives, need the kind of inflammatory rhetoric you, Mr. Robertson, spouted on your show. We simply don't.

Going around assassinating people isn't the way to deal with them. I believe strongly in the sanctity of life, of all life, and as a Christian, Mr. Robertson, you should too. You cannot simultaneously be pro-life and advocate political assassination.

So, Pat, I guess my biggest question for you is this: What would Jesus do?

(For those who are interested, CBN News - Hugo Chavez vs. America is the 700 Club article on just how nasty a person Hugo Chavez really is. Again, however, this does not justify calling for political assassination.)

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