Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Abortion causes mental problems...NZ study

Hop on over to Life Site and catch the article: Abortion Causes Mental Disorders: New Zealand Study May Require Doctors To Do Fewer Abortions

It makes very interesting reading!

A study in New Zealand that tracked approximately 500 women from birth to 25 years of age has confirmed that young women who have abortions subsequently experience elevated rates of suicidal behaviors, depression, substance abuse, anxiety, and other mental problems.

Most significantly, the researchers--led by Professor David M. Fergusson, who is the director of the longitudinal Christchurch Health and Development Study--found that the higher rate of subsequent mental problems could not be explained by any pre-pregnancy differences in mental health, which had been regularly evaluated over the course of the 25- year study.

They had a hard time getting their research published as they had "politically incorrect results"!

The research team of the Christchurch Health and Development Study is used to having its studies on health and human development accepted by the top medical journals on first submission. After all, the collection of data from birth to adulthood of 1,265 children born in Christchurch is one of the most long-running and valuable longitudinal studies in the world. But this study was the first from the experienced research team that touched on the contentious issue of abortion.

Ferguson said the team "went to four journals, which is very unusual for us -- we normally get accepted the first time." Finally, the fourth journal accepted the study for publication.

I would like to see genuinely objective studies being recognised when their results go against the grain of what is politically acceptable. This business of what's "politically correct" needs to be acknowledged as forcing a bias onto what is supposed to be scientific research. The two do not make honest bedfellows!

Retribution for nurse

Just came across this distressing piece of news from Pakistan, both because of the barbaric retribution this nurse experienced and that Pakistan has caved in to the international pressure to use abortion as a means of birth control.

Pakistani Nurse Raped for Refusing to Perform Abortions

By Gudrun Schultz

MATTRAI, Pakistan, February 27, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A young woman was raped by three men in retribution for refusing to perform illegal abortions in a rural community in the western Punjab last Wednesday.

Rubina Kousar, 26, worked as a nurse in the Mattrai health center. She refused to carry out abortions on two women, reported the Telegraph, despite six months of constant pressure from the women’s families.

“In the past our staff have been subjected to this type of victimization for refusing to carry out illegal abortions, but they have not raised their voices for fear of retribution,” said Riaz Hussein, of the Punjab Healthworkers’ Association.

Abortion is illegal in Pakistan after the fourth month of pregnancy, unless the woman’s life is in danger. Under the tribal system operating in isolated districts of the country, village leaders sometimes order gang rapes as a punishment against women for various social “transgressions”.

"The family came and harassed me but I never imagined they would do this," Miss Kousar said, weeping. "They have threatened my family with dire consequences if we do not settle this. But this is not the past when we can get pushed around. God will give me the courage to fight them."

The UN has targeted Pakistan with aggressive population control measures over the past five years. In November 2000, the UNFPA threatened to withdraw US$250 million in health programs if the country refused to accept an additional $35 million in funding for birth control and abortion. Pakistan succumbed to pressure and agreed to make population control a “national priority” in the country.

See also the article: Pakistan Caves In To UNFPA Population Control Pressure

Monday, February 27, 2006

More on the bird flu

At the NGO Grain's website they have more info about the bird flu.

Backyard or free-range poultry are not fuelling the current wave of bird flu outbreaks stalking large parts of the world. The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is essentially a problem of industrial poultry practices. Its epicentre is the factory farms of China and Southeast Asia and -- while wild birds can carry the disease, at least for short distances -- its main vector is the highly self-regulated transnational poultry industry, which sends the products and waste of its farms around the world through a multitude of channels. Yet small poultry farmers and the poultry biodiversity and local food security that they sustain are suffering badly from the fall-out. To make matters worse, governments and international agencies, following mistaken assumptions about how the disease spreads and amplifies, are pursuing measures to force poultry indoors and further industrialise the poultry sector. In practice, this means the end of the small-scale poultry farming that provides food and livelihoods to hundreds of millions of families across the world. This paper presents a fresh perspective on the bird flu story that challenges current assumptions and puts the focus back where it should be: on the transnational poultry industry.

They have a much more extensive document called: Fowl play: The poultry industry's central role in the bird flu crisis

If what they have found is really the case then this is a problem we have promulgated for ourselves with our practices of mass production without regard to what is natural for the chickens.

About the Spread of Bird Flu

Today's Bankgok Post (Feb27) has a very interesting article entitled: Factory farms behind bird flu spread. Apparently wild birds are not really to blame!
The spread of industrial poultry production and trade networks has actually created ideal conditions for the emergence and transmission of lethal viruses like the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, said Devlin Kuyek, of the Montreal-based international non-governmental organisation Grain.

Once inside densely populated factory farms, viruses can rapidly become lethal and amplify, said Mr Kuyek in the report released today.

Air thick with viral load from infected farms was carried for kilometres, while integrated trade networks spread the disease through many carriers: live birds, day-old chicks, meat, feathers, hatching eggs, eggs, chicken manure and animal feed, he added.

"Everyone is focused on migratory birds and backyard chickens as the problem," said the researcher of Grain, which promotes the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people's control over genetic resources and local knowledge.

"But they are not effective vectors of highly pathogenic bird flu. The virus kills them, but is unlikely to be spread by them," he said.

For example, in Malaysia, the mortality rate from H5N1 among village chicken was only 5%, indicating that the virus had a hard time spreading among small-scale chicken flocks.

H5N1 outbreaks in Laos, which was surrounded by infected countries, have only occurred in the nation's few factory farms, which were supplied by Thai hatcheries, the report said.

The only cases of bird flu in backyard poultry, which account for over 90% of Laos' production, occurred next to the factory farms.

"The evidence we see over and over again, from the Netherlands in 2003 to Japan in 2004 to Egypt in 2006, is that lethal bird flu breaks out in large-scale industrial chicken farms and then spreads to other places and regions," Mr Kuyek explained.

The Nigerian outbreak earlier this year began at a single factory farm, owned by a cabinet minister, distant from hotspots for migratory birds but known for importing unregulated hatchable eggs.

In India, local authorities said that H5N1 emerged and spread from a factory farm owned by the country's largest poultry company, Venkateshwara Hatcheries.

Grain asked a burning question why governments and international agencies, like the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, were doing nothing to investigate how the factory farms and their byproducts, such as animal feed and manure, spread the virus.

Instead, they were using the crisis as an opportunity to further industrialise the poultry sector.

Initiatives are multiplying to ban outdoor poultry, squeeze out small producers and restock farms with genetically-modified chickens.

The web of complicity with an industry engaged in a string of denials and cover-ups seems complete, he said.

"Farmers are losing their livelihoods, native chickens are being wiped out and some experts say that we are on the verge of a human pandemic that could kill millions of people," Mr Kuyek concluded.
So, it seems the problem could be of our own making. Over the years there has been a lot of opposition to these 'battery' poultry farms... particularly because of the appallingly cruel conditions under which the poultry live.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The evils of 'Tom & Jerry'

I never cease to be amazed!
Professor Hasan Bolkhari, Iranian “mass media expert” and cultural advisor to the Iranian Education Ministry, explains why the evil Jewish Walt Disney company unleashed the ultimate weapon against the Islamic world—Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Iranian Madness Watch at LGF News. See the video at LGF. The transcript is included as well.

For one thing Tom & Jerry isn't a creation of Disney... facts wrong!
And, my question is, 'How does he know that was Disney's intent, or anyone else's intent for that matter?'

Also, what kind of proof does he have that what he claims is in fact the reason for the existence of the Tom & Jerry cartoons? He states it as fact. Where's his proof?

Check out Info from Wikipedia about Tom & Jerry.
Tom and Jerry were an animated cat (Tom) and mouse (Jerry) team who formed the basis of a massively successful series of theatrical short cartoons created, written, and directed by animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (later of Hanna-Barbera fame), and produced by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer from 1940 to 1958. MGM later had more Tom & Jerry cartoons produced by outside studios in the 1960s (Gene Deitch's Rembrandt Films from 1961 to 1962, and Chuck Jones' Sib Tower 12 Productions from 1963 to 1967). Tom and Jerry later resurfaced in TV cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions (1975-1977; 1990-1993) and Filmation Studios (1980 - 1982). The original Hanna and Barbera shorts are notable for having won seven Academy Awards, tying it with Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies as the most-awarded theatrical cartoon series.
See the transcript at found at Memri TV

See also:
Michelle Malkin -- Tom & Jerry must be crushed

and Alarming News

How about Mickey Mouse? That would be problematic since he was created in 1928!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Toon Consequences

Check out Freedom for Egyptians' article "Danish Cartoons Swirl around the Troubled World". She has a long list of the consequences and repercussions of the Danish cartoons. I've included a selection of them here:

  • A total of 11 journalists in five countries facing prosecution for their decision to publish some of the cartoons.
  • At least 50 people were killed in protests in the Middle East, Asia and Africa over the past month over cartoons.
  • With the Islamization of the societies, the list of taboos has been increasing daily. No more writings about religion as well as politics or women's rights.
  • Anti Cartoon protests developed into anti-Christian riots, as anger at the drawings was exploited in Nigeria.
  • In Denmark, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press are not up for negotiation.

The list is extensive and worth reading and thinking about. I'm sure there's probably more that could be added. The cartoons continue to be used as a pretext for violence and uproar.

Hitler's Toon Troubles

Tim Blair has a really interesting piece entitled: "Toons Cause Frenzy, Uproar" in which he quotes from a 2002 speech by Peter Costello, the Australian treasurer. He describes the trouble cartoonist David Low got into in England during the 1930's because of his cartoons about Hitler. Hitler didn't like it once little bit... no, siree, he didn't.

It's funny how reminiscent it is of the kerfuffle that's been blasting around the Muslim world these last several weeks... and of the pathetic responses that have come from various governments and publishers...

It seems to me that a new line keeps being drawn in the sand after stepping back another foot or two or more. Will we ever stop and stand our ground and say "no more"?

Funny how we still ended up in a world war back then despite the apologies and appeasements...
Thanks for the post Tim... a good one indeed

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Lonely deaths!

NSW in Australia is having a spate of deaths of elderly people which are not being discovered for months. This is quite sad!

Community life has been declining over many years. I remember as a child, everybody knew everybody. We did not need to lock our doors at night. If someone needed help, it was readily available within the community. I can't imagine a death going unnoticed for more than a day... someone would have been checking. We've lost something precious. Now, who feels safe?

Here's the sad litany:

1) A 62-year-old man was found dead on February 12 in the Northcott apartments in Surry Hills. He's been dead about 6 months.

2) A 79-year-old-woman's mail had been piling up at Umina Beach post office since last August. She was found dead after 6 months. The discovery of a man's skeleton in Sydney had alerted postal workers on the Central Coast that there may be a similar tragedy in their neighbourhood. Read it here.

3) On Sunday (Feb 19), police found the body of Peter Newman, 63, in a Waterloo housing commission block. His death went unnoticed for eight months by housing officials. Mr Newman, who lived in a single-bedroom unit on the 15th floor, was the third elderly person in NSW in a fortnight to die alone.
Read about it here.

4) Now an old couple have found dead next to each other in bed in their Watson Street unit at Neutral Bay on Sydney's North Shore. They'd been married 65 years. A note was found and police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests before deciding whether the deaths were suicide. Police said the 82-year-old husband had been ill for some years, possibly with a terminal condition, and his wife, 78, had also been unwell.
Read about it here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How do we deal with the anger and rage?

How should we be responding to all the anger and rage that seem to be flowing like a raging unstoppable torrent all across the world? Responding in kind is not going to lead anywhere except to more conflagration. There may be nothing humanly possible that can cool the heat.

An interesting article suggest praying blessings over the Muslims. I can do that.

Have a look at "Bless, Don't Curse".

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Really Great Animated Cartoon!

I've been wanting to get a link to this cartoon up for a couple of days but have procrastinated... maybe I've been nervous about putting my head too far out there ... don't know.

The animation, does point out how inconsistent reactions are to a piece of paper when there has been so much genocide in Darfur and elsewhere.

Here’s a link to the animated cartoon called “Gevoelig” (it means “sensitive” in Dutch). Joep Bertrams, a Dutch political cartoonist, is the artist. Very creative!

I originally found a link to it at Michelle Malkin's blog. The cartoon is just classic!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Must reads!

Wander over to Michelle Malkin and read her piece today on "Cartoon Jihad in Washington, D.C." She's pulled together what the motoons violence is really all about...
  • Israel and the Jews and their annihilation
I can see that!
  • and the escalation of the so-called American-European War against Islam and the Muslims (this according to the New Black Panther Party's protest which will be at the Danish embassy).
This begins to look more and more like a concerted effort to bring the world to war!

Another must read is Tim Blair's "Genuine 100% Media Repression," a rather damning statement about the wimpiness of the media.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Empathy as a counter to violence

The Bangkok Post today has an editorial article by Nazry Bahrawi, a Singapore based journalist who proposes 'empathy' as a means of calming the violence which has erupted over the motoons.
He quotes Chandra Muzaffar (The Muslim Reader magazine)'s suggestion,
that responsible reporting in a globalised world means journalists ''should not only learn about religion; they should also develop some empathy for faith and the practice of faith''.
He goes on to spell out what practising that empathy might look like.
Had the editors at Jyllands-Posten exercised empathy towards Muslims, perhaps much grievous harm could have been avoided.
Meanwhile, empathy on the part of Muslims means several things.
Chief among these would be reacting in a less unwarranted manner to religious controversy. Renowned Europe-based Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan, for example, has publicly deplored the violence seen so far as ''too excessive and not the way forward''.
But the appeals for a calm reaction must move beyond lip service.
A good start would be to declare a moratorium on death fatwa (or Islamic decree) _ which has been dispensed freely in the past as seen in the case of Salman Rushdie, who penned The Satanic Verses, and Amina Wadud-Muhsin, who publicly staged a female-led congregational prayer.
It seems a nice sentiment but I question whether it's possible to stop the tide of rage and violence. I does seem to have gone beyond the original stir up. As an example, check out Michelle Malkin's "Cartoon Jihad In New York" here, and the numerous blog links in the sidebar

Some stories have a happy ending

In today's Bangkok Post is the story of a lady who had left all her money and valuables on a bus in Bangkok. She was so distraught she attempted to commit suicide by walking with her young niece out into the traffic. A good samaritan stopped her and helped her to contact the bus company. Miracle of miracles she was able to recover her money and gold. The bus conductor who had found the lady's purse said:

''I didn't know what was inside and didn't open it because I was trained not to open anything passengers leave on the bus,'' said the bus conductor, Jindaphon Harikhampha, 27.

I am impressed! In the past such an event as forgetting your handbag on the bus or in a taxi would mean 'goodbye' valuables.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The elephants aren't too happy with us, it seems.

In today's Sydney Morning Herald is an article entitled: "Elephant rage: they never forgive, either". It seems our indiscriminate killing of elephants is now having a backlash such that we now have "gangs" of male teenage elephants on the rampage! Whoa!

Read about it here.

Now this will be interesting!

Rockhampton's Weekend Choice has entered a cartoon in the Iranian newspaper's cartoon competition "to test the notion of free speech".
What will come of this?
You'll find it in the Sydney Morning Herald
Happy Days!

The Bali Nine

This week the Bali nine have received their sentences for attempting to smuggle heroin from Bali to Australia. Two received the death sentence. [Read the SMH report here.] The other seven were sentenced to life in prison. [SMH report here.]

Even Renae who rolled over and cooperated with the police has received the same sentence. [SMH report here.]

It's a dire consequence for these young folk... their lives changed forever. I've often wondered what they thought when they agreed to be drug mules. Did they think they wouldn't get caught? Did they think they were in some way, invincible? And invisible? I don't know. But now the consequences are smack in their faces... and cannot be avoided no matter how much they might wish it all away as a bad dream.

How will they respond to incarceration? Will they become bitter and angry, as if it's all someone else's fault? Will they become depressed and slip down into some emotional sink hole? Or will they look for healthy ways to deal with their situation and gain all the good that could come out of this disaster in their lives? My prayer for them is that they will choose the latter.

AND... I do hope young Australians will think twice about travelling with drugs whether on their person or in their luggage. Besides being wrong, it is also stupid. The consequences in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and elsewhere are just not worth the risk.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Acceptance of Intolerance

I've been following the Mohammed cartoon controversy with increasing unease at the level of hatred and violence which has been unleashed. Today I came across this and decided others needed to see it.

From: Australian Prayer Network


Source: Miranda Devine writing in the Sydney Morning Herald

Editors comment: The raising of voices of protest against cartoons that Muslims claim to be blasphemy is understandable and acceptable in a free society. If only Christians would similarly verbalise their protest when Jesus Christ is regularly vilified in the name of "freedom of expression". The destruction of property, the loss of life, and the ongoing threat to human life by Muslims in many nations across the world however is not, and cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.

As the following article expresses, the protests which we have seen recently take on much greater significance beyond the obvious immediate implications, because they represent a worrying intolerance towards non Islamic views (even in non Islamic countries) which we must be alert to and see the significance of in the stated wider radical Islamic agenda to Islamicise the world. In our own country Islam has already been at the forefront of court action endeavouring to force Christians to be silent in their critique of Islamic belief. If this trend, as evidenced by recent events, is allowed to continue unchallenged it will inevitably result in a loss of freedom of expression and a subservience to whatever Islam decides it will or will not allow, even in countries where they are in the minority. People of any religious belief must of course always have the right in a free society to express verbal non violent dissent towards things they disagree with, however current attitudes of intolerance of anything that conflicts with their religious worldview is unacceptable and must be resisted at all costs to protect our own freedoms.

THE insane violence of riots over religious cartoons is a flexing of muscles by those men of the Islamic world who have long felt emasculated and insulted by the West's economic superiority. Empowered by Osama bin Laden's September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, they have also been emboldened by the West's internal divisions and its feeble response to increasing acts of intolerance and provocation.

Similarly, a semi-official policy by NSW authorities of not antagonising groups of young Arab-Australian men behaving criminally or antisocially in Sydney has enfeebled police, while emboldening law-breakers to ever more audacious behaviour, such as the revenge attacks after the Cronulla riots.

The institutionalised weakness of the West is epitomised by its reaction to the riots over the cartoons: the apologies from governments, the sacking of an editor in France, the ready acceptance by newspapers of a limit to free speech, despite the fact the cartoons are so tame by the standards of Western satire. The most provocative cartoon is probably one that shows a Muhammad-like figure with a fuse coming out of his turban, or one with a queue of smoking suicide bombers on a cloud with an Islamic cleric saying "Stop. We ran out of virgins".

But the global over-reaction to the publication in a privately owned newspaper in a Western secular society shows that there are increasing numbers of Muslims who expect to be able to control what non-Muslims do in their own countries. The murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004 by a Muslim extremist enraged by his documentary about violence against Muslim women was just the start.

In Australia all but one newspaper has refrained from publishing the cartoons because of the uncharacteristically sensible desire not to inflame the madness, which has so far resulted in nine deaths. But while we accommodate the intolerant, we seem ever more determined to ferret out any whiff of intolerance in ourselves.

Witness the calls this week by a Victorian teachers union for cultural re-education of children after a survey of 551 high school students found a majority had negative attitudes towards Muslims. An editorial in The Age even attempted to excuse the inexcusable, saying of the survey results: "Little wonder many Muslims see the 'war on terror' as a war on them. Their community is besieged by hostility and suspicion, which helps explain why they want to make their hurt felt ."

Civilised people don't usually make their "hurt felt" by torching other people's embassies, stoning churches and waving the sort of banners reported at a protest over the cartoons in London last week: "Massacre those who insult Islam", "Europe, your 9/11 will come".

This creeping acceptance of intolerance in our midst is what Daniel Pipes, the director of a US think tank, the Middle East Forum, has warned about as the second prong of a radical Islamic attack on the West: a relentless demand for cultural change. This non-violent but incremental encroachment on Western secular society curtails freedoms and accords the Muslim minority special privileges.

For instance, during a visit to Australia after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Pipes warned against allowing driver's licence photos with faces obscured by veils. Militant Islamists believe their totalitarian ideology is superior to our liberal democracy, he said at the time. "When there's a difference between their approach and the Australian approach, they want Australia to become like them and not vice versa," he said.

It was the hate-preaching imams of Denmark who were said to have ignited the controversy over the cartoons, four months after their publication in September, when they travelled to the Middle East with a dossier of cartoons aimed at bringing attention to Danish insensitivity and inflaming attitudes against the country they had made their home.

In Australia, a new generation of Islamic leaders who are antagonistic to their moderate elders have also been preaching the evils of the mainstream culture they live in and the need for "good Muslims" to disengage.

The now infamous Bankstown sermon last year by the Sydney-born Sheik Feiz Mohamed, in which he said rape victims have "no one to blame but themselves" because they dress provocatively, is but one example. The American Sheik Khalid Yasin, a regular visitor to Australia, betrayed similar intolerance when he said last year: "There's no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend."

But antagonism to Western culture appears in more subtle forms. In Melbourne recently the first training course for home-grown Islamic religious leaders was launched at the Minaret College in Springvale, funded by a reported $1.8 million of taxpayer money. While it says it embraces a moderate 21st-century form of Islam, the college features on its website a fatwa, or official ruling, from Sheik Yusof Al-Qaradawi, professor at the University of Qutar, who is banned fromentering the US and Germany because of his support for terrorist groups. The letter calls for donations because educational institutions for Muslims outside the Muslim world are "castles for jihad and shields of protection from surrounding evils".

Teaching young Muslims that Australian society is evil is not a recipe for cultural harmony.

[Article by Miranda Devine published in the Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February 2006]

a new blog on the block

With all the blogs out there I too must join the crowd... with my own meanderings of this meanderer.

I hope there'll be something here of interest to others.