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Terri Schiavo more important than two girls boiled alive as their mother watched

News limited columnist Emma Tom wrote an article in The Australian newspaper ( a Murdoch paper even) that brings a reality check to the Terri Schiavo story. The Terri Schiavo is interesting as it raises a bunch of issues around medical ethics, euthanasia etc.

I seriously recommend reading it. Click on the title link of this entry to go to the full piece. Here are a few quotes:

THE big problem with living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is that you’ve got to die really grossly before you rate a mention in the international press. Particularly if you’re competing against a single comatose American….

You’d think watching your daughter get poached in water and oil before being devoured would be worth a little more. A couple of paragraphs, at least. But that’s what you get for living in a place where too many people with dark skin die horribly. Where’s the surprise factor? Where’s the audience appeal?

It’s very different in the US. Over there, Mary Schindler is also watching her daughter die. She’s the mother of Terri Schiavo – a woman being starved by the state after dieting her brain to sludge. But unlike those nameless sisters in the Congo, the pros and cons of killing Schiavo have been debated around the planet. When Terri finally passes on to that big weight-loss clinic in the sky, she can rest assured that at least people cared. Even if some of them chose to express it by removing her tubing….

Critics of the mass hysteria surrounding the Schiavo case have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of a nation that also sanctions the execution of mentally ill prisoners and the explosion of infants in Iraq…

When Terri finally passes on to that big weight-loss clinic in the sky, she can rest assured that at least people cared. Even if some of them chose to express it by removing her tubing…I’d love to know why right-to-lifers think these humans (who either don’t know they’re alive or are actively choosing not to be) warrant so much more time and money than those boiling Congolese sisters, who are bound to have been all too aware of their fate and must have protested most terribly.,5744,12694839%255E12274,00.html

New Zealand: Lots of women, no blokes

Cute story in New Zealand. It appears that al the blokes are taking off overseas leaving a pile of single women back in NZ, so if you are not a Kiwi, but getting a bit desperate, perhaps you should think about emmigrating.

STUFF – STORY – HOME : New Zealand’s leading news and information website:
“Kiwi men in their relationship-forming years have disappeared in their thousands, says social scientist Dr Paul Callister.

The result is that men are increasingly outnumbered.

Since 1991, the census has shown a widening gap between the number of women and men aged between 20 and 49, reversing a long history of men having the numerical advantage.

In 1986 there were 700 more men than women in that age group, but by 1991 women had started pulling ahead.

By 2001, the census counted 53,000 more women than men aged 20-49, or just under 7 per cent more women. About 1.5 million Kiwis are in this age group.

The shortage of men comes despite them starting off life in greater numbers – 5 per cent more boys are born than girls.

So where have all the men gone?”

“‘We really have no idea,’ says Callister, who has received a government grant to look at reasons for the imbalance.

Callister said some of the gap could be explained by young men being slightly undercounted in the census because they moved around more.

But this would still put the gap at around 36,000 more women in the 20-49 age group than men, giving women a 4 per cent lead. The loss could be due to migration of men from New Zealand, or in fewer men than women returning from their OE.

“It may be that New Zealand men are getting partners in other countries and stay on, and the women come back to New Zealand thinking they’ll get a partner here,” says Callister.

The loss of men was too great to be explained by New Zealand’s high male youth suicide rate, or by death through risk-taking or car accidents. The imbalance is an oddity – New Zealand has one of the highest ratio of women to men among developed countries. In Denmark and Germany, the imbalance runs the other way.

Self-styled Kiwi bloke Gary McCormick said the gap was proof that the government had to give men a subsidy to get them to stay in the country.

“Five thousand (dollars) would do, they can then buy a Holden and other things that help improve their social operation,” he said. (Über Kiwi: That would work for me)

He said the gap between males and females was the result of the sexual revolution.

“When a species is under threat it starts to disappear, this is what is happening here . . . soon there will be only a couple of dozen blokes left.”

But “single and ready to mingle” Auckland accountant Hunter Dolan, 34, said the figures were cause to celebrate, even if women at nightclubs could be like “sharks at feeding time”.

“There’s nothing wrong with Kiwi girls, but a lot of guys leave the country to earn more money,” he said.

Dolan, who has been single for a year, has dated five women in the past six months. “Some places you go, there are just women in their hundreds. I’d much rather be a single guy here than a single girl.”

Howard’s ‘orgy of ads’ in lead-up to poll

The Federal Government spent at least $95 million on advertising in the run up to last year’s October election – but the spending has dropped dramatically in the six months since.

Excluding Defence Force recruitment ads, Federal Government spending on ads is not expected to exceed $12 million in the first half of this year.

The Howard Government has broken all records when it comes to advertising campaigns, clocking up at least $693 million since taking power in 1996.

According to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Howard Government has spent $125 million advertising the introduction of the GST, about $40 million on a range of Medicare entitlements, $34.8 million on apprenticeship programs, $28 million on various private health insurance initiatives and $167.5 million on Defence Force recruitment.

Federal Labor spokesman on public administration Kim Carr has lashed out at what he said had been an orgy of Government spending to advertise political programs in the lead-up to the federal election.

“Isn’t it a strange coincidence that after the election, Government advertising has fallen to virtually nothing?” Senator Carr said.

Melbourne University academic Sally Young, author of The Persuaders: Inside the Hidden Machine of Political Advertising, said the traditional pre-election spike in advertising was bound to heighten scepticism in some sections of the community.

“We shouldn’t be surprised at the big spending campaigns that we saw last year – nor that it drops off so dramatically after the election – because that has become the regular pattern established by this Government,” Dr Young said.

Pointing to laws in other countries – such as the United States, Canada and Britain, which prevent governments using taxpayers’ money to spruik their own political fortunes – Dr Young said there was a strong case for reform.

“In countries overseas they think we’re crazy by allowing public money to be spent in this way. They simply have rules on it that we don’t.”

The Rearward View with Mirrors

The Rearward View with Mirrors:
When do we rely our mirrors the most? Probably when we are changing lanes. Our objective is to change position without getting in another driver’s way or cutting him/her off.

The positioning for the inside rearview mirror is fairly obvious — you should be able to see out of the rear window. Be sure the day/night switch found on most rearview mirrors is in the day position during daytime operation

As for the sideview mirror or mirrors, most people adjust them so they can see the side of the car on the inside edge of the mirror. Consider the view when the sideview mirrors are set up as just described. Essentially, you have created ‘tunnel vision’ to the rear. Your sideview mirrors overlap much of what your inside rearview mirrors sees and you’ve also created blind spots.

What in the solution to tunnel vision and blind spots? Simply adjust the sideview mirrors just beyond the point where you could see the side of the car on the inside edge of the mirror. With this setup, you almost completely solve the blind spot problem.

For the case where there is a vehicle present that isn’t visible when checking the mirrors, the vehicle’s position will probably be such that its front is adjacent to your door and you’ll spot it in your peripheral vision as you check the sideview mirror.

Most of us have dealt with blind spots by turning our head for a quick check. This isn’t generally a problem in terms of missing something ahead; however, there can be a dangerous side effect. Unless you’ve worked to control it, your arms will move in the direction your eyes are looking causing the steering wheel to turn. With well-positioned mirrors, your head won’t have to turn as far to check any remaining blind spots.

There are other applications of changing lanes that this setup is useful for as well. For example, when getting on a highway, your ability to judge how to best merge with the traffic flow will be greatly enhanced with the view provided by the “wideview” side mirror.

Likewise, as you pass interchanges on the highway, your ability to monitor traffic entering the highway is enhanced.

And finally, a good guideline for deciding when to move into the passing lane or back into the traveling lane is to make sure that you can see the headlights of the vehicle you want to pull in front of in the rearview mirror. We can all appreciate the value of adequate pull-in space.