Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Racist EU

What fun! That old British stirrer, Gerald Hartup, has scored a hit. Hartup regularly draws attention to Leftists violating their own regulations

The European Commission is to remove the comic "What me a racist?" from its Europa website following a complaint from civil liberties group Liberty and Law taken up on its behalf by the Commission for Racial Equality [CRE].

The glossy A4 comic produced in 1998 to combat racism was published in all the official European Union languages. It was "designed for teachers to use when addressing the subject of racism with young people" and has been on its website since 2001.

Liberty and Law complained about the offensive racial caricatures of the black characters portrayed, reminiscent of the treatment given to Africans in Herg,'s 1931 book Tintin in the Congo.

The CRE made rapid progress with the Commission for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. On 21 August the CRE told Liberty and Law that the Commission underlined to them that it was "not their intention to be offensive to any group or individual and are looking into the matter". Just a few hours later Commissioner Spidla's spokesperson asked the Communications Directorate General to remove the comic from its website.

Source. The comics concerned are at the moment still up here.

Romancing Opiates

Post below lifted from Noodlefood. See the original for links

I just began reading Theodore Dalrymple's recent book Romancing Opiates. So far, it's excellent. Most surprising is the fact that -- contrary to all popular belief, fictional portrayals, and media reports -- the symptoms of physical withdrawal from heroin are extremely mild. The addict is not in any danger of dying whatsoever, as with serious alcohol withdrawal. He's not even in any real physical distress.

The distress that addicts do feel is based solely on their beliefs about the withdrawal of the drug: it's purely psychological. Studies have shown that addicts aren't able to tell whether they've been given morphine or placebo, such that symptoms like nervousness and restlessness came and went based on what they were told about the contents of their injection (28).

However, addicts are extremely adept at faking such distress in the hopes of wheedling a prescription from the often-gullible doctor. Most doctors accept the standard view that withdrawal from opiates is a terrible ordeal, despite substantial evidence to the contrary, such as the addicts displaying no great signs of distress when secretly watched by the doctor. So the doctors routinely prescribe the addict drugs like methadone.

In contrast, when the addict is confronted with a doctor like Dalrymple, who refuses such prescriptions and clearly explains his reasons why, some will not only cease their performance of distress, but even "smile and admit with a laugh that anyone who says that cold turkey is a terrible ordeal is lying and more than likely trying to bluff his way to a prescription" (25). Once that is done, other addicts in the ward don't even bother with the attempted deception.

In recent years, doctors have tried to alleviate the non-existent horror of opiate withdrawal by "ultra-short opiate detoxification." (If I recall correctly, this method was featured on House.) Basically, the addict is administered "an opiate antagonist, naloxone, under general anesthesia, followed by continued administration of naloxone for a further forty-eight hours. This [method] ... turns a trivial medical condition, namely 'natural' withdrawal from opiates, into a potentially fatal one, since quite a number of deaths are known to have occurred as a result of it, some clinics that use it having recorded as many as ten deaths" (29). Yikes!

The failure to consider the obvious implications of perceptual observations can have serious consequences in any area of life. In this case, that failure on the part of those in the business of addiction treatment means that a voluntary psychological dysfunction is treated with ineffective, counterproductive, and even life-threatening methods. Lovely, no?

NHS Doctors to be replaced by nurses

Back to the past for childbirth in Britain

The Health Secretary has approved plans to close “vital” hospital services, which will cost lives, an MP has said. A long-running review of NHS services in Greater Manchester and Cheshire ended yesterday with Alan Johnson’s endorsement of an independent panel’s recommendation to close maternity units at Fairfield in Bury, Rochdale Infirmary, Trafford and Salford Hope. Salford will also lose its neonatal intensive-care unit. The Independent Reconfiguration Panel has also backed plans to down-grade Rochdale’s accident and emergency unit and end emergency surgery at Fairfield Hospital. The changes are expected to happen within five years and are likely to mean more home births and deliveries in units staffed by midwives.

Paul Rowen, the Liberal Democrat MP for Rochdale, accused Mr Johnson yesterday of “wielding the axe” in Greater Manchester in a cost-cutting exercise. Tens of thousands of people had signed a petition against the closure of the hospital’s maternity unit, he said. “I am furious that we have been ignored.”

The reconfiguration panel said that local NHS trusts should consider creating stand-alone midwife-led units at Bury, Salford and Trafford. But the Royal College of Midwives said that midwifery staff might not cope with the work demands. Margaret Morris, chairwoman of Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust, said that she was bitterly disappointed. “While we have always supported the principle of having fewer, larger maternity units and developing three major neonatal units, we believed that Greater Manchester would benefit more by retaining and developing services at Salford Royal,” she said.

Ministers defended the changes. Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary and MP for Salford, said that she was “very pleased” that her constituency was in line to have a stand-alone midwife-led unit. In December Ms Blears joined picket lines to protest over proposals to close the maternity unit at Hope Hospital, despite supporting the national policy on maternity changes. She said yesterday: “As a local MP I have made representations at every stage to ensure that babies can still be born in Salford, and this is still the case.”

The Department of Health said that the changes to the region’s emergency services would be supported by investment of 38 million. An additional 60 million will be invested in maternity, the department added.

Andrew Lansley, the Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, called on the Government to put the hospital cuts on hold until it could “produce the evidence to justify them”. He said: “These cuts have been justified on the basis of what are safe staffing levels, but in other areas similar-sized units are allegedly under no threat. Doctors said yesterday that the changes could save up to 30 babies a year, while NHS managers denied cost-cutting, saying that new services would require more investment, not less.


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