Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Here's all you need to know about the financial crisis

Two British comedians get perilously close to the truth

The alarming thing is that the video is 12 months old yet it is totally up to date. Even comedians could foresee what the Democrat Congresscritters could not. (H/T Agmates)

Naughty, naughty!

Gasp! British clergyman attacks the holy of holies:
"A Church of England priest has been ordered to remove comments from his blog calling for gay men to have their backsides tattooed with a warning about sodomy.

Reverend Peter Mullen wrote: "Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS."

The clergyman, who ministers to parishes in the City of London financial district, was yesterday ordered to remove the comments by the Diocese of London, which said his comments were "highly offensive" and did not reflect its views.

But Mullen, 66, insisted his remarks were "light-hearted jokes" and "satirical".


Paedophile hysteria preventing men from applying to work in British grade schools

The lack of male teachers may be having a serious effect on boys' performance in the classroom as many miss out on strong role models at a young age, according to Tanya Byron, the child psychologist. She said the shortage particularly hit children from single-parent families who often went without father figures in the home.

The comments came as a campaign was launched by the Government's Training and Development Agency for Schools to recruit more men into the primary sector. According to official figures, fewer than one in eight primary school teachers are male, and numbers plummet to just one in 50 among those working in reception and nursery classes.

Dr Byron is the presenter of a television show on problem children called Little Angels, as well as a Government advisor on internet safety. She said paranoia about child abuse was driving many men out of the classroom. "There is this paranoid, over-the-top concern about paedophilia and child molestation - that it is not safe to leave children with men," she said. "These themes are running through society to such an extent that attitudes have become skewed and our anxiety does ultimately discriminate against men. This puts men off from working in primary schools because they are concerned about how they will be viewed and what parents will think of them. We have to challenge these negative and unhelpful belief systems."

Research by the TDA showed almost half of men believed male primary school teachers helped them develop at a young age. In a survey of 800 adults, it was revealed a third were challenged to work harder because of men in the primary years, while 50 per cent were more likely to report problems such as bullying to male teachers.

Dr Byron said boys - many of whom struggle to sit still at a young age - worked better with men. They also needed more exposure to males in school to show that learning was not a feminine virtue, she said. She added that positive male role models were particularly important for boys from single-parent households. "The need for strong male role models as constants in the lives of young children is more apparent than ever in light of the increasing numbers of children experiencing breakdown of the traditional family unit, growing up in single-parent families or not having a male figure at home," she said. "Male primary school teachers can often be stable and reliable figures in the lives of the children that they teach. They inspire children to feel more confident, to work harder and to behave better."

The TDA today urged men to consider applying for teacher training courses, with students and jobseekers now having less than nine weeks to apply for courses which start next year. In 2006-07, fewer than a quarter of primary and secondary school teaching qualifications were obtained by men - the lowest figure in five years.


You can't park here! Say British hospitals

More of that socialist "compassion"

Lying in the harshly lit anaesthesia room at Great Ormond Street Hospital, my four-year-old son Jimi was frightened. So as his little body collapsed under the weight of the drugs, common sense told me this was the `good bit' - that now he was asleep he wasn't in pain. Diagnosed a year ago with juvenile arthritis - a childhood form of the disease that causes swelling in sufferers' joints, making their limbs seize up so they struggle to walk - he was having steroids injected into his ankles to make them stronger. It is the latest in a string of intrusive and gruelling treatments, including chemotherapy and a cocktail of painkillers, that he has bravely endured to combat his condition.

Forty-five angst-ridden minutes later, he came round from the anaesthetic, groggy and disorientated. We were told to keep him off his feet for at least 24 hours. Carrying him away in our arms, I thought that although Jimi, myself and my partner Simon Boswell were exhausted, at least the worst was over. But arriving back at our car, we came across yet another obstacle to an already traumatic morning. A traffic warden or, as Jimi calls them, a `green man', on account of the colour of his synthetic uniform, was putting a parking ticket on our windscreen.

Because we had arrived back 20 minutes late, we were being fined 60 pounds. I lost my temper. I have spent the past year worried sick about my son's health. I had been pacing our North London home since 4.30am and the last thing I needed was a `Civil Enforcement Officer' - as they are called nowadays - laying down the law to us. He didn't speak, other than to reel off a string of numbers - presumably our offending code - and summon his `co-officer' from across the street. The pair then repeated the numbers to each other, more inaudible machines than human beings.

As I reached in to secure Jimi's seat belt I snapped: `Do you think we're here for a cup of tea and a sodding sandwich? This is a children's HOSPITAL. Our son has just had an OPERATION. For 20 minutes you're fining us 60 pounds? Shame on you!' To their credit they had the good grace to seem embarrassed but their shame was scant compensation. This was the second fine we had received in as many weeks, and it has left both Simon and me incandescent with rage.

Surely, with the parents of a sick child, they could have exercised compassion. Shouldn't a guaranteed parking space in the proximity of any hospital be a patient's right? What are we supposed to do, call an ambulance every time Jimi needs treatment? As difficult as it is to accept sometimes, we are the lucky ones. This spring Camden Council, the London borough under whose control Great Ormond Street lies, issued us with a disabled blue badge. This allows us to park for up to three hours at a time on the single yellow line outside the hospital, which only badge-holders and ambulances are allowed to do. It is a laminated card with a cardboard clock you adjust to show when you parked.

We had arrived at the sick children's hospital at 7am one day last month, the time all youngsters awaiting an operation under anaesthetic are expected to turn up. Wardens control the area from 8.30am. At 11.20am Simon had left us in our hospital room to check on the car. He knew he needed to move it but there was nowhere to go. Parking in London is exorbitant for everyone. However, at Great Ormond Street Hospital there isn't even a car park to complain about. So, unsurprisingly, the street was packed.

Simon adjusted the cardboard clock to 11.20, assuming, wrongly, that wardens patrolling the area would understand our predicament and allow us more time. For both of us, it was the last straw.

Only a week earlier, while waiting for Jimi's pre-operation assessment, we had been fined another 60 pounds. Simon had accidently left our badge - showing the prerequisite photograph of our son's face, along with the badge details, issue number and expiry date - the wrong side up in the car. It was an innocent mistake but one the traffic warden, the same man on both occasions, was prepared to penalise us for.

Technically, of course, we were in the wrong. But isn't 120 of fines, received while clearly visiting a hospital, rather disproportionate? And is the surrounding area of a hospital, which has scandalously limited parking, really a fit zone in which aggressively to pursue council targets? We're not the only ones for whom proximity to the hospital is of paramount importance and I am sure many other parents have encountered the same problems. Nor is this solely an issue for the capital. Hospitals around Britain - ones that do have car parks - often charge an outrageous fee.

Before we were given our disabled badge, we frequented pay-and-display areas other relatives are still forced to use. It costs 20p for five minutes in these - 4.80 per hour - and the maximum stay is two hours. In the year it took for Jimi to be diagnosed we would often have to wait up to five hours to see a consultant. We were never given a precise time for these appointments. Both Simon, a composer, and I would have to take time off work simply to deal with the parking problems, spending hundreds of pounds in the process.

We thought a blue badge would afford us the simple luxury of being able to care for our son - who has been in and out of hospital up to four times a week for the past 12 months - instead of worrying about our car. Evidently, we were wrong.

As a society, we seem to have relinquished responsibility to an automated tribe of traffic wardens who don't even have the manners to offer an explanation. All individuality has been stripped away in their zealous attempts to catch out decent, taxpaying citizens so they can reach the financial targets set by their relentless bosses. They hunt like pariah dogs and relatives of the vulnerable and ill are not their only targets. They will prey on anyone who will help them increase their revenue. I admit that being a traffic warden must be a horrible job. But would it really hurt them to look us in the eye as they slap on their extortionate fines?

Needless to say, we haven't paid either fine. Simon has written to Camden Council arguing our case and asking how they can justify their employees' uncaring attitude. They say they will consider any mitigating circumstances when processing the appeal. I don't blame Great Ormond Street, who are doing a fantastic job caring for our son.

But I worry that unless the council finds more space for patients and their relatives to park in, and exercises more tolerance towards its targets, it is not just his health that will suffer. Countless other sick children will not be able to receive the medical attention they require - simply because their parents cannot park near enough to the hospital.


1 comment:

kayla said...

ya i agree with that it is very alarming.