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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some reports one reads, have an immediate visceral effect.. disbelief based on our immediate outrage.. a cold fury when the facts are presented..
A BBC Panorama program, concerned with the treatment of the disabled left in 'reputable' care homes by families who can no longer care for them..
Winterbourn View is one such home in Bristol.. police have made 4 arrests so far.. staff caught on video mistreating their charges..
In the words of Joe Casey, the BBC reporter who went into the home 'underground', and served as an orderly..
"The hitting, slapping, bullying, dousing with water, cruel and often pointless use of physical restraint on people.. many with a child-like understanding of the world ..all happened in front of my eyes.
On a near-daily basis, I watched as some of the very people entrusted with the care of society's most vulnerable targeted patients - often, it seemed, for their own amusement. They are scenes of torment that are not easily forgotten.
The targets had no way of defending themselves or speaking out. Anyone who questioned the abuse met a wall of silence.
They spent most of their days locked on the top floor of a three-story non-descript building in a business park on the outskirts of town."
The hospital's owners, Castlebeck, have apologised unreservedly and suspended 13 employees... police are continuing their investigations and more charges are expected to be made..
But.. how can we allow such abuse to go un-noticed..? This 'home' was a 24 bed facility, funded by the taxpayers.. and as such, it's the government's job to monitor such places, not journalists such as those who work for the BBC..
Are we that close to the days of Bedlam,.. slatted boxes.. cold baths.. high-pressure hosing.. a subject not for the public to think about? We have abrogated the right to say, with any degree of truth, that we are 'humane and knowledgeable' society.
Shame the likes of this, shrouds all of us.. We, all of us, stand blissfully aware of but removed from the realities of the torturous lives some of our fellows are leading..
Those in charge of caring for abused children released figures today indicating they had 'saved' 400 children from those who should never have been parents to begin with.. One can be happy for those 400, for they, at least, escaped that which twenty times their number still face on a day to day basis..
And the situation is worsening.. The country's largest care home provider, Southern Cross Healthcare, which runs 750 care homes, has run out of money to pay their rent..
This leaves the residents of these homes in a somewhat bewildered state, as they wonder if the company will go bust, and leave them wafting in the breeze.. Mind you, local Councils are watching this develop, for there is not only a moral, but a legal action for Council to step in to ensure quality of care for the residents is up to snuff..
Mind you, with local Councils records in other areas of social service..

There has been some noise about 'western boots on the ground', filmed and broadcast by al Jazeera..
What utter nonsense.. There were Westerners filmed in a crowd in Dafniya, the most westerly suburb of Misrata , but none were in uniform, and could quite possibly be Western contractors working to keep the oil infrastructure intact..
Now while NATO has escalated it's attacks on Libyan positions, now using attack helicopters, and while there are some 2 dozen French and British 'advisers' in Libya, helping the 'freedom fighters' to coordinate their efforts against Mohammar.. none of these are carrying arms..
Not yet.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued a general amnesty to those arrested during protests that have now spanned more than three months.. This includes members of the Muslim Brotherhood.. This move follows more than a thousand killed, and ten thousand wounded by government troops..
Abdel Razak Eid, an activist from the "Damascus Declaration" group... says this is not nearly enough.. that the demand from the people for Assad to step down remains intact.. and they want those who've caused these deaths and wounding, brought before a Court of Law..
Mind you, it's hard to verify these accounts of killings.. foreign journalists are banned from Syria..

Looks as though Ratko Mladic will face the Courts in the Hague.. his appeal against extradition has been denied, and he'll soon be off to the Netherlands to face charges of 'crimes against humanity'..
Speculation that the authorities had known all along where to find Mladic was again denied last night by Boris Tadic, the Serbian President...
Of course..

It is a source of constant amazement, the number of people who blame the United States for all the world's ills.. those who label the US as 'warmongers', and 'economic destroyers'..
The US is presently doing it's best to withdraw itself from world conflicts, trying to deal with the multitude of disasters, both economic and natural, that it has faced over the past three years..
The Western World in general, looks to the US to pick up the lions share of responsibility when peace is needed to be enforced. The US is still the largest economy in the world, and while, as mentioned, it's got it's own major problems to deal with, it's still the benchmark for all currencies..
American-bashing is just too easy.. it allows those involved in it the luxury of abrogating their own responsibilities..
It's a sad, sad point of view..

Now we've all heard this before.. but new studies by the World Health Organization suggests that mobile phones may be tied to a specific type of brain cancer.. glioma to be precise..
Experts are not taking this too seriously.. saying the evidence is too inconclusive..
Ed Yong, the head of Britains' information service for the Cancer Research UK.. said "The risk of brain cancer is similar in people who use mobile phones compared to those who don't, and rates of this cancer have not gone up in recent years despite a dramatic rise in phone use during the 1980s."
He added the caveat though, that the use of mobiles has risen sharply since the studies began.. and a 'risk' of cancer cannot be ruled out..
Encouraging, that..

And of course, it must be noted that an era comes to an end today, with the touchdown of the space shuttle Endeavour.. it's being retired after 19 years in service..
This is end of NASA's shuttle program.. It's expensive.. just keeping the shuttles in repair costs more than contracting shuttle flights out to the private sector..
the first of these expected to be in operation by 2015 or so..
The last shuttle left.. Atlantis is scheduled to undertake its final mission on the 8th of July. The vehicle was due to make the three mile trip to the launch pad from its assembly hangar late yesterday.

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