For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Home is Where the Central Cardio-pulmonary Organ Is, and see what else has been going on.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Whatever happened to rights to our own body?

I find this ruling disturbing.

Teen cannot refuse blood transfusion, top court rules.

By a 6-1 margin, the court concluded that the legal tenet of the "best interests of the child" must be the overriding principle in deciding whether mature children under 16 have the right to make their own medical decisions.

The ruling involves a Winnipeg girl, identified only as A.C., who was almost 15 years old when she was apprehended by child welfare authorities and forced to undergo a blood transfusion that she compared to "being raped and violated."

We live in an age were teens are considered mature enough to have abortions without their parents' knowledge, but a teen cannot refuse a specific medical procedure because it violates her religious beliefs?

This case reminds me of the young boy, 10 or 11 yrs old at the time, that was forced to undergo chemotherapy after his father refused to authorise treatment. At first glance at the headlines, one would easily have assumed the father was forcing his views on the son. As details were revealed, it turned out the father was following his son's wishes. How could a child so young be mature enough to make such a decision? It turned out he was in a better position to make that decision than most. He had already had chemotherapy to combat leukemia. When the cancer came back, he did not want to go through the chemo again. Instead, he wanted to try alternative methods of treatment. His father supported his son's wishes. It's important to know that the son was not refusing treatment. He just wanted to try different treatments than the one that made him feel so horrible the first time around. The doctors, however, decided they knew better than he did, and the state decided they had more rights to that boy's body than he did. He was removed from the custody of his father and forced to undergo chemotherapy.

Like the now 18 yr old girl was forced to have a blood transfusion against her wishes, this is a horrible violation. These decisions also pre-suppose that young people are incapable of making knowledgeable decisions about their own bodies and medical treatment (unless they want to end a pregnancy, of course - then they are suddenly mature enough, and their parents don't even have to know about it).

Granted, I can accept that there are situations where state intervention might be warranted, but these decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis, and there had better be good cause (ie: abuse) for such intervention!

These cases aren't unique. There are others where children and teens have tried to refuse treatment. Rarely do they succeed - I know of one case in the UK where a girl was allowed to refuse a heart transplant. These are not kids who don't know any better and simply don't want treatment, as if they were refusing to go to the dentist because they are afraid of drills. These are kids who often have been struggling with their health issues for years, if not from birth. They know what they are refusing, and they know the consequences of refusing.

Why can't medical professionals and the state respect these kids enough to accept their decisions and find ways to work with them? Forcing medical treatment on someone against their wishes is abhorrent.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP Fawcett, Jackson and McMahon

It's been a week of iconic losses.

First, Ed McMahon passed away a couple days ago, at age 86. I was just barely getting used to the idea that Farrah Fawcett had succumbed to cancer at age 62 today, when my husband told me that Michael Jackson had died, too, and only 50 years of age.

A whole lot of entertainment history in just those three names.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nuclear Waste

As I've been studying everything I can about climate for the past few years, I've learned a few short cuts when it comes to choosing whether a report or some self-proclaimed "expert" is worth listening to. When it comes to AGW, one of these short cuts is when people describe CO2 with words like "pollutant," or "toxic." As soon as I see this, I've learned that the groups or individuals using these terms are not worth taking seriously.

This is the first time, however, that I've read someone compare CO2 to nuclear waste.

Irreversible Warming

“We have to think about it much more like nuclear waste than, like say, smog or acid rain,” explains one of the world’s top atmospheric scientists, Susan Solomon, Senior Scientist for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Solomon is leading the research team. She adds, “What we’re doing with carbon dioxide is forever.”
(emphasis not mine)

This takes things to a whole new level of idiocy. If this " top atmospheric" scientist really is the leader of NOAA's research team, they're in serious trouble.

After a statement like this, it doesn't matter what else Solomon or anyone on her research team says; none of it can be trusted, one way or the other.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What would you do in these shoes?

It's 3 am.

You're in a nightclub in the downtown of a major city unfamiliar to you.

Someone has just assaulted you.

You are bleeding.

You reach for your mobile communications device and...

Mini-blog about it on twitter, asking other people to call the 911 for you.

You attach photos with the posts while you're at it.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

This explains some of my confusion.

I've mentioned before that I grew up on a farm that was largely self-sufficient. We were, for the most part, organic as well. Not out of any philosophical reason, but because we didn't have the money to buy things like commercial fertilizers, herbicides, or for wholesale use of anti-biotics on our cattle. When we did use these things, it was because we needed to - insecticide powders to protect our cattle's skin from larval infestations some years, or for our potatoes when the Colorado Potato Beetle was too prolific for us to keep up with picking them by hand, that sort of thing.

We grew most of our food, for ourselves and our small herd of cattle, chickens, and the occasional geese or pigs. Most of our neighbours were the same. Only the largest of producers had to use commercial herbicides on their fields, as it was the only way to keep weeds at bay. In fact, our herbicide free fields were causing problems to our neighbour, a family commercial farm, not a subsistence farm like ours. Weed seeds from our fields were blowing into theirs, and my dad got a visit from the powers that be, saying that we had to either use herbicides or stop planting. My father, who was nearing retirement anyways, stopped planting and rented those fields out.

So when I read global warming alarmists running on about how cattle were contributing so much to global warming through their burps and farts, I found the whole thing rather silly. All ruminants expel gas, and I couldn't see how herds of cattle would be any worse than, say, the millions of bison that once covered the prairies.

This article, however, gives me a clue.

Vermont farmers cut cows' carbon emissions. feeding cows alfalfa, flax and grasses, all high in Omega 3s, instead of corn or soy,

This is a story about an organic farmer.

What farmer, never mind an organic one, feeds their cows corn or soy, but not hay or alfalfa? Sure, some grains and other plants as treats to supplement, but never too much. Cow digestive systems aren't designed for a lot of such rich foods, though given the chance, they'll eat themselves sick on grain. From the article, it sounds like these people winter fed their cows on corn or soy only, not as a supplement to ... well, what cows are supposed to eat.

Maikshilo and Dellert have also noticed a difference in Hester, Rosebud, Pristine and their other cows. The coats of the black and white Holsteins and brown Jerseys are shinier and they’ve had fewer foot problems and no stomach ailments, they say.

So far, it hasn’t cost them any more for their custom-made grain, which the cows only get in the winter. Now they’re out grazing on grass in the pasture, getting as many Omega 3s. And the farm’s vet bills have gone down.

Gee... maybe it's because they were feeding their cattle with a diet that was too friggin' rich in corn, and because cows don't normally eat soy at all?

No wonder their cows were gassy!! What the heck did they expect?

And how do people who calls themselves organic farmers not know what cows are supposed to eat? A neighbour of my parents raises beef cattle certified organically, and he'd be horrified by a corn/soy diet.

Those poor cows. I sympathize with the intestinal discomfort they would've been suffering from eating all that soy. I don't think the changes they're making is going to make any difference at all to the climate, but at least their cattle aren't suffering from their ignorance anymore.


Happy Father's Day.... Summer Solstice... and 13th Birthday to Youngest.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

This is lame!

Recently, my husband had to upgrade his Blackberry to something with a larger screen. He uses his phone constantly, mostly for work purposes, so it wasn't really something we could skimp on.

This left us with his old Blackberry, still perfectly usable. We've been wanting to get a cell phone for the girls for a while, so that we could give them a bit more independence. They didn't really want one, but they inherited it. We got a new number for the old Blackberry, in our elder daughter's name. NO ONE has this number by myself and my husband.

Just a few minutes ago, it started ringing. It was a spam phone call; a recorded message saying it was about her credit card and she had to call back right away!!!!!1! Of course, my daughter doesn't have a credit card.

How lame that a private number we go out of our way to keep that way is being called by spammers. She's only had it for a few weeks, too.