Posts by TracyMac

  • Hard News: This Anzac Day,

    Great post.

    So agreed on the "amusement park" trenches. My great-grand uncle died in one in Northern France.

    However, the one in the Auckland museum always moved me. There was a similar larger-scale exhibit in the Imperial War Museum in London that really got to me - it came with sound and lighting effects. I totally acknowledged the artificiality of the exhibit, but trying to imagine living in such horrible quarters day after day after day under a semi-constant barrage and risk of sniper fire just brought home to me how little I can know of its horrendousness and how lucky I am.

    And also reflecting on s how, today, so many political disputes end with people blowing each other and bystanders up. When will we learn?

    It's really appalling to think that a sleb ( Angelina Jolie, re Syria) has made more apposite comments about war these last few days than any reported politician or prominent participator in the ANZAC circus (by which I mean the hyped Gallipoli "event", which has been even more objectionable here in Oz).

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Look in the Mirror, New Zealand,

    There are larger numbers of those that leave their own countries but can return ?


    As for the person who left again to fight against ISIS, does he have a family he's left in NZ? Perhaps he left because of the conflict, but has found a way he can help fight back against the reason he left.

    I'm sure most are grateful to find a refuge, but to pretend that many wouldn't prefer to return home to their language and culture, if circumstances changed, is willfully naive.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Here's to them, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I totally agree that confining a child except in an urgent case of keeping the kids safe (for a very limited time until the guardians can fetch him/her) is appalling. And that outrage is the appropriate response.

    And all the people I know of in special needs education here are also outraged - there isn't a culture in that sector of the "naughty chair". Mishandling of mainstream education needs and inadequately trained mainstream teachers is still too common in many cases, alas.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Here's to them, in reply to Alfie,

    I would like to just say that as someone whose partner worked in special needs education until the end of last year - when the programme funding was cut - this report does not tell anywhere near the full story.

    Funding has been cut by 40%, even though increasing numbers of children are being identified as having special education needs. There are many children being put into programmes they are not suited to, simply because there is nowhere else to place them. What programmes remain are underfunded and seriously understaffed.

    So while it's appalling, you have frontline staff making decisions that seem best for the majority of students in the class, while not having facilities to properly care for the kid who is having a bad and disruptive day, or who simply can't cope with the environnent on good days.

    No-one wants kids 'caged' - especially not teachers in this sector - so please demand more information on the surrounding factors before issuing a knee-jerk judgement. Frankly, I think the Canberra Times needs to step up its reporting on this story. Significantly.

    In short, this is most likely a systemic failure of ACT special needs services (in great part) due to federal funding cuts rather than a sadistic teacher or a deliberately negligent institution or programme.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping, in reply to Josh Petyt,

    Shout-out to the Tooting massive. I lived just off T. Broadway in the late 90s. My memories are mostly of the market and the awesome second hand bookshop. All those English classics for a couple of quid! For some reason, I never made it to the Lido, and I still don't know why not.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Agony of Vanuatu and the…,

    Regarding the 'climate change due to people is tosh' and 'we're wasting money on this' arguments, there is the 'most cost' counterargument.

    There's a formal name for the argument, but I don't remember it right now. What you so is line up all the possibilities and add up the cost, and the cost of the consequences, if the scenario is false.

    Scenario 1 - there is no climate change. Patently untrue, but it's still argued. Mitigation cost: none. Consequence cost, if false: catastrophic

    Scenario 2: there is man-made climate change and we have to mitigate as much as we can: mitigation cost: high. Consequence cost: low to high, depending on the success of the mitigation.

    Scenario 3: there is climate change, but not caused by people. Mitigation cost: medium to high, depending on how many flood defences you can establish, and how many people are evacuated in advance. Consequence cost: high to catastrophic.

    Naturally this assumes we haven't hit the point of no return yet. If climate change is happening, we are paying any way, no matter the cause. If it is man-made, and we don't tackle the root cause, it will progress to a catastrophic result. Or would you rather spend a bit more, hopefully avoid catastrophe, or have simply stimulated the world economy if the premise is false.

    It's ironic that our western economies are still geared around paying for the war, and it's easy to divert funds to new wars. But somehow it's abhorrent to divert funds to the one thing right now with the potential to catastrophically affect ALL our lives.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Right to die?,

    Rosemary gives us this scenario:

    The admitting doctor decides that a sixty year old tetraplegic has little quality of life and that dying of pnuemonia is 'par for the course'.
    The doctor chooses not to order any treatment..... "nurse for comfort". ...

    Another doctor comes on duty and, after further examination and discussion, performs an emergency tracheostomy and personally 'negotiates' for a bed in give the man a chance of life. ...

    Imagine doctor no.1 standing at the foot of your sickbed clutching the consent form for the 'blue juice'.

    In the original post, we have a handwaving assertion that countries with euthanasia laws aren't perfect, without any references to back that up.

    1. The scenario outlined above happens today. I personally know it does. I'm sure it also happens without discussion and the explicit consent of the affected people. Other than some doctors continuing to play god, you can't legally have an open discussion. Therefore consent is not explicit, even when there is consent, This allows god-doctors to get away with so-called grey areas.

    2. In countries that permit euthanasia (that I'm aware of; certainly the Netherlands and Switzerland), the scenario of the doctor waving the form at the bottom of the hospital bed in an acute situation simply can't happen. I strongly believe, as in those countries, that safeguards of a vigorous and drawn-out process be built in. Yes, multiple counselling sessions, forms, etc etc.

    3. In Switzerland and the Netherlands, every euthanasia death is accompanied by a police and/or coroner investigation. Your god-doctor can't wave his form signed under duress there. This safeguard should be implemented as well. No euthanasia law should be signed without providing this process.

    4. I'm sure there are possible ways to subvert the process in countries with euthanasia laws. But without concrete examples, it's hard to say. I can envisage an intellectually-disabled person being abused into signing a form... Except in the countries I know of, if you're not legally capable of signing a contract, you can't sign that form either.

    5. But I'm sure some people can come up with methods to circumvent legal processes. Is this any different and will it be more prevalent than in places that 'allow' silent withdrawal of life-saving care? I honestly doubt it.

    I want the option. Yes, we have pain and suffering in our lives, but we should also be capable of deciding when enough is enough, for ourselves (no, not for someone else's convenience).

    Yes, I have sat by the bedside of someone whose insides were being eaten by the cancer, and who begged God (yes, a devout Catholic) and us for an end in the few lucid moments between the morphine doses. I have also sat beside the bed of the person getting the same kind of care, and who peacefully went through her dying of several months.

    Would the first woman have taken the euthanasia option if it had been offered? Probably not, actually. But I would have wanted both to have had the option - no, not explicitly counselled for, but the background knowledge it would be legal.

    I have also read about plenty of instances of people in the UK who managed to obtain euthanasia supplies, and who in the end didn't use them, because they found their approach to death easier than they anticipated. No-one sane who supports euthanasia supports any reduction of the quality and scope of palliative care. Personally, I wish it were improved - there seems to be an element of 'postcode lottery' at times.

    To continue with the theme of us discussing our fears, I think it's important to have articles like these that reveal the fears of those who have significant and often on-going medical interventions, and who are the people who will be most vulnerable to mendacious carers and god-doctors.

    It alerts us as to just what we need to see in the way of safeguards to any law that might be proposed. If the safeguards look more like Swiss cheese, such a law should be rejected out of hand.

    We need to affirm the right to always choose for ourselves, and for that choice to be clearly recognised. A big component of my support for this kind of law is that big reduction in the unspoken grey areas we operate under now.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Haphazardly to war,

    All this makes me wonder just what the purpose of the UN is these days. It was set up to prevent another WW happening, including peace-keeping efforts. Other than passing a resolution condemning ISIS, it seems the security council does nothing. No, it's all Team America, World Police. Infuriating.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: When the fast track seems a…,

    Interesting stuff.

    Even though my inner grammar nazi is screaming at verb + gerund without the preposition. "Consenting [to] a request" is not the same as "consenting adults" (adjective + noun)!

    I'm all good with informal communication (obviously), but I loathe jargon in formal communication where it's not needed. Especially when a mere two letters are being "saved".


    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Public art is no place for committees, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    Er, I haven't visited the place, but if it's a busy public walkway, why shouldn't the art be there. Shall we remove all the public art from the alleyways around the High St precinct?

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 517 posts Report Reply

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