Thursday, July 31, 2008

Those Nigerian scam artists are so funny...

Check out the message that I received today! It is truly hilarious!

You got to give it to these Nigerian scam artists, they know how to make involuntarily fun even of themselves!

Mind you, it's probably an open question as to whether Nigerian scam artists or the UN's notoriously corrupt system have creamed more money off the world community...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


FROM THE DESK OF
DR BAN KI-MOON
Secretary-General (UNITED NATIONS)

Attn: Beneficiary,

How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family?, You may not understand why this mail came to you.

We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago with United Nations, European Union and all the other concern parties whose citizens has lost million of Dollars to Nigerian/African Scam Known as 419. This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$750,000.00(US$.75Million)

This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc. We found your name in our list and that is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed.

You are advised to contact Dr Justin Williams, Director Legal Services of DUE PROCESS COMMISSION Nigeria for your check to be issued, the check will be drawn from J.P MORGAN CHASE BANK. as he is our representative in Nigeria, contact him immediately for your Check/ International Bank Draft of US$750,000.00 This funds are in a Bank Draft for security purpose Ok? so he will send it to you and you can clear it in any bank of your choice.

Therefore, you should send him your full Name and telephone number your correct mailing address where you want him to send the Draft to you.Contact DR JUSTIN WILLIAMS For him to sent you your check immediately.

Person to Contact: DR JUSTIN WILLIAMS

Email: drjustinwilliams11@gmail.com

Phone: 234-702-5339391

note: you will only be request to send the sum of US$78 for shipment and delivery of the bank draft to Dr Justin Williams.

Thanks and God bless you and your family. Hoping to hear from you as soon as you cash your Bank Draft. with kindest regards from United Nations: making the world a better place.

Regards,


Ban Ki-Moon.
Secretary-General
United Nations

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Free Doctors Kamiar and Arash Alaei


Physicians for Human Rights is running a campaign on behalf of two physicians who are experts on HIV prevention. The two have been detained without charges by Iranian security forces since late June. Their whereabouts are unknown.

Campaign information and a petition are at: http://actnow-phr.org/campaign/iran_free_the_docs/

Ode to Via Rail

There's great news in Canada. That miserable excuse for an airline, Air Canada, is closing quite a few of its bases. Terrible enough for its employees, but no doubt the chickens come home to roost for an organisation that has made offensively bad customer service the hallmark of its operations. These days there's plenty of desperate airlines out there and customers don't have to put up with Air Canada's nonsense. I wonder how many Canadians, quietly or not so quietly, are pro-actively boycotting Air Canada (as I do) after one too many bad experiences.

Anyway, compare that to Via Rail, that delightful Canadian rail company. I love Via Rail to bits. Mind you, the trains are not what us spoiled Europeans expect in terms of high-tech and speed, but they take you faster to your destination than a trip in the car, the food is nice, service usually impeccable, and they're remarkably frequently on time. Unlike Air Canada, which these days thinks nothing of cancelling your long-haul flight a few hours before your departure, using 'Act of God' as its rationale for not reimbursing you for additional expenses and inconvenience, Via staff here in Kingston were hugely apologetic for a 10 min delay of a Toronto - Montreal train. - 10 min... that's nothing.

The only nasty thing Via Rail has done recently is to replace a delightful red wine (Ontario produced at that) that came in little glass bottles with overseas made Tetra Pak products. Now, if that's done for environmental reasons, let's get some facts straight: transporting wine all the way from Spain to Canada is probably environmentally worse than using Ontario made produce. Also, 90% of bottles these days are being reccycled in Canada, while much less of the Tetra Pack stuff is finding its way into recycling schemes. In short: it is doubtful that the 'green' Tetra Pack scheme Via has come up with works.

However, unlike Air Canada, which happily SELLS you stinking hamburgers on long distance flights, Via Rail offers sandwiches these days that even have your 1:5 portion of veggies included. Good on ya Via. The other thing about Via is hat their frequent traveller points system actually works. I called them the other day and asked that some of my accumulated miles be used for a free trip to Montreal. No problem, did it on the phone in less than 5 min. Try the same with Air Canada frequent flyer miles. Almost certainly you won't be going where you'd like to go. But then, that's even true if you buy a ticket from that outfit. Guess what, Via didn't even levy fuel, taxes, looking-at-train and touching-seat surcharges on my free trip, as Air Canada would have done.

So, people, use the train whenever you can. It's environmentally friendlier than any other alternative that we have currently and you don't have to put up with the kind of crap airlines like Air Canada heap on you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rainbow nation in action ... ctd

A survey of about 270,000 school kids in South Africa, aka the Rainbow Nation, published today in the International Journal for Equity in Health revealed some pretty devastating figures. Of the male respondents (about 130,000) 44% reported to have been raped.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The medical industrial complex hates losing control over patients

Germans have an apt word to describe the knowledge professionals of all colors deploy to maintain their stranglehold on patients and clients. It's essentially about control. Lawyers would hate nothing more than if we suddenly understood their legal jargon. Medical doctors and the authorities maintaining their Herrschaftswissen (loosely translated with 'knowledge to rule' I presume) are similar creatures. I have recently investigated to what extent people at risk for HIV infection can take some control over their risks and lives back. What's happening in Canada is not very different to many other countries, but no less unjustifiable.

So, let me start with the easy and arguably uncontroversial one: Rapid HIV testing. People who, for on reason or other, have run an HIV infection risk can either go to their GP, get counselled and a prescription to do a test in a lab. So, first they have to wait to get a doctor's appointment. In the 150k people city where I live ten-thousands have no GP due to a shortage of doctors. Anyway, I digress. They finally get the prescription for the test. Well, next they need to go to a laboratory to get the testing done. Don't naively think they'd be able to get their test results straight from the lab. Nope, no chance. When the lab has eventually done its work it sends the result to the GP and the person who got tested needs to wait for another appointment to find out the result. Weeks will by now have passed, and so plenty of incentives have accumulated not to jump thru the various loops and hoops, and just not do the test or get the result. Testing is hugely important, because timely life-preserving treatment relies on knowledge of a given patient's infection.

There's a way around this, these days rapid tests exist that could permit you to get a result within half an hour. A perfectly reasonable ethical argument could be mounted in favor of having this test available OTC (over the counter, without prescription). If nothing else, such a move would hand control back to people at risk for HIV infection. This, however flies in the face of everything the medical-industrial complex stands for. So, no easy access to this test for you and me. -- As an aside, and I am talking from personal experience here, this is the country where acyclovir, a substance used to fight quite efficiently those bloody blisters many of us have on-and-off on their lips, cannot be bought OTC without a prescription either. I'm sure you'll appreciate the irony that One-Pounds shops in the UK sell it to you by the gallon if you wish. No all-important doctor's prescription necessary in the land of John Stuart Mill... -- Anyway, back to the rapid tests. You can do the rapid HIV test in Ontario at various anonymous testing sites. Access to the test is available through various public health facilities and clinics in the province. However, to ensure that nothing is ever as straightforward and as easy as it should be, that isn't made easy either (try finding information about testing facilities on the web at the time of me writing this ranting, and you'll see what I mean). I checked with one facility in Toronto, its waiting lists are more than 2 weeks long and they do not make appointments beyond that. In other words, there's a significant unmet demand by health conscious people who are at (self-identified) risk of HIV infection. The needs are nowhere met in any appreciable manner by Ontario's public health care system.

My hunch is that the reason for why these waiting lists exist has to do with the counselling hoops and loops people who want to get tested have to jump through each time they have a test. Historically, these hoops and loops were designed to ensure that people understood the test and its consequences, and, indeed, to give them an opportunity to say yay or nay to the test (informed consent or informed refusal). Ie they were an empowerment tool brought about essentially by AIDS activists. Indeed, there was a time where we had the test but no treatment, so it wasn't clear what the value of knowing was (at least knowing wasn't a cost neutral, or no-brainer type thing). Well, today we have good treatments available and it is in an infected person's best interest to know. For better or worse, the testing regime available in the public health care system falters in the face of very significant demand (even fails to inform those at risk about the availability of rapid testing). If you think that this is a problem in Canada alone... you're way off! Singaporeans struggle with the same problem of insufficient capacity to deliver rapid tests. All that's needed to be done really is to take the access control out of the hands of the health care system and permit access OTC. But that would mean relinquishing control. And that's not gonna happen in your or my lifetime.

Now, you may or may not have heard of post exposure (to HIV) prophylaxis (PEP). I have been working in medical schools for most of my academic life, so I learned that PEP is a pretty efficient means to reduce an infection risk AFTER exposure has taken place. Medical students at my school in Johannesburg got it frequently after needle stick injuries and so did many of my colleagues for the same reason. Btw, if there ever was an efficient tool of persuading people to protect themselves against HIV infection it's probably to let them have access to AIDS medicines for a couple of weeks (a typical course of PEP). Experience the side-effects of those medicines and ask yourself whether it's really really worth it :). Mind you, you will get over those at some point during the course of the treatment, but they will hit you first.

One way of taking control over one's life back, to some extent, would be to have PEP available as a last resort if one belonged to a high-risk group (ie people belonging to groups in society where the prevalence of HIV is significantly higher than among the rest of the population - eg gay men, IV drug users - possibly if you live in a developed country, migrants from subsaharan Africa). Say, you have sex with someone belonging to an identified group with a higher than average HIV prevalence. You duly use your condom, and, bummer, the thing breaks, slips off or does any number of unsafe things that ideally shouldn't have happened. Any GP worth her money would tell you that unless you can be certain that your sex partner is HIV negative, you MUST get on PEP ASAP, latest within 48 hours. So, the theory goes, you leave your bedroom (likely in the middle of the night) trek down to your local hospital and you pray that there is someone about who knows what to give to you. Common sense and respect for us as persons would demand that access to such medicines should be available by means of prescription (ie you could have it at home). Giving people easy and stress-free access to such means to protect themselves, of course, would be simply too easy and too obvious a solution, hence the required mid-nightly panic attack visit to the local hospital (if there's one where you live).

So, AIDS activists, if there's any left that are not salaried part of the very same medical-industrial complex, there's plenty of work to do!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Holy Catholic Agony


DSC00940
Originally uploaded by udo schuklenk.

As seen in Manhattan in 2008...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Selling out Universities

How about a Pfizer Chair in Bioethics? With Pfizer's track record in Nigeria and elsewhere, the company has fallen over itself by way of linking into biomedical ethics. For better or worse, I do know that the company has begun funding biomedical ethics positions in the developing world. Anyway, I'm not after Pfizer today really. I came across a post on a German language science blog indicating that the Charite, one of the country's most prestigious hospitals and the teaching hospital of Humboldt University's (Berlin) medical school, has just appointed a Chair (ie an externally funded professor in this case) in 'alternative medicine'. The appointee will dedicate her work to the study of homeopathy (a quack form of medicine that essentially relies on an active substance being sufficiently diluted in water till nothing is left of it), acupuncture and Quigong, some Chinese quackery. Well, the thing is that we know already from study after study that homeopathy offers nothing much other than a placebo effect, yet the Humboldt University in its press release indicates what its Chair is meant to achieve. The appointment of the Chair is meant to diminish the skepticism of mainstream medicine toward homeopathy. There's a reason for this, much like with Pfizer's bioethics sponsorship in developing countries, the Chair is funded by a vested interest group, the Karl and Veronica Carstens Foundation. The Foundation is named after the late German President Karl Carstens, much like Prince Charles in the UK a fan of anything 'alternative' and 'complementary'. The Foundation's main objective is to mainstream homeopathy and other methods of 'natural healing'.

What is remarkable about all of this is that a leading German university has agreed to establish a Chair in Medical Quackery that is designed to integrate medical quackery into mainstream medicine, because it received external funding for that specific purpose. Well, this at least according to the well referenced science blog entry I mentioned earlier. The question, of course, is whether this act of intellectual prostitution is any worse then the regular selling out of universities to pharmaceutical companies, religious foundations and others.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Justice heals

For your information an appeal by

"JUSTICE HEALS!"


Yesterday Paraguayan lawyer, Human Rights activist and torture survivor, Dr.
Martin Almada, declared to cease taking his medication, in protest against
several attempts to silence him, either through legal charges against him or
recently as well through questioning his mental abilities by the court.

Dr. Martín Almada, has been awarded with the alternative nobel prize, for
his outstanding revelations on the "Operation Condor", a transboundary
criminal network, run by Latin American security forces during the 70ies and
80ies, to localize, abduct, torture and kill their opponents. In 1992 Dr.
Almada located the so called "Archives of Terror", containing thousands of
files proving the operation.
Dr. Martín Almada, is a survivor of the Operation Condor. He has been
kidnapped and tortured by the joint security forces of the Southern Cone.
His wife Celestina Perez was killed by the Stroessner regime in 1974. Since
that time he suffers from the consequences of his traumatic experiences,
receiving medication for his relief.

Since two years former torturers, which have been denounced by Dr. Martín
Almada, try to persecute, harass and silence him through charges before the
Paraguayan courts. Now Juan Manuel Morales, having been denounced by Dr.
Martín Almada as being a former agent of the Stroessner dictatorship,
demanded a psyciatric examination of Dr. Almada within the frame of a court
case, Morales is running against Dr. Almada for so called "diffamation".

To protest against this attemt to pathologize him, and to question his
mental abilities, Dr. Almada declared to the judge and to the forensic
psychiatrist, that from now on he will stop taking any of the drugs he
used to take for his post-traumatic suffering.
Dr. Almada underlines his decision by reminding, that since more than 30
years he kept claiming an effective medicament to cure his wounds, a
medicament which is called: JUSTICE!
"It is not the past, which divides the Paraguayan and Latin American
family", Dr. Almada declared, "but the lack of justice." And he adds, that
JUSTICE IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF HEALTH FOR ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.

For more details see attached declaration in Spanish.
For additional information on Dr. Martín Almada see:
http://www.gerechtigkeit-heilt.de/texte/vita_almada.html

Prison for Mr Al-Bashir

Th Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has been indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal on the count of crimes against humanity for the genocide he has organized in Darfur. How very neat. The prosecutor at the Tribunal is seeking Al-Bashir's arrest with an international arrest warrant. Sudan's president is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur by ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.There is hope that on the odd occasion justice is done when individual heads of state commit large-scale crimes against humanity and no oil interests are involved!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Responsibility to Protect

The UN Security Council's decision to do nothing about Zimbabwe is remarkable and it isn't. It isn't remarkable to anyone who considers the UN to be a by and large useless, and deeply corrupt organization, the disappearance of which would barely be noticed by most people except those who have their hands in the UN salary troughs. Of course, the UN can only be so good as its weakest links, and there's plenty of weak links. South Africa's voice on the Security Council has fairly routinely been supportive of the worst criminals as far as human rights violating states go. China couldn't possibly bring itself to issue a vote condemning Mugabe's junta because it's in bed, pardon, in business with the kleptocratic dictator and his minions. Indeed, just today the BBC reports that China, despite an official UN arms embargo, has busily sold weapons to the Sudanese regime. It is still training the Sudanese army in the use of these weapons. These weapons have demonstrably been used to murder innocent people in the ongoing genozide in Darfur.

Thankfully many heads of states, from George W Bush to Angela Merkel are falling over each other to promise to the Chinese government that they will attend the opening of the olympic games. It is business as usual. So, surely, if permanent members of the UN Security Council are actively supporting governments like the Zimbabwean and Sudanese, we cannot seriously expect the Council to act in any meaningful way. Indeed, if it acted against Zimbabwe, why should China not be next on its list. It seems then that we cannot seriously expect the Security Council to enforce the UN's 'Responsibility to Protect' doctrine - after all, we all know the saying 'don't throw stones while you're sitting in the glasshouse'. China, South Africa (and its President Thabo Mbeki) are anything but genuinely concerned about civil rights and the duty to protect citizens of UN member states from serious abuses of such. So, Bob Madhatter, go on... nobody is gonna stop you until someone finds oil in Zim. No wonder you declared, in view of the international community's failure to deal with you and your fellow thugs, that you're 'happy'. So would I be, if I was in your shoes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The religious 'conscience' again

Another incredible case from the UK. A religious fundamentalist whose day job is working as a marriage registrate refused to marry gay couples. An employment tribunal agreed that her employer (the local council) had harassed her by asking her to marry gay couples against her religious beliefs.

I know, I have been there before (and will be there again), but I just cannot get my head around the fact that she can't just get fired for not doing her job. I mean, people don't come to see her as a religious fundamentalist but as a public official. She's entitled to go home, wash her hands and whatnot to clean herself of the dirt that gay people and other 'sinners' are undoubtedly in her view, but how can anyone in authority permit such stuff to influence her professional conduct? It's utterly absurd. What if gay folks that happen to be marriage registrates refused to wed religious fundamentalists? Or a racist marriage magistrate who refuses to wed mixed-ethnicity couples? If recourse to 'conscience' is sufficient, surely it's a free for all... If the magistrate in question doesn't feel like marrying people that are legally entitled to marry, she's unfit to do her job and should get fired.

Monday, July 07, 2008

What's wrong with female bishops in the Anglican Church

Fascinating, the Anglicans are not only split over homosexuality (something that I can understand, seeing that the God they created has been conjured up in such a way as to dislike gay people), they're also split over female bishops. Now, bishops are senior management type people in that church. They're allowed to wear much more colourful dresses in public then the average priest. So, one would have thought that the guys in the church would keep quiet about women in senior management positions as long as no one questions their right to wear dresses in public. Well, it seems their dress envy is sufficiently strong for many of those middle-aged and old men to campaign against women wearing the same colourful dresses in public. How amusing.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Academic shenanigans - Impact factors and such

Conflict of interest declaration: I am an editor of two academic journals published by a commercial publisher.

The 'standing' of academic journals in the scientific community is these days evaluated by two sets of criteria.

The old-fashioned one: A journal's relative importance is measured by peer esteem, ie how many really really famous people (let's call them peers) publish in a given journal, how long does it take the journal to review a manuscript (inefficiency of the review process is here taken as a measure of the journal's importance), how many manuscripts are being rejected (if you publish only one manuscript per year, you'd probably be the most competitive to get into, ergo best journal) and so on and so forth. Very much like the ongoing evaluation of graduate philosophy programs on a US based website that relies on peer gossip (ie someone chooses someone else as a peer, enough people play along, voila, you have a 'system' of evaluation). Most, if not all of this old-fashioned stuff really is quasi-religious in nature and can safely be discarded.

The supposedly scientific one: Well, Thomson Scientific has more or less cornered the market with its ISI. What they do, roughly, is to measure a journal's impact based on how frequently an article is cited in a 2-year period after its publication - that's then weighted against the overall number of papers published in the journal in the same time frame. This, of course, equals importance and quality with citations - ie a quantitative measure. Disciplines like medicine and law are well served by this, because it's part and parcel of those disciplines' academic papers to reference meticulously. It also helps, of course, that many more people work in such disciplines then in, say theology, so there's more people's publications, and more citations going around. The result is that such journals tend to rank much higher in terms of impact than even the best theology journal. It's also easy to manipulate this impact factor game, simply by publishing content that is likely to be sufficiently controversial to generate lots and lots of citations. Someone pointed out, rightly so, that the paper published by the fraudulent South Korean cloning guy, that has since been withdrawn, helped the journal's impact factor, because it gets cited by everyone as an example of scientific misconduct.

None of this is really newsworthy, however. What is newsworthy, is this: Journal editors at scientific-research based Rockefeller University in New York City have bought data sets including their journals from Thomson to replicate their findings (ie their journals' impact factor). They could not reproduce Thomson's results, using even Thomson's own method. Worse, on request Thomson was unable to verify its own results. This is of serious concern, because many academics, myself included, despite misgivings about the counting game to which Thomson reduces academic excellence, thought that that is the best there is. Well, it turns out that it is clearly a very unreliable best there is.

Perhaps it is time to junk the ISI and go along with the Rockefeller scientists' suggestion that ' publishers to make their citation data available in a publicly accessible database, and thus free this important information from Thomson Scientific's (and other companies') proprietary stranglehold.' This seems a sensible proposition. Surely it cannot be permitted to continue that academics' careers depend on proprietary commercial data that cannot be independently verified, and that - as the Rockefeller people have shown - cannot even be verified by the company itself.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Should we expect sexual partners to tell us about health risks?

Let's face it, many, if not most of us are hopelessly romantic when it comes to relationships, certainly new ones. Fresh in love (not to say sexually stimulated) we offer our heart to whoever it is we (well, our biochemistry/hormones) have decided to fall for. The evidence is on the table, that this is the moment where for very many of us our best intentions and precautions in terms of STI (yay, sexually transmitted illnesses) prevention fly out of the window. A study published this month in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases (yay, STD) reports that about 70% of us would consider our partner 'safe' if he or she was otherwise generally trustworthy. For better or worse, very very often we are wrong. HIV has reportedly long been delighted that we are as naive on this as we are, because it permits the bug to continue spreading happily ever after. Even in high-risk groups such as gay men the pandemic continues quite efficiently to spread. In the USA the CDC reports data from from 33 states. They show that between 2001 and 2006 new HIV diagnoses increased by 12% annually among men who have sex with men (13 to 24 years of age) and by 15% per year among black men in the same age group.

So, is it reasonable to expect our sexual partners to tell us about health risks such as HIV (ie that they're at risk, but don't know, or that they know to be HIV infected)? Difficult call, isn't it? On the one hand, there's plenty of good ethical as well as public health reasons for being honest with our partners about our STI risks. Successful relationships, all other things being equal, depend on honesty and our ability to trust our partner. It's unacceptable to knowingly subject a loved one (anyone, probably) to serious risk of bodily harm (that's what an HIV infection undoubtedly constitutes). I'm sure, most people understand this, and most people (most infected people, too) would not knowingly subject a loved one to serious risk of bodily harm, unless there were strong reasons for doing so. Note that I am not saying these strong reasons make their conduct anymore ethically acceptable, but they might make it understandable. I think, with the quasi-religious stigma that progressive activists as well as religious fundamentalists have created quite successfully around HIV/AIDS, it's quite demanding, possibly even too demanding of people who are infected or at risk of infections to tell their sexual partner(s). May be we'd just protect ourselves, but then, it seems most (far too many, if that makes you feel better than the word 'most') of us are not very good at that either. Anybody with a magic bullet please?!

What amuses me a bit is the continuation of a quasi-enlightenment based response to the problem at hand: The Washington Post duly editorializes, 'The fight against AIDS demands not only vigilance but also continuous education. An informed populace is the best defense against this ferocious epidemic.' This belief that education is the key fascinates me, as we have overwhelming evidence that our response to HIV risk (in the context of sexual behavior) isn't rational to begin with. We know it not only for the USA but for plenty of other countries. Just one example from ... of all places, Angola, reported by the kaiser family foundation: 'According to research by ANASO, 70% of youths in the country do not use condoms, despite their awareness of HIV. The network plans to partner with the Ministry of Education and communities throughout the country to mobilize and educate 340,000 young people through 2010.' So, if 70% of sexually active youngsters in the country don't use condoms despite having relevant knowledge of HIV, and access to rubber, what makes people stick with the idea that it's about education? Beats me. Anyone with a magic bullet on this, email me (the dinner is on me :): udo.schuklenk@gmail.com . Hey, I know about A and B already, so don't bore me with your religious drivel on this, if that is what you think is worth mentioning. Doesn't work either, just check out the unfolding AIDS disaster in the religious right's posterboy on this, Uganda.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Crown of Creation at work - another one of those days

It's been another successful day in the life of the Crown of Creation. To refresh your memory ... then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." As you might recall, God is omniscient, omnipotent and God happens to be 'good'. Well, no big surprise then, that on the sixth day of genesis God had a look around and "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good". Very good indeed it was!

Well, let's see how our perfect Creator's work has panned out. Hey, why not check simply today's almost certainly glorious news to see how wonderful God's good creation is doing?

USA: Ethnic minority women die in Los Angeles and New York hospitals, respectively, because nobody attends to them in her dying moments. People see one of them lying on the floor and walk carefully around her.
PHILIPPINES: A gay guy cuts off his lover's penis because he suspects his lover might have slept - oh horror - with a woman.
GERMANY: A bunch of guys kidnap women and keep them as sex slaves in their flat, renting them out as prostitutes, make them sleep in dog cages and walk them around on a leash in the flat.
ISRAEL: A bulldozer driver rampages in Jerusalem and kills a whole bunch of people.

Yo God, thanks for nothing. If that's the best you can do, seeing your omnipotence, omniscience and 'good'ness, I kinda wonder whether you really exist, or, if you exist, whether you really are omnipotent, omniscient, indeed, I can't help wondering whether you're a good guy. But hey, that's just me.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Where there is organised Christianity there is censorship

Heinz, ye, the producer of red and white health risks designed to be added to your fries, has recently produced a cute lil ad to promote the sales of its white blubber. Well, to be honest, it's probably a good thing that the sale of its mayo cannot be promoted as much as the company had planned to, given the health risks involved in this fatty product. However, the reasons for why the lil ad never saw the light of the day had nothing to do with our health, but everything to do with organised Christianity exercising its God given right to determine on our behalf what we may or may not see. It threatened Heinz with a boycott campaign because middle-aged guys were kissing in the video. Look at the video yourself. It's about the most obviously non-sexual, non-obscene thing you will have seen in your whole life. So, the issue really was that there were two men kissing, and according to God's earthly reps that just isn't on. Sadly Heinz caved in to the God squad's black (or shall I say, Christ-) mailing. So, in my own little subversive way, without further ado, here's a link to the ad. Check it out! It's lighthearted fun. Even your kids will enjoy it.