Nurses’ union – home care does not include sex

A union representing Dutch nurses will launch a national campaign Friday against demands for sexual services by patients who claim it should be part of their standard care.

The union, NU’91, is calling the campaign “I Draw The Line Here,” with an advert that features a young woman covering her face with crossed hands.

The union said in a statement Thursday that the campaign follows a complaint it had received in the last week from a 24-year-old woman who said a 42-year-old disabled man asked her to provide sexual services as part of his care at home.

The young woman witnessed some of the man’s other nurses offering him sexual gratification, the union said. When she refused to do the same, he tried to dismiss her on the grounds that she was unfit to provide care…

The case has been reported to police, the union added.

What is there to say?

Is this guy a very attractive patient? Has he been watching too much Japanese pr0n? Are the other nurses hard up – or just extra horny?

Bad Egg jailed for “free range” fraud

A Midlands businessman was jailed for three years today after admitting making a fortune by fraudulently passing off battery farm eggs as free range or organic.

Around 100 million mislabelled eggs sold by Keith Owen ended up on the shelves of supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Tesco. That the fraud was able to carry on for two years while he made a £3m profit raises questions for the food industry about the provenance of goods…

He pleaded guilty at Worcester crown court to three charges of fraudulent accounting, relating to altering his records to disguise the fact he was buying in eggs laid by caged hens and selling them on for a profit after relabelling or “misdescribing” them in paperwork.

Prosecutors said Owen had “dishonestly and systematically passed off millions of battery farm eggs as free range/organic eggs”.

Amanda Pinto QC said: “The victims of Keith Owen’s false accounting were not only the direct customers of Heart of England, but also the public, as well as the legitimate egg producers…

The court heard that Owen not only bought in cheap battery hen eggs, he also bought in huge quantities of so-called “industrial eggs”. These do not meet the quality requirements for sale to the public, and instead are meant to be used only in processed foods…

There were also complaints from lorry drivers who arrived at Owen’s farms to drop off consignments of caged eggs and then to pick up free range or organic eggs. A number of drivers reported to their trade union that they were made to wait hours to pick up their deliveries and suspected that the same eggs they had delivered were being relabelled and then sold back to them the same day.

RTFA. What a creep.

Throw away the key!

Facebook v Daily Mail

On the one hand, you have what many regard as Britain’s most influential daily newspaper; on the other, a social network with more than 400 million members and global reach. The Daily Mail and Facebook are at war, with new media accused of failing to protect children – and old media in the dock for shoddy journalism.

The Mail has never been a great fan – “How using Facebook could raise your risk of cancer” was one headline last year – but it was an article on Wednesday that brought relations to a new low. The network has been having a terrible week in PR terms, following a high-profile murder case with a Facebook connection and its refusal to put the Child Exploitation and Online Protection panic button on its site.

The Mail’s coverage of this story featured a front-page report, an editorial and a big spread which included an article by a former child-protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas. The opening paragraph read:

“Even after 15 years in child protection, I was shocked by what I encountered when I spent just five minutes on Facebook posing as a 14-year-old girl. Within 90 seconds, a middle-aged man wanted to perform a sex act in front of me.”

He went on to describe how a series of men approached him and made sexual suggestions, painting a chilling picture of the dangers for teenagers using Facebook.

It has to be said the story never sounded very convincing – unlike some other networks or instant messaging services, Facebook is actually place where it’s rather difficult to conduct random chats. If you were to set up a profile and just wait for “friends” to arrive, you would be likely to have to wait for days, not minutes. What’s more, the company says that its privacy settings mean that a 14-year-old girl could not receive a message from someone unless they were a friend or at least shared a school network.

In language outside the politeness required by legal departments on retainer – the Daily Mail articles were lies. Simple, constructed to paint Facebook as a sly, cyber-villain. The sort of crap the tabloid comes up with on most topics requiring an education beyond acceptable to 19th-Century newsboys.

RTFA. The Beeb doesn’t think Facebook will do more than issue a yellow card. The Guardian thinks they will sue. I hope.

Michigan town builds compensation for racism into new homes


Homes received in settlement – finally

In 1971, a federal judge found that this old manufacturing town, five miles from downtown Detroit, had deliberately used urban renewal projects throughout the 1950s and ’60s to obliterate black areas from its two square miles, displacing hundreds of families.

Although the judge, Damon J. Keith, ordered a remedy, and Hamtramck agreed to build new housing, it did not. For decades.

Now, though, in a time of deep recession and a housing slump in one of the most economically depressed states in the country, Hamtramck is at last fulfilling its legal — and what officials now call moral — obligation to provide affordable housing to the mostly poor families who were dislodged generations ago. And if the plaintiffs in the original class-action lawsuit are no longer living, as in Ms. Sanders’s case, children and grandchildren are eligible.

About 100 houses have been completed for rent or sale, and another 100 are on the way, paid for by a mix of local and state money…

But beyond the building, Hamtramck has changed in another way, too. According to the Census Bureau, it is now Michigan’s most international and diverse city, having evolved from a town that was 90 percent Polish just 40 years ago. With the changes came new attitudes about how to deal with the past

The home building is also what experts call a bittersweet finale to one of the longest-running housing discrimination suits to weave its way through court, having begun in the civil rights era. Beyond its age, the case is also distinctive in that it happened at all. While Hamtramck may be an extreme example, experts said housing discrimination against blacks in the mid-1900s was common, but class-action lawsuits were rare because of their expense and complexity.

RTFA. This is not an uncommon tale. I spent a fair number of years in New Haven, Connecticut, where the tactic of Urban Removal was honed to a finely practiced method for dividing and excising non-white communities. Guaranteed gerrymanders, payoffs when and where needed, the liberal Democratic political machine was joined at the hip with the old Yankee money and power of Yale University.

The working people of New Haven were screwed just as thoroughly as those in Hamtramck. Especially if you were Black or poor or both. Nice to see folks in Hamtramck eventually getting something back.

What the devil! Woman appears to be growing horns!!???


“Get off my lawn or I’ll damn you forever!”

She should be basking in positive attention for her amazing longevity, but instead people just stare silently at the left side of her head.

A 101-year old Chinese grandmother has sprouted a horn that resembles a goat’s on her forehead, the Daily Mail reports.

The mysterious protrusion began growing on Zhang Ruifang, 101, of Linlou village in Henan province, last year. It has since grown to almost 2 1/2 inches — and another now appears to emerging on the other side….

I’ll just leave it at that. The article goes on to try to explain scientifically what is obviously an otherworldly manifestation.

Mississippi HS prom canceled over gay dating

A Mississippi county school board announced Wednesday it would cancel its upcoming prom after a gay student petitioned to bring a same-sex date to the event.

“Due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events, the Itawamba County School District has decided to not host a prom at Itawamba Agricultural High School this year,” school board members said in a statement.

Constance McMillen, an 18-year-old senior at Itawamba, recently challenged a school policy prohibiting her from bringing her girlfriend as her date to the April 2 prom. McMillen, who is a lesbian, and the Mississippi chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged school officials to reverse the policy both on McMillen’s choice of date and attire. She also wanted to wear a tuxedo to the dance.

ACLU attorney Christine Sun said her organization receives requests for help every year from students facing anti-gay prom policies. The complaints are especially prevalent in the South where attitudes toward sexuality are more conservative, she said.

“Conservative” is one of the words you might choose. Not the one I’d use.

In the announcement, the school board encouraged the community to organize a private prom. “It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes anyone,” the statement concluded. School officials did not respond to calls seeking comment…

The ban on same-sex dates is a violation of McMillen’s constitutional rights, said Sun, the ACLU’s senior attorney on gay rights. “We believe the law is pretty clear,” Sun said. “The school just can’t arbitrarily say you have to bring an opposite date to the prom.”

A private prom would allow the district to get around the issue, McMillen said. “If they set it up privately they probably aren’t going to allow gay people to go and there is nothing that you can do about it,” she said.

Yup. Mississippi has become well-skilled over the years at organizing “private” everything to circumvent civil rights, civil liberties frowned on by reactionaries and other bigots.

“If he was a Republican, we would hear a never-ending drumbeat of news stories about markets voting in favor of the president”


Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The political consensus may be that President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy has been weak. The judgment of money in all its forms has been overwhelmingly positive, and that may be the more lasting appraisal.

One year after U.S stocks hit their post-financial-crisis low on March 9, 2009, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has risen more than 68 percent, and it’s up more than 41 percent since Obama took office. Credit spreads have narrowed. Commodity prices have surged. Housing prices have stabilized.

“We’ve had a phenomenal run in asset classes across the board,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for Miller Tabak & Co. in New York. “If he was a Republican, we would hear a never-ending drumbeat of news stories about markets voting in favor of the president.”

The economy has also strengthened beyond expectations at the time Obama took office. The gross domestic product grew at a 5.9 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter, compared with a median forecast of 2.0 percent in a Bloomberg survey of economists a week before Obama’s Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration. The median forecast for GDP growth this year is 3.0 percent, according to Bloomberg’s February survey of economists, versus 2.1 percent for 2010 in the survey taken 13 months earlier.

You have to give them — along with the Federal Reserve – – a lot of credit,” said Joseph Carson, director of economic research at AllianceBernstein LP in New York. “A year ago, there was panic, as well as concern. And a lot of the expectations were not only that we were going to have declines in activity but they would stretch all the way to 2010, if not 2011.”

Since then, monthly job losses have abated, from 779,000 during the month Obama took office to 36,000 last month. Corporate profits have grown; among 491 companies in the S&P 500 that reported fourth-quarter earnings, profits rose 180 percent from a year ago, according to Bloomberg data. Durable goods orders in January were up 9.3 percent from a year earlier. Inflation is tame, and long-term interest rates remain low.

So, who do American voters listen to? Dipshit Democrats worried about women having the right to choose? Republicans so mired in the 19th Century they’re still not certain the Bill of Rights was a good idea?

And who carries the facts of the turnaround to the people? TV talking heads who have a vested interest in news as entertainment, who waste more time on Balloon Boy or Republican mistresses – than legitimate news from main street job fairs?

Wall Street investors have a bit of an edge on real numbers – because they directly affect their income. Even then, most economic news sources still dedicate a significant portion of their air time to naysayers who would have people investing in buggy whips and Halliburton.

NoMix Toilets receive approval in European survey

People in seven European countries have positive attitudes toward a new eco-friendly toilet that could substantially reduce pollution problems and conserve water and nutrients, scientists in Switzerland are reporting. Their article, which calls on authorities to give wider support for the innovative toilet technology, is in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology.

Judit Lienert and Tove Larsen note in the article that the so-called NoMix toilet collects urine separately instead of mixing it together with feces as in conventional toilets. Urine contains 80 percent of the nitrogen and 50 percent of the phosphorus arriving at wastewater treatment plants. Separating it in advance could have a number of advantages. This includes a reduction in the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients that trigger algae blooms and in pharmaceutical residues, which can enter waterways and pose a threat to fish. Separating urine also allows its use as an agricultural fertilizer, the scientists note. However, scientists have not widely explored public attitudes about using this promising technology until now.

The scientists reviewed surveys on acceptance and use of NoMix toilets among seven European countries with responses from 2700 people. Those countries were Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark. The researchers found that the technology is well-accepted, with about 80 percent of users expressing support of the idea, with many willing to use it at work or at home.

Between 75 to 85 percent of the users found that the design, hygiene, smell and seating comfort of the NoMix toilets equals that of conventional toilets. About 85 percent of users were open to the idea of using stored urine as fertilizer. “No Mix-technology deserves more support by authorities and mainstream research,” the article notes.

In terms of technology, this is no more difficult than the plumbing in large modern trailers. Most have three tanks: one for gray water from showers and sinks, one for urine, one for solid waste.

All that’s required for home design is stubbing in the plumbing to allow for the same separation and eventual use and/or disposal.

That and the ten years needed to get American building codes up to match the European standards who will do this, first.