“No Indians, No Asians” job ad gets cleaning subcontractor fired

One of Australia’s largest supermarket chains has come under fire for an online job ad that specified that “no Indians or Asians” should apply…The ad, which sought cleaners at a Coles supermarket near the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, sparked condemnation after it was posted Sunday…

Coles said the offending ad was placed by a cleaning subcontractor without the company’s knowledge, in a written statement from spokesperson Jim Cooper.

“Coles is a proud, equal-opportunity employer and at no time have we ever issued the directives contained in this ad.”

The company said it was “extremely concerned to learn of the ad and its contents” and has terminated the subcontractor’s services as a result. It said it will also retrain its cleaning contractor on equal opportunity employment policies.

The ad has since been removed from the popular Gumtree classifieds website.

“I’m certainly going to look at commencing an investigation into what’s happening—the role of Gumtree, what Coles’ role was, and find out more details about the subcontractor,” said Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks…

In addition to media reports, Banks was alerted to the Coles ad through a post to her personal Facebook page. This showed that the community cares about fighting discrimination, she said.

Fast reaction time is half the battle against bigotry – if and when a government is serious.

Paul Ryan – turns straw into gold – if you believe?

Paul Ryan’s acceptance speech at the Republican convention contained several false claims and misleading statements. Delegates cheered as the vice presidential nominee:

Accused President Obama’s health care law of funneling money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” In fact, Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances, and Ryan himself has embraced the same savings.

Accused Obama of doing “exactly nothing” about recommendations of a bipartisan deficit commission — which Ryan himself helped scuttle.

Claimed the American people were “cut out” of stimulus spending. Actually, more than a quarter of all stimulus dollars went for tax relief for workers.

Faulted Obama for failing to deliver a 2008 campaign promise to keep a Wisconsin plant open. It closed less than a month before Obama took office.

Blamed Obama for the loss of a AAA credit rating for the U.S. Actually, Standard & Poor’s blamed the downgrade on the uncompromising stands of both Republicans and Democrats.

And when he wasn’t attacking Obama, Ryan was puffing up the record of his running mate, Mitt Romney, on taxes and unemployment.

Click the link and read the details – if you can stomach them. I stopped paying any attention to what Republican candidates for president were saying back during Nixon’s first shot at it.

He got worse on his return; but, the Republican commitment to racism in an era of dynamic civil rights change both for Blacks and women – brought him to power. His criminal pursuits had time to flourish and provide an object lesson to American voters that lasted for a little while.

But, then, the era of Reagan and voodoo Reaganomics proved once again that a big enough lie – repeated loudly enough and frequently – is sufficient to delude an appropriate number of voters. I hope you don’t think education levels were growing in depth and breadth back then. Or since.

Now, with the advent of the Madison Avenue types like Karl Rove, Wall Street money boys like the Koch Bros – the .50-calibre shotgun approach is out in full force. Hopefully, outfits like factcheck.org reach enough people to compensate for the million of dollars spent on local TV advertising. The biggest lies on prime time television since imitation Viagra hit the streets.

So, like Rumpelstiltskin hustling the King and his daughter, those who watched Paul Ryan, last night, were treated to an evil cellar dweller bragging that he could spin straw into gold. Where’s a Grimm when you need one?

Superbug crept through NIH hospital last year – killing six

As a deadly infection, untreatable by nearly every antibiotic, spread through the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center last year, the staff resorted to extreme measures. They built a wall to isolate patients, gassed rooms with vaporized disinfectant and even ripped out plumbing. They eventually used rectal swabs to test every patient in the 234-bed hospital.

Still, for six months, as physicians fought to save the infected, the bacteria spread, eventually reaching 17 gravely ill patients. Eleven died, six from bloodstream superbug infections.

The outbreak of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as Klebsiella pneumoniae was not made public until Wednesday, when NIH researchers published a scientific paper describing the advanced genetic technology they deployed to trace the outbreak.

This was “the proverbial superbug that we’ve all worried about for a long time,” said Tara Palmore, an infection control specialist at the Bethesda hospital.

With some 99,000 U.S. deaths attributed to hospital-borne infections annually, the NIH outbreak provides a stark case study of the dangers of the latest wave of hospital-bred bacteria and the extreme measures hospitals must adopt to stem the rising superbug tide.

The NIH Clinical Center now screens every patient transferring from another facility for superbugs, tests every patient in the intensive care unit twice a week and screens every patient monthly…

This was our introduction to [antibiotic-resistant] Klebsiella,” Palmore said. “We hoped we would never see it…”

Nationwide, about 6 percent of hospitals are battling outbreaks of the class of superbugs known as carbapenem-resistant bacteria, which includes Klebsiella, said Alexander Kallen of the CDC. These bacteria usually live harmlessly in our intestinal tracts, and they pose little or no threat to patients with healthy immune systems. But in patients with compromised immune systems, the bacteria can turn dangerous, gaining an enzyme that defeats even the most powerful antibiotics. That’s what happened at NIH.

The six patients who died of bloodstream Klebsiella infections had immune systems weakened by cancer, anti-rejection drugs given after organ transplants, and genetic disorders.

The CDC detected this type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in 2000. “Since then, we’ve seen it spread across the country,” Kallen said, to 41 states.

Please read the whole article. Read the details of a wartime siege against this superbug. Understand why fiscal and political support is always needed to back up efforts by the NIH and CDC to muster programmatic assaults on disease vectors that can burn through a hospital population.

What took place in this hospital wasn’t that dramatic in terms of numbers – but, no less fatal and horrifying to the victims, to the friends and relatives of affected patients and staff. Please understand that what science we have at hand may not be sufficient, what public health procedures we presently enforce may be inadequate – only the dedication of more talent and funds will aid the fight against superbugs like this.

Thanks, Corn

Obama has impromptu online town hall — crashes Reddit

President Obama chose the social news site Reddit for his latest direct-to-voters online town hall Wednesday afternoon…The Reddit forum, or subreddit, went live at four minutes after the hour–and within 15 minutes had more than 2000 comments.

Redditors, per regular forum etiquette, asked Obama to verify his identity, which he did using both a photo and a link to a tweet, signed “-bo,” signalling that he composed the message himself.

“Hey everybody – this is barack. Just finished a great rally in Charlottesville, and am looking forward to your questions. At the top, I do want to say that our thoughts and prayers are with folks who are dealing with Hurricane Isaac in the Gulf, and to let them know that we are going to be coordinating with state and local officials to make sure that we give families everything they need to recover.”

The site struggled to keep up with the sudden deluge of traffic, with the forum alternately crashing and being placed under read-only constraints.

Once things got going, Obama answered questions about internet freedom, an issue unsurprisingly close to the hearts of Redditors.

“We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody – from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business…”

He railed against dark money and anonymous election donations:

“Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs; they fundamentally threaten to overwhelm the political process over the long run and drown out the voices of ordinary citizens. We need to start with passing the Disclose Act that is already written and been sponsored in Congress – to at least force disclosure of who is giving to who. We should also pass legislation prohibiting the bundling of campaign contributions from lobbyists.”

“Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”

Lots of questions and reasonably straight-arrow answers for someone sitting in the White House. Direct and to the point. I always reserve my criticism for specific issues when they are being covered.

I think he did a solid job. He answered to the protocols and standards of geek netizens. I heard about this about 15 minutes before it started and knew damned well he’d crash the servers. Something that Romney and Ryan probably couldn’t do even with “spontaneous” coordination with both the Tea Party and the NRA.

Read through the whole article and draw your own conclusions.

Red Cross pretty much says goodbye to Pakistan after beheading


Khalil Rasjed Dale

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday it was halting most of its aid programs in Pakistan due to deteriorating security and the beheading of a British staff doctor in April blamed on Taliban insurgents.

The independent agency, which had already suspended operations in three of Pakistan’s four provinces in May pending a security assessment, said it would carry on working in the country “but on a reduced scale”.

“All relief and protection activities are being stopped. All projects of rehabilitation, economic projects, have been terminated,” said Jacques de Maio, head of ICRC operations in South Asia, on one of the organization’s blog.

“We have closed a number of offices. We are also terminating all visits to detainees in Pakistan,” he added…

The agency, which rarely suspends its operations even in war zones, has worked in the country since the end of British colonial rule in 1947…It was providing mainly health services and physical rehabilitation for victims of violence and natural disasters, many of whom have lost limbs.

The ICRC said it would focus on treating patients wounded in fighting and aimed to reopen a surgical field hospital in Peshawar. It has been closed since the murder of staff member Khalil Rasjed Dale, abducted by suspected militants in January.

The beheaded body of Dale, who ran a health program in the southwestern city of Quetta in the Baluchistan province, was found on April 29.

Sometimes it just ain’t worth the lives of brave people – committed to aiding the cause of human relief – inside a nation incapable of minimum standards of law and order, unable to provide safety and succor to its citizens and volunteers aiding those citizens.

This is Pakistan’s loss.