Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 9 September 2013

Staff found Mice nibbling on disabled resident’s face in care facility -

Staff found Mice nibbling on disabled resident’s face in care facility - 

Staff at a Lethbridge assisted living facility found mice nibbling on the face of a disabled woman with dementia, Friends of Medicare said Monday.

The woman required medical attention for bites that drew blood, but is recovering from the Sept. 1 incident at St. Therese Villa Designated Assisted Living, said Sandra Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare, a health-care advocacy group. The St. Therese facility is part of Edmonton-based Covenant Health, which is contracted by Alberta Health Services to provide health care at various locations.

“This woman was immobile and couldn’t protect herself,” said Azocar, who heard about the incident through staff. She hasn’t spoken directly with the woman or her family, but knows the woman has lived at St. Therese Villa from close to the time it opened in 2008. A mouse nest was found in the woman’s closet, Azocar said.

Covenant Health would not confirm the incident because of patient confidentiality, but said it follows safety and cleaning standards set out by Alberta Health Services and immediately responds to mice complaints by setting traps inside and outside the building, sealing entryways and cleaning the environment.

“An incident like this is absolutely heartbreaking,” said Sheli Murphy, vice-president of rural operations for Covenant Health.

“It’s not a good story. If that story is true, I can’t imagine what that must be feeling for not just the resident but also the family. So I certainly appreciate there is a lot of concern out there.”

Murphy said Covenant Health will work with Alberta Health Services and the Health Department to investigate the report.

White House Selling "Peace On Earth" Xmas Ornaments - as Obama prepares to give his "Syria Strike" speech tomorrow - 

As Nobel Peace Prize-winning President Obama prepares to give his "Syria Strike" speech tomorrow, we thought the fact that The White House had begun selling its 'official' Christmas 2013 ornament was worth pointing out. The theme - "Peace On Earth" of course, is positioned in a wrath of olive branches, peace doves and the reverse of the wonderful tree decoration states in oh-so-ironic-language, "Peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty," - a phrase from Woodrow Wilson's address prior to World War I. Happy Holidays everyone...

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Smile: Canada ranks 6th among World's Happiest countries - USA ranks 17th -

Smile: Canada ranks 6th among World's Happiest countries - USA ranks 17th - 

Something to smile about? Americans are not the happiest people on earth, but we do rank a respectable No. 17, among 156 countries evaluated for a new United Nations report.

The second annual World Happiness Report, released Monday, finds the highest levels of happiness in Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden, all in northern Europe. The lowest ranked were Rwanda, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Benin and Togo, all in Africa.

The report, from the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, is based on how people around the world rate their overall satisfaction with life, not just on how they feel at any moment. It shows that while economic conditions matter, factors such as life expectancy, freedom and social support do, too. The report says human happiness should be a more important part of how we measure nation-by-nation progress.

"There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people, as they themselves characterize their well-being," report co-editor Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement. Sachs is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York.

And the world may be getting just a little happier: Data for the new report, collected between 2010 and 2012, showed overall increases in happiness from the first round, collected between 2005 and 2011. Happiness was up most in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, but down in countries struck by economic upheaval (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain) or political convulsions (Egypt).

Happiness in the United States fell slightly, but Americans remained happier than people in the United Kingdom (ranked 22nd), France (25th) or Japan (43rd). Countries ranked higher than the USA include Canada (6th), Costa Rica (12th) and Mexico (16th).

One reason the USA lags behind leading countries is "a relatively mediocre life expectancy," Sachs said in an e-mail. The USA also lost points, and fell from 11th to 17th, because of perceived declines in "freedom to make life choices," which might be linked to poverty or unemployment, he said.

The report notes that mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, are major contributors to unhappiness around the world. But it says that, even in rich countries, fewer than a third of people with such illnesses are in treatment.

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Labrador puppy playmate is brought to Dallas Zoo to calm cheetah cubs -

Labrador puppy playmate is brought to Dallas Zoo to calm cheetah cubs - 


An unlikely playmate has been brought into the Dallas Zoo to help calm two male cheetah cubs: an 8-week-old black Labrador retriever puppy named Amani. 
Amani is joining two 8-week-old feline brothers, Winspear and Kamau, born July 8 at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va.
According to a zoo statement, Amani means "peace" in Swahili.
Since Labs are easygoing in public settings and since the pup will grow with the cubs, zoo experts believe he'll provide a calming influence for the cats.
Winspear and Kamau will join the zoo's Animal Adventures outreach program to help teach the public about their highly endangered species.
The cheetah cubs are smoke-colored, with black spots and unique "tear stripes" below their eyes. As they grow, they will acquire the golden color of adult cheetahs, according to the zoo. When full grown, the cheetahs will measure about 3 feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 140 pounds.

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HORROR: Monkey rips off baby's testicle at Zoo -- and then eats it...

HORROR: Monkey rips off baby's testicle at Zoo -- and then eats it...

A monkey has ripped one testicle off an eight-month-old baby at a zoo in China.

A MONKEY has savagely attacked an eight-month-old baby, ripping off one of his testicles and eating it while his mother changed his nappies at a Chinese zoo.
The horrifying incident took place at Guiyang Qianling Wildlife Park in Guìyáng, southwest China, The Daily Mail reports.
A man reportedly tried to help by picking up the testicle when it was dropped by the monkey, but the animal snatched it back and ran away.

Footage from Chinese news outlets shows the baby recovering in hospital. His injuries are not life-threatening.
It's not the first time the monkeys have attacked visitors to the zoo, as the animal population has exploded from 70 to more than 500 in recent years.

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Gay Inmates in California Can Get Married - but only between an inmate and a non-incarcerated person -

Gay Inmates in California Can Get Married - but only between an inmate and a non-incarcerated person - 

With the demise of Proposition 8 -- the gay marriage ban -- gay inmates in California can get married to their same-sex partners, the Associated Press has reported.
In an August 30 memo, state prison officials stated that due to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that "effectively invalidated" Proposition 8, they "must accept and process applications for a same-sex marriage between an inmate and a non-incarcerated person in the community, in the same manner as they do between opposite sex couples."

In case you didn't notice the wording, there is a caveat in that statement...

While a gay inmate can marry a person who is not jailed, two gay inmates cannot get married.

California prison officials state in the memo that there are "security concerns and other legitimate penological interests" for why two gay inmates cannot wed.

It'll be interesting to see if someone challenges that ruling with a lawsuit.

In the meantime, same-sex marriages between an inmate and someone who's not incarcerated can only take place at a jail facility where the inmate is held, but a prison chaplain can refuse to marry the couple based on religious grounds.

So prison officials will allow a person who is "lawfully authorized" to come in and perform the ceremony.


Poll - Americans Were 12 Times More Interested in Miley Cyrus Than Syria -

Poll - Americans Were 12 Times More Interested in Miley Cyrus Than Syria - 

That Miley Cyrus captures more attention than escalating war in Syria is, by now, conventional wisdom. But an exhaustive survey of news sources now reveals exactly how much attention Miley steals: Americans viewed twelve times as many pages about Miley Cyrus as they did about Syria — even though the news sources published 2.4 Syria articles for every one about Miley.

Outbrain supplies “related links” modules to a network of 100,000 publishers, including major news sources like CNN, Fox News, and ESPN. On any given day, 87 percent of Americans who browse the web will view a page with an Outbrain module, explains the company’s vice-president of global marketing. They collect traffic data from every site in their network, which they use in a variety of algorithms to generate recommendations.

In the three days surrounding Miley’s VMA performance and the Obama administration signaling its willingness to bomb Syria, Outbrain’s network generated 8,104 stories about the former and 19,568 about the latter. The day after the VMAs, Miley Cyrus stories accounted for 12 percent of total U.S. page views, while Syria stories accounted for 1 percent.
Interest in the starlet significantly outpaced Syria in England, Australia, France, Germany, and every other nation in Outbrain’s analysis — except Israel and Russia. Globally, Miley Cyrus stories generated eight times as many page views as Syria did in the days surrounding the VMAs.


Japanese prison creates cuddly mascot in attempt to improve facility's image -

Japanese prison creates cuddly mascot in attempt to improve facility's image - 


A Japanese prison housing a range of convicted criminals has unveiled a cuddly life-size mascot that bosses hope will help change the jail’s forbidding image.
Officials say Asahikawa Prison in Japan’s far north is too often thought of only as a dark place with imposing grey walls and not as a place of rehabilitation.
They hope “Katakkuri-chan”, a nearly two-meter (6ft, 6ins) humanoid with a huge square face and an enormous purple flower for hair, will make people understand the true nature of the institution.
“Prisons have the image of being isolated places that have no contact with the rest of society and are surrounded by imposing grey walls,” said a public relations official at Asahikawa.
“We made the character to change the image into that of a facility open to society and supported by society.
“Of course, prisons are for people who have committed crimes and people tend to consider them unwelcome in their neighborhood.
“But society has to play its part in supporting the rehabilitation of people who have served their time.”
Katakkuri-chan, which has a male and a female incarnation and wears the uniform of a prison warden, made its debut at a weekend fair at Asahikawa prison, located some 560 miles north of Tokyo.
The annual event drew nearly 1,700 people on Sunday, up from 1,200 last year, partly thanks to the character, which greeted visitors and played with children, prison officials told AFP on Monday.
Visitors were also able to buy handicrafts made by inmates, ranging from barbecue parts to TV stands and aprons.
The mascot’s oversized hair is inspired by the dogtooth violet — katakuri — which blooms on a mountain near the prison as soon as winter snows melt.
The Asahikawa prison is the only Japanese prison with a life-size mascot, the official there said, although at least one other jail has a two-dimensional character.
Cute life-size mascots, known as “yurukyara” in Japanese (“laid-back characters”), are everywhere in Japan, and are often used to represent regions or towns and to promote locally famous foods, animals and industries.
Tokyo Metropolitan Police has had its own crime-fighting mascot since the 1980s, who is now well-loved across the nation.
Human rights campaigners say Japan’s prison system is anything but cuddly, and point to often harsh conditions for inmates, including extended use of solitary confinement and spartan cells.


Some see biblical visions of doom in Syria trouble - pointing to Old Testament passages -

Some see biblical visions of doom in Syria trouble - pointing to Old Testament passages - 

The deadly violence percolating half a world away in Syria and the warnings of a possible U.S. attack have some people not only looking ahead to what might happen in the coming days — but also looking backward into ancient, apocalyptic prophecies in the pages of the Old Testament.

In recent weeks, some dire prophecies have turned up on websites, in book stores, as the subject of Bible studies and in sermons by some Christians and others who see a link between the old passages and modern-day events in Egypt, Libya and Syria.

"Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city, and will become a fallen ruin," reads Isaiah 17, a passage some Christians say they believe details a horrific event that leaves the city uninhabitable and leads to worldwide tribulation and the second coming of Christ.

Damascus is the Syrian capital and one of the world's oldest cities.

Another passage in Isaiah 19 deals with civil war in Egypt and the rise of a "fierce king."

Talk of those prophecies has intensified as President Barack Obama considers a U.S. military strike on Syria in response to what Washington says is evidence that the Syrian leadership used chemical weapons against its own people. In turn, Syria vows to retaliate against neighboring Israel if the U.S. strikes.

"The prophecies are not new to our group because we do (Bible) studies every Friday night. We have looked at that prophecy, but one of the things I try not to do is make a big assumption. That can be dangerous," said Pastor Gary Cristofaro of the First Assembly of God in Melbourne. "We try to find balance by immersing ourselves in prophecy rather than being affected by it."

"The situation in Syria as it relates to scripture could be something that we're witnessing, but we should be cautious. What prophecy really is about is the faithfulness of God's word.''

Prophecy has long played a role in the formation of American faith and, even, politics.

A number of congregations including the Seventh-day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses can trace their roots to the "Great Disappointment" of 1844, a year when a preacher named William Miller moved thousands of Christians to give away their possessions with prophecies detailing what he thought would be the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Millions of Americans also listened as Herbert W. Armstrong, a warbled-voice minister belted out dire prophecies of famine, war and pestilence in the late 1930s – during the Dust Bowl drought and just before the onset of World War II. President Harry Truman, an avid student of the Bible and its prophecies regarding the return of Jews to the Holy Land, was the first world leader to recognize Israel in 1948, a moment some Christians believe began a new prophetic era for events in the Middle East.

Tom Lombardo, a San Franscico-based author and researcher of end time beliefs, believes that the Syrian prophecy is the latest example of some Christians turning to ancient biblical writings to make sense of a modern, complex world.

"Interpreting events doesn't lead to an understanding of what's going on. I believe it actually clouds the understanding," said Lombardo, whose novel American Underground touches on religious themes, political divisions and geopolitical conflict.

Lombardo said followers of prophecy tend to look at world events and search through biblical prophecies for what he calls clues on the timing of the events. "You have some prophecy teachers that argue that the tribulation has begun now. So every time something happens, it has to fit into the narrative," he said.

Christian bookstores such as Family Christian Ministries in West Melbourne report that book sales of prophecy-themed works by charismatic minister Perry Stone, Pastor John Hagee and novelists such as Joel Rosenberg have increased in recent weeks since tension in Syria and Egypt escalated.

"We sold a lot of Perry Stone books, and he's really good with the end times. A lot of our customers say their churches are doing something on prophecy," said Kaylee Snodgrass, assistant manager at Family Christian Ministries.

Some, though, like Pastor Ralph Nygard of Eau Gallie First Baptist Church in Melbourne, urge caution about any speculation and say the prophecies of the bible must be seen in their historical context.

"All I've been teaching recently has been the Book of Revelation and sharing information about the time in which it was written," Nygard said.

"What you have to decide is whether the prophet Isaiah was dealing with the ancient nation of Israel or foretelling the future. You can have a dualistic approach and see the way it was written and the time," and what it may mean for the future, he said

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