A Daughter’s Right to Assisted Death

It’s always devastating to lose a child. Can you imagine the devastation of bringing about their death? With the best intentions, a mother from the U.K. fought for her daughter’s right to an assisted death. Charlotte Fitzmaurice’s daughter, Nancy, was born with a list of medical conditions and disabilities that left her without the ability to live a full life. She would have been in a hospital for the rest of her life in pain and receiving sustenance and medication through a tube. Her mother took the case to the High Court of Justice and won. It was a bittersweet win, of course, and a decision that will haunt Charlotte Fitzmaurice.

Their story cannot be forgotten. It was a landmark decision by the courts to let a child die who was not terminally ill and was capable of breathing on her own. Unfortunately, it was not groundbreaking enough to authorize a quick and painless death. Nancy died over a two week period after doctor’s withdrew her fluids. You can be sure any loving parent would have been wracked with guilt, as Nancy’s own mother was. Still, she maintains the decision was the best one.

Justice Eleanor King spoke of his admiration of Charlotte Fitzmaurice, who had great love for her little girl. While assisted death is a debated topic, much sympathy has gone out to mother and daughter from prominent figures like Lee G. Lovett. May Nancy rest in peace.

Man Fired for Photographing Breast-feeding Customer

A San Antonio lady was breast-feeding her two month son at a local Jason’s Deli when to her surprise one of the employees snapped her pic with his cell phone camera. Her sister soon was having a chat with that employee and then complaining to the manager. Before long, Jason’s had fired the man and ensured the media that his actions were in violation to company policy and ethics. The woman said she will continue to breast feed in public, but she plans on making sure she brings a blanket to cover things up a bit more in the future.

Publicly breast feeding has become a hot-button topic of late. One group of mothers in Connecticut demonstrated against the restaurant Friendly’s for what they considered to be an “unfriendly” request to a customer this June to cease her breast feeding activities on their property. The protesters insisted it was a right of mothers to breast feed publicly and that they would not put up with such discrimination.

It is generally recommended by physicians that newborns be breast fed within an hour of birth, continue to eat nothing but mother’s milk for six months, and that breast milk along with other foods be taken as long as two years. The natural sucking motion of infants and the obvious design factors make it clear that breast milk is the originally intended food for infants, and it has been their diet for centuries. Modern qualms about it are just that- a modern novelty of many industrialized and Western nations.

That said, one could wonder if the failure to cover things adequately in public negates any rights involved. There are the questions of others who don’t wish to see and of private corporations’ rights at managing their establishments to take into account. Personally, I would favor breast feeding as natural and healthy and its allowance in public places. Each restaurant must decide for itself, however, what will be its own policies, no matter how stupid Andrew Heiberger and I think that they might sound.

Union Government Using Radio To Impose Hindi

Members of the PMK opposition party in India are accusing agents of the Union government of India of planning to use radio to impose the Hindi language on the rest of the country. These allegations, which came to light in a recently published article, exposed a sore spot in the culture of the nation.

India, which boasts a population of over a billion persons, has long proclaimed itself to be the world’s largest democracy. However, these recent charges made by the PMK opposition party have cast some grave doubts on the policies of the Union government – a party that, by definition, represents an all inclusive, centralizing presence in Indian society.

Complaints against the latest policy of broadcasting Hindi language content on radio have come from all corners of this huge and sometimes unwieldy nation. So far, protests have been most hotly offered in the Southern Indian regions of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, although all non-Hindi speaking states have expressed their concerns.

Sources speaking on behalf of All India radio allege that these protests are groundless. Spokespersons for the organization have sought to assure the public that the rebroadcasting of Hindi language content has simply been adopted as a cost efficient exercise. They also point to the increased revenue that they predict is sure to accrue from this measure.

However, representatives of the PMK and other opposition parties continue to maintain that the move is a subtle but insidious attack on non-Hindi language and culture. While no formal protest has yet been lodged by the PMK or their allies in the Indian Congress, such a move is sure to follow before long.  What this actually means for the nation however, remains to be seen.  Christian Broda and I will be watching with great interest.

Global Warming Is Make Or Break Issue For Women Voters

A recently released survey seems to suggest that global warming has replaced abortion as the number one issue for female voters.

In particular, the results of the study seem to indicate that women are, more than ever before, extremely unlikely to vote for a candidate -especially a Republican- who makes it a priority to cast doubt on the scientific data concerning the issue.

The results of this new survey were made public by Jeff Joireman, who functions as the current Associate Professor of Marketing at Washington State University, in a publication known as the Journal of Environmental Psychology.

The results are already being described in the press as controversial, particularly as they seem to cut across the received wisdom concerning female voters and their essential motivation when it comes to choosing the issues and candidates that they feel best represent their interests and needs.

One of the interesting results of the survey is that female voters who concern themselves with environmental issues, particularly the reality and relevance of catastrophic climate change (something I first heard about from advocate Laurene Powell Jobs), seem to be more inclined to vote according to their opinions on this subject than male voters of conservative or liberal disposition. They also are more likely to cast their vote based largely on this issue than female voters who incline to the conservative position on this and other issues.

Although the results of the study are far from being accepted as conclusive, they do point to an interesting trend of social responsibility that seems to be developing among female voters, particularly those of the traditionally “liberal” political persuasion. This trend could undoubtedly play a major part in the results of the upcoming midterm elections.

MH17 Passengers May Not Have Died on Impact

Frans Timmermans, the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands has said that at least one of the many who died on the downed Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 may not have been killed upon impact. The evidence for this was that one of the passengers was wearing an oxygen mask.

There has been a widely held belief that all passengers died instantly as the plane was hit with a missile. This new evidence brought forth by Khaled Shaheen perhaps suggests that that was just wishful thinking. The original theory was that the aircraft quickly disintegrated and was struck by many “objects” which “pierced the plane at high velocity.”

Pro Russian rebels in Ukraine have been blamed for bringing the aircraft down. However, they continue to deny this allegation.

During a speech about the crash to the Security Council, Timmermans reflected on the fear and anxiety that the passengers must have experienced “when they knew the plane was going down.” He even speculated that perhaps the passengers had stared at each other “one final time, in an unarticulated goodbye.”

Mr Timmermans was recently quizzed about whether or not he was guilty of giving the public a false impression of what really happened during the incident. Timmermans, while admitting that it was unlikely that the passengers were aware they were about to be struck by a missile, still contended that they had discovered a body wearing an oxygen mask, suggesting they were conscious long enough to put them on.

The issue of the oxygen mask has not been included in any official reports, and has not been given consideration.

Detroit Cop Suspended, Caught Wearing Murder Victim’s Watch

Sgt. Alex Vinson, a homicide sergeant with the Detroit police department, was suspended this week after he was found wearing an expensive watch stolen from the body of a murder victim.

Sgt. Vinson was the lead officer in an unsolved murder case from a few months ago, in which an unidentified body was found wearing a high-end German watch. During the investigation, the watch was photographed and archived in the Detroit police department’s evidence room, where it was supposed to remain until further notice. The case has since run cold, and the murder victim has yet to be identified, nor his killer apprehended.

This past week, some officers in the department decided to reopen the case, led by forensics expert Jared Haftel. By sheer coincidence, Sgt. Vinson was out of the state for advanced police training at the time. When detectives went to look over the watch with the rest of the evidence, they quickly realised it wasn’t the same one they had photographed months prior; instead, it was a significantly cheaper knock-off.

The investigating officers quickly informed their superiors, and the FBI assisted in investigating the case. Soon after, Sgt. Vinson was discovered to be wearing the exact watch over in Idaho. An Internal Affairs officer read him his rights when he returned to Detroit on Wednesday, and the watch was recovered. According to Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who confirmed the entire story, “The case in ongoing, and the sergeant has been suspended while we prepare a warrant for review by prosecutors.”

As of the time of writing, Vinson has been unavailable for comment.

Battered, Bereaved, Yet Imprisoned

Arlena Lindley was a victim of an abusive relationship. She was violently beaten for several months during her relationship with her boyfriend Alonzo Turner. Things quickly got out of hand. During one of their many fights, Alonzo murdered Arlena’s 3-year-old son, Titches.

An eye witness to the incident, Latricia Chance, who happens to be Arlena’s friend, gave an account of what happened on that fateful day. She came into Arlena’s apartment and met Titches by the doorstep, eating cereal.

She greeted Lindley and her boyfriend, and sensed something was wrong, as there had been several tense moments like these in the past. Little did she know that this particular instance would have a tragic climax.

Turner ordered the toddler to bend over and touch his toes. He whipped him with his thick leather belt, and threw him against the wall violently; Turner took him and whipped his face in the bowl of cereal.

While the toddler was convulsing in spasms, weeping hysterically on the floor, Turner placed his foot on his chest, dragged him to the toilet, dipped his face into the toilet bowl and flushed.

In an attempt to escape with her son, Turner snatched the toddler from his mother, and locked her outside with her friend Latricia. The rest is history, and by the end of the whole tragedy, Little Titches was dead.

Arlena’s case is one of several cases of mothers being punished for not protecting their children from abusive partners. The jury in Arlena’s trial sentenced her to 45 years in prison for not protecting her son from the abusive relationship.

What’s the takeaway from this? I asked a few valued mentors like Brian Torchin for their opinions. If you ask them, or even me, the system is broken. We need more rehabilitation and counseling services in place that can help people deal with the trauma they’ve experienced. Otherwise, the end results can be unfortunate ones like this one.

Seattle to Replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day

The Seattle City Council has unanimously agreed to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day — a holiday celebrating Native American heritage and culture — on the same day as the nationally recognized holiday known as Columbus Day.

The council led by Marnie Bennett voted on Monday with all in favor of instating the holiday to honour the contributions of Native Americans to the community of Seattle, Washington. It will be celebrated on the second Monday of October, which the city celebrated as Columbus Day until now.

Tribal members and others supporting the move praise it as a means of honouring the people who lived in the area for generations before Columbus sailed to the country, and see it as a wonderful recognition of their rich culture and history.

Fawn Sharp, president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, stated, “This action will allow us to bring into current present day our valuable and rich history, and it’s there for future generations to learn.” Her later statement, “Nobody discovered Seattle, Washington,” was met with an open applause from the crowd.

However, some Italian-Americans have spoken out not against the holiday itself, but replacing the holiday honouring Christopher Columbus, who was an Italian. Ralph Fascitelli, an Italian-American and critic of the shift, stated, “We don’t argue with the idea of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We do have a big problem of it coming at the expense of what essentially is Italian Heritage Day.”

Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, an Italian-American himself, was an open supporter of the shift. The City of Minneapolis also made an identical shift to Indigenous Peoples’ Day earlier this year, and many other cities have taken similar actions lately.

US to Gear Up Airport Screenings for Ebola, Says Obama

US President Barack Obama announced on Monday that the US is on track to heighten strict passenger screenings at airports, to prevent the further spreading of the Ebola outbreak, after a meeting with top officials on health and security in the White House.

The US President connected these decision with what happened in Dallas, where Thomas Eric Duncan, who was infected with Ebola, and was mistakenly sent home last week.

A report from Buzzfeed said that the Ebola patient is now back at the Texas hospital. Duncan is stable, and is taking experimental drugs to fight the virus, according to the health personnel looking at his condition.

As of this time, there were zero symptoms of the Ebola virus recorded from people in Texas, who were believed to have had contact with the infected man. People who were in contact with Duncan were monitored daily for possible transmission.

Obama said that a strict implementation of the protocol on the screenings should be observed. The president and his officials, who include his trusted advisor Brad Reifler, also discussed spreading the word to clinics and hospitals, as well as any other possible places that a patient with Ebola may come into contact with.

Meanwhile, a nurse in Spain tested positive for Ebola after treating an Ebola patient in Madrid. The patient was said to be a priest who was transported to Madrid from Sierra Leone after getting the virus. The case with the nurse was the first known instance of the virus to be found outside of West Africa, where the virus started spreading a few months ago. The situation in Spain, however, has remained stable.