Monday, November 27, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
For those of you unfamiliar with this person, this is Louise Casey known officially as, wait for it, "The Respect Unit Co-ordinator"(ooh, pardon me while I choke) and unofficially as the Respect Tsar. (Oh dear, what is NU-Labour's obsession with old Royalist Russia.) Anyway, this person is the "energy" behind Tony Blair's respect agenda which she drives forward with "almost messianic zeal"(do I laugh or cry?). Yes, this is the nation's number one supernanny and may God bless all who sail in her. What a stupid idea! Now have we ever been governed by such a pile of w**kers before?
Posted by Gasdoc at 8:17 pm
Saturday, November 18, 2006
This government is conniving at and supporting the policy by some NHS trusts not to treat smokers for any ailments at all unless the smokers either give up or submit to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT).It has been pointed out already that smokers are the only people who do pay for their health care and several times over. See for instance my earlier article "Blackmail and NRT" also at this site.Such a policy means that Patricia Hewitt and the government are guilty of the following crimes:1) THEFT. They are stealing what is rightfully ours and for which we have paid in order to spend elsewhere and shore up their mismanagement of the NHS.2) FRAUD. They say we are entitled to health care like everyone else when plainly we are not. So they are trying to deceive us.3) WILFUL NEGLECT AND DERILICTION OF DUTY. By refusing to give us treatment, which we have paid for and are therefore entitled to, they are engaging in wilful neglect and dereliction of duty.4) ENCOURAGING DOCTORS TO BREAK THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH. We know the government doesn't keep its promises and lies continually but by conniving at and supporting this policy they are also encouraging doctors to do the same.5) ADVOCATING THE MURDER OF SMOKERS. Strong you may say but not a bit. Think on this. Firstly, part of the definition of murder is that it is unlawful killing. Secondly, you do not have to behave actively to be a party to a murder. By deliberately withholding something it is in your power to do and which you have a public duty to perform, if that is your conduct and someone dies as a result, and you know they will die, then you are guilty of murder. Consider now all the furore surrounding euthanasia. One of the ways to ensure a chronically ill patient dies is to withhold treatment. There is, however, where euthanasia is concerned, the factor of choice. In other words a key issue is: "should someone have the right to CHOOSE to die?" Where smokers are concerned such choice is not permitted and the policy boils down to: "either give up or use NRT or we will allow you to die". Blad Tolstoy.
Posted by Gasdoc at 7:40 pm
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Big Babies: Or - Why Can't We Just Grow Up?
by Michael Bywater (published by Granta)
Blad here. I have purchased this book Big Babies: Or - Why Can't We Just Grow Up? by Michael Bywater and I started reading it straight away. It's an extremely well written catchy read and I can recommend it, so if you can't afford to buy a copy, borrow one and devour it for I don't think you'll regret it. Anyway to cut a long story short I am reproducing below the review as written in the Daily Telegraph by Alexander Waugh on November 4th. Waugh welcomes the rallying cry of this manifesto against infantile submission to dubious authority. Here are his comments:-
'In the short walk between his aeroplane and reaching the outside world at Heathrow, Michael Bywater encountered no fewer than 93 separate notices telling him off for things he hadn't done or which hadn't even occurred to him to do. At Paddington Station he was particularly infuriated by a sign that read:
"Please be ready to move away with your luggage when you reach the top of the escalator," because, he argues "it implies that otherwise you wouldn't be ready to move away with your luggage but, instead, would stand there like a moron with other morons piling up against you so that eventually something has to give and you tumble back down the escalator in a mêlée of morons and get sucked into the mechanism and ground into a hamburger...or, if not, why the need of the notice?"
Once on board his train at Paddington, Bywater found another 25 notices to infuriate and depress him. These ranged from a complicated safety warning "with pictograms designed presumably for those who cannot read the accompanying text, but which are entirely meaningless unless you can read the accompanying text," to exhortations of "Shhhhhh: quiet zone," a company mission statement - "transforming travel" ("although from what and into what is never revealed") and another pictogram on the litter bin showing "what appeared to be a miniature T-shirt flying upwards from a woman's hand."
Being bossed and patronised are two sensations that most sophisticated adults would sooner do without and yet we are bossed and patronised, by the media, by politicians, by business, by advertising agencies and the public services, more now than at any other time in our history. Why should this be? Well, according to this sharp, very funny and slightly disturbing new thesis, we have ourselves to blame. By "we" one does not of course refer to Michael Bywater but to that large and dismal mass of our adult population that is psychopathically inert - to people who, according to Bywater, are "consumers without discrimination;" to people who "believe or reject what they are told, not by the application of reason, but according to whim;" people who "are torn, always, between a tense but vaporous individualism and a sheepish yearning to belong;" people who are "ill at ease with ambiguity or complexity and, by some brute instinct, loathe those who aren't in the same boat." He means all those maddening British twazzocks who live in the proud delusion of being free and autonomous, yet who, at the same time are "submitting, inch by inch, to a busybody tyranny that controls, restricts, surveys and admonishes."
It is hard to know which group should be more despised: that which bosses and patronises with its impudent warnings of that which feebly acquiesces. But one thing is certain: neither is likely to read Big Babies, for it is far too intelligent, witty and original to appeal to any of these infantile minds. So poor old Bywater's sermon, despite the almighty swing of its conviction and charisma, is likely to be preached only at the converted.
In his final pages, the author offers a solution of sorts - a short list of ways in which to avoid becoming a "Big Baby" oneself. His advice includes not to fuss about food and religion, to ignore fashion and celebrities, to be suspicious of administration, to cultivate the art of communal eating etc, etc, but the lively and intelligent minds who are going to read this book are the very people who already know this. We need something more if Bywater's important message is ever to lodge itself into thicker skulls and effect a change. But what?
A little direct action perhaps? Now, at least. we have a rallying point. Bywater must be our leader. Big Babies our bible. My family's services are offered in any capacity. Now, let's get out there, take up our sticks and cudgels, put on hobnail boots and start kicking in a few of Nanny's pretty little pictograms...'
Posted by Gasdoc at 2:10 am
We are delighted to announce the award of the Alfred E Neuman Prize for Literature to James Repace for his book Tornado Winds.
Read enthralled as Repace, a master of the science fiction genre, twists and contorts the laws of physics and chemistry to create the illusion that a small amount of tobacco smoke in the atmosphere is a deadly toxic substance removable only by tornado force winds. Repace provides the perfect horror story scenario for a blasé paranoid society hungry for sensationalism and shock. A must for your bookshelf!
Warning: this book is not for the gullible or children aged below 24 and carries an "R" rating.
Bladimir Tolstoi (Literary Critic for Hipster Magazine)
Posted by Gasdoc at 1:50 am
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Just thought I'd wax lyrical about whether smoking tobacco is a choice or an addiction. I think it is both in different amounts in different people. In no small measure dependent on some genetic material. However, I refute the widely held belief that nicotine addiction is as rife a problem as we are led to believe. Primarily it only matters if you choose to stop smoking and even then its importance is over stated.
Tobacco use becomes a choice because it exists. Put another way a legal choice because it is legal (different but similar statement). If it was illegal it would be a different choice dependent on the same and some additional genes, which influence our tendency towards illegal behaviour.
No doubt the tendancy towards liking smoke or smokers has some genetic basis as well as indeed being an anti-smoking lobbyist must have some flawed genetic trait. Also the likelihood of being harmed by tobacco has some genetic basis whereas the likelihood of being harmed by passive smoke has no genetic basis other than the genes governing gullibility and unfavourable personality traits.
It would appear that something within those prone to depression and other forms of mental illness are more likely to chose to smoke..genes again. This is rewarded by the relief of the symptoms of mental illness, particularly anxiety. Arguably it becomes less of a choice in these individuals. So the choice angle is complicated enough and not easy to simplify for the case of legal arguments.
It would apear that a substance in tobacco can produce a state of craving that substance..Nicotine. So smoking is labelled as addictive. The habit of putting something in one's mouth is thought to have some psychological addiction. I would rather explain this simply by habitual behaviour.
Addiction perse is not a problem unless the addict wishes or must stop the habit so can only be used as a relevancy in those people. Morphine, which I prescribe on a very regular basis, is said not to be addictive when used to treat pain. The proof for that is easily available. It does however cause withdrawal symptoms in these people when the drug is no longer necessary. Withdrawal symptoms are a physical reaction by the body to the absence of the substance and occur in addicts but are not synonymous with addiction.
So nicotine withdrawal causes cravings and withdrawal symptoms but that does not mean the individual is addicted to nicotine.
Addiction is usually diagnosed on the presence of addictive behaviour and it is diffficult to apply this thinking to tobacco users in my opinion. Perhaps when it is illegal to smoke it will be easier as addictive behaviour will be easier to recognise. Going on the game to fund your tobacco habit for example.
Smoking for me is a choice and I do it because I enjoy it. I don't see myself as addicted to it because it isn't a problem to me. I do so in full knowledge of its potential to harm me and not to harm others.
Oh and by the way, I have just read something in New Scientist. This is only tenuously connected but worthy of note...
Professor of Medicine of the University of California, Drummond Rennie has coined the term "Astroturf" rather than "Grassroots" to describe organistions that practice the business of "Disguising an orchestrated campaign as a spontaneous upwelling of public opinion".This term fits well with ASH. Is "Astroturfing" an illegal activity?
Posted by Gasdoc at 4:30 pm
Read this wonderful email to and fro between Bob Feal-Martinez, Leader of Freedom to Choose and James Repace, self-styled passive smoking "consultant".
The main difference being that Bob does it for truth and Repace does it for money. Perhaps that explains Repaces shortage of vocabulary..he wasn't getting anything out of it!
It is a sad indictment of Repace's fraud that he can't even be bothered to argue his position with a credible opponent who even makes it clear he will disclose the correspondence!
I look forward to ROUND 2, way to go Bob!
Here's a little collaboration from Blad. This is how he see's Mr Repace's vocabulary!!
Posted by Gasdoc at 4:12 pm