Friday, January 4, 2008

Huckabee's Horns

The win by Mike Huckabee in the Iowa Republican Primary is a shuddering blow for democracy.

Mr. Huckabee is not only a lightweight by any reasonable measure, he is a hater and an anti-democrat.

Hiding not too far behind that pleasant, local boy, potato head presentation is the narrowest of minds.

This is a man who equates homosexuality with pederasty and bestiality. He speaks of these three as if they are one.

In 2008, he is staunchly against abortion, and proud of it.

He believes in the one true Jesus Christ of the New Testament and has suggested in no uncertain terms that the Mormon, Mitt Romney, is essentially a heretic.

You may say that he is refreshingly principled.

I will say that he doesn't understand that at the heart of democratic ideology is the belief in inclusion, variety, range, differences.

I would call him the most simple-minded Majority-ist. If we are all loving Keanu Reeves and buying SUV's, then that must be what God intended for us.

No tolerance for someone who may walk slower or wear purple or never marry or bear children or revel in pure mathematics, boxing or wildlife management.

It is amazing to see these one-note charlatans draw the rubes into their tents once again. After Nixon, after Bush, you would think somebody in Nebraska has at last come out of his deep sleep.

But no.

Thump the Book. Thrust the Wife and Kids into the front row. Get Chuck Norris, smiling maniacally behind you.

Well maybe I have found religion.

Oh Lord, tell us it isn't so. Send this simpleton, this dangerous lout back to his gin rummy game before we are lost in another war in another remote country. Pray, give this trifler the Majestic Boot.

Let us try, just for moment in time, health care, education, the arts, clean commerce, hope.

Amazing Response - One Year Later!

January 4, 2008

In response to the "KREKLAU" tragedy (posted January 9, 2007!)

...I am another daughter amongst 5 siblings who saw first hand what transpired in this family...First, Dad was placed in a facility by the "sisters" (Angela & Yvonne) because they could not care for Dad at home any longer. Secondly, our mother Alex was placed in a facility by the "sisters" (Angela & Yvonne) because they did not want to care for Mom at home any longer. Thirdly, in Oct/06 the whole family was informed that there were 2 rooms available and suitable for both of our parents in a facility in Summerland...the "sisters" (Angela & Yvonne) refused the rooms that were available for our parents to move into. My brothers and I believe this solution would have been beneficial for all involved especially our parents, but, our parents were not given the opportunity to make this decision for themselves.

Province Column

Our drug addicts need real treatment, not mouthpieces for their crack pipes

David Berner

Special to The Province
Friday, January 04, 2008

Would you cross the street to give a drunk a clean shot glass? Of course not.

But that only means you have better instincts and more common sense in your pinkie finger than all the geniuses in the Ministry of Health.

Yesterday, this newspaper headlined the news that free plastic mouthpieces are on the way for crack pipes and their users.

Apparently, all five provincial health authorities will participate in this giveaway.

The rationale is that this will stem the tide of hepatitis C -- spread, we are told, by sharing crack pipes.

The impetus for this bad policy, as it often is with harm-reduction strategies, is truly bad science.

It is based on one study in Toronto with 51 participants, in which the hepatitis virus was found on one pipe.

In Grade 9 chemistry, you'd get a D for work like this.

Dr. Perry Kendall, B.C.'s chief medical officer, says that giving crack addicts clean mouthpieces will "introduce people to health care and addiction treatment services as well."
Really, doctor?

On Monday, I asked a long-time Burnaby RCMP officer about the availability of treatment options in his district for addicted youth.

His answer? "I don't know of any."

Wednesday's news follows fast on the story that the
Vancouver Island Health Authority was gearing up to give entire crack-smoking kits for free to addicts in Duncan,
Courtenay, Nanaimo and Campbell River.

And Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe has for many months been petitioning to open not one, but four safe-injection sites in his city. Further, he proposes that one of the sites be a mobile unit.

"Step right up! Shoot in comfort here!"

Are you familiar with the mobile cancer station driving through your neighbourhood? The Arthritis on Wheels program?


That's because they don't exist, but the mayor of our capital city is shopping for a drive-by shooting gallery.

Perhaps your grandmother has diabetes. She has raised two generations of family, cleaned house, worked, paid taxes and taken the kids to ball games and ballet lessons.

Now she walks to the local pharmacy and, opening her change purse, pays for the needles she needs to inject her insulin.

Is the B.C. health ministry opening its little change purse to help grandma buy needles?

Crack pipes and crack kits, free needles, safe-injection sites, free heroin and substitute drugs are all tragically bad strategies.

I ran a residential treatment centre for addicts in two provinces for 10 years.
Hundreds and hundreds of addicts learned to live clean and sober lives. The program still flourishes in Manitoba.
I have lobbied for almost 40 years now for treatment and more treatment.
Later today, I will deliver a speech to a local Rotary Club on this exact subject.

Treatment is needed, not plastic filters.

© The Vancouver Province 2008

Great Letter About Gambling Addictions

Hi David,

I'm not sure exactly who you are----ie medical Dr., Politician, etc. But I read your article with interest.

You are right. The addicts need treatment not more drugs and drug paraphenalia.

And if you are interested in this subject---you might be interested in how they are treating other addicts in this province. Know how they treat the gambling addicts?

Back in 2001 those with gambling problems got treatment through a free Problem Gambling Program run through the Ministry of Health. Gordon Campbell's gvt changed that and it now falls under the umbrella of the Minster of Public Safety and Solicitor General. That's John Les, also the Gaming Minister. He also oversees the RCMP and the Coroners office. The people gvt uses for the problem gambling program are hired at arm's length, in other words private companies get contracts for the job and then they hire the councellors who do the work. They do not use abstinance as their mode of treatment like Gamblers Anonymous does. They use a "client based approach". ie if the gambling addicts want to cut back on their problem gambling the councelllors will support that approach.

Ever heard of a heroin addict, alcoholic, or smoker that wants to get control of their health and life------"cut back"? It's quite an astonishing approach. I spoke to one of the BCLC executives and asked why we didn't have residential treatment facilities here in BC for problem gamblers. Who replied to me-----What evidence do we have that they work? When I tried to discuss further with her gambling addicts, she said------we don't call them that. We call them "people with issues".

Here in BC if a family calls a casino to ask them to cut off their husband or wife from gambling, they won't do it. Noone can get a problem gambler self excluded except the problem gambler themselves. I

n Holland----a friend or a family member can get a gambler cut off from gambling. And an employee can and is expected in their work to identify problem gamblers, pull them aside and speak to them, and if necessary------cut them off for a period of time. Also in Holland you have to show ID to enter a casino. Makes their exclusions for problem gamblers there work. Here, no ID req'd to enter a casino. No proper study done here to show the stats on how effective the self exclusion program is. But we do have evidence of self excluded problem gamblers who have gone back to gamble, lost money and then killed themselves.

Oh, and bye the way----in this province we have the distinction of being almost the only province not to keep stats on the number of steadily rising gambling related suicides. The other province that doesn't I think is PEI. Quebec has well over 100 gambling related suicides. And they keep other info like the ages, names, games addicted to, and amount of money lost. If gambling addicts want residential treatment, they have to go out of province to get it and pay for it themselves. Even though there is money left year after year in the budget for the problem gambling fund. That left over money does not get added to the next years budget.

So----as frustrated as you may be with the treatment of the drug addicts, don't expect anything to get better. It could get even worse. Sue

Excellent Comment on this Morning's Column

Harm reduction,harm reduction. The mantra of harm reduction grows ever louder.Where is the corresponding chorus for "treatment"It appears we have a Provincial Harm Reduction Committee,I don't believe I've heard about any treatment committee. I am surprised to hear about the millions that are saved by reducing infection rates but so far I've heard nothing about those multi-millions going into funding treatment.I read recently that there are 126 publicly funded treatment beds in Vancouver(with waiting times of weeks). I think anybody who lives in Vancouver(and the rest of B.C. for that matter) knows that this is totally inadequate.I believe that authorities are acting as if it's impossible to deal with addiction. Instead, they are funneling vast amounts of money at programs that seem to act as if it is compassionate to have people staggering around half dead. How about giving people a chance at life without addiction?I wonder sometimes who benefits most from the ever growing population of sick,ill addicts.

West 1st Avenue

Greatest Headline of the Year

O.K. it's only Jan. 4th, but this is a classic.

From this morning's Province on a ferry being shut down near Bella Bella:


No Women Allowed on This Hill

The IOC will not allow women ski jumpers to participate in 2010???

And we are in what century?

Can you say, "Old Boys' Network," boys and girls?Add Image

You're Safe Now and Here's you're Bill, You Idiot!

It is pleasing to learn that Grouse Mountain is billing the idiot father and son team who snowboarded out of bounds last week. The search and rescue team risked their own lives and ran up a hefty bill saving these 2 miscreants.

We don't know the amount of the tab, but let's hope it's as steep as the hill and that they actually collect on it.

Sleeping on the Nuclear Job

If you thought the story about Pakistan's nuclear powers was scary, try this.

According to a Washington Post artcle run in this morning's Vancouver Sun (page F15), Wackenhut, the private security firm that is supposed to guard most of America's nuclear facilities is literally asleep on the job.

I can't seem to find this item on the Sun website, but do look for it in your hard copy.