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Offenses against Common Sense and Decency

Older English ladies baking home-made cakes for hospital fundraising purposes shall cease and desist immediately. Why's that?

The hospital blames the ban on strict rules over packaging and labelling from the Food Standards Agency – although the FSA maintained last night it made no such demands on the ladies’ cakes.

Alan Davidson, the hospital’s director of estates and facilities, said: ‘We appreciate the support volunteers give to our hospitals but there are strict guidelines in place, enforced by the FSA, over food sold to the public.

'This means all food should be packaged appropriately, date-stamped and ingredients listed.

‘This is in the interests of maintaining and protecting the health of the public.’
Well, perhaps Mr. Davidson worries about somebody getting sick and suing the hospital. We can understand that. Probably this will get worked out with a few sharpies, a couple of labels and some Saran Wrap.

But what's this? NYC officials have ordered 22 churches to stop offering beds to the homeless amid freezing temperatures the week before Thanksgiving?
With temperatures well below freezing early Saturday, the churches must obey a city rule requiring faith-based shelters to be open at least five days a week -- or not at all.

Arnold Cohen, president of the Partnership for the Homeless, a nonprofit that serves as a link with the city, said he had to tell the churches they no longer qualify.

He said hundreds of people now won't have a place to sleep.

The Department of Homeless Services said the city offers other shelters with the capacity to accept all those who have been sleeping in the churches. The city had 8,000 beds waiting.
Oh phew. It's not clear why the five days or nothing rule came into existence, but at least the city has enough beds for all the homeless people. seems a little twisted to set a limit like this. What exactly is the rationale, dear city officials, for it escapes us? This story made the rounds widely yesterday because it offends common sense and elicits that wtf feeling.

Speaking of that feeling....Israel continues to mete out collective punishment against 1.5 million Palestinians, more than half of whom are children, in blatant contravention of International Law. But weirdly, hardly anyone seems to notice!
World media continues to ignore the desperate situation, Israel however has contributed to that by barring journalists from entering Gaza, a move condemned earlier this week by the Foreign Press Association. The UN appears to be a lone voice in trying to engineer some relief.

Karen AbuZayd, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said the human toll of this month's sealing of Gaza's goods crossings was the gravest in eight years.

"It's been closed for so much longer than ever before and we have nothing in our warehouses. It will be a catastrophe if this persists, a disaster," said AbuZayd, whose agency is the largest aid body providing services to Palestinian refugees.

"They are not just under occupation, they are under siege, it's a word I don't usually use, they are completely closed off," she added.
Well let us have the explanation then. Why does Israel do this?
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who issued a statement saying he supported statements by the Gazan office, telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday urging him to provide access for UN food trucks. Olmert said he would look into the situation on an urgent basis.

By Friday Ban had received no word back from Olmert, so he bypassed him and telephoned Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to stress the urgency of the situation. Livni however rebuffed the UN Secretary-General's plea saying the world should be condemning Palestinian rocket attacks.

"Whoever thinks that a situation of them firing at us, while everything continues as usual, can exist is mistaken," her office said in a statement. "The international community must be more decisive in making itself heard, and in using its influence, in the face of these attacks."

Israeli human rights organization Gisha in a letter to the Israeli army on Thursday from its attorney Yadin Elam said the closure of crossings, "is done with the illegal intention of inflicting pressure on the civilian population in an attempt to affect the behavior of militants and political elements. The closure of the crossings is therefore in violation of the absolute prohibition in International Law against collective punishment." THe UN also this week described the Israeli crackdown as collective punishment.
So let's recap. The world media ignores the profound human suffering in Gaza, assisted by Israel's barring journalists from covering the situation on the ground. After four days of being ignored by Olmert, the UN Secretary General takes his urgent concerns to the shrew Tzipi Livni, who blames the international community for not paying enough attention to Palestinian rocket attacks which have failed to inflict any damage or casualties.
In addition to preventing access for food supplies Israel has refused to allow European Union-funded fuel supplies into Gaza, starving the power generation plant of fuel which has caused widespread blackouts up to 16 hours a day. Water facilities, including access to clean drinking water, and the treatment of raw sewage continue is also being severely disrupted by fuel shortages. Fifty to sixty million liters of untreated and partially treated sewage are being dumped into the Gaza Strip Mediterranean Sea daily, posing a public health risk.
You see, it's not Israel's fault for causing all this suffering, because all you people in the international community ignore their suffering. Therefore, they have no choice but to ignore International Law and inflict horrific collective punishment on the Palestinians. And no, you can't come into Gaza and see, but if you want a tour of Sderot they can show you lots of Israelis who have been traumatized by loud noises.

And that kind of thing is allowed to stand.