13 pets saved from Nepean house fire

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 18, 2015 in Rat News
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The corner of Brockington Cres. looked more like a scene from Dr. Dolittle, than a house fire on Tuesday afternoon.

Caged reptiles, birds and dogs were sprawled across Stacey Brickman’s neighbour’s lawn as she watched fire crews salvage what was left of her home after a grease fire broke out in her kitchen.

Stacey’s daughter, Brianna Brickman, 19, and boyfriend Dylan, 21, were taken to hospital after her family tried to save all of their animals from their home at 90 Brockington Cres.

“My kids … oh my gosh … the firefighters said they were coming in through the front and the kids were running in through the back to take the animals out,” she said with a parrot squawking behind her.

Thirteen different animals and reptiles were rescued. In total, three snakes, four birds (two died), four dogs, one cat, one African bullfrog, two rats (one died) and two bearded dragons.

One dog, one cat and two lizards were given oxygen by paramedics via animal resuscitation equipment.

“We have machines that pumps oxygen back into it,” said Ottawa Fire district chief Ross Saunders. “The mask goes onto the face of the lizard or dog and it gives them air. All the trucks have them.”

Brickman said amongst their mini-zoo, six people live in what would have been cozy quarters.

Her husband, who wouldn’t be named, two children Brittan and Brianna, Brianna’s boyfriend Dylan and Danny Gordon who’s renting a room, all resided in the home for 18 years.

“It’s a full house,” she said, trying to crack a smile.

No. 1 priority

Gordon was treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation with Brittan and said his number one priority was their pets.

“They kept asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital and I was like, ‘No. I’m taken care of,'” he said.

One of Gordon’s pet rats was killed in the fire, his other rat, Spaz, was badly burned.

“It was so hot in there, the water bottle melted in the cage,” he said.

Gordon said he and Brittan ran in through the back of the house to save their pets.

“We were trying to get whatever we could. Man it was oil smoke, so it was just pure black … you couldn’t see anything.

“We had to save the animals … we can’t let the animals suffer for our mistakes,” he said, tearing up in the process.

Fire crews were called to the house at 1:22 p.m. and within 19 minutes they had doused the blaze.

Saunders said his crew was caught off guard and weren’t expecting to deal with snakes when they entered the home.

“We didn’t know if they were poisonous at first,” said Saunders. “There was a lot of confusion at the start.”

Saunders added the fire originated in the kitchen and more than $100,000 in damages are estimated.

Late Tuesday, Ottawa fire spokesman Bob Rainboth confirmed investigators have ruled the blaze accidental, due to cooking.

Twitter: @Keaton_Robbins

Article source: http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2015/04/28/13-pets-saved-from-nepean-house-fire

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Animal cruelty is a reliable predictor of criminality — which is why the FBI …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 17, 2015 in Rat News
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What do Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer and a host of other serial killers have in common, besides killing enough people to merit their own mortuaries? The answer, according to published reports, is that as children they tortured animals. Dahmer tortured frogs, cats, and dogs, decapitated them and mounted the heads on sticks. His own puppy suffered this fate. Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, kept pet rats and tortured them according to the recent book One of Us. It is the escalation from animal abuse to human abuse seen in the cases of Dahmer, Breivik and other criminals that have helped put a bigger legal spotlight on animal cruelty.

Last fall, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it was elevating animal cruelty to a Group A felony, a charge as serious as homicide, arson, and assault. It was an acknowledgment that the agency understood the well documented links between cruelty to animals and criminal behavior, whether dog fighting rings run by organized crime, domestic abusers who begin with family pets or psychopaths.

Earlier this year, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) feted FBI director James Comey for giving final approval to including animal cruelty offenses in the Uniform Crime Report. The National Sheriff’s Association hailed the upgrade and Deputy Executive Director John Thompson says he is pledged to raise educate law enforcement personnel about how strongly animal cruelty is “connected to interpersonal violence.”

The FBI’s tougher position on animal cruelty will improve data collection by providing a road map of criminality in a given area, say law enforcement personnel; a raid on a dog fight, for example, often nets men and women who are wanted for other offenses and usually a cache of guns and drugs. The FBI reclassification also establishes animal cruelty as a more serious charge in the eyes of the public and legislators than it has been, and could lead to tougher laws.

Recently Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehitnen (R-FL) introduced the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act of 2015 which addresses “the estimated one-third of domestic violence victims who delayed leaving their abusive relationships out of concern for the well being of their pets.”

“No one should have to make the choice between leaving an abusive situation and ensuring their pet’s safety,” says Congresswoman Clark. “I am grateful for the partnerships we’ve formed across the aisle and between organizations working to end both domestic violence and animal abuse. Together, we crafted a bill that will help save lives.”

A literature search of crime reports involving “domestic violence” and “animal cruelty” reveals chilling examples of how often the abuse allegations are linked. And a study of women in one domestic violence center found that 71 percent of women with pets reported their partner threatened, hurt, or even killed their pet. Surveys indicate that between 18 percent and 48 percent of battered women have delayed their decision to leave their batterer or have returned to the batterer out of fear for the welfare of their pets or livestock.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it.” She might have added that, if the child is a psychopath, he will find a way to get away with it.

Criminals may be divided into three rough categories: non-psychopathic, psychotic, and psychopathic. Non-psychopathic criminals may choose a life of crime for a variety of reasons: Because they belong to a juvenile gang, because it’s an easy way to make a living, because it’s exciting to beat the authorities. Psychotic criminals may commit horrendous offenses because they hear voices of command (paranoid schizophrenia) or because they have a hair-trigger temper (bipolar disorder). An example of someone who was likely a psychotic criminal was David Berkowitz, the “Son of Sam” serial killer who reportedly received orders to kill from his neighbor’s dog.

Studies have shown that non-psychopathic criminals do not commit acts of animal cruelty more than the non-criminal population; however, most animal cruelty is committed by the psychopaths.

Our modern concept of psychopathy goes back to 1941, when psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley published his classic monograph, The Mask of Sanity. Cleckley compiled telling case histories from his patients during his tenure at the University of Georgia medical school. Some of the cases detailed in the book are shocking, some sad, some funny. Dr. Cleckley concluded that psychopathy begins at an early age — six or seven — and it is almost impervious to remediation.

Cleckley’s subjects, whom he saw in a state mental hospital, follow a characteristic trajectory. They are arrested, convicted, sentenced to prison, display such bizarre behavior that they are remanded to the state hospital, whereupon they suddenly become “normal” and achieve a discharge, only to repeat the cycle of criminality. Almost to a man or woman, the psychopaths Dr. Cleckley describes are experts at manipulating the system to their advantage.

Not all — not even the majority — of psychopaths are criminals (or else they’re getting away with it). Our contemporary knowledge of psychopathy is deftly summed up by Martha Stout, a psychologist at Harvard, in The Sociopath Next Door. Stout identifies two hallmarks of the psychopath/sociopath: Lack of conscience and lack of empathy. Quoting Cleckley, she writes in her book: “Beauty and ugliness, except in a very superficial sense, goodness, evil, love, horror, and humor have no actual meaning, no power to ‘move’ the psychopath. According to Stout, about one person in 25 is a sociopath, which means that you are likely to cross paths with such a person at some point in your lifetime, maybe more than once.

Robert O. Hare in his classic book Without Conscience has also noted the ability of psychopaths to charm the leaves off the trees, and if they happen to be in jail to use their charm and glib façade to deceive the parole board into thinking they are reformed people, gaining early parole. But the truth is, he says, psychopaths are actually poor candidates for rehabilitation.

The states have invested large sums of money in rehabilitation programs for imprisoned psychopaths, but the long-term success of these programs remains to be seen. There is reason to be dubious about the value of these programs, because mounting evidence indicates that psychopaths have abnormal brain structure and/or function. Psychopaths often have abnormal fMRI scans in brain regions that mediate empathy, prosocial behavior, and moral reasoning. Brain scans of psychopaths have exhibited abnormalities in regions that mediate reward and punishment. Psychopaths apparently do not learn from punishment, as Hare found in electroencephalogram studies of subjects performing a punitive task.

It seems, judging from their deviant behavior, psychopaths are hard-wired for psychopathy from as early as the age of five or six. This means that, if any treatment could encourage development away from psychopathy it must be deployed at the age of three or so. Even then, the relentless growth of nerve fibers in the developing child might nullify even the most ingenious program of rehabilitation.

People who work in animal shelters come across the handiwork of psychopaths every day. To find out what they do, we exchanged emails with Franklin D. McMillan, DVM, Director of Well-Being Studies at the Utah-based Best Friends Animals Shelter in Utah, the largest of its kind in the country. Here are some of the things that shelter workers see.

“Physical” Signs of Abuse:

– emaciation from intentional starvation
– bruising and hemorrhage
– burns (from open flame, cigarettes, chemicals)
– scars from old injuries, including but not confined to gunshot wounds
– broken bones
– injury to the ano-genital region from zoophilia or firecrackers
– missing limbs, tail, ears, eyes from wounds or such causes as frostbite

“Mental” Symptoms of Abuse

– increased fear of humans
– increased fear of other animals
– increased aggression toward humans or other animals
– increase in attention-seeking behavior
– excessive barking and excitability
– odd or repetitive behaviors

Sanctuaries differ in their approach to rehabilitation. For example, Dr. McMillan’s facility uses prescription antidepressants of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs like Prozac or Zoloft) and tricyclic antidepressants (Elavil, Anafranil) for aggression, anxiety, and panic. The facility also has skilled animal behaviorists who use behavioristic techniques derived from the work of Pavlov, Skinner, and Wolpe to help the animal to overcome its fears and phobias — not the least of which is its fear of human beings.

Primarily Primates is a shelter operated by Friends of Animals that harbors mostly primates obtained from laboratories when the scientists are finished with them, and some of them are in very poor emotional condition. Many are understandably terrified of humans, even their new-found benefactors at Primarily Primates.

We asked the director, Brooke Chavez, what she and her colleagues do to rehabilitate these damaged creatures. Chavez, who has formidable experience in animal rehabilitation, told us that she and her staff rely mainly on positive reward therapy; the sanctuary rarely uses drugs, but when they do so, their drug of choice is gabapentin (Neurontin). Chavez said, “Love and trust are the best medicine.”

Our concept of cruelty has evolved over the years. Public hangings, bull-and-bear baiting, bull fighting, whaling, cock fighting and dog fighting are no longer legal in the United States. Today, only a select few have the privilege of witnessing a condemned person die, sometimes agonizingly slowly, while strapped to a gurney.

We interviewed Madeline Bernstein, President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Los Angeles. Bernstein is a career law enforcement professional, whose experience includes a stint as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx at a time when it was a very dangerous place indeed. As she told us, she prosecuted “a little bit of everything,” except for homicide, sex crimes and animal cruelty.

We told Bernstein that we were puzzled that Americans spend literally billions of dollar on their pets, yet tolerate feeble laws that let a perpetrator of animal cruelty walk out of court with a slap-on-the-wrist fine. Bernstein explained to us that well-meaning Americans may not realize that, under the law animals are considered property.

The “property” status of animals exists because we claim “that animals have certain ‘defects,’ such as the inability to use language or a supposedly inferior intelligence, that permit us to treat them instrumentally, as means to our ends,” writes animal legal scholar Gary L. Francione. To “disqualify nonhumans from any significant moral concern is a form of discrimination known as speciesism” — the “use of species to determine membership in the moral community” — and is “really no different from using other criteria, such as race, sex, sexual orientation, or age,” writes Francione.

Still, says Bernstein even with the property constraint, the skilled prosecutor will argue that animals are “sentient beings” — somewhere between human and non-human beings. To support his argument the prosecutor has a good deal of precedent to draw from, namely a body of case law, i.e., jury verdicts and judges’ rulings.

Another reason most states have tepid, inadequately prosecuted laws is that pretty much “anything goes” when it comes to treatment of animals that are not pets whether government-sponsored pest control to support ranchers, the meat industry, or in scientific laboratories.

Our selective attitude toward animal cruelty is seen very clearly in our attitude toward laboratory animals. We were surprised to learn from Bernstein that there is scant legal protection for them from cruelty so long as the experiment is being conducted in accordance with a protocol, that is, a proposal for an experiment that has been approved by an Institutional Review Board. The seldom-enforced Animal Welfare Act sets out minimal requirements for experimenters: use of anesthesia in painful procedures and this only for dogs, cats, and primates, but not to the rest of the animal kingdom. This is not a good time to be a rat or a guinea pig.

Finally, we asked Bernstein about psychopathy and animal cruelty. Certainly, the legal professional recognizes animal cruelty in the early childhood years — as early as four years old or preschool — as a predictor of psychopathy along with setting fires and bedwetting, she told us. Psychopaths may be hard-wired for antisocial behavior, but Bernstein thinks there is some hope for a person if he or she is caught early.

A climate of selective indifference to animals may unveil psychopathy, but the evidence that psychopathy is caused by environmental factors is outweighed by biological data. Bernstein thinks that if a child performs acts of animal cruelty by the age of eight, he will become a psychopath, but not necessarily a criminal. Punishment does not apparently deter this progression and remediation must start at an early age and may not be effective. Still, says Bernstein, a perpetrator of acts of cruelty must be gotten off the street with long jail terms. And children, whatever their fate, must learn that, as prosecutor Bernstein put it, “Any kind of gratuitous animal cruelty is wrong.”

Psychiatrist and neurologist Frank A. Kulik of Scottsdale, Arizona who we interviewed for this article agrees. “Once children have got into this ‘killing business’” it is “very hard to break. I have had patients who have killed neighbors’ dogs and cats and I was a failure with these kinds of kids.” The cruelty can include “sexual connotations” he added.

But, like Bernstein, Dr. Kulik agrees that childhood compassion education can deter psychopathic behavior in later years. Upbringing must include “early teaching of children to have respect for other human beings and animals.”

 
 
Robert Wilbur is a psychopharmacologist who also writes semi-popular articles on capital punishment, prison reform and animal rights.

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative reporter and author of the food and drug expose Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks, and Hacks Pimp the Public Health.

Article source: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/animal-cruelty-is-a-reliable-predictor-of-criminality-which-is-why-the-fbi-is-taking-it-more-seriously/

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Rat-Naming Contest for Kids Coming to Northeast Library

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 16, 2015 in Rat News
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Advocates supporting a Capitol Hill library are looking to drum up excitement for its annual spring book sale on May 16 with a unique draw — kids will be able to name Northeast Library‘s two pet rats.

This will be the first time the library has had official pets, according to Vince Morris, president of Friends of the Northeast Library.

“They’re going to be the mascots for the library,” he said.

The rodents, one with a solid gray coat and the other with a white body and a gray head, are Dumbo rats, a breed of domesticated rats distinguished by their large ears.

Morris said the creatures — who live in a “very nice, very clean” terrarium on the second floor, in the children’s section of the library — are a big help with young people.

“Some kids are very shy about talking with the librarian, and the animals bring them out of their shells,” he said.

Kids have already started offering their name recommendations for the rats, with suggestions including a fair number of common women’s names (both rats are female). If Morris, a Congressional staffer who lives nearby —  had the opportunity to name the rats himself, he said he would go with Licorice and Muffin.

The book sale and rodent name selection will occur at the library, located at 330 7th St. NE, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, with a smaller sale Sunday between 1 and 3 p.m.

Potential buyers will have an opportunity to choose from fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and DVDs. All the money raised will go toward supporting the staff and programs, including a recent investment in early childhood learning tools. “A few thousand” dollars are usually raised.

Photos courtesy of Vince Morris

Article source: http://www.hillnow.com/2015/05/14/rat-naming-contest-coming-to-northeast-library/

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Stunning X-ray images show pair of tongs stuck inside pet snake

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 15, 2015 in Rat News
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A pet python got more than it bargained for at feeding time when it gobbled up the tongs being used to feed it pet rats.

The snake, named Winston, latched onto the barbecue tongs as he was being fed by his Australian owner Aaron Rouse.

Winston, a woma python, underwent delicate surgery to remove the metal tongs that were lodged in his stomach.

“I tried to prise him off the tongs but we didn’t have any hope of that at all,” Mr Rouse told ABC.

Article source: http://www.itv.com/news/2015-05-15/stunning-x-ray-images-show-pair-of-tongs-stuck-inside-pet-snake/

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On the front lines of humanity’s high-tech, global war on rats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 14, 2015 in Rat News
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In late March, on a glacier-riven sliver of land 1,000 miles off the coast of Antarctica, a team of conservationists completed the largest rat eradication ever attempted. Over the course of four years, and at a cost of $12 million, they used helicopters to bombard South Georgia Island with almost 400 tons of poison bait. It’s the most ambitious attempt yet to turn back the rats, and the mission’s measure for success is unforgiving: if a single rat is left alive, they’ve failed.

When project leader Dr. Tony Martin first visited South Georgia 20 years ago, the impact of the rats was stark. Neighboring rat-free islands were brimming with birds and lush with plants fertilized by their droppings. South Georgia itself, however, was barren as a desert. “I thought at that time if I could ever get rid of the rats I’d die a happy man,” Martin said, at home in Cambridge after a long journey from the South Atlantic.

Before humans set foot on its shores, South Georgia was a refuge for penguins, albatrosses, and other seabirds. But then came the sealers, and they brought the rats, which devoured the birds: eating eggs, chicks, and even fully grown birds, Martin said, grabbing their necks and devouring their brains while still alive. It’s estimated that 90 percent of the island’s seabirds have been wiped out by rats.

South Georgia’s story has played out on islands around the world. A disproportionate amount of the world’s biodiversity lives on islands, where species often evolved in isolation from mammalian predators. But when rats arrived, these ecological niches became smorgasbords. Burrowing, ground-nesting, and flightless birds were eaten quickly. Baby tortoises were gnawed to death. Rats are responsible for about half of all bird and reptile extinctions on islands, according to Gregg Howald of the group Island Conservation.

“I have enormous regard for rats,” Martin said. “I get no pleasure out of killing them. But the way I look at it, and I recognize this is a very imperialistic view, is that something is going to die here whether we do something or not, and the choice therefore is not whether to kill or not, it’s whether we kill rats, which were introduced by man, or allow the rats your forebears put in place to eradicate the native population. Because I have the power, the resources, to kill rats, and hereby save species from going extinct, I choose to use that power.”

Aerial rat eradication was pioneered in the 1990s in New Zealand, where, as Elizabeth Kolbert wrote last year, defending native birds has become an issue of nationalism. They are, after all, Kiwis. Conservationists loaded poison into modified fertilizer buckets and used them to disperse bait evenly over entire islands. Some birds would succumb to the poison, but it was worth it: researchers found that if they killed every last rat, native bird populations quickly rebounded beyond pre-eradication levels. GPS changed the game, according to Keith Springer, a New Zealand conservation officer who worked on the South Georgia mission. It let them overlay islands with a close-knit grid that helicopter pilots could trace, ensuring that no spot is missed.

Other groups copied the strategy. In 2007, Ecuador began clearing the Galapagos Islands of rats, which threatened to wipe out the islands’ tortoises. The eradication program was a success: last year, for the first time in over a century, tortoises were born in the wild on Pinzon Island and survived. In the Aleutians, the US Fish and Wildlife Service killed every rat on Rat Island, where a shipwreck had deposited them in the 1780s. Puffins and cormorants quickly returned, and the island was renamed Hawadax.

At 100 miles long, South Georgia is the most ambitious island eradication effort attempted yet. The team divided the island into three sections, each separated by a glacier, and used helicopters to fly along the GPS grid they’d drawn, flinging poison nuggets from a bucket 150 feet above the ground. It’s been several years since the first two sections were poisoned, and the team has seen no sign of rat survivors.

On March 23rd, after weeks of storm delays, Martin watched a helicopter fly out to strafe the island with the final load of poison bait. “It’s strange,” he said. “I’ve thought about this moment for the last six years — it consumed my life. I imagined we’d be exultant when the last load went out, but we were completely flat. We just stood there thinking, now what?”

He’s hoping for more eradication projects, bigger projects. He’d like his team to travel the world, “a kind of baiting flying circus,” he said. When I spoke with him, he was optimistic, having just read a paper in the journal Biological Conservation imagining what the next generation of rodent eradication might look like.

The paper outlines an arsenal of possible technologies. There are automatic traps like the Spitfire, which sprays sticky poison onto rats when they pass through a tube, killing them when they lick it off, and the A24, which uses a CO2-fired piston to smash their skulls. Species-specific poisons could be dropped by drones day and night. Maybe the most ambitious method involves the release of transgenic rats, engineered so that their progeny would be entirely male. If their offspring were capable of spreading the transgene, it could theoretically drive rats to near extirpation without the use of poison. Their incredible fecundity would finally be thwarted, and after several generations, a horde of bachelor rats would fight amongst themselves, dwindle, and disappear.

Article source: http://www.theverge.com/2015/5/13/8592817/rat-patrol-new-york-alberta-canada-south-georgia-eradication

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Jade-Martina Lynch: Big Brother 2015 profile – meet the fiesty spiritual model …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 13, 2015 in Rat News
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Jade-Martina Lynch has been announced as a contestant for Big Brother 2015.

Just last week, Emma Willis and Rylan Clark announced this year’s series would have a Timebomb theme and now we know the housemates before they’re even in the house.

The 24 year old is from Dublin. She’s single and is a model and student.

What we know so far about Jade-Martina:

Jade-Martina doesn’t believe in monogamy and she follows a polyamorous lifestyle. She’s also got pet rats and would like to add a pet bat to her

collection.

What Twitter said:

Jade-Martina will join the rest of the housemates on series 16 when Big Brother Timebomb launches on Tuesday May 12 at 9pm on Channel 5.

What Jade-Martina said:

PAST: Big Brother could make you famous. What has been your closest celebrity encounter to date?

We don’t really have celebrities in Ireland, we have Irish celebrities! The most famous person I have ever met was Peter Andre! I was so star struck.

PRESENT: Why do you want to enter the Big Brother House?

I want to do it for a life experience. I would be stupid to say I didn’t want to win, of course I do, but, overall, it is for a life journey.

FUTURE: What will you do with the money if you win?

I would buy a house straight away!

PAST: Which Big Brother housemate would you say you were most like and why?

Derek, the really posh guy from way back. He handled every situation so gracefully.

PRESENT: Which traits do you find most annoying in a Housemate?

I don’t like girls who are obsessed with how they look. I like how I look, I am a model, it is part of my job. But first and foremost it’s about

my energies and my personality.

FUTURE: Are you looking for love in the Big brother House?

I am single but I’m polyamorous so I am very open when it comes to relationships and sexual situations. I’m not going in there looking for love but you never know what will happen.

PRESENT: What do you bring to the House?

I am quite a counsellor. People tend to flock to me with their problems and open up to me. It’s just a natural thing that people do. I tend to get into people’s brains and open up some more. I am the big sister type, the voice of reason.

FUTURE: What would you do to win?

I feel like the universe has brought me here for a reason and if I am meant to win then I am going to win no matter who is in the house. I leave it up to the universe. I would never be fake because I can’t be fake.

PAST: What story from your past will you use to break the ice?

Me being polyamorous is quite different. It’s basically like being in an open relationship, so I would have multiple partners. It’s difficult in Dublin. I think I would fit in well in London or New York but in Dublin it is frowned upon.

PRESENT: What do you love most in in the world and what will you miss in huge house?

I love my dog, Rupert. he is a King Charles and he is so beautiful, you can feel his little soul when he looks into your eyes.

FUTURE: Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I would like to get my degree. I am studying Social Studies and I want to work with homeless people. But in five years time I want to have my own house, work with animals and continue my modelling, travelling around the world.

* Big Brother: Timebomb Live Launch, Tuesday May 12 at 9pm on Channel 5

Article source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/jade-martina-lynch-big-brother-2015-5683594

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How David Cameron can unite the Tories behind his One Nation conservatism

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 11, 2015 in Rat News
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The Cabinet reshuffle is now underway, with IDS back in welfare and Michael Gove as Justice Secretary, with a brief to sort out the Human Rights Agenda mess. So David Cameron is opening a new stage in his leadership – and one that moves beyond the weird world of Tory factionalism. I’m hoping that the One Nation conservatism he spoke about after his triumph last week will now become the theme of his leadership. And that, with this reshuffle, he will start with One Party conservatism.

Uniting the party is easier than it sounds – he just has to persuade diehards on both sides that the war is over. They’re still at it. The Tory wars of 1990-2005 were traumatic, and its veterans emerged with kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. Even now, they see the world (and the party) through the labels used in that period. Mods vs Rockers. Modernisers vs Thatcherites. Let’s call them the Tory Factionalists, those who are still – in their heads – fighting wars that ended a decade ago. The left faction has given the same advice to Cameron for ten years: don’t give in to the Evil Tory Right! You started so well, Dave, but then you veered to the right – and made yourself unelectable! You were bound to lose the election, with your swivel-eyed EU pledges, banging on about low taxes and right-to-buy!

Similarly, the Tory Factionalists of the right still see him as husky-hugging, kale-munching, metropolitan sellout who was bound to fail. This time last week you could see both sides preparing to blame the other – had Ed Miliband prevailed. It would be war, just like the good old days!

12 issues for 12

But with his stunning majority victory, Cameron has quietly confounded both groups. He didn’t need to wear any clothes that had been designed for Michael Portillo. Steered by Lynton Crosby, he ended up with a radical and plausible policy agenda: he’d legislate to ban tax rises, give 1.3m housing association tenants the right to buy their council house and make good his EU referendum pledge. Here was blue collar conservatism, rewarded by a massive blue collar vote. Just as Cameron intended. This platform, a bold retail offer to voters based on low taxes and sound finance, won the day. But when James Forsyth and I spoke to Cameron a fortnight ago, he seemed sad that this broader aspect of his mission – things like school reform and social mobility – had been ‘very undersold in many ways.’

If he plays One Nation conservatism properly, Cameron can now do all the selling he likes. And, in so doing, persuade the minority of still-warring Tories that they have more in common with each other than they might think. Take Michael Gove’s school reform: that was robust, and radical – but dedicated to helping poor kids in sink estates. The rich do very well out of the current state education system – Gove’s reforms were all about those at the bottom. This was One Nation conservatism at work. Then take Iain Duncan Smith, another one who would be put down by the Tory Factionalists as being on the right. But his work with the Centre for Social Justice is, again, exclusively aimed at helping those at the margins of society; those who most need government’s help.



Looking back at my interviews with David Cameron over the years, he has always returned to a theme that he never quite managed to build properly in coalition: the revival of villa conservatism, ‘progressive goals by conservative means’. It’s a unifying theme, and (I suspect) what he now means when he says One Nation. This would be a different to the old One Nation conservatism. In a Spectator article in 2001, Matthew Parris offered this definition:

‘One Nation Toryism whispers ‘tread carefully’. ‘Never forget the rest’, ‘gently does it’, and `so far and no further’ are its themes. Its champions within the party, like any useful antibody, may be perfectly unaware of their allotted role and be motivated by pure altruism, by kindness and the best of human feelings; but their value to their party is as a shield and that is why it needs them. Fear is not what drives a One Nation Tory, but fear is what drives his party to take notice of him.’

To everything, there is a season. Back in 2001, it may have been right for One Nation Toryism to urge caution – now, it is about urging radicalism. Because the forces of social segregation, the system that has sent inequality cascading down the generations, are precisely the forces which David Cameron has been trying to confront (and, in doing so, was constantly being frustrated by Liberal Democrats).

One Nation Toryism now whispers: ‘Finish Universal Credit! Tear up the old welfare system that trapped so many! Make sure work pays far more for those at the bottom’. One Nation Toryism now means thinking urgently about why so many have been left behind by this economic recovery, and what can be done for them. It means reforming the education system so that, within the state system, parental wealth is no longer the surest indicator of a kid’s exams results. When it comes to such tasks, ‘gently’ will not do it. Only courage, fortitude, radicalism and stamina will do it.

With a victory that rises above the old factionalism of his party, Cameron is perfectly positioned now to unite it. And I do hope he was serious about bringing back – and redefining – One Nation conservatism. So far, he has lacked a personal mission. This can be it.

Tags: David Cameron, election 2015, One Nation conservatism, Reshuffle

Article source: http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/05/how-david-cameron-can-unite-the-tories-behind-his-one-nation-conservatism/

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Web Extra: Salt Lake magazine’s pets

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 10, 2015 in Rat News
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In our May/June 2015 issue, we ran a story on Utah’s dog-friendly businesses and community events, the latest dog gear and Utah dogs at the workplace (click here for the story).

Tying in with our dog feature (we’re currently holding a doggie gear giveaway as well), we asked Salt Lake magazine staff members to pose for these photos with their pets, dogs or otherwise.

Office/Marketing Manager Cady Borchers with her fish

“This is me and my fish, who doesn’t have a name, but he lives in Bikini Bottom!”

Account Executive Danielle Holmes with her dog Monreaux

“Meet Monreaux. She is an adventurous and loving creature that can never get enough of people and the outdoors.”

Salt Lake magazine editor Mary Brown Malouf with her cat Frito

“Our cat Frito is a female orange tabby. Only about 20 percent of orange tabbies are female, so Frito is unusual and, we think, kind of brilliant. This is where our cat Frito likes to sit when I’m writing at home. You’ve probably noticed how her influence shows up in my articles.” 

Managing Editor Glen Warchol, also with Frito

“Frito, my wing cat on a Utah road trip. I used to let her drive, but she goes off the road to run down jack rabbits and ground squirrels. She obsesses a little on murder.”

Events and Marketing Manager Amanda Pratt and her husband Marcus with their dog Bree

“We have had Bree for three years, and she is a lady. She strikes this regal face in most photos. We love her dearly.” 

Web Editor Jaime Winston with his rat Gail

“Some people assume pet rats are dirty; mine take baths. Gail licks your hand if you pet her, she loves hiding in blankets, and she hated this hat. Her sister, Sarita, usually won’t stay calm enough for photos.”

Account Executive Mary Helen Irvine with her dog Ulli

“I asked for name suggestions from friends and Ulli came up. He’s my little Norse god of snow.”

Account Executive Janette Erickson with her dog Miss Monty

“Miss Monty is very intelligent and loves being with her family. She tries to herd you at meal times, loves to play fetch and teaches guests how the game is played.”

Article source: http://saltlakemagazine.com/blog/2015/05/09/salt-lake-magazines-pets/

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SPOILER! Irish Big Brother housemate revealed

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 9, 2015 in Rat News
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Big Brother Summer 2015

The names of the Big Brother 2015 housemates have been revealed tonight and Goss.ie can announce that host Rylan Clark was right when he said the house would have the luck of the Irish.

The reality show has made history by officially releasing the names of the new housemates before the launch day.

Flying the flag for Ireland will be 24-year-old Jade from Dublin.

jade big brother

Irish hopeful: Jade has been announced as the Irish housemate in this year’s BB house | CH5

According to her profile she doesn’t believe in monogamy and follows a polyamorous lifestyle which will be an interesting talking point whilst in the house.

The brunette also reveals she has pet rats and admits in her teaser she would like to add a pet bat to her collection.

Just last week, this year’s Timebomb was announced which according to the trailer, the element of time means any series of Big Brother could be visited.

Tv3 Big Brother launch 4

Luck of the Irish: Rylan helped launch the show on TV3 this week and hinted that there would be an Irish housemate | BRIAN MCEVOY

Series 16 will see past housemates returning to the house that made them households names so it could be then that will were see some of our favourite Irish housemates return.

Fans of the reality show will have two days to get to know the new housemates before they see them walk live into the Big Brother arena and meet Emma Willis this Tuesday, 12th May.

It was announced earlier this week the Channel 5 show will be available on Irish screens airing on TV3 and 3e.

Article source: http://www.goss.ie/2015/05/spoiler-irish-big-brother-housemate-revealed/

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13 pets saved, Ottawa couple hospitalized after fire

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 8, 2015 in Rat News
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OTTAWA – Ottawa street corner looked more like a scene from Dr. Dolittle than a house fire on Tuesday afternoon.

Caged reptiles, birds and dogs were sprawled across Stacey Brickman’s neighbour’s lawn as she watched fire crews salvage what was left of her home after a grease fire broke out in her kitchen.

Stacey’s daughter, Brianna Brickman, 19, and boyfriend Dylan, 21, were taken to hospital after her family tried to save all of their animals from their home.

“My kids … oh my gosh … the firefighters said they were coming in through the front and the kids were running in through the back to take the animals out,” she said with a parrot squawking behind her.

Thirteen different animals and reptiles were rescued. In total, three snakes, four birds (two died), four dogs, one cat, one African bullfrog, two rats (one died) and two bearded dragons.

One dog, one cat and two lizards were given oxygen by paramedics via animal resuscitation equipment.

On mobile? Click here to watch the video

“We have machines that pumps oxygen back into it,” Ottawa Fire District Chief Ross Saunders said. “The mask goes onto the face of the lizard or dog and it gives them air. All the trucks have them.”

Brickman said amongst their mini-zoo, six people live in what would have been cozy quarters.

Her husband, who wouldn’t be named, two children Brittan and Brianna, Brianna’s boyfriend Dylan and room-renter Danny Gordon all resided in the home for 18 years.

“It’s a full house,” she said, trying to crack a smile.

Gordon was treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation with Brittan and said his No. 1 priority was their pets.

“They kept asking me if I wanted to go to the hospital and I was like, ‘No. I’m taken care of,'” he said.

One of Gordon’s pet rats was killed in the fire, his other rat, Spaz, was burned badly.

“It was so hot in there, the water bottle melted in the cage,” he said.

Gordon said he and Brittan ran in through the back of the house to save their pets.

“We were trying to get whatever we could. Man it was oil smoke, so it was just pure black … you couldn’t see anything.

“We had to save the animals … we can’t let the animals suffer for our mistakes,” he said, tearing up in the process.

Fire crews were called to the scene at 1:22 p.m. and within 19 minutes they had doused the blaze.

Saunders said his crew were caught off guard and weren’t expecting to deal with snakes when they entered the home.

“We didn’t know if they were poisonous at first,” said Saunders. “There was a lot of confusion at the start.”

Saunders said the fire originated in the kitchen and more than $100,000 in damages are estimated.

Keaton.robbins@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @Keaton_Robbins

Article source: http://www.cochranetimes.com/2015/04/28/13-pets-saved-ottawa-couple-hospitalized-after-fire

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