Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Raconteurs

The Raconteurs of the fantastic song "Steady As She Goes" have a really cool website.
When I was small, my parents had a computer that they used for their accounts and we were not allowed play with it. It had a black screen with green writing. (Note my lack of appreciation for computer history)
Anyway, the Raconteurs have the same sort of "retro" site. And they've Jack White. All's good!
Their first album is due out in May.


Everyone's a Victim

especially boys, whose educational performance is lagging behind girls.
Heather Mac Donald has an interesting take on this -
But what, you say, about girls’ hallowed victim status—how can it co-exist with a newly designated male oppressed class? Not to worry. The great thing about victim thinking is that it is not zero-sum; it is win-win. Each individual, each group, can be a victim in his or her or his/her own special way.

I like her solution, too.
Here’s a better suggestion for the alleged gender gap in education: do nothing. If boys lag in undergraduate enrollment, let them study a little harder, or stay a little more focused, on their own. They don’t need the inevitable new bureaucracies in order to pull up their own bootstraps.

Sure, it’s tempting to use the boy shortage to dismantle feminized progressive education. The contempt for competition and fact-based learning that dominates at education schools undoubtedly does contribute to some no-shows among the male student population. When schools place more importance on group collaboration and sharing than on the achievement of mastery in a subject, when the conquest of trigonometry becomes less important than the collective reconstruction of the Yoruba counting system, some portion of boys will tune out.

But the costs of creating a universal victim population outweigh the benefits of using boys’ victim status to overthrow progressive nostrums. Yes, group learning and enforced equality of achievement are probably not optimal for male accomplishment, but they are not fatal, either. Even in a classroom dedicated to the construction of community, a motivated boy can glean knowledge.

She also says The boy shortage may be more a product of colleges’ retooling themselves to attract females than of any study deficit on boys’ part.

You Hungary? Hungry?

This week's New England Journal of Medicine has a fantastic video clip that you should not look at if you're hungry.
The case is of a 55 year old man who presented with intermittent, crampy pain in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen. The pain had started two days after his return from a two-week trip to Hungary

He had a colonoscopy done.

Have a look at the video clip - it's the most interesting colonoscopy I've ever seen - there's a load of Enterobius Vermicularis in the cecum. (I'm not telling you what they are - have a look - bewarned it is kinda gross)


The Joys of the Great Big Loving Sisterhood

From The Brussels Journal -
Sharon Dijksma, a leading parliamentarian of the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) wants to penalise educated stay-at-home women. “A highly-educated woman who chooses to stay at home and not to work – that is destruction of capital,” she said in an interview last week. “If you receive the benefit of an expensive education at society’s expense, you should not be allowed to throw away that knowledge unpunished.”

How delightfully tolerant she is.
She's not the only one with this viewpoint - Mary Robinson has expressed a milder version before.

As a young educated woman who plans on staying at home to raise her children, I'm basking in the love of our feminist foremothers.


I've never read Playboy

even for the articles, so this New Yorker review of "The Playmate Book: Six Decades of Centerfolds" is quite educational.
I especially like these paragraphs -
Today or, actually, by the eighties - one wonders whether sex, as it is experienced by human beings, is still the point. The current centerfolds, buck naked though they may be, communicate almost no suggestion of anything. In Playboy pinups, one is not looking for the note of the divine that one finds in the Venuses of ancient statuary, let alone for the pathos of Rembrandt's nudes. Nor should one ask for naturalness - a real-looking girl. That is a sentimental preference, and one that many great nudes (Ingres's, Degas's) can refute. But what is so bewildering about the later Playboy centerfolds is their utter texturelessness: their lack of any question, any traction, any grain of sand from which the sexual imagination could make a pearl. Kenneth Clark, in his classic book "The Nude" (1956), repeatedly compares a period's nudes to its architecture. The Playmates of the past few decades look to me like the "cereal box" buildings that went up on Sixth Avenue in the sixties, those cold, shiny structures, with no niches, no insets�no doors, it seemed. Likewise, the current Playmates seem to have no point of entry. And wasn't entry the idea?
Perhaps, despite the continuing girl-next-door protestations, the very remoteness of these women is their attraction. Clark, in his book, speaks of the "smoothed-out form and waxen surface" of the academic nudes of the nineteenth century. Hefner's latter-day nudes have the same look: the skin like polished armor (and it is polished - a side photo of Miss June 1981 shows her getting her hip sprayed with Formula 409); the golden light; the velvet thickness of the paper. This is not so much sex, or a woman, as something more like a well-buffed Maserati.

Is this evidence that the feminist project has succeeded? Or that feminism has truly been thwarted and has failed, now that feminine sexuality is protrayed as a glossy silicone monotony?

Should we be disgusted that Playboy is the best selling magazine in the US? Should I still be disgusted that a friend of mine had a Playboy in her bag at my birthday party a few years ago and took it out and several other girls joined her in giggling at the naked women and saying they were "hot"? Before, I, in my prudishness, asked her to put it away.
I am reminded of one of the women Ariel Levy interviewed in her book "Female Chauvinist Pigs" - she described how she loved porn and strip clubs becuase of the bored look on the women's faces as they performed.
I've never read Playboy - but I would much rather the innocent sensuality of the 1950s to the plastic and dehumanised pictures that represent "liberated" modern day female sexuality. There's nothing liberating about becoming half silicone to appear sexually aggressive and easy, cheapening sexuality to transactions of power and economics - is this the feminist dream of androgynous sexuality?
The intensely personal has become the public and the intimate has become the inanimate. I just don't think that's "hot" or "sexy".


Medical Council – How to respond to Scandal

Yesterday Dr John Hillery, chair of the medical council, said that the existing system for the regulation of doctors is an "archaic, dysfunctional and legally confrontational" one that does not work.
Despite welcoming the new legislation designed to update the Medical Practioners Act, Hillery went on to say - "I am not convinced that we all, doctors and patients, would be better served by State-run medical regulation. If such a State system is to be enacted it will need to be properly thought out and debated to the advantage of the patient."
He added: "I believe a professionally led regulation with a major input from non-doctors is best for patients. . . . A modern system of self-regulation has not been tried in Ireland. I believe the public deserve that. I ask for proper self-regulation, proactive and accountable. It deserves a trial."

I tend to agree with him. I don’t think a greater number of lay people on the medical council will ensure that we will never face another Neary. I don’t think that a greater number of lay people will contribute anything to practice guidelines when they do not have experience or knowledge of evidence based best practice.
The ability to make a complaint against a colleague is very difficult in the Irish hospital climate, especially against a senior one. How will more lay members on the Medical Council solve that issue?
How will more lay members make the complaints procedure better?
For example, if a woman made a complaint against a dermatologist to the Medical Council who expected her to take off all her clothes – would the majority of lay people think this was a bad thing? Unprofessional? Possible sexual harassment?
Doctors on the other hand would find this perfectly acceptable – dermatologists are concerned with the organ of the skin, and therefore must inspect all of it to decide on diagnosis and treatment.
A few months ago, Irish Times journalist Mary Raftery wrote about her experience as a lay member of the Dental Council.
I agree with her conclusions. (I’ll reproduce a good bit as it’s subs only!)While there is a role here for non-medical people, particularly in ensuring complete transparency, this process is more appropriately driven by doctors themselves. Lay people, by definition, lack the detailed knowledge necessary to judge the increasingly specialised nature of medical practice…….
It is merely to point out that it has been my direct experience that the influence of lay people, serving in a voluntary capacity in complex areas of which they have no expert knowledge, is in danger of being seriously exaggerated……..
It is simply not enough to throw a few more lay volunteers on to a medical council board.
This kind of tinkering around the edges of a system which is fundamentally flawed will do nothing to restore our seriously shaken confidence in the medical profession. Neither will it provide an adequate remedy for those who are damaged by doctors' errors.
But it seems that this is all we are going to get. Mary Harney described herself during the week as a fan of self-regulation. She is, however, part of a Government which is, entirely correctly, in the process of removing the privilege of self- regulation from both lawyers and gardaí.
This leaves the medical profession as the last major bastion where professionals are safe from outsider interference and control.
It is impossible to fathom how, in the wake of the Lourdes hospital scandal, Mary Harney could be such a fan of this.
Rafferty draws attention to the New Zealand system, which sounds more sensible - New Zealand, for instance, has split the two strands mentioned above. The business of clinical audit and the monitoring of standards and training is left to the profession, under the aegis of its medical council, which remains doctor-dominated. However, the investigation of complaints and concerns was removed from the council in 1994. It is now the responsibility of the Health and Disability Commissioner. His office is wholly independent and is staffed by professional investigators who are not doctors, but can call on specialist knowledge as required.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blog Cooking

Instead of trawling through cookbooks and websites, this weekend I decided to make a few recipes I found on blogs instead.
I made the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted from Kieran Murphy at Ice Cream Ireland. Winds also baked them this weekend and testifies to their brilliance. I ended up making 6 instead of 7 because the cookie dough was so good. I know it’s probably bad for me to eat uncooked dough, but I have never tasted anything so nice. I usually make Delia Smith’s recipe for Maryland Choc Chip Cookies, but it’s a little more pernickety – wholemeal flour and vanilla pods. Kieran Murphy is a genius.
A very easy and gorgeous potato recipe from Caroline at  Bibliocock – I had some left over chorizo that was so dry I didn’t need to slice it – it kind of cracked instead. It was perfect in this fabulous Tartiflette.
I’m so impressed that the recipes were so easy and foolproof, I am now starting a blogger cooking MS word document to collate my favourite recipes.
I plan making Dossing Times famous chocolate orange and rum cheesecake at the weekend!

Norris - paragon of liberal tolerance?

I think not.
From yesterday's Independent (I tried posting this yesterday but blogger just posted it to the archive and not the main page)....

Referring to statements from Rome, especially by Pope Benedict, Senator Norris said that "he would not take moral instructions from a man with a swastika on his arms," a reference to the Pope's membership of the Hitler Youth Movement in 1940s Germany.

Last night, Senator Norris told the Irish Independent that he knew some of his remarks against the Pope caused offence, but he felt it was his duty to continue to criticise attitudes against gays which were against the common good of society

Part of the common good of society is not to make knee jerk, offensive and bigoted comments against those who disagree with you.

Senator Norris has been granted immortal sainthood by the so-called "liberal establishment" (I sound like a conspiracy theorist now!?!) but remarks like this are not going to advance any cause, especially one that Norris will describe, as based in human rights, equality and dignity.

It's very easy for Norris to call the Pope a Nazi. It's an easy way out - he doesn't actually have to deal his exact issues with the Church's position on natural law. He doesn't have to engage anything - he simply gets away with name calling.

I'm sick of Norris's anti-Catholic bigotry which he masquerades as crusading righteousness.
Especially when such tall stories are long proven to be a little more than Norris claims -

He spent his adolescent years in Traunstein, near the Austrian border, when the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler controlled Germany.

In his memoirs, Ratzinger wrote that school officials enrolled him in the Hitler Youth movement against his will when he was 14 in 1941.

Membership was compulsory and the officials enrolled his entire class, acting on orders from the Nazi regime, Allen said. Ratzinger said he was soon let out because of his studies for the priesthood.

According to Allen, his family was quietly strongly anti-Nazi, and his father took a series of less significant jobs to stay away from what was happening in Nazi Germany.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Blogger resigns because of plagiarism

Instapundit has a roundup of some of the blogs talking about Ben Domenech's resignation from the Washington Post over plagiarism.

I don't have any insights about this at all, apart from a comment at the end of instapundit's piece - Interestingly, it was Ben Domenech’s writing in the Old Media that got him in trouble, not his blogging. and Yes, those experienced, trained editors and fact-checkers missed the plagiarism that blog-readers caught.

The recent riots and blog awards have many bloggers navel gazing and soul searching about the impact of blogs on their own lives and on media in Ireland.
I don't really think about this much - I blog because I like to.
As for blogs replacing MSM in Ireland - that's never going to happen. You're always going to turn on the news or check out the opinion columnists to see what's happening.
Blogs will become more a part of the symbiosis of public discourse and private disclosure. And this is a good thing.

Insta's bitchy comment about the MSM editors missing the plagiarism is kind of irrelevant - Jason Blair did a pretty good spin of plagiarism and the New York Times remained none the wiser for way too long. But blogs are not perfect, simply because there is an interchange between writers and readers.
I think as bloggers, we can get carried away with the seeming brilliance to this medium, but the so-called citizen journalists, are citizens for a reason, and interested in journalism for another.

(one of my favourite things about blogger is that its spell checker suggests "blocker" for "blogger" and "bloc" for "blog". Hard to see blogs taking over the world at that rate!)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Conservatives will Inherit the Earth

It's not just my fantasy,
Foreign Policy says so.

Incendiary quote - Why then did humans not become extinct long ago? The short answer is patriarchy.

US Military Casualty Numbers

Instapundit has a post about the numbers of soldiers who died in Bush's first term (5187) and Clinton's first term (4302).
The links to those agreeing/disagreeing with these numbers are interesting. I wasn't aware that there was such a little difference in numbers over the 2 periods.

Got a scanner and am not afriad to use it

An Spailpin Fanach has a scan of a Phoenix send up of David McWilliams.
It's quite funny. But not enough for me to go back to buying the Phoenix regularly - it just got so boring and predictable.

Physicians are healers, not executioners

From today's New England Journal of Medicine, an article on why physicians participate in executions.
There's 1 particularly poignant line -
Dr. A put on sterile gloves, gown, and mask. He swabbed the man's skin with antiseptic.
"Why?" I asked.
"Habit," he said.

The author says - I have personally been in favor of the death penalty. I was a senior official in the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign and in the administration, and in that role I defended the President's stance in support of capital punishment. I have no illusions that the death penalty deters anyone from murder. I also have great concern about the ability of our justice system to avoid putting someone innocent to death. However, I believe there are some human beings who do such evil as to deserve to die.
But he believes that is wrong that doctors and nurses use their skills in executions.
Dr D is the opposite - He opposes the death penalty because he regards it as inhumane, immoral, and pointless. And he has participated in six executions so far.

I am thankful that as a doctor in this country, I will never be called upon to participate in an execution. But there is something in this article that troubles me - that these doctors believed something was wrong, but went ahead and got involved because of their responsibility to their patients.
Service of our patients has be at the centre of anyone working in the health service, but what's the point of having principles if they are so easily overriden?


Beckett Centenary Festival

The Beckett Centenary Festival seems to be getting into full swing next month.
Noticed on the website that RTE Radio are releasing an audio version of Molloy, Malone and The Unnameable.
I read Molloy when I was 15, in the summer after my Junior Certificate, armed with a list of what was considered the best Irish books in the Guiness Book of Irish Facts and Feats.
I had no idea was happening at any stage in the book. I had just finished Joyce's Ulysses, and while I didn't fully get it at the time, I at least knew what was happening from page to page (most of the time).
About halfway through Molloy, I decided to steer clear of English in university and never read a book ever again. While I returned to books, I never returned to Beckett's novels.
I am giggling at the thought of me listening to these 3 books in the car or on my iPod - I would probably kill myself in a bout of frustration.
I really enjoyed RTE's screening of Beckett's plays a few years ago. I can't access the website (, but I wonder will they screen them again. I used to have Waiting for Godot videoed but my sister recorded the OC over it.
The youth today....

Michael McDowell

Disclaimer – there are no political, social, cultural, electoral insights in this post. What I am about to share might alienate many people, confuse more and send others reaching for a strait jacket to restrain me.

I think I fancy Michael McDowell.

The incidents of the last few days has crystallised this for me (check out Sarah Carey and Potato) all of whom provide proper political analysis and debunking (Dossing) of the McDowell-Bruton standoff.

Minister McDowell, while old enough to be my father, is not as old as my father (always a good thing). He is married and has teenage children. He is not as classically handsome as say, Matthew McConaughey, but for some unfathomable reason, I kinda fancy him.
Perhaps this inexplicable springing of wishful ardour is the result of days of exam study punctuated with news clips of the quivering McDowell, resplendent in conservative suits. Maybe the chemical imbalances which have sustained my subacutely unstable condition to date have finally tipped over into chaos, resulting in wanton fancying of any man who appears on the SixOne (I’m immune to Brian Dobson’s sombre charms at this stage). It could be that the only men I see in real life (outside the News) are sleep deprived doctors who are too short for me or men who are sick (literally, not figuratively – or maybe both).

I never understood the outpouring of female attraction for Donald Rumsfeld after 9/11. He’s just too old.

But My Darling McDowell (pass the drugs, quick) is easy to imagine as an impassioned young L&H debater, charming the socks of the ladies and chopping the tops off the opposition’s points (traitor – how you can forget the Colours?).

And more importantly he wears wire rimmed glasses. While that appears rather low down the checklist for the hunky, bodice-ripper alpha male hero, it works on him (or for me). I like my law orderly and my order lawly. I like the odd bit of name calling and political rambunctiousness. I like men who know their way around a ladder. I like men who win arguments. I like men who don’t like taxes (but he could improve on that one). I like men who don’t like Sinn Fein. I like men who like capitalism.

And there is a simmering passion under the staid politician appearance that seems ready to burst at any minute into a motor-biking rebel who will spout off some Edmund Burke while turning a particularly tight Dublin 6 bend at high speed.

I have some friends who canvassed for McDowell in the last election, and can see myself trekking the muddy byways of South Dublin in an attempt to return McDowell to the Dail (that is if the barring order is rescinded by then).

I only hope that I do not develop full blown erotomania. And that when my hormones re-equilibrate I can also see myself going back to my favourite Simon Coveney crush (if only Fine Gael were like they were in the old days) or moving into the stranger terrority of Gordon Brown (he looked very nice today with his little lunch budget box and blue tie). Even though I don’t like him as much as do as Tony Blair (This is not a clash between civilisations, it is a clash about civilisation.)

My dear readers, as I’m sure you will agree that this blogger needs a reality check more urgently than a severe asthmatic needs oxygen.

Leonard Cohen once sang “There's nothing pure enough to be a cure for love”, but as bitter experience has taught me, crushes pass, 50something barristers-turned-arrogant-but-delightfully-so-justice-ministers lose their sex appeal, and after many tubs of Ben and Jerrys, I will return to a nearly normal and practically sane woman.
And who knows, I might even find a nice boy to settle down with in Dublin 6 and vote for Michael.

Updated reason to fancy McDowell (this could on for quite a while, the drugs do take a while to kick in) is covered excellently in this Slugger post on that McD speech on journalism.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

If Only We Could Cull A Few Humans

Dr Jerry Vlasak, a surgeon and radical animal rights activist, tells us what he really thinks. He was banned in 2004 from entering the UK to attend an animal rights conference. Call me judgemental, but I really think he's messed up.
From Abolitionist-Online: "Ultimately, human overpopulation is the root cause of animal suffering. This planet was not meant to sustain the 6 billion humans who occupy it, much less 20 billion by the end of this century. Thousands of species are going extinct every year because of human destruction of habitat, and billions of animals are suffering as humans destroy their homes, exploit them for food and their own selfish ends.
It cannot go on much longer; sometime in the next few decades, and maybe much sooner, we will see a drastic die off of humans, whether through disease, natural disasters, or some catastrophic event. When human numbers are markedly decreased, things will improve for the rest of the natural world."

Even though he tells us he's a surgeon who spends his days saving human life, he thinks those who experiment on animals to save human lives should be killed.

Animals in laboratories are not there by choice; they are victims of an oppressive regime that does not recognize their right to life. Whenever there is oppression, those oppressed have the right to rise up and throw off the chains of their oppressors. Killing an animal abuser, who is not an innocent bystander, is morally defensible, and if they had the power to do so, animals would do it.

His strategy is pretty simple - All animal abusers should be politely asked to stop killing animals in their work and explain to them the scientific fraud in animal experimentation, as I was. If they refuse, they should be told to stop immediately, or suffer the consequences. If they still refuse, then they should be stopped by whatever means necessary.

He has an incredibly imbalanced and naive way of looking at the world - Evil are the corporations who are responsible for the 20,000 children who die each week for lack of clean water, because these evil corporations and governments spend billions on useless animal experiments concocted to impress their wealthy investors.

For animal rights activists like Vlasak, the world is simple. Cut down on the humans. Burn down the corporations. Murder a few scientists. Ignore such niceties as human rights, economics, human enterprise, politics and the scientific research that makes the world a better place.

Hat Tip Secondhand Smoke.

If you go to into the Crawdaddy tonight

you will hear young Longford band
The Rubens. You will most likely be quite entertained.
They've some samples up at the site and at myspace.
Despite being from Longford, these boys are not a CnW band - they describe themselves as writing "damn catchy 3-minute pop songs in the American college-rock/surf-rock style-ee!".
Which is an accomplishment, given that they're from Colehill (Carrickedmond? - not sure which parish!).
The debut album is due out soon.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Any article that starts with

Scene: A large room, resembling a fallout shelter or a storage bunker, containing all of the books Alec Baldwin claims to have read but hasn’t
is worth reading. Especially when it's a G-File (for those of you who did not have your conservative values formed and your funny bone tickled in the late nineties/early noughties by the G-File - it's a column by Jonah Goldberg on NRO).
In many ways it became more than a column.
Jonah returns to GFile form with a lengthy FAQ session.
Like the vintage GFile (check out bottom of this page) it's hilarious but profoundly sensible conservatism.

I'll just share one point here (but do read it!) -
The way to tell if a liberal — or a conservative — is to be trusted is to see how fairly he or she deals with the other side’s arguments. Obviously, you can’t give a full airing to the other side’s point of view or you’d be spending all your time making the other side’s case. And not every column has to be a on the one-hand, on-the-other-hand affair. But, over the long haul, you can tell which liberals actually have the intellectual self-confidence to engage with the other side’s best arguments and not just their worst ones. Meanwhile, if you look at, say, Maureen Dowd, there isn’t even an attempt to be fair to the other side. It’s all bile, snark, and sneer — which would be a good name for a law firm in mordor. Lord knows, I don’t mind bile per se, but it can only be a single ingredient, not the whole thing. Dowd's stuff is closer to fiction writing than opinion journalism. I think a lot of rightwingers have a similar problem — and I wouldn’t recommend them to liberals trying to get a fair read on the conservative point of view either. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth reading. But entertainment is not necessarily argument.

I'm half thinking of setting up a "bile, snark and sneer" section of my blogroll.

That's 1 doctor who will not be doing my tummy tuck

It's probably safe to say that no doctor will be ever tucking my tummy, but Dr Rey, star of American TV show Dr 902010 will most definitely not be allowed near me.
He's interviewed in the
New York Times.
The producer says "We wanted to show a doctor who was younger, handsome, unashamed of being physically fit, a doctor who makes the whole surgical experience less stressful and happier for patients.'"

Dr Rey is a "cool doctor".....
When he is not doing martial arts routines or weight lifting in his signature black scrubs, he is consulting with patients while clad in a Versace suit, getting into his black Porsche or swimming with his wife and children in the pool of his Beverly Hills mansion. On the show he hugs his patients, calls them "sweetheart" and even tells them, after he has operated on their breasts, that they look "hot!"

Critics including Dr. Mark L. Jewell, the president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, say that Dr. Rey is a skilled surgeon, but his informal way with patients is inappropriate, even undignified, and the reality show gives viewers the impression that plastic surgery is a casual beauty treatment rather than a serious surgical procedure.

Skeptics in the medical profession question everything from Dr. Rey's bedside manner (on a recent show he advised a patient, after giving her breast implants, to "take care of these babies, I worked hard for them") to the way he rakishly wears a stethoscope — plastic surgeons seldom use one — draped around his Italian suit collars.

It's so funny to imagine an Irish doctor acting like this. To begin with he'd be slagged off to an inch of his life. He'd also be expected to be fully qualified if he was working in a public hospital. Apparently Dr Rey is not yet board certified becuase he didn't have time to do the exams - all that pre-op weight lifting would certainly cut into the CME time.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The More You See the Less You Know

The more we learn about genetics, embryology and the happenings of that dark, warm haven of the womb, the less we seem to be sure of.
I posted on the recent case involving a couple’s dispute over their IVF created embryos last week.
Sarah Carey has an article up about it today  - just 1 point about it –  she says -
If there was a genuine consensus that life starts from the moment of conception, the morning-after pill would be banned. When you see a blue line on the pregnancy test, the embryo is implanted and then, and only then, are you pregnant. If a fertilised egg doesn’t implant, you were never pregnant.
Implantation is even murkier than conception as (an arbitrary) starting point for human life. Because we’re never sure when that happens – blue lines on pregnancy test only kick in when BHCG levels rise to a sufficiently detectable amount.  
Ages ago, back when “the abortion debate” was happening in the boggersphere – I posted about when I thought life began. In one of the posts below, fatmammycat said “the egg I lose with every period has humanity too, but it is not a person” – absolutely true. Fertilise that egg with a sperm, you’ve still got something with humanity, but it is now a human being.
I’ll just paste what I said back then (‘cos I’m a lazy blogger)…
Without going in to a big birds-and-bees discussion, I want to explain the very basics of human reproduction – because believing foetuses are not human beings or are some other species is just mad, Ted, mad.Human sperm and eggs have only 23 chromosomes – they are not human beings, they are human. They’re not bovine or canine. Sperm and eggs go through a very complicated process where they started as primitive germ cells with 46 chromosomes and are cut up in different ways until they’ve 23. (This is not a scientific paper so excuse the generalisations! But remember meiosis from the Leaving Cert!)  They meet up and join and become something else entirely. This new “thing” is a zygote, a brand new human individual that never existed before – with 46 chromosomes. It immediately starts growing (by division) and making all kinds of human proteins etc which make up human cells which then starting migrating up, down and all over the place which over time forms various parts of the body (which is already male/female!) Embryo is the term used after 1 week, a foetus after 8 weeks, an adolescent after 12 years, a pensioner after 65 years – the substance of our humanity has not changed since we began our existence – at the end of the process of fertilisation.
What goes for foetuses, goes for embryos too.

Cathy Young has an interesting post (that I don't really agree with) about this.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Serendipity in the Fox Confessor’s Flood

Deagla left a comment yesterday evening asking me if I had read reviews of Neko Case’s new album. Well, I have (but thanks for the link, Deagla) – but I have also listened to it twice. When I came home this evening there was a package from amazon.
Initially I thought someone sent me a package from amazon for my birthday last week (if you haven’t, you know you really should).
But then the universe picked itself up and simultaneously flung its magnificent kismet making abilities into my postbox and mailbox (Outlook gives me positive outlook). Life has never seemed so alive. (Yes, I exaggerate, but things like this do seem brighter when you’re studying)
Neko Case’s new album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood AND the Subdudes’ new album Behind the Levee were in the box – I bought these weeks ago on pre-order.
I love Neko Case, and her Boyfriends, and her New Pornographers. And this album sounds really good. So far the best songs are probably Margeret vs Pauline, John Saw that Number, The Needle has Landed and A Widow’s Toast (bit short though). The title song is cool – I really don’t know what it’s about though – there’re foxes, floods, trees, marriage to orphan girls and somehow the death of civilisation precedes you. Despite having a superb voice Neko takes a little bit of listening to (I like to try and figure out lyrics first before cheating by looking at sleeve). Some are definitely for growing in to – Star Witness has good really good reviews – I don’t see the attraction (yet).
Waiting on your review now, Deagla. And anyone else who’s into Neko!
The Subdudes are happy music band from New Orleans who play Southern rock with a bluesy/gospel swing (and no drums). They’re happy in the same way the Jayhawks are. The first song “Papa Dukie & The Mud People” will wake me up in the morning. And I will be in a good mood. (Anyone who has ever seen/met/heard me in the morning probably won’t believe me – but it’s that kind of song. I will smile and greet people civilly tomorrow morning. )
And if you decide to buy me something from the similar to Neko Case album page on amazon, don’t. I have all the albums listed on that page. And on the “more results” page. Scary. (I feel I should end on brackets, just because I have a lot of them in the post).


Taking the P*ss out of Conservatives

Well the crunchy ones.

From the new blog The Contra-Crunchy Conservative:
As for the Internet, we should keep in mind that it's a shallow, fake community and vastly inferior to the varied and rich choices that were offered by most small rural towns in the 19th century.
Check out the post on how to divide the relatively unified right wing into as many squabbling cliques as one sees on the Left.

I do like the notion of crunchy conservatives and have posted on them before (and bizarrely appear as number 10 in a google search for them) but I don't think I really am one - despite now buying all my groceries in Fresh in Smithfield. . The organic food is very nice as is all the expensive treats - but the best thing in the shop = a selection of Reese's Cups.

Monday, March 13, 2006

When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Happy Housewife!

From yesterday's Sunday Times.
So watch out - the Happy Housewives are coming. We're going to show the world that we can be good mothers, look good, have great sex lives, be interesting and creative, and find ways to make money without leaving our families for 12 hours a day. It's about time someone had the guts to say that one, eh?

And the hard, cold facts - from an University of Viriginia study -
The companionate theory of marriage suggests that egalitarianism in practice and belief leads to higher marital quality for wives and higher levels of positive emotion work on the part of husbands. Our analysis of women’s marital quality and men’s marital emotion work provides little evidence in support of this theory. Rather, in examining women’s marital quality and men’s emotional investments in marriage, we find that dyadic commitment to institutional ideals about marriage and women’s contentment with the division of household tasks are more critical. We also show that men’s marital emotion work is a very important determinant of women’s marital quality.We conclude by noting that “her” marriage is happiest when it combines elements of the new and old: that is, gender equity and normative commitment to the institution of marriage.

Wives are happier when their husbands earn more than 68% of household income; are understanding and affectionate; believe in lifelong committment and also when traditional roles are followed (husband earning, wife caring for family).

More on Dr Wafa Sultan

Arutz Sheva provides a download of her first english interview on the "Tovia Singer Show".
Have only listened to the start but if her previous interviews (and the death threats she's receiving) are anything to go by, this woman is perhaps even more dangerous to the radical Muslim world than the cartoons.


More on the IVF Embryos case

I don't really know quite how to call it but that clunky title will have to suffice. I posted on the case here yesterday.
John Moloney, member of the 3 person subcommittee on the CAHR report said in today's Irish Times that "Clearly there are some recommendations that we are simply unable to comment upon because they centre upon the whole issue of when life begins, and that is not in the remit of our committee to decide on."
The subcommittee does have 2 other interesting members - Fiona O'Malley and Mary Henry, neither known for their impartial stances on this issue.

The IT report ends with a quote from Berry Kiely from the Pro Life Campaign -
Whether or not the human embryo is implanted it has a dignity and value by virtue of its humanity and has a right to be cared for and protected from harm . . . We need a more open debate on assisted human reproduction in Ireland

The Examiner reports that the government is not planning a referendum this year to clarify the status of the human embryo under the constitution. That's not exactly surprising news, is it?


Sunday, March 12, 2006

Irish Blog Awards 2006

Quite disappointed I didn't make it now that I've seen the photos.
I especially like rhymus' b&w set on flickr.
Attractive bunch, bloggers.

Irish Courts Will Have to Decide Who Owns Human Life

Yesterday’s Irish Independent reports on a case similar to the Johnson-Evans case last week in the UK.
An unnamed Irish couple are currently wrangling over their frozen embryos, created as a part of IVF treatment. They have since separated but the woman/mother wants to go ahead and implant the embryos, and hopefully give birth to them, while the man/father says no.
This sort of case is becoming increasingly prevalent and just seems so heartbreaking.
Fundamental questions need to be asked here, though.
Both parents consented to have the embryos created. The embryos are human embryos. They are humans that exist, suspended in a vial in liquid nitrogen in Rathgar. Hardly a dignified habitat and certainly not one we readily associate with the human condition – but they are human nonetheless. They’re certainly tiny but genetically complete humans with growth potential to become bigger humans.
It is very difficult to argue that embryos are not unborn, as per the constitutional definition – they have not passed through the final rite of birth – but yet they exist, and in the natural history/timecourse of their lives, birth is a future event. They are humans without birth (“gan breithe”) who need a change in their environment (implantation) to reach birth.
Are frozen human embryos less deserving of life, simply because they are suspended unnaturally at a fixed point in their life? Or because so many do not survive the unfreezing process? (40-70% don’t)
Who owns these human embryos? Who has the right to terminate their existence when they live in glass jars? The parents?
The mother, as is traditionally determined in cases of abortion – it is her physical relationship that allows her to make that decision. The father, a bystander in too many cases of unexpected pregnancy, now has a right to demand that children he created be destroyed because he doesn’t want fatherhood.
Has the state a right to compel someone to become a parent? But are they not already parents?
No reasonable person would argue that after a break up of a relationship that the father has a right to make his pregnant girlfriend abort, simply because he no longer wants fatherhood.
Should parents be allowed to renegade on the commitment they made when they created the embryos?  Are you allowed to withdraw consent for parenthood? Can you change your mind after new life has been created?
This case will bring back the questions of life’s beginning to the fore of public debate. The CAHR report will again be discussed. Legislation or referenda will again be mooted as possible solutions.
All these are important debates that have not yet been fully resolved. But in reality, human beings are created as a result of IVF. Perhaps the simplest solution would be follow in line with other countries like Italy or Germany, and only create as many embryos as will be implanted.
This would prevent cases like this. It would prevent the dilemmas faced by clinics with freezers full of embryos – some wanted, some waiting and more forgotten about  and languishing until the 5 year deadline is passed.
As for the case at hand, I really have no idea – I believe in character and that decisions over such important things as creating new people should be taken seriously – and that commitments such as this can not be readily dismissed, simply because one has “moved on”.
Human life is not a commodity – our humanity is not conditional on whether we are wanted or not. Those embryos have humanity, even if they have a father who wants nothing to do with them.
The Irish Independent provides Yes and No columns on this case.


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Oscars - All Talk, Little Action

George Clooney believes that talking about civil rights is a sufficient activity for the Academy Awards (but the Awards have seldom awarded awards to black performers!) and he rabbits on about Hollywood being a great force for bland liberalism and happiness.
But as OxBlog points out -Most of Hollywood's output is geared not to challenge and change opinion, but to follow trends and pander to appetites. While there's nothing necessarily wrong with this if you are trying to sell a product, its not the same as presenting yourself one-dimensionally as a force for progress ahead of your time.
A number of issues have yet to be addressed by Hollywood - for example the dark side of Che Guevara - Lets be reminded that the same darling of the Hollywood establishment was the architect of Castro's prison camp system which later incarcerated AIDS victims. Among his heroic achievements were the killing of fellow socialists who had not disowned their democratic beliefs, and the enlightened doctrine that 'To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary.'

Wafa Sultan - Islamic Middle Ages Clashing with Modernity

I posted recently about Wafa Sultan, the Arab-American psychiatrist who dared to criticise Islam on Al-Jazeera.
There’s an interview with her in today’s New York Times.  
She says - Knowledge has released me from this backward thinking. Somebody has to help free the Muslim people from these wrong beliefs.
She is currently writing a book with the working title – “The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster”.
I’m really looking forward to reading it.


Tom Wolfe on Email

Imagine what he'd say about blogging?
From today's OpinionJournal -
"Using the Internet is the modern form of knitting," he continues. "It's something to do with idle hands. When you knitted, though, you actually had something to show for it at the end. Thomas Jefferson used to answer all his mail from the day before as soon as he got up at dawn. In his position, think of the number of emails he'd have had. He never would have been Thomas Jefferson if he'd been scrupulous about answering all these things. I think email is a wonderful time-waster. It's peerless. Here it is," he concludes, "you can establish contact--useless contact--with innumerable human beings."

I'm a big Tom Wolfe fan - he's probably only fiction writer alive that I'd really like to meet. (What does that say about me??)
Why do I like him so much? The social context, man, it's all about the social context -
All of us are products of this vast plane called the social reality, the weight of the time and place we live, intersecting vertically with the individual psychology, or our impulses. And a person's psyche, to use a vague term, is the result of the intersection." He discusses the work of a path-breaking Spanish brain physiologist named Jose Delgado, who held that "each of us is a transient--that was his phrase--combination of elements from the environment. And as killing as that idea is in one sense, it's pretty close to being true. It all goes back to Hegel's original theory of the Zeitgeist, which is that each age has a moral tone--that's his phrase, too, from 1808, I think--and that you cannot escape that moral tone, no matter what you try to do, and it's going to affect your life in a fundamental way."

Diseased, Demented, Depressed – Medicine and Politics

NHS Blog Doctor links to an article written by the Rt Hon Lord David Owen, CH, former British Foreign Secretary and doctor who discusses the health of most of the major players of later 20th century politics – based in part on his meetings with them.
It’s a really fascinating article.
In light of the breaking news of Milosevic’s death from natural causes, it is interesting to note that both his parents committed suicide.
The interface between medicine and politics is a complex one – medical ethics are thorny political issues and our health service the bane of the government’s existence but a more intricate medical conundrum arises when the head of State gets sick. Owen’s article catalogues the many dilemmas faced by the personal physicans of Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Mitterrand, Paul Deschanel (who once received the British Ambassador stark naked save only his decorations) and many others. Personally, I would much rather be involved in political life as a politician than as a doctor to a politician. I can say quite definitely that I won’t be either!

Another superb medically related post is from Maria at intueri on her reaction to a patient who was very embarrassed by his suicidal intentions. She thought – “That’s it? All the energy in my body flew to my face to prevent a smile from creeping across my lips. I was simultaneously amused and horrified.”.
She continues – “The faces of all the people I had ever interviewed for suicidal ideation shuffled through my mind—how many were there? One hundred? Two hundred? As if flipping through a deck of cards, my mind’s eye caught a glimpse of each face: the Queen holding the single flower of love that her betrothed had spurned; the Joker with his belled cap who was tortured by laughter and taunts that no one else could hear; the King who had attempted to thrust a sword into his head….
Then there were those who had told me that they wanted to kill themselves with hopes of securing a warm hospital bed away from the cold, rainy night. And those who wept salty tears while desiring the chilly embrace of death as the molecules of liquor circulated through their inebriated brains—how quickly their death wishes evaporated along with the alcohol.
What has my occupation done to me that I do not feel any distress with his confession?”

I was always afraid that I would burst out laughing at some of the more colourful stories heard from people with psychotic symptoms. I am continually amazed how being the “doctor” part of the doctor-patient relationship gives me a control that I simply would not have if I was talking to them on the street.
Last week one woman told me that the suds in her washing machine were been stolen by her neighbours, and she had attempted several times to get proof of this by trying to force them to take photos of their washing machine. While I am smiling as I type this, I remained serious and simply said, in my best psychiatrist voice, “and how did that make you feel?”
More distressing than the temptation to laugh, is the cynicism that you somehow lick of the hospital floors. (a bit of an infection control issue, too).
A friend of mine was talking to a patient who was sexually abused as a child. She described how she simply continued questioning her about sleep patterns and her appetite. It was only when she left that she realised the enormity of what that woman, who is forever scarred by her childhood, had told her, a complete stranger. And she just kept going, ticking off the boxes for a diagnosis.

As our lives as medical students seems precariously close to ending (shit – I still know nothing!), maybe we are gradually gaining the clothing that real grown-up doctors wear under their white coats – a professional veneer of Teflon emotional switch-off. This is probably a good thing or we’d never get through the day.
We seem to be told at least once an hour, that we will kill someone as doctors – not if we kill someone, but when.
Most of us are horrified by this revelation. A shiver runs up and down by intestines every time I hear this.
One of the girls in the class, who ticks all the stereotypical “surgeon” characteristics (cut open, take out, sew up, say bye-bye) finds our regular mass hysteria irritating – “of course, we’re going to kill people; let’s just hope we don’t get caught and sued”.
My prospective involvement in someone else’s death induces a desire to pray hysterically on my knees – but her callous attitude makes me want to pray that I never am treated by her. And the thing is, she’s actually quite a nice girl – and will probably get top of the class.
I’m happy to settle for a bare pass in my degree, and an appreciation for humanity in my life.
(Praying it’s honours though!)


Friday, March 10, 2006

Jared Diamond wrong about Easter Island?

I haven't read Collapse (and haven't finised Guns, Germs and Steel which I left in my aunt's house about 3 years ago) but Iain Murray at the Corner links to an article debunking Diamond's theories on Easter Island.
Apparently settlers didn't actually arrive until 1200 AD, 800 years later than those who know these things thought. These new findings challenge the widely held notion that Easter Island's civilization experienced a sudden collapse after centuries of slow growth. If correct, the finding would mean that the island's irreversible deforestation and construction of its famous Moai statues began almost immediately after Polynesian settlers first set foot on the island.
The research published in Science is here.

Michael Neary is NOT a product of Catholic Medical Ethics

He’s the exact opposite of what Catholicism is all about.
I’ve been thinking about this all week since I read Sarah Carey’s article in the ST and heard Sen Mary Henry on Sunday’s This Week.
Both asserted that Neary’s gross negligence and disgusting disregard for his patients was somehow related to his hospital’s Catholic ethos.
I don’t agree. Neary continued his horrifically improper and wrong practices because the old joke “what’s difference between God and the consultant? – God doesn’t think he’s a consultant” is still unfortunately true for too many consultants in the Irish health service. What they say goes.
Lamenting Catholic influence in Irish hospitals is useless in attempting to ensure that such extraordinary malpractice will never again go unchecked. Irish patients, and Irish doctors would be better served if the Medical Council had better practices with regard to whistleblowers and continual clinical audit for all consultants. A more transparent system of promotion and a greater number of consultant positions would hopefully allow for house officers and registrars to voice their concerns about antiquated or plain wrong medical practice that their firm engages in, based on a single consultant’s opinion.
Ronan Mullen wrote about this in Wednesday’s Examiner and I have to agree with the following passages – The whole article is well worth a read.
First regarding Mary Henry -
There was no mention that the senator and ex-Rotunda Hospital physician had not been a neutral in any of the great debates about healthcare or reproductive issues over the last 20 years. Nor was there any indication that RTÉ had sought to balance the discussion by having a Catholic on the programme to discuss the Catholic ethos in hospitals. Most bizarre of all, of course, was the decision to frame a primetime discussion of the Lourdes Hospital scandal as a story about the influence of the Catholic ethos on healthcare.
And then Neary’s Catholic ethics – or patent lack thereof - The Neary saga, emphatically, is not about Catholic medical ethics. It’s about the exercise of power in the doctor-patient relationship. It’s about the unassailable authority and influence of consultants in hospitals. It’s about the lack of accountability and peer-scrutiny within the medical profession. Most crucially, it’s about abuses that could happen today in any hospital, regardless of whether that hospital has a religious ethos or not. What Neary did - performing hysterectomies on women who neither needed nor wanted them - was in violation, not just of Catholic medical ethics, but of the most elementary principles in health care. Do no harm. Do as much good as possible.

He rightly highlights the nuns unquestioning acquiescence in front of the consultant. This however is not a phenomenon restricted to religious hospitals.
Here, we do actually find a problem with the way the nuns ran things. According to Judge Harding-Clark, they “had created an aura of unquestioning respect around the consultants, who were revered.” But if this is true, it surely has nothing to do with Catholic ethos, and everything to do with the insecurity of the individual managers of that hospital in the face of the consultants. Anybody who thinks that an unquestioning attitude towards hospital consultants is the preserve of Catholic healthcare providers is badly out of touch with the problems that bedevil the Irish healthcare system to this day.

Ronan also says –
All of these contextual arguments are simply spurious when you consider that Neary only informed patients after the event of what he had done. Long after the Catholic ethos had waned in hospitals all over the country, he was still acting in an utterly unaccountable fashion in Drogheda. That some people choose to attack the Catholic Church’s role in healthcare, instead of asking the more serious and obvious questions about the accountability of doctors which this case demands, perhaps illustrates how much they actually care about this tragedy and the people who suffered because of it. It is always tawdry and tasteless when people pursue their own agendas on the back of a worthy cause.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Blog Fundraising for Relatives in Need

From Gavin's Blog.
Check it out - his cousin (a Longfordian culchie like this blogger) was left quadraplegic following a rugby scrum accident and is now fundraising for support.

Lent, Chocolate and Birthdays

I don't know if Ice Cream Ireland did this on purpose or not (I'm guessing not) but on my birthday (I'm now 23!) they posted about the joys of good chocolate and Lent.
I'm not really giving up anything this Lent - I am however getting up as soon as the alarm clock rings. I've done pretty well so far.
I do however like this list from Kieran Murphy in Dingle (who is now being put on my things-to-do-once-exams-are-over-and-i-do-things-in-the-evening-not-involving-textbooks list)

1. Chocolate with zero cocoa content
2. Pre-packaged meats from supermarkets
3. Tinned prawns
4. Wine in gallon jugs
5. UHT milk and cream
6. Processed cheeses
7. Non-free-range eggs
8. Anything with food colouring
9. Instant coffee
10. Fast food

(In the interests of full disclosure to God about Lent and stuff (God reads blogs, too, you know) - I really can't buy into this one seriously as penance - I avoid pretty much all of the above all of the time. Food Colouring is about the only thing I fall down in - Fruit Pastilles grow on trees right?)

Hands Off Our Ovaries and International Woman's Day

I had a crazy day yesterday and was saving this site to post on International Woman's Day - a day I don't celebrate. But anyway, this site was launched yesterday and is an interesting contrast to other events organised.

Hands Off Our Ovaries has a simple manifesto - because losing even one woman's life is too high a price to pay.

More details -
Biotechnological research and development affects women more directly than men. In the case of human embryonic cloning, women’s health and safety have already been affected—adversely. Sadly, there have been too many instances of coercion and deception, and violations of informed consent. Left uncontrolled, research demands will place undue burdens on young, poor women. We deserve a biotechnology that is not degrading and destructive to women's health. The ends do not justify these sorts of means.


Monday, March 06, 2006

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

is not the reason blogging has been light in recent days.
I have been studying the more common medical/surgical conditions in the last few days with a new lease of student life - one of those stupendously great study weekends - despite not really doing anything Saturday and taking Sunday off for a rare posh family dinner out. (we don't do dining out unless it's to a posh place - my mother's cooking tends to ensure disappointment otherwise)
By the time I read my bloglines page, I was ready for bed (Differential diagnosis anyone? Is ME really that common? What tests? Management? - hit me, I'm in automated answer mode).
But I do plan to have a few posts up tommorrow.

In the meantime Dr Crippen, the
NHS Blog Doctor has a post on myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or chronic fatigue syndrome, the support group politics and how it might all be due tick transmitted spirochaete.
While this theory has been floated around for a while, one of Dr Crippen's patient with ME/chronic fatigue eventually tested positive for Lyme Disease. Cool or wha?


Friday, March 03, 2006

The Manifesto

We reject cultural relativism, which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of 'Islamophobia', an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.
We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas."

Indeed we do.
Published yesterday in the French Charlie Hebdo.

All Things Beautiful has all the information, including profiles of the 12 signatories - among them Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

World Book Day – What Your Favourite Niece/Nephew Should Read

Not your children – because you want to educate them – but what your favourite niece/nephew should read to be inspired, to giggle and to stay up reading all night with a torch and a Golden Delicious apple (the way I spent most of my weekend nights as a teenager – lights out time correlated linearly with the good-great rating of the book).
Of course you can want your children (and the brats of nephews) to read these books too, but I think it’s kinda cool to be an aunt/uncle who brings books that can change lives/perspectives, or just change a dreary afternoon into a magical one.

My off-the-top-of-my-head choices are the Anne of the Green Gables series; all of Austen; Anne Frank's Diary; Elie Wiesel's Night; Solzenhetsyn's Cancer Ward (inspire them to be doctors!). I have many more but don’t have time to think through them.

Other blogs on world book day – Sinead (add Rebecca to that list too!) Richard, DL’s Kevin, In Fact Ah’s Colm.
They’re listing problems with books – I just have a problem with one sort of book – the textbook that’s liable to fracture a metatarsal on a gentle slide from the desktop. I don’t really like the ubiquitous pocket textbook either.
Textbooks just don’t suit my constitution.

And for Lent, Matthew, I Will Be

wearing a Weapon of Mass Destruction T-Shirt.

Think about it.


AmericanPapist who says he's not an average Catholic - he really isn't - he's pretty intense, but quite funny. And obsessed with the papacy. Check out the picture he uses for his banner. And the Papist News Ticker.

And the story about the Pope saying there needs to be more dialogue on a greater role for women in the institutional church.

In highly improbable case of readers looking for a girl wearing one of these T-Shirts around Dublin - I won't be.
I don't do T-Shirts with stuff written on them - but will make an exception for this one.


Those Feckin' Jesuits (and the Riots)

Indymedia Ireland Watch have a post on "radical jesuit priest" ™, "Father" Peter McVerry and his strange roundabouts on last weekend's riots -
McVerry's operation, the very embodiment of creeping jaysusism in Ireland, second only to the Combat Poverty Agency, thrives on taxpayer's money to help criminals and the homeless, while he criticises the police, went on record in several Irish newspapers and live on the Joe Duffy Liveline show on RTE 1 Radio, saying that the fascist violence in Dublin over the weekend was related to the passing away in police custody of alleged hoodlum and robber of the disabled, Terence Wheelock. How this event was related to the attempted lynching of Asian shopworkers during the riot McVerry could not explain, however.
Indymedia Watch keeps an eye on the removal of comments and censorship that Indymedia indulge in - while it can get a bit technical at times, it's a great read. (I thought I had it in my bloglines links folder - but now it is)
What is with normal religious who start full time advocacy in the "poverty industry" and their complete inability to hold onto reason?
(I was going to say sanity - but they do show heroic sanity in the actual work attempting to alleviate poverty - it's the auld committteeees that mess them up, methinks)