Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Another deadly multicultural doctor in Britain
A back surgeon has been allowed to carry on working at a private hospital despite blunders that left one man severely disabled and another man dead.
Ahmed Abbas Hussein is still working at the Rivers Hospital in Hertfordshire, where he is described as having `extensive experience in spinal surgery'.
But patients are not told of his past errors, which robbed Andrew Sutton of his mobility and caused father Dean Bircham to bleed to death. Both underwent surgery to have back pain relieved.
Mr Bircham went under the knife in September 2010, three months after the surgeon received a formal warning from the General Medical Council over his treatment of Mr Sutton.
But Mr Hussein never told his patient of the warning, and nor did staff at the Rivers Hospital. Under GMC rules, neither was obliged to do so.
Mr Bircham's wife Julie, 55, said: `Had Dean known Mr Hussein's history, he would never have consented to surgery.'
During the operation - to replace a spinal disc - Mr Hussein damaged a vein, causing massive bleeding.
A week later, following the amputation of a septic leg, Mr Bircham died of multiple organ failure. Mrs Bircham successfully sued Mr Hussein and won a seven-figure sum.
Five years before Mr Bircham's death, Mr Hussein made mistakes that `devastated' Mr Sutton's life.
He accidentally tore a membrane covering the spinal cord, leading to nerve damage. Mr Hussein was originally suspended by the GMC over Mr Sutton's case, but it was reduced to a warning on appeal.
Ramsay Health Care, which runs the Rivers Hospital, said it was up to the GMC whether to let a consultant practise.
The GMC said it had received a complaint from Mrs Bircham about the death of her husband.
Mississippi flag, a rebel holdout, is in a new fight
In single strokes after the massacre of nine black churchgoers at a Charleston church in June, Confederate battle flags were taken from statehouse grounds in South Carolina and Alabama, pulled from shelves at retailers like Walmart, and declared unwelcome, if to limited effect, at NASCAR races.
What happened so swiftly elsewhere is not so simple in Mississippi. The Confederate battle flag is not simply flying in one hotly disputed spot at the state Capitol but occupying the upper left corner of the state flag, which has been flying since 1894. And as recently as 2001, Mississippians voted by a nearly 2-to-1 ratio to keep it. Recent polls suggest the majority have not changed their minds.
“My flag’s been flying for 33 years, and I’m not about to take it down,” said Nancy Jenkins, 58, a postal worker who is white and who flies the Mississippi flag and the US flag at her house a block south of Louisville City Hall. “It doesn’t stand for hate. It means a lot of people fought and died.”
Over the past few months, there have been scattered outbreaks of municipal defiance by those who find the Confederate flag offensive, as mayors and city councils from the Delta to the Pine Belt have decided to no longer fly the state flag.
But beyond these sporadic gestures, any organized effort was always going to wait until politicians were on the safe side of this year’s election. With the closing of the polls Tuesday night, what could turn out to be the last battle over the Confederate flag in Mississippi has begun in earnest.
“It’s all about momentum,” said Dane Waters, president of the Citizens in Charge Foundation, which organizes ballot initiatives and referendums nationwide. “If you take a pocket here and pocket there of things happening, I don’t think anything is going to change.”
This week, Waters, a self-described conservative who has been retained by a group of people he declined to name, will arrive in Mississippi for a difficult task: forming an unlikely and perhaps unmanageable alliance of preachers, business executives, state boosters, and civil rights advocates to remove forever the Confederate battle flag from the state flag.
He is working with the Flag for All Mississippians Coalition, which was started by Sharon Brown, an activist in Jackson, who is black. The campaign has been organizing supporters and held a hundreds-strong rally at the state Capitol. But Waters spoke of other tools that will be brought to bear outside the public eye, such as pressure on political donors and lobbying in the Legislature.
The coalition he and others are trying to put together would need to unite groups almost never politically aligned, testing the depth of what Waters called the state’s “tremendous social, economic and racial divide.”
In the immediate aftermath of Charleston, it seemed that such a coalition might be possible here. Several conservative political leaders called for a change, including the state’s two US senators and the speaker of the Mississippi House. Down came flags at city buildings in Grenada, Magnolia, Starkville, Clarksdale, and Yazoo City. In October, even the University of Mississippi lowered the flag at the circle where segregationists once clashed with federal troops over the admission of James Meredith.
But the move to change the flag, which, in the words of the daughter of the state senator who designed it, was intended to “perpetuate in a legal and lasting way that dear battle flag under which so many of our people had so gloriously fought,” is not widely popular.
“This is what we stand for — this is our pride,” Trey Jefcoat, a 26-year-old construction worker in Hattiesburg, said on the October day that the nearby University of Southern Mississippi took down the state flag on campus. “We don’t think it’s offensive, and most of the black folks I know don’t think it’s offensive.”
Partisanship in Mississippi has become ever more racially polarized, and there are few topics on which racial division has been more explicit. In the 2001 referendum, according to the book “Mississippi Politics: The Struggle for Power, 1976-2008,” 90 percent of whites voted to keep the flag as it is. Among blacks, 95 percent voted for a new design, which replaced the cross with a circle of white stars.
“Don’t try to force me as a black man who knows his history to honor something that goes against my heritage,” said Robert Brown, a 42-year-old barber in Louisville, a small town in the central Mississippi pines with a population that is about 60 percent black.
Over the summer, Brown began using his post at Eiland’s Straight Line Barbershop to expound upon the causes of the Civil War, lecturing to the men who had come in for a trim or a shave about slavery, the meaning of the battle flag, and the offense of its lingering in the state flag. One evening in September, he went to City Hall to ask that officials follow the example of the other scattered towns and cities around the state, and vote on whether to fly the state flag.
He was met, he said, with mannerly talk of pressing budgets and correct protocol, and ultimately told that this was really an issue best left to the Legislature. The state flag still flies.
If a new flag is to be adopted, the simple math of a 60 percent white majority statewide dictates that it will come down to whether enough whites support it, either in the Legislature or at the polls. Feelings about the flag run so deep — as evident from the recent arrest of a man in Tupelo who was accused of firebombing a Walmart for not selling Confederate merchandise — that a widespread change of heart seems hard to fathom.
At a Hardee’s a few blocks north of Louisville City Hall, older men talked over coffee of how “the blacks” tried to get the flag taken down at City Hall and the cemetery — one man drives by daily to make sure they are still flying — and how such crusades would be as doomed across the state as they were here.
The minority who want the flag changed should not be allowed to dictate to the majority who want it kept, Carl Higginbotham, 63, said.
“Funds need to be cut off for that school,” he added of Ole Miss.
With sentiments like these widespread, many advocates of a change in the flag, Democrat and Republican alike, believe their only hope lies in the Legislature. They speak bluntly of the odds against them in a statewide vote and of the kind of international attention Mississippi would attract. But they also acknowledge that legislators and state officials, beyond those who staunchly defend the current flag, would probably be quite happy to turn over such an incendiary topic to a referendum.
Derrick Johnson, president of the state conference of the NAACP, said he would actively oppose a referendum, insisting that economic pressure was the only answer. “There’s never been a change in Mississippi when it comes to racial relations without pressure,” he said.
Representative Scott DeLano, a Republican, also said a legislative solution was the preferred way to bring about a change, but he insisted that too much partisanship or provocation could jeopardize the good will required for a successful vote.
“Within Republican circles there have been discussions about this,” he said, “about how we start the discussion and how we work towards unifying the state, and what that discussion would look like.”
“I think it’s going to take some more time,” he added.
Time appears to be somewhat short. Governor Phil Bryant, a Republican who won an overwhelming victory over token opposition Tuesday, recently came out in support of putting the question on next year’s ballot.
“I trust the people of the state of Mississippi as they are the sovereigns of this state,” he said recently. “They should be empowered as to the decision of what their flag should look like.”
Feminists need to get real
It's all very well having a career, darling,' my mother suddenly said out of the blue one day, `but don't forget a husband and babies.'
I was outraged. I had a job and a string of unsuitable boyfriends. I was 25! But I must have hearkened to her matronly advice as, 12 months later, as night follows day, I was pregnant and married (in that order, by the way).
And now Vivienne Durham, the head of an exclusive London girls' day school, has got everyone into a frightful stew by saying much the same thing to girls.
`I'm sorry, I'm not a feminist. I believe there is a glass ceiling - if we tell them there isn't one, we are telling them a lie,' she said. `Women still have to plan for a biological fact - ie motherhood.'
Fellow headmistresses from all over the world wrote in their hordes to criticise her, accusing her of gender stereotyping, of chanting `tick tock' at teenagers, and other thoughtcrimes against groupthink.
`A head teacher who implies it is the mother's sole responsibility has neither caught up with the law about parental leave nor our changing society's expectations,' chuntered Athene Donald, a professor of physics at Cambridge.
Then a fertility expert called Geeta Nargund said there was really no need to worry about either falling off the career ladder or a biological cliff, as `girls today can put their eggs - instead of their careers - on ice'.
She called for a common national tariff for IVF across the NHS, as if a series of expensive and invasive medical interventions were a better solution to the problem of trying to have it all, rather than us breeding when nature intended and somehow muddling through. `They can use science to achieve the same as men,' Nargund claimed.
This is all rot. All Mrs Durham is guilty of is telling the truth. But for this she was metaphorically placed on the great British bonfire and set ablaze.
Nobody pointed out that all Mrs D had said was, as things stand, it's still women who gestate, deliver, and nurse babies, and this can at times get in the way of other professional or career objectives.
Indeed, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said `a wife and mother', as I didn't think other options existed, aged seven. Meanwhile, a certain blond boy who had exited the same womb only 14 months earlier replied without hesitation: `World King.'
Nobody pointed out that what Mrs Durham said was once - within living memory - so obvious that it needed no stating: that if you wanted to have children you had to get a move on in your 20s and 30s, and this was what most women did, back then.
And nobody pointed out the real elephant in the room - that no headteacher is standing in front of a group of boys and saying: `One day, lads, you will have to plan for a biological fact - ie fatherhood.'
This isn't a conversation we're having, yet, with males, even though most babies have two parents. Once the pregnancy and birth and weaning are over, both - let's say for the sake of argument a man and a woman - could in theory work out how to raise the child together.
Mrs Durham's urging of girls to check their biological calendars before planning their lives was actually a reminder that men don't make the same choices when it comes to starting a family, or career breaks. This is because only one in three women is the main breadwinner, paternity pay is a pitiful œ136 a week, and men still don't avail themselves - for whatever reason - of the right to a year of shared childcare, and full co-parenting honours, because that's not what chaps do, not in this country, not yet.
Mrs Durham was right and brave to mention, in loco parentis, motherhood as an alternative to a career or profession, because it IS a respected and time-honoured option for women, far more than full-time fatherhood is for men.
And who wants to be World King, anyway?
'Nothing to celebrate': Leftists in Spain lash out at Columbus Day celebrations
As King Felipe presided over a military parade to celebrate Spain’s National Day, several of the country’s new crop of leftist mayors took aim at the origins of the holiday, siding with a growing movement that questions the commemoration of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World.
On Monday, thousands of Spaniards waved flags and cheered as some 3,400 soldiers in uniform marched through the streets of Madrid. As armed forces aircraft flew overhead, leaving a trail of smoke in the yellow and red colours of the Spanish flag, Barcelona mayor Ada Colau decried the national day that honours Columbus’s arrival in the New World and Spain’s armed forces.
“Shame that a nation celebrates a genocide and, on top of that, with a military parade that costs 800,000 euros,” she tweeted. Her stance was seconded by several other members of her Barcelona En Comú party.
Colau’s view echoed that of José María González, the Podemos-backed mayor of the southern Spanish city of Cádiz. “We never discovered America, we massacred and suppressed a continent and its cultures in the name of God. Nothing to celebrate,” tweeted the mayor, who leads the Por Cádiz Sí Se Puede party (For Cádiz, Yes We Can).
Teresa Rodríguez, Podemos’s leader in Andalucía, also weighed in. “I think a national holiday should mark one’s own liberation and not the slavery of another.”
Her tweet was accompanied with a picture of a banner that read: “America was not discovered, it was invaded and looted. In America, civilizations already existed.”
Their comments tap into a transatlantic movement that has sought to counter the attention given to Columbus’ 1492 landing in the New World and instead highlight the cultures that were displaced in the wake of his arrival. In the US, cities including Seattle and Albuquerque, have joined the movement, renaming Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples Day.
The strong stance of the leftist Spanish mayors laid bare the polarisation of Spanish society and clashed with the thousands who lined the streets of Madrid and – in smaller numbers – Barcelona and Pamplona, to celebrate the country’s national day.
Their view also contrasted sharply with Spain’s conservative prime minister, who pushed the idea of the day as a commemoration to be shared between Spaniards and Latin Americans. “October 12 is a day for all Hispanics,” Mariano Rajoy wrote in Spanish daily El País, in an editorial that highlighted the contribution of Latin American migrants to Spain.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.