Doctor Giggles got “floaty” while treating kids in hospital

A doctor inhaled laughing gas for ‘fun’ whilst he was treating children on a hospital A&E ward, a medical tribunal heard today.

Paediatrician Dr Jonathan Chahal, 33, was caught out when he was heard giggling in a resuscitation room by two on-duty nurses, it was claimed.

He then allegedly persuaded several nurses to breathe in the anaesthetic gas Entonox after telling them: ‘It makes me feel floaty.’

The drug has a warning from manufacturers saying people should not use machinery for up to 12 hours after taking it, the General Medical Council was told.

Are children tougher than tractors?

The incidents were said to have occurred in 2007 when Chahal, a senior house, officer was working as a locum at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in the children’s accidental and emergency ward. Counsel for the GMC…told the Manchester hearing how nurses Christine Timmons and Siobhan Fitzgerald were on duty at 2pm on June 27 when they went into the resuscitation room and spotted Chahal taking Entonox…

‘They were invited by Dr Chahal to sample the Entonox…

On July 5 nurses Briony Routledge and Amanda Howe were on duty at the Children’s A&E department when they spotted Chahal using Entonox consistently throughout the night.

Mr Sephton added: ‘He offered it to them and also offered it to a student nurse Helen Aspinall – two of them accepted Doctor Chahal’s offer…’

The doctor denies his fitness to practise was impaired.

Stick to your guns, doc. That is – if you can find them, figure out which end makes the big noise?

Public support in Pakistan for the Swat offensive remains strong

Two months into a military offensive against Taliban militants, public opinion is firmly behind the civilian government and the military and it shows no sign of wavering.

Investors in Pakistani stocks have been unnerved by the violence, which has included a string of suicide bombs in cities and attacks on the military across the north. But investors and the Pakistani people in general wanted to see the offensive prosecuted to the end, and only then would their confidence be restored, said a stock broker.

‘It is absolutely necessary for the government to control and counter these terrorist elements and regain its writ to end the state of despondency among the people who had started to feel there was no one to protect them,’ said Asif Qureshi, director of Invisor Securities.

‘Let alone foreign investors, the success of this operation is essential for the restoration of confidence among local investors as well,’ he said…

Rashid Rehman said…‘It may be partly American pressure but it is certainly also an internal assessment that ‘yes, we’ve lost control of these guys and they’ve gone haywire, something has to be done’…

Everybody wants this filth wiped out,’ said retired school principal Nighat Anis. ‘The operation must be carried on so that no one like Osama (bin Laden) could dare come here.’

Some of the religious parties continue their political battle on the streets – trying to dissuade a continued excision of the Taliban. They have become closer to laughable than effective. I think they are not only tailing behind changes in public opinions, they may just be painting themselves into a corner.

Politics and Prurience

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

I had no particular interest in rubbernecking this Mark Sanford disaster. People make mistakes. The flesh is weak, the heart disobedient and marriages hard. According to the General Social Survey, about 10 percent of married people admit that they have cheated on their spouses…

At the end of the day, aside from the dereliction of duty and malfeasance, this, for me, would be a private matter. That is if it were not for the appalling hypocrisy of yet another social conservative saying one thing while doing another.

There are Democratic sex scandals to be sure, but Democrats didn’t build a franchise on holier-than-thou moral rectitude. The Republicans did. They used sexual morality as a weapon and now it’s shooting them in the foot…

And this kind of hypocrisy isn’t confined to the politicians. It permeates the electorate. While conservatives fight to “defend” marriage from gays, they can’t keep theirs together. According to the Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract, states that went Republican in November accounted for eight of the 10 states with the highest divorce rates in 2006.

Conservatives touted abstinence-only education, which was a flop, when real sex education was needed, most desperately in red states. According to 2006 data from the Guttmacher Institute, those red states accounted for eight of the 10 states with the highest teenage birthrates.

And, a study titled “Red Light States: Who Buys Online Adult Entertainment?” that was conducted by Benjamin Edelman, an assistant professor of business at Harvard Business School and published earlier this year in the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that subscriptions to online pornography sites were “more prevalent in states where surveys indicate conservative positions on religion, gender roles, and sexuality” and in states where “more people agree that ‘I have old-fashioned values about family and marriage.’ ”

They could avoid this hypocrisy by focusing more on what happens in their own bedrooms and avoiding the trap of judging what goes on in everyone else’s.

So, who actually invented hypocrisy? Republicans or Christians?

Madoff sentenced to 150 years!

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

A federal judge sentenced Bernard L. Madoff to 150 years in prison on Monday for operating a huge Ponzi scheme that devastated thousands of people, calling his crimes “extraordinarily evil.”

In pronouncing the sentence — the maximum he could have handed down — Judge Denny Chin turned aside Mr. Madoff’s own assertions of remorse and rejected the suggestion from Mr. Madoff’s lawyers that there was a sense of “mob vengeance” surrounding calls for a long prison term.

“Objectively speaking, the fraud here was staggering,” the judge said. “It spanned more than 20 years.”

More than 20 years of the SEC abdicating their chartered responsibility.

NYC politicians will miss the annual donations, catered affairs at the penthouse, benefits at the country club. Politicians who could have made a difference over these decades – didn’t do a damned thing.

New Orleans coastline will be submerged by 2100

Photograph by Tyrone Turner

A vast swath of the coastal lands around New Orleans will be underwater by the dawn of the next century because the rate of sediment deposit in the Mississippi delta can not keep up with rising sea levels.

Between 10,000 and 13,500 square kilometres of coastal lands will drown due to rising sea levels and subsidence by 2100, a far greater loss than previous estimates.

For New Orleans, and other low-lying areas of Louisiana whose vulnerability was exposed by hurricane Katrina, the findings could bring some hard choices about how to defend the coast against the future sea level rises that will be produced by climate change.

They also revive the debate about the long-term sustainability of New Orleans and other low-lying areas.

Scientists say New Orleans and the barrier islands to the south will be severely affected by climate change by the end of this century, with sea level rise and growing intensity of hurricanes. Much of the land mass of the barrier island chain sheltering New Orleans was lost in the 2005 storm.

But the extent of the land that will be lost is far greater than earlier forecasts suggest, said Dr Michael Blum and Prof Harry Roberts, the authors of the study. “When you look at the numbers you come to the conclusion that the resources are just not there to restore all the coast, and that is one of the major points of this paper,” said Roberts, a professor emeritus of marine geology at Louisiana State University.

Professional skeptics and pundits who pander to know-nothings need not worry. They’ll be dead and gone by then – and the effect of their carelessness will only be visited upon their children’s children. BTW – Blum and Roberts do suggest solutions.

Those who try to develop political and social standards based upon science will keep on with the good fight. Here in the GOUSA, it’s a given that superstition and fear produce more votes than reason and study. The battle with opportunist politicians is still the focus – not wasting time blathering with fools.

Pic of the Weekend

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

You can’t be happy when your team loses; but, the United States getting to play in a Final ending with a close defeat by Brazil in the Confederations Cup, 2-3 in South Africa is something that would be unheard of a few years ago.

The RSA team played better than anyone thought they could. The USA team did as well – and good enough to make the final. Both of these teams surprised the experts. There are national teams in many football powerhouse nations who didn’t even get into the tourney. Their pundits will have suitable excuses to go along with unique answers as to how and why the US team made it to the end. I won’t elaborate.

Tim Howard was my man of the tournament all along. I said so in earlier posts.

Congratulations, Tim. And keep the Blue side of Liverpool on top next season.

Now legal to save a raindrop or two in Colorado

For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West.

Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago.

Now two new laws in Colorado will allow many people to collect rainwater legally. The laws are the latest crack in the rainwater edifice, as other states, driven by population growth, drought, or declining groundwater in their aquifers, have already opened the skies or begun actively encouraging people to collect…

Who owns the sky, anyway? In most of the country, that is a question for philosophy class or bad poetry. In the West, lawyers parse it with straight faces and serious intent. The result, especially stark here in the Four Corners area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, is a crazy quilt of rules and regulations — and an entire subculture of people like Mr. Bartels who have been using the rain nature provided but laws forbade.

The two Colorado laws allow perhaps a quarter-million residents with private wells to begin rainwater harvesting, as well as the setting up of a pilot program for larger scale rain-catching.

Just 75 miles west of here, in Utah, collecting rainwater from the roof is still illegal unless the roof owner also owns water rights on the ground; the same rigid rules, with a few local exceptions, also apply in Washington State. Meanwhile, 20 miles south of here, in New Mexico, rainwater catchment, as the collecting is called, is mandatory for new dwellings in some places like Santa Fe.

Trouble is – AFAIK – it’s still illegal throughout much of New Mexico for the government to catch rainwater. As more land is paved for streets and parking lots, more rain runs off into arroyos.

During monsoon season, right now, every brief heavy storm send millions of gallons cascading through arroyos towards the downstate rios – the Pecos and Rio Grande, eventually. I’ve suggested a number of times that we emulate the bright people of Chennai in India and build riffles and sinks into the arroyos and send that water down into local aquifers.

It’s been painfully explained that True Locals would never allow such a thing. Farmers downstate would weep and wail. The few that remain from a society that needed subsistence farming a century ago, that is.