Warren Zevon - Gone 10 years

Great piece in the Guardian about one of my musical heroes.  

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Warren Zevon, who died a decade ago this September at the far-too-premature age of 56, was a singer, a songwriter and one of the great under-appreciated talents in modern America. But he could also be, as his friends, family and lovers will quickly tell you, a pain in the ass. He was at times intimidating, self-destructive, aloof. “He had tonnes of charisma, but when he didn’t want people coming up to him, he had charisma in reverse,” his ex-wife Crystal Zevon remembers.

As a father, he was largely absent until his son and daughter were adults: “He had no language for dealing with children. As a teenager, I was angry that he wasn’t there for me as a kid, angry at him for mistreating my mom,” says his and Crystal’s daughter, Ariel. And when he was drinking, he was almost unbearable: erratic, violent, emotionally absent, impossible.

The rotten side of the NHS

In an interview on BBC radio, Care QualityCommission chairman David Prior described the allegation that his organisation covered up failings as "shocking".
But perhaps the truly most shocking element of all this is that we are not really that surprised.
The findings laid bare by consultants Grant Thornton on Wednesday confirms something that is becoming clearer and clearer as the months go by: that the in the early part of the 21st century a rotten culture developed in the NHS that put the self-interest ahead of patients.
In short, the NHS stopped caring.
Peter Walsh, of the patient group Action Against Medical Accidents, says while it is pleasing the NHS is admitting it has a problem, he is still not sure the systems being put in place are "robust or proactive" enough to deal with problems when they happen.
"I am not confident we have the right systems in place, the regulatory system is still not simple enough."

It's not about having the right systems, it's about having the right PEOPLE. As has been shown time and time again. 

Families condemn 'rotten' NHS cover-up over 16 baby deaths at Morecambe Bay as data protection stops culprits being named. Daily Mail


 

Most borrowed book in Parliament

It offers tips on how to ‘doughnut’ - or surround a speaker in Parliament in order to create the impression on television that the session is well-attended - and how to prevent a political career from derailing a marriage.

Chapter titles include “How to convince voters that the MP never stops working”, “How to dilute boredom”, “How to Climb the Greasy Pole” and “How to write an Abusive Letter”.

 

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It says of IPSA, the expenses watchdog loathed by many Members: "It should be humanely put down, buried under a slab of concrete never to rise again from its dishonoured grave. But until that happens, you'll just have to live with it."

A chapter towards the end of the book gives advice on “How to be Ennobled.”

In the foreword Speaker John Bercow “thoroughly recommends” the book.

Source: Daily Telegraph

Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.

An extraordinary thing has happened. Now, thanks to severely depressed Americans, neither chance nor intention… neither the gods nor terrorists… pose a bigger threat to them than they pose to themselves.
Preliminary research at Rutgers suggests that the risk for suicide is unlikely to abate for future generations. Changes in marriage, social isolation and family roles mean many of the pressures faced by baby boomers will continue in the next generation, Dr. Phillips said.
“The boomers had great expectations for what their life might look like, but I think perhaps it hasn’t panned out that way,” she said. “All these conditions the boomers are facing, future cohorts are going to be facing many of these conditions as well.”

 

 

Why do we still allow this?

A nurse has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a four-week-old baby who bled to death after a botched home circumcision.

Goodluck Caubergs died the day after Grace Adeleye carried out the procedure without anaesthetic, using only a pair of scissors, forceps and olive oil, a trial at Manchester Crown Court heard.

The 67-year-old is originally from Nigeria, as are the youngster’s parents, where the circumcision of newborns is a tradition for Christian families, the jury heard.

Adeleye, who is also a midwife, was paid £100 for the operation as Goodluck’s parents were not aware the procedure was available on the NHS.

 

It's the 21st century and we not only permit the genital mutilation of male babies but even provide it on the NHS! (For a fee, admittedly)

Mother's against circumcision

Vodka 'saved' elephants in freeze

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Two elephants have been saved from the deadly Siberian cold by drinking vodka, Russian officials say.

They say the animals had to be taken out into the bitter cold after the wooden trailer they were travelling in caught fire in the Novosibirsk region.

The elephants, aged 45 and 48, suffered frostbite to the tips of their ears amid temperatures of -40C (-40F)

But they were warmed up by two cases of vodka mixed with warm water, one official was quoted as saying.

"They started roaring like if they were in the jungle! Perhaps, they were happy," the official told Russia's Ria Novosti news agency.

 

Gorging on anti-corporate baloney

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Rather than endless calls for regulations, bans and taxes - whose efficacy is doubtful but whose effect on personal autonomy would be substantial - it would be far better to recognise that any diet with some modicum of balance will be fine for most people, who will live to a greater age than their parents or grandparents, on average, no matter how much disapproved food they consume. Claims that any particular food is some dietary panacea should be treated with a large, metaphorical pinch of salt, whoever makes them, whether they are an evil mega corporation or the bloke behind the counter at the health-food shop.

Above all, a similarly healthy scepticism should be applied to crusading medics who want to scare us with the idea that Big Food is out to kill us and who encourage politicians to regulate what we eat.

 

Some BBQ

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The entire governing body of a poorly performing school that blew £6,000 of its budget on a headteacher's leaving party has resigned over 'financial irregularity'.

Parents and politicians condemned the decision to use money from the ailing budget at Sherwood Park Community Primary School in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, on the summer send-off for Keith Marden.

The school had been given a highly critical Ofsted report and placed in special measures just a month before Mr Marden retired in July.

The surprise celebration, held to mark the end of Mr Marden's 25-year tenure as head, took place at the school and is thought to have included a barbecue and a band, as well as, according to one senior councillor, 'quite a lot of drink'.