Sunday, July 31, 2005

Tom Cruise is a lousy dad

After Steven Spielberg expressed regret about the way he portrayed a father in the movie Close Encounters, I thought that he would do better in War Of The Worlds. But no, the Tom Cruise character turns out to be a worthless father who does not know or trust his kids, and cannot care for them. They don't seem to like or trust him either. In the end, he just delivers them to their mother, who has remarried another man.

I don't get it. The Cruise character is a much worse father than the Richard Dreyfus character in Close Encounters. Tom Cruise was so annoying that I walked out of the movie, and went to watch The Island instead.

The Island

I just watched the movie The Island. Spoilers below.

The movie is about a govt-funded lab that does therapeutic cloning. It had agreed to follow ethical guidelines with the clones, but it got better results by violating them, and it kept its violations super-secret.

The lab chief talks about how he is going to find a cure for leukemia and is accused of playing God. When someone threatens to expose what he is doing to the public, he hires a professional hit man. When it turns out that human lives are being created and destroyed even when there is no likelihood of saving anyone, even the hit man cannot take it anymore, and refuses to do any more killing for the lab.

The movie is mainly a futuristic action movie, but it also makes a strong statement against embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning. I am surprised that it hasn't generated more political controversy.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Mohammedan terrorism

I'd like to see some serious discussion about the proposition that the Mohammedan religion is at war with the modern world.

Those who support the proposition get censored and branded as bigots, and there is usually some politically correct nonsense about how the word "Islam" means peace. (It does not.)

Malkin describes a radio host who lost his job for supporting the proposition.

Mohammedans have always believed in killing their enemies. To this day, polls show broad support among leaders and followers for terrorist acts against innocent civilians.

Occasionally I see some Mohammedan leader disavow unjustified attacks, or something like that. But then he won't say what attacks are justified or unjustified. Other religions don't have a problem saying whether murdering innocent people is right or wrong.

Five times in recent years, the USA had gone to war to defend Mohammedans. We did it in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. There must be some limit to American willingness to defend a religion that believes in terrorism.

Counterproductive fundraising

From Fox News O'Reilly Factor:
O?REILLY: You may remember back in 1985, Live Aid raised millions for African famine relief. Shortly after that event, "Spin" magazine reported that much of the money raised during those concerts was stolen by the Ethiopian government. ...

STAMP: Doctors Without Borders, the international version, considers Live Aid and the "We Are The World" song to be the worst thing that ever happened to

O'REILLY: Really? Why?

STAMP: Because the money was used to funnel into the tyrannical government, which was using the famine to oppress their own people.


STAMP: And so most people considered that the war actually was extended another five to seven years because of the money they got.

O'REILLY: Because the money they got that was supposed to help the poor people propped up the dictator, who was abusing the people.

STAMP: Absolutely.
I saw this on Fox News last night. It was a rerun. I don't know why a news channel is running reruns from a couple of months ago. I turn to the news channel to get current news.

But the story was amazing enough to repeat. No one ever criticizes raising money for starving people in Africa, and yet such projects can be very harmful.

Friday, July 29, 2005

8-Year-Old Charged

Utah news:
(KUTV) SALT LAKE CITY, Utah A mother is upset after a 14-year-old babysitter engaged in sexual conduct with her eight-year-old boy, and the eight-year-old was charged with lewd conduct.

Prosecutors have since dropped the charges against the boy, but his mother is still concerned.

The sexual conduct occurred during a game of ?truth or dare? while the boy was being watched by the babysitter.

Prosecutors say that, while the babysitter initiated the contact, the young boy was a willing participant.

?She dared my son to touch her breasts,? says Michelle Grosbeck, the boy?s mother.

After hiring the teenager to baby sit, Grosbeck got the feeling something was wrong.

?It was just that sense that something wasn?t quite right with this 14-year-old girl,? she said. She asked her son what had happened. ?He just came right out as if nothing was awry, and just started talking about what had happened.?

Grosbeck went to police and child protection workers, and the case went to the district attorney, after which her son, age eight, had been charged with an act of lewdness with a minor.

Grosbeck says the Salt Lake County District Attorney told her both the child and teenager were equal participants. But Mrs. Grosbeck didn?t believe that.

?My son is eight, he?s a little boy. He does not have the ability to participate on the same level as a fourteen-year-old,? she said.
Bringing criminal charges against this 8-year-old boy is sick. This whole story is just too crazy for comment.

Two-year-old boy survives

German news:
HOMBERG, Germany (AFP) - A two-year-old boy was found safe and sound after surviving for four days alone in a forest, police said.

The boy named Nabil, whose parents are Yemeni, was found by two German soldiers sitting in a pool of water at a spot around three kilometres (two miles) from the playground where he had gone missing on Sunday.
Apparently 2-year-old toddlers are not completely helpless.

Snake Invasion

Kentucky camping news:
Quincy Cook has been camping with his friends and family at this campsite for years and says he's never seen poisonous snakes until a few days ago when they were invaded.

"I had a light on my head and looked down and they was crawling everyway like night crawlers. We shot everything all to pieces, I'd say that first night we probably shot 150-200 rounds," Cook said.

Instead of crawling away like he thought the snakes would react, Cook says they acted very strange, "You would start shooting at them and they would come right at you."

Knowing some got away, cook and his friends went back to the campsite. They have now killed a total of 25 copperheads and one rattlesnake.
I'll be sure to bring my gun if I go camping in Kentucky.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Cathy Young on VAWA

Cathy Young on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA):
But underneath its mainstream trappings, the 1994 bill was steeped in a radical feminism of the ''men bad, women good" variety -- an ideology which regards domestic abuse and rape as part of a collective male war against women. Ironically, the law's political success was partly due to the fact this kind of feminism dovetails easily with a traditional, putting-women-on-a-pedestal paternalism. ...

In fact, some aspects of the act promote covert gender bias. For instance, the legislation requires states and jurisdictions eligible for federal domestic violence grants not only to encourage arrests in domestic assault cases, but also to ''discourage dual arrest of the offender and the victim." This provision is based on the false belief that in cases of mutual violence, one can nearly always draw a clear line between the aggressor and the victim striking back in self-defense. While the language is ostensibly gender-neutral, the assumption is that the aggressor is male; the feminist groups which pushed for this clause made no secret of the fact that its goal was to curb arrests of women.

The law has also created a symbiotic relationship between the federal government and the battered women's advocacy movement, which is heavily permeated by radical feminist ideology. The state coalitions against domestic violence, which formally require member organizations to embrace the feminist analysis of abuse as patriarchal coercion, play a vital role in the allocation of federal grants and in overseeing the implementation of programs and policies. Among other things, these groups frown on any batterer intervention programs that focus on drug and alcohol abuse or mental illness as causes of domestic violence.
She thinks that VAWA can be fixed. I don't. Let it die.

Couple Cleared Of Child Sex Charges

AP news:
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Parents who were charged with child abuse last August have been exonerated and reunited with their children.

Charbel Hamaty was charged with sexually assaulting his newborn son, and Teresa Hamaty was arrested for taking sexually explicit pictures.

The couple describe the ordeal as a "nightmare" that started over a roll of film that Charbel Hamaty dropped off at a north Raleigh Eckerd.

The photo that raised alarms shows a naked Kristoff, now 16-months-old, getting a kiss from his father on the belly button, Teresa Hamaty said.

When the photos were shown to the police, the couple was arrested, and Kristoff was put in protective custody, while his half-sister, Victoria, was handed over to her birth father.

Teresa Hamaty was released on bond, but wasn't allowed contact with her children for months.

Charbel Hamaty spent six months in prison before the charges were dropped because of a report submitted by an expert saying there was no criminal intent in the photos.

The couple said they are happy to be reunited with their children and to leave their legal troubles behind them.
Another example of liberal govt do-gooders at work.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More bad advice from Dear Abby

One common problem with advice-givers is that they commonly ascribe bad motives to third parties. In yesterday's Dear Abby:
DEAR ABBY: I'm 14, and I don't wear shorts because I'm self-conscious about my legs. My mother is always nagging me to wear them in the heat. ...

DEAR NEEDS ADVICE: ... Believe it or not, you don't need advice as much as your mother does. She has won the battle, but at what price? She turned your insecurity into a power struggle and pulled rank. There was no reason to force you to wear shorts ...
Maybe the mother simply wants to help her daughter overcome one of her phobias. If my 14-year-old daughter was irrationally self-conscious about her legs, then I would also encourage her to get over it. She can't go thru life always wearing long pants.

In today's Dear Abby:
DEAR Abby: Over the last two years I have lost 95 pounds. I did it by changing my lifestyle, exercising and making better food choices.

My husband, "Paul," insists that he shouldn't have to hide his cookies, potato chips and chocolate candy, and says I should have self-control. ...

DEAR RESENTFUL: Your resentment is justified. His insistence on keeping junk food where you will find it is an attempt at control. Your husband isn't "unconsciously" trying to sabotage you; it is overt and deliberate. Your victory may be a threat to him. ...
Some people lose weight by getting all the junk food out of the house, and others by keeping a surplus of junk food in the house. Both approaches have merit. If the wife has lost 95 pounds, then I'd say that whatever they are doing is working pretty well, and the husband ought to be reluctant to change a winning formula.

In each case, Dear Abby just blindly assumes that the writer's complaints have merit, and that the third party must have some bad motive. Instead, Dear Abby should be advising the letter-writer, and not just generating hostility.

Monogamous birds

The NY (Science) Times says:
Extracting and analyzing DNA from the feathers confirmed that not a single eagle had strayed from its mate during the course of the six-year study - a degree of monogamy unusual among birds.

Biologists once believed that most, if not all, bird species were monogamous. But over the past decade, that presumption, based on observations of apparently faithful male-female pairs building nests and raising young together, has been overturned by genetic "paternity tests" of blood samples from the birds.

In more than 75 percent of avian species looked at so far, researchers have discovered broods that have two or more fathers.
This is a common misuse of the term monogamy. The article confuses monogamy with fidelity.

Monogamy means marriage. In animals, it refers to mating for life. Many animals, such as a lot of birds, form pair bonds for life but are not necessarily sexually faithful to each other. If they form a permanent pair bond, then they are monogamous.

Humans can also be monogamous and promiscuous at the same time. If they stay married, then they are monogamous. In some marriages, sexual fidelity is extremely important, and in other marriages, it is not so important.

Evolutionary logic

Hot research news:
LONDON (Reuters) - Forget expensive presents or costly jewellery. Wining and dining is the best way for men to woo women, scientists said on Tuesday.

Researchers at Imperial College London developed a mathematical formula and modelled courtship as a sequential game to find the best way to impress the ladies.

Their results show that offering an expensive present signals the man's serious intentions but he must be wary of being exploited by gold-diggers who will dump him after receiving the gift. ...

"Our analysis shows there is evolutionary logic in men 'burning money' to impress the girl," said Professor Robert Seymour of UCL's department of mathematics.
I'm glad to see evolutionary logic being put to good use. Here is another article on the subject.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Phyllis on the Glenn Sacks show

Radio host Glenn Sacks says:
For decades conservatives and conservative Christians have claimed that they are fighting to "defend the family," when in reality they have wasted an enormous amount of time focusing on trivial issues like gay marriage. At the same time they have ignored the forces which are hurting children, destroying fatherhood, and tearing families apart. These are the family law system, the federal financial incentives which help shape and drive that system, and the shortsighted mothers who place their emotions or convenience above their children's needs for their fathers.

During the past six months a major conservative has finally begun to confront the issues generating mass fatherlessness. Conservative writer, commentator and activist Phyllis Schlafly is urging fellow conservatives to re-examine the Violence Against Women Act currently up for renewal in Congress, and is sounding the alarm over the harm misguided feminists have done to fathers and the children who love them and need them.
The broadcast is available in mp3 format.

What is wrong with VAWA

This page summarizes what is wrong with VAWA.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Mandatory arrest

This article describes police policies in domestic violence situations:
Mandatory arrest first became the preferred policy in 1984 when Lawrence Sherman and Richard Berk published their landmark study of the relationship between arrest and recidivism in domestic violence criminal cases.
However, a July 2001 National Institute of Justice article says:
the published results from the five replication experiments produced inconsistent findings about whether arrest deters intimate partner violence.
This looks like another example where feminists have pushed through bad policy based on bogus research.

Child safety seats

More info on child safety seats:
One of the items for evaluation was child safety seats. We evaluated child seat performance based on the child seats implicit to usage in that era and found that car seat belts were more effective for children and infants. NHTSA was incensed by this conclusion and we had to reanalyze the data numerous times and ways eliminating parts of the data they decided they did not like for, in our opinion, questionable reasons. No matter how the data was sliced and diced we found that car seat belts were more effective for children and infants (highly statistically significant effects).
There are some other reasons for liking child car seats. Car manufacturers like them because parents buy bigger and more expensive cars. A lot of parents bought SUVs just to easily accommodate child car seats. Also, a lot of moms like the child car seats because they keep the child more confined, and less likely to annoy the mom. The safety benefits are minimal, at best.

Flawed DV policies

I understand why feminists promote the criminalization of domestic violence. They want to punish men. Furthermore, feminists see it as a way of empowering women, because it allows them to put their husbands and boyfriends in jail whenever they want.

But it is strange that they promote mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution. These are policies that require police to make arrests and DAs to prosecute, once a complaint has been made. The policies dis-empower victims because it removes their option to drop the charges.

As I understand the theory, the policies are based on the premise that women are incompetent liars who are unable to act in their own interests.

The result of these policies is that women no longer have the option of calling cops to resolve minor disputes. If a wife has a fight, then she must ignore it, or betray her husband in a way that will probably end the marriage. The predictable outcome is fewer domestic violence calls to the cops, and more marriages destroyed.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

LGBT domestic violence

A new study says homosexuals are beating each other up:
The New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project announced this eek that reports to them of domestic violence in LGBT relationships increased 16 percent in 2003 and 21 percent in 2004.

"We've seen a steady rise in reports of domestic violence and the level of violence involved over the last two years," said Clarence Patton, acting director of AVP. "In 2004 alone, there was a 35 percent increase in serious injuries and a 71 percent increase in deaths or murders that occurred as a result of the violence." ...

Asked to identify some factors that have contributed to that increase, Dolan-Soto said, "We're living in a society that is in the middle of a war, that condones violence against LGBT folks, and is even willing to codify in the constitution that gays don't have legal rights. And for some gay people that equates to increased stress and pressure on LGBT people and couples and internalized homophobia. The partner that can?t control his or her anger is turning that on the other partner." ...

"When I started at AVP in 1996," Patton said, "there was one bed for a man, only available when a woman wasn't there. Just the very way in which we talk about what domestic violence is in our community can fly in the face of the historic paradigm that the anti-domestic violence movement is built on. It comes out of women's rights movement that women are victims and men are batterers. We say that is not always the case. When you're trying to move brick and mortar operations like shelter space, which is already limited, you have to look at building a bigger pie."
No, our society does not condone LGBT violence. Our society does not approve of same-sex marriage, but that has also been true of every society in recorded history, except for a few areas in the last couple of years.

I am glad to see someone challenging the feminist notion that women are victims and men are batterers.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Oakland baseball

Freakonomics has been gloating about the Oakland A's poor start this year. Levitt said:
If you look at all the stats they say are so important, the As are totally average! There's very little evidence Billy Beane [the club's general manager] is doing something right.
Since that post, the Oakland A's have been the best team in baseball, and they have a good chance of making the playoffs.

I think that the problem here is that Levitt is an economist, and that economists believe that market rates reflect actual values. If he admits that the A's have built exceptionally good teams with very low salaries, then either the market has failed or the A's have been lucky.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fisher stunned

Hollywood news:
Sexy actress ISLA FISHER is stunned been approached by nymphomaniacs since the release of her racy comedy WEDDING CRASHERS.

In the movie, Oman-born Fisher plays a sex-mad woman who throws herself at VINCE VAUGHN's hunky character.

And while her scene-stealing turn as Gloria has raised riotous laughs among audiences, Fisher's been alarmed by the amount of women who have approached her on the streets of Los Angeles to confide that they relate to her character.

Fisher, fiancee of British comedian SASHA BARON COHEN, says, "Since the movie came out, a lot of women have come up to me and (said) they really relate to the character.

"That's when I suddenly feel the need to walk away from this person. Clearly there are a lot of Glorias out there, so men beware."
Men, you have now been warned.

Childhood pastimes are increasingly moving indoors

USA Today says:
Today, childhood is spent mostly indoors, watching television, playing video games and working the Internet. When children do go outside, it tends to be for scheduled events ? soccer camp or a fishing derby ? held under the watch of adults. In a typical week, 27% of kids ages 9 to 13 play organized baseball, but only 6% play on their own, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

The shift to an indoor childhood has accelerated in the past decade, with huge declines in spontaneous outdoor activities such as bike riding, swimming and touch football, according to separate studies by the National Sporting Goods Association, a trade group, and American Sports Data, a research firm. Bike riding alone is down 31% since 1995.

A child is six times more likely to play a video game on a typical day than to ride a bike, according to surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the CDC. Dakota Howell says his favorite video game ?Tony Hawk's Pro Skater? is more fun than actual skateboarding.

The change can be seen in children's bodies. In the 1960s, 4% of kids were obese. Today, 16% are overweight, according to the CDC. It can be seen in their brains. Studies indicate that children who spend lots of time outdoors have longer attention spans than kids who watch lots of television and play video games, says Frances Kuo, director of the Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"New research indicates that our intuition is right: Kids are spending way too much time with media and not enough time outside," Kuo says.
We should let kids play outdoors more.

Feminist pork

VAWA news:
The Violence Against Women Act expires in September, and advocates urged Congress to strengthen and reauthorize it during a committee hearing Tuesday. Among the law's advocates were former Boston Celtics Coach M.L. Carr and actress Salma Hayek. ...

"I think it's feminist pork," said Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national pro-family organization, Eagle Forum. "Taxpayers' money is going in the hands of radical feminists who use it to preach anti-marriage and anti-male ideology."
What the VAWA supporters don't have is any evidence that VAWA has done any good.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Maxim is not porn

MIAMI, Florida (AP) -- Authorities in Florida are sending convicted sex offenders to jail for violating the terms of their probation by having men's magazines such as Maxim.

Andrew Calderon, 23, was jailed for six days before a judge ordered his release after officers found a racy poster and calendar and copies of Maxim in his home earlier this year.
Maxim is pretty tame. The supermarket women's magazines are more pornographic than Maxim.

Fewer CS majors

NBC news:
The researchers came up with an interesting ? yet disturbing ? conclusion. While adults, many of them women and minorities, are realizing they have to go out and obtain degrees in computer science to advance or just keep up at the workplace, the ?traditional? young students in four-year colleges are increasingly deciding not to major in computer science.

In fact, as the technology-dependent United States struggles to stay ahead of the Bangalores of the world, the Higher Education Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles found significantly fewer students at the college level ? 60 percent fewer ? wanted to study computer science in 2004 as opposed to the year 2000.

And what is even more alarming are the low numbers of young women pursuing computer science at the college level ? current numbers are the same as in the 1970?s. Yet in terms of demographics, women comprise more than half of the current college population.
Simple supply and demand. Bill Gates says that he wants more computer scientists, but the jobs just aren't there anymore. Too much work is being outsourced to India and China.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bomb Mecca

CNN says:
A Colorado congressman told a radio show host that the U.S. could "take out" Islamic holy sites if Muslim fundamentalist terrorists attacked the country with nuclear weapons.
Tancredo has backed off his comments, but surely we'd have to take extreme measures if the Mohammedan religion declares war on us and nukes our cities. Tancredo said that the ultimate threat should be met with the ultimate response.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Phony autism numbers

Don't trust autism figures:
The US Department of Education figures, based on the number of children receiving special education assistance, have internal ''anomalies" and are in conflict with a number of studies on the prevalence of the condition, said the report from Portland State University in Oregon.

''Basically we don't know what the true prevalence of autism is in this country," the study's author, physician James Laidler, said in an interview. ''The problem with the data is that it may be including kids who have problems other than autism -- a less severe degree than was included even . . . a year or five years ago -- and it has some internal inconsistencies."
''That said, there may still be an autism epidemic in the United States," but the figures most widely used to demonstrate that are not valid, Laidler said.

The government figures estimate that autism as recorded in the US public school population went from 5,415 cases in 1991-1992 to 118,602 in 2001-2002.
Diagnosing autism has become a big fad.

No benefit to hands-free phone

New study:
(CNN) -- A study released Tuesday said drivers who use cell phones -- even hands-free models -- are four times as likely to be involved in wrecks involving a serious injury than are drivers who do not use cell phones.

"There was no safety benefit whatsoever from using a hands-free phone," said Anne McCartt, one of the authors of the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal and paid for by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
So all the cities and states passing hands-free phone use laws may not be making anyone safer.

Monday, July 11, 2005

UN Doudou says the obvious

BBC reports:
An independent investigator for the UN says racism in Japan is deep and profound, and the government does not recognise the depth of the problem.

Doudou Diene, a UN special rapporteur on racism and xenophobia, was speaking at the end of a nine-day tour of the country. ...

Mr Diene says he plans to recommend that Japan enact a law against discrimination, which he said should be drawn up in consultation with minority groups.

He said he would now wait for the Japanese government to respond to his comments before submitting a report to the United Nations.
Duh-duh. The UN bozo is probably uniquely qualified to make the problem worse.
Nashville news:
Parents, Stripper Sentenced; Birthday Boy Gets Off

Jason L. Miller | Staff Writer | 2005-07-08

Landon and Anette Pharris pled guilty to charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor by hiring a stripper to dance at their son's birthday party, according to the Associated press. In addition to winning two years probation, the court ordered them to take parenting classes.

The boy and about a dozen of his friends attended the party where 29-year-old Cassandra Joyce Park, stage name "Sassy," performed at the behest of the boy's parents. His grandfather was also attending.

Sassy danced for a few hours before the randy group of teenagers took up a collection, raising an additional $150 to convince her to take off her clothes completely.
Funny headline.

Next time they'll use a digital camera, so they don't have to worry about the busybodies in the photo shop.

Violence against women act

Wendy McIlroy attacks VAWA 2005. There is more info here.

VAWA has received $5B of funding over the past 10 years, and I wonder if there are any studies showing that any of the money has done any good. I suspect that the money has done much more harm than good.

Here is a 1998 study with domestic violence statistics. It shows that one can do a survey asking for complaints, and get complaints. But it fails to show that the VAWA approach helps anything.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

More conservative politically

Andy writes:
America is becoming more conservative politically, which is one reason why we do not want young age to be a factor in picking the next Supreme Court justices. (Another reason is that justices typically move to the Left after serving on the Court for years, as Kennedy is doing right now.)

Here are ten examples of how conservative politics is growing. Additions are welcome. Note how few of them are attributable to GWB and the current Congress.

1. Capitalism defeated communism in the 20th century.
2. The right to own guns is stronger than it has been in decades.
3. Financial rights to invest in gold, mutual funds, etc., are at their strongest level.
4. The right not to be drafted is the strongest ever.
5. Evolution, the sacred cow of liberal atheism, is being widely discredited and discarded.
6. Liberal icons like Ted Kennedy and Arlen Specter are increasingly viewed as laughingstocks.
7. The right to homeschool is the strongest ever.
8. Presidential and congressional power are at their weakest point in over a century.
9. The power of citizens to communicate and influence policy (over the internet) is at its strongest point.
10. The free market in medicine is stronger than in 30+ years.
I'm not sure about some of these. In California, the right to own guns has been weakened. Evolution is taught as much as ever. And there is a long list of liberal successes.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Child car seats don't work

Freakonomics authors say:
But no matter what you control for in the FARS data, the results don't change. In recent crashes and old ones, in big vehicles and small, in one-car crashes and multiple-vehicle crashes, there is no evidence that car seats do a better job than seat belts in saving the lives of children older than 2. (In certain kinds of crashes -- rear-enders, for instance -- car seats actually perform worse.)
There is more info on their blog.

One conclusion that I draw is to not trust the medical literature on subjects like this. Pediatricians and other medicos often give pseudoscientific arguments about things like this, and they should really stick to medicine.

Drinker loses license

Pennsylvania news:
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) ? A state appellate court has rejected an appeal from a Lebanon man whose driver's license was revoked by the state after he told doctors he drank more than a six-pack of beer a day. ...

Under a law that dates to the 1960s, doctors in Pennsylvania must report any physical or mental impairments in patients over 15 years old that could compromise their ability to drive safely. The law requires an indefinite recall of the license until the driver can prove he or she is competent to drive. ...

PennDOT receives about 40,000 medical reports and recalls 5,000 to 6,000 licenses a year, according to officials at the agency, but it does not keep any statistics on its reasons for doing so.
I guess you have to be careful about telling your physician about your beer drinking. It is entirely possible that this man never did any drunk driving, and yet he is punished anyway. I don't believe the line about keeping statistics. They just cannot defend what they are doing.

72 bottles a day

UK news:
A 20-YEAR-OLD father of SIX who lives off state handouts is getting the snip.

But Mike Blake, a recovering alcoholic who has never worked in his life, says he will still stay at home and live off the family?s £800-a-month benefits.

He claims looking after his kids with his unemployed wife Kathleen, 24, will always be his full-time job.

Blake first became a dad aged just 13 after a one-night stand with a girl.

He met Kathleen in a pub when he was 15 and they got married the day before his 17th birthday.

They are parents to Sarah, seven, Jordan, four, Courtney, three, Kia, two, and eight-month-old Stacey Leigh.

They all live rent-free in a three-bedroom house in Pontypridd, South Wales, where Blake also gets incapacity benefit for his drink problem.

He says he used to drink 72 bottles of beer a day.

Now he has booked himself in for a vasectomy.

Blake said: ?I?m on the waiting list. I should have it in about three weeks.?

Admitting they live solely on handouts, Blake added: ?That?s the best way. We can stay at home.?
The UK is famous for its lousy treatment for responsible fathers. Apparently there are irresponsible fathers who get treated pretty well. Makes no sense to me.

Parrot grasps the zero

Science news:
A parrot has grasped the concept of zero, something humans can't do until at least the toddler phase, researchers say.

Alex, a 28-year-old African gray parrot who lives in a lab at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, has a brain the size of a walnut. But when confronted with no items on a tray where usually there are some, he says "none."

Zero is thought to be a rather abstract concept even for people. Children typically don't grasp it until age three or four, Brandeis researchers say. Some ancient cultures lacked a formal term for zilch, even as recently as the Middle Ages.
I am not sure that most American adults understand the concept. Yes, toddlers can learn it easily, and yet the elementary schools are reluctant to make use of it. Newspaper articles are typically written for people who do not understand the zero.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Trend for potty parity

NY potty news:
For reasons of anatomy and culture, women take at least twice as long - and as much as five times longer - to complete a bathroom visit as men, according to studies. Men generally zip in, zip down, zip up and zip out, according to John Banzhaf, professor of law and legal activism at the National Law Center of George Washington University.
I didn't know that there were professors of "legal activism". Now I have some idea of their concerns.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

DV victims

Here are 2 more victims of domestic violence law:
Marriage vows land the groom in county jail

Associated Press
Jun. 30, 2005 12:00 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. - When Rachel Dunham took out a restraining order against her boyfriend, she didn't expect to be marrying him a short time later.

So instead of honeymooning in Mexico, her beau, Rodney Tomsha, sits in the Spokane County Jail, accused of violating the order by getting within two blocks of Dunham.

He tried to persuade a Spokane judge last week to lift the restraining order, but the judge refused.

The couple were married in nearby Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
The vast majority of restraining orders are unjustified.

Sex education

Honk Kong need sex education:
Grace Wong of the southern Chinese territory's Family Planning Association said the number of inquiries at her agency rocketed 50 percent last year, with many clients claiming to have no idea how to have sex.

"Some married couples are not familiar with their body parts," Wong was quoted as telling the Sunday Morning Post. "They don't know where their sex organs are.
Also, Egyptian men.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Anita Hill

Everyone keeps saying that Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment at his Senate confirmation hearing. Here is the actual transcript:
So that at that time, there was a doubt in your mind as to whether Judge Thomas was, in fact, guilty of sexual harassment on the facts as you knew them?

MS. HILL: Well, I want to back up and say something here. In my statement to you, I never alleged sexual harassment. I had conduct that I wanted explained to the Committee. My sense was -- my own personal sense was that yes, this was sexual harassment. But I understood that the Committee with their staff could make that evaluation on their own.

So, I didn't have any doubts. But I wanted to talk with someone who might be more objective.

SEN. SPECTER: Well, you did call it sexual harassment in your extensive news conference on October 7th, even though you did not so characterize it to the FBI or in your statement to this Committee.

MS. HILL: But that news conference on August 7th had not taken place at the time -- or excuse me, on October 7th --
It is a little confusing, but it appears to me that she wanted people to think it was sexual harassment, but that she stopped short of formally making that accusation.

Clarence Thomas denied it: "I cannot imagine anything that I said or did to Anita Hill that could have been mistaken for sexual harassment."

Showering is bad

News for the paranoid:
Taking regular showers could pose a health risk and even result in permanent brain damage, it has been claimed.
Scientists believe that breathing in small amounts of manganese dissolved in the water may harm the nervous system.

The damage may occur even at levels of the naturally occurring metal normally considered safe, say the US researchers.

Although manganese levels in public water supplies are monitored, regulators have not considered the long-term effects of inhaling vaporised manganese while showering, they claim.
No, I am not going to worry about it.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Fewer UFO videos

UK news:
Oscar-winning director STEVEN SPIELBERG is baffled that fewer UFO sightings are made now than were made twenty years ago - because the technology to record would-be aliens is so commonplace today. ...

Spielberg says, "There are millions of video cameras out there and they're picking up less videos of UFOs, alleged UFOs, than we picked up in the 1970s and 1980s. There's 150 per cent more cameras, so why are we getting less from up there?.
"I think that we all know that we're not alone in the universe. I can't imagine that we are the only intelligent biological life form out there. I'm a little less sure in my fifties that I was in my late twenties whether we're
actually ever going to find out.".
He has filmed them as both friendly and unfriendly.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Trivial actions become sex offenses

Here is a stupid ruling:
He grabbed girl's arm -- now he's a sex offender

Fitzroy Barnaby said he had to swerve to avoid hitting the 14-year-old Des Plaines girl who walked in front of his car.

She said he yelled, "Come here, little girl," before getting out of his car and grabbing her by the arm.

He said he simply lectured her.

She said she broke free and ran, fearful of what he'd do next.

In a Thursday ruling, the Appellate Court of Illinois said the 28-year-old Evanston man must register as a sex offender.

While acknowledging it might be "unfair for [Barnaby] to suffer the stigmatization of being labeled a sex offender when his crime was not sexually motivated," the court said his actions are the type that are "often a precursor" to a child being abducted or molested.

Though Barnaby was acquitted of attempted kidnapping and child abduction charges stemming from the November 2002 incident, he was convicted of unlawful restraint of a minor -- which is a sex offense.

'Most stupid ruling'

Now, he will have to tell local police where he lives and won't be able to live near a park or school.
The punishment of supposed sex offenders has gone way too far. This guy is not a sex offender.