Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Destabilizing people and society

Catholic Church news:
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican newspaper said on Tuesday that homosexuality risked "destabilizing people and society", had no social or moral value and could never match the importance of the relationship between a man and a woman.

The article by Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a French Jesuit and psychologist, said homosexuality could not be considered an acceptable moral alternative to heterosexuality.
The gay bloggers, like Andrew Sullivan, have also gone ballistic and started babbling about Nazis. (See Godwin's law on how people make Nazi analogies.)

Suppose instead that the news said:
A preacher said today that gambling risked "destabilizing people and society", had no social or moral value, and could never match the importance working for a living.
I would agree with it. I think that it is okay for people to occasionally gamble in their homes, or even to bet in Las Vegas casinos, but I also think that too much gambling has a destabilizing effect on people and society. The Vatican opinion is not radical at all.

Airline Seating Policy Demonizes Men

New Zealand news:
(CNSNews.com) - Two airlines "down under" are under fire after acknowledging their policy of not allowing an unaccompanied child passenger to sit next to a man. ...

"Most males in the world, I'm sure, are perfectly law-abiding, good parents, good fathers, brothers, whatever," he said. "They're basically accusing half the population of the world of being a potential pedophile." ... Both Qantas and Air New Zealand [airlines] have now confirmed that they would not seat a child traveling alone next to an adult male passenger. ...

The airlines did win support from one quarter. Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro, a government appointee, commended Qantas and Air New Zealand for their efforts to keep child passengers safe.

Kiro said she doubted the policy was meant as a slur against men.

But her intervention drew a strong response from the Men's Coalition, whose spokesman Kerry Bevin said Tuesday the commissioner was not fit for her post and should resign.

"Kiro is telling our children that men are dangerous to children," Bevin charged. He also called for the airlines to make a public apology.

For Worsley, the incident was part of a far broader problem, which seemed to affect Western countries in general, he said.

"Men are being demonized in the media for a long time now. I think probably this is just society's reaction -- they think, 'We'd better start tightening up on everything.' It's getting to the stage when all men are viewed with distrust," he said.
This is a weird anti-man policy. I've never even heard of a man somehow harming a child on an airline.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Support for Pinochet

Comments on the Jane Galt blog praise Pinochet:
Pinochet is the only leader of our time who returned a democratic nation brought to its knees by terrorists back from the brink of chaos. Chile is today a prosperous and democratic state. Pinochet reinvigorated the institutions of the nation and laid the foundations of the most prosperous nation of South America.

If you want dictators to voluntarily give up power, you have to give them the same soverign immunity for their acts in office after they leave office that they have as long as they stay in office. Otherwise, the only rational action for a dictator is to cling to power as long as possible.

The comment that "Pinochet was a murderous dictator" is only partially correct. Pinochet was a "dictator" but he was not "murderous". The murder and terrorism that the communists unleashed in Chile would be more correctly termed as murderous. They took human lives without the mandate afforded to them by the state. They set off the chain of vents that culminated in the need for Pinochet to take power. Pinochet employed the force necessary to re-establish law and order to the nation.

In my mind Pinochet is the greatest leader in the second half of the 20th century.

He saved Chile from total Marxist ruin, and brought it to a remarkable free market revolution, much deeper and earlier that the Reagan-Thatcher revolutions. Thanks to that, Chile is now the most succesful and prosperous nation in South America, by far. And he laso restored a vibrant democracy.

The lefties and the press are denigrating him as a monster because he had the temerity to stand up to violent marxist terrorists and annihilate them -- there is no bigger crime in the eyes of the left than thwarting their revolutionary and murderous ambitions.

I'm not a Chilean, but I lived there for 2 years during Pinochet's regime, and his free-market revolution was something fantastic to behold. It was no totalitarian state (lamentably I have experienced that horror too).

So, three cheers for Pinochet, and long may he live.
The Left is cheering that this 90-year-old is being prosecuted for tax evasion. I'm glad that someone is defending him. He saved Chile.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Genes have it over means

Science news:
LONDON: Nature, not nurture, is the main determinant of how well children perform at school and university, according to a study to be published this week.

The researchers came to their conclusion by comparing how well adopted children did at school when they were brought up alongside parents' biological children. The relative effects of genes and the home environment were then separated out. Previous studies have suggested that the home environment, and in particular the level of family income, is the most important determinant of educational attainment.

But the new study, to be published in the Royal Economic Society's Economic Journal, will argue that while income and home environment account for about 25 per cent of educational attainment, inherited intelligence is responsible for the rest.

Doubling a family's income would have only a small effect on educational performance, say the researchers, who examined more than 15,000 children, 574 of them adopted.
Remember this the next time you hear someone say how unfair it is that rich kids do best in school, and that we therefore need universal preschool or better paid teachers or some other expensive remedy. The money is not the determinitive factor.

Numb3rs

I like the TV show NUMB3RS, and its portrayal of mathematics. It is just a regular TV crime, but instead of the heroes being cops, prosecutors (like Law And Order), or lab technicians (like CSI), the hero is a mathematician. The slogan is:
We all use math every day: to predict weather, to tell time, to handle money. Math is more than formulas and equations. It is logic. It is rationality. It is using your mind to solve the biggest mysteries we know.
The math is usually a little contrived, but the show obviously has some real mathematicians as consultants. There is a math angle to each plot, and it is usually clever, and as appropriate and well-explained as I would expect on a mainstream TV show.

Look at the above slogan. It is true that math is about logic and rationality, and it is much more than numbers, formulas, and equations. Most non-mathematicians do not understand this.

Some recent movies have featured mathematicians, notably Good Will Hunting, Pi, and A Beautiful Mind. These all portrayed mathematicians as being mentally disturbed.

Friday, November 25, 2005

No free speech in Austria

Euro news:
VIENNA (Reuters) - British historian David Irving, known for his controversial views on World War Two, must stay in custody in Vienna while he is charged with denying the Holocaust, a court ruled on Friday.

Vienna's state prosecutor this week charged Irving with denying the Holocaust in two lectures he gave in 1989. Denying the Holocaust is illegal under Austria's law prohibiting the Nazi Party. It carries a sentence of one to 10 years in prison.
It is my understanding that he doesn't really deny the Jewish Holocaust, but has stated some slightly unconventional opinions about how and why the German Jews were killed. Weird.

Starting an intergalactic war

Canadian crackpot alert:
(PRWEB) - OTTAWA, CANADA (PRWEB) November 24, 2005 -- A former Canadian Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister under Pierre Trudeau has joined forces with three Non-governmental organizations to ask the Parliament of Canada to hold public hearings on Exopolitics -- relations with "ETs".

By "ETs", Mr. Hellyer and these organizations mean ethical, advanced extraterrestrial civilizations that may now be visiting Earth. ...

Mr. Hellyer went on to say, "I'm so concerned about what the consequences might be of starting an intergalactic war, that I just think I had to say something."
Note that he is not just worried about an interplanetary war; he thinks that the conspirators behind the Roswell cover-up might trigger a war between our entire galaxy and another galaxy. That is even out-of-range for even the science fiction books.

King Kong

I am waiting for the expensive remake of the 1933 King Kong movie. I am sure it will look great, but it will also be a poor substitute.

The original had a vision that was acceptable in 1933, but which is much too politically incorrect for today's audience. It is just too racially and ecologically destructive. I suspect that the new movie will try to somehow get the giant gorilla to climb the Empire State Building without offending anyone. I doubt that it will work. They should have created a new plot.

Parents rights in schools

A reader writes that the dicta in Fields v. Palmdale School District implies:
1) that parents' fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door,"

2) that a public school has the right to provide its students with "whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise."

3) that parens patriae (the country as parent) can be substituted for parents' rights

4) that "there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children" and that "parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed."

5) that if a child feels uncomfortable with the school's discussion of sex, the school will provide "a therapist for further psychological help."

6) that the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of one's children does not encompass the right "to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs."

7) that once children are put in a public school, the parents' "fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished."

8) that this decision is based on "our evolving understanding of the nature of our Constitution."

9) that since the Constitution has evolved to create the right to abortion, the evolving Constitution takes sex education away from parents and puts it "within the state's authority as parens patriae."
This case has drawn some new allies for the cause of parental rights. The school should not have been subjecting grade-schoolers to such offensive questionaires. The leftist judge Reinhardt of the 9th federal Circuit likes to invent constitutional rights when it suits his favorite causes (atheism, abortion, sodomy, socialism), but doesn't want parents directing the upbringing of their own kids.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Unwed, Pregnant Teacher Gets Fired, Sues

AOL news:
NEW YORK (Nov. 22) - The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal discrimination complaint against a Catholic school, charging that it unjustly fired an unmarried teacher for being pregnant.

"I don't understand how a religion that prides itself on forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choosing to have this baby," Michelle McCusker said Monday at a news conference to announce the suit. ...

The handbook says that each teacher must "convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by his or her words and actions."

Lawyers at the NYCLU, which filed the suit on McCusker's behalf, argued that administrators enforced the policy in a way that disproportionately affects women.

"The school used her pregnancy as a marker," attorney Cassandra Stubbs said. "How do they determine if male employees engage in premarital sex?"
It wasn't the Catholic Church who decided that men don't get pregnant.

The Church forgives sinners who repent, but it doesn't appear that McCusker has repented. She is intending to raise the baby without a father. The child has a right to a father.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mohammedan polygamists

A reader sends this:
The riots in France have made the world suddenly aware of a reality which city dwellers in Europe have known for some years: that there are no-go areas surrounding almost every major European town. These have become virtually self-ruling enclaves, abandoned by European authorities and police. A case in point is the Swedish town of Malmo, which is said to be unique because creeping anarchy has spread to almost the entire town.

Another thing which many people have known, but which has never been said aloud, is the spread of polygamy across Western Europe. Since yesterday, when French officials, including one government minister, cited polygamy as a possible factor of social breakdown in the suburbs, the media are suddenly devoting attention to a phenomenon which many people have known existed for years: Muslim immigrants going home for a holiday and returning with an additional wife.

Censoring a question mark

Florida news:
DELAND -- A question mark imposed over a photo of a gay-pride flag prompted Stetson University officials to halt distribution of a student-run magazine.

The students who launched Common Sense, a politically conservative publication, say they're being labeled intolerant when it's the university that's gagging free speech.
The purpose of the flag is presumably to promote an ideology or cause that not everyone accepts. It is appropriate for people at universities to question any ideology. The university is in the wrong here.

373 painkillers per year

British medical news:
One in 20 adults takes at least six painkillers every time they are feeling ill, according to a new survey.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said patients were "misusing" pills and urged doctors and pharmacists to be on the look-out for patients who take too many.

Pharmacologists warned that people would become addicted if they took such levels of paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin. Britons are taking an average of 373 painkillers every year, the study revealed. The figure alarmed doctors, who said it was "staggering".
Wow. That is a lot more than I expected. My consumption is about 371 pain pills below the British average, so there must a lot of people who are far above the average.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hollywood says that oxygen dropped

I just tuned into a TBS TV show called Earth To America! It featured Bill Maher saying this:
I've read that the Earth used to have 19% oxygen in its atmosphere, and now it has 9%. Now, I know that is not a fact that you will find in the Bible. And I know that it is not something that we should really care about like activist judges or boys kissing, but maybe it matters a little! (applause)
There were also a bunch of other Hollywood celebrities pretending to be idiots.

If the oxygen level really dropped that much, we'd all be very sick very fast.

Update: Michael Medved made fun of Maher on his radio program the next day. He also pointed out some howlers from R.F. Kennedy Jr. and others.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Congress supports parental rights

The US House voted 320-91:
RESOLUTION Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit deplorably infringed on parental rights in Fields v. Palmdale School District.

Whereas the Palmdale School District sent parents of elementary school students at Mesquite Elementary School in Palmdale, California a letter requesting consent to give a psychological assessment questionnaire to their first, third, and fifth grade students;

Whereas without the informed consent of their parents, the young students were instead administered a questionnaire that contained sexually explicit and developmentally inappropriate questions;

Whereas seven parents subsequently filed a complaint against the Palmdale School District in a Federal district court;

Whereas on November 2, 2005, a 3-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the United States District Court for the Central District of California in the case (Fields v. Palmdale School District) and held that parents "have no constitutional right ... to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so";

Whereas the Ninth Circuit stated, "once parents make the choice as to which school their children will attend, their fundamental right to control the education of their children is, at the least, substantially diminished";

Whereas in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390, 401 (1923), the Supreme Court recognized that the liberty guaranteed by the 14th amendment to the Constitution encompasses "the power of parents to control the education of their [children]";

Whereas the Supreme Court in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 534-35 (1925), highlighted the Meyer doctrine that parents and guardians have the liberty "to direct the upbringing and education of children under control" and emphasized that "[t]he child is not the mere creature of the state; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations";

Whereas in Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205, 232?33 (1972), the Supreme Court acknowledged that "[t]he history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition. ... The duty to prepare the child for 'additional obligations', referred to by the Court [in Pierce] must be read to include the inculcation of moral standards, religious beliefs, and elements of good citizenship";

Whereas a plurality of the Supreme Court has stated, "it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children" (Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 66 (2000) (plurality opinion));

Whereas the Ninth Circuit's decision in Fields v. Palmdale School District presupposes that "parents make the choice as to which school their children will attend" when, in fact, many parents do not have such a choice; Whereas the decision in Fields establishes a dangerous precedent for limiting parental involvement in the public education of their children; and

Whereas the rights of parents ought to be strengthened whenever possible as they are the cornerstone of American society:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that
(1) the fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children is firmly grounded in the Nation's Constitution and traditions;
(2) the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Fields v. Palmdale School District undermines the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children; and (3) the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit should agree to rehear the case en banc in order to reverse this constitutionally infirm
ruling.
[+/-] show/hide extra text
More info here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Another meaningless spanking study

Duke researchers have published yet another study linking spanking to aggression in children. Some people will conclude that spanking is bad if it causes aggression, but that is not the case. A certain amount of aggression is normal and healthy in kids. None of these studies attempt to determine whether the increased aggression is harmful or unhealthy.

They also don't determine cause and effect. Apparently the spanking is not linked to any bad behavior in cultures where spanking is an accepted child-rearing tool. A Duke researcher theorizes:
"If children see that their friends are also being spanked it becomes a less aberrant experience," Lansford tells WebMD. "But when this isn't happening to their friends they may think that they deserve it more because they are a really bad kid or they may have a more negative view of the parent."
Or it may just be that families that deviate from cultural norms in one way are more likely to deviate in other ways. It doesn't necessarily mean that the spanking has any bad effects.

Prison for wild teen parties

Colorado news:
GOLDEN - An Arvada mother tearfully apologized Monday and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for hosting sex-and-alcohol parties for teenagers.

Silvia Johnson, 41, pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of sexual assault, and nine counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Prosecutors said between 2003 and 2004, Johnson held 15 to 20 parties at her home and gave teens alcohol, marijuana and methamphetamines. She also confessed to having sex with two of the teenage boys.

Johnson also said in that interview that she resented what she described as a double standard for men and women. "I think what I always had a hard time with is guys who do it are considered studs," she said. "A girl does it, she's considered a slut."
She got a harsh sentence, but she is not going to prison for being a slut. If a man held weekly orgies with teenaged girls and gave them alcohol and illegal drugs, then he would also get put away.

The conviction also included some other charges.

Fat waist linked to heart attacks

Medical news:
A body mass index greater than 28.2 in women or 28.6 in men did indicate an increased risk of heart attack, but the relationship disappeared after adjusting for age, sex, geographic region and tobacco use.

Waist-to-hip ratio, on the other hand, showed a continuous relationship to heart attack risk even after adjusting for other risk factors. Those in the highest fifth were 2.52 times as likely to have a heart attack as those in the lowest
fifth.
This is more evidence that BMI is worthless. People with a BMI of 26 live the longest, even tho that is considered overweight.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Only have an infinite number

Criminal profiler and MS NBC analyst Clint Van Zandt just said this on TV:
We only have an infinite number of state troopers, but we have millions of Americans on the road who take a step forward, who say I will look and I will save somebody's life if I have to.
He meant to say that we have more civilians than state troopers.

Five questions for Mohammedans

Dennis Prager asks:
There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam?
(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?
(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?
(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?
When he gets the answers, he'll decide that it is not just another religion. And certainly not a religion of peace.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

U.S. Scientist Quits Stem-Cell Alliance

WSJ reports:
A prominent U.S. scientist is withdrawing from an international collaboration to create human embryonic stem cells.

Gerald Schatten, a cell biologist at the University of Pittsburgh, said he was severing all collaborations with the laboratory of Dr. Woo Suk Hwang of Seoul University. ...

A 2004 news report in the journal Nature said at least one female laboratory worker had provided eggs for the project, an allegation that Dr. Hwang has denied on several occasions. Under U.S. rules, collecting eggs from women working on a cloning project would be considered unethical. In the original paper, published by the journal Science last year, the scientists said the eggs all came from anonymous donors.
I am not sure why that is such a big issue, but I'm glad that the scientists have some ethical constraints.

Update: Mike writes:
Just read today's NYT article on the subject and have to admit I don't get it either. It's considered unethical to pay a woman for eggs, but paying sperm donors is perfectly acceptable. Hmmm.
I think that the idea is that American scientists and medicos want to push policies that devalue human life, disempower individuals, and let licensed professionals play God. I've enabled comments, in case anyone has another theory.

Guide to Hiring Women

1943 Guide to Hiring Women:
9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can't shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman ? it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl's husband or father may swear vociferously, she'll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.
Snopes then goes on to say that the guide is legitimate, and:
The text quoted above is one such example. Although we know full well in the 1940s women in the workplace were often patronized, insulted, harassed, and treated as second-class employees in ways almost no one would find acceptable today, we have a hard time believing that even if we once held the attitudes that promoted this type of work environment, no one (even way back in 1943) could have been so crass to state them as baldly and condescendingly as in the article cited here.
I find the Snopes comment much stranger than the guide. Employers today are told much wackier things in order to avoid discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits. Such advice frequently (and condescendingly) assume that women cannot handle situations that would be trivial for a man.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Affairs between pupils and teachers

British news:
Britain should drop its moral outrage over sexual relationships between pupils and teachers and accept that an "erotic charge" in the classroom can be an aid to teaching, a Sheffield University academic says.

Pat Sikes, an education lecturer, has written a paper in defence of pupil-teacher affairs, arguing that it is wrong always to cast students as victims when they are often the instigators of genuine relationships and suggesting that about 1,500 pupil-teacher affairs develop every year, the Times Educational Supplement reports today. ...

Dr Sikes argues that the change in the law in 2003 which criminalises sexual relationships between pupils and teachers if the pupil is under the age of 18, inevitably labels students as victims, when they can frequently be the instigators of genuine relationships.
I do not think that the USA has such a law, but such relationships might be illegal under ordinary statutory rape laws.

Brits believe in ghosts

CNN news:
LONDON, England (AP) -- More Britons believe in ghosts than in God, according to an informal survey published Monday.

Of 2,012 people who completed a questionnaire, 68 percent said they believed in the existence of ghosts and spirits, while 55 percent said they believed in the existence of a god. ...

Some 26 percent said they believed in the existence of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, while 19 percent believed in reincarnation. Just 4 percent admitted believing that the Loch Ness Monster was more than a myth.

Of those who believed in ghosts, 12 percent said they had actually seen an apparition and 76 percent said that TV reality shows about the supernatural and films like the spooky "Blair Witch Project" had played a part in convincing them that ghouls exist.
The movie Ghostbusters convinced me.

Lesbian couples don't have sex

Lesbian survey info:
Some of the most startling information about lesbian sexuality has come from a study by sociologists Philip Blumstein and Pepper Schwartz, published as American Couples' These researchers used a large and well-chosen sample and compared heterosexual married, heterosexual unmarried, gay male, and lesbian couples along a number of dimensions including sexuality. They found, for example, that lesbian couples have sex far less frequently than any other type of couple. Gay men have somewhat less sex in their primary relationships than do either type of heterosexual couple; on the other hand, gay males have the highest rates of extramarital sex. This means that lesbians in couple relationships are less sexual as couples and as individuals than anyone else. Only about one-third of lesbians in relationships of two years or longer had sex once a week or more; 47 percent of lesbians in long-term relationships had sex once a month or less. This is in striking contrast, for example, to heterosexual married couples: Two-thirds of these couples had sex once a week or more, and only 15 percent of long-term married couples had sex once a month or less.

Blumstein and Schwartz also report that the lesbians they interviewed preferred nongenital physical contact such as hugging and cuddling to genital sex. However, one-half of lesbians in couples with a low frequency of genital sexual contact said they are dissatisfied with their sexuality. (My guess is that this is the half of the couple that wants sex more than once a month.)
Think about that next time you hear an argument that homosexual couples are just like straight ones.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Mary Mapes

I just heard Mary Mapes on MSNBC Hardball plugging her new book, and she said:
If I had any myopia, it was because I didn't realize what a toxic political atmosphere we were in, and I didn't realize that there would be this this incredible swarming blog attack on CBS News, and I didn't know that they would cave into it.
Toxic?! She was the one who broadcast a silly attack on George W. Bush based on forged documents just before the election.

University of California corruption

John sends this SF story about more financial scandals involving Univ. California Provost and former UC Santa Cruz chancellor MRC Greenwood. Greenwood got payoffs for herself, her son, and her female "friend". It is not clear whether the friend is a lesbian lover or not.

Here is an earlier story about university payouts to a lesbian partner.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

SF gun ban probably illegal

Election news AP story:
[San Francisco] Mayor Gavin Newsom has acknowledged the measure likely wouldn't withstand legal scrutiny, but said it had symbolic value.
He was talking about a gun ban. Last year he was talking about same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Baby killers get off easy

CNN story from 2002:
Postpartum depression is recognized as a legal defense in at least 29 countries, including Great Britain, Canada, Italy and Australia, Oberman said. Those countries have infanticide laws, which state that when a woman kills a child under the age of 1 and she can prove that the "balance of her mind is disturbed" by reasons relating to giving birth, the maximum charge the woman can face is manslaughter.

"The practical result of these statutes is that these women receive probation instead of jail time and they receive sentences that require probation plus counseling," Oberman said. In those cases, she added, the women do not have to prove the much higher standard of insanity.

The laws vary between countries, with some covering a woman who killed any of her children, while other nations' laws only cover the killing of a newborn, Oberman said.
Strange. Andrea Yates drowned her kids, and just got a new trial.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Men laugh at the 3 Stooges

CNN Science/Health news:
Who is more likely to enjoy a good joke?

Study explains why Three Stooges appeals to men

The difference between the sexes has long been a rich source of humor. Now it turns out, humor is one of the differences. ...

Reiss' team studied the response of 10 women and 10 men to 70 black-and-while cartoons, asking them to rate the jokes for how funny they were. While the volunteers were looking at the cartoons their brains were being studied with an MRI to determine what parts of the brains were responding. ...

Arnie Cann, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, commented: "Given the findings in the current study, that women appear to use more executive functions, it could be that they are more engaged in scrutinizing the humor to decide if it fits their views on what is acceptable humor. Once they decide the humor is OK, they could be experiencing a relief-like response."
Once they decide that the humor is OK?! All humor is OK with me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Just Whom Is This Divorce Good For?

Wash Post:
Many people incorrectly assume that most marriages end only when parents are at each other's throats. But the reasons can often be far less urgent, like boredom or the midlife blahs. Research shows that two-thirds of divorces now end low-conflict marriages, where there is no abuse, violence or serious fighting. After those marriages end, the children suddenly struggle with a range of symptoms -- anxiety, depression, problems in school -- that they did not previously have. The waxing and waning cycles of adult unhappiness that characterize many marriages are often not all that obvious to children. For the children of low-conflict marriages, divorce is a massive blow that comes out of nowhere.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Lesbian wins against natural father

Seattle news:
The Washington Supreme Court established what amounts to a new category of parents ? one that's the legal equivalent of moms and dads ? when it ruled Thursday that a lesbian who was neither the biological nor adoptive parent of a girl she helped raise has co-parenting rights to the child.
The biological parents are married to each other, and wanted to be the legal parents, but lost the case to a lesbian with no relationship to the child.

Smart women don't marry

Wired says:
The Sex Drive forum has been discussing Maureen Dowd's thought-provoking piece in The New York Times, "What's a Modern Girl to Do?" adapted from her upcoming book Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide.

The gist is that young women, disillusioned with feminism, are choosing to become sex objects in order to catch husbands who can support them while they stay home to raise children. And that women who succeed in their careers, who support themselves financially and perhaps even outrank the men they'd like to date, are desperately seeking ways to appear less independent and more, well, dumb, to appeal to men.
Dowd cannot find a husband for herself, but being too intelligent is not the problem.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Editor is husband beater

John sends this story:
The editor of Britain's biggest-selling daily newspaper, The Sun, was arrested overnight for allegedly assaulting her husband, a star of one of the country's most popular TV soaps, police sources say.

Rebekah Wade, 37, who was appointed Sun editor in 2003, was suspected of attacking her husband Ross Kemp, 41, star of popular BBC TV soap opera EastEnders.

A police spokeswoman said officers had been called to an address in south London following reports of an incident.

"A woman was arrested for alleged assault on a man and is now in custody in a south London police station," the spokeswoman said.

Wade, who used The Sun to launch a high profile campaign against domestic violence, was previously editor of its Sunday sister paper, the News of the World, where she had been the youngest editor of a major national newspaper.
I believe people are innocent until proven guilty, so let's assume that she is innocent. A lot of innocent people are arrested for domestic violence. It is still interesting that a prominent news editor who crusades against domestic violence can get arrested for it.

Characterised by promiscuity

This 2003 NZ essay says:
British anthropologist John D. Unwin studied 80 civilisations that have come and gone over a period of several thousand years. He found a common thread ran through all of them. In each instance, as the family deteriorated, the civilisation itself started to come apart. In all 80 cases the fall of the nation was related to the fall of the family. In most cases, the civilisations he studied fell within one generation of the fall of the family unit. ...

Even advocates of same-sex marriage concede their marriages would have to be different. They want to redefine marriage so that multiple relationships are normal. This is because homosexuality is characterised by promiscuity. Most "committed" homosexual relationships include casual sex partners. In one of the largest US studies of gay lifestyles:2
  • 28 percent of white male homosexuals estimated they'd had sex with more than 1,000 partners
  • 43 percent estimated they'd had sex with 500 or more different partners
  • 75 percent had had 100 or more sexual partners

    Homosexuals themselves say "marriage" for them has to be "open".
  • The essay just generated this reply:
    Study co-author Dr Martin Weinberg says his study has been misused.

    "There is nothing in our book that is relevant to opposition to a civil union measure," he told the website Happy Clapping Homos.
    Yeah, right. Let them get married. Just don't expect them to act like married people, or you are a bigot.

    Whistleblower to get fired

    SF news:
    San Francisco's Department of Human Services wants to fire a child welfare supervisor accused of downloading and passing around gay S&M porn pix -- hot shots that starred a psychiatrist from the city's foster care program.

    Higher-ups in the welfare division are also facing possible discipline for moving too slowly to stop the photo pass-around, and for failing to report the supervisor's actions to the proper authorities. ...

    As far as the department is concerned, however, the doctor didn't do anything that violated the city's work rules by appearing on an S&M Web site. He's not facing any disciplinary action.
    The amazing part is that it is just fine for a city child psychiatrist to appear on a hard-core kinky porn site. Remember that if you ever have a social worker suggest that you take your kid to some highly-recommended govt child shrink.

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Judges reject parental rights

    The NEA (public school teachers union) brags:
    Federal courts rule that parents have no constitutional right to 'dictate individually what the schools teach their children.'

    Claiming a violation of their "parental rights," some parents have recently hauled public school officials into court and asked federal judges to overturn educational decisions they don't like. Their lawyers argue that parents have a constitutional right "to direct the upbringing and education" of their children, including the right to override the decisions of democratically elected school board members.

    To date, they've not enjoyed much success.
    John writes:
    The 9th Circuit issued a bad parental rights decision today. Opinion by Reinhardt for a unanimous 3-judge panel. Holds that parents have no constitutional right to opt their children out of sex education or psychological surveys (nosy questionnaires).
    The decision affirmed a federal district judge whose decision was praised in the above 2003 NEA newsletter.