slumber-powered

after the sleeping comes the waking up.

Posts Tagged ‘government’

Body shape is a crime now?

Posted by c. wagner on November 6, 2009

I’m sorry, but stories like this piss me off.

No. I’m not sorry. Not sorry at all.

This is cruel and unusual crap. Especially coming from what’s supposed to be a modern, enlightened government.

Social workers have moved to take into care a baby born to an obese mother.

The mother — who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the children — gave birth by Caesarean section last week in a Dundee hospital but was told within 24 hours that she would not be allowed to keep the baby.

She has already had the youngest of her six children, aged 3 and 4, removed from her care because social workers feared that they were at risk of becoming obese. The 40-year-old mother weighed 23 stone [322 pounds] before falling pregnant.

The UK has been pulling this sort of shit for years and it never fails to boil my blood. Taking kids away from parents because the kids are “too fat”? This is the most egregious case I’ve seen yet. The kids are taken away because “they were at risk of becoming obese”. At risk. At risk. They weren’t “too fat”. They were taken away because they might, someday, maybe, possibly be “too fat”.

The story of the 3- and 4-year-olds is equally rage-inspiring.

Ms Price [the family’s lawyer] said that social workers acted after a series of small incidents, including one where care workers judged that the mother could not move quickly enough to take the youngest child down from a window-sill, despite the window being closed.

What! The! Fuck!

I’m sorry, there’s no way you could judge that just based on weight. My weight is fairly similar to the mom in the story and I can outsprint my skinny girlfriend across the yard, not just across the house. And I have better reaction time. A baby on a windowsill would be safer with my fat ass around than being left alone with my girlfriend. And I don’t even like babies.

Time for me to take cooling-down lap around the house. Razzafrazzafatfearinggovernmentfundedpeanutbraineddumbasses. Grrr.

Read about the baby from the Times Online.

Read about the two kids from the Times Online.

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Will they send a tree ear to prove they’re serious?

Posted by c. wagner on November 4, 2009

I’m not sure what to make of this one.

More than two years ago, Ecuador said it would abandon plans for drilling in Yasuni National Park, one of the few pristine regions of Amazon rainforest remaining, if it was paid half of the $7 billion that it expected to earn from tapping the oilfield.

That’s sort of holding the forest for ransom. And now some countries and the UN are thinking of paying up.

I’ll admit that it’s unfair of developed countries who built their economies on exploiting any and every natural resource they could get their hands on to tell the developing world they can’t do the same. But something about this just feels … wrong.

Read more at New Scientist.

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Which drug is really the worst?

Posted by c. wagner on November 2, 2009

It’s interesting to see this sort of debate about the harmfulness of legal and illegal recreational drugs going on at the government level. Of course, it’s happening across the pond rather than in the United States, but I can’t imagine it looking too much different here. If a politician in the United States was brave or crazy enough to bring up the topic and quote the science in his or her argument, I’d be incredibly impressed.

Read the article from the Daily Mail.

[Edited to add: The person in question was fired over the weekend. Kind of like the Surgeon General who was fired after saying masturbation was good for kids. *sigh*]

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Why did it take so long?

Posted by c. wagner on October 29, 2009

President Obama on Wednesday signed a law that makes it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sure, Congress had to append it to a defense spending bill, but it’s been passed. About time.

Read more at CNN.

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“How is that a loophole that needs closing?”

Posted by c. wagner on October 23, 2009

Just watch this clip from The Daily Show. (I’d embed it, but Hulu is evil.)

What. The. Fuck.

Thanks to Brad G. for pointing this out!

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The IRS decided what?

Posted by c. wagner on October 23, 2009

When I first saw the news that insurers might be forced to cover religious or spiritual “treatments” (read: prayer) for illness the other day (on the JREF blog), I thought it was a bit alarmist. The catch in the language was that the spiritual treatment has to be considered tax-deductible by the IRS. Surely, the IRS hasn’t declared prayer treatments tax-deductible. That would be ridiculous!

*sigh* When will I ever learn?

Turns out that prayers by Christian Science practitioners are tax-deductible. Not prayers from anyone else. Just Christian Science practitioners.

And if the language survives the next round of talks in the House and Senate, insurance companies might have to fork over money for Christian Science prayers. And, unsurprisingly, Christian Science leaders are happy campers.

“It’s so important that anyone in this country, not just Christian Scientists, not be discriminated against because they use spiritual care or rely on it instead of conventional medical treatment,” said Phil Davis, who manages media and legislative affairs for Christian Scientists globally, speaking to the St Petersburg Times, a Florida newspaper.

And folks who want some science in their medicine have reason to be concerned.

Some Christian Scientists may believe that healing prayers can replace conventional medicine, but science doesn’t back this up. For example, a study in 1989 found that graduates from a Christian Science college had a higher rate of death than an equivalent control population. There have also been tragic cases in which children of Christian Scientists are reported to have died after not been given the appropriate conventional care.

Again, what the fuck are people thinking? *headdesk*

Read the summary from Short Sharp Science.

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How can parents do this?

Posted by c. wagner on October 20, 2009

Followed a link from a quackwatch.com article to this gem from the journal Pediatrics (vol. 101, 1 of 2, no. 4, April 1998): “Child fatalities from religion-motivated medical neglect”.

You know things are going to be bad when the suggested “file under” keywords are: “child abuse, child neglect, child fatality, Christian Science, faith healing, medical neglect, prayer, religion and medicine”.

There are all sorts of (awful) goodies in here, leading off with something I had no idea was the case.

… in late 1974 the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare required states receiving federal child abuse prevention and treatment grants to have religious exemptions to child abuse and neglect charges.( n8) With federal money at stake, states rapidly enacted exemptions for parents who relied on prayer rather than medical care when their children were sick or injured. A decade later nearly every state had these exemptions in the juvenile code, criminal code, or both.( n9, n10) [page 625]

Bet you had no idea that is was okay for parents to deny their kids medical care, as long as they claimed their religion said so, huh?

The case histories in the article are heartbreaking. Like this one.

One father had a medical degree and had completed a year of residency before joining a church opposed to medical care. After 4 days of fever, his 5-month-old son began having apneic episodes. The father told the coroner that with each spell he “rebuked the spirit of death” and the infant “perked right back up and started breathing.” The infant died the next day from bacterial meningitis. [page 626]

I don’t understand how someone could watch their child die. Especially someone who knew what medicine was capable of. The “spirit of death” was this kid’s father.

If possible, it gets worse.

These fatalities were not from esoteric entities but ordinary ailments seen and treated routinely in community medical centers. Deaths from dehydration, appendicitis, labor complications, antibiotic-sensitive bacterial infections, vaccine-preventable disorders, or hemorrhagic disease of the newborn have a very low frequency in the United States. [page 628]

Dying of dehydration? In the 20th century? What. The Fuck. I can’t even fathom how parents could allow this to happen.

Some measure of sanity has returned, though.

In 1983, the federal government removed religious exemptions from federal mandate, allowing states to repeal them. The well-organized lobbying of exemption supporters, however, has defeated most repeal efforts. Today only five states, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Hawaii, have no exemptions either to civil abuse and neglect charges or criminal charges. [page 629]

Thank Nature legislators finally grew consciences and spines and took those exemptions off the books.

But there are still plenty of people out there who refuse for religious reasons to take their kids to a doctor. And there are still some states where it’s perfectly okay for them to do so. I just can’t wrap my head around a worldview where a parent would pass off responsibility for caring for his or her child to an incorporeal being.

Maybe I just don’t have enough faith.

Posted in Recent reading | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Prosperity for whom?

Posted by c. wagner on October 20, 2009

Newsoftheweird.com brought this one to my attention.

As Easter approached, the ad ran repeatedly on the Inspiration Network: David Cerullo, clutching a Bible, told viewers they, too, could receive prosperity, physical healing and other blessings God gave the ancient Israelites.

All they had to do, the televangelist said, was send $200 or more.

This is called “prosperity theology“. It boils down to “give a preacher money and Jesus Christ will give you even more money than you gave originally”. I didn’t realize Jesus could act as an investment banker or money manager. Doesn’t this “theology” run counter to the Bible? What was that about rich men and camels and the eyes of needles?

It gets worse, though.

Much of the money sent by people … is now funding the City of Light, a 93-acre campus in northern Lancaster County, S.C., where the network’s plans include a sophisticated training and broadcast center.

Taxpayers also are helping to pay for it. Eager to bring jobs to a county with 19 percent unemployment, South Carolina offered the network incentives worth up to $26 million to land the campus – a deal that has been questioned by economic development experts.

Whoa, horsey! Tax dollars are paying for a religious institution? Isn’t there something in the Constitution about this?

Does this mean that the Pastafarians or followers of the Invisible Pink Unicorn can get cash to build research centers and television networks? That would only be fair.

Read the story at the Charlotte Observer.

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