Saturday, August 11, 2007

MSNBC: Vote Democratic!-- Uh, We Mean here's a New Study about the US and Healthcare

Interesting propaganda/ article over at MSN: "U.S. ranks just 42nd in life expectancy." A major reason for this ranking according to the "experts" in the article? Lack of universal healthcare, of course!

Researchers said several factors have contributed to the United States falling behind other industrialized nations. A major one is that 45 million Americans lack health insurance, while Canada and many European countries have universal health care, they say.

That's funny, two decades ago without universal healthcare, the article says the US ranked number 11 in life expectancy. So isn't it possible that something else is going on? Take a look at some of the comments to the article, there are a few reasonable people writing in who have some good questions and explanations for why the US's life expectancy stats tend to look low--here are a couple:

One of the major reasons why the U.S. ranks so low on the list in life expectancy is because, unlike nationalized healthcare countries, we try to save our preemie babies no matter what gestational age they are. In many nations w/ nationalized healthcare babies have to be at least 24 weeks gestational age or nothing will be done to sustain life. So if trying our best to save preemie babies ranks the U.S. low on the list then I say so be it.

What a pathetic study! There are no reported standards for controls.

1) US has a higher infant mortality rate and compares 13.7 for Black Americans as the same as Saudi Arabi. (Ummm, what about US teen pregnancy rates in the USA which are extremely high! Children born to teenage mothers are 1) under weight; 2) lower birth weights; 3) poor health to start life on; 4) live in substandard housing conditions. Nothing to do with "health insurance" as much as parents teaching their children to act responsibly and having a baby before one is educated w/jobs skills is not responsible behavior.);

2) US has a large immigration population -- both illegal aliens and naturalized. Was this accounted for in the study? For example, Asiatic-Indians suffer from an abnormally high rate of heart problems. Severe enough that the Asiatic-Indian community in the USA lobbied the US Congress for special funding for their community to address heart problems in this population.

There are a number of other explanations, none of which has much to do with insurance.

Have you noticed how the media is starting up the bash America/vote Democratic meme really early this go-round? Every article now reads like a catastrophe waiting around the corner unless all come to their senses and vote for a Democrat, stat. Even your life expectancy could be at risk. And they say that Republicans use fear as a motivator. Yeah, right.

Update: The NYT's chimes in on the healthcare debate: America, we're just awful and we'll prove it to you one headline at a time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hijacking a Ride?

A new study seeks to shed some light on why women pick men who breed but don't stick around (Hat Tip: Jules Crittenden):

Yet, how to explain women choosing those unsuitable, macho, alpha types? Many do.

Ovulating women have an increase in masculine preference, Dr. Boothroyd says, as do women who are already in a committed long-term relationship, "the idea being that they're already in a relationship, so they're not looking for a long-term partner."

Women with high self-esteem also choose more masculine partners, which may be because "they've got more in the bank to negotiate."

But they're not choosing them for their immunocompetence, Dr. Boothroyd says. Instead, they're attracted for reasons more directly related to the man's alpha-male status. Their genes might not technically be better, but since they belong to a socially dominant male, women perceive the men as having other desirable attributes.

So the next step is to take a harder look at what those genetic benefits might be. The "sexy-son" hypothesis, which dates back to the 1920s, is one possibility, Dr. Boothroyd says.

The premise: If a male is reproductively successful, it's advantageous to mate with him because he should produce sons who are also reproductively successful. "Sexy sons actually give their mothers more grandchildren," she says. These women are making a trade-off so their genes "can hijack a ride along with his and spread through the population."

I guess that explains why serial sperm donors are so successful with women.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

It's True

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Who is the Real Feminist?

I saw a link on Vox Day's blog to one of those silly quizzes that I often get suckered into taking for no other reason than curiosity or perhaps just procrastination from actual real work I should be doing. The quiz asked the question, "Are You a Feminist?" and if you are interested, here is my score:

You Are 91% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man). You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.

I was recently at a get-together of academics and ran into a "feminist professor" who was also a blogger. I guess she had read this blog because she immediately informed me that I was "not a feminist" before I even had a chance to find out what her idea of a feminist was. Apparently, her definition of an anti-feminist was "someone who does not agree with me!" Perhaps I should forward my score to her so I can "prove" I am a feminist, but then, what good would that do?

Equality between men and women is no longer the real issue with many "feminists"--it is more about special rights for women without responsibilities (like trying to get rid of the word bitch but not prick etc.), "empowerment" without the work that comes with actually doing anything, and allowing women to do things to men that if men did to women, would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, you know, like shoot them in the back while they sleep. If that is the definition, count me out--that type of feminism sounds more like a Democratic political action committee than a real sense of justice between men and women. The idea of equality is not as simple as this quiz would have us believe, for in order to be truly equal, women must understand that they too, have the responsibility to see that equality extends both ways.


More Double Standards

A Kentucky woman finally gets a short jail sentence of 60 days for raping a 15-year-old boy after school (thanks to the reader who emailed the story):

Jeni Lee Dinkel will serve 60 days in Kenton County jail for having sex with a 15-year-old boy last year. She must also serve five years probation and register as a sex offender for the next 20 years.

Dinkel, 51, was sentenced today by Kenton Circuit Judge Gregory Bartlett. She was charged in April with having sex with a friend of her son during a four-month period in 2006.

Under the terms of the sentence, she must also undergo psychological counseling and substance abuse treatment. She will pay a $2,500 fine plus court costs. She must also serve 200 hours of community service and she is not allowed to sell her story or profit from the case.

She must begin serving her jail sentence Oct. 5.

The victim, now 16, did not attend the hearing but was represented by Joshua Crabtree, a lawyer with the Children’s Law Center in Covington.

“He felt during the course of the proceedings … there was some assertion that he had pursued Mrs. Dinkel," said Crabtree. "He wanted to make it clear that was not ever true.

In an opinion piece from today's The Enquirer, the sentence is said to be a "slap on the wrist:"

Kenton Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders initially agreed to a plea bargain that involved no jail time, saying a "societal double standard" made a long sentence for Dinkel unlikely. Judge Bartlett put a stop to that deal on May 31, saying he wasn't satisfied with the presentence reports and delayed the sentencing until Tuesday.

Dinkel's jail sentence will be only half as long as the four-month relationship she acknowledged having with the victim. She must also serve five years probation, register as a sex offender for the next 20 years, attend counseling sessions and perform 200 hours of community service.

Comments posted on an Enquirer online message board during the past few months have ranged from demanding the harshest sentence to some willing to excuse the crime because the victim was a teenage boy and therefore somehow must not have suffered from the experience. After all, this line of flawed reasoning goes, the sexual contact occurred repeatedly over months last year, so the boy must not have objected. The fact that this was the calculated seduction of a 15-year-old by a 51-year-old adult seems to be lost on these people. This was an act of domination and exploitation of the adult/child relationship.

Though this sentence is short and no doubt, a male who engaged in the same behavior would probably be in jail for years, I have to give Judge Bartlett some credit for trying to change the double standards a bit:

Dinkel pleaded guilty May 31, in a plea deal that would have given her five years probation and no jail time. But the judge in the case rejected the plea deal, saying he wasn’t satisfied with the pre-sentencing reports.

Bartlett said he had to uphold public confidence in the judicial system when weighing what sentence to hand down. “Equal justice is of the law is more than a slogan,” he said. “It has to be a reality, and as far as I’m concerned, it is reality.”

Some fairness is better than none.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More of the Nanny State

It seems that NYC is attempting to make it illegal to use the word "bitch" or "ho":

The New York City Council, which drew national headlines when it passed a symbolic citywide ban earlier this year on the use of the so-called n-word, has turned its linguistic (and legislative) lance toward a different slur: bitch.

The term is hateful and deeply sexist, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates “a paradigm of shame and indignity” for all women.

But conversations over the last week indicate that the “b-word” (as it is referred to in the legislation) enjoys a surprisingly strong currency — and even some defenders — among many New Yorkers.

And Ms. Mealy admitted that the city’s political ruling class can be guilty of its use. As she circulated her proposal, she said, “even council members are saying that they use it to their wives.”

The measure, which 19 of the 51 council members have signed onto, was prompted in part by the frequent use of the word in hip-hop music. Ten rappers were cited in the legislation, along with an excerpt from an 1811 dictionary that defined the word as “A she dog, or doggess; the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman.”

While the bill also bans the slang word “ho,” the b-word appears to have acquired more shades of meaning among various groups, ranging from a term of camaraderie to, in a gerund form, an expression of emphatic approval. Ms. Mealy acknowledged that the measure was unenforceable, but she argued that it would carry symbolic power against the pejorative uses of the word. Even so, a number of New Yorkers said they were taken aback by the idea of prohibiting a term that they not only use, but do so with relish and affection.

When will pejorative uses of words against men be prohibited? Probably when hell freezes over. Not that they should be prohibited--people have the right to use such negative words without having to worry that they are illegal--even if they do not meet with everyone's approval, that is what free speech should be about.

Update: David Harsanyi has more: "(On a personal note, I don't like the idea of being hampered by laws at home. As someone who has called his wife the B-Word, I would only support such a ban if her usage of, say the word "prick," a paradigm of shame and indignity for all men, were also banned to balance the "discussion.")"


"Honey, They're Killing Free Choice!"

Have you ever watched the show on the The Learning Channel, "Honey, We're Killing the Kids?" I had heard about the show and watched it for the first time yesterday. The gist of the show is that parents are providing their children with such a terrible lifestyle that it will "kill" the children off early if they stay on the same trajectory. Following is a description of the show:

...parents are shown the consequences of poor parenting. The program shows computer-generated images of what their children may look like as adults if they continue with their present life-style, dietary and exercise habits.

First, a family with issues relating to their parenting, dietary and exercise habits is introduced. Then, the children are examined by physicians, and every aspect of their eating habits and physical activity is analyzed by an expert team. Then, the parents are shown what their children may look like by taking present-day photos of them and age-progressing the photos with a computer year by year until age forty. The parents are frequently brought to tears when presented with the likelihood of their childrens' unhappy future appearance and significantly reduced life expectancy.

The show I watched showed a fairly happy family of mom, dad, two young boys and a baby boy. The parents ran a deli and the boys--eight and twelve--were over there continuously eating snacks including chips and soda. In comes savior and nutritionist Dr. Lisa Hark on the show to save the day by providing rules for eating, drinking and living. She tells the boys to quit going to the deli where dad works to eat snacks, that meals will consist of only healthy foods, that the boys cannot watch tv or play video games for some time and then only if they earn points to do so by doing chores, that the parents will quit smoking and on and on...

Now, all of this sounds good and healthy, doesn't it? But the family honestly looks miserable. The younger of the two boys, eight year old Collin, looks ready to cry and does cry in some scenes. Mom and Dad look exasperated with trying to quit smoking and they don't try very hard, leaving them feeling guilty when they are hauled before the nutritionist at the end of the show to talk about their shame. Dad hangs his head and mom barely talks when they are quizzed on how they are doing. It's honestly rather pathetic. They are told by the nutritionist that at this rate, their sons will only live to 60. My gut reaction? So what? If they will be living in a state of misery with such a lack of control over what they like to eat, drink, smoke, or do in their daily lives, what's the point? Isn't happiness and free choice worth something too?

Reason Magazine recently had an interesting article entitled, "An Epidemic of Meddling: The totalitarian implications of public health." The article makes an important point:

The public health mission to minimize morbidity and mortality leaves no room for the possibility that someone might accept a shorter life span in exchange for more pleasure or less discomfort.

I realize that "Honey, We're Killing the Kids" is just a TV show and that the families on the show chose to be there. Yet, I can't help but think that the show is a metaphor for the type of public health policy that many nanny staters want to implement--legally enforceable rules that take away our free choice and demand that we adhere to a utopian view of health--whether we want to or not. "A government empowered to maximize health is not a government under which anyone who values liberty would want to live." I certainly don't.


Monday, August 06, 2007

In the Mail

I often get books that bloggers and/or authors send me to read. I was pleasantly surprised to get an interesting book entitled Medicines for Mental Health by Nom dePlume, who is physicist with an interest in medical treatments for mental illness. The book examines psychotropic medications and their side effects; there is even a section on antidepressant drugs and sexual dysfunction. The book is offered to read for free at if you wish to take a look at it. I haven't read it yet but you can't beat the price!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

"The Number of Americans Moving to Canada in 2006 Hit a 30-Year High"

This seems like good news:

In 2006, 10,942 Americans went to Canada, compared with 9,262 in 2005 and 5,828 in 2000, according to a survey by the Association for Canadian Studies....

The current increase appears to be fueled largely by social and political reasons, says Jedwab, based on anecdotal evidence.

"Those who are coming have the highest level of education — these aren't people who can't get a job in the states," he says. "They're coming because many of them don't like the politics, the Iraq War and the security situation in the U.S. By comparison, Canada is a tension-free place. People feel safer...."

Kertes attributes his motivation to President Bush's opposition to gay marriage, and the tactics employed during the war on terror since 9/11.

"I wanted a country that respected my human rights and the rights of others," he says. "We joked about it after Bush won re-election, but it took us a while to go through the application."

Kertes, who moved with his partner, is happy in his new home. "Canada is a really nice country. My mother is thinking about it. My stepfather has diabetes and has health issues. So, he'd be taken care of for free if he moved up here."

Yep, let Canada take care of all the disgruntled Americans and provide their sick family members with "free healthcare." It sounds like a good plan to me; if the Democrats lose the presidency by 10,942 votes in 2008, we'll know who to blame!