Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘children’ Category

A great religious mystery

Posted by Charles II on June 18, 2012

David Kerr, Catholic News Agency:

In his eight and a half minute address, the Pope explained to that the Council Fathers had wanted to renew the external forms of the Mass so as to “make it easier to enter into the inner depth of the mystery,” and therefore “lead people to a personal encounter with the Lord, present in the Eucharist.”

Touching upon the troubled recent history of the Church in Ireland, the Pope said the “mystery” as to why some clerics would abuse those in their care can perhaps be explained by the fact that “their Christianity was no longer nourished by joyful encounter with Jesus Christ: it had become merely a matter of habit.”

I hate to harp on the sex abuse scandal. Such things are not exactly unique to the Catholic Church. But when Popes go around calling gross hypocrisy and sociopathic predation a “mystery” in the same speech as they talk of making accessibly the “mystery” of the Eucharist, they sound completely clueless.

Here’s the answer to the “mystery,” Mr Pope: Children require protection. Pedophiles and ephebophiles require exposure, condemnation, and punishment.

Posted in children, mistitled Benedict | 3 Comments »

A Republic of Liars

Posted by Charles II on April 20, 2009

This is the kind of story that makes one cringe, both for the behavior of Kellogg and at the thought that any researcher would actually stoop to this:

Kellogg Company, the world’s leading producer of cereal, has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that advertising claims touting a breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats as “clinically shown to improve kids’ attentiveness by nearly 20%” were false and violated federal law. The proposed settlement bars deceptive or misleading cognitive health claims for Kellogg’s breakfast foods and snack foods and bars the company from misrepresenting any tests or studies.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Kellogg claimed in a national advertising campaign – including television, print, and Internet advertising, as well as product packaging – that a breakfast of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal is clinically shown to improve children’s attentiveness by nearly 20 percent. The complaint alleges that, in fact, according to the clinical study referred to in Kellogg’s advertising, only about half the children who ate Frosted Mini-Wheats for breakfast showed any improvement in attentiveness, and only about one in nine improved by 20 percent or more.

I bet the clinical study didn’t mention what happened to the kids’s attentiveness after the sugar crash.

Posted in children, liars | 2 Comments »

The Catholic Church’s Leaders Must Really Want The Evangelicals To Keep Cleaning Their Clocks In Latin America

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 8, 2009

That’s about the only way to explain why they’re excommunicating the mother of a nine-year-old Brazilian child who had been raped by her stepfather and made pregnant with twins, because she rightly preferred to save her daughter’s life by aborting the rapist’s seed. They’re even excommunicating the doctors and nurses involved in saving the 80-pound little girl’s life. (They would have excommunicated the little girl too, but cut her some slack because of her age.)

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: The rapist won’t be excommunicated. From Earth Times:

When asked why he did not excommunicate the stepfather who sexually abused the girl, Gomes Sobrinho said: “He committed an extremely serious crime. But that crime, according to canon law, is not punished with automatic excommunication.”

He said, “Abortion is even more serious. The church and the whole world condemn the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews. What is happening (with abortion) is a silent Holocaust.”

Got that? It’s OK to let an 80-pound girl die an agonizingly slow and painful death as the growing twin fetuses rip her apart from the inside, but NOT OK to prevent that death. Oh, and may I invoke Godwin’s Law here? (Especially as Pius XII was oh-so-quick to excommunicate Italian Communists, but never Mussolini or Hitler.)

Posted in abortion, children, eedjits, evil, wrong way to go about it, WTF? | 9 Comments »


Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 6, 2009

The Obama girls get a really nice swing set! Still waiting on the puppy, though. ;-)

Posted in children, Good Things, President Obama | Comments Off on Swing!

Is It A Rise In Autism, Or Diagnosis?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 17, 2009

For many years, the medical community has held that the “autism epidemic” claimed to exist by anti-vaccination activists is far more likely to be a rise in the diagnosis of autism than anything else. A recent UC Davis study, much touted by the anti-vaccinationists as proof that autism rate rises can’t be explained by increased diagnosis, doesn’t exactly say what they claim it does, as Steve Novella notes:

The key to putting this study into context is the phrase “other artifacts”. This study did not control for all possible artifacts resulting in higher diagnosis rates. Specifically, it did not address surveillance, which is likely the dominant factor. It also did not control for shifting diagnosis. In other words, 20 years ago a child may have been diagnosed with a non-specific speech disorder, and today they would be diagnosed with autism, so-called diagnostic substitution as was found by Bishop in 2008.

Another factor is that physicians, teachers, and parents have increased awareness not only of the symptoms but of the autistic label. How many parents who notice that their child is socially withdrawn are going to seek out services or medical attention?

This study did nothing to assess these potentially huge factors. So what this study really did was account for 10% of the increase in autism diagnosis. But it did not show anything about the other 90%, nor rule out the leading contenders for diagnostic artifact. I will add it to my list of references on this question, but it certainly does not overturn all the prior studies listed.

It should be noted that Novella was relatively kind to this study. Joseph at Natural Variation has really ripped apart the paper’s assumptions, numbers, and methologies, here, here and here.

Meanwhile, another study, also using California data, showed that even as the diagnosis rate of autism has risen in California, the overall percentage of kids getting special education has remained unchanged. This strongly suggests, as medical professionals have long held, that conditions are increasingly being diagnosed as autism spectrum disorder when twenty or even ten years ago they might have been diagnosed as, say, schizophrenia –which often was used in the past as a catchall diagnosis and which a 1995 study showed was wrongly diagnosed 35% of the time.

Posted in autism, children, science and medicine | Comments Off on Is It A Rise In Autism, Or Diagnosis?

More Good News On The Solar Front

Posted by Phoenix Woman on September 21, 2008

Thanks to Jo6pac, who tipped me off to this story about an amazing twelve-year-old boy, William Yuan of Beaverton, Oregon, who has managed to take the already-promising field of 3D solar cells a step further:

In his project, “A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar Cell for Visible and UV
Light,” William invented a novel solar panel that enables light absorption from visible to
ultraviolet light. He designed carbon nanotubes to overcome the barriers of electron
movement, doubling the light-electricity conversion efficiency. William also developed a
model for solar towers and a computer program to simulate and optimize the tower
parameters. His optimized design provides 500 times more light absorption than
commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than the cutting-edge, threedimensional
solar cell.

This is possible in part because the cell, in addition to using the new 3D nanotube technology that enables light-wave collection at a greater range of sun angles (in other words, you don’t have to be constantly changing the position of the cell for it to keep generating power), also absorbs UV rays as well as visible light spectrum rays. This is something that even current cutting-edge 3D solar cells don’t do.

He’s earned a $25,000 scholarship for his work, and he’s planning to contact potential manufacturers to start production of test runs large enough to provide useful information on cost and real-world energy harvesting potential. Wish him well — I, for one, would love to see a solar cell array the size of a typical tablecloth that could be used to power my house and my car, once the Chevy Volt comes along.

Posted in children, climate change, doing the right thing, energy, environment, Good Things, saving the earth, solar, sustainability | 2 Comments »

But But But The Profit Motive Is The Only Reason To Do ANYTHING!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 29, 2008

Even after years of Republican efforts to sabotage the public school system in Minnesota, it still outperforms the heavily-protected charter school experiment, as even one of its boosters is forced to admit (h/t Spotty):

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) made news when it released a new report on charter schools in Minnesota. (The June 2008 report, simply titled “Charter Schools,” is available at

The finding that got pundits and journalists talking is the conclusion that students in charter schools “generally did not perform as well on standardized academic measures as students in Minnesota district schools.”

As Spotty says:

Let’s be direct, boys and girls, people like John, Sticks and Davey Strom, perhaps the Snap, Crackle, and Pop over at the box of puffed cereal known as the Minnesota Free Market Institute, won’t be happy until they have entirely wrecked the institution of public education.

Minnesota’s not the only place where charter schools have been falling flat, financially as well as academically. Arizona’s charter schools have at best a checkered history, as most recently shown by three schools in Gilbert and Mesa nearly losing accreditation. (Of course, the main proponent for charter schools in Arizona, Lisa Graham Keegan, is also John McCain’s chief education advisor.)

The biggest disaster of all was the much-ballyhooed Edison School project of Chris Whittle, adopted and then dropped in places like New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. It would have gone belly-up in 2002, had it actually not been given serious political protection of the sort that a free-market enterprise is not supposed to need; it finally breathed its last just last week, having been on life support for several years before that:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, abuse of power, capitalism as cancer, children, education, eedjits, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 5 Comments »

This Is What ‘Starving The Beast’ Gets You

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 13, 2007

The US is now among the worst of the developed nations for infant mortality.

Posted in 'starving the beast', capitalism as cancer, children, health care, health issues, infrastructure | Comments Off on This Is What ‘Starving The Beast’ Gets You

The Bush Economy Strikes Again

Posted by MEC on October 30, 2007

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McClatchy reports:

For the first time in more than 40 years, the majority of children in public schools in the South are poor, according to a report released Tuesday.


…hitting the South disproportionately were federal cutbacks in anti-poverty programs, the region’s higher rates of underemployment and the increased birthrates of Hispanic and African American children — who are statistically more likely than their white peers to be born into poverty.


Proponents hope that early childhood education will help all students, regardless of income level, succeed.

Early childhood education — I recall that the Bush Administration has tried to gut the Head Start program, reducing it from all-around early intervention to merely a reading program.

For Bush, “Leave No Child Behind” is just a slogan, stolen from the Children’s Defense Fund to camouflage malign neglect.

Growing up in poverty puts children at a disadvantage. Bush’s economic policies have consigned more children to poverty. Maybe he figures it doesn’t matter whether they get a decent education, since more of them will die because of his cuts to children’s health programs, and “decrease the surplus population”.

Posted in 'starving the beast', BushCo malfeasance, children, economy, education | 7 Comments »

Health Care Is A Right

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 22, 2007

Al says it, I believe it, that settles it.

(h/t to CMike, frequent MR commenter, for the link.)

Posted in Al Gore, big money, capitalism as cancer, children, Good Causes, health care, health issues | 4 Comments »

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