Month Archives: March 2009

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 26, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 25, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 24, 2009

Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere today.

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 24, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Anti-Spanking Zealots Need a Timeout

by Peter Sprigg

March 23, 2009

Yet another “study” by a long-time anti-spanking researcher has been released by an anti-spanking advocacy group. Not surprisingly, the study is anti-spanking. Ironically, though, the research did not focus on spanking at all, but on “physical punishment.” The study explicitly lumps together words like “spank,” “slap,” “beat,” “punch,” and “whip,” treating them as if they are all the same thing. There is a huge difference between the ordinary disciplinary spanking practiced by most parents and all these other forms of “physical punishment,” which can more easily be abusive. Defining the issue this way makes the study useless for identifying the actual impact of “spanking” as such. The key both to the effectiveness of parental discipline (including spanking) and its effect on the child (whether positive or negative) lies in how the discipline is undertaken in its larger context, not simply what disciplinary tool is used. Studies have actually shown that a disciplinary style that balances firm control (including spanking) with positive encouragement results in the best outcomes for children. It’s clear that the long-term goal of these anti-spanking zealots is a legal ban on all spanking that would treat it as “assault” and a “human rights violation.” This is an intrusion into parental rights that Americans should not tolerate.

Arizona Republic report on new study of “physical punishment”

Spare the Rod? The Research Challenges Spanking Critics,” by Den Trumbull, M.D. and S. DuBose Ravenel, M.D.

http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS07K02

Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

March 23, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

Offensive Joke, Offensive Treaty

by Michael Fragoso

March 20, 2009

Last night President Obama went on the Tonight Show.  Deciding to go off-teleprompter, the President made a joke at the expense of the disabled, saying that his bowling skills might qualify him for “the Special Olympics.”  In other words, America was treated to the spectacle of her President engaging in a less-funny version of the traditional Rodney Dangerfield send-up (“I tell ya, I don’t get no respect.  I went bowling the other day, and my wife Michelle tells me…”) Lovely.  (It should be noted that Obama has since apologized for the comment.)

 

Jocular merits aside, one can’t help but wonder: would Obama’s joke violate the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?  The Convention has a host of problems, not the least of which is its potential to be extremely anti-life, but to its credit it’s very clear about stereotyping the disabled in a negative way.  For example, Article 8, Section 1 states that state parties should take actions: “(a) To raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding persons with disabilities, and to foster respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities; (b) To combat stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices relating to persons with disabilities, including those based on sex and age, in all areas of life; (c) To promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.”  Article 8, Section 2 urges state parties “To promote positive perceptions and greater social awareness towards persons with disabilities;” (a, ii) and “To promote recognition of the skills, merits and abilities of persons with disabilities, and of their contributions to the workplace and the labour market;” (a, iii).  This is to happen not merely at the governmental level, but also by “Encouraging all organs of the media to portray persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with the purpose of the present Convention;” (c) Somehow I don’t think that the nation’s highest executive authority belittling the athletic skills of the disabled on the top-rated late night talk show is quite what the Convention has in mind.

Thankfully for President Obama the United States is not a signatory to the Convention, and has not moved to ratify it, so his flub won’t be discussed during any periodic reports before the implementation committee anytime soon.  On the other hand, Obama’s campaign did promise to see the treaty ratified by the Senate.  While I may think Obama’s joke last night was in poor taste, I certainly don’t think it should be subject to the scrutiny of a bevy of liberal, cosmopolitan “human rights experts” at the UN.  Does President Obama?  Does he still support the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?  Or is his policy simply to belittle the disabled at home, and empower their radically liberal “advocates” abroad?

Change Watch Backgrounder: Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

by Tom McClusky

March 20, 2009

POSITION: DEPUTY DIRECTOR for THE FDA


NOMINEE: Joshua Sharfstein

Born: 1970

Occupation: Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore, Maryland

Education: Harvard College, 1991; Harvard Medical School 1996; Residency in pediatrics at Boston City Hospital and Boston Medical Center; completed a special pediatrics fellowship with Boston University

Work history: Served as health policy advisor to Congressman Henry A. Waxman and Joined the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee where he was responsible for oversight and legislative projects on scientific integrity, HIV/AIDS, FDA oversight, tobacco control, public health preparedness and other health topics.  While on the committee he spearheaded unscientific reports attacking both abstinence education and pregnancy care centers.

2005-2008:  Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore

2008: Leader of Obama’s transition team on the FDA

 

On Abortion

It is more dangerous for a woman to go through childbirth than to have an abortion.”

By depriving poor women of such services (access to taxpayer-funded abortionists), Rust (case concerning the legality and constitutionality of regulations on the use of funds spent by the U.S. to groups that promote abortion) will increase the shamefully high infant mortality rates in urban and rural areas.” And “will likely raise infant mortality rates among low-income populations.”

Rust will also contribute to infant mortality (rates) by obstructing women’s access to abortion services.”

Denying access to an abortion at a public clinic will force some women to wait even later into pregnancy before they can afford one, thus increasing their health risks.”

Joshua Sharfstein, “Conservatives’ Abortion Wrongs,” The Harvard Crimson.  June 4, 1991.

[Source]

On Parental Consent

Supported making the HPV vaccine mandatory for girls with no requirement to obtain parent’s approval.

[Source]

On Treating Drug Users

He is also an advocate of the use of a treatment for heroin addicts called “bupe” on the street, and he set up the Baltimore Buprenorphine Initiative. The Baltimore Sun has written about the program, questioning whether addicts using bupe are better off than those using methadone. The Baltimore health department’s Web site says heroin overdoses have dropped.”

[Source]

On Fighting Medical Companies

Opting for action over the status quo, a group of Baltimore physicians decided to challenge common perceptions that children’s over-the-counter cold and cough medicines are safe and effective. They believe the products are neither.  Led by the city’s health department, the group brought a citizens’ petition to the Food and Drug Administration asking that the agency tell parents that the products never were found to be safe or effective for this young population. The FDA is now considering the matter and, at press time in December 2007, the final decision was still pending. ‘We are working intently to provide a public statement in the near future,’ an agency spokeswoman said.” [Source]

Baltimore‘s Rising Teen Pregnancy Rates

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Vital Statistics Administration reported that the birthrate among to 15- to 17-year-olds increased by 14-percent since last year (during Mr. Sharfstein’s tenure as Baltimore Health Commissioner). That’s about 100 more births than the 649 recorded the year before.” Farrah Childs, “Teen Pregnancy on the Rise in Baltimore,” WYPR News in Maryland. August 27, 2008. 

[Source]

Reaction from Pro-Abortion Groups

As New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Hamburg instituted a needle-exchange program to help prevent the spread of HIV, oversaw abortion counseling and family planning centers and pregnancy prevention programs. Like Dr. Hamburg, Dr. Sharfstein (nominee for Deputy at FDA) demonstrated pro-choice credentials throughout his career” NARAL Pro-Choice New York press release [Source]

Political Opinions

When I worked on the needle-exchange issue for Congressman Waxman, I would meet with groups who were morally opposed to the needle-exchange program. I would say, “Look, if you want to find the program morally wrong, that’s your prerogative, but you have to look yourself in the mirror and say people are going to die.  We had a web site, www.politicsandscience.org, which included an overview of the Bush administration policies toward science, and [it] has specific examples of where [Republican] ideology has affected health policy. It shows how they’ve distorted web sites-misrepresented information about condoms, for example.”

[Source]

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