Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Our Pediatrician has an Agenda

The human immune system is an amazing thing - when it works, anyway. I never knew this until Tuff Jr. was born, but apparently a newborn's "mature" immune system is inherited from the mother. This gives the child a fighting chance against the plethora of microscopic nasties out there while it grows and its own system gears up to take over. It's a pretty ingenious mechanism, until your kid starts mingling with other infantile petri dishes and brings home their first cold.

And so it has been at Castle Tuff these past few weeks. Sweatshirts of mine that once were monotone were quickly changed into groovy tie-dyes of baby phlegm and drool that Jerry Garcia could not have designed as dada and mama stayed up trying to get our son to sleep. As luck would have it, Tuff Jr. was scheduled for his one-year doctor visit and vaccinations just as his worst symptoms were subsiding. We had the usual questions about the shots he was to receive, side effects, thimerosal content, etc. but before anyone addressed them, we received some sheets of paper that were "about the immunizations." What we received were three sheets of paper. Two of them described the pending injections and one of them was from the American Academy of Pediatrics, titled: "1 to 2 Years, Safety for Your Child." It was the first page.

Just below the title was the following information:

"Did you know that injuries are the leading cause of death of children younger than 4 years in the United States? Most of these injuries can be prevented."

So, as a concerned - and often paranoid father, I continued to read. This paper then went on to list the preventable fatal injuries apparently most common to young children. I guess I should not have been surprised at what I read next, but I was. The very first preventable injury listed was:

"Firearm Hazards - Children in homes where guns are present are in more danger of being shot by themselves, their friends, or family members than of being injured by an intruder. It is best to keep all guns out of the home. Handguns are especially dangerous. If you chose to keep a gun, keep it unloaded and in a locked place separate from the ammunition. Ask if the homes where your child visits or is cared for have guns and how they are stored."

After this were other potential and avoidable lethal hazards for children. In order, they were:

And Remember Car Safety

(I am not listing the discussion following these topics for brevity.)

So being the "Think Globally, Shoot Locally" kind of guy I am, I decided to do a little research. The most recent compiled data I could find to list causes of death for age groups was the "National Vital Statistic Report" for 2000 from the CDC.

Lo and behold, what did I find?

On table 9 - page 27, "Accidents" was the leading causes of death of children 1-4 years old, just as the American Academy of Pediatrics said (12.1 per 100,000). But then, on table 11 - page 34, the category of "Accidents" is broken down as follows:

Transportation accidents: 4.6 deaths per 100,000
Drowning/Submersion: 3.3 deaths per 100,000
Smoke/Fire Exposure: 1.9 deaths per 100,000
Accidental Falls: 0.2 deaths per 100,000
Poisonings: 0.2 deaths per 100,000
Other: 1.8 deaths per 100,000

Now since the American Academy of Pediatrics saw fit to list "Firearm Hazards" first in their paper, where might you imagine that this cause of death fits on the scales of the CDC report?

Accidental discharge of firearms: *

Yep! A freaking asterisk! That means according to the footnotes of table 11, the figure "does not meet the standards of reliability or precision." Which means it is BASICALLY ZERO per 100,000. And since "Falls" are listed at 0.2, we have to assume that the accidental firearm hazard is far enough below this to earn the coveted asterisk.

So let's be good sports and include another related category from the same table of the CDC report shall we?

Discharge of firearms, undetermined intent: *

There it is again! That damned asterisk!

Now look at the list from the CDC. Transportation accidents, at 4.6 per 100,000 are far and away the leading cause of death for children 1-4 (Of the 4.6, motor vehicle accidents comprised 4.3). Yet the American Academy of Pediatrics saw fit to put that cause last. And while discharge of firearms (accidental or undetermined origin) didn't ever register in the CDC report, the American Academy of Pediatrics put that first - presumably because it presents the greatest danger.


Let's take a closer look at the helpful insight from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

"Children in homes where guns are present are in more danger of being shot by themselves, their friends, or family members than of being injured by an intruder."

Pretty persuasive "fact" huh? The original argument by the American Academy of Pediatrics is in regards to children in the home of a gun owner (legal or illegal? They don't say). Then they provide a statistic that a child can be shot by "themselves, their friends, or family members," implying of course that it is the parent's gun being used. It's a shame they don't state this though, eh? It is also interesting that they include the group "friends." However as is pointed out by John Lott, "friends" or "acquaintances" can mean many things:

"You are referring to the often-cited statistic that 58 percent of murder victims are killed by either relatives or acquaintances. However, what most people don't understand is that this "acquaintance murder" number also includes gang members killing other gang members, drug buyers killing drug pushers, cabdrivers killed by customers they picked up for the first time, prostitutes and their clients, and so on. "Acquaintance" covers a wide range of relationships."

Lets look at what else this handout to parents said:

"Handguns are especially dangerous."

How do they know this? There is no data from the report that indicates whether handguns, rifles or BB guns cause the most accidental deaths, since the category has an asterisk. How are they getting this data?

I believe that this statement outlines their overall motivation:

"It is best to keep all guns out of the home."

Why on earth would the American Academy of Pediatrics give top billing to a cause of death for children that does not even register with the CDC? And why do they list the primary cause of accidental death for this same age group last, on the back side of the handout? They even give it an "oh yea" level of importance by stating, "And Remember Car Safety" - like I'm going to forget and leave Tuff Jr. on the roof of my car when I pull out of the garage.

The only feasible explanation is that this organization has an agenda - and apparently this agenda is more important to them then our children's health. It seems that the American Academy of Pediatrics has caught a political virus that they would be better off being immunized against. Time to turn your head and cough.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Prince Charles and "Islam's Strengths"

Prince Charles: Ugly AND Stupid

You know, I'm beginning to think that Prince Charles and Al Gore were separated at birth. Ann Coulter once aptly described Al Gore as the token white guy who can't clap his hands in rhythm with the choir or the rest of the congregation. Her data points on this fitting analogy were his decision to grow a beard (thus enhancing his manliness) shortly before Islamic terrorists attacked the US and his decision to talk about the evils of global warming on a bitterly cold January 2004 day in New York City.

And now Prince Charles, stumbling down a similar vein, has decided the US has been a bit too hard on Islam since 9/11:

The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths.

Hmmm... I wonder which of "Islam's strengths" we are all missing out on. Could it be the tolerance Islam has for alternative lifestyles?

Iran Hangs Gays:

Two gay Iranian teenagers -- one 18, the other believed to be 16 or 17, were executed this week for the "crime" of homosexuality, on July 19. The two youths -- identified only by their initials as M.A. and A.M., were hanged on July 19 in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran, on the orders of Court No. 19. The hanging of the teens was also reported by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

...OK, I guess that's not it. Maybe one of "Islam's strengths" is the way it helps the victims of sexual abuse, like rape and incest:

Almost two months after having hanged a 16 years-old girl, the ruling Iranian ayatollahs are to commit another human crime by condemning another young girl to stoning.

According to Iranian and foreign press, Zhila Izadi, a 13 years old girl from the north-western city of Marivan had been condemned to death by stoning after being found that she had been pregnant from her 15 years-old brother. ...

While Zhila as been sentenced to stoning, her brother, jailed in Tehran, is to receive only 150 lashes, in accordance with Islamic laws.;s=1_17;site=1

Hmmm... I guess that's not it either. Maybe one of "Islam's strengths" is the way they help the mentally disabled:

A teenage girl with a mental age of eight is facing the death penalty for prostitution in Iran. The trial comes only four months after the hanging of another mentally ill girl for sex before marriage in a case that has prompted a human rights lawyer to prepare a charge of wrongful execution against the presiding judge.

The girl, known as Leyla M, is in prison while the Supreme Court decides on her "acts contrary to chastity", among the most serious charges under Iranian law. Under the penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be executed.

In an interview on a Persian-language website, the 19-year-old says she was forced into prostitution by her mother at the age of eight. Amnesty International refers to reports that say she was repeatedly raped, bore her first child aged nine and was passed from pimp to pimp before having another three children.

She told the website: "The first time I was taken to a man's house by my mum I was eight. It was a horrible night and I cried a lot but then my mum came the next day and took me home. She bought me chocolate and cheese curls."

All right, let's just say that part about the post-child-rape chocolate and cheese curls is one of "Islam's strengths" we Americans are failing to appreciate, and move on. Prince Charles continues:

The Prince raised his concerns when he met senior Muslims in London in November 2001. The gathering took place just two months after the attacks on New York and Washington. "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational," the Prince said, according to one leader at the meeting.

Interesting. Now note that this article about Prince Charles came out just days after the president of Iran gave the world this bit of insight into what he believes is one of "Islam's strengths":

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday lambasted Israel and Zionism and quoted the late Ayatollah Khomeini calling for Israel to be "wiped out from the map."

Funny, I don't recall Prince Charles mentioning anything about this. But just in case you think that these are just the actions of a rogue government which has 'hijacked' a religion of peace, take a peek across the pond to the lovely autumn in Paris where, as of this writing, riots and arson in predominantly Muslim suburbs have been going on for eight straight days. This violence is starting to form a ring around Paris - almost one would say, a crescent. This activity has culminated to date in what appears to be yet another one of "Islam's strengths":

A handicapped woman was doused with petrol and set on fire by youths during another night of rioting in Paris. The 56-year-old suffered third degree burns to 20% of her body in the attack. Witnesses said a youth poured petrol over the woman and then threw a Molotov cocktail on to the bus she was traveling on in the suburb of Sevran.

Other passengers were able to flee but she was unable to escape because of her disabilities.,,30200-13457760,00.html

...Ahh, other passengers were able to flee, but not help the disabled s'more - how French of them. Tell you what Charles, how about you pack your bags and get the hell out - and that goes for the horse you rode in on (AKA Camilla) as well.