29 July, 2009
28 July, 2009
- "More C-sections, more problems" in the LA Times (May 17, 2009):
Once reserved for cases in which the life of the baby or mother was in danger, the cesarean is now routine. The most common operation in the U.S., it is performed in 31% of births, up from 4.5% in 1965.
With that surge has come an explosion in medical bills, an increase in complications -- and a reconsideration of the cesarean as a sometimes unnecessary risk.
It is a big reason childbirth often is held up in healthcare reform debates as an example of how the intensive and expensive U.S. brand of medicine has failed to deliver better results and may, in fact, be doing more harm than good.
- "Can we please stop blaming women for C-sections?" in RHRealityCheck.org (January 21, 2009):
- Births: Final data for 2006 (pdf) by the CDC National Center for Vital Statistics Reports, v.57 No.7 (January 7, 2009):
The cesarean delivery rate rose 3 percent to 31.1 percent of all births, another record high. The cesarean rate has climbed 50 percent since the 1996 low.
- "A risky rise in C-sections" in U.S. News & World Report (March 28, 2008):
Obstetricians' rising malpractice insurance premiums may play a role, too. Individual doctors in many states now pay upwards of $100,000 a year for coverage, a figure that can spike if they're sued for something that goes wrong during labor, regardless of the legal outcome. "If there's no labor, there can be no lawsuit related to labor," says Flamm, who points out wryly that parents rarely sue over unnecessary C-sections.
Women take note! Especially those of you of child-bearing age.
Where we part company is his discussion of whether V.M.'s [the mother's] refusal to consent to a cesarean section (c-section) can, as a matter of law, be considered an element of abuse and neglect.
On the record before us, we do not agree that the issue need be decided.
I concur in the result reached as to both V.M.[the mother] and B.G. [the father]. I am of the view that even with the limited concession of DYFS as to the narrow utility of V.M.'s refusal to have a c-section, the issue remains extant and requires a level of judicial scrutiny.
Consideration of V.M.'s refusal to submit to a c-section, in my view, is improper and beyond the legislative scope of the child protective statutes.
24 July, 2009
Fifty-three percent of those questioned in the poll view Palin negatively, with four in 10 holding a positive view of her. The survey is the second this week, following a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll released Thursday, to find more than half of all Americans viewing Palin in an unfavorable light.
The ABC News/Washington Post survey suggests that there is doubt about Palin's leadership skills and her understanding of intricate issues. Fifty-seven percent say they don't think Palin understands complex issues, and 54 percent do not feel she is a strong leader.
22 July, 2009
21 July, 2009
20 July, 2009
"Stop Planetary Discrimination!"
"Pluto Was Framed!"
"Dear Earth: You Suck. Love, Pluto."
"Pluto is still a planet. Bitches."
So read a small sampling of the defiant T-shirt and bumper sticker slogans that emerged in late 2006 after the International Astronomical Union (IAU), meeting in Prague, opted to poke the public with a sharp stick. The union's general assembly voted to excommunicate the ninth planet from the solar system, thus abruptly stripping Pluto of a status as much cultural, historic, and even mythological as scientific.
In the astronomers' defense, it had become increasingly difficult to justify calling Pluto a planet without doing the same for several other more recently discovered heavenly objects--one of which, the distant freezing rock now known as Eris (formerly "Xena"), turns out to be larger. But that didn't mean the experts had to fire Pluto from its previous place in the firmament. In defining the word "planet," they were arguably not so much engaged in science as a semantic exercise, meaning that instead of ruling Pluto out, they could just as easily have ruled a few new planets in, as a group of scientists, historians, and journalists had in fact proposed. But the IAU rejected that compromise for a variety of technical reasons: Pluto is much smaller than the other eight planets; it orbits the sun in a far more elliptical manner; its gravitational pull is not strong enough to have "cleared the neighborhood around its orbit" of other significant objects and debris…
People were aghast. Not only did they recoil at having to unlearn what they had learned as children, and perhaps the chief thing they remembered about astronomy. On some fundamental level their sense of fair play had been violated, and their love of the underdog provoked. Why suddenly kick Pluto out of the planet fraternity after letting it stay in for nearly a century, ever since its 1930 discovery? "No do-overs," wrote one cartoonist.
Soon websites started sprouting up encouraging people to vote on Pluto's status and override the experts. A Facebook group entitled "When I was your age, Pluto was a planet" drew a million and a half members. New Mexico, the state where Pluto's discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh, had built an astronomy program, took particular offense. Its House of Representatives voted unanimously to preserve Pluto's planethood and named March 13, 2007, "Pluto Planet Day." Surveying it all, the American Dialect Society selected "plutoed" as its 2006 word of the year--as in, "you plutoed me." The society offered this definition: "to demote or devalue someone or something, as happened to the former planet Pluto when the General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union decided Pluto no longer met its definition of a planet."
Even many scientists were upset. "I'm embarrassed for astronomy," remarked Alan Stern, the chief scientist on NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto and beyond... (keep reading this excerpt)