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MDC Weekly Links of Interest

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I have a lot of interesting clips this week on a variety of topics.

Want to know a little more about Islam?  Here ya go!

When is a slippery slope not a slippery slope fallacy?  When you can do the heavy lifting to show why A can lead to B, which will cause C.  This article presented  a nice case from a non-religious perspective on the topic of gay marriage. I shared it with my logic students this week.
The Securalist Case against Gay Marriage
Homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason for the state to grant them the costly benefits of marriage, unless they serve some other state interest. The burden of proof, therefore, is on the advocates of gay marriage to show what state interest these marriages serve. Thus far, this burden has not been met.
One may argue that lesbians are capable of procreating via artificial insemination, so the state does have an interest in recognizing lesbian marriages, but a lesbian’s sexual relationship, committed or not, has no bearing on her ability to reproduce. Perhaps it may serve a state interest to recognize gay marriages to make it easier for gay couples to adopt. However, there is ample evidence (see, for example, David Popenoe’s Life Without Father) that children need both a male and female parent for proper development. Unfortunately, small sample sizes and other methodological problems make it impossible to draw conclusions from studies that directly examine the effects of gay parenting. However, the empirically verified common wisdom about the importance of a mother and father in a child’s development should give advocates of gay adoption pause. The differences between men and women extend beyond anatomy, so it is essential for a child to be nurtured by parents of both sexes if a child is to learn to function in a society made up of both sexes. Is it wise to have a social policy that encourages family arrangements that deny children such essentials? Gays are not necessarily bad parents, nor will they necessarily make their children gay, but they cannot provide a set of parents that includes both a male and a female.

I'm reading the Little House books again with Rosie. I forgot how much I had come to dislike Charles Ingals for what he continued to put his family through. This paragraph caught my eye.
Finding America, Both Red and Blue in the Little House Books.
But personal integrity and strength are not always enough. I came to see something sad about how it all turned out for the Ingallses and the Wilders, these two pioneer families etched onto our national consciousness. “I am the only one of the C. P. Ingalls family left, and Rose is the only grandchild,” Wilder wrote in a 1946 letter. None of Laura’s sisters had children, nor did Rose, so “the Almanzo Wilder branch will die out with us.” I thought of the hunger, illnesses and injuries in the books: the scarlet fever that left Mary blind, the diphtheria that withered Almanzo’s leg. Rose, who several times approached suicide, was clearly in the throes of untreated mental illness most of her life. Ma, Pa and Almanzo had come from large families that lived relatively comfortably. The hardscrabble way they raised their own children yielded adventure but also ill health.

Just an interesting comparison.

There was a lot of teeth gnashing this week over the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the new secretary of education.  I say, give her a try - what we've been doing hasn't worked!
Obama Administration Spent Billions to Fix Failing Schools and It Didn't Work.
The money went to states to distribute to their poorest-performing schools — those with exceedingly low graduation rates, or poor math and reading test scores, or both. Individual schools could receive up to $2 million per year for three years, on the condition that they adopt one of the Obama administration’s four preferred measures: replacing the principal and at least half the teachers, converting into a charter school, closing altogether, or undergoing a “transformation,” including hiring a new principal and adopting new instructional strategies, new teacher evaluations and a longer school day.
The Education Department did not track how the money was spent, other than to note which of the four strategies schools chose.
Arne Duncan, Obama’s education secretary from 2009 to 2016, said his aim was to turn around 1,000 schools every year for five years. “We could really move the needle, lift the bottom and change the lives of tens of millions of underserved children,” Duncan said in 2009.
Duncan often said that the administration’s school-improvement efforts did not get the attention they deserved, overshadowed by more-controversial efforts to encourage states to adopt new standards and teacher evaluations tied to tests.
The school turnaround effort, he told The Washington Post days before he left office in 2016, was arguably the administration’s “biggest bet.”

The Church was Right on Birth Control
The Church teaches that love, marriage, sex, and procreation are all things that belong together. That's it. But it's pretty important. And though the Church has been teaching this for 2,000 years, it's probably never been as salient as today.
Today's injunctions against birth control were re-affirmed in a 1968 document by Pope Paul VI called Humanae Vitae.  He warned of four results if the widespread use of contraceptives was accepted:
  1. General lowering of moral standards
  2. A rise in infidelity, and illegitimacy
  3. The reduction of women to objects used to satisfy men. 
  4. Government coercion in reproductive matters. 
Does that sound familiar? 
Because it sure sounds like what's been happening for the past 40 years. 

This article triggered some of my own bad memories about childbirth, but I think it's an important issue to discuss with our daughters and friends who are still in their childbearing years. 
Dear OB, It's Not Your Vagina

After describing the birth of her first child that included the rupture of membranes without consent, Elizabeth from Norfolk, VA states: “The whole situation was really traumatizing and I processed it very much like a sexual assault.”
I imagine all involved in birth work shudder to hear that women leave their labor and delivery beds feeling as if they have survived a sexual assault.
But some do. And let us not forget that a good number of women come to birth having already survived such abuse. In the United States, where one-in-five women report surviving a sexual assault , this matters. One can only imagine the difficulty of facing an off-hand, consent-free approach to vaginal exams, especially when they are painful, for survivors.

I still wonder at how people can just blindly trust modern medicine and the pharmaceutical companies. Here is one reason to question - question everything!
How the Wonder Pill Effects Women today.
The FDA urged doctors to stop prescribing DES in 1971, upon the release of a study that found DES caused clear-cell adenocarcinoma (CCA), a rare vaginal and cervical cancer, in daughters as young as seven years old. However, because use of DES was discouraged but not banned by the FDA, there were instances of doctors prescribing it past 1971.
The CDC estimates that anywhere between five and 10 million women took DES in one form or another between 1938 and 1971, though many women will never truly know, as it wasn't uncommon to be given the drug through a shot or prenatal vitamin without explanation.

What Happens When Doctors take Cash Only

It was in the midst of this confounding research that Villa, who's 68, heard about the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, whose business model is different from that of most hospitals. There, the all-inclusive price for every operation is listed on the website. A rotator-cuff repair for the shoulder costs $8,260. A surgical procedure for carpal tunnel syndrome is $2,750. Setting and casting a basic broken leg: $1,925.

To Villa, the model seemed refreshingly subversive. The Surgery Center would charge $19,000 for his whole-knee replacement, a discount of nearly 50% on what Villa expected to be charged at his local hospital. And that price would include everything from airfare to the organization's only facility, in Oklahoma City, to medications and physical therapy. If unforeseen complications arose during or after the procedure, the Surgery Center would cover those costs. Villa wouldn't see another bill.

Sometimes called direct pay, and closely related to concierge care, this sort of business model was once seen as the perquisite of rich folks and medical tourists from foreign lands. But nowadays many of the people seeking cash-based care are middle-class Americans with high-deductible insurance plans. For a patient with an $11,000 family deductible, for example, it might make more sense to seek out a cash-based center like the Premier Medical Imaging facility in Minneapolis, which offers a basic MRI for $499, than to cough up the several thousand dollars that the same procedure generally costs at a traditional hospital. Cash payments don't count toward a patient's deductible, but for some it's worth the gamble.

Birthday Cupcake Delivery


  1. There is no math quite so complex as medical math. I was looking at some guy's medical records yesterday. He went to the ER and wracked up a $2500 bill, insurance paid about $1800. ER doctor charged about $400 and got paid $50. Three visits to an ortho at about $350 each, got paid about $200 each. Went to PT; Bill was about $15,000 (several times a week for several months) and they paid about $5,000.


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