Thursday, 11 March 2010

Gleanings from the Net

These should be separate posts, but I'm a bit busy with my PhD at the moment. So consider this a smorgasbord representative of this blog as a whole.

Fetal Cosmetology
These days, we’ve got a lot of questions about what’s been going on with the use of prenatal dexamethasone to try to prevent children from being born with atypical genitalia.

Some clinicians prescribe this steroid off-label for pregnant women suspected of carrying a 46,XX (female) fetus with 21-hydroxylase deficiency, a form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). Such girls make extra androgens, and in the womb this may cause their genitalia to form more like something in between female and male. The goal of the prenatal “dex” treatment is to prevent that virilization.
More than a few prominent clinicians have serious reservations about prenatal dex, and have had them for years. There is evidence from animal studies that prenatal dex treatment leads to neurotoxicity – brain cell death. Studies of children exposed to prenatal dexamethasone in utero also indicate plenty of reason for concern. Evidence from human studies indicates an increased risk to the children of problems with working memory, speech processing, and anxiety.

Because the steroid is given before the sex of the fetus can be known, and because only some of the fetuses will have CAH, 87.5 percent of the pregnant women started on dexamethasone for this use are not even carrying an affected child. (In fact, half of the fetuses started on the treatment will be males.) They will not receive the treatment past the point at which their fetuses’ sex and CAH-status are accurately diagnosed; nonetheless, for a period of fetal development (including, obviously, brain development), almost 90 percent of those fetuses are being given a steroid that might harm them and can do them no good whatsoever.
Better brain-damaged than Intersexed, it seems. Better brain damaged than a 1 in 8 chance of Intersex, in fact. *SIGH*.

Atlanta Progressive News fires reporter for trying to be objective
Atlanta Progressive News has parted ways with long-serving senior staff writer Jonathan Springston. Apparently, Springston’s affinity for fact-based reporting clashed with Cardinale’s vision.

And, no, that’s not sarcasm.

In an e-mail statement, editor Matthew Cardinale says Springston was asked to leave APN last week “because he held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News.”
No comment necessary.

David Cope’s software creates beautiful, original music. Why are people so angry about that?
Dubbed “Emily Howell,” the daughter program aims to do what many said Emmy couldn’t: create original, modern music. Its compositions are innovative, unique and — according to some in the small community of listeners who’ve heard them performed live — superb.
Track 1 Track 2

Primate sexuality: comparative studies of the prosimians, monkeys, apes, and Human Beings

Especially good on the Turnim-Men of the Sambia, those with 5ARD. Definitely one for the reference list.

Archbishop Defends School's Rejection Of Lesbians' Children
Decision Said To Be In Line With Church Teachings

The archbishop of Denver on Tuesday defended a decision by a Catholic school not to allow two children to continue as students because their parents are a lesbian couple.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said it was a "painful situation," but the decision by Sacred Heart of Jesus parish school in Boulder was in line with church teachings.

Chaput said the school told the parents that one of the children could complete kindergarten and the other could complete preschool, but neither could continue after that.
My Son was disinvited from attending a Christian School for apparently similar reasons, during my transition, but before I started any treatment. I can't really blame them though. If it was my son being exposed to someone who was apparently rapidly changing sex, visibly differing from day to day... I'd be dubious of their resultant mental health, due to the process. Where children are involved, better safe than sorry, even though it's unfair. I think the similarity is therefore more apparent than real.

My comment :
It's all about appearances you see. Pedophilia is bad, but as long as it's covered up and doesn't create public scandal, not too bad. Children of remarried divorcees, or Hindus, they're allowed to attend because the unrepented sins of the parents (adultery and idolatry respectively) aren't on public display. But a lesbian couple, that's too obvious. Even if they're celibate, and so not committing sin at all, it's the appearance that matters, far more than anything else.

A Church can be a hotbed of sin, child molestation and cruelty. But such sins are private ones, only between the sinners and God, and not of any great consequence as long as they're concealed. Should even the most minor sin be engaged in publicly, or even appear to be engaged in even if not, that's far worse. Because it would no longer be a private matter, but one that would corrupt society. It must remain private, lest others be tempted.

And if some children have to suffer because of that, it's unfortunate of course, but no big deal. We have to prevent the passage of anti-bullying legislation that would protect kids who are gay, or seem to be gay, even if they die as the result. It's for a much greater good, to avoid the appearance of sanctioning homosexuality.

Some may mistake this for hypocrisy, but the Church has always been persecuted by the Ungodly.They take in this burden of private sin so others do not, thereby showing true charity.

Far better a multitude of actual sins in private than a single apparent sin in public, for the sake of society. We should all be grateful to them for bearing this burden. That's the theory anyway.

I... am not, I'm afraid.

But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Again, no comment necessary. Pass the bill, then find out what's in it. *SIGH*

This Week In Holy Crimes
Over the last seven days...

California: Pastor Martin Richter arrested for sexually assaulting a 13 year-old girl. There may be other victims.
New Jersey: Pastor Gregor Woodcuff arrested on multiple counts of sexually assaulting an underage girl.
Minnesota: Pastor John Erbele pleads guilty to soliciting prostitution.
New York: Pastor Humberto Cruz convicted on ten counts of child molestation.
Delaware: Pastors Jamaar and Rhonda Manlove charged with 21 felony counts of mortgage fraud, possibly the largest such case in state history.
Missouri: Pastor Wayne Hudson charged with child molestation.
Alabama: Pastor Ralph Lee Aaron receives multiple life sentences for molesting four pre-teen boys and creating child pornography.
New Hampshire: Pastor Timothy Dillmuth charged with failing to report child abuse.
Louisiana: Pastor Burcham Warren pleads guilty to molesting an 11 year-old girl.
Minnesota: Pastor Danial Barnes sentenced to 11 years in prison for assault, burglary, and kidnapping.
Maryland: Father Thomas Bevan charged with multiple counts of molesting boys.
Wisconsin: Father Edmund Donkor-Baine charged with sexual assault.
Pennsylvania: Father Ralph Johnson charged with 45 counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
Florida: Father Kenneth Hasselbach convicted of possession of child pornography. Hasselbach was previously accused of sexually molesting an altar boy.
New York: Imam Zulqarnain Abdu-Shahid arrested for smuggling box cutters into a Manhattan jail. Abdu-Shahid has served 14 years in prison for a 1979 murder conviction.

This Week's Winner -
Australia: Father Richard Abourjaily has been reassigned from Sydney to Perth after being caught defrauding his congregants by claiming he had prostate cancer and desperately needed money in order to visit the miraculous healing waters of Lourdes, France. Abourjaily was previously dismissed from a seminary in Lincoln, Nebraska for pulling the same scam, but his Australian overseers totally swear he won't do it for a third time in Perth.
Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie! Oi Oi Oi! Gold! Oh my sainted Aunt and canonised Cousins.
Father Flader was confident Father Abourjaily would not lie a third time. "We can never be sure and we are all human but I think in any serious matter he knows the serious consequences and he will not lie about anything serious again," Father Flader said.

The move infuriated a fellow priest who, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "What other victims will he now seduce?

"Why does the church just cover up scandal and just move priests about? Have we learnt nothing from the sex abuse scandals?

"Why wasn't he dismissed from the clerical state and sacked from the priesthood altogether?"

Father Brian O'Loughlin confirmed the priest was in Perth with the permission of Cardinal Pell and had been helping out in a local parish.

Father Abourjaily could not be contacted because was away on a "pilgrimage".
I didn't add the scare quotes. I thought that would be gilding the lilly.

Scott sticks to plan of targeting transgendered
As the Messenger previously reported, Rep. Scott entered the race for the Secretary of State job by declaring that he would “make it a priority to ensure transgender individuals will not be allowed to change the sex on their driver’s license in any circumstance.” Asked what problem this was intended to solve, he told the Messenger that it was all about “preventing people who are males genetically from dressing as a woman and going into female bathrooms.”

This left many people scratching their heads, wondering where there might be a public bathroom where they check your driver’s license before you enter. To add to the confusion, he told the Associated Press that the standard for determining one’s gender is that “you are who your DNA says you are.”

At a luncheon hosted by the Gerald Ford Women’s Club in Grand Rapids, Scott acknowledged in an interview that one’s gender designation on a driver’s license is not based on DNA testing. But when asked how he would deal with those whose DNA shows a mixed gender that does not fall easily into line with the simple male or female gender designation, he could only say that we should “take the subjectivity out of it.”
An agitated Scott had little to say about the reality of unclear gender for such people and others with similar kinds of transgender traits, declaring that “whatever you’re designated as when you’re born is what the government should recognize you as — no ambiguity there whatsoever.”
The Stupid... it burns....


Imogen said...

My DNA says I'm neither.

GayHermit said...

Zoe, Thanks for all your work and attempts to educate, here and at Bilerco and Pam's House Blend. I greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for the info on David Cope and his composing work. As a musician (amateur-less than stellar practice habits), I found it quite fascinating. I found the samples provided to be interesting, what I small part of them I managed to listen to. {My favorite form of musical expression is Heavy Metal, so the classical thing can be challenging for me.} ;) I found Mr. Cope's work to be even more interesting when I found that it could be performed by humans. {Some computer generated stuff can't.} Thanks Again!

mythusmage said...

In 2009 during the initial search for the late Amber Dubois the police dogs all headed for a particular spot in Kit Carson Park in Escondido CA. The humans all decided, "No, she's not there".

Just recently, following up on some leads, they located Amber Dubois' body, right where the dogs had indicated last year.

We have a bad tendency to be lazy, even when due diligence is called for. That the Roman Catholic Church would rather avoid dealing with the problem of pedophile priests is but an example of this. Richard Tuit got away with murder for a while because an Escondido detective was too lazy to look at the evidence connecting the man to Stephanie Crow's death. Dale Akiki was accused falsely of child abuse because therapists refused to consider the possibility the kids were having them on.

Father Flader doesn't want to face up to the fact Father Abourjaily has a problem. Because it would mean putting forth an effort, and because acknowledging the other man's problems means having to accept the fact his underling is not the wonder kid he thinks he is.

Amber can't be in that part of the park, Stephanie had to die at the hands of her brother, and Akiki had to sacrifice a giraffe in a room it couldn't fit into, all because it fit the world view of certain parties. So naturally Richard Abourjaily can't molest boys because Richard Abourjaily isn't that sort of person. Cowardice and Sloth, a deadly combination.

pe1biv said...

Plain old hypocrisy is obviously the tactics of too many church systems...
Clearly it's us lesbian, gay and other non gender binary expectation conformant people, who do explicitely not harm anyone, that are to blame.... We must be corrupting them..

Mercedes said...

I don't know how you do it to find and comment on everything. I just see this stuff and my heart sinks.

Zoe Brain said...

Hi Mercedes - and thanks so much for your own stirling efforts.

As regards finding... try joining TNUKdigest, a Yahoo group. They use robots to crawl the web, plus take individual posts from citizen journalists. On average, TNUKdigest posts about 25 messages a day.

Transgendernews is another one.

I can only afford the time to comment on less than 1% of the issues on my blog, and leave comments at other sites on perhaps 5% in total. Most of which I don't repeat here. Some make it into "today's battles".

I wish there were more hours in the day, I'm parenting a boy who's growing like a weed, and doing my PhD too.

All the psychic energy that I used to spend doing the "boy act" has to go somewhere!

Mercedes said...

TNUK is new to me, thanks. I've been following transgendernews and a collection of RSS feeds for awhile, and cast a wide net on Twitter this past January too. It just seems, though, that by the time I find an article, you've already commented on it, and that boggles the mind. :)

I guess what I mean is the depressive effect that can hit with reading so much negativity. It gets a bit much after awhile.

Anonymous said...

perhaps something of a derail, but might be of interest in terms of research...


Zoe Brain said...

sharav - that is tangentially relevant, so is no derail.

But even if it was a derail - feel free to repeat it! Thanks so much for that one.