Saturday, October 30, 2010

What The Midwife Heard

Written on August 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm by Birth Sense

I am always saddened when I hear a woman tell me about her birth plans, and then say, “My doctor said he’ll go along with whatever I want as long as it is safe”. Nine times out of ten, that woman is coming back to me later to talk about what went wrong and wonder why her doctor didn’t come through for her.

As someone on the inside of the circle of modern obstetrics, I am privy to a lot of conversation that reveals to me where OB providers are really coming from. Many put on a good face, and reassure their patients that they only have the patient’s best interest at heart and would never do anything that wasn’t necessary for the mother or baby’s safety. I believe that many of the providers sincerely mean what they are saying. The problem is that they do not keep current on the literature, and when evidence is provided that indicates lack of support for a routine intervention, they rely on their personal experience and the fact that they’ve not often seen complications from their interventions, to justify continuing the way they always have. Ladies, it is so important to discuss with your provider his or her c-section rate, definition of normal birth, how often they see a normal birth, and what interventions they do routinely. You cannot count on your provider’s personality, bedside manner, or promises of only intervening when necessary for safety, because they s/he may not know that there are safe alternatives to routine interventions much of the time, and may believe the intervention is being done for your safety. One has only to look at the very high c-section rate in our country to understand this mentality.

With this said, I would like to share some comments overheard in the doctor’s lounge and at the nurse’s station over the last few days. I share these not to disparage physicians and nurses, but to help women understand that what you are hearing from your doctor’s lips very likely is not what he or she is saying behind your back.

Physician: “She’ll never get this baby out vaginally, but she needs to feel like she’s had a fair chance, so let’s ‘pit to distress’. We can get it over with in a couple of hours, and she’ll feel like she had a good shot at it.” (Spoken of a woman with a suspected 9 pound baby, that ended out weighing 7 lbs.)

Nurse (speaking to midwife about a the midwife trying to induce with as little interventions as possible): “I’m not going to turn the pitocin on unless you put in internal monitors. She can just sit here all day, but you can’t make me do it without internals if I don’t feel safe”.

Physician (When nurse pointed out to him that his chosen treatment for the patient was not evidence-based): “Well, that’s why it’s good to be a dinosaur sometimes. You don’t have to worry about what the evidence says!”

Physician: “You need to lie on your back to deliver the baby in case the shoulders get stuck” (evidence shows this is the one position that makes it most likely the shoulders will get stuck).

Physician: “Don’t feel bad about having a c-section. Think of it this way, you’ll be in good company with all the celebrities who have pretty vaginas!”

Physician (one reputed to have a great personality and be willing to accomodate mother’s wishes, spoken to parents when they asked him about second opinion regarding his recommendation for immediate induction): “I am very uncomfortable being questioned like this. If you don’t trust my judgement, you can find yourself another provider–that is, if anyone will take you at 39 weeks!”

Nurse: “We’re admitting another one of those hypnobirthers. Make her stay on the monitor so she can’t get out of bed, and she’ll agree to the epidural by the time she’s three centimeters!”

Physician: “She (the patient) didn’t want to take my advice, so she deserves whatever happens to her.”

Physician (trying to get mother to sign a consent for c-section for failure to progress satisfactorily in two hours): “Sure, we can wait longer if that’s what you want. Personally, I think it would be better to head back to the OR at a leisurely pace rather than waiting until your baby takes a nosedive and we have to run you back there.” Mother then asked him if the baby was having any distress. Physician answered: “No, but do you want to wait until he does? Do you really want to put your baby through that stress? Birth is dangerous and stressful for babies!”

Physician (spoken to patient handing him a written birth plan): “Oh, you don’t really want a birth plan, do you? Every patient I have who writes a birth plan ends up with a c-section. It’s a prescription for trouble. Besides, that’s why you’re paying me to make the decisions. I’ve been to 8 years of school to learn how to safely manage labors. Do you really think you know more than I do just because you’ve read a website on birth plans?”

Physician (to a patient who was expressing discomfort over a vaginal exam): “Come on, now, you’ve had something a lot bigger than my finger in there! How’d you ever manage to get pregnant if you can’t put up with this?”

Birth Sense Tip: Pay attention to your intution. If your physician seems impatient with your questions, patronizing in any way, or unable to describe any of the ways s/he supports normal birth, RUN, don’t walk, for the exit and find another provider. Don’t just hope that things will work out OK, because chances are your physician is saying things like the comments above, about YOU, behind your back.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dr. Mayer Eisenstein Vaccine Lecture

At the Vaccine Seminar Dr. Eisenstein brings his knowledge as a physician, public health doctor and attorney to help educate you on this very important subject. He discusses the pros and cons of childhood vaccinations, the Illinois law with respect to vaccines, and medical and religious waivers for vaccines. Unlike most other physicians, he feels parents have a right to be involved in the final decision about vaccinating their children.

Dr. Proffit (Offit) and his rotavirus vaccine. Will this Doctor Hurt your Baby?

To hear his enemies talk, you might think Paul Offit is the most hated man in America. A pediatrician in Philadelphia, he is the coinventor of a rotavirus vaccine that could save tens of thousands of lives every year. Yet environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. slams Offit as a "biostitute" who whores for the pharmaceutical industry. Actor Jim Carrey calls him a profiteer and distills the doctor's attitude toward childhood vaccination down to this chilling mantra: "Grab 'em and stab 'em." Recently, Carrey and his (ex) girlfriend, Jenny McCarthy, went on CNN's Larry King Live and singled out Offit's vaccine, RotaTeq, as one of many unnecessary vaccines, all administered, they said, for just one reason: "Greed."

After watching PBS Lifeline tonight, who prior to the series, touted their sponsors...The MacArthur foundation committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world....and the Park foundation committed to raising public awareness...I was hopeful that both sides would be equally explored.  I was disgusted, however, when Offit appeared in over half of the one hour series. So much for just, verdant, peace, and public awareness.  I suppose it will have to come down to 1 out of every 2 children are diagnosed with autism or a similar health related issue before justice will prevail.

They go on to describe the MMR link to autism and focus on the very very small risk of a reaction when getting a series of vaccines...reactions including permanent brain and nuerological damage, seizures, and in rare cases death.  Like Jenny, I would rather subject my child to the measles or chicken pox than to autism or brain damage.  If the percentage is so small, as most mainstream pediatricians are claiming, then why are the numbers growing on a daily basis...every 15 seconds a child is diagnosed with autism.  Pediatrician's are downplaying those 'rare' reactions, but those real reactions are happening every 15 seconds in part due to the preservatives and live viruses injected in our children.  From 5 vaccines in the 60's to 36 today, we are trusting our government to know what is best for our children.  These vaccines are filled with toxins: Mercury! Formaldehyde! Aluminum! Antifreeze! 2-Phenoxyethanol! Aborted Fetal Tissue!, and over 17 live bovine disease including Anthrax, Yeast, and Clostridria (common with autistic children) to name a few.  Are you kidding me?

Personally for us, it is not just autism...or the MMR.  My child had that less than 1 percent reaction after every single vaccine, dismissed by my pediatrician and a first time mother I continued on the schedule.  Looking back, I realize it was a trainwreck on his immune system, and the result is an autoimmune disease caused by a series of vaccine reactions...with autistic like symptoms.  Stop looking at the MMR or Thimerosol....start looking at all autoimmune diseases, the increase in juvenile diabetes, stroke, altzheimers, ms, is our ultimate demise.

Did it ever occur to anyone that NONE of these scientists have a vaccine injured child?  The one's that do are our saviors...our DAN! doctors.

What bothered me the most about this program is the fact that they focused on those that aren't vaccinating at all out of fear vs. those that are vaccinating.  What about my child who was fully the measles, got the mumps, got rotavirus, got pertussis and is now superimmune (i.e. overactive autoimmune diease) because his faulty immune system wasn't able to detox the residuals of the vaccines.  I vaccinated my child and I got a lovely present of lifetime autoimmunity and autoimmune disease where my son is allergic to everything life offers and practically should live in a bubble.  Thank you CDC.  These children are never mentioned-the one's who WERE vaccinated and sick because of it.

And if you weren't convinced is a letter from Jay Gordon himself....
From Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP
Shame on PBS Frontline Show "The Vaccine War"                                                        
                                                        April 28, 2010                                           

Dear ,

Last night, PBS aired a show called "The Vaccine War." I was interviewed at great length and in great depth about vaccines and my point of view and expressed my ambivalence about the polarization of this issue and the need for more calm reasoned discussion about the number one question that new parents have. I told Kate McMahon, the co-producer of the show, that there was a large group of doctors and others who cannot be dismissed with the facile label "anti-vaccine" because we still give vaccines and see a place for them in the practice of medicine, but we do not agree with the current vaccine schedule nor the number of vaccines children receive all at one time.

A few days ago, Ms.McMahon emailed me to tell me that the decision had been made to omit my interview from the show. There would not be one word from me. She didn't tell me that she had also omitted 100% of Dr. Robert Sears' interview. And that any other comments from physicians supporting the parents on the show in their ambivalence about vaccines or their decision to refuse all vaccines would also be omitted.

She left this as a show with many doctors commenting very negatively, very frighteningly and often disdainfully and dismissively about vaccine "hesitation" as they called it.

Below is my email response to Kate McMahon.

Dear Kate,

The "Frontline" show was disgraceful. You didn't even have the courtesy to put my interview or any part of the two hours we spent taping on your web site.

You created a pseudo-documentary with a preconceived set of conclusions: "Irresponsible moms against science" was an easy takeaway from the show.

Did you happen to notice that Vanessa, the child critically ill with pertussis, was not intubated nor on a respirator in the ER? She had nasal "prongs" delivering oxygen. I'm sorry for her parents' anxiety and very happy that she was cured of pertussis. But to use anecdotal reports like this as science is irresponsible and merely served the needs of the doctor you wanted to feature.

No one pursued Dr. Offit's response about becoming rich from the vaccine he invented. He was allowed to slide right by that question without any follow up. Dr. Paul Offit did not go into vaccine research to get rich. He is a scientist motivated by his desire to help children. But his profiting tens of millions of dollars from the creation of this vaccine and the pursuit of sales of this and other vaccines is definitely not what he says it is. His many millions "don't matter" he says. And you let it go.

Jenny McCarthy resumed being a "former Playboy" person and was not acknowledged as a successful author, actress and mother exploring every possible avenue to treating her own son and the children of tens of thousands of other families.

I trusted you by giving you two or three hours of my time for an interview and multiple background discussions. I expressed my heartfelt reservations about both vaccines and the polarizing of this issue into "pro-vaccine" and "anti-vaccine" camps. I told you that there was at least a third "camp." There are many doctors and even more parents who would like a more judicious approach to immunization. Give vaccines later, slower and with an individualized approach as we do in every other area of medicine.

What did you create instead?

"The Vaccine War."

A war. Not a discussion or a disagreement over facts and opinions, but a war. This show was unintelligent, dangerous and completely lacking in the balance that you promised me--and your viewers--when you produced and advertised this piece of biased unscientific journalism. "Tabloid journalism" I believe is the epithet often used. Even a good tabloid journalist could see through the screed you've presented.

You interviewed me, you spent hours with Dr. Robert Sears of the deservedly-illustrious Sears family and you spoke to other doctors who support parents in their desire to find out what went wrong and why it's going wrong and what we might do to prevent this true epidemic.

Not a measles epidemic, not whooping cough. Autism. An epidemic caused by environmental triggers acting on genetic predisposition. The science is there and the evidence of harm is there. Proof will come over the next decade. The National Children's Study will, perhaps by accident, become a prospective look at many children with and without vaccines. But we don't have time to wait for the results of this twenty-one year research study: We know that certain pesticides cause cancer and we know that flame retardants in children's pajamas are dangerous. We are cleaning up our air and water slowly and parents know which paint to buy and which to leave on the shelves when they paint their babies' bedrooms.

The information parents and doctors don't have is contained in the huge question mark about the number of vaccines, the way we vaccinate and the dramatic increase in autism, ADD/ADHD, childhood depression and more. We pretend to have proof of harm or proof of no harm when what we really have is a large series of very important unanswered questions.

In case you were wondering, as I practice pediatrics every day of my career, I base nothing I do on Dr. Wakefield's research or on Jenny McCarthy's opinions. I respect what they both have done and respectfully disagree with them at times. I don't think that Dr. Wakefield's study proved anything except that we need to look harder at his hypothesis. I don't think that Jenny McCarthy has all the answers to treating or preventing autism, but there are tens of thousands of parents who have long needed her strong high-profile voice to draw attention to their families' needs: Most families with autism get inadequate reimbursement for their huge annual expenses and very little respect from the insurance industry, the government or the medical community. Jenny has demanded that a brighter light be shone on their circumstances, their frustration and their needs.

I base everything I do on my reading of CDC and World Health Organization statistics about disease incidence in the United States and elsewhere. I base everything I do on having spent the past thirty years in pediatric practice watching tens of thousands of children get vaccines, not get vaccines and the differences I see.

Vaccines change children.

Most experts would argue that the changes are unequivocally good. My experience and three decades of observation and study tell me otherwise. Vaccines are neither all good--as this biased, miserable PBS treacle would have you believe--nor all bad as the strident anti-vaccine camp argues.

You say the decisions to edit 100% of my interview from your show (and omit my comments from your website) "were purely based on what's best for the show, not personal or political, and the others who didn't make it came from both sides of the vaccine debate." You are not telling the truth. You had a point to prove and removed material from your show which made the narrative balanced. "Distraught, confused moms against important, well-spoken calm doctors" was your narrative with a deep sure voice to, literally, narrate the entire artifice.

You should be ashamed of yourself, Kate. You knew what you put on the air was slanted and you cheated the viewers out of an opportunity for education and information. You cheated me out of hours of time, betrayed my trust and then you wasted an hour of PBS airtime. Shame on you.

The way vaccines are manufactured and administered right now in 2010 makes vaccines and their ingredients part of the group of toxins which have led to a huge increase in childhood diseases including autism. Your show made parents' decisions harder and did nothing except regurgitate old news.

Parents and children deserve far better from PBS.
Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP

Whooping Cough Epidemic That Wasn't

Read more:

Thursday, October 28, 2010


"A friend mentioned he'd been at a dinner party when infant circumcision came up. One of the guests went 'ballistic' about how insane & barbaric it was. I replied, 'Her response is the natural response to a baby being sexually mutilated.'"~James Loewen

Isn't this a normal, ingrained response to any form of sexual assault against a baby?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Acne Cream? Tax-Sheltered. Breast Pump? No.

Published: October 26, 2010

Denture wearers will get a tax break on the cost of adhesives to keep their false teeth in place. So will acne sufferers who buy pimple creams. A breast pump and various accessories can run about $500 to $1,000 for most mothers a year.

People whose children have severe allergies might even be allowed the break for replacing grass with artificial turf since it could be considered a medical expense. But nursing mothers will not be allowed to use their tax-sheltered health care accounts to pay for breast pumps and other supplies. That is because the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that breast-feeding does not have enough health benefits to quality as a form of medical care.

With all the changes the health care overhaul will bring in the coming years, it nonetheless will leave those regulations intact when new rules for flexible spending accounts go into effect in January. Those allow millions of Americans to set aside part of their pretax earnings to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses.

While breast-feeding supplies weren’t allowed under the old regulations either, one major goal of the health care overhaul was to control medical costs by encouraging preventive procedures like immunizations and screenings.

Despite a growing body of research indicating that the antibodies passed from mother to child in breast milk could reduce disease among infants — including one recent study that found it could prevent the premature death of 900 babies a year — the I.R.S. has denied a request from the American Academy of Pediatrics to reclassify breast-feeding costs as a medical care expense.

In some respects, the biggest roadblock for mothers’ groups and advocates of breast-feeding is one of their central arguments: nursing a child is beneficial because it is natural.

I.R.S. officials say they consider breast milk a food that can promote good health, the same way that eating citrus fruit can prevent scurvy. But because the I.R.S. code considers nutrition a necessity rather than a medical condition, the agency’s analysts view the cost of breast pumps, bottles and pads as no more deserving of a tax break than an orange juicer.

Many mothers’ groups and medical experts say that breast milk provides nutrition and natural supplements that prevent disease, and would like to see its use expanded. Hospital accreditation groups have been prodding maternity wards to encourage parents to feed only breast milk until a child is 6 months old.

The new health law does include one breakthrough for nursing mothers, a mandate that they be permitted unpaid breaks to use breast pumps. Spurned by tax authorities, breast-feeding advocates say they will return to Congress to get a tax break, too.

“There’s been a lot of progress in the past few years making the public, the medical establishment and even Congress recognize the health benefits of breast-feeding,” said Melissa Bonghi, a lactation consultant in Bainbridge Island, Wash. “But I guess the I.R.S. will just take a little longer.”

With the new regulations set to take effect in two months, millions of American workers now in the open enrollment period at their employers have to determine whether, and how much, to set aside for 2011. More than 20 million people have flexible spending or other tax-exempt health care savings accounts, and the programs are projected to cost the federal Treasury about $3.8 billion this year and $68 billion over the next decade.

The most far-reaching change involves over-the-counter medicines. Since 2003, most of them have been eligible expenses, making flexible spending accounts so popular that some plans issued debit cards that allowed users to make purchases without having to file for reimbursement later.

As of Jan. 1, however, over-the-counter medications — including allergy remedies, cough suppressants or even pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen — will be eligible only if they are prescribed by a doctor. That change is so drastic that the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, which represents 37,000 pharmacies, last week asked the I.R.S. for a two-year delay in that regulation, to allow merchants to recalibrate the computer systems that determine which products are eligible for purchase with flexible spending account debit cards.

Many factors, including the length of maternity leave, affect how long a woman breast-feeds.
According to a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 75 percent of the 4.3 million mothers who gave birth in 2007 started breast-feeding. By the time the baby was 6 months old, the portion dropped to 43 percent, and on the child’s first birthday, to 22 percent.

A study released this year by Harvard Medical School concluded that if 90 percent of mothers followed the standard medical advice of feeding infants only breast milk for their first six months, the United States could save $13 billion a year in health care costs and prevent the premature deaths of 900 infants each year from respiratory illness and other infections.

“The old adage that breast-feeding is a child’s first immunization really is true,” said Dr. Robert W. Block, president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “So we need to do everything we can to remove the barriers that make it difficult.”

To continue breast-feeding once they return to work, many mothers need to use pumps to extract milk, which can be chilled and bottle-fed to the child later. The cost of buying or renting a breast pump and the various accessories needed to store milk runs about $500 to $1,000 for most mothers over the course of a year, according to the United States Breastfeeding Committee, a nonprofit advocacy group. Lactation consultants, who can cost several hundred dollars, also would not be an eligible expense.

Roy Ramthun, a former Treasury Department official, said that tax officials’ reluctance to classify those costs as medical expenses stemmed from a fear that the program might be abused.

“They get very uneasy about anything that smacks of food because they fear it will open up all sorts of exceptions,” said Mr. Ramthun, who runs a consulting company that specializes in health savings accounts. “It’s a matter of cost and of protecting the integrity of the tax code.”

Bills introduced last year by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, and Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, would have allowed nursing mothers to claim the tax break. But breast-feeding advocates say that effort, like many before, was undone by economic and cultural factors.

“Everyone says they support breast-feeding, but getting businesses and Congress to act on it has been surprisingly difficult,” said Barbara Emanuel, executive director of the breast-feeding advocacy group La Leche League International. “We get resistance from the formula companies and cultural resistance, so it can be hard to get nursing mothers the support that everyone agrees they deserve.”

Unless the law changes, some mothers may ask their pediatricians for a note that breast-feeding is medically necessary. Jody L. Dietel, who works for a company that processes claims from flexible spending accounts, says that many patients who receive orthodontic procedures have used such a tactic.

“Orthodontia is really so you have nice, straight teeth,” said Ms. Dietel, chief compliance officer for WageWorks. “But the doctors write notes warning that the patient’s jaw might be damaged without treatment or their overbite could cause health problems, and it becomes an eligible expense. For breast-feeding there are two components, too: nutritional and preventative medicine.” 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Letter to My Intact Son: Why I Kept You Whole

By Ashley Goldstein

Dear Diego,

As you know, you are my first born. You are the child that taught me how to be in 

tune with natural living. You have erased much of my ignorance and made me 
grow up before necessary. I owe it to you to give you the best, and try everything 
I can to keep you innocent and out of harm's way. I love you more than I love living. 
This is a letter to you, my beautiful boy, explaining why I chose to keep you intact 
when the rest of the country is cutting.

You will probably be reading this when you are old enough to understand statistics, 

emotional reasoning, human rights, and what circumcision is (that is, if I taught you 
correctly). So I will start with the emotional stuff you might have already heard from 
me while growing up. It's a no brainier that I am of Jewish descendant, brought up in 
the hands of the Judaic Religion. We attended temple, your eldest uncle and 2nd 
cousins had a bar/bat mitzvah, and much of your distant family speaks Yiddish and 
Hebrew. We followed all the holidays and the children were taught the history of our 
people, but the males of the family were special in the way of becoming Jewish. On 
the 8th day of life, a newborn male is given a Brit Milah. The Brit Milah is the 
ceremony to welcome the newborn into Judaism by giving him a Hebrew name and 
a circumcision. A female newborn is just given the Hebrew name. I never wondered 
why this was the case, until I learned the little soccer player in my tummy was 
blessed with an anteater between his legs.

I always wished for a boy as my first born. I was terrified to have a daughter (an 

irrational fear that I have overcome) and cried tears of joy when I knew I was 
having a son. Your father couldn't have smiled brighter and your grandmother 
cried. Why she cried is something I still do not know of at this time. I never asked 
and just assumed it was because she knew I would go through hell over the 
circumcision idea (we had discussed circumcision once or twice before finding out 
your gender and they knew I was basing the decision on your dad, who is intact).

You probably already know what I went through with your grandparents, uncles 

and great-grandmother over circumcision, and if you don't, I will have no problem 
discussing this all after you have read this letter. But this letter is not for me to 
vent - it is for me to express my love for you - all of you.

Because my family went through so much trouble trying to convince me to 

circumcise you, my brother going so far as to print out pro-circumcision 
information and place it on my desk with a note, I wanted to know what it was 
all about. Growing up, I always asked, "Why?" I didn't want to do something if I 
didn't know why and how it was done. I have always been natural minded, not 
wanting to litter, waste or live beyond human ability, so to hear that something 
you are born with is bad made me curious. Why would nature have every single 
male grow this skin when it's harmful?

So I turned to my computer and your father. Surely since he is intact, others must 

be too! I thought circumcision was something that happened to every boy and only 
a few were kept whole. I was 15, and ignorant to everything but the things I was 
taught growing up. I spent many days using Google. I came to the conclusion that 
I had been lied to. Circumcision was done to very few and keeping a boy intact was 
decided for many. Europe considered it a barbaric act and many people equated it 
to Female Circumcision. There were activists called INTACTivists, solely fighting 
for the rights to genital integrity. I saw pictures of botched circumcisionsscars and 
videos of poor babies screamingwhile the doctor explains to that he is only crying 
because he is strapped down and not because he is slicing open his penis. I became 
angered and my motherly instincts kicked in to fight for you, again.

I would have been angered if someone cut me when I was a baby (since 
circumcision wasn't illegal until I was 5 years old) so I had to assume you would 
be angered if someone cut you without your consent. What if you wanted your 
foreskin? And I had taken it away, for you to never get back? That didn't set right 
in my mind. Circumcision is permanent. I wouldn't tattoo you without you wanting 
it. I wouldn't force food down your throat if you pushed away because that's not my 
choice to make. Your penis wasn't mine. It is not anyone's but yours. You feel the 
pleasure/pain when it is messed with. You are the one it is attached to, so shouldn't 
you decide if you want a part of it to stay with you? The answer is simple: yes. I 
wanted you to tell me if you wanted to keep your foreskin, but you couldn't. Now 
you can when you are older, and when you know how it feels to have a foreskin, and 
I feel no guilt. If you don't want your foreskin as you grow, still no guilt because you 
can remove it on your own terms. But for me to say, "My son, I know you will hate 
this foreskin as you grow, let me get rid of it now," seemed strange in my mind. How 
would I know? The case is easy - I didn't know.

I had read that 
circumcision interferes with breastfeeding and I was so determined 
to breastfeed you without problems that this hit me the hardest. What if I did decide 
to cut you, and you didn't latch, and needed a bottle of formula? My ultimate 
goal/dream was to nurse you. If I was to fail I would take it to heart and never get 
over it. Little did I know how much I would go through with your short tongue and 
allergies, so I bet if you had been cut, I would have failed as I predicted. I would have 
a hurting baby boy, hurting breasts full of milk that I wouldn't be able to get rid of, 
and a baby trying to get comfort out of something made in a factory/lab. I wanted to 
be your comfort, for that warmth to be human and not from the stove. I needed you 
close by me, and selfishly, I needed you to reduce my risk for breast cancer as my 
mother was a breast cancer survivor. I never wanted to go through what she did. I left 
you intact, and you nursed whenever you wanted it, not needing the comfort to settle 
a pain that didn't exist, but none the less wanting it anyway.

I was not afraid of you being made fun of. Children are cruel and will make fun of you 

for being beautiful, kind and generous. Not much you can't do that children won't 
make fun of you for, so when I was given that argument, I blew it off. What I was 
afraid of was infections. I was told over and over again that no matter what, you WILL 
get an infection and it can only be treated by circumcision. I turned to the internet 
once again, that it being the only place I could go. I talked to many grown men who 
have never had an infection, or have only had one and it was treated easily with 
medicine. Non-painful medicine. I was content with that. That even if you did get an 
infection, you would just get medicine like you would if you got a sore throat or the 
flu. No different except in the area that it is in. I have gotten a few UTIs and yeast 
infections. They aren't a big deal and I knew if you got one, you also would be fine 
and not die. It would be another experience to learn from about the human body and 
the world around us.

We live in a house with running water and we always will. Keeping you clean as you 

grew older and your foreskin became retractable wasn't something I would be 
worried about. I know you could just rinse it like you do the rest of your body. You 
may not want to hear this, but I have taken showers with your father, I have seen 
how easy it is to clean, and that it takes no extra time or effort. I wasn't worried that 
cleaning your foreskin would be a chore.

Little did I know when I was pregnant with you that the year you would be born the 

circumcision rate would drop from 50% to 33% in the U.S., and it is predicted to 
continue dropping. Hopefully that was right, and you are among the majority instead 
of the minority. We may not even be living in the U.S. by the time you are reading this, 
therefore you definitely won't be the odd man out! I hope you grew up loving your 
body for what it is and how it was created. I hope you appreciate the decision I made 
for you and decide the same for your sons. I love you and am lucky to have such a great 
son to teach me the facts of life, human anatomy, and the ways of natural, healthy living.

Love unconditionally,
Your mommy!

Goldstein is a teen intactavist, lactavist and cloth diapering mama to Diego. She 
blogs about her daily struggles with her family, herself and the world around her 
at Fridge Magnets. A mommy by day and a student by night, she is on her way to 
change the world one reader at a time.

For additional information on the prepuce organ (foreskin), intact care and 

circumcision see: Are You Fully Informed?

'Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?' Short Answer: Probably

Imagine a country where workers at the lowest levels are active participants on their company’s board of directors, where floor managers and rank-and-file workers exercise genuine influence over the operations of the corporation they work for. Imagine too that unions represent something like 60 percent of all workers nationwide, and have real power in negotiating wages and benefits. Imagine a country with extraordinarily high rates of newspaper readers—because in order to exercise all this power, people need to have a clear sense of what’s going on, both economically and politically. According to Thomas Geoghegan, a self-decribed union lawyer, this country actually exists. It’s called Germany.

Geoghegan’s book Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? is a lengthy comparison of the type of capitalism practiced in the United States with the type practiced in Europe, more specifically Germany. Europe is of course the bogeyman for American conservatives, a sinful den of free-thinking, godlessness and socialism, not necessarily in that order. Conventional wisdom places Europe’s business acumen well below America’s, though well above such self-described socialist states such as Cuba and China. How ironic, then, that these European socialists are doing rather better economically than America—and have been for some time.

Geoghegan produces numerous statistics to prove his point, and also goes to some lengths to show that current US economic policy is in fact following China’s model, rather than Germany’s. In seeking to contain costs by driving down wages, the US is following the footsteps of low-wage, low-value producers in the developing world, rather than Germany’s high-end engineering skills. One result: Germany has the largest trade surplus in the world; America has its largest deficit.

Geoghegan’s thesis is that, while everyone knows Europe does socialism better than America, the fact is it does capitalism better, too. Its citizens work shorter hours, enjoy more benefits, and indulge in a standard of living that is higher than experienced by their American counterparts. (They live longer, too.) His second main thesis ties in with the first: not only does this model benefit the working class and the poor, but also the middle class and even the upper-middle class of executives and professionals. The only people who benefit more from the American model are the super-rich.

Even more ironically, socialism wouldn’t cost much more than what Americans experience already. As he says on the very first page: “We’re paying for European-type socialism, without getting the equivalent payback.” Some would argue that Europeans pay through the nose for their benefits with extortionate tax rates, but Geoghehan points out that Europe’s average rate of tax is 47 percent. America’s is 40 percent.

That seven-percent difference accounts for a lot: education, including college education, as well as health care, maternity leave, child care, old-age care, and six weeks paid vacation per year. At this point, for many of us in America working multiple jobs or simply longer hours at one job, with no discernible rise in benefits and huge bills to pay for education, health and child care, the European model is starting to look pretty good.

But what about GDP? This measure of per-capita wealth is often trotted out to compare how individuals in different countries are doing relative to each other. It’s true: America’s GDP is considerably higher than Europe’s, which indicates that we Americans are spending more money. So we must have more to spend. Ergo, we’re doing better, right?

Well, yes and no. Geoghegan makes the intriguing argument that spending more money is not always a sign that you are doing better; sometimes it’s a sign that you’re doing worse. Consider, for example, someone living relatively close to his/her job who can take public transport to work while the children go to public school (because the state maintains the public transport system adequately, and because it still puts money into the schools and into making the city center liveable). Now compare that person to someone living in a city like, say, Phoenix, where the city is falling to pieces and the schools are lousy and the parents want the kids to go someplace better. What to do?

In the US, the family moves, if it can possibly manage to do so. It buys a house, possibly overextending its finances; it needs a car or possibly two to commute to work, since the public transport is unreliable; and it avoids the urban center as much as possible, preferring to stay home at night. This family is contributing a great deal to GDP—it’s bought a house and furnishings, a car or two, gas for the commute, and plenty of entertainment gadgets to play with at home. But is it really better off? Or is it just more in debt, more stressed from all the commuting, more overworked, more tired, more likely to eat at McDonald’s because it saves a lot more time than shopping for and cooking dinner at home?

Geoghegan’s argument is that in places like Germany, the State assumes much of the financial burden that individuals and families take on in the US. As a result, Europeans spend less and save more. They live closer to their jobs, i.e., in the cities, because the cities are better taken care of. Ironically, these citizens are not contributing to GDP, which makes them appear poorer. But with fewer expenses to pay, Europeans are actually better off.

Not everyone is convinced. Although his views are clear from the get-go, Geoghegan makes it clear that there are things about the American system that he prefers, and he isn’t shy about quoting people—including Europeans—who prefer the American system. But as this thoughtful and engagingly written book makes clear, there are many advantages on the other side of the Atlantic worthy of serious consideration. Alas, the political leadership in America continues to lack the will—or the brains—to at least consider them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Human-electric hybrid car available in 2011

The “Imagine PS,” capable of 100 kph (60 mph) on the flat and 50 kph uphill, is street legal and expected to be commercially available next year.

By Posted Sep 22, 2010

The hand-cranked low mass vehicle (LMV) was developed by engineer Professor Charles Samuel Greenwood, who has been working on human-powered vehicles for over four decades, and has now developed a street legal sedan version carrying four people. If the four people are all cranking, the vehicle can run solely on human power, but it is also an electric plug-in. The chassis can be adapted to different styles and different types of batteries and future technologies without needing to replace the car.

The Imagine PS (PS standing for power station) is built by HumanCar Inc.. It can be started by a few backwards/forwards hand cranks, but the company says a senior citizen in reasonable shape would be able to manage the cranking easily, and it can be operated in electric power mode only or any combination of human and electric power.

Watch the human-electric hybrid car in action:

Greenwood said he began working on human powered cars in 1968 as a way to tackle both unhealthy exhaust fumes and the unhealthy and overweight bodies of many of the drivers. Early test devices showed that bicycle style mechanisms would not provide a full-body workout, so the design shifted to rowing-like movements. A range of vehicles has been built and tested since then, culminating in the Imagine PS.

The test vehicle is open, but an all-weather roof will be available for the commercially available cars. Also available will be a touch-screen display with GPS and biometric data logging, and computing/communications and sound systems. Safety is provided by a sophisticated structural system and controlled energy absorption areas.

The Imagine PS is expected to be available next year with a price tag of $15,500, and pre-orders can be made with a $50 100% refundable deposit. Production will begin when the company has received 800 pre-orders, and it already has over 100. Greenwood said the company is independent and “essentially profitable right now,” and they have a 200-year business plan that includes taking human-powered cars to the developing world, along with other products such as a two-person mobile power station that folds into a suitcase.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do You Know How You Were Born? Amazing Animation!!!

UN calls for immediate action to save life on Earth

The Earth’s 6.8 billion humans are effectively living 50 percent beyond the planet’s biocapacity.

By Agence France Presse Posted Oct 20, 2010

Above, Green Sea Turtle in the waters of Bora Bora, Tahiti. The gender of sea turtle eggs are determined by temperature, which means global warming would upset the natural gender 
balance. (photo:
The world must act immediately to stop the rapid loss of animal and plant species that allow humans to exist, the United Nations warned on Monday at the start of a major summit on biodiversity.
Delegates from the 193 members of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are gathering in the central city of Nagoya to try to work out strategies to reverse a man-made mass extinction.
“The time to act is now and the place to act is here,” CBD executive secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf said as the meeting opened, describing the 12-day event as a “defining moment” in the history of mankind.
“Business as usual is no more an option when it comes to life on Earth… we need a new approach, we need to reconnect with nature and live in harmony with nature.”
Delegates were told human population pressures were wiping out ecosystems such as tropical forests and coral reefs, killing off animal and plant species that form the web of life on which humanity depends.
“This meeting is part of the world’s efforts to address a very simple fact. We are destroying life on Earth,” the UN Environment Programme’s executive director Achim Steiner said in a speech at the opening ceremony.
“We are destroying the very foundations that sustain life on this planet.”

This graphic shows the numbers of threatened and endangered animal species in Africa. The 
group of bars on the far left shows totals for all of Africa’s different categories of animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, etc.), and the other four sets of bars are broken down by region within Africa. This shows the current status of threatened and endangered animals in Africa; climate change will only make this worse.
Delegates in Nagoya plan to set a new target for 2020 for curbing species loss, and will discuss boosting medium-term financial help for poor countries to help them protect their wildlife and habitats.
But similar pledges to stem biodiversity loss have not been fulfilled, and Djoghlaf said governments around the world had to acknowledge that failure.
“Let’s have the courage to look into the eyes of our children and admit that we have failed individually and collectively to… to substantially reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010,” Djoghlaf said.
“Let us look into the eyes of our children and admit that we continue to lose biodiversity at unprecedented rates.”
At the start of the decade, UN members pledged under the Millennium Development Goals to achieve “a significant reduction” in the rate of wildlife loss by 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity.
Instead, habitat destruction has continued unabated, and some experts now warn that the planet faces its sixth mass extinction phase — the latest since dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago.
Nearly a quarter of mammals, one third of amphibians, more than one in eight birds, and more than a fifth of plant species now face the threat of extinction, said the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Nearly a quarter of mammals, one third of amphibians, more than one in eight birds, and more than a fifth of plant species now face the threat of extinction
In May, a UN report warned of looming “tipping points” that could irreversibly damage ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest, through logging and land clearance, and coral reefs through global warming and overfishing.
The Earth’s 6.8 billion humans are effectively living 50 percent beyond the planet’s biocapacity in 2007, according to a new assessment by WWF that said by 2030 humans will effectively need the capacity of two Earths.
Meanwhile, disputes between rich and poor nations that have plagued efforts to curb greenhouse gases threaten to similarly hamper biodiversity negotiations.
The European Union is calling for a target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020, while many developing nations only support a weaker goal of “taking action” on the issue.
The European Union is calling for a target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020, while many developing nations only support a weaker goal of “taking action” on the issue
There are also tensions over efforts to forge an accord on the “equitable sharing” of the benefits from natural resources — for example a medicine derived from a jungle plant — under a so-called Access and Benefits Sharing Protocol (ABS).
Under a proposal backed by developing nations, companies would pay a “gene fee” if scientists find plants or animals that have been used by indigenous groups and have commercial use such as in the pharmaceutical industry.
Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira warned this month that “for us, it is not acceptable to go to Nagoya and not have an agreement for (the) ABS Protocol… We need a deal.”
Some developing countries have warned that a plan to set up an international scientific panel to assess biodiversity issues and advise policy makers could be blocked if there is no deal on the ABS protocol.