Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Very Grim Paper

"Stained Glass: The Nature and Scope of Child Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church" from Criminal Justice and Behavior 2008; 35; 549.  This was the first national survey attempting to determine the number of priests and monks engaged in sexual abuse of children, and not just a survey based on clinical data (which of course involves those who end up in trouble). The good news is that only 4% of priests active 1950 to 2002 had allegations of sexual abuse against them.  The bad news is that 4% of priests had such allegations.  The damage that such abuse does to children is horrifying, but when done by someone who claims to speak for God--even worse.  Unsurprisingly, 81% of the victims are boys, and generally, boys were more likely to be postpubescent.  Interestingly enough, priests with a single allegation were much more likely to have abused girls, suggesting that they learned to stop doing this.

The Crusades Were Started With Less Provocation

Their English translations aren't very good, but the tragedies that they are describing match what secular news sources are telling us that ISIS is doing elsewhere.  The Crusades were started with less provocation than this.  But that was when Christianity was still an important force of Western Civilization.  Not now.

Veiling Mannequins: New Law

ISIL has ordered shopkeepers to veil mannequins in shop windows.  From July 22, 2014 Washington Times:
Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have a new rule of shopkeepers in the Iraqi city of Mosul: Mannequins must have veiled faces.
The decree by the terrorist group was made under the pretext that doing so is in line with Sharia law, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. Members of the group assert that the human form is not to be depicted in statues or artwork.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jul/22/isil-forces-iraqs-shopkeepers-veil-mannequins-mosu/#ixzz38JpWiKlN Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
Well, yes, that's correct: depictions of any living creatures (not just humans) are prohibited by the Koran.  While some Muslim societies (such as Moorish Spain) did not strictly follow this rule, generally they have done so.  This is the reason that abstract art has always been one of the strengths of the Muslim world.  But compared to ISIL's orders to Christians in Mosul, this is pretty minor:
There is now one less place for Iraq’s Christians to call home. Since the U.S. military-led invasion in 2003, the country’s minorities have watched as their places of worship have come under attack and the prospects for practicing their religion without persecution have become increasingly grim.
Now, the Islamic State armed group has solidified its grip on the northern city of Mosul and imposed a deadline over the weekend demanding Christians either convert, pay a tax or “face the sword.” With that ultimatum, thousands of Christians fled, leaving most of what they own behind. They made their way to Erbil in the Kurdish-controlled region in the north, as well as the Christian city of Qaraqosh, southeast of Mosul, and also under the protection of the Kurdish peshmerga.
“For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” said Patriarch Louis Sako, one of Iraq’s senior Chaldean Catholic clerics. 

What A Surprise: Obamacare Subsidies Available For Fraudulent Applicants

July 23, 2014 National Journal reports that people applying with fake identification, fake social security numbers, and fraudulent claims of low income were usually able to get subsidies for their health insurance: 
Fake applicants were able to get subsidized insurance coverage in 11 of 18 attempts, according to a report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The agency conducted the sting operation to test the strength of the Affordable Care Act's eligibility-verification system.
The findings will be discussed at a House Ways and Means hearing Wednesday. They were revealed in an advance copy of the testimony from Seto Bagdoyan, head of GAO's Forensic Audits and Investigative Service, provided to the Associated Press.
The undercover investigators created fake identities by inventing Social Security numbers, income, and citizenship, and by counterfeiting documents.
Part of why I was mildly tolerant of Obamacare's web page failure problem was that what they were doing was hard: opening up secure databases from multiple government agencies to verify the accurate of stuff like Social Security numbers, income, and citizenship.  These databases are secure, and should be.  But if they can't even verify the data accurately, they have less excuse for their failure to do it efficiently.

Medical Personnel Dying of Ebola

The head doctor fighting the deadly tropical virus Ebola in Sierra Leone has himself caught the disease, the government said.
The 39-year-old Sheik Umar Khan, hailed as a "national hero" by the health ministry, was leading the fight to control an outbreak that has killed 206 people in the West African country. Ebola kills up to 90 percent of those infected and there is no cure or vaccine....
Three days ago, three nurses working in the same Ebola treatment centre alongside Khan died from the disease.
I am surprised that al-Qaeda hasn't purposefully infected some of its suicide bombers with Ebola, and sent them into international airports.  For those who don't understand what drove the writing of novels like The Stand and Andromeda Strain (Michael Crichton's first and best novel), read about Ebola, Marburg and similar hemorrhagic fevers.  The Hot Zone is, unfortunately, not fiction.  The guy at CDC whose job it was to deal with an outbreak of Ebola Reston ended up retiring to a remote town in Montana.  He's no fool.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Baclofen: Muscle Relaxant; Body Relaxant; Brain Rexalant

My doctor prescribed a muscle relaxant for my back problem, which started back in the 1980s, but hasn't been real bad until recently.  The stress of 12 hours each way in the car, plus the stress of my brother's funeral, has greatly aggravated it.

A co-worker said that I looked like I had too much to drink.  I have no idea what that feels like because it has been too long to remember what "too much to drink" is like.  But I am definitely not driving home in my current state.  I think it's safe to write JSPs in this state, but nothing more sophisticated than that.

UPDATE: Not even feeling that good now.  This must be a cumulative effect.  Awful.

TANF Funds At Pot Shops

National Review Online reports that:
At least 259 times in the first six months of legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, beneficiaries used their electronic-benefit transfer (EBT) cards to access public assistance at weed retailers and dispensaries, withdrawing a total of $23,608.53 in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash, NRO’s examination found.
The article does explain that some pot sellers also sell groceries, so it is possible that  this is not as bad as it sounds.  I can see why some taxpayers might get a bit upset about their tax dollars being used to keep dopers happy.  Note that this seems to include both those selling recreational marijuana and "medical marijuana."  (I put that in quotes because while there are some legitimate medical uses of marijuana, I think it is a good bet that much of it is not at all legitimate medical use.)