Archive for October 2nd, 2011

It’s all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date.  –  George Bernard Shaw

One year ago today I published “The Camel’s Nose”, an early miscellanea column; I hadn’t yet started grouping updates and miscellanea as separate columns, so the post is actually composed of one new topic (Congress’ first major attempt to gain control of the internet) and two updates.  Since then (with the help of my diligent readers) my access to relevant articles has grown considerably, so I hereby present you with twelve updates, some of them referring to multiple (though connected) articles.  Whew!

A Whore in the Bedroom (September 9th, 2010)

In this column I expressed the philosophy that “When one has a living creature under one’s care, it is one’s responsibility to take care of that creature’s needs, or else to arrange for someone else to do so.  And if you shirk that responsibility, you only have yourself to blame for the inevitable and foreseeable consequences.”  Usually it’s women who tend to be lax in this department, and their neglect keeps whores in business.  But a number of my readers have said that it’s not unusual to see the opposite nowadays, and this story from the Telegraph of September 5th (called to my attention by regular reader Marla) is an example of it:

…France’s civil code…states married couples must agree to a “shared communal life”.  A judge has now ruled that this law implies that “sexual relations must form part of a marriage”.  The rare legal decision came after the wife filed for divorce two years ago, blaming the break-up on her husband’s lack of activity in the bedroom.  A judge in Nice…granted the divorce and ruled the husband…was solely responsible for the split.  But the 47-year-old ex-wife then took him back to court demanding 10,000 euros in compensation for “lack of sex over 21 years of marriage”.  The ex-husband claimed “tiredness and health problems” had prevented him from being more attentive between the sheets…but [the] judge…ruled:  “A sexual relationship between husband and wife is the expression of affection they have for each other, and in this case it was absent.  By getting married, couples agree to sharing their life and this clearly implies they will have sex with each other.”

I certainly agree in principle, though I would’ve settled with naming the husband at fault rather than actually awarding monetary damages.  It’s interesting to see some of the online  commentary on this story, which seems to think the idea that spouses owe each other sex is somehow weird even though it should be obvious.  OK, guys, I’m always standing up for your right to get sufficient nookie from your wives, but now it’s the ladies’ turn; if you’re not putting out as much as she needs, get with the program!

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came? (November 17th, 2010)

In this item I reported that Gardasil, the vaccine against the human papillomavirus, isn’t reaching the girls who need it most:  “70% of the girls who are most at risk for venereal warts are either not getting the shot or else failing to show up for the two boosters.”  I stated that in my opinion, the real reason for the lack of interest isn’t any of the faux reasons advanced by opponents but rather plain American prudishness:

If there were a vaccine for HIV or hepatitis people might get it because those diseases can also be spread by blood, but if there were one for herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea or even chlamydia I’m sure it would be just as unpopular as this one.  And the reason for that is the same reason that the rate of venereal disease is vastly higher among university students than it is among streetwalkers:  The bizarre but popular delusion, encouraged by cops and religious fundamentalists, that only “bad girls” take precautions against venereal diseases.

Despite her nonsensical claim that Gardasil can cause brain damage (an idea so farfetched a team of bioethicists bet her $11,000 she couldn’t substantiate it), this is no doubt the real reason behind would-be presidential candidate Michelle Bachman’s opposition to the vaccine:

Physicians are bracing for more parents to refuse the HPV vaccine…[as] comments by [Michelle Bachman] stoke growing and unfounded fears about a whole class of common immunizations needed to fight disease…Bachmann first raised the issue during a Republican presidential debate on Monday as a swipe at Republican rival and Texas Governor Rick Perry, who issued an executive order in 2007 mandating girls get the HPV vaccine as part of a school immunization requirement…she questioned the state’s authority to force “innocent little 12-year-old girls” to have a “government injection” that was “potentially dangerous.”  The following day, she told NBC’s “Today” show the story of a woman from Tampa, Florida, who approached her after the debate and said her daughter became “mentally retarded” after getting the Gardasil vaccine…Physician groups…rushed out statements defending the safety of Merck’s vaccine and Cervarix made by GlaxoSmithKline, whose most common side effects include a sore arm, a rash and fever…The [president of the American Academy of Pediatrics] says there is absolutely no scientific validity to Bachmann’s statement…”Since the vaccine has been introduced (in 2006), more than 35 million doses have been administered, and it has an excellent safety record”…But no amount of proof will suffice for some families, who fear that even a small percentage of children may be harmed…according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 32 percent of adolescent girls last year had gotten all three shots of the HPV vaccine…

I received the vaccine last year and experienced fever after the first dose and a sore arm after the second.  The recommended course is three shots, but as mentioned above many girls never get all three.  There’s at least some good news on that front, though:

Two doses of the human papillomavirus vaccine may offer just as much protection…as the three-dose regimen now being used…[according to] data from…[a] trial [involving] 7,466 women…20 percent of them got only one dose or two doses for a variety of reasons.  After four years, the researchers found, two doses…offered the same level of protection against HPV infection as three.  Even one dose offered a high level of protection.  While the researchers said that more studies are needed to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of the fewer doses, they wrote in a journal news release:  “Our clinical efficacy data provide suggestive evidence that an HPV vaccine program that provides fewer doses to more women could potentially reduce cervical cancer incidence more than a standard three-dose program that uses the same total number of doses but in fewer women”…

Getting it down to one dose would be better still, reducing both cost and attrition; after that, the only obstacle left to protecting girls from this potentially fatal disease is parental ignorance and stupidity.

What a Week! (November 28th, 2010)

In this column I mentioned a new mega-brothel in Spain, pointing out that such bordellos

…can only help to solidify our position; large and prominent businesses not only protect their own interests, but also enrich a number of other nearby and related businesses which will also devote money to stopping any attempts by control freaks to stop the gravy train.  The legal efforts of big, wealthy casinos generally tend to help little truck stops with slot machines and have made both crooked gambling dens and police persecution of back-room card games a thing of the past, and the legal efforts of big, wealthy brothels will also tend to assist small brothels and solitary practitioners of the trade.

Given that premise, this item from Australia (called to my attention by regular reader Stick) might be considered somewhat bad news:

A proposal for what would have been Australia’s largest brothel has been unanimously rejected by the City of Sydney Council…Lord Mayor Clover Moore told the meeting there was little doubt such a large brothel would have an impact of its neighbours…Council officers had reported the business had a record of good management since it opened in 2002, but the meeting heard there were some residents who did not agree…”Residents have told councillors about the impacts from traffic and antisocial behaviour.  Those impacts are expected to increase if the size is doubled.  It is the size I think that is of great concern,” Councillor Moore said…Several councillors made clear they supported the operation of registered brothels within the city, but not of the size proposed.

Taxes and other business-derived fees are like a drug to politicians, and once they’re hooked they’re unlikely to kick the habit; because of that one must be wary of governmental attempts to keep sex businesses small (and therefore less lucrative from a tax standpoint).  Still, the councilors made it clear that it was the size of the business that was the problem rather than its nature, so the rejection probably isn’t any major cause for alarm.

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