Purposive Rambling

the journey is the reward.

Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

Come on, baby. Everyone knows breastmilk is bad for you! Here, have some celery.

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Don’t we call it “baby fat” for a reason?!

This story is just absolutely ridiculous.

A four-month old baby was denied coverage by an insurance company – Rocky Mountain Health Plans – for being too fat. He was 17 pounds and 25 inches tall, putting him in the 99th percentile for weight and height for babies his age. And? So what?!

There are plenty of chubby little babies that grow into slender children. It’s just unfathomable to me that anyone would see this as a problem. But apparently, 21% of people who voted in an online poll thought that it was fine for an insurance company to deny a baby coverage due to its weight.

Doctors and scientists agree that we should not restrict children’s fat intake until they are at least 2 years old. Some are even arguing that it is inappropriate to restrict fat intake until children are at least 5 years old.

So unless you have some evidence that weight is a symptom of some underlying preexisting condition, how can you deny this baby coverage? Of course, I would argue that it would still be bullshit to deny him or anyone else coverage, but I’m one of those people.

Btw, the overwhelmingly negative public reaction to this absurdity put enough pressure on Rocky Mountain to change its policy.


Written by Lisa

October 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

Oh, Whoopi…

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So I’m at the gym on Wednesday before the sun was even up. I’m in my own little world doing some bicep curls when I hear the Roman Polanski story come up on the news across the room. First, they mention Whoopi Goldberg’s comment that this wasn’t “rape-rape.” Then, they interview Polanski’s ex-sister-in-law, who also makes a distinction between statutory rape and rape, argues that because there was no force involved it was a consensual act, and then says that prosecuting cases of statutory rape is a sign that our system is broken. To top it all off, she tries to justify her opinions by saying that she is a victim’s advocate and knows the difference between consensual and nonconsensual sex.

By the time I left the gym I as feeling a bit unglued. These attitudes – along with those of everyone else defending Polanski – are just unfathomable and appalling to me. There are reasons we have age of consent laws. Before that age, you are assumed to not be mature enough to consent. Which means that regardless of the other circumstances – whether you agreed to have sex or not, whether there was force or not – it is rape. Additionally, even if this child were not a child and instead a grown woman, rape does not imply force. If someone says no, and you proceed, it is rape. We make so many distinctions, and we find a million ways to blame the victim. We want a gray area. But it doesn’t exist! Rape is rape. It is not about violence. It is about power. I don’t know how anyone could believe that Polanski did not exploit his position of power over this child, and if you read the victim’s testimony, I don’t know how you can argue that he wasn’t acting like a predator toward her. It was no spur-of-the-moment mistake. It sounds as if the entire night were orchestrated.

Anyway, part of the argument that people are giving for why Polanski should be released is that the victim does not want the case pursued. I really feel sympathetic toward her. I’m sure she wants to be out of the spotlight. It’s got to be a ridiculously difficult position to be in. But as a citizen who is concerned about her safety and the safety of others, I want to say how proud I am of her for cooperating with the investigation all those years ago and being brave enough to share her story. She’s done all she needs to do. Polanski has already plead guilty. He fled before the sentencing. So we’re beyond the “dropping the charges” phase. All that’s left is to dole out some penalty for the crime. Personally, I don’t know why we should be considering the amount of time that has passed since he left the country or the good things he’s done since that time. What kind of message does that send? If you have the resources to get out of the country and you lead a good life before we catch up to you again we’ll forget it ever happened? If Roman Polanski were a nobody, how would we be reacting?

I still feel so worked up about this. Kate Harding has a great piece over at Salon – well, I think it’s great, but then again, I’m not on the side of child rape being okay.

Written by Lisa

October 2, 2009 at 11:40 am

Effects of the Economy on Childbearing

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According to a survey discussed in this MSNBC article, American women are delaying pregnancy and planning to have fewer children because of economic concerns. Makes sense. Kids are expensive. But apparently, some women are also changing their contraceptive habits because of financial constraints. Some reported just going without. I suppose that’s a great way to save money if you’re not sexually active, but I wonder what the net effect of these two trends will be. Will there be any noticeable rise in unplanned pregnancies? Or will there be any noticeable decline in the number of births? And, of course, where are the men in this story? The decision to have a child often involves men in addition to women. And men do play a role in birth control use – even if women do shoulder most of the burden here.

Written by Lisa

September 29, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Sociology rocks!

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I am so excited to see that the most emailed article from nytimes.com today is Maureen Dowd’s “Blue Is the New Black.” Although I suppose there is a chance that all the sociologists of the world are responsible for this emailing frenzy, I am going to conclude instead that everyone loves sociology. Everyone, of course, being the people who are reading the NYT, which may be somewhat limited, but is certainly not limited to only sociologists. Anyway, there seems to be this ongoing debate in the discipline about how much sociologists should be engaging the public with their work, and I take this as a sign that the answer to this debate is that sociologists should be putting it out there as much as possible because people are really interested in hearing about it. How can people not be interested in other people? There’s a reason we continue to see reality tv show after reality tv show after reality tv show popping up. We are voyeurs, and we like to compare our experiences to others’, and we like to understand why our life is what it is.

Okay, you get my point. So, in this op-ed, Dowd discusses data from the General Social Survey that show that since the 1970’s women have been reporting lower levels of happiness, while men have been reporting higher levels of happiness. She goes on to mention some of the possible reasons for this trend. And she does not limit her discussion to considerations of change over time, but also talks about changes across the life course. It’s a complex issue, and she treats it that way. In my most humble opinion, I think it is very well done.

Written by Lisa

September 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm


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I’ve been in a crabby mood all day. Things just haven’t been going according to plan. But I just received a piece of news that has made me a bit more cheerier. A Panera is opening in our building on Wednesday. Delightful. And possibly very bad news for my wallet.

Written by Lisa

September 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Posted in Food, In the News, Indianapolis

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Does it really take a village to raise a child?

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In the news today is a guy who slapped a stranger’s two-year-old child at a Walmart because she wouldn’t stop crying. He spoke cruelly to the mother. He hit the child in the face multiple times. And apparently it was hard enough to cause some redness to the girl’s face. So he was arrested and charged with cruelty to children. I can’t imagine that many people would disagree with the law enforcement’s response to this man. But for me, this raises questions about parenting.

We have this saying that “it takes a village to raise a child.” But do we really believe that? What do we think about adults disciplining other people’s children? Sure, in this particular case, we might call this abuse rather than discipline, but what if we change a few details? What if the man had bent down to the child’s level and firmly told her to calm down and stop crying? What if he had given her one swat on her backside? Many see this as an appropriate response from parents. What about when it’s someone other than the parent? If he had not harmed the child, would the law intervene? Or would he just have an angry mother’s tongue-lashing to deal with?

Written by Lisa

September 3, 2009 at 4:09 pm

A pregnant woman’s rights get stomped on…again.

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So my main area of interest within Sociology is the family. And one of the more specific things that interests me is the government’s involvement in family life. In a lot of ways the government interferes with parents’ decisions about how to raise their children. There’s always controversy over where exactly to draw the line between the interests of the child and parents’ rights. Decisions about medical care for children seem to drum up the most debate. A lot of times when I hear about cases in the news about challenges to parents’ authority in making decisions for their children’s medical care, I fall on the side of greater government involvement. But not when it comes to doctors trying to protect the health of an unborn child by forcing women to put themselves at risk from having a major surgery. Apparently a woman in New Jersey refused to have a cesarean, was able to deliver the baby vaginally, and then had the child taken away because her refusal was equated to child abuse. No way is it okay for a person to be bullied into putting her life on the line for someone else, regardless of who that person is. And no way is it okay for a woman who refuses a cesarean be charged with murder when her child is stillborn, which is what happened to a woman in Utah a few years ago. After these cases, how many women will feel compelled to go along with a surgery that they feel is unnecessary out of fear of being named a child abuser, or worse yet, a murderer! This is just maddening. Anyway, learn more about this issue from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Written by Lisa

July 29, 2009 at 1:10 am