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Shani Davis What What [Feb. 18th, 2006|07:07 pm]
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Native South Sider Shani Davis representing the World Champs after winning his gold medal.
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"Evidence Doesn't Matter" in APA Abortion Advocacy [Feb. 16th, 2006|10:31 pm]
Read this and comment if you choose. But read first:

SPRINGFIELD, IL, Springfield, IL (Feb. 15, 2005) -- According to a spokesperson for the American Psychological Association, the APA's pro-choice position, first adopted in 1969, is based on a civil rights view, not on scientific proof of any mental health benefits arising from abortion.

The admission that ideology, not science, governs the APA's support for abortion came in response to a request by a Washington Times columnist for the organization's reaction to a new study linking abortion to mental illness. The study tracked 25 years of worth of data on women born in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The researchers had expected that their data, drawn from one of the largest and most comprehensive longitudinal studies in the world, would definitively refute a recent series of studies linking abortion to higher rates of mental health problems. The Christchurch team, led by a self-professed "pro-choice atheist," Prof. David M. Fergusson, expected to find that any mental health problems occurring after abortion would be fully explainable by prior mental health problems, which some believe are more common among women who have abortions. Instead, the New Zealand research team found the opposite. Even after the researchers controlled for this and numerous other alternative explanations, abortion was clearly linked to elevated rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal behavior.

The findings so surprised Fergusson's research team that they began reviewing the studies cited by the APA in its claims that abortion is beneficial, or at least non-harmful, to women's mental health. The researchers concluded (1) that the APA's publications defending abortion are based on a small number of studies that had major methodological shortcomings (a view that echoes former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop's complaint in 1987 that the research on abortion was too inadequate to draw any definitive conclusions), and (2) that the APA appeared to be consistently ignoring a body of studies published in the last seven years that have shown negative effects from abortion.

The Christchurch team's criticism of the APA's selective and strong assurances of the mental health benefits of abortion prompted Warren Throckmorton, a psychologist and newspaper columnist, to call the APA for comment on Fergusson's criticisms. He was referred to an APA expert and spokesperson on abortion and women's issues, Dr. Nancy Felipe Russo. Russo was among the leaders within the APA who, in 1969, led the organization to adopt an official position in favor of abortion as a civil right. She has subsequently been active in research and advocacy efforts opposing parental notification and mandatory informed consent statutes related to abortion.

APA Is Not Neutral On Abortion Science

When asked to comment on the New Zealand study and the pro-choice authors' criticisms of the APA, Russo told Throckmorton that the APA's position on abortion was established on the view that abortion is a civil right. As quoted in Throckmorton's Washington Times column, Russo explained that the Christchurch study would have no effect on the APA's position because "to pro-choice advocates, mental health effects are not relevant to the legal context of arguments to restrict access to abortion."

In the first draft of Throckmorton's column, which he sent for comment to another expert on abortion research, Dr. David Reardon of the Springfield, IL-based Elliot Institute, Russo was quoted more bluntly, saying, "it doesn't matter what the evidence says." Throckmorton and Russo subsequently agreed to the clarification of her statement as it appeared in the Washington Times.

According to Reardon, an author of several of the studies on abortion that have been ignored by the APA, Russo's statements "confirm the complaint of critics that the APA's briefs to the Supreme Court and state legislatures are really about promoting a view about civil rights, not science. Toward this end, the APA has set up task forces and divisions that include only psychologists who share the same bias in favor of abortion."

Reardon believes the APA's task forces on abortion have actually served to stifle rather than encourage research. "When researchers like Fergusson or myself publish data showing abortion is linked to mental health problems, members of the APA's abortion policy police rush forward to tell the public to ignore our findings because they are completely out of line with their own 'consensus' statements which are positioned as the APA's official interpretation of the meaningful research on abortion," he said.

When is Relief Not Relief?

Reardon is especially disturbed by what he decries as the "one note" optimism found in position papers by the APA, Planned Parenthood, and other organizations supporting abortion.

Among the studies most frequently cited by abortion supporters are those that have asked women to check off a list of feelings they have after their abortions, often within just a few hours, a week, or a month of the procedure. The list may include words like "relief," "regret," "guilt," and "happiness." These studies have found that the most commonly reported reaction after abortion is relief. Indeed, the phrase, "the most commonly reported reaction is relief," frequently shows up in information and consent forms for abortion.

"All the emphasis on women experiencing relief is misleading because most women reporting relief also report negative reactions," Reardon said. "Indeed, when you add up the number of women reporting negative reactions, it regularly exceeds the number of women reporting relief."

The problem, Reardon says, is that while statistics on "relief" may have value in marketing or lobbying for abortion, they have little or no value as a scientific measure.

"Women are simply presented with this single word," he said. "So women who feel relief that they survived an unpleasant surgery, relief that they will no longer face their boyfriend's badgering to have an abortion, relief that they are no longer having morning sickness, or relief from any number of other stresses, are all lumped into the same category, even though their experiences are different. Lumping all forms of relief together helps to makes it sound like most women are reporting that abortion has fundamentally improved their lives, but it's a sloppy and misleading data variable. In fact, when you really look at the data, most of the very same women who are reporting 'relief' are also reporting grief, shame, traumatic reactions, or other negative feelings."

"Thirty-five years ago, when the APA joined in the effort to legalize abortion, they were promising more than just 'relief,'" he added. "They were insisting that abortion would fundamentally improve women's mental and physical health by sparing them the burden of unwanted children. But 38 million abortions later, there is still not a single statistically-validated study that has shown that abortion has actually improved the lives of women who abort compared to those who carry to term.

"Instead, if you look at the data instead of consensus opinions, depression rates are up, not down, among women who have had abortions. Suicide and substance abuse are up, not down. Premature deliveries are up, not down. But instead of including this data in their statements on abortion, the APA's self-selected panels of abortion advocates continue to distract the media from the all hard evidence linking abortion to higher rates of suicide, substance abuse, depression and anxiety by promoting meaningless statistics about relief."

Reardon says he is thankful that Russo has finally helped to call attention to the fact that the APA's position on abortion is principally based on a commitment to defend abortion as a civil right.

But this admission, he says, "should be weighed in light of criticisms against the trend toward 'consensus science' as a means of influencing politics. As one critic, best-selling author Dr. Michael Crichton, creator of Jurassic Park and ER, has succinctly observed: 'The work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics.'"



Outside the context of the abortion debate, best selling author Michael Crichton, M.D., a 1969 graduate of the Harvard Medical School, described the disturbing trend of "consensus science" at a Caltech lecture in 2004, a brief portion of which is excerpted below:

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

Excerpted from Michael Crichton, Aliens Cause Global Warming," Caltech Michelin Lecture, Jan. 17, 2003. (available online)

# # #


David M. Fergusson, L. John Horwood, and Elizabeth M. Ridder, "Abortion in young women and
subsequent mental health," Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47(1): 16-24, 2006.

Warren Throckmorton, "Abortion and mental health," Washington Times, January 21, 2005.

David, H., " Retrospectives" From APA Task Force to Division 34," Population & Environmental Psychology Bulletin 1999, 25(3):2-3.
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2006 Chicago Cubs Promotional Schedule [Feb. 8th, 2006|12:18 pm]
I found this in a message board. Enjoy:

2006 Chicago Cubs Promotional Schedule

April 7: Home Opener and raising of the "Attendance Flag" to commemorate the magical 2005 season in which the Cubs were a bigger draw than any of their hated rivals. Not being raised: World Series Champions flag.

April 8: Presentation of the "Nice Neighborhood" rings to members of the 2005 squad in commemoration of their capturing of the city's heart by playing in such a cute little part of town. Not being presented: World Series Champions rings.

April 9: Home Opener Weekend festivities conclude with the Cardinals completing a sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley.

April 24: Win a Mark Prior autographed picture! 100 lucky fans will receive a 5 x 7" photo signed by the Cubs' 11-game winner!

April 25: Turn Back the Clock I with throwback jerseys, old-timey music and special guests and relive the magic of the Cubs' epic loss to the Florida Marlins in the 2003 NLCS.

May 13: Turn Back the Clock II with authentic 1984 uniforms jerseys and an even-more-authentic loss to the 1984 NLCS champion San Diego Padres.

May 14: Precious Moments figurine doll to the first 10,000 female fans*.

June 15: Kerry Wood bobblehead day. The first 10,000 fans will receive a bobblehead doll of the Northsiders' all-time leader in simulated strikeouts!

June 16: Turn Back the Clock III - Kick off a rematch of the Cubs' most recent World Series appearance as they welcome the Detroit Tigers and try to beat them for the first time since 1945.

June 30: Crosstown Amnesty Day - All managers and first 25 players on the White Sox active roster will receive a complimentary win.

July 1: Turn Back the Clock IV - 1906 World Series rematch. Authentic memorabilia will be given out to lucky Cub fans, as will an authentic 1906-style massacre of their lovable losers.

July 2: Lovable Loser Day - First 15,000 losers get to fall in love with the Cubs even more as they are handed yet another staggering loss at home by yet another area team that has built something more substantial than their own ticket-scalping empire**.

July 14: Harry Caray Day, featuring an all-star tribute to the late and beloved former White Sox and Cardinals announcer.

August 1: Nine Games Back Day - First 10,000 fans in attendance to correctly explain what "Nine Games Back" means receive a Cubs t-shirt***.

August 19: Playoff Day. Come out and root for the Cubs as they stand on the brink of elimination against the Cardinals with forty-one games still left to play in the season. First 20,000 fans wearing Cubs gear receive a White Sox t-shirt.

September 2: Turn Back the Clock V - Cubs fans, come out and party like it's 1989 in this showdown against the 1989 NLCS champion San Francisco Giants!

October 1: Final Home Game / Wait 'Til Next Year Day - First 39,538 fans are idiots.

(*) This one's real, believe it or not. Precious Moments? Come on.
(**) Wrigley Field Premium Ticketing Services, 3717 N. Clark St.
(***) Contest runs through the end of the 2006 season. Okay, 2007 season.
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(no subject) [Jan. 24th, 2006|05:08 pm]
[Current Mood |coldcold]

Your Political Profile

Overall: 35% Conservative, 65% Liberal

Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Ethics: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

I am not too surprised about the results although it does not take into account which of these issues take more precedent when I actually define myself politically.

If you were to ask me I would say I am a pro-life Democrat, which means for the most part I vote for Republicans.
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Summer Vs. Fall [Jan. 10th, 2006|12:19 pm]
[Current Mood |contentcontent]
[Current Music |Rogue Wave]

Here is a letter I wrote the Chicago Tribune Sports editors today.

The other day the Chicago Cubs took out a full page advertisement in the Chicago Tribune with Wrigley Field in all its glory on beautiful sunny summer day. The advertisement read "Summer Starts February 24" referring to when individual tickets go on sale.

As a White Sox fan I can not but help to find this advertisement campaign funny. While the White Sox ads last year focused around their "Win. Or Die Trying" slogan the Cubs have gone down another route and decided to promote summer time fun at Wrigley. The differences in ad campaigns pretty much sums up for me what are the differences in the fan bases here in Chicago.

So go ahead Cub fans, enjoy summer.

I will be enjoying the fall much more though.
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(no subject) [Jan. 9th, 2006|07:21 pm]
If I have not yet told you, or blogged about it, I am just about to start the application process for St. Joseph's College Seminary.

I want to clear up the common misconceptions people often have.

First of all, if I do choose to attend the college seminary it does not mean that I am committed to becoming a priest. St. Joe's is set up to help college level students better discern their call to the priesthood and help those enrolled become closer in their relationship with the Lord. It is not until the post-grad seminary where you are required to be serious and sure of your call to the priesthood.

The majority of questions concerning the possibility of me becoming a priest I get are from a more secular or non-religious perspective. It is always made it hard for me to give an answer that really does my faith justice when someone asks something like "Don't you want to have sex?"

All these questions are things I have dwelt upon but it comes down to my faith in God and that is a difficult thing for me to relate to a secularist.

I have realized I just leave myself unsatisfied if I am not true to my intentions. So I am no longer going to dilute my own reasons to make them more universal to people not of my own faith.
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(no subject) [Jan. 6th, 2006|11:00 am]
My Ipod has changed my life.
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So This Is The New Year... [Jan. 2nd, 2006|12:01 am]
Before we welcome in 2006, let us take a moment for reflection on 2005.


I still get so much joy and happiness from saying that.

As far as 2006 is concerned I have many resolutions and hopes for this year.

I want to do really good in school.

I want to work a lot and save up a lot of money.

I want to read a lot of books.

I want to listen to a lot of new music.

I want to go to more museums and cultural events.

I want to meet new and interesting people.

I want to take my faith more seriously.

I want to be challenged and taken out of my comfort zone.

I want to get back to volunteering.

I want to STOP wasting my time.

I want to become a more responsible and mature person.

I'm sure I can I could go on for a long time but I got to get to bed.

Go Bears.
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Top Songs of 2005 [Dec. 30th, 2005|11:17 pm]
[Current Mood |mellowmellow]
[Current Music |Seven Swans by Sufjan Stevens]

These are my favorite songs of 2005 (in no particular order):

1. Swing Life Away by Rise Against
2. Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap
3. Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois by Sufjan Stevens
4. Banquet by Bloc Party
5. The Denial Twist by The White Stripes
6. Somebody More Like You by Nickel Creek
7. Everything is Alright by Motion City Soundtrack
8. King Without a Crown by Matisyahu
9. 10 Dollar by M.I.A.
10. Drive Slow by Kanye West
11. Dare by the Gorillaz
12. I Will Follow You Into Dark by Death Cab for Cutie
13. The Corner (remix) by Common, Mos Def, and Scarface
14. Talk by Coldplay
15. Girl by Beck
16. Brighter than Sunshine by Aqualung

17. Anything that Kelly Clarkson Sings

Add your own please...
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My Top Albums of 2005 [Dec. 29th, 2005|09:50 am]
1. Live at Stubb's by Matisyahu

2. Come on Feel the Illinoise! by Sufjan Stevens

3. Speak for Yourself by Imogen Heap

4. Funeral by The Arcade Fire

5. Be by Common

6. Why Should This Fire Die? by Nickel Creek

7. Plans by Death Cab for Cutie

8. Silent Alarm by Bloc Party

9. Takk by Sigur Ros

10. Picaresque by The Decemberists

Honarable Mentions: Live In Phoneix EP by Tegan & Sara, Get Behind Me Satan by the White Stripes, Late Registration by Kanye West, Set Free by the American Analog Set, Demon Days by Gorillaz, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning by Bright Eyes and, Arular by M.I.A.
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