NY Times, OCT. 5, 2014
CAMDEN, N.J. — THINK back to your first childhood crush. Maybe it was a classmate or a friend next door. Most likely, through school and into adulthood, your affections continued to focus on others in your approximate age group. But imagine if they did not.
By some estimates, 1 percent of the male population continues, long after puberty, to find themselves attracted to prepubescent children. These people are living with pedophilia, a sexual attraction to prepubescents that often constitutes a mental illness. Unfortunately, our laws are failing them and, consequently, ignoring opportunities to prevent child abuse.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines pedophilia as an intense and recurrent sexual interest in prepubescent children, and a disorder if it causes a person “marked distress or interpersonal difficulty” or if the person acts on his interests. Yet our laws ignore pedophilia until after the commission of a sexual offense, emphasizing punishment, not prevention.
Part of this failure stems from the misconception that pedophilia is the same as child molestation. One can live with pedophilia and not act on it. Sites like Virtuous Pedophiles provide support for pedophiles who do not molest children and believe that sex with children is wrong. It is not that these individuals are “inactive” or “nonpracticing” pedophiles, but rather that pedophilia is a status and not an act. In fact, research shows, about half of all child molesters are not sexually attracted to their victims.
A second misconception is that pedophilia is a choice. Recent research, while often limited to sex offenders — because of the stigma of pedophilia — suggests that the disorder may have neurological origins. Pedophilia could result from a failure in the brain to identify which environmental stimuli should provoke a sexual response. M.R.I.s of sex offenders with pedophilia show fewer of the neural pathways known as white matter in their brains. Men with pedophilia are three times more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous, a finding that strongly suggests a neurological cause. Some findings also suggest that disturbances in neurodevelopment in utero or early childhood increase the risk of pedophilia. Studies have also shown that men with pedophilia have, on average, lower scores on tests of visual-spatial ability and verbal memory.
The Virtuous Pedophiles website is full of testimonials of people who vow never to touch a child and yet live in terror. They must hide their disorder from everyone they know — or risk losing educational and job opportunities, and face the prospect of harassment and even violence. Many feel isolated; some contemplate suicide. The psychologist Jesse Bering, author of “Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us,” writes that people with pedophilia “aren’t living their lives in the closet; they’re eternally hunkered down in a panic room.”
While treatment cannot eliminate a pedophile’s sexual interests, a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication can help him to manage urges and avoid committing crimes.
But the reason we don’t know enough about effective treatment is because research has usually been limited to those who have committed crimes.
Our current law is inconsistent and irrational. For example, federal law and 20 states allow courts to issue a civil order committing a sex offender, particularly one with a diagnosis of pedophilia, to a mental health facility immediately after the completion of his sentence — under standards that are much more lax than for ordinary “civil commitment” for people with mental illness. And yet, when it comes to public policies that might help people with pedophilia to come forward and seek treatment before they offend, the law omits pedophilia from protection.
The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit discrimination against otherwise qualified individuals with mental disabilities, in areas such as employment, education and medical care. Congress, however, explicitly excluded pedophilia from protection under these two crucial laws.
It’s time to revisit these categorical exclusions. Without legal protection, a pedophile cannot risk seeking treatment or disclosing his status to anyone for support. He could lose his job, and future job prospects, if he is seen at a group-therapy session, asks for a reasonable accommodation to take medication or see a psychiatrist, or requests a limit in his interaction with children. Isolating individuals from appropriate employment and treatment only increases their risk of committing a crime.
There’s no question that the extension of civil rights protections to people with pedophilia must be weighed against the health and safety needs of others, especially kids. It stands to reason that a pedophile should not be hired as a grade-school teacher. But both the A.D.A. and the Rehabilitation Act contain exemptions for people who are “not otherwise qualified” for a job or who pose “a direct threat to the health and safety of others” that can’t be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation. (This is why employers don’t have to hire blind bus drivers or mentally unstable security guards.)
The direct-threat analysis rejects the idea that employers can rely on generalizations; they must assess the specific case and rely on evidence, not presuppositions. Those who worry that employers would be compelled to hire dangerous pedophiles should look to H.I.V. case law, where for years courts were highly conservative, erring on the side of finding a direct threat, even into the late 1990s, when medical authorities were in agreement that people with H.I.V. could work safely in, for example, food services.
Removing the pedophilia exclusion would not undermine criminal justice or its role in responding to child abuse. It would not make it easier, for example, for someone accused of child molestation to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
A pedophile should be held responsible for his conduct — but not for the underlying attraction. Arguing for the rights of scorned and misunderstood groups is never popular, particularly when they are associated with real harm. But the fact that pedophilia is so despised is precisely why our responses to it, in criminal justice and mental health, have been so inconsistent and counterproductive. Acknowledging that pedophiles have a mental disorder, and removing the obstacles to their coming forward and seeking help, is not only the right thing to do, but it would also advance efforts to protect children from harm.
Winter sore throat “tea”- In a jar combine lemon slices, organic honey and sliced ginger. Close jar and put it in the fridge, it will form into a “jelly”. To serve- spoon jelly into mug and pour boiling water over it. Store in fridge 2-3 months.
Reblogging this in case any of you little jelly beans get sick (◡‿◡✿)
Stave off those winter and fall colds!
…is a species of Platyrhacid (Platyrhacidae) Polydesmid millipede which was first described in Colombia in 2011. It is noted for the several species of symbiotic mosses found growing on its dorsal surface, making it the first millipede known to have epizoic plants!
Methods of coral restoration are being applied in many parts of the world, including Florida, Mozambique and the Caribbean islands. Fast growing, branching species are being reared by conservationists and scientists and used for “reef seeding” projects.
"It sounds quite novel, but in fact its a science thats been around for about 30 years. One of the reasons why I’m drawn to it is because its a very active way to get people physically involved in protecting the ocean."
DIY Wire Wrapped Leather Necklace Tutorial from Rena Klingenberg. This is such a good DIY because it’s an elegant way to finish off a leather choker or necklace. This wire wrapped leather necklace is meant to be the base for large pendants, beads etc…
The green beans came down yesterday. It took the better part of two hours, mostly on a ladder, unraveling their fibrous, sticky tendrils off a nine-foot tall, wire grid support. We had twelve linear feet of pole bean plants. I found that wearing gloves made the job more clumsy, so with a small pruning nipper I tediously cut and tugged only about eight inches at a time away from the wire. After the support was cleaned of growth, I raked the yard and picked the sticky leaves off my clothing and shoes. (Strangely, they stuck particularly well to my shoelaces.) My arms were tired but the area looks tidy – ready for next spring’s peas.
Most of what was harvested I French-cut, blanched, put into heavy plastic bags and set in the freezer – to be enjoyed for future dinners. (Another big job.)
I selected the prettiest pound of beans to coat in batter and deep fry last night. The dipping sauce didn’t make the picture but it was soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, sesame oil and a teaspoon of sugar mixed together – a perfect complement to the crispy beans.
These were delicious. A perfect way to celebrate hard work, resulting in a stupendous season of beans.
Check out last year’s post showing how to use a bean slicer – a nifty way to French-cut green beans.
Sesame tempura green beans with soy dipping sauce
Dipping sauce ingredients:
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon superfine granulated sugar
Tempura beans ingredients:
- About 4 cups vegetable oil (for deep frying)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on finished beans
- 1 cup beer (not dark – I used Stella)
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
Stir together the dipping sauce ingredients and set aside.
Blanche green beans in two batches by bringing a large pan of water to boil. Put half the beans into the boiling water and let them cook for two minutes. Using a large slotted spoon or spider, remove the beans from the boiling water and plunge into ice water. When beans are cool, remove from water and let drain on paper towels. Repeat with second half of beans, adding more ice to ice water if needed. These can be done up to two hours ahead of time. Just wrap them up and put them in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Let oil heat to 365 degrees F in a Dutch oven or wok.
Meanwhile, create tempura batter by whisking dry ingredients together. Add the beer and continue to mix until batter is smooth.
Take a handful of beans and place in the bowl with the batter. Coat the beans with the batter. When oil is ready, one by one, shake off excess batter and carefully add to oil. Fry in batches, until they are golden and crisp, about 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from oil with a spider strainer to a paper towel lined sheet tray. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all beans are fried.
Note: I kept my beans warm in a 200 degree oven until all were done. Serve these as soon as possible.
35,000 walrus gather on the shoreline near Point Lay, Alaska.
"The plight of thousands of walruses forced to crowd on to an Alaska beach because of disappearing sea ice has set off an all-out response from the US government to avoid a catastrophic stampede. The FAA has re-routed flights, and local communities have called on bush pilots to keep their distance in an effort to avoid setting off a panic that could see scores of walruses trampled to death."
"The extraordinary sighting – the biggest known exodus of walruses to dry land ever observed in the Arctic under US control – arrived as the summer sea ice fell to its sixth lowest in the satellite record last month.
“Those animals have essentially run out of offshore sea ice, and have no other choice but to come ashore,” said Chadwick Jay, a research ecologist in Alaska with the US Geological Survey.”
Detroiters organize after judge rules there is no human right to water
October 3, 2014
The people of Detroit are vowing resistance after a federal bankruptcy judge on Monday ruled that the city can continue shutting off water to its poorest residents if their bills cannot be paid.
Judge Steven W. Rhodes at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigandeclared that citizens have no implicit right to water, that he lacked the authority to issue a restraining order to stop the shutoffs and that doing so would be a financial hit to the city already in the throes of bankruptcy. “There is no such right or law,” Rhodes said.
Advocacy groups had filed for a temporary restraining order against the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to stem the shutoffs until a plan is put into place to ensure that Detroiters can afford access to clean water.
The plaintiffs—which include the National Action Network, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Moratorium Now and the Peoples Water Board—argued that the city implemented shutoffs unfairly, without adequate notice and with little financial assistance for poor people who lack the means to pay.
The Detroit Water Brigade, which has spearheaded relief efforts for households where the water has been shut off, issued a statement following the ruling saying they “strongly condemn” the decision.
"Each day, hundreds of our neighbors and friends are losing access to life’s most essential ingredient for the simple fact that they are unable to pay," the statement reads.
"This affront to dignity and human rights will not continue on our watch: today we pledge our voices and our bodies to protect each other when the legal system will not," it continues. The volunteer group has vowed to undertake a "sustained and escalating campaign of nonviolent direct action" and risk arrest in order to "protect and uphold the human right to water in Detroit."
Plaintiff Attorney Alice Jennings said Monday that the group will look to appeal the decision. “We have demonstrated, and the judge agreed, that a family without water faces risk of irreparable harm,” Jennings said. “We believe there is a right to water and there is a right to affordable water.”
During the two days of hearings last week, Detroit residents and experts took the stand to testify about the hardships that stemmed from a lack of access to clean water.
Speaking before the courtroom, one witness reportedly “became teary” after describing how she had to buy bottles of water from the dollar store to bathe herself. “It doesn’t make me feel good,” she said, according to an account by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
Social worker and city resident Maureen Taylor, who also chairs the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, described her visits to hundreds of homes deprived of running water. “It’s beyond sad,” Taylor said, adding that there are often empty bottles of water all over the place. “People are scared. It’s a horrible thing to see.”
During her testimony, DWSD head Sue McCormick said that she has no clue how many of the over 19,000 homes where water was shut off this year were occupied or home to kids or disabled residents. Further, McCormick admitted that, despite being DWSD policy, utilities representatives were not knocking on doors to see if a bill was in dispute before shutting off the water supply.
"Thousands of people in Detroit remain without water service, including the elderly, the disabled, and families with small children," said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director, in a statement following a ruling. “Without a clear plan for helping people afford their bills or appeal incorrect bills, the water department shouldn’t be in the business of turning off anyone else’s water.”
During his ruling, Rhodes touted a new city plan to create an independent regional body, the Great Lakes Water Authority, that will lease the city’s water pipelines to suburban towns in order to recoup funds for DWSD. However, opponents have criticized the plan saying it’s a clear step towards water privatization.
On September 19, the Detroit City Council voted 7-2 in favor of the plan and the surrounding municipalities are currently in the approval process.