Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Kate Langbroek, An Australian talk show host, breastfed her newborn son live on her program "The Panel." Read "Australian breastfeeds live on TV".

Real Simple magazine, which I wrote about in the August 25, 2003 blawg entry, did not print any of the many letters it received about it's "time saving" tip not to breastfeed, but did post a very small selection on it's website. Read them here. I wrote them but have not yet received a response.

Mommies Esq1 of Mommies at Law (Sept. 10, 2003) wonders: "I was intrigued by the idea that breastmilk has over 300 'ingredients' and most baby formulas contain only about 40. I'm curious to know what the components of breastmilk really are." She doesn’t get a satisfactory answer to her question, but posts some good links she found on her search.

One ingredient I know for sure is in breastmilk but not formula: caffeine. You wouldn't think an 8-month old baby would be so sensitive to the stuff, but I cut out my morning cup of tea, and all I can say is: HE NAPS!

Sunday, September 28, 2003

As of September 1, 2003, Texas has become the 19th state to enact a "conscientious objection" exemption from vaccinations. Previously, Texas only provided for religious and medical exemptions.

This new law will not only allow for exemptions for non-religious persons, but it will also make things easier for parents who have objections to vaccinations based on religious grounds, but who do not belong to a religious organization that prohibits vaccinations per se. Previously, Texas law stated that in order to obtain a religious exemption, parents had to state that vaccinations conflicted "with the tenets and practice of a recognized religion, of which we are adherents." This conflicted with constitutional case law on the subject, which required only a sincerely held religious belief, but try explaining that to a school administrator who doesn't like the wording of your exemption letter.

Now this is strange: in order to obtain an exemption form, you must write (no email or online forms) to the Texas Department of Health and provide your childrens' names and birthdates (even though they are not allowed to retain this information once the form is sent), and the number of forms you want (copies are not accepted), sign it and have it notarized. Previously if you wanted a Religious exemption, you just wrote a little letter following the wording of the statute and signed it. The new form will be used for both the religious and conscientious (but not medical) exemptions.

According to the TDH, "The Texas Department of Health and the Texas Education Agency are providing school districts with guidance for implementing a new law intended to make it more difficult for parents to exclude their children from vaccinations required for school enrollment" [emphasis added]. Huh? The purpose of the law is to make it more difficult for us to exercise our constitutionally protected religious freedoms? They said it, I didn’t.

Another provision of the law prohibits a health and human services agency (including the Health Department and Child Protective Services) from taking punitive action against a parent for not immunizing their child. Here the definition of punitive action includes "the initiation of an investigation of a person responsible for a child's care, custody, or welfare for alleged or suspected abuse, or neglect of a child." In other words, CPS cannot come take you kids away for "neglect" just because you do not immunize.

And now for a little rant: Folks, vaccinations are not mandatory. No one can force you or your child to undergo any medical treatment or procedure without your consent. If they were, the government and health care provider would be civilly liable for any adverse outcome, and possibly guilty of civil and criminal battery as well. Shots are, however, required in order to enroll you or your child in a public school, and in some private schools, unless of course you take one of the aforementioned exemptions. I am amazed at the number of people who do not realize that they have choices when it comes to health care. Recently, a pregnant friend learned from an LDR nurse that the hospital where she will deliver her baby "requires" that all laboring mothers be confined to bed, and given a catheter and I.V. I just about hit the roof when I heard this. I explained to her that it was her right to refuse any medical treatment she did not want.

The purpose of this blawg entry is not to convince you to not vaccinate your children or to become difficult hospital patients, but to alert you to your constitutional, legal, and moral rights when it comes to drugs and medical procedures, on your own or your childrens' behalf. The phrase "informed consent" has no meaning if we do not have the option of "informed dissent." YOU are ultimately responsible for your health and your child's health; not your doctor, the government, the CDC, the drug manufacturers, or your state or county health department.

The new exemption process explained here.
Sample letter for obtaining an exemption form.
Texas vaccination info from P.R.O.V.E.

I really ought to link to the text of the new law, but I am too tired to look it up. Maybe later. Most of the people who read this are (I assume) lawyers anyway, so go look it up yourself.

Saturday, September 20, 2003


The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has abolished the doctrine of common-law marriage. According to the opinion, "[t]he circumstances creating a need for the doctrine are not present in today's society. ... Access to both civil and religious authorities for a ceremonial marriage is readily available in even the most rural areas of the Commonwealth. The cost is minimal, and the process simple and relatively expedient." It is not clear whether the abolition applies to existing common-law marriages or from what date future common-law marriages will be void.

Read article here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003


One of my favorite jokes:

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. "Watson, look up and tell me what you see."

Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."

"And what does that tell you?" Holmes asked.

Watson pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is about a quarter past 3. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Why, what does it tell you?"

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke: "Someone has stolen our tent."

Don't overlook the obvious.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


The American Film Institute recently rolled out it’s list of the 50 greatest film heroes and 50 greatest film villains. The #1 film hero of all time – according to a panel of jurors – is a lawyer. That’s right, a lawyer – Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. This guy has inspired countless men and women to go to law school; and I've never even seen the movie (or read the book for that matter). When I told my mother this, she lamented "I've failed you as a parent". Oh well.

I was also glad to see quite a few women heroes (heroines?). Erin Brockovich, for one. And who can forget the scene from Norma Rae where Sally Field goes into the factory and holds up the sign and everyone turns off their machines. But I’m not sure how Thelma & Louise made the list.

My son is now in the Cheerios stage of baby development. Buy stock.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003


Dr. Green's Daily Dose reports that "Children born by C-section to allergic mothers are more than 4 times more likely to develop proven egg allergies than are peers born vaginally" … and more than 7 times more likely to develop an allergy to fish or nuts, according to a "fascinating study" in the August 2003 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Zachary Sanders was refused entrance to the New Jersey Bar because he, on three occasions, traveled to Cuba in violation of federal law, and twice smuggled in Cuban cigars.

Charles McKinley, 25, shipped himself in a crate from Kentucky to his parents’ home in Desoto, near Dallas, Texas.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003


We are home. Sorry for the infrequent logs. Everyone had a great time, especially Big Brother who got to ride on Uncle Jerry's "big big big big green tractor." And I should give Little Brother equal time; he is standing up easily now and occasionally lets go with one hand. Many babies his age can get up but can't get down; he is fearless and lets go even though he hasn't figured out how to bend his knees to sit down. You can tell he wants to take off and run after Big Brother.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003


One of the more interesting reads in Monticello is the Monticello (Iowa) Express. Like many community newspapers, the Express prints a police blotter, where we can read, for example, that police were called out to 338 N. Pine Street at 6pm on August 26 to "remove bat from house" and again at 9:30pm to remove bat at 420 E. 3rd Street (sounds like a banner day for the bats). Note: these are the only entries for August 26th.

But the Express' Courthouse Brief page is far more detailed than that. The Express reports on the issuance of marriage licenses and the dissolution of marriages; lists all civil filings and final disposition of civil cases; all traffic tickets, arrests, charges, pleas, convictions, and traffic accidents to which the sheriff responded. This makes for some great reading.

Do Donald Robert Randalls' friends and neighbors feel differently about him since he was fined $30 for having a defective muffler? What on earth did Tom Allen Wagner of Delmar do to net himself a $49.50 fine for "camping area violation"? And poor Larry P. Brislawn struck a deer on Highway 151, doing about $3500 damage to his 2000 Nissan Altima. Just let his insurance company try to argue otherwise.

Reminds me of Matthew 10:26: "there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known." Would there be less crime if all of our misdeeds were printed for everyone to see?

Tuesday, September 02, 2003


Check out Iowa Farmer Today's Corn Cam and Dairy Cam.

Yesterday we visited the Wapsipinicon State Park in Animosa.


I am making this entry from the public library in Monticello, Iowa (pop. 3,678). When we were here in July, there was only a single public access terminal with dial-up internet connection. Now there are four brand-spanking new computers with high-speed access. We are here in Monticello visiting the in-laws (a/k/a my children's grandparents).

My older son (2 1/2) has been in love with tractors ever since our July visit. In Monticello alone, there are 3 tractor dealerships - New Holland, John Deere, and Case/International Harvester. Not to mention various farming implements along the highway being used for farming purposes (unlike in Texas, where little actual farming is done). In my son's mind (and 2-year-old vocabulary), every piece of heavy equipment is now either a "tractor", a "combine", or a "bulldozer".