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Justice Scalia defends violent video games and gives a brief history of the attempt to censor art for children

It's a rare day when I find myself agreeing with Scalia. Justice Thomas is notable as one of the two dissenters for claiming essentially that all speech to and from minors must go through the parents. (Scalia tears him apart for this view, pointing out that it's an impossible standard and that there is no precedent anywhere for such an interpretation.) The Supreme Court’s Remarkable Argument Over Children’s And Young Adult Fiction | ThinkProgress
Scalia counters with a history of moral panic over the things children and young adults consume, pointing out that every time, we’ve been embarrassed to look back at what we’ve regulated: Certainly the books we give children to read — or read to them when they are younger — contain no shortage of gore. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, for example, are grim indeed. As her just deserts for trying to poison Snow White, the wicked queen is made to dance in red hot slippers “till she fell dead on the floor, a sad example of envy and jealousy.”[...] Cinderella’s evil stepsisters have their eyes pecked out by doves. [...] And Hansel and Gretel (children!) kill their captor by baking her in an oven. High-school reading lists are full of similar fare. Homer’s Odysseus blinds Polyphemus the Cyclops bygrinding out his eye with a heated stake…(“Even so did we seize the fiery-pointed brand and whirled it round in his eye, and the blood flowed about the heated bar. And the breath of the flame singed his eyelids and brows all about, as the ball of the eye burnt away, and the roots thereof crackled in the flame”). In the Inferno, Dante and Virgil watch corrupt politicians struggle to stay submerged beneath a lake of boiling pitch, lest they be skewered by devils above the surface. [...] And Golding’s Lord of the Flies recounts how a schoolboy called Piggy is savagely murdered by other children while marooned on an island. This is not to say that minors’ consumption of violent entertainment has never encountered resistance. In the 1800’s, dime novels depicting crime and “penny dreadfuls” (named for their price and content) were blamed in some quarters for juvenile delinquency. [...] When motion pictures came along, they became the villains instead. “The days when the police looked upon dime novels as the most dangerous of textbooks in the school for crime are drawing to a close. [...] They say that the moving picture machine…tends even more than did the dime novel to turn the thoughts of the easily influenced to paths which sometimes lead to prison.” [...] For a time, our Court did permit broad censorship of movies because of their capacity to be “used for evil,”…but we eventually reversed course…Radio dramas were next, and then came comic books. [...] Many in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s blamed comic books for fostering a “preoccupation with violence and horror” among the young, leading to a rising juvenile crime rate. [...] But efforts to convince Congress to restrict comic books failed…And, of course, after comic books came television and music lyrics.

June 23, 2011

Why don't more people breastfeed?

The Breast Milk Cure - NYTimes.com
What if nutritionists came up with a miracle cure for childhood malnutrition? A protein-rich substance that doesn’t require refrigeration? One that is free and is available even in remote towns like this one in Niger where babies routinely die of hunger-related causes? Impossible, you say? Actually, this miracle cure already exists. It’s breast milk. When we think of global poverty, we sometimes assume that the challenges are so vast that any solutions must be extraordinarily complex and expensive. Well, some are. But almost nothing would do as much to fight starvation around the world as the ultimate low-tech solution: exclusive breast-feeding for the first six months of life. That’s the strong recommendation of the World Health Organization. The paradox is that while this seems so cheap and obvious — virtually instinctive — it’s also rare. Here in Niger, only 9 percent of babies get nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life, according to a 2007 national nutrition survey. At least that’s up from just 1 percent in 1998. (In the United States, about 13 percent of babies are exclusively breast-fed for six months, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Then again, most of the rest get formula, which is pretty safe in America.) . . .

Bristol Palin claims she was raped by Levi Johnston

Here is the story, from her memoir:
Levi keeps replacing her finished wine coolers with new ones, and soon Bristol hits “that awful wall” that takes her from a “happy buzz” into “the dark abyss of drunkenness.” (Pg. 3) The last thing she remembers is sitting by the fire and laughing with friends, and doesn’t remember waking up in her tent the next morning “with something obviously askew.” Bristol awakens in her tent, with no recollection of the night before. She looks over and sees Levi’s empty sleeping bag right beside hers, and hears Levi and his friends “outside the tent laughing.” (Pg. 3) Bristol quickly texts her friend to get over to the tent, and she immediately pops over and tells her, “You definitely had sex with Levi.” (Pg. 4) Despite being brought up in a Christian household determined to save herself until marriage, Bristol laments the fact that her virginity had been “stolen,” . . .
Am I Reading This Right? - Ta-Nehisi Coates - National - The Atlantic