According to the primary lobby representing the interests of mentally retarded Americans, the American Alliance for the Mentally Retarded (AAMR):

"AAMR will uphold the right to self-determination as the right to act as the primary causal agent in one's life, to pursue self-defined goals and to participate fully in society. Selfdetermining individuals control their lives, make choices and decisions based on their interests, abilities and preferences, and take responsibility for their lives. "

The ARC (not exactly sure what the acronym actually means), another outspoken national organization working on behalf of Americans with mental retardation states that:

"All people with mental retardation, including individuals with the most significant disabilities, can express preferences and use those preferences to make choices. Individuals must be present and participate when decisions are made about their lives. While a disability may make it more difficult, all people must have the opportunity to learn decision-making skills, to express their decisions and have them respected by others. "

Yet both of these organizations- and virtually all other advocates for the rights and well being of mentally retarded individuals -- support today's Supreme Court ruling disallowing the use of capital punishment for criminals who meet the state's definition of mental retardation.

A press release from the AAMR praising the Court's decision reads:

AAMR has long served as amicus curiae in Supreme Court cases and has published a position paper on mental retardation and the death penalty In 2001, AAMR and eight other disability organizations presented an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court advocating against the death penalty in the Atkins case.

"I am deeply grateful that the Supreme Court Justices have put an end to this barbaric practice of killing persons who do not have the full intellectual capacity to understand the crime they committed," says Doreen Croser, Executive Director of AAMR. "This is an important day for disability advocates and for our country."

I just don't get this. These groups support the right of mentally retarded individuals to give birth to and raise children, but don't believe that these same adults have the "full intellectual capacity" to understand the concept that murder is wrong?

By the way, I oppose the death penalty altogether.


Here are some really good lies that mothers admit to telling. I lie to my kids sometimes. Last night I told Elliot that the root beer that they offered on the menu was actually the vanilla coke that I had promised him. He has never had either one, so he was happy. But I felt bad about the lying.
I think I'll like this new movie about a Hasidic Jew who makes a living as "Elvis Schmelvis", the kosher Elvis impersonator.
I've updated the link to Matt Moore's Blog of the Century of the Week
These peace activists picked the wrong year to protest nuclear weapons production by trespassing at the Y-12 weapons plant in Oak Ridge, TN. Protestors at Y-12 get arrested pretty regularly and are rarely hassled too much by the powers-that-be, but climbing a metal fence surrounding a nuclear weapons facility is pretty much a big no-no these days for obvious reasons, even if you are a nun. This nun and her compadres are now apparently in serious trouble with the feds.
For the record, I support making the smallpox vaccine available to all Americans. If given the opportunity, I will have my children and myself vaccinated. I was born in 1967, so I was vaccinated for smallpox before the vaccine was taken off the market in 1972, but from what I have been reading, I will need a booster.
No wonder Marilyn Manson wears so much makeup. This sans-cosmetics photo of the guy proves once and for all that he is no scarier than the rest of the D&D-playing, A-V Booth staffing guys with whom you and I attended high school.
A Nashville hospital reports that they have just released a premature baby who was born four months ago at 24 weeks gestation and weighing only 12 ounces -- the size of a can of Pepsi. Her doctors believe that baby Olivia is the smallest preemie ever to have survived in a Nashville hospital.
In Germany, the mother of a kindergarten-age disabled child has sued the doctor who failed to detect his problems during prenatal screening. She says that although she "loves him," she would have had a late term abortion if she had known that he would be born without the use of his hands or legs. According to this Reuters report on the case:

"He is now 5 years old and needs continual attention, say his parents, who sued the gynaecologist concerned to pay for his care. They also sought damages for his mother, who now suffers from depression. "

What five year old doesn't need continual attention? This woman doesn't deserve the gift of mothering this little boy.

By the way, the parents actually WON their suit against their OB-GYN. The German High Court wrote in their decision that:

"The Federal Court said in its decision that an abortion of the baby would have been legal in view of the expected severe disabilities of the child as well as the danger of the mother committing suicide after the birth. A statement reads, "The fact that after the birth depression did actually emerge and was so strong as to be an illness with a latent danger of suicide at least in the first weeks, supports this prognosis."



In addition to all the other risks that routine formula feeding carries with it, new research indicates that children who are formula-fed as infants are significantly more likely to become obese, even after adjusting for socioeconomic differences among families..
My six year old and my ten year old are off on a trip with their grandparents for the week, so only 4 year old Elliot is home with us. I know this is hard for those of you who have only one child to believe, but once you have two or more kids, having only one around at a time seems easy as pie.
Check out my colleague Dia Michels' wonderful publishing venture, Platypus Media. She has some terrific children's books, as well as lots of other good stuff you won't find anywhere else.
I'm a sucker for a good birth story, so I enjoyed reading BlogWorld super-couple Eric and Dawn Olsen's dueling accounts of Dawn's childbirth experience with her daughter Lily.

I've given birth three times myself and have been present for the entirety of both of my little sister Betsy's births -- including her beautiful but grueling thirty hour long waterbirth last month. Also, Betsy is a childbirth instructor by profession. She originally trained with the Bradley Method, but now she teaches her own materials to pregnant women. She found Bradley to be a bit dogmatic in their approach.

Even so, Dawn and Eric's experience in which their Bradley instructor never helped to prepare them for the possibility of medical complications or the need for pharmaceutical pain relief in some births seems really strange to me. Bradley childbirth courses done right should definitely prepare attendees for anything and everything. If you read the Bradley literature, there are whole chapters devoted to preparing for any medical emergency that may require interventions like an epidural or a c-section. It sounds like Dawn and Eric just had a very crummy childbirth instructor.

As for pain relief, I've had an epidural for all 3 of my births and after watching Betsy do both of hers with no drugs (she's a goddess!), I have to say that I would go with the epidural again if I ever have another baby. As it happens, most of my friends have chosen to do without drugs and a great number of them have given birth at home. I also had the opportunity to interview the mother-of-all-midwives Ina Mae Gaskin so I know from talking with all of these women just how wonderful med-free birth experiences can be ... but I am a wimp when it comes to pain.