Dug this put of storage today. Think it says “sascha b” under the horse. Anyone ever see a lamp like this before?
Authors Note: I wrote this argument essay about two years ago for a college class because my wife had given birth to our son Connor in the previous year and it was a topic we discussed quite a bit. Personally I’m against circumcision of infants as a default choice, which is how I believe most of our society views it. I figured I’d share it on my website because I specifically avoided the religious aspects of the issue and concentrated on the medical ones.
It seems as if circumcision of infant males has developed over the years into a social standard in the United States of America. Setting aside issues of religion, ethnicity, and society for this discussion, circumcision has long been touted as medically beneficial to not only the infant’s well being, but also towards general cleanliness. Certainly with an “estimated 1.2 million newborn males” being circumcised “in the United states annually” one would assume that there must be some validity to the medical benefits of the procedure (American 686). Circumcision is described as a preventative health measure, but how did it become so entrenched in our culture, and what exactly is it preventing?
In their report titled Male Circumcision: Global Trends and determinants of prevalence, safety and acceptability, the World Health Organization explains that in the 19th century many industrialized English speaking countries adopted the practice as a means to stop the spread of disease after studies showed a 40% reduction in syphilis and other assorted psychological conditions (masturbation, nocturnal incontinence). Possibly an even greater influence than those reasons, however, was the use of circumcision as a preventative measure against STD/UTI infection in soldiers participating in World War II (16). In situations such as war, proper hygiene is certainly not a viable alternative to circumcision. Thankfully we live in times where military service is voluntary and technology allows us to provide better sanitation for everyone.
Flashing forward almost a hundred years, are we still in a situation where circumcision can offer benefits? The answer is certainly yes. Urinary Tract Infections, penile cancer, phimosis (inability to retract foreskin), balanitis (inflammation of the glans) and even HIV are all some of the medical reasons used to promote circumcision. Beyond even that, all of these topics are currently subjects of scrutiny in the academic and statistical world. “In this large prospective study of heterosexual African men,” claims Jared M. Baeten, “those who were uncircumcised had a 12-fold increased likelihood of HIV-1 acquisition per sex act, compared with those who were circumcised” (550-551). Going further, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that “there is at least a threefold increased risk of penile cancer in uncircumcised men; phimosis, a condition that exists only in uncircumcised men, increases this risk further.” (691). With all of these results, it is clear to see there is indeed some merit to the position of circumcision as a benefit.
On the other hand, what happens when we take these numbers and adapt them to our current environment? Certainly if I was a father in South Africa, I would support circumcision as a preventative against common health issues; here in the United States the benefits of circumcision as an HIV countermeasure are no where near the same level. The APA goes so far as to say “behavioral factors appear to be far more important risk factors in the acquisition of HIV infection than circumcision status.” (691). Examining the numbers for penile cancer also yields similar results. According to Dr. Christopher Fletcher, “penile cancer is very rare, occurring at a rate of fewer than 1 out of every 100,000 men worldwide.” (Fauntleroy)
Regardless of the numbers, we can all agree that the benefits do exist and are real; but now let’s factor in the risks. What are these risks exactly? They are bleeding, removal of to much tissue, removal of not enough tissue, infection, adverse reactions to anesthesia, and other general physical issues (Kaplan). These are all issues pertaining to the competency of the practitioner performing the surgery and the type of instrument used. The difficult factor here is how do we exactly forecast these? The short answer is you cannot. So, when the risks are greater than the benefits (in our current environment) and there is no immediate medical benefit, we usually do not opt for elective surgery.
Beyond the physical issues, lies a deeper emotional one of inflicting pain on a non-consenting child. In an interview, Stephanie Micke shares with us her experience during her son’s recent circumcision:
I was not with my first 3 sons during their circ’s and they seemed to recover fine, so I did not give it much thought. . . . I was NOT prepared for the intense screaming I heard, or the length of time it took for him to calm down. He was withdrawn and had trouble nursing for several days after the procedure. I had chosen to take him to a urologist because I wanted him to have the highest level of anesthetic possible (ring block) but I was not aware that it would be so painful and stressful even WITH the anesthetic. . . . I did not feel that the procedure was explained to me in ANY detail whatsoever, the main emphasis was put on after-care. If I had known what was actually involved in the procedure, I do not believe I would have consented to it. . . I feel that all my doctors were less than honest about the procedure . . . I am currently expecting another child and if it is a boy, he will NOT be circumcised.
Is circumcision a black and white decision? Absolutely not. Circumcision has pros and cons, both of which factor into different situations uniquely. Nonetheless, circumcision merely for circumcision’s sake only degrades the validity behind its use as a medical benefit. Proper disclosure of the medical risks and benefits to parents, by the medical staff, is vital in ensuring that proper decisions are made in regards to circumcision.
My sister asked me to do her a favor today and it was to install a new sump pump and battery backup pump in her basement. Since she just finished remodeling it this year I couldn’t disagree that it was a good idea against flood damage. The only real wrinkle in the whole plan was that she has a radon mitigation system installed in her house.
Now the guy at Home Depot told her that it would only take about 15 minutes to install this pump. So I of course told her it would take me two hours but I’d be happy to help her if she’d watch the kids. Turns out that I was right…heck it took 15 minutes alone just to get all the acid into the batttery.
Here is a picture of the sump pit with the radon cover on it (sorry all I had was my iPhone). Now you can’t tell but the hole where the pvc goes in isn’t sealed at all so obviously the radon company that installed it was staffed with morons.
To be honest the hardest part about all of this was getting that damn radon cover off and cleaning the dried up caulk off it. I think that part must have taken me almost an hour…whatever they used was strong stuff. And then you have to go around scraping it off the concrete and cover with a razorblade.
With all the radon systems that are being installed in IL I can’t imagine that I’m the only one who is going to experience this little slice of heaven.
This is a link to the flickr account of somebody who took a photo every day of what stormtroopers do when they aren’t hunting for rebel scum or droids. It’s quite funny.
I can’t believe they cancelled this show…just found out about the bleep free version today. NSFW!
Two bits of game related news today. First off is that Valve just released Steam for the Mac OS X and to celebrate are offering a free download of Portal until 5/24.
If your a mac user then this is a no brainer.
Second is that Wal-Mart is offering a $20 gift card when you purchase Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii. I also consider this a no brainer since Gamestop will more than likely keep it’s used price at $45 for the next 7 years.
Took this video when Violet came over for a play date with Connor and Amelia. Kind of funny how he’s only three and already whipped.