Tag Archives: Children

Baby Girl Born with HIV Cured

Via AIDS.gov.

Researchers announced today that a Mississippi girl born with HIV has been cured after very early treatment.

The girl’s story is the first account of a “functional cure,” a rare event in which a person achieves remission without the need for drugs.

When the girl was born in July 2010, her mother had just learned that she was HIV-positive. HIV-positive mothers are typically given drugs to cut the chance of transmission to their children. Without this option available to them, doctors began treating the Mississippi girl with a cocktail of three drugs commonly used to treat HIV within just thirty hours of her birth.

More testing must be done to see if the treatment will have the same effect on other children.

Via Yahoo!

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12-Year-Old Philanthropist Saves House from Foreclosure

The cost of home renovations  brought a Wisconsin woman perilously close to eviction, until her twelve-year-old grandson stepped in.

“I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it,” Noah Lamaide said of his fundraising effort.

The budding philanthropist raised $10,500 in a month, saving his grandmother’s home from a scheduled auction date of February 15.

Janice Sparhawk fell behind on mortgage payments in 2010 after taking out money to put a new roof on her home, which was partly built by her grandfather.

“My Grandma incase you don’t know her has a heart of gold. She has given so much to our community since I can remember!!!” Noah posted on his website.

Ms. Sparhawk, a foster parent to hundreds of children, was unable to work after complications from eye surgery and asthma, making it difficult to pay what she owed.

“It means a lot to be here in my house” she said. “[Noah] is a special boy.”

Noah said he was just following the example set by his mother and grandmother.

“He’s always putting others before himself, even as a little child,” Noah’s mother, Jill Sparhawk Lamaide, said.

When Noah was nine years old, his mother presented him with a challenge: do one community service project each year. With the help of his mother, Noah created a website to help raise money for the budding philanthropist’s projects.

Noah fell short of his goal last year to send a family friend with cancer, her husband, and daughter to Disneyland. The friend’s mother died before the family could make the trip. The girl left on the trip with her father two weeks ago.

The budding philanthropist said he has yet to find his next project but promised to keep making a difference. “It just makes me feel happy and like I did something to help the world,” he said.

Via ABC News.

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Students Disappointed Lorax Movie Doesn’t Feature Environmental Education

Cover of "The Lorax (Classic Seuss)"

Cover of The Lorax (Classic Seuss)


The students in Mr. Wells’ fourth grade class in Brookline, Massachusetts love The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. They love the story, and they love the book’s message that if we don’t start prioritizing the environment, the consequences will be disastrous.


They were excited to learn that Universal Studios made The Lorax into an animated movie (it comes out in March on Dr. Seuss’ birthday), but when the kids went to the movie’s website, they were crestfallen to see it had no environmental education at all.


“The website is more about making money than helping the planet, and that’s exactly what the book says not to do,” says Georgia, who is 10.



Mr. Wells’ kids decided to take matters into their own hands. They started a petition asking Universal to include environmental education on The Lorax movie website.

If Universal executives see that their target audience feels strongly about the inclusion of environmental education in The Lorax website and promotional materials, they’ll make it happen.




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Men with Lower Voices Have Lower Quality Sperm

English: Human sperm stained for semen quality...

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Last year saw lots of research into low-voiced guys, with scientists finding that women are better at remembering things when they’re said in a deep, manly voice, and that women prefer deep-voiced partners. The authors of the latter study wrote, “Lower-pitched men’s voices are not only rated as more attractive, but are associated with a greater number of reported sexual partners, and greater reproductive success than are higher-pitched men’s voices.”

It appears that’s not the case: a recent study found that men with deep voices actually have lower-than-average semen quality. The study authors write,

Consistent with previous voice research, women judged lower pitched voices as more masculine and more attractive. However men with lower pitched voices did not have better semen quality. On the contrary, men whose voices were rated as more attractive tended to have lower concentrations of sperm in their ejaculate.

Scientific American speculates that a deep voice might be a symbol of sexual and social maturity: men who speak in low tones may be perceived as powerful and established.

Via Jezebel.

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Filed under Family, Science, Strange But True

Rush Limbaugh: Poor Kids Shouldn’t Get Fed in School

Rush Limbaugh Cartoon by Ian D. Marsden of mar...

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The School Meal Program feeds millions of kids every year. Statistics show that kids who are hungry don’t learn as well. They have a hard time concentrating because their stomachs are screaming for food.

According to Rush Limbaugh, poor children should starve their way through school. On his radio show, Mr. Limbaugh whined about poor students being on the School Meal Program, saying that feeding them instead of letting them starve turns them into “wanton waifs and serfs dependent on the state.”

He continued, “If you feed them, if you feed the children, three square meals a day during the school year, how can you expect them to feed themselves in the summer?”

How, exactly, does Mr. Limbaugh think children who are not part of the school meal program manage to feed themselves during the summer? I have a sneaking suspicion that, poor or not, children across the board are not providing their own food.

Via Addicting Info.

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Filed under Education, Family, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

BREAKING: Jerry Sandusky Arrested Again on New Charges

Ex-Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky has been arrested again on new child sex charges. The move raises the total number of alleged victims to ten people.

The new charges include four counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and two counts of unlawful contact with a minor.

When earlier allegations arose, the longtime defensive coördinator maintained his innocence and said he only “horsed around” with disadvantaged boys in his care. He had been free on $100,000 bail. The grand jury report made public last month detailed forty charges against Sandusky in a child sex abuse scandal involving at least eight alleged victims and spanning fifteen years.

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Jerry Sandusky Sits Down with The New York Times

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sat down with The New York Times in his first extended interview since his indictment on sexual abuse charges. The interview lasted nearly four hours over two days. Mr. Sandusky agreed to the interview because he said prosecutors distorted his decades of work with children had been distorted by prosecutors.

In it, Mr. Sandusky said Coach Joe Paterno never spoke to him about any suspected misconduct. Mr. Sandusky also said the charity he worked for never restricted his access to children until he was the subject of a criminal investigation in 2008.

The failure by Mr. Paterno to act aggressively after being told in 2002 that Mr. Sandusky molested a ten-year-old boy in the showers of the university’s football building played a role in Mr. Paterno’s firing last month after sixty-two years at Penn State. Mr. Sandusky said that Mr. Paterno did not confront him over the accusation, despite the fact that Mr. Sandusky had been one of his assistant coaches for three decades and was a regular presence at the football team’s complex for years after the 2002 episode.

Mr. Sandusky insisted he never sexually abused a child, but he confirmed events that prosecutors cited in charging him with forty counts of molesting young boys, all of whom came to know Mr. Sandusky through the charity he founded, the Second Mile.

Mr. Sandusky said he gave money to the disadvantaged boys at his charity, opened bank accounts for them, and gave them gifts that had been donated to the charity.

Prosecutors have said Mr. Sandusky used such gifts as a way to build a sense of trust and loyalty among boys he then repeatedly abused.

Mr. Sandusky described what he admitted was a family and work life that could often be chaotic, one that lacked some classic boundaries between adults and children, and thus one that was open to interpretation.

He said his household in State College, Pennsylvania, came to be a kind of second home for dozens of children from the charity, a place where games were played, wrestling matches staged, sleepovers arranged, and from where trips to out-of-town sporting events were launched. Asked why he interacted with children who were not his own without the typical safeguards other adults might apply (showering with them, sleeping alone with them in hotel rooms) he said that he saw those children as his own.

He characterized his close experiences with children he took under his wing as “precious times,” and said that the physical aspect of the relationships “just happened that way.”

To read the article from which this excerpt was taken (with editing for content and space), please click over to The New York Times.


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Looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift?

Choosing the perfect holiday gift is one of life’s greater challenges, modestly more difficult than earning a Ph.D. in astrophysics. So it is time for my annual gift guide.

Major humanitarian organizations offer alluring holiday gifts. Through the International Rescue Committee, $30 buys a flock of chickens for a needy family. At CARE, $29 gets a girl a school uniform. Through Heifer International, you can stock a fish pond for $300. With Mercy Corps, $69 can start a female entrepreneur in the sewing business.

Beyond those organizations, here are some lesser-known charities that offer a world of good.

Helen Keller International fights blindness and malnutrition around the world with simple and cost-effective programs. One of the best ways to improve children’s health is to focus on micronutrients, like iodine, vitamin A and zinc — and in some cases to fortify foods with nutrients at a negligible cost. Helen Keller International, at hki.org, is a leader in that effort.

Against Malaria has a simple model: $5 will buy a net that protects people from mosquitoes that carry malaria. All the money that donated goes to buy nets, and the charity, at againstmalaria.com, gets a rave review from GiveWell, which rates charities.

Reading Is Fundamental is a program that promotes literacy in America. Its government financing has been slashed, so it needs support. The group is a public-private partnership with 400,000 volunteers, bringing huge efficiencies. It provides new, free books to four million children across the United States, and encourages the kids to read. Information is at rif.org.

The Citizens Foundation was started by Pakistani businessmen concerned about their country and builds schools for needy children there. Billions of dollars in American military aid to Pakistan haven’t accomplished much. The best way to moderate Pakistan and defeat extremists is to bolster secular education. Information is at citizensfoundation.org.

GEMS is a New York-based organization supporting American girls who have been trafficked, prostituted, or sexually abused. It provides shelter and education for those rescued from pimps and provides some of the first nurturing many have received. Prostitution of children should be a stain on the national conscience, and GEMS helps survivors while using peer counseling to prevent the trafficking in the first place. It is at gems-girls.org.

Via The New York Times. For the rest of Nicholas Kristof’s suggestions, and to see more information about the featured charities, please click here.

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Filed under The Best Thing on the Net Today, World

Newt Gingrich: “Poor Kids Can Only Make Money Illegally”

Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House who rides atop the polls for the Republican nomination for president, has been shooting his mouth off lately. He called himself a celebrity who makes $60,000 a speech. He also said, “I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply side economics. I helped lead the effort to defeat communism in the Congress.” He said he thinks child labor laws should be repealed.

On Thursday, Newt Gingrich defended his stance against child labor laws during a campaign stop in Iowa, saying that children born into poverty aren’t accustomed to working unless it involves crime.

“Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed. “They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.

Mr. Gingrich’s condemnation of “really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods” is disgusting, and it’s disrespectful of the majority of those children and their families who live their lives with far more integrity and far less cash than Gingrich ever will.

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Filed under Politics, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Virginia Legislators Jump Aboard Personhood Train

Pro life legislators in Virginia think it would be a dandy idea to declare that life begins at conception and that fertilized eggs are people.

Undaunted by the Personhood Movement’s overreach in Mississippi, Republican delegate to the Virginia legislature Bob Marshall introduced a bill to the assembly that would redefine life as beginning at conception. The law reads, in part,

unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the commonwealth, subject only to the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States, precedents of the United States Supreme Court, and provisions to the contrary in the statutes of the commonwealth.

As with other personhood laws (like the one that failed in Mississippi in November and the one introduced in Wisconsin), Virginia’s proposed measure would make all abortion illegal and threaten birth control and some methods of IVF. Unlike the other measures, which were introduced as constitutional amendments, this one is a bill in the legislature, which means the people have no say in whether it becomes law.

This law looks like it has a good chance of passing; Virginia’s legislative branch is heavily Republican.

Even if it does pass, it’s unlikely the law will take effect. Someone will file a lawsuit challenging it, a judge will issue an injunction barring enforcement of the law until the trial, the verdict will be appealed no matter what the outcome, and this will continue until some court refuses to hear it or the law is repealed by a new set of legislators.

When all is said and done, Virginia will spend a ton of money on something that amounts to a source for sound bytes for politicians who want to show their pro-life constituents that they love pre-babies so much and they’re willing to prove it.

Via Jezebel.

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