Monday, October 31, 2005

Debate rages on use of cervical cancer vaccine / While almost 100% effective, some contend use condones teen sex :: sfgate

People respond to incentives

Welcome Slate readers. Note, though, that I'm not exactly "socially conservative." More of an economic libertarian. See here and here.


Officials of both companies noted that research indicates the best age to vaccinate would be just before puberty to make sure children are protected before they become sexually active.
. . .
11 percent of the doctors said they thought vaccinating against a sexually transmitted disease "may encourage risky sexual behavior in my adolescent patients."

Conservative groups say they welcome the vaccine as an important public health tool but oppose making it mandatory.
. . .
Alan Kaye, executive director of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, likened the vaccine to wearing a seat belt.

"Just because you wear a seat belt doesn't mean you're seeking out an accident," Kaye said.
Mandating seat belts has resulted in riskier driving behavior. Mandating the vaccine can be expected to result in riskier sexual behavior. No where in the article are the dots connected between this unintended consequence of the vaccine mandate: more sex without condoms resulting in more deaths due to AIDS.

For a related discussion see: Private Choices and Public Health : The AIDS Epidemic in an Economic Perspective by Tomas Philipson and Richard A. Posner.

UPDATE: Alex Tabarrok points to work linking access to abortion and risky sex.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Church-going boosts economic well-being? :: Yahoo! News

"Doubling the frequency of attendance leads to a 9.1 percent increase in household income, or a rise of 5.5 percent as a fraction of the poverty scale," Jonathan Gruber of the economics department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote in his study.

"Those with more faith may be less 'stressed out' about daily problems that impede success in the labor market and the marriage market, and therefore are more successful," Gruber wrote in the study, which was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Episcopal liberals: strategy :: The Washington Times


A liberal Episcopal group is crafting a strategy to disenfranchise about 16 conservative bishops if the denomination's pivotal General Convention next year in Columbus, Ohio, results in a church split.

Informally named the "Day After" for the aftermath of the June 13-21 event, the strategy outlines a way to file canonical charges against conservative bishops, unseat them from their dioceses, have interim bishops waiting to replace them and draft lawsuits ready to file before secular courts for possession of diocesan property.

The strategy was revealed in a leaked copy of minutes drafted at a Sept. 29 meeting in Dallas of a 10-member steering committee for Via Media, a network of 13 liberal independent Episcopal groups.
Read the whole thing.

Friday, October 21, 2005

New lawsuit fuels debate about Alaska priest 'dumping ground' :: AP

Opening paragraph:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska Â? The fourth lawsuit in less than two weeks accusing an Alaska-based Catholic priest of sexual abuse was filed Thursday, fueling a conviction among critics that Alaska was a dumping ground for problem clergy.
This stuff happens becomes leadership doesn't have the guts to make tough human resource decisions. Hide them, sweep the under the rug, ship out of the diocese, but heavens don't own up to them, solve them, and face down the perpetrator.

These are cases that illustrate the social value of trial lawyers. Too bad you can only hurt the church and not the leadership. May be the church - the people - will demand greater transparency and involvement of the laity in governance.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Deconstructing a man of contrasts :: WaPo

Scott of Hybla observes that one of the themes of Church Man is stories of the mighty falling, particularly focusing on Episcopalians. Here's another installment.

Quoting from the Washington Post article:
Before the audit, before the no-confidence votes, before trustees removed him as president of American University, Benjamin Ladner taught ethics.

That's the heart of his now contradictory story: He's a philosopher, known for the eloquence of his speeches, with more than a little Southern preacher in him. His friends describe him as an honorable, charismatic leader. But his critics -- who have been growing in number since an investigation found that the Ladners spent university money on foie gras, limousines, French wine and family parties -- say he's unethical, manipulative and imperious.
. . .
After graduating from Baylor University and Southern Seminary, he chose academics over the ministry: He earned a doctorate in religion at Duke University.
. . .
Friends in Atlanta remember a couple busy with their kids and his work, active in the Episcopal Church (he was sometimes asked to speak to the congregation). "Everyone just marveled at his gifts for speaking and educating," said Joan Cates, a former neighbor.
. . .
Rather than living in the president's house on the campus, the Ladners moved into another one the university bought nearby. They added a waterfall and a small pond full of koi to the back yard and upgraded from a cook who served home-style food to a chef who could make 100 canapés for a university event or flounder stuffed with seafood mousse for the two of them.
. . .
Gina Maria Schulz avoided going on the campus when she worked at the president's house in the late 1990s because people would always ask her if the Ladners were living high on the hog, she said. "People on campus were so mean, and I just thought, 'You don't know the real Ladners.' "

She enjoyed her job -- "Personal Assistant to the First Lady," it said on her cards -- even though sometimes she and housekeeper Menei Man would roll their eyes at the rules. They always had to sort through all the clothes, she said, to figure out whether he had worn a tuxedo shirt at a wedding or a university event, to determine whether the bill was paid by AU or the Ladners. When Nancy Ladner wanted to take the housekeeper to their home on Gibson Island in the Chesapeake Bay, her husband said that wasn't appropriate, Schulz said. "He was the most ethical man I ever met," Schulz said.

Soon after Schulz left, Katya Thomas, now a Foreign Service officer at the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Congo, came to work there. She quit after a few months, she said, because the Ladners made no effort to separate personal from university expenses and she couldn't be a part of that. Besides, she said, "Dr. Ladner had a hot temper and treated me like his servant." They are people with exacting demands for anything from Christmas lights to flowers to how dress shirts and boxer shorts should be ironed, several staff members said. Daniel Traster, a chef there in 1998, learned to make cheese sticks just so, after about 20 tries. Two chauffeurs, both of whom were fired, said they would get in trouble if they didn't open the door of the black Infiniti for the couple even at home in the garage.
. . .
Ladner's longtime executive assistant, Margaret H. Clemmer, said in a statement to lawyers, "Dr. Ladner's schedule was maintained with strict confidentiality at his direction," with only his wife, Clemmer and her assistant allowed to access it. That made it difficult for even senior administrators to get things done, Clemmer said.

Jeffrey A. Madden, a chauffeur for the Ladners who was fired, said he remembers the chef preparing coolers full of salmon and steaks for a get-together for a few of Nancy Ladner's college friends on Gibson Island. The university car was so packed with coolers and cases of wine that he could hardly use the rearview mirror as he drove the supplies there, he said. "I worked for the university," he said, with a $40,000 salary. "But I felt like their personal little slave boy."
. . .
He has lost friends over his insistence that what he did was justified. Two trustees who had been close with the Ladners, George J. Collins and Paul M. Wolff, have become two of his most vocal critics. Wolff, who resigned from the board, said recently that he had affection for Ladner but believed his moral compass had lost its bearings.

The president also lost support on the campus. Many said that for all of Ladner's eloquence, he was deaf to how his legal arguments would sound to professors and students on financial aid. Exactly what he owes is less relevant than "that he thought that all of this was his due," said professor Lenny Steinhorn. "That's where the moral and ethical aspects of his leadership come in."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

False news reports of pandemonium slowed aid :: WaPo

Via Instapundit whose summary is, as usual, impossible to improve upon. Key quote from the Washington Post article, emphasis added:
Five weeks after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans, some local, state and federal officials have come to believe that exaggerations of mayhem by officials and rumors repeated uncritically in the news media helped slow the response to the disaster and tarnish the image of many of its victims.