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Comment Archives: stories: Opinion: Guest Opinions

Re: “Idaho Needs Its Parks

I agree with Steve 100%. I would be more than willing to pay an extra five bucks on my vehicle registration to keep the parks open. If your chief concern is economic, then you must factor in the loss of revenue to the local economy. But these parks are so much more than that. These are the places we go th refresh mind and body and to renew our spirit.

Torkel
Clearwater Co., ID

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Torkel on 02/12/2010 at 10:42 AM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

[Eli's Hammer II KINGS 18:27 ] Africa has a lot of problems...third world countries don't fare well in the modern era. Now eating is one of them. Cultural practices is another. Tribalism and residual colonialism do not do much to advance the African cause.
So...some brainwave graduate students from Malibu or Manhattan decide that dicks are the way to save "humanity?" This coming from ones who seem to 'know' more about sub-Saharan Africa---than about their black gardener, butler or custodian? One must giggle in one's Latee else one become a nautilus of chromium wisdom----ish.
SO... (dot-dot-dot)
There can be only one answer to this penile thought...Remove said foreskin from the uncircumcised African and attach it to the circumcized one!
OR: Use the foreskin tidbits to forever rhinoplasty your ignorant middle-class, up in every class but your OWN's pie-hold shut.
Jebus!

Eli's Hammer II KINGS 18:27

Posted by ourioni on 02/02/2010 at 2:25 AM

Re: “Attention smokers

I agree with the above to the point that a landlord shouldn't have to allow indoor smoking since it is property damage. At the same time I agree there is a large discrimination movement towards smokers that seems to have blind-folded the general public. There's talk of forcing smoking out of bars (ridiculousness) and even smoking outside (completely discriminating). They've used the media to drive illusional fear to ban people from smoking were smoking has NO health concern. THAT, I believe if FLAT discrimination. No matter what you've heard second hand smoke doesn't have enough hazard to it to be considered a concern.. I have proof of this and have sent it to both boise papers. Do they publish it? NO. Why? Because they know with this discrimination in the area the city would be in an outrage..... PLAY FAIR IS ALL THE SMOKERS ARE ASKING FOR..

Posted by me on 12/22/2009 at 6:22 PM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

There is a vast difference between convincing a competent adult who has access to all the relevant facts to consent to the amputation of a part of his or her sex organs essential to normal sexual function and experience, and amputating the same part from an infant or child of any sex. Anyone who can't see the difference should not be allowed within a country mile of any child.

Posted by ChildProtector on 12/08/2009 at 8:33 AM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

Mercedes wrote: "Disclosure: I do not have an anti-circumcision agenda. In fact, I like circumcised men. They hold erections longer."
I could say I like "ladies of the night", too, because they engage in sex more often, but would that give me any right to steal infant girls from their mamas and raise them as whores?

Posted by ChildProtector on 12/08/2009 at 8:21 AM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

I wish to address a number of claims made by Frank O'Hara.

First, O'Hara claims "The studies I have seen show that circumcised men suffer impotency at a higher rate and at a younger age. I have two bona fide studies to support my information. Do you?"

Two studies have indeed found an association between circumcision and erectile dysfunction: Fink (2002) and Shen (2004). However, to name those studies while ignoring the others is being rather economical with the facts. Laumann (1997) and Richters (2006) found the opposite - that is, an association between lack of circumcision and erectile dysfunction. And studies by Collins (2002), Senkul (2004), Masood (2005), Senol (2008), Krieger (2008), and Kigozi (2007) have found no statistically significant differences.

Next, O'Hara claims "As for the claims of circumcision protecting against HIV, the evidence is similarly stacked against the claims. First of all, the three studies you reference were all conducted at the same time by the same "researchers" using the same methodologies and controls. They were conducted in three different areas but that doesn't make them 3 different studies, just the same study by the same authors conducted in three different areas."

These are the authors of the South African trial:

Auvert B, Taljaard D, Lagarde E, Sobngwi-Tambekou J, Sitta R, Puren A.

And these are the authors of the Ugandan trial:

Gray RH, Kigozi G, Serwadda D, Makumbi F, Watya S, Nalugoda F, Kiwanuka N, Moulton LH, Chaudhary MA, Chen MZ, Sewankambo NK, Wabwire-Mangen F, Bacon MC, Williams CF, Opendi P, Reynolds SJ, Laeyendecker O, Quinn TC, Wawer MJ.

And these are the authors of the Kenyan trial:

Bailey RC, Moses S, Parker CB, Agot K, Maclean I, Krieger JN, Williams CF, Campbell RT, Ndinya-Achola JO.

As can be seen, there is quite simply no overlap. Why would somebody make such a claim that is so patently false? One wonders whether O'Hara has even read the trials.

Next, O'Hara claims "If male circumcision were effective as claimed, there would be vast differences in the infection rates between circumcised cultures and uncircumcised cultures. These differences are observed no where in the world."

O'Hara is, of course, over-simplifying. There are multiple risk factors for HIV, both at the population and the individual level. Consequently, differences in exposure to various factors will together affect the prevalence of HIV. For example, if a culture had a higher circumcision rate than another culture but a lower uptake of condoms, it would be difficult to predict which would have more influence.

(And, incidentally, correlations between circumcision rates and HIV rates do exist, and have been documented in multiple studies. See, for example, Drain PK, et al. Male circumcision, religion, and infectious diseases: an ecologic analysis of 118 developing countries. BMC Infect Dis. 2006 Nov 30;6:172.)

O'Hara also claims: "African Americans have the highest HIV infection rate among the demographics and also the highest HIV infection rate with African American men representing 48% and African American women representing 80% of all infectees."

This is true, though it is odd that O'Hara mentions it, as African Americans have lower circumcision rates. For example, Laumann (1997) found circumcision rates of 81% among whites and 65% among blacks. Similarly, Xu (2007) found circumcision rates of 88% among non-Hispanic whites and 73% in non-Hispanic blacks. But we should be careful with these kind of data, as they are inherently susceptible to confounding. They can only show a correlation between two factors; they can't show that one causes the other. That's why randomised controlled trials are so important.

Posted by Jakew on 12/08/2009 at 3:52 AM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

Mercedes wrote: "Disclosure: I do not have an anti-circumcision agenda. In fact, I like circumcised men. They hold erections longer. This is a scientific fact, buried among the many recent studies and surveys on sexual pleasure with or without a foreskin."

This is a pretty outrageous statement. Do you have any proof of this? The studies I have seen show that circumcised men suffer impotency at a higher rate and at a younger age. I have two bona fide studies to support my information. Do you? Additionally, acecdotal evidence refutes your claim. US men consume 54% of the world's supply of Viagra, Malaysian men (Muslim and circumcised) are the world's highest per capita consumers of Viagra type products and Israel is the world's premiere counterfieters of Viagra. The evidence seems to be well stacked against your claim.

As for the claims of circumcision protecting against HIV, the evidence is similarly stacked against the claims. First of all, the three studies you reference were all conducted at the same time by the same "researchers" using the same methodologies and controls. They were conducted in three different areas but that doesn't make them 3 different studies, just the same study by the same authors conducted in three different areas. "Three different studies" just sounds better, doesn't it? In fact, these authors have had a very public stance of promoting male circumcision for more than 25 years and this appears to be a continuation of their agenda.

So, does male circumcision have a protective effect against HIV? Apparently not! We can compare the claims for male circumcision against other interventions against other diseases to see if the results are comparable. For instance, polio. Polio is a far more communicable disease than HIV and can be transmitted via simple contact with a contaminated surface. That can be any surface as the virus can live on surfaces for days. These surfaces can be door knobs and handles, faucets and school desks just as examples. This is far different than HIV which requires intimate contact and/or the exchange of bodily fluids. The researchers claim male circumcision provides 60% protection. The polio vaccine is 70% effective yet wiped the disease from the population within a single generation. See a conflict here?

If male circumcision were effective as claimed, there would be vast differences in the infection rates between circumcised cultures and uncircumcised cultures. These differences are observed no where in the world. If these claims were accurate, HIV would be conspiciously absent in The US yet The US has the highest HIV infection rate among the industrialized nations. Furthermore, African Americans have the highest HIV infection rate among the demographics and also the highest HIV infection rate with African American men representing 48% and African American women representing 80% of all infectees. We can also look to Africa. Swaziland circumcises 98% of it's males yet has a 22% infection rate and the rate in growing. Additionally, there are 6 African nations that circumcise their men yet have higher infection rates than those who don't. This is prima facie evidence that male circumcision doesn't work.

Research has also shown that circumcised men are much more resistant to wearing condoms. It is hypothesized that this is because of the loss of sensation after circumcision. Any man will testify that condoms reduce the experience and the conclusion is that condoms reduce it below acceptable levels. This could have the potential of exacerbating the epidemic rather than reducing it.

Short of a vaccine, the only protection is to interupt the vectors of transmission. That is to limit severely in populations with high infections the number of sexual partners and to always use condoms when the risk of the partner is unknown.

The massive amounts of money being wasted on circumcision campaigns would be better spent on vaccine research. Recently, a vaccine candidate was announced as the result of a successful trial. The vaccine showed a 31% efficacy but at this low rate, it could have a significant influence on the spread of the virus and in widespread use, could end the epidemic within about 3 generations simply by interupting the vectors of transmission sufficiently that the virus would run into dead ends.

.

Posted by Frank OHara on 12/07/2009 at 7:51 AM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

Even though studies show female genital cutting correlates with reduced HIV risk, nobody is suggesting a global FGM campaign. Why?

Why? Because people have a basic human right to enjoy their pleasure-receptive parts, especially if those people are female. 94% of the world's female population is protected by law (if not always enforcement) from even a mere pin-poke to draw one ceremonial drop of genital blood, with no religious exemption. Yet we are allowed to have a non-doctor amputate over half of a non-consenting male's specialized pleasure-receptive nerve endings. We can throw party with no shame so people can watch the helpless victim lose a valuable body part.

This is wrong. Whatever the merits of circumcising, the decision can wait until the owner of the genitals can decide for himself the way men do for vasectomy. If he decides to be cut later he'll get superior pain management, a chance to vet the cosmetic surgeon's qualifications, superior odds of success, and some say in the style of cut and in the fate of his own body. If things don't go well, he'll have someone NOT long dead to sue.

We must legally protect boys too.

Posted by TLCTugger on 12/06/2009 at 6:00 PM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

Lest anyone be confused, the circumcision campaign being brought in Africa has no bearing on fighting HIV in the US.

About 80% of sexually active men in the US are circumcised, compared to Europe where very few men are circumcised. Yet, the US has a much higher rate of HIV infection than Europe.

Also, studies have shown that circumcision has no affect on male-to-male transmission vectors. Other studies have shown that circumcision increases the HIV rate form male-to-female transmission vectors. Too much faith is being placed on the 3 African trials and there has been no follow-up to verify the results. That is bad science.

Posted by Restoring Tally on 12/06/2009 at 4:51 PM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

You seem to miss the most important problem with this fools errand. The message that is received won't be the one intended and circumcised men will believe they are now immune to HIV infection, women will believe them and be put at greater risk since they will be less able to negotiate safe sex, and more importantly it seems nonsocial infections are a leading cause of HIV in those parts of the world. This quick fix will fail it's only a question of when that is recognized and if anyone will have the inclination to do anything about it.

Posted by Joe on 12/06/2009 at 1:33 PM

Re: “Opinion: Male Circumcision Alone Won't Solve Africa's HIV Problem

Circumcision is a dangerous distraction in the fight against AIDS. There are six African countries where men are more likely to be HIV+ if they've been circumcised: Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, and Swaziland. Eg in Malawi, the HIV rate is 13.2% among circumcised men, but only 9.5% among intact men. In Rwanda, the HIV rate is 3.5% among circumcised men, but only 2.1% among intact men. If circumcision really worked against AIDS, this just wouldn't happen. We now have people calling circumcision a "vaccine" or "invisible condom", and viewing circumcision as an alternative to condoms.

The one randomized controlled trial into male-to-female transmission showed a 54% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised btw.

ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery will cost African lives, not save them.

Posted by ml66uk on 12/06/2009 at 10:06 AM

Re: “Idaho Delegation Wants to Read the Bill

I also looked for any comment about the anti-rape bill in both the Times-News in Twin Falls and in the Boise Statesman to no avail, how very, very sad.

Posted by rodnchance on 10/23/2009 at 9:13 PM

Re: “Idaho Delegation Wants to Read the Bill

Idaho Senators Crapo and Risch were among the few Senators who actually voted against an anti-rape amendment to the 2010 Dept. of Defense appropriations bill recently - fortunately the amendment passed but why haven't these two been asked to justify their votes? I can't find any local news coverage of this, anywhere. Why?

Posted by chet.parker on 10/22/2009 at 2:12 AM

Re: “Health Care RX

I go to your office and I wait for 20 minutes in the waiting room. I go the exam room and wait another 10 minutes. When you finally breeze in I have your undivided but very distracted attention for all of 5 minutes. I'm told my blood pressure is still a little high and my blood sugar is in the target area. Keep taking the meds and see me in another 6 months. For this I'm charged $92. Now I like my doctor but I could have told him that over the phone.

As I see it the doctor is trying to see as many patients as possible to maximize income. Why do I think this? Because if anything else comes up I have to schedule another appointment because he doesn't have the time to check into that right now.

I do agree that there is a need for tort reform. The compliance issue can be solved with a single payer system rather than the numerous private plans that we have now. Pay doctors for results not the number of patients seen.

Posted by CrotchetyOldMan on 08/19/2009 at 1:59 PM

Re: “Bikes Vs. Cars

I can only imagine how much positive impact this condescending smarm will have on the state of car-bike relations in Boise. Nice one. Way to alienate all sides of the argument. And fixed gears are great bikes, the purest expression of the machine in my opinion. While you (wasn't that you on that tiki bar bike kit thing?) just come off as a grumpy old hater cursing those damn kids. Peace.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by CRH on 07/09/2009 at 7:36 PM

Re: “Will the Circle be Unbroken?

Please please please keep following this story. This is wasteful government spending at it's worst. The roundabout is not needed or wanted by the neighborhood...residential or commercial. It's simply unbelievable that the most recent proposal contains a signalized roundabout! What in the world??? It is my understanding that the initial intention of the roundabout was to slow traffic as it entered the Warm Springs historical district. How about a speed bump or a flashing yellow light? If the "foremost American authority on roundabouts" thinks this is a bad idea, why isn't the ACHD listening? Lots of money and headaches for taxpayers...all because the funds have already been earmarked? That's like marrying someone you don't like because the cake has been paid for! Why fix something that isn't broken? Please ACHD, we implore you, GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD OR JUST LEAVE IT ALONE!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by blueonetoo on 06/30/2009 at 7:43 PM

Re: “Why Minnick said "no" To Earmarks

It is tough to make these kinds of calls, but ultimately we need leaders, not the politicians we see of today, but true leaders with character like Walt Minnick. Walt didn't actually sound like he has a full commitment to this task, I could read some wiggle room in his statement. I know, you can't be too committed to a cause these days when you're in politics, especially if you're elected as a democrat in Idaho. But, the principal is the right one. If a project doesn't make sense as a federal project (i.e.; not a project that serves the union), then it shouldn't be a federal project. This will probably draw hate mail as well, but since when is a park, or a light rail system, or a zoo in Idaho become a project that serves the union? Maybe a National Park or a rail system on the order of a coast-to-coast system, but we all have to get back to reality. Why have we allowed the system to go unchecked? It has grown to its current system because our elected officials are often gauged based on what they brought home to us - yea, you know, they call it pork. Like the air terminal going up right now... that's right, the only reason its getting built is because we screamed bloody murder. Sure, it's good for us, but aren't we then the problem?

Posted by Scott Nicholson on 04/18/2009 at 5:49 PM

Re: “No Longer a Single-Issue Voter

This article gives me hope that being evangelical pro-life christian identifying does not have to mean that you can't reason the issues out and come to a conclusion that makes sense.... Thanks to you for the writing and for the publishing of it-

Posted by Carol Orshan on 10/29/2008 at 5:10 PM

Re: “Truce in the Grazing Wars

Mr. White spins a good yarn and makes you feel warm and fuzzy, but his facts make no sense. He talks about reducing his carbon footprint, but meat is one of the most energy intensive foods around! Tons of energy is lost when the food and water needs to be run through a cow, and trucked around the country, as opposed to eating lower on the food chain. He talks about wanting to manage water sustainably, but cows are one of the worst sources of water pollution! Whether they are dairy cows in a feedlot, or beef cows out on the public lands, the manure often ends up in the water. And cows on public lands often heavily trample the streambanks, causing large amounts of erosion and warmer water-- death sentences for fish. He talks about improving wildlife habitat for endangered species, but cows are one of the biggest sources of extinction on public lands! They trample and break fragile soil crusts, leave much less grass for wildlife, and degrade water quality. This is not to mention the huge public subsidies handed to public lands ranchers. It costs approximately $1.35 per month to graze a cow and a calf on public land, which is far below market value. We get to pay for all the above-mentioned damage. The earth isn't ready for a truce in the grazing wars.

Posted by Kristin on 08/08/2008 at 10:30 AM

Re: “Searching For Home

Instead of celebrating Israel's birthday, we should be declaring the USA's independence from that parasitic nation. Israel costs us more than $3 billion annually in direct cash payments, and billions more in bribes to Israel's neighbors to try to preserve peace. And don't forget the $1 TRILLION (so far) for the Iraq War, fought solely for Israel's benefit. In return, Israel exports American military technology to China and other rivals of America, and foments armed conflicts in the Middle East which Americans must fight. Antagonizing oil-producing nations and destroying their oilfields makes the price of oil go up. That price has now ruined our economy. Our government's continued obeisance toward Israel, despite the cost to common taxpayers like you and me, is humiliating. Israel's treatment of the Palestinians is monstrous. To most of the world, it looks like ethnic cleansing. Perhaps you don't like Arabs, but do you want to bankrupt yourself for three generations to finance a genocide against them? Now the Israel lobby is pressing us to attack Iran. Iran does not pose a threat to the USA, nor even to Israel, which has hundreds nuclear weapons in its arsenal.

Posted by Paul White on 07/20/2008 at 1:53 PM


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