Greetings, Quotaholics: Eugenics: NOUN: (used with a sing. verb) The study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding. CBSMessage 1 of 1 , May 2, 2004View Source
Eugenics: NOUN: (used with a sing. verb) The study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding.
CBS' 60 Minutes broadcast a story on eugenics last night. It told the story of the Eugenics movement, a popular American movement in the early 20th century. The idea was disturbingly simple. You just separate people considered to be genetically inferior from the rest of society, and prevent them from reproducing.
Most people associate this with Nazi Germany, and their imprisoning and killing of "inferiors", while encouraging the growth of the Aryan population. Pretty soon, no more problems. All the undesireables are gone.
What most don't realize is that the movement actually originated here in the U.S., and that it didn't end here until a decade after the demise of Hitler's Third Reich.
At the height of the movement - in the �20s and �30s - exhibits were set up at fairs to teach people about eugenics. It was good for America, and good for the human race. That was the message, and a lot of people liked what they heard.
It was also far more than just a political philosophy. Michael D'Antonio, author of The State Boys Rebellion says it was government policy. "People were told, we can be rid of all disease, we can lower the crime rate, we can increase the wealth of our nation, if we only keep certain people from having babies." An awful lot of otherwise really good people thought that made a whole lot of sense.
The broadcast focused on the Fernald School in Waltham, Massachusetts, the oldest institution for the "feeble-minded" in the country. At its peak, some 2,500 people were confined here, most of them children.
D'Antonio said that a large proportion of the kids who were locked up were not retarded at all. They were simply poor, uneducated kids with no place to go. �Idiot, imbecile, and moron were all medical terms. They were used to define various levels of retardation or disability. "Moron" was coined to describe children who were almost normal,� says D�Antonio. �I would estimate that at least 50 percent would function in today�s world well."
Instead of using foster homes, the state sent children to institutions like Fernald School. Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse were rampant. There was also something else that wasn't mentioned. The kids were also used as human guinea pigs.
1994 Senate hearings revealed that scientists from MIT had been giving radioactive oatmeal to the boys in a nutrition study for Quaker Oats. All the kids knew is that they'd been asked to join a science club.
�We were getting special treatment, you know, extra dessert, we got to eat away from the other boys. We were getting extra oatmeal. We're getting extra milk,� said Joe Almeida, one of those who unknowingly participated in the experiment.
David White-Lief, an attorney who worked on the state task force investigating the science club said, "It�s my contention, and it was my contention on the task force, that these experiments, because of the lack of informed consent, violated the Nuremburg Code established just 10 years earlier. The lesson of Nazi Germany was we don't do experiments on people without informed consent. They didn't use the word 'informed consent" - without 'knowing consent'."
A lawsuit was filed and each of the survivors received about $60,000 compensation from MIT, Quaker Oats, and the Federal Government.
I've glossed over the story, and I'd urge anyone that didn't see the broadcast to read the linked article, but what really fascinated me more than anything else about this is what drives people. I know my American brethren as some of the warmest and most generous people anywhere, and yet this was officially sanctioned by our own government, our industry, and our institutes of higher education.
We had the infamous Tuskeegee Experiment that ran for forty years, between 1932 and 1972. The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness.
Informed that they were being treated for "bad blood," their doctors had no intention of curing them of syphilis at all. The data for the experiment was to be collected from autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis�which can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. �As I see it,� one of the doctors involved explained, �we have no further interest in these patients until they die.�
What montstrous words! What a monstrous concept! And yet, those that carried these experiments out had no fangs. They weren't horrible people. They probably went to church regularly, raised their families well, lived respectable lives, paid their taxes, and contributed to their towns and cities. Without the slightest cynicism, I truly believe that they donated to charities, helped their neighbors, and might even have been considered pillars of their communities. And yet...were they monters?
There was great surprise among many American soldiers in WWII when they entered Germany and found very normal people there. Even the ones that carried out the heinous experiments in the death camps seemed disturbingly normal. I personally think that something like this is a lot easier to take if the perpetrator is somehow mad, or insane, or at least outwardly and satisfyingly weird, with something that clearly distinguishes "them" from "us". It's when they're just like we are that it becomes really worrying.
My piece today is less about the specific 60 Minutes broadcast, and more about asking what makes people think that these things are right. What changed? Were they OK until society deemed them not to be OK? Were they always wrong? If so, why didn't we know it, and if we did, why didn't we stand up against them? What about slavery, or genocides anywhere on earth?
Sue's 15 Minutes on racism a short while back, as powerful as it was, might not have been remarkable 50 years ago. Those actions might have been almost commonplace, fully accepted with a nudge and a wink by the old boy's network, and hardly worthy of mention in the press.
Sometimes people seem to lose all concept of right and wrong, and instead sign onto whatever political concept is in vogue at the moment, no matter how absurd it might seem in enlightened retrospect. How many of the things that are being done right now all over the world will be seen in this same light 50 years hence? How many of the heartfelt opinions expressed by RGQ readers today will be laughable then, appearing like a time-capsule of archaic thought to our great-grandchildren?
I'm not trying to blame anyone, and I'm not trying to absolve anyone from blame either. I'm just fascinated by what makes otherwise good people go off like this, and what allows them to remain secure in their own righteousness while they commit atrocities against others. Are they really monsters? Are we all monsters under the right circumstances? What separates "them" from "us"?
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Mickey Mantle (pointing at a Jolly Roger pirate flag flying from the mast of a make-believe pirate ship): "I bet you don't know what the skull and crossbones on that flag means."
Yogi Berra: "Sure I do. It means iodine."
"Patient failed to fulfill his wellness potential." - doctor's note on the chart of a patient who died
The Welfare Office
[Thanks to Robert, an American original]
A man walked into the local welfare office, marched straight up to the counter and said, "Hi, I hate drawing welfare. I would really rather find a job."
The person behind the counter replied, "Your timing is amazing. We just got a listing from a very wealthy man who wants a chauffeur/bodyguard for his nymphomaniac daughter. You'll have to drive around a big black Mercedes, and the suits, shirts, and ties are provided. Because of the long hours of this job, meals will also be provided and you will also be required to escort the young lady on her overseas holidays trips. The salary package is $200,000 a year!"
The man said, "You're bullshittin' me man!"
The clerk behind the counter said, "Yeah, well, you started it."
"Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more." - Mark Twain
"The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein
"A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." - Barry Goldwater
Beware of Dog
Faithy�s Freaky Sites (and free downloads)
I've always wondered about how some drivers passed their drivers test. I've seen people do some pretty stupid things when they're behind the wheel. A couple of weeks ago I was driving behind a guy that started drifting into the left lane. I slowed down in case he was actually trying to change lanes, but he sharply veered to his right to get back into his lane. I proceeded to pass him as quickly as possible, only to see him start drifting over again as I pulled along side him. I looked over, figuring it was another idiot with a cell phone glued to his ear, but that wasn't the case. He had a headset on (legal in New York) and was looking up a phone number in his little black book. You just have to wonder what the hell he was thinking.
Then Friday when I was driving home from work, a girl pulled out of a parking lot into the middle lane of a three lane road. I was in the far left lane going about 45 MPH and she didn't seem to be accelerating much. As I approached her, I got the feeling she was going to pull right in front of me, even though there was no one behind me and she could easily let me pass before moving to the left lane. Of course, at the last second she did pull right in front of me even though she was doing maybe 20 MPH or so. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid giving her car an enema. Once again, I was left wondering what could have possibly been going through her head.
Well, I think I found the answer. Lagos transport chief Muiz Banire decided to test for insanity 608 people who were found driving against the flow of traffic. Most of Nigeria's motorists have no drivers training and haven't taken a driving test, which would explain why they have one of the world's worst accident records. What they found was that out of the 608 people, one was actually insane and 20 had a very low intelligence quota.
You would have to figure that a few people fall through the cracks everywhere, which would explain the two examples I cited above. Those people are either nuts or just too stupid to drive.
Having a Ball with Yarns
To avoid streaking when washing walls, start at the bottom and work your way up. Any drips can be wiped up easily.
If you start at the top or middle, and cleanser drips down the dirty wall it will leave streaks which are very difficult to remove. - Lindi in Long Beach
My opening lines, they do suck,
I can't get them right, just my luck
When just one replies,
My heart nearly dies,
But I shrug, saying, "Who gives a damn?" - Bruce
Next opening line:
While far out to sea one dark night...
Hint: There's a great rhyming dictionary at http://www.rhymezone.com/
Said the fair Irish lass with a smile,
"I'm afraid that you're just not my style.
What I want is a man
Who has love as his plan,
Not to ply me with cunning and guile."- Mike in Arkansas
Friday�s puzzles went something like this:
As I was going to St. Ives
I met a man with 7 wives
The 7 wives had 7 sacks
Each sack held 7 cats
Each cat had 7 kits.
Kits, cats, sacks and wives
How many were going to St. Ives?
A man lives in a high-rise apartment on the 20th floor. Every morning he takes the elevator from the 20th to the first floor. Every evening when he comes home, he punches the 18th floor, gets off and walks up the stairs for the two remaining floors. If not for exercise, why does he do this?
Out of the 40+ answers I received, the majority agreed that only one (the narrator) was going to St. Ives. However, my favorite response was from Ross:
If you met them and they were going the opposite way, just one (you) unless there's someone else with you.
If you met them as they stopped for a break and you caught up to them, 9 if you count people, 352 if you classify cats, wives, husband and you as all going, 2753 if you classify kits, cats, wives, husband, and you as all going, and if you just want a count of "kits, cats, sacks and wives", that totals 2800, but I'm not sure why you'd be counting the sacks as living beings going to St. Ives!
Way to cover all the possibilities, Ross. I like the way you think!
The very first person to get both answers was Gyppo, who wrote this about #2:
Lift/Elevator puzzle: The man's a dwarf, he can't reach the top button. But you could add the extra twist that on rainy days he does take the elevator all the way, because he can use his brolly [umbrella] to reach and press the top button.
Honorable mention goes to our own Tim the Tale-man, who was the first to send no answer. Seriously, he sent me the riddle, sounded very excited about winning, but neglected to include the answer. I Gotta love him!
On to our next posers�
What walks on four legs in the morning,
Two legs in the afternoon,
And three legs in the evening?
(Bonus points for the source)
Before my birth I had a name;
But after borne, I changed the same;
I changed my name 3 days together;
Yet keep the same in any weather;
And when I lie within the tomb;
I shall my father�s name assume.
Re: Pizzas and Privacy
Try donating to a charity or political candidate and see how fast your address gets around. You'll get new pleas for money from every source out there!! And never ending. I have more "free" return address labels and greeting cards than I'll ever be able to use... - Lindi in Long Beach
I don't see my name address and phone number as a privacy issue. Do we need to round up all of the phone books and burn them? The authorities are not looking for me, I don't get telemarketing calls on my cell phone and I have a shredder and a large trash can for my junk mail. Has anyone out there actually been victimized by this 'problem'? - Steve in New Jersey.
You said, "Do consumers have a right to be notified before a company can sell your personal information? Do you have some reasonable expectation of privacy when you order a pizza?"
In the several years that I tried my best to hide myself and my son from my abusive ex-husband, the one who told me every day after my son was born, that if I didn't get my act together, he would make sure I'd never see the baby again -- I even went to the extremes of having an unlisted telephone number, asking the city to please not list my name and address in the newspaper when I had to buy a permit to have work done to my house, and never allowed my son to be filmed or photographed at daycare when the news media wanted to do a story on his school, I drove different routes to and from work and school almost every day. I even did not press charges for non-support for several years. -- I never dreamed that pizza companies could or would sell personal information about someone and it would end up in a database somewhere.
I always knew that if he really, really wanted to find me, he could and I hung onto the hope that he wouldn't. My story ended well. David is 23 and doing well, I am receiving back child support and probably will for the next 20 years. And as you know, am happily married to a wonderful man with a couple of 8-year-old (soon to be 9 in May) twin boys.
For me -- ignorance, at that time, was bliss.
That companies sell names and addresses is like someone going through my trash -- just plain dirty. - Noella
I think everyone should have a right to privacy. And I think that if anyone asks you to remove your information from their databases, if they don't it should be grounds for litegous actions.
'David Coplen, the state office's budget director said, "When you call to order a pizza, you usually give them your correct name, your correct address and your correct phone number."'
Coplen is WAY out of date. At least the pizza joints here in Arkansas. They have a type of Caller ID database. I can call Domino's or Little Ceasers and on their screen pops up the name the phone is registered in, the phone number, as well as the address.
If you live in the US, and your number is listed, guess what? Go to google.com and type in your phone # as (501)555-5555 and see what you get.
Privacy is a lot more rare than most people realize.
But, like I said, I believe that we should be able to remove our contact information from ANY database, and legit companies, spammers, etc, if they fail to comply should be fined and forced to pay us money. At least that's my 2.5� USD (adjusted for inflation) - Wayne in Arkansas
Use cash. Go and pick up the pizza and they will not know where you live. Rent don't own, and of course, don't move because your new landlord may require a credit check. Don't buy a car, your plates will link to your identity. Don't rent a car, credit is required. Maybe you can just borrow a car. Better yet, use a bicycle or walk where you need to go. Don't work, you need a Social Security card. You need identification for most other services as well.
Vote with your feet.
If you do not like the way a business conducts itself, stop using it. If some business is improperly using your private information for profit, stop using that business. But, don't rely on rumors and don't jump to conclusions regarding the manner in which information is used.
A business accepting a credit card or a check has a right to verify your identity and the value of the credit that you pledge. In today's complex society it is possible to conduct your life in private but it is very difficult. It is probably not worth the effort. - Mike from Florida
Re: Today's Chuckle
Here's a Newfie joke for you. It's actually from my husband.
Two Newfies go to Toronto for a good time. They pick up a lady of questionable reputation and proceed to get a hotel room. As things progress, she pulls out two condoms. The Newfies ask, "what are those for." The lady replies, "you put them on your thing, so I don't get pregnant." The Newfies comply and proceed to have a good time.
Two weeks later, as they are reminiscing on the fishing boat, one asks the other. "You know, that was a lot of fun, but do you really care if she got pregnant?" His friend replies, "well, she's way over there, and we're all the way over here, so no, I don't think I care if she got pregnant." The first one answers back, "so do you think we can take these off, then?" - Mrs. A in Canada and hubby. :-)
Re: Kirsten's 15 Minutes on Stupid Questions
I don't mind when people ask questions as much as I do when they get angry at me for my answer or yell that I'm wrong. Examples:
Asker--Why did they reject my request for long-term disability?
Me--You've gone back to work full time, the doctors say that you can perform all of the tasks necessary for your job.
Asker--Did you used to work for an insurance company. You're sure on their side.
Asker--I'm not worried about getting a divorce. I don't want my husband to get anything out of the divorce (of over 25-year marriage), he was never able to work for long enough to add anything. I paid off the house and everything else. Besides he deserted after I threw him out and I won't let him return.
Me--The law says that he is entitled to half of the marital property, which would include the house. If you keep insisting that you had to support him because of his problems, he might even get alimony. In order for the court to find that he deserted, he has to go a year without contacting you.
Asker--He contacts me every day wanting to come home.
Me--You could end up losing a lot to him unless you fight it by...
I'm cut off.
Asker--Oh no. I know the law. He deserted, he couldn't keep a job, he's out of work and homeless now. They'll never give him a thing.
Me--But, the law.
Asker--I know the law. - Maureen
Re: The Ladies
A great big welcome back to Faithy and Lady Robin. The two of you have been greatly missed. - Myst (Colorado)
Thank you, thank you Faithy. I've missed you and your sites. It's great to have you back and I enjoy one site more than the one before and the next one more than that. The shrinking from space, expanding from quarks might be my favorite. - Maureen
Re: PETA and T.I.M.'s Remarks
one thing i cant help but notice in all of the debate is the postulate that life is something special that deserves more protection than say, a diamond or a glass of water. as far as i can tell humans are the only things in nature to believe this. all the other life forms that i can think of seem to lack this basic concept and only value the lives of themselves and/or maybe a few others (offspring, mate, pack, whatever)which means that either
1 we're correct and therefore superior or
2 we're wrong and this debate is worthless - Micky
Lola: Hitler as a vegetarian is a fraudulent accounting, one often used by anti-vegetarians. For the facts, you might wish to read "Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover" by Rynn Berry. And giving your children choice is a good idea, as long as the choice isn't offered too late. Far too many children are damaging their health at an early age, and it's not from avoiding meat products. Doctors are finding young children with early signs of heart disease. And it's not from eating veggies. And no, being intelligent doesn't mean being vegetarian. I just find it fascinating that some of the acknowledged most intelligent people in history were vegetarians. As for me, I didn't "wise up" until fifteen years ago. I used to eat four prime ribs at one sitting. I'm still hoping I don't pay for it with my life.
And to all who have generously responded (and Mellie for her most kind words), none of us are perfect. Hopefully, we all try to do the best we can. And, hopefully, when we get additional information, we're willing to adjust our belief systems. I grew up planning to be a minister, and have always tried to "do the right thing". Yet I was an avid meat eater for thirty-eight years (as a young boy, I had salami for dessert instead of ice cream). Eventually, I found myself faced with so much factual information that I had no choice but to give up meat (and dairy) products. Here's a question we should all ask ourselves (and that I'm also willing to ask myself): How much information will it take to change our minds, or are we so ego-invested in our choices that we absolutely refuse to let go of them at any cost (including the cost of our health and even our lives)?
And Tim said, "When was the last time you heard of someone being attacked by a corpse?"
Tim: While I don't grasp the connection to "leave the living (animals) alone. They can't fight back", I will answer:
Every day someone is "attacked" by a collection of corpses, which is just what they themselves attacked. Check the autopsies of people dying of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several other ailments. There will often be a connection to the corpses (dead animals) they ate. Not so much an attack as an accumulated revenge, but we are what we eat. In life, and in death. - T.I.M. (Corona, California)
Re: Reader Submission
You said: "Readers? RGQ has got to be one of the largest, if not the largest newsletter-type mailing on the net. I try to strike some sort of balance between its size and the content that makes it fun. What do you think?"
For me personally the size of the newsletter doesn�t bother me, although I know for some this may be a problem. I think Dave S. in San Antonio has a good idea in combining some of the categories, it would be a shame to miss the gems that do come in once in awhile. Just my two cents. - Myst (Colorado)
[I'm liking this idea more and more.]
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