Senility and the Republican Party

When you live in an alternate universe — where you are allowed to (as a member of George W. Bush’s administration famously put it) “make our reality”–  it is easy to take the bitter lessons learned from the national elections early this month and go sailing right off the edge of the earth.  If there’s one thing now abundantly clear, is that you can’t teach a Republican new tricks no matter what it says on his birth certificate.

I give you the faces of all 19 new House Committee Chairmen picked by the Republicans.  Don’t bother looking for anyone without testicles, a Baptism certificate, or ancestors who sailed here from Western Europe.

So much for all their post-election comments about how they’ve learned valuable lessons about the need to reach out and broaden their appeal to women and minorities.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present the new mascot of the modern Republican Party:

Wishing you a happy holiday and new year,
Bubble Popping Pete


Pulling the Plug on the Real Death Panels

Following on the subject of how science and medical reporting in the United States has turned into press release rewriting, when was the last time you heard any reporter discussing the actual “death panels” in the U.S. health care system?

In all the hubbub over Mitt Romney’s pledge to repeal so called O’Bamacare (which was based on Romney’s health care reform law he passed as Governor of Massachusetts), have you even heard the mention of “rescission committees?”

Probably not.  It’s not something that “polite” news media are inclined to discuss. It makes some people uncomfortable — namely some important advertisers.

Rescission committees are panels of experts employed by most health insurance companies to comb through all the health records they can find for patients needing very expensive treatment. Their goal is to find any health problem the patients failed to note in their insurance applications so that their policies can be cancelled. These committees are about as heartless a bunch of Scrooges as you can find. They’ll drop a patient needing heart surgery because she failed to note she received treatment for acne when she was a teenager faster than you can say “Bah! Humbug!” Usually, with little fear of being sued, since the patient will likely be too busy fighting for his or her life to take anyone to court.

Medicare and Medicaid have no “rescission committees” that search through  old medical records looking for excuses to “pull the plug” on patients needing expensive treatments. Under Medicare and Medicaid, no patient is denied coverage because of any preexisting medical condition. The parts of Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that are now in effect have already made it harder for health insurance companies to deny patients coverage and treatment due to any past or current health problem.

Mitt Romney has signed a pledge to revoke the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and restore the rights of the insurance industry to keep their rescission committees to help squeeze as much profit as possible from the American people.  I wrote this op-ed for the Buffalo News almost three years ago.  Have you even heard the term rescission committee?”  That’s what I thought.

Pulling the Plug on the Real Death Squads

©2009 Andrew A. Skolnick

Buffalo News

Another Voice Editorial Section

September 24, 2009

Last week, South Carolina’s Supreme Court ordered a health insurance company to pay $10 million for revoking the insurance policy of a 17-year-old student after he tested positive for the AIDS virus.

In 2001, Jerome Mitchell donated blood and was shocked to discover he was HIV-positive. Fortis Insurance Co. canceled his policy leaving him unable to pay for the medical care he urgently needed.

Calling the company’s actions “highly reprehensible,” Chief Justice Toal wrote: “Fortis demonstrated an indifference to Mitchell’s life and a reckless disregard to his health and safety.” The company’s egregious conduct did not just cause Mitchell economic harm, she noted, it “exposed him to great risk of physical danger.”

The court awarded Mitchell $150,000 in actual damages and $10 million in punitive damages setting a new record for judgments against a healthcare insurance company for such egregious conduct. 1

The previous record was set in February 2008, when a Los Angeles arbitration judge ordered Health Net, Inc. to pay Patsy Bates more than $9 million for revoking her health insurance after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The 52-year-old grandmother was unable to continue chemotherapy for 5 months while her cancer grew.2

Such reprehensible decisions are made everyday by insurance company “rescission committees,” These are the actual “death panels” deciding the fate of grandmothers. President Obama’s plan for healthcare reform calls for shutting them down. If his plan is approved, these committees will no longer be allowed to deny healthcare to thousands of Americans every year.

However, these panels have well-financed, powerful friends in Washington. Congressman Chris Lee (R-NY26), for example, not only opposes the president’s reform plan, he co-sponsored a bill that would bar government regulation of health insurance companies. He ironically called his Trojan horse bill the “Medical Rights Reform Act.”3

Unless stopped by law, insurance company death panels will continue to operate. Large court judgments are just a cost of doing business. During the eight years it took Jerome Mitchell to get this judgment, his insurance company reaped millions more by denying care to others. Last June, a Congressional committee found that Fortis, now known as Assurant, and two other companies alone saved more than $300 million over five years by dropping policy holders when they became ill.

These death panels can operate at ghoulish speed, as shown by the evidence Fortis tried to keep from the jury. During the two hours its rescission committee met to rescind Mitchell’s policy, it also dumped 45 other policy holders – which means it spent no more than 3 minutes in deciding to rescind the HIV-infected student’s insurance, the court concluded.

The death toll from the inability of millions of Americans to obtain and keep affordable healthcare insurance is unconscionable. A study published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health estimates that lack of health insurance caused nearly 45,000 excess deaths in the United States in 2005, with more than 2250 of those deaths in NY State.

This national tragedy should shock us to the bone when we realize that every year 15 times as many Americans die, because they can’t get medical insurance, than were killed by terrorists on 911.

On election day next year, voters should remember which candidates chose to protect insurance company profits over the health of millions of Americans – and vote accordingly.

Andrew Skolnick, a resident of Amherst, NY, covered President Clinton’s failed health care reform effort in the 1990s as an associate news editor for the Journal of the American Medical Association.


We, Les Misérables

I just watched a remarkable musical parody that has stirred me to the bone.  It is a parody of the musical number that closes the first act of Les Miserables and sends many of the audience out during intermission to look for a barricade to join.  I saw the show when it opened in Chicago and I remember feeling an urge during intermission to gather up a flintlock and others to stop traffic outside on Michigan Avenue.  But this version of “One Day More” — called “One More Term”  —  is a call to the ballot box, not the barricade. This parody have moved me even more than I was moved by the original when I heard it for the first time almost 25 years ago.

Please watch this video and pass it on to all your neighbors, friends, and family.

Until this morning, I was planning to sit this election out — or at least to not vote for a presidential candidate.  I have been so angry and disappointed with President Obama’s cowardice and his betrayal of the principles he preached — which helped him get elected in 2008 — I felt I could not in good conscience vote for him again.

But watching this video has deeply moved me and made me realize that the chapter of American history we are all writing now is not about any one man or any party. It’s about America’s Les Misérables — which are all of us, except for the Romneys, Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdochs, and other slithering oligarchs, who are determined to buy our government out from under us in order to steal everything else.

I know how millions of my fellow New York voters are stone deaf to the cries of Les Misérables who are being forced out of their jobs, their homes, good schools, and nursing homes. I don’t expect them to hear the message of this potent musical parody.  That’s why my vote is so important. As is yours.

I’m grateful to this great group of talented performers, directors, writers, and producers for breaking my spell of despair. They joined in song to remind me that my place is with them and with other Americans who on Nov. 6 will stand up against the hatred, viscous greed, violence, and evil of the New Republican Party.  

Win or lose, my place will be at America’s “barricade of freedom” — the ballot box, where I will join my fellow Misérables in singing, “My place is here. I vote with you! One Term More!”

At the end of Les Misérables, the entire cast and chorus join in the finale, “Do You Hear the People Sing?” It’s an echo of the number that ended the first act, “One Day More.” I don’t think the last words of any musical show has moved any where near as many people to tears of hope as these have:

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!

When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

With utmost thanks to the remarkably talented team of creative professionals who broke the the spell of despair: Singers Christina Saffran Ashford, David Burnham, David Engel, Kim Huber, Damon Kirsche, Jennifer Shelton, Sean Smith, Emma Ashford, Matt Ashford, Takako Gregg, Mason Keanne, Paula Nichols Keane, William Martinez Ali B. Olmo, Johnny Pastor, Bubba Dean Rambo, Flora Rubenhold, Terri Yates; musical director and producer Ray Colcord; music arranger and orchestrator Doub Lenier; choral director Christina Saffran; and video editor and producer Mike Clark.

A sample of their lyrics:

One Term More!

A time to celebrate democracy,
Repeal Republican hypocrisy.
This man who would unseat Barack’s
A bleak choice at the ballot box.

One Term More!

A G.O.P. perdition-bound,
All sense of right & wrong eroded.

One Term More!

Will you take your place with me!
The time is NOW the vote is NEAR!

One Term More!

One more day to re-election,
And until the music stops,
We will fight to save the jobs of
Teachers, firemen & cops!

One Term More!

One more day to resolution,
We’ll defeat those fetid nuts,
We are fed up with pernicious
Talk of prostitutes & sluts!

One Term More!

My place is here, I vote with you!

One Term More!

Help! I’m Being Stalked By a Troll Named Mark Thompson!

I am being stalked by a troll named Mark Thompson, who claims to be a marketing and advertising consultant and owner of “Thompson Consultancy” in Gansevoort, NY.  I could find virtually no evidence such a consultancy actually exists.

At this point, I suspect his only client may be the bogus lawyer who heads a radical group of global warming deniers called the “Sky Dragon Slayers.” If he’s not being compensated for his time, he’s a fool.  I just checked my web site stat counter and saw in the past 3 weeks he has visited my home page and resume a total of 27 times. I haven’t  a clue how many times he has visited other web pages on my site, but I’m sure he’s kept himself quite busy, looking for anything at all he can pounce on.

Several months ago, Mr. Thompson began to follow the comments I posted on LinkedIn science writing group and began baiting me with comments that drew some mild insults from me.  He used those comments to get me banned from Linkedin’s Science Writers Group and tried to do the same with at least one of the other LinkedIn groups I participate in, but wound up getting a warning from that moderator to cease his harassment or else.

So Mr. Thompson took his attacks onto other websites, including Desmogblog, where the editor Brendan DeMelle recently published articles on Desmogblog and Huffington Post reporting some of the results of my investigation of John O’Sullivan, the phoney lawyer who leads the Sky Dragon Slayers.

Mr. Thompson has joined O’Sullivan in publishing defamatory attacks on his global warming denier sites as well as on Desmogblog.

This past week, I finally took some time  to see who this “marketing consultant” actually is. I quickly found out and it is not pretty. I privately told Mr. Thompson what I had uncovered and that I would prefer not to make it public, if only he ended his stalking and harassment campaign. Unfortunately, he responded with additional attacks.

So here — in Mr.Thompson’s own words — are two letters he wrote and published that should help explain why this unemployed marketing and advertising consultant has so much time on his hands to stalk me across the Internet for months on end.

[Originally posted on July 10 and 13 on: and

Mr. Thompson describes in his letters how he wrecked his career, wound up bankrupt, and is now spending his days “sitting at home alone” in his “soon-to-be foreclosed” house finding “excitement” cyberstalking me, while seeking cybercompanionship on a Thai bar girl web site.

He complains how instead of “spending every waking hour searching for a new job,” he’s spending days on end trolling the Internet harassing me and “ogling the various ‘Bangkok Nightlife’ treats available on YouTube.”

“My only real excitement nowadays,” he says, aside from cyber-romancing Filipino and Bangkok beauties, comes from his cyber war with a “US-based troll” — an obvious reference to me.

“Maybe I’m just trying to justify my own pitiful existence,” he explained. “I need excitement even it involves a risk (and I haven’t got that much to lose, so it’s probably less of a risk to me).”

He’s probably right, for why else would he expose himself to such public ridicule.

“It’s about adventure….and I crave it…however bad an ending it may inevitably have.”

Mr. Thompson should be careful with what he craves, because he may get it. He should stop stalking me, put the Bangkok and Filipino beauties on hold, get out of his “soon-to-be foreclosed 3000 sq. ft home,” and go FIND A JOB, before he winds up on the wrong side of a libel suit he can ill afford.

P.S.  And really?  Joining John O’Sullivan to attack me?  For a clue what kind of person Mr. Thompson has thrown in his lot, here’s a news article about what ended the Sky Dragon Slayer leader’s high school teaching career, which I received last night after months of searching.

Hear No Bias, See No Bias, Speak No Bias…

Dr. Lisa Cosgrove, associate professor and research fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, published a vitally important opinion piece in yesterday’s The Scientist magazine.  It’s well worth reading and sending to everyone you know who cares about the integrity of science and the men and women who publish, report, and interpret scientific research for others.

Opinion: Bias Is Unavoidable

Simply disclosing conflicts of interest is not enough.

By Lisa Cosgrove | August 7, 2012

It is part of the human condition to have implicit biases—and remain blissfully ignorant of them. Academic researchers, scientists, and clinicians are no exception; they are as marvelously flawed as everyone else. But it is not the cognitive bias that’s the problem. Rather, the denial that there is a problem is where the issues arise. Indeed, our capacity for self-deception was beautifully captured in the title of a recent book addressing researchers’ self-justificatory strategies, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me).

Decades of research have demonstrated that cognitive biases are commonplace and very difficult to eradicate, and more recent studies suggest that disclosure of financial conflicts of interest may actually worsen bias. This is because bias is most often manifested in subtle ways unbeknownst to the researcher or clinician, and thus is usually implicit and unintentional.  For example, although there was no research misconduct or fraud, re-evaluations of liver tissue of rats exposed to the drug dioxin resulted in different conclusions about the liver cancer in those rats: compared to the original investigation, an industry-sponsored re-evaluation identified fewer tissue slides as cancerous and this finding affected policy recommendations (water quality standards were weakened). (See also Brown, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 13–28, 1991.) This example is just one of many that points to a genericrisk that a financial conflict of interest may compromise research or undermine public trust.

Indeed, recent neuroscience investigations demonstrate that effective decision-making involves not just cognitive centers but also emotional areas such as the hippocampus and amygdala. This interplay of cognitive-emotional processing allows conflicts of interest to affect decision-making in a way that is hidden from the person making the decision.

Despite these findings, many individuals are dismissive of the idea that researchers’ financial ties to industry are problematic. For example, in a recent essay in The Scientist, Thomas Stossel of Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School asked, “How could unrestricted grants, ideal for research that follows up serendipitous findings, possibly be problematic? The money leads to better research that can benefit patients.” Many argue that subjectivity in the research process and the potential for bias can be eradicated by strict adherence to the scientific method and transparency about industry relationships. Together, scientists believe, these practices can guarantee evidence-based research that leads to the discovery and dissemination of “objective” scientific truths. The assumption is that the reporting of biased results is a “bad apple” problem—a few corrupt individuals engaging in research fraud. But what we have today is a bad barrel.

Some have begun to use the analytic framework of “institutional corruption” to bring attention to the fact that the trouble is not with a few corrupt individuals hurting an organization whose integrity is basically intact. Institutional corruption refers to the systemic and usually legal—and often accepted and widely defended—practices that bring an organization or institution off course, undermine its mission and effectiveness, and weaken public trust. Although the entire field of biomedicine has come under scrutiny because of concerns about an improper dependence on industry and all medical specialties have struggled with financial conflicts of interest, psychiatry has been particularly troubled, being described by some as having a crisis of credibility.

This credibility crisis has been played out most noticeably in the public controversy surrounding the latest revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is often referred to as the “Bible” of mental disorders, and is produced by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), a professional organization with a long history of industry ties. DSM-5, the revised edition scheduled for publication in May, 2013, has already been criticized for “disease mongering,” or pathologizing normal behavior. Concerns have been raised that because the individuals responsible for making changes and adding new disorders have strong and long-standing financial associations to pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs used to treat these disorders, the revision process may be compromised by undue industry influence.

Researchers, clinicians, and psychiatrists who served on the DSM-IV have pointed out that adding new disorders or lowering the diagnostic threshold of previously included disorders may create “false positives,” individuals incorrectly identified as having a mental disorder and prescribed psychotropic medication.  For example, there was a heated debate about pathologizing the normal grieving process if DSM-5 eliminated the bereavement exclusion for major depressive disorder (MDD).  The concern was that widening the diagnostic boundaries of depression to include grief as a “qualifying event,” thereby allowing for a diagnosis of MDD just 2 weeks after the loss of a loved one, would falsely identify individuals as depressed. Although it is not the APA’s intent to play handmaiden to industry, the reality is that such a change would result in more people being prescribed antidepressants following the loss of a loved one. In fact, psychiatrist Allen Frances, who chaired the DSM-IV task force, has noted that DSM-5 would be a “bonanza” for drug companies.

After receiving criticism about potential bias in the development of the DSM-IV, the APA required that DSM-5 panel members file financial disclosures. Additionally, during their tenure on the panels they were not allowed to receive more than $10,000 from pharmaceutical companies or have more than $50,000 in stock holdings in pharmaceutical companies (unrestricted research grants were excluded from this policy). The majority of diagnostic panels, however, continue to have the majority of their members with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Specifically, 67 percent of the 12-person panel for mood disorders, 83 percent of the 12-person panel for psychotic disorders, and all 7 members of the sleep/wake disorders panel (which now includes ‘‘Restless Leg Syndrome’’) have ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the medications used to treat these disorders or to companies that service the pharmaceutical industry.

Clearly, the new disclosure policy has not been accompanied by any reduction in the financial conflicts of interest of DSM panel members. Moreover, Darrel Regier, speaking on behalf of the APA and in defense of DSM panel members with industry ties, told USA Today “There’s this assumption that a tie with a company is evidence of bias. But these people can be objective.”  However, as science has repeatedly shown, transparency alone cannot mitigate bias and is an insufficient solution for protecting the integrity of the revision process. Objectivity is not a product that can be easily secured by adherence to the scientific method. Rather, there is a generic risk that a conflict of interest may result in implicit, unintentional bias. Similarly, as Sinclair Lewis said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Lisa Cosgrove is a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a research lab fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University. Her current research agenda addresses ethical and medico-legal issues that arise in psychiatry because of financial conflicts of interest.

On the Odds of a Nobel Laureate Making a Fool of Himself

If you’re talking about the King of Woowoo Brian Josephson, the odds are millions to one.

The Nobel Laureate in physics, who never met a psychic flimflammer he did not embrace, hasn’t been right about much since conducting the graduate student work in 1963 that earned him a share of the Nobel Prize in 1973.

Prof. Josephson (for whom the solid-state device called a Josephson junction is named) is the biggest critic of the work my colleagues and I did in 2004 to test the remarkably unsubstantiated claims of Natasha Demkina — once widely hailed by the British and Russian tabloid press as the”Girl With X-ray Eyes.”

As we reported in the journal Skeptical Inquirer* Ray Hyman, Richard Wiseman, and I failed to find any extrasensory eyes when we examined the Russian teenager — who was earning a nice living from people willing to pay her to “look” inside their bodies and tell them what their doctors are missing.  So we agreed to conduct a preliminary test of  Demkina’s guessing powers for the Discovery Channel documentary,  “The Girl with the X-ray Eyes.”

Regretfully, Prof. Josephson took umbrage to our research, denouncing us as “propagandists,” attacking our motives, and dismissing our experiment as “some kind of plot to discredit the teenage claimed psychic.”**  Naturally we were hurt.

Even worst than that, Prof. Josephson put his professional credibility as a Nobel-decorated physicist on the line denouncing our experiment’s statistical requirements, claiming we set the bar unconscionably high so as to force Demkina to fail — even though we clearly set the statistical bar far below the level Demkina claims to meet on a daily basis when reading her “patients.” She says her readings have never been wrong.

We had made it clear to Demkina and to the Discovery Channel producer that our experiment could only be a preliminary test to see if her claims warranted more carefully-controlled study.  We set a requirement of at least 5 correct matches for her and she only achieved 4, which Demkina, her mother, her agent, and the producer all agreed to as a failing score — at least before the test.

Sadly for us, we never got Brian Josephson’s agreement, figuring that as a physicist, he well knows why a scientific search for hard to observe phenomena requires much lower P values than clinical trials to see if an aspirin can cure a headache.  Indeed, physicists like Josephson rarely if ever report findings with experimental P values anywhere near the high 2 percent we set as the bar for Demkina to clear.

To put it into a layman’s terms that Prof. Josephson should understand, Demkina had about a 1-in-50 chance of passing our test by blind chance alone. But she was not guessing blindly.  She was allowed to study the 7 subjects for more than 4 hours, with her friend and her agent able to observe everything the subjects said and did during long breaks and pauses. Her chance of passing this preliminary, unblinded test was therefore far higher than 1 in 50 due to natural perception — with or without the help of her claimed supernatural perception.

The reason we couldn’t do a simple blinded test is that she refused. She explained that while she has absolutely no problem seeing through cloth clothing worn by patients, hanging any kind of cloth in front of her to block her view of the subjects would weaken her paranormal powers. I have no doubt of that.  Common ordinary vision is an essential component of fortune-teller’s power to “cold-read.”

I can understand why someone who devoted nearly all of his life to proving the powers of palm readers, spoon benders, and Ouija boards would argue for tests that allow more than 1 in 50 charlatans and quacks to claim “scientific certification” of their powers. I just can’t condone it. Or stop ridiculing it. I expect a Nobel laureate to know better.

Which is why I’m wondering what the distinguished physicist is saying about the even more reprehensible “plot” of two groups of scientists, who had performed separate experiments at CERN, announced July 4th the detection of a new fundamental particle with all the properties predicted for the long-sort Higgs Boson.  The possibility of their observations being due to some other cause was less than 1 in 3.5 million, the researchers reported. Although scientists around the world were giddy with delight over their announcement, many say more evidence will be needed to firmly establish the existence of this highly elusive particle.

One in 3.5 million translates as a P value of approximately 0.0000029.

Compared to the whoppingly larger P value of 0.02 we used to look for the existence of something even more elusive — the psychic powers of yet another young trickster — I can almost picture Prof. Josepson in his Cambridge Tower of Woowoo, called the “Mind-Matter Unification Project,” sputtering over those scientific “scammers” who used so miniscule a P value instead of the 0.05 he says is the required norm.

I asked Prof. Josepson if he would like to comment on this commentary. He declined.

*Skolnick AA, Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 2005, “Testing Natasha: The Girl with Normal Eyes”
Hyman R, Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 2005, “Testing Natasha”
Hyman R, Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 2005, “Statistics and the Test of Natasha

**Josephson, Brian. “Scientists’ unethical use of media for propaganda purposes.”

Slaying the ‘Kiddie-Fiddling’ Dragons

(Posted earlier today on Prof. Michael Mann’s Facebook page.)

I think everyone who is interested in learning more about John O’Sullivan and his global warming-denying band of “highly qualified luminaries” known as the “Sky Dragon Slayers,” should see the official Missouri State Highway Patrol file on O’Sullivan’s co-author and partner Oliver Manuel:

Prof. Manuel was convicted of attempting to sodomize his 11-year-old daughter and was charged with raping and sodomizing three other children, but those charges had to be dropped due to Missouri’s statute of limitations.

Unlike O’Sullivan, fellow luminary Oliver Manuel is now required by law to register as a sexual offender.

But like his fellow Sky Dragon Slayer, Mr. O’Sullivan’s reputation and career was torpedoed by sexual abuse charges involving a minor. If you have the stomach for it, read the London Mirror news report on his trial for allegedly sending dozens of obscene text messages and offering money for sex to a 16-y-old school girl:

And for those with a cast iron stomach and nerves of steel, read Mr. O’Sullivan’s defense of what he calls “kiddie fiddling” in his autobiographical novel “Vanilla Girl,” which he described as “a fact-based crime story of a teacher’s struggle to control his erotic obsession with a schoolgirl”:

With his passages like these:

“I tell my online friends that the age of consent varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The median seems to range from fourteen to sixteen years, but globally ages can range anything from nine to twenty-one. It sickens me that people, so-called civilized, intelligent people can’t see it. Their clinical, sanitized attitudes toward the appropriate age of consent have drifted upwards in modern times-Ignorant people rally against me-against us-us free thinkers.”

“By looking at the female waist to hip ratio, you know when a female is of the right age for reproduction. At that time, and if the mind is mature enough you can argue that you are dealing with a woman and not a child. If nature says she a woman then she is a woman-it’s not arbitrary like the age of consent laws that vary so wildly throughout the world from country to country, jurisdiction to jurisdiction.”

“Too many fools still believe and need to believe that children are ‘innocent’ and ‘pure’, that is, asexual, untainted by sexual thoughts, feelings or urges. But, you see, Leo, you and me know this is not true even of very young children, and it is certainly not true of children much past the age of ten or eleven.”