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Trauma-Related Stress

An article in USA Today this week reports on kids in Baghdad:

About 70% of primary school students in a Baghdad neighborhood suffer symptoms of trauma-related stress such as bed-wetting or stuttering, according to a survey by the Iraqi Ministry of Health. The survey of about 2,500 youngsters is the most comprehensive look at how the war is affecting Iraqi children, said Iraq's national mental health adviser and author of the study, Mohammed Al-Aboudi. "The fighting is happening in the streets in front of our houses and schools," Al-Aboudi said. "This is very difficult for the children to adapt to." The study is to be released next month. Al-Aboudi discussed the findings with USA TODAY. Many Iraqi children have to pass dead bodies on the street as they walk to school in the morning, according to a separate report last week by the International Red Cross. Others have seen relatives killed or have been injured in mortar or bomb attacks.

Ferguson Speaks From The Heart

Via Mike Cope, this video of Craig Ferguson is worth watching: "Craig Ferguson speaks on his past problems as an alcoholic and why he will not ridicule Britney Spears and her shaved head crisis."

Kids face cutbacks in health coverage

From an article of the same title in USA Today by Richard Wolf:

A 10-year-old national program that has helped 6.6 million children get health insurance faces cutbacks here Sunday, and more states could follow unless Congress grants new funding. Georgia's PeachCare for Kids program, part of the national Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), will freeze enrollment because of a federal funding shortfall that threatens 13 other states. New Jersey, Iowa, Mississippi and other states say cuts may be required later this year. The program - which provides subsidized insurance for children whose families are not eligible for Medicaid - has helped trim the percentage of uninsured kids nationwide to 11.2% in 2005 from 15% in 1997. It is running out of money because of inflation, higher enrollment and program expansions.

Democrats in Congress want to add $745 million to a bill funding the Iraq war to take care of this year's shortfalls. Unless the federal government raises its $5 billion annual stake, however, 35 states could face shortfalls by 2012, and 1.5 million children could lose coverage. Advocates see the program as a precursor to universal coverage. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and others want to spend $60 billion over five years to enroll an additional 6 million eligible children whose families are either unaware of the program or have chosen not to join. President Bush wants to add $4.8 billion over five years but refocus on poor children. Fourteen states cover adults under the children's program.

There's a shortage of funding but states are covering adults under the children's program?

Finding What's Important in Raising Our Kids

From an editorial of the same title by William Falk in a recent issue of The Week magazine:

It seems absurd on its face: The U.S. and Britain are the worst places for children to grow up in the Western world. UNICEF came to this off-putting conclusion after surveying 21 developed nations on such measuring sticks as kids' relationships with peers, time spent with parents, drinking and drug use, and finally, the kids' own assessment of their happiness. The most secure and happiest nations for kids, the report card found, are the tightknit societies of the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland; the U.S. ranked next-to-last, and the U.K., last.

...UNICEF's main thesis is hardly controversial: that stable, supportive family and social relationships are far more important to kids' well-being than how much expensive junk they have piled up in their rooms.

Here's a link to a LA Times article about the same survey.


The Abortion War Abroad

Via Andrew Sullivan, from an interesting article of the same title by David Kuo on beliefnet:

This spring, Poland will decide whether to amend the constitution to ban the practice altogether. In Paris last month, thousands marched to ban abortions outright. And last year Italy placed import restrictions on RU-486, commonly known as "the morning after pill." The difference, CBN reports, between Europe's abortion "wars" and US conflicts over abortion is motivation - European birth rates have been dropping and that has a lot of people - in government, in churches, in financial institutions - scared. Apparently, this growing move towards restricting abortion is an effort to address that problem.


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