Great news for baby boys! There are now federal guidelines pertaining to circumcision, and the government says, more or less: yes! Do it! Apparently medical evidence supports the ancient rite of foreskin removal, which can lower your baby boy's risk for STDs later in life. But also remember that considering your baby boy's sex life upon its birth is a personal choice—one the government does not want to make for you (can we blame them?).
Call me crazy, but I don't think it should be legal for adults to suck the blood from freshly circumcised baby penises. Alas, doing just that is a very important ritual for some Orthodox Jews. Called metzitzah b'peh, the process involves the mohel snipping away the foreskin and then sucking the blood from the penis to "cleanse" the wound. Obviously putting saliva on an open wound isn't considered an antiseptic practice in any realm of modern medicine, especially when that open wound belongs to an infant with a barely there immune system. Indeed, since 2002, metzitzah b'peh has been responsible for spreading Type 1 herpes, a very common condition in American adults, to 11 different babies, killing two of them and giving two others brain damage, according to ABC News.
Who was Chan Holcombe, and how was he circumcised? Holcombe's pithy obituary doesn't provide a full answer to the first question, for how could it? Holcombe, who died in Fort Smith, Arkansas last week at age 72, surely lived a full and rich life. He'd served with the Air Force and eventually started his own business. He "caught a lot of crappie" during fishing trips on which he surely contemplated the universe and his place in it—each time coming to a slightly different conclusion, as proof of his evolution as a man. And he raised a family, which surely inspired countless reflections and emotional responses both fleeting and fundamentally life-changing. All that life experience can't be conveyed in just a few hundred words.
Jerry Brown struck a mighty blow to the Occupy Foreskin movement on Sunday, as the California governor signed a bill preventing local governments from banning circumcision in males. Back in July, a judge had ruled a ballot proposal outlawing circumcision in San Francisco, backed by 7,700 supporters, to be unconstitutional. Now, thanks to bill AB768 — or what will eventually come to be known as "Jerry's Bill" — no male child in California will ever be denied his God-mandated right to circumcision again. Let the protests commence! Bay Area Urban Docking League, you have the floor. [AP]
Never let it be said that the persistence of a few crazy fanatics can't change the world: a proposal to ban male circumcision (for minors, only!) has officially been placed on the ballot in San Francisco. They did it, the crazy, crazy, crazy bastards! I guess when you take a step back and see the forest for the trees from 30,000 feet, the real lesson in all this is, "If you want to be assured of the right to have a doctor cut the foreskin off your baby's penis and you live in San Francisco, push that baby out before November or else go to a different city to have the baby, or else go to some back-alley circumcisionist."
Police say they found a "small bag" of crack hidden inside the foreskin of one Antoine Banks, late of Fairdale, Ky., during a strip search ordered after another small bag of cocaine was found "tied to the waistband of Banks' boxers." There are, probably, better places on one's body to secrete contraband—certainly there are more comfortable places—but the drug-concealing ability of the male human foreskin is, I think, an under-explored aspect of the circumcision debate. [WLKY]