24 April, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

The Carpetbagger Report has a quick overview of "red meat" issues for both parties:

So, for Dems, throwing red meat to the base is taking on wage discrimination and insurance companies denying coverage. For Republicans, it’s constitutional amendments on gays and the flag.

Someone's priorities seem to be a little fucked up. Maybe I'm just sheltered, but I haven't had anyone tell me that they put flag protection above a livable wage. Why do people vote Republicon, again?

In related news, Republicons not only have difficulties with priorities, they seem to have a congenital inability to understand science:

Programs teaching U.S. schoolchildren to abstain from sex have not cut teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases or delayed the age at which sex begins, health groups told Congress on Wednesday.

The Bush administration, however, voiced continuing support for such programs during a hearing before a House of Representatives panel even as many Democrats called for cutting off federal money for so-called abstinence-only instruction.


Rep. John Duncan, a Tennessee Republican, said that it seems "rather elitist" that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents what type of sex education is appropriate. "I don't think it's something we should abandon," he said of abstinence-only funding.

That's the most entertaining definition of elitist I've heard so far. An "elitist" is someone who actually knows what the fuck they're talking about compared to, oh, say, John or Jane Public. Lemme tell you something from experience: some parents don't have the first fucking clue about what's best for their kids. They have a completely pollyanna view of what their darling angels get up to, and no amount of reality changes their minds. Back in the day when my high school classmates were trying to get AIDS education on the agenda, their parents were saying, "But our kids don't have sex." This, mind you, is when an average of five girls were running around pregnant out of a student body of 500. Females are half a given population. You do the math and tell me nobody's having sex.

But for Republicons, anyone with a better understanding of reality than them is "elitist." Feels good to be an elitist, don't it?

Speaking of the terminally reality-challenged, John McCain's cunning plan to assist struggling families in our tanking economy is - wait for it - to offer "choices" on such things as education and health care, instead of providing what he likes to call "hand-outs." He further shows his spectacular lack of common sense by making this little speech before people who wouldn't be able to afford those choices should they be presented. Carpetbagger turns him over a knee for a well-deserved spanking:

So, on the one hand, McCain wants to cut taxes dramatically to benefit “corporations and upper-income families,” and on the other, McCain wants to cut federal spending. Since spending cuts for the military and national security are off the table — indeed, he’s vowed to
increase spending on both — it would necessarily mean McCain would make billions of dollars in cuts in spending that would benefit those who aren’t in “upper-income families.”

But if you’re in Appalachia and living in poverty, forget about a “handout.” In a McCain administration, they’re reserved for the same wealthy interests that have benefited throughout the Bush years.

What’s more, in about five months, Republicans will tell these same people in impoverished areas that they shouldn’t even consider voting for Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton) because what really matters are flag pins. It’s like an arsonist telling a family whose home is on fire not to trust the man outside in the firetruck.

Indeed 'tis.

1 comment:

Kaden said...

Time for Kaden to jump in. I haven't had much time to keep up on Ye Olde Blog, but whenever I see something relating to my teenage kin, it catches my eye. Being something of the Senior Teen Correspondent, I thought I'd shed my view on things.

SOME parents - I repeat, some - know what teens are doing these days. Some of _those_ parents know how to address those topics and have a mature, constructive discussion; but its only a small percentage of that smaller group of parents who also can summon up the courage to initiate that kind of discussion with their teen.

Other parents are about as clueless as a color-blind bomb defusal team. Abstinence-only education has NEVER worked. Of course, even in-depth sexual education won't stop a hormonal teenager from doing what they really want to be doing, but at least they have an idea of what could happen.

Clearly, though, the combination of sex ed, increased parent/child discussions, media coverage and a general increase in public knowledge, has had positive effects. Teen pregnancy rates across the U.S. have declined since about the 90s. Though, unfortunately, some statistics say that its started to level out and climb back up again in recent years.

In any case, the question at hand. Should abstinence-only education be taught in schools? No, and for a few reasons.

One, the saturation of media in our culture makes that level of sheltering nigh impossible, and even dangerous if it were actually achieved. Things like YouTube, the limitless number of pornographic websites, late-night HBO, and just about any music video with the images or words: bling, pimp, ho, playa/er, gangsta/er, rap.. well, you get the idea. It all educates us youngin's, in the wrong ways, if we were never educated any other way.

Two, on a more positive note, the culture has started to shift its paradigm as well. Condom commercials, which are frequent in most European locales, are finally starting to make their way into our networks. The younger age brackets right now are starting to learn things that we, as parents, will be able to more effectively teach our kids than our abstinence-fed parents were, by and large, not able to do for us.

Three, if you learn only one thing about us, its that the more obviously you try to hide the christmas presents, the more we'll start snooping around in closets.

Four, sex ed does actually help. I go to a high school five days a week. I see it every day. Between rock stars, sex idols, playboy and, of course, the internet, we are one horny bunch of people. However, programs like Planned Parenthood, where we can get free, confidential contraceptives, means that its all fun and no kids. At least, more often than before.

So look, the evidence that sexual education is a positive, if not wholly effective method, is irrefutable. To try to deny that is just..

Wait, who are we arguing with?

Republicans? Oh..