when the status quo frustrates.

I Just Have To Repost This

Thursday, July 16th, 2009


A condom angel.

From Feministing:

Abstinence-only education advocates are not too pleased that their federal funding is pretty much kaput…

Leslee Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse…had this to say about losing federal funding:

“We’ve got news for the condom worshipers, abstinence education is not going away any time soon. Taxpayers will not tolerate their money being used for ideological latex-only programs and the molestation of their children’s minds and future.”

Yeah, hear that, condom worshipers?! oh, my…

A Quick Experiment

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I’m going to name various categories. For each one, I’d like you to mentally note who is the first famous person to pop into your head. Please answer all of these for yourself before hitting the “Continue reading ‘A Quick Experiment’” link.

Who is the first famous person you think of when I say…

  • sexual harasser
  • rapist
  • domestic abuser
  • spouse murderer
  • child molester

Did a face or name pop into your mind for each of them? Okay, now you can read the rest.

(more…)

And if you thought the Abstinence Clearinghouse was bad…

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

…ParentsForTruth.org!

Their introductory video starts rollin’ as SOON AS YOU LOAD THE SITE on your browser, so brace yourself. To give them credit where credit is due, they do seem to have accurately assessed the majority of their targeted audience in terms of reading comprehension and mental processing speed. There is even a “Replay Intro” button to click in case you still couldn’t quite catch what they were saying the first time ’round.

My favorite bytes from the site:

Abstinence education realizes that “having sex” can potentially affect a lot more than the sex organs of teens

“Having sex?”

I’m also having a hard time blocking out an image of two people having sex through a cardboard cutout with only the, er, pertinent parts exposed and in contact.

Abstinence education empowers teens to avoid risk by making good health decisions, regardless of their sexual history.

Regardless of their sexual history? God, how magnanimous. Wonder if they promote inclusion of instructions on how to regenerate your spiritual hymen.

Current federal funding for abstinence education is nearly $170 million, but the results are a cost-savings to taxpayers! When teen birth rates are reduced, taxpayers save $6 for every $1 spent.

Oh, please share the math on that one!

From the, um, Success Stories section:

Natalie was able to review the 900+ page Teen PEP curricula and discovered though the school said the program “stresses abstinence” according to state law, it focused primarily on the “failure rate” of abstinence, suggesting students would eventually become sexually active

You mean most students don’t remain celibate their entire lives? Say it ain’t so.

Have fun.

(Via.)

American Literature 101, a personal tutorial for HotMama247

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Not every blog post has to be a work of fine art. And certainly, many of us bloggers write badly in many ways. I, for example, write long sentences and repeat words too many times. Also I love the comma. Love it, love it, love it. I have enough journalism classes behind me that I know what I’m doing wrong, but they’re so thoroughly behind me I no longer have to care. What I’m saying is, I try not to be the person who harps on other people for poor writing, since I have little room to talk, plus most of us make it up to our audience by being occasionally funny, insightful, or relevant.

However, if you’re going to be none of those things ever, and you’re going to claim to be a part of an educational clearinghouse – implying that you are kind of on top of your subject matter, an not, say, a month behind and tickled pink on the more obvious developments – could you at least do us the favor of not writing a melodramatic 14-year-old girl’s diary entry?

Young People of Today
Published by HotMama247 May 19th, 2008 in Abstinence

Young people of today are overtired, anxiety-ridden, compulsively active, and constantly depressed with recurring fits of paranoia and becoming more promiscuous and irresponsible. The pro-aborts tell us this is normal.

I don’t expect Betty Smith, here, but your passage does bear striking resemblance to something she wrote:

“Intolerance,” she wrote, pressing down hard on the pencil, ‘is a think that causes war, pogroms, crucifixions, lynchings and makes people cruel to little children and to each other. It is responsible for most of the viciousness, violence, terror and heart and soul breaking of the world.”

She read the words over aloud. They sounded like words that came in a can; all the freshness was cooked out of them. She closed the book and put it away.

Ok, maybe you can’t sound like the author of one of the Great American Novels, however, you can avoid sounding like her thirteen-year-old protagonist, and should, considering that even unworldly, teenage Francie knew she was writing crap that day.

Francie, of course, wrote a true statement (“Intolerance is bad; it causes the following bad things”) and realized that the appropriate response to her self-righteous little screed was “Yeah, so what? Tell me something I don’t know.” Your situation is a little different. You take a statement that is arguably true in some communities (“Kids are over stressed”), apply it to all kids, and then somehow try to make the whole thing pro-choicer’s fault. I’m sure there’s a hope chest full of assumptions there, but you’ve lost me and you’ll have to fucking prove it. Once again, let’s do this in list form:

1. Link, for the love of Christ, link to something that supports your argument. Otherwise, you’re just rocking on your porch, muttering about kids these days and ordering them off your lawn.
2. “Pro-aborts”? Pardon, educational clearinghouse, your slip is showing.
3. At least link to the pro-aborts who are saying it is right and natural to make the children who slipped through their abortiony grasp into neurotic stressed-out slutbags with no sense of responsibility. Seriously, do these people exist anywhere but in your head?
4. Take a writing workshop at your local community college or adult education center. Please.

Let’s be big meanies and pick on Abstinence Clearinghouse Blog again for no good reason

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

A few days ago we all piled on ACB for, among other things, being kind of silly. In response, they closed comments on many posts, deleted unfavorable comments, and otherwise completely ignored us. Their blog, like the rest of the site, remains almost breathtakingly underwhelming. For example, if you become an AC member, do you know what you can get? An email! Weekly! But that’s not all…they’ll also send you a certificate! To paraphrase Cat and Girl, that’s exactly zero dollars worth of goods for free! A near-unbeatable value.

Did you know that as an affiliate, you receive weekly e-mail updates with all the latest information regarding the abstinence community and a certificate of affiliation? You could also receive a gift certificate to the Sex, Love & Relationship Store; a link on our Website; and complimentary registrations to our upcoming conference.

On second thought, it’s possible that they should send you a check with that certificate to at least partially compensate for the pain and shame of being formally affiliated with such ineptitude. For I know they read my post, and while I expected most of my critique to be soundly ignored, there was one piece of advice that I thought they’d pounce on and that was achieving an air of legitimacy by adding hotlinks wherever they claimed to assert a fact. Really, as Ann Coulter knows, the references don’t have to go anywhere relevant or back up your point, but they should be there, reassuringly underlined, providing the subliminal cue that maybe the person writing the post read and thought about their words for a few seconds.

But at ACB, there are few, if any, links. They are conspicuous in their absence. They draw attention to the fact that ACBloggers are just spewing synapse goo randomly; that they’re so filled with anti-choice, anti-sex propaganda they don’t even need to pretend to refer to outside authority, or even inside authority. Their facts all so obviously true to them why would they need to justify them?

Enter again, HotMamma247-still making waiting hot- with a rare multi-sentence post on Gardasil.

There are now more growing concerns over the dangerous side effects linked to the vaccine for HPV. The vaccine targets four types of Human Papilloma Virus that cause most cervical cancers. The Merck product was fast tracked by the FDA in 2006 and aggressively promoted in an advertising campaign. However, a government watchdog group now says there are very serious problems with Gardasil including paralysis, convulsions and seizures in young girls. This is extremely serious findings and everyone should heed them. There should not be a mandate that school girls across the nation be given this shot!!

Ok, SexiliciousMILF69, let’s do this in list form, shall we? The following statements should DEFINITELY have links:
1. government watchdog group Which one? Why should be give a flying fuck?
2. serious problems A link to study or review article goes here. Less agenda-y, the better. Bonus points for linking to supporting material on the words paralysis, convulsions and/or seizures.
3. A link to some official calling for a mandate to give girls the shot. Or even a PP spokesperson. Since lots of people actually do think every kid should have this shot, this one should be easy to do, which means you could gain bonus points with people who think like you do without bending the truth or distorting the facts at all. This one should have been a no-brainer.

The following statements could have optional links, to give it that extra-internet-scholarly feel:
1. fast-tracked by the FDA
2. aggressively promoted
3. growing concerns

Don’t thank me, I’m just trying to help.

PS to HotMamma: I hope you’re actually hot. Because the internets are a cruel, cruel place, and if you keep doing this and a picture is eventually associated with you (and it will be) and you are not smoking hot, well, I value my shreds of feminist credibility too much to give you a hard time over it, but I can’t do anything about the rest of the interwebs. If you were posting for anything but an anti-sex site that has at least one recent pearl-clutching post about our oversexed culture, it might slide. But you’re not, so consider changing the moniker. Plus, numbers are so 1997. What is that, your aol screenname? Actually, just change the name. There’s no way you’re hot enough to be safe from post-exposure harassment; no one is.

If this is what counts as an “educational organization” in abstinence land, then hell yeah we need to stop giving them money. They’re just not that bright.

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Hi everybody! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting lately, not that y’all have noticed with our fantastic new bloggers filling the void I’d left behind. I took my last final ever today (squee!) and am gearing up to leave the country in a few weeks, so things have been a bit busy. And I was wondering, I should blog, but with my head stuffed full of MEMS manufacturing processes and phase diagrams, I haven’t had a moment to come up with an interesting thought about anything. What could I blog about?

Then Amanda gave me a present: the Abstinence Clearinghouse Blog. A treasure trove of easy target! Huzzah! Let’s check it out!

The Abstinence Clearinghouse is “a privately funded 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan international educational organization.” I hope they know alot about abstinence, because their bloggers don’t know jack squat about making an argument. Let’s start with Annie, author of the two of the first three posts on ACB. I don’t know much about Annie, because none of the bloggers write an introductory post, nor is there a bios page. The subject of Annie’s groundbreaking first post? The epidemic of teens taking nude photos of themselves with camera phones:

So teens are now using cell phones to take nude photos of themselves for general circulation. They have to know that once it’s out there, it’s really out there. That’s not just embarrassing–which it will be, sooner or later–it’s a little creepy when you think about who might be looking…and why.

I’m not sure what I like best about this post; the conversational opening, the lack of a link to anything explaining this phenomena to those of us who have never gotten a clear, much less titillating, picture out of a camera phone, or the scare ellipses. What nefarious reasons could a stranger have for looking at an anonymous picture of your nude body? Annie was just warming up, though. In her second post, “Planned Parenthood seeking 1 Million Opponents to Abstinence” she really shines.

On April 29th, Planned Parenthood sent out an email calling out to its supporters to join them in challenging Presidential candidates to talk about sex…They are asking for 1 Million “strong, caring, fed-up people who aren’t afraid to talk about sex,” to sign onto their letter by November 4th this year.

You see, this is what is wrong with the teens today.

Of course I see. How could I not see that the Planned Parenthood One Million Strong campaign to “elect pro-choice candidates at every level, including a pro-choice president and Senate and House members; pass laws and policies that support women’s health; defeat anti-choice ballot measures; and turn out one million pro-choice voters in November 2008!” is exactly what is wrong with kids these days. ( I assume Annie is talking about the 1 Million Strong campaign, as it is the only thing on PP’s website with that number associated with it. Annie, being a crackerjack debater, didn’t provide any supporting quotes from the email or links or anything crazy like that.) When I think of today’s youth with their hip-hop music, their Hannah Montana and their grassroots political actions for women’s health and reproductive choice, I wish we could return to a simpler time.
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Schlafly hypocrisy threatens universe at particle level

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

If the universe folds in on itself on May 16th, I will shake my angry fist at Phyllis Schlafly and the Washington University administration as my atoms are squished into oblivion. Few will understand what’s happening and why, but I will — and so will you, dear doomed readers. For May 16th hath been decreed the day that Schlafly will receive an honorary doctorate from Wash U as a “national leader of the conservative movement.”

Some people will probably blame Chris Matthews giving the school’s commencement speech for our downfall. Understandable. The eardrums of most attendees will have exploded by the time he finishes whatever screeching-yet-somehow-also-dithering rant he made his interns whip up, and I wouldn’t blame any prospective Jedi for striking him down on stage after confusing Matthews for a young Emperor Palpatine.



Is this Matthews?


Or this?

No, the universe will collapse as they hand the piece of paper to Schlafly honoring her for spending her life trying to prevent women from being honored. She will be the woman most celebrated for her accomplishments that night when the bulk of her work attacks the very idea of women accomplishing anything ever.

(more…)

Why I support black-focused schools

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

A few people have asked for my thoughts on the TDSB’s decision in favour of black-focused schools. Sonjaa and Troubleinchina both wrote good posts on the subject, and I recommend reading those too.

I’ll preface this by saying that this is a divisive issue in Toronto, particularly within the black community and the activist community. It’s also a rare example of my opinion reversing on a controversial issue within a very short period of time. In August 2007, I thought that black-focused schools were a terrible idea. Five months later, I support the plan, albeit critically. This about-face happened because of a) my experiences at OISE, b) my experiences in an actual Toronto high school, and c) heated debates with people that I respect.
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One step closer to a corporatist dystopian future

Monday, January 28th, 2008

…where you can get a high school diploma by working in McDonald’s

Do I need to point out everything that’s wrong with this? Corporate sponsorship of public education is a vicious cycle. First, the government cuts funding to schools. Next, a corporation approaches the desperately underfunded school to bail it out—Nike will build you a new basketball court, in exchange for some brand-name recognition. How could any inner city school refuse? Then, the government is free to shirk its responsibility for funding, because hey, someone’s already paying.

I doubt there will be much of an outcry as the education of the underclass is slowly handed over to corporations eager for a docile, under-educated workforce. In my province, this has been going on for awhile—Ontario high school students must complete 40 hours of community involvement to graduate. The lofty rationale behind the policy (“to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities”) sounds nice until you read the rest of it; students, most of whom already have part- or full-time jobs, can complete these hours “in a variety of settings, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, public sector institutions (including hospitals), and informal settings.” While I’ve been in community activist groups that have taken on student volunteers, most kids end up doing free labour for businesses.

Welcome to the future: Liberal educations for the rich, indentured corporate servitude for everyone else.

Abstinence advocates are sooooo cute when they’re young.

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

An Alaskan High School senior has it all figured out:

Abstinence is the only method that should be taught in schools. It is perfectly effective, protective and simple.

By teaching students anything but the most effective means of preventing pregnancy, we are doing them a disservice.

He’s really changed my views; before this, I had no idea that eraser-less pencils were considered easier to use. Also, did you know that other contraceptive feature failure rates? But not abstinence, it’s 100% effective due to the power of semantics! After all, the minute you start fornicating, you’re no longer abstinent, meaning any pregnancies are the result of your failure to use your newly chosen method of birth control properly, not your failure to refrain from knocking boots.

Actually, abstinence has a pretty high failure rate. In fact, even just promising to be chaste has a pretty high failure rate, with kids telling you less than a year later, nuh-uh, I never said nothing about refraining from sex.

Sam continues with his impeccable logic:

Furthermore, some antibiotics, such as doxycycline and tetracycline, can render the pill less effective or even invalid.

Though the two may seem unrelated, the doxycycline someone takes for acne can invalidate birth control.

In a science class, would a teacher assign a lab whose success was dependent on the color of pants each student was wearing? Of course not!

Right, drug interactions are just like wearing corduroy to science class. Just like wearing denim or leather pants should have no effect on how long it takes your pendulum to complete one full swing, two different chemicals in your bloodstream have nothing to do with each other. Looks like chemistry and biology are electives in Alaska.

Those two factors seem completely unrelated, but broad-spectrum antibiotics and the pill also seem unrelated. Should a teacher assign such a nonsensical lab? No.

In like manner, should a method of birth control as complex and as susceptible to arcane medication interactions as the pill is be taught? No.

Arcane? Drug interactions are arcane? Like latin or alchemy? That explains why I have to hire Sherpa guides for the arduous journey to see my pharmacist every month. He studies his cryptic craft in a remote monastery at the top of a dangerous mountain, and only those who prove themselves worthy are allowed a glimpse of his precious knowledge. And if you think I have it bad, you should talk to my dad – he’s medicated for high blood pressure and has mild diabetes; he has to fight over a dozen men trained in 4 different, obscure styles of Kung-Fu and solve an ancient riddle every time he needs his meds tweeked. If we had nationalized health care, he’d only have to fight 5 guys, but that’s just creeping socialism so forget I said anything.

In math classes, are students taught formulas that, if used correctly and consistently, will still fail at some point? Of course not. Students are taught formulas that work without fail.

Well sure, in high school you are only taught that math which leads to concrete answers that work without fail. Actually, not even, you’re just given problems that are carefully set up to avoid any pitfalls that may be contained in the equation. Even the quadratic equation can be a bitch to solve under the right circumstances. This idea of spoon-feeding high school students relevant but carefully screened information on subjects that get significantly less clear-cut out in the real world has no parallel to your sex education theory, so don’t worry about it.

Even if used perfectly, the pill can fail. If used perfectly, abstinence will never fail.

It is for that reason, not religious philosophy or ideals, that teaching abstinence-only in sex education classes has validity.

I’m not sure where this idea comes from that pills and condoms are bad because actual-use failure rates are higher than perfect-use failure rates, but abstinence gets a pass from this tut-tutting. Abstinence when used imperfectly (which, like all the other techniques, it will be) is worse than condoms or the pill even when they’re used imperfectly. To minimize risk should they not make it to the finish line, all teens should know where to get and how to use condoms. It is for that reason, not progressive philosophy or ideals, that teaching comprehensive sex education classes has validity.

Townhall V MidWest Teen Sex Show.

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

Mary Grabar of Townhall fame has found the Midwest Teen Sex show, and she is not amused.

These podcasts are introduced with a sign held by a gyrating, scantily clad nubile teenager in a farm field. The porno-inspired intro ends with her on all fours with the sign in her mouth.

So already we know that Mary is missing the point, the underlying theme, the whole base of the jokes. Britney’s laughable prancing with a hand-lettered sign in a freshly-plowed field is a mockery of sexy; a parody of a teenager stuck in the sticks imitating the supposedly sexy poses of women in advertisements and porn. Sure, Brit looks great in a bikini top, but the intro is still supposed to look silly, not sexy.

Unfortunately, Graber’s humorless gaze rests mostly on the Abstinence episode, that sophomore jinx nestled between the genius Female Masturbation episode and the geniuser Older Boyfriend episode. Then she starts complaining about some worksheet, and I searched and searched the MWTSS site for a worksheet before finally finding it on a different website by an organization that once briefly linked to MWTSS then took down the link because apparently no one read the disclaimer that appears at the beginning of each episode.* Which is how Mary found Nikol & Co. in the first place. Also, Jane Fonda is a traitor.

Anyway, in her column “Sex Education Lesson: Beat Up the Virgins”, Mary implies that the retarded, drooling, buck-toothed, one-eyed pro-abstinence girl was beaten into brain damage, although there is nothing in the shows content that suggests this. Rather, the joke seems to be that this clearly undesirable person was just using a commitment to abstinence to explain why she really wasn’t getting any. In poor taste? Oh, God, yes. Probably worse than the “Homosexuality is a choice…like cancer” t-shirts that enjoyed so brief a time on their store’s e-shelves. A suggestion that pro-abstinence kids will be beaten into permanent brain damage by their cooler, fornicating classmates? Eh, not so much.

Nikol, or someone using her email, has taken umbrage with this, and sent Mary a snippy email. Mary fights back in a second column where she lays bare the following devastating facts:

1. The producers of the MidWest Teen Sex Show may be trying to get noticed by the film industry
2. Teens and young adults writing about sex on an internet message board frequently employ poor spelling and grammar, proving that they are not mature enough to engage in discussion about sex that isn’t boring.

I doubt that the link would have been pulled had the Midwest Teen Sex Show’s videos featured nothing more salacious than animations of eggs traveling down fallopian tubes…According to a Wall Street Journal article published on November 8, 2007, the Midwest Teen Sex Show is the venture of Nikol Hasler and Guy Clark, “an aspiring filmmaker,” who wants to use the podcasts to “show off his cinematography skills to would-be employers.” I suspect money and careers are at stake…

What these kids need is not this idiotic posturing about sex, but reading, writing, and arithmetic. To begin with, they should be assigned such anti-censorship greats as John Milton and Richard Weaver, who have advocated exposure and open debate. If Nikol@MidwestTeenSexShow.com stands by her claim that I misrepresented the show, then she would not be worried because the podcasts would speak for themselves. The thing that propagandists—especially those who target minors—fear most is exposure.

That’s right, Nikol. Here you are, ignoring the basic mechanics of sex and focusing on irrelevant social issues to an audience that doesn’t know the slightest thing about John Milton’s Areopagitica, and its defense of the right of a political website columnist to misconstrue a bad joke to make it seem more outrageous to her audience. That is the very definition of irresponsible. As a parent, you should feel ashamed for propagating dangerous information like masturbation tips, unlike abstinence-based sexual education proponents, who would never leave kids with the wrong idea.

*OK, so MWTSS show says the show is for 18+, even though they are pretty educational and we all know that younger teens would eat this stuff up. I wish I’d had something like this when I was in junior high and that stupid smoshing-the-play-doh-promiscuity exercise was just reinforcing the idea that grown-ups had no clue. Still, if you are an Official Sexual Education Provider trying to convince people to let you educate their precious snowflakes on sex in a comprehensive manner and the morality police are watching your every move, then MWTSS is definitely not something you want to be linking to approvingly, and the disclaimer is there to warn you. Let the kids find it themselves, you just focus on keeping them educated enough to figure out when Nikol’s joking.

If Jesus wanted us to question creationism, he never would have invented talking snakes who handed out apples to rib-based women and then removed all physical evidence of this while leaving tons of red herrings like dinosaur bones to throw us off track

Monday, October 8th, 2007

As I mentioned recently, I no longer have a day job in IT. But the truth of the matter is not that I quit to become a producer. In fact, I was fired because I claimed during a meeting that the movie The Matrix was fiction and stated it was extremely unlikely we’d ever actually lose a war against machines who would then turn us into batteries.

I know, I know, it is a movie, but you have to understand that there are some serious Matrix fans out there. A few of my coworkers were incensed that I would insult the story of their savior Neo by dismissing the possibility of his future coming. These Matrix fans informed my superiors, who determined that my insensitive views made me unfit to work closely with both humans and machines who might be believers.

…okay, that didn’t happen. But this did:

A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.

Steve Bitterman, 60, said officials at Southwestern Community College sided with a handful of students who threatened legal action over his remarks in a western civilization class Tuesday.

Sheesh. If I’d had any idea it was this easy to fire a professor with whom I disagreed, I would’ve cleared out a lot of the chaffe at UT — especially in the math department. It was so annoying when they told me that MY answers to the equations they presented were wrong. How dare they disrespect my belief that {k = 1}^n {2k – 1 = n^2 } was equal to {dx}x, you know?

Seriously, though, welcome to another sign of the coming intellectual apocalypse in America (or the Midwest, at least). It begins with teaching intelligent design alongside the theory of evolution during students’ early years under the guise of open discourse. Then we close discourse by preventing anyone from questioning the underpinnings of creationism in later studies, as done here in Iowa. Then we shoot all the scientists.

Okay, maybe there some steps in between those things, but not as many as you’d like to think.


Above: Albert Einstein teaches your innocent children about the Theory of Relativity.

And is it any surprise that the fundies use the threat of expensive legal action to force what is probably an underfunded community college to cow to their demands? Not only is this further proof that the Right is the true culture of frivolous lawsuits, it also helps explain why they enjoy emptying the wallets of our schools so much. When educational institutions lack the funds to fight back, they become much easier to bully.

Church groups and corporations could sue anyone they like into the stone age, and from Steve Bitterman’s perspective, they’d probably like that:

“I just thought there was such a thing as academic freedom here,” he said. “From my point of view, what they’re doing is essentially teaching their students very well to function in the eighth century.”

Ahh, the good old days — when peasants were god-fearing and taxation had never even heard of representation.

May not be long now…