Tag Archives: politics

Palin, pregnancy, and sex education

0_61_palin_sarah.jpgThis post started life on a family forum thread, so apologies to the fam for repeating myself.

I associate with a number of people who don’t think that the media attention paid to Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy is fair. I’m a bit more conflicted because it points to an issue I have with Palin’s policies.

The thing is, Sarah Palin holds fiercely to sex education policies that I find horrifying. These are policies that I think will leave many of our children pregnant before they’re ready because rather than acknowledging that a large percentage of teenagers are sexually active, they tell kids to just say no. I’ve got no problem with teaching abstinence in schools but I think it’s irresponsible to only teach abstinence. Recognize that kids will experiment and provide them the tools they need to weather the hormonal storms.

Maybe I can put a more complete face on it this way… when my kids get to puberty, if they choose to experiment with sex or even become promiscuous, I want them to know how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and disease. I think this teaching is best addressed in the home, so that means I have to prepare to teach them about their options. I’d prefer they abstain, but if they don’t, I don’t want them to have to face the burdens of unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease because they didn’t do what I taught them.

Palin’s abstinence-only take on sex education leaves all children whose parents aren’t willing to teach them about safer sex practices with no knowledge to protect themselves from disease or unwanted pregnancy should they decide not to abstain. Many parents won’t teach their children about sex, much less safe sex, so it falls to the schools. Given the early age of sexual initiation in the US, I think our kids deserve better than “just don’t do it” when studies show that a large percentage of our teenagers are sexually active.

In the end Sarah Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy isn’t especially important to me. The sticking point is that I strongly disagree with Palin’s stance on sex education and I think it’s dangerous for America. Kids will do what they will do despite what their parents teach them. I’m not going to say that Palin is a bad mom for choices her daughter has made. I just don’t want her pushing policies on other parents that will put their kids at risk of unwanted pregnancy.

While we’re on sex education… the McCain campaign has decided to make Obama out as a corrupter of youth because of his involvement in an Illinois bill that would teach kindergartners to beware of sexual predators. Obama was a member of the committee that deliberated it, didn’t sponsor it, voted for it, but it never moved beyond there.

How nice to know that the Republican candidates are opposed to helping our kids avoid child molesters… oh wait, now I’m distorting the truth.

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Fact checking

factCheckLogo.jpg
Apologies to those of you that have already heard me blab about this on Twitter, message boards, or elsewhere.

At the moment I just don’t feel I can say enough to point out and praise the Annenberg Foundation’s FactCheck.org site or their Fact Check Wire RSS feed.

The site is valuable in all seasons for its cutting through the spin on big issues, but is especially valuable with the election season upon us. Now that we’re in that magical time of year when political parties tend to stretch facts or in some cases put forth complete fabrications a little more often than they usually do.

Through a recent commercial, McCain “approved” the work of FactCheck, though rather ironically he did so while misrepresenting their work.

The latest five cases of facts gone wrong…

If anybody’s feeling like their candidate gets put upon in this list, just dig into the archive. While it seems to me McCain-Palin tend to twist the facts more often than Obama-Biden, you’ll find misrepresentations from both sides if you read through enough.

Happy checking!

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US Presidential race Pokemon screens ;)

mediajunkie sent this YTMND anim out on his twitter feed.

pres-rpg.gif

Feel the Pokemon power… now in Turnercolor!

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Hugo Chavez insists his people spy on each other

Hugo Chavez

From the AP

Citizens are rioting in Venezuela thanks to an intelligence law that requires them to inform on one another or face up to 4 years in prison.

Nice Huguito… require people to spy on their neighbors. The hallmark of every great regime is sewing distrust among it citizens. :-[

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McCain’s self-contradiction troubles

TheRealMcCain.com has posted some vids on YouTube pointing out McCain’s double-talk and contradictions. Not exactly the “straight talk express” of McCains past.

“John McCain vs. John McCain”

“McCain’s YouTube Problem Just Became a Nightmare”

And folks got after Kerry for being a flip-flopper…

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The audacity of focus

While I’ve seen different sources call Obama’s speech this evening “falling short of his goal” or “improperly targeted”, I think the criticisms miss one of Obama’s central points (and gloss over the value of the direct things he said about race relations in the US).

In speaking of how it is tempting to focus on the sound bites, the Obama’s pastor said or Hillary’s aide said or “white men will flock to McCain regardless of his policies”… or we can say “Not this time.” We can focus on what the real issues are and not on the speculation, the sound bites and the expert opinions that seem to form so much of our discourse anymore.
In this and in the course of action he proposes in light of “Not this time” he’s asking a lot from us. Look at people outside our insular groups as part of “us” rather than as “them” and see how similar their problems are to ours. 
In that sense, Obama’s speech voices something I’ve been hoping we’d hear more articulately from candidates for some time. Let’s talk about the real stuff, not all the crap that flies around a campaign. What I’m most excited to see in that respect is how Obama will meet the challenge he’s laid before himself.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com

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On Vox: My heart says “no”

As much as I may ever want to claim that I make political decisions in a rational, logical, dispassionate manner, I’ve encountered at least one in my time in Costa Rica where my emotions and reasoning are together to the point where I wonder who’s influencing who. 

In October, Costa Ricans vote in a national referendum on the Tratado de Libre Comercio with the United States (CAFTA). Their neighbors have been quick to ratify it, but as evidenced by the Monumento Nacional behind me, Central America has had its troubles with US influences in the past. (Nevermind the US backed Contra rebels, US facilitated assassinations of past Central American leaders, and other challenges to local sovereignty.)

I’ve looked over the treaty and there are provisions that I think are too broadly worded or vague and fail to protect the interests of the Central American signatories. Further discussion with friends here have uncovered other unsettling things, and frankly, I prefer not to trust US based multinational companies any more than I have to. They’ve proven too untrustworthy in the past. (Put quickly, if a corporation’s reason for existing is to make money for it’s stockholders, it’s in the corporation’s best interests to offload costs as much as possible to outside entities and exploit resources to the greatest degree possible. I wouldn’t trust a person whose entire purpose was to saddle others with their bills and take everything they can get, why should I trust a corporation with the same stated purpose?)

That’s what my heart says. My brain says many of the same kind of things, pointing to hardships in NAFTA signatory states that have resulted from that treaty (Jamaican agribusiness decimated by dumping of US products) and concerns about established institutions in Costa Rica that would be forced to change by secondary effects of CAFTA (the influence of pharmaceutical IP provisions on the use of generic drugs in Costa Rica’s social (medical) insurance).

With any treaty there are things to be gained by signing and things to be lost. My concern is that Costa Rica and other Central American nations don’t end up losing more than they gain. At this point I’m hoping to get more information about how the benefits and the costs finally balance out, and more importantly, that the Costa Rican populace will be sufficiently informed about the treaty to make an educated decision the day of the referendum.

Originally posted on xuhoch.vox.com

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