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Seriously, don't touch them

March 2, 2009 1 comment

So according to a study of nearly a thousand school districts in Texas, just 4% teach sex education in a correct and useful way. A quote:

For example, one school district utilizes a skit that compares using a condom to committing suicide. The skit titled “Jumping Off the Bridge” concludes: “Giving a condom to a teen is just like saying, “Well if you insist on killing yourself by jumping off the bridge, at least wear these elbow pads — they may protect you some?” Knowing that STDs can kill and that there is at least a 30% failure rate is like helping the teen kill them self [sic]. It is a lie to call condoms “safe sex.” If there is a 30% failure rate of condoms against life threatening diseases, then calling them a way to have “safe sex” is like “helping” someone commit suicide by giving them elbow pads to “protect” them or finding them the safest spot from the bridge to jump.'”

I didn’t know “Don’t Mess with Texas” was a public health warning.

Categories: Social issues

Sad

May 6, 2008 2 comments

This is sad.

How long is it going to take until we get to this point with gay marriage? I’m looking forward to the day when we officially recognize that banning gay marriage is nothing but uninformed bigotry. It doesn’t affect me, but we all should be happen when injustices are remedied.

Categories: Social issues

Bigots

November 5, 2007 6 comments

This op-ed at One News Now is priceless. Paranoid ravings:

Unlike the sin of homosexuality, the other sins you cite — the sins of adultery, fornication, racism, pride, jealousy, selfish ambition and drunkenness — do not have the benefit of a tremendously powerful and prosperous lobby which is blindly supported by people in positions of political influence, and other leftists in media and elsewhere who have been duped by the crafty and disingenuous rhetoric of “tolerance” and “diversity.”

Gay rights advocates as fascists:

And so, fervent and relentless homosexual propaganda goose-steps along, trampling upon those who observe traditional notions of sexual morality. This sets homosexual sin worlds apart from the other sins you reference. Therefore, we Christians are left no choice but to assign homosexual sin significance commensurate with that which it demands.

The best quote from the article:

The sheer mechanics of homosexual conduct very naturally elicits revulsion in most rational folk. Therefore, most of us would prefer not to even imagine it, much less struggle to defend against its wholesale promotion.

I have to admit, the thought of having sex with another man is very unappealing to me. I don’t, however, attribute that to me being rational, but to the fact that I’m heterosexual. I think our author is confused here. Hopefully he doesn’t get any more confused or we’ll be subjected to rants about the irrationality of eating anchovies or whatever food he dislikes. Confusing personal emotions for rational argument is an unfortunate trait of the religious.

The whole “damn you leftists for making us think of this yucky stuff” part of that quote is great, too. It’s almost as much stupid as you can pack into two sentences.

Categories: Silliness, Social issues

Explanations of what happened at VT

April 17, 2007 1 comment

Foreigners, too many guns, too few guns, evolution, original sin, atheism, an uncaring capitalist society…

I realize we all want to explain why something so horrible happened, but are we really getting anywhere by simply blaming it on a political hobbyhorse? I thought not.

UPDATE: Better stated:

As with every American tragedy, we are about to learn all sorts of “lessons” in the aftermath of the VT shootings. And true to form, most of these lessons will be hastily implemented versions of pre-existing agendas, shoddily conceived, and in the long run, more painful than the tragedy itself. It is a uniquely American form of grieving, completely predictable, and equally difficult to stop.

Categories: Social issues

Dueling sick people

April 11, 2007 1 comment

I’m all for embryonic stem cell research, but this is silly. Can’t we have more of a debate than everyone trotting out some random sick person they know?

I’ll spell it out:

Having relatives who died in a war doesn’t boost your authority on foreign policy.
Showing pictures of bloody fetuses isn’t an argument against abortion.
Knowing sick people who might be helped by stem cell research doesn’t make your argument stronger.

See a pattern? Sensationalist arguments based on emotion aren’t good arguments.

Categories: Social issues

Blog for choice day

January 22, 2007 6 comments

It’s the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, so today is blog for choice day. I thought I’d explain why I’m pro-choice.

Actually, I’m going to explain why I don’t believe abortion is immoral, first.

I believe people are valuable because of their individual cognitive abilities. Anything with the capacity for such abilities has moral value and it is wrong to kill them (outside of certain circumstances that I don’t need to explain). From what I can read, human brains are complete to some degree in the sixth month of pregnancy. There’s obviously plenty of growing to be done, but that’s not a bad marker. Some would like to use potentiality as a standard, but I find that odd. We don’t typically base moral decisions on what a person might do or become. In any case, it appears that from wherever you choose to mark a “beginning” to the end of pregnancy, the odds are against full development, so potentiality doesn’t really seem to be there. It has the capacity to develop the capacity for human cognitive abilities, but that seems too removed for moral worth. In any case, I also think my delineation avoids the mentally disabled and person in a coma counter-arguments, which has always seemed weird to me. The mentally disabled pretty clearly have individual cognitive abilities worth preserving and people in comas still retain the capacity for human cognitive abilities, though they’re temporarily unable to use them.

That’s my rather vague opinion, anyway. I shouldn’t have said abortion isn’t immoral so categorically above, as I implied that I find abortion after the second trimester immoral, which I do. I think we would do well to realize that this question is difficult and opinions will differ. Both sides should attempt to convince others of their position, but as a matter of law it becomes thornier.

It’s always tempting to simply decide what you believe is immoral should be illegal. Victimless acts that some believe are immoral can end in compromise fairly easily, as we can often agree to live and let live. Abortion is different because one side believes there is a victim that isn’t the person committing the act. The other problematic issue is declaring that victim a person under the law (which appears to be an inevitable consequence of the pro-life argument), when that seems nonsensical. And of course, isn’t the autonomy of the mother worth something?

It’s not an easy issue. I’m not going to solve it in a blog post and I’m starting to ramble, so I’m going to stop there. Maybe someday we’ll have a solution.

Various things

January 17, 2007 3 comments

Man, with all this Explosions in the Sky, Do Make Say Think, and Mogwai I’ve been listening to I had forgotten how good Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Yanqui U.X.O is. How can you not like a band so pretentious they moved the exclamation point at the end of their name to a random place in the middle?

Python regexes are slow. Really slow. Actually, it’s kind of odd. Doing some comparisons with Perl on my box at home, there’s not a huge difference. On one of our boxes at work, holy hell. I forget the actual numbers. A system call to grep cuts the processing time from a few minutes to a few seconds for the script I was writing.

You know, I can sort of understand laws against drugs, prostitution, and some other “crimes” involving consenting adults. Laws on gambling? Aside from industry regulations regarding fraud, I don’t get it. I mean, really. Gambling? I’m a bit mystified as to how that became taboo to the point of some states having laws against it.

Categories: Music, Social issues, Tech
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