Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Soldier's Suicide: Did he Have to Die?

What the soldier's father, Chris, would learn about his son's final days would lead the retired Special Forces commando, who teaches at Fort Bragg, to take on the very institution he's spent his life serving — and ultimately prompt an investigation by the Army Inspector General's office.

The documents, obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests filed by Chris Scheuerman, reveal a troubled soldier kept in Iraq despite repeated signs he was going to kill himself, including placing the muzzle of his weapon in his mouth multiple times.

Pfc. Jason Scheuerman nailed a suicide note to his barracks closet in Iraq, stepped inside and shot himself. "Maybe finaly I can get some peace," said the 20-year-old, misspelling "finally" but writing in a neat hand.

This Associated Press story brings to mind a recent conversation I had with a person in the mental health field. I was told some sketchy information about a local National Guard soldier just back from Iraq who is suffering severe Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He was back from his 2nd 15-month tour and fears greatly that next December, he'll be back in Iraq.

The soldier said that one in his platoon already committed suicide and another attempted it twice but chickened out. He said, "So did I!" The man is terribly angry with everybody, including family members, but especially so of 'foreign looking people.'

The mental health worker told me, 'Luckily he doesn't have a weapon [he says] because if he did, he'd shoot somebody, I'm sure of that.'

I asked if the government was paying for his counselling sessions. Because he is a Reserve Member, he doesn't get Veteran benefits.

I have been thinking of this man for many days now and wonder how he will do in the next few days. Even trauma-less folks often find these days stressful.

The Reserve and National Guard surely have been abused by this administration and apparently it is showing. I heard on NPR on Friday that the newest mental health report on active-duty servicemen and women showed a large uptick in suicides and attempted suicides. The reporter said that the length of the war, the seemingly no end in sight, and the 15-month tours have contributed greatly to the demise in the mental health of the troops.

I am most angry with the right-wing talking heads who continue to pump up this war, sitting back in their easy chairs, with no blood on their hands or on their children's hands. "It's an all-volunteer army!" they cunningly proclaim, as if that inoculates them and the tragic deaths and injuries suffered by the soldiers and Marines.

But what of the National Guard and Reserves? They are not professional soldiers. They are, as their names suggest, an auxiliary force to be used in times of emergencies. Iraq is hardly an emergency and never was. Yet these brave men and women are called upon again and again to put their jobs and families on hold, and go into hell for 15 months and then return home to a 'normal life.'

Never in my life have I witness such a blatant misuse of our resources. Never. And it goes on and on, no end in sight.

Right-wing Blog Closes Before Giving Me My Major Award!

Wouldn't you know it! I get nominated for an award and, damned if the blog closes down before I can give my acceptance speech. I would have rather had the grand-prize winning leg lamp, though.

Back to the award. The now-defunct right-wing blog, KoozNews, listed several [first] annual awards last week and this blog swept up the #1 position for the 'Worst Blog in Toledo.'

I have never won a major award before this one. When I saw that I was the first place winner, I went to my writing desk, pencil and paper in hand, and began writing my acceptance speech. It was a beauty! I did 7 re-writes until it was just perfect.

Well, all of that work for nought! Nada, nothing! Wouldn't you know, Mr. Kooz shuts down his crummy blog before I could accept the award and give the speech.

Drat! And his was such a neat and tidy blog, too. Just like you would expect from a tight-ass right-winger. He even vetted the comments before posting them. Only two of mine made the final cut. Apparently I tilted just a little too far left for his good taste.

Oh well, another blog down the proverbial drain. Glug! Glug!

City of Toledo's Partnership Registry Open for Business

An ordinance passed by Toledo City Council and signed into law by Mayor Finkbeiner a few weeks ago went into effect yesterday. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner on Nov. 21 signed the law that made Toledo the largest city in Ohio to create a domestic-partner registry. It requires the clerk of council to set up a registry for domestic-partner couples, whether of the same or opposite sexes.

The Blade reported that one of the first partnership registry requests was from a Universtiy of Toledo provost, Carol Bresnahan. Ms. Bresnahan, who is the vice provost of the University of Toledo, said bigotry is to blame for those who oppose the law. "It's their religious beliefs, and bigotry in the name of religion is still bigotry," Ms. Bresnahan said.

>An example of this religious bigotry came in the form of a letter from the bishop of Toledo which he mandated be read at all weekend masses just before council voted on the measure. A statement from the Toledo Catholic Diocese said that Bishop Leonard Blair was "confident that he speaks for many, many people in Toledo in expressing deep disappointment that both the City Council and the mayor have taken this action."

That letter angered many Catholics in the Toledo diocese causing some to decide to leave the church. I personally know of two such people.

The Blade reports that Cleveland Heights, Ohio, with a 2006 population of about 47,100, enacted such a registry in 2003 after passage of a citizen initiative.

Keep the Solstice Fires Burning

I hope your Solstice fire is still lit. Be sure to maintain it for the next 3 days and nights otherwise the sun will sink into the ocean. In 3 days the wizard will tell us if our sacrificial fires have caused the sun to rise once again!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Imploding Imperial Presidency

We knew it would. Those of us paying attention knew it wouldn't be able to withhold the layers of secrets and deceit. There were too many, like a child trying to balance blocks too high, we knew it would all fall apart. Some might be happy about it, thinking vengefully. They got what they deserved. I do not. I am saddened and disgusted by it all and terribly afraid that it may not be able to be fixed at all.

The damage to our republic by the Bush/Cheney Administration is almost too much to innumerate. Congress ought to appoint a czar to investigate it all but, of course, they are a large part of the problem, too. After all, a strong Congress would have stopped this president in his tracks before March 20, 2003. But they didn't and because they did not exercise their constitutional mandate, the imperial presidency saw a green light and moved forward like an unstoppable bulldozer, crushing anything in its path.

The CIA torture tapes were perhaps the last straw, but maybe not the last one. Who can list all of the lies, spin and outright illegal deeds that have been done by this White House in these past seven years? I have lost track and that is exactly the problem. That czar ought to collect them all and write them on a poster board [or two] to re-educate the citizens on the damage that their careless votes has meant.

The photo of George Bush above is priceless. I am a keen observer of the face and this face shouts loudly to me of frustration and disdain. Disdain that it is over: the tightly sealed box of secrets has been pried open. It is the face of a tired man. Any man, no matter how strong, will show the strain of keeping secrets for so long. He, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove and Rice have, like the Wizard of Oz, kept us so fearful that we dare not probe too deeply into their affairs. But Toto barked and now the ruse is at an end.

What do discredited men do after it is all over and they have been publicly shamed? Many take to suicide; others flee to distant lands or hide in spider holes. Some are hung in public.

What will George W. Bush do? That is the only secret we don't know.

Andrew North, the departing BBC Baghdad correspondent, looks back on the 2003 US-led invasion.

Many Americans have blocked out 'the war,' especially at this time of the year. Those hopeful for an end were greatly disappointed in this past year, after the Dems swept into Congress. Others, especially those who once supported the war, don't want to think about that support now. So, who wants to read the review of all of the mistakes and blunders of that idiotic Bush/Cheney War?

Well, if you still have some intellectual curiosity as well as the courage to look at all of this, then Andrew North's piece will be the perfect read for you. The BBC titles it: Iraq: The trauma and the mistakes

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Nanowire Battery Holds Great Promise

ScienceDaily reports on new nano technology that could revolutionize the lithium battery strength. They report:

Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices.

The new version of the battery was explained by Yi Cui. He explained that 'a laptop that now runs on battery for two hours could operate for 20 hours, a boon to ocean-hopping business travelers. "It's not a small improvement," Cui said. "It's a revolutionary development."
The greatly expanded storage capacity could make Li-ion batteries attractive to electric car manufacturers. Cui suggested that they could also be used in homes or offices to store electricity generated by rooftop solar panels. "Given the mature infrastructure behind silicon, this new technology can be pushed to real life quickly," Cui said.

Now we have to ask the question: how long before it will be ready for the automobile? It seems to me that replacing the conbustion engine is of paramount importance if we wish to save the planet. How will Big Oil react to this potential new energy source?

lots of questions...

Everything I need to know about the regressive right I learned in junior high

David Michael Green has written an article he calls, "Everything I need to know about the regressive right I learned in junior high." He writes:

I suspect that for most of us, these were the nightmare years of awkwardness, emotional pinball, and deep wounds over small slights. Oh, and zits, too – just in case you were somehow feeling too good about yourself on any given day.

But for those of you who have for some reason been wishing that you could return to those golden years, I’ve got news for you: You already have! That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Courtesy of the regressive right and its Grand Old Party (and isn’t it just grand?), we’re reliving all those many joys again and again.

I was wondering how he was going to tie junior high to Republicans when I first received Green's email a few minutes ago. Let's see how it all unfolds...

But here’s the good news: Once you understand this, there’s no longer any mystery to figuring out these clowns. That’s ‘cause everything you need to know about the regressive right you already learned in junior high. For instance:

Elitism Is For Elites! What’s wrong with some people having all the goodies and most everybody else having little or none? That whole egalitarianism critique is for tenth-graders, man! When you’re in junior high, though, it all just makes perfect sense. Certain golden children were born to rule, and the rest were born to have it lauded over us, when we weren’t being laughed at, that is! You can certainly see that today in regressive policies on war and taxes, to name just two. Rich people paying taxes or Republicans going to Vietnam? Pshaw! Why do you think they keep us hoi polloi around, anyhow, other than to fight their wars and pay their tax bills?!?!

Green goes on comparing those ugly days in junior high with today's GOP. His topics include:

Personal Destruction Is Cool!
It’s A Really Scary World Out There.
Lying, Cheating, Secretiveness and Hypocrisy Will Get You What You Want.
Tantrums Will Get You What You Want.
Thinking For Yourself Is Highly Frowned Upon.
Girls Are Really, Really Scary.
It’s All About Me!

As I was reading through this essay I was thinking that this is déjà vu all over again! For the past 7 years I had the feeling that I'd been through this Bush/Cheney stuff at some other time and no wI realize that, in fact, I had! What a punishment.

Ohio's Voting System Has "critical security failures."

Testers looking at the performance of Ohio's voting machines identified numerous risks to election integrity ranging from minor to severe. Among their findings: a magnet and a Personal Digital Assistant (i.e. a Treo) may be all that is needed to hack into Ohio's voting systems. The NYT reports:

All five voting systems used in Ohio, a state whose electoral votes narrowly swung two elections toward President Bush, have critical flaws that could undermine the integrity of the 2008 general election, a report commissioned by the state’s top elections official has found.
“It was worse than I anticipated,” the official, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said of the report. “I had hoped that perhaps one system would test superior to the others.”

Ms. Brunner proposed replacing all of the state’s voting machines, including the touch-screen ones used in more than 50 of Ohio’s 88 counties. She wants all counties to use optical scan machines that read and electronically record paper ballots that are filled in manually by voters.

Naturally, this calls into question the results of the 2004 presidential election. During that election, the Secretary of State of Ohio was also the chairperson of the Bush/Cheney re-election team, Kenneth Blackwell. Mr. Bush made an 'exceptionally strong' showing in the Buckeye state.

Rolling Stone Magazine printed a story in June of 2006 written by Robert Kennedy Jr. titled, Was the 2004 Election Stolen? Kennedy says, "The reports were especially disturbing in Ohio, the critical battleground state that clinched Bush's victory in the electoral college. Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House."

Is anybody surprised by all of this? Stolen in 2000 and again in 2004. The only question remains is: will it be again in 2008?

While Bush Was Busy Bullying Saddam...

You've probably sat in a classroom or two with the class bully. The holiday hit, A Christmas Story [you'll shoot your eye out!], features one. I had one for all 8 years of my grade school years. Today he's a fugitive from the FBI.

Vladimir Putin is Time Magazine's person of the Year. No, he is not the bully I was thinking of. In fact, I would bet he is no bully. Bullies are cowards and Putin is no coward. Cunning, calculating and dangerous to be sure.

George W. Bush is the bully I had in mind. Reports of his childhood shooting frogs at the pond is a good indication. Osama bin Laden mastermind the 9-11 attacks on America, but Bush went after the soft, safe, easy target of Saddam Hussein. Bush's toady, Cheney, helped him with the ruse.

In fact, Bush did that other cunning thing that bullies do: they soft-soaped the real tough guy, Putin. He declared that he saw his soul and it was a pure as the driven soul. Ha! Bush was able to get Tony Blair for his other toady, to help with the ambush-snowball fight.

Now Vladimir Putin has his dour photo on Time Magazine's cover. Saddam is dead; the easy target. Mission accomplished. Bin Laden and Putin linger on.

That's what we get for electing a bully as our leader.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Have You Zillow-ed Your House Lately? is a real estate evaluation site that has some clever software program that give you the value of your house on today's market. You can 'zillow' your entire neighborhood as well if you care to. You can also find homes with similar characteristics as yours, their locations, and their prices.

It is a fun site to play around with. [I ought to get come compensation for this promotion]

The Out-of-Sync Child

There is a website called The Out-of-Sync Child which relates the story of certain children who, as the title suggests, seem to be just a little off the norm. In the introduction to the disorder, the author says:

Most children enjoy such activities because they have effective sensory processing—the ability to organize sensory information for use in daily life. They take in sensations of touch, movement, sight, and sound coming from their bodies and the world around them, and they respond in a well-regulated way.

Some children, however, such as Andrew, Ben, and Alice, did not enjoy coming to my classroom. Faced with the challenge of sensory-motor experiences, they became tense, unhappy, and confused. They refused to participate in the activities, or did so ineffectively, and their behavior disrupted their classmates’ fun. They are the children for whom this book is written.

As Carol Stock Kranowitz notes, many teachers become frustrated with children like this and are quick to 'label them' as lazy or uncooperative. They are the children who march to the beat of a different drummer who become the scorn of some in the teaching field. Kranowitz notes that a pediatric occupational therapist named Lynn A. Balzer-Martin was diagnosing and treating young children who had academic and behavior problems stemming from a neurological inefficiency – then called “sensory integration dysfunction.”

Today this disorder is called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and it "can cause a bewildering variety of symptoms. When their central nervous systems are ineffective in processing sensory information, children have a hard time functioning in daily life. They may look fine and have superior intelligence, but may be awkward and clumsy, fearful and withdrawn, or hostile and aggressive. SPD can affect not only how they move and learn, but also how they behave, how they play and make friends, and especially how they feel about themselves."

No doubt the parents of these children cry out for answers as to why their child is so 'different.' Unless the child is tested and diagnosed, the child remains just an enigma, a quirky kid with a dicey future ahead of them.

"Preschoolers, whose nervous systems are still developing rapidly, stand a good chance to benefit from therapeutic intervention. Lynn knew that if SPD could be detected in three-, four-, or five-year-olds, these children could receive individualized treatment that would prevent later social and academic impasses."

The author says that although early intervention is best, even adults with the disorder can be helped. The key is in recognizing the symptoms and getting a diagnosis.
The SPD Network has a website with much more information on this disorder including behaviors to look for in a child which seems 'out-of-sync.'

Gov. Strickland's Ban on Utility Shutoffs Too Late for One Toledo Boy

FirstEnergyCorp, Toledo Edison, shut off the power to his house and, for nearly two weeks, he lived in his cold house, heated by only a small kerosene heater. So did his 6 brothers and sisters and grandmother. They had the heater in the small dining room, closed off by some bed sheets. The smell of kerosene was ghastly, but the room was warmer than the cold house. At bedtime, he lay in his cold, unheated bedroom.

His mother argued with Toledo Edison that she did not owe the $600 electric bill, that it was from the previous tenant who left town with many unpaid bills. Toledo Edison said, 'No, it is your bill.' The mother said to my wife, "I've only been in the house for a month and couldn't have a $600 electric bill." Edison shut it off. The house went dark and colder with each passing day.

I met Elijah at the Padua Center, the former now-closed St. Anthony Church's rectory. The Diocese of Toledo opened it as a neighborhood resource. Sr. Virginia Welsh operates the facility which offers free bread and rolls and coffee to the neighborhood. Elijah's two younger brothers came over for tutoring and told Sister that they were cold at home. Sr. Virginia then investigated and went to the home and found the family cold and in the dark. The mother told the story to her.

Elijah is severely autistic and does not speak and has violent outbursts. He's 14 and strong. He and his mother, grandmother and the youngest children were at the Padua Center warming up and eating pizza that Sister had made for them. I was introduced and when I shook the boy's hand it was literally like a corpse hand; I never felt colder skin than his. He was restless and paced back and forth and only sat down when his mother pulled him next to her. His eyes were wild and darted back and forth. Clearly he was out of his element and, as such, is very distressing to an autistic child.

This was on a Friday morning, the 8th day of no power. The mother told us that she had gathered the $600 from relatives and friends and was going to pay the bill that afternoon. We provided electric camping lanterns and flashlights so that the family would not continue to use candles to light the house at night. The tragic death of 3 children and their mother a few days earlier prompted our action.

For the whole story click [here] to read my earlier post. Power, however, was not restored until the afternoon on Tuesday, four days later. Several phone calls to Toledo Edison by my wife and I were met with belligerence, incompetence and plain ignorance. When the power finally was restored, the furnace ran and ran, trying to heat the house whose temperature had fallen into the 40's. We thought the family's long nightmare was at last over.

The phone call on Thursday ended our happiness. Elijah was in St. Vincent Hospital's ICU with burns on his neck, arms, and chest. He had been so thoroughly chilled literally to the bone, that he pressed himself up against the oven in the kitchen and his clothes caught fire. His burning shirt stuck to his skin as he screamed in pain. I cannot imagine what went through a boy's mind at that time, especially a severely autistic boy.

He lay in the ICU for days, waiting for his skin-graft operation. His mother never left his side; she slept by his side and would quiet him when he would become agitated. He pulled out his IV's and bandages several times and cried quite a bit, his mother tells us.

Tomorrow Elijah goes home, his mother reported. It will be good for him to get back to familiar surroundings and it will be good for his mother to be able to sleep, once again, in her own bed. What a nightmare for this family. Oh, and by the way, Elijah's mother told my wife that Toledo Edison called her at the hospital and told her that they made a mistake! She did not owe $600, it was the bill of the previous owner. They would credit her for the money.

Can you imagine that? An error. An error by Toledo Edison that caused three weeks of pain and agony for a poor, inner-city family.

I applaud Governor Strickland's decision to stand for families like Elijah's and ban utility shut-offs during the winter. At least other Ohio families will not have to suffer like this one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mars: A close-up

Tonight planet Mars will be the closest to the Earth since 2003; the next time it will be this close will be in 2016. The red planet is now the brightest "star" in the evening sky, easily visible by mid-evening until dawn. It comes closest to the Earth today at 6:46 p.m. EST, when it will be 54,783,381 miles (88,165,305 kilometers) from us.

USA Today: 'Family values' lower on agenda in 2008 race

USA Today posts an article titled, 'Family values' lower on agenda in 2008 race. They say:

Religious and cultural conservatives, unhappy about the rise of abortion and divorce, have made "family values" a staple of Republicans' political strategies for three decades. The phrase took on new life in 1992, when then-vice president Dan Quayle blasted fictional TV character Murphy Brown for having an illegitimate child. Family values were at the heart of a 2004 drive to put same-sex marriage bans on state ballots and draw conservatives to the polls.

They mention that only Mitt Romney regularly talks about so-called 'family values.' They note that "there are signs that family values have lost their punch as a campaign issue. Most voters say family values in general are important to them, but a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds they don't care much about candidates' personal lives. Political analysts say voters and candidates have broader, more immediate concerns: the ongoing U.S. action in Iraq and Afghanistan, nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, the threat of terrorism and an economy that's putting stress on low- and middle-income people."

Family values and the USA Today story was the topic of discussion on this morning's Washington Journal on C-Span. The phone calls on the Republican line seem to indicate the truth of this article. There were only two who talked about gays, pornography, and church. The others addressed the economy as more of a 'family value' to them.

Three-quarters of the voters in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll last month said family values are extremely or very important to them. Asked what the term means, one-third said "strong families." Some called it a "ploy" by conservatives to win votes; others mentioned health care and abortion.

That one-third who mentioned 'strong families' is a key to the '08 election. of course, what makes a family 'strong' is up to interpretation. I would think that two items are of particular importance in creating a strong family: a roof and a job. Families disintegrate without either. Families without either or both don't care about a porn shop down the street or the gay couple two doors down. Or whether Mr. Jones is twice-divorced. Or religion, unless the church opened its doors to them and fed them.

What has this Republican administration done for families in the past 7 years? As reported earlier, they have foisted $450,000 worth of debt on them; they have watched the dollar turn into play money on the international markets; they have watched banks foreclose on their houses; they have watched factory after factory close and go overseas. They have seen the cost of drugs and health care rise like a jet taking off from the runway. They see roads, bridges and sewers collapsing. They see a gallon of gas and a gallon of milk at $3. They see Payday Loan shops mushrooming up all over town. They see more and more closed stores and shops. They see government waste and more and more corrupt government officials.

Family values. This is what it is all about, not some phony holier-than-thou crap about the Bible. Food, a house, a car and a job. That makes America a strong nation. After that, we'll worry about some trivial things like gay marriage.

Bush Nominates Fine-ridden Coal Executive to Top Energy Department Post

Stanley C. Suboleski is a former executive for Massey Energy, one of the nation's largest coal producers, which faces an estimated $2.4 billion in threatened federal fines for more than 4,000 alleged environmental violations in the past six years at its West Virginia and Kentucky coal operations. That's 4,000.

As is the custom with Bush appointees, their experience and moral character is not that important. If confirmed assistant secretary for fossil energy, Suboleski would oversee development of clean-coal technology and other fossil-fuel projects.

L. Paul Bremer. Donald Rumsfeld. Michael Brown. Harriet Miers. Alberto Gonzales.

It never ends.

Drunken Frat Boy's Credit Card Balance: $32 Trillion

Too bad we didn't elect as president somebody with a financial background like an MBA. Had we we may not have accrued $32 billion in debt during the Bush/Cheney Administration. Oh well, maybe next time we might be a bit smarter. Don't bet on it.

U.S. Comptroller David Walker, the only man in the U.S. Government with any real fiscal sense, reported that the federal government's fiscal exposures was about $20 trillion as of September 30, 2000. Now, federal government's fiscal exposures totaled approximately $53 trillion as of September 30, 2007. Do the math.

Not only has George Bush made a fool of himself with his international bungling and idiotic war, but he has bled the family back home. Walker reports that a typical American family has $455,000 debt to repay for his madness. That's $175,000 for every child in this nation.

A drunken frat boy. He still is. Why did we expect something different? The pattern was set during his adolescent years and that is very hard to change. A drunken frat boy with a credit card with no spending limit. And he still has another whole year to spend.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Quizzical Drawing of Ron Paul

My son sent me the link to this drawing of Ron Paul The article accompanying it, author James Tiscione said:

"Every birthday and holiday my daughter, a successful graphic artist, poses the same question to me, asking “what present would I like?” Usually I request the same thing; either something from her portfolio or one of her elaborate custom greeting cards featuring a caricature of me. But this year, she took the initiative, drawing inspiration from the numerous conversations we have had about the Ron Paul Revolution, and created a visual statement of his message, one we both firmly believe in. I need not explain more, for the essence of what she has captured in this portrait of Ron Paul speaks volumes."

Speaks volumes to me too like, why is the baby wrapped in the American flag?

Lieberman the Chameleon [as if we didn't know]

Those Connecticut voters sure were dumb. They re-elected good old right-wing, warmongering Joe Lieberman, the former Democrat who ran on the Democratic VP slot. Today he endorsed Republican John McCain for president.

Democrat-turned independent- turned Republican. How's that for a U-turn in politics. Odd that we here in Ohio saw it coming, but apparently the folks in Connecticut were blinded by the man. Oh well, it just goes to show you that politicians can't be trusted [as if we didn't know].

Recall, Connecticut, recall.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ohio Says NO to Abstinence Programs

The Washington Post reports that Ohio is one of several states who have rejected federal dollars for sex-ed classes that require teaching abstinence. in a piece titled, Abstinence Programs Face Rejection: More States Opt to Turn Down the Federal Money Attached to That Kind of Sex Ed. They report: 14 states have refused federal money for "abstinence-only" sex education programs in the past year as evidence mounted that the approach is ineffective.

Critics said they hope that if enough states drop out, Congress will redirect the funding to comprehensive sex education programs that include teaching about the use of condoms and other contraceptives.

A critic of the federal program said, "It's a canary in the coal mine of what's to come.
We hope that it sends a message to the politicians in Washington that this program needs to change, and states need to be able to craft a program that is the best fit for their young people and that is not a dictated by Washington ideologues."

No doubt those 'Washington idealogues' were prompted to legislate the abstinence program through pressure from fundamentalist churches as well as the Catholic Church. It seems that these two religious bodies enjoy crotch politics very much. After all, the Bible says...

Luckily there are more mature and wise folks behind this shift in sex education priorities in these 14 states, people who look at the data rather than some line in Leviticus to make a judgement on the health and safety of our youth.

Things like this happen when religious beliefs enter government. We have a grand example of this practice in the Muslim world. We ought not send representatives to Washington who have some religious agenda in their back pocket otherwise we may end up with the American Taliban operating in DC.

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