Poster Child

June 1, 2009 at 8:16 am | Posted in What the hell? | Leave a comment

For George W. Bush’s abstinence only policy:

s ball belly by you.

From The Guardian:

It’s been a central plank of George Bush’s social policy: to stop teenagers having sex. More than $1bn of federal money has been spent on promoting abstinence since 1998 – posters printed, television adverts broadcast and entire education programmes devised for hundreds of thousands of girls and boys.

The trouble is, new research suggests that it hasn’t worked. At all.

A survey of more than 2,000 teenagers carried out by a research company on behalf of Congress found that the half of the sample given abstinence-only education displayed exactly the same predilection for sex as those who had received conventional sex education in which contraception was discussed.

Mathematica Policy Research sampled teenagers with an average age of 16 from a cross-section of communities in Florida, Wisconsin, Mississippi and Virginia. Both control groups had the same breakdown of behaviour: 23% in both sets had had sex in the previous year and always used a condom, 17% had sex only sometimes using a condom; and 4% had sex never using one. About a quarter of each group had had sex with three or more partners.

Since his days as governor of Texas, George Bush has been a firm advocate of abstinence education programmes, which teach that keeping zipped up is the only certain way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and that to deviate from the norms of human sexual activity is to risk harmful psychological and physical effects. “Abstinence hasn’t been given a very good chance, but it’s worked when it’s tried. That’s for certain,” he said.

But even in 1990s Texas, where Mr Bush spent $10m a year on abstinence education, the state had the fifth highest teen pregnancy rate in the US. Over the past six years he has stepped up the programme to more than $100m a year. He recently braved ridicule by extending it to adults aged 20-29, an age range in which 90% of people are sexually active.

In the context of findings like this, health workers and statisticians conclude that it is far better that children have safe sex, with knowledge of and access to contraception, than that they are preached a message of abstinence only to ignore it.

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What’s In a Name

May 18, 2009 at 7:32 am | Posted in What the hell? | Leave a comment

The media is has been in full frenzy with the H1N1 or Swine Flu for what, a couple of months now? Maybe it’s even longer because I think most of us have tuned out the Chicken Little/The Sky is Falling cries as of late. It just gets to be way too much. Yes, just way, way, way too much.

So while I was watching The Today Show this morning one of the top stories was the death of a school principal from Swine Flu last evening. Apparently this was the 7th death in the United States and somewhere around 130th worldwide. But I got to thinking about all this hype and hysteria and checked out the CDC’s website regarding average flu related deaths, and this is the “regular” or “seasonal” flu not the dreaded Swine flu and they report around 36,000 deaths per year. PER YEAR. And that is just in the United States. I mean, really. With all that is going on in our world that warrants national and even international attention do you all really think that Swine Flu should be topping the list?  I in no way, shape or form mean to belittle the loss of loved family members around the world but the media coverage of this “outbreak” has been blown to epic proportions.

So please media outlets let’s leave the swine where it belongs – thickly sliced and nicely pan fried resting aside two scrambled eggs, hash browns and wheat toast rather than splashed all over my television.

Observing the Observers

July 28, 2008 at 6:59 am | Posted in What the hell? | 3 Comments

There are times when I feel like a slacker mom because I don’t have my kids enrolled in 10,000 activities.  I don’t really like to go to the park.  I enjoy the public swimming pool even less.  I don’t even really like sitting in my own backyard, with no one to talk to, watching my kids play.  Unless I crack a beer or two but that generally leads to three or four and that just isn’t good. 

So, in the spirit of embracing some cooler temperatures and lower humidity, I loaded up the kids and went to the zoo today.  We are members at a nearby zoo and typically get there shortly after it opens and leave just as the masses are scoping out picnic spots.  Me, being the Queen of Snacking Moms, continually feed my kids whatever will keep them quiet, obedient and in the wagon while we look at the animals.  Today I found myself frustrated at the lack of social graces by the most sophisticated mammals, humans.  Here are a few of my observations:

-When walking down the paths between animal exhibits please yield to the right-hand side of the road.  This allows traffic to move smoothly throughout the zoo.   When carting around 4+ children or when traveling in packs of 2 or more adults with children,  it does NOT mean you can hog the entire path and force everyone else to walk around you. 

-Don’t let your 2, 3, 4, well how about anyone under the age of 12, push your overloaded stroller or wagon in the areas more densely populated.  There are wide open spaces to let the future drivers of America practice rolling over toes.

-DON’T STOP DEAD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PATHWAYS WITHOUT FIRST CHECKING TO SEE IF ANYONE IS BEHIND YOU.  You are not the only people on the road here.

-I don’t care what anyone says, I would rather eat the ass end of a skunk than smell the penguin exhibit.  (Just for you CJ).  They are seriously the most foul smelling animals on the planet that I have encountered.

-I love the fact that our zoo has a Leine Lodge but damn, I’m not going to pay $8.75 for a 20oz beer that I have to feel like a lush and drink by myself.  Even though every time we go to the zoo it is the only thing I can think of that I really want to see/enjoy.

-The Chicago Public School System has some work to do.  While visiting the Hippo exhibit I heard not only one but three adult chaperones to a summer camp program tell the kids the Hippo was a Rhino.  WTF?

-All you swanky city moms, or suburban moms for that matter, who sport the Bugaboo strollers is it really necessary I mean really NECESSARY to own a stroller that costs $1,000?  It seems somehow irresponsible to me to have a stroller that costs nearly as much as a good used CAR.

Toe Away Zone

July 16, 2008 at 7:18 am | Posted in What the hell? | 2 Comments

I love the way things come together in my house these days…

Do You Know a Juno??

June 20, 2008 at 7:08 am | Posted in What the hell? | 2 Comments
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I’ve given myself a bit of a gift by having my children occupied two mornings a week during the summer.  It’s really just to give me a couple of hours to myself to work out or grocery shop or watch The Today Show (not GMA, remember??).  So imagine my shock when this story pops up as a teaser of what’s to come in the next hour. 

As a parent, and a parent that didn’t come by parenting either easily or early in life, I can tell you it isn’t something to be so flip about.  I find it almost impossible to believe these girls have any idea what they have gotten themselves into.  In a quote given by the high school Principal he states, “these girls are generally lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their lives.”  So I would imagine they think that by having a baby they will have someone in their lives that will love them unconditionally.  Yeah….when was the last time you heard a parent say, “You know what I love most about my kids is that no matter what, they love me.”  As a parent we know that they love us but more often than not what you’ll hear a parent say is “My kids are driving me crazy!!!  They need this, they want that, they need to be driven here, they want this friend to stay over….”  And that is typically kids who are a bit older.  What about a newborn?  Waking every 4 or so hours to eat, be changed, put back to bed only to wake in another 3 hours to start all over again.  The dependence and neediness of a newborn/infant/toddler is, in my opinion, the hardest need to fill because it almost isn’t enough for them.

These girls are 16 and younger (although not much younger I assume from the article).  What is going to happen when it is time to go to school?  Does the school make arrangements for them to bring their babies to school?  How will they be able to focus on learning when they need to feed and change their babies?  I didn’t have my daughter until I was 35 and I had a husband who worked so we could afford for me to stay home financially.  I didn’t have to think about getting my high school education but damn, I could barely shower or put a load of laundry in the wash I was so tired. 

So what happens to these babies?  Do their parents step in and raise them?  What about the fathers and their families?  Who becomes ultimately responsible for raising these children?  And what will they think when they get older about their parents decision to build their family in the way that they did?  Will there be more children by different fathers in the years to come?  I don’t know.  I don’t get it.  I was a 35 year old married woman who completed high school and college and traveled, had fun, lived a fun single life and I was both terrified and excited to be a mom.  But I had a strong support structure in my families and that is what helped me through those early years that are so difficult.

The title of this post isn’t really an accurate or fair one as anyone who has seen the movie knows.  Juno didn’t set out to get pregnant like these girls did nor does she have a romantic notion of what parenting and love would be about.  It is an unfair analogy the news media is painting between the real life decisions of these girls on the east coast and a fictional character brought to life by writer Diablo Cody.  But it is a serious issue that deserves some thought and action.  What action?  I don’t know.  I can’t even begin to know.  But I feel for these girls and their families and these children to be born into a situation that is so messed up from the get-go that I wonder, what will they be thinking about life and love when they are their parent’s age?

For What It’s Worth…My Two Cents

June 9, 2008 at 8:52 am | Posted in What the hell? | 3 Comments
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So I’ve not taken to writing much because I guess I don’t have much to say right now plus it’s summer and who wants to be cooped up inside writing on the computer when it is hot outside.  I guess me for now because I do have something to say and it’s raining outside.  So here goes…

There has been a lot of press on the “man” pregnancy of Thomas Beatie.  This morning while making my usual rounds on the celebrity gossip websites I came across this link showcasing an update on the pregnancy as produced by Good Morning America.  I am completely and utterly intrigued by this story not only from a biological standpoint but by a sociological standpoint.  I’ve personally never had a problem with same-sex/transgendered couples adopting/raising children because there is too much shit going on in the world to deny a loving home to a child regardless of how they come to be in this world and into their family. 

My problem – is if you watch the video the reporter feels the need to interject the fact that this couple has openly “sold” their story and that anyone having children/raising children know how expensive it is to do so.  So why does that matter?  Does anyone honestly think that this family could find any privacy in their quest to build their family?  Does anyone honestly think that the press wouldn’t be camped out on their front lawn, at their physician’s office and the hospital trying to get an interview/photo/glimpse of this couple? 

I applaud Thomas and his partner Nancy for using the press to their advantage and controlling, as much as humanly possible, what is written/photographed about their life story.  It is fairly obvious that the press would hound these people until they more than likely would have to sit down and tell their story just to try to live a normal life anyway so why not use it to your advantage?  Fuck Good Morning America….

Sigh….

March 27, 2008 at 7:09 pm | Posted in What the hell? | 1 Comment

I’m thinking it’s just the combination of illness in our house since Thanksgiving (yes, Thanksgiving) plus the f-ing weather despite someone saying the first day of Spring was actually March 20th ( yes it did snow today) plus my children being absolutely stir crazy indoors and being premenstrual and having a busy weekend ahead of us and knowing I have three hampers full of dirty clothes and a sink full of dishes and a book I’m really loving yet seem to have no time to read and my car continuing to have problems that the Honda dealer swears they cannot re-create and my husband thinking I’m kind of a dolt when it comes to pricing out airfare to Arizona (which by the way for those who have been following the story the airfare was booked and the tickets were almost $500.  I REST MY CASE!!!!!)…

 But damn, I’m feeling a bit like a deflated balloon.  Momma needs a vacation.

WTF????

March 18, 2008 at 9:26 am | Posted in What the hell? | Leave a comment

Something/one has invaded my computer as I’ve been trying to post for the last 2 days and this is the first I’ve been able to post.  So…..please bear with me as I do have things on my mind that I want to post but I just don’t know how reliable I’ll be until I can get this figured out.

 With that said, for some fun March Madness check out this post at Go Fug Yourself and fill out your bracket.  The voting starts Thursday and if I can I’ll post my grid and we can compare notes.

You Don’t Say

November 7, 2007 at 7:13 am | Posted in What the hell? | 2 Comments
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While browsing the newspaper this morning this headline caught my eye: Abstinence programs hit but the byline was more telling Report: Programs urging teens to say no to sex aren’t working.

You can read the article here but the gist of it as written is: “Programs that focus exclusively on abstinence have not been shown to affect teenager sexual behavior, although they are eligible for tens of millions of dollars in federal grants, according to a study released by a nonpartisan group that seeks to reduce teen pregnancy.”

“A spending bill before Congress for the Department of Health and Human Services would provide $141 million in assistance for community-based, abstinence-only sex education programs.”

Well.  There go my tax dollars to good use. 

What do you think?

August 4, 2007 at 11:44 am | Posted in What the hell? | 2 Comments

So this morning we loaded up the family truckster and trekked over to Target to exchange a couple of things and pick-up a couple of things.  There is a fairly busy intersection we pass that also has an exchange to the highway with an overpass which homeless people have the tendency to use as shelter. 

So we stop at the light just before the overpass and there is a man standing on the median holding a sign that reads, “Please help my family.”  I assume that this man is looking for monetary assistance and I begin to think about how much money I have in my wallet and if I would consider giving him $5.  My heart is pulling me in the direction to say yes even though $5 doesn’t seem like much, desperate times call for desperate measures and if this man has resorted to begging on the street he must be desperate.  He is dressed in blue jeans, a tee shirt and a baseball cap and doesn’t look malnourished nor dirty.  But reality and perception can be very different things.  Perhaps a random act of kindness could brighten this family’s day.  And although $5 won’t get you very far these days, it would be $5 more than they had just moments before.

I begin to reach towards my wallet when I catch a glimpse of his meager belongings left at the base of the stop signal on the median.  What do I spy?  A cup of Starbucks  coffee and I freeze in my tracks.  I remove my hand from my wallet and as the light turns green, I carry on my way without the $5 offering to the man on the street.

As I’m driving and shopping I’m wondering why on earth this man thinks it’s “O.K.” to beg for money on the street while sipping the Cadalliac of coffee.  I mean, I don’t drink Starbucks but I do read the paper and isn’t Starbucks under a bit of fire for raising their prices yet again?  So if you need help for your family don’t you think it’s time to put down the expensive Joe and start looking for regular work that will at least bring some money into your home?  I did even give him the benefit of doubt that perhaps someone bought the coffee for him but when perception is reality and you’re begging on the streets, why would you advertise that you can drink the most expensive retail coffee available?

 So I’m wondering what any of you think out there.  If there is still anyone out there reading this blog.  It just really got to me today on so many different levels that I’m interested to see what other people think about my little paradox this morning.

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