Abstinence — how’s that workin’ for ya?

New York Times

The first national study of four common sexually transmitted diseases among girls and young women has found that one in four are infected with at least one of the diseases, federal health officials reported Tuesday.

Nearly half the African-Americans in the study of teenagers ages 14 to 19 were infected with at least one of the diseases monitored in the study — human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common parasite.

That’s 25% folks, even higher for African-American teen girls.  Helloooo…?  Not telling our kids about sex, how it works, the risks, and how to protect themselves — in other words, abstinence-only — DOES NOT WORK.

Among the infected women, 15 percent had more than one of the diseases.

Women may be unaware they are infected. But the diseases, which are infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, can produce acute symptoms like irritating vaginal discharge, painful pelvic inflammatory disease and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. The infections can also lead to longterm ailments like infertility and cervical cancer.

Makes you long for the “good old days” when no one had sex before marriage.  Yeah, I’m joking.

The president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, said the new findings “emphasize the need for real comprehensive sex education.”

“The national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure,” Ms. Richards said, “and teenage girls are paying the real price.”

That’s what this administration does best.  Dream up an insanely stupid plan, throw billions of dollars at it, and then ignore the situation until it’s completely out of control.

Federal health officials recommend annual screening tests to detect chlamydia for sexually active women younger than 25. The disease agency also recommends that women ages 11 to 26 be fully vaccinated against HPV.

Excellent idea.  Getting our girls vaccinated against HPV will save them from the type of cervical cancer caused by HPV.  Anyone who says vaccinating girls against HPV is “giving them permission to have sex,” lives in a dream world.  I wonder how many young women who saved themselves for their wedding night acquire an STD from their brand new, and equally clueless, husband?

The Food and Drug Administration has said in a report that latex condoms are “highly effective” at preventing infection by chlamydia, trichomoniasis, H.I.V., gonorrhea and hepatitis B.

The agency noted that condoms seemed less effective against genital herpes and syphilis. Protection against human papillomavirus “is partial at best,” the report said.

I’ve said this before, and it’s worth saying again:  Education is the key.  Parents, educate yourselves so you can educate your children.  Things have changed since syphilis and gonorrhea.   Create an atmosphere in your home where your children feel free to talk to you, and where you notice if your children have gone quiet.

Fund comprehensive sex education in the schools.  Some children simply will not get the information they need at home, this is a reality.  Ignorance has an effect on all of us.

Teaching abstinence and responsibility to our children is fine, there’s nothing wrong with encouraging children to wait until they are emotionally ready for sex — but education cannot and should not stop there.  Look at where it’s gotten us…

Spitzer’s shame is Wall Street’s gain

Truthdig, by Robert Scheer

Excerpts from the piece:

Tell me again: Why should we get all worked up over the revelation that the New York governor paid for sex? Will it bring back to life the eight U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq that same day in a war that makes no sense and has cost this nation trillions in future debt? Will it save those millions of homes that hardworking folks all over the country are losing because of financial industry shenanigans that Eliot Spitzer, as much as anyone, attempted to halt? Perhaps it provides some insight into why oil has risen to $108 a barrel, benefiting most of all the oil sheiks whom our taxpayer-supported military has kept in power?

The sad truth is that reporting on major corruption, say, the rationalizations of a president who has authorized torture, doesn’t cut it as a marketing bonanza. Just days before this grand exposé, the president vetoed a bill banning torture, and instead of being greeted with horrified disgust, the president’s deep denigration of this nation’s presumed ideals was met with a vast public yawn. Torture, unlike paid sex, doesn’t have legs as a news story.

The New York Times, which editorially has supported the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, whose vast White House experience clearly did not include corralling her husband, now editorializes contemptuously about Spitzer’s betrayal of the public trust as well as about his exploitation of his “ashen-faced” wife, who, like Hillary, stood by her man.

I wouldn’t have written this column had I not read The Wall Street Journal’s Page 1 news story headlined “Wall Street Cheers as Its Nemesis Plunges Into Crisis.” The article begins with the crowing statement “It’s Schadenfreude time on Wall Street” and goes on to quote those whom Spitzer went after over what should be considered the criminal greed that has predominated on Wall Street. It was Spitzer, as much as anyone, who sounded the alarm on the subprime mortgage crisis, the obscene payouts to CEOs who defrauded their shareholders and the other financial scandals that have brought the U.S. economy to its knees.

Go here to read the whole thing.

Hello from Europe – Mississippi and beyond.

The Obama campaign relentlessly and unagitatedly follows the path to the majority in popular votes and pledged delegates. Foolish comments by ageing female politicians nonwithstanding, they are working on getting out the message of change. Matter of factly, keeping mostly aloof from the nasty campaigning of the other candidate and a welcome change from the mudslinging that has become so typical for Washington.

Yesterday Senator Obama bagged Mississippi and has overcome the net gain Senator Clinton has gotten in Ohio and Rhode Island. Moreover, CNN reports, that Texas has been won by Barack Obama, who has overcome Hillary Clinton’s lead in delegates there, by winning the caucuses by a large margin.

The Mississippi primaries are highlighted as racially polarized, because Senator Obama brought home 91% of the black votes and Senator Clinton 72% of the white votes. The Guardian takes a closer look at the numbers and finds:

But fears of an increasing racially divided electorate is not borne out by the facts. Let’s compare the exit polls between next-door MIssissippi and Alabama, two states with similar sets of primary voters. The difference is that Alabama voted on Super Tuesday, February 5 – the high-water mark for the Clinton campaign. In Alabama, Clinton won white independents by 64% to Obama’s 31%. By Mississippi’s voting day, Clinton’s white independent support slipped to 55%, compared with Obama’s rise to 40%. Similarly, Clinton’s support from white Democrats had also slipped over the month between the two primaries. 

 The Independent makes a slightly different case:

Mrs Clinton also blocked inroads he has made into her white voter base in northern states. Mrs Clinton won narrowly among white independents, who made up 14 per cent of the total electorate. Republicans who decided to cross over for Mrs Clinton – 11 per cent of the vote are now her strongest single group, handing her 85 per cent of their votes. Republicans and independents have been attracted to Mr Obama’s campaign, but not in racially polarised Mississippi.

Same numbers from a different point of view. Fact is, Senator Obama leads Senator Clinton by 1’404 to 1’243 pledged delegates. However, the foolish invocation of racism, evident in Geraldine Ferraro’s comments, opens even wider rifts within the Democratic and progressive community, which will be very difficult to overcome after the nomination.

A very disturbing story came out of the Pentagon yesterday afternoon. The resignation of Admiral Fallon, which of course, has nothing to do with his critical positions when it comes to Iran and, of course, it is ‘ridiculous’ to think this would mean an attack on Iran was imminent. The Bush Administration does not intend to bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, but what if they are forced to? For more on how propaganda in the lead up to wars follows the same pattern each time, turn to Norman Solomon’s books. See, how Europe took it.

The Times  sees the ‘turf war’ between Admiral Fallon and his subordinate General Petraeus as a reason behind the resignation:

Pentagon insiders said that Admiral Fallon’s departure was more the result of a turf battle between him and General David Petraeus, the US ground commander in Iraq. Admiral Fallon was General Petraeus’s commanding officer but for months Mr Bush has deferred to General Petraeus, against the objections of Admiral Fallon, who is believed to have been advocating a speedier withdrawal of US troops from Iraq

The Guardian is speaking of a rift within the Pentagon:

The Bush administration today moved to downplay divisions within the Pentagon over its Iraq war strategy exposed by the sudden departure of its Middle East commander.

The Telegraph bluntly calls Fallons move a resignation over Iran, as does the Independent:

The top US commander for the Middle East resigned yesterday, a step that seems to bear out reports of sharp policy differences on Iran between a hawkish White House and a uniformed military leadership opposed to military action.

According to the Washington Post his likely successor will be General Petraeus.

Bush says Iraq “will forever be” the right decision — Go God!

The Raw Story

Speaking Tuesday to the National Religious Broadcasters’ convention, President Bush declared the decision to “remove” Saddam Hussein in 2003 the “right decision at this point in my presidency, and it will forever be the right decision.”

The 42-minute speech, covered in the New York Times, drew rousing applause, “mixing faith and foreign policy as he told a group of Christian broadcasters that his policies in the region were predicated on the beliefs that freedom was a God-given right and ‘every human being bears the image of our maker.'”

This from a man who also believes life is a God-given right. Pretty ironic from someone who has liberated many, many humans from life.

A White House aide told the Times — anonymously — that the speech, along with speeches by General David Petraeus, is intended to allow Bush to “frame” the Iraq war.

“It’s a way of resetting a little bit,” the White House official said. “There was a lot of talk about the surge, and then when the surge worked, it was like, ‘O.K., it worked,’ and then ’08 heated up and people sort of moved on. People need to be reminded of who we’re up against and what the stakes are.”

Oh yeah, “who we’re up against.” The people who happen to live on top of “OUR” oil.

[Bush] lauded the broadcasters for “standing up” for “our values,” and pledged to veto the “fairness doctrine,” which would enjoin radio stations to give even time to opposing views.

Ah. Bush’s real purpose. So much for that freedom being a God-given right.

How about that separation of church and state…? Oh, nevermind.

You get what you pay for

Eliot Spitzer resigns as New York governor.

SPITZER: In the past few days I have begun to atone for my private failings with my wife Silda, my children and my entire family. The remorse I feel will also be with me. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the love and compassion they have shown me.

From those to whom much is given, much is expected. I have been given much: the love of my family, the faith and trust of the people of New York, and the chance to lead this state. I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me.

To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.

I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been. But I also know that as a public servant, I and the remarkable people with whom I work have accomplished a great deal.

There is much more to be done, and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people’s work.

Over the course of my public life I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself.

Read the rest….

All cartoons are posted with the artists’ express permission to TPZoo.
Jack Ohman
, Portland Oregonian

Breaking, Spitzer to man up and quit

According to the New York Times, Governor Eliot Spitzer will resign this morning. No word yet on whether his wife has kicked him to the curb.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, will resign today, some of his staff members said they have been told.

Mr. Spitzer is scheduled to speak today at 11:30 a.m. at his Manhattan office, and the resignation is to be effective Monday, aides to the governor said.

Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would likely be sworn in to replace him at some point after that.

Investigators reviewing the scope of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes said on Tuesday that just in the past year he had had more than a half-dozen meetings with them and had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring, one law enforcement official said.

A person with knowledge of the service’s operations said that Mr. Spitzer had begun meeting with the prostitutes of the Emperor’s Club about eight months ago and had had encounters in Dallas as well as Washington. A law enforcement official said Mr. Spitzer also had an encounter with a prostitute in Florida. On some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.

Ferraro Plays the Race Card…the Reverse-Race Card…AND the Victim Card.

 

I am sure most of you have already heard Geraldine Ferraro’s…unfortunate comments about Barrack Obama suggesting he is the beneficiary of political Affirmative Action. Today CNN had a comprehensive article about her comments.

“If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

Now, I am not black so I can’t personally attest to the difficulties of being black but I have heard that it isn’t an especially easy row to hoe, especially with those like Ferraro downplaying his accomplishments and totally misrepresenting the reasons people like him and vote for him, simply writing it off as a result of him being black.

Yesterday, Ferraro defended her comments to the Daily Breeze (a newspaper in Torrance, CA in Los Angelas County).

“Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says, ‘Let’s address reality and the problems we’re facing in this world,’ you’re accused of being racist, so you have to shut up,” she told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, California. “Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?”

She made an indefensible, racial comments and when called on it she now calls those who were wronged by these remarks racist. And this isn’t the first time she has attacked an opponent with this tact, either. In 1988, Ferraro made similar remarks about Jesse Jackson. According to the Washington Post (via Ben Smith at Politico), she stated, “If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn’t be in the race.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Will it be the same in 2028? When will a black person finally be able to run for president without her saying it is because they are black?

On the John Gibson show Ms. Ferraro said,

“I am very disappointed, when I see John Lewis, you know, he is turning around, this is a civil rights leader. Why is God’s name did he change his vote from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama…I’ll tell you why. It’s because he faces…he is not going to lose a Democratic Primary in his district in two years, but he sure as hell will face one if he sticks it to Barack Obama when he has a greater majority of blacks in his district. So, he is looking at…he is not going to lose, I am so disappointed in him I could die. I look at Rosa DeLauro, up in Connecticut. She represents New Haven. Tell me, I mean, I don’t care what she says, tell me why she’s endorsing Barack Obama and then came to his defense on an issue like choice, where he voted six times, maybe, when he voted present in Illi…I mean, I am like a lunatic about this stuff. I can’t believe people are doing…so no, it is not coming down to…what I would hope is that…and because…and again you saw Chris Dodd today, I look at these guys doing it and I have to tell you, it’s the guys sticking together, John. It is, you know…

John Gibson: Why isn’t it not credible that they are doing it because Obama has a wave behind him and they don’t want to be at odds with the voters who are picking Obama.

Ferraro: Except that they are the leaders, don’t you get the story? I mean the thing is…

Gibson: Do you actually expect them to hand this nomination to Hillary?

Ferraro: No, I expect them to do, I expect them to look very carefully at who has the (experience? unintelligible)…John, between me and you and your millions of visito…listeners, if Barack Obama were a white man, would we be talking about this? As a potential real problem? For Hillary?

Gibson: (talking over Ferraro) You mean if he were John Edwards?

Ferraro: If he were a woman of any color, would he be in this position that he is in? Absolutely not.

Gibson: Geraldine, are you playing the race card?

Ferraro: No, and that is the problem. Every time you say the truth…I am the first person and John, you know how honest I am. I am the first person who will say in 1984 if my name were Gerard instead of Geraldine, I would never have been picked as the vice presidential candidate.

Ferraro is now defending herself (on the Gibson show and on Fox, where she is a political contributor, ahem), saying she is not a racist. I will give her the benefit of the doubt but clearly, from her comments to Gibson, she feels she, as well as Clinton are victims. It is Chris Dodd and the old boys club, it is all the black voters, it is the minority leadership. Everybody, it seems, is against them. Nobody has a good reason to vote for Obama over Clinton, apparently, and she is losing because he is black and she is a woman. The way I see it, Obama is winning because he has run a better, more efficient, more positive campaign, but that could just be me.