Politics: January 2005 Archives

Sex Education

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I wrote this to a local TV station who had people arguing about which kind of sex education to teach in our schools. I did agree more with the abstinence side -- especially when the abstinence advocate asked the other to define abstinence, and she said "it's a choice some people make," refusing further clarification -- but my view is a bit different.


I wish your program had devoted some time to the notion that public school is not the place to teach *anything* about personal sexual activity, be it abstinence or not. It's not the information I have a problem with, it's the source.

Anyone who isn't family will not teach my children about sex, period. That's my job. And my children will surely know a lot more about sex, in a comprehensive and healthy way, than children who learn about it via a combination of MTV and the public schools.

Yes, many parents won't be such good teachers. I personally don't see this as a problem for the schools to take on, but if they must, then the class should be optional, and not the default option.

Further, so much time and money and energy is spent on deciding which type of sexual information to give to impressionable teenagers, instead of addressing the fact that -- compared to 30 years ago -- today's high school graduates are, overall, pretty ignorant. They don't know the difference between Andrew Johnson and Andrew Jackson, and couldn't even begin to tell you what a gerund is.

But some people decided that sex is more important than being well-educated. Perhaps if the children were more well-educated, they would be smart enough to figure things out on their own a bit better? Teach them history, teach them to figure out why things happened, why people did what they did, and what other choices they could have made. Pretty soon you'll get kids who are actually thinking for themselves.

But we can't have that, because government schools are designed to create programmed citizens who will do what is best for society. That's why there's so much emphasis on rates of sexual activity, pregnancies, and diseases. But I am raising intelligent, creative, confident, and capable individuals. Statistics are irrelevant to the parent; what matters is the individual. I am far less concerned with statistics than I am about my own individuals, including the psychological impact of strangers giving them intimate information about sex.

I am no anti-government wacko (believe it, or not). But in the case of public schools, there can be no denying that they are not designed with the best interests of the individual children in mind, but with society in mind. And that's not good enough for my children, and the current debate about which form of sex education to teach is a perfect example of why. slashdot.org

Social Security "Trust" Fund

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The way social security works, essentially, is that we pay for it from our payroll taxes. Right now we pay more than is needed for benefits, and the extra goes into a "trust fund." Most everyone agrees -- for now -- on the forecast that around 2018, social security will be sending out more money than it takes in -- this requiring the use of the trust fund to cover the difference -- and that sometime after 2040 the trust fund will have no more money.

Republicans say this constitutes a crisis, because we will start to deplete our resources in 2018. Democrats say it is not a crisis, because we have a long time to fix it.

But the truth is that it's worse than that, and it is a crisis.

We have no trust fund, in the common use of the word. It's a filing cabinet with a folder full of IOUs. There's no actual money there, because the government borrowed that money to use for other purposes. In 2018, we will need to raise revenue to pay off those IOUs in order to pay for social security benefits. So it's not in 40 years that we begin to have to pay more money we don't have for social security, it's in 10 or so.

I don't know what the solution is, but don't let people tell you we have the money to pay for benefits once the revenue drops beneath the expenditures. It isn't true. slashdot.org
Following the election, there was a discussion on PBS NewsHour which prompted me to write a journal entry about Christianity and Charity.

I don't have much to add, but one of the participants I referenced, Jim Wallis of Sojourners Magazine, was on The Daily Show this week, so I looked up the entry, and thought others might wish to do the same. slashdot.org


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Senator Boxer totally lied today when she berated Secretary-designate Rice. She said:

SEN. BOXER: Well, you should read what we voted on when we voted to support the war, which I did not, but most of my colleagues did. It was WMD, period. That was the reason and the causation for that, you know, particular vote.

No. There were two justifications for the use of force that the Congress approved:

The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to -- (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

And as we all should be aware by now, Iraq remained in non-compliance of UN Resolutions (especially Resolution 1441, which said Iraq must comply immediately and fully, and in the three months following its report to the UN, Iraq still was not in full compliance, and was in fact refusing requests for compliance, most obviously in its refusal to grant interviews with scientists outside Iraqi borders). This was, according to the Congress, justification for Bush to use force.

You can argue about the war in many ways, but to say that Congress only approved of war in the case of existence of WMD is false. slashdot.org

A Special Kind of Moron

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Most of you have heard of Michael Newdow, the atheist lawyer who sued to disallow his child from reciting -- or having her classmates recite -- the Pledge of Allegiance with the word "God" in it. (As he had no custody over his child, he had no legal standing to sue, and the Supreme Court tossed it out; he is trying again.)

He also filed suit a few years ago over President Bush's inclusion of a prayer at his inauguration, arguing that this forces Newdow to accept unwanted religious beliefs. He lost -- duh -- with the court noting that he did not suffer "a sufficiently concrete and specific injury" from the prayers, but is trying again this year.

If he lost already, what basis does he have to try again? Well last time he watched at home, and this time he is going to the inauguration, and that the atmosphere will therefore be more coercive.

You know, something tells me he is not going to be coerced, regardless of whether he is in attendance.

This is America. If you don't like something, then ignore it. Get over yourself and buy a clue. slashdot.org
Saturday, I attended the central committee meeting of the Republican party of Snohomish County of the state of Washington, as a duly elected member.

First, the outgoing county party chair gave a speech in which she talked about all the accomplishments of the county party, including getting a lot of local Republicans elected, winning the county for former-and-perhaps-future-governor-elect Dino Rossi, and upgrading the county offices from one computer to five, "all connected to a server, with security."

Then I was sworn in, along with the other Precinct Committee Officers, by chair of the county council, John Koster, and got a certificate signed by Sideshow Bob and everything. We raised our right hand and asked if we swear to faithfully execute our duties and to uphold the laws and bylaws, so help us God, and we said "I do." I wonder if "we do" would have been more appropriate, as we said it in unison.

We then heard the credentials (attendance) report. My district had 15 of 22 eligible PCOs attend (though probably 80 or even 100 PCO offices are available).

Now, a PCO is the smallest official unit of the state party. The PCOs elect the county officers, and the representatives to the state party (the committeeman and committeewoman), as well as their district officers (each district elects a Senate and two Reps to the state legislature; our district is one of the few in the Western part of the state that is represented by three Republicans).

We elected the new county chair, who is, this time, male. So therefore the vice chair must be female, and we then elected her. We then elected a commiteewoman and committeeman. As each was running unopposed (the committeeman was to have an opponent, but that didn't happen), the election was quick.

We also held an election between the committeeman and committeewoman to see which would serve on the state party's executive board, which -- among other things -- chooses the state party chair (currently Chris Vance, who has been in the news a lot lately). The committeewoman won.

We then adjourned to our district meetings, and elected a chair for each. Our district's candidate for chair was also running unopposed, and as the previous chair was not in attendance, the newly elected county chair (who is in our district) served as temporary chair, until the candidate was elected.

Then we all went home to watch the Seahawks lose. slashdot.org

What Next in WA?

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The TV station KING 5 in Seattle did a poll about the recent election, asking residents across the state (not just voters). The results (with a margin of error at 4.5%) surprised me.

53 percent to 36 percent said Rossi should not concede. 56-35 percent said he won (down from 66-24 before the hand recount). And a whopping 59-38 percent said we should have a new election.

What surprised me most, apart from the fact that the current loser is perceived by a solid majority to be the winner, is that more people want a new election than think he won, or that he should not concede. I would think that number should be smaller than the others.

And what sort of person would say that Rossi should concede, but that they do not think Gregoire is the winner? There's at least a few of those. slashdot.org
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from January 2005.

Politics: December 2004 is the previous archive.

Politics: February 2005 is the next archive.

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