Sunday, December 30, 2007

Abstinence-only sex education: Teens who take "virginity pledges" 6 times more likely to engage in anal and oral sex

Conservative values in action

I heard Bill Maher say this in my previous post and had to fact check it. He's right.
"The conservatives don't really care about educating your children. What they care about is that teenagers don't fuck.... they've spent millions of your tax dollars to start abstinence clubs in the high schools."
-- Bill Maher
A spending bill before Congress for the Department of Health and Human Services would provide $141 million in assistance for abstinence-only sex education programs.

According to a study* published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health:

Those teens that take the "abstinence pledge:"
  • were six times as likely to have engaged in oral sex as as those who did not pledge
  • were four times as likely to have engaged in anal sex as those who did not pledge
  • were much less likely to use contraception the first time they had sex
  • were less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience
  • were less likely to get tested for STDs
  • have similar rates of STDs as teens who have not made pledges.

"Not only do virginity pledges not work to keep our young people safe, they are causing harm by undermining condom use, contraception and medical treatment," -- William Smith, policy director at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States

Another Study concurs:

"At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners" among teenagers, the study by the nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having "positive outcomes" including teenagers "delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use.

More here....

via TP

Where else but Fox News would you hear something like this?

Fox News guest: sex education proponents want kids to get STDs for financial gain

During the Dec. 31 broadcast of Fox News’ Special Report, Concerned Women for America President Wendy Wright claimed that proponents of comprehensive sex education are trying to “encourage” sex because “they benefit when kids end up having sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies and then they lead them into having abortions.” She then added, “You have to look at the financial motives behind those who are promoting comprehensive sex ed.” Watch it


*Study co-authors Peter Bearman, sociology department chair at Columbia University, and Hannah Bruckner of Yale University used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and CDC, the AP/Long Island Newsday reports. The national study surveyed students nationwide in grades seven through 12 and followed up with interviews one, two and six years later. The Yale and Columbia report looked at data from 12,000 teenagers.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bill Maher at Berklee

In case you missed it - Bill Maher performed at my alma mater - the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Bill talks about the issues - what a hoot!!

Bill on Katrina, Bill Clinton and the Bush legacy.

Bill on those that think they are the 'real Americans'

Bill on abstinence education

All parts here on youtube.

Funny stuff

Friday, December 21, 2007

Let's have some fried cheesecake! Only in America, the home of the obese

I couldn't believe it, I saw the commercial. Yes folks, fried cheesecake is now available at Sonic and Arby's. No wonder obesity is out of control in America!

I saw this 'food' discussed on a local blog.

Don't get me wrong, I love cheesecake. There is nothing as delicious as a cold dense NY style cheesecake with a hot cup of tea. But, now in my mid-40's, I recognize that such food is a recipe for a heart attack and clogged arteries. I almost never eat cheese cake... it is about the most unhealthy thing you can put in your mouth in terms of saturated fat and cholesterol.

So, how can we make an unhealthy food worse? Do what southerners do best ... deep fry it!! Yea, that's just what America needs - deep fried cheesecake to top off a healthy Sonic meal of a burger, side and shake:

*Super Sonic® Cheeseburger (w/ Mayonnaise) - 980 calories, 64 grams fat
*Tater Tots w/chili & cheese, Sonic Size - 720 calories, 50 grams fat
*Large Peanut butter shake - 1010 calories, 59 grams fat

Total - 2710 calories and 173 grams of fat ... and that's just one meal without dessert.
*(source: Sonic nutrition guide website)

Yea... that's what we need - fried cheesecake for dessert!

I've been a pescaterian for 16 years (vegetarian with occasional seafood) and I love the taste of dairy but for health reasons, I avoid it almost completely. I never buy dairy milk, and on the rare occasion that I use a small amount of butter, it is organic. (No bovine growth hormones for me, thanks). I just had my yearly physical. After taking up running a bit more seriously and modifying my diet slightly, I've lost 10 lbs. and my total cholesteral has dropped from 223 to 150, my PSA down from 2.8 to 1.7, my resting heart rate down from 72 to 58. My body weight puts me right in the optimum normal BMI range (22 - 23). You get what you pay for, and this good news from my blood work comes from alot of cold nights running down the road and a healthy diet. It's also given my mood a lift.

While I'm at it, I might as well be politically incorrect and cite this correlation between education, politics, race and obesity. (Conservative voters tend to be fatter, whiter, and less educated... sorry - it's a statistical fact).

Life is about choices. Get smart, get active, live long and prosper.

You are what you eat. Listen to Jules:

Pulp Fiction: I Don't Dig On Swine -

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Conservative ignorance on parade: Terry Frank calls the world's foremost climate lab models: "a fortune telling circus"

In an effort to educate, I posted a link to the following graph of global warming projections. Terry Frank responded:
"Get lost. And take your fortune telling circus with you. Oops. I mean your climate models."
Here they are, the world's foremost climate labs that produced the supercomputer climate models that Terry Frank calls "a fortune telling circus."

Who do you suppose knows more about climate science? The wingnut deniers like Terry Frank, or the world's foremost climate labs?

Center for Climate System Research - Japan
National Institute for Environmental Studies - Japan
Canadian Center for Climate Modelling and Analysis - Canada
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation - Australia
Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research- England
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory- USA
Max Planck Institute für Meteorologie - Germany
National Center for Atmospheric Research- USA

Interestingly, current data shows these global warming projections to be conservative as many climate scientists stated in my last post on the subject.

I guess though, you’ll always have people like Terry Frank who obviously don’t understand the science and argue on the basis of energy industry agendas, lock step conservative ideology, or fear of gov’t control and sacrifice. What it's really about for these simple minded people is a perpetuation of the "war on Gore" or more specifically, the "war on liberals." The ironic thing is that I was agreeing with Terry, is so far as I believe that the climate change process is already underway and there is very little mankind can do about it, particularly in the short term.

(click graphs to enlarge)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mike Huckabee fired State Police Chief who refused to help cover up his son's torture and killing of a dog

Compassionate Conservatism

This pig of a man, David Huckabee, son of the religious conservative Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, was fired from his job as Boy Scout counselor 9 yrs ago for torturing and killing a dog.

Utopia Animal Rescue

(Miller County, Arkansas) Two boy scout counselors, [David Huckabee (18) and Clayton Frady (17)] ... admitted to catching a stray dog during their summer session at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, AR, and hanging the dog by his neck, slitting his throat and stoning him to death.

How did Governor Huckabee respond? By getting his son off without an investigation.

According to NEWSWEEK, Huckabee fired Arkansas State Police director John Bailey who refused to help coverup this criminal act of cruelty. According to Bailey, Huckabee told him one of the reasons he was being fired was because - "I couldn't get you to help me with my son when I had that problem."
"Without question, [Huckabee] was making a conscious attempt to keep the state police from investigating his son," says I. C. Smith, the former FBI chief in Little Rock, who worked closely with Bailey and called him a "courageous" and "very solid" professional.
David Huckabee was also arrested on a gun charge and got off with a slap on the wrist.

Michael Vick, you should have a cell mate. This is one disgusting redneck asshole who has gone unpunished because of the 'moral compass' of his father. Typical Republican hypocrisy and corruption.

Remember, Huckabee claims his religion “defines” both him and his approach to his official duties. He touts his status as an ordained minister with a theology degree as part of his qualifications for the Presidency.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Why pop music today sucks

Frank Zappa nailed it -
h/t: C&L

The music we listened to between the ages of 13 and 16 is extremely influential. As a career musician, music educator with a music doctorate ... it is my qualified opinion that today's pop music sucks.

I was talking with Bill Kanengiser of the Grammy Award winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and he said exactly that. He said to one of my guitar students:

"the music me and Bill grew up listening to is SO much better than the crap you guys are listening to today."
One of the reasons for this is highlighted by the late great musical genius, Frank Zappa in the interview above.

When I was a kid, I was lucky. I had good musical influences. As a 8 yr old I was listening to R&B, but when I hit those formative years in my early teens, it was progressive rock, jazz-rock fusion, and ethnic music. I was introduced to Baroque music, my first love in the sphere of European classical music by an album called "Switched on Bach," that I got when I was 13. I've been hooked on contrapuntal music ever since.

Remember those bands? Music that refused to fit into a neat little 3 minute pop radio spots. Music that was through-composed, suite-like, orchestral, experimental, used virtuoso musicians, and stretched the boundaries. Starting in the 60's with the Beatles
Sgt Pepper, then Abby Road, and the White Album. Then those crazy experimental albums by Zappa and the Mothers, like Uncle Meat that were improvisational and used experimental electronics. The epic Dark Side of the Moon album of Pink Floyd. The band Yes, with Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. On the Fragile album we heard a classical guitar solo from Steve Howe - "Mood for a Day, " a transcription of a movement of a Brahms Symphony, and later Wakeman releasing his epic "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" with the London Sympony. Emerson Lake and Palmer, recorded their Trilogy, Brain Salad Surgery, Pictures at an Exhibition albums with rock transcriptions of classical music composers Aaron Copeland, Alberto Ginastera and Modesto Mussorgsky. Their Works album had Keith Emerson's piano concerto recorded with the London Symphony.

On the Jazz Rock fusion side there was John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, his albums with Shakti - virtuoso Indian raga music, Chick Corea, Al Dimeola, and the best instrumental (no vocals) rock guitar album of the era, Jeff Beck's Blow by Blow. Steely Dan's Aja was a revelation, using mostly jazz virtuosos like Wayne Shorter, Phil Woods, Larry Carleton on an album marketed as 'rock'... what a trick! I could go on and on.

Compare this music to what 15 yr olds listen to today, I was very lucky.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stunning new data shows global warming accelerating - exceeding computer model predictions

Look at the facts:
  • The top 11 warmest years all occurred in the last 13 years. The provisional global figure for 2007 using data from January to November, currently places the year as the seventh warmest on records dating back to 1850. [story]
  • The Arctic Ocean reached record high temperatures, arctic ice diminished to a record low, and ice melted on Greenland for a record number of days. [story]
  • The Arctic Sea ice dropped from 7.8 million square kilometers to 4.2 million square kilometers. For comparison, the area of ice is the same as all the states east of the Mississippi River and a broad swath of those to its west. [story]
  • 552 billion tons of ice melted this summer from the Greenland ice sheet, according to preliminary satellite data to be released by NASA Wednesday. That's 15 percent more than the annual average summer melt, beating 2005's record. [story]
  • A record amount of surface ice was lost over Greenland this year, 12 percent more than the previous worst year, 2005, according to data the University of Colorado released Monday. That's nearly quadruple the amount that melted just 15 years ago. [story]
  • The surface area of summer sea ice floating in the Arctic Ocean this summer was nearly 23 percent below the previous record. The dwindling sea ice already has affected wildlife, with 6,000 walruses coming ashore in northwest Alaska in October for the first time in recorded history. [story]
  • The Northwest Passage was open to navigation, for the first time in recorded history, ships sailed across water that had been part of the polar ice cap. [story]
  • It is the burning of coal, oil and other fossil fuels that produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, responsible for man-made global warming. [story]
  • Greenland, in particular, is a significant bellwether. Most of its surface is covered by ice. If it completely melted — something key scientists think would likely take centuries, not decades — it could add more than 22 feet to the world's sea level. [story]

Quotes from scientists:

"In 2007 we had off-the-charts warming"

--Michael Steele, a University of Washington oceanographer with the Polar Science Center at the University of Washington.

"The Arctic is often cited as 'the canary in the coal mine' for climate warming. Now as a sign of climate warming, 'the canary has died.' ... At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012."
--NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally

"I don't pay much attention to one year ... but this year the change is so big, particularly in the Arctic sea ice, that you've got to stop and say, 'What is going on here?' You can't look away from what's happening here, this is going to be a watershed year."
-- Waleed Abdalati, NASA's chief of cyrospheric sciences.

"The Arctic is screaming"
-- Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo

"2007 set a new record, with melting [in Greenland] occurring for 25 to 30 days longer than the average of 1980 to 2006."
--Marco Tedesco, University of Maryland.


What is different now than in the previous 4
Milankovitch ice age cycles?
(click to enlarge)



Resulting in this:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

For Webutante and authoritarian religious conservatives, the First Amendment offers the right to denialism and ignorance

When a differing opinion is too factual, too convincing, too challenging to debate, just delete it. Denialism is a hallmark of authoritarian religious conservatives like Webutante. And she admits it:
Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime . . . .” — Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart

Also a hallmark of Webutante.

I am flattered by your compliment and remain, happily, guilty as charged.

Unlike Webutante, I never delete comments on this blog. I am not threatened by her views or anyone else's as she is threatened by mine. This says a lot about her psychological profile and the political persuasion she subscribes to. (Bob Woodward wrote a book about it).

Ever notice how most college newspapers (like MTSU) provide opportunities for on-line comments on their stories and opinions? You won't find that opportunity at student newspapers at religious colleges like Liberty or Bob Jones Universities. Why? Because they are threatened by a diversity of opinion, a 'secular' world view, and just the plain old truth. Easier to live in a bubble and not answer to inconvenient truths. Right Webby? Just surround yourself with like minded wingnuts and refuse to learn anything.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Bush's bimbo press secretary

Bush's bimbo White House Press secretary Dana Perino describes herself as "once a Bushie always a Bushie" ... of course we already knew that.

On the NPR game show, Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, Dana Perino admitted she knew nothing about recent American history. She didn't know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was, thought it might have something to do with the Bay of Pigs invasion. She had to ask her British husband what it was all about. He responded incredulously, "Oh Dana!"

Sheeesh.... can you imagine? This is the spokesperson for the President of the United States.

She lost the game.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough: Either the President "is lying to the American people" or "is stupid" ... take your pick

Yesterday, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters that President Bush was first briefed on the National Intelligence Estimate’s conclusions on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

However, and intelligence official was quoted as saying:
The NIE has been in substantially the form in which it was finally submitted for more than six months. The White House, and particularly Vice President Cheney, used every trick in the book to stop it from being finalized and issued.
So, either Bush is lying or is not doing his job. We pay him to be privy to the most current intelligence.

Former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough said it best:
"We are left with only two options here. Either the President of the United States is lying to the American people about what happened during that meeting, or the President of the United States is stupid."

Bad news for Huckabee

Consider these two stories, then consider Huckabee's recent rise in the polls. Pretty pathetic if this is the GOP's man:


Huckabee Clueless On Iran NIE: ‘No,’ Never Heard Of It

The Politico’s David Paul Kuhn asked former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) what he thought of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. Huckabee’s response? Hasn’t heard of it:



“Confidential Arkansas state government records, including letters from these women, obtained by the Huffington Post,” reveal that, as governor, Mike Huckabee pushed for the release of convicted rapist Wayne Dumond despite being warned that the convict would strike again. After being released, Dumond raped and murdered Carol Sue Shields.

Check this out. Huckabee tries to blame Bill Clinton and the Dems for his actions!!

Remember the GOP mantra: "Admit nothing. Deny everything. Blame someone else."

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bush lies about Iran's nuclear program, Cheney tried to block intelligence

"So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon. I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously."
-- GW Bush, 10/17/07
A declassified summary of the latest National Intelligence Estimate found with "high confidence" that the Islamic republic stopped an effort to develop nuclear weapons in the fall of 2003.

The problem, this report was completed in 2006 and Bush and Cheney continued to lie about Iran being an imminent nuclear threat.

Think Progress has documented six instances of Bush, Cheney, and administration officials touting the Iran nuclear threat with in the past 60 days - when they knew of this intelligence report.

How do we know they knew about it? Cheney didn't like what it said and delayed the release of the NIE. The report has exposed Bush and Cheney as deliberate liars. Nothing new.

UPDATE: TP notes -

Yesterday, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters that President Bush was first briefed on the National Intelligence Estimate’s conclusions on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

But today in an interview with CNN, Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker’s Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative journalist, revealed that Bush actually knew about the NIE at least two days earlier and had a “private discussion” about it with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before the Middle East peace summit in Annapolis, MD, last week.


White House knew of NIE’s judgments for months.

Harper’s Scott Horton interviewed an intelligence community official who casts doubt on the White House’s claim that they only recent learned of the NIE’s judgments:

But one highly reliable intelligence community source I consulted immediately after Hadley spoke answered my question this way: “This is absolutely absurd. The NIE has been in substantially the form in which it was finally submitted for more than six months. The White House, and particularly Vice President Cheney, used every trick in the book to stop it from being finalized and issued. There was no last minute breakthrough that caused the issuance of the assessment.” So what, I asked, if not an intelligence breakthrough, what caused the last-minute change and the sudden issuance of the summary of the NIE? My source had no idea.

Horton’s source adds that though it appears Vice President Cheney “and his team” had “to fold their cards” on “plans for an air war in Iran,” Cheney’s “a tenacious son-of-a-bitch. He may very well be back at it tomorrow.”

More proof of the lie.

Religious conservatives deleting blog comments again: Webutante and Pistol Pete

Just wanted to document the ever increasing number of conservative religious authoritarians that have deleted my comments, not because of any vulgarity or insults, but just because my posts contained legitimate information that challenged their beliefs. These are people who say they stand 'for the truth.' Instead, what they really stand for is a narrow view of the world that they guard from debate and discussion with abject denial.

They pulled a "Mark Rose" on me. Check out their blogs and tell them hello from William:


Necessary Therapy

Also note, most college newspapers have unmoderated blogs and discussion. You won't find much of that at religious colleges like Liberty or Bob Jones. They wouldn't want their students to have too many inconvenient truths, now would they? Forget about critical thinking, submission to dogma is far more important!

UPDATE: Webutante responds on Pistols site:
"Thank heavens for the First Amendment. I proudly stand guilty as charged! Best wishes…"
Apparently, Webutante’s 'proud' interpretation of the First Amendment includes the right to censor and control information… an authoritarian characteristic and an aid to those who wish to practice abject denial. This philosophy is common in dictatorships like China, N. Korea and in theocracies like Iran. We did an psychological profile on Webutante a while back. She is a classic religious right wing authoritarian denialist who has a practice of deleting posts that present information that threatens her beliefs.

Bush obstructs Congressional investigation on Plame leak

Do you believe it? Some authoritarian wingnuts, like this guy for example, still believe Bush's former Press Secretary Scotty McClellan is lying when he said that Bush and Cheney were among those "involved" in his passing along "false information" regarding the Plame scandal. Doc says, Scotty turned on former boss just "to sell books." This is a great case study in authoritarianism and abject denial

OK, so if Bush has nothing to hide, why is he blocking the investigation? Bush has denied the House Oversight Chair's July request for Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's FBI files. These files contain Bush and Cheney testimony that was not before the Grand Jury and therefore not subject to secrecy laws.

The Waxman Committee request:

Transcripts, reports, notes, and other documents relating to any interviews outside the presence of the grand jury of any of the following individuals:

  • President George W. Bush
  • Vice President Dick Cheney
  • Andrew Card
  • Stephen Hadley
  • Karl Rove
  • Dan Bartlett
  • Scott McClellan

The chairman notes that Janet Reno, who was attorney general in the Clinton administration, made an independent judgement to provide several FBI interview reports to the committee, including those of Bill Clinton and then-Vice President Al Gore.

More here and here

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Huckabee - the US is in a religious war

Vote Huckabee for an American theocracy.

Can you imagine America being led by a man who claims his most distinguishing qualification is a Theology Degree from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Only in Republican land ... and right now Huckabee is leading the GOP in the latest Iowa poll.

In fact I think I'm stronger than most people because I truly understand the nature of the war that we are in with Islamo fascism. These are people that want to kill us. It's a theocratic war. And I don't know if anybody fully understands that. I'm the only guy on that stage with a theology degree. I think I understand it really well.
--Mike Huckabee
About how much do you suppose the Huckster learned at Ouachita Baptist University in the 1970s about 21st-century fundamentalist Islam? Here's a wild guess: not much. Sounds like 'Bush lite' - if such a level of ignorance is even possible. But yes, it is possible - as Huckabee demonstrates. By the above quote he's just acknowledged we are in a 'religious' or theocratic war. Nice!

He's a a typical part of the Republican Culture of Corruption, he's had five admonitions and $1,000 in fines from Arkansas' Ethics Commission as governor. These incidents involve things such as failure to report that he paid himself at various times from campaign funds, nondisclosure of income, receiving various gifts like $3700 cowboy boots that had the appearance that he was "rewarded" for his performance as governor, for trying to take $70,000 in furniture from the governor's mansion, as well as using a governor's expense fund for a dog house and panty hose. More christian moral values hypocrisy.