Monday, April 16, 2007

Abstinence Education via Religious Fanaticism

Ideological arrogance is one way to describe abstinence education and another way is "down your throat" forcing of useless mythology into the minds of children too weak to resist. And yet another way is to define this ultimate child abuse which is brought into our lives by dogmatic religious fanaticism and reflect on the permanent damage it causes.

Don't think for once second that abstinence education is about education. It is 100% religious indoctrination and next to hatred, one of the Religious Reich's greatest accomplishments is pouring millions of dollars of taxpayer money into abstinence education and owes it all to having God's help putting George Bush in the White House.

It is positively inhumane to ask any human being to just simply ignore their arrival at puberty when they are hormonally at their peak of ripeness as the first indication for them to sacrifice their next ten or so years of their life retarding their sexual expression for the sole purpose to satisfy religious fanaticism. In the abstinence education classes you learn to hate gay and lesbians and how to snitch on your parents but not much else unless you want to get boiled in a lake of fire for messing around or wondering about your sexuality.

What is most important is to teach our young people how to avoid pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases using medical science in lieu of religion and we need to promote the use of prophylactics for disease prevention. Women's special health needs should be of primary importance and inoculation with the vaccine Gardasil to prevent cervical cancer should be mandatory.

Other than Voodoo and Reverend Jim Jone's Kool-Aid cures, the church has no medical background and its interference with women in regard to their health care needs is ill-advised. Imposing spiritual values through Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggert or Jerry Falwell we have all learned is hypocritical at its worst and even more hypocritical at its best.
Sexual expression is a physiological need just like breathing, eating and sleeping. In the long run, it doesn't make any difference what you do; there will always be a religion to criticize whatever you choose to do. Happy hormone hunting and this last LITTLE note;

I met a divorced woman once who confessed to me her biggest regret is she didn't follow her sexual urges when she wanted to. Being abstinent until marriage and then disposed of after thirty seconds made her feel like a used dishrag. "There had to be something "better" in all the no answers I gave after so many years of waiting and I will spend the rest of my life painfully wondering."

Larry Little

Sunday, April 01, 2007

UPDATE: Jane 'Invades' Iraq!

Update! No April Fool's Joke Here. Jane 'Invades' Baghdad!
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Note: Wanna know what the camp outside of Baghdad where I am now billeted looks like? Go to Burning Man, out in the Nevada desert, and you'll pretty much get the look of this place -- only Burning Man is a lot more fun!Letters from Iraq: The Charge of the Light Brigade, Part 1March 30 -- we finally received our orders to fly out of Kuwait and into Baghdad. Hurray! Now all I have to do is get my passport back from the Kuwait visa inspectors and I'm good to go.

"Stillwater? Here's your passport." Whew. "Now line up here and wait." I did. This is exciting. And perhaps a little too real. Two hours later, we boarded a plane. It was a big one, a real work of art. It was as big as a football field inside, no windows, no frills -- just one big warehouse. The pallets with our gear on them were stored in back of us and troops lined the walls and took up seats in the center.This plane is spooky. Forget everything you ever experienced on Continental, United or Delta. This plane is weird. Exposed pipes run along the 20-foot-high ceiling. Wires hang loose. There's a plywood floor. There's NOTHING decorative about this plane at all -- except that they gave us nicely-colored earplugs to baffle the sound.

While waiting in some tent or other for the plane to take off, the soldiers I sat next to took turns telling stories. I love these guys. Anyone who can tell a good story is all right by me. And these guys tell stories with flash and charm. Each one has an attention-grabbing introduction, an exciting and suspenseful plot, a gripping climax and a really great hook at the end.

Guys, I salute you. Now don't go out there and blow yourselves up. You have too many stories to tell.This plane holds a hecka lot of men. I'm not allowed to say how many but it's a lot -- more than the amount of people who live in my neighborhood, less than the amount of people at a Pussycat Dolls concert. There were a lot of women soldiers back on the base in Kuwait but I'm probably the only woman on this plane now besides some sort of stewardess wannabe in khaki fatigues whose main job appears to be handing out earplugs.1:15 am: This whole freaking embed experience is so weird, so bizarre. It's like nothing I can equate it with inside my realm of experience back home. It's bizarre. It's going to take me YEARS to digest all of this.

Just going to the freaking toilet on a troop transport plane is bizarre.Once the plane takes off, all the lights go out except for a handful of red ones lining the walls, giving the interior the look and feel of Hell -- Hell and the Battlestar Galactica, with a little bit of Road Warrior thrown in. The soldiers are all wearing helmets and flack jackets. To a man, all of them are asleep -- in awkward, unnatural positions. Only I am awake. And on the way to the toilet, I glide down the aisle like that Greek goddess of old who was kidnapped by Hades -- Persephone?Once inside the restroom, there's no light, only a red glow. I do my business by touch and get out as soon as I can, back to the jaws of death, back to the mouth of Hell.

And the troops sleep on, in exhausted, exaggerated positions, looking for all the world like they were dead.These men are my boys. Hurt them and you have to go through me. Hear that, George Bush? These men aren't just action figure toys for you to play with. These are real, living human beings. Sincere. Serious about doing their jobs -- and doing them well. They deserve better than the blunders of GWB. They deserve respect. They've got mine."Prepare for landing. Thank you." Obviously there's gonna be no in-flight movie and no in-flight meal. And I don't think we are going to have a spiffy arrival area and baggage carousel either.

"This is BIAP". Baghdad International Airport. "BIAP" must be short for "biopsy". That's what I think. The descent into BIAP is so swift and sudden, it feels like they cut out a piece of us. Yep, it's a good thing this plane doesn't have windows! But did all that decompression wake up the troops? Nope. I'm still the only one awake.Then "BOOM!" The plane touches down with a sonic thud. We've landed in Baghdad.

# posted by Jane Stillwater : 8:35 AM

More news from Iraq: Me, the Light Brigade & John McCainGood grief!

Iraq is just BRIMMING with news. I don't even know where to begin. At 4 am this morning, a huge armored vehicle moved us from the Baghdad airport to the Green Zone in a convoy composed of vehicles that looked like they had just came out of a Toys R Us catalog.Nobody in Iraq seems to need sleep. Not even me. But they don't go without food. Did you know that the average American soldier in Iraq gains 26 pounds -- while the average insurgent lives on rice and beans? If that doesn't give our troops an edge here, then what will? If we are now entering the fourth year of this war and it still is bogged down even despite our tremendous Cheesecake advantage, the Bush guys are in big trouble.

But I digress.I've been here in Iraq for three days and this is the first day I have even seen -- let alone talked to -- an Iraqi. So I started at the top and interviewed an Iraqi general. His basic message seems to be that the Iraqi army now has about 25 new ways to kill people and/or make them go to their rooms. "We have more troops, more joint security stations, more ammunition, more tips from informants, more security...." Then his translator went on and on about how the Iraqi army is eliminating tourists. Tourists? Oh, he meant TERRORISTS. My bad.

Then I spoke with an American admiral who stated, "The people of Iraq need to be able to walk to the local coffee shop safely." By this does he mean that after four whole years of occupation, people still can't walk safely to the coffee shop -- or does he mean that what Iraq needs today is more Starbucks? I'm confused.After that, you will never guess what happened next! I got to interview John McCain! Seriously. He was here. Right here in the press room. Which is fifty feet down the corridor and around the corner from the cot where I had dumped off all my stuff this morning and is now my new home.

Senator McCain, Senator Graham, Rep. Pence and Rep. Renzi had put together what appeared to be the 2007 GOP Hype-the-War Tour. "Do you think that they will give us souvenir T-shirts of the tour," I asked some guy from CNN. Probably not.

Anyway, Sen. McCain and his backup singers were here and even though I don't agree with them, I was glad that they came. It takes courage to come to Iraq.

"Our new strategy is making progress," said McCain.

"We are doing things differently," said Sen. Graham. "We cannot let suicide bombers set the pace. If we talk about leaving and losing, the car bombers win."

Then Graham talked about how the four of them went down to the Baghdad market today and it was perfectly safe. "We bargained and bought rugs."Pence agreed about the safety of the market. Later, however, he added that they did have to travel there in Humvees and be escorted by soldiers and wear body armor -- but other than that...

Later I talked with an Iraqi reporter who said that the market they went to was the safest in the city and several American reporters added that walking around in Baghdad without troops backing you up was suicidal and anyone who did something like that had a death wish.Renzi then stated that, "We will not turn our backs on the Iraqi people," and the other Dream Boys agreed.

And apparently if the bill to end the war makes it through Congress, Bush will veto it. "The President [sic] will veto any bill that will cut the legs out from under the military," added Graham.So far, the group had talked a lot about how to make the "war" policy regarding Iraq succeed, but none of them talked about the elephant in the living room -- that the policy itself is fatally flawed.

But I did! Shut up, Jane.

Yes, even with all those Senators and reporters and everything there I still had to have my say. So. Exactly what DID I say to John McCain?

Sorry but you're gonna have to die of suspense a little bit longer. Someone just brought me some food!Fried chicken, meatloaf, honeyed carrots, mashed potatoes, green beans and cookies! Giant chocolate chip cookies, macadamia nut cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate fudge cookies. Hey! You forgot the cheesecake.

So. What did I say to Sen. McCain?

I gave him my famous "Light Brigade" speech. "I have been so completely impressed," I began, "by the quality, training, competence and skill of our troops here. They represent yet another generation in a long line of competent and capable Americans."

McCain smiled and nodded his head, thinking I had finished my speech. Not.

"But," I continued, just getting warmed up, "our troops are also like the heroes of Lord Tennyson's poem, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade.' They are fighting bravely and well in a situation caused by a blunder. So why should we senselessly continue to put our troops in harm's way for a mistake?" Or in order to appease some greedy, immature Lord Nelson wannabe. It doesn't make sense to destroy a whole generation of American soldiers just to support Bush and Cheney.

Then I got down to the heart of my question. Giving McCain that special look that us moms usually reserve for recalcitrant children, I said, "And after this terrible blunder in Iraq, are you then going to go ahead and make that same horrible mistake in Iran?"

McCain's answer was brief. "No comment."

Sleeping bag in tow, she hopes to embed with Army and blog
Our friend Jane did it! She actually went to Kuwait and is hoping to make it to Iraq to see for herself what is going on. The above link is to the news article in the San Francisco Chronicle about her quest to be imbedded with a military unit in Iraq.
Best of luck Jane. We look forward to hearing from you often!
March 29, 2007
Greetings from Kuwait! This post is gonna be quick and dirty and not very coherent because I'm writing to you from a Kinko's at the Kuwait City airport. After two days on the plane, I arrived here around midnight and, since I can't even begin to try to arrange to get picked up until 6 am tomorrow morning, I'll be spending the rest of the night in a Barca-lounger in the airport offices of Kellogg, Brown & Root. How surrealistic is that!

Here's my first dispatch:

The Great American Dream still exists -- in Iraq!
By Jane Stillwater

You know how we all thought that the American economy was going down-hill? It's not true! We're just not looking in the right places. Look closer -- the 1950s American economic miracle isn't dead. It's still going on. People are still getting well-paying jobs. Mortgages are still being paid off. Jobs are available everywhere. You can find one just for the asking. Three cars in your garage? No problem. No money worries, no debts. Decent jobs are out there begging. Yes, the 1950s American economic miracle is still happening.

Only it's happening in Iraq.

How spooky, how weird, how de-ja-voo. While American cities are rotting and American children go to sleep hungry at night, there still is a land -- far far away -- where everything is as it was before our present economic American Easter egg cracked.

Where is this simple, illusionary, holiday place? Iraq.

Yesterday, escorted by two large handsome bodyguard cameramen supplied by the San Francisco Chronicle, I took a BART train to the San Francisco airport and boarded a plane to Amsterdam.

"Jane, your flight from Amsterdam to Kuwait has been canceled," said the guy at the KLM check-in counter. "Would you mind spending a night in Holland?"

Would I mind? Hecka no! But when I got to Amsterdam, they told me something else. "Tomorrow's flight has been canceled but you can still get on yesterday's flight." Huh? "And it leaves in two hours." So I trundled off to Gate D-7 -- and while I was waiting for yesterday's flight, I chit-chatted with four really nice Department of Defense and Blackwater "contractors". They talked about perks.

"I'm making a fabulous salary."

"I've saved up enough to put my daughters through college. And also my wife!"

"We have a mini-van, a sedan and an SUV."

"I just got back from a week at Disney World and next year we're taking the family to Europe."

Sounds just like the good old days, doesn't it. Guys working hard, guys getting ahead.

On the flight from Holland to Kuwait, the entire PLANE was filled with contractors, pursuing the American Dream -- in Iraq.

Who am I to try to put an end to this perfect world -- just because it is based on the quicksand of a million dead bodies?

"Not I," said this little white duck.

On the way to Kuwait, I watched an in-flight movie entitled "Bobby" -- about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. And what RFK said in that film hit the nail exactly on the head. "Too often, we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings."

PS: While I was flying across the Atlantic, getting leg cramps, eating rubber chicken and watching "Casino Royal," I also read an article in The Guardian about the ghastly slaughter that is happening right now in Darfur. Don't even get me started on that one -- wondering who else is making a profit off of all those grisly deaths.