Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hopeless

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Red Sex, Blue Sex

Annals of Sociology

Why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant?

by Margaret Talbot

The

The "sexual d├ębut" of an evangelical girl typically occurs just after she turns sixteen. Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark.

During the campaign, the media has largely respected calls to treat Bristol Palin's pregnancy as a private matter. But the reactions to it have exposed a cultural rift that mirrors America's dominant political divide. Social liberals in the country's "blue states" tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter's pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in "red states" generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn't choose to have an abortion.

A handful of social scientists and family-law scholars have recently begun looking closely at this split. Last year, Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin, published a startling book called "Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers," and he is working on a follow-up that includes a section titled "Red Sex, Blue Sex." His findings are drawn from a national survey that Regnerus and his colleagues conducted of some thirty-four hundred thirteen-to-seventeen-year-olds, and from a comprehensive government study of adolescent health known as Add Health. Regnerus argues that religion is a good indicator of attitudes toward sex, but a poor one of sexual behavior, and that this gap is especially wide among teen-agers who identify themselves as evangelical.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/11/03/081103fa_fact_talbot

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Apocalypstick

 
"[Sarah Palin] was never a hockey mom, she was always the prom queen sitting in the back of the convertible waving to the hockey moms"
- Simon Doonan, high-end clothing store Barney's in NYC
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Sexual trauma afflicts 15 percent of U.S. veterans: study

Iraq Veterans Against the War march through the streets of Denver, ColoradoNearly 15 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking medical care from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department have suffered sexual trauma, from harassment to rape, researchers reported on Tuesday.

And these veterans were 1.5 times as likely as other veterans to need mental health services, the report from the VA found.

"We are, in fact, detecting men and women who seem to have a significant need for mental health services," said Rachel Kimerling of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California.

The study, presented at a meeting of the American Public Health Association in San Diego, raises many questions.

Kimerling said in a telephone interview the term "military sexual trauma" covers a range of events from coerced sex to outright rape or threatening and unwelcome sexual advances.

Kimerling said for her purposes it is not necessary to find out what kind of sexual trauma occurred. Her study also did not determine when it happened.

"If you think about military service where you are living and working so closely with the same people, that even if it is not sexual assault ... it is possible that severe sexual harassment is just as traumatic," she said.

The study does not cover active-duty servicemen and women, as VA services are only available to discharged veterans.

A spokeswoman for the VA said about 40 percent of all discharged veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have sought medical care of some sort from the VA, which has a universal screening program for military sexual trauma.

Kimerling said that may mean many veterans are unaware they can be helped and she said she hoped more would come forward to seek treatment.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_veterans_trauma;_ylt=ArdI186IRwkWfaq6Ra89EoEDW7oF

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How these gibbering numbskulls came to dominate Washington

The degradation of intelligence and learning in American politics results from a series of interlocking tragedies

George MonbiotHow was it allowed to happen? How did politics in the US come to be dominated by people who make a virtue out of ignorance? Was it charity that has permitted mankind's closest living relative to spend two terms as president? How did Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and other such gibbering numbskulls get to where they are? How could Republican rallies in 2008 be drowned out by screaming ignoramuses insisting that Barack Obama was a Muslim and a terrorist?

Like most people on my side of the Atlantic, I have for many years been mystified by American politics. The US has the world's best universities and attracts the world's finest minds. It dominates discoveries in science and medicine. Its wealth and power depend on the application of knowledge. Yet, uniquely among the developed nations (with the possible exception of Australia), learning is a grave political disadvantage.

There have been exceptions over the past century - Franklin Roosevelt, JF Kennedy and Bill Clinton tempered their intellectualism with the common touch and survived - but Adlai Stevenson, Al Gore and John Kerry were successfully tarred by their opponents as members of a cerebral elite (as if this were not a qualification for the presidency). Perhaps the defining moment in the collapse of intelligent politics was Ronald Reagan's response to Jimmy Carter during the 1980 presidential debate. Carter - stumbling a little, using long words - carefully enumerated the benefits of national health insurance. Reagan smiled and said: "There you go again." His own health programme would have appalled most Americans, had he explained it as carefully as Carter had done, but he had found a formula for avoiding tough political issues and making his opponents look like wonks.

It wasn't always like this. The founding fathers of the republic - Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and others - were among the greatest thinkers of their age. They felt no need to make a secret of it. How did the project they launched degenerate into George W Bush and Sarah Palin?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/28/us-education-election-obama-bush-mccain

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A terrorist too

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CNN: Thousands purged from voter rolls in Georgia

Update: Federal panel tells state to let those flagged vote anyway, ballots can later be challenged; GA sec. of state says screening to continue

With reports of voting problems rife in the media, and instances of vote flipping seen in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Texas, elections watchdogs are on their toes for any more foul play.

In spite of their activism, thousands of voters have been lopped off Georgia's rolls.

CNN's Abbie Boudreau and Scott Bronstein reported:

College senior Kyla Berry was looking forward to voting in her first presidential election, even carrying her voter registration card in her wallet.

But about two weeks ago, Berry got disturbing news from local election officials.

"This office has received notification from the state of Georgia indicating that you are not a citizen of the United States and therefore, not eligible to vote," a letter from the Fulton County Department of Registration and Elections said.

But Berry is a U.S. citizen, born in Boston, Massachusetts. She has a passport and a birth certificate to prove it.

Berry is one of thousands of registered Georgia voters who have been "flagged" because of a computer mismatch in their personal identification information. At least 4,500 of those people are having their citizenship questioned and the burden is on them to prove eligibility to vote.
 
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Respondele a Obama

Latin music video to get out the vote for Obama. Music written and performed by Jose Conde. Video by Nicole Betancourt.
 
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Early e-voting results in vote flipping in three states so far

I noted in passing last week that West Virginia has had the distinct honor of being the first state in the union to report problems (surprise! surprise!) with its electronic voting systems. There are now also reports that similar problems have been happening in Tennessee and Texas as well. No doubt these won't be the last.

So what exactly has happened? Largely, the problem has been what's been dubbed "vote flipping" or "vote switching" -- which is exactly what it sounds like. According to a report by my buddy Scott Finn over at West Virginia Public Broadcasting from late last week:

Voters in at least two West Virginia counties -- Jackson and Putnam -- say electronic voting machines are switching their votes from Democrats to Republicans.

The two county clerks, both Republicans, say they don't think there's a problem. But these voting problems have gotten the attention of everyone from CNN to liberal website The Huffington Post.

So far, eight voters from Jackson and Putnam counties have come forward to say their electronic voting machines kept changing their votes from Democrats to Republicans -- usually, from Obama to McCain.

Wired News also reports that Ohio and Berkeley counties have been having similar problems.

It appears that some of the problems have to do with the fact that the software is simply faulty, and requires "recalibration" by voting officials.

But in Tennessee, there's a different, albeit opposite problem, where votes intended for McCain are actually going to Obama. (One blog has raised questions as to the veracity of this report.) Further, apparently it's not always obvious to tell exactly what part of the screen you're touching.

According to an account in the Decatur County Chronicle:

"The way the machine is set up, when you are standing in front of it and seeing it at a certain angle, it looks like you are touching the middle (of the button) when you are actually touching the line above it," Box said.

[Election Commissioner Rick Box] and fellow Election Commissioner Grafton Dodd tested the machines on Monday. Dodd could not be reached for comment but Box said he found the area of the screen where the buttons for President are located are extremely close together. He blames the problem in part on poor design by software programmers, and adds that there may be sensitivity issues with the screen itself.

In other words, it's the voter's fault.

http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2008/10/27/early_voting/index.html?source=newsletter

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Election revelations: 666 reasons not to vote for Barack Obama

Election road trip, day 15: While the Guardian's Ed Pilkington was researching a story on biofuels in Missouri, the general manager of an ethanol plant told him why he could never vote for Obama

Roger Hill reveals his fear of Barack Obama

Sometimes the most revealing insights strike at the most unexpected moments, jolting you out of the reality you thought you were in and transporting you somewhere else entirely. For instance, when reporting a story on the political differences between Barack Obama and John McCain over ethanol as an alternative fuel, you don't expect to be confronted with details of a plot by the devil to take over the White House.

I had hopped on to the GuardianFilms bus as it made its way across the US. We were joining forces to make a film about the ethanol issue, which has earned Obama the criticism of environmentalists because of his support for the controversial corn-based variety of the fuel that has helped to drive up world food prices.

We stopped at an ethanol plant in Craig, Missouri, where we were greeted by the general manager, Roger Hill, and shown around the plant. He said something odd early on in our tour, responding to the news that I was British by commenting on how Muslims had become dominant in my country. I only half heard his remark, and let it go; we were here to talk about ethanol.

Later though, he brought up the subject again, when I suggested to him that as an ethanol manufacturer he must logically back Obama over McCain, who has openly criticised federal subsidies of the fuel. That's when he invoked Revelations, chapter 13. If you lack instant recall of the contents of Revelations 13, as I have to admit I did, it's the bit in the Bible where the beast rears his ugly head, or rather many heads, and reveals the mark on his right hand or forehead: 666.

Yes, Hill was likening Obama to the devil, with Revelations 13 as the proof. Which gave me pause. I've heard many, many people tell me that Obama is a Muslim, but I'd never quite heard him compared to Satan.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/uselectionroadtrip/2008/oct/27/barack-obama-muslim-antichrist

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Palin’s Nightmare

By Scott Horton

In a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin told the crowd that an Obama presidency would present the specter of a socialist state in which fundamental American freedoms are undermined. Let's go to the video:

Does Sarah mean a state:

  • That snatches its victims off the street, denies them all form of legal process and whisks them away to secret "blacksites" where they can be tortured using all the techniques described in Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon?
  • That arrests and prosecutes its political adversaries for imaginary crimes so as to eliminate them from the running in election cycles in which they could do some damage?
  • That destroys the careers of professional military men because they got promotions under a prior regime and therefore considers them disloyal?
  • That believes it can detain and hold its enemies forever without any charges or any evidence against them, denying them access to courts to prove their innocence?
  • That constantly manipulates the population's fear whenever its public popularity slips and elections begin to approach?
  • That believes that it can make no errors, and that those who point to its errors are traitors?
  • That systematically spies on millions of its citizens in direct violation of a criminal statute which forbids such surveillance?
  • That signs new laws with its fingers crossed in the form of signing statements, so that no one knows whether the laws—or any part of them—will actually be enforced?
  • That lies to its people about threats from abroad in an effort to build popular support for a series of wars and then cites the existence of those wars as a reason to suppress dissent?
  • That nationalizes the debt of predatory capitalists so they suffer no punishment for their misconduct and then nationalizes major financial institutions, converting the nation's free market system into a socialism in which crony capitalists are a privileged elite?

Sarah, you have no need to fear the future.

http://harpers.org/archive/2008/10/hbc-90003761

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Buttons

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Nazi memorabilia secures auction best sale in five years

A rare collection of Nazi memorabilia, including a death head ring owned by Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler, has helped an auction house to secure its best sale in five years.
Himmler's Nazi hunting knife to be auctioned Jonathan Humbert, of Northamptonshire-based J.P.Humbert Auctioneers, said his three-day sale which included the controversial items, raised a total of £90,000.

The death head ring itself sold for £2,200 and a selection of Nazi daggers and swords fetched hammer prices of £200 to £800. A Nazi pin badge made as much as £180.

Mr Humbert said they also sold an original 8ft by 4ft Nazi war ensign from Second World War German pocket battleship The Admiral Graf Spee, for £550.

He said that Nazi items had poured into the auction house following a recent sale which included a range of Nazi goods recovered from a council house clearance.

He said that the popularity of the collection had surprised him.

"I was quite surprised, especially as some items sold to within the room. That's very rare, usually people bid over the phone for these kind of things.

"Some people say it's disgusting to sell this stuff, but my view is that they are all a part of our recent social history and they belong in museums.

"A lot of the people at our sales are private collectors interested in preserving the history and I don't see any harm in that."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3270465/Nazi-memorabilia-secures-auction-best-sale-in-five-years.html

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ATF: Disrupted skinhead plot in Tenn., Ark. to kill Obama, 102 blacks

By LARA JAKES JORDAN

photo
This undated photo obtained from a MySpace webpage shows Daniel Cowart, 20 of Bells, Tenn. holding a weapon. Federal agents have broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree, the ATF said Monday Oct. 27, 2008. In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. The men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two white supremacists allegedly plotted to go on a national killing spree, shooting and decapitating black people and ultimately targeting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, federal authorities said Monday.

In all, the two men whom officials describe as neo-Nazi skinheads planned to kill 88 people -- 14 by beheading, according to documents unsealed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The spree, which initially targeted an unidentified predominantly African-American school, was to end with the two men driving toward Obama, "shooting at him from the windows," the court documents show.

"Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt," the court complaint states. "Both individuals further stated they knew they would and were willing to die during this attempt."

An Obama spokeswoman traveling with the senator in Pennsylvania had no immediate comment.

http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081027/NEWS08/81027063

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Green Acres

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