Researchers Still Studying Virginity Pledges

Its 2008, and somewhere out there a researcher is thinking:

“By Golly, I wonder if virginity pledges work?  Better start another study.”

We could deprive teenagers of all but 4 hours a day for sleep, remove their sense of sight, and send them to school in chastity contraptions that would make Houdini shudder, and they’d still find a way to have sex.  The sooner we start from reality rather than a fantasy fueled by a fervent desire for “purity” amongst the young, the faster we’ll be able to ensure teens have healthy, safe sex.

the results, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggest that virginity pledgers are less likely to protect themselves against pregnancy or disease when they do have sex.

This is directly in line with studies on the various forms of abstinence education.  I’m sure a similar study on kids who attend “chastity balls” with their parents would yield the same results.  We get it.  The point has been made and proved.  Additional studies won’t be worth a damn against the religious right, who will continue championing the ideal of purity at the expense of teenage sexual health no matter what kind of research comes out.

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All Kinds of Wrong

And now, for no other reason than to deeply disturb, a brief photo gallery of shirtless Presidents.

Invasion of Love and Privacy

The people who brought you prop hate have decided to go after existing gay marriages:

The sponsors of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to nullify the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who exchanged vows before voters approved the ballot initiative that outlawed gay unions.

The religious right is literally tearing families apart.  How many of these married couples have kids together?  What will there status be?

That doesn’t matter at all to the theocratic  freaks who would rather force the government stop anything not approved by their interpretation of the Christian Bible.  (And these are the types of people Obama is trying to reach out to).  They aren’t pro-family, they are pro-theocracy.

They need to be stopped.  They do not have the right to ruin lives because they think their God disapproves of homosexuality.  While I approve the irony and creativity behind the initiative to ban divorce in California (petition and more details here), I think we need to come up with a sharper plan of attack.  We need to find a way to make areas of discourse that have been regarded as politically safe, dangerous.  We need to shift the overton window of religion’s role in public life to expose the ridiculousness of allowing irrational faith of some to dictate the rights of all.

Oh If Only

Culture of Life + Unions = WIN

Fox, The Simpons, Family Guy and Rape: WTF?

Being a fan of Family Guy, I read this piece from Jessica @ feministing back in October:

The most recent episode, I Dream of Jesus, featured this conversation with Peter and a waiter (Peter is trying to get the waiter to give him a jukebox record he likes):

Peter: Can I have that record? I love that song. I’ll let you have sex with my daughter…

Waiter: I don’t know…let’s see what your daughter looks like.

P: She’s…uhh…(pans past Meg to “hot” girl)…right there!

W: Ok, I’ll do her. But can you tell her to cry and beg me to stop?

P: I think that can be arranged.

And this isn’t the first time the show has made light of violence against women. Usually, I’d consider Family Guy one of my (Un)Feminist guilty pleasures, but I think I have to cut the show off completely. Sigh.

More below the fold (warning, possibly triggering):

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In Defense of Greta Van Susteren

Reading over the comments at the HuffPost, I couldn’t help but notice hostility aimed at Greta Van Susteren’s harsh take on CNN’s holiday firing:

Fox News Greta van Susteren has some harsh words for her former employer CNN after hearing that the network is laying off people right before the holidays:

They did it again! CNN fires people just in time for Christmas! Make you sick?
People often ask why I left CNN…..I didn’t like management. I liked my colleagues in the news gathering but the corporate culture that seized management when AOL came in (Steve Case and Gerry Levin) was disgusting. Everything changed. Don’t get me wrong – I like corporate organization and a corporation should make money – what I don’t like is a mean spirited selfish management that, despite not doing its job of efficiently running the company, lines it pockets. And then the topper? because the management didn’t run the company well, CNN fires loyal people to meet some bottom line the management failed to meet.

She’s actually right on target.  I know people who worked at AOL.  The holiday pink slip was a perennial dark joke (as was job security).  The layoffs were so bad they’d sometimes have a direct impact on projects they were working on “Oh that was built/maintained by XYZ, who was let go”.  Its a toxic corporate culture, which is a shame, since some talented and wonderful people work for AOL.

This comment by rasit stood out:

How about a lecture like this to the Management of all the failed banks, corporations etc. where people lost their pensions, 401 etc. because of crooks,

How about some compassion for the thousands of ordinary working class people losing their jobs for good, NOT just laid off?

How about some supportive words for the people losing their homes; cannot afford healthcare etc.

GET REAL GRETA, and don’t expect the rest of us to feel sorry for you or the other overpaid “so called” reporters!!

THE REAL world has been HURTING for quite some time now!!! I’m glad Greta, FINALLY noticed something is wrong…

You guys are a big joke…

He has half a point.  The callousness with which the people laid off as a result of the unpunished (and outrageously enough, richly rewarded) top brass who sunk us all into this economic mess ought to be called out.  There is a stunning case for public shaming here.  Being laid off means a very different thing in a recession.

But the people AOL lays off will be a range of people.  Reporters, Technicians, Developers, Accountants, Marketers, Secretaries, etc.

When the economy takes your job away, as a liberal, my first thought is “how can we find or create a new job for you”, not “you deserve it”.  Corporate culture that leads to constant punishment of workers and rewarding of management regardless of performance is an ethical poison.  Unchecked it will continue to spread, and the only way to check it is to call it out.  Greta Van Susteren was right on, and I hope she’ll have the integrity and courage to call out other employers who are as ruthless and cold.

Unemployed for A Year

The NYPost has an upbeat article about the laid off banker who found a new job after walking the streets with a sandwich board proclaiming “MIT Grad for hire” (emphasis mine):

An out-of-work banker who became a symbol of the looming financial crisis by trudging Manhattan streets wearing a sign advertising “MIT grad for hire” has landed on his feet – scoring a well-paying job at an accounting firm.

In a more hopeful sign of the times, Joshua Persky got rid of his sandwich board and demonstrated that creative people can bail themselves out without any help from the government.

With a little over half a million unemployed in NY State (Figure for October 2008), a single white collar job for a banker is far from the positive proof the NY Post’s tone suggests (emphasis mine):

Persky was hired as a senior manager for Weiser as of last week, just about a year after he was laid off by the investment bank Houlihan Lokey and some six months after he started handing out his résumé to passers-by on Park Avenue.

This guy was out of work for a whole year.  After 6 months of presumably conventional attempts to secure a new job, Joshua Persky switched to an approach hailed by his new boss as “very innovative”.  This innovative new tact took 6 more months to land him his next gig.

Fire up a spreadsheet program and take a look at your own finances.  How many of you could live for a whole year without income?

His wife and youngest kids, 4 and 5, had moved to her parents’ home in Nebraska to save cash. But they’ll be returning to New York after the end of the school year.

Imagine adding a family to that equation minus relatives to house them.

Don’t get me wrong, we could all use some good news, whether its about an individual’s triumph or a strengthening economy.  But making this guy’s story out to be some sort of fiscal conservative fairy tale about merit paying off despite tough times is disingenuous.