By Tyler LePard
Despite repeated scientific proof that abstinence-only programs don't work, the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)--program offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)--recently announced a grant to the Medical Institute for Sexual Health to develop online abstinence training programs. This $207,400 grant qualifies as technical assistance from the Abstinence Education Division of FYSB in order to integrate "medical and scientific information into abstinence education programming."
According to their website, the Medical Institute for Sexual Health (MI) is a credible scientific organization interested in public health:
"MI was founded to confront the global epidemics of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We identify and evaluate scientific information on sexual health and promote healthy sexual decisions and behaviors by communicating credible scientific information."
However, their focus on abstinence, to the exclusion of important health aspects of comprehensive sex ed shows, that they value ideology over sound public health. The Medical Institute plays up the failure rate of contraception and opposes mandating the HPV vaccine (despite acknowledging HPV as the most common sexually transmitted infection). Additionally, SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) features the Medical Institute in their National Opponents of Comprehensive Sexuality.
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Fifteen years ago "10,000 Maniacs" blessed the world with their classic, "These are Days". The song began:
These are days you'll remember. Never before and never since, I promise, will the whole world be warm as this.And as you feel it, you'll know it's true that you are blessed and lucky...
The song continues, counting the wonders and miracles of life -- of this precious time we have on Earth.
As you might have noticed, we live in pivotal times. As Americans, we've been hornswaggled into believing that our votes are counted, our wars are just, our science is fuzzy, our leaders are moral, and our media is capable. Now most all of us know better so the bliss of ignorance is lost.
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Speaker Pelosi said House Republicans will "be given only one chance to amend or debate a plan to curb oil and gas subsidies and other Democratic priorities." Legislation "cutting subsidies to oil and gas producers is one of Democrats' top six priorities for their first 100 hours in power. Pelosi said Thursday that the oil and gas legislation along with bills cutting student loan interest rates and requiring the government to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare would not go through the normal legislative process."
And for those of you who might find outrage in Speaker Pelosi's decision to forego 'normal legislative process' I can only say that Republicans set the precedent for creative use of majority power to castrate the minority opposition. So if you don't like it, too damn bad. Now is not the time to roll over to the deposed dictators and share warm fuzzies.
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The topic below was originally posted in my blog the
Intrepid Liberal Journal.
Democratic Party strategists must be salivating. An ABC News-Washington Post survey reports 8 out of 10 Americans favor changing the U.S. mission in Iraq from direct combat to training Iraqi troops and significant majorities prefer withdrawing nearly all troops by 2008. The ABC/WAPO Survey also indicates increased support for diplomatic initiatives with Iran and Syria.
Since the Bush Administration has opted to essentially reject the Iraq Study Group's bipartisan recommendations, Democrats have received an early Christmas present: they can embrace the report to appear responsible and allow Iraq to continue dragging down the Republican Party heading into 2008.
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Some say her act was a sign of courage. She took a solid position on what she thought was best and she stuck with it through to the very end -- no apologies, no excuses. That's what leaders do. Of course they can't win every battle.
Others, including the mainstream media and conservative bloggers, have pointed out that Hoyer's win was a 'devastating' defeat for Pelosi -- one that might set the stage for Democratic infighting or serve as a hobbling message to Speaker Pelosi. Clearly this is the easiest tack for media outlets to take. It's simply more exciting to the average reader to hear about such drama. That Pelosi has 'great leadership skills' would seem far less interesting for the majority of the consuming public.
So off they ago...
The AP notes Pelosi's own election is being largely "overshadowed by Murtha's defeat,"
The USA Today says "the next speaker of the House lost her first test Thursday."
Dana Milbank writes in the Washington Post that Pelosi "experienced her first smackdown." It "should have been a coronation," but "instead, her party...plunged into fratricide."
The Los Angeles Times wrote "Pelosi's Early Setback Has Her Party On Alert," and says Democrats "gave Pelosi a brusque lesson in the limits of her power." Hoyer "didn't merely defeat Murtha, Pelosi's strong preference, but trounced him."
On the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer said the Murtha-Hoyer debate "has raised real questions about [Pelosi's] judgment."
The Washington Post says the vote "was viewed by many in the party as a repudiation of Pelosi's strong-arm tactics."
The Baltimore Sun reports California Rep. Maxine Waters, "a Hoyer supporter, said Pelosi's campaign...had raised serious questions within the party. 'What most people didn't understand was the why's of it all,' Waters said."
And the New York Times notes "some supporters of Mr. Murtha...were disgruntled and said they were trying to identify lawmakers who had broken pledges to support him. 'We won't trust them on issues like this the next time,' said Representative James P. Moran, a Murtha ally from Virginia who said Mr. Murtha had been betrayed."
Perhaps next time, Speaker Pelosi will deal with such internal matters more subtly and behind closed doors as much as possible. After all, she had relatively little to gain and much to lose from making this such an unnecessarily public debate.
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Today, both Devilstower and Larry O'Donnell let rip with a scathing criticism of a potential Jack Murtha House majority leadership position -- seemingly in reaction to a Washington Post Article endorsing Hoyer as House majority leader in lieu of the ethically 'questionable' Murtha.
I would like to reiterate the absolute importance of Pelosi's and the Democrats' exclusion of such questionable figures from leadership positions. Murtha has no business representing Democrats -- a party that has rightly adopted a "culture of integrity" -- one that intends to "Drain the swamp" of congressional corruption.
Pelosi should know better.
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"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act".
"I don't want to be part of your revolution if I can't dance."
Rumsfeld is gone. Mehlman is gone. Delay is gone. Yet -- let's not have our progressives' version of a strutting on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier moment. Because mission has not been accomplished.
For those who haven't noticed: While we were busy with other concerns, many of our rights and liberties went missing. Moreover, along with them, have went or are going fast: our planet's polar ice caps; accountability of the corporate sector (our nation's true power brokers); as well as, a sense of place, history, and even a cursory understanding, among a large percent of the populace of the US, of the precepts of civilization and of democratic discourse.
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55% of Americans voted against Republicans running for Congress.
59% of Americans voted against Republicans in Senate contests.
62% of Americans voted against Republicans running for governor.
Adding insult to injury, Independents broke 3 to 2 for Democratic candidates.
This thumping will leave a mark. Bush might have avoided Icarus' fate if he had spent more time in the reality-based world.
The Decider Icarus can make all the noise he wants about bi-partisan intentions. No one is listening. Here's the beauty of this victory: Armed with a popular mandate that spans the nation, our job is simple. We have to keep the Corrupt Bastards grounded in reality. Below the fold are a few suggestions that should help put cement shoes on the neo-cons, their apologists, shills, and cronies.
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- Raise the minimum wage.
- Put in place an ethics plan that "breaks the link" between lobbyists and legislation.
- Protect the nation by implementing the recommendations of the independent 9/11 Commission.
- Eliminate the clause that prohibits the government for bargaining over drug prices.
- Promote stem cell research.
- Cut interest rates for student loans.
- Roll back subsidies for oil companies.
- Protect Social Security.
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This cycle, Democrats took a majority of the governorships in the nation for the first time in 12 years, taking six seats from Republicans - including one incumbent Republican (MD) and five seats left open by outgoing Republicans:
Maryland: Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley defeated Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) 53%-46%
New York: Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) defeated John Faso (R) 69%-29%, taking a seat long held by Republican George Pataki.
Ohio: Rep. Ted Strickland (D) crushed Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell (R), winning 60%-37%.
Massachusetts: Deval Patrick (D) handed defeat to Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R) 56%-35% to capture the job being vacated by Gov. Mitt Romney (R)
Arkansas: Attorney General Mike Beebe (D) defeated Asa Hutchinson (R) 55%-41%.
Colorado: Bill Ritter (D) defeated Rep. Bob Beauprez (R) 56%-41%
Though Republicans had the governorship of Iowa, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Michigan in their crosshairs, Democrats were able to hold on to every one.
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Further, "By early this morning, Democrats had picked up more than two dozen Republican-held House seats without losing any of their own, putting Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) into position to become the nation's first female speaker."
More importantly, the Democrats' "victory in the House - overcoming a legendarily efficient White House political machine - represented a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of the party and signaled a sea change in the political dynamics in Washington after a dozen years in which Republicans controlled Congress for all but a brief period."
With 99.75% of precincts reporting, Webb had 49.58 percent of the vote to Allen's 49.22 percent -- representing about 8,350 votes. In the wee hours of the morning, Democrat Jim Webb declared victory, "...the votes are in and we won." Allen, however, "had no plans to concede, and reminded supporters gathered for him here in Richmond that he has won close elections before. 'The first time I ever won an election...it was 18 votes. We had to have a recount,' Mr. Allen said."
In Montana, Democratic challenger Jon Tester leads Republican incumbent Conrad Burns 49.12% to 48.33% with 90% of precincts reporting.
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Below are the battleground Senate races with the % chance (as determined by the trading activity at Tradesports.com) of the listed party winning that race. (Note, these are not scientific polls and are provided purely for entertainment purposes.)
As of 2:15 PM EST, Tradesports is predicting Dem pickups in PA, OH, VA, MO, MT, and RI with NO GOP Pickups. That would give Democrats control of the Senate. Ironically, the same site is giving a GOP controlled senate a nearly 70% likelihood. The difference likely reflects the idea that, though even if the percent chance given to each individual race is accurate, the probability of ALL of those taking place as predicted is far lower. Thus, the prediction for the Senate at large going to the Democrats is less than the individual race predictions would suggest.
That said, I still think the two sets of data are not entirely in synch, but whatever, this is just for fun anyway.
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Over the weekend, the GOP was smiling about polls from Pew and ABC that showed a Democratic lead over the Republicans of only 4% and 6% respectively - But that picture has changed dramatically.
- The latest Fox News poll gives Democrats an edge on the generic congressional ballot, where they lead Republicans, 49 percent to 36 percent. The survey also showed Democrats were more excited about the elections, and more motivated to vote, than their Republican counterparts. "More Democrats (37% ) than Republicans (26%) say they are extremely interested in tomorrow's elections, and more Democrats (89%) than Republicans (81%) say they plan to vote for their party's candidate in their district."
- CNN's final national poll before the elections shows President Bush's approval rating dipping to 35 percent and Democrats leading Republicans on the generic congressional ballot, 58 percent to 38 percent.
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