Sex Ed in Clark County, Nevada

There is quite the local controversy surrounding exactly what students should be taught about their own bodies and sexuality in the 5th largest school district in the nation, Clark County School District. CCSD, to its credit, wants to teach more and make sure students get more accurate information. Students want that too. Parents, on the other hand, want to sharply limit what their kids learn, and they want to keep an “opt-in” mechanism so that parents actually have to sign a piece of paper saying it’s ok to teach kids about sex education.

Now here’s the thing. Well over 99.9% of school kids do in fact have either a vagina or a penis. Sure, I’ll allow for a small chance somebody doesn’t have one or the other. Those same parents who want to “control” how exactly how much their kids know about sex are not teaching them enough, and they aren’t starting early enough. These are the kind of parents who don’t bother to mention to a girl that she will get a period someday, waiting until the inevitable menarche panic. These are exactly the parents whose kids most desperately need sex ed.

Kids who don’t get enough information resort to asking friends who know little more than they do, as in that classic scene from your old Judy Blume book. They make mistakes because they don’t know any better. By contrast, kids who get sex ed wait longer to have sex, and they use contraception when they do — an unmistakable win-win reducing the chances of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

When I was young, most people had never heard of the internet. Now, thank [deity], there are places online where young people can get straight talk about their bodies and their sexuality.

Interested in more of my musings on this and related topics? Here’s Shelby Knox, contraceptives prevent abortions, and twisting the facts. Oh, and what do you call people who use the rhythm method of birth control? Parents!

In Closing: the return of the MERS controversy; Joe Biden’s TPP problem; wasn’t supposed to say that in public (but hey, in the summer of 2007 Hillary seemed inevitable too); internet hacks for students; gosh, that headline means something completely different until you get to the last two words; your elected representatives don’t care what your opinion is.

Oddly Appropriate

So it seems that the $10 bill is about to get a makeover, and a woman’s face will grace the note. She will replace Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton was a known, uh, “man about town”. He has the honor of being at the center of America’s first political sex scandal.  In fact, Hamilton “got around” so much, that Martha Washington named a particularly randy tomcat after him.

So yeah, this move is oddly appropriate.


A few random thoughts about Baltimore

So on one side we have a lot of people saying stuff that boils down to “those people are animals and that’s why they can’t have nice things.”

This attitude ignores the realities on the ground: no jobs, no economic development (because after all who would open a factory there?); a minimum wage that won’t get you above the poverty line and barely allows you to pay rent. Oh yeah, and there’s a teensy weensy double standard in play too.

And hey, why not punish “those people” for daring to want things like the right to get arrested without dying on the way to the station? “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” is for other people?

Sometimes, you need a comic writer or two to put things in perspective.

Of course, it turns out that the situation was at least in part caused by the police — no, not just because they killed somebody. When you show up in riot gear, force adolescents off school busses so they can’t go home, and then wait for trouble, you are the problem and will never be the solution. They came prepared for a problem caused by their own preparation.

And lest we forget that police-delivered death sentences occur in many places around our great country, Raw Story has these “tips”.

In Closing: don’t forget TPP; I bet we’d get “reform” real quick if cops shot up a banker or two; a couple feminism items; really #5 should be first, because you won’t get an interview without it; shipwrecks.

Music Monday: A Night at the Symphony

This is probably my favorite full symphony composition of all time. And that’s saying something from a lady who loves her some Wolfgang Amadeus (yeah yeah and props to Ludwig Van).

In Closing: some more NSA and privacy follies; student loans; crude; illustration of double standard; embarrassing coincidence; lost Sherlock Holmes story; malls have always been an easy target and I’m not sure why this is news (oh but if you had to go through a TSA checkpoint to go shopping I bet Americans would say enough); a shocking misunderstanding of anatomy; because ads will surely cure you; and amusing alteration of signage.

Crystal Ball

It is the year 2035, and one court case is receiving a whole lot of attention: Average vs Doe. The facts of the case seem simple. Back in 2020 Joe Average got married to Mary Doe-Average. Just last year, Mary tragically succumbed to cervical cancer. Doctors were able to trace her cancer to Human Papilloma Virus.

When Mary was a pre-teen, her parents John and Jane Doe decided they would not consent to her receiving the vaccine for HPV, despite the fact that her school encouraged all incoming 7th graders to get this vaccination. Their reasoning was that they were not going to do anything that would encourage her to have premarital sex. Unfortunately, Mary was raped as a teenager. Despite the fact that Mary and Joe had a completely monogamous relationship, Mary got HPV as a result of that rape.

Joe is suing the Does for wrongful death and a bunch of other things his lawyers thought up. His reasoning is that his beloved Mary would still be with him today if it weren’t for a short-sighted decision by her parents. The Does argue that they had no control over what happened.

How do you think this will play out?

In Closing: more spying on Americans; a couple of hopefully last words on vaccines.

The Good, the Bad, and the Habitual

Today’s question:

Do you think you have more good habits or bad habits?

I thought about going a little zen on this question and simply saying “yes.” I have good habits, I have bad habits, I don’t know that I ever bothered comparing the two. I suppose I’d like to think I have more good than bad, and there are people who might disagree.

Sorry, not the best post. But hey, yesterday you got a good rant!

In Closing: Stingray; the London Stone; Women of the Senate; with more people identifying as liberal, I wonder when politicians will stop fearing the word; climate denial; policy; and the Real Johnny Appleseed.

On Good Habits

Today’s question:

Do you have any good habits that were hard to start but you’re happy you worked to build them?

Well yes, I have a lot of habits that were hard to start. For example, it was very hard to get started working out regularly. Sadly, it’s much more fun to hit the snooze button than to get up and sweat. It’s more fun to go out to breakfast than to go to yoga class when you’re starting. But you know what? I’m stronger and more flexible than I was the day I graduated high school.

I also had a hard time getting in the habit of keeping my nails polished. Let’s face reality, I’m not one of those naturally-girly girls but rather one who has to work at it. So finding the time to give myself a manicure (and a pedicure) is something I do in the name of feeling more feminine. Sure, I could pay somebody to make this happen, but this way it happens on my schedule.

So yes, good habits are worth developing.

In Closing: New antibiotic; calorie myths; a pound of fat a day; ok I promise my last weight link of the day; wasting no time. See everybody tomorrow.

Hard Habit to Break

Today I’m actually using the official prompt:

Have you ever tried to break a habit and failed? What made it so difficult to break?

Ok, this is a weird one. I’m still not quite over this habit: I have a hard time passing up things that are cheap or free.

I’ve got dozens of books on my Kindle that I don’t know when I’ll have time to read them, but they were free! I’ve got canned food in my pantry that I only have because it was on sale — and theoretically I’ll use it eventually. I’ve been known to buy clothes that fit but aren’t really my style because they were so inexpensive.

Why is this a hard habit to break? Well, because it’s easy to think I’m being thrifty. In the case of free ebooks, it doesn’t actually cost me anything. In the case of food, well, I guess I’m well prepared for an emergency. In short, one person’s bad habit is another’s good habit.

Oh hey, and just the other day I got this free ebook on how to break bad habits!

In Closing: the case of the blonde MIT student; Ha Ha Harvard; not entirely sure how one solves problems without strong reading and math skills; crime, security, and privacy; and the intellectual heirs of MacHack.