I know I’ve been inactive lately, but that is due to a full–time job that leaves less time for blogging. Still, I will try and keep posting.
In the meantime, here’s a link roundup:
- The Texas Attorney General admits to deliberate gerrymandering. At least he’s honest.
- The US might take steps to reduce the over–incarceration caused by the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs. This is a good idea. The vast majority of people imprisoned in the US to lengthy prison sentences are for non–violent crimes like drug possession. This is a huge drain on public resources, and a huge dump of corporate welfare for the prison industrial complex. Ending it would help public finances, and prevent many young people from becoming a permanent underclass. Treating drug addiction as a medical problem would also improve public health, while reducing drug use, and ending the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs would also reduce crime and gun violence in the US.
- It does not follow from the above that I necessarily endorse the use of drugs. The primary reason tobacco use causes heart disease is because smoking produces carbon monoxide. Smoking marijuana would produce likewise. (There is still excellent evidence that marijuana has medical uses, however).
- Noah Smith is right. Libertarianism really is just about protecting the liberty of “local bullies.”
From the Huffington Post (emphasis in original, links removed):
Texas lawmakers cut sex ed from two six-month courses to a single unit of “abstinence only” education. But early indications showed that the program wasn’t working. In fact, teens in almost all high school grades were having more sex after undergoing the abstinence only program. By 2007, Texas had the highest teen birth rate in the nation.
The results [of Texas' sex miseducation]? Teen pregnancy in Texas went up — higher than before “abstinence only,” and more than 50 percent higher than the national average. Even more troubling was that repeat teen pregnancy went up — to the point that it, too, led the nation. It turns out that Texas kids thought that “if birth control doesn’t work, why use it?”
But none of this seems to matter to Gov. Rick Perry. When confronted with the dismal statistics during an October 15, 2010 televised interview with Texas Tribune reporter Evan Smith, Perry’s response was to reaffirm that “abstinence works.”
The audience laughed and Smith pointed out the state’s abysmal teen pregnancy rate. “It works,” insisted Perry. “Maybe it’s the way it’s being taught, or the way it’s being applied out there, but the fact of the matter is it is the best form of — uh — to teach our children.” Smith asked for a statistic to suggest it works, and Perry replied that “I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life, abstinence works.”
Hat tip to DAMMIT JANET!
Fannie has a must–read post about an ordinance in El Paso, Texas, that was ostensibly intended to only impact same–sex and unmarried couples also impacts on grandchildren, foster children, and others, and how the response shows that it was really motivated by animosity towards LGBT people and cohabitating couples, and not by any desire to “protect” marriage.
The Texas Republican Party has released its 2010 platform, and folks, it’s bad for your health. But don’t worry, I’ll serve as a buffer to protect you. Some lowlights:
- A call to reinstate the sodomy laws that were struck down in Lawrence v. Texas;
- A call to make it a felony to perform a same sex–marriage;
- All this while “limiting the expansion of government power”;
- A call for LGBT people to be denied custody or visitation of a minor, coming close to saying that LGBT people can’t see their own (biological) children;
- Taking kids from their parents; that’s GOP family values for you!
- A call to eliminate no fault divorce and promote covenant marriage;
- covenant marriage is basically a “the man can do no wrong” wife–beaters’ protection act;
- They go on and on about the sanctity of life and their opposition to abortion, but as the next items show, they don’t really believe it
- A call for outlawing the morning–after pill, allowing refusal clauses at pharmacies, and for parents to deny their children the sex education they have a right to;
- Sex education and contraception are the best ways to reduce the abortion rate, and by being in favour of allowing others to deny sex education and contraception to others, the Texas GOP shows their claimed support for the “sanctity of life” is a complete lie; if they truly believed that abortion was murder, they’d realize that violating parental rights and making someone do their job couldn’t possibly be fucking worse than killing someone;
- Teaching both sides of evolution, intelligent design, and global warming;
- Shorter Texas GOP: we believe that we are not just entitled to our own opinions, but also our own facts!
- They go on and on about protecting children, but are against ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Hey Texas GOP! Why are you against children’s rights?
- They claim to “deplore all discrimination”;
- Interesting juxtaposition given their view on LGBT rights;
The whole thing goes on and on with (mostly) more wingnuttery stuff like the above.
One final thing has to be said. Just because wingnuts have their own political party in Texas, does not mean that any particular person from there is a wingnut. We don’t use Michelle Bachman to paint all people from Minnesota with the same brush; the same applies to Texas.
This might be old news, but it has begun to circulate through the blogosphere, and so I am going to post it anyway.
In 2005, voters in Texas approved a constitutional amendment that “bans” same-sex marriage and civil unions. The text of the amendment (my emphasis):
Section 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.
Banning marriage just shows that opposition to same-sex marriage is not really about the sanctity of marriage.
On the other hand, someone at the Language Log thinks that there is a way to dodge this reading.
There is yet another study out showing that abstinence ignorance-only sex education does not work (hat tip). The money quote: “[Young people in Texas are] well above national averages on virtually every published statistic involving sexual risk-taking behavior[.]“