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:: Friday, December 03, 2004 ::

Bad News on the Job Front

November Job Growth Unexpectedly Weak:
The U.S. economy created only 112,000 new jobs in November, the government said on Friday, about a third October's total and weak enough to deepen a shadow of uncertainty hanging over the holiday sales season.
This part is especially worrisome:
The report showed some 16,000 retail jobs were lost in November -- a tally that surprised analysts since the vital Thanksgiving-to-Christmas holiday sales season generally sees retailers adding to their job rosters.
I love the optimism about October job growth, but no one seems to note that October job growth was based more on cleaning up after four nasty hurricanes than a rebounding economy.

Christmas sales make up a huge chunk of retailer profit. Lack of hiring indicates that it's more than than the usual whining about slow shopping.
:: Morat 11:25 AM :: ::

:: Thursday, December 02, 2004 ::

Lies and the lying liars who tell them....

Wow. I'm shocked. It turns out the federal abstinence only education programs (funded to the tune of 170 million next year alone) spend most of the time lying. After all, folks, it's not a lie if you tell it for Jesus!
Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy," a congressional staff analysis has found.
Several million children ages 9 to 18 have participated in the more than 100 federal abstinence programs since the efforts began in 1999. Waxman's staff reviewed the 13 most commonly used curricula -- those used by at least five programs apiece.

The report concluded that two of the curricula were accurate but the 11 others, used by 69 organizations in 25 states, contain unproved claims, subjective conclusions or outright falsehoods regarding reproductive health, gender traits and when life begins. In some cases, Waxman said in an interview, the factual issues were limited to occasional misinterpretations of publicly available data; in others, the materials pervasively presented subjective opinions as scientific fact.
Among the misconceptions cited by Waxman's investigators:
  • A 43-day-old fetus is a 'thinking person.'
  • HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.
  • Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.
One curriculum, called 'Me, My World, My Future,' teaches that women who have an abortion 'are more prone to suicide' and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. This contradicts the 2001 edition of a standard obstetrics textbook that says fertility is not affected by elective abortion, the Waxman report said.
But wait! It gets better:
Some course materials cited in Waxman's report present as scientific fact notions about a man's need for "admiration" and "sexual fulfillment" compared with a woman's need for "financial support." One book in the "Choosing Best" series tells the story of a knight who married a village maiden instead of the princess because the princess offered so many tips on slaying the local dragon. "Moral of the story," notes the popular text: "Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."
That's right! Not only are they lying to children -- and ineffectually as Waxman's report notes that nearly 90% of "virginity pledgers" end up having premarital sex anyways, and use less precautions than those given a comprehensive sex education -- but they're even resurrecting 1950s era gender stereotypes!

We're teaching this to high schoolers. Not eight year olds. They're not stupid, you know. It doesn't take much thought to work out that it's pretty fucking unlikely that half of gay teens have HIV and that TOUCHING a penis doesn't get you pregnant. Once they've worked out you're lying about that, they're not going to trust a goddamn word you say.

Hell, why should they? These abstinence only programs don't even have the courtesy of telling believable lies, adding insult to injury.

:: Morat 9:56 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, December 01, 2004 ::

Rove Unleashed

Newsweek has a rather chilling article about Rove's (and thus Bush's) plan for the next four years -- and how they're trying to use that to establish GOP dominance for decades.

It's nasty, it's workable, and with the current Democratic leadership I'd called it darn near "foreordained". When you're counting on your opponents to stay on the defensive, it really does help when they already spend their waking hours cowering with fear over what you might do.

There's one thing, however, that's got a good chance of spiking this whole damn thing: Iraq. Bush grasped the concept that being a War President gave you a LOT more power and authority than being a peace President. However, like every other idea George has, he only grasped the most simplistic elements.

The American public will support a War President -- as long as he's winning. The White House moved heaven and earth (and succeeded) to drill in the notion that "success or failure" (winning or losing) in Iraq boils down to the January elections...conveniently held well after even a disputed US Election.

But therein lies Bush's problem. We've lost Iraq. The only question is how long are we prepared to stay and suffer? At what point are we just going to withdraw and leave them to the civil war?

The American public is not going to be happy with a President -- or a party -- that lost us another war. When the elections in Iraq turn out to be a farce, when we either turn tail and run or the Shia rise up and force us out.....we're going to be seen as losers. By the whole damn world...and worst yet, the Middle East (all terrorists, if you're a die-hard Bushie) will see us as losers. Red-staters aren't going to like that. They're not going to be happy about that.

Bush and Rove have big plans. But they've got a bill to pay first. One that's all the higher for being put off so long.
:: Morat 11:14 AM :: ::

Jesus wept

And continues to weep. This is just atrocious.
The CBS and NBC television networks are refusing to run a 30-second television ad from the United Church of Christ because its all-inclusive welcome has been deemed 'too controversial.'

The ad, part of the denomination's new, broad identity campaign set to begin airing nationwide on Dec. 1, states that -- like Jesus -- the United Church of Christ (UCC) seeks to welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation.

According to a written explanation from CBS, the United Church of Christ is being denied network access because its ad implies acceptance of gay and lesbian couples -- among other minority constituencies -- and is, therefore, too 'controversial.'

"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other
minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an
explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently
proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a
man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and
UPN] networks.
This is the America George Bush built. It's the land of the free, and the home of the brave....

Unless you're gay. 'Cause we're afraid of the homos.
:: Morat 11:00 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 ::

10 Ideas for 2008

Good diary over at Kos about what the Democrats need for 2008.
:: Morat 11:54 AM :: ::

Still Alive...

It was a long and much-needed holiday. I'm having a bit of trouble getting back on track (work alone is killer), but I should start posting things of actual substance sooner or later.
:: Morat 11:22 AM :: ::

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