Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jamie Lynn Spears: Poster Child for "Abstinence Only" Education

Remember a few years ago when famous teen pop star Britney Spears made a big deal that she was going to be a virgin until she got married?

Well, apparently she didn't, but at least she managed to delay a first pregnancy until she was married.

Her younger sister wasn't quite that "smart." I know, I know, putting the phrase "Britney Spears" and "smart" in the same essay seems a tad incongruous. But why are many teens so stupid when it comes to sex?

Currently, the stupidity is caused by a combination of strong hormones and the gutting of sex education programs at the federal level.

Granted, teens have been stupid about sex for a long time. Teen pregnancy isn't anything new. It was a little more common when I was a teenager. But, at least in the '70s, many school systems had at least something approaching sex education. And, between more factual sex education, more girls asserting their right to not have sex before they were ready, and more availability of contraception, teen pregnancy rates gradually started to decline.

However, during the reign of the Bushies, reality-based sex education been systematically removed in favor of the fantasy of abstinence-only education.

It doesn't work. The teen pregnancy rate is starting to increase again, partially due to the federal government's refusal to approach teen sexuality in anything approaching a realistic manner. The teen girls who are having sex without proper education or protection are only living out the fantasy of "waiting until marriage" that the federal government and many religious organizations like to push.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think most teens should have sex. Having a good sex life as an adult is very important. I can only imagine how many teen girl's feelings about her sexuality have been mangled by a teen boy's feelings about his. While I don't advocate waiting until marriage to have sex, I do advocate waiting until you have a potential lover with whom you can discuss sex and birth control before you engage in having sex. If you aren't adult enough to have the birth control talk, you aren't adult enough to have sex either.

Claiming that sex education leads to irresponsible sex is like claiming that driver education leads to car accidents.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Call for a Presidential Debate on Science and Technology

(taken, verbatim, from

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.


Given that at least one Democratic presidential candidate, Hilary Clinton, has already made a strong statement that her administration would promote scientific inquiry and innovation, I hope the Democrats would agree to such a debate. Most of the Republican candidates are violently anti-science, particularly Huckabee and Romney. It would be something of a joke for the Republicans to engage in such a discussion.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

First Anniversary of Bocktown Beer and Grill

Bocktown from the outside

Jim and I have been regulars out at Bocktown Beer and Grill in North Fayette since we realized there was a non-smoking beer bar in Allegheny county. Owner Chris Dilla threw a first anniversary party for the bar on November 29.

Chris Dilla with her Husband John

Chris Dilla with her husband John at the Bocktown first anniversary party.

Bocktown from the inside

Bocktown from the inside.

The band

The band makes music.

BarSmart Poster

BarSmart Poster for the Beer Poll.

The bouncer

The "bouncer."

Christmas beer selection

Christmas beer selection.

Jim shows off his winnings

Jim won a T-shirt from Stone Brewing! The T-shirt is completely appropriate.