1. Kids are having more kids than ever

    Kids are having more kids than ever

    Do you know where your teenager is? More importantly, do you know if they're alone? Or if they have any clothes on?

    You may think this is an outrageous question, but according to statistics, there's a fair chunk of parents that don't know (or don't care) what their teens are doing, because there's been a jump in the number of teen pregnancies. For the first time since 1991, the number of teens giving birth has gone up, bucking a long downward trend.

    Kids today, huh?

    It's a small jump - just a three-percent rise, according to government statisticians. And there's some disagreement whether this is really a trend or just a statistical "blip." But here's the best part: some government "experts" claim they've been expecting this jump! Why? They blame it on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education that doesn't teach teens how to use condoms and other contraception.

    "Congress needs to stop knee-jerk approving abstinence-only funding when it's clear it's not working," said representative Diana DeGette (D-Colo). DeGette is pushing for "more comprehensive sex education."

    Oh, puh-leeze.

    Here we go again. Once more, personal accountability has been removed from the equation, and the "responsibility" of teaching kids how to use the various accoutrements designed for their private parts falls upon the U.S. government. Honestly the government can't seem to balance a budget or produce a sensible tax code. Do we really want them nosing around in our kids "business"?

    Think about the so-called "logic" of Rep. DeGette's argument for a moment. She's actually claiming that more teens are having babies because they're not being taught how to avoid this in school am I the only one who thinks this sounds utterly absurd? So then how does the government manage to draw such an unlikely conclusion? Well, by looking at the statistics, of course.

    The new report has a state-by-state breakdown of the nation's birth rate. Many of the states with the highest teen birth rates teach abstinence instead of "comprehensive" sex education (one shudders to think of the visual aids that are included in the "comprehensive" programs to which the nation's 7th graders would be exposed if Rep. DeGette had her twisted druthers).

    As the British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli famously said, there are lies, there are damned lies, and there are statistics. By the same ill-conceived logic, if two people fell into a panda bear pen at a Wisconsin Zoo and were eaten, statistics could be said to "show" a jump in "dangerous panda bear activity" in Wisconsin.

    A few months ago, I pointed out other statistics that showed a greater incidence of sexual activity among fans of rap music. Couldn't it be said that if there was a "comprehensive" effort in schools to get kids to avoid rap music, the teen pregnancy rate would drop? Of course not.

    And yet, Planned Parenthood officials claim that "research" has "concluded" that abstinence-only programs do not cause a decrease in sexual activity. Those poor teens. If only someone in the government would tell them what problems sexual activities can lead to then they would all spend more wholesome time at the malt shop sharing ice cream sundaes.

    Gimme a break.

    Is the government impregnating teens?

    Whether or not it's "working," there's one undeniable fact about abstinence-only education: it's the truth - if you don't have sex, you cannot get pregnant. And yet, people still tend to believe that if the school "teaches" kids how to have sex safely, then they'll avoid STDs and pregnancy.

    Yeah, right.

    We don't believe they're responsible enough to drive, or vote, or be gainfully employed. Many of them can't even complete their homework. And yet, Rep DeGette thinks that when their hormones are at fever pitch, they'll follow all the rules, and be sure they have a condom in place and lots of contraceptive jelly on hand.

    Actually, there are just as many studies and statistics that claim comprehensive sex ed isn't doing anything to prevent teen pregnancy. Another recent government study showed that condom use actually increased during this same period - from 46 percent of sexually active teens in 1991 to 63 percent in 2005.

    I think it's high time to put away the political football of sex education. We all know how this issue breaks down. Those on the right tend to support an abstinence-only program. On the left, they're all for comprehensive sex ed. But is it the government program that's at fault here, or the teens themselves? Personal accountability is shoved to the roadside too often in these arguments. Why not take the onus off the government, and shut up the too-vocal combatants on the right and the left? Teens aren't getting pregnant or staying chaste because of what they're taught in the classroom, but because of what they're taught at home. To think otherwise is to completely miss the point.

    We should expect more of our nation's young men and women. Sex - like driving and voting - is a heavy responsibility with potentially massive and negative personal consequences. That incontrovertible fact should be impressed upon them, and left up to them. If mistakes are made - and at that age, they always are - they are not the mistakes of a government or a political viewpoint. Those are personal mistakes. Teens make them. Teens should be blamed for them. And the parents, too but that's a subject for another day.

  2. Chinese fire drill

    Chinese fire drill

    STDs on the rise

    Here we are, a mere quarter century after the mania of an AIDS epidemic sent everyone scrambling for their condoms and vowing ever-lasting monogamy, and yet it seems that no one in this country has learned their lesson: Sleeping around just isn't a healthy habit.

    Last year, there were more than 1 million reported cases of Chlamydia (known more crudely as "the Clap") in the U.S. - an all-time high. Gonorrhea rates are also on the rise. And so is syphilis. Cases of congenital syphilis - the kind that deforms and kills babies - actually increased for the first time in 15 years.

    Three-quarters of women infected with Chlamydia show no symptoms. But when left untreated, this infection can ultimately lead to infertility - a devastating result for an ailment that's easily eradicated when it's caught early.

    I'm particularly concerned with the revelation in these reports that a number of gonorrhea cases are being caused by an antibiotic-resistant "superbug." New bacteria that can't be battled with standard treatments are always a cause for worry.

    The CDC has tried to put a happy face on these grim statistics, saying that the higher number of reported cases may actually be the result of better and more intensive screening. I don't buy it.

    Statistics like these are the mile markers of cultural decline. We have created an atmosphere of permissiveness and acceptance of intolerable behavior not only in society as a whole, but among our youth in particular. Monogamy and abstinence are not punch lines. And today, they needn't even be about good morals, but about good health.

    In recent months, I've written (and ranted) about the rising teen pregnancy rate, and a massive ad campaign for Merck's drug Gardasil, encouraging parents to get their young daughters a vaccine to "prevent cervical cancer." (The vaccine targets the human papilloma virus, which can only be spread by sexual contact. Still, you won't see Merck spending a dime to push abstinence, the only real cure for HPV.)

    But no one seems to care. Least of all advertisers or TV executives who are continually flooding every available vista of the American landscape with sexually charged images of teens and near-teens. And then everyone sits around and tsk-tsks, shrugging their shoulders as if to say, "hormones will be hormones" while these dangerous sexually transmitted diseases continue to be spread. It's nauseating.

    Unfortunately, the fact remains that catching these diseases tends to be a lot more fun than catching a cold or pink eye, which is what can make them so difficult to rein in. It's not trendy to say, but the cold, hard fact is that if you're not having sex, you are at ZERO risk for ANY of these diseases. Need a hint? They're called "STDs" - sexually transmitted diseases. If you're not sexually active, the disease CAN'T be transmitted to you. But this simple reality never seems to dawn on anyone.

    Ultimately, it seems that people would rather accept the sexual objectification of our children, and laugh at the "nave" few who tout abstinence as the ultimate solution to the spread of these diseases. STDs are behavioral diseases. And if you avoid the kinds of behavior that causes these maladies, you won't get them. It's as simple as that.

    Category: Things NOT to recycle

    If the 21st century is truly destined to be "The Chinese Century" as so many trend experts predict, we're in for a fairly disgusting and unhygienic hundred years. This little item should give you an idea of why.

    Apparently, the future masters of planet Earth are recycling used condoms, and re- purposing them as cheap hair bands. Yes, you read that right: the Chinese are re-using CONDOMS as fashion items.

    If you want to take a moment to go to the restroom and vomit, I'll wait.

    This report comes from the Chinese state-run media, and should come as no surprise to anyone who's been following the recent spate of dangerous Chinese imports like lead- paint toys and toxic toothpaste that have found their way into American households. These hair bands have been found in local markets and beauty salons throughout southern China.

    The fact that they sell for three cents for a bag of 10 probably accounts for their popularity. So they're saving some money - but at what cost? The condoms may still contain bacteria and viruses in spite of the fact that they've been recycled.

    Excuse me. My turn to run to the bathroom.

  3. The NIH has foot-in-mouth disease

    The 38 "experts" of the NIH are promoting (surprise) condoms for the prevention of venereal disease.

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