The Waxman Report

I used to teach a life skills course for an independent NFP. Included in our information were segments which encouraged youth to abstain from sexual activity. Because of my occupation, I grew quite accustomed to being asked questions about the many reports in existence which seem to contradict the validity of abstinence education. Typically these questions were offered with an air of antagonism, for which I have no patience. Unfortunately, I have grown weary of the lack of education on the subject from the vast majority of the individuals participating in these insidious questionings. Therefore I have no remorse when these discussions culminate in their shame and embarrassment. I am often able to befuddle the minds of these antagonists by simply asking them which report would they like to discuss first. They don’t know because, not only have they not read them, but they don’t even know what the reports are called. I would like to take a moment and evaluate one anti-abstinence report that was presented to congress by Henry Waxman. In the following essay we will be evaluating a congressional report titled “The Waxman Report”.

In pages three and four of Sen. Henry Waxman’s congressional report on the content of abstinence only education programs, Sen. Waxman states that rigorous studies of abstinence only curricula do not show any overall effect on contraceptive use or the sexual behavior of participants. He then contradicts himself and states that the study showed that abstinence only education might increase participant’s risk. The only two explanations for an increase in risk are that abstinence educators are injecting their pupils with an STD serum, or perhaps the sexual behavior of students who have experienced abstinence education has been somehow affected. I have to ask the question Sen. Waxman, do these programs show no effect on sexual behavior or do they increase risk taking sexual behavior? You’ve stated both, but you must choose one, because both scenarios cannot co-exist. Next, Sen. Waxman states that researchers found that these abstinence programs helped some participants to delay sex. Another contradiction. I thought that these abstinence programs show no effect on sexual behavior. Sen. Waxman has stated that abstinence programs offer no effect; he then stated that they provide negative effects, and then he stated that they provide positive effects. These statements are inconsistent, conflicting and, therefore, illogical.

Next, Sen. Waxman states that students who have gone through an abstinence education course are less likely to seek STD testing. This is an interesting piece of research indeed. Which cow pie did Sen. Waxman lift to find that one? Considering comprehensive sex education programs portray condoms as adolescent brain proof protection from STDs and pregnancy, where does the motivation for STD screening come from? If comprehensive sex education makes teens feel adequately protected, what is motivating these teens to get screened? And if comprehensive sex education aspires to communicate with teens the benefits of condom usage and the overall protection which condoms offer, with hopes of motivating students to use condoms, and, after receiving this program, teens are running out to get immediate screening, then the logical conclusion is that comprehensive sex education is failing tremendously. Or could it be that research has failed us again? If you doubt the fallibility of research, then consider, it was research that concluded that Social Security was a good idea. Phrenology was based on over one hundred years of research and was an accepted branch of neuroscience in the nineteenth century. It was research that put us in Vietnam and research that caused the French to sell the Louisiana Territory. Research claims that Polar ice caps are melting due to global warming, and researchers freeze to death on their mission to investigate. Please, no more bogus research Sen. Waxman, You are insulting my capacity to think rationally. Abstinence education instructs students on some of the possible risks involved with being sexually active with multiple partners, even with the use of a condom, as stated by the CDC, The Department of Health and Human Services and even the Trojan condom company. Considering the risk teens face of acquiring an STD when engaging in sex with multiple partners, abstinence educators strongly recommend immediate STD screening for any participating students who profess to be sexually active, with or without the use of a condom.

I’m wondering something, and I’m not going to approach this from a research perspective. Instead I will attempt to think for myself and incorporate logic into the equation. If comprehensive sex education, which teaches that condoms offer full protection (a claim which even condom manufacturers don’t support), delays the initiation of sex and reduces the frequency of sex, why are the STD and teen pregnancy stats climbing? You can’t reasonably blame abstinence programs; these figures were rapidly climbing long before the “invasive” abstinence education programs infiltrated our school systems. Abstinence courses are only offered in about one third of our nation’s schools, so we can’t practically place the blame on them anyway. This brings me to two points that I would like to make. I was only recently a teenager, and have not forgotten the way my brain functioned in those years, so my first point is as follows: (1) If, when I was in school, you had told me to not have sex, then you had told me how to use a condom, and where to buy them, I would have heard you saying that you expected me to ignore your telling me to not have sex.  And you would have been telling me just that; otherwise there would’ve been no need to explain to me how to use a condom.  After all, why would I need to to be taught how to properly use a condom unless I was expected to have sex? If a boy is not having sex, then he would not need a condom. And if you are telling him that you expect him to fail on the first point to not have sex, should he not assume that he is also expected to fail on the second point to use a condom? You cannot pick and choose what part of your message he will listen to. He either listens or he doesn’t. And if he listens closely to what you would be telling him, he would hear you telling him that he is is expected to ignore some of your instructions, and adhere to others. And who is to come behind you and tell him which points to ignore and which to adhere to?  He would be getting a mixed message. So you are setting him up to fail by communicating to him what he must do when he fails. This would be like me telling my son to not play in the fire, yet then handing him a fire extinguisher and a Band-Aid. My second point is as follows: (2) If someone had told me of all the great benefits of condoms, which I am not presently refuting, then what would have been my motivation for limiting my sexual activity? If my teacher is telling me not to have sex, and then telling me that as long as I use a condom there will not be any risks, and then hinting to me that I’m expected to ignore her and become sexually active anyway, then I would not be motivated to delay my sexual debut due to a perceived lack of consequences. And considering my teacher is implying that she is expecting the worst from me in terms of sexual behavior, well, I’m only human Sen. Waxman, and I perform up to the level that is expected of me.

Nathan Gray

The Financial Reform Bill

Have you heard the news? A massive new bill was just signed into law by our president. All twenty-five hundred pages of it! Some call it The Wall Street Reform Bill; others call it the most partisan piece of horse shit ever to be signed by a US President. While I’m not surprised that Obama signed the bill, there is something that is confusing me about the entire hubbub surrounding this “historical landmark”.  People who support the financial reform bill are dubbing it “Obama’s Bill of Change”. According to the bill’s proponents, finally, Obama has signed into law a bill to bring about hope and change for our ailing economy. Obama’s new bill has altered the system so that taxpayer money can no longer be used to bail out large financial companies. Thanks Obama!.. But wait, wasn’t it Obama who was signing the checks that were using taxpayer money to bail out large financial companies? This is where the confusion sets in. You see, we’re being had, and proponents of the new law are just ignorant enough to think that finally Obama is ending a practice that was started by evil conservatives. They hold closely to that belief, and are unwilling to conceive that the first large company bail out check was signed by non-other than Barrack Obama: as were the second and third.

I’m all for the government having the authority to split up monopolies or oligopolies, but they’ve already had the authority to do that for quite some time, as demonstrated by President Theodore Roosevelt when he acted to split up large railroad companies that had grown so big that they posed a threat to the American economy. The financial bill is not about giving the Federal Government the authority that they already possessed, which was the authority to recognize monopolies and divide them; instead, the financial bill is about giving the Federal Government more authority to regulate financial companies even to the extent of directly supervising them and writing laws applicable to them without congressional permission. When any government maintains direct supervision of the education system, the health care system, and the financial system, what do you get? Yep, you said it.

Ask a liberal what he thinks of the financial reform bill and he’ll say that he is pleased that finally Obama is putting a stop to big business bail outs and out of control government spending; however, if you had asked that same person how he felt about Obama’s big business bailout plan when Obama was signing the checks, he would have said that Obama was just doing what he had to do. After all, these companies are just too big to fail. Are liberals really that stupid? Well, I know quite a few of them and, trust me, they couldn’t find their own backsides with both hands and a set of instructions.

Really, who am I to comment on the financial reform bill? After all, I only read just over five hundred pages of it before I gave in to boredom and abandoned the endeavor. Yet, who is congress to vote on such a bill, and who is our president to sign such a bill when you and I both know that they didn’t read half that much of it. Due to the length of the bill, who can blame anyone for not wanting read it? If reading a twenty-five hundred page bill sounds like fun to you, I have a suggestion. Go out and buy a copy of “War and Peace”, rip out all of the pages and burn them. Then stare at the ashes for fifteen hours. I’m quite sure that this would be more fun than trying to sort through all of the legal gibberish within the financial reform bill.

Now we arrive at the question, what should our response be to our government no longer taking into consideration “We the People’s” preferences and aspirations for the direction of our country? VOTE! And bear in mind that voting only in accordance with your political party is often times a very clear indicator that you lack the intelligence to conduct your own research regarding the matter. To utter the words or acknowledge the thought, “I always vote Republican”, or, “I always vote Democrat”, is like saying, “I simply prefer to remain uninformed and generally ignorant of things which matter most in my life”. I recently spoke to someone who was on her way to vote Blanch Lincoln into another term in the senate seat here in Arkansas. Blanch Lincoln voted for the health care reform bill and the financial reform bill even though she received over twenty thousand calls and letters from voters asking her not to. This person told me that she had to vote for Blanch, probably because she has unfortunately grown too dependent on a government subsidized program that Blanch Lincoln supports; a story that is all too common.

Reason. How swiftly it does fly!

Nathan Gray