Tuesday, January 31, 2006

S.F. Newspaper Reveals Gay Agenda

Well, I didn't mean to, but here I'm going to copy-and-paste another whole column into the blog, just because it's so good from beginning to end.

But ... first ... do you remember back in the day, when Tony Bennett sang "I Left My Heart in San Francisco?" Remember how it started?

The loveliness of Paris
Seems somehow sadly gay.

OK, so ... how does San Francisco, of all places, get off saying Paris is gay? Like, compared to what? Compared to San Francisco? Or was he saying that Paris is sadly gay, while San Francisco is happily gay?

I never got that.

Anyway, from San Francisco, Mark Morford has this revealing exposé of the gay agenda. And he throws in the straight agenda, for good measure.
I have spoken with my gay friends. I have been to yoga classes and men's health spas and Restoration Hardware, chic rug shops and the Castro Starbucks and really cute restaurants featuring mixed baby greens that cost $12. I have observed. I have taken notes. I have checked the fashions and the cars and the skin-tight T-shirts, the newsletters and the bumper stickers and the secret codes hidden within the rainbow flag.

It is time to come clean. It is time to reveal the truth. After all, the religious right has been hammering at it for years, the pseudo-Christians and the homophobes and the sexually terrified all fully and truly believing that there is a plot, a massive, deep-seated agenda among the gay community not only to decriminalize and demystify homosexuality but to actually coerce and cajole and actively lure the innocent white babies of America into the sordid and well-dressed "gay lifestyle," so much so that, much like aliens living in underground cities in Area 51, well, there must be something to it.

Just look. Look at the wanton slew of nasty e-mails I received -- intermixed like bloody shrapnel amid a huge stack of gorgeous e-mail enthusiasm, mind -- in response to my recent column extolling the virtues of the heartbreaking, perspective-altering "Brokeback Mountain" phenom, wherein I dared to suggest that this spare and potent little film might actually help deflect the savage karmic pain of people like Samuel Alito and move the human experiment forward, just a little. What nerve I had.
Mark, gay films move us back. To tell society, which includes children, that to stick a penis inside someones anus, a wholey unnatrual act is ok and normal is ubsurd. I don't hold anything against gays, I'm not one to judge people, they can do what they please, but to shove their pervertions down everyones throat, and to try to make it mainstream and teach children honosexualiy is a normal thing for people to do is sick. -- Steve W

Or this:
It is really hard to believe that people like yourself are gloating over this film and are so proud of the degradation of our country (USA) that you have joined the masses and are HELL BENT on the destruction of Christianity, family values, and everything that is decent and what out forefathers have fought and died for in this country. Your kind are the real BIGOTS! You are the enemy of everything that is decent and good, you love death and destruction (that is what the homosexual lifestyle will lead to)... -- Larry L

Isn't that sweet? Doesn't it make you feel good to be an American? Sure it does.

But you know what? Adorably rabid, misguided homophobes like Steve and Larry, they might have a point after all. Because after all my observations and when I really allow myself to be honest, I become convinced of the existence of a truly shocking gay lifestyle, an actual gay agenda far more sinister than even desperately misguided and morally lost people like Steve and Larry can comprehend.

Do you know what it is? Do you want to know the real gay agenda, what 96.8 percent of all gay couples wish for every single day including Sunday? Here it is:

From what I can glean and above all else, the gay people of America seem to want this simply inexcusable level of boundless, unchecked normalcy. It's true. For some reason, they believe the utterly disgusting idea that they should be able to live their lives in peace and trust and health, with full support and assistance from their schools and hospitals and government, just like everyone else. I know. Shudder.

It is, in fact, remarkably similar to what heteros want. And women. And black people. And immigrants. And dwarves. That is, to be able to fall in love and maybe even get married (or at least have the option) and have decreasing amounts of sex and raise a family and hold down a good job and pay their taxes and argue with their lovers over who the hell spent 200 bucks on long distance to their mother, all while not having to worry about getting the living crap beaten out of them with tire chains by Arkansas and Alabama and most of Texas, or secretly loathed by small-minded pseudo-Christians who wouldn't know Jesus' true message if it bit them on the other cheek.

Ah, the deviousness of it all, the sheer nerve to desire the same sort of lives as everyone else. But do you want to know the kicker? The true aspect of the "gay agenda" that makes the religious right's skin really crawl? Here it is: When all of that normalcy is in place, when these repulsive gay beings who like to walk around in public and eat at restaurants and drink their lattes and laugh out loud and stick things into each other's bodies for sexual pleasure, well, they want the most appalling thing of all: They just want to be left alone.

I know. It's hideous. How dare they! How dare most gays ask not to be harassed and not really care to flaunt their sexuality or convince anyone that homosexuality is cool or righteous or the only way to be, beyond reassuring children that it's OK to be whatever religion or sexual orientation your mind and body and heart and soul guide you to be. Can you imagine? What horror. Ignorant, intolerant schoolteachers should protest that nasty idea right now. Oh wait.

This is, in fact, the most sinister gay agenda of all. Normalcy. Lack of fear. Happiness. The right to be miserably in love just like everyone else and have it recognized by the culture as, well, no big deal. Safe. Healthy. Beautiful, even. What nerve.

To Steve and Larry's great dismay, gay people do not seem to care in the slightest for converting anyone to homosexuality, which of course would be the equivalent of converting a frying pan into a doorknob. It simply cannot be done. It's bitterly sad that this must be repeated so frequently in terms so simple that even Steve and Larry can comprehend, but gayness is no more a lifestyle choice than is blond hair or blood type or that knowledge, deep down in your skin, that Bush is raping the soul of the nation. It just is.

Much can be learned from this shocking revelation. Much we can glean from the gay agenda's "true" motivations -- most notably in how it contrasts with the famed and beloved Christian neoconservative heterosexual agenda, the one that instructs that you please keep your mouth shut and blindly believe in the same bitter God as everyone else, and by the way please bury your true sexuality and get married at 23 and pop out six kids and become quickly and quietly miserable and gain 30 pounds and stop having sex entirely and get divorced at 50 and wake up just in time to watch yourself die.

Oh my yes, that has proven to be just so much better, hasn't it, Steve? Larry? Here Is The Big Gay Agenda Revealed! The horrifying secret plot to homo-amplify America. Also: Dig this hetero agenda!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Great Question: Why Here?

Jon Margolis, writing in the Chicago Tribune, hits the nail on the head with this piece. It's a readable but fundamentally serious discussion of the cultural divides in America, and asks the important question: why does this happen here, of all places? Why would it be the United States, that most progressive of nations, whose Constitution was the flower of the Enlightenment, that rejects science and reason and takes a dive back into the Dark Ages?

He focuses on intelligent design and, of all things, hunting (you'll see), but we have the same issues in the sex-ed quarter, the lines are drawn along the same boundaries.

The problem with this piece is that I couldn't find any good place to cut it off. Usually there's some good stuff, and some junk, and I can condense an article for the blog. But here ... I just have to post the whole thing. I don't think you'll mind.
The flap over intelligent design poses a special quandary for us Americans. Our puzzlement has nothing to do with the merits of the intelligent design argument. There are none.

Instead, the question is: Why us? What is it about the United States that makes us particularly vulnerable to this particular foolishness?

It is largely an American contretemps. There are little flashes of it elsewhere, but they rarely rise to the level plaguing us here in the good old U.S. of A. Embarking on a trip to Europe recently, the head of the pro-intelligent design C.S. Lewis Society half-seriously described his destination as the "the dark continent," anti-Darwinially speaking.

Surely we are not more ignorant than foreigners. Our engineers come up with at least as many gizmos as Europeans, Asians, Canadians and South Americans. Our scientists win more than their share of prizes. Our universities attract the best and brightest from all over the world.

We do seem to be more religious than the Europeans. But there are lots of devout folks over there, and even more in Latin America, from whence come few debates over intelligent design. Besides, for a century or more, millions of devout church/synagogue/mosque-goers have found their faith untroubled by the reality of evolution.

Happily, we have a possible answer to our puzzle, courtesy of Ted Nugent, the clean-living, outspoken singer-guitarist and hunter.

A recent New York Times story described Nugent holding a bloody liver from a freshly killed deer and proclaiming: "Big bangs don't make this. God made that. Things banging don't make livers."

Forget for a moment that his outburst means nothing whatsoever. It's not the content that counts here, but the mood, which is angry and gets angrier as he proceeds: "Biodiversity is mine, environmentalism is mine. It doesn't belong to Pam Anderson."

Aha! An object for the anger, the artificially enhanced TV star who has supported People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an animal-rights group that opposes hunting. What seems to excite Nugent as much as hunting--maybe more--is antagonism to anti-hunting, not just the individuals and the organizations, but the mind-set.

Nothing else accounts for the anger. After all, there is no visible anti-hunting movement. Still, some hunters become infuriated about the mere existence of anti-hunting sentiment, impotent though it may be.

In their fury, they lash out at what they perceive to be the anti-hunting subcultures, and so they oppose whatever these folks might favor. It's a visceral, tribal distaste for "them": vegetarians, suburbanites who drive hybrid cars and disdain crudeness, New Agers, folk dancers and perhaps worst of all, people who speak French, drink martinis and go to the opera (full disclosure: That's me, but I'm pro-hunting).

Consider that Nugent also doubts that global warming is real. Global warming denial is not quite as unfounded as evolution denial. But it's getting close. The most plausible explanation for it is that some people--with some justification--resent the environmentalists, scientists and others who have been sounding the alarm on climate change.

So it isn't that Americans are more ignorant than others. We're just more tribal. Or maybe it's that we have to choose our own tribes, because we aren't one.

Almost everybody in France is French, and Sweden is chock-full of Swedes. All the French speak the same language, as do all the Swedes, and so did their ancestors going back centuries. Few of them are religious, but they stay away from the same churches, Roman Catholic in France, Lutheran in Sweden. They share both religious background and religious indifference.

Americans lack common ethnicity or religion, and while most of us speak the same language, our grandparents didn't. We get to choose our tribal loyalties and hostilities. Some choose one sociopolitical subculture to join, and others to find objectionable. Whatever the objectionable guys support is to be opposed, and vice versa.

From this perspective, Nugent and his fellow advocates of intelligent design are not really ignorant. Instead, they have made a deliberate decision to embrace ignorance rather than agree with people they find obnoxious.

Those people can, in fact, be obnoxious and sometimes base their own political opinions on their distaste for, well, people who are crude and go hunting.

So it isn't just that Americans are more tribal; we're also more childish. Well, maybe we'll evolve. Everything does, you know. Tribal America defends right to ignore facts

This kind of tribal explanation would explain why facts have been so unimportant in the discussion over our Montgomery County health curriculum. It has never really mattered what the curriculum actually taught, it only mattered that it was evil and undermined good family values -- well, it didn't matter that it didn't really do that, but it was sufficient to be able to say it did. The MCPS curriculum was a territory that was raided by outlying radicals, its ownership to be a symbol of the tribal victory of the Tribe from the Hinterland.

Sorry that didn't work out.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Little Perspective

At this time, the Montomery County Public Schools are putting together curricula for 8th and 10th grade sections on "sexual variation." We haven't seen it yet, so we don't know how the district will interpret the term, or what will be included in the classes. Judging from the last curriculum outlines that were worked up, "sexual variation" will mean that there is some discussion of sexual orientation, that is, whether a person is attracted sexually to people of their own sex, the opposite sex, or both sexes, and it will probably include some discussion of gender identity, which is your sense of being male or female and which varies among individuals; the previous curriculum also talked about gender roles and their function in a society, which sounds appropriate to me at this age. There was some mention -- one sentence, as I recall -- in the 10th grade curriculum defining the term "trangender," which is certainly relevant to a discussion of sexual identity, but nothing else on that topic in the "old new" curriculum, and I would expect and hope that there is something in the next version as well.

A lot of the discussion on this web site centers around attitudes toward sexual variations. I think all of us in TeachTheFacts.org feel that it is morally and intellectually preferable to discuss sexual identity and orientation in objective, factual, and thorough terms, describing the phenomena so that students have some knowledge about some interesting things in the world around them. And we are in the mainstream on that -- surveys across the country, including in states like Alabama, show that a great majority of people everywhere supports comprehensive sex education.

I have pointed out before that even if you use the most conservative numbers, say, Peter Sprigg's two percent, which is surely an underestimate of the proportion of gay people in the population but never mind, you still have more than a fifty percent chance of finding at least one gay student in any class of thirty kids. It definitely seems to me that that kid deserves to know what is happening to him or her, and it also seems like a decent thing to give some information to the other students, so they have some understanding of what's going on with their friend.

That having been said, I will remind the reader that the world is not about gay people. Whatever the percentage -- which depends on how you define the concept and how you ask the question --gay people don't make up a big part of society, number-wise, though they are a significant part if only for all the contributions they have made. There doesn't need to be a whole semester class on the subject, field trips to Dupont Circle, role-playing games, or in-class confession of students' deepest darkest secrets, but homosexuality is an important enough part of our culture that we should expect some mention, some information, and currently there is none -- health teachers are gagged regarding this subject, not allowed to mention it in Montgomery County.

The school district brought out a new curriculum last year, and some of us became alarmed when a group of radicals tried to claim that the school board was "undermining their values" and "promoting the gay agenda." No, the school board was planning how to teach our public school students some important facts about the world. And that's why we're here. We're standing up for a clear-minded educational program for our children, and our neighbors' children.

Almost none of the sound and fury over the curriculum actually consisted of quotes from the curriculum itself. And when the complainers did quote from the district's documents things were twisted, misconstrued, taken out of context, and cast in the worst light possible. The curriculum itself was hardly controversial, but some people who wanted to promote some very ugly beliefs took the opportunity to make a lot of noise, so they could substitute their ideas for the mainstream content that was proposed.

These days we see more and more evidence that acceptance of sexual minorities is on the rise. They don't need us to defend them, and we're not here to fight their fight for them. I could list a hundred things in popular culture that show that the general public is getting over a lot of the old prejudices; most straight people today don't really care if somebody is gay or not. I'm sure our gay and transgender readers will still have stories that somebody like me would never dream of, stories of rude people and ugly situations (hinted at by some of the unbelievable stuff we have witnessed in our comments section), but I am equally sure that things have changed in my lifetime. A lot.

And now it's simply time for the schools to catch up. Some handful of whiners will try to set back the clocks, but people have already changed.

The MCPS sex-education curriculum isn't "about" being gay, and certainly goes into no detail about the varieties of transgender phenomena. There will probably be units that cover identity and orientation, it's just a class that kids take in middle school and high school. A little knowledge won't hurt them, and those who try to allege that the school district is promoting this-or-that are just exaggerating.

We at TeachTheFacts.org are committed to this cause, and we make some strong statements. We don't like the ugliness, the discrimination, the prejudice, and we'll fight hard to keep the wheels of progress rolling. But the truth is, to put it in perspective, we're talking about two Health classes here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Gay-Hating Baptists Coming to Maryland

The Westboro Baptist Church, of Topeka, Kansas, describes themselves as an "Old School (or, Primitive) Baptist Church. In short, we adhere to the teachings of the Bible, preach against all form of sin ( e.g., fornication, adultery, sodomy), and insist that the doctrines of grace be taught publicly to all men." Their web site has a good amount of information about Calvinism, explaining the precepts of the Baptist faith, including stuff I never knew before.

Pastor Fred Phelps and his congregation will be in Maryland next week, the 27th through the 29th, protesting in Annapolis and Baltimore.

They'll be in Annapolis, because, as they say:
US Naval Academy King George Street and Randall Street The Naval Academy at Annapolis has some fags that graduated from their institution - they formed themselves a group (fags are one group-forming bunch; they group therefore they are. Think Power of the Dog, Psalm 22 and see the Epic Adventure to St. Petersburg, FL for Team 1 on this web page to flesh that out) called USNA OUT - how cute. They are going to make the US Military bow down and kiss their fag butts! Picket information

Uh, I don't know what that means, maybe I need to start going to church on Sundays again, just to understand this lingo.

Then to Baltimore, where they'll stop at Loyola College, because:
The Director of the Laramie Project at Loyola College begged us to come and picket - so being the friendly, cooperative souls that we are, we agreed. The Laramie Project is a tacky piece of melodrama made by fags and for fags. It is designed to assist in the effort to corrupt this nation and anger the Lord your God. This generation of perverts hate their children and are determined to raise them for the devil and send them straight to hell! You have turned the country over to the fags, now they are coming home in body bags! America is doomed!

Having accomplished that, they will head across town to protest the Catholic church:
Besides being the largest Pedophile Machine in the world, the Catholics are a bunch of idolaters. With absolutely NO authority AT ALL, these freaks worship Mary. If Mary were here today, she would stand with us on this picket line and tell you each and every one that you are going STRAIGHT to hell and there is NOTHING you can do about it!

Then, I suppose, a short meeting with Don Dwyer, sign a few petitions for the CRC, and on to the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which happens to be on Druid Hill Avenue.
A Druid was a priest among the ancient pagan Celts. A member of an order of priests who appear in Welsh and Irish legend as sorcerers. Now that makes the address of this Witch Coven just perfect! Listen up perverts - V Gene Robinson HAS A WIFE; he sloughed her off and his children so he could have sex with a man! What is wrong with you people? Have you no fear of God? 1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; God will require this bit of rebellion at your hands when he drop kicks your filthy backsides into hell!

While they're in Baltimore, they figure they'd better protest some people who are the wrong kind of Baptist:
Let us speak of the "Free Will" Baptists. These liars are as free as a frog in a snake?s belly! There can only be one sovereign will that prevails in a moral universe. In this universe, that will is God's! Daniel 4:34-37 ?And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.? Further, you freaks - the Lord Jesus Christ said if you have a free will add one cubit to your stature! Otherwise SHUT UP about your ?free will.?

Um, did you get that? I think I must have missed something.

Then they'll protest another Episcopal Church:
Bishop John Spong is a filthy pervert that spends his days and the position of authority that comes with being an Episcopal bishop trying to pervert this generation single-handedly. He teaches a doctrine of devils that it is OK to be gay. Everyone that puts one cent into the Episcopal monster is going to give an account in the Day of Judgment.

Their web site says that then they'll go to Catholic Cathedral of Mary our Queen, but it doesn't say anything terrible about that church, so I don't really think they'll be going there. I mean, I'm usually tired after a day of teaching the doctrines of grace, aren't you?

Go see their web site: GodHatesFags.com. Look around a little, and then let's talk. The question: should we take these guys seriously? The other question: can we afford not to?

More questions: Is this a different variety of gay-hating from our local Montgomery County groups, or is it just a matter of degree? The Westboro group badmouths the "free will" Baptists -- would somebody tell me something: do these other Baptists hate gay people as much, more, or less than the Westboro group? How about Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Donald Wildmon -- where do they fit into this, theologically?

My tendency is to think of these guys as total nutcases, but then ... some of this sounds mighty familiar, from our comments sections, for instance. Are Fred Phelps and his group caricatures of Baptist hatred, or are they spokesmen for it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Shelby Knox: The Movie and the Person

Last night NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland showed the movie The Education of Shelby Knox in Silver Spring, and Shelby Knox herself made an appearance. I couldn't go, but we got reports from some Teach the Facts members -- they found the evening very inspirational.

Shelby, you may or may not know, was a teenager in Lubbock, Texas, who fought for comprehensive sex education in her school. The movie, which has been on network television but as I recall was "not shown" in the Washington, DC, area, follows her story as a plucky kid who won't take no for an answer and won't give in to the holier-than-thou hometown hypocrites.

Here, I'll let some Teach the Facts members tell you about it. First, CillyGoose gives us the full report:
Check out her website: http://www.incite-pictures.com/shelbyknox/film.html Read about the film at the website.

Notes from the movie:

The film began with two quotes written by Shelby about her education in Lubbock Texas.

She said she learned two things in Lubbock:
1. God loves you and you will burn in hell.
2. Sex is filthy and you should save it for marriage.

The film follows Shelby through high school, from her beginning as a conservative Christian in Lubbock to her evolution as an activist Democrat in Austin. She's a pistol of a girl who argues her values very well, especially as she matures and gains more knowledge. Early in the film, Shelby took a virginity pledge with her parents present. She took part in Ed Ainsworth's abstinence classes from a program he teaches called True Love Waits. He teaches that STDs are spread by skin to skin contact so condoms offer NO protection. Ed tells the class he had sex the first time on X date, in Room XYZ at the ABC Hotel--it was his wedding night. (Cute huh? Puke!) Kids are swaying to the music, singing along, and lining up to take the virginity pledge.

Shelby is a devout Christian and enjoys school and voice lessons. She also is not one to back down from a discussion so she joins the Lubbock Youth Commission (LYC), which is a group of students who lobby elected officials for various things for kids-- clubhouses, ballfields, that type of thing. Shelby steers the group toward lobbying for comprehensive sex ed due to the high number of pregnant girls at her school. She seems to feel sorry for the girls and says something like, "There are so many, they just blend in and disappear." She runs for a leadership position on the LYC and loses, has a good cry but congratulates the winner, even though she can't stand him.

There's nothing for teens to do in Lubbock besides having sex. Shelby tells about a game the guys play where they assign girls numbers. The higher the number the more desirable the girl is. Easy girls get low numbers and pledged virgins get high numbers. The better looking the girl is, the higher the number too; there are several factors in computing the numbers. Then the guys try to date and ... have sex with ... [Ed.] as many 10's as they can.

As Shelby got more into working to implement a comprehensive sex education program in the public schools (there is abstinence only in Lubbock schools), she meets some gay kids and then thinks about joining forces with them to try to get a Gay Straight Alliance into the public schools. She goes to Ed (Ainsworth, the pledge dude and her minister, I presume) to discuss gays, sex, and sin. Ed tells her not all kids have the benefit of "the right family" or "the right church" to support them to make the "right choices." Shelby can't comprehend why God would allow people to be gay only to then send them to hell. She talks to her parents about the gay issue too and cries. When her Mom asks Shelby to name the most important things in her life she answers God, family, country, in that order. Mom, and especially Dad is relieved to see their little girl hasn't been completely corrupted. She still knows the most important things in life.

Shelby goes to talk to a Mr. Gerwig of the Family Traditions Coalition to see if he can help her get somewhere with the school board (the LYC wasn't getting very far). Gerwig tells Shelby that the school board members are in office because, "I put them there." ... Shelby then asks him about comprehensive sex ed and he gives her an earful of the usual religious crap. She stands her ground arguing her compassionate understanding of religion with the man -- a sight to behold. Then the film jumps to a BOE meeting and sure enough, they are starting the meeting with a prayer that ends "in Jesus's name we pray. Amen" They hear the kids and grown ups testify about the need for comprehensive sex ed and of course, they decide to stick with abstinence only.

At some point Rev. Phelps and his GOD HATES FAGS group show up to protest the GSA group in Lubbock. Shelby ends up getting her mother to join her protesting the protesters together with Shelby's new gay friends who want to start a GSA but have to sue to get the school system to agree. Shelby talks to her parents who are not very pleased with the turn her activism is taking. They are both conservative Republicans. Shelby resigns from the Lubbock Youth Commission when that group decides to no longer work toward trying to bring comprehensive sex ed to the public schools. They'd rather avoid controversy especially now that Shelby has begun to also advocate for the gay kids.

There's no real resolution. The film ends with Shelby going off to college. Oh yes, and the school superintendent (who was an ass from beginning to end of the movie) was caught having an affair with a school employee in school during school hours. He lost his job and left town.

After the film was over, there was a question and answer session with Shelby Knox and TTF's very own Avi Edelman of the Blair HS GSA. We learned that the gay kids in Lubbock lost their GSA lawsuit (on some technicality) and younger teens are suing again. We also learned that that abstinence only is still taught in Lubbock Public Schools. Shelby's very happy to now reside in "the only sane part of Texas, Austin, the Democratic part."

AndreaR was there, too (as were a number of other TTF members). She has a little bit more to add to the account.
What was moving about the movie - seeing Shelby Knox grow and learn and seeing her family learn and support her (a lot of the time- not agree but support her ). I didn't realize that Shelby was a True Love pledge taker (early in the film, she takes the virginity until marriage pledge) and yet while still determined to keep that pledge and be a good Christian within the Southern Baptist movement- she would support comprehensive sex education and the rights of GLBTQ(I think this is the latest designation) students (which is later on in the film). She struggled with what she had been taught all her life and with her family's beliefs (Conservative, Republican, small town, Baptist) to do what she knew was right. She stood up against her church and her town and her school for what she knew was right. Near the end, her mom comes with her to march in support of the HS gay/straight alliance in a lawsuit- and also against the Fred Phelps nuts.

It was incredible to see a high school sophomore decide to take a strong stand in such an atmosphere-where there was not much support and a great deal of religious, community and political opposition. I would say the contrast to Montgomery County is that there is certainly a much smaller opposition percentage-wise but a lot of apathy among those who are on "our" side. When you don't have school board meetings starting with a prayer in the name of Jesus Christ or you don't have to worry that your business will be hurt by holding liberal views- we think things are going good- and we don't need to get involved.

Seeing and hearing Shelby in person was great- she travels every weekend now to events around the film but she is interning in DC this semester.

From the TTF members I've talked to, it does sound like this was a cool presentation, I wish I could have gone. The battle we fight here in Montgomery County is really nothing, if you think about it, compared to what they're up against in a place like Lubbock. As Andrea pointed out, here we have the majority of people agreeing that the schools should have a comprehensive and inclusive sex education program, and our problem is simply mobilizing the support. For Shelby, the fight was uphill all the way, but that didn't discourage her.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

CRC Grasping at Straws

Here's the letter that the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum President sent to the Superintendent of Schools this month:
January 7, 2006

Dr. Jerry D. Weast
Superintendent of Schools, MCPS
Carver Educational Services Center
850 Hungerford Drive, Room 122
Rockville, MD 20850

Dear Dr. Weast:

On July 4, 2005 and again on August 26, 2005, we wrote you asking for a clear and unambiguous definition of the terminology “sexual variations” and “erotic techniques”. In our letter of July 4 we especially noted the importance of these terms in the new sex-ed curriculum your office has been preparing.

On September 20, 2005 your Chief of Staff, Brian Porter, responded to our requests by suggesting that our requests for clarification “should more properly be directed to the State Board of Education” (even though our letter of July 4 to you pointed out that the State Board had already been contacted and referred us back to the Montgomery County BOE).

Nevertheless, on October 20, 2005 we wrote to Dr. Nancy Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools, to again ask for definitions of “sexual variations” and “erotic techniques”. Copies of that letter, the response we received from Dr. Grasmick dated November 15, 2005 and a copy of the Memorandum, referred to by Dr. Grasmick are attached.

As you can see, Dr. Grasmick places the burden of defining this terminology on the local school districts-i.e. your office.

This is not a ping-pong game and Montgomery County Public Schools risk serious embarrassment if they treat it as such. Parents cannot be expected to make an informed assessment of the sex-ed curriculum if your office is unwilling or unable to explain the meaning of key terminology defining the scope and content of the curriculum. Do not expect that such an ill defined curriculum will go unchallenged.

Our letter to you of July 4 was specific regarding the basis for our concerns. We repeat these concerns. The new sex-ed curriculum is required by COMAR to address “sexual variations”. COMAR also forbids teaching “erotic techniques”. Montgomery County parents need to know how you are going to handle this.

The State Board advises that it is up to the local school boards to define what these terms mean. So, in the context of the new MCPS sex-ed curriculum, how do you define “sexual variation” and “erotic techniques”, which is prohibited by COMAR.

These may be tough questions, but they are critical and need to be answered now!

Please kindly respond to us as soon as possible.


Michelle Turner
President, Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum

Nice. The Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum are grasping at straws. They want to build a case that ... whatever curriculum will be proposed ... is, I don't know what, teaching the wrong sexual variations? Or, even though they don't know what's in the next curriculum, they're just sure they'll be able to make a case that the schools are teaching "erotic techniques."

The way this has worked in the past is that they try to argue that mentioning "anal sex" is the same as teaching erotic techniques. And of course that is going to pretty much necessary in this day when 1.AIDS is primarily spread through anal sex and 2.kids who take abstinence pledges practice anal instead of vaginal sex in order to remain "technical virgins." So they think they've gotcha with that "erotic techniques" thing. You've got to say something, but you can't.

That's one straw.

The other straw, the "sexual variations" definition, there's no telling where they think they're going with that. Maybe they'll try to make a case, as some nuts in other states have done, that the schools should teach about all the various paraphilias, thus making sex-ed so disgusting and so irrelevant that the whole subject gets dropped. Whatever, the state says to let the county decide what "sexual variations" means, and I think they already have an idea what will be covered -- mainly sexual identity and sexual orientation. The subject is pertinent to everyday life, it can be covered objectively and without prurience, and even if there is some cloudiness around the corners of the definition, there need not be any controversy about it.

To win either of these arguments in court, I think they'd have to prove that sexual identity and orientation are not sexual variations, and they'd have to prove that saying the words "anal sex" is a form of teaching erotic techniques, which is absurd. But that's all they've got.

Yellow Maryland Democrats?

It is probably sometimes frustrating for them, but the others in Teach the Facts have accepted the fact that I am the least political guy in the world. I've been registered as a Democrat since the Nixon era, at least, but I don't go to the fund-raisers, I don't put signs in the yard, I turn down invitations to the coffees. At this moment, I'd take McCain over Hillary Clinton, and I'd take Gore over McCain, especially after that fine speech he gave last week. I see that America needs better quality leaders, but I don't care what party they come from, and can't say the Democrats have shown any spine, even with all the opportunities the corrupt party in power has given them.

Here's an example of why I feel that way -- from this morning's Washington Post, front page of the Metro section:
Hours after a Baltimore judge ruled that a Maryland law banning same-sex marriage violates the state constitution, reporters cornered the typically loquacious Sen. James Brochin near his desk on the Senate floor.

Brochin, a moderate Democrat who represents a swing district in conservative Baltimore County, said he would base his position on "what my district tells me do," then cut off further questions.

"Would you mind if that's all I say on this?" he said, heading briskly for the door.

The issue of same-sex marriage arrived Friday like an unwelcome houseguest for many Maryland Democrats, who say only a quick reversal from the state's highest court can keep the divisive issue from reshaping the 2006 campaign season.

"That would end the debate, and we could get back to a normal campaign season," said Timothy Maloney, a lawyer and former Democratic state delegate. "If not, there are all kinds of possibilities for mischief. . . . The Republicans will use this to beat the hell out of moderate Democrats." Many Md. Democrats Seek Quick End to Gay Marriage Debate

A normal campaign season?

That's what you want, a normal campaign season?

Excuse me, but I've been on this planet more than a half a century, and I don't think these are normal times. These are times for right-thinking people to define the issues clearly and make it clear where they stand.
"I think it's going to have tremendous implications in the election," Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus (R-Somerset) said yesterday in a radio interview on WBAL in Baltimore. "Frankly, it puts the left in Maryland . . . in a very bad position, in a tough position."

The whole article is a string of quotes from Democratic leaders trying to avoid the issue. From Doug Duncan to his opponent Martin O'Malley, to Kweisi Mfume, they all sound like they've got mashed potatoes in their mouths ... well, it's a tough issue, I, uh, I think that gay people deserve some rights ... uh, I was raised to believe that marriage was, uh, one man and one woman ...

It doesn't seem like a tough issue to me, and I think most Americans would agree with me if the question were put the way I see it. It's not whether you think homosexuality is "right" or not, or whether you yourself want to marry somebody of your same sex, or even whether you'd be uncomfortable sitting on a train next to two guys making out.

The question is easy: should the government tell people who they can marry, in the absence of abuse and exploitation?

Everybody knows the answer to that -- lefties and righties alike want the government to stay out of their personal lives.

More and more, the government is invading our privacy, and this is one of those things. Nothing at all is lost if Adam and Steve tie the knot -- it's nobody's business, least of all the government's, if two people fall in love and want to spend their lives together.

I gotta say, if the Democrats are just looking for a "normal campaign season," it's going to be hard for me to put that pointer next to their names in the election booth. It's time to fight back, and fight hard, everybody's sick of mealy-mouthed "normal campaign" bull-oney.

There's something real bad going on in this country, the fog of ignorance is getting thicker and thicker, and somebody has to shine a light through it. Right now the United States is a one-party country, and if this story is an indication, that's the way it's going to stay.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Judge Strikes Down Maryland Gay-Marriage Ban

I'll let the Baltimore Sun tell you about it.
A Baltimore Circuit Court judge today struck down Maryland's 33-year-old law against same-sex marriage, ruling in favor of 19 gay men and women who contended the prohibition violated the state's equal rights amendments.

Anticipating that her decision eventually would be appealed to Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, Judge M. Brooke Murdock stayed action on her ruling pending that appeal.

"After much study and serious reflection, this court holds that Maryland's statutory prohibition against same-sex marriage cannot withstand this constitutional challenge," Murdock wrote in her decision. Md. court rules against same-sex marriage ban: Judge says state law 'cannot withstand constitutional challenge'

The argument was hard-fought...
During arguments in August, Assistant Attorney General Steven Sullivan appealed to Murdock not to interject the courts into what he said is a legislative prerogative. Approving marriage of same-sex couples would change "the essence of the institution as it has always existed," he said at the time.

But in her ruling today, Murdock wrote that the law "discriminates based on gender."

"There is no apparent compelling state interest in a statutory prohibition of same-sex marriage discriminating, on the basis of sex, against those individuals whose gender is identical to their intended spouses," Murdock wrote. "Indeed, this court is unable to even find that the prohibition of same-sex marriage rationally relates to a legitimate state interest."

No word yet from the governor on this one, but I don't think there's much question about what his views wil be.
Gov. Robert Ehrlich's spokesman, Henry Fawell, said the Republican governor had heard of the ruling, but had not seen it.

"It has been forwarded to his legal counsel for review," Fawell said. "It would be premature to comment on the ruling at this point, but as the governor has said before, he believes marriage is between one man and one woman."

And yeah, that's right, it often is...

Does anybody have a good explanation for why the government is in the business of defining marriage? Do we really need some politicians to write the dictionary for us?

Well, congratulations to those who have fought so hard for this. As the story says, it's sure to be appealed, but I think over time, as the bricks tumble, we'll see fewer and fewer states setting them back up, once people see that nothing is really hurt by letting people be happy together.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Pause, then Plan A, I Hope

We've hit Pause, as far as putting together and implementing a new sex-education curriculum for Montgomery County. A citizens committee has been formed, and now even the CRC has somebody on it. Neither of the groups of suers, CRC and PFOX, actually followed the rules for applying, but the school board was decent enough to give them membership anyway. I think that, like the rest of us, the board just wants to see this thing get done with.

So what happens now?

The next thing is for the school district to come up with a curriculum -- they need "sexual variation" units for eighth and tenth grades. The citizens advisory committee will evaluate it, and make some recommendations. And when everybody says it looks OK, there'll be some pilot testing, maybe some more changes, and eventually it will become part of the health curriculum.

MCPS experts are developing a new curriculum right now. They can do this in any of a number of ways. The best would be what we have been calling Plan A. The district already spent several years developing classes for both 8th and 10th grade that were just fine, and they were unanimously accepted by the school board; Plan A would be for the district to have the committee evaluate the same curriculum, without the background resources that were the focus of the temporary restraining order.

Well, why not? You can read the curricula, they're linked on the righthand side of this page. Pretty nice, huh?

You'll notice that those who criticize the curriculum very rarely quote it, and almost never quote it accurately. The CRC complains about "sodomites" and "deviants," they tell you that the curriculum promoted the "gay agenda," but when you ask them to point to the part that does that ... they gotta go. It's not in there, never was.

I suppose Plan B would be to change a few things and re-submit it. I'm not sure what they'd change, but maybe the MCPS experts will see something they don't like. In this world of fast-changing scientific findings, it's entirely possible that something is known now that wasn't known a couple of years ago, like maybe they'd mention that there is a new vaccine against HPV. Or maybe they'll take Warren Throckmorton's advice and beef up the "sexual identity" discussion, give it more nuance, talk more about how your feelings and your plumbing and your beliefs and your behavior may or may not come to all the same conclusions. I agree with him that kids should learn some concepts, a framework for understanding their sexuality. Or they could take Theresa's advice, from the comments here, and talk about how lots of kids go through stages of being attracted to someone of their same sex, and sometimes "the other person" acts on it, and how that doesn't mean you're gay -- oh wait, that was in there, wasn't it? What, they took it out? Well, maybe they'll want to put it back in.

Finally, it is possible that whoever is working on this will want to start over again. In that case, they will pass a whole new curriculum to the committee, who will review it and, seeing as how it'll be brand new, the committee'll probably have a lot of comments. I guess that's Plan C, a whole new package.

If there was a vote, I'd vote for Plan A.

The school district put a lot of work into that curriculum, the school board liked it, it was a solid, comprehensive, informative curriculum, not too hot, not too cold, just right. It just happened to come out at a bad time. The board approved it a few days after the 2004 Presidential elections, and certain wacko (as Republican lobbyist Michael Scanlon calls them) elements of our community thought they had been given a license to turn public education upside down -- they thought they would kick out the entire school board over this.

But they missed their chance. Those days are gone. This week a Zogby poll showed that a majority of Americans agreed with the statement: "If President Bush wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, do you agree or disagree that Congress should consider holding him accountable through impeachment." And he has said himself that he wiretapped American citizens without the approval of a judge, there's no evidence to argue over: he did it.

Even if the most corrupt Congress in American history lacks the chutzpah to do the right thing, we can at least agree that the 2004 "mandate" is expired, the political capital has been spent, the local Montgomery County attempt at a rightwing takeover of the school district is not going to get a second wind. Oh, they might sue again, that wouldn't surprise anybody, but I don't think they'll catch the school district unprepared like last time.

The school district should look again at the proposed curriculum that was adopted in November 2004. Don't worry about some nuts trying to attack you over it, the good people of the county will get your back. It was the right thing to do fourteen months ago, and it's the right thing now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Comment on The Golden Globes

I am the last guy in the world who should comment on show-biz awards shows. Tell you the truth, I don't watch many movies. It usually just seems like there are better things to do with my time. And ... I don't really know what the Golden Globes are. I know the Grammies, of course, the Oscars ... of course. I try to catch the CMA Awards, but I miss it sometimes. I have some idea what the Emmys are, that's for TV shows, right? But the Golden Globes, I dunno, but it's obviously a big deal in Hollywood.

Last night my wife and I watched some of the Golden Globes presentations. Well, she fell asleep before the "big" ones at the end, but I saw them.

Felicity Huffman (who I never heard of before, I guess she's on "Desperate Housewives," which I've never seen) won Best Actress in a Drama for her role as a male to female transsexual in "Transamerica." Then Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Actor for playing Truman Capote -- it seems to me Capote was one of the first obvious, unabashedly gay people to appear on national television, if you old-timers remember the days of Dick Cavett -- in "Capote." And then, Best Drama was "Brokeback Mountain," which is about a love affair between two cowboys. Of course, I haven't seen any of these movies, just like every other year.

But, even I can see ... this was remarkable.

Here in Montgomery County, we have this little group complaining about "pro-homosexual" this and that, anytime anybody gay does something they have to make some big deal out of how horrible it is. They insist you can't talk about it in school, they'll tell you that gay people spread germs and eat poop, that they molest children, they'll tell you that transgender people are mentally ill, homosexuality should be a mental illness except for the gay agenda taking over the APA ... It's weird. They are so paranoid about anybody different from them, and it's so irrational, but they make so much noise that you have to spend time and energy dealing with it.

Let me point out to you: the revolution has happened already.

Straight people might not know much about sexual variations, and may be uncomfortable with some of it, but the fact is, people understand that some of their friends and neighbors are ... just ... that ... way. It doesn't matter what science says, or what some Bible verse says, Joe down the street is an OK guy, and so is his "friend" Allen. And they have pretty good kids, too.

The schools are lagging, because they are afraid to offend anybody. But society has leapt past this prejudice; people really just don't care any more about freaking out over somebody's sexual identity or orientation. It'll be okay now to tell students what's going on.

The world has gotten over it, now it's time for Montgomery County.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Abstinence-Only Education is Unethical

A few days ago the San Francisco Chronicle had an editorial by a professor from Stanford University's Center for Biomedical Ethics, talking about abstinence-only eduction. Besides making an important statement of opinion, the article reviews some facts that are relevant to the discussion.

I'm just going to to copy and paste the whole thing here. Read it. It'll be good for you.
The Society for Adolescent Medicine sounded the alarm once again this month about the problems with government-funded abstinence-only programs in a comprehensive report. Not surprisingly, the findings aren't good.

A little more than a year ago, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Los Angeles, sounded this alarm in a study that found "false, misleading or distorted information" in the programs' teaching materials. Youth participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs, for instance, frequently received medically inaccurate or misleading information, often in direct contradiction to the findings of government scientists. They had been taught, for example, 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."

The society's new report, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, charges that "current federal abstinence-only-until-marriage policy is ethically problematic, as it excludes accurate information about contraception, misinforms by overemphasizing or misstating the risks of contraception and fails to require the use of scientifically accurate information while promoting approaches of questionable value." Furthermore, the report notes that the policy threatens "fundamental human rights to health, information and life."

Responding to the latest review of abstinence-only programs, James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, stated last week: "The report reads like an indictment. Abstinence-only is bad science, bad policy and a blatant violation of medical ethics and basic human rights. Enough is enough. The time has come for Congress to declare an immediate moratorium on federal funding for these programs. It is a national scandal that we have already spent over $1.1 billion of taxpayers' dollars on programs that don't work and that censor vital public health information for young people."

Federally funded abstinence-only education programs, which have enjoyed exceptional support and growth since 1996, have "educated" several million youth and are funded to the tune of $170 million a year, are not only grounded in bad science and subject to political whim, but they also don't offer what American parents say they want their kids to be taught.

A 2004 poll by National Public Radio, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government found that 93 percent of Americans say sex education should be taught in schools and that, except for some geographical "pockets of controversy," there is little debate about what kind of sex education should be taught.

To cut to the point, they don't think it should be abstinence only. Forty-six percent said the most appropriate approach is what some now refer to as "abstinence-plus," which teaches that while abstinence is preferable, schools should teach about condoms and contraception as well for those teens who end up not abstaining. Thirty-six percent believe that abstinence is not the most important component of sex ed and that the curriculum should focus on teaching teens how to make responsible decisions about sex. As the new report correctly notes, "abstinence as a behavioral goal is not the same as abstinence-only education programs." Nevertheless, advocates of abstinence-only education are enjoying incredible federal support and funding for these programs, even though only 15 percent of Americans say they want abstinence-only sex education in the schools.

Human-rights concerns and principles emphasize bodily integrity; autonomy; freedom of and access to information; protection of physical integrity; the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and the highest attainable standard of health; and the right of individual and group to participate in issues affecting them, among others. More important, the government has a responsibility for respecting (by not violating), protecting and fulfilling these rights. Abstinence-only education programs not only do not fulfill these rights; it could be argued they do not respect them, either.

It is time for the federal government to listen to the growing number of professionals speaking out about the dangers of abstinence-only programs and to acknowledge that, while abstinence may be an important option for teens, it remains ethically indefensible to use it as the basis for health policy and programs.

Katrina Karkazis Abstinence-only sex ed is ethically indefensible

The groups who have worked so hard to undermine health education in Montgomery County often say they don't want abstinence-only classes. They also say they don't plan to go to court, they don't want to recall the school board, they love gay people, and other things. Montgomery County is on track to provide the kind of education that most people want, curricula that teach the students facts and give them knowledge so that they will make smart decisions when the situations arise where decisions must be made. We're on the right track, let's make sure we stay on it.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The CRC's Statement

I'm glad that CRC finally decided to participate in the process of evaulating a new sex-ed curriculum, rather than hanging around the edges of the playground shouting through the chain-link "I'm gonna sue you guys! I'm gonna sue you if you don't play by my rules!"

Both PFOX and CRC got on the committee without following the board's procedures. The school board had announced that each organization should submit three names, and said that committee members could not have served on previous citizens advisory committees. OK, so CRC just had to submit one name, and it just had to be somebody who'd been on the committee already: doubly-disqualified.

In the meantime, PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays) submitted one name, and the school board accepted that.

Finally, this week, the CRC submitted one name, and the school board accepted that.

TeachTheFacts.org submitted three names, as did all the other groups represented on the committee.

Why is this an issue?

Simple. Our two "extras" (now that we know you didn't really have to put in three names) could have applied as individuals. They were good people, would have looked good on paper, might have been accepted for membership on the committee. If we had refused to follow the rules we could, theoretically at least, have had two or even three members on that committee. Instead we submitted those names as part of the TTF package.

But the committee will move forward, even with illegitimate representatives at the table.

There is a little information to be gained in seeing how the CRC spins this. And "spin" doesn't quite evoke the level of straining evident in this little piece of text, as they try to make their months-long tantrum sound civic-spirited and magnanimous. Their statement:
Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC), in the interest of expediting the important work of the Citizens Advisory Committee(CAC) and allow the CAC to proceed in accordance with Maryland Law, has withdrawn Henrietta Brown, its representative, in response to the BOE first agreeing to accept as CRC representative Dr. Ruth M. Jacobs as the CRC's representative. The June 27, 2005 Settlement Agreement guaranteed a representative from CRC a seat on the new CAC committee; however, the BOE subsequently enacted a requirement that previous Advisory Committee members, such as Mrs. Brown, could not serve on the new Advisory Committee. This requirement continues to be disputed by CRC as a violation of the Settlement Agreement. After considerable reflection, however, CRC, in consultation with Mrs. Brown and Dr. Jacobs, determined that the best interests of the Montgomery County Schools and the children of Montgomery County would be served by naming Dr. Jacobs as its representative and allowing the Advisory Committee to proceed lawfully with its important work.

Well, first of all, the citizens advisory committee (CAC) was proceeding "in accordance with Maryland Law." They held a seat vacant, just like they'd promised in the settlement agreement. Not the committee's fault nobody was sitting in it.

What do you suppose they mean, "in response to the BOE first agreeing to accept..." their candidate? So, they went in and gamed the system behind closed doors? What if we'd done that? What if we'd met with the school board, got them to tell us who they'd accept, and then submitted the other two names as independent candidates?

I understand the board trying to avoid conflict, but why would they meet privately with this anti-MCPS group, and make deals with them? And what other deals did they make? I do hope the board will come out in the open and tell us about it.

That phrase "after considerable reflection," nice piece of work. They could've said, "After talking with our out-of-state lawyers who said we didn't have a case..." They could've said, "After re-reading the settlement agreement..." They could've said, "After all our members abandoned us, except a couple of blog trolls ..."

That phrase "after considerable reflection," that's good. Makes it sound like you're thinking, y'know?

Oh, and it is so nice that they're "allowing the Advisory Committee to proceed lawfully." Mmm, the committee has been proceeding lawfully for a while now, in case nobody noticed. But it's so much nicer now that they're being "allowed" that privilege by the CRC.

Dr. Jacobs describes herself as an infectious disease specialist. Mainly, in conversations among ourselves, it comes out that most TeachTheFacts.org members more-or-less agree with her message, that students need to be aware of the health risks of sexual behavior. Most of us don't see sex as something that is mainly disgusting, dirty, and gross, but nobody opposes teaching about sexually transmitted disease and how to prevent it. Now, her tangents about "genital mutilation," about "homosexual behaviors," her ... unique ... statistics about condom effectiveness, we don't see eye-to-eye on those things, but that's why you have a committee, instead of just one person making decisions. To get a range of perspectives.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Blogger Issues

This blog uses Blogger, a service provided for free by Google. You log in to their site and type your stuff there. They store it in a database, and you can "publish" it on their site -- called "BlogSpot" -- or you can send it to your own web site, which is what we do.

Blogger is a really nice service, it means anyone can make their own web site. You can customize the look and feel of it, it's basically limited by your knowledge of HTML and cascading style-sheets. You can express yourself, start an online community -- some of the biggest blogs on the Internet use Blogger.

On the other hand, you get what you pay for. If Blogger screws up, who you gonna call?


Lately, say for the past month, we have been having lots of trouble with it. I wrote Blogger support about it. First, you get this automatically-generated email back, telling you to check the stuff that you've already checked. At the end it says, tell us if this didn't solve your problem. So, I told them.

About two weeks after that, I got back this letter:
Hi there,

Thanks for your note. This is an automated update from Blogger Support. Due to the tremendous amount of help requests from users, we're currently unable to offer timely, personal assistance to everyone.

If you are still having trouble with your issue, please search or browse Blogger Help to find answers to many common questions: http://help.blogger.com/

Note that widespread operational problems, if they occur, will be addressed on our Status page to keep you updated: http://status.blogger.com/

Thanks for your understanding and continued patience.

Blogger Support

So, they're too busy to help anybody. Interesting modern dilemma, kind of what you expect from your HMO, your cell-phone company, the bank ... Just a sign of the times, I guess.

Sometimes the blog just ... goes ... away, and there's nothing. Sometimes the posts or comments get cut off in the middle. This gives our paranoid Anons a chance to imply that we're censoring the discussion, trying to make ourselves look better, whatever, it's cheaper than taking their meds, I suppose.

We'll try to keep an eye on the blog in the meantime -- usually, we can fix it if we know it's crashed. I have noticed other bloggers complaining recently about Blogger weirdness, and see that even the support site acknowledges one of the kinds of errors we were getting (disk full). If the service doesn't stabilize pretty soon, I'm afraid I'm going to hack together a different system.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Society for Adolescent Medicine Position Statement

We reported the other day on a paper the the Journal of Adolescent Health discussing abstinence-only programs, not in such a positive light. I didn't realize that the Society for Adolescent Medicine actually published a position statement in that same journal, which is available on the web: HERE.

From the Summary:
Abstinence from sexual intercourse represents a healthy choice for teenagers, as teenagers face considerable risk to their reproductive health from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Remaining abstinent, at least through high school, is strongly supported by parents and even by adolescents themselves. However, few Americans remain abstinent until marriage, many do not or cannot marry, and most initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual behaviors as adolescents. Abstinence as a behavioral goal is not the same as abstinence-only education programs. Abstinence from sexual intercourse, while theoretically fully protective, often fails to protect against pregnancy and disease in actual practice because abstinence is not maintained.

Providing “abstinence only” or “abstinence until marriage” messages as a sole option for teenagers is flawed from scientific and medical ethics viewpoints. Efforts to promote abstinence should be based on sound science. Although federal support of abstinence-only programs has grown rapidly since 1996, the evaluations of such programs find little evidence of efficacy in delaying initiation of sexual intercourse. Conversely, efforts to promote abstinence, when offered as part of comprehensive reproductive health promotion programs that provide information about contraceptive options and protection from STIs have successfully delayed initiation of sexual intercourse.

They raise an interesting point as well regarding GLBTQ youth. Because these federal programs require that you teach that sex should only happen in marriage, and because gays can't legally marry ... you got a problem:
... federally funded abstinence-until-marriage programs discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (GLBTQ) youth because federal law limits the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples. Approximately 2.5% of high school youth self-identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual and as many as one in 10 teenagers struggle with issues regarding sexual orientation. GLBTQ adolescents often are fearful of rejection or discrimination due to their orientation; they are frequently subjected to harassment, discrimination, and violence. Homophobia may contribute to health problems such as suicide, feelings of isolation and loneliness, HIV infection, substance abuse and violence among GLBTQ youth. Abstinence-only sex education classes are unlikely to meet the health needs of GLBTQ youth, as they largely ignore issues surrounding homosexuality (except when discussing
transmission of HIV/AIDS), and often stigmatize homosexuality as deviant and unnatural behavior.

The good news is that Montgomery County is taking the right steps. MCPS has initiated a comprehensive sex education program that addresses many aspects of sex and sexuality, and is moving forward toward develoment of a straight-ahead curriculum to address issues of sexual orientation without the stigma and silliness.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

CRC Joins the Citizens Advisory Committee

Today the MCPS Board of Education announced that it was appointing Ruth Jacobs to the Citizens Advisory Committee for Family Life and Human Development, to represent the Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum.

The CRC had been holding out, claiming that they didn't need to obey the school board's policies for membership. The Board had required each organization to put forward three names, and said previous citizens committee members could not serve again. The CRC's previous nominee, Retta Brown, was ineligible as she had served on a previous committee. We don't know what went on behind the scenes, but it appears the Board is letting CRC get on the committee with one nominee, as they did with PFOX.

Dr. Jacobs speaks at nearly every school board meeting. Her graphic descriptions of sexual practices and the pathologies that can result from them have won her some notoriety in the county. I'm sure the committee can benefit from her expertise on sexually transmitted infection.

Don't Miss Mister Hetero

Man, and I do mean man, you won't want to miss the Mister Hetero competition coming up next month.

From their site:
Mr Heterosexual is the creation of Tom Crouse. On his radio show- "Engaging Your World", Tom mentioned the Mr Gay international contest that was held in San Diego and stated that "you never hear of anything for heterosexuals- someone should have a Mr Heterosexual Contest." One thing led to another and Tom decides to put the event together.

The local and national media picked up on the event as well as the homosexual activists, who were outraged that someone could have such an event. Tom has been called by the homosexual activists everything from Osama Bin Laden- to Hitler. Why? Because he has the nerve to have an event celebrating Gods design of Heterosexuality, and also has the nerve to have at the event someone who will give testimony to the fact that Jesus Christ freed them from all their sins.

Aw, come on, you tuff guys ain't afraid a gettin' slapped around by a bunch a sissies, are ya?

Mmm, I guess the possibility is a little worrisome... better find a safe place...
Due to all of the pressure from those activists, the original venue, the Sturbridge Host- cancelled the event two days after assuring Tom that everything was fine with having the event at their facility. Not to be deterred, Tom went to Mechanics Hall to see about the possibility of holding the event there, and that is where it will be. A bigger and better venue!

This will be a fun and entertaining event with a life changing message. We encourage you to pray for Tom,this event, and all who are and will be involved, that it would glorify God in every way!

Ironically, at first I thought it said Tom Cruise, not Crouse. That would've been weird -- Tom Cruise has a little bit of an issue in that department, doesn't he?

Listen to the spectacular events they have planned:
Info And Events...

Strength - how many oprah magazines can you tear?

Talent - your choice

Intellectual - answering random questions such as your favorite heterosexual role model

Competition - name that food

..........more events to be announced.

Listen, as an actual "hetero man," I gotta tell you, this sounds like the dumbest thing I've ever heard of.

Name that food? Yeah, there's something us straight guys love to do, name our food. Here, this little piece of cake will be, um, "Henry." And that loaf of bread can be "Suzie."

I can't wait zzzzzzzzz...

Monday, January 09, 2006

New Report Slams Abstinence-Only Programs

The Journal of Adolescent Health has an article entitled "Abstinence and abstinence-only education: A review of U.S. policies and programs" that is stimulating quite a bit of discussion. The article, by John Santelli, M.D., M.P.H., Mary A. Ott, M.D., Maureen Lyon, Ph.D., Jennifer Rogers, M.P.H., Daniel Summers, M.D., and Rebecca Schleifer, J.D., M.P.H., is not online, only the abstract. --Which you can read right here:
Abstinence from sexual intercourse is an important behavioral strategy for preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy among adolescents. Many adolescents, including most younger adolescents, have not initiated sexual intercourse and many sexually experienced adolescents and young adults are abstinent for varying periods of time. There is broad support for abstinence as a necessary and appropriate part of sexuality education. Controversy arises when abstinence is provided to adolescents as a sole choice and where health information on other choices is restricted or misrepresented. Although abstinence is theoretically fully effective, in actual practice abstinence often fails to protect against pregnancy and STIs. Few Americans remain abstinent until marriage; many do not or cannot marry, and most initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual behaviors as adolescents. Although abstinence is a healthy behavioral option for teens, abstinence as a sole option for adolescents is scientifically and ethically problematic. A recent emphasis on abstinence-only programs and policies appears to be undermining more comprehensive sexuality education and other government-sponsored programs. We believe that abstinence-only education programs, as defined by federal funding requirements, are morally problematic, by withholding information and promoting questionable and inaccurate opinions. Abstinence-only programs threaten fundamental human rights to health, information, and life.

In a press release, James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, commented on the review:
"Abstinence-only is bad science, bad policy, and a blatant violation of medical ethics and basic human rights. Enough is enough. The time has come for Congress to declare an immediate moratorium on federal funding for these programs. It is a national scandal that we have already spent over $1.1 billion of taxpayers' dollars on programs that don't work and that censor vital public health information for young people.

"It is time to restore sanity and common sense to our public health policy. The Society report is not anti-abstinence. It clearly supports abstinence as a strategy to protect young people's sexual health. But the report makes clear that, to be effective, abstinence education needs to be delivered in a comprehensive context along with information on condoms and birth control.

"We have eight million young people under the age of 19 who are sexually active, yet 79 percent of junior high and 45 percent of high school teachers fail to teach about condoms. No wonder we have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease in the developed world." US Newswire

I do hope that MCPS is planning to re-issue the condom video that was withdrawn after the lawsuit, or prepare another one. It is important for teens to learn how to use the condom correctly -- it makes the difference between 85 percent and 98 percent success rates. Let's urge Montgomery County to do the right thing, to give our students the facts and the skills they need to live in the real world. It's fine to hope they all practice strict self-discipline and never find themselves facing temptations they can't handle, but it's not a bad idea for them to know what to do when they do decide they're ready.

It seems to be often forgotten, what teens learn in school isn't just for that day, or that week, or that year. They will carry what they learn with them throughout their lives. And as the abstract notes, "Few Americans remain abstinent until marriage." There will be a day when they will need to know what to do.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Justice Sunday III is Coming

This weekend the religious right is planning to hold "Justice Sunday III." We pretty much ignored Justice Sundays I and II, and will ignore this one, too, I imagine. But I guess millions of people watch this stuff, right?

In case you haven't noticed, here's how they describe this event:
What: Justice Sunday III - Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land

Why: To educate people of faith on how the judiciary impacts their lives and to show how activist judges seek to end all mention of God in the public square.

Where: Greater Exodus Baptist Church, Philadelphia

When: Jan. 8, 2006 - 7-8:30PM ET and 9-10:30PM ET, Angel Two (#9702) on the Sky Angel Nationwide Satellite Television System

Jan. 8, 2006 - 7-8:30PM PST and 10-11:30PM ET, Trinity Broadcasting Network


Featured speakers that are listed include:
  • Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family)
  • Tony Perkins (Family Research Council)
  • Rev. Herbert Lusk (Greater Exodus Baptist Church)
  • Bishop Wellington Boone (The Father's House)
  • Senator Rick Santorum (U.S. Senate (R-PA))
  • Dr. Jerry Falwell (Liberty University)
  • Dr. Alveda C. King (King for America, Inc.)

Also featuring television packages that include:
  • Dr. D. James Kennedy
  • Edwin Meese III
  • David Barton
  • Bill Donohue
  • Alan Sears
  • Don Feder

Generally, my opinion about this sort of thing would be the same as it's always been: a big ol' ho-hum. A certain number of people are going to believe this stuff, and I can respect that. I remember Oral Roberts and A. A. Allen and some of the TV guys that healed people way back in the days of black and white television. This is America, there's plenty of room for that, even if I don't buy it. Somewhere in Tennessee they can pass around rattlesnakes, somewhere else they can set up a tent and shout hallellulia, that's fine, in fact it's kind of cool. As long as I don't have to go.

And that's the problem here.

Justice Sunday isn't about God and sin and healing sick people and fearing Satan's evil ways, no, this is about changing the United States government in a radical and fundamental and permanent way.

This is about the judiciary. That's why it's called "Justice Sunday."

The role of the judiciary is one of the cornerstones of American government, and one of the strokes of genius of the founding fathers. The judiciary keeps the legislative and executive branches of government in line, it forces them to obey the law, especially the Constitution. But that old scrap o' paper seems to make it just a little too hard for certain people to do some things they want to do. So they want to weaken the courts' ability to interpret law -- this isn't a conspiracy theory, this is what "Justice Sunday" is all about. It's about undermining American government, American liberty, and the American way of life.

Max Blumenthal's column yesterday is something you should look at, especially if, like me, you don't know who some of these people are. Here's a little bit of it:
"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mr. James Farmer, and others... are known to have left-wing associations. It is very obvious that the Communists, as they do in all parts of the world, are taking advantage of a tense situation in our land, and are exploiting every incident to bring about violence and bloodshed."
--Scheduled Justice Sunday III speaker Rev. Jerry Falwell

"I want to boldly affirm Uncle Tom. The black community must stop criticizing Uncle Tom. He is a role model."
--Scheduled Justice Sunday III speaker Rev. Wellington Boone

Christian right leaders love to invoke the legacy of the civil rights movement in their struggle to undo it. During Justice Sunday II, born-again Watergate felon Chuck Colson declared that the Christian right was doing nothing but "giving voice" to Martin Luther King Jr.'s philosophy. Later in the evening, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue told the nearly all-white, Southern Baptist audience, "Now we're in the back of the bus."

For Perkins, who is today perhaps the Christian right's most influential operative, linking his agenda to the civil rights movement serves a purpose almost as important as indulging the persecution fantasies of his followers. The image of Perkins and his allies as the logical heirs to Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy helps obscure his past involvement with racist groups and figures as he advances an anti-civil rights agenda.

In 1996, while working as campaign manager for the failed US Senate candidacy of his mentor, Woody Jenkins, Perkins signed a check for nearly $90,000 to David Duke for the purchase of his phone bank list. Then, even after a steady stream of bad press doomed his own Senate campaign, Perkins spoke at a 2001 fundraiser for the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white nationalist group which has called blacks "a retrograde species of humanity" on its website. And this Sunday, Perkins will be joined by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who incited opposition to the civil rights movement from the pulpit in 1950's and 1960's Virginia.

Seeking to continue his image makeover while advancing the case for the confirmation of Samuel Alito, who would, by all accounts, severely limit civil rights, Tony Perkins has staged Justice Sunday III at a black church in inner-city Philadelphia. And he has assembled three black speakers to sermonize by his side, including Martin Luther King's Jr.'s niece, Alveda King. Judging from their past statements and activities, it looks like these figures been providing cover for racial reactionaries for the entire span of their careers. This Sunday will be no exception. Who Are Justice Sunday's Ministers of Minstrelsy?

Blumenthal then goes on to give some biographical information about the various players in this event.

Here in Montgomery County, our local anti-gay, anti-safe-sex extremists have tried this, too, they love acting like they are being discriminated against. The rest of us accept their right to believe what they do, and that's what we mean by freedom in America. But the other side of freedom has to do with those who might feel or look or behave differently from the majority -- freedom means protecting their right to be different. Nobody said it was going to be easy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Question. I Mean, Really

Hey, I have a question. Anybody know the answer here, or how to find out?

The "ex-gay" thing is going to be an issue as MCPS discusses a new curriculum. Some people are going to insist that the schools need to teach that you can stop being gay. They will say that there are thousands -- no, tens of thousands -- of people who have gone from being gay to being straight.

OK, so here's my question. How many people have gone from being straight to being gay?

We have seen a few news stories over the years. Some guy has a family, kids that prove he was, y'know, sexually active with his wife. And then he is identified looking for man-love on the Internet, or coming out of a gay bar, or some guy tells a reporter about their torrid affair.

It's a fairly common kind of story, and I have the idea there are a lot more of these than ones that go the other way, guys stopping being gay. But how many? Does anybody have any idea?

And ... does this straight-to-gay transition lend support to the "ex-gay" perspective, or undermine it? Does this mean that "change is possible," or were these guys gay to start with?

The underlying question, I guess, is -- if they teach about "ex-gays," shouldn't the schools teach about "ex-straights," too?

Faith-Based Service Providers Proselytize? Who Would've Guessed?

The Chicago Tribune this week had a major story about how faith-based organizations hired to do work for the government are being sued left and right.
Faith-based groups are barred from proselytizing or engaging in other obvious religious activity when using federal funds to encourage teenagers to abstain from premarital sex or help substance abusers fight addictions.

But some groups may have run afoul of that federal prohibition. Lawsuits by the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation accuse the faith-based organizations and the government of violating the constitutional separation of church and state. Meanwhile, experts say the Bush administration is doing too little to monitor religious groups receiving federal money. Faith-based organizations face suits: Groups using federal funds are accused of proselytizing [free registration required]

It sounded like a good idea. You want to feed the needy? Some churches would like to feed the needy, and they have volunteers who just love to help. We'll let the government buy them some groceries and those nice little old ladies can go out and help those sad people.

And really, if the generosity of a faith-based group impressed somebody, and they decided to join that group, there wouldn't be any problem. But ...
According to the federal rules, faith-based groups receiving government aid for social service programs may not use federal dollars for any "inherently religious" activities. Further, participation in religious activities by someone who receives assistance must clearly be voluntary. And people receiving government money to fight substance abuse must be offered a non-religious alternative if they voice discomfort with the use of a faith-based provider.

I think it's important that The Tribune notes that not all faith-based groups have a problem with this.
Although Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services and Jewish Family Services long ago learned to clearly separate religion from the government-funded social services they provide, experts say some new recipients of federal funding--often groups operating out of churches, synagogues, mosques and storefronts--are less careful. And critics say the monitoring of these groups has not kept pace with the increase in applicants for money since President Bush began lowering their barriers to federal funding in 2001.

Some groups just don't seem to get the distinction, or don't care.

The Tribune offered an example of why this would be a problem.
The existing regulations are meant to prevent cases such as that of Joseph Hanas. After he pleaded guilty to marijuana possession, a county drug court judge in Michigan gave the 23-year-old Flint construction worker a choice: agree to live for a year at Inner City Christian Outreach, a faith-based residential facility, or be sent to jail. Hanas chose Inner City, which is run by a Pentecostal church.

At Inner City, staffers told Hanas that his Roman Catholic faith was "witchcraft" and prevented his priest from visiting him or giving him his rosary beads, Hanas said.

And instead of substance-abuse treatment, Hanas said he was forced to read the Bible several hours each day, attend five hours of church on Sundays and was told the only way he would successfully complete the program was to convert to the Pentecostal church.

"I felt helpless. I was threatened by prison and jail by the pastor the whole time I was in there," Hanas said. After three months, the judge responded to his complaints by removing him and sending him to jail.

Sometimes a guy'd rather be in jail.

This is a hard problem. Someone may have a fervent, heartfelt religious belief, and they may feel -- I'm sure they do feel -- that they are really helping someone by offering them the truth as they believe it to be. I'm pretty sure that the people who want to influence our Montgomery County curricula really feel their beliefs are correct, they really do feel that homosexuality is a constant threat to the family and all that is moral, and that you catch it by talking about it. I'll bet you Bob Knight really does think he caught Mattel trying to ... transgenderize ... little girls.

And who knows? There's always that joke about dying and going to heaven, and finding out that God is a ... [insert a religion, not your own, here]. Maybe these guys have some profound knowledge that lowbrows like myself are incapable of understanding -- maybe when we meet our Maker, God will be Their Guy.

But maybe He won't.

And in that light, the way our country works, they have the right to their beliefs but they don't have the right to promote them through the government. It's as good a system as I can think of, but it ain't always pretty.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Barbie: ABC Update

ABC News reports that the Barbie web site originally had "I don't know" for the third answer, and changed it to "I don't want to say."
"This was just an innocent oversight," says Lauren Bruksch, a spokeswoman for Mattel. As a rule of thumb, Bruksch said, the questionnaires at barbie.com always try to have a neutral answer or nonresponse option. For gender, this third option should have been "I don't want to say," rather than "I don't know." The Web site has since been fixed.

Knight had said CWA would contact Mattel to investigate the matter, but Bruksch said Mattel first heard of the complaint when ABC News called for comment.

So, OK, Concerned Woman for America Bob Knight was not lying about the wording, and I apologize for saying he was. They just used the wrong "DK" wording.

But ... really ... what leaps of logic does it take to conclude from "I don't know" that Mattel is promoting the "homosexual activist agenda?" To even suspect that -- what leap of logic does it take?

Truly Sickening

You might have seen some of the stories recently, that the religious nuts are going after Barbie Dolls now. Y'know, they do this sort of thing so much, we don't usually even pay attention.

So, anyway, this time I bit. I read something on a blog about this and went to see for myself. I went to the Concerned Women for America web site, titled "Barbie’s Web Site Promotes Gender Confusion." They have some text, but the main part of it is an audio recording you listen to. Here's the text:
The iconic Barbie Doll has become another tool for promoting gender confusion among children. On the Barbie Web site, www.Barbie.com, there is a poll that asks children their age and sex. The age choices are 4-8, but as Bob Knight, Director of CWA’s Culture & Family Institute, notes children are given three options for their choice of gender. Click here to listen.

And ... yuck ... I clicked there.

You have some holier-than-thou lady interviewing Bob Knight. We know Mr. Knight from his performance at the Citizen for a Responsible Curriculum's March "town hall" meeting. He was one of the ones they had to say was a little too extreme for them.

So she starts out with this:
We've told you that Mattel, who now owns American Girl dolls, has been promoting Girls, Inc., an organization that promotes abortion and lesbianism to young girls, but we've also found that Mattel is promoting that agenda though the Barbie line.

She introduces Bob Knight, and says:
Bob, one of our constitutents directed us to a Barbie poll on the Barbie.com web site, and we found something rather disturbing there, aimed at kids -- tell us about it.

Knight says:
Yeah, there's not a whole lot that can shock me any more, Martha, but when you go to the Barbie web site, and they ask a series of questions, how old are you, and they give you -- you can click on a certain age, but the second question is the eye-opener. "I am a" and they give you, not two choices, but three. You can click on "I am a girl," "I am a boy," or "I don't know."

Then ... you've got to hear the sound of this lady's voice. Oh, she's shocked. Shocked.
And this is directed at children age four through eight, those are the only age options in this poll. That's a really young age to be directing something along the lines of bisexuality, gender confusion.

Bob picks it up:
That's the agenda here, is the idea that well maybe people aren't born a particular biological sex, or they are but that shouldn't determine their gender identity. And that's a very big component of the homosexual activist agenda, now...

Then he goes on.

With all apparent sincerity, this despicable woman -- she's something straight out of the Marx Brothers -- asks:
Well, Bob, is Mattel taking plays right out of the homosexual agenda playbook? Sounds like something we would hear about from GLSEN, or some of these school groups.

To which Bob responds, with a profound tone of puzzlement in his sincere voice:
Well, I don't now what prompted them to do this, it's so bizarre to give them a third choice for a gender, that they obviously are being influenced, whether it's inside the company or outside the company, we're not sure.

OK, well, it's sickening. I mean, it really just makes your skin crawl.

The reason I had listened to this disgusting stuff at all was something I saw at Modern Science blog. He had looked at the terrible gay-agenda-promoting poll at the Barbie site.

I'm not going to quote him on this... I'm going to go there myself.

Ah, ok, so the Barbie web site is bright colors and a noisy sound track. I think that's some movie star's face at the top of the page, but I don't know who.

I dig around... where's the poll? Where is the poll?

I don't see any poll.

OK, so I follow Modern Science's link. Ah, here it is, a place to register for something.

The first question:
1. Pick a Nickname to use on Barbie.comSM. Make sure it's between 5 and 15 letter long.

There's a little pink text box for your Nickname.

Then ... there it is. Question Number Two. You can see the text, but the options are hidden in a dropdown box. Now, I will reveal ALL:
2. Are you a Boy or a Girl?
I don't want to say

It doesn't say "I don't know" at all!

Bob Knight and that other disgusting person were simply lying!

All of this is about nothing. Nothing at all.

Listen, when my kids were younger, I wouldn't let them fill out any forms on the Internet. Then, they got to an age, when I would let them do some stuff, join some groups or whatever, but they had to learn to be careful about revealing anything about themselves. We saw some creepy guys on instant messaging, in particular, and I didn't want any identifying information getting out.

So, if a form asked if you were a boy or a girl, a paranoid parent's warning buzzer should go off. And the correct answer should be, "I don't want to say."

This registration page was buried so deep on the Barbie site that I never could find it. So these Concerned Women for America can be sure you, the critical reader, won't find it, either.

That means they can say anything they want about it.

This is a perfect opportunity for them to lie.

We have had some Anons in the comments, apologists for the religious right, and I expect to hear from them on this. So, guys, do this, please. Follow the links I just printed, listen to Bob and Disgusto-Lady talk about this, about how the homosexual agenda is trying to lure kids into turning gay using poll questions with three answers. Go to the Barbie site, look at the registration form. And then, please, only then, come back to teachthefacts.org and write some nasty stuff about how we're twisting the truth. Let me see if any of you have the nerve to support these lying bigots.