December 30, 2008


Though moving slow this morning. Long drive yesterday following a couple of other long drives on bad roads. Yesterday's drive was weather free, at least. Just long. It was a good trip and we had a nice time with family in several locations, and had a very nice Christmas with my folks. It was a "white" Christmas as well, with about 10 inches of snow on the ground and quite cold. When we drove back to the Eastern slope (Saturday) we drove most of the mountains in sub-zero temps. Now we are back to warm.


After visiting my folks, we went to Fort Collins to visit my in-laws. I went to high school and a few years of college in that town, so used to know it pretty well. Visiting there is often a bit tricky for me, but never so much as this time. I am not sure why, but the ghosts were really out in abundance this trip. Perhaps the emotions of all the family stuff, I am not sure. I was reminded of the story about the 100 year old composer who referred to the different people he has been during his life, and that kept coming to mind as I drove around my old haunts. I am a completely different person than I was when I lived in Fort Collins, and have no real good way to introduce the Streak of today to the one some would see. It was an odd feeling.


I have been catching up on the news after really being out of the loop for the last week. Tony caught several good stories, including another Wiley Drake idiocy and the RNC chair nominee who sent around the "Barack the Magic Negro" recording (from the Rush Limbaugh show) to help his candidacy. Stay classy, Republicans. Just keep doing what you are doing. As TPM noted, appealing to white racists can't go wrong, right?

Once more with feeling: Virginity pledges don't work - Feministing: "Yet another study shows that teenagers who take virginity pledges are just as likely to have pre-marital sex than non-pledgers. And, naturally, after years of being taught that birth control pills are evil and condoms cause cancer - teens who take virginity pledges are less likely to use contraception when they do have sex."
That is what bothers me about this approach. I have no problem urging and encouraging abstinence, but when it is presented alone, it endangers kids. It isn't just a policy that doesn't work, it actually causes more harm.


Krugman's column is especially good this time. As readers of this blog know, I am increasingly frustrated with the Grover Norquist approach to policy, and believe we are seeing the consequences of a "tax-cut" first economic policy. Our states are in big economic trouble as they are being squeezed on both ends. Federal funds have declined, and their own attacks on taxes has reduced their ability to raise revenue. It all works ok when the economy is flush, but when it is in decline, we are in trouble. Here is hoping that Norquist's brand of destructive policy will be the real casualty of this economic slide.


Finally, just catching up on the Israeli incursion into Gaza. I still don't know what to think of it, though I hate to see any of this. Listened to NPR coming through Wichita and realized that I simply don't trust Israel any more. I completely distrust Hamas, to be sure, but Israel has lost a lot of credibility over the last few years. Add to that the timing which seems clearly because they know that they can bomb anyone they want with George Bush as President, and you can see my discomfort. I support Israel just as I support any sovereign nation's right to defend itself, and truly believe there is a lot of legitimacy to their problems with Hamas, but also think that Israel has not been a completely honest broker in the region of late.


Anyway. Good to be back and hope to hear from people.


Tony said...

If I could comment on the abstinence portion of the post, that issue is REALLY frustrating as a pastor. Most parents have their heads stuck in the sand when it comes to whether or not their kids are sexually active. They typically outright deny it, "Oh, not my kid."

Then when they find out their daughter is pregnant or their son has gotten a girl pregnant, then they want pastoral help.

However, the pastoral help they hope to receive is "Abstinence only." The parents are typically not doing anything to help matters, and most teenage boys I talk to, their dads haven't even talked to them about sex. So when all they get is TV, movie, and video game glamorized sexual relations, its no wonder they don't see the responsibility in having sex. Its just fun like everything else they do. So can we really blame the kids when they haven't been taught any differently?

Bootleg Blogger said...

"I am a completely different person than I was when I lived in Fort Collins...." Perhaps I'm just being nitpicky, but I beg to differ with you on this one or maybe you're talking about a different time than our shared experience. Parker Palmer talks about those periods in our lives where we're trying to wear the faces of other people who, for whatever reason, we're trying to emulate or at least feel like we should. Often, he says, it takes some of us a good while to be able to live our own lives. I often think of my FC time as a time of many different faces- often coincidentally. Maybe I just got to see the "real" Streak:-)

Abstinence sucks! Oh! You're talking about for the kids. Whew! Sorry about that:-). We recently moved to the SE. Our 12 year old's health teacher informed us that we have the option of pulling him out of sex education, which many parents do. I (stupidly) said, "It's not just an abstinence only program, is it?" She smiled, shook her head, and said, "Sir, you're in the SE now. Of course it's abstinence only." So, it seems alot of parents opt out of the sex ed for the kids altogether but still insist on the classes be abstinence only. Sheesh!

"...I simply don't trust Israel any more." My exact thoughts. You'd think somebody would learn that overwhelmingly superior retaliation no longer achieves a safe solution. What we have the right to do (assuming even that that's there in this case) is often very different that what will achieve a peaceful, safe outcome.

Good to see ya back, Streak. Glad the plains didn't swallow you up!


Streak said...

I appreciate the nice words, BB and hope that I was not as divided in FC as I think now. I know there were places where I really didn't know how to be me in an honest and undivided way. I was very fortunate to have some good friends, however, who allowed me to be me. Thanks for that. SOF, obviously, was another of those.

But I know full well that there are many there who would have no idea who I am now. It isn't their fault, of course.

Anyway. Tony, love the abstinence observation, and that rings so very true. Seems like so many conservatives just simply stop with the "abstinence is the only way to avoid pregnancy" and move on. Interesting observation from BB that many don't even want their own kids exposed to abstinence only, but refuse to have actual sex ed offered to others. Does not seem to be a rational approach to this issue.

Thanks again for the nice words. It is very nice to be home.