Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Around the U.S.of A.: Bad News : Good News

First the bad (ridiculous) news:

Texas has the third highest rate of HIV infections in the country, but that didn’t stop lawmakers from passing an amendment that defunds HIV/STD prevention programs Tuesday. 

The amendment to the House budget proposal—offered by Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R-Kaufman)—diverts $3 million over the next biennium to abstinence-only sexual education programs. House Democrats fought against the amendment in a debate that rapidly devolved into awkward farce, with Rep. Spitzer revealing details of his own sexual history as proof of the effectiveness of abstinence. 

For those keeping tabs at home, he was a virgin until marrying his wife at age 29, although he declined to answer a question from Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) on whether she was the first person he propositioned. 

“Decorum,” shouted state Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Dripping Springs). Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) asked Spitzer just how much money is needed for abstinence education in Texas, which receives more federal funding than any other state. 

Spitzer responded that additional funds are needed as long as people are still having sex before marriage. His goal, he said, was for everyone to know that “abstinence is the best way to prevent HIV.” 

NOTE:  Rep. Spitzer believes "abstinence only" prevents HIV?  Half-term, half-wit governor Sarah Palin of Alaska also believes in "abstinence only"  as a way to prevent pregnancy, as do many far right wingers.  

Just ask Bristol Palin how that worked out.


Good news:

Colorado swing county ousts 3 conservative school board members in recall vote

Controversy swirled around Williams, Witt and Newkirk almost as soon as they were elected in 2013. The county's well-regarded, longtime superintendent resigned, saying she could not work for the conservative majority. 

The conflict that drew national attention to the growing disputes came last fall, when Newkirk, Witt and Williams indicated that they wanted to "review" the content of the AP U.S. history course taught in county high schools because it failed to promote patriotism. 

There were teacher "sickouts" that shut down two schools, walkouts by thousands of students and a massive community protest. All five seats on the school board were in play; while the three conservatives faced a recall, the two other seats were being vacated. A

Amanda Stevens, who won one of the two vacated seats, said she expects the new school board to make some immediate changes, including ending the contract of an attorney that the previous majority had hired to advise it. 

NOTE:  The purpose of teaching history is to learn facts -- facts that may be difficult to acknowledge about America's past.  History is not about promoting only the "patriotic" pretty parts of our past, but about teaching all of it:  the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Apparently the board members who were ousted wanted only the pretty parts taught and the parts that told the ugly truth were considered, by those who were ousted, to be "unpatriotic."

It does a country no harm to understand and accept what really happened in its past. To pretty it up and pretend nothing terrible was committed by its government or its people is to teach lies and to give future American citizens a skewed and jingoistic view of who they are. People who believe we're the best country in the world should be brave enough to face the uncomfortable facts on how we achieved that "best country in the world" status.


Les Carpenter said...

Regardless of how good we are (America), and America is inded good, is it not sensible to understand where we can improve and why we should so that we become even
better nation.

America should be happy with, but never satisfied in its pursuit for being right and good. Some conservatives just don't seem to understand that concept.

Shaw Kenawe said...

" it not sensible to understand where we can improve and why we should so that we become even better nation."

President Obama similarly stated this when he talked of America becoming a "more perfect union." That's in the preamble to our Constitution. Even our Founding Fathers knew we were not a "perfect" nation, but to move toward becoming better is a noble goal. And how will we know we are trying for a "more perfect union" unless we understand our mistakes?

The people who will not tolerate American history that documents the good AND the bad are like immature children who will not acknowledge that their parents -- whom they love -- can make mistakes.

Ducky's here said...

The fringe right won't tolerate a teaching of history that gives progressives a positive position in American history, either. Meanwhile they will go on about schools "brainwashing".

In other news, Ben Carson gave his history of the Egyptian pyramids:

"... And when you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons," he(Carson) said. "And various of scientists have said, 'well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how.' You know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you."

He is a candidate for the presidency.

Ducky's here said...

I wonder if they're going to shut her off?

"Forbes reported, “Apparently, the organization was only able to find $35,000 to grant to charities from the $1,242,476 donated from the public. Meanwhile, the young Ms. Palin managed to pull in a $262,500 paycheck for her role as an ambassador for their teen pregnancy prevention campaign in 2009.”"

Mom raised that one real good.
Wonder if she got any of the Texas money.

Les Carpenter said...

Our Founding Fathers were, I believe, a rare group of individuals in western history. Brilliant yet themselves flawed. They had the capacity to understand this and hence the amendment process written into our Constitution.

Undoubtedly the Founding Fathers would have problems with the Tea Party mentality.

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

With less than 30% voter turnout, here's an object lesson for all citizens: Next time, get out and VOTE goddammit!