The Washington Post ran a story headlined, "Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds" - and of course, every right-wing religious pundit has had to take a pot-shot at it. The latest is failed film critic Michael Medved, who spent an hour on his radio show today making some distinction between kids who take abstinence pledges and kids who get taught abstinence-only education in school.
Apparently Medved missed the paragraph that said, "The study is the latest in a series that have raised questions about programs that focus on encouraging abstinence until marriage, including those that specifically ask students to publicly declare their intention to remain virgins." And indeed, there have been many, not the least of which was the one authored by a House committee headed by Henry Waxman, in Nov. 2006. It's available online at Waxman's congressional website .
Similar RR wackos are getting bent out of shape over a proposal by the State Bar of Arizona which would require attorneys in that state to pledge not to "permit considerations of gender, race, religion, age, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, or social standing to influence my duty of care."
Needless to say, it's the "sexual orientation" they're upset about, and one Rachel Alexander claimed on the GOPUSA website that "the language is so broad, it could be used to ban an attorney from publicly expressing a viewpoint on gay issues. It could also prohibit an organization of Christian attorneys like the Alliance Defense Fund or the Christian Legal Society, which holds Bible studies at law schools, from refusing to admit persons of alternative sexual preference to their organizations."
In other words, it could force these bigots to act like actual human beings. No wonder they're so upset.
Remember Big Love, the HBO series about a Mormon guy and his three wives and their kids? Well, there hasn't been a new episode for about 18 months, but HBO is gearing up for its return - including installing street-level billboards that include dozens of audio jacks. People passing by can plug their own headphones into a jack to hear a recording of a different secret about people pictured on the billboard. Not the series' stars, you understand; just ordinary Joes and Janes with "secrets" that illustrate the campaign's theme, "Everyone Has Something To Hide ."
Don't expect anything too salacious, though; the teasers given in a recent NY Times article include stuff like, "If my family knew I was looking at these magazines, oh my my," and in another case, a woman wonders if she can get away with stealing a lunch from the office refrigerator.
After all, no sense getting too graphic about sex when all you're trying to do is get people to watch a TV series about polygamy!
Fox Reality has hit upon a new marketing ploy for its sometimes-sexy series like My Bare Lady: They're going to start pixelating their images - not because they're sexy, but because pixelation has come to be identified with hiding something sexy - so Fox is going to be pixelating everything, starting with "a pixelated backdrop for the Fox Reality logo for promos and other marketing collateral," in order to create a "branding umbrella" that ties together the channel's broad spectrum of reality programming.
In other words, Censorship Is The New Edgy !
The CIA has recently discovered a new way, besides torture and rendition, to Win Friends And Influence Terrorists: Give them Viagra.
A Washington Post story recounts the case of a 60-or-so-year-old Afghan chieftain who's given four of the little blue pills as a gift, and who, four days later, "offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes — followed by a request for more pills."
Wow! Wonder if that'd work on Republicans?
According to a decision by a Wisconsin state appeals court , Mark Jahnke's girlfriend had a "reasonable expectation of privacy not to be videotaped by a camera that Jahnke had hidden under a pile of clothing in her bedroom in April 2006," even though "she knowingly and consensually exposed her nude body to him."
The decision is expected to influence the trial of another secret taper, William Workman, who's charged with 15 counts of videotaping himself having sex with women at his apartment over a four-year period." The Workman case had been put on hold while the judge awaited the outcome of the Jahnke case.
No, not the movie; the guy Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein named after the movie, who helped bring down the incredibly corrupt Nixon administration.
The Justice Department has just reached 15 settlements of business-related misconduct claims between early November and the end of the year, even though some of the claims are five or more years old.
"What they obviously are trying to do is take advantage of an administration that's deemed to be more friendly to business," said Cono R. Namorato, a Washington defense lawyer who ran the Internal Revenue Service's office of professional responsibility earlier in the Bush administration. "I know of no tax reason for doing it now."
Interestingly, none of them involved obscenity or other sexual-speech-related offenses.
According to prominent adult producer Tony Comstock , if you put the following words into Google's SafeSearch search program, you'll not only (supposedly) get no porn search results, you won't get results for any site that uses the words, no matter how benign that site might be: fuck, shit, cunt, tits, bastard, nude, erotic, pussy, cock, porn, twat, naked, boob, bullshit, asshole, fisting, fellatio, cunnilingus, clitoris, anus.
"What that means in the real world is that even though there are nearly 5,000 pages with the word 'nude' on the Metropolitan Museum of Art Website, Google's 'advanced proprietary technology' can't identify a single one of these pages as a 'safe' return for the search [nude]," Comstock says, adding, "This is not an exhaustive list. It's just what I could think of and test. Maybe there are more."
As if we didn't have enough to worry about:
"Instead of infiltrating breaks in the skin, HIV appears to attack normal, healthy genital tissue in women, U.S. researchers said ... in a study that offers new insight into how the AIDS virus spreads ," wrote Julie Steenhuysen for Reuters News Service. "They said researchers had assumed the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, sought out breaks in the skin, such as a herpes sore, in order to gain access to immune system cells deeper in the tissue. Some had even thought the normal lining of the vaginal tract offered a barrier to invasion by the virus during sexual intercourse."
But no: "Normal skin is vulnerable," Thomas Hope of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine said in a telephone interview. (via )
"I'm now going to depict an adult and a minor having sex," begins an article by William Saletan. "The adult is represented by the character on the left. The minor is represented by the character on the right. Here is my depiction: &i
"Have I just committed a crime punishable by 10 years in jail?
"Under a ruling issued last week in Australia, it's quite possible that I have. The ruling, issued by the Supreme Court of New South Wales, affirms that a cartoon can be prosecuted as child pornography."
Read more here .
"In order to make our justice system more fair and less punitive," writes Dr. Marty Klein, "here are just some of the things I wish more lawyers and judges knew about sex:
"Many people who lie to their mates about sex are, in every other way, good partners.
"People into kinky sex can be perfectly good parents. In fact, millions of good parents are into kinky sex. Think only bad parents buy butt plugs and wear see-through blouses?
"Knowing what porn a person looks at, or what their sexual fantasies are, doesn't tell you anything about that person.
"Even the most conservative-sounding people do outrageous sexual things at home."
For more of the Eleven Things About Sex I Wish Lawyers and Judges Knew , check out the good doctor's website.
Here's some premarital sex the religious conservatives can rant about: According to The Guardian (UK), a survey conducted by Iran's Ministry of Youth Affairs found that "more than one in four men aged 19 to 29 had experienced sex before marriage," and that, "About 13% of such cases resulted in unwanted pregnancies that led to abortions," while noting that, "Sex outside marriage and abortion are outlawed under Iran's Islamic legal code."
See, all we need to do to neutralize Iran as a threat is to send them more porn!
Salon's Glenn Greenwald published an excellent piece titled "Prostitution vs. war crimes: The real moral offense ," which compares the amount of press coverage and indignation given to former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer's use of prostitutes versus the incredible lack of same given to VP Dick Cheney's admission that he'd given his approval for the U.S. military to engage in torture of prisoners and other war crimes.