Tag Archives: NY Times

90%, fact vs. political jargon

see stephen colbert video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EaB69vv-iY

Sentator Jon Kyl will hopefully always be remembered for his claim that 90% of  Planned Parenthood services are abortion as well as his staff’s follow up comment that this claim was not meant to be “factual.”

I sincerely hope that this political misstep will be remembered for its sheer insanity as well as the fact it illustrates, the GOPs reliance on people not checking facts but accepting political jargon.

The fact is abortions are 3% of Planned Parenthoods services and none of those abortions are paid for with federal money. That is the fact.

As Gail Collin’s points our in her Sunday column, this fight over Planned Parenthood is not about facts or even abortion, it is about rallying the base against reproductive rights.

Collin’s writes “For eons now, people have been wondering why the two sides can’t just join hands and agree to work together to reduce the number of abortions by expanding the availability of family-planning services and contraception.The answer is that a large part of the anti-abortion community is also anti-contraception.”

Read Collin’s full article here.

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Filed under Low Brow, Newspapers, Reproductive Rights

New “factual” argument against promiscuity

Ross Douthat’s had a lovely little tidbit in the New York Times last week about the cost of promiscuity…on women. As Dothart says less sexual partners “increases the odds that [women’s] adult sexual lives will be a source of joy rather than sorrow.” His argument is notably reserved for women.

The facts come from a study showing women with increased sexual partners are decreasingly unhappy. However this fact doesn’t say if the connection is causation or correlation aka do women sleep with more people because they are unhappy or does sleeping with more people make one unhappy. Or ignoring both of these suggestions is there something about behind the sex such as finding a stable partner that increases happiness.

According to a professor intereviewed by Salon’s Tracy Clark Flory “There is no compelling reason to think that larger numbers of sexual partners are truly ‘causing’ less happiness…It’s more likely that the reverse is true. I find Ms. Right; she makes me happy; I then don’t need to look for any other sexual partners.” In other words, actually having sex with more people isn’t making women unhappy but rather the frustrating fact that they haven’t found Mr. Right.

Arguments like Douthat’s which twist stats to prove a personal moral issue, do nothing but reinforce negative societal stereotypes. The truth is finding Mr/Ms. Right is a frustrating and difficult process; the unluckier you are in your pursuit often the unhappier you can appear to be in the time being. However in the end, when Mr/Ms Right is found Mr/Ms Wrong, whether that number is 2 or 200, really doesn’t matter.

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Filed under Feminist Rant, Low Brow, Magazine, Newspapers, Sex

Gail Collin’s describes Republican’s War on Women

Gail Collin’s is a personal hero of mine. Her recent op ed piece about Republican’s War on Women describes the current illogical political jargon so perfectly I have nothing to do but copy and paste:

“Our legislative slogan for 2011: Let Them Use Leeches.

“What is more fiscally responsible than denying any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America?” demanded Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the chief sponsor of a bill to bar the government from directing any money to any organization that provides abortion services.

Planned Parenthood doesn’t use government money to provide abortions; Congress already prohibits that, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. (Another anti-abortion bill that’s coming up for hearing originally proposed changing the wording to “forcible rape,” presumably under the theory that there was a problem with volunteer rape victims. On that matter at least, cooler heads prevailed.)”

Read the full article here

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NY Times why is the “normal, average” life of the speaker’s wife considered news?

New York Times headline: “Speaker’s Wife Emphasizes ‘Normal, Average’ Life”

The New York Times big news flash today was that Mrs. John Boehner was a totally average, normal, nothing special, kind of a gal.

I rhetorically ask you NYTimes: Why is this news?

I’m sure there are plenty of other women out there who are not totally average, normal, nothing special and may I add boring kind of gals.  How about a few headlines about them?

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We have a major problem in America: There aren’t enough explosion-ridden action books to keep our boys reading!

I love Nicholas Kristof’s reporting, from the genocide in Darfur to the empowerment of women business owners in Pakistan to malnutrition of infants in India, the man covers the world better than any other journalist.

With so much love for the man I hate to write this but what was he thinking with this Sunday’s column (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/28/opinion/28kristof.html?th&emc=th) ? The basic premise of his column was boys are lagging behind girls in reading and verbal skills; a devastating problem that can be fixed with books based on wrestling and explosions.

Kristof admits that “men are still hugely overrepresented in Congress, on executive boards, and in the corridors of power” but he sees this trend of boys losing ground on verbal skills as a serious danger to America’s education system and the future for our men in power.

And although I agree with Kristof’s final conclusion of “our future depends on making the best use of human capital we can, whether it belongs to girls or boys,” I can’t agree with his mode of transportation to this future of talented human capital. I do not believe that “nurturing boys with explosions” through action-laden books is the going to make boys’ verbal IQ jump through the non-existent ceiling.

First, let’s examine the inequality. Although girls outperform boys in reading and verbal skills, boys still beat girls in math, an inequality plaguing every generation since standardized tests were invented. Where boys used to beat their female counterparts in every subject, they now lag behind in reading where girls have flourished. And why have girls flourished? Perhaps because they are told they can. Reading is a subject socially acceptable and even mandatory for girls to excel in just as math is a subject socially divvied out to boys. The bulbs flourish and grow where you plant them. Tell girls they are naturally good readers an they will be better readers. Tell boys they aren’t and that reading is a “girl thing” than all the explosions in the world won’t save your boys’ verbal SAT score.

Girls and boys have been captivated by theses tales of two adventurous kids (with only the occasional explosion) for years

Second let’s look at the solution: more “appealing” books for boys or more gender-stereotyped “male” books. The solution to ending a problem created by the bifurcation of gender should be solved by further bifurcating the genders. While we are handing out the fart books to boys why don’t we just give the girls “the joy of cooking” and call it a successful gender-defined day? Boys don’t need action books anymore than girls need math problems written out in purple glitter pens. They need more encouragement and attention given to reading early in life; they need to feel like as boys they can still be readers of any genre (body-function genres included).

And finally, let’s not forget that girls still lag behind in math and science, a fact that is just as detrimental to our “human capital” as boys lower verbal scores.  I don’t have a quick and easy solution to the gap (although algerbra taught by my little pony would be cool). What is needed is a shift in how we look at education. We should not be trying to teach by gender but trying to engage children in learning through what their interests are. Maybe Joey really likes history; get him to read Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Maybe Susan really likes building blocks; show her what a 90 degree angle is. Our children’s education and the books they read should not be determined by their gender but by their true interests. And although it would be much easier to say all boys like explosions and farts (or exploding farts hahaha) and all girls like fairy tails and ponies, our children, thank god, are not that simple.

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