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It's All Where You Put The Punctuation
Abstinence Only -- or -- Abstinence: Only For Other People! The escort-visiting Randall Tobias said this to PBS' Frontline PBS' Frontline in March 2005, when he was Bush's global AIDS czar:

Well, the heart of our prevention programs is what's known as ABC: abstinence, be faithful, and the correct and consistent use of condoms when appropriate. This is not an American invention; this is something that President [Yoweri] Museveni in Uganda figured out over time when he recognized that there was an enormous problem in Uganda.

And it's also not "ABC: Take your pick." It's abstinence really focused heavily on young people and getting them to understand that the best way to keep from getting infected is to be abstinent and not engage in sexual activity until they are old enough and mature enough and get into a committed relationship, such as a marriage. B is being faithful within that committed relationship. And A and B, those two things together clearly had a huge impact in bringing the infection rates down in Uganda.

C recognizes the fact that there are individuals in high-risk circumstances...

(such as Federal officials seeing prostitutes)

...who either by choice or by coercion are going to find themselves unable to follow A and B, and therefore they need to have access to condoms, and they need to understand the correct and consistent use of condoms. I think more and more of the experts, the people who really understand the prevention requirements with HIV/AIDS, have come to endorse ABC in a very balanced way as the appropriate prevention centerpiece.

via Slate

Posted by aalkon at May 1, 2007 6:36 AM


The problem a large extent they are RIGHT.

The only 100% sure way to avoid getting ANY STD is by not screwing around in the first place.

The problem is, these cretins always wrap the concept of "abstainence" in this veneer of christian self-righteousness.

In other words: "You have to wait until you are MARRIED otherwise it's immoral!"

Or in other, OTHER words: "You must only have sex within the parameters as defined by this alien western religion."

Or in other, other, other words: It's not about saving people from AIDS, it's about promoting a christian "moral" agenda.

As with any concept witch has it's roots in the ramblings of people who take their marching orders from imaginary friends, this totally destroys what credibility the concept of "keeping it your pants" has.

...never mind the fact that the people telling us to "wait until marriage" are getting blowjobs from hookers three nights a week.

Is our country burning to the ground, or is it just my imagination?

Posted by: RedPretzel in LA at May 1, 2007 9:37 AM

Is our country burning to the ground, or is it just my imagination?

I think it's your imagination. Things are a freakin mess right now, but you can take some solace in our history that the pendulum in the U.S. tends to swing back after dabbling in moronitude, corruption and bad policy of one extreme or another.

Posted by: justin case at May 1, 2007 11:10 AM

Sure, Justin, but how long does it take? It seems like the pendulum has been stuck for quite a while now. Too damn long, lately.

Posted by: Flynne at May 1, 2007 11:51 AM

I think the swing back is in progress right now.

Posted by: justin case at May 1, 2007 1:28 PM

I agree with Justin.

Just like there was Clinton fatigue in 1999/2000. We will be going through our dose of Bush's final months. Religiosity will be shoved back into the dark corners of America. Moderation will become the norm, even among Republicans.

Every American has paid a huge price for Bush's lack of interest in anything.

Posted by: Joe at May 1, 2007 4:49 PM

> Religiosity will be shoved
> back into the dark corners
> of America

How many R's in "irony"? The President (and public figure) most eager to deliver death to the religious zealots threatening us is tagged as a fanatic himself. I don't know which of the 12 steps is about accepting Jesus Christ into your heart, but Bush's devotion to that one seems like nothing more than a political enthusiasm, no deeper than the Christian fervor of Ronald Reagan... Who preferred to spend Sunday mornings alone, watching the Trinitron from behind a TV tray. (Hitchens made this same point in the link from the other comment.)

If this has been a religiously "immoderate" time in American history, then truly, we live in a secular paradise. No one's asked me to pray since about 1967, let alone since the swearing-in of 2001.


Justin- if you liked Moneyball, see Lewis' new Blind Side. I'm only fifty pages in, but it's the same sort of thing. I never cared for football, but I didn't care for baseball, either. It's also kind of like You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again and Into Thin Air: A porno movie where the money shot comes first, in the form of a popular event that people (of middle years) already have feelings about... But it's so good you feel compelled to read the rest anyway.

Posted by: Crid at May 1, 2007 7:12 PM

I was thinking of this very thing when I saw George and Laura thanking the viewers of American Idol (guilty pleasure) for their support of African children. They let viewers (voters) know that they provided mosquito nets for the poor babes.

Mosquito nets = good (and I realize that they are)
Condoms = bad (nevermind that the saved babies might need parents)

Posted by: miche at May 1, 2007 9:33 PM

Bush became the symbolic figurehead of the intolerant religious right. Whether he deserved the tag or not, that will be decided by the historians. Also, I was attacking his lack of depth on any subject.

Lifting the international ban on DDT would be better than mosquito nets.

Posted by: Joe at May 1, 2007 11:21 PM

Also, the planned extinction of 30 species of the mosquito through recessive gene therapy or the genetic manipulation of their reproduction cycles. That will guarantee real results.

Posted by: Joe at May 1, 2007 11:34 PM

Also, the planned extinction of 30 species of the mosquito through recessive gene therapy or the genetic manipulation of their reproduction cycles. That will guarantee real results.

One thing I've learned about evolution & natural selection is that it is damned hard - perhaps impossible - to predict what is going to happen, given any starting set of circumstances. I question your use of the word "guarantee."

Posted by: Norman at May 2, 2007 12:08 AM

Thanks for the reading recommendation. I'll be looking for an easier topic when I finish The World is Flat.

Posted by: justin case at May 2, 2007 10:37 AM

> I was attacking his lack
> of depth on any subject.

I think he's a cunning student of power.

Not the best ever, because there are much more ambitious and, um, wider thinkers who'd have done more with his opportunity... Which is basically what he had going for him, a chance to learn from a blessed perpective: Birth into a political family (a Senator grandfather), a front row seat at the most popular and consequential presidency of his lifetime, Ronald Reagan's, and an even closer view of his own father's term in the White House.

It certainly feels like his personality has been warped to fit his idea of how the office works. Thirty years ago he was a backslapping frat boy. Then, he sobered up. And then, he's put a lid on almost every social or bonding impulse that could ever come out of his mouth. Paglia says this gives his public appearances "Nixonian tension," and I'll always envy her that phrase.

OK, he's not a cunning student, but he always gets his homework in on time. The answers may be wrong, but it's always neatly typed up and waiting on teacher's desk in the morning.

> when I finish The
> World is Flat.

Friedman? I have no opinion of the guy, but:

Also, people say he likes to mention brand names a lot, for no particular effect. It's a tic.

Posted by: Crid at May 2, 2007 11:19 AM

My reading of Friedman's book thus far indicates that he has a solid grasp of critical economic trends going on these days. He does a lot of name-dropping in the book, brands and people, but the info is solid, and ties together a lot of stuff that I've encountered in pieces elsewhere. As far as his Iraq prognostications, well, I haven't read enough to have a strong opinion one way or another.

Posted by: justin case at May 2, 2007 3:13 PM

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