11.30.07

Waiting too long to have sex linked to sexual disfunction later in life

Posted in News, Science at 11:33 pm by angela

The problem with this story is that it reaches a Fox News-worthy conclusion right up front, only hinting at the end that the conclusion may be unjustified.

Having sex at early age has long been linked to a laundry list of health problems from an increased risk of sexual disease to an increased risk of cancer.

But now, Columbia University and New York state researchers say waiting too long to have sex may carry its own risks, according to an ABCnews.com report.

People who lose their virginity between the ages of 21 to 23 are more likely to suffer sexual dysfunction problems later in life, according to a study from Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute’s HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies.

So the obvious conclusion is that beginning to have sex later will result in a man having a greater risk of sexual disfunction. Clear cause and effect, right?

The study, which is will appear in the January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found that men who lose their virginity in their 20′s seemed more likely to have problems becoming sexually aroused and reaching orgasm.

But the researchers pointed out that men who started having sex early were also at an increased risk for sexual dysfunction and said further research is needed to determine if a causal interpretation can be made.

If a causal interpretation can be made. It doesn’t sound like the researchers are at all convinced that a late start to sexual activity causes sexual disfunction, which is what was the lead-in, right?

Let’s look at the somewhat less glamourous but probably more likely cause and effect here. For men to wait until their twenties to begin sexual activity is probably a sign of an underlying sexual disfunction.

Well, doh. Of course.

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Whose personal responsibility?

Posted in Accountability, Blogging, Economics, Hypocrisy, irrational thought, Modern life at 12:07 pm by angela

I have been trying to find a hook for this for quite some time. It began with the hearings where Yahoo executives “took responsibility” for handing over the identity of a Chinese dissident to the Chinese government, which promptly locked him up and threw away the key. First the execs apologized—a lot of good an apology does in a case where damage cannot be undone—and then they paid off the relatives of the incarcerated dissidents. But they’re still in jail, ya know?

It wasn’t exactly an overexposed story, but I wanted to weave it into a commentary on insincere apologies, where people “apologize” for something they knew they weren’t supposed to have done in the first place—something I have observed a lot lately. I feel like shaking them by the shirt collar. “You knew you weren’t supposed to do it in the first place, but you did it anyway, and for sure you’ll do it again next time. Saying you’re ‘sorry’ at this point is meaningless. Bogus.”

Anyway, then we moved on to the Scott McLelland book previews. Yet another Republican political insider has left the sinking ship we call the current administration and written a book claiming no responsibility whatever for collaborating with White House lies and crimes. No. It doesn’t work that way. If you had the ability to stand up for what is right and moral at the time—but chose not to—you have no right to assert innocence now.

Now we move on to a bizarre little blog I found called the Mordant Traditionalist. In a little post called “The end of the era of Personal Responsibilty and Accountabilty” the author ascribes to Democrats the end of personal responsiblilty as we know it, completely ignoring that Republicans seem to have been doing more than their share of corrupting and being corrupted during the current administration. Like dogs in a dumpster can full of rotting garbage, they can’t get enough, caught one after another. It boggles the mind.

But amazingly enough, the story linked to has nothing really to do with personal responsibility or Democrats except maybe peripherally. It’s a general story on Congress is considering giving judges the option of relieving oppressive home mortgage terms, in the same way they (apparently) already had the discretion to bail out investors and vacation home owners.

Hmm… We could revisit the subprime mortgage issue. Recall that originally the lending industry was regulated so that people who were not in a position to be able to understand complex financial documents could not be taken advantage of by unscrupulous lenders. It’s called “Lending Responsibility”. That’s where you don’t offer a loan to someone who can’t afford it. And you also don’t do things like offering them a loan that they can afford now, but they clearly won’t be able to afford later. You don’t offer them a crappy deal that you know they won’t be able to afford later instead of the standard fixed-rate mortgage that they actually were qualified for, and then lie about it and tell them it’s the best deal you could find them.

There was no such thing as a “subprime” mortgage until after the lending industry realized it would be a GREAT way to end up owning a lot of property without buying it themselves, and lobbied for regulatory changes that would allow them to use these.

The neocon take on this is, of course, that lenders are free to rip off borrowers however they please, and it’s up to the potential borrower to understand and realize that it’s not a good deal. They would have to hire an accounting firm to see if the paperwork is in order. And probably a private detection firm to see whether the operators are legitimate businessmen, shady characters, or Russian gangsters, I suppose.

It’s the lending industry that has dropped the ball on personal responsibility. It isn’t companies that write bad mortgages and pitch them to financially unsophisticated borrowers. It’s people. People who are hiding behind the names of internet lenders and fly-by-night companies that have crashed our housing market with their unbridled greed. To say that we should bail out corporations who were trying to make windfall profits from the housing markets and not homeowners who were outright lied to and robbed—and now face homelessness—is the nadir of personal morality. The bar is so much lower than it has ever been before, and dropping out of sight fast.

Put your money where your mouth is.

Blog post

11.29.07

Romney and the Muslim appointee question

Posted in Hypocrisy, Political rant, Religion at 12:23 am by angela

In an article in the Christian Science Monitor, Mitt Romney responds to a question about whether he would appoint a Muslim to his Cabinet:

I asked Mr. Romney whether he would consider including qualified Americans of the Islamic faith in his cabinet as advisers on national security matters, given his position that “jihadism” is the principal foreign policy threat facing America today. He answered, “…based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration…

The point I make in enumerating these efforts to contribute to US national interests is that Americans of the Islamic faith – even when they have no formal role in government – are committed to helping our nation defend its interests. And we have done so. Why, then, should we be excluded from holding positions that carry the highest levels of responsibility?

I really think that the author of the article is kind of missing the two most important points here. First, there is no way in hell that Romney is going to hire anybody for any sort of a high-level post—and probably not a lower level one, either—who is not Christian, except for the possibility that he can get away with a token Mormon or two.

Remember, on the one hand he’s pandering to right wingnut crackpot religious litmus-testers, who don’t feel that anybody but narrow-definition Christians are qualified to be in office. But he’s also trying to please the public at large, which is largely generic Christian in orientation, and also feels that while broad-definition Christians are acceptable, there should be no religious minorities in elected office.

So he’s decided to limit his Cabinet and other major appointees to Christians, and he’s using demographics as an excuse. Was there ever really any question?

Story

11.26.07

Everyday Normal Guy rap song

Posted in humor, video at 9:45 pm by angela

I saw this video and I couldn’t stop laughing. Yup, he’s just a regular normal guy, doing a sort of angry rap song about nothing in particular. But it’s refreshing to see he’s got a grasp of reality and his place in the scheme of things.

11.22.07

George Bush, in his own words

Posted in Bush as an idiot, History, Hypocrisy at 9:22 pm by angela

I have been seeing too many of these videos lately lampooning Bush by quoting his own words, and it has reached critical mass. I had to share some of them with you. I found a pirated Daoly Show piece on YouTube like the last one, but interviewing Governor Bush and President Bush. Since putting copyright material on YouTube can result in it going poof at anytime, I decided not to embed it. With luck it will show up soon on the Daily Show website.


11.19.07

Tax-and-spend Republicans?

Posted in Accountability, Economics at 7:41 pm by angela

I ran across this interesting little graphic showing that the Republicans are, oops, not the party of balanced budgets. We can watch as the national debt goes up with Republican administrations and down with Democratic ones.

So how can that be? On the one hand, the fact is that the Republican mantra since Ronald Reagan has been cutting taxes for the wealthy and pretending to balance the budget by eliminating social services—which made up only a small fraction of the money lost through those tax cuts.

Repubs are also into starting those pesky expensive wars. Hmm… Do you suppose if we eliminate health care to the children of the working poor, it will pay for a new war in Iran? No? Well, dammit, cut it anyway. Those lazy slackers, playing video games after they get home from kindergarten. Rich kids would never be such a bunch of parasites…

Never mind.

That pesky Constitution thingy

Posted in Fascism, Miscellaneous, neocon crackpots at 7:27 pm by angela

Right about the time it turns out that the Center for Constitutional Rights hopes to ‘flood the Oval Office’ with 25,000 copies of the Constitution (more information on how you can take part in or help sponsor this exercise here), it is revealed that someone in the government cared enough to make a training pamphlet declaring that people who quote the constitution to support themselves should be considered potential terrorists. Video clip

11.17.07

Are you a user of adult services? Participate in a study.

Posted in Miscellaneous at 5:09 pm by angela

Participate in a research project!
I was browsing through some phone sex newsgroups, placing ads, and I noticed a little advertisement about a research project studying users of adult services.I don’t use these services, I’m just a provider. But my curiosity was piqued. I sent an email to the person who placed the advertisement, and promptly received back a response, which said that yes, they still need hundreds more participants.

It seemed fitting to place this on the front page here, where many visitors land. If you’re one of the people the researcher is looking for, take the survey. Or else. (Just kidding…)

Dear All,

I am a Doctoral Psychology student from a University in Melbourne, Australia researching the psychological characteristics of people who engage in Cybersex activities such as using Adult Chat lines, surfing for porn, erotic e-mailing, web-cam etc. For example, do they experience greater loneliness, sexual anxiety, depression etc if they engage in these activities for longer periods of time?

I am currently looking for anonymous participants to complete my questionnaire. At the end of the questionnaire there are a number of support services that you may contact if you suspect that your Cybersex activities are becoming a problem. The link for the questionnaire is provided below.

Survey Link

Kind regards

Marcus

11.14.07

O’Reilly can dish it out, but he just can’t take it

Posted in Blogging, O'Reilly is an idiot, Political rant at 2:03 am by angela

O’Reilly unleashes Fox lawyers in attempt to sink critic’s career

How low can you go? But that’s not the question, is it? The question is, how low can Bill O’Reilly go…er…successfully, that is.

Poor baby. He can dish it out, but he can’t take it. Imagine, being intellectually bested by Mike Stark, a law student, writer of the blog Calling All Wingnuts, and regular commenter at the Daily Kos. In O’Reilly’s fantasy world, leftists are flyweights, and right wing nuts have the right, yea, the duty to fabricate whatever newstoids they need to to win arguments. So they can’t win, can they?

But Mike has proved that he can use some of the same tools as O’Reilly and Faux News, the propaganda wing of the Republican Party. He’s also got persistence, intelligence, and facts, none of which seem to be factors in the production of The O’Reilly Factor.

Oh, NOEZ! It’s not fair! Better sic the lawyers on him. He’s making me look like an idiot…

Story

11.11.07

Hey Hillary, did you read the one about the fake FEMA news conference?

Posted in Communications breakdown, Political rant at 10:54 am by angela

Good grief.

You’d think they’d have learned at least some lesson from that fake FEMA news conference debacle from a couple of weeks ago. You remember, where they decided to throw a news conference about the good things FEMA was doing to help put out wildfires and evacuate displaced residents. They staffed the reporters’ gallery with FEMA employees because it would have been inconvenient for real reporters to have been asking real—and possibly inconvenient—questions.

Well, they did invite the reporters, it just happened that the invitations went out 15 minutes before the “press conference” was to start. Too bad they couldn’t make it, eh?

Hillary Clinton stopped at a bio-diesel plant in Newton, Iowa earlier this week to see alternative fuels in the making and drive home the week’s campaign theme of her energy plan. After a tour, the candidate took questions from the crowd.

She called on a young woman. “As a young person,” said the well-spoken Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, “I’m worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?”

Trouble is, the young woman told others and today her account showed up on the Grinnell website, including a mention that the staffer signaled Clinton who to call on.

But here’s the catch. Although other campaigns are righteously denying it tonight, virtually every professional presidential campaign plants questions. It’s a routine part of preparation for the advance people staging every event.

The Story

OK, time for a reality check. I think they need to test these people on their perceptions of reality, and if they fail, they should be disqualified from holding office.

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