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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)


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April 17, 2005
The Coming Environmental Disaster -Episode II-Lead
Filed in: Current Affairs, Satire

Lead abatement, contingency lawyers who have built fortunes suing paint companies that haven’t made lead based paint since 1955 and groups who blame lead for all forms of learning disabilities simply because people live in old houses.    Lead is evil, lead is dangerous, and there must be no lead anywhere.  Well let’s go back to those wondrous years of 1945 to 1948 again and join little, slow developing, and totally uninformed Ronnie again.

I’m not sure what my life would have been like without lead.  All I can say is a whole lot would have been missing.  Every pipe in our house was lead.  Not just the seals the whole darn pipe.  One of the favorite weapons in the Clue game is what?  A lead pipe of course.  And just why do you think they chose the lead pipe for an implement of crime?  There was a lot of lead pipe available.  Every drop of water that flowed through the City of Racine Water Department pipes to my mouth was lead, lead lined, lead coated or in some way connected to lead.  Did we have lawyers advertising contingency lawsuits on the “Lone Ranger, “The Cisco Kid” or “Billie the Brownie” (A Christmas Show)?  NO!  We loved lead!  Let me explain.

At age 5, one of my greatest pleasures was going to the “Dime Store” (The Five and Ten for non-Cheese Heads) to spend my allowance.  For various chores assigned I was rewarded with a quarter for the week.  Along with my lunch delivery job for Mr. Feldman I had fifty cents for the week.  A veritable fortune!  I must, however, spend it wisely to ensure maximum entertainment value.  A weekly must was the twenty-cartoon extravaganza at the Venetian Theater in Downtown.  My friends and I would hop the Red Line Bus and spend all Saturday afternoon in the theater enjoying the latest in Three Stooges, Bugs, Daffy, and Friends.  There were no TV’s and our visual stimulation came from the big screen.  I didn’t spend it all at the theater.  I always made sure I had enough of my allowance left to indulge my other favorite activity.

I collected lead soldiers.  At three for five cents, I was able to accumulate a respectable collection.  Lead soldiers were just that.  Figures molded in the shape of soldiers carrying various weapons, in various poses, that had one goal, destroy the enemies of America.  Hundreds of these one and one half inch high warriors occupied the top drawer of my dresser.  I had more lead in that drawer than was ever emitted by all lead based gasoline ever produced.  Yes kiddies, not too long ago all of our gasoline contained lead.

Every two weeks we would go to Mowry’s Service Station.  They sold Sinclair Gasoline, the one with the dinosaur on the sign.  In 1945 gas rationing was still in effect.  They also had a high school kid that pumped the gas and washed the windows, and checked the oil, and checked the tire pressure and handed out the premium you got with your purchase.  All this for eighteen cents a gallon.  The greatest thing for me had nothing at all to do with that.  Any male of my age group will remember this fact.  Nothing on the face of the earth would come close to the smell of leaded gasoline being pumped into the tank of the family car.  That vapor obviously is part of the reason men are different than women.  From a very young age, the lead was changing our brain cells into something assimilating the brain structure of Cro-Magnon man.  I think we can get some lawyer and blame it on lead.  Our wives and daughters will finally understand why we miss the bowl and leave the seat up (and we do it on purpose). I think "Animal Kingdom" explains the need to mark our territory adequately.

Back to my soldiers!  Every day upon returning from school, I either practiced saying Mass (I loved Latin) or played with my soldiers.  My mother actually thought I was going to be a priest.  Did I fool her!  I may make that an episode.  Depends on what I feel like after the homily (we used to call it sermon) on Sunday. 

 

I would line up those who looked like Americans on one side of a hole I dug in the back yard of our flat.  The ones who looked like Germans or Japanese were on the opposite side.  Positioning myself behind my American forces I initiated an artillery barrage.  In other words, I picked up a rock and proceeded to crush the enemy  (George Patton was my hero even then).  The great thing about lead soldiers was even after being crushed by a substantial rock they could be bent back into shape most of the time.  If not, at three for a nickel they weren’t too hard to replace.  I would never throw them away however.  Not because my parents grew up in the “Depression.” I had another use for them.  To be more accurate my cousin Bob did.

Bob was three years older than me.  His Dad loved hunting and therefore so did he.  I wasn’t much of an outdoorsman, but the family kept trying to get me involved.  Bob had an electric smelting pot that could heat up enough to make lead melt. What better way to dispose of the enemy than to melt them into a silver colored liquid and remold them into a new form.  Twenty-two caliber bullets!   Remember wartime rationing was still in full force.  The brass cartridges were collected after each shot and kept for future use.  My job was first to be a source of lead supply.  Next, to stir the lead as it was melting. Finally to file off the burrs after we removed the solid lead from the molds.  Often this occupied the better part of a Saturday evening at my Aunt and Uncle’s house.  So chalk up another three hours or so each month to inhaling lead vapors.

I always enjoyed visiting my aunt and uncle.  You never knew what mysterious thing was occupying their basement.  My aunt (my mother’s sister) was Italian and my uncle was Polish.  Talk about a unique menu.  With rationing and shortages caused by the war and my uncle being a carnivore of the first order the lead bullets came in handy.  The Sunday menu at their house was almost always what a fancy restaurant today would call “Wild Game.”  It was usually something like duck, pheasant, rabbit or squirrel.  Yes, when I was a kid I ate squirrel (Bet John Kerry can’t say that – wait a minute he did live in France didn’t he?).  Of course the squirrel had lead buck shot still embedded in its’ body.  Every now and then you’d hear the clank of someone spitting a lead shot out on to his or her plate.  Chances are I probably swallowed a fair amount of lead shot in my time.

Like every little boy aged five or so, I wanted to do everything my dad did.  During and shortly after World War II Johnson Wax made paint.  The unique attribute of their paint was that it contained carnauba wax, as well as lead.  I guess the goal was to have shiny wood trim that would go nicely with your shiny linoleum.  My father was a perfectionist.  Everything had a place and everything should look as he intended it to look.  My desire to help with painting, therefore, was discouraged.  One job related to painting was allowed for me to participate in.  Sanding!  I was given a block of wood with a piece of very fine sand paper attached with furniture tacks.  I suspect it was very fine so any potential damage caused by my overly vigorous efforts would be minimized.  Any heavy grain and I would likely have sanded my self a nice indentation in the windowsill.

We always thought the lead content of paint was the cause of painters being more prone to alcoholism than the public at large.  I doubt there was any validity to that theory.  More likely the alcoholism could be attributed to a trade where they waited for rain to leave the area before resuming their work.  The favorite waiting-spot was the corner bar.  And in those days every corner had a bar (another story). I remember my dad saying you couldn’t paint if it were damp because it would take too long for the paint to dry and it would run.  Beats me – it sounded good to a five year-old brain.

A good job here would mean extra allowance and more lead soldiers.  I grabbed my sanding block and threw myself into the job assigned with a vengeance.  Of course, the old paint was lead based.  Fine particles of dust arose from the wood as I sanded at a speed I was surprised I could maintain.  In 1945 there were no dust masks in the local hardware store.  They were reserved for coal miners.  And I’m not sure they had them come to think of it.  Happily, I inhaled the lead ladenned dust particles on my way to earning more cash for more lead soldiers.

Being five, you know this story is not going to have a happy ending, don’t you?  My dad was starting to paint.  He, being a perfectionist had placed masking tape all along the wood trim so he could maintain that perfect razor sharp line between wall and wood.  After stirring the paint for the better part of half an hour (I guess that was to ensure even distribution of the lead and carnauba) he was ready almost.  The drop cloth was not yet in place.  He left to retrieve it.  You might guess what comes next.  A bare-footed five year old quite by accident kicked the newly opened, well stirred can of paint and proceeded to get the shiny white paint all over the always waxed (my dad worked for Johnson Wax after all) wood floors and a substantial part of my right foot and leg.  My father returned!  It was at that moment I learned every obscenity I have ever used; quite effectively I might add.  One good thing – the well-waxed floor was able to repel the shiny white paint.  Saved!  Or was I?

The invention of latex paint was years away.  No soap and water clean up for me.  My foot and leg did not have the benefit of a carnauba wax finish. This meant an unscheduled bath for sure and a pre-soak in turpentine.  Have you ever had your skin rubbed with a turpentine soaked rag?  Believe me it is not fun.  In fact, my right foot and part of my leg could never grow hair.  I attribute this affliction to that very day.

So, in summary I inhaled lead, ingested lead, and soaked in lead.  Let’s go back – the average life expectancy in 1940 was 62.9 years and in 2005 it is 77.6 years.  I’m about to turn 65.  How did I do it?  Certainly not by avoiding exposure to lead!

Stay Tuned for the Next Episode  -- Ronnie and the gang invent some toys.  This is going to be very scary.


Pulled by Ron L on April 17, 2005 at 02:23 PM
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April 11, 2005
The Coming Environmental Disaster
Filed in: Current Affairs, Satire

Just the other day I was in a blue funk.  All day long I heard and read how the environment was killing me, obesity was killing me, and my beloved New Glarus “Spotted Cow” (Beer for you non-Cheese Heads) was killing me.  To help drag me up from the depths of depression I popped the top (No twist tops for me you woosies) of a Cow and threw in a CD with one of my childhood favorite Radio Shows.  The Shadow!!!!  I loved the Shadow!  As a sat back on a warm Burlington, WI spring day, the voice of Orson Welles penetrating the atmosphere with the famous; “Heh, Heh, Heh; What Evil Lurks in the Heart of Man?  The Shadow Knows! Heh, Heh, Heh!”  I lit up a Romeo y’ Juliet and committed yet another sin against the environment, settled back and listened to a wonderful memory of my youth.

How, you ask, does this relate to the environment?  Well, in the early days of the Shadow program, it had a sole sponsor.  The sponsor, Blue Coal!  Yes, Coal as in environmental disaster. This immediately set my mind to thinking about what life was like then and how that compares to now.  I was born in 1940.  I guess some of my first memories of life are at about 5 years of age and the end of World War II.   Kind of like Ralphie in Jean Shepherd’s wonderful movie “A Christmas Story.”  Maybe a little later than his time frame, I guess.  Close enough, however.

Just what was life like in 1945 to 1948 in an upstairs flat on Howe Street in Racine, Wisconsin?  We lived close enough to the Johnson Wax plant to smell the Carnauba Wax melting in the naphtha base for Glo-Coat.  My Dad worked at Johnson Wax and his job was to melt and mix the wax.  Heated naphtha was just about as explosive as any bomb designed for the Army Air Force in WW II.  My dad did his bit during the war making wax that kept linoleum shiny.  My dad couldn’t get into the Army because a horse stepped on his ankle and crushed it when he was in high school.  I was still proud of him because he worked for Johnson Wax and they sponsored “Fiber Mc Gee and Molly” another of my favorite shows.  In my five-year-old mind my dad was just as much a hero as Audey Murphy. 

A particularly vivid memory from that time involves a snowstorm.  Racine is located on Lake Michigan between Milwaukee on the north and Chicago on the South.  Occasionally, we get a snowstorm that comes back from the lake to land.  Kind of like a Nor’ Easter I expect.  It was just after one of these storms dumped about 18 inches of snow on Racine that this story begins.

Episode I – Coal

The scourge of modern life is coal.  It pollutes air, land, sea, and is the cause of childhood asthma.  Using coal to generate electricity is particularly obscene.  Country Club liberals throughout the land decry the use of coal to generate electricity.  This is the topic of conversation in their 10,000 sq. ft. mansions with every light lit and various electric appliances running at high speed (Operated by the maid, of course). When I was young coal had an entirely different image.  Listening to the Shadow brought it all back.

The snow had just let up.  It was early January of 1949.  Anxiously, I waited by the kitchen radio suffering to the 6am rendition of the “The Red, Red Robin Comes A Bob Bob Bobbin’ Along”.   God, I hated that song!  It woke me up every weekday morning of my childhood.  Today, however, was different.  I knew the school closing announcements were coming up.  I went to Catholic school so I knew a mere dusting of snow (10 or 12 inches) would not stop the nuns from trudging over from their residence to open up the doors.  I’m convinced they were motivated by the fact they could whack the boys with the sharp edge of their rulers for pure enjoyment without consequence.   With few exceptions they hated boys.  The announcement came – Holy Name School was closed.  All right, let the fun begin.

One particular characteristic of a Wisconsin snowstorm in January is that invariably it got cold immediately after the snow halted.  And by cold, I mean cold.  Minus 10, 15, 20 degrees accompanied by a bitter wind.  At that time every, and I mean EVERY, building and house was heated by a coal burning furnace.  Extreme cold meant add more coal to the fire, get the ashes out of the heat exchanger, and opening the flew wide open.  The result, every home in Racine, Wisconsin was simultaneously belching black soot from their chimneys at an alarming rate.  Never mind the hazards it was time for me to grab my sled and head for the nearest hill.  My mother, however, had other ideas.  Ronnie, you have to do your chores first.  Chores? Chores were for Saturday this was Monday.  My mother popped a bucket of water on to the stove (no hot water tanks for us) handed me a bar of Fels Naphtha Soap and a scrub brush and said wash the stairs.  I had to wash every stair from the top to the exit.  Well that’s an hour shot, I grumbled.  As I approached the last step excitement began to build.  It was almost time to join my friends.  Just then my mother yelled down the stairs.  “Before you go any where help Mrs. Olson shovel the snow.  Mrs. Olson was our landlord, not the coffee lady.

So, never being one to argue with my mother I grabbed my miniaturized snow shovel (which was pretty much a regular snow shovel that had a broken handle and no adult was able to use it anymore) and headed outside.  A gust of wind blew me backward as I exited the back door on the house.  It was bitter cold.  The wet heavy snow that had just fallen was rapidly freezing solid.  This was no work for an eight year old.  But, I would not let Mrs. Olson down.  She would always give me a quarter for helping with the snow shoveling.  That quarter would help supplement my Saturday afternoon vice, the Crown Theater and a bevy of Warner Brothers Cartoons.  We were able to clear a path about two feet wide the length of her property before we both collapsed in exhaustion.  Clearly, this was not a professional snow-shoveling job.  That would have to wait until my dad got home from work.  In those days’ places of business never closed for the weather.

It was now 10 am and Mrs. Olson and I were sitting in her kitchen and she gave me a steaming hot cup of Ovaltine.  Ovaltine was what passed for chocolate then.  She looked outside with a worried look on her face.  “Everything is turning to ice Ronnie.”  Everyone called me Ronnie.  “Why don’t you shake the furnace, get some ashes and throw them on the ice and I’ll give you another quarter,” she said.  Shake the furnace, me shake the furnace?  I was in heaven.  This was a job reserved for my dad.  I was never allowed to shake the furnace.   I guess I better explain what shaking the furnace meant.  A coal-burning furnace was a large cast iron structure.  About waist high the coals sat on a grate burning with a bright orange color.   Jamming a poker into the coals and agitating them until they burned brighter and hotter enhanced the fire.  The ash tended to remain around the coals.  This was not good for burning evenly and hot.  Hence, the shaker came into play.  I’m sure there must have been a technical name for the implement, but I always knew it as the shaker.  I grabbed the handle started to vigorously move it back and forth until sufficient dust was flying out of the bottom of the furnace, the tray holding the ashes was full.  I shoveled a bucket full and headed out doors.  With a small gardening shovel I threw the still warn ashes at the meager path we had just shoveled.  The wind was so strong most of the ashes blew back in my face.  It was then I noticed something.  The bright white snow was beginning to look different.  What was it?  Something is different but what?  I know, it’s turning grey.  No make that black.   The beautiful white blanket was rapidly being covered with a thin layer of black soot from everyone’s coal fired furnaces.

Today, scientists tell us how we are being overwhelmed with evil pollution because there is 1 tenth of a part per billon of some insidious element in the air around a coal fired electric generation plant.  In my youth we measured pollution by the chunk.  If you couldn’t see it, it wasn’t there.  And for that matter we didn’t really care too much if we could see it.  My big problem that day of discovery was more practical to me.  I entered the back door after I finished spreading the ashes and looked down.  I just cleaned these steps and I was not going to do it again.  But here I was standing with a mixture of ash, coal soot and soon to be melting snow all over me.  My choice was either get the steps dirty, which undoubtedly would result in another unscheduled chore for the day, or wait outside the back door until spring.  It was a difficult choice.

Soon, a solution began to formulate in my under-developed 8 year-old brain.  I was dressed for extreme weather conditions.  That meant layer upon layer of clothes.  Under shirt, over shirt, sweater, and fur lined jacket.  Yes, I said fur lined.  I’m sure it was an animal, I'm just not sure what kind probably rabbit or squirrel.  We weren’t real good at synthetics in those days.  The lower part of my body was covered with additional layers.  Underwear, Long Johns, pants and snow pants.  It was really quite difficult trying to bend my knees.  My walk was quite similar to Boris Karloff as Frankenstein.  The head was covered with an aviator’s leather hat with fur ear flaps(again of unknown origin).  That left the feet.  They were most critical in my plan to save the newly washed steps from a new layer of soil.  They were adorned in heavy wool, itchy socks, old play shoes (that meant they had holes in the soles and nails were penetrating the heel and sticking into my foot) and finally large rubber boots with metal buckles.  The boots were the kind that when you went to the shoe store and tried them on my mother would say, “Walk Ronnie.”  I would say. “ I am.”  And I was.  They were so big that it would take me three steps to actually get the boots to move.  My mother’s retort was invariably, “You’ll grow into them.”

This reminds me of our shoe store.  It was Feldman’s Shoes.  Mr. Feldman was the owner proprietor of one of the greatest places a kid could ever discover.  What makes a shoe store so great?  It was placed right at the entrance in the most prominent location in the shop.  It was a large, stand up, wood trimmed, absolutely evil, dangerous fluoroscope.  That’s right we used to buy shoes by trying them on placing our feet in the right spot and looking at the outline of the new shoes and the bones of our feet.  This was to make sure we had the proper fit.  Actually, it was a wondrous invention and became part of my weekday ritual.

Mr. Feldman’s store was located one half block from my home.  His house was located across the street from my school.  So, it was only natural that I got a job carrying Mr. Feldman’s lunch to him every day.  Usually, it was hot chicken soup.  For this, I received 50 cents a week and unlimited use of the fluoroscope.  Between the ages of 7 and 11, I must have x-rayed my feet at least 500 times.  The other day my dentist x-rayed my teeth and he wore a lead lined apron and goggles.  He left the room and didn’t return for 15 minutes (slight exaggeration).  And I grew up counting the bones in my feet over and over and over.  I digress.  Back to problem solving 101.

With multiple layers, I could remove a layer or two of my garments and still avoid a mortal sin or probably even a venial sin in the eyes of the Church.  Off with the boots, off with the jacket, hat, scarf, and the snow pants.  I threw them in a neat pile waiting the return of my father.  He would grumble an obscenity about my sloppiness, but carry them down to the basement for washing.  Problem solved.  I hurried upstairs for lunch.  At the top of the stairs I realized my solution did have it’s drawbacks.  I could not wear good clothes to go sledding.  My sledding clothes were in a pile by the door.  I told my mother of my problem.  She said, “No problem Ronnie, you can take a bath (I had one Saturday) and do some extra credit math homework instead.”  Mother triumphs yet again.

The moral of this little memory was clear to me.  The average life expectancy in 1940 was 62.9 years.  If things are deteriorating so badly, why is the average life expectancy in 2005 77.6 years?  I should be a walking example of the dangers the environmental do-da’s point to.  Just at the shoe store, I was exposed to more roentgens than a survivor of Nagasaki.  I swear in the dark of night I could see a faint green glow under the sheets.  Coal dust was an integral part of my life.  I’m about to turn 65 and have no real problems.  So, what’s the big deal about a little coal dust?  More coal please.

Episode II-Lead

The story of lead and its’ impact on my life!  Same time - Same place

Ron


Pulled by Ron L on April 11, 2005 at 06:58 AM
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February 01, 2005
If C-BS instead of the London Times broke the Blair/Gates mystery
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, Satire

Many of you have heard about the story concerning a page of notes that was found on a desk at the World Economic Forum and attributed - actually significantly analyzed by the British press - as the notes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, when they were in fact the doodling of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

As The Command Post so aptly pointed out, the London Times knows how to do a retraction.

I've been wondering what it would have been like if this story had been from C-BS...

<satire>

Rather: Welcome to the latest edition of 20 minutes. We've been cut back 2/3 because of ratings. That makes us madder than a billy goat running from a herd of llamas.

Rather: Our top story tonight concerns a page of famous doodles and just whose doodles the doodles are. Since we reported on this story, it has been rumoured that these notes were not indeed the work of Prime Minister Tony Blair. It seems as if 10 Downing and Microsoft's spokesperson wondered why we moved forward with the story without consulting with them.

Rather: Clearly the notes were found on Tony Blair's desk at the World Economic Forum. We knew there had to be some connection to him. So we hired forensic handwriting experts - and I mean experts - and these experts know handwriting like a cricket knows nightfall - and they used a combination of impression rubbing and the sacrifice of a young spotted male calf to determine that there was actually more to the doodlings than was first thought.

Gatesblairdoodles

Rather: You can see clearly at the lower right hand corner that additional doodles were made that were not at first visible. Obviously, Bill Gates is not going to be getting flowers for Baroness Thatcher now is he? And why would Gates pen that he himself was taking too much time in answering a question?

Rather: Our conclusion is that there is either a conspiracy between the Gates camp and the Blair camp - the thinking is from some quarters that together they have reached some agreement as to the relationship between Microsoft and the EU - or that Blair and Gates shared this piece of paper or, even more ominously, share the same personality.

Rather: Until it is conclusively proven that Tony Blair did not write either some or all of these doodles, and I will be the first to report if it is, then we at CBS stand behind our original reporting. These doodles certainly tell us something about the state of mind of Tony Blair.

</satire>


Pulled by Emcee on February 1, 2005 at 04:03 PM
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January 24, 2005
UN: Condom Gate, er, "Expands"
Filed in: Bioethics, Current Affairs, Politics, Satire, UN Oil For Food - Oil For Fraud

<truth>

I recently posted on the significant initiative by the UN to promote condom use in 41 countries by issuing a series of animated public service announcements (PSAs) aimed primarily at the 15-to-24 year old demographic.

Over this past weekend, the Catholic Church was quick to respond to the question, renewing its opposition to condom use - just when it seemed that some leadership within the faith was softening its stance - favoring, rather, faithfulnees and abstinence as the only certain methods to prevent the contraction of STDs.

This only reflects a longstanding debate between the Catholic Church - along with other conservative and faith based organizations - and the United Nations in its various guises.

See here, here, here, here, here, and here for details about Africa, abstinence, the Catholic Church, the current administration and other issues in this debate.

I realize that this is a difficult issue to discuss - or to write about - but it is instructive to consider the implications of the UN effort under way.

Ask a simple question: What does someone need a condom for? Answer it: To have sex with someone that they don't know or trust.

It is also factual that even though abstinence and faithfulness are surety against the spread of STDs - such behavior is far from universal. People are going to have sex with people that they don't know. It's just going to continue to happen.

But where the moral issue and the behavioral issue meet - there is legitimate question as to what condom promotion produces as a result. It is a reasonable point of view to take that condom promotion encourages having sex with someone outside of abstinence and faithfulness. It is also reasonable to find that, since the studies show encounter effectiveness rates somewhere between 80% and 87%, condoms only make such sexual encounters a game of Russian Roulette relative to STD contraction and the possibility, in some cases, of undesired pregnancy.

But beyond effectiveness rates are the more telling rates of use. The studies (you can find in the links above) all show that condom usage in sexual encounters is significantly less than 50% for anyone willing to talk about it. That means that even though participants have condoms and have perhaps been emboldened by such posession, something about the process of the encounter prevents them from being used. Use of a condom requires restraint. Restraint, it is fair to say, is likely not characteristic of a substantial number of such encounters.

As in many issues, the stance of some conservatives and the Catholic church is not rooted simply in moral conviction. It is also rooted in rational thought that should be pursued in debate. Such debate is not occurring - not when the UN can pursue its agenda with almost no press coverage about the rationale against it. (And to be fair - although it has not been advertized much - the US Agency for International Development donates hundreds of millions of condoms every year to poor countries as well.)

</truth>

<satire>

Contacted for comment, an unidentified UN spokesperson said "The United Nations is certainly no respecter of religion. We're not going to allow the views of some podunk form of Christianity foil us from achieving the goal of distributing 10,000 condoms for every man, woman, and child on the planet by 2007. If it takes covering the earth to a depth of several inches in condoms so that people will use them - so be it. We will distribute them and we will continue the stream of revenue that we require from this program." The spokesperson continued "It is obvious that abstinence and faithfulness, despite the unverified studies coming from Uganda, are not effective in the STD and HIV/Aids epidemic. The roughly 600 million Catholics in the world are just going to have to stand aside."

Asked what it is going to take to stem the epidemic, the spokesperson said "More condoms. We must have more condoms."

Asked about the fact that many African countries especially, already have large numbers of condoms available, but have no vital medicines and health care supplies, the spokesperson said "That's not my problem. It's all condoms for me."

Asked if the spokesperson preferred to have sex with or without a condom, the spokesperson declined to answer.

</satire>

There are other significant issues to this debate - some so significant that they bear another telling.


Pulled by Emcee on January 24, 2005 at 07:16 PM
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January 17, 2005
Your own personal terrorist
Filed in: Current Affairs, Satire, War on Terror

In response to my recent post on new programs at the United Nations, reader Charles submitted the following letter (which he received from very high sources, very high indeed) that is <pulling your leg> being sent from SecDef to those who complain about Guantanamo bay prisoners:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. ,20016

Dear Concerned Citizen:

Thank you for your recent letter roundly criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Our administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You'll be pleased to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like you, we are creating a new division of the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care.

Your personal detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud (you can just call him Ahmed) is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of admonishment. It will likely be necessary for you to hire some assistant caretakers. We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter.

Although Ahmed is sociopathic and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his "attitudinal problem" will help him overcome these character flaws.

Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. He will bite you, given the chance. We understand that you plan to offer counseling and home schooling. Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We do not suggest that you ask him to demonstrate these skills at your next yoga group.  He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless (in your opinion) this might offend him.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters (except sexually) since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him, and he has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the new dress code that Ahmed will recommend as more appropriate attire. I'm sure they will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the bhurka - over time. Just remind them that it is all part of "respecting his culture and his religious beliefs" - wasn't that how you put it?  We aim to please every one.

Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the proper way to do our job.

You take good care of Ahmed - and remember...we'll be watching. Good luck!

Cordially...Your Buddy,
Don Rumsfeld

Reached for comment, a spokesman for SecDef said "We started this program with high expectations but we must conclude that it has been a failure. Most of these detainees have been returned within 24 hours. A few have been unceremoniously shot. Two were subjected to inhumane torture. Two managed to kill their host families and escape before they were recaptured by Special Forces. In only one instance where one detainee was chained in a a basement in Denver Colorado and repeatedly shown reruns of Martha Stewart Living was any progress made. We understand that detainee can now make a serviceable Baked Alaska, but that can hardly be called rehabilitation."

</pulling your leg>


Pulled by Emcee on January 17, 2005 at 10:27 AM
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January 14, 2005
UN: "Shaft"ing the World
Filed in: Bioethics, Current Affairs, Politics, Satire, UN Oil For Food - Oil For Fraud

You can't make this stuff up. Well, some of it anyway.

<truth>

Ssandd On January 11th, the United Nations launched the world's largest safe-sex initiative featuring 20 animated public service announcements starring the Three Amigos: Shaft, Stretch, and Dick - three animated talking condoms. Ostensibly, these humorous shorts are meant to promote condom usage and other responsible sexual behavior among 15 to 24 year olds.

The Three Amigos official site.

< /truth>

<satire>

Reached for comment, Kofi Annan said "We have desperately needed to find something to replace the Oil For Food program which the United States illegally deprived us of by invading Iraq. With this new initiative, we have reached agreement to receive 2.4% of the proceeds of all condom sales worldwide from the major condom manufacturers. We will help prevent the spread of HIV/Aids and replace our flagging revenue stream as well. It is a win-win situation."

"This is how the program will work" Annan said. "We will use member nation contributed funds and donations for world relief for natural disasters to acquire condoms. The UN will take its fee from these transactions to administer the program world wide. We hope to have 10,000 condoms distributed for every man, woman, and child in the world by the end of 2007" he added, noting that, unfortunately, some backward countries consider that 15 year olds are still children.

Also disclosed today, Kojo Annan, Kofi's son, is a director or consultant for 4 out of 5 of the world's largest condom manufacturers. "While this is true, it is also the case that Kojo Annan receives no compensation from any of these companies" an unidentified UN spokesman said. "He did, at one time, have several consulting contracts in place, but no longer receives any monetary compensation" the spokesman added. Indeed, it has been learned, Kojo's current compensation is limited to a lifetime supply of condoms - which has already been the case for the entire UN administration where, for example, (and thankfully) in the UN building in New York, condoms are freely available to all visitors and administrative staff.

Also admitted, is that the names Kofi, Kojo, and Chirac were discussed for use with the animated characters. "But", said the spokesman, "the UN staff thought that, while it would increase awareness in the public square, it also made the UN vulnerable to derision." He added, "With condom characters having the names of these high profile individuals we could imagine, especially some citizen journalists, writing such things as Kofi Shafts the World Again, Kojo Stretches the Limits of Credulity, and Chirac: What a Dick! Since we have been able in the last few weeks to keep the public's attention away from the UN scandals, we didn't think it was worth the risk. Serendipitously, though, going through this exercise helped provide the actual character names that the producers decided to go with. So, something good came out of it."

Breaking: HBO and LA Films threatened to file a suit against the UN over copyright infringement and story concept for the film ¡Three Amigos! (1986). "Everyone knows that Chevy Chase is the biggest dick in show business" a spokesman said. "If the UN had just worked with us, we believe that we could have gotten the original actors to do the voices for these animated characters." For now, the production companies are seeking an out of court settlement with the UN.

< /satire>

(Hat Tip: LifeSite)

UPDATE: Of course, it is SHOCKING to learn about yet another UN scandal from Powerline.


Pulled by Emcee on January 14, 2005 at 01:32 PM
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January 02, 2005
WA Governor's Race: Just In
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, Satire, Sports, WA Governor's Race

From ESPN this afternoon:

Seattle's Shaun Alexander ran for 80 yards, finishing 1 yard behind Curtis Martin of the New York Jets (1,697) for the NFL's rushing title.

Contacted afterward for comment, Christine Gregoire said that the rushing record was actually a tie and that she is going to have the NFL go back and remeasure all of the plays during the season until Alexander has at least one more yard than Martin at which point she will declare him the rushing title winner. "We must count every yard. We cannot allow mistakes by referees to cost Shaun this rushing title." She said.


Pulled by Emcee on January 2, 2005 at 06:05 PM
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