In response to a locked post by [ profile] l0stmyrel1g10n, I wrote the following long rant against infant circumcision of boys. I'm mostly against, though not yet entirely convinced. Enough that I will not blindly accept what doctors or a partner tell me, but enough unconvinced that I'm willing to discuss it.

The rant... )


Dec. 12th, 2006 04:12 pm
asterroc: (rhino)
#1 - I hate how the article that should've been about the risky self-defense of a child and his dog against a hawk, instead ends up praising nature-bashing. It's not like it's the hawk's fault that daschund puppies are the most plentiful form of prey in the area.

#2 -
There is no substitute for having both a mother and father; it takes a mother and a father to create a child and every child has the right to be raised by a mother and a father. No child should be deprived of these inalienable rights as a matter of public policy.

I'm glad to hear they're planning on voting upon the inalienable right to force single parents to give up their children to married couples who don't want children. It's not right for public policy to deprive every single person of a family consisting of a husband, a wife, 2.5 children, a half a dog, and a third of a cat. I mean, 170,000 people in MA clearly think it's important that we have the whole state vote on exactly how every single family should look and behave, civil rights be damned. [WHDH-TV Channel 7 Boston]

Free EC Day

Dec. 4th, 2006 07:46 am
If you live in MA, Wednesday is free Emergency Contraception Day at Planned Parenthoods. It looks like men can even pick some up for their women friends.

Full PPLM notice )
If you have flown outside this country in the past year or so, you have a terrorist score. I am unclear if it's also used for travel by boat or car, so I may be counted too via last summer's vacation. The gov't has been doing this since at least last November. They track what flights you took, how you paid for the ticket, where you were going and coming from, where you live, and even what you ATE on the flight. Hopefully they didn't track what [ profile] jethereal barfed back up on the Cat. You're not allowed to see your terror score, and while you're allowed to make complaints if you feel you're being targetted, you're not allowed to do anything specific to fix mixups (since you can't see what they messed up).

Blink news

Nov. 28th, 2006 11:27 pm
Judge rules paper money unfair to blind, gives the US Treasury 30 days to start working on a solution. It's about time!
In response to a post from [ profile] sammka, I dug up the following info about how to get Emergency Contraception (Plan B, levonorgestrel) until they finalize the legislation allowing it to be sold OTC to 18+'s.

Plan B is already fully OTC in the states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, New Mexico, New Hampshire, and Washington. If you do not live in those states, the nationwide EC webpage has a search engine for how to get EC near you. In Massachusetts (and perhaps other states) some pharmacists are authorized to dispense w/o a prescription. And a number of Planned Parenthoods will do online EC prescriptions, but only 9am-3pm Monday-Friday.
Yay, Blogger's introduced an accessable word verification system, where you can select an audio human-verification tool if you can't use the visual one. Awesome!

Blue Laws

Apr. 26th, 2006 12:46 am
In the attempt to read more about Blue Laws regulating the sale of alcohol and other goods on Sundays, I stumbled across the original set of Conecticut Colony laws, which were called Blue Laws after they were published on blue paper (or one of various other stories as to why the name).

Some were amazing to me to read today, including the establishment of one of a few state religions, though Friends (Quakers) were not one of them - converting to Quakerism was punishable with banishment (better than Islamic nations!), but if you tried to return you'd be put to death (well, not much better, though only one religion was explicitly persecuted). You could be disenfranchised if you twice voted for an atheist. You're not allowed to kiss your kid on Saturday, because it's the Sabbath. Premarital sex was punishable with forced marriage, and adultery with death. If you don't live with your spouse you'll be thrown in jail. Bowl cuts were mandatory for men.

And I'm not sure how to interpret #42: "A wife shall be deemed good evidence against her husband." Does this mean a woman could be a witness against her husband? Or that a woman's word was as good as her husband's word? Or that anything a woman promises the man must be held liable for? Or vice versa?
The state of Massachusetts is to begin requiring doctors whose patients test positive for HIV report the names of said HIV positive people. Wonderful! This is after pressure from the Feds - apparently soon federal funding to states's AIDS patients and programs will be dependant upon reporting names from tests. Beautiful. Are they going to make people start wearing red triangles on their sleeves or something next?

I totally understand wanting to track where "outbreaks" occur, but I see no reason this can't be done by number at the testing stations. Gah, and apparently syphilis and gonorrhea already have to have names reported! "In addition to name, other identifying information such as age and address, and factors that put patients at risk for contracting the illness, are typically included." [Boston Globe] Man. I wanna see the ACLU on *this* one.
Maybe others won't see it the same way, but I feel that a Kansas ruling that abortion clinic workers do NOT have to report consentual sex between minors is a great victory for the rights of the underaged. Children under age 12 I think would still be reported, and relations between those over and above the age of consent (16 in Kansas).

It's a tough issue though. I was a precocious child, and I've always felt that children did not have enough rights and autonomy under the law. But I'm also a teacher, and children are precious and fragile and it is my DUTY to protect them in any fashion I can, whether stepping in front of a bus, or discouraging underage sex. Of course, educating about safer sex is also an important way to protect children (and adults), but I haven't been in a situation where I would do so.

ETA: In this week's Savage Love, Dan Savage interviewed an FBI representative who said that if two under-age people filmed each other having sex, it counted as child pornography and was illegal. *sigh* Can't we have some consistency here, folks? (Okay okay, I'm sure the column was written before the CNN/AP article, and besides one is state and the other is Federal, and they're slightly different issues, but you get my point!)
The same Massachusetts court that ruled that gay marriage was legal under the state constitution, has unfortunately limited it in accordance with a 1913 (miscegenation?) law forbidding marriage to out-of-staters if the marriage would be illegal in their home state.

While I disagree with the law, the little bit I know does make it seem that the ruling is correct under that law. What I would like to see happen is instead they can get married in MA but the marriages are only legal within the state and others that honor gay marriages. Similarly, I hope that MA will honor gay marriages and unions made in other states and countries, but I haven't heard anything about it yet.
I am officially rescinding any tolerance I had for fundamentalist Islam. I heard about this on NPR this afternoon - an Afgan man is on trial for converting away from Islam (to Christianity, but that part's irrelevant) 16 years ago. It's his own family that turned him in. The legally required sentence under sharia law is death.

The article doesn't say but NPR did, that after statements from Bush, the prosecutor wants to allow the defendant to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, in which case he will not get the death penalty.

ETA: I got a better link (hooray BBC!) from [ profile] q10.
The students at least. Against a new law that is supposed to help youth unemployment by removing job security for youths. Um, run that one by me again?

ETA: The BBC gives slightly more explanation: apparently the contracts that youths currently work under do not allow employers to fire them at all. Because they're untried youths, employers are reluctant to hire them indefinitely, so they simply do not hire them. The hope is that where youths wouldn't be hired at all before, now they'll be hired temporarily. Still not a good deal, but I now understand the reasoning.
A study by Baruch College (CUNY) says that Texas parental notification laws have reduced the number of minors having abortions, however it increased the number of (riskier) second trimester abortions. The CNN/AP article doesn't say whether or how they controled for other factors such as increasing contraceptive use, nor whether the results are statistically significant (though one presumes they wouldn't've made the press release if it wasn't significant).
Pending a lawsuit from the ACLU, the government has agreed to stop backing the Christian-run abstinence-only program "Silver Ring Thing."

The reason law suits are so damned prolific is that people here are too stupid to figure these things out on their own. *Dur!*

Courts in Massachusetts have ordered Wal-Mart to start stocking emergency contraception (Plan B) as a "commonly prescribed medicine." The article says nothing about whether Walmart's pharmacists (like Target's) can choose not to dispense them unfortunately, but it's a step in the right direction. If they take that last step and change policy so that women are finally guaranteed all their legally prescribed medicines, I may resume shopping at Wal-Mart before I do at Target. :-P

If you wish to comment on the issue to Wal-Mart, you can use this form (linked thru Planned Parenthood so they can keep track of how many people are taking action).

model letter to Wal-Mart )
asterroc: (Smoothie)
As usual, I've said something that started a nearly-very-heated discussion. :-\ In short, to a discussion about the Boy Scouts I added that I did not like their religious bent, someone took that a step further by accusing the BSA of homophobia, and then Howard Tayler said that the BSA's actions are not homophobic, and are instead promoting morals uniformly against any form of sexuality.

I respect Tayler a good deal - he is really smart and funny, and for a Mormon is quite open minded, so I was surprised at his comment, with which I disagree. As I understand it, and as I read it online, the Boy Scouts of America expressly forbids anyone who self-identifies as preferring people of the same gender rather than people of opposite gender. (They also forbid atheists, but that's a different issue.) They do not expressly forbid promiscuity. Their policy is against "known or avowed" homosexuals, does not allow "out" but celibate homosexuals, but does allow promiscuous heterosexuals. To me, this shows a policy directly targeting homosexual preference, not homosexual behavior, and therefore is a homophobic policy, not a morals-based policy.



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