Wisconsin Schools Should Instruct About Birth Control And STD’s

The Wisconsin State Legislature is to be applauded for moving forward with a much-needed sex education bill.  On Thursday the State Senate voted along party lines to ensure that if a public school taught sex education students must be instructed about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases.  If the bill is signed into law by Governor Doyle it would take effect in the 2010 school year. 

The fact that we just do not mandate sex education in all public schools is still a mystery to me.  Puritanical thinking  controls more areas of public life than we care to admit, and the fight over this current proposal is proof  of that fact.  When it comes to a lack of proper sex education we are not only talking about unwanted pregnancies, but also diseases that can lead to death.  It would then seem to be clear to all that sex education matters. But that does not stop many from arguing against the needed common-sense legislation.

One of the reasons the bill winding through the state legislature is credible concerns the fact that ‘abstinence only’ is a bankrupt idea.  Abstinence programs are outdated, and do not work.  They have been proven to make a bad situation worse in that teenagers who pledge never to have sex until marriage fail to use condoms or other protective means when they realize the pledge is just not very practical.  Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy and STD’s and therefore ‘abstinence only’ programs are not what the government should be promoting.  Thankfully,  most  elected Wisconsin Democrats are not drinking the ‘abstinence only’ kool-aid and are putting sound judgement and the health of young people ahead of political posturing.

The fact is that teenagers have sex.  Whether we want them to or not, it is going to happen.  So with that as a starting point, it is vital that they be supplied with the right information, such as how to use a condom.   By pretending that they will not be acting like average teenagers we only delude ourselves.  By our failing to provide the necessary facts in order to help them to make sound decisions only undermines the ones we profess to care about.  

For Republicans to pretend that ‘abstinence only’ is a practical idea, and use the ‘local control’ argument as a means to fight for it, does not serve our youth.  Such arguments may play well to conservative voters at election time, but fail to remedy a real need among our nation’s youth.   Thankfully the majority in the state legislature understood the leadership role they needed to play, and acted on behalf of the health and well-being of our state’s youth when passing the sex education bill.

I have long-argued that ‘abstinence only’ programs were not positive ways to instill healthy thoughts about sex to our youth.  Playing to those parents who nurture the idea that sex is not a positive or healthy value, and then instilling that in children, (which is the cornerstone of ‘abstinence only’ programs) should not be encouraged in our public schools.  There are better ways to deal with teenage sexuality than pretending it does not exist, or foster negative views that will ill-serve the child long into adulthood.

Video: Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton With His Still, And Memorial Service

If you want to see an old-fashioned way to be brought to a funeral then this is the blog post for you.   But first…….

If you are like some other readers to my blog you might wonder why the post about  “Popcorn” Sutton is listed among the top ten most-read items week after week.   At first I thought the interest in this story was due to just an interesting post concerning  a Tennessee moonshiner.  But as time went by, and more and more folks commented on the post, I started to understand.   “Popcorn” Sutton was a real character, and I say that in a respectful manner.  While others seem to have known about him for a long time, it was only following his death that I have come to understand the interest in this slice of  Americana.

How “Popcorn” Sutton landed on my blog is really due to the ability of a reporter to write a great obituary for the Wall Street Journal.  After all,  I like to read interesting obituaries.  From time to time when I discover one that is well-written about a most intriguing person I post it here on my blog.  So in March 2009 when I read about the life and passing of Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton I put down my newspaper and posted it.  I had no way to know that I was about to connect with nearly 30,000 readers, (updated figure as of Dec. 2012) some who would leave comments like this one which arrived just last week.

I’m still sad and sick over his “passing”….I knew Popcorn and was one of the few “Yankees” who he trusted….I live in Upstate SC and travelled up to see him many times. I even named one of my dogs after him…”Little Popcorn”…..And I took him up to Marvins house just before he was “busted” for the second time….”YOU NAMED A DAWG AFTER ME??” he drawled…..My answer was “Yes Sir..a stray just like you”…He cackled and spent the afternoon taking “Little Popcorn” all over the property, just like a big old kid, “Billy Gibbons” beard and cigarette dangling from his mouth….

Late that afternoon, his wife Pam had supper ready….Venison, roasted potatoes, green beans and of course…..cornbread….

When I was getting ready to leave and had already loaded “Little Popcorn” into the truck me came sauntering out of his house…Put his right hand out to shake mine and a “gift” in his left hand…a jug of moonshine…”This is for you…and Thankee fer the day” is all he said…and walked back into the house….

And that was the last time I saw him alive…I followed everything with his second “bust” the only mistake he made was having a few shotguns with him…which turned his conviction into a “posession of a firearm by a convicted felon….and that he couldn’t “stand up” to no fault of his own…he was “broken down” and in bad health…At his funeral, I cried like a baby…and of course “Little Popcorn” was with me to say “goodbye” to his namesake and friend…Our good friend, Popcorn Sutton…
I still keep that jug of Moonshine on a shelf in my bedroom, unopened and untouched and always will remain as a memorial to him and what he “stood for”…..

With all the interest in this man I started to do some more research into “Popcorn” Sutton and found him to be a truly intriguing person that represented a certain period of our history, and a certain way of living.  Without me making a judgment on ‘moonshine’  one thing can be stated as fact.  “Popcorn” Sutton must have been mighty fun to have talked with, and watched in the hills as he worked.

Friday’s Full Moon Biggest Of Year, Mars Close Encounter

Another reason to brave the cold and be outside.

Friday night’s full Moon is the biggest and brightest full Moon of the year.  It’s a “perigee Moon,” as much as 14% wider and 30% brighter than other full Moons you’ll see later in 2010.  But that’s not all.  Mars is having a close encounter with Earth, and on Friday night, Jan. 29th, it will join the Moon for an all-night-long conjunction.

Johannes Kepler explained the phenomenon 400 years ago. The Moon’s orbit around Earth is not a circle; it is an ellipse, with one side 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other. Astronomers call the point of closest approach “perigee,” and that is where the Moon will be Friday night: diagram.

Look around sunset when the Moon is near the eastern horizon. At that time, illusion mixes with reality to produce a truly stunning view. For reasons not fully understood by psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through foreground objects such as buildings and trees. Why not let the “Moon illusion” amplify a full Moon that’s extra-big to begin with? The swollen orb rising in the east may seem close enough to touch.

And what’s that bright orange star right beside the Moon?


Obama Urges Congress To Extend Benefits To Same-Sex Partners

Words…..must be followed by actions from the White House.  It should be noted that President Obama dodged the question that was actually asked about same-sex marriage, and responded this way.  Still……if we could just have some action to follow the words…….

President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to pass a law extending benefits to same-sex partners, a day after he renewed his support for repealing the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military.

Obama was responding to a question during a town hall meeting Thursday in Tampa, Fla.. He noted a bill is pending that would extend to domestic partners benefits such as granting Social Security survivor payments and allowing hospital visitation.

Obama said: “My hope is we can get it done.”

Teabaggers Unraveling

Not the way to start a third party.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has become the latest high-profile conservative to bag the rapidly unraveling Tea Party Convention in Nashville next week.  

The Minnesota Republican, who has become something of a heroine of the Tea Party movement, decided Thursday morning that she is cancelling her appearance at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel next Friday, where she was scheduled to be a breakfast speaker.
Bachmann’s office cited the same concerns that other Tea Party activists have voiced about the first-of-its-kind national gathering: namely, the for-profit model of organizer Judson Phillips, a self-described “small town lawyer” with a history of financial problems.
Phillips has announced that the $549-a-head convention featuring Sarah Palin is sold out. But Tea Party critics and allies alike have been asking questions about what Phillips plans to do with the money. Concrete answers have been in short supply, and in the end it looked like too big a risk for any public office holder.

Think Spring Flowers Through Chattering Teeth

It is really cold outside!  If you are like me you find ways to enjoy all the seasons here in Wisconsin.  Even days like this are a joy. But there is no doubt when it is truly cold outside that our thoughts turn to spring and outdoor plants.  As such this email from a friend today was just more tonic for the soul, and a reminder that colorful blooms are only a few months away.

I just received a 2010 catalog from Klehm’s Song Sparrow Farm & Nursery, Avalon, WI.  It is the most beautiful catalog I’ve ever seen. The photos are most appealing!  I bought some hydrangea through mail order in the fall.  You can request a catalog by going to their web site http://www.songsparrow.com/

Just looking at it cheers me up from the bitter cold weather here – highs in the 11 -13 degree range for a few days.  At least we see the sun again!

J.D. Salinger Dies

A tremendous loss.

J.D. Salinger, the legendary author, youth hero and fugitive from fame whose “The Catcher in the Rye” shocked and inspired a world he increasingly shunned, has died. He was 91.

Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author’s son said in a statement from Salinger’s literary representative. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.

“The Catcher in the Rye,” with its immortal teenage protagonist, the twisted, rebellious Holden Caulfield, came out in 1951, a time of anxious, Cold War conformity and the dawn of modern adolescence. The Book-of-the-Month Club, which made “Catcher” a featured selection, advised that for “anyone who has ever brought up a son” the novel will be “a source of wonder and delight – and concern.”

Union Grove High School Needs Modern Day Patrick Swayze

This screams for a student response from Union Grove High School , along with the incarnation of the modern-day Patrick Swayze.

Like many educators nationwide, administrators at a Wisconsin high school are aiming to curb risque moves at an upcoming school dance. To assure that Union Grove High School students do not get too footloose, school brass have issued official dance rules for the January 30 winter formal. The rules outlaw “sexual bending” and the touching of breasts, buttocks, or genitals. Leg straddling is also verboten. Additionally, students are on notice that “Both feet must remain on the dance floor at all times.” Which appears to rule out performances of the Charleston, Electric Slide, and Cha-Cha. The dance “will be videotaped to insure the safety of all students attending,” the rules note, though Union Grove administrators could presumably review the film for provocative moves that were initially missed by monitors.