Monthly Archive: June 2008

Gloucester Girls

By now, you’ve probably heard about the 17 pregnancies at the high school in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where apparently a bunch of girls decided it would be cool to get pregnant together and raise their babies concurrently.

My thoughts are perhaps a bit different from some expressed out there. I do agree that it’s nuts to maintain an “if only they had easy access to birth control” refrain in the face of intent. Also, they clearly knew how pregnancy happens, so it’s not a problem of education.

It is, frankly, nuts to expect sexually mature beings not to want to exercise that imperative. Just because we lock away young people who might once have been productive, even married, at least learning how it is to be adults, as if they are icky, that doesn’t make them any less old than people the same age would have been 5000 years ago.

Since birth control exists, it’s stupid to make any effort to keep it from them, tell them they shouldn’t use it, and so forth. So far, so good.

The desire to become pregnant is a powerful thing. It makes any desire to have sex even more powerful, but might strip away selectivity. Why not a 24 year old homeless guy? Sperm without the attachment, and who could blame the dude? Just because there’s an arbitrary norm turned law that says a 24 year old shalt not fuck a 16 year old no matter how persuasive, willing, and equipped for the task, that doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen or they’re not going to consider him a better option than high school boys. That part simply doesn’t bother me.

What bothers me is that the girls had no clear idea of the reality of what they were getting into. Yes, people should help each other when it comes to the raising of and providing for children, as necessary. There’s some question as to whether the support should be so strong and obvious as to encourage profligate parentage in the face of alternatives.

The same locking away of youth who were once members of adult society has too often gone hand in hand with insulating young people from knowledge and understanding of what it takes to be responsible, to function as an adult. It’s as if earning of money and raising of children happens by magic. We shouldn’t deliver kids to their 18th birthday and then expect they have a grasp on how to make and handle money, how it might change their lives to have kids at the wrong time, and so forth.

That is basically what happened to me. The monetary lessons I picked up were unintended and not necessarily good, but mostly it was all opaque.

As far as sex, I was obsessed by it from my earliest memories, even if I didn’t know what exactly I was obsessed with, apart from girls and the fact they were different. I had two deterrents. One was an overwhelming sense of guilt and secrecy instilled by family, and we weren’t even Baptists. Another was being stricken by shyness and being convinced, not without help, that no girl could possibly be interested in me, or in sex, no matter how much evidence existed to the contrary.

I’d have been a good donor for the Gloucester Girls, in my day, as I am obviously as fertile as it gets. I was joking about how well my kids turned out and being a donor with friends of mine recently, when one of them, getting divorced, talked about wanting more kids.

It’s probably a Really Good Thing that I got scared and depressed and obtused out of sex as a teen, because otherwise I’d easily have grandchildren by now. But then, I was born when my grandmother was 45, around the middle of the slew of grandkids she would acquire.

I just wish the dissuading had been done another way. Like not letting me learn about money and economics and stuff entirely on my own, and not making it look like kids just sort of raise themselves. There was the example of my brother, and that did have an impact, but even so.

This probably didn’t come out as coherent as I’d like, or clearly make the point that seems so obvious in my mind. I fully expect my kids to do as they will when they are teenagers, but I fully expect them to know the risks and responsibilities and let that guide them into taking it more slowly and cautiously than might be in an informational and parental vacuum.

You know…

You wouldn’t have to worry so much about how much of your money they’re taking and who they might be giving it to if you could see that they have no true right to do so.

You vote, you “legitimize” their theft, and then you complain that they don’t conduct the raids to your specifications.

You sound like children, and not particularly bright ones.

This is Only a Drill

It seems the issue of the day is drilling for oil. Well, yeah. If you don’t pay, you can’t play. It’s absurd to have resources in the United States locked up so extensively, and I can’t imagine so much of a conspiracy extant that we’re intentionally sucking the rest of the world dry to have the last laugh with domestic sources.

I believe that, yes, costly gas will trump the ban. No matter how much drilling we do and refinery capacity we finally build, nuclear plants are also imperative. He could have done better about espousing a rational drilling policy, but at least McCain has sense about nukes. They are not your father’s one of a kind, many billions each plants, or at least they needn’t be. Of course, major equipment and infrastructure can take time. There may be elasticity associated with the entire energy market, but it’s of the discountinuous, somewhat brittle kind.

So yeah, about time the idea of heretofore off-limits drilling spread. I was pleased Bush was making sense on that topic, but some say he’s held back too much. If he could have undid executive orders and didn’t, then absolutely, but at least the noises he emits are soothingly correct.

Oil has been cheap for a long time. There are ways in which it being higher will be good, even if you’re not an eco-freak or anti-human prevert. People, meaning companies too, since just like Soylent Green, companies are people, if not always in recognizable form, respond to economic incentives, positive or negative. We’re at a point where the incentives are unambiguous, intense, and unlikely to recede to prior levels for years, if ever. Most of what government policy should be is to get out of the way. In fact, oil is arguably in this mess because of government policy. Heck, not arguably, really.

Drill. Drill soon. Drill widely. Build some freaking refineries so we can use the stuff. Use less of the stuff as gas. Cut it out with the absurd ethanol thing already! Stop starving people in the name of fell good economic inefficiency and pocket lining for limited special interests. Build nuclear plants. Get some efficient, small scale, mass production designs going so it’s even more economical. Put some windmills in Nantucket Sound already, don’t wait until Teddy is dead. And let’s get cracking on those wonderful microbes that excrete crude and make the deep hot biosphere concept sound all the more intriguing.

You wonder why folks don’t vote?

I can talk all day about the abstract issues behind all of this, but try just looking at my life:

We’ve fallen a bit down the economic ladder. Extended unemployment, yadda, yadda, yadda. In an effort to keep a roof over our heads, I’ve taken a job at the Mega Lo Mart, stocking stuff and stuff accessories. My choices this November will be between Fellow A and Fellow B.

Fellow A is the representative of Party R, which has a reputation for celebrating the awesome force that is the American worker while showering hate on the same. Last time I checked, Party R was thoroughly convinced that people in my situation don’t exist, and that if we do then those are the just wages of our own irresponsibility. The party-line talking-point blah blah blah says that nobody even attempts to support a family on minimum or near-minimum wage jobs, and that the other party is misguided in its attempts to meddle with the minimum wage because it only affects a few teenagers with their first jobs anyway (when really, of course, that’s not the problem with it at all, but bear with me, here). Also? I was supposed to know that I’d someday suffer misfortune *before* I had sex with my husband, because I clearly didn’t have the resources to support those kids if I’m having trouble supporting those kids. There’s no such thing as bad luck in Party R.

How am I supposed to vote for that?

Now Fellow B, he’s from Party D and he talks a real slick line. But Party D? *They’ve* got a reputation for looking at folks like me and deciding that we need to be helped. And how do they help us? By taking money away from *other* hardworking folks and giving it to us, of course. After we grovel appropriately and prove our worthiness by completing mysterious rituals designed to humiliate. When they’re done taking the hope out of you, those same folk then get to point to you as an example of just how damned hard it is to lift oneself out of poverty and they justify their jobs thereby. Few note the irony. Actually managing a climb out of this pit of despond results in that money that you worked for being taken to give to someone who hasn’t escaped. Now that’s an incentive program!

How am I supposed to vote for that?

Seriously. Does a body even *need* a philosophical basis to avoid the whole mess? A choice between two brands of authoritarianism, both of which wish to use my life and my hard work as political chess pieces…what the hell kind of choice is that? And why am *I* the one being reviled for saying, neither, please?

The world truly has gone mad.

We Don’t No Same Old Edumacation

CEH Wiedel discusses this Arnold Kling article as it applies to her own family and concerns about education and IQ.

I have long and increasingly been of the opinion that things have to change. There are multiple problems or angles.

First, not everything suits the “box” of a traditional college education, and worse, a bachelors degree has become the new high school diploma. Which is a whole other issue – the need to, you know, teach things (and reasoning, though I think in many if not all people the ability exists and it’s the job of the education establishment to break it) in the earlier years of education. Nor does everyone fit the mold of the more purely academic.

Second, government encouragement of higher education has led to a runup in prices beyond all reason, at least as much as government encouragement of home ownership and free lending for same, and at other levels, things like zoning regulations, pushed along the housing market bubble. Something has to give.

Third, and related to the first, some things move too fast, are too specialized, are too modest in scope, or would be better of freed from keeping the educational establishment in power, and increasingly lend themselves to new methods of delivery. The trick will be in the marketing and wide recognition of the worth of alternatives, from remote learning with internet college course delivery on down to whatever else arises.

Fourth, was there a fourth? I forget. This was supposed to be a quick link without a lot of comment, as part of my catching up project.