Blue Heron in flight

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fruta abajo

Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin has unleashed a firestorm for his remarks regarding "legitimate" rape and a woman's secret innate power to not conceive when forced into a sex act against her will. According to this June 2001 article in New Scientist, apparently the opposite is actually true:
"A single act of rape may be more than twice as likely to make a woman pregnant as a single act of consensual sex.
That statistic will reopen the hotly contested debate over whether rape can be a successful reproductive strategy in evolutionary terms. It could help to explain why men raping women has been so common throughout history and across cultures, according to two US researchers who presented work at the Human Behaviour and Evolution Conference in London, UK.
Jon Gottschall, a researcher at St Lawrence University in Canton, New York, says the studies failed to answer the crucial question: "What is the evolutionary success of rapists?"
To find out, he and his wife Tiffany Gottschall examined the results of National Violence against Women Survey, a study by the US National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The women studied were phoned at random and interviewed about their experiences.
The Gottschalls focused on 405 women who had suffered a single incidence of penile-vaginal rape at some point between the ages of 12 and 45. Of these, 6.4 per cent became pregnant. But that figure jumped to nearly eight per cent when the researchers allowed for the women who'd been using birth control - US government statistics show that one in five of the women in the sample were likely to have been using the pill or an IUD.
To complete the comparison, the Gottschalls needed to know how many women in that age group get pregnant from one-night stands and other one-off acts of consensual sex. The answer - reported this year in a separate study by Allen Wilcox, head of the epidemiology branch of the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences - was a mere 3.1 per cent.""
Not only is Akin's statement false from a scientific standpoint, the use of the adverb "legitimate" is quite pernicious and suggests that women are basically liars. 32,000 pregnancies from rape a year in our country, how many of those women secretly " wanted" it?

Julian Assange is well on his way to martyrdom, or at least narcissistic personality disorder, with his self serving call for America to return to its revolutionary roots. The self styled anarchist avenger, who endangered countless lives with his wholesale dissemination of a quarter million secret diplomatic cables, is in hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy while he seeks to evade extradition to Sweden on his own rape charges.

Julian's backers are about to lose a cool $375k in bail money. Way to take care of your friends, Julian.

Now as I have said before, I think that both Manning and Assange should be executed for treason. New information I found at Wired today suggests that he has broken some serious United States espionage and conspiracy laws.
At a preliminary hearing last December against former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, prosecutors revealed that investigators had found evidence on Manning’s computer of a chat log purportedly between Manning and Assange in which Manning allegedly asked Assange for help with cracking a password to help him obtain access to U.S. military documents.
In a chat, dated March 8, 2010, Manning asked “Nathaniel Frank,” believed to be Assange, about help in cracking the main password on his classified SIPRnet computer so that he could log on to it anonymously. He asked “Frank” if he had experience cracking IM NT hashes (presumably it’s a mistype and he meant NTLM for the Microsoft NT LAN Manager). “Frank” replied yes, that they had “rainbow tables” for doing that. Manning then sent him what looked like a hash.
If the U.S. government can prove that Assange aided Manning in cracking the password, it would be evidence of a conspiracy between the two to hack a government computer to obtain unauthorized access.
I heard an interesting interview with retiring Air Force General Norton Schwartz last week on NPR. Schwartz talked about the large amount of fighting that is now taking place with unmanned drones, remotely piloted by U.S. pilots safely ensconced at bases in rural Nevada, jiggling their joysticks from afar. Video gamers who have finally found gainful employ, I'll bet.

Schwartz estimates that in 10 years, they will make up 85% of the nation's aerial armada.

I was listening to a retired Pakistani Air Force Colonel seethe about the drone strikes today, which do raise legitimate questions about our respect for that country's sovereignty. Evidently, remote killing from afar runs counter to some mid eastern notions and precepts of fair play. Then again, our relation with Pakistan has to be the most dysfunctional diplomatic marriage on the planet. We fund them and their intelligence groups in turn, fuck us. We are at war with them, but will still go through the motions of drinking afternoon tea.

Many of you hate it when I talk politics. The conservatives think that I am a communist red, the libs an establishment tool who can't be trusted. If you don't like politics or want to hear my opinion, stop reading now.

Mitt Romney and his boy blunder, Paul Ryan, are running the most intellectually vacuous, cynical and dishonest campaign for the presidency I have ever witnessed. To think that one could run for the highest office of the land, with the promise of providing details for their plans to cut government spending and turn Medicare and Social Security into a private voucher system after the election, strains all credulity. If you plan on balancing the budget you will have to cut something else besides public radio, Planned Parenthood and Sesame Street, maybe even defense. And I think that we are entitled to hear all the gory details, now.

But then again, Americans are stupid and easily fooled and it just might work.

As a 54 year old, double nickels in a few months, I get little solace in knowing that those 55 and and older don't have anything to worry about. Uh, what about the rest of us?

Economists estimate that the Repug's proposed block grants to the states will provide about 65% of today's entitlement coverage. The fallacy is that people won't suffer. The reality is that they will. Last year's primary provided the perfect campaign motto for the GOP. Who can forget the rousing cheer that galvanized the Town Hall meeting? Let them die. We're Republicans, we'll just let 'em die. Krugman has an interesting piece on Ryan today in the NYT.

Paul Ryan deserves credit for raising the entitlements issue. With a mess of baby boomers approaching retirement age, the system is about to crash. We can't pay for it. We are going to have a hard time keeping our promises to the elderly. We need to have a sober discussion. But don't pretend people will not get seriously hurt with your macro machinations. The GOP is back to the old narrative that the safety net is sufficient, the unemployed are shiftless parasites who merely want something for nothing and won't work when the reality is that there is no work for many of them.

Just this morning I was reading about the billions that we are paying farmers not to grow crops, about the ridiculous trillion dollar weapons systems that the Pentagon didn't want but was arm twisted into procuring by pork wallowing legislators wanting to help the old home district.

Surely we can lop off all sorts of corporate welfare before we start risking the very young and the very old. Can't wait until this thing is over.


Sanoguy said...

You are right. Medicare needs to be reformed. But, I am sure that changes can be made, it can be made solvent without hurting those who truly need it. I remember my grandparents talking about Medicare before it went in to effect in 1965. They were in their late 70s and of modest means at the time and were afraid of the medical costs they knew they would soon be facing. They were so grateful when Medicare was signed in to law.

Do we want to go back to the bad old days when people did not know how they were going to pay for medical care in their old age??

Anonymous said...

Only a group who don't believe in Evoloution can miss the flaws in the idea that groups should lose the rights that have evolved out dark outdated ideology.
"Rob the rich feed the poor till there are no rich no more"
Deli guy on the mend.

Ken Seals said...

I guess the Mid-easterners you refer to are ok with killing American troops with remotely detonated IEDs?

Ken Seals said...

Robert, it's hard to comment when so many subjects are in one post.
My point to Sanoguy is "Do we want to be like Greece, Portugal and Spain in a few years due to deficit spending?"

Sanoguy said...

Ken: My point to you... no we don't want to be like the countries mentioned, but I think there are other ways to skin the cat. For one, I agree with many that out tax code needs to be adjusted so that the very rich pay more than a tax rate of 13%.

Monday, Bill Kristol, one of the intellectual leaders of the conservative movement over the last 20 years said that Romney and guys like him should be paying more than 13%. Here is a link to those comments:


Those comments are heresy to the Right.... and Kristol is one of the princes of the Right.

Also, perhaps employees should be paying more than the 1.45% that they currently pay for the Medicare hospital benefit. Maybe it should be 2%. Those additional contributions will add up in a hurry.

Finally, I am not necessarily opposed to a voucher for medicare recipients, I just want to see it keep up with the cost of living so that old folks don't get priced out of existence. The current Ryan proposal does not offer that protection. There are several ways to skin this cat!!

Anonymous said...

In order to be executed for "treason" you need to be guilty of the crime.