Tuesday, May 09, 2006

SUCKED OUT

Nothing like a Tuesday -- and a balky Blogger -- to get the doldrums going. Thank God it's not just us; plenty of our fellow humans are having bad-err days.

President Bush's nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to lead the CIA is in trouble, thanks to pesky Republicans who are a bit troubled by Hayden's active-duty military status. Not to mention his OK of an illegal domestic surveillance program. Such a Trailblazer, that Hayden.

Speaking of the Bush Administration, it continues to inject politics into science, much to the distress of, um, scientists. An upcoming National STD Prevention Conference, sponsored by, among others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been "sanitized" to talk up abstinence. From the story in Slate:
The symposium that's been meddled with was originally titled, "Are Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs a Threat to Public Health?" Its convener, Bruce Trigg of the New Mexico Department of Public Health, proposed a skeptical look at abstinence education, which the Bush administration is funding to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. As moderator, Trigg promised to ground the critique in scientific evidence. His panelists were to be John Santelli of Columbia's School of Public Health and William Smith of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a well-regarded sexual-health organization. Santelli recently wrote a position paper on abstinence-only education for the Society for Adolescent Medicine in which he argued that abstinence programs are medically unethical because they misrepresent and withhold basic health information.

Trigg's symposium proposal went through all the steps of peer review, including an expert panel, and was accepted. This week, however, a different title and lineup were announced on the conference's Web site. Now called "Public Health Strategies of Abstinence Programs for Youth," the program will no longer be moderated by Trigg, though he and Santelli will still present. Smith, by contrast, has been bumped from the program.

Taking his place are two staunch proponents of abstinence-only education, Eric Walsh and Patricia Sulak. Walsh is a family physician affiliated with Loma Linda University, a Seventh-day Adventist institution in California. His approach to public health is explicitly ideological. "Dr. Walsh seeks to serve the Lord through medical missions and the preaching of the Gospel in all the world," an online bio explains. Sulak, meanwhile, is an obstetrician-gynecologist at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Texas and the founder of "Worth the Wait," an abstinence program noteworthy for its negative messages about condoms and stereotypical statements about girls and boys.
Who needs science when stern talk will do the trick?

In more-trivial pursuits, gamers grieve after Sony announced, on Monday, that the new PlayStation 3 will sell for 500 clams -- unless you want a bigger hard drive, in which case you'll pay $600.

One of those days. Who sucked out the feeling, indeed.

Look at me, I can write a melody
But I can’t expect a soul to care

2 comments:

wom said...

PlayStation 3 is going to be great. Blu-ray isn't Betamax as many say, it will truly be a format that people use. It has so many advantages over Microsoft and Nintendo. Over the Xbox 360, PS3 will have motion detection in the controllers, a 60 GB HD, blu-ray playing (those will cost 700+ when they come out), exclusivity in games, better processor, and the fan base. I can't wait.

DocLarry said...

Personally, I still haven't mastered Pong.