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As sequester woes shut down White House tours, $4 million in taxpayer money goes to study alcoholism, obesity in lesbians

(posted by Bryana Johnson on March 22, 2013)

Last week, some disturbance was caused by news that the National Health Institute has awarded $1.5 million for a study to determine why 75% of lesbians are obese, compared to only 50% of heterosexual women. The issue is being called a matter of “public health importance,” and the grant reads,

“Obesity is one of the most critical public health issues affecting the U.S. today. Racial and socioeconomic disparities in the determinants, distribution, and consequences of obesity are receiving increasing attention. However, one area that is only beginning to be recognized is the striking interplay of gender and sexual orientation in obesity disparities. It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic.”

This study is one of those really crucial programs that is reportedly being threatened by the infamous and hyper-inflated sequester catastrophe. Yesterday, we learned about another one. Apparently, there’s not just an obesity epidemic among lesbian women, but also a plague of alcoholism.

Since 2009, the University of Illinois has been receiving federal grants for a study called, “Cumulative Stress and Hazardous Drinking in a Community of Adult Lesbians.” A description of the grant states,

“Studies using both probability and nonprobability samples provide ample evidence of lesbians' vulnerability to hazardous drinking. However, very little is known about the factors that increase lesbians' risk for hazardous drinking. We propose to build on and extend our study of sexual identity and drinking…to model effects of cumulative stress on hazardous drinking among lesbians.”

Doesn’t this make it a little more difficult to take our elected officials seriously when they babble on about how the teeniest funding cuts constitute the end of life as we know it?

Last month I contacted my congressman’s office to apply for a White House tour later this year. After providing detailed information for all of the members of my party, I was informed that I would hear back from the office regarding the status of my submission in about a month. However, I received a follow up e-mail well before the month was out, and it wasn’t the news I was waiting for.

“I wanted to update you regarding your Washington, DC tour request,” wrote my congressman’s tour coordinator. “Our office has received word today from the White House that:

Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours.’ ”

Not surprisingly, a number of our US senators and congressmen were incensed by the news that White House tours have been discontinued, reportedly due to funding cuts occasioned by sequestration. Especially since sequestration isn’t really a spending “cut,” after all, but only a reduction in the rate of spending increase.

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran stated, Cancelling White House tours is an unnecessary and unfair way for the Department of Homeland Security to meet its budget-cutting obligations.”

Is it really, though? What is it that makes one program special and another frivolous? Isn’t everyone just pursuing their own interests and working overtime to milk the federal cash cow?

Huffington Post’s Sam Stein seemed to insinuate as much in his column Thursday, entitled, “White House Tours Obsess GOP Lawmakers Despite Sequestration Hits Back Home.” Examining the complaints of Republican lawmakers following the announcement that the tours had been suspended, he points to the supposedly more serious cuts occurring in the legislators’ home states, as though to chide them for not showing enough concern for their own constituents.

The question is, at a time when our nation is over $16 trillion in debt, should we really be avoiding spending decreases like a plague, and expecting every government official to be fighting to keep as much of the available funding in his own state?

Or should we hope for a common sense response that finds lawmakers stepping up to the plate and laying their lucrative but useless and meddlesome projects on the chopping block? Would it be too much to hope that frivolous programs and studies and foreign aid might give way to a concern like allowing the American people to visit their own national monuments and federal buildings?

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul may have said it best when he wrote on his facebook page, “We supposedly can't find $17,000 a week for school kids to tour the White House, but somehow still have $250 million for Egypt.

And for studies to determine why lesbians get drunk and fat. I’m sure they’ll all be very appreciative.

(For those who are under the impression that this misappropriation of our money is a pair of isolated incidents, a quick look at Senator Coburn’s 2012 Wastebook might be enough to peel the scales from their eyes.)

 
 
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He’s eloquent, knowledgeable, and smooth as a buttered casserole dish, but - in case you’ve forgotten -here's why we must under no circumstances nominate Newt Gingrich for the GOP Presidential Candidacy

(Posted by Bryana Joy on November 9th, 2011)

One of my favorite things about twitter is the community atmosphere that exists in my news feed during debates, events or addresses that other political junkies are watching. The hashtag culture allows us to discuss our thoughts on the event and get feedback from others who are also watching it live. We are offered a unique way to gauge the political climate.

As I watched the Cain/Gingrich “Lincoln-Douglas” debate (discussion) on November 5, I did just that. And I was a bit disappointed by what I saw – countless conservatives who admitted to having been Newt-shy before the discussion praised him highly and, in their 144-character tweets, explored the possibility of switching over……

I want to remind everyone of just a few straightforward reasons why we still don’t want Newt and never will. These are by no means all of the reasons – they are, in fact, just a smattering of incidents that illustrate the troubled history haunting the Gingrich campaign – but they are some of the ones that bother me the most.

The first is definitely his extra-marital infidelities, and I am not ashamed of holding this “old-fashioned” position. I spoke recently with a young mother whose husband had left her and moved in with a new girlfriend. While she tried to refrain from coming across as emotional about his abandonment of her and her children, her inconsolable grief seeped out of everything she said. It is plausible that her life will never be whole again.

Adultery is destructive on more levels than one. It ruins marriages (obviously), but also ruins children’s lives, and entire families. Gingrich’s decisions to engage at least twice in adulterous relationships destructively affected not one family, but many families: the two families he created and left, the three families of the women who were involved with him, possibly the families of his children - who’s to say how far the circle of hurt and devastation goes?

The premise that a man can be one thing in his private life and another in his public life is a far-fetched, mythical invention of the establishment. There is only one man, and if he is unable to remain faithful in his private life, how can he be faithful to the people of the country he claims to want to serve? It is absurd to suppose that a man who is not self-disciplined and self-governing can discipline and govern our entire country.

The second reason not to elect Newt is his despicable hypocrisy.  At the same time that Gingrich was a leader of the Republican investigation of President Clinton for obstruction of justice in connection with the Monica Lewinsky affair, he was having his own extra-marital affair with Callista Bisek. When Gingrich was calling for the expulsion of representatives Dan Crane and Gerry Studds upon the eruption of the 1983 Congressional Page sex scandal, he had recently divorced his first wife to marry Marianne Ginther with whom he’d been having an affair. While Gingrich recently called Mitt Romney “a Nelson Rockefeller Republican,”  it was not Romney but Gingrich who was Southern regional director for Nelson Rockefeller in 1968. A man who is this unconcerned with walking his talk isn’t getting my vote.

The third reason? In 2008, Gingrich appeared with Nancy Pelosi in this sickly little climate change ad. The ad was part of the "We Can Solve It" global warming ad campaign sponsored by former Vice President Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection.


In case you don’t know, Al Gore, who is a noted climate change alarmist and politician, was responsible for the production of the environmental documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which was ruled by a UK high court judge to contain nine scientific errors. Unfortunately, Gore still received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Christopher Monckton has more on Gore and his clashes with science here and here.  

Evidently, Gingrich has bought into the pseudo-scientific claims of the global warming activists. This shows a lack of comprehensive research on his part, and also illustrates his willingness to cooperate with political figures who seek to take away our liberty.

If the GOP nominates Gingrich, my vote is one that they can count on not getting.

 
 
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The Population Research Institute challenges the overpopulation myth and we hear from Lord Christopher Monckton on truth, science and climate change

(Posted by Bryana Joy on October 23, 2011)

Paul Harris of The Guardian wrote a scare piece yesterday on the possibility of the world’s population reaching 15 billion by 2100.

The United Nations,” he says, “will warn this week that the world's population could more than double to 15 billion by the end of this century, putting a catastrophic strain on the planet's resources unless urgent action is taken to curb growth rates.

At another place in the article he quotes Population Matters chairman Roger Martin,

"Our planet is approaching a perfect storm of population growth, climate change and peak oil. The planet is not actually sustaining 7 billion people."

On their website, Population Matters has more on why baby no. # 7 billion isn’t welcome:

This increase in population puts huge pressure on the environment and makes attempts to address issues such as biodiversity loss and climate change even more difficult.

That’s all very well, but there’s precious little on the site that gets beyond this level of sophisticated language and sentimentalism. There are links to contraception factsheets and charts and graphs showing dead animals and statistics on urban development and world hunger. It is implied that each of these “resources” strengthens the case for population control in some way. But most of what is presented as evidence is merely emotional drivel and I could find no satisfactory answers to my question, how?  How is all of this relevant to population growth and how can you prove it? The entire project is reminiscent of Al Gore’s remarks upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007,

“We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue - it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is the most dangerous challenge we've ever faced, but it is also the greatest opportunity we have had to make changes."

A certain Adolf Hitler explained haughtily in his infamous manifesto Mein Kampf,

“We must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be extended in this direction….The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses.”

When we hear a statement repeated multiple times it is our tendency as humans to ascribe credibility to the position being put forward.  The more widely broadcasted the story, the easier it is for us to believe it. The fancier and more hip the website, the more likely we are to consider its organization legitimate. We don’t want to do too much work, too much research. We don’t want to go digging through any archives. We just want to be told what to do. We are the masses Hitler referred to with such smug self-satisfaction. And we are being deceived.

Let me introduce you to a staunch defender of truth, a man who has done incredible work to advance the cause of real science, a brilliant speaker who is entertaining as well as informative, a climate change skeptic whom Al Gore refuses to debate. My friends, I present to you Lord Christopher Monckton, speaking in St. Paul, Minnesota just two years ago. “Science is not a belief system,” he says, “It’s a rigorous process of inquiry…The truth is the truth whether you or I or anyone believes it or not…The truth alone is worthy of our entire devotion”:


If you don’t have a spare hour-and-a-half right now, bookmark this video and come back. If you’re truly interested in educating yourself not only on climate change issues but on scientific practices and media coverage in general, this is one of the best uses of an hour-and-a-half that I can think of. You will laugh, you will be enlightened, and, chances are, you will come away just a bit shocked.

While Population Matters may not be very excited about baby no. # 7 billion’s first birthday, the Population Research Institute is asking everybody to please calm down and welcome the newest addition with a little more enthusiasm. Things aren’t as bad as they seem, the PRI crew contends. Or rather, the danger we’re facing isn’t overpopulation but underpopulation. No, really. Check it out:



And think about it.

 

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