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Whoa! WTF? UPDATED: A Good Ad Afterall?
Posted by: MichaelW on Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Just after delivering a marvelous soliloquy (involving strike-out king, Nolan Ryan) on McCain's campaign tactics I learn that they've stepped way out of bounds in their new ad declaring that Obama intends to teach "comprehensive sex education" to little kids:
The only thing I dislike more than defending The One is defending him over and over again on the same charge. This is a perennial accusation against him, dating first from his Senate race with Alan Keyes, then recycled last year by Romney, and now coopted by Maverick for a little culture-war magic. David Brody at CBN wrote a useful post the last time it came up: Essentially, “comprehensive” sex education for young kids would go no further than teaching them what constitutes inappropriate touching by adults. To watch this, you’d think Barry wants to give them coloring books titled, “Why Does It Burn When I Pee?”
AP has the video, so go over there to watch it. I have no reason to post it here.

UPDATED: Thanks to Gerry in the comments, it appears that the bill really did include teaching 5 year-olds about condoms, STD's and such:
On the sex ed bill, it's possible that Obama had the best of intentions, but the bill text did include, "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV."
Keith echoes the "best intentions" sentiment in the comments. Looks like this may have been a fair ad from the McCain Campaign. I stand corrected.
 
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What business is it of a public school to even get into the subject with kindergarten-aged children? Even with the "opt-out" option for parents?

I don’t see anything wrong with the ad. It raises a good question: Do you want state schools broaching the subject of sex at all with kindergarteners?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
Do you want state schools broaching the subject of sex at all with kindergarteners?
The point is, did Obama actually make such a suggestion. I’ve never seen any evidence that he has.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
The point is, did Obama actually make such a suggestion.
Yes, he did. A "suggestion" that he put into legislation that wound up not being passed, apparently. Follow the links. His campaign used the ruse that it was only about "protecting" kids from predators, but he is talking about beginning sex education in kindergarten:
Now, I’ll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean.

And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that’s the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.
Note the deft segue from what "my wife and I" thought was right for his daughters to the idea that other parents needed that done by the kindergarten teacher.

In this video, Obama tried to shrug it off by pointing out that his U.S. Senate opponent Alan Keyes (laugh, laugh, laugh) attacked him for it, so if someone else questions it (and Mitt Romney did) then that makes whoever that is like Alan Keyes (laugh, laugh, laugh).

The double irony here — in the video — is that he’s making his comments at a Planned Parenthood conference. PP was founded by a racist eugenicist, Margaret Sanger, one of whose goals was to solve the "negro" problem (with the "negro project," in fact).
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://newpaltzjournal.com
MichaelW:

Jim Geraghty:
On the sex ed bill, it’s possible that Obama had the best of intentions, but the bill text did include, "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV." Do kids really need to know about STDs starting at age 5? Isn’t it a strong argument that the "good touch-bad touch" stuff could start that early, but the nitty-gritty about exchanging bodily fluids could wait until the kids are at least a little closer to double digits?
I think that they are talking about teaching kindergartners about condoms makes it very hard to say that the bill was merely an attempt to prevent sexual abuse of kindergartners, and makes that side seem more like spin. Like you, at first I recoiled from the ad because it just seems disingenuous. However, the ad actually is not distorting things that much.
 
Written By: Gerry
URL: http://
ditto...

Or, another possible, and very plausible, explanation:

Obama didn’t actually read all the way through the bill he supported. Or read a summary handed to him by either his staff, or his Democratic allies.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Thanks, Gerry. Correction noted in the post.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
Obama didn’t actually read all the way through the bill he supported
That is probably true on his entire time spent

The guy was campaigning for president, something far more important that being a mere senator. He doesn’t have any time for such pointless efforts. After all, the world is waiting for his ascension
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I think this bill would have been while he was a state senator.

Not that you’re point about the amount of campaigning he’s doing during his years as the FRESHMAN Senator of the State of Illinois isn’t valid.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Thanks, Gerry. Correction noted in the post.

Care to reread that quote again?

"Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV."

The english translation of this statement is that if, in any of grades K-12, said grade is offering comprehensive sex education already, then that comprehensive sex education should also include instruction on preventing sexually transmitted disease.

Nothing in this quote, or in the bill, *establishes*, mandates, requires, or otherwise enforces comprehensive sex education in any specific grade. It adds only a specific requirement about such content, if it is at any time established. (Aren’t you a lawyer? How could you miss this?)

You were right the first time - it’s a dishonest smear out of the bottom of the Atwater barrel.

If there’s any factual doubt here - how hard is it to go find someone from Illinois with a child in a public school? If they were really getting comprehensive sex ed at age 5, think maybe there’d have been the odd news report about it?

I mean, really. It stretches my very small supply of charity to consider that, maybe, this was an honest mistake by Jim Geraghty. But it sure wasn’t an honest mistake by John McCain.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
The english translation of this statement is that if, in any of grades K-12, said grade is offering comprehensive sex education already, then that comprehensive sex education should also include instruction on preventing sexually transmitted disease.
The legal translation is that information about sexually transmitted diseases will be made a part of every sex ed class, regardless of the grade. In fact, if you look at what was changed from the previous statute by this bill, you’ll see that the mention of particular grades was there to limit which ones would be subject to such rules (originally grades 6-12, changed to grades K-12). Obama’s bill introduced the teaching about STD’s to students from K through 5th grade.

Sorry, but the charge is factual.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
Sorry, but the charge is factual.

Because apparently having the words explained to you in plain english isn’t good enough:

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/09/from-the-fact-c.html
The bill was updating Illinois law on health and sex education, addressing sex education classes that already existed at the time, and offering guidelines to instructors as to what should be in those classes.

This is important because the question arises about the use of the word “comprehensive” in McCain’s ad describing the classes.

McCain’s ad makes it sound as if Obama was mandating that kindergartners receive the same information as a sexually active high school senior.

Not so.

The word “comprehensive” appears just once in the bill as applied to kindergartners, it the section saying that "Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV" — in other words, the word was focused on pre-existing classes that may exist.

McDowell points out that the bill states “All course material and instruction shall be age and developmentally appropriate.”

So what does “comprehensive sex education” mean in terms of kindergartners?

“It means teaching kids about families,” McDowell says.

Is McCain right when he says Obama wanted kids to learn about sex before they learned how to read?

“If by ’sex’ he meant that there are boys and girls and mothers and fathers, yes," McDowell says.

But that’s clearly not what McCain is suggesting.

"No reasonable person would believe we’re talking about teaching kindergartners about sexual intercourse," McDowell says. "I don’t think Sen. McCain believes that.”

Says Brown, “things for freshmen in high school and for 7th and 8th graders are not the kind of curriculum you would have for a student in kindergarten."

Obama’s opponent during his run for the US Senate in 2004, former Ambassador Alan Keyes, charged that Obama was proposing teaching sexually explicit material to kindergartners.

During a Senate debate in October 2004, Obama said, “Actually, that wasn’t what I had in mind. We have a existing law that mandates sex education in the schools. We want to make sure that it’s medically accurate and age-appropriate. Now, I’ll give you an example, because I have a six-year-old daughter and a three-year-old daughter, and one of the things my wife and I talked to our daughter about is the possibility of somebody touching them inappropriately, and what that might mean. And that was included specifically in the law, so that kindergarteners are able to exercise some possible protection against abuse, because I have family members as well as friends who suffered abuse at that age. So, that’s the kind of stuff that I was talking about in that piece of legislation.”

McDowell says that Obama was correct, and says that the Illinois PTA had been active for a long time in encouraging schools to educate children about improper touching.

“A lot of schools don’t have people trained to explain that kind of thing to students without scaring them,” she says.

The bill said students should learn – in an age-appropriate way — to not “make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances and how to say no to unwanted sexual advances and shall include information about verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance. ...teach male pupils about male accountability for sexual violence and shall teach female students about reducing vulnerability for sexual violence…”

McDowell says this part of the bill would be taught in an “age- and developmentally-appropriate way. Kindergartners need to be taught that there are places – ‘private parts’ - where nobody should touch you. Obviously we’re not going to be talking about rape in kindergarten.”

Brown agrees, saying that part of the bill as applied to young students was “specifically for inappropriate touching and sexual predators. Making sure kids know what’s appropriate and not appropriate. As far as HIV and condoms, you wouldn’t teach that kind of information to students that young.”

McDowell points out that the bill clearly states that no student has to receive the information if his or her parent or guardian objects:

"No pupil shall be required to take or participate in any class or course in comprehensive sex education if the pupil’s his parent or guardian submits written objection thereto, and refusal to take or participate in such course or program shall not be reason for suspension or expulsion of such pupil,” the bill says.

“Any parent could opt out,” McDowell says.

**

I suppose one could twist this stuff any way you want if your only point is to make an inflammatory charge. And win an election.

One could say that if McCain opposes this bill he supports students in kindergarten making unwanted sexual advances towards each other, that he opposes ensuring that 5-year-old girls aren’t vulnerable to sexual violence.
Emphasis added by me.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I don’t know what to tell you, glasnost. The law speaks for itself, and it mandates that STD education be part of the curriculum in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Prior to Obama’s bill, it only applied to 6th graders and above. The law changed 6th grade to kindergarten and specifically mandated:
... grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.
McCain charges that:
Obama’s one accomplishment?

Legislation to teach "comprehensive sex education" to kindergartners.

Learning about sex before learning to read?
That is what the bill states, and that is what schools are mandated to do. There are plenty of caveats, such as parents being able to opt their kids out, and requiring that everything be "age appropriate." I suppose it may be reasonably interpreted to mean that only schools already offering comprehensive sex ed are affected, although that would be an odd interpretation of this type of law (cf. environmental regs re upgrades. What if a school starts offering CSE to older grades? Doesn’t this law require them to teach it to all grades?). Furthermore, what can possibly be age appropriate about STD’s when it comes to little kids?

Whatever, Obama’s intentions, the law says what it says. And he can’t escape the fact that it requires at least some kindergartners to be taught CSE. That’s what the McCain ad charges, and that is what the facts support.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
Whatever, Obama’s intentions, the law says what it says. And he can’t escape the fact that it requires at least some kindergartners to be taught CSE. That’s what the McCain ad charges, and that is what the facts support.


Arrrgh! This is literally untrue! Why don’t you try articulating exactly what your evidentiary basis is for drawing that conclusion, and exactly how you know that what you think is evidence of that, actually is
evidence.

Right now, you’re asserting that Jake Tapper is wrong, that the people who work in Chicago’s public schools are wrong, that plain-language reading of the bill is wrong, that every knowledgeable authority who is *not* the McCain campaign is wrong.
John McCain knows what this bill did, and the people who wrote it didn’t.

The bill does literally not mandate anyone to receive sex ed. It mandates that anyone already receiving comprehensive sex ed prior to the the bill’s passage, that sex ed should have certain curriculum.

I don’t know what to tell you, glasnost.
How about you tell me, instead of these platitudes, exactly how the people being cited here are wrong about what they say is the plain language of the bill. How what they say the words mean is not, in fact, what the words mean. How about you engage with the specific argument presented as to why your understanding of what the bill means is incorrect (’comprehensive’ being a limiting factor on the application of the rest of the language, not a requirement in and of itself)?

Aren’t you at least a little curious about how other investigative reporting comes out with conclusions opposite of yours? Is this Jake Tapper being ’in the tank for Obama’ and ’covering up’ this scandal?

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
glasnost: "Is this Jake Tapper being ’in the tank for Obama’ and ’covering up’ this scandal?"

In a word - yes. So is much of the rest of the media on this. Michael’s interpretation is legally correct, which is probably why the bill never saw the light of day. Sorry, I know that’s not what you wanted to hear.





 
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