Here’s the REAL Concern If We’re Smart

30 03 2007

Yet another reason why the vague yet closely clutched “concerns” of random elitist university researchers and regulatory advocates (who aren’t the parents of MY kids) are of greater concern to Thinking Parents and Citizens, than are whatever words public charters put in their ads and program descriptions . . .

This educational research was high-minded, meant to help children generally with speech problems. Whether it contributed anything to that goal is debatable, but it did apparently harm, not help, the specific children it involved. Children who — talk about Power of Story! — literally had no chance for any form of parent-directed or parent-protected education, because they were orphans.

Where is the accountability for what was taught and learned in this “story?” The radio says orphans often were used by this university for such human experiments, precisely because there were no parents taking primary responsibility for the best interests of each specific child, as opposed to this generalized “whatever is for the social good and the benefit of my own reputation and/or guilt assuage” approach to working with children.

I’m not sure how far working with children has come since 1939. . .

Thanks to Ben in Indiana, also Betty Malone and Jane Casey there, for respecting this concern enough to help publish this essay originally and to leave it up to the present, where newly inclined busybodies can read it and perhaps stop themselves — for the good of the kids of course.

Firing Stephen Foster, Promoting Uncle Ben

30 03 2007

What follows is completely true and yet unreal.
Stephen Foster met Uncle Ben in my radio reverie this morning. For real, or so it seemed. (Y’all know I hear odd connections in that place between asleep and awake.)

Two southern stories that seem literally black and white, but turn out to be anything but!
Radio news reported that the Southland’s good old-fashioned composer is on his way out; our conservative and affable new governor actually refuses to have our state song played in his presence (yet in the same breath he says, “whatever the people want satisfies me” . . .which sure sounds unreal to me.)

Nobody said anything unmannerly or politically correct about unpopular language, although that’s likely the truth behind it. One legislator did mention the word “darkies” but to hear them tell the story, it’s not that, just that the times they are a’changin’ . . .hey, now THAT would make a great state song!

Meanwhile good old-fashioned Uncle Ben got a promotion to Chairman of the Board. He isn’t the kindly kitchen rice-cooker anymore, now he’s the Donald Trump of Rice, with his own fancy penthouse office, jet-setting schedule and authoritative rice-education curriculum. (You can poke around his empty office, open his travel journal, it feels almost like corporate espionage, with him hanging on the wall watching your every move!)

One a real human, the other made up as marketing image. (Although real and made up aren’t “really” opposites either, see Straight Dope’s “Were Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima real people?”.)

One going down for the last time, the other movin’ on up.

One dead and therefore dismissed; the other never alive in the first place and therefore lives on (hmm, an apt juncture to consider all the meanings of “immortal” fitting together. . .)

And silly me, I thought “Uncle Ben” was already made over by the Spiderman blockbusters anyway.


But what the composer and the kitchen help do share, and why my mind connected them unbidden, is that these famous identities were both born of vague cultural stereotyping, human belief embodied in “art” that first captures our imagination but grows real enough to threaten us and thus need killing or elevating to higher power, (either is risky in itself). . . Read the rest of this entry »

One Down

30 03 2007

. . . how many more to follow?

U.S. family planning head resigns after state agency acts against him

Thursday, March 29, 2007

WASHINGTON: The head of the federal office responsible for providing women with access to contraceptives and counseling to prevent pregnancy resigned unexpectedly after officials in a government medical program took action against him.

President George W. Bush had appointed Dr. Eric Keroack only five months ago to head the Office of Population Affairs of the Health and Human Services Department.

The department provided no details about the nature of the action in Massachusetts, where Keroack practices, that led to his resignation Thursday.

Bush’s selection of Keroack to oversee the population affairs office and its $283 million (€210 million) annual budget angered birth control advocates Planned Parenthood and abortion rights groups that viewed him as opposed to birth control and comprehensive sex education. Keroack had worked for an organization that opposes contraception.

. . .

Keroack’s office oversees federally financed family planning services that include screening for breast and cervical cancer as well as treatment for sexually transmitted disease. Services are provided on a sliding scale based on income, and no one is refused service because of an inability to pay.

. . .

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, which advocates women’s right to have pregnancies aborted, asked the Bush administration to appoint as Keroack’s successor a “medical professional who actually believes in birth control to lead the nation’s family planning program.”


According to this writer, it’s just a matter of spinning the wheel to find worthy contestants!