Friday, December 02, 2005

Cosmic Confusion

When I was about six years old, I had a stuffed dog named Company. This rather unusual christening arose my from my somewhat naive misconception that the dog in the Disney movie Oliver and Company was actually named "Company" - which I think is a thoroughly rational assumption, but which has subjected to me to cruel and ceaseless mockery over the years.

In point of fact:

  • I was convinced for years that the song "Baby Got Back" must be about a reunited redneck couple.
  • "Light My Fire", was, of course, about a guy who was cold and wanted his girlfriend to build a fire in the fireplace to warm him up.
  • I could never manage to figure out why the oldie "Bad Moon Rising" (Don't go out tonight / It's bound to take your life / There's a bad moon on the rise) contained the lyric "There's a bathroom on the right". Why was the bathroom so darned scary that it was bound to take his life? I don't know, but I can tell you it gave me a severe phobia of restrooms for many years.
  • Then of course there was the whole debacle with the song "Something Tells Me I'm Into Something Good", which I was convinced was instead "Something Tells Me I'm in the Neighborhood." For many years, its lyrics perplexed me greatly. Whose neighborhood? And why? Was it something like that flaky song "On the Street Where You Live" that the wussy guy in My Fair Lady sings? Or had the guy suffered a blow to the head and amnesia such that he didn't remember where she lived anymore?
  • Oh, and would you believe the Wicked Witch of the West's first name is not Ding-Dong?
  • And don't even get me started on how baffled I always was about why we pledge allegiance to the republic for Richard Stanz. Was he one of the founding fathers? A buddy of Jefferson's? The world may never know.

...Interpersonal communication is a funny, funny thing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

What does the Pill do?

There seems to sometimes be some confusion as to whether or not the combined Pill inhibits implantation, or "only" supresses ovulation. Here are several sites which indicate it does indeed inhibit a fertilized egg from implanting:


"Oral contraceptives typically contain estrogen and progestin. Combination pills suppress ovulation (the release of an egg) each month and therefore prevent pregnancy by denying sperm a chance to connect with an egg and fertilize it. The progestin in these pills also decreases the chance of pregnancy by altering the mucus in a woman's cervix, thus making it harder for sperm to move into contact with an egg. Continuous progestins in combination oral contraceptives also inhibit the growth of the endometrium, which is triggered by estrogen. They also alter uterine secretions to reduce the chance for implantation of the egg."

"Birth control pills fool the body into acting as if it's pregnant. Birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives (OCs), come in two forms: the combined OC, a combination of two synthetic hormones, estrogen and progestin; and, the minipill, which consists solely of progestin. Combined OCs are more commonly used, though both kinds are available through health care providers. The combination pill prevents ovulation by suppressing the natural hormones in the body that would stimulate the ovary to release an egg. By taking this estrogen throughout the month, you insure that no egg will be developed or released for that cycle. Progestin thickens the cervical mucus, hindering the movement of sperm. Progestin also prevents the uterus's lining from developing normally; so, if an egg were fertilized, implantation is unlikely.

The minipills, which contain no estrogen, inhibit the egg's ability to travel through the fallopian tubes, alter the cervical mucus to block sperm, partially suppress the sperm's ability to unite with an egg, and partially inhibit implantation in the uterine wall. For maximum effectiveness, you need to take the pills as prescribed."

Birth control pills, also known as "The Pill," are a type of contraception in the form of small tablets that you swallow each day. Most pills contain two type of synthetic (man-made) female hormones, progestin and estrogen, and are called the "combination oral contraceptive". The hormones estrogen and progesterone are normally produced by the ovaries. There are many different types of the combination oral contraceptives. The estrogen and progestin prevent pregnancy by suppressing your pituitary gland, which stops the development and release of the egg in the ovary, called ovulation. The progestin also helps to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg and changes the lining of the uterus.

One type of pill contains only one hormone, progestin, and is called either the "progestin-only pill," or the "mini-Pill." It works by suppressing ovulation and helping to prevent the male's sperm from reaching the egg.


"How It Works

Combination ( estrogen and progestin) hormonal methods—pills, skin patch, or vaginal ring—help to prevent pregnancy by preventing eggs from being released from the ovaries (ovulation). These methods also thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus and can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus."


"Combined birth-control pills work by preventing ovulation (the release of a mature egg from a woman's ovary). The estrogen in the pill causes this. Without the release of the egg, pregnancy can't happen. Combined birth-control pills also work by making cervical secretions thicker, making it very difficult for sperm to get into the uterus; by causing changes in the fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry the egg from the ovaries to the uterus); and by making it hard for a fertilized egg to implant. These effects are caused by the progestogen in combination birth-control pills. The minipills do not usually prevent ovulation because they don't contain estrogen. The minipills are good for women who either have difficulty taking estrogen or who are at some risk in taking estrogen (for example, women who smoke)."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Am I a Neocon?

The term "neocon" has been tossed around a great deal lately. And, while I agree with some Republican policies, and disagree with others, I thought it worthwhile to investigate what is meant by the label neo-conservative. Wikipedia gives us an interesting explanation of the term(1). And while I can certainly state, based on Wikipedia's explanation, that I am opposed to the policies and philosophy that make a "neocon" a "neocon", I see that Ronald Regan and his policies toward the Soviet Union are considered "neocon" policies and philosophy in action, by wikipedia. I then felt compelled to ask myself, what could have been done differently, and still given the world such a positive outcome in the collapse of the USSR? I have not given a lot of thought to Reagan's defeat of the USSR, other than to admire his style of confronting evil and standing firm against communism. However, declaring Reagan's policies in dealing with the USSR to be "neocon" is debatable, and his other policies could certainly not be characterized as such(2).

So then, what is a Neo-con? Wikipedia states:

"Compared to other U.S. conservatives, neoconservatives may be characterized by an aggressive moralist stance on foreign policy, a lesser social conservatism, and weaker dedication to a policy of minimal government, and, in the past, a greater acceptance of the welfare state, though none of these qualities are necessarily requisite."

Its quite clear immediately, I am not even remotely a "neo-con". I fall into the libertarian wing of conservatism, which I argue for in my religious defense of freedom(3).

Now that we answered that, relatively easily, I am compelled to wonder what the "neo-cons" have in common with regular conservatives, and how they ended up in the same party. I have observed that while libertarian conservatives and other regular conservatives tend to believe in free markets, the neo-cons tend toward "corporatism"(4) instead of "capitalism". At this time in history, there is clearly a battle being waged within the Republican party between traditional conservatives and "neo"-conservatives. One need only look at the spending battles in Congress being fought by Republicans on both sides to see that conflict being played out. One can see the influence of neocon and corporatist policies with regards to the current Republican administration's policies in the Middle East, and in relation to our cozy relationship with a truly "evil empire" in China.

In reading non-politically correct history, one can see that the origins of the Republican party are corporatist , as many Republicans were formerly Whigs. A fantastic book on this is DiLorenzo's The Real Lincoln. Whether you agree with his opinions on Lincoln as a man, his presentation of the other issues (other than slavery) that defined the Republican party is fascinating, and one can quickly see those positions don't vary widely from their positions today. If you buy into DiLorenzo's portrayal of how and why the civil war was fought, you would agree that the abolition of slavery was a tool used by Lincoln and the Republicans in crushing the South economically. Regardless of Lincoln's and the Republican's motives, one can clearly see that of the two major parties at the time, Democrats and Republicans, most abolitionists were Republican. Today, abolitionists (those opposed to abortion) almost universally find themselves in the Republican party as well, when compared with how many are in the Democratic party. And yet, modern abolitionists have yet to win the sort of victory they won through Lincoln. As was the case during and after the Civil War, when the Republicans tightened their grip on power (tons of detail in the book mentioned above), the corporatist wing of the Republican party was, and is pretty firmly in control of the party. Conservatives of the abolitionist sort, and the libertarian sort are along for the ride, unable to join the Democratic party today for its stand in favor of evil (abortion) as they could not join the Democratic party in the 1800's as it represented a culture of evil (slavery).

I would argue that the modern Republican party is just as firmly controlled by the corporatists as it was back in the 1800's, and those who are morally conservative and civil libertarian in nature have absolutely nowhere to turn. The Republican party is one where people who are today called "traditional" conservatives must look the other way, and hold their noses in the voting booth, because there is no way to separate the real masters of the Republican party from its anti-conservative and anti-libertarian policies.

In conclusion, it seems silly to use the term neocon. What is really meant is "traditional Republican". And unfortunately, there is no clear way to end the current debacle of dominance over America's government by the corporatists and the atheist communists in the Democratic party. (I am fully aware I just made an assertion about those who control the Democratic party, I don't have time to back it up today. If someone wants to back it up for me and email it to me, I will post it with due credit tomorrow). Lastly, a word on the next presidential election. The corporatists running the Republican party would love to run Condoleeza Rice or Rudy Giuliani against Hillary Clinton. But they haven't figured out how they can do that, and have any hope at all of winning. The fundamental issue facing our country going forward is abortion. Like it or not, that is the most important and divisive issue facing our nation. Running a neocon like Condoleeza or Rudy, while they are pro-abortion, (and without some big fake conversion like George HW Bush had when running against Reagan for the Republican nomination, so he would be acceptable as VP), will fail to turn out enough votes to stop a Hillary or other similarly terrifying Democratic nominee from winning the White House. I suspect the corporatists know this, and I can only imagine the difficulty they are going to have in picking a candidate who will both mobilize the conservative abolitionists responsible for most Republican victories, and still follow unconstitutional, and morally bankrupt corporatist policies.

1 Wikipedia on Neoconservatism_in_the_United_States

2 Dinesh D'Souza on Reagan and the Cold War

3 Where does freedom come from?

4 Wikipedia on Corporatism