Nov 24 2007

This I believe………..( Part 1).

Published by at 9:09 pm under Its all about me-My life.

I go back to Korea tomorrow and I am not looking forward to it.  Posting may be intermittent for a few days. I’m behind where I should be because I deliberately let it slip this week. I just did not feel like doing it.

Which,  has gotten me to think about how much I have changed over the last 10 years or so. My values and beliefs are very different than they were in 1992, or for that matter 1982. Some would say I’ve lost my way. You’ll forgive me if I entertain the notion that it’s them that has gone off the tracks. I’ve found my way to a better place. ( This is my story-I’ll write it as I see fit.  🙂  )My only real regret is that it took so long to get here. If I had known 20 years ago what I know now-I’d have more money saved and I’d probably be a lot happier overall. Certainly a lot more women would have known the joy of loving me.

Which is their loss……and mine.

Whenever I am in the states, I try to get to listen to NPR. They used to run a series called “This I believe”. Here in no particular order are things that I believe in. Argue it if you must, but these are mine. You have to get your own. 

1) I believe that the Iraq war was and is a mistake. That no matter what progress may be occurring, no matter how late, what happens in Iraq is not of long term benefit to the United States.  If anything, it has made the middle eastern region less stable,  not more. It may benefit Iraqis-but their interests are not a real concern of mine. I prefer the company of Americans. When it comes to the Middle East-less is more. Furthermore, if people would set down their ideological blinders and actually look at some of the hard facts-Iraq is really not much improved at all. Its still one screwed up place. The fact that it may be less so than a few months ago does not hide the fact that the Iraqis still have a lot fix themselves.

2) I believe that living overseas has been good for me. I have a much better perspective on my own country-plus Asia has a lot to offer that the US still does not. Does not make me less of an American-just a better educated one.  As Rudyard Kipling said, “What can they know of England who only England know?“.

3) I believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and performed a hell of a lot less than it is now.

4) Speaking of unwanted conception-in my perfect world, pregnancy would be the only sexually transmitted disease. There would be no others. Zip, zero, nada.  Sex in my perfect world would be a plentiful,  guilt free, fear free, thing whose only scars may or may not be emotional.

5) And while we are on that subject, American attitudes towards sex are just plain stupid in my personal view.  In a world with available contraception, a wealth of knowledge about human health and psyche, and supposed equality between the sexes-people should be having A LOT more sex, not less. I realize there would have to be huge mental shift to break the psychological chains that monogamy has placed upon us-but as a whole if we made that shift we would be a lot better off.

6) As for gay sex-I do not believe there is any inherent right to be gay. Or to have the rights of married couples. There is a right to privacy however and if you like buggering guys-knock yourself out. Just don’t expect me to understand it. “I’ll never understand how a guy could pass up a woman for another guy’s hairy ass.”-Nope. It just does not compute.

7) Moving on to other areas, it is clear to me that the so called “War on terror” is not a war, nor is it winnable. The root causes of terrorism are the things that need to be attacked and those have not changed since the Middle Ages. Economic inequality and religious, misguided beliefs have to be attacked and changed or made irrelevant. In the current context, Islam is the life blood that sustains the lack of progress in the Middle East. Muhammad has to be exposed as the fraud he was and people have to have other things to worship and idolize-like a decent apartment, a new car, and a good looking woman. In the end the United States will experience the greatest success in the “war on terror” in the areas it expends the least amount of resources, Horn of Africa and the Philippines for example-as well as the ongoing “learn we are not such bad guys” efforts of the United States Navy in Indonesia.

8 ) Marriage is incredibly overrated as an institution. It is too tied up in antiquated ideas about money and sex. Marriage should be more of a “roommate with benefits” arrangement. The idea that one special person is the be all end all of human existence is nuts.

9) I believe that there is no requirement to attack Iran, and that pursuing that course of action is just sheer lunacy.  If change is to come to that country it has to come from within and Akmadinwhat’shisname is doing the best he can to make that implosion happen sooner rather than later. We should let the process play out. The Iranians are not stupid-they know they cannot use a bomb and I don’t believe they want to. They just want the insurance policy. Recent events bolster their point. Pakistan has a bomb-and they don’t get invaded. Neither does India, or North Korea. Iraq did not have a bomb and look what happened to them. Appeals to their better nature therefore tend to confuse them a bit.  Persians are not Arabs-which is probably our greatest hope.

That does not mean that we cannot pressure Iran through Diplomatic, Political, Economic, and Military means. It just means that in the end if we do attack them-it will backfire and produce opposite of the intended effect.

10) I believe that the world is becoming multi-polar and despite our assertions to the contrary the United States is going to have to learn to compete as an equal competitor to rival economic and political blocks. Overwhelming military power or no, other nations have figured out that they can compete on our turf. We either take up the challenge or they will continue to advance at our expense. In 2050 there will be 5 major blocks in the world-maybe six. The Americas, India and the subcontinent, China, the rest of Asia, and Europe.  Russia will have to retake or re-integrate some of the former Soviet block countries before it can play at the table again. The geography dictates that. And at least under Putin they will try. Czarist, Communist , or Capitalist-a Russian always behaves the same way.

11) Jordan is Palestine. There is room for only one state west of the river Jordan and like it or not, that is currently Israel.  In my perfect world,  the region would still be under a British mandate-but then so would most of the Middle East. A separate Palestinian state is just not a viable option. The Arabs had their chance, they gooned it-now they need to assimilate into anyone of 7 other Arab states open to them. If they did, within a generation this would be a non issue.

12) George W. Bush will not be vindicated by history as a great President. Neither will the ideas of the neocons gain wide acceptance. Both will be discredited as bad ideas that should never have seen the light of day. The coming years will highlight the domestic price that the nation has had to pay to execute its vengeance for 9-11;  in increasing economic instability and realizations that the gap between the middle class and filthy rich is growing-and the Middle Class is losing ground.  At best he will be exposed as a Clinton without Clinton’s vices. 

13. English should be the official language of the United States. Speak Spanish? Great, but you have to sign for your paycheck in English pal. America is and was descended from England and is of English tradition. All the diversity bullies can just get over it. Assimilation into an English culture is the only real option for the immigration problem.

14.)  The US military is : 1) Not large enough. 2) Not paid enough and 3) has lost its way in terms of personnel policy. Diversity and social experimentation need to be cast back on the ash heap. Single gender units are better than mixed gender units and its all about combat readiness anyway. If I were the king of the world- the combat exclusion law would be re-imposed tomorrow.

15) India is not the US’s friend.

16) China is the biggest threat to world peace today-because they are militarily strong, have no econmic principles and have hidden instability waiting to come to the surface. It will be interesting to see how long they can keep the lid on. Hu Jintao is every bit as much of a tin horn dictator as anyone on the US enemies list.

17) And for now anyway-I believe I will have another beer!

More at a later date.

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19 responses so far

19 Responses to “This I believe………..( Part 1).”

  1. CDR Salamanderon 25 Nov 2007 at 1:50 am

    Who cares what you think? Hey, I do! Do you care what others think? No, neither do I care what others think. Being that we are not sharing pitcher right now – here is my reply in conversation (your numbers for reference):

    1. Being that we can’t replay history – we can’t say that the Mid-East would be less or more hosed up than it is right now. Though there may have been better ways to do it, the unfinished business of Iraq had to change. I was in the AOR before, during and after 911, I remember. I won’t 20/20 it. It is and we are. I would prefer to walk away from that part of the world, but because of the Tarbaby of Gulf War 1, we couldn’t back-out, and because of our reliance on their oil, we won’t anytime soon. I would love nothing more than to let them work it out among themselves – as I would with most of the world. To do that though, we need to drill in Anwar, off California and Florida (Brazil just found a Norway like find off Rio) -build that windfarm off Nantucket that Kennedy and Romney have been trying to kill, and the one off the Eastern Shore. Put a $.25 tax on each gallon of gas and use those funds to subsidize residential solar. Build more nuclear power plants. If France can get 80% of their energy from nukes – we could at least get 50%. Get that monkey off our back, and we can walk away; mostly.

    2. Ditto. Everyone should take the chance to live overseas. At least 2 years – or a semester in college, something.

    3. Can’t agree with your Clintonian answer. I mostly agree with it, but I also know that a 24wk old fetus is a human being – I know I go fishing with one on a regular basis. Morning after pills? 6 weeks? 12 weeks. Tough to draw the line, but someone has to somewhere. Personally, I would like to see more money and effort going after giving girls more options than aborting – from both sides. Least favorite drinking topic – lets move on.

    4 & 5. Your opinions are contradictory. There is nothing free about free love, mostly due to the disease. HPV has destroyed the fertility of millions. Herpes has severely limited the life options for almost all who have it. HIV is what it is. The other “garden variety” STDs have a huge fertility, health, and social cost. Someone makes a bad call in the back seat of a car in high school or on a beach in Cancun when they are in college and it haunts them the rest of their life. The theory vs. the fact of open field sex are stark in the void between the two. Falling into that void are good people who spend their weekends alone in front of TV and kids who wonder if it was their fault Mom and Dad couldn’t stay together.

    6. Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t care. John and John cannot marry no more than oil and water can mix – have a civil contract though and knock ourself out. Born that way? No more than I was born to find natural redheads and curly headed women a severe distraction. Love you like a brother, but you are what you are – just don’t expect me to hug you for it

    7. Mostly with you here. I also think that “win” is the wrong word for this Religious War. “Risk mitigation” is better. Economics isn’t a major factor. Most of those who have attacked the West are college educated professionals; doctors and engineers. The regular Yousefs out there just want to be left alone to take care of their family. The cure will come through either death or a counter-movement in Islam. Look at the demographics in the radical Muslim world (Yemen, Saudi Arabia, etc) – this problem isn’t going anywhere.

    8. I think we see marriage from different angles. I married my best friend. Money, sex and all that were not even in the calculus. Not to be corny – but losing Mrs. Salamander would being like losing my left arm. Sure, I would live – but I would be incomplete, unbalanced, and even dorkier without her.

    9. Agree. I would prefer to let the Iranians who want to be a modern people (there are a lot) take care of it themselves. Help them – but besides that back off. A conflict with Iran would make Iraq look like Grenada.

    10. You’re close – but by 2050 China will be a grey, declining nation. She will peak about then, just as Japan is peaked a few years ago – though they don’t know it.

    11. Yep.

    12. Too early and close to say anything one way or another about Bush. As for the economy, we are due for a bit of a down cycle (natural – only the magnitude is in question). The housing bubble is just like the IT bubble in the late 90s, run by greed and the hangover will hurt. The big economic challenge will come in 2010. The major reason that we did not have a 80-82 hit after 911 was the tax cuts. They run out in 2010 and if they are not renewed, unlikely at this point, the resulting hit to the economy will be significant.

    13. Yep.

    14. Mostly yep.

    15. They are not our enemy either.

    16. Very true. Not to mention the ecological impact they are having. As their economy becomes stronger and therefor of more importance to the global system – their collapse, which will happen – will bring the rest of the globe with them. PRC devolve into civil war? Wouldn’t be the first time. Millions dead? Try tens of millions. Can we stay out of it? We better.

    17. I’ll have what you’re having – and see if you can get the Dim Sum cart back over here.

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  2. Outlaw Mikeon 25 Nov 2007 at 4:44 am

    Mostly dittos CDR.

    Skippy, I want to hear you hail free sex again when you are sixty and alone in an apartment.

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  3. reddogon 25 Nov 2007 at 6:56 am

    Nobody likes an independent thinker.

    Batten Down. You’re probably in for it.

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  4. Ymarsakaron 25 Nov 2007 at 7:55 am

    Number 7 is based upon the decadence of Western society and sex appeal trumping the efficacy of violence and killing.

    Since I believe violence is more useful, if not more powerful, than the reproductive urge, it diverges on the philosophy.

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  5. Skippy-sanon 25 Nov 2007 at 8:06 am

    “Skippy, I want to hear you hail free sex again when you are sixty and alone in an apartment.”

    I probably will be. If its my apartment, then someone has to explain to me how that is less preferable to someone making you miserable day after day because the have driven you to the wall supressing your dreams……………

    We all end up there anyay…I just enjoy having ownership of my failure.

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  6. Skippy-sanon 25 Nov 2007 at 8:07 am

    Especially if the apartment is in Hua Hin.

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  7. Skippy-sanon 25 Nov 2007 at 8:08 am


    Regarding number 5-that is exactly my point. There should be no STD’s-period.

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  8. CDR Salamanderon 25 Nov 2007 at 8:59 am

    Fair. I misread it first time around. Doesn’t mean I agree with you all the way though. 20 yr old Phib perhaps – now, notsomuch (talk to women about the emotional bit, even French women….)

    Oh, reddog – lighten up Francis.

    Just some dudes talking here …. geeezzzzzz. And Skippy – if you find yourself alone in an appt at 60, drop me a line. I’ll bring beer.

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  9. Therapist1on 25 Nov 2007 at 9:42 am

    Love marriage! I was lucky enough, like Phib to marry my best friend and she rocks. I can understand your point though, and I know why they built the wall. Wow!!! Eastern Europe has hot women!

    6. Skippy, if your quote does not prove it is biological I do not know what does. I do not even like the look of my hairy ass!!!

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  10. Curtison 25 Nov 2007 at 12:43 pm

    Skippy and Phib,

    Imagine the spiral of destruction and despair as the housing market is wiped out and trillions of dollars of real estate is severely reduced by the appraisers and county tax assessors. In California alone the state budget deficit will probably quadruple every year from now on and if not for prop 13 everybody would be wiped out as the state government struggles to ensure that every girl has free access to abortion and every boy has free HIV drugs and to ensure that the teachers continue to get matching pay raises alongside the prison guards.

    In 2010 the situation will become totally unglued when the tax cuts are restored and we stagger into the deepest depression since 1936.

    For those squirrels that like to think ahead you might wonder where the best place is to be for the coming storm, move there and batten down the hatches. You know, emulate the Kennedys.

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  11. Mikeon 25 Nov 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Interesting list…let’s see here…

    1) More or less what the CDR said. I’d love to be able to let them fight it out amongst themselves, but that’s not going to happen at least until we get off the crack known as oil. Nuke power would go a long way towards helping that.

    2) I haven’t been overseas but I definitely want to and know I need to. I’d prefer to do it before I graduate (not sure if that’s going to happen) but you can bet that my dream sheet for first duty station is going to be filled with all the USAF’s overseas duty slots (excepting Korea, of course. I’m not stupid.)

    3) I’ll give my standard libertarian answer…Reverse Roe v. Wade and return it to the states. Other than that I really can’t say I have enough of an opinion about what is right or wrong regarding other people on this issue. I know personally for me I think it’s wrong (13 years of Catholic education weren’t for nothing) but I’m not sure if I can apply that into advocating for a particular policy decision.

    4) Wish it was true. Not sure if it would change much of the American attitude towards sex, but it would sure make things simpler.

    5) Agree agree agree. And hate myself for going to school in Iowa. Even Nebraska would’ve been better, a much more Catholic state, especially the eastern half where most of the population and schools are. The stereotypes about Catholic schoolgirls…yeah, stereotypes always have a basis in truth. See above about 13 years of Catholic education. Iowa, on the other hand, is filled with Protestants, and a bunch of rather fundamentalist Protestants at that. Not all of them are that way, but enough to skew the playing field. But anyway, I understand CDR’s point on women and the emotional bit, but I’ve got to question how much of that is societal and how much of that is hard wired. Only question it because I know quite a few females that have a much more male view regarding sex, enough for me to wonder which factor is at fault, so to speak.

    6) Hairy asses are gross. I could care less, but it’ll always be a mystery to me. And I must say it appears the CDR and I share the same taste in women…must be a great minds thing or something.

    7) Agree 100% on the “soft power” Indonesia/Philippines/HOA thing. It’s a generational war, but there’s going to be no Berlin Wall moment here. But soft power is going to be how we best “mitigate risk,” to use the CDR’s phrasing.

    8) No comment, as I don’t think I’m experienced enough to do so. I will say that I don’t really think marriage is on the horizon for me anytime soon, at least not before I graduate. That’s the way it usually works for most ROTC guys at ISU…it’s too much of a small town kid goes off to school Midwest University for there to be a large percentage of the population willing to pull up the tent stakes and move around every few years for the next 5, 10, or 20+ years of their life. And I’m realistic about how the military impacts any sort of relationship. If someone’s not 100% okay with what I’m going to be doing for a living, that’s going to be a big red flag.

    9) Definitely help them. We need to be doing more in this area…Voice of America and cultural relations type stuff. Soft power, if you will. A military confrontation would be a disaster for all involved. Although sometimes it’s hard when I see their forces blatantly being involved with the deaths of U.S. personnel.

    10) Not sure about China, but the rest sounds about right.

    11) Pretty much. The key phrase is “they had their chance, they gooned it.” The past is the past, and the only way forward what you said.

    12) Too soon to comment one way or the other. I’ll call ’em like I see ’em now, but it’s entirely too soon to comment from a historical perspective.

    13) Quite right. On the topic though, one thing that does annoy me is when I hear people bitch when someone is speaking in a native tongue (usually Spanish, but I’ve heard others…Omaha has a substantial Sudanese population) in some sort of conversation in a public place. It’s one thing to demand everyone speak English when interacting with others, it’s quite another to demand that everyone speak English all the time, even when talking with family or friends. Not that you aren’t right, it’s just that the point of view I’ve witnessed annoys the crap out of me.

    14) More or less agree. Question though…would you expand the combat exclusion law to include people that aren’t in any sort of frontline unit but who may occasionally see combat as a result of the fluid battlefield we fight on today?

    15) What CDR said. We have to be careful going too far in either direction.

    16) The ecology of China’s economy is huge. There was a very good article in Foreign Affairs a few months ago on that very topic, if any of you all are interested in that sort of thing I highly recommend it. The bi-polar nature of their economy and the attached instability that breeds are the focal points. I hope CDR is wrong in his prediction but I can see how he very well might be right.

    17) Had some Guinness draft for the first time the other night (stupid drinking laws…there’s something I could bitch about most of the night) and it was superb. Much better than the bottled stuff.

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  12. cottuson 25 Nov 2007 at 11:27 pm

    No conception of economic/cultural/military “Push Back”, as I call it. Complete lack of understanding of the meaning of sex and demographics. Yup, Skippy, guys like you should have the US broken up and on the historical ash heap in about, say, 2 more generations.

    If the feminists haven’t achieved that dismal end sooner, I will concede – you’re right about that.

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  13. Skippy-sanon 25 Nov 2007 at 11:41 pm


    I’m confused. Just because I want something does not mean it isgoing to happen. That it should happen is quite another matter. I’m not sure what you aredriving at. All I want are things as they should be, not as they are.

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  14. Maggieon 26 Nov 2007 at 1:25 am

    First, as a total aside as I crash this “just some dudes talking” thing. I agree completely with #5 and I did 12 years of Catholic school so while Mike’s comments first made me say “Hey, pal!”…..well, ok.

    Of course I disagree with #1 and I hope you are wrong about #12.

    #8 is one of those things…when it works for you, it is incredibly beautiful. That’s why so many people try, not because of outdated mores or society, but because they have caught a glimpse of one that works. Everyone tries because they want that ideal. They long for it deep in their hearts. But it’s not all that common which is sad. I will most likely be alone at 60 and that’s fine because like you Skippy, I will own it and that’s worth a lot to me.

    Otherwise you are pretty on target.

    I agree most emphatically with the second part of #7. The best thing the US is doing right now is handing out bottled water in Bangladesh. As far as the rest of it, the Phibian expressed my views.

    As far as NPR, they make up a big part of my day. You know you don’t need to be stateside, right? Everything is available online.

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  15. Mikeon 26 Nov 2007 at 3:01 am

    And that’s the other part of Catholic schoolgirls…they always try to deny it. Then they usually end up conceding because they realize it’s quite true.

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  16. Steeljaw Scribeon 26 Nov 2007 at 7:36 am

    Skippy –

    As big a baseball fan as you are and nothing about the DH rule? I’m, well, non-plussed… 😉

    – SJS

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  17. Skippy-sanon 26 Nov 2007 at 6:35 pm

    I was saving that for part 2. However you are correct-in real baseball the pitcher bats.

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  18. Paulon 27 Nov 2007 at 2:36 am

    I’ll weigh in on some of these things:

    1. I agree, however, it is water under the bridge. We are there, we can’t turn back time, the only thing we can do is move forward. Sort of like attacking through an ambush, counter intuitive, but in the long run, it leads to the fewest casualties.
    2. I agree. I spent the better part of 4 years overseas in various Asian places. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. Having seen people living in a garbage dump in the PI gives me a much better appreciation for this country.
    3. I agree in part. I think it is a valid medical procedure when indicated for the health of the woman. I think abortion as a form of birth control is physiologically bad for the human body, it leaves scare tissue and can lead to infertility. I have moral issues with late term abortions in general.
    4 and 5. I think we are too preoccupied with sex in general. It is, after all, just one aspect of adult life. Perhaps if it were more open, available and accepted, everyone could get on with things that are more important.
    6. I don’t really care either way. What people do in their own house is their business.
    7. I agree. The “GWOT” is like the other “wars” on things like poverty, drugs, etc. It is a multi-generational thing which will take time. Shooting islamist terrorists will only create more islamist terrorists. Attacking the root of the problem, the economics, fraudulent religious aspects, human rights ect, etc, will be necessary to “win” this one.
    8. Marriage is not for everyone, but it works for me. I am on my second marriage and I couldn’t be happier. Life is easier with a partner, no doubt about it. I chalk the first one up to being young, naive, and impulsive. I learned a lot and committed to not making the same mistake twice.
    9. I agree. I think the Iranians will, at some point, get sick of what’s his name and become weary of being a world pariah. It will take some concerted effort for them to throw off the yoke placed on them by the mullahs, but it is not impossible.
    10. I agree with the multi polar part. We have more to fear from economic warfare than from bombs and bullets or terrorists. Our economy is based on an assumption that it will continue to grow. Without showing growth, investment in publicly traded companies will shrink, leading to who knows what. We don’t really make anything tangible here anymore, just financial services. For now, it is in everybody’s best interest if the US economy is healthy. At some point that may change.
    Russia has a real population decline problem and may not be able to keep up with everyone else.
    11. Hard headed and stubborn. Nothing will ever please the Palestinians as long as the rest of the world is paying attention to them.
    12. I agree. Bush will be known for ineffective management, botched opportunity, and corporate welfare.
    13. Agree.
    14. Agree. Need a back to basics course. Infantry; boots on the ground is what wins a war. Steel hulls with large caliber guns, missiles, and torpedoes keep sea lanes open, etc, etc.
    15. Don’t know enough to comment.
    16. Agree.
    17. I’ll have a correctly poured black and tan.

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  19. Therapist1on 27 Nov 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Are we back to Catholic girls give it up?? Just kidding Maggie.

    As for #5, there is a reason that the U.S leads the world in purchasing kiddie porn, rape, teenage pregnancy and other sexual violence. We have a system founded on religious piety and morality but ignores the human condition that sex is a biological drive. We need to talk more about responsible sexual practices, not less and teach birth control. Everyone is doing it!! Abstinence does not work, kids just find creative definitions for “sex” like, “It was just a….” or my favorite, “I’m saving that for marriage.” However every other orifice is fair game!! [I just shook my head at those girls] More educated sex is great…teach positions, technique, no means no and that it can be fun but dangerous. Then turn them loose with as much knowledge as they can keep in their over active brains.

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