Behold! Rapture Monday has risen again, just in time for Easter. The Rapture Index accommodates our renewal by bumping the index up one point to 156. The increase comes from category 5, inflation. The note says "Consumer prices sharply declined in November." Seems like that note would auger a decline in the Rapture Index. Sadly, however, we continue to hurtle at a reckless pace toward our ultimate doom.
This is the kind of lede that grabs my attention:
An author says parents may want to consider pulling their children out of public schools once they find out young people are much more likely to be sexually abused at the hands of public school employees than by Roman Catholic priests.
Public schools are mine fields of sexual predators. Apparently:
The journalist, who has a 14-year-old son himself, says the prospect of such problems in public schooling has affected his decision as a parent. "If this happened to my son, it would destroy him. It would devastate him," the managing editor shares. "But that's why my wife and I home school our children."
There's a lot in this world for parents to worry about. Gotta prioritize your fears. Also have to face most of them.
What's this all about? Jon Doughtery covered this in detail -- back in 2004 -- for Newsmax:
Now, on the heels of the Catholic abuse scandal comes another of historic proportions -— one that has the potential to be much greater and far-reaching. According to a draft report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, in compliance with the 2002 "No Child Left Behind" act signed into law by President Bush, between 6 percent and 10 percent of public school children across the country have been sexually abused or harassed by school employees and teachers.
Charol Shakeshaft, the Hofstra University scholar who prepared the report, said the number of abuse cases -- which range from unwanted sexual comments to rape -- could be much higher.
Credit where it's due. Some of the mitigating facts are right there in the story. But this is in Newsmax, so the story is required to get silly:
What is also different about the school cases is the level of secondary media coverage it has -- or, in this case, hasn't -- received.
Yeah. That's the problem. The media just isn't interested in covering sexual relationships between students and teachers. Curiously, Agape ran this story right on the heels of a huge, national story about a teacher having sex with a student.
Let me try to separate what's real from what's fake in this story. You can read the full report for yourself here. This was not an actual study. This report, from 2004, is a synthesis of existing literature. No new information was collected. Old data, typically related to sexual harassment, was repurposed to evaluate "educator sexual misconduct".
A word on two of those three words. "Educator" and "misconduct" are both misleading. Think "educator" means "teacher"? Wrong. "Educator" means any person 18 or older in a school-related relationship with a student. This includes teachers, bus drivers, parent volunteers, and lunch ladies. This report is being discussed in the context of priests sexually abusing children and alongside a teacher having sex with a student. You might think, then, that "misconduct" includes pretty serious stuff. It does. But it also includes 'sexually-related [sic] conversations, jokes, or questions directed at students". Got that? A teacher rapes a 13 year old student. That counts as 1. A lunchroom monitor tells a table of kids to stop playing with their wieners and that counts as 15. You decide which you want to worry about.
Shakeshaft based her 2004 report on her own secondary reanalysis of Hostile Hallways, a study of peer sexual harassment in schools. The focus of the study was on peers, not adults. The focus of the study was on harassment, not sexual misconduct. As Shakeshaft herself writes in section 3.1, "...[T]here is no national U.S. incidence or prevalence study that has examined sexual abuse as its primary purpose...".
We finally get to where the hard data ought to be. Of course, there is no hard data, so Shakeshaft uses "descriptive statistics and frequencies". I'm in no position to criticize her mathematical approach to the issue; it's outside my ken. She does conclude that 9.6% (+/- 4%) of all students face unwanted sexual misconduct and that 4.5 million students "are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade."
That's the headline. That's the focus. 4.5 million child victims. It's a huge national tragedy.
And I'm the poster boy.
How's that now? I was the victim of educator sexual misconduct repeatedly through my school years. It was horrible, but I'm strong. Don't weep for me; I've been tested by fire and proved my mettle.
I'm only the poster child because I'm relatable. These things could happen to anyone. Ms. Hammer understands. There was the teacher who always seemed to be playing with the change in his pocket (hope remains that it really was change). She and Tard Patch agree on two other, actually far more serious incidents from their school. A male teacher who sneaked his peaks down girls' shirts and a female teacher who intentionally showed her peaks to the 8th grade boys. (I also have an illustration of a phenomenon known as "overhead projector humping" which is available via email.)
Conclusions? Educator sexual misconduct is common and should be addressed systematically, professionally, and responsibly. We need to drop the scare tactics and artificially inflated figures so that we can focus on the day-to-day conduct which actually damages kids. We shouldn't create a phantom menace to try to scare kids out of public schools. Likewise, teacher's unions should demand that accusations are handled fairly without going too far to protect teachers who engage in inappropriate conduct.
If you care about children, you should be willing to put the demagoguery aside and seek to address the conduct that really affects our kids.
Agape reports that Fox viewers heard the word "shit" during the Food City 500: "'The FCC was very clear in recent guidelines that were handed down that the two most offensive words in the English vocabulary included one that was used on that broadcast,' Glover says." Really? Shit is the second most offensive word in the English language? That's ridiculous on its face. Amongst the words I think are more offensive than 'shit' are: 'fuck', 'cock', 'cunt', 'asswipe'. And that's just off the top of my head. The AFA wants the FCC to fine Fox.
Molly Ivins won't miss Tom DeLay. The Culture and Family Institute and the Faith and Action center disagree, saying that Tom DeLay was a "very fine Christian". I guess DeLay can take some comfort in the fact that he hasn't broken any of God's laws...though the women of the Northern Marianas Islands might disagree. "'Stand firm,' [DeLay] added. 'Resist evil. Remember that all truth and blessings emanate from our Creator.' He then went with Tan to see a cockfight." I guess there's nothing unChristian about a cockfight.
If Libby Mae's not an Episcopalian yet, she will be soon: "At some Episcopal Church services, hymns are out and U2 is in. The popular Irish rock band's songs blared from speakers at a recent "U2 Eucharist Service" in Providence, Rhode Island, where 130 worshipers were offered fluorescent glow sticks and earplugs."
Olive Tree Ministries wants everyone to pray for the Mayo Clinic and its patients. Not 'cause they do important work or are very sick. They need protection from a grave threat. Think Alien. Think Predator. Think Dick Cheney on a meth binge during quail season. Add that up, multiply it by Darth Vader and you get ... the Dalai Lama. On April 17 "...the Dalai Lama, will be visiting the clinic and speaking on 'practices that encourage a peaceful mind and positive ways to live during difficult times.'" And that's bad, because "'As a matter of fact, he's a Buddhist, and Buddhists don't even believe there's a God.'"
Jambo noted in March the conclusion of a long-term study on the medical efficacy of prayer. The result? No evidence that prayer affects medical outcomes. (Of course, if prayer did demonstrably affect medical outcomes, that would prove the existence of God, deny the faith demanded by God, who would disappear in a blink of logic -- if I remember my Douglas Adams correctly.) Not to be dissuaded, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations focuses on a study from the University of Pittsburgh which asserts that weekly church attendance extends lives. This is probably obvious to everyone reading this, but very sick, very faithful Christians often lose the ability to attend Church. It's not the going to church that matters; it's being healthy enough to go to church that correlates with not dropping dead. I suspect the same methodology would prove that people who attend Packer games every Sunday live longer (in addition to being smarter and better-looking than Bears fans).
Persecution complex results in inability to detect irony. Proof? Here. "The Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle have provided extensive coverage of the student protests involving the illegal immigration issue and the print media's take on it. What has frustrated [talk radio host Rick] Roberts and other talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham is, in their opinion, the unbalanced reporting on the issue." Yep. Talk radio hosts are upset by 'unbalanced reporting'. Roberts goes on to compare La Raza to "other Nazi self-styled race-based organizations". Let me balance that by calling Roberts an onanistic, fallow-minded butthead.
"Thank God for maimed soldiers." Fred Phelps is moving his parading band of proof that evil and stupid mix quite well to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I don't envy the local police who are going to have to protect these shitheads from the fathers and mothers of injured soldiers.
The Bible says Jesus walked on water. Doron Nof of Florida State says it was a sheet of ice just below the surface. I guess if you're named Doron Nof you have to try to find crazy stuff to distract people from the fact your name is Doron Nof.
The AFA boycott of Ford continues. The AFA wants Ford to discontinue benefits for homosexual employees. Some shareholders are now petitioning for Ford to remove "sexual orientation" from its equal employment policy. One of Ford's sins includes scoring 100% on the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index. Toby Keith has gotta be pissed.