Subsidizing Bad Behaviour, And Other Tales Of Irrational Thinking.

It occurred to me after reading this, that groups like the Guttenamacher Institute seem to draw conclusions between minorities and what they call access to women’s health care, (which those of us not trying to pull a fast one know as government subsidised access to birth control and abortion).

abortion rates among racial and ethnic minorities—especially blacks and Hispanics—are directly linked to their higher rates of unintended pregnancy, which in turn reflect pervasive health disparities more generally.

In an August 2008 opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Guttmacher Institute Board Chair Melissa Gilliam said of the high unintended pregnancy and abortion rates among African Americans: “The root causes are manifold: a long history of discrimination; lack of access to high-quality, affordable health care; too few educational and professional opportunities; unequal access to safe, clean neighborhoods; and, for some African Americans, a lingering mistrust of the medical community.”

Here’s the thing. Unwanted pregnancies are the result of individual’s behaviour. Guttenmacher seems to be implying that a civil rights wrong is being committed because unwanted pregnancies are happening disproportionately among minorities. It’s not a reproductive rights argument at all. It’s a behavioural problem.

Instead of addressing the behavioural problem Guttenmacher insists that we subsidize it. According to them, the argument must be something like this: “Pay for us to have birth control or we’re going to overpopulate the less productive segments of society, or worse, we’ll have abortions, which we want you to pay for also!” Note, I am not saying minorities are less productive, it is tax-exempt groups like the Guttenmacher who are doing these studies.

I don’t really know if that’s the logic, or not. But whatever it is, there seems to be a lot of people who buy into the idea that instead of educating people about the consequences of their bad behaviour, we develop multi-billion dollar industries surrounding, and encouraging that bad behaviour.

Buckle Your Seat Belt. It’s Cooler Than You Might Think.

A little background on why I’m writing this:
On June 2, I posted this on twitter.
Last weekend, a couple high school kids were killed, and one seriously injured in car accidents. None were wearing seat belts.

I’ve had my head cracked on the dashboard of a ’68 Camaro once. I had a lap belt on, or it probably would’ve been the windshield. That was before wearing a seat belt was the law. Mom was a ICU/CCU nurse, so she passed on the wisdom of what she’d seen.

When I was 15, I snuck out with Mom’s car, and went and picked up a buddy. There was about 8″ of slushy snow on the roads. I gunned the engine as I rounded a corner, and locked up the brakes as I slid out of control into a tree. Needless to say, I didn’t get the signature I needed to start driving at 16.

I’ve been in a few accidents since then, only one involving a collision, where a woman deliberately hit me in the company truck to get insurance money. I got the ticket, and from then on racked up a lot of speeding tickets, but I never got hit again. I did blow out all of the brake wheel cylinders in my old Pontiac after avoiding a car that slid through an intersection and then backed into traffic, (traffic being me, in this case). Now that I think about it, I did have a ’57 Chevy bumper tag me once, but I try to block the memory of that little bruise to my ego. The point is, I’ve always worn my seat belt, other than the time I took a ride in a buddy’s ’64 Le Mans, which didn’t come with seat belts. I gripped the sides of the seat for pretty much the whole ride. I don’t like the feeling of not being secured to the vehicle.

A good example would be the time I thought it’d be a good idea to protect the bed of a truck by putting down some paper before stacking about 300 pounds of cement bags in the back. I hit the brakes, the paper went on a magic carpet ride, and 300 pounds of cement slammed into the bulkhead of the truck at probably 25-30 mph. Try it some time, you might get a new appreciation for the importance of securing your load.

I’ve got a few friends who fly F-16s, and I kind of think of them sometimes when I’m driving. I guess I have an active imagination. If, for a second, you’re tempted to think that wearing a seatbelt is uncool, I have to wonder, do you think you’re cooler than an F-16 pilot by not wearing one?

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