Posted by: bridget | 22 May 2007

Musings from a Conservative Feminist

Jay Mathews opines that AP courses are better than honours or college-prep courses in terms of preparing students for the rigour of college and assessing their likelihood of success. His model school: Preuss, in California, that admits exclusively low-income and educationally disadvantaged students. Those students are required to take at least six AP courses (and the exams) to graduate, and all of them earned a passing grade (3 out of 5) on at least one test.

While this pachyderm is all for higher educational standards and adores the idea of public schools that push students to learn at a higher level, she is concerned that Mr. Mathews, in his endorsement of AP courses, forget that many teachers will simply rename their old courses “AP” to game the college admissions system. Many schools on the Challenge Index’s list of top high schools have simply renamed their honours courses “AP” without bothering to ensure that they are actually teaching college-level material. An AP course should be reserved for juniors and seniors, who are the only ones really capable of doing college-level work. Furthermore, there is no way that a high school senior can really handle five college-level courses (especially chemistry, physics, or math, which take the place of year-long college courses); the material is invariably watered down. College admissions officers only see the “AP” designation when evaluating students and do not see their scores, which come out long after admissions decisions are made.

The FDA has approved a new birth control pill (manufactured by Wyeth) that would prevent women from having their periods, ever. Planned Parenthood naturally applauded this decision. The new drug is not without its problems: 18% of women dropped out of the clinical trial because of breakthrough bleeding. This pachyderm wonders why the pharmaceutical was approved if nearly one in five participants dropped out of the study. The article did not mention other side effects or the severity of “breakthrough bleeding,” but this pachyderm is skeptical.

Many doctors prescribe various Pills off-label so that women with endometriosis, severe anemia, or ovarian cysts may avoid their periods, which can be extraordinarily painful and truly debilitating. A new option, designed specifically for this purpose, is certainly welcome for those women, but this pachyderm questions the wisdom in marketing such a drug as an option for women with no medical problems. The long-term effects of these drugs are only beginning to be seen, and this elephant doesn’t like the idea of women being used as guinea pigs.

Gas is at its highest price in this pachyderm’s life. Adjusting for inflation, recent gas prices are at their highest since March of 1981. Katrina has long since passed, so why the high prices?

Instead, industry analysts blame a series of refinery accidents, breakdowns and maintenance closings that have choked off enough gasoline production to drive up prices — and refinery profit margins — just before the summer driving season.

In other words, we are literally paying the price for NIMBYism and environmentalism. Furthermore, many states (such as California) are requiring that “boutique” gasolines be used, that are designed for their particular climate and to lower emissions. The problem is that refineries must make special blends of fuels for each particular region, which increases cost, reduces output, and changes the fungible nature of gasoline.

Maybe we should have invaded Iraq for the oil.

Laura Sessions Stepp reported that, years after the Kinsey Report, Americans are dissatisfied with their sex lives. She complains that there is very little unbiased funding for such surveys, but ignores a 1994 study by University of Chicago researchers. Buried in Ms. Sessions Stepp’s article is this tidbit:

In both surveys, the stronger the emotional connection, the better the sex. This is true from the beginning of a relationship for women, and increasingly true for men as a relationship continues.

Add this to the UChicago study that found that, “The women most likely to achieve orgasm each and every time (32%) are, believe it or not, conservative Protestants.” Wow – those most likely to enjoy sex are in loving, married, religious relationships. No, conservatives aren’t depriving you when they tell you to wait for marriage; they are telling you how to make it good. ;)

Random musing:  the new “pro-choice” rhetoric involves calling pro-lifers “anti-choicers,” because, you know, the choice to kill your child should be respected as much as the choice to buy draperies and not valences.  Is it okay to call them “pro-death” or “anti-life?”  How much is the moral high ground (i.e. playing nice) worth in this debate?


  1. I understand the concept of “better living through chemistry,” but one has to wonder about future problems with that new BC pill.

    “Maybe we should have invaded Iraq for the oil.”


    The anti-choice label is such a cheap trick. Most pro-lifers I know just call pro-choicers what they prefer to be called: pro-choicers. Although one lady I know likes to call Planned Parenthood escorts “deathscorts.” Now there’s a label that fits!

  2. My liberal friends keep telling me we did invade Iraq for the oil, it didn’t seem to work too well but I guess we just have to be patient.

    As for those conservative Protestants. I tell my students God didn’t call certain behaviors sins because he wanted to spoil our fun. In the long run avoiding sin leads to a better and more satisfying life,

  3. I took three AP courses, and that about kicked my butt. One of them was even English, which in my mind is almost a joke anyway. Of course, why shouldn’t AP course be dumbed down with the rest of them? I eked out two fours and a three, but I test really well.

    As a former “off label” BCP patient, I can attest to the breakthrough bleeding. But that was not the worst part- the morning sickness was horrific. Don’t get me wrong, my pain went away, but what a trade-off. Pain for one week each month or vomiting every morning? And I still managed to gain weight!!! Sheesh.

  4. “Maybe we should have invaded Iraq for the oil.”

    Well don’t fret, there is still Iran. ;-).

    “the new “pro-choice” rhetoric involves calling pro-lifers “anti-choicers.”

    I find it almost barbaric and disgusting how pro-abortion advocated can coolly and calmly refer to an unborn child as a choice. A choice similar to which cereal to eat in the morning or which shoes to buy. It smacks of nothing less than pure contempt for human life.

  5. Neil,

    I love “deathscorts.” To me, “pro-choice” and “pro-life” are terms that help to keep the debate civilised, and more importantly, focus on what both sides should be working for. No one wants to see a pregnant woman who is abused by her husband and can’t leave because of the pregnancy; no one wants to see young women whose lives are derailed because of children; what we all want to see is viable options for people facing unplanned pregnancy. One side just doesn’t believe that murder should be a choice.

    Sunday School Teacher,

    Your students are lucky to have you. I’ve always thought that you can get most people to do anything if they think there is a rational reason for it.


    Morning sickness from BC? Wow! That’s the worst I’ve heard (well, a lot of people get depressed), but it makes sense if your body thinks you are pregnant.


    Yep. I hate how pro-abortion advocates act like we want to start telling women that they can’t go to college or study engineering. No, we just don’t think that abortion, rape, robbery, or any other crime is a valid life choice. Sigh.

  6. I personally do not trust this whole idea of eliminating periods. I know what it’s like to suffer monthly: I have severe cramps and have to take heavy painkillers if I don’t want to spend the day fainting and/or vomiting from the pain. But I still would rather go through that and let my body operate as it’s built to operate (distinction: I do not have a debilitating illness that would require major medical treatment or surgery–those women’s cases might be different). It’s just not natural for a woman of childbearing years to monkey with her system like that, and still expect it to perform when she’s ready for it to do so. Maybe it’s my country roots talking, but I just. . .don’t. . .trust it. I’m willing to bet that one day, a link will be found between the increasingly intrusive and meddlesome birth control developed over the past couple decades, and the rising rate of infertility in young women. Of course, nutritional factors and rampant abortion will muddle that link, but still…I bet it’s there. It’s like eliminating bowel movements and then wondering why your colon is all screwed up.

  7. LMAO!

    Babe, I don’t trust it, either. They made me take the Pill to try to diagnose abdominal pain. The depression was horrible: it felt like my dog had just died, every single day. Most of my friends had similar problems.

    Yeah, it’s not “natural” for women to ovulate so much, but there are better solutions: stop feeding your kids hormone-ridden food or work out a bit more (thus extending the time between menses and therefore reducing ovulation). The best was when they gave me an ultrasound a month later and found out that I had a haemorrhaging ovarian cyst that wasn’t there four months prior. Sigh….

    I’m willing to bet that birth control has a lot to do with the number of women on anti-depressents; the fact that heart attacks are either the #1 or #2 killer of women; the incidence of breast cancer; and other weird things that go wrong in our bodies.

    As someone who doesn’t get cramps and has really good iron, it’s hard for me to judge other women who would want to eliminate their periods… but… I don’t see the point in eliminating one’s period, just for it’s own sake. It’s a PITA; I hate bodily fluids and find it to be disguiting; but it’s not something that my body should function without. Yuck.

  8. BTW, thank you for making the distinction between PMS and endometriosis and the like. I just do not understand the desire to remove anything that is deemed “inconvenient.”

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