HIV gel: But will it work with a potpourri sachet?

Monday, April 24th, 2006 · 59 Comments »

It’s Day 2 of Condoms, AIDS, and Sub-Saharan Africa here at the Reclusive Leftist.

Researchers are announcing development of a new vaginal gel that will help women protect themselves from HIV transmission. It sounds great, though the question that immediately comes to mind is: aren’t condoms already more effective than any gel? And then one remembers that in many parts of the world condoms are unavailable (thanks, godbags!) or men refuse to wear them.

Like in sub-Saharan Africa, where there’s hope that the new gel, expected to be available in 2010, will help stem the AIDS epidemic. This AP article is a study in non-information:

In sub-Saharan Africa, home to more than 25 million of the nearly 40 million people infected around the world, women account for nearly 60 percent of infections, with most acquired through heterosexual intercourse. Yet strong taboos still exist on the continent against the use of condoms.

Strong taboos. Why doesn’t the article just come right out and say that African men generally refuse to wear condoms and that African women are so oppressed they have almost no power to control how sex happens?

Another article yesterday, this one from the Chicago Tribune, is even more disingenuous. It describes the results of a new analysis revealing that “the most promising way to stem Africa’s worst AIDS epidemics appears to be encouraging male circumcision and faithfulness to a single partner at a time, not promoting condom use or abstinence.” The article notes that promoting condom use doesn’t work because “regular sex partners” rarely use them. But why don’t they use them? Because — and the article neglects to mention this — men refuse to use them, regardless of what their female partners wish.

As for the faithfulness to one partner bit, this paragraph is priceless:

While studies show southern Africans do not have more sex partners than people in other parts of the world, they appear to be at particular risk for contracting HIV because of a pattern of having several regular sexual partners at a time, rather than one partner after another, Halperin said.

You would think from this that polyamory is the norm among all southern Africans. But actually — and again, the article neglects to mention this — it’s the norm among southern African men.

Why all this obfuscation? Is there some big plot to studiously ignore the fact that sexism exists in the world? Will the universe self-destruct if a reporter actually explains in an article that women in sub-Saharan Africa are degraded and powerless?

Here’s the situation in much of southern Africa:

1. There is enormous oppression of females, so that women have very little power in negotiating or controlling their sexual lives.
2. Men consider it their right to regularly have sex with multiple partners, including prostitutes.
3. Men often insist on “dry sex,” so that women are obliged to stuff their vaginas with dry herbs and even soak themselves in bleach in order to get rid of their natural vaginal lubrication. Dry sex routinely results in vaginal tearing and abrasion, thus rendering women especially susceptible to HIV transmission.

That last is the reason I’m wondering how much good this gel is going to do. Does it work when you sit in a bleach bath before sex? Does it work when you stuff your vagina with herbs, grass, and even sawdust? And since a gel is generally rather slippery, won’t those dry-sex-loving men forbid women to use it?

As every sensible person who’s studied the situation has recognized, the extraordinarily debased position of women in Africa is a prime stumbling block to effective AIDS prevention. Why in the HELL a newspaper reporter can’t come out and say that is beyond me.

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59 Responses to “HIV gel: But will it work with a potpourri sachet?”

  1. Sam says:

    I just read about this somwehere else and it makes me angry with people who think science will save women from men’s abuse without men ever having to change one damn thing about how they treat women. It’s very similar in philosophy to the Build a Better Whore Brigade that will do anything to avoid telling men to change their sexism and atrocious behavior towards females. The United Nations representative on AIDS policies has stated that the problem of AIDS is a problem of “male sexual predatory behaviors” but we as a world have so strongly put sexual health into the Women’s Issues category that men are left out of the solution.

    In the 1980s when AIDS was a Male Issue because gay men were dying of it disproportionately the successful campaigns were about changing male sexual behaviors, but now that it’s back into Women’s Issue territory it is, as usual, about changing women and what they have to do and endure everything men want them to do an endure so men don’t have to give up one speck of sexual entitlement.

    Women don’t spread AIDS, men do, but it’s women who will have chemicalized dumped into their bodies to keep men’s entitlement to AIDS-free fuckholes intact. Judging from the feminist pharmaceutical industry’s runaway successes with scopalomine, thalidomide, and hormone replacement therapy, how can putting biocideal chemicals inside a woman’s most delicate membranous parts before men fuck her in the same selfish, damaging, AIDS-spreading ways they always have possibly go wrong for women’s health?

  2. CR says:

    It’s even way worse than this. The stuff some people believe in Africa to prevent AIDS is not repeatable or writable. Good on you Violet and Sam.

    I’d put it all down to extreme poverty and the dog eat dog behaviour that results from it, ignorance and other things. But I’m not so sure about that. I’m not quite buying it. Anyway, that gel is a lovely thought, but I don’t think it’s going to work. Not right now. But I haven’t any good ideas either. None that would really work. some things that help- but none that really work. It’s going to get alot worse before it gets better in Africa, and when it finally gets better alot of it will be becuase they changed their behaviour on thier own due to fear. They got some strong culture to overcome.

  3. Violet says:

    CR, one myth I’ve read of is that sex with a virgin will purify a man of HIV infection. God help the virgin girls.

    Yes, I could have gone off on a whole tangent on the misinformation and lack of education in Africa, witchcraft, the things that are done to women… it’s impossibly depressing.

    The United Nations representative on AIDS policies has stated that the problem of AIDS is a problem of “male sexual predatory behaviors”

    Yes, Sam, which is why it astonishes me the way these articles are written. The circumlocutions these writers go through to avoid saying that it’s men doing these things…

  4. CR says:

    Oh Violet! If you wrote that some of that stuff, you would have to put a rating on your blog. Make your blood run cold. Anyway, best wishes.Good one.

  5. Paul Tergeist says:

    to 1: Take your “Women don’t spread AIDS, men do” and other sexist bullshit and put it in your delicate membranous part! How DARE you suggest that men are demons and women are fucking angels? I hate that. Why not just suggest instead that Africans are too stupid to be allowed to have sex because they are black! Or maybe all men should just be killed immediately. Would that suit you?

    We have arrived at this moment in time because of a million years of natural selection, NOT because all you lovely maidens have been long-suffering victims of men. I am about tired of this man-bashing.

    To V-
    Dry sex and the “Virgin cure”. How incredibly stupid. However, they are solving the problem themselves by dying of AIDS, which is caused solely by men and by malaria which is only transmitted by female mosquitos.

  6. Paul Tergeist says:

    Men often insist on “dry sex,” so that women are obliged to stuff their vaginas with dry herbs and even soak themselves in bleach in order to get rid of their natural vaginal lubrication. Dry sex routinely results in vaginal tearing and abrasion, thus rendering women especially susceptible to HIV transmission.
    –Violet

    Look, call me naive, but I don’t think it is even POSSIBLE to have sex like that. I don’t want to get into a graphic biological discussion, but SAWDUST? Please! Why would women do something like that? Because the man stands over them and forces them? Please don’t try to tell me that.

  7. Timothy Shortell says:

    I think the claim that sexual norms are fully or even substantially shaped by natural selection is an empirical question that demands support with real data. It is the worst form of sociobiology and evolutionary psychobabble. Natural selection acts on genes. The relationship between genes and behavior is complex, to say the least. As any good biologist will explain, it is genes and environment that shape behavior.

    There is no denying that patriarchy allows sexual norms that privilege men. Our brains are not hard-wired to patriarchy. It is a social system that is supported by belief systems and power relations.

    In this instance, given the dire public health situation, the cultural norms must change. I think that Western writers are often reticent about calling the cultural practices sexist because we have become comfortable with a kind of lazy relativism.

    It is silly to suggest that one culture is better than another, but that doesn’t mean that all aspects of one culture are equivalent to another. The whole idea behind human rights is a commitment to universalism. They apply to everyone, even those living in cultures that don’t respect them. Sexual oppression is one of those features that must be contested directly.

    It is difficult to expect the fundamentalists running the federal government here will make this a priority, but Western governments can put pressure on African states to enforce gender equality. No one has the right to put others at health risks in the name of cultural taboos.

    It is bullshit to suggest that evolution made them do it.

  8. Paul Tergeist says:

    It is bullshit to suggest that evolution made them do it.
    -duh

    Was it bullshit that made men bigger, stronger, Testosterone-laden and aggressive? Or was it evolution? There is some cause and effect here, Professor Einstein. If you tried to rape Xena she’d cut your balls off. Go to a gay bar, pick a fight with a diesel dyke and see what happens to you. It won’t be pretty.

    Here is a biological equivalent: If women were Black Widow spiders none of them would ever be raped or abused. Is this too complicated for you to grasp? I am starting to feel like Maddox in a world of dumbasses.

  9. gordo says:

    Timothy–

    That lazy relativism is mighty convenient, because it allows us to throw up our hands and say that we can’t do anything.

    Paul–

    So, it’s the women who are refusing to wear condoms?

  10. Paul Tergeist says:

    So, it’s the women who are refusing to wear condoms?
    -gordo

    That wasn’t my point. My point was why would women stuff their orifices with sawdust so men would have sex with them? It sounds counterproductive.

    I can think of many things wrong with African and Muslim culture, but their cultures are ancient so they must be doing something right. If women are chattel all over the world, the societies are simply not evolved enough to know better and this blog is ahead of it’s time.

  11. Alon Levy says:

    I can think of many things wrong with African and Muslim culture, but their cultures are ancient so they must be doing something right.

    Not in the moral sense – morality is completely unrelated to a civilization’s success.

  12. Infidel says:

    Not in the moral sense – morality is completely unrelated to a civilization’s success.

    In a moral sense- success is morality
    So a successful civilization(in a moral sense) is moral.

    But I know what you mean. I don’t hold that Christian civilization is moral, but it certainly can be seen as successful.

  13. Alon Levy says:

    As every sensible person who’s studied the situation has recognized, the extraordinarily debased position of women in Africa is a prime stumbling block to effective AIDS prevention. Why in the HELL a newspaper reporter can’t come out and say that is beyond me.

    Because the successful AIDS policies have always been those concentrating on several things at a time – abstinence, condom use, faithfulness, and negotiation. It’s legitimate to ask whether emphasizing just one – in the case of the article, faithfulness – is going to work. It’s also legitimate to look for the policies that are easiest to implement: if a culture is very resistant to condoms via sexism, then it’s possible that it’ll do more good to concentrate on negotiation and faithfulness. You can’t change a sexist culture without a liberal feminist framework, and you can’t have a liberal feminist framework without a modern state; and by the time SSA develops modern states, there won’t be any living people in them.

    Sexism itself isn’t everything: the Middle East is deeply sexist, and the most common method of birth control Arabs use is anal sex, and yet its AIDS infection rates compete with Europe’s for the lowest in the world. In places where AIDS is already endemic, most importantly SSA, empowering women will make a big difference, but it’s different from asserting that it’s the most effective way to curb AIDS.

  14. schemanista says:

    Paul Tergeist: We have arrived at this moment in time because of a million years of natural selection

    Whatever helps you sleep at night honey.

  15. Infidel says:

    negotiation?

  16. Alon Levy says:

    Italics off?

    Negotiation means negotiating sex, so that men don’t just tell women “I want coitus now” and women don’t just say, “Uh, okay” all the time. The main idea, if I’m not mistaken, is that negotiation, which entails having sex less, is more practical than abstinence, which entails not having sex at all.

  17. Infidel says:

    Oh.
    I am glad you picked up my reference. I tried to tag that portion of your comment. You knew? “Italics off?”
    “Italics off?”

  18. Infidel says:

    or
    Italics off?

    THANKS!

  19. Alon Levy says:

    Did you ahve to restore the italics?

  20. Infidel says:

    Oh shit! I’m sooo sorry. I don’t know what I’m doing, or what I did. What do I do now?

  21. Infidel says:

    Gel gets used by a woman at her discretion to combat AIDS.
    The battle against patriarchy is weakened because her fuckhole is being concentrated on as a possible area to defend against AIDS transmission, when a perfectly good prevention exists -applying condoms to fuckpoles.

    I’m not saying it ain’t so. I’m just saying fuckholes, fuckpoles, combating AIDS will be fortified with the addition of gel, won’t it?

    All SSA women take bleach baths and stuff? Is a dry form of the gel available?

  22. Infidel says:

    Is this gels efficacy the same in a man’s anus?

  23. Violet says:

    I fixed the italics.

    In places where AIDS is already endemic, most importantly SSA, empowering women will make a big difference, but it’s different from asserting that it’s the most effective way to curb AIDS.

    I didn’t assert that globally, but I will assert that it’s one of the most effective (if not the most effective) paths to AIDS prevention in SubSaharan Africa. Your mention of AIDS rates in ME is instructive. Basically what Africa needs to do is either:

    1. Replace its current patriarchal culture with a completely different patriarchal culture with different values, sex practices, and preferably purdah to boot, or
    2. Develop gender equality within the matrix of its own culture.

    As difficult as women’s liberation is, I believe #2 is actually easier than #1 — not to mention that it is morally preferable.

  24. Violet says:

    The main idea, if I’m not mistaken, is that negotiation, which entails having sex less, is more practical than abstinence, which entails not having sex at all.

    It also means negotiating how sex happens. Women in SSA don’t have the power or right to insist that men wear condoms.

  25. Alon Levy says:

    Well, so far the countries that have succeeded in reducing AIDS rates haven’t used indirect gender-equality methods, but the direct approaches based on ABC, CNN, NBC, CBS, or Fox (I’m guessing that the Fox solution is to pray that everything will turn out alright).

  26. Violet says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the nations that have successfully reduced AIDs transmission are:

    1. already far more gender-equal than SSA, or
    2. places where extant sex practices aren’t as AIDS-conducive as in SSA and the population is far more educated anyway.

  27. Infidel says:

    The World Bank lists gender equality as third on their Millenium Development Goals and further states this goal is part of all the other eight goals.
    Lip Service? or is this a case of “these men” being on the right track.

  28. Alon Levy says:

    I’m not so sure – to my knowledge, Kenya and Uganda, which have reduced AIDS transmission, are as patriarchal as SSA. I don’t know about their sexual practices, though.

    Lip Service? or is this a case of “these men” being on the right track.

    Depends on who you ask. If you’re a hack, then obviously it’s lip service, because everyone who disagrees with ideologue XYZ must not really care about gender equality. If you’re not, then yes, they definitely care about this.

    Basically what Africa needs to do is either:

    1. Replace its current patriarchal culture with a completely different patriarchal culture with different values, sex practices, and preferably purdah to boot, or
    2. Develop gender equality within the matrix of its own culture.

    As difficult as women’s liberation is, I believe #2 is actually easier than #1 — not to mention that it is morally preferable.

    I should add that in the case of SSA, #1 is probably easier, via mass conversion to Islam, triggered by a hypothetical event like a clash of civilizations in which Islam is seen as the anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist power. But it won’t reduce AIDS infection at all, because when 10% of a country’s population is already infected, using anal sex as birth control will only make things worse. So an increase in women’s status will be more effective, in theory – in practice, the only thing that can be done in the short term is emphasize negotiation and condom use, which is exactly what NGOs do.

    By the way, I should add that I was wrong to say that the Middle East and Europe had the world’s lowest AIDS prevalence rates. East Asia’s rate is lower than both, which leads me to suspect that in the cases of East Asia and the Middle East, the main factors are the lack of contact with SSA, where the disease originated (similar considerations apply to South Asia, although its rate is somewhat higher, which Wikipedia hints is due to more prostitution).

  29. Paul Tergeist says:

    GRRRR!!!! Listen to me, women! You are not equal to men! If you were, you would out raping and watching football and I would be writing this blog!

    Having said that however, it does seem that since you are never going to shut up about it, complete gender equality is the only viable solution. Let us work on attaining that goal in Africa and work up to Spain, Italy and Iran.

  30. CR says:

    I don’t know the right way to say this but Islam is making inroads into SSA since already 40 years because of practical reasons. The agents of Islam act very similar to the old Soviet cominitern. The go into places where they are not of the tribe. They dress sifferently but splendidly. They pull one or two men or sometimes women, but usually men,off to the side and befreind them. They are trustworthy in a place where no one can really trust anyone, they carry thiemselves with a sense of pride and authority in a place where pople are slaves of thier stressful situation. Always they act and speak as if they are of the common people and understand them, but are above it. And this is attractive. They speak to them quietly of equality under the law, of the dignity of man, of order or dicipline in their family. They give a sense of power- of personal power to poor men who feel powerless. and slowly, over the years people convent to Islam. Is this bad? I make no judgements about it. do missionaries offer anything to them that Islamist agents cannot? Not much. Does this help in the reduction of spreading of AIDS. I think, in some ways, Islam does in fact help in reducing AIDS. It probably sounds dumb. And this is so complex that one could fill books with it. And is very hard to say on a blog in a few lines. do I think that converting to Isalm in Africa is the answer to all their problems. No I do not because it only creates new ones. I was just saying how it works in a clumbsy way.

  31. Violet says:

    So an increase in women’s status will be more effective, in theory – in practice, the only thing that can be done in the short term is emphasize negotiation and condom use, which is exactly what NGOs do.

    Encouraging negotiation is in effect increasing women’s status.

    Also, I would note that conversion to Islam is not the same thing as converting to the culture of the Middle East.

  32. Paul Tergeist says:

    Women’s status: Some guy sidles up to you and says “Hiya honey, wanna ride the tiger?”

    Violet says: BAHAHAHAHA! Put that thing back in it’s thimble:

    Alon says: I’m off baby food.

    CR says: Let’s play with my sex toy. It’s cute, innit? I named it Samurai warrior vs baby Godzolla.

    Infidel says: Fuckholes, fuckpoles. How would you like to wear these brass knuckles?

    Timmy Shortell says: It is the worst form of sociobiology and evolutionary psychobabble. Natural selection acts on genes. The relationship between genes and behavior is complex, to say the least. As any good biologist will explain, it is genes and environment that shape behavior. Your place or mine?

    Sam says: Women don’t spread AIDS, men do, but it’s women who will have chemicalized dumped into their bodies to keep men’s entitlement to AIDS-free fuckholes intact. Judging from the feminist pharmaceutical industry’s runaway successes with scopalomine, thalidomide, and hormone replacement therapy, how can putting biocideal chemicals inside a woman’s most delicate membranous parts before men fuck her in the same selfish, damaging, AIDS-spreading ways they always have possibly go wrong for women’s health?

    By this time the guy has jumped out of the nearest window. GEEEEZ, Sam! Put a sock in it!

  33. Violet says:

    Sam sounds pretty smart to me. Timothy too. I’d say more but it’s raining on my satellite dish and there’s no telling how long I’ll be here.

  34. Paul Tergeist says:

    Piffle. They are radicals. Heck, they might even read Marx! I’d say ban them now before it is too late.

  35. Alon Levy says:

    I’ve read Marx. Does it make me a radical?

  36. Violet says:

    I’ve read Marx too, and not only that, I used to be married to a Marxist. I should probably ban myself.

  37. Chris Clarke says:

    Communist.

  38. Timothy Shortell says:

    It’s true, I read Marx. But I’m really more of a Durkheim man.

  39. heather says:

    First of all: 60% of Africans are “Christian”; over 30% are muslim and the rest represent a variety of religions from around the world and indigenous forms of ancestor worship, etc.

    Second: “dry sex” is NOT a common practice, but it has been recorded because the perception (rightly) is that HIV transmission comes from bodily fluids, but as that men are in power, they blame vaginal fluids, not all fluids, and have pushed toward “dry sex.” This is a VERY small phenomenon, however.

    Third: Raping virgins to get rid of your disease. This is a practice that has been documented in East Asia and the Sub-Continent of India as well. In South Africa, where a man raped to death a five month old infant to get hid of his HIV was put on trial and there was talk of re-instating the death penalty for such a henious crime (a notion supported by MANY men). Again, this practice is rare, but it does happen.

    The horrors of sexual crimes and sexual terrorism around the globe are hard to stomach–and in Africa it is particularly heinous. However, it is important to note that in a context such as Africa, one cannot expect the language of Western or developed world Feminism to address the problems adequately. Don’t get me wrong, I am a feminist, but when speaking to women within the culture (as I have done in my work in Anthropology) concepts such as “the patriarchy” and so forth are not as helpful as addressing the immediate concerns of food security, clean water, and firewood.

    The gel may be of help indeed–and thank the Gods for it, or more rightly, secular science–but what is most vital to the African situation is education and economic opportunities created specifically for women and girls, clean water, basic healthcare, food security, and micro-credit programs that are targeted for women. Women are not in 1950′s suburban America in need of consciousness raising–they are in the midst of a pandemic, fueled by poverty, oppression, and neo-corporate colonialism that forces SSA governments to pay more in debt repayment (for debts already repaid in full, except for the mounting interest) than in health, education, and transporation combined.

    peace

  40. Violet says:

    Second: “dry sex” is NOT a common practice

    Heather, are you sure about this? If you’re an Africanist I’ll defer to your greater knowledge, but I’m going by a very in-depth book-length study of sub-Saharan African sexuality I read a few years ago. The dry sex thing is described as extremely widespread and antedates the AIDs epidemic.

  41. Mickle says:

    Paul Tergeist, you are naive

    Re: Kenya’s infection rates, and gender and AIDS in general, a CIA site (now defunct) stated that:

    “Most sexually transmitted HIV/AIDS infection in females occurs either inside marriage or in relationships women believe to be monogamous.”

    “In Kenya and Zambia, data reveal higher rates of infection among young married women (age 15 to 19) than among their sexually active, unmarried (female) peers. These studies found that the rate of HIV infections in husbands was higher than in the boyfriends of sexually active single teenage women. Women in marital relationships were also more frequently exposed to unprotected sex.”

  42. Leo Petr says:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22dry+sex%22+africa indicates that “dry sex” is very prevalent. Alas.

  43. Paul Tergeist says:

    Ok….”dry’ sex and ‘the virgin cure’ are prevalent in Africa. We send them billions of dollars in aid so that a few dictators can live the high life. Can any of you mitigate this or is it merely an excuse to complain about men?

    In Muslim countries women are ‘cut’, murdered for ‘honor’, refused education, and we send them billions of dollars in aid so they can afford explosives with which to kill us. Can any of you mitigate this or is is merely an excuse to complain about men?

    In America the government spends millions of dollars on anti-condom propaganda while recommending abstinence which does not work. The fundamentslist christians who parade in front of abortion clinics are primarily women. WOMEN are primarily pro-life. The US is spending billions or the war on drugs which is a total failure. They choose war instead of national health insurance. They prefer war to paying Social Security. And women carry the swing vote.

    If you think you are helping by buying a hybrid or recycling your plastic bags, you are fooling yourself. It is just like sending fifty cents a day to save a child in Peruvagonia. It’s a scam.

    If ya gotta complain about something, suggest a specific viable solution. Thinks like “more education’ and ‘increased awareness’ are non-solutions. If the Africans KNEW raping a virgin wouldn’t cure their AIDS, they would probably do it anyway. Obviously it has NEVER worked but they still do it.

    In America, WOMEN are homeskooling their little girls to be subservient and have lotsa babies.

    If we cannot influence our own families, what are we trying to do here?

  44. CR says:

    I hate to get invovled in this Violet but I have to second about what the lady was saying. Yo don’t have to listen to me or her. Just saying. And also some nations in SSA are matriarchal in nature. but this doesn’t have any thing to do with anything. Some people write books for whatever reason. It’ not to say they are do not have truth- just sometimes it scued. Scued??? Is that a word? Well yoo know what I meant anyway.

  45. Paul Tergeist says:

    Skewed.

  46. Violet says:

    I just discovered that this post was linked in Salon.

    CR, thousands of people are now looking at your spelling errors. You’re famous!

  47. Violet says:

    Things like “more education’ and ‘increased awareness’ are non-solutions.

    You’re right: nothing has ever changed and nothing will ever change. We should get rid of the universities, abolish science, forget reading — we’ll just all sit in huts and practice witchcraft. And pray to the Sky Fairy.

  48. CR says:

    I don’t know what is Salon. Happy to oblige for entertainment. Please show me if you want to this Salon. I understood what you were trying to say in your blog Violet and I wasn’t going to nitpick. I liked that you were bringing it to people’s attension. A bad problem. Important to say what you were trying to say. As for what that other lady was saying about Africa and it’s issues. I think she meant that Africa has problems that go way beyond things like dry sex and the patriarchy. She was saying that vital education, economic opportunites, basic survival needs and micro credit- preferable separate from the corrupt governments would be the thing to help. Not solve everything, but help a little.

  49. CR says:

    Thank you Paul, skewed. i knew there was some sort of word like that.

  50. CR says:

    Now I’m in the mood. Here’s a thing about Africa- in general. Worse in some places than others. There is a “gentry” class and the middle class is made of foreigners from Lebanon and India and some Africans. and then there’s a huge underclass. A HUGE underclass. This underclass represents some 98 % of the population.
    Also, Africa has wealth which is squandered by this ‘gentry” class. They are the ones in power. Whenever a company or a government likes to give a loan or aid for a good cause, it goes through this “gentry’. It’s given in good faith, but it is not used in good faith. When loans for college are given they send their own to Goergetown or Columbia instead of who it was given for. When a company gives money for a road, they build a little bit of the road just to keep the company off their back and pocket the rest. When loans are given they help their own to splendourous lifestlye while the lights are off in their city and the people suffer. This gentry class steals its peoples money and natural resources. They are a vortex of all money going into their country. If you want to get anything done in Africa you have to do it yourself directly to the people you are trying to help and bypass this gentry class. Who sit in office and wear nice suits and go from here to there in there “luncheon meetings”. “Well we’ll bounce it off this one and bounce it off that one and pass the buck so no one takes responsiblity. And here is a private message to the gentry class ( and you know who you are)- you go to Church and wear too tight Lapi and gossip about this one and that one. Be a hero and go home. Do the right thing. and here’s one private message to one person in particular- Flomo – I heard you and got you. You’re a dangerous nut, but I understood you. Since I’m famous I thought I’d have myself a field day.

    I know, they have medication for what’s ailing me.

  51. Paul Tergeist says:

    From 47: “You’re right: nothing has ever changed and nothing will ever change. We should get rid of the universities, abolish science, forget reading — we’ll just all sit in huts and practice witchcraft. And pray to the Sky Fairy.”

    Pretty much what the present administration and all religious fundamentalism is working toward.

    http://www.uspsychic.com/spellcasting.htm

  52. Mickle says:

    “WOMEN are primarily pro-life.”

    ahem, someone needs to go to logics class

    Just because Mrs. Robinson’s English class has more girls than boys, that doesn’t mean that girls are primarily in Mrs. Robinson’s class. Depending on how many English classes there are total, it could easily be true than an overwhelming majority are not in Mrs. Robinson’s English class.

    I think you meant to say that more women than men are pro-life, in which case you also need to go to statistics class (or you are using different stats that I am, which is always possible).

    According to this pew poll, about the same number of men and women think that abortion should be generally available, slightly more men than women think that it should be more limited, and slightly more women than men think that it should always be illegal.

    So, since the same number of men and women think that abortion should be more limited/generally available, the real difference is in how strongly they support this position. Notice that there was no corrollary to the “abortion should never be legal question.” In fact, the “abortion should be generally available” isn’t even the flip side of “abortion should be more limited.” I strongly suspect that slightly more women than men would have said that “abortion should be more widely available” and that ‘abortion should always be legal.”

  53. gordo says:

    Mickle–

    I wasn’t able to access the link, but I’m surprised by those stats. Maybe the main difference is just what you said: how strongly the positions are held. Given the advantage that pro-choice candidates tend to have with women, I just assumed that women were more likely to be pro-choice.

  54. Paul Tergeist says:

    From 52: “ahem, someone needs to go to logics class”
    -Mickle

    Do tell:
    LOGIC PROBLEM:

    Q. Calculate the percentage of men vs women who get abortions.

    A. Men=0%, women=100%

  55. Violet says:

    Mickle, I can’t get that link to work, but this page may be what you were referencing.

    A goodly percentage of the American population can always be relied on to have their heads firmly up their asses. This is a country where 20-25% of people think the Sun revolves around the Earth.

  56. Paul Tergeist says:

    from 55: A goodly percentage of the American population can always be relied on to have their heads firmly up their asses. This is a country where 20-25% of people think the Sun revolves around the Earth.
    -Vi

    That is impossible. If I thought that were true I would probably commit suicide.

  57. Violet says:

    NSF Science and Technology Indicators 2004

    In this study, 25% of Americans thought the Sun revolved around the Earth. (Other polls have found that 20% think that.) The Europeans actually scored worse on this — 33%!

  58. Violet says:

    Not that I want you to commit suicide.

  59. Paul Tergeist says:

    That study is two years old. I can’t possibly kill myself over old numbers like that.

    But if people are really that stupid I could become a hell of a scam artist.