Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jenna, Alas, Had "Other Priorities" 

Our eloquent colleague Chris Floyd links to a recent post by Esther Kaplan of Talk to Action about the human cost of Mr. Bush's incessant pandering to the anti-science, anti-sex fanatics of the religious right:
Bush has also given control of his much-ballyhooed AIDS initiatives in Africa to these same extremists -- with entirely predictable results. As Kaplan notes, Bush's "base" has transformed Uganda from a glittering success story in the fight against AIDS into a backsliding swamp of rising infection rates -- almost doubling over the past two years. Uganda's former program was centered around widespread condom use and sex education, an effort that reduced HIV rates down from 15 percent to 5 percent by 2001, Kaplan reports. But with the help of Uganda's evangelical President Musaveni, Bush's holy warriors have reversed the program's effectiveness with their monomaniacal focus on "abstinence-only" admonitions as the only holy way to combat aids. They don't want people to have safe sex, so condom use and education are relegated to the back burner; in fact, they don't want them to have sex at all. After all, why should these dusky heathens be allowed any human pleasures? If they do so indulge, then they should die. This is your tax dollars at work.

Bush is now taking this proven failure of a program to the international level, loading the US delegaton to a UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS with extremist Basers and political cronies -- including his former speechwriter, the ever-unctuous Michael Gerson. But that's not all; as Kaplan notes acidly: "Just in case we wondered whether Bush was serious about confronting AIDS, two more names on the delegate list give us a hint: his daughter Barbara Bush and her party playmate Maggie Betts are both listed as "'senior advisors.'"
As long as you are visiting Empire Burlesque, be sure to read Mr. Floyd's entry on James Carroll's new history of the Pentagon, House of War. We did, and to the dismay of our hungry loved ones went racing to the bookstore on a holiday weekend when we should, by all rights, have been stoking the barbecue.

(Also recommended: The Jasons, by Ann Finkbeiner, about which more later. )

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