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The Birth Control of Yesteryear

Article #272 • Written by Alan Bellows

Cyrene coins depicting silphium
Cyrene coins depicting silphium

Approximately 2,600 years ago-- around 630 BCE-- the Greek island of Thera was plagued by drought and overpopulation. According to legend, an assortment of settlers were selected to sail south to establish a colony in more hospitable climes. The men and women apprehensively put to sea, and the gaggle of enterprising Greeks eventually erected the city of Cyrene on Africa's northern tip. There, the settlers encountered a local herb which would ultimately bring them and their progeny fantastic wealth.

The prized plant became such a key pillar of the Cyrenean economy that its likeness was stamped upon many of the city's gold and silver coins. The images often depicted a regal-looking woman sitting in a chair, with one hand touching the herb and her other hand pointing at her genitals. The plant was known as silphium or laserwort, and its heart-shaped fruit purportedly brought the ancient world a highly sought-after freedom: the opportunity to enjoy sex with very little risk of pregnancy.

The silphium plants were giant fennels which grew wild along the dry hillsides of the Mediterranean coast. It didn't take long for the Greek settlers to discover its value as a food source, and the vegetable flesh came to be prized as a delicious garnish, while pleasant perfumes were coaxed from its yellow blossoms. Over time further uses for the wild fennel were found, such as the resin extracted from its stalks and roots which was used to treat cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion, snake bite, "warts in the seat," epilepsy, and a host of other disagreeable ailments. But of all of the plant's virtues, the silphium was certainly most prized for its pregnancy-preventing properties.

As word of the birth-control wonder-herb spread through ancient Europe, Africa, and Asia, a market for the versatile fennel developed rapidly. The seeds became widely used among the world's wealthier nations, including the citizens of ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and India. By some accounts the silphium seed was also a potent aphrodisiac, a property which considerably compounded its perceived value. The Roman bard Catullus famously alluded to its sexual properties in one of his love poems, where he declared that he and his lover would share as many kisses as there were grains of sand on Cyrene's silphium shores. More plainly, "We can make love so long as we have silphium."

A Cyrene coin bearing the image of a silphium seed
A Cyrene coin bearing the image of a silphium seed

Despite the efforts of the Cyreneans and their would-be competitors, the silphium industry stubbornly resisted expansion. Men worked long and hard to propagate the plant, but the notoriously cantankerous laserwort mocked all efforts at cultivation. It refused to sprout anywhere outside of its narrow swath of wild growth along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Though this limitation necessitated strict guidelines to prevent over-harvesting, the natural scarcity served to maintain the herb's high value. Occasional silphium smugglers penetrated the supply chain, but aside from these rare exceptions the royalty of Cyrene maintained a comfortable monopoly on civilization's contraceptives.

For centuries the north African city thrived on its laserwort bounty. The seeds of the fickle fennel came into such high demand that they were eventually worth their weight in silver. The Roman government went so far as to store a cache of the herb in the official treasury. Most of the primitive silver and gold coins from Cyrene were stamped with images of the silphium, some depicting just a single heart-shaped seed. It is thought by many historians that this ancient icon of unfettered lovemaking is the origin of today's ubiquitous "I love you" heart symbol.

Unlike many other medicines of its time, silphium was not thought of as a mere folk remedy; Scholars and doctors of the day openly praised the plant's effectiveness as a contraceptive. Ancient Rome's foremost gynecologist-- a physician named Soranus-- wrote that women should drink the silphium juice with water once a month since "it not only prevents conception but also destroys anything existing." Alternatively, a tuft of wool could be soaked in the juice and inserted into the vagina as a pessary. During laserwort's heyday, Rome's birth rate decreased considerably despite increasing life expectancy, plentiful food, and relatively few wars or epidemics, and some historians cite this as evidence of the herb's effectiveness.

Unfortunately, modern science will probably never determine whether the fennel's extract was really an effective form of parenthood prevention, nor will it measure laserwort's merit as a medicine. By the end of the first century AD, following a fifty year decline in silphium numbers, the Roman historian Pliny the Elder recorded the plant's lamentable extinction. The last remaining stalk of the laserwort was snipped and sent to Emperor Nero as a "curiosity," and thus ended six hundred years of reliable birth control.

A typical fennel plant
A typical fennel plant

The cause of the herb's eradication is uncertain, however the most widely accepted theory is that over-harvesting coupled with livestock grazing caused the silphium population to decline beyond recovery. This trend may have started around 74 BCE when the region was absorbed into a Roman senatorial province. This change gave control of the laserwort crop to a long series of one-year-term governors who were largely motivated by short-term profits. It is also possible that the natural desertification of the region shrank the plant's already diminutive habitat. As an alternative explanation, some botanists have suggested that the ancient giant fennel never truly became extinct, and that the modern Ferula tingitana is the same plant; though this explanation is unlikely considering that tingitana has long grown naturally in many areas where laserwort was unable to germinate.

Science has since examined many of the less-effective herbal contraceptives which were employed in subsequent centuries, such as Queen Anne's Lace and Pennyroyal. Both demonstrated a significant degree of success in preventing or terminating pregnancies in rats. Some relatives of silphium were also subjected to modern laboratory testing, such as the asafetida, which indicated about 40-50% anti-fertility effectiveness; and Ferula jaeschikaena, which was found to be nearly 100% effective when administered within three days of copulation.

The extinction of silphium is now considered to be among humanity's earliest environmental blunders. If laserwort was indeed more effective than the alternatives, then the bygone birth control is certainly deserving of its glowing reputation. Evidence suggests that the natural world allowed women in antiquity to govern their reproductive lives with far more control than commonly realized, and without the need to resort to senseless abstinence. But as mankind is wont to do, the custodians of this scarce commodity eventually surrendered to greed and short-sightedness, overtaxing the renewable resource until it was hopelessly exhausted.

Article written by Alan Bellows, published on 21 May 2007. Alan is the founder/designer/head writer/managing editor of Damn Interesting.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows.
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132 Comments
Thag
Posted 21 May 2007 at 02:39 pm

I was always curious why the icon for the heart is shaped the way it is, as it doesn't look much like a real heart. This has my mental bean arattling that the aforementioned seeds' shape may have something to do with it... So was the fruit heart-shaped or the heart fruit shaped? More lost productivity at work!


absenceofanecho
Posted 21 May 2007 at 02:49 pm

I've wondered if our ancestors had used any birth control.. And now I have an answer!

It's unfortunate that the herb is extinct. A natural contraceptive would be awfully handy nowadays.


Josh
Posted 21 May 2007 at 03:21 pm

I wonder how one determines something like this is an effective birth control mechanism. It seems like the first signs of pregnancy would be so disconnected from usage of the herb that it would be hard to establish a causal relationship. Especially because you don't have any flashing red lights when you're not pregnant. However, it does seem like this herb was used quite a bit for a little of everything, and pregnancy may have been more the rule than the exception in ancient cultures, so perhaps after a few years of nobody getting pregnant, somebody noted the one who was allergic to the plant (or couldn't buy/access it, whatever) also had all the children.


Tink
Posted 21 May 2007 at 03:47 pm

DI! Alan. Where do you find this stuff?

I remember that before the Pill, women had very few choices for birth control. There were condoms and diaphrams ,and women could fashion crude sponges, or douche, but for the most part only "sluts" or prostitutes had access to these things. ( Or soldiers, they were encouraged to use safetys when "abroad". Har-har).

Then there was the good old Lysol douche. Believe it or not, here is an ad for it...NOTE: When I clicked on this link from yahoo search it opened a new window and closed this browser. (?)

http://www.thewvsr.com/lysol.htm

I've heard that secret potions were known by a few old wives, but most women of those days only went that route in desparation.

Same with abortion, it was practicaly unheard of before the sixties, and was only allowed in extreme cases of partial miscarrage, or if one had an amazing amount of money and resources, she could leave the country to get one done. Even then one would be hard pressed to find an actual physician to perform the procedure.

Funny how open or closed minded a society can become with in a few thousand years, or even 30 for that matter!

Thanks again Alan!


thingummy
Posted 21 May 2007 at 04:19 pm

It's sad that humanity as a whole can't seem to hang on to knowledge permanently. Modern man tends to look at societies of the distant past as being primitive or unsophisticated when, in fact, they had much of the same knowledge we have today and lots that has been lost.

We don't seem capable of remembering anything for longer than a few decades unless it's written down for us. And then someone comes along and burns the library and, oh well..


another viewpoint
Posted 21 May 2007 at 04:37 pm

...they must have had a language for communication back then, so-whatever happened to...JUST SAY NO!


SaintMark5
Posted 21 May 2007 at 04:46 pm

absenceofanecho said: It's unfortunate that the herb is extinct. A natural contraceptive would be awfully handy nowadays."

I'd be willing to bet if it hadn't gone instinct and could have been more widely grown, the latex companies would have campaigned against it as a dangerous narcotic which made people into savages and would probably today be illegal like many other natural substances.


Tink
Posted 21 May 2007 at 04:58 pm

SaintMark5 said: "I'd be willing to bet if it hadn't gone extinct and could have been more widely grown, the latex companies would have campaigned against it as a dangerous narcotic which made people into savages and would probably today be illegal like many other natural substances."

Oh yeah; though not necessaraly the latex companies, so much as the major pharmaceutical's. If it could be an OTC for birth control maybe, but you can bet your arse that if it had effects like Viagra then it would not only be legal & prescribed, but sold again to the highest bidders. ( puff,puff............exhale).


struthersneil
Posted 21 May 2007 at 05:06 pm

Makes you wonder--if something like this had been widely available for the last two thousand years, where we would be today? A world population of just a few hundred million, maybe? And where would we be without all those extra thinking minds that have done their part over the years?

Here's to the modern world--product of, and cause of, runaway population growth.


junebee
Posted 21 May 2007 at 05:23 pm

Hot DAMN that was INTERESTING! And educational too.


anti
Posted 21 May 2007 at 06:05 pm

Hah yeah that heart symbol has been bothering me forever....i did come up with one half assed theory about it but im pretty sure it involved meteors and disco....but whatever.... its kind of odd that the symbol has stayed around this long and so few people know where it started at.....


BarryW
Posted 21 May 2007 at 06:25 pm

"without the need to resort to senseless abstinence"

I like you way you framed the practice of abstinence :)


Reaper
Posted 21 May 2007 at 08:13 pm

SaintMark5 said: "I'd be willing to bet if it hadn't gone instinct and could have been more widely grown, the latex companies would have campaigned against it as a dangerous narcotic which made people into savages and would probably today be illegal like many other natural substances."

LIES AND SLANDER! LIES AND SLANDER!

Just kidding :P But I'm really not too sure about that. If anything, it would have halted the progression of other forms of contraception and be in WIDE circulation today. Why put things on, in, or over you when you can just ingest a plant to the same effect? Besides, latex wouldn't even need to compete with it as a contraceptive; its got a nice niche in the STD prevention category.


yu-chan
Posted 21 May 2007 at 08:35 pm

The Native North Americans used to name eachother according to some of their personal traits, such as Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull etc.

I presume that the Greek gynecologist metioned in this article did NOT get his name in the same manner(^o^)


*sigh*
Posted 21 May 2007 at 09:19 pm

SaintMark5 said: "I'd be willing to bet if it hadn't gone instinct and could have been more widely grown, the latex companies would have campaigned against it as a dangerous narcotic which made people into savages and would probably today be illegal like many other natural substances."

I do believe you meant EXTINCT not INSTINCT.

Extinct (Adj) An organizm that has since died out.
Insticnt (N) The inherent disposition of a living organism toward a particular behavior.

And if you are making a case for the legalization of narcotics, the brain becomes chemically dependent uppon them, numbing it to its own neurotransmitters causing severe depression without a constant supply of the narcotic in question. A perfect oporitunity for shady people to take advantage of the weak/feeble minded who are naïve enough to try such things.


Na Und
Posted 21 May 2007 at 11:01 pm

"Rome's foremost gynecologist– a physician named Soranus"...really, that was the guy's name? Must be my adolescent brain, but that strikes me as funny.


Plank
Posted 22 May 2007 at 12:22 am

DI Article Alan! It really is a pity how mankind seems to squander things because of greed.

Does the term "warts in the seat" disturb anybody else. That really freaked me out!

yu-chan said: "The Native North Americans used to name eachother according to some of their personal traits, such as Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull etc.

I presume that the Greek gynecologist metioned in this article did NOT get his name in the same manner(^o^)"

HAHA!! Nice one. I had to scroll back up to the article as I did not even read the name properly the first time.


another viewpoint
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:54 am

BarryW said: ""without the need to resort to senseless abstinence"

I like you way you framed the practice of abstinence :)"

...look at it this way...abstinence makes the heart grow fonder!


Jeffrey93
Posted 22 May 2007 at 04:43 am

"warts in the seat"

Hilarious!

Personally I'm glad we don't have a natural birth control. Some of the women I've been with have a hard enough time remembering to take a pill that is in the same freakin' case everyday. I could just imagine winding up with a girl pregneant, I'd ask "How did this happen? Haven't you been eating the silphium seeds?"

"I try to get the seeds but when I touch the plant my hands get all itchy."

"That's poison ivy you moron!"

"Oh. Anyway, let's think of names for our baby!"

So...excuse me for prefering 'domes and the bitch control patch for women. Actually....nothing is a better birth control than playin' the back nine!


Jeffrey93
Posted 22 May 2007 at 06:30 am

Holy slip! I meant birth not "bit*h". Too early in the morning to be commenting I guess. I can't believe I totally missed that the first time around! My apologies.


Radiatidon
Posted 22 May 2007 at 07:00 am

Interesting read. For centuries womankind has searched for the ultimate birth control with possible disastrous results. For instance a Roman grave yielded a 20 something woman whose mortal remains showed signs of a botched abortion using a stone tool not unlike a spear head, inserted into her pelvic region.

Birth control falls into three different classes; practical, yah right, and downright dangerous.

Women could avoid conception by holding their breath during the man’s orgasm, or immediately jumping backwards (eyes closed facing forward – no peeking or it won’t work) seven times after coitus. They could also try a quick swab of the vagina after intercourse with unused, virgin lamb’s wool.

Packing the vagina with animal dung or using honey, pepper, alum, or lactic acid as a pessaries and/or barrier to the little swimmers.

Centuries ago the women in China would ingest a concoction of lead and mercury, which had the unfortunate consequence of insanity, sterility, or death.

Middle Eastern women would take a sharpened stick, insert it into the vagina, and tying one end to the leg for a night. Though this method did work, it had a tendency to have unfortunate side effects if the user tossed-n-turned during the night.

During the Middle Ages European women would wear the testicles of weasels on their thighs, or wear its amputated foot around their necks during the horizontal rhombi. They also would wear wreaths of herbs, black cat’s livers or bone shards, hare anuses, and even flax lint bound in menstrual blood soaked cloth. It was also believed that walking three times around the spot where a pregnant she-wolf had urinated would scare the unborn child away.

During the last century Canadian women drank dried beaver testicles stewed in a strong alcohol solution. This one sounds more like a guy invention to help loosen up the distressed girl friend for a second round.

Though some of this sounds ridiculous, as recently as the 1990s girls in Australia were using candy bar wrappers as condoms, believing the foil would prevent conception.

For centuries many women were not passing their first menarche (period) until their late teens or early twenties. So sexual antics were not producing unwanted teenage pregnancies. The age dropped to an average of 12-1/2 years-of-age during the 1840s. This change is believed to have occurred due to better nutrition, environmental factors, and genetics. (source – Sanfilippo & Hertweck)


Plank
Posted 22 May 2007 at 07:01 am

bitch control patch for women"

Now wouldn't that be a handy invention :)


Reaper
Posted 22 May 2007 at 08:20 am

*sigh* said: "And if you are making a case for the legalization of narcotics, the brain becomes chemically dependent uppon them, numbing it to its own neurotransmitters causing severe depression without a constant supply of the narcotic in question. A perfect oporitunity for shady people to take advantage of the weak/feeble minded who are naïve enough to try such things."

Some do, some don't. Marijuana has virtually no ill side effects unless you grossly OD on it. Unfortunately, even water is dangerous in large doses. Beyond marijuana, though, I'm pretty sure you're spot on. Most illegal drugs are dangerous/life threatening with any dosage, especially when taken as cocktails as people tend to like to do.

...BUT, back on topic here, that's a very interesting post, Radiatidon! It is always interesting to see how uninformed we were in our savage past...until we look to the present and see vestiges of that behavior. Who in their right mind would try a self abortion in this day and age? These people are even more stupid than the uninformed people of our past because they KNOW how dangerous it is and they have much safer and more effective means at their disposal. Well, in some places they do, I guess. Begin abortion debate....NOW!


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 22 May 2007 at 09:14 am

This would be really handy.

Men could be a little less hand-ey with themselves, lit-orally.
Man cannot live on pie alone.


lip_ring
Posted 22 May 2007 at 09:17 am

Reaper said: "Begin abortion debate….NOW!"

Oh no! You know it'll just go from abortion to religion to evolution, and then we're all screwed.


just_dave
Posted 22 May 2007 at 09:34 am

... "it not only prevents conception but also destroys anything existing."

If that were true, I'd have a tough time believing there were no undesirable side effects. Anything that'd kill a child in the womb can't be all that healthy for the mom.


afteryou
Posted 22 May 2007 at 09:38 am

lip_ring said: " and then we're all screwed."

which leads us back to ....doh


just_dave
Posted 22 May 2007 at 09:47 am

Tink said: "... Same with abortion, it was practicaly unheard of before the sixties, and was only allowed in extreme cases of partial miscarrage, or if one had an amazing amount of money and resources, she could leave the country to get one done. Even then one would be hard pressed to find an actual physician to perform the procedure.

Funny how open or closed minded a society can become with in a few thousand years, or even 30 for that matter!"

So being opposed to abortion is closed minded? Why is killing the unborn even included in a discussion of birth control? I don't mean to sidetrack the conversation, but I've always been amazed that people are able to justify their support of abortion on demand, even when they openly admit that it's the killing of unborn children. Preventing conception is one thing, and fine & dandy as far as I'm concerned; but actively ending a viable pregnancy for the sake of convenience is barbaric.

I'm also amazed that some of the staunchest defenders of abortion "rights" are also the biggest proponents of protecting children. Most people would agree that children should be protected because they are defenseless, but an unborn child is even more so.


davida
Posted 22 May 2007 at 09:55 am

"Awfully Handy"...what a great use of so subtle humor, of course your choice of adverbs should be incentive to modify your technique....


sioleabha
Posted 22 May 2007 at 10:07 am

Not to start the abortion debate, but:

Rome's foremost gynecologist– a physician named Soranus– wrote that women should drink the silphium juice with water once a month since "it not only prevents conception but also destroys anything existing."

If it did "destroy anything existing," could they really know whether the plant ever actually prevented pregnancy? Could silphium have been closer to RU-486 than the Pill?

Radiatidon said: "For instance a Roman grave yielded a 20 something woman whose mortal remains showed signs of a botched abortion using a stone tool not unlike a spear head, inserted into her pelvic region...

Women could avoid conception by holding their breath during the man’s orgasm, or immediately jumping backwards (eyes closed facing forward – no peeking or it won’t work) seven times after coitus. They could also try a quick swab of the vagina after intercourse with unused, virgin lamb’s wool.

Packing the vagina with animal dung or using honey, pepper, alum, or lactic acid as a pessaries and/or barrier to the little swimmers.

Centuries ago the women in China would ingest a concoction of lead and mercury, which had the unfortunate consequence of insanity, sterility, or death.

Middle Eastern women would take a sharpened stick, insert it into the vagina, and tying one end to the leg for a night. Though this method did work, it had a tendency to have unfortunate side effects if the user tossed-n-turned during the night.

During the Middle Ages European women would wear the testicles of weasels on their thighs, or wear its amputated foot around their necks during the horizontal rhombi. They also would wear wreaths of herbs, black cat’s livers or bone shards, hare anuses, and even flax lint bound in menstrual blood soaked cloth. It was also believed that walking three times around the spot where a pregnant she-wolf had urinated would scare the unborn child away.

During the last century Canadian women drank dried beaver testicles stewed in a strong alcohol solution. This one sounds more like a guy invention to help loosen up the distressed girl friend for a second round.

How sad that women would put themselves through so much nonsense just to prevent having children! I also wonder, considering how much of that likely didn't work at all, how many women actually managed to prevent conception and how many simply ended up having as many kids as God or nature dictates and still managed not to spontaneously combust.

Michelle, mom of only 6 kids (but I've heard horror stories from parents of large families with 2 or even 3 kids!)


debbiebf
Posted 22 May 2007 at 11:42 am

In my personal experience, men seem more put out by unwanted pregnancies than women. (My personal favorite is the husband asking "How did THAT happen???")

And is understanding that sex has psychological and emotional components, particularly to women, an example of close-mindedness or open-mindedness? Pregnancy is just ONE of the many consequences of indiscriminate sex.

Getting back to the story, how many herbs and plants are out there today heal and have health values, but humans are scared to take them because the FDA hasn't approved them. But the same people will take any poison that the FDA does approve (and later rescinds). There are a lot of Damn Interesting examples: hoodia, aspartame, stevia, cyclamates, glucosamine, St Johns Wort, food colorings, preservatives, MSG, to name a few. Each is worthy of research on its own merits, FDA or not.

Deb, mother of four (lost one, but would gladly have taken more)


sh0cktopus
Posted 22 May 2007 at 11:57 am

*sigh* said: "I do believe you meant EXTINCT not INSTINCT.


Extinct (Adj) An organizm that has since died out.
Insticnt (N) The inherent disposition of a living organism toward a particular behavior.

And if you are making a case for the legalization of narcotics, the brain becomes chemically dependent uppon them, numbing it to its own neurotransmitters causing severe depression without a constant supply of the narcotic in question. A perfect oporitunity for shady people to take advantage of the weak/feeble minded who are naïve enough to try such things."

I do believe you meant INSTINCT not INSTICNT.
I do believe you meant UPON not UPPON.
I do believe you meant OPPORTUNITY not OPORITUNITY.
And unless you're Polish, you meant ORGANISM not ORGANIZM.

I don't know how you even saw that little splinter with all those planks in your own eye.


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 12:07 pm

1. lol @ the Soranus comments and @ shocktopus' comment

2. really don't feel much like DEBATING abortion, do however want to put in my two cents. I am neither for or against it, in some cases it is justified (rape for instance) where in some cases it is not. I have worked with primary school aged children for a large portion of my life, and in that time I have seen many kids who (as awful as this is to say) may have been better off aborted. Kids who are born into wellfare families and raised by drug addicted parents, kids who are born with FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) due to the mother abusing substances while pregnant, kids brought into abusive families, kids who are forced to sell or transport drugs before they are school aged, 5 year old gang members who are shot in drive-bys. I agree, abortion CAN be seen as killing unborn children, but I also agree that an unborn child before third term does not have a conciousness and is therfore not really a child, blah blah blah. My point is, some kids would be better off not being born than being born into certain situations.


Jeffrey93
Posted 22 May 2007 at 12:16 pm

debbiebf said: "In my personal experience, men seem more put out by unwanted pregnancies than women. (My personal favorite is the husband asking "How did THAT happen???")

And is understanding that sex has psychological and emotional components, particularly to women, an example of close-mindedness or open-mindedness? Pregnancy is just ONE of the many consequences of indiscriminate sex.

Getting back to the story, how many herbs and plants are out there today heal and have health values, but humans are scared to take them because the FDA hasn't approved them. But the same people will take any poison that the FDA does approve (and later rescinds). There are a lot of Damn Interesting examples: hoodia, aspartame, stevia, cyclamates, glucosamine, St Johns Wort, food colorings, preservatives, MSG, to name a few. Each is worthy of research on its own merits, FDA or not.

Deb, mother of four (lost one, but would gladly have taken more)"

Gotta love that Pharmaceuticals industry eh?! They're right up there with the oil tycoons!

sioleabha said: "How sad that women would put themselves through so much nonsense just to prevent having children!"

Sad? It's freaking great!! Population control is very important to the survival of, not only our species but also, our planet! I'd rather women go through all this "nonsense" and not have kids...then have kids when they are 14 and not be able to care for them. How is that fair to the child? I also don't like seeing these places in Africa where there is zero birth control...so people are having 12 children while they watch 9 of them starve to death and another 2 die from the diseases that were passed on during sex and then during delivery.

Yay birth control! If it wasn't for these great tools I'd be...well....too broke paying for my kids to own a computer with internet access to be able to read Damn Interesting articles like this one!


Jeffrey93
Posted 22 May 2007 at 12:20 pm

Dizzee said: "1. lol @ the Soranus comments and @ shocktopus' comment

2. really don't feel much like DEBATING abortion, do however want to put in my two cents. I am neither for or against it, in some cases it is justified (rape for instance) where in some cases it is not. I have worked with primary school aged children for a large portion of my life, and in that time I have seen many kids who (as awful as this is to say) may have been better off aborted. Kids who are born into wellfare families and raised by drug addicted parents, kids who are born with FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) due to the mother abusing substances while pregnant, kids brought into abusive families, kids who are forced to sell or transport drugs before they are school aged, 5 year old gang members who are shot in drive-bys. I agree, abortion CAN be seen as killing unborn children, but I also agree that an unborn child before third term does not have a conciousness and is therfore not really a child, blah blah blah. My point is, some kids would be better off not being born than being born into certain situations."

Amen!! I've seen women that were A) Stupid enough to get pregnant at 16 B) Too stupid to realize abortion is an option and C) Raise their bundle of joy to be much more stupid than they are. This keeps the cycle going. People that can't even take care of themselves are having kids because they see abortion as "wrong". Isn't it wrong to neglect a child? Sometimes giving the child everything they have is still leaving it neglected.
On this topic....I'd prefer adoption...but abortion does far more good than it does harm.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 22 May 2007 at 12:36 pm

Population control is quite effective as a means to relieve the pressure we are putting on society and the environment. Less people means:

-Less Conflict
-Less Urban Sprawl- More Space
-Less Land cleared for Agriculture- More food to go around
-Less Morons (including less of them in power ie. Bush, Harper, Blair)
-Less Children- More room in the Classrooms

This substance would have been an excellent aid to humanity.

Less little bundles of burden-More Lovin'.


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 01:18 pm

Personally, I wish the U.S. government would reinstitute the law that made it legal to require sterilization of children born into third generation welfare...that would prevent about 35% of this country from making babies.

Little factoid - most children in the U.S. today are born to unwed black mothers, second most to illegal hispanic families, less than half the children in the U.S. today are born to financially stable two-parent households.

How sad is that, that this country supports sloth and ignorance by stealing my hard earned money and giving it to below average high school dropouts who got knocked up and will never hold down a decent job in their life, and raise their child to do the same.

My parents divorced when I was 13 and my sister and I were raised by my mother who was a teacher at the time of my high school graduation, she didn't make enough money to support me through college but she made too much money for me to qualify for most grants. I was denied FAFSA grants because my grades in school were too high, my family wasn't on welfare, and I was not a teenage mother.

Yeah, I'm a little bitter.

Good enough to get into any school I wanted, ended up in community college because I was too good for most grants and scholarships.


mestebanez
Posted 22 May 2007 at 01:29 pm

There are a few books on the theme (e.g. History of contraception from antiquity to present ). In fact Greeks had a few contraceptives systems that worked pretty well, but they were a little bit unpleasant and specially not hygienical, like using olive oil. According to the writer, "absolutely effective systems".


sulkykid
Posted 22 May 2007 at 01:35 pm

Dizzee:

1) Factoid: something fictitious or unsubstantiated that is presented as fact.
2) On the one hand, you complain that your tax money goes to others, on the other you also complain that none of this free money was available to you. Do you want more redistribution of wealth, or less?


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 01:55 pm

ummm, sorry about the factoid thing , i just add "oid" to lots of words for no real reason.

I don't want more or less distribution of wealth, I want a fair or earned distribution of wealth, had 20% of my and my mother's taxes not been going toward welfare and social security (gag) I wouldn't have needed federal assistance. I was simply pointing out that where the money is going is foolish and unfair to those of us who work hard to get what we need or want, not just sit back and ask for help. Had I been granted FAFSA I still would have worked to pay the rest of my way, and would have taken advantage of the opportunity I had been given, instead of half-assing my way through school and wasting the money on barely earned C's and D's.

The government is rewarding the undeserving and denying the fruitful.

Even prisoners get cable.

What do I get? A smaller paycheck and longer lines at Wal Mart.


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 01:57 pm

Oh, also

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/factoid

notice definition 2 on the second and third entries.

don't correct me if I'm not wrong =P


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 01:58 pm

and definition 1 on the first entry for that matter.


Secret Ninja
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:06 pm

Nicki the Heinous said: "Population control is quite effective as a means to relieve the pressure we are putting on society and the environment. Less people means:

-Less Conflict

-Less Urban Sprawl- More Space

-Less Land cleared for Agriculture- More food to go around

-Less Morons (including less of them in power ie. Bush, Harper, Blair)

-Less Children- More room in the Classrooms

This substance would have been an excellent aid to humanity.

Less little bundles of burden-More Lovin'."

On a side note, I would like to point out that the majority of people who would vote for those who aren't "morons" such as Bush are in fact the real morons who would vote for leaders in that ass of a party. Why would voters capable of financially supporting themselves not vote for politicians attempting to reform the system to not provide a lifelong system of support to "families" who do not work.

Thats pretty poorly worded, but what it comes down to is that if welfare abusive families who took advantage of government assistance practiced birth control, the Democratic voter base would be largely destroyed in a single generation.

McCain '08


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:21 pm

lol @ secret ninja

thank you for being so objectified and basing your statements on such well grounded facts.

Nader '96


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:23 pm

And btw secret ninja, double and triple negatives aren't not your enemies.


openside
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:28 pm

Dizzee said: "Oh, also

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/factoid

notice definition 2 on the second and third entries.

don't correct me if I'm not wrong =P"

i.e Select the bits that strengthen my argument, and ignore the others. I like your style.

Dizzee said:

ummm, sorry about the factoid thing , i just add "oid" to lots of words for no real reason.

Must be that community college education you were too good for huh?

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bitter
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/twisted

ps. life's a bitch, enjoy.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:33 pm

Secret Ninja said: "On a side note, I would like to point out that the majority of people who would vote for those who aren't "morons" such as Bush are in fact the real morons who would vote for leaders in that ass of a party. Why would voters capable of financially supporting themselves not vote for politicians attempting to reform the system to not provide a lifelong system of support to "families" who do not work.


Thats pretty poorly worded, but what it comes down to is that if welfare abusive families who took advantage of government assistance practiced birth control, the Democratic voter base would be largely destroyed in a single generation.

McCain '08"

Agreed. Excellent.


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:34 pm

I wasn't ignoring the others, but if I'm actually NOT wrong, as in...the dictionary supports my definition of the word, then I'm...well...not wrong, like I said.

No need to belittle my statements or make an ass of yourself.

And I never said I was too good for community college either, just that I could have done better.

p.s. I'm a bitch too, so me and life have lots of fun together ;)


debbiebf
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:34 pm

Since we are so far off the subject, and because it IS fun to devil's advocate from time to time, there is a simpler solution today. Pay anyone who wants it, male or female, $1000 to be sterilized. They get a little tattoo or something they only collect once. How many men AND women who really have no business being parents would go for it? You could possibly set a minimum age. If we spent the money we spend on soldiers paying doctors instead to go to poor countries and sterilize those populations, think of the problems it would solve! Let parents be the ones who really do WANT to be parents. Let the playboys and playgirls have their fun.


Rockadilly
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:37 pm

I thought I saw this once before. http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=749

Dizzee said: "Oh, also

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/factoid

notice definition 2 on the second and third entries.

don't correct me if I'm not wrong =P"

sulkykid said: "Also, the word "factoid" actually means a lie. People misuse this word all of the time."

Radiatidon said: "sulkykid is right on the money. You see Norman Mailer supposedly contrived the term “Factoid” in his book on Marilyn Monroe. He coined the word as “facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper”. He created the word by taking “fact” and adding “-oid” to simulate a word meaning “like a fact”. His definition otherwise was snippets proposed as factual material but with no supporting evidence, otherwise a false bit-of-information to help validate an article or story.

During the latter part of the Twenty Century, CNN used the word to describe small bits of true and valid, but insignificant information. This gave the word a different meaning than what Mailer intended. Steve Wright uses the word quite extensively in his BBC radio show with the CNN version of the definition. Accordingly this change in the meaning can be referred to as a factlet.

A trivial notation, but educational as well. ;)"

Just because some people think Uranus is slang for a personal body part does not make it so. Though misuse of a word like fag, originally a bundle of sticks, became to mean a cancer stick, and finally a derogatory term for someone who prefers their own sex over the other gender, can alter the original meaning.

Then what do I know, my country loves its slang. G’day mate ;)


openside
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:44 pm

Dizzee said: "I wasn't ignoring the others, but if I'm actually NOT wrong, as in…the dictionary supports my definition of the word, then I'm…well…not wrong, like I said.

The dictionary also contradicts itself - so perhaps there was no need to just add "oid" for no reason - unless of course what you had to say was not actually factual.

No need to belittle my statements or make an ass of yourself.

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

-M Jackson

And I never said I was too good for community college either, just that I could have done better.

A bad workman always blames their tools


just_dave
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:46 pm

Good grief; tumbling from ancient Greek contraception to eugenics.

Forcing abortions on those you deem unworthy of living does nothing to alleviate any imagined problem; it only creates more problems. Why not instead work towards getting those unworthy souls unstuck from the counterproductive cycles you say they're stuck in? But no; you'd rather sit on message boards and rant about how unfair things are.

And for those of you who believe population control is an answer to anything, think about this; in the last 100 or so years of "population explosion", has the quality of life on this planet improved or degraded? Most I think would agree that it has improved, in spite of the growing population. We're able to grow far more food to feed far more people for less money on less land. The exceptions to that are the areas ruled by two-bit tyrants who keep people in poverty to keep them controlled. In those places people have more kids to improve their earning potential; population controls are typically rejected because of that.

Remember one thing about deciding who should and shouldn't have kids: There but by the grace of God go you!


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 02:47 pm

Yes and the term gay used to mean cheery. I dare you to walk up to some obviously straight guy and compliment him on what a fine, gay man he is.

Words change meaning, it happens. An accepted meaning is just that...accepted. You people need to get off your high horse and stop acting like you own the English language and therefore you and only you get to decide what words mean.


Dizzee
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:02 pm

openside said: "The dictionary also contradicts itself "

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factoid
http://wsu.edu/~brians/errors/factoid.html
http://www.bartleby.com/64/C003/0120.html
http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/factoid

The English language (not just its dictionary) contradicts itself quite often, doesn't change the fact that i was not wrong, might not have been right but I wasn't wrong.

openside said: "A bad workman always blames their tools"

I'm not exactly sure where you're getting the idea I'm blaming community college for anything? Only thing I'm blaming is the system. Sometimes not getting the things you deserve really isn't your own fault.


openside
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:03 pm

You people need to get off your high horse and stop acting like you own the English language and therefore you and only you get to decide what words mean."

Wow - that college edumacation [sic] really did a number on you.
Do you *ever* listen to yourself?
You *chose* to use a clearly ambiguous word.

I am sorry blacks and hispanics took your money lady - get over it.


ItsMrPants
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:03 pm

I think that this whole conversation between the two of you needs a little bit more gayness. I'm sensing some hate.


openside
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:12 pm

ItsMrPants said: "I think that this whole conversation between the two of you needs a little bit more gayness. I'm sensing some hate."

But, but - she started it...she called me an ass...I just called her literally challenged...and bitter and twisted.

Sorry Dizzee...and everyone else - where's Floj with her pie when we need her?

(see apologising for mistakes is easy)


Thag
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:20 pm

Or maybe some of Alans' silphium for that "warts in the seat" feeling...


Cesium
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:33 pm

Those “warts in the seat” remind me of asteroids in orbit around Uranus. A good nuclear-active silphium suppository could clear those cluttered space lanes quickly.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.


afeeney
Posted 22 May 2007 at 03:51 pm

Tink said: "DI! Alan. Where do you find this stuff?

I remember that before the Pill, women had very few choices for birth control. There were condoms and diaphrams ,and women could fashion crude sponges, or douche, but for the most part only "sluts" or prostitutes had access to these things. ( Or soldiers, they were encouraged to use safetys when "abroad". Har-har).

Thanks again Alan!"

Actually, people knew a lot more about contraception than we give them credit for, and the knowledge was lost when health care became medicalized and prescriptions were how you get medical treatment.

In the Middle East and Africa, for example, not only did women use small round stones as IUDs, but nomads would use them on animals, especially camels, before setting out on a journey, in order to ensure that they wouldn't give birth.

A lot of medicine was sold "for female regularity" during the 17th through the early 20th century. What that really meant was medication that would bring on a period, rather like today's "morning after pill." Of course, the results were mixed, given that you had unscrupulous sellers and even the honest ones couldn't always control the ingredients of herbal/mineral concoctions, but that was just the way that most medicine worked.


Reaper
Posted 22 May 2007 at 05:40 pm

Ooo! So much hate! Semantic arguments aside, I agree with Dizzee's opinions on abortion. So many kids are born into hopeless homes that I can't help but advocate abortions. What is worse? Ending the kid's life before he is consciously aware of it, or letting him live x years in misery -- or worse, letting him make others miserable?

Yeah, it is easy to say that we should pull these people out of the gutter rather than let them kill scores of kids, but there is only so much we can do without disadvantaging people on the up-and-up, and not many of these people particularly want to be pulled out of the gutter anyways. Honestly, I don't know how long it has been this way, but if you want to get an education and pull yourself out of the gutter, there are plenty of not-unreasonable means of doing it. Many people just plain don't want to. If the gutter means enough money for their sauce and drugs, then they're happy. You can't MAKE people become respectable members of society, but you can give them a means of not propagating, and if it means a crowd of vagrants, gang members, and just-plain-assholes are never born, I don't see a big problem with it.


Bewildered
Posted 22 May 2007 at 06:48 pm

With all this mass debating going on, who has time for sex?!


tech42er
Posted 22 May 2007 at 08:18 pm

The heart symbol, the same shape as the silphium seed also appears to be the exact shape of a 3-chambered heart, the kind found in amphibians (quick biology review: fish have 2-chambered hearts, amphibians have 3 chambered hearts, reptiles have incompletely divided 4-chambered hearts, and mammals and birds have completely divided 4-chambered hearts).


tech42er
Posted 22 May 2007 at 08:26 pm

Secret Ninja said: "On a side note, I would like to point out that the majority of people who would vote for those who aren't "morons" such as Bush are in fact the real morons who would vote for leaders in that ass of a party. Why would voters capable of financially supporting themselves not vote for politicians attempting to reform the system to not provide a lifelong system of support to "families" who do not work.

Thats pretty poorly worded, but what it comes down to is that if welfare abusive families who took advantage of government assistance practiced birth control, the Democratic voter base would be largely destroyed in a single generation.

McCain '08"

I think you had too many negatives

Paul '08


ConcernedCitizen
Posted 22 May 2007 at 08:30 pm

Bewildered said: "With all this mass debating going on, who has time for sex?!"

LOL. You wouldn't be a linguist, by any chance?


Plank
Posted 23 May 2007 at 12:22 am

Bewildered said: "With all this mass debating going on, who has time for sex?!"

ConcernedCitizen said: "LOL. You wouldn't be a linguist, by any chance?"

I think you mean a "cunning linguist" :)


Nonemo
Posted 23 May 2007 at 03:50 am

Finally, a viable background to that odd looking heart symbol! It's been nagging at me forever, or at least since last Valentine's day (feels like forever though), since it doesn't really resemble a heart at all. Now, I just have to find the people who decided to call that seed a heart... and I shall slay them.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 23 May 2007 at 07:05 am

Nonemo said: "Finally, a viable background to that odd looking heart symbol! It's been nagging at me forever, or at least since last Valentine's day (feels like forever though), since it doesn't really resemble a heart at all. Now, I just have to find the people who decided to call that seed a heart… and I shall slay them."

Slaying them next Valentine's would be proper retribution, no?


Thag
Posted 23 May 2007 at 08:05 am

For all of the birth control posts... Steven Levitt wrote a book called Freakonomics and made an interesting corrolation between crime rates and abortion. Decent read

From Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legalized_abortion_and_crime_effect.html


lip_ring
Posted 23 May 2007 at 08:48 am

To continue with the eugenics argument - who are we to decide who has children and who doesn't? Sterilization of the unwilling can have disastrous consequences - why can't we just demand that people on welfare take the pill? That isn't permanent, and takes into account the many who go onto welfare and use other public programs temporarily. I work at an office that deals with these people every single day. There are a few that try and gouge/trick the system, but most are grateful and only use our services once or twice. You should see the piles of cards we got last Christmas! I have seen many women come in to my office, complaining about not being able to afford birth control; it seems to be the main reason they have children in the first place. Why would anyone in their right mind decide to have children when they cannot afford it?? The myth of the "welfare queen" was invented by racists and bigots - the cons far outway any pros on this one.

To Dizzee - I am also a college student, however I do get grants from FAFSA. You are completely wrong in assuming that you did not get assistance because of your grades. The FAFSA never looks at your grades, only your & your parents income. Not even your race. Colleges may give assistance because of race, but not the FAFSA. Hell, my college is almost paid for every year and I'm the whitest person I know! There is no reason why a person wouldn't be able to go to college if they want to - if they get good grades, they get scholarships, if they come from a poor background, they get grants/loans. It's simple. The decision is based on your income - if you don't qualify for grants/loans, then you obviously can afford college.


araeo
Posted 23 May 2007 at 09:41 am

I don't want more or less distribution of wealth, I want a fair or earned distribution of wealth, had 20% of my and my mother's taxes not been going toward welfare and social security (gag) I wouldn't have needed federal assistance. I was simply pointing out that where the money is going is foolish and unfair to those of us who work hard to get what we need or want, not just sit back and ask for help."

"Had I been granted FAFSA I still would have worked to pay the rest of my way, and would have taken advantage of the opportunity I had been given, instead of half-assing my way through school and wasting the money on barely earned C's and D's."

First of all, FAFSA has nothing to do with your grades. Second, why is it the government's fault that you were a lazy ass in college? Then you have the balls to throw in that sentence about "working hard to get what you want." I guess you really didn't want to do well then, huh? Great Idea!!! Punish yourself because it's all the government's fault. Maybe you got Cs and Ds because that's all you are capable of. Grow up.

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/hypocrite


EruditeGuy
Posted 23 May 2007 at 06:02 pm

To Dizzee - I am also a college student, however I do get grants from FAFSA. You are completely wrong in assuming that you did not get assistance because of your grades.

This is totally true. There were people that I went to college with who would consistently get C's, D's, and F's every semester, while getting a free ride from the government due to their parents' income.

The decision is based on your income - if you don't qualify for grants/loans, then you obviously can afford college.

This may be true in most situations, but not all. A college student is considered a minor until the age of 24, while attending school in the US. However, there are students who are estranged from their parents and as a result, don't receive any financial support from them (you only qualify in this situation if your parents are dead or in a country with bad diplomatic relations with the US). These kids don't qualify for many grants or loans due to their parents' income. This unfairly heaps the extortive costs for paying for a college education upon the students' shoulders. Not many people are vocationally viable without a college degree (Tello's and Footlocker at the mall just won't cut it).

I was one of these students. I moved out of my parents' home when I was eighteen and hadn't talked to them in years (due to a falling-out over domestic abuse). I went to college when I was 21, but received no financial aid due to my parents' income (the government found out their income even though they never filled out the parent section of the FAFSA form: they refused to do so). Since I didn't qualify, I worked 40 hours a week, while going to school full-time and a half (triple major) at a state school. I also had to take out loans with a third-party lender. I had amassed a huge amount of debt due to this, with high interest rates.

Looking at the debt that I accrued, it appears that I'll be in debt for at least 20 years, even though I am a Software Engineer making decent money now.

Telling people that they don't qualify for loans/grants from FAFSA equates with them being within the financial means of affording college hints at your narrow-mindedness, callousness, and naïveté about the world (don't get me wrong, I miss being young without worries....in that "I'm a college student" mental schema. Trust me, life sucks when you graduate).


Dave Group
Posted 23 May 2007 at 06:06 pm

yu-chan said: "The Native North Americans used to name eachother according to some of their personal traits, such as Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull etc.


I presume that the Greek gynecologist metioned in this article did NOT get his name in the same manner(^o^)"

LOL! That was a joke worthy of Monty Python's Life of Brian!


Dave Group
Posted 23 May 2007 at 06:28 pm

Terrific article. Reading this caused me to run to my library and, sure enough, Willy Ley wrote about this plant in a very brief article collected in his book Willy Ley's For Your Information: On Earth and In the Sky (My Ace paperback edition doesn't give a copyright date, but the 95-cent cover price indicates the early '70s). Your article is much more detailed and informative. Thank you!


Reaper
Posted 23 May 2007 at 07:50 pm

EruditeGuy, I thought to offer a response almost identical to yours regarding the loophole in the FAFSA that looks at parental income regardless of parental willingness to pay for college. In fact, I thought I *did* offer this response, but it seems that I've completely lost my mind, cuz it ain't here!

In short, thanks for the post. Where my response would have been largely speculative, yours was borne of first hand experience, and it has actually cleared up some questions I've been harboring about that kind of situation ;)


HiEv
Posted 23 May 2007 at 10:36 pm

Dizzee said: "Oh, also

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/factoid
notice definition 2 on the second and third entries.

don't correct me if I'm not wrong =P"

openside said: "i.e Select the bits that strengthen my argument, and ignore the others. I like your style.

Must be that community college education you were too good for huh?"

Hey, genius, Dizzee used the word, so Dizzee knows which definition(s) she meant. Of course she gets to pick the appropriate definition(s). The real problem is that you did exactly what you accused her of by ignoring the definitions that fit what she meant, and only paying attention to the ones that fit your argument.

Furthermore, when you use a word it doesn't have to mean every definition it has all at once. Pretending all definitions of a word are equal or interchangeable is a fallacy called equivocation.

Care to tell us what school you went to so we can avoid it? :-P

P.S. You probably shouldn't look up the definition of the word "cleave", your head might explode. ;-)


Jeffrey93
Posted 24 May 2007 at 04:25 am

I was one of these students. I moved out of my parents' home when I was eighteen and hadn't talked to them in years (due to a falling-out over domestic abuse). I went to college when I was 21, but received no financial aid due to my parents' income (the government found out their income even though they never filled out the parent section of the FAFSA form: they refused to do so). Since I didn't qualify, I worked 40 hours a week, while going to school full-time and a half (triple major) at a state school. I also had to take out loans with a third-party lender. I had amassed a huge amount of debt due to this, with high interest rates.

"

It's rarely used...but in Canada you can sue your parents for post-secondary education tuition/expenses. This can only occur if you have continually gone to school since high school and are under the age of 25. I haven't heard of this happening much, but it is part of the law. Not many people want to sue their parents though. But, your parents ARE responsible for your post-secondary eduaction if you are under 25.

I was declined for government assistance for my education since my parents made too much money, it didn't matter that they were unwilling to assist me (in any great deal) with school expenses. They completed the parent section of the assistance application but nowhere on the application was a checkbox asking if they were intending on helping me financially or not.

Anyway...I'll have to read through the comments again to see how we arrived on this lovely subject of tuition costs.


Jeffrey93
Posted 24 May 2007 at 04:54 am

lip_ring said: "To continue with the eugenics argument - who are we to decide who has children and who doesn't? Sterilization of the unwilling can have disastrous consequences - why can't we just demand that people on welfare take the pill? That isn't permanent, and takes into account the many who go onto welfare and use other public programs temporarily. I work at an office that deals with these people every single day. There are a few that try and gouge/trick the system, but most are grateful and only use our services once or twice. You should see the piles of cards we got last Christmas! I have seen many women come in to my office, complaining about not being able to afford birth control; it seems to be the main reason they have children in the first place. Why would anyone in their right mind decide to have children when they cannot afford it?? The myth of the "welfare queen" was invented by racists and bigots - the cons far outway any pros on this one."

The problem is that the idiots that have kids when they shouldn't are far too idiotic to use birth control or any other contraception. This isn't a rational decision that they make, most don't write up a budget and decide if they can afford a child or not. Most go out, get wasted, sleep with somebody and get "caught up in the moment" (I've heard it many times explained that way) and don't bother using any form of birth control.
The suggestion of paying people to get the tubes tied or the snip snip is a fantastic idea. Offer $1000 to anyone willing, this will draw the idiots of society like a magnet! It's the impulsive people that don't have money who are the problematic parents having children when they don't have the sense or financial stability to support a child. Whoever is willing to get 'fixed' for a thousand dollars shouldn't be having kids. It's evidence that they make poor decisions and are so desperate for money (for whatever reason) that children shouldn't be an option to them.

If they get their life together down the road....great. But they probably only did so because they didn't get knocked up or knock somebody else up.

I also believe when putting a child up for adoption the following questions should be asked:
A) Was the child the result of casual sex? (Not in a relationship with your sex partner)
B) Did you use any form of contraceptive?
C) How often do you have sex without using protection?
D) Are you putting the child up for adoption for financial reasons?

Depending on the answers to these questions you are categorized, if anytime in the future Child Services is called regarding you and a child or you attempt to put another child up for adoption these questions will be asked again. If the answers are, again, not showing any responsibility, that's it. You had your chance...you will now be forced to get 'fixed'. If I have children and am continually being visited by Child Services those children will eventually be taken away from me, as they should be. So why not identify these irresponsible parents and, after a few chances, remove their ability to become a parent again in the future? This option is FAR better than taking kids away from their mother when they are eight years old and brutally neglected.


Tink
Posted 24 May 2007 at 05:16 am

Eeewww, what the heck happened here?

I leave the room for an afternoon and come back to see everyone argueing about, what, tuition?! I figgured yall would be in a sling fest over the birth control/abortion debate. lol
Oh well, here's my 22 Cents:
I do believe that if you or your folks are in a tax bracket that affords 20% of your IRS income towards SS, honey you aint hurting for financial support. The fact that you loafed off an education, takeing a class room seat from one who would have appriciated it, kinda dims your pity-me halo, too.
BUT I do understand where your comming from, regarding folks getting freebies and assistance who do not contribute to the Social Sec/income tax or a viable gene pool.
Example, this one, skipped the last year of HS and commenced the life of a domestic goddess. Untill the age of 31 when my beloved passed away.
Now we had been above comfortable financialy, and had paid big taxes,& donated thousands to many chairities, including,Habitat of America, battered womens shelters, etc.
His medical bills and family emptied all the bank accounts and I was suddenly a homeless single mom, with almost no education or working skills to speak of.
When I say homeless, that is exactly what I mean, we lived in a car for 6 months, till the repo guy found us and then we camped by a lake for a spell.
I was not an addict, mentally ill, disabled, or a "disadvantaged" person. This made me ineligible for any type of welfare, other than $14. a month in food stamps. Think I'm kidding? ha!
When I found a job in a nursing home, changing diapers for 3.89 an hour,well, I was earning too much then to get the food stamps! So it didn't take long,for this bright bulb to realise that the "bottom" of the medical totem pole was not my forte', and I headed out to get educated. Snuck into the back door at a GED test, (and passed it without cracking a text book in some 16 years!). Now, my curcumstances changed! In the local community college I found a world of help. Pell grants paid for my first year as an older single mom, and scholorships behind hard working great grades paid the rest. The waiting list to get into LVN classes was three yrs. The last semester I was trying to keep my scholorships active by taking all electives,(I'd taken all the pre-med/pre-nursing classes and had to tread water before a space was open... So now 20 yrs later, I am surrounded by folks who live on SSI, and have bred and created more humans who have no future aside of sucking up special ed. medical resources and SSI for a life time also. And hey the un-fairness of it pisses me off too, but hell, what can you do? Piss-n-moan, waste your life whineing, or grab your boots and keep on walking. Ya gotta have an attitude of gratitude, to get any where in this world, and the sad thing is too many folks don't have one.
As for birth control being expensive, please, you can walk into any planned parenthood clinic and get free condoms, pills or IUD's, fortunatly they don't care if your too poor or too stupid to breed.

Whew, I do think this is my longest post here at DI!, forgive my hogging the page, and thanks for letting me vent.
Oh and special thanks to Radiation and all yall for the supplimentary education on "pre-historic" birthcontrol. Hugs & piece of pie.


debbiebf
Posted 24 May 2007 at 05:42 am

lip_ring said: "To continue with the eugenics argument - who are we to decide who has children and who doesn't? Sterilization of the unwilling can have disastrous consequences - why can't we just demand that people on welfare take the pill? That isn't permanent, and takes into account the many who go onto welfare and use other public programs temporarily. I work at an office that deals with these people every single day. There are a few that try and gouge/trick the system, but most are grateful and only use our services once or twice. You should see the piles of cards we got last Christmas! I have seen many women come in to my office, complaining about not being able to afford birth control; it seems to be the main reason they have children in the first place. Why would anyone in their right mind decide to have children when they cannot afford it?? The myth of the "welfare queen" was invented by racists and bigots - the cons far outway any pros on this one."

LOL. Namecalling! A good measure of maturity and strength of argument. When a ten year old runs out of real things to say, they start the namecalling.

$1000 for VOLUNTEER sterilization falls under the category of CHOICE, not force. I spent five years on Board of Directors of a family homeless shelter. Most of them would have LOVED that choice. But choice is a scary word to liberals.

And they advertise the free clinic birth control in the schools here in Virginia to the 9th graders and up. No income questions, no parents questions, just show up and get free pills and condoms or whatever you want. I took my 15 year old neighbor and she got a huge bag of stuff.

My experience is that poor people would rather complain than take the solutions offered them, especially if the solutions require any effort on their part.

As for college costs, I worked my way through and appreciated it more. My parents refused to fill out the forms. My husband paid for himself all the way to his PhD. Now our four kids (ages 17-23) are working their ways through. Not everyone has to go to an expensive university. And not every smart student gets meaningful scholarships.


Tink
Posted 24 May 2007 at 05:42 am

Oops! Sorry Radiatidon, for mis-typing your handle,am putting on the dunce cap now.


Jeffrey93
Posted 24 May 2007 at 06:09 am

lip_ring said:"Why would anyone in their right mind decide to have children when they cannot afford it??"

I meant to reply to this specifically. They don't DECIDE, it is a result of lack of preventative action. Not a decision to do it, just a lack of a decision to prevent it. This lack of preventative action alone is glaring evidence about the lack of responsibility, poor priorities and basic stupidity. Any of those characteristics are proof enough that they shouldn't be having children. Unplanned pregnancies typically only occur to those who shouldn't be getting pregneant in the first place. Which would be comical if it wasn't so sad.


Dizzee
Posted 24 May 2007 at 06:27 am

Dizzee said: "Had I been granted FAFSA I still would have worked to pay the rest of my way, and would have taken advantage of the opportunity I had been given, instead of half-assing my way through school and wasting the money on barely earned C's and D's. "

Ok wait a second, apparently some people read this differently than what it meant.

What i was saying here is that the people I know PERSONALLY who were given a basically free ride through school from federally funded programs half-assed their way through college, they all made C's and D's and every last one graduated with a 3.0 GPA or lower. I was NOT saying that I half assed and made C's and D's. I paid my own way through community college with about $3,000 total in private scholarships. I graduated with a 3.96 GPA and made one C the entire three years it took to get my bachelor's. I lived on my own the entire time, went to school 6-8 hours a day, worked 8 hours at night and spent 3-4 hours a day doing homework. The community college I went to wasn't technically a junior college, it was a small, cheaper branch of a large state university that did not get as much recognition or prestige. I could not afford to go to an actual university or private college because I was already working 8 hours a day and barely making enough to pay the bills, was not getting any support from anywhere else, and did not qualify for any student loans because my father had illegally used my name on private loans and when he went bankrupt he in turn destroyed my credit rating. I paid every cent of my college education either with scholarships I received from small institutions or families because of my 4.6 high school GPA and graduating top 10 in my class of over 300 or by working a full time job while going to school full time. So I hope that has cleared that up, I was not stating that I half-assed my way, I was stating that everyone I knew did.

And Tink, the reason I pay 20% taxes is because right now I am living with my mother and step father and my step father makes 6 figures a year but spends over half of it supporting his 9 children from his previous marraige, I do not claim any dependants or claim myself on my taxes so I pay out the ass.

Eruditeguy and HiEv, thank you.


Dizzee
Posted 24 May 2007 at 06:28 am

3.69* not 3.96


Jeffrey93
Posted 24 May 2007 at 06:29 am

Dizzee......curiousity here....what'd you get that one 'C' in?


Dizzee
Posted 24 May 2007 at 06:34 am

Art History, took it because it's a passion but slacked off because it was elective, but that same semester I made straight A's in all my business and math courses.


lip_ring
Posted 24 May 2007 at 07:22 am

Jeffrey93 said: "I meant to reply to this specifically. They don't DECIDE, it is a result of lack of preventative action. Not a decision to do it, just a lack of a decision to prevent it. This lack of preventative action alone is glaring evidence about the lack of responsibility, poor priorities and basic stupidity. Any of those characteristics are proof enough that they shouldn't be having children. Unplanned pregnancies typically only occur to those who shouldn't be getting pregneant in the first place. Which would be comical if it wasn't so sad."

Just because we think they shouldn't be having children doesn't mean we should stop them. Having children is just as much of a basic human right as not having children. The most we can do is offer birth control and abortions, the decision is theirs.

debbiebf said: "$1000 for VOLUNTEER sterilization falls under the category of CHOICE, not force. I spent five years on Board of Directors of a family homeless shelter. Most of them would have LOVED that choice. But choice is a scary word to liberals. "

Oh, and I think the idea of offering money to people to be sterilized is great! Sure, I'm liberal, but that doesn't mean I'm scared of choice. Where did that come from?? I was arguing against people who would force people to be sterilized after going on welfare, having too many poor kids, etc. Choice is what it's all about! People would flock to be sterilized for money, and that's just fine, we're not choosing who is having kids or not. If they choose for themselves, wonderful. But we shouldn't force anyone to be sterilized. That's not our choice to make.
Also, you say the people who lived in the shelter would have loved the choice to be sterilized, and you also say that in your area, birth control is free for them. So either they didn't know about the free birth control or they didn't care if they had kids or not.

debbiebf said:"My experience is that poor people would rather complain than take the solutions offered them, especially if the solutions require any effort on their part. "

YOUR experience. Everyone is different. In MY experience, the poor are grateful and rarely stay in poverty on purpose because they're lazy. We offer grants to people, but many insist that they should get loans instead, because they don't want to just be given something when they can pay it back. Just because you've met lazy people who mooch off the system doesn't mean that everyone is like that.


Jeffrey93
Posted 24 May 2007 at 07:42 am

lip_ring said: "Just because we think they shouldn't be having children doesn't mean we should stop them. Having children is just as much of a basic human right as not having children. The most we can do is offer birth control and abortions, the decision is theirs."

What about the basic human rights of the children they are creating? The ones that will live in poverty, the children that will be neglected, the ones that are born to have 4 or 5 siblings that are also neglected....the children of a mother that is only 15 years their elder. What about their basic human rights?
It isn't just all about the mother here.....that child should have the right to be born without being light years behind the eight ball and be forced to raise itself.
I don't like 'forcing' citizens to do anything they don't want to do, but I also don't agree with forcing a child to live in terrible conditions with no suitable parent figure to be found. Any option I've presented doesn't force anyone to do anything, it just doesn't allow them to do something. They aren't being forced to do something they don't want to do, they are being 'fixed' to STOP them from doing something moronic. There is a difference between preventing something from occuring and forcing somebody to do something.
I see single teenage mothers where BOTH mother and child would have been better off if either forced adoption or abortion was carried out. Face it, the people that wind up pregneant in these situations (teenagers, single-unplanned, etc.) aren't the intellectual giants of society, they've proven this by being seemingly unaware of simple products that prevent pregneancy. Therefore, they aren't going to have the intellect to take the appropriate actions once they do become pregneant.


Dizzee
Posted 24 May 2007 at 07:54 am

lip_ring said: "YOUR experience. Everyone is different. In MY experience, the poor are grateful and rarely stay in poverty on purpose because they're lazy. We offer grants to people, but many insist that they should get loans instead, because they don't want to just be given something when they can pay it back. Just because you've met lazy people who mooch off the system doesn't mean that everyone is like that."

Actually, perhaps not EVERYONE in like that, but most are.

"The public is often told that the current welfare system does not promote long-term dependence. This is untrue.

The 4.7 million families currently receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) have already spent, on average, six-and-a-half years on welfare.

When past and estimated future receipt of AFDC are combined, the estimated average length of stay on AFDC, among those families currently receiving benefits, is an astonishing 13 years.

Among the 4.7 million families currently receiving AFDC, over 90 percent will spend over two years on the AFDC caseload. More than three quarters will spend over five years on AFDC. "

http://www.heritage.org/Research/Welfare/BG1063.cfm

So perhaps your experience has been with people who use the Welfare system the way it was originally intended, to help people get back on their feet, but most of America experiences the kind of people Debbie and I are talking about, those who sit on their asses and steal our hard earned money because they are too illiterate and unmotivated to bother getting jobs and instead of the government making them become self-supporting individuals, they babysit them with my money.


Dizzee
Posted 24 May 2007 at 08:20 am

Jeffrey93 said: "What about the basic human rights of the children they are creating? The ones that will live in poverty, the children that will be neglected, the ones that are born to have 4 or 5 siblings that are also neglected….the children of a mother that is only 15 years their elder. What about their basic human rights?

It isn't just all about the mother here…..that child should have the right to be born without being light years behind the eight ball and be forced to raise itself.
I don't like 'forcing' citizens to do anything they don't want to do, but I also don't agree with forcing a child to live in terrible conditions with no suitable parent figure to be found. Any option I've presented doesn't force anyone to do anything, it just doesn't allow them to do something. They aren't being forced to do something they don't want to do, they are being 'fixed' to STOP them from doing something moronic. There is a difference between preventing something from occuring and forcing somebody to do something.
I see single teenage mothers where BOTH mother and child would have been better off if either forced adoption or abortion was carried out. Face it, the people that wind up pregneant in these situations (teenagers, single-unplanned, etc.) aren't the intellectual giants of society, they've proven this by being seemingly unaware of simple products that prevent pregneancy. Therefore, they aren't going to have the intellect to take the appropriate actions once they do become pregneant."

Something Jeff and I finally fully agree on =)

Teenage pregnancy is a huge issue in the states and a HUGE drain on society. I dont feel like typing out all the facts or copying and pasting, but for any of you who think that unwed teenage mothers should be allowed to keep their children, please read some of the facts on this link:

http://www.cfoc.org/UploadedFiles/MarriageWorksUSA/News/TeenageChildbearingandMarriage.doc

I personally believe first or second term required abortion or government provided birth control for women under 25 (which would cost less than the current cost of government aid to teenage mothers) would be best, but adoption runs a close second. Even now, planned parenthood offers birth control without health insurance for just $30 a month. Its not like these mothers don't have any options, they just choose to be ignorant. If you watch enough Maury or Jerry Springer, you can see a disturbing number of 15 year old whores who admit to attempting to get pregnant so they can get on welfare!

I hate to sound all Christian and Bible-y (especially since in this instance its a little hypocritcal of me, since I lost my virginity at 17 lol) but if marraige were not on the decline and pre-marital sex wasn't so glorified, fact of the matter is, the U.S. economy would be in much better shape.

And please don't think that I am bashing all unwed teenage mothers, a select few do a fine job of raising their children, but even they would be better financially if they had waited until they were out of college and married.


Tink
Posted 24 May 2007 at 10:15 am

Dizzee said: "Ok wait a second, apparently some people read this differently than what it meant.


And Tink, the reason I pay 20% taxes is because right now I am living with my mother and step father and my step father makes 6 figures a year but spends over half of it supporting his 9 children from his previous marraige, I do not claim any dependants or claim myself on my taxes so I pay out the ass.

Eruditeguy and HiEv, thank you."

Ah ha! This does make your post more understandable. Kudus to you dear, and thank you for explaining what happened to you. I do understand how one can appear to be doing well, yet because of things beyond our control, have a hard time staying out of the red. I do hope you find some legal recourse against your Dad, he should be in jail.
Best wishes to you for escapeing the curse of a toxic parent. :-)


Dizzee
Posted 24 May 2007 at 10:42 am

After years of work I have finally resolved my credit issues and now have outstanding credit thanks to my mother's help. My dad isn't a bad guy, he just made some mistakes and now can't rent or lease anything without like 50% interest, but of course 5 years ago I was in financial hell (part of the reason I got an accounting degree!). I'm glad I could make it more clear, and apologize for being confusing in the first place.


debbiebf
Posted 24 May 2007 at 02:47 pm

lip_ring said: "Also, you say the people who lived in the shelter would have loved the choice to be sterilized, and you also say that in your area, birth control is free for them. So either they didn't know about the free birth control or they didn't care if they had kids or not."

Only the nuns don't know about the free birth control.

Perhaps they were 'caught up in the moment' as described in other posts.

Abortions DO have psychological consequences to the mother. Plus health risks since abortion clinics have less stringent standards than the SPCA.And many women feel that the sin of abortion is worse than the sin of fornication.

In addition, birth control often fails. Condoms used correctly have a 11% per year failure rate, the pill has a 1-2% failure rate IF taken correctly. But it is easy to miss one.

Some women look at the fact that the government does pay them to have more children. Or they "just want someone to love them." This is a very common reason for teenagers to have children.

The fact is, the majority of poor people are poor for a reason that IS in their control. They chose to drop out of school, take drugs, drink alcohol excessively, be obnoxious so they can't hold a job, think they are above the jobs they find, not willing to work, not willing to look for a job, eat out a lot, have no cooking skills, insist on designer clothes (and even designer diapers), refuse to nurse, have children they can't afford, or have wasteful spending habits. These are all their bad CHOICES. My homeless shelter worked to teach them to accept responsibilities for what made them homeless and overcome them. We provided job and career counseling, financial counseling, as well as guidance on how to find the right job, get the job and keep the job. Many refused to come if we were going to "make them work" or wouldn't let them have their drugs or other vices. Many tore up the place, beat their kids, and even burned it down. Many were violent. We had a tough questionnaire to get in, and kicked about half out for not following the rules. But the ones who stayed and cared and learned about their personal stake in their future were able to get out with housing, savings, and good employment.

We found that pity, excuses and money were the WORST things we could give them to get them out of their mess. The kick in the butt approach is far more effective, and they have thanked us for it. Statistically we had one of the highest success rates in the nation.

And putting the plug on more children for these clients is the responsible thing to do. The $1000 for sterilization would help with the deposits on their new apartment, and the knowledge of no more would help them pay more attention to the ones they have and get long-term meaningful employment.

lip_ring said: "YOUR experience. Everyone is different. In MY experience, the poor are grateful and rarely stay in poverty on purpose because they're lazy. "

Your experience is so radically different from mine, from statistics, and from non-Hollywood reality that I beg to ask what kind of organization you represent and how long you have done it?


Silverhill
Posted 24 May 2007 at 03:56 pm

Jeffrey93 said: "The problem is that the idiots that have kids when they shouldn't are far too idiotic to use birth control or any other contraception."

This reminds me of my brother's acerbic witticism: "The reason that so many people are fucking idiots is that so many people are fucking idiots!"

debbiebf said: "My homeless shelter worked to teach them to accept responsibilities for what made them homeless and overcome them. We provided job and career counseling, financial counseling, as well as guidance on how to find the right job, get the job and keep the job. Many refused to come if we were going to "make them work" or wouldn't let them have their drugs or other vices. Many tore up the place, beat their kids, and even burned it down. Many were violent. We had a tough questionnaire to get in, and kicked about half out for not following the rules. But the ones who stayed and cared and learned about their personal stake in their future were able to get out with housing, savings, and good employment."

Major kudos to you, debbiebf, and your colleagues! (You used the past tense, though--is the shelter no longer operating, or are you just no longer there yourself?)


Tink
Posted 24 May 2007 at 05:05 pm

debbiebf said: "...Some women look at the fact that the government does pay them to have more children. Or they "just want someone to love them." This is a very common reason for teenagers to have children.

...The fact is, the majority of poor people are poor for a reason that IS in their control. They chose to drop out of school, take drugs, drink alcohol excessively, be obnoxious so they can't hold a job, think they are above the jobs they find, not willing to work, not willing to look for a job, eat out a lot, have no cooking skills, insist on designer clothes (and even designer diapers), refuse to nurse, have children they can't afford, or have wasteful spending habits. These are all their bad CHOICES. My homeless shelter worked to teach them to accept responsibilities for what made them homeless and overcome them. ..Many refused to come if we were going to "make them work" or wouldn't let them have their drugs or other vices. Many tore up the place, beat their kids, and even burned it down. Many were violent. We had a tough questionnaire to get in, and kicked about half out for not following the rules...
We found that pity, excuses and money were the WORST things we could give them to get them out of their mess. The kick in the butt approach is far more effective, and they have thanked us for it. Statistically we had one of the highest success rates in the nation.

Your experience is so radically different from mine, from statistics, and from non-Hollywood reality that I beg to ask what kind of organization you represent and how long you have done it?"

I agree with you completly! Having seen all this from personal experiance on a daily basis.

Granted a few of my residents are mentally challanged to the point that they are like children, but the majority have been so "spoilt" by the health care system and moddel-coddeling by family or health care professionals that they have no incentive to do any thing but stay stoned on prescribed meds and entertain themselves in any way that they choose.

Because SSI is a pittiance most dont have enough cash to party or shop so they find other ways to get their kicks on. Some examples are just as you described above.
After being asked one afternoon to mow a 8x8'
patch of grass down in the back yard one afternoon, I was informed that "The goverment pays me not to work!"

Too lazy to make their beds in the morning or walk outside to smoke, (I know of at least 2 homes that have been burned down and housemates killed in those fires) most of the guys lay about in bed all day and jack off, or go trade their meds for weed, or worse.

Have had to throw out all kinds of furniture that was donated to us because it is destroyed in three months, either torn to shreds, busted up in a fit of pique, or literally pissed or shat upon. Replaced three a/c units last year cause the lines were cut and the freon sucked out of them.
Linens are used for TP, or shredded into rags, cause the gals refuse to buy napkins, or do not want to do the household (other peoples) laundry. Silver ware is tossed in the trash along with paper plates. Cant keep or serve on pyrex or china cause that all gets dropped and busted when I ask for some help with the dishes.

My electrict and water bills would shock any one with good sense, because the idea of keeping a door or window shut is un-fathomable to one who has never paid a utillity bill.
Got a paranoia about bugs or dirt? Well then take four, hour long baths a day and wash every stitch of clothing you own, every day, with a full washer load of water, and double heaping of detergent...
Dont like the veges or salads in the balanced meals I serve, throw it out to the dog and spend your allowance on cookies, chips, colas and cigs.
Then sneak into the fridge and pantry at night after lights out and munch on what ever you see that hits your fancy, be it a 303 size can of pudding, chugging strait from a household gallon of milk, or a restaurant size jug of peanut butter and a half loaf of bread. Just throw out what you dont finish or leave your spit covered spoon buried it to spoil and then go outside and puke up what you did eat, 'cause you dont want to get fat.
Then complain to the caseworkers about being hungry all the time 'cause mean ol' "Tink" won't serve your lazy ass, peaches, bananas, or ice cream n cake more than four times a week.
$500. a month is all I charge for room and board.
They expect that to be all inclusive, with maid service, transportation, entertainment, counseling and 24-7 assistance for the crisis dou jour created by stupid behavior.

Yeah I do believe that abortion is a great idea and sterilization should be encourged. Go ahead and call me a natzi, cause frankly my dear, I don't give a sh*t any more.

(Just kidding about not giving a s tonight, am tired and in need of some serious "Tink" time. LOL "sigh"


Reaper
Posted 24 May 2007 at 05:35 pm

Firstly, WOO! Got mah DI magnet! *sticks it on his metal desk which he just so happened to have procured not 3 days ago*

Secondly, Tink and debbie are better people than me. I have zero tolerance for people like that. It may be because my only experience with the "loser" types are the chemically unbalanced ones (usually bipolar, schizophrenic, etc) who readily admit that they need this, that, and the other -- hell, even obtain this, that, and the other -- and STILL fall back into old habits for no damned reason.

Well, that's not entirely true. My parents could reasonably be considered poor. My dad worked as a contractor well above and beyond full time, but his clients were often unable to pay him and he didn't have the heart to make them pay. So what did he do? He went to college (racked up a good deal of debt), got a BA majoring in a Physical Therapy program (with a brief stint of cancer right before graduating), and almost immediately got a VERY good job. Believe me. If you don't know what you want to do but want to make a lot of money, just do ANYTHING regarding medicine. You'll be upper-middle class in no time.

But I digress. My parents were in the quintessential bad situation -- 2 kids, no college education, not all that much family assistance -- and they pulled themselves out without all that much trouble along the way with no assistance from the government (aside from SSI to pay for cancer treatment). I've no sympathy for people who say they can't do it. They can...they just won't.


debbiebf
Posted 24 May 2007 at 05:46 pm

I served on the Board of Directors of the Shelter for five years (20 apartments, families only), then had to quit because my husband feared for me and our four children. My credit card was stolen and someone did a lot of damage to us. Although it was eventually straightened out (without anyone being caught), it was a time-consuming stressful experience. The kids were 7, 9, 11, and 13 and they came first. That was ten years ago although I have continued to volunteer in many capacities, most recently as President of a large civic organization we have here. And I continue to pull people up out of poverty whenever they are willing. But I don't have a lot of patience with people who do dumb things like have pregnancies they can't afford and are too immature to handle and then expect others to bail them out -- time after time after time. And parents of teenagers who let them. Where's the laserwort when you need it?


debbiebf
Posted 24 May 2007 at 05:53 pm

'Twould be fun to see lip_ring in these real worlds. Tink, you get the hard ones -- the ones we rejected because we KNEW we couldn't help them. Bless you. And may you find enough money to pay for locks for EVERYTHING these people can access. Including the a/c units! And ear plugs for the constant complaining. And a BIG sense of humor!


Dave Group
Posted 25 May 2007 at 06:06 am

Lots of thoughts on abortion and social ills, but nary a word on the fact that a valuable plant is now extinct. How many more beneficial plants do we have to lose before we wake up to the fact that this planet is dying?


debbiebf
Posted 25 May 2007 at 07:34 am

Wow ! I get to be number 100!


Reaper
Posted 25 May 2007 at 09:40 am

Dave Group said: "Lots of thoughts on abortion and social ills, but nary a word on the fact that a valuable plant is now extinct. How many more beneficial plants do we have to lose before we wake up to the fact that this planet is dying?"

Natural selection != dying planet. Guess what? 60%+ of the species on earth have been wiped out ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS in Earth's history and it pulled through. She ain't going anywhere. At worst, we're just another mass extinction event; however, we are grasping our impact on the planet in plenty of time to keep it a habitable place.

If you're still concerned that the human race is killing off different species, I ask you this: we are a member of this world, too, so why can't we be a part of natural selection?


jkschlitz
Posted 25 May 2007 at 01:51 pm

Secret Ninja said: "...if welfare abusive families who took advantage of government assistance practiced birth control, the Democratic voter base would be largely destroyed in a single generation."

You're forgetting something...the poor and uneducated are least likely to vote.


Emmy
Posted 27 May 2007 at 09:15 am

But what about Ferula jaeschikaena? We could see if it worked on humans... and if it didn't work on the couple that used it, free abortions! XD


Dave Group
Posted 27 May 2007 at 12:43 pm

Reaper said: "Natural selection != dying planet. Guess what? 60%+ of the species on earth have been wiped out ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS in Earth's history and it pulled through. She ain't going anywhere. At worst, we're just another mass extinction event; however, we are grasping our impact on the planet in plenty of time to keep it a habitable place.


If you're still concerned that the human race is killing off different species, I ask you this: we are a member of this world, too, so why can't we be a part of natural selection?"

You are wrong on so many levels. Global warning is now believed to be largely man-made, and the extinction of species (one every 20 minutes) has nothing to do with natural selection. Also, "at worst we're just another mass extinction event"? Can't get much worse than that. That's like saying, "At worst, it's just another nuclear holocaust." Seems pretty fatalistic to me, especially when you just shrug it off as part of natural selection (whatever that's supposed to mean). Dead is dead. And, sure, I think we're finally grasping our impact on the planet, but many scientists will probably agree that, even if we're not past the tipping point, we won't be able to reverse it to a significant degree before that happens. Even if the Earth does remain habitable, what will the quality of life be like?


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 27 May 2007 at 08:05 pm

My my this is such an interesting argument, between plant extinction to birth control and abortion and somehow, tuition.

I just have to throw in my two cents. I found out I was pregnant at 18 years old three weeks after I graduated from high school. Up to that point I had been a very smart girl with a very big drug problem, done poorly in school and hung out with a rough crowd, many of which, if they are still living (half are not) have children of their own now too. And should never have been allowed to reproduce. My best friend at the time had one child and was pregnant with a second shortly after I had my son. She lived in a trailer, smoked weed all day, spent her welfare checks on drugs while man after man came in and out of her life paying her bills and buying diapers. I hear she has since had two more kids. She has custody of none of them.

Now all the while, I had tried desperately to change my life. I got a job at a pharmacy, made $9 an hour, went to college part time (community college, FAFSA grant in hand, because when you are a single mom your parents income makes no difference as long as your income is low enough) and took a second job working as a janitor on the weekends for an extra $200 a month. Not much, but it made the car payment. We got a one bedroom apartment, and somehow managed, I was clean and sober and moved away from the old crowd. However, the state refused to give me food stamps, even though I received no child support, paid for child care, an apartment, car, and food for two. I guess $9.50 an hour is better than all the other losers getting welfare so screw those trying to change their lives and actually working, they can do it on their own, right?

Well, I made things work, and I made DAMN CERTAIN I had money every month for my birth control. There were days I wondered how I would buy food. I had no help, no friends, and my parents lived 40 miles away. But you do what you have to in order to survive. You make do. This was only 5 years ago. The system has changed. I hope my story, and it's recentness, shed's a bit of light on to some of your arguments. There are people who try. There are many of us who won't rest until they do better. And then there are those, like my former best friend, who can't keep their legs closed and won't stop reproducing when they absolutely should have never done so in the first place.

So now, I am 24, my son turned 5 this past February, and I have since had the luxury of quitting the janitor job, left the pharmacy and have moved into a fast paced business career as a director at a trucking company. I'm almost done with my associates degree, even though it has taken seemingly forever(and now the government does not want to give me anymore grants because they think I make too much money, which I find hilarious and very wrong at the same time. I can pay the bills, and buy my son clothes when he needs them, the very occasional fun thing like a movie or the zoo, but that's about it). I don't think people should look down on teenage mothers. I've made mistakes but have done everything in my power to correct them. I have a nice place, though moving to a nicer place and putting my son in a nice preschool is financially straining, it's worth every penny to be closer to my family and to see how much and how quickly he learns.

So the next time you see a young mother out in the grocery, or anywhere else, don't be so quick to judge. Of course if she has 5 little ones running around, make a mental note to put YOUR kids on birth control. Start them early so they continue on with it!! A big bag of condoms and some birth control for your teenagers, would have done a lot of good for some of the girls I grew up.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 27 May 2007 at 08:08 pm

*I grew up with. Sorry that was ridiculously long but if my struggle can help some other people understand women like me, it's worth reading it!


Hoekstes
Posted 28 May 2007 at 07:40 am

EVERYTHINGZEN said: "Sorry that was ridiculously long but if my struggle can help some other people understand women like me, it's worth reading it!"

Since that's the norm in this comments section I'll give it a go too:

Today I found a place that gives you free cookies and tea where you can chat about free sterilization. It was like alice in wonderland but with less talking animals, but more college tutors (that's the noun that goes with the adjective tuition). Unless you count people as animals, in which case there are more talking animals. and a piano. I don't really like tea, but I like cream and sugar and cookies. also, I folded a napkin into a crown and even put it on his head but it fell off cause it was too small. and then he used it as a cup holder, and I said , "ha, that's exactly what I wanted you to do with it, ha ha ha ha." and then he took a sip and pretended to choke. and then he did choke.
Clearly I have the power to choke people, like darth vader, or the mummy (not the new mummy, the old mummy who was black and white and really scary). So for the good of humanity i'm locking myself in my room. I am a danger to others. Me, and of course, abortion.

That's my 60 cents - or is that 2, at current inflation rates I guess I don't know what pies cost anymore.


adastra
Posted 28 May 2007 at 08:55 am

I always thought it was pretty obvious where the "heart" shape came from. It is the natural shape of the area of a woman's pubic hair.


penguinlove
Posted 29 May 2007 at 07:44 am

damn too bad those penguins couldnt help! o well!


Meeshymeg
Posted 29 May 2007 at 01:02 pm

Ooh, I read about silphium somewhere else on the internet not too long ago and then read the wiki, but I think you've got the best info so far. I thought this was definitely DI.


penguinlove
Posted 30 May 2007 at 07:02 am

funny how you all ignore the penguins!! THEYRE COMING


sulkykid
Posted 30 May 2007 at 09:15 am

110 posts and not one questioning the purported efficacy of this aphrodisiac/birth-control wonder-herb.


Radiatidon
Posted 30 May 2007 at 11:44 am

sulkykid said: "110 posts and not one questioning the purported efficacy of this aphrodisiac/birth-control wonder-herb."

According to historian Dr. John M. Riddle of North Carolina State University, that historically the Romans had periods where there were not enough children for the population to increase. In fact there were periods where the population decreased during times of peace, stability, and prosperity. It was at this time that silphium was most popular according to the ancient writings.

It was also probably a potent drug as well. As noted by Pliny the Elder, one man who stuffed it into a hollow tooth soon jumped to his death from a cliff. Also if you mixed it with wine, serpents would drink until they burst. Thus he warned against certain uses and in moderation.

But once again this is mostly speculation since we have no way to test the substance unless we can obtain a viable sample. Be it a newly discovered unknown source or Time machine.

“Great Scott! Marty, what happened to the flux capacitor?”

"Whoa Doc, that funnel is potent. I suddenly have an overbearing desire for yellow, cream-filled, sponge cake."


Silverhill
Posted 30 May 2007 at 01:11 pm

adastra said: "I always thought it was pretty obvious where the "heart" shape came from. It is the natural shape of the area of a woman's pubic hair."

Nearly so, but not quite. Unlike the classic heart symbol, that hair has no natural central indentation in its line; it forms a fairly sraight-sided triangle.


CanInternet
Posted 31 May 2007 at 01:29 am

Society needs rifraf for it´s armies.


Scott Reynen
Posted 31 May 2007 at 01:15 pm

The herb's effectiveness and widespread use is evidenced by the observation that Rome's birth rate decreased during laserwort's heyday, despite increasing life expectancy, plentiful food, and relatively few wars or epidemics.

This suggests increasing life expectancy, plentiful food, and relatively few wars or epidemics tends to increase birth rate, which is simply false. Rather, the opposite is true. Like all other species, humans tend to reproduce most when life is most scarce, presumably to perpetuate the species. If you take a quick look at which areas of the world have the highest birth rates today, it's those areas with the lowest life expectancy, the least plentiful food, and the most wars and epidemics (i.e. Africa). So these factors don't actually support the efficacy of this plant as birth control at all.


Jeffrey93
Posted 08 June 2007 at 04:49 am

Dave Group said: "You are wrong on so many levels. Global warning is now believed to be largely man-made, and the extinction of species (one every 20 minutes) has nothing to do with natural selection. Also, "at worst we're just another mass extinction event"? Can't get much worse than that. That's like saying, "At worst, it's just another nuclear holocaust." Seems pretty fatalistic to me, especially when you just shrug it off as part of natural selection (whatever that's supposed to mean). Dead is dead. And, sure, I think we're finally grasping our impact on the planet, but many scientists will probably agree that, even if we're not past the tipping point, we won't be able to reverse it to a significant degree before that happens. Even if the Earth does remain habitable, what will the quality of life be like?"

Actually....a nuclear holocaust might not be that bad of a thing. Well, something similar without all the lingering radiation would be prefered. But if we could have some huge event that instantly wipes away about 1/2 the population, or even 2/3....the remaining 1/3 (in time) would be much better of and so would the globe. I'm sure the global warming would correct itself if the earth suddenly had 50% the occupancy.

But of course, I want to be part of the remaining 1/2 or 1/3. So..I live in Canada...and the US is our good buddy...eh good buddies?!!?...so...you just lob your nukes everywhere but here. And the US and Canada can have the entire world to ourselves!! Maybe leave Australlia alone too....'cause those people...they're pretty darn funny!! Krikey!

Good plan, no?


cabbage3
Posted 18 June 2007 at 10:39 am

"It is thought by many historians that this ancient icon of unfettered lovemaking is the origin of today's ubiquitous "I love you" heart symbol."

So really I


cabbage3
Posted 18 June 2007 at 10:40 am

cabbage3 said: "So really I-heart- you" means "I SEX you! (with a decrease chances of babies!)"


Cobaltbluemoon
Posted 20 June 2007 at 11:30 pm

I've always understood that the heart symbol historically comes from the appearance of a curvy woman's ass tapering to her thin waist viewed from behind. I have always wondered whether it is actually derived from the appearance of an excited/reddened and spread open... female genital area. Either way, that's why it's a symbol of the more lustful flavor o' love.


kjdsahf
Posted 26 June 2007 at 06:28 pm

I'm sure this Cyrene place is today's Nigeria. Those niggers have sodomized the greeks (a lot of blondes, as any movie about the greeks can confirm) and destroyed the silphium so that their bastard offspring could see the light of the day.

All in all, silphium was a scam!


Incognita
Posted 09 July 2007 at 07:58 pm

Are you people ALL from the USA....?


Kao_Valin
Posted 12 July 2007 at 10:59 am

It's amazing how people in every era want to have their cake and eat it too. Really I doubt any large population wont have its career failures and potential dimonds in the rough. I'm glad there are people out there willing to sort thru them to help those who could use it, and kick the rest to the curb where they deserve. I dont believe in free rides. People ought to pull the weight they can pull, only after that should we bother to consider dragging them along.


cybrbeast
Posted 17 July 2007 at 06:31 am

Incognita, it sounds like they are from the USA. Some scary talk going on here. Most people aren't poor because they are lazy, they are poor because they were born into poverty and remained poor because the USA doesn't take care of its people.
In most of Europe we have elaborate welfare systems, almost all people have basic health insurance, and everybody can get into college provided they have the intelligence. We take care of our people and we don't have such a great divide between the rich and poor. Poor people get chances and many use them. There is also a much smaller poverty problem in Europe.
Sure we pay for it in high taxes, but the benefit of having a healthy society more than weighs up to it.


Hayley
Posted 07 August 2007 at 12:05 pm

What a nifty article! That bit about the original heart-shape sounds pretty interesting. Too bad the discussion board has dissolved into mudslinging and off-topic jabs...people seem fairly happy believing what they want to; it makes me wonder why everyone else is so bent upon changing other people's beliefs to their own or degrading other people's opinions because they don't agree...but I guess me writing this is a bit of the same.


JakobGeorge
Posted 07 January 2008 at 06:52 am

It is too bad this message board has degenerated into off-topic jabs, etc., but:
"Sometimes not getting the things you deserve really isn't your own fault." Nice quote, Dizzee. Any chance that this might also apply to poor Balcks and Hispanics? If the term "systemic racism" is not in your lexicon, I suggest you consider doing a little research. I do work w/ junkies and drunks, homeless people, etc., and I know that the vast majority of them are capable of doing much better for themselves, but I also know that the vast majority have been beaten down a system that feeds off of their weaknesses. I'm willing to bet that in America, as in Canada, you have a system in place that instills a learned helplessness in people with a "hand out" instead of a "hand up". I come from a relatively poor, blue collar white trash background; never heard the word "college" or "university" in our home. I admire people who can pull themselves up from zero to something, and I believe we are all capable of that. Perhaps Dizzee, et al, might want to look into doing something positive for the impoverished communities in your towns and cities.
Addressing the choice issue vis-a-vis $1,000 to be sterilized, would rich people be entitled to that money as well, or should they get nothing if they choose to be sterilized since they already have lots of ca$h? Does being a corporate welfare bum count? We have some in Canada that cost the taxpayers million$ more, individually, than entire communities of regular welfare bums cost us. Ethically I'm opposed to eugenics but if it prevented the Bush Crime Family from breeding, I'd get on board. (In Canada we have scoundrels like former Prime Ministers Brina Mulroney and Paul Martin, Conrad Black, and other criminals...)
As for the abortion debate, I recommend that women not have abortions if they don't want them; for men who don't want women to have abortions, I highly recommend you get vasectomies and STFU!


lizdini
Posted 14 July 2008 at 07:49 pm

It's sad that in a country with the motto "freedom and justice for all" so many people feel they are in a position to recommend forced sterilization of people they find to be below them. Americans really don't want to help anyone, it's all about what they want & screw everyone else. I hear it all the time from taxpayers. Dizzee is a prime example, she didn't get what she felt she deserved (by the by, if you didn't work for it, you don't deserve it, and if you worked for it you'd have it) so it's everyone else's fault. As long as they're a different color then she is. I'd like to know where you got your statistics? They look like crap to me. Just because you pay 20% of your income to taxes, it doesn't all go to social services, there's road repair, war spending, ect ect. Not to meantion all the financial aid you didn't recieve would have come out of other people's taxes, how is that fair to them?

Anyway, back to the article at hand, I had heard about this plant from my college (community & a good education it was) anthropology teacher before, but still very DI!


Correct me if I'm wrong, but:
Posted 12 September 2008 at 02:48 pm

lol, I find it hard to believe that that is the origin "I love you" heart symbol. I mean it would be the equivolent of sending your significant other a card that says I *picture of a condem* you, I *picture of a birth control pill* you or I *picture of viagra* you or something like that.


Mirage_GSM
Posted 24 October 2008 at 05:08 am

Granted a few of my residents are mentally challanged to the point that they are like children, but the majority have been so "spoilt" by the health care system…

This has to be the first time I have heard the phrase “spoilt by the (US) health care system”… Good thing, I wasn’t drinking anything at the moment.

lizdini: It's sad that in a country with the motto "freedom and justice for all" so many people feel they are in a position to recommend forced sterilization of people they find to be below them. Americans really don't want to help anyone, it's all about what they want & screw everyone else.

From what I read, some of those suggesting sterilization are actively involved in helping people, and unless I missed some comment, only on poster ever suggested FORCED sterilization.

Even being paid for sterilization is ethically questionable. I believe the US have in their constitution about “some certain, unalienable rights” meaning there are some things that may not be given away for money. I am sure selling kidneys is covered by this and sterilization would probably be a very dark grey area…

As for deciding who should be allowed to have children and who shouldn’t – by what authority are we to decide who is able to raise a child? Get a writ from a shrink saying you are qualified to do so? On this page alone I have read stories of mothers who should have aborted their child by most standards mentioned here, yet they loved their child and did their best to raise it. On the other hand child abuse does happen even in wealthy upper class families.

Should someone be denied the right to bear children because they are poor? Poor by what standard? Even the poorest family in the US has lots and lots more than the average family in Bangladesh. So should people in Bangladesh not have children? Do children in Bangladesh automatically lead unhappy lives?

Some of the comments on this page go into a direction I do not like at all. I think there is a more recent article about this topic:
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=962
I’ll probably have a few comments there as well once I get there on my way through the archives.


N0UGHTS
Posted 25 October 2008 at 12:33 am

When I first read the title of the article, I thought this was going to be about how the Ancient Egyptians used crocodile dung as a contraceptive. I was wrong, but this article is still just as interesting (and less disgusting).


Tink
Posted 01 March 2010 at 05:30 am

Radiatidon said: "Interesting read. For centuries womankind has searched for the ultimate birth control with possible disastrous results. For instance a Roman grave yielded a 20 something woman whose mortal remains showed signs of a botched abortion using a stone tool not unlike a spear head, inserted into her pelvic region.

Birth control falls into three different classes; practical, yah right, and downright dangerous.
Women could avoid conception by holding their breath during the man’s orgasm, or immediately jumping backwards (eyes closed facing forward – no peeking or it won’t work) seven times after coitus. They could also try a quick swab of the vagina after intercourse with unused, virgin lamb’s wool.
Packing the vagina with animal dung or using honey, pepper, alum, or lactic acid as a pessaries and/or barrier to the little swimmers.
Centuries ago the women in China would ingest a concoction of lead and mercury, which had the unfortunate consequence of insanity, sterility, or death.
Middle Eastern women would take a sharpened stick, insert it into the vagina, and tying one end to the leg for a night. Though this method did work, it had a tendency to have unfortunate side effects if the user tossed-n-turned during the night.
During the Middle Ages European women would wear the testicles of weasels on their thighs, or wear its amputated foot around their necks during the horizontal rhombi. They also would wear wreaths of herbs, black cat’s livers or bone shards, hare anuses, and even flax lint bound in menstrual blood soaked cloth. It was also believed that walking three times around the spot where a pregnant she-wolf had urinated would scare the unborn child away.
During the last century Canadian women drank dried beaver testicles stewed in a strong alcohol solution. This one sounds more like a guy invention to help loosen up the distressed girl friend for a second round.
Though some of this sounds ridiculous, as recently as the 1990s girls in Australia were using candy bar wrappers as condoms, believing the foil would prevent conception.
For centuries many women were not passing their first menarche (period) until their late teens or early twenties. So sexual antics were not producing unwanted teenage pregnancies. The age dropped to an average of 12-1/2 years-of-age during the 1840s. This change is believed to have occurred due to better nutrition, environmental factors, and genetics. (source – Sanfilippo & Hertweck)"

Radiatidon,
Where are you dear Don? Any where else on the WWW net? Miss you and your wonderful stories. xxxooo


Omega
Posted 26 August 2014 at 03:59 pm

I know this is an old post but I just found you guys. You all have the most interesting stuff and I think this might be the best one I have read yet. I am working back from most recent to the very old, I LOVE THIS SITE!!!!


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