Discussion:
Margaret Atwood on What _The Handmaid's Tale_ Means in the Age of Trump
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D B Davis
2017-07-06 04:05:13 UTC
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... In the novel the population is shrinking due to a toxic
environment, and the ability to have viable babies is at a
premium. (In today's real world, studies are now showing a
sharp fertility decline in Chinese men.) Under
totalitarianisms - or indeed in any sharply hierarchical
society - the ruling class monopolizes valuable things, so
the elite of the regime arrange to have fertile females
assigned to them as Handmaids. The biblical precedent is
the story of Jacob and his two wives, Rachel and Leah, and
their two handmaids. One man, four women, 12 sons - but the
handmaids could not claim the sons. They belonged to the
respective wives. ...

(excerpt)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/books/review/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-age-of-trump.html

The Stone-Putin interview casts doubt on the veracity of the
"Age of Trump" nomenclature:

Stone: Donald Trump won. This is your fourth president, am I right?
Clinton, Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama, and now your fourth one.
Putin: Yes, that's true.
Stone: What changes?
Putin: Well, almost nothing.

https://books.google.com/books?id=4BMkDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT195&lpg=PT195

Thank you,

--
Don
l***@yahoo.com
2017-07-06 16:44:50 UTC
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L.A. Times: "Americans keep having fewer babies as U.S. birthrates hit some record lows"

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-us-birth-rate-20170630-htmlstory.html

(The fact about 1971 impresses me.)

Excerpt:

...The number of births tends to rise as the population rises, so statisticians like to make historical comparisons by calculating the general fertility rate. This is the number of births per 1,000 women considered to be of childbearing age (between 15 and 44).

In 2016, the U.S. general fertility rate hit a record low of 62.0 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. In 2015, the general fertility rate was 62.5.

Another useful statistic is the total fertility rate. This is an estimate of the total number of babies that 1,000 women would have over their lifetimes, based on the actual birth rates for women in different age groups.

In 2016, the total fertility rate for American women was 1,818 births per 1,000 women. That’s the lowest it has been since 1984.

In order for a generation to exactly replace itself, the total fertility rate needs to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women. The U.S. has been missing that mark since 1971 (though the country’s population has grown due to immigration)...


And:

...Meanwhile, birthrates for women in their teens and 20s hit record lows in 2016.

The teen birthrate reached a new low of 20.3 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 19. That’s 9% lower than it was in 2015; 51% lower than it was in 2007 (when the current downward trend began); and 67% lower than it was in 1991 (the year with the most recent peak).

Improvements in teen births were seen in both 15-to-17-year-olds (down 11% from 2015) and 18- and 19-year-olds (down 8% from 2015).

Statisticians also tallied 0.2 births per 1,000 girls ages 10 to 14. That rate was unchanged from 2015.

Altogether, 211,726 babies were born to women under 20 in 2016...

(snip)


I just wish they'd give a chart for teen births over the last 70 years - PLUS a separate one for teen pregnancies. If fewer teen girls are getting pregnant in the first place these days than they did in the 1950s, that would suggest a better use of birth control, not abortion, FWIW.

And:

WaPo: "The U.S. fertility rate just hit a historic low. Why some demographers are freaking out."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/06/30/the-u-s-fertility-rate-just-hit-a-historic-low-why-some-demographers-are-freaking-out/?utm_term=.2e6f1e0e864b

Granted, the title is misleading. Comment:

David C. Russell
7/3/2017 6:29 PM EST
Fertility/infertility is NOT the same as birthrates. Being fertile means you CAN have a child if you would like to. Infertility means you cannot have a child when you want to. Birthrates apply to the amount of children being born. The title of the article should be "US birthrates just hit a record low- and it could signal a 'demographic time bomb'".


But anyway, here's one of the more popular comments:

wastingmybreath
6/30/2017 7:45 AM EST
What does it say about a country that encourages its citizens to have children unlikely to be able to afford an education, whose future employment is questionable and under constant threat by technology, and have no right to healthcare? There are fewer and fewer jobs capable of supporting a family--why encourage people to have children who will likely end up among the working poor? Until our country gets its priorities right, a slowing birth rate is a reasonable response.



Me: Of course, there's also the fact that, given a chance, even well-off couples PREFER small families. People have had children for cold, selfish reasons for centuries, such as needing extra farm workers or caretakers for their old age, but deliberately having children they REALLY don't want for the sake of "the economy" was never one of them.


Lenona.
Greg Goss
2017-07-09 19:28:43 UTC
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Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wish they'd give a chart for teen births over the last 70 years -
PLUS a separate one for teen pregnancies. If fewer teen girls are
getting pregnant in the first place these days than they did in the
1950s, that would suggest a better use of birth control, not abortion,
FWIW.
I follow Kevin Drum's "lead hypothesis". Lead in the brain interferes
with the ability to predict consequences and leads to poor decision
making. He points to a twenty year tracking between dropping lead
from auto fuel and the collapse of young violent crime.

Lack of lead may also be related to better decisionmaking by teen
girls.

So whether it's improved brain function, or sex ed and access to birth
control, apparently the US abortion rate is already lower than it was
when Roe vs Wade "legalized" it. If you are on-the-ball enough to not
start a baby, then you don't have to abort one.

Of course the anti-abortion crowd are against sex ed and
contraception, too. Shrug.
Post by l***@yahoo.com
wastingmybreath
6/30/2017 7:45 AM EST
What does it say about a country that encourages its citizens to have children unlikely to be able to afford an education, whose future employment is questionable and under constant threat by technology, and have no right to healthcare? There are fewer and fewer jobs capable of supporting a family--why encourage people to have children who will likely end up among the working poor? Until our country gets its priorities right, a slowing birth rate is a reasonable response.
Me: Of course, there's also the fact that, given a chance, even well-off couples PREFER small families. People have had children for cold, selfish reasons for centuries, such as needing extra farm workers or caretakers for their old age, but deliberately having children they REALLY don't want for the sake of "the economy" was never one of them.
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of them from
Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to weather the "demographic
collapse" better than some other countries.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Robert Carnegie
2017-07-09 21:46:05 UTC
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Post by Greg Goss
Post by l***@yahoo.com
I just wish they'd give a chart for teen births over the last 70 years -
PLUS a separate one for teen pregnancies. If fewer teen girls are
getting pregnant in the first place these days than they did in the
1950s, that would suggest a better use of birth control, not abortion,
FWIW.
I follow Kevin Drum's "lead hypothesis". Lead in the brain interferes
with the ability to predict consequences and leads to poor decision
making. He points to a twenty year tracking between dropping lead
from auto fuel and the collapse of young violent crime.
Lack of lead may also be related to better decisionmaking by teen
girls.
So whether it's improved brain function, or sex ed and access to birth
control, apparently the US abortion rate is already lower than it was
when Roe vs Wade "legalized" it. If you are on-the-ball enough to not
start a baby, then you don't have to abort one.
Of course the anti-abortion crowd are against sex ed and
contraception, too. Shrug.
Maybe Flint, Michigan, will tell us something
about lead and contraception. And lead and
a lot of other things, although, as you say,
much is already known.

I'd say the majority of human reproduction is
"poor decision making" (Ehrlich lives) and so
is non-use of contraception, but, television
and movies as /well/ as the internet make a lot
more contraceptive information available - and
there are more options, too. But some don't work.

There are breathtaking accounts of sexual ignorance
in the late twentieth century.

Anyway, <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40520235>
states that a quarter of British terminations -
which were supposed to be only for medical reasons
but realistically aren't - follow unsuccessful
use of contraception. I don't know if that means
three-quarters are medically caused or "I forgot".

"Unplanned pregnancies can occur if the method is
not inserted properly, or if it moves or falls out."
That sounds to me like how a planned pregnancy
doesn't occur.
Juho Julkunen
2017-07-10 01:57:19 UTC
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Post by Greg Goss
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of them from
Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to weather the "demographic
Catholic background doesn't automatically mean fertile. Here's some of
the world's most Catholic countries, and their fertility rates:

Vatican City: not significant
Poland: 1.3
Italy: 1.4
Malta: 1.4
Croatia: 1.5
Portugal: 1.2
Spain: 1.3

On the other hand, some Catholic South American countries:

Colombia: 1.9
Ecuador: 2.5
Honduras: 2.4
Argetina: 2.3

One suspects there might be other factors at work than just religion.
--
Juho Julkunen
J. Clarke
2017-07-10 02:35:39 UTC
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Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Greg Goss
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of them from
Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to weather the "demographic
Catholic background doesn't automatically mean fertile. Here's some of
Vatican City: not significant
Poland: 1.3
Italy: 1.4
Malta: 1.4
Croatia: 1.5
Portugal: 1.2
Spain: 1.3
Colombia: 1.9
Ecuador: 2.5
Honduras: 2.4
Argetina: 2.3
One suspects there might be other factors at work than just religion.
Catholics in the developed world tend to take the Church rules with regard
to marriage, sex, and contraception as suggestions.
Greg Goss
2017-07-10 04:10:14 UTC
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Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Greg Goss
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of them from
Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to weather the "demographic
(OK, Philippines and latin America.)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Catholic background doesn't automatically mean fertile. Here's some of
(statistics removed)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
One suspects there might be other factors at work than just religion.
Catholics in the developed world tend to take the Church rules with regard
to marriage, sex, and contraception as suggestions.
My brother's Catholic wedding included a specific promise to accept
children as they would naturally come. I forget the exact 1987
phrasing

The two of them were obviously passionate about each other. And had
two kids. I suspect that they were "doing something" that their
priest didn't want them to do.
--
We are geeks. Resistance is voltage over current.
Robert Carnegie
2017-07-10 17:41:29 UTC
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Post by Greg Goss
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Greg Goss
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of them from
Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to weather the "demographic
(OK, Philippines and latin America.)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Catholic background doesn't automatically mean fertile. Here's some of
(statistics removed)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
One suspects there might be other factors at work than just religion.
Catholics in the developed world tend to take the Church rules with regard
to marriage, sex, and contraception as suggestions.
My brother's Catholic wedding included a specific promise to accept
children as they would naturally come. I forget the exact 1987
phrasing
The two of them were obviously passionate about each other. And had
two kids. I suspect that they were "doing something" that their
priest didn't want them to do.
During the service?

Aside from that, my external understanding of
Catholicism is that sinning is O.K. That's how
the church keeps up sales of special magic candles
and so forth. I mean, they were /there/.
Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
2017-07-10 17:51:21 UTC
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Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Greg Goss
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Greg Goss
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of
them from Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to weather
the "demographic
(OK, Philippines and latin America.)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Catholic background doesn't automatically mean fertile.
Here's some of the world's most Catholic countries, and
(statistics removed)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
One suspects there might be other factors at work than just religion.
Catholics in the developed world tend to take the Church rules
with regard to marriage, sex, and contraception as
suggestions.
My brother's Catholic wedding included a specific promise to
accept children as they would naturally come. I forget the
exact 1987 phrasing
The two of them were obviously passionate about each other.
And had two kids. I suspect that they were "doing something"
that their priest didn't want them to do.
During the service?
Aside from that, my external understanding of
Catholicism is that sinning is O.K. That's how
the church keeps up sales of special magic candles
and so forth. I mean, they were /there/.
You know as much about Catholicism as Shawn Wilson knows about
economics, or Quaddie knows about women.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Kevrob
2017-07-10 18:04:37 UTC
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Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Greg Goss
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Greg Goss
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of
them from Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to weather
the "demographic
(OK, Philippines and latin America.)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Catholic background doesn't automatically mean fertile.
Here's some of the world's most Catholic countries, and
(statistics removed)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
One suspects there might be other factors at work than just religion.
Catholics in the developed world tend to take the Church rules
with regard to marriage, sex, and contraception as
suggestions.
My brother's Catholic wedding included a specific promise to
accept children as they would naturally come. I forget the
exact 1987 phrasing
The two of them were obviously passionate about each other.
And had two kids. I suspect that they were "doing something"
that their priest didn't want them to do.
During the service?
Aside from that, my external understanding of
Catholicism is that sinning is O.K.
The RCC doesn't think it is OK, it's just resigned to the
fact (from its POV) that it is going to happen, and that
systems must be in place to ameliorate it. [Confession
aka "Reconciliation" nowadays.]
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
Post by Robert Carnegie
That's how
the church keeps up sales of special magic candles
and so forth. I mean, they were /there/.
The candles, magic or not, are not a substitute for absolution
by the priest.
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
You know as much about Catholicism as Shawn Wilson knows about
economics, or Quaddie knows about women.
That's a brutal, if sometimes necessary standard!

Kevin R
Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
2017-07-10 18:09:13 UTC
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On Monday, July 10, 2017 at 1:51:26 PM UTC-4, Gutless Umbrella
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
Post by Robert Carnegie
Post by Greg Goss
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Greg Goss
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of
them from Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to
weather the "demographic
(OK, Philippines and latin America.)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
Catholic background doesn't automatically mean fertile.
Here's some of the world's most Catholic countries, and
(statistics removed)
Post by J. Clarke
Post by Juho Julkunen
One suspects there might be other factors at work than
just religion.
Catholics in the developed world tend to take the Church
rules with regard to marriage, sex, and contraception as
suggestions.
My brother's Catholic wedding included a specific promise to
accept children as they would naturally come. I forget the
exact 1987 phrasing
The two of them were obviously passionate about each other.
And had two kids. I suspect that they were "doing
something" that their priest didn't want them to do.
During the service?
Aside from that, my external understanding of
Catholicism is that sinning is O.K.
The RCC doesn't think it is OK, it's just resigned to the
fact (from its POV) that it is going to happen, and that
systems must be in place to ameliorate it. [Confession
aka "Reconciliation" nowadays.]
That is, in fact, the entire point of original sin, and Jesus being
the Savior.
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
Post by Robert Carnegie
That's how
the church keeps up sales of special magic candles
and so forth. I mean, they were /there/.
The candles, magic or not, are not a substitute for absolution
by the priest.
Post by Gutless Umbrella Carrying Sissy
You know as much about Catholicism as Shawn Wilson knows about
economics, or Quaddie knows about women.
That's a brutal, if sometimes necessary standard!
I live to serve.
--
Terry Austin

Vacation photos from Iceland:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/QaXQkB

"Terry Austin: like the polio vaccine, only with more asshole."
-- David Bilek

Jesus forgives sinners, not criminals.
Gene Wirchenko
2017-07-10 05:22:25 UTC
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On Mon, 10 Jul 2017 04:57:19 +0300, Juho Julkunen
Post by Juho Julkunen
Post by Greg Goss
Canada, with our fairly high immigration rate, many of them from
Catholic (fertile) backgrounds is set to weather the "demographic
Catholic background doesn't automatically mean fertile. Here's some of
Vatican City: not significant
On the contrary, very significant. Very low, but significant.

[snip]

Sincerely,

Gene Wirchenko
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