guess what happens when girls don’t have prospects

I don’t know if it can be believed, but according to the news in Canton, Ohio, one-in-eight girls in the local high school there is pregnant, which seems absolutely unbelievable to me. I mean, that’s 1-in-8 that are pregnant right this minute. That doesn’t count all the girls who just had kids, and it doesn’t count the girls who have had abortions. I’m not a statistician, but you’ve got to assume that in order for 1-in-8 to be pregnant, almost every girl in the school has to be sexually active. Either that, or 50% of them have to practically live half-submerged in semen.

I know it would be hard to prove this out, but I think that a 1-in-8 pregnancy rate would be near impossible, even if every kid got ejaculated into each morning on their way through the metal detectors.

Here, so you don’t think I just read it wrong, it what the news report said: “There are 490 female students at Timken High School, and 65 are pregnant.”

So, I started doing some digging… The first thing I found, and it wasn’t too hard, was that the school mascot at Timken High is…. guess what…. a Trojan. (Or, perhaps a busted Trojan.) A lot of bloggers will probably stop there, but, being obsesive by nature, I kept looking for an explanation.

Could it have something to do with the Ohio mystery scream, I wondered… Then, as I began looking at maps and listening to tapes of the mysterious yelping that’s been plaguing Ohio, it dawned on me that Canton is the…. guess what…. home of Diebold, the nation’s largest electronic voting company! You remember Diebold, right? It’s the company run by the Bush fundraiser who promised publicly that he’d “deliver Ohio” for the Republicans in ’04… And, oh yeah, his voting machines don’t leave an audit trail. You just push a button, walk away, and then trust him to tell you who your president is at the end of the day… So, it’s been established that there’s evil in Canton, Ohio.

Doing a little searching into the background of Canton, I found this passage in the UK paper The Guardian. It was part of a series of reports they ran from the U.S., in the run-up to the presidential election:

Between Oil City, Pennsylvania and Canton, Ohio, a hilly, leafy terrain gives way to a landscape as flat and appealing as warm Pepsi. Arriving in Canton on Interstate 77 you pass a Hoover plant, which has laid off more than 800 workers in the past seven months, and then a huge religious billboard asking: “Saved?” and offering a number to call….

And if Ohio is a marker of the national mood, Stark County (population 377,519), in which Canton is the main town, is the best indicator of what Ohio is thinking, backing the right candidate for president every election bar one over the past 40 years.

As Ohio goes, so goes the nation; as Stark County goes, so goes Ohio.

(They were wrong, by they way…. If you can believe the numbers made public. According to the Secretary of State of Ohio, Stark County did not pick the winner this year. The official numbers show Kerry having beaten Bush in the county by 3%. Of course, exit polls done that day also showed him winning the entire state. This, I suppose, is just another one of those all too common ’04 aberrations.)

Sounds like a pretty good, god-fearing little town, right? Hmmm… I wonder what happened.

(And, try as I might, there doesn’t seem to be a way to find out how many of those pregnant girls signed their virginity pledges.)

Before I go much further, let me just say that, even though I suppose there’s some part of me that finds it humorous that this would happen in a red state, like Ohio, in a town that’s pretty much owned by Bush supporters (more on that later), I realize that it’s serious. As a new father, I know how much work it is to have a little baby around the house, and I couldn’t imagine having been ready for that responsibility in high school… With that said, I would like to suggest that there might be a lesson or two to be learned here. While it’s still not known at this time just what kind of sex ed was being taught in the school, for instance, I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t working. I also suspect we’ll have to wait a while before finding out just how many abortions were performed on the young women in that same population, but my guess is that, when that number comes out, it’ll be quite high. If that’s the case, I think the whole story of Timkin High might be illustrative of the way abstinence-only education and abortion go hand in hand…

A long time ago, I posted a link here to a study that showed that the number of abortions had gone up under Bush. The conclusion of the group who had done the study was that the state of the economy and the choices people make about carrying children to term are not independent of one another. I suspect the same thing could be said about education… In other words, does abstinence-only education lead to more abortions, and, if so, how do conservatives reconcile that fundamental disconnect? It seems to me to be another point where the hypocrisy is glaring.

And, as I just brought up the economy, here’s a little something, circa 2004, about the plant closings in Canton.

On the heels of the Timken Corp.’s announcement that it will close three plants in Canton, Ohio, and displace 1,300 workers, Ohio’s Democratic delegation in Congress today took turns railing against President Bush’s economic polices…

“Despite record profits for the Timken Corp. and President Bush’s promise of one million new jobs in 2004, 1,300 additional families are added to the unemployment rolls in Ohio. I find it ironic that a year ago the president chose Timken as the location to showcase his economic policy.”

In April 2003, President Bush visited the Timken Co. in Canton to give an economic policy speech before hundreds of Timken line workers, administrators, and the company’s chief executive officer, Tim Timken. In the last three years, 222,600 Ohioans have lost their jobs; 155,000 of them in the manufacturing industry, the Democrats noted. The Timken closing represents 27% of Stark County employment, they added.

In his appearance in Canton, Bush hailed Timken’s 10% increase in worker productivity. In April the corporation reported first-quarter results of a 63% increase in earnings per share and record quarterly sales of $1.1 billion. While announcing its plans to close three plants in Ohio that employ third- and fourth-generation workers, Timken is building a fourth plant in China, the congressmen said.

“Timken stands as a model for everything that is wrong with President Bush’s incompetent handling of the U.S. economy,” said U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland of Lisbon). “Instead of a company using its tax breaks to invest in expanding production and hiring workers after reporting record sales, Timken is taking 1,300 jobs from the very community that helped make it prosperous. No wonder Mr. Bush chose Timken as the site to highlight his so-called ‘Plan for Economic Growth.'”

Two months after the president’s visit, Tim Timken co-hosted a fund-raiser in Akron, where $600,000 was collected for the 2004 Bush campaign, the Democrats said.

So, in spite of record profits, the company is moving jobs to China, and closing plants here (after, of course, using them for propaganda backdrops).

So, let’s look at what we have here… We’ve got two of Bush’s biggest fundraisers. One is closing plants and moving American jobs oversees. The other is helping to “deliver Ohio,” while counting the votes. And, across town, in the shadow of the closed factories is a school where the kids have no future, no jobs, nothing to look forward to. Is it any wonder why they might choose not to use protection? To me, it seems like a statement as to the absolute futility of it all.

It looks to me like Canton, Ohio is the nexus of evil… Maybe the pregnant girls are just a sign from God, trying to draw our attention there.

Or, worse yet, what if this has nothing to do with sex? What if the Bush “Pioneers” in Canton have somehow conspired to spread Bush seed though a network of local hot tubs and toilet seats or some such thing? What if they’re incubating a little evangelical army there, on the border with the blue states?

One thing’s for certain, no matter how you look at it – the girls at Timken High School aren’t the only people getting fucked in Canton.

UPDATE: And, as you might have guessed, it looks as though Ohio does have a law stating that only abstinence can be taught in public school classrooms. (Thanks go out to Jim for doing the research.)

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  1. mark
    Posted August 24, 2005 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t have time to polish this up… sorry… I have to get to bed… hopefully, you’ll figure out what i’m trying to get at.

  2. Posted August 24, 2005 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    My goodness, but that’s depressing.
    Perhaps it’s the scream of the dying American dream.

  3. Kristin
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I am glad I didn’t read this right before bed. I already wake up screaming at the thought of living half-submerged in semen.

  4. be OH be
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I’ve been a resident of this now infamous rust belt city for the past 9 years.
    All I can say is, it wasn’t me.

    For the record, Diebold calls North Canton home, not the city of Canton. I am at this moment sitting a few hundred yards from their main corporate campus. The Timken Research Center that Dubya visited in the runup to the election sits a few hundred yards across the highway from Diebold. It’s probably worth noting that Tim Timken is due to be rewarded for his fund raising efforts with an appointment as the next US ambassador to Germany if that hasn’t already happened.

    That passage from the Guardian is typical of the myriad stories about Canton that ran in news outlets around the world last year. Canton has often been refered to as a bellwether city in national elections. Bush and Kerry each visited Stark county about half a dozen times last year. Perhaps when I have a little more time to write, I’ll relay some stories about their visits.

    btw, of all the stories I’ve read so far about this issue, the last line of this post is by far the best summation.

  5. Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    No need to polish it; it’s nicely layered. Brings to mind the fact that, worldwide, birth rate tends to be inversely proportional to GNP. Wealthier people have fewer babies. People with confidence in their ability to provide for themselves in old age don’t need children. People who always wonder what will happen to them in old age, want many children.

    I wonder: would a robust, reliable Social Security program reduce the rate of teen pregnancy and abortion?

  6. Jim
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    It appears that abstinence-only education is mandated state-wide in Ohio:

  7. Jim
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    One more link on abstinence only in Ohio:

  8. Posted August 25, 2005 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Contraceptives would reduce the rate of teen pregnancy and abortion, but it was god’s will that all those girls got knocked up.

    It’s all part of his plan for them.

  9. Dave
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I ‘escaped’ from Canton, Ohio in 1981 to Ypsilanti. There are so many things I would like to say about Canton, it’s people, the community, etc., but it would take up way too much space and time. What was once a prosperous city has turned to shit, with high crime, high teen pregnancy, and high unemployment. It is truly a blue collar town that has morphed into all that is wrong with America today – wrong in that the working middle class has all but disappeared. Replace Canton with Ypsilanti; its the same old song and dance. It’s sickening how companies like Timken get away with this crap. Luckily all of my relatives – Grandfather, Uncles, Aunts and close family friends all are retired from Timken. Although the pensions are probably the next thing to go! You’re blog is great Mark!

  10. Tony Buttons
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to make a shirt that says, “I couldn’t get laid at Timkin High” and send it to Mark for his birthday.

  11. be OH be
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    From today’s Canton Repository:
    “The new U.S. ambassador to Germany, Ohio industrialist William R. Timken Jr., highlighted what he called the countries

  12. Posted August 25, 2005 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    If you’re trying to build a conspiracy theory here, you’re missing some elements.

    First, Canton is the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s also home to Hoover Vacuum Cleaners.

    More notably, It was the birthplace, base of political operations, and final resting place of William McKinley, the republican president responsible for the Spanish-American War, and a personal hero of both George W. Bush and Karl Rove.

    Personally, I don’t grant much stock to the matter, as I’ve said before that Ohio is only barely a ‘red state’, just as Michigan is just barely a ‘blue state,’ based on the actual number of votes. As for the epicenter of conservativism in Ohio, Cincinatti has Canton beat hands down (among other things, they’re the town that made Robert Mapplethorpe famous).

    I should also add, that ball bearings (which is what Timken makes) and vacuum cleaners probably didn’t have quite as much of a negative effect on our society over the past century as another particular product has, which was manufactured in a city much closer to us.

  13. be OH be
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Just a few minor clarifications:

    The Hoover Company, like Diebold Inc, is located in North Canton.

    Timken’s chief contribution to the industrialized world is the tapered roller bearing, which is somewhat more complex than standard ball bearings.

  14. Posted August 25, 2005 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    “a few minor clarifications”???

    beohbe, you’ve completely discredited me and made me look like a fool. How I can keep confusing Canton and North Canton, two completely different municipalities who just happen to have identical names, look the same, and are right next to eachother, is frankly beyond me. Sorry.

    I did just have another thought, though. The article said that 1 out of 8 girls was pregnant, but it didn’t try to determine what percentage of boys at the school are fathers. Are there 65 of them, or is there simply one crazy kid that fashions himself the “Brigham Young of Canton”?

    Just an idea.

  15. mark
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Great points, everyone… Thanks especially to those of you who have some experience in Canton (I hear it’s an easy place to get laid, so it doesn’t surprise me to know that many of you have stopped there), and Jim, for finding that information about abstinence-only education in Ohio. I’ll add an update on the front page.

  16. chris
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    In college I dated a guy from Canton, Ben. He apparently came from manufacturing money. Nice guy, but here’s the weird thing. We were making out and as we were progressing around the proverbial bases he started crying?!? I asked him what was wrong, was he moved to tears by my body in all of its naked rapturous glory? Sadly no, he stated he was SAVING himself…for what, to this day I do not know.

    So, either the men from Canton have come a long way or this is the largest mass alien insemination since the rise of Scientology.

  17. mark
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Or, maybe Ben just moved home and decided to make up for lost time.

  18. chris
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    could be, could be

  19. mark
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Do you have his contact information? I’d like to interview him for the site… Actually, if you could arrange it, I’d like to interview all of your lovers, Chris.

  20. chris
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    OK, you just gave me the shudders. Not that you wanted to interview them. Just the thought of…them. Besides he would not have been a lover but a frottager. I do wonder what happened to him. Good God, do you think he could be Santorum’s ghost writer?

  21. mark
    Posted August 25, 2005 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    They could all be working for Santorum… That might be what you drive men to.

  22. Doug Skinner
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Chris — Nothing explains “saving yourself” better than the Bonzo Dog Band’s fine old song “Piggy Bank Love.” Crank it up.

    I believe there are restraining orders in place that bar Mark from contacting anybody’s former lovers.

  23. Tony Buttons
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I’ve said it before, but it’s been my own personal experience that our high schools are doing an absolutely horrid job of teaching oral sex these days.

  24. Shanster
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I, always the reasonable one, figure that the abstinence-plus program is the fair way to go. But do you really think that showing these teens how to put a condom on a banana would have helped them? And you blame the statewide abstinence program for the local anomaly?

    I’ve tried, but I figure you are more knowledgeable. What are the 2004/5 Ohio statewide teen pregnancy rates? Have they changed under the abstinence programs? Is there a skull-and-bones or Illuminati branch in Stark County?

  25. Jim
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, Shanster, I don’t know much about this topic; I just googled the sites I listed above. I’d like to know the answers to your questions if you find them.

    The following site suggests that Timken High was an early adopter of abstinence-only:
    There’s a DKos diary about the Timken program here:

    The program used in Timken–Community of Caring–actually seems not to have abstinence as a main focus. I think that this is their site:

    For an example of one of the more problematic programs, look at:
    They claim that 10,000 Ohio students are using their program. Here’s an excerpt from their site:
    “Starting at eight weeks, the baby is called a fetus. Fetus is just the Latin word for offspring. By the end of the first trimester, the fetus is 2 1/2 to 3 inches long and is fully formed. She has begun swallowing and kicking. All organs and muscles have formed and are beginning to function.”

    To call an 8-12 week old fetus a “fully formed” “baby” is grossly misleading. BTW, a new review article in JAMA shows that it is unlikely that a fetus feels pain before 29 or 30 weeks:

    I agree that children should be urged to practice abstinence; however, since urging abstinence has little demonstrable effect, they should also be informed about the effectiveness of condoms and birth control in preventing STDs and pregnancy.

  26. Jim
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I just found out what “abstinence-plus” is, and I find that once again I agree with Shanster. I also agree with S that it is unlikely that the abstinence-only program is a major cause of the high pregnancy rate at Timken.

    Okay, I have to ruin this moment of concord with a bit of snarkiness. Choose Life tells kids that they should also avoid kissing (because it leads to touching) and masturbation:

    “1. If sex has too many risks then is masturbating ok? Why or why not?

    “If by “ok” you mean that you cannot get an STD, then yes, if you masturbate then you can not get an STD. From another angle though, is masturbation is ok? Some argue that one needs to “release” himself occasionally so that he can be free from sexual tension or simply just to clean out his system. Actually, though, your body does that naturally through nocturnal emissions (wet dreams). Men have a built-in system that does that! Some say that they masturbate simply because it feels good. And it will. Just like anything else, just because it feels good, doesn’t mean that it is safe or healthy. First of all, there is a bonding process that happens when men have sexual release. When a guy masturbates (or has orgasm through intercourse), he bonds visually to that image. This causes problems later on in marriage because a man who is looking at porn has visually bonded to women other than his wife. Bonding with other women or other images can take away the pleasure of sex with one’s wife because it’s been done so many times before on occasions where the images are absolutely flawless women. No actual woman is flawless, your wife will certainly have her flaws (just as you do, I’m sure). Secondly, masturbation is about immediate gratification. It’s about feeling good right now. If a man waits until marriage to have any kind of sexual release, he develops great qualities such as discipline, patience, and self-control that will help him in other areas of his life. One final thought. You should ask yourself the question, “What will my wife think when she finds out that I masturbated?” Women don’t want their man thinking about other women. In closing, masturbation will encourage immediate gratification, it can develop into a habit that will be hard to break, and it will make the bonding process more difficult in your marriage.”

    They’d be more successful if they just dosed those poor boys with Depo-Provera.

  27. Shanster
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    The jfs site also indicated that in Stark county, Planned Parenthood got double the funding that abstinence programs were getting.

    Other statistics show that while the Clinton administration was in Washington (370 miles away), pregnancy rates consistently dropped. One can only infer the effects…

  28. chris
    Posted August 26, 2005 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    You wanted some statistics. According to the Ohio Department of Health web site: . The fertility rate for women between the ages of 15-17 in Stark County for the year 2002 is 16.4 per 1000. This number is very misleading as it has very tight parameters (excludes ages 12-14 and 18-19). Also these are fertility rates, rather than the rate of pregnancy. Fertility rate in this case is the rate of live births for women the above stated age.

    Oddly, the only posting of fertility rate for the entire state on their website mentions a rate of 52.6 BUT neglects to state the number of women for said rate. Kind of important I would think. My guess is that it is per 1,000 as this is the standard. Also, this rate is for 1995. My assumption would be that all the counties have not reported their most recent data to give a 2002 number.

    More recent numbers would not be publicly available as it takes some time to collate these data.

    The Guttmacher Institute, a think tank solely devoted to collecting and publishing data regarding women’s reproductive health; has published some additional data if you are interested. In short, statistics collected for 2000 showed that the “pregnancy” rate for women between the ages of 15-19 is 74 out of 1,000 women. Significantly higher than Ohio’s published fertility rate. Still, Ohio’s teen pregnancy rate ranks 28th in the US (the highest you ask? Why Nevada of course!?!).
    Of special interest is their fact sheet regarding teen sexual activity,

    All this info essentially states that on average there is a whole lot of screwin’ and not a lot o’ contracepting goin’ on at good ole Tidmark (is it?) High.

    Regarding the purpose of a condom on a banana. Lets put the whole abortion right to life bullshit aside for a moment and ponder these facts. The highest prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrheae in the state of Ohio is visited upon…you guessed it! Women between the age of 15-19. So if you really believe in the right to life you will see to it that sexually active people of reproductive age have access to condoms and the education on how to use them (which in part removes the stigma of using them). As the sexually transmitted infections that these women are at risk for puts their fertility in danger as well as their infants were they to become pregnant while infected. So put that on your banana and smoke it.

    But hey, here’s a morbid thought. Maybe thats the whole concept behind the abstinence policy reducing teenage pregnancy rates. Teens do not use condoms, become infected with chlamydia, and then voila! the girls are now infertile because of their untreated infections! Untreated because fuck all to Title X funding right? (Title X is federal funding for family planning clinics where almost all young women go to for their gynecogical care).

  29. Shanster
    Posted August 27, 2005 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the stats. Actually, in my search I found the same ones, with additional stuff at Planned Parenthood and None of it was more recent than 2002. I agree with you about condom use among those who are sexually active, it just makes sense.

    Removing the stigma about using condoms may be helpful, but its also important to remove the stigma about people like Ben who are trying to save themselves for their future spouse.

  30. Doug Skinner
    Posted August 27, 2005 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, abstinence programs often teach that condoms are ineffective — which means that when the kids have sex, they see no reason to use them.

    As for Ben: if he wanted to save himself for marriage, and didn’t want to marry Chris, he shouldn’t have been fooling around with her. That’s not a nice way to treat other people. That’s worth a bit of stigma, no?

  31. Shanster
    Posted August 27, 2005 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    True. Abstinence shouldn’t mean doing everything except intercourse. But chris was probably so tempting that his abstinence training was ineffective against her ‘rapturous glory’.

  32. chris
    Posted August 27, 2005 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I respected Ben. Enough to tell him I had no intention of marrying him (and I am quite sure nor he, me). Had the tables been turned I am quite sure that I would have been accused of being a cock tease. Or if date raped, been accused of having “led him on” with mixed messages. I have quite often begun relationships stating that they woould be purely platonic.

    And it it true that many teens believe that abstinence is everything except intercourse (which if my chidren were teens committing to abstinence I would accept this gladly). And some adults as well ala Clinton/Monica. I think it is a Southern thing. But of course this is a slipperry slope, no pun intended.

    Thanks for the implied complement, but he was successful in that we did not have sex…and all it took on his part was (nobody laugh, seriously) just saying, “no”.

    I asked my husband and he said that my glory is not raptorous but mildly distracting providing the drapes are closed.

    And thanks for the condom support.

  33. mark
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Chris, unless I’m reading this wrong, you’re saying that your husband finds your beauty only “mildly distracting,” and that’s when looking at you through curtains.

    And I wasn’t kidding about my offer to interview Gentle Ben for the site. I think it would be fascinating.

  34. Posted August 30, 2005 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I was reading an abstinence pledged girls letter to a sex columnist where she was describing things that she would do for her boyfriend, (that she wasn’t enjoying) and asking how she could find it more pleasurable etc. Theres a lot of details I wont go into, but what creeped me out was how it suddenly brought to my mind “The Stand” wherein Nadine says to Harold something to the effect of “You cant have that, that’s promised to someone else, but there’s alot of other fun things we can do”
    I dunnno, it was just creepy.

  35. chris
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    After 16 years its all about role play. And I have no idea where Ben is today. Because we never slept together I was not obliged to remember his last name.

  36. mark
    Posted August 30, 2005 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I can have people chip in and buy an ad in a local paper… Where did you say he was from, Chris?

    And, Stella, any chance that you might scan that article in and send it to me, or just drop it in the mail? I think I’d like to run it here, on the site.

  37. Posted August 31, 2005 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    It was online here-
    under june 15th “The complicated clit”

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