The daffodils are in full bloom here in the Midwest. Open thread below....
Heather Michon writes:
The statistics are stark. More than 1 in 3 Native American women will be sexually assaulted their lifetimes, a rate much higher than the general population. In one study, a stunning 92% of young women reported they had been forced to have sex against their will on a date.
One of the primary fears of any rape victim is an unintended pregnancy. The first line of defense against that possibility is, of course, the prompt administration of emergency contraception.
And this is where things get tricky for many Native women. Most receive their health care from the Indian Health Service and affiliated tribal health centers. Of 157 IHS facilities, only 10% surveyed stock Plan B in their pharmacies, and only 37.5% carried some alternative form of emergency contraception. In the Albuquerque Area, which covers almost all of New Mexico and Utah, only two of its 15 facilities stocked Plan B.
"If you are living on the reservation or on the Pueblos without insurance, or the money to pay for EC or transportation to get you to town, you are out of luck, because you do not have accessibility through our own health care provider," says Charon Asetoyer, a Comanche from Lake Andes, South Dakota and Executive Director of [the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center].
And that assumes women even know to ask or find it. "A lot of women in our communities aren't aware that Plan B even exists or they associate it with the abortion pill RU486, they don't realize the difference because the media and the opposition have projected this: it's an abortion pill, when it really is a contraceptive," Asetoyer notes. [...]
The so-called ?conscience clause? also comes into play. "We have had rape victims given prescriptions to get EC, but at IHS they wouldn't administer it, because the Pharmacy Director and her staff didn't believe in it, so she wouldn't administer EC," says Lisa Thompson-Heth of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in Fort Thompson, South Dakota. [...]
"It's not an aspirin; it's not cold tablets,? says Asetoyer. ?It's withholding services from a victim.?
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010:
You may have already taken note of the gay-hating, immigrant-bashing, ignorance-promoting, climate change-denying, anti-choice, scofflaw attorney general of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli II. Well, here's another of his finest moments. [...]
Question: What can we do about Obama and the birth certificate thing?
Cuccinelli: It will get tested in my view when someone... when he signs a law, and someone is convicted of violating it and one of their defenses will be it is not a law because someone qualified to be President didn?t sign it.
Q: Is that something you can do as Attorney General? Can you do that or something?
Cuccinelli: Well, only if there is a conflict where we are suing the federal government for a law they?ve passed. So it?s possible.
Q: Because we are talking about the possibility that he was not born in America.
Cuccinelli: Right. But at the same time under Rule 11, Federal Rule 11, we gotta have proof of it.
Q: How can we get proof?
Cuccinelli: Well... that?s a good question. Not one I?ve thought a lot about because it hasn?t been part of my campaign. Someone is going to have to come forward with nailed down testimony that he was born in place B, wherever that is. You know, the speculation is Kenya. And that doesn?t seem beyond the realm of possibility.
A new scientific study (ScienceDaily 2-1-2012) has concluded that sugar is as much of a threat to human health as tobacco and alcohol. Tony the Tiger may look benign, but he may be a merchant of death. The people who make Sugar Frosted Flakes were on to something when they dropped "Sugar" from the name of their product.
The scientists who conducted the study (at UCSF) are blaming sugar for killing 35 million people a year world wide due to cancer, diabetes and heart disease; in addition to causing "a global obesity pandemic." Of course, it's not sugar per se that is solely responsible. It's the profits before people mentality of the big food and agricultural conglomerates that are pouring sugar down the throats of a trusting public in order to puff up their bottom lines. While they profit, ScienceDaily reports that 75% of health care spending in the U.S. is related to care and cure of people suffering from these sugar related illnesses.
All of these cases cannot be blamed on sugar, but the UCSF scientists think it is "a primary culprit of this worldwide health crisis." Their report points out that too much sugar does more than make you fat-- it brings about metabolic changes that raises blood pressure and causes hormonal changes and liver damage. These are the same kinds of health damages that come about from alcohol (distilled sugar) abuse. They propose that government "regulate" [sort of] the sugar industry. It seems as if the last barrier to the exploitation of the public from private enterprise is the government-- in a real democracy it would be the first.
Robert Lustig, MD, one of the scientists involved in the study said, "As long as the public thinks that sugar is just 'empty calories' we have no chance of solving this"--i.e., the health problems caused by sugar. "There are good calories and bad calories," he continued, "just as there are good fats and bad fats, good amino acids and bad amino acids, good carbohydrates and bad carbohydrates. But sugar is toxic beyond its calories."
Claire Brindis, DPH, also involved in the study, said that to limit sugar intake we can't just rely on giving out public information and hope that people will change their behavior. [No faith in "just say NO!"] She thinks the same kind of broadly based public programs that were developed to fight alcohol abuse and tobacco use have to be enlisted.
Another scientist, Laura Schmidt, PhD, stated an obvious, if disheartening, truth, that "There is an enormous gap between what we know from science and what we practice in reality. In order to move the health needle, this issue needs to be recognized as a fundamental concern at the global level."
So, what is to be done? Should the government set limits to the amount of sugar that can be added to food? Should sugary snacks be banned in schools? Capitalists won't like this. And they certainly will howl at some of the suggestions put forth-- such as "levying special sales taxes [NO NEW TAXES], controlling access [Keep the government out of my mouth], tightening licensing requirements on vending machines and snack bars in schools and workplaces [we need less not MORE regulations]."
The conservatives and the right, especially Republicans, won't go for any of these measures. It is just not possible to do any progressive advance, in health of science, as long as these groups command political power in the U.S.; defeating them decisively is the sine qua non for real democratic advance. They won't be mollified by Dr. Schmidt's timid stance: "We're not talking prohibition. We're not advocating a major imposition of the government into people's lives. We're talking about gentle ways to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient, thereby moving people away from the concentrated dose. What we want is to actually increase people's choices by making foods that aren't loaded with sugar comparatively easier and cheaper to get."
A pandemic killing 35,000,000 people a year and the suggestion is "to make sugar consumption slightly less convenient." And why don't we fight malaria by making it slightly less convenient for the mosquitos to suck human blood, maybe they will choose to bite something else.
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The amount of student loan debt has skyrocketed in recent years to a total of $867 billion last year ? or more than the $704 billion in outstanding U.S. credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Of the 37 million borrowers who have outstanding student loan balances as of third-quarter 2011, 14.4 percent have at least one past-due student loan account.I've often wondered how much money is sucked out of the economy in the form of future student loan payments that would otherwise go towards buying a house, for example. How much do people forgo in future spending that goes towards loan repayment instead? I know I held off on buying my first place for a long time because of my $60,000 in graduate school/law loans - I was paying the equivalent of a month's rent per month on my loans after I graduated - and even once they were paid off I felt like I was starting at zero in terms of saving for my downpayment. And to what degree are we channeling people towards higher paying jobs that they might not want, simply to be able to pay off their debt burden (and skewing their happiness in addition to perhaps steering people away from more creative, or more public service oriented, careers)?
Once again, Republicans have proposed privatizing Medicare, despite the rather chilly reception this transcendently idiotic idea received last time. The logic is, as always, is that the hallowed Private Sector just does everything better than that[...]
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Title: Down In The ValleyArtist: The Head And The Heart
Seattle folk-poppers The Head And The Heart have been making waves with their self-titled eponymous release, and they've toured pretty hard with acts like My Morning Jacket and Vampire Weekend. I traversed the country for quite a few years playing shows night after night, and this video does a good job of capturing that. What's your favorite road song?
This is a wonderfully articulated essay by William Deresiewicz about finding your own path, living[...]
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Hey kids!Have you ever thought about getting into show business! Making movies in Hollywood, living the glamorous life of a Hollywood player. Magazine covers, movie premieres, award shows, red carpets, banging starlets, adopting foreign children, drug[...]
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It's me, Seamus.
I know you didn't expect to hear from me ever again, but I am still around. I am really old now; thirty plus years is a lot of age for us dogs. I just hope I make it to Saint Patrick's Day.
Anyway, in case you were wondering, I have learned to forgive you for what you did to me some 29 years ago.---- It's hard to believe it was that long. It seems like only yesterday I was puking all over the rear window of that white Chevy station wagon and your children were screaming their heads off. I can still feel the wind stinging my face and smell that strong scent of exhaust fumes. I kept thinking that we were just going for a quick family trip, but it seemed like we kept driving forever. Hey, at least it wasn't a compact.
I see you are running for president again. I hope you have better luck this time. Hopefully my little ride won't be the reason you lose the race. If it turns out to be I just couldn't live with myself. People are so much more sensitive when it comes to us dogs these days. I actually think that's a good thing. Look what happened to that famous athlete who abused us; he actually went to jail. I guess what I am saying is that this won't get any easier for you from here on out. There are actually groups dedicated to protecting us dogs and advocating on our behalf now, and most of the people in the country believe that we hold a special place in their hearts. Mitt, if only you had felt that way back then you wouldn't be going through this.
Anyway, if you do become president, I hope choose a dog as the first pet. I know you don't want to copy the Obamas, but it would really mean a lot to me. It's the least you could do.
Just promise me that you will let someone else in the family take care of it. I know that you have grown and matured, but some habits die hard.
In closing, give my love to the wife and kids for me, and tell them I hold no ill will towards them, I know that you are the head of the family, and they had no say in the matter. That was strictly your call; it's how you roll.
Good bye Mitt, and Godspeed.
*Pic from Zero Drop.com
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Seriously. From the NYT:
To test the relationship between stress and alcohol in fruit flies, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, allowed one group of male flies to mate freely with available virgin females. Another group of male flies had the opposite experience: the females they mingled with had already mated, and were thus indifferent to any approach.I wonder what the fruit flies would do if you offered them 72 virgins?
After four days, the flies in both groups fed in glass tubes outfitted with four straws, two providing a regular diet of yeast and sugar and two containing yeast, sugar and 15 percent alcohol. Fruit flies as a rule will, like many humans, develop a taste for alcohol and, in time, a preference for the 15 percent solution. But the rejected flies drank a lot more on average, supping from the spiked mixture about 70 percent of the time, compared with about 50 percent for their sexually sated peers.