Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco suggest that ensuring access to nutritious food — particularly through increased levels of participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a government assistance program that provides low-income Americans with food aid — should be a priority in the fight against the HIV epidemic. A new UCSF study reports that the majority of HIV-positive patients experience food insecurity that leads to increased hospitalization and emergency room visits.
After studying HIV-positive patients in California, scientists concluded that adequate food is an important factor in HIV treatment, even though it hasn’t traditionally been linked to medical strategies to treat the virus. However, according to the UCSF study, HIV-positive individuals who lack secure access to nutritious food are more likely to struggle with illnesses that land them in the hospital:
The food-insecure patients were roughly twice as likely to have visited the ER or been hospitalized over a given three-month period, compared with patients who had enough to eat, the researchers found. Food insecurity was more likely than homelessness, drug abuse or depression — or just about any measurable problem associated with poverty — to lead to trips to the hospital.
Earlier studies, both in the United States and abroad, have found that food insecurity also is associated with missed doctors’ appointments, less suppression of the HIV virus and greater risk of death.
It’s not shocking that inaccessibility to food would be tied to poorer health, said Dr. Sheri Weiser, a study author. But she was surprised at how strong the correlation was between not having enough to eat and needing to use health care resources like hospitals and emergency rooms.
The researchers noted that only a fifth of the participants in their study had participated in SNAP over the past year, although a total of 72 percent had received some food aid from sources like churches, clinics, or food banks. The authors of the study believe there’s “probably room for improvement” in federal assistance programs like SNAP, either by better educating eligible Americans about the benefits available to them or by lowering the eligibility requirements so more struggling Americans can qualify.
Republican legislators may not have considered the potential implications for HIV-positive individuals when they endorsed the House GOP budget, which slashes $133 billion from the food stamp program, but a failure to ensure that low-income Americans have access to food could also be a failure to effectively combat the nation’s HIV epidemic.
By Jessica Goad
Tomorrow Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is scheduled to campaign in Hobbs, New Mexico, where he has said he will be ?describing a comprehensive energy plan.? The speech will be at Watson Truck & Supply, a trucking and oilfield services company in Hobbs that manufacturers drilling rig equipment, provides services for rigs, and hauls heavy equipment.
Interestingly, Watson Truck & Supply benefitted from $400,744 in stimulus funds, those from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act promoted by President Barack Obama that was signed into law in February 2009. As recovery.gov shows, the company was a stimulus vendor hired by the City of Hobbs. It used the funds for the ?purchase of building for transit center?:
This is of particular interest because both Romney and his vice presidential pick Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) have strongly criticized the president?s stimulus and its results. Romney has said the president’s energy “vision has failed,” and on the three-year anniversary of the stimulus he released a statement saying “the only thing President Obama’s stimulus has produced is a series of broken promises.”
And it?s not the first time that Romney and Ryan have campaigned with beneficiaries of the stimulus or shown hypocrisy towards it. In June, Romney fundraised at the home of a recipient of stimulus funds. He also bashed the stimulus at a small Ohio college that took $80,000 in stimulus money. And just last week, it was revealed that Ryan helped various constituent groups acquire stimulus funds for bus services, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects while calling the package ?a wasteful spending spree.?
This campaign stop also runs counter to Romney?s consistent attacks on the Obama statement ?you didn?t build that.? Conservatives quickly pounced on the comment as belittling small business owners, whereas the full text of the president?s speech reveals that he was referring to the idea that government has helped successful individuals along the way. Benefits from the stimulus to Watson Truck & Supply is just one example of government support for small business owners.
Various studies have shown that the stimulus actually created millions of jobs and turned the economy around.
Jessica is the Manager of Research and Outreach for the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
The big comics news of the day is that DC Comics, having annulled Superman’s marriage to Lois Lane when it hit the reset button on the franchise with the New 52 have decided that the Man of Steel is going to start knocking aerial boots with Wonder Woman herself. I’ll have to wait and see how the story works out to decide how I feel about it, but the cover image released to promote the team-up is a reminder for all that comics can draw the female body in exaggeratedly sexual ways, they’re can be depressingly awful at making actual sexual contact between adult superheroes look remotely appealing. Take a look:
The fact that Superman is tied up in Wonder Woman’s lasso is a nice little nod to her fetish pin-up origins, and a way of playing with the power dynamic between them that lends the image a nice little frisson. Or it would if Superman and Wonder Woman’s actual bodies are posed so it looks like someone is smushing a Barbie and a Ken Doll together. These don’t look like humans who are attracted to each other and in the process of making actual sexual contact.
It’s not quite as bad as DC’s Batman-and-Catwoman-bang-on-a-roof panel, in which Batman’s abs look less like human’s than a stack of chicken cutlets and Catwoman’s expression is more slack-jawed than erotically intent. If you can leach the sex appeal out of Catwoman, you’re doing something wrong:
The same is true of Frank Miller’s Holy Terror. Everything about that comic is ugly, from its vicious Islamophobia to its illustrations, but its attempts at sexytimes are particularly inept:
This sort of rampant incompetence is part of what makes something like the current characterization of Namor as a stud who will hook up with anyone, irrespective of species, fun. Even if the panels themselves aren’t always alluring, the strips have an actual grown-up sense of humor about sex that doesn’t require me to risk headache via eye-roll:
The slam that comics are the provenance of slobbering teenaged boys is an irritating one, given the sophistication of the ideas superhero stories can explore when they’re at their best. But it would definitely help if comics artists started drawing superheroines like people instead of figurines, and superhero sexuality in a way that suggested some familiarity with intimacy and the functioning of the human body.
It?s a theme that will carry over to the Republican National Convention next week, as the event organizers have titled Tuesday evening?s primetime session ?We Built This!?
But as with so many of these events before it, the Republican Party will be criticizing Obama for suggesting that small businesses rely on public funding from a building built largely with taxpayer dollars.
The Tampa Bay Times Forum, usually the home to the Tampa Bay Lightning NHL team and other large-scale events, was built in 1996 for $139 million, 62 percent of which was provided by the taxpayers of Florida.
It serves to underscore the point that President Obama was trying to make, that private companies — from professional sports franchises to small businesses alike — rely on government spending to succeed. Businesses don?t buy roads or police departments or even stadiums, at least not without government help.
Nonetheless, Jeff Vinik, the principal owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, is a big donor to Mitt Romney and the RNC, giving more than $30,000 so far this election season.
The city of Atlanta has agreed to pay a HIV-positive police officer $25 thousand in damages after the Atlanta Police Department denied him a job simply because of his HIV status.
Greg Nevins, an attorney at Lambda Legal’s Atlanta office who helped represent the officer, said he was glad the court reached a settlement decision that doesn’t play into misguided stigma surrounding HIV-positive individuals:
NEVINS: We are glad that the City of Atlanta has moved to right its wrong. We expect that the City, after paying out settlements in both [a previous LGBT-related case] and now this case, has learned to avoid the unnecessary costs of failing to treat LGBT people and those living with HIV fairly and appropriately.
The officer, going by the pseudonym “Richard Roe” to protect his privacy, applied for a position with the APD in 2006. However, after a round of medical screenings revealed Roe was HIV-positive, the ADP told him that his HIV status disqualified him from the position. Roe sued the city for workplace discrimination, but the court ruled in the city of Atlanta’s favor, saying Roe did not produce enough evidence to prove his HIV status will not present a direct threat to others while serving in the police force. Lambda Legal appealed and argued that, by considering Roe a “direct threat,” the city was discriminating against Roe.
Stigma surrounding HIV only helps maintain the HIV epidemic by hampering efforts for HIV advocacy and outreach. It’s important for cases like the one in Atlanta to help model a society that does not attach unfair stigma to HIV-positive individuals.
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Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan is now refusing to explain a bill that he co-sponsored with Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) that critics say would have redefined rape, providing federal assistance only to victims of "forcible rape."
In an interview with KDKA on Tuesday, Ryan said that he believed Akin's assertion that only victims of "legitimate rape" could get pregnant "were outrageous, over the pail." [sic]
"I don?t know anybody who would agree with that," the candidate said. "Rape is rape period, end of story."
KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano noted that Ryan's congressional record showed that he had opposed abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
"Look, I'm proud of my pro-life record," the Wisconsin congressman explained. "And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It's something I'm proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president, and he will set the policy of the administration."
Although Romney has repeatedly said that he backs a "personhood amendment" to define a fertilize egg as a person and ban abortion in all circumstances, he now says he "would not oppose" an exception for rape.
"You sponsored legislation that has the language 'forcible rape,'" Delano pointed out to Ryan. "What is forcible rape?"
"Rape is rape," Ryan replied, shaking his head. "Rape is rape, period. End of story."
"So that forcible rape language meant nothing to you at the time?" Delano pressed.
"Rape is rape and there?s no splitting hairs over rape," Ryan insisted.
Romney's running mate also said it was "ridiculous" for President Barack Obama to claim that women would be denied birth control if Republicans won the White House.
"Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody," Ryan remarked. "And I don?t think [women are] going to take the bait of all these distractions that the President is trying to throw at them."
As a member of Congress in 1999, Ryan voted to deny birth-control coverage to federal employees. He later co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, which would have criminalized some forms of contraception. And he vowed to repeal President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, calling the president ?paternalistic? and ?arrogant? for mandating that birth control be covered by all health plans, including those offered by religious organziations.
Rep. David Rivera (R-Crookistan) probably talking to his criminal defense lawyer. Again.It seems that corrupt GOP Rep. David Rivera's many interactions with the FBI haven't scared him away from ignoring the law in pursuit of personal gain.
Fueled with $43,000 in secret money, Republican Rep. David Rivera helped run a shadow campaign that might have broken federal laws in last week?s Democratic primary against his political nemesis Joe Garcia, according to campaign sources and finance records.In case you had any doubts?yes, that's illegal.
As part of the effort, a political unknown named Justin Lamar Sternad campaigned against Garcia by running a sophisticated mail campaign that Rivera helped orchestrate and fund, campaign vendors said.
Among the revelations: The mailers were often paid in envelopes stuffed with crisp hundred-dollar bills.
There's still a great deal of uncertainty about the reasons that Rivera avoided arrest last year from rampant and overt corruption, though the FBI reportedly opened up a second investigation into his activities. But clearly, his ability to evade prosecution thus far has only emboldened him.
Sternad's mailers targeted African American voters, a clear effort at eroding Joe Garcia's strong support among that community. The hope clearly was to siphon Garcia voters away so that a weaker Democrat prevailed in the primary.
That Rivera's effort failed should prove the least of his worries, now that his illegal involvement has been exposed.
Meanwhile, the path to Speaker Nancy Pelosi runs through this district. Rivera is so spooked by Garcia that he blatantly ignored the law to try and knock him out in the primary. You can return the favor, legally, by donating $3 to Garcia.
Log Cabin Republicans are positive their party will come around on civil rights sometime in the 21st century.Message to Log Cabin Republicans: It ain't the party of Lincoln anymore.
A platform subcommittee proved that fact once again Tuesday by adopting planks that Tony Perkins of the hate group known as the Family Research Council took credit for.
In a more explicitly anti-gay stance than in previous years, the 2012 GOP platform reiterates support for a ?constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman? as well as ?campaigns underway in several other states to? amend their constitutions to define marriage as purely a heterosexual union. The platform also specifically criticizes President Barack Obama's decision to stop defending in court the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that bars federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples. A number of amendments, including one in support of civil unions for both straight and gay partners, were rejected.
It's hard to believe that gay Republicans and their supporters expected anything different given the overall tone of the party these days. Nonetheless, while stating the truism that platforms don't actually have a great impact on policy, Log Cabin Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said in a press release:
"Tony Perkins may be boasting today about having written an antigay marriage plank into the Republican Party platform, but it will be a hollow and short-lived victory. The obsessive exclusion of gay couples, including military families, from the rights and responsibilities of marriage, combined with bizarre rhetoric about ?hate campaigns? and ?the homosexual rights agenda? are clear signs of desperation among social conservatives who know that public opinion is rapidly turning in favor of equality.Well, sure. Just as in the greater population, generational demographics within the GOP are bending toward support for marriage equality and other civil rights issues affecting the LGBT community. Translation: Stubborn anti-gay Republicans will eventually die and the majority of the party's youth will cast off the prejudices of the past. And choose to back freedom. Eventually.
Unfortunately, what voters can?t see in this document is the significant debate within the Committee. We were pleased to see vigorous debate on amendments in support of civil unions and to delete language regarding DOMA. While these measures failed, the future direction of our party clearly trends toward inclusion."
But the current trend has yet to reverse itself in the GOP. It shouldn't be forgotten that demographic trends don't mean that every person under 35 accepts marriage equality and full civil rights for gays, lesbians and transgender persons. In the overall U.S. population, Gallup says that about two-thirds do. But that one-third who don't are undoubtedly heavily represented in Republican ranks. Every generation has its retrogrades. While younger Republicans are no doubt more likely to support gay civil rights than older ones, as proved this year by the efforts on the platform subcommittee by Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, there is no evidence that the party's "eventually" is just around the corner.
Cooper's view that 2012 may well mark the last time the party's platform will kowtow to the Family Research Council would make Pollyanna blush. As long as the folks who equate opposition to civil unions with opposition to drug abuse and polygamy keep getting the applause and the planks, the party will remain in the dark ages.
Eventually, in a decade or two or three, the leaders of the Republican Party (instead of outlying dissidents within the party) will come to favor marriage equality. In the meantime, people who support it as well as the full platter of civil rights for every American, including LGBTs, already have a party to vote for.
The latest storm track has Issac traveling along Florida's western coast early next week. This could very well be the second consecutive Republican National Convention that loses a day to hurricanes.
It is easy to understand why so many top Republicans are working to get Rep. Todd Akin to drop out of the Missouri Senate race. Not only could he cost them a seat and potentially control of the Senate, but his problem is already starting to metastasize[...]
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