Number of uninsured Americans hits record high

Latest Census report shows 50.7 million people don’t have health insurance

By Phil Galewitz and Andrew Villegas
updated 9/16/2010 3:22:33 PM ET

In a reflection of the battered economy, the number of people without health insurance rose sharply last year to 50.7 million — an all time high — according to data released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

That pushed the rate of uninsured Americans to 16.7 percent last year from 15.4 percent in 2008, when there were 46.3 million uninsured. It was one of the largest single year increases since the Census starting tracking the figure in 1987.

Nearly every demographic and geographic group posted a rise in the uninsured rate—with the exception of children, who remained stable at about 10 percent. The sharpest jumps were in the Midwest and South, although all areas of the country saw increases.

“In a word, this is devastating,” said Jonathan Oberlander, professor of social medicine and health policy at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Story: Readers reveal real-world impact of health reform

Both Democrats and Republicans hoped to gain public support from the new figures.

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Speaking of RU486

What do transsexuals and feminists who support women’s rights to control their own bodies when it comes to reproduction and abortion access have in common?

Janice Raymond has written books attacking both.

One of the problems of looking at the world from a strictly trans-centric point of view is that it causes people to neglect to examine other positions that the person attacking TS/TG people has taken.

The same is true if one views the world through the lens of pro-choice feminism.  One sees the limiting of women’s abortion access being advocated by someone who claims to be a feminist.  But by solely focusing upon that one particular position one avoids seeing other anti-woman, misogynistic positions taken by this self proclaimed “feminist”.

In reality Janice Raymond and her mentor/as well as alleged lover Mary Daly were more influenced by rigid Catholic theology than by feminism.  Their brand of feminism was so rigidly defined as to be exclusionary rather than inclusive.

Monica Roberts has recently pointed out something that she has long argued and with good reason; much of feminism has been about privileged white women.  This paradigm, true or illusory had caused women of color to not feel they have a place at the table when it comes to being part of “Feminism”.

The same can be said for working class white women.  Something is wrong when it seems as though you have to have a degree from a prestigious university, a middle class or better life style and with it attendant power and privilege to have a voice in a movement that is supposed to represent you.

TS/TG women are not all white nor are we all blessed with class privilege.  Some of us grew up working class, some of us are people of color, more than a few of us either ran away from home or were thrown out by our families.

Our taking hormones and  having surgery to feel at home in our own skin isn’t the same as a non TS/TG person having plastic surgery for reasons of vanity. For us to not have access to this has the same sort of impact upon our lives as being forced to bear and raise an unwanted child (unwanted for any reason, not just rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother).  I thought that autonomy and control over my own body should be of the same level of agency.  That was the essence of personal freedom and autonomy, as well as one of the core tenets of feminism.

But as the 1970s wore on I saw that so much of feminism seemed aimed at furthering the lot of women who were further up the class structure than I was.  While women who were further up the class structure talked about law school, advanced degrees and glass ceilings in male dominated fields they seemed to think it would be great if women of my class were able to get into construction and auto repair.

The lack of class consciousness was stunning and I started getting the feeling that lots of feminists were not my sisters.

A lot of women who were people of color seemed to feel the same thing.

We started looking for a kind of feminism that we could make our own.

For TS/TG sisters Janice Raymond’s book “The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male” was pure abuse.  Suddenly TS/TG sisters had to listen to all sorts of filthy lies and double binding criticism by assholes who thought Raymond was brilliant.  But Raymond was really in the vanguard of the backlash.  All sorts of reactionary Cultural Feminism came to dominate a movement that had already alienated many people.

The face of feminism became white and privileged, if there were lesbians involved they were safe and invisible because too many obvious lesbians found their needs were not being met by mainstream feminism.

Thirty years of backlash and the erosion of rights and freedoms.  If TS/TG people want to get hormones or surgery they have to submit to being diagnosed with “Gender Identity Disorder”, a mental illness.

The demand for abortion rights has become the wishy-washy plea for “choice” and sanitized into “reproductive rights” when the whole core concept of abortion rights was about the right to not reproduce.

Doctors are murdered and a right secured nearly 40 years ago has been under constant threat.  If not by laws then by lack of abortion providers.

RU486 was supposed to permit women to exercise their right to have an abortion if they chose to terminate their pregnancy without access to a doctor who performed the surgical procedure.

But the religious right waged a war against RU486 and prevented access to the drug without a prescription.  First banned, it became legal due to the actions of the Clinton administration. The restrictions requiring prescription and a source to purchase the drugs continue to limit access.

While Raymond was hailed by many feminists for her attacks on TS/TG people these same feminists were oddly silent regarding another book she wrote “RU486:  Misconceptions, Myths and Morals“.  This work was used to argue against the approval of the drug.

Perhaps it is time to reexamine feminism and get rid of the sort of feminism that gets used to maintain class and racial discrimination.  Maybe it is time to look towards radical women like Emma Goldman and Rosa Luxembourg.  Women like Angela Davis.  The sex positive women who are not afraid to embrace sex workers as feminists instead of victims.  And yes embrace women born TS/TG too.

Instead of letting the anti-sex religionists dominate the debate, we need to demand the right to control our own bodies.

EXCLUSIVE Australian Woman Prosecuted for Medical Abortion

Faith based misogyny has come to seem the rule rather than the exception when it comes to women’s right to control their own bodies.

From Women’s Media Center:

By Michelle Dicinoski

In the state of Queensland, a young woman may face seven years in prison for allegedly taking the abortifacient RU486. Michelle Dicinoski, PhD, looks into the pro-choice advocates rallying around her case.

By rights, 20-year-old Tegan Leach should be living a regular, anonymous life. Instead, because she procured her own medical (non-surgical) abortion in Cairns, Australia, Leach has been charged with a crime that carries a seven-year jail term, and details of the charge and the events surrounding it have been widely published in print and online. Leach’s 22-year-old partner, Sergei Brennan, faces the possibility of three years in prison for assisting her.

Cairns is located in the state of Queensland, where it is a crime for a woman to procure a miscarriage by unlawfully “administer[ing] to herself any poison or other noxious thing,” or through “force of any kind,” or, in fact, through “any other means whatever.” Abortion is permitted in Queensland only if the woman’s physical or mental health would be at risk if she proceeded with the pregnancy. The breadth of interpretation that this provision allows has meant women can access abortion with relative ease in Queensland—relative ease, that is, for women who live near the metropolitan area or a regional center, and who can afford to pay. But the Leach case proves that the law provides inadequate protection for women who seek abortions and the doctors who treat them.

When Leach discovered she was pregnant, she and Brennan consulted a doctor to arrange a termination. Surgical abortion was the only option that the doctor suggested, even though medical abortion is as legal—or illegal—as surgical abortion in Queensland.

Leach and Brennan sought advice from their mothers, and also from Brennan’s sister, who lives in the Ukraine. Leach felt that she would prefer a medical abortion. Brennan’s sister, who herself had experienced a medical abortion, allegedly brought RU486 with her into the country a short while later, around Christmas 2008. Unaware that she was committing a crime, Leach took the drugs and ended the pregnancy.

Some time later, police searched Leach and Brennan’s premises on an unrelated matter, discovered the empty packaging that the pills had come in, and charged Leach and Brennan.

Caroline de Costa, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cairns’s James Cook University, has taken a particular interest in the Leach case. In her book Never, Ever, Again, Dr. de Costa points out that the laws under which Tegan Leach was charged were taken directly from the English “Offences Against the Person” act of 1861. These laws are 150 years old—and, de Costa notes, “Leach is almost certainly the first Queensland woman to be charged with procuring an abortion for herself.”

When Leach and Brennan were first charged, Queensland doctors ceased providing medical abortions entirely, for fear that they, too, would be charged. Women seeking medical abortions then had to travel interstate to access them. The law was subsequently amended to address these concerns but, Dr. de Costa says, still lacks clarity.

Leach’s trial is significant, says de Costa, because “this young woman allegedly made the kind of rational decision for herself that thousands of Australian women make every day. She acted upon it and yes, what she allegedly did was illegal, but she was not aware that she could access medical abortion legally, or at least relatively so, in Cairns; the law in Queensland then (in 2008) was extremely unclear and remains so despite the minor changes made by the government in September 2009.”

Emma Tovell from the Pro-Choice Action Collective states: “The committal hearing in September last year heard that the prosecution does not have to prove that the woman was pregnant, or even that the pills she took were real, but only that she had ‘abortive intent’ and that [Brennan] assisted her in that intent. If she is found guilty, then all kinds of women’s services, and women themselves, could be found to be breaking the law in all kinds of ways.”

If women are to have access to safe abortion, without risking a criminal charge, the law needs to be changed—not just in Queensland, but across Australia. Dr. de Costa says, “Abortion is a health issue and all Australian women should have equal access to information, counseling (if they want it), and abortion services, and this should be a Commonwealth responsibility.”

The law must be changed to ensure that other women who make the same choice as Tegan Leach need never suffer through what Leach is experiencing right now: a very public battle over a very private matter. You can sign the Radical Women petition, or visit the Pro-Choice Action Collective site or the Facebook group to pass on messages of support for Leach and Brennan. Rallies will occur on October 9, ahead of the trial on October 12.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC. WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.

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Britain – Work Opportunity Researcher/Adviser – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity…

[2010-09-16 Amnesty International]

2010-09-16 13.59.11

Researcher/Adviser – Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity:

Amnesty International needs a researcher in the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Unit. At the forefront of the fight for human rights, we pioneer research into areas where there is little precedent in law and policy. Our Gender, Sexuality and Identity Unit gives us the skills and knowledge to support our advocacy work in this area. In this specialist role, you’ll help us fight for equality for those with multifaceted identities.

As Amnesty International’s lead expert on one of the specific thematic areas within the Unit’s brief — gender, sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity, Indigenous rights, and human rights defenders — lead on the development and implementation of overarching research and advocacy strategies to deliver impact in relation to agreed priorities, conducting research, and utilising political judgment and analytical, communication and representational skills. Provide authoritative advice to country and thematic specialists in the International Secretariat, sections and structures. Contribute to the development of AI’s policy positions and advocacy strategies on human rights and the intersection of gender, sexuality, and/or other aspects of identity, including a focus on how the defence of those rights is challenged.

The Gender, Sexuality, and Identity Unit is responsible for intersectional analysis that captures the complexity of multifaceted identities—the combination of gender, sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity, Indigenous status, and other identities that make up who we are—and identifies the ways that human rights abuses target these multifaceted identities. The Unit provides strategic vision and leadership, and ensures that AI has the research, legal and policy analysis and campaigning skills to challenge such abuses effectively, and to support advocacy for effective redress. The Unit promotes and supports human rights defenders who are confronting such abuses, and conducts research and develops policy positions and advocacy strategies on expanding international recognition and promotion of the notion of dissent as critical to the protection of other human rights.

Salary: Full time salary of £38,975 per annum
Hours: 35 hours per week
Location: Central London
Contract duration: Permanent contract
Holidays: Full time staff receive 27 days per annum plus two Amnesty International grace day and statutory and national public holidays.
Office hours: 09.30 – 17.30 or 10.00 – 18.00 by arrangement

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The other housing crisis

With high unemployment comes problems with housing.

One thing I’ve noticed that separate sisters into different classes and that is the concern about having enough money to keep a roof over their head.  Unemployment and under-employment make that one difficult and once someone loses their apartment it has become almost impossible to get another one due to credit checks and background checks.

From Socialist Worker:

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor examines an aspect of the housing crisis that the media pay little attention to–the struggle of renters to find affordable housing.

September 16, 2010

MOST OF the news coverage of the housing crisis has focused on the plight of homeowners: declining home sales, the continuing and unabated rise of foreclosures on single-family homes, and the growing number of mortgages that are “under water”–that is, the loans are for more than the actual value of the homes, with the decline in home values.

But there’s a hidden housing crisis that gets little or no attention–the increasingly difficult struggle of millions of people to find affordable rental units, and to pay the rent once they do find someplace to live. Their numbers are only growing as the wave of foreclosures continues.

The unraveling of the housing market is having severe consequences for the economy as a whole, with no end in sight. Almost 3 million households were in foreclosure in 2009, a 21 percent increase over 2008. Another 3 million or more homes will be foreclosed on in 2010, as the unemployment crisis drags on, and people are simply unable to afford bloated and overpriced mortgage payments.

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