November 21, 2011
Ob-Gyns: Prepare to Treat Transgender Patients
Washington, DC — To address the significant health care disparities of transgender individuals and to improve their access to care, ob-gyns should prepare to provide routine treatment and screening or refer them to other physicians, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College). In a Committee Opinion published today, The College also states its opposition to gender identity discrimination and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender identity disorder treatment.
Although the total number of transgender people in the US is unknown, studies suggest they make up a small, though substantial, population. Transgender is a broad umbrella term that includes people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from their assigned sex at birth. Female-to-male, male-to-female, crossdressers, bi-gendered, and intersex are the major groups that fall under the term transgender.
“Transgender patients have many of the same health care needs as the rest of our patients,” said Eliza Buyers, MD, former member of The College’s Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women who helped develop the new recommendations. Health outcomes for the transgender community are very poor due to their lack of access to health care, noted Dr. Buyers. “It would be wonderful if all transgender patients had the resources to be seen in a specialized clinic, but the reality is that many forgo care because they don’t. By increasing the number of ob-gyns providing care to transgender patients we can help improve the overall health of the transgender community.”
Transgender individuals who were assigned female sex at birth but are now living as a male will continue needing breast and reproductive organ screening, unless they’ve had mastectomy or had their ovaries, uterus, and/or cervix removed. Male-to-female individuals who have had genital reconstruction may need cancer screening of the neovagina and breast cancer screening if taking estrogen hormones.
“Services that ob-gyns should be able to offer transgender patients include preventive care, Pap tests, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screenings, and hysterectomy for standard indications like heavy bleeding or pain,” said Dr. Buyers. The College recommends ob-gyns first consult with transgender experts before performing hysterectomies as part of gender affirmation surgery. “Hormone replacement can be managed in consultation with experts in transgender care, as many patients will seek hormones on the black market if unable to obtain them from their providers.”
Many, if not most, transgender people face social harassment, discrimination, and rejection from family and society in general. Many of them are homeless, particularly youth who identify as transgender. Transgender individuals are at an increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, and physical abuse.
“We need to make our offices settings that treat all patients with respect,” said Dr. Buyers. The College offers ob-gyns suggestions on how to create an office environment that is welcoming to transgender patients. For instance, asking patients their preferred name and pronoun, posting non-discrimination policies, ensuring confidentiality, and offering sensitivity training for staff are all steps that signal acceptance and let patients know that they will be treated with dignity. “We want the transgender community to know that we, as ob-gyns, care about their health.”
Committee Opinion #512 “Health Care for Transgendered Individuals” is published in the December 2011 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
# # #
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 55,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. http://www.acog.org
From Discover Magazine: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/11/29/how-not-to-market-science-to-girls/
November 29th, 2011
Teaching kids about science is one of the best things we can do. Children are naturally inquisitive and curious; and the methods of science, if taught correctly, can be used to engender a lifelong love of these traits.
So I’m happy when science is encouraged for kids. Still, there are times when I see examples of science education that make me cringe, and shake my head, wondering “What were they thinking?”
Enter WILD! Science. This is an apparently successful Australian company that sells science kits for kids. That’s great, and some of the kits look pretty good.
The problem is, they split some of the kits into ones for boys, and ones for girls. And that split is exactly what you think.
For example, for boys: Hyperlauncher, Joke Soap, Perils of the Deep, Weird Slime Lab.
For girls: Mystic Crystals, Beauty Spa Lab, Luxury Soap Lab, Perfect Perfume Lab.
Oh: I’ll add that the boys’ kits are marketed in blue; the girls’ in pink.
Now, I am not a sociologist or a psychologist who studies gender roles and the differences between the sexes. It strikes me that there may be no need to separate the way we teach between boys and girls — my friend and geologist Evelyn Mervine discusses this point further — but I’ll also readily admit that there may very well be differences between the ways boys and girls see the world. If that’s the case, I have no problem with a company, teacher, or parent accepting that and using it to help the child learn. In other words, science is the same for everyone, but how we get people interested in it and learning about may vary from demographic to demographic.
But I don’t think that’s really the issue here. The problem here is these girls’ kits all are almost entirely marketed on the idea that girls should be pretty, or should try to make themselves pretty.
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/30/save-euro-eu-europe
Europe’s leaders are faced with a stark deadline of 10 days to save the euro or face the disintegration of the European Union itself.
The warning from Olli Rehn, EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner, came after central banks intervened to prevent a complete freezing-over of the west’s financial sector because of the politicians’ continued failure to resolve the sovereign debt crisis.
EU finance ministers were told bluntly that, with eurozone unemployment at 16.3m or 10.3% – the highest level since the single currency was introduced – an unchecked debt and banking crisis would push Europe into a deep slump and drag the rest of the world with it.
Herman Van Rompuy, the European Council president, charged with preparing yet another make-or-break EU summit next week, said: “The trouble has become systemic. We are witnessing a fully blown confidence crisis.”
The eurozone’s three most prominent leaders – Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and Mario Monti – are due to set out over the next five days how they envisage Europe’s political class regaining supremacy over volatile but dominant financial markets – and restoring confidence among panicky investors.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/nov/30/save-euro-eu-europe
Stop, I’ve seen this movie before.
Fanatical Iranians storming Embassies. Plus the ginning up of a nuclear threat ala Iraq War propaganda build up.
I don’t know how W. fucked up the prosperity side of going to war with Iraq. We got a huge stinking deficit and no oil out of that one, plus everyone in the Middle East hates us, but to the “Big Thinkers” that only means we need to try harder.
Let me be the first to say, “Fuck the idea of going to war with Iran.”
The only war Americans or for that matter Europeans should even consider getting into is a major Class War against the rich elite Masters of the Fucking Universe”. They are our real enemy, the real threat to democracy.
I read a really chilling article on Naked Capitalism today outlining the ultra right wing “Libertarian” idea of doing away with democracy. (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/journey-into-a-libertarian-future-part-ii-%E2%80%93-the-strategy.html)
The whole Iran Scare is just a spectacle to divert attention from the fucking working people in the USA/Canada and Europe are receiving from the Elites.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian protesters stormed the British Embassy compound in Tehran on Tuesday, smashing windows and burning the British flag during a rally to protest against sanctions imposed by Britain, live Iranian television showed.
Protesters threw petrol bombs and one waved a framed picture of Queen Elizabeth apparently found inside the compound, the state TV showed.
The semi-official Mehr news agency said protesters pulled down the British flag, burned it, and put up the Iranian flag.
London banned all British financial institutions from doing business with their Iranian counterparts, including the Central Bank of Iran, as part of a new wave of sanctions by Western countries.
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/30-7
“Here, look at this handsome L.L. Bean catalog and tell me what you want for Christmas,” said a relative over Thanksgiving weekend. I started leafing through the 88 page cornucopia with hundreds of clothing and household products, garnished by free gift cards and guaranteed free shipping. I wasn’t perusing it for any suggested gifts; instead, I was going through every offering to see whether they were made in the U.S.A. or in other countries.
This is what I found: over 97 percent of all the items pictured and priced were noted “imported” by L.L. Bean. The only ones manufactured in the U.S. were fireplace gloves, an L.L. Bean jean belt, a dress chino belt, quilted faux-shearling-lined L.L. Bean boots (made in Maine), a personalized web collar and leash (for your pet), and symbolically enough, the “made in Maine using American-made cotton canvas are the Original Boat and Tote Bags” to carry all those goodies coming in from China and elsewhere.
That was it for the products that were “Made in America.” The former fountainhead of global manufacturing has been largely deflated by the flight of U.S. companies to fascist or communist regimes noted for holding down their repressed workers.
But there is much more to this story and the plight of millions of American workers and hundreds of their hollowed out communities that are the visible results of corporate free trade propaganda.
How many times have the politicians and their corporate paymasters told us that “free trade” with other nations is a “win-win” proposition? They win and we win. After all, isn’t that what happened two hundred years ago when Portugal sold its wine to England in return for British textiles? Economists have won many prizes elaborating this theory of comparative advantage.
That is what Nobel laureate super-economist Paul Samuelson believed in the many years he wrote and updated his standard “Economics 101” textbook studied by millions of college students for nearly 50 years. For many of his colleagues, the theory of “free trade” had become an ideology bordering on a secular religion. Don’t bother them with the facts.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/30-7
From Robert Reich: http://robertreich.org/post/13469691304
By Robert Reich
Monday, November 28, 2011
For most of the last century, the basic bargain at the heart of the American economy was that employers paid their workers enough to buy what American employers were selling.
That basic bargain created a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, more jobs, and better wages.
Back in 1914, Henry Ford announced he was paying workers on his Model T assembly line $5 a day – three times what the typical factory employee earned at the time. The Wall Street Journal termed his action “an economic crime.”
But Ford knew it was a cunning business move. The higher wage turned Ford’s auto workers into customers who could afford to buy Model T’s. In two years Ford’s profits more than doubled.
That was then. Now, Ford Motor Company is paying its new hires half what it paid new employees a few years ago.
The basic bargain is over – not only at Ford but all over the American economy.
Continue reading at: http://robertreich.org/post/13469691304
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-besen/homophobia-a-mark-of-lose_b_1117747.html
I knew Russia was likely to embrace homophobia the moment I read that approximately 1.25 million Russians have emigrated from the nation in the past decade. Population experts say that the mass exodus is comparable in size to the migration following the Bolshevik Revolution.
This one-time superpower is disintegrating into a superstitious country more concerned about angels than economics. Each day, for example, tens of thousands of Russians stand in line for up to 12 hours in frigid weather to kiss a glass-covered case that they believe holds the Virgin Mary’s belt.
To top it off, Vladimir Putin’s voracious appetite for power is morphing Russia into an unsettling hybrid that vacillates between pseudo-democracy and sort-of dictatorship. The faltering of this country, which has the world’s 11th largest economy, would be significantly worse if it were not for the good fortune of having oil and gas exports.
In this politically stagnating and spiritually stifling environment, it is predictable that the city of Saint Petersburg would consider a totalitarian bill imposing fines for the so-called promotion of gay “propaganda.” If it were to pass, anyone who committed “public acts” promoting homosexuality, bisexuality or transgender identity to minors could pay up to 3,000 rubles, while an organization could pay 10,000 to 50,000 rubles.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-besen/homophobia-a-mark-of-lose_b_1117747.html
Retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) attributed the failure of Congress to pass a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to a “crowded agenda,” health care reform, and “transgender inclusion” during a press conference in Washington, D.C. this afternoon. “Given the polarization on this issue…[the bill will pass] the next time you get a Democratic House, Senate and President,” Frank predicted in response to a question from Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner, adding that in his 32 years in Congress, Democrats controlled all three for just four years. Frank said that openly LGBT members can also influence their fellow legislators to vote in favor of equality. “Legislating is the most personal form of governance…and personal factors mean a lot. Voting on the abstract on an issue is one thing, telling someone with whom you had good personal relations that you think he’s inferior, that’s harder.” Watch it:
by Matt Stoller
Without prosecutions, there’s nothing keeping fraud from becoming a standard business practice.
In 2004, the FBI warned Congress of an “epidemic of mortgage fraud,” of unscrupulous operators taking advantage of a booming real estate market. Less than two years later, an accounting scandal at Fannie Mae tipped us off that something was very wrong at the highest levels of corporate America.
Of course, we all know what happened next. Crime invaded the center of our banking system. Wall Street CEOs were signing on to SEC documents knowing they contained material misstatements. The New York Fed, riddled with conflicts of interest, shoveled money to large banks and tried to hide it under the veil of central bank independence. Even Tim Geithner noted that Lehman had “air in the marks” in its valuations of asset-backed securities, as the bankruptcy examiner’s report showed that accounting manipulation to disguise the condition of the balance sheet was a routine management tool at the bank. There’s a reason Charles Ferguson got an Academy Award for his work on the documentary Inside Job.
And yet, no handcuffs. The big news on prosecutions in the traditionally high-powered Southern District of New York are convictions for relatively petty insider trading that are unrelated to the collapse of the economy. The criminal charges could have been filed in the 1980s. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has brought minor civil suits against banks, but nothing significant, and no criminal indictments for the Ponzi scheme of the last four years.
If the government wants to track us, it has never been easier. The ubiquitous and relatively invisible private collection of data serves as a sort of outsourcing of surveillance.
By Patricia J. Williams
November 28, 2011
When attorney and feminist blogger Jill Filipovic landed at Newark Airport in October, her checked bags had been opened and scrutinized by the Transportation Security Administration. Later that evening when she unpacked, she found the requisite TSA slip acknowledging the search inside her suitcase. It’s unsettling enough to find such a note under the best of circumstances. Most of us do not tuck our dainties, toiletries, computer discs and diaries into our luggage with the thought that an unseen stranger will lay hands on it all and maybe pass untoward judgment. If we do think about it, most of us try to rationalize it as a necessary evil; and we minimize it by imagining a mechanistic bureaucrat, a stern and steely sort, having no emotions beyond a gimlet eye for weaponry.
Anonymous searches like these are nevertheless—by their nature—very intimate interactions. Filipovic discovered this firsthand when the Oz-like mask of the imagined automaton was torn off in the most uncomfortable way. She had packed what she later described as a “discreet miniature vibrator” in her suitcase. The vibrator apparently gave the TSA agent quite a chuckle, for he scrawled a handwritten note across the form: “Get your freak on, girl!” Not surprisingly, when the incident went public, a firestorm of protest forced the TSA to take steps to fire the agent. The search of Filipovic’s suitcase was carried out by a real human being—who is no doubt suffering some remorse—not by our imagined soulless machine.
From The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/europe-on-the-brink_b_1115401.html
Europe is now on the very edge of an economic abyss. And Germany is finding that it cannot survive as a smug island of fiscally conservative prosperity while the rest of Europe goes down the tubes. It is anybody’s guess whether Europe’s leaders will shift course in time. If they fail, it won’t be pretty. The fact that Germany’s fate is now more closely linked to that of its neighbors actually offers a ray of hope.
Until last week, Germany had been the safe haven. As speculators pulled money out of other countries, in a bondholders’ equivalent of a run on the bank, German government debt was oversubscribed, causing interest rates on German bunds (government bonds) to fall below 2 percent. The spread between German rates and the rates that “weaker” countries had to pay to sell their bonds was treated as a precise barometer of market confidence in a given nation’s debt.
For the Germans, this was a huge windfall. My friend Sony Kapoor, who directs the progressive think tank Re-Define in Brussels, calculated that Germany’s cheaper borrowing costs due to the panicky bond-market flight from nations like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland saved the Germans some $26.7 billion in interests costs between 2009 and 2011, and another $20 billion in low-interest bonds already locked in for the future. (It is no accident that the word Schadenfreude — translated as joy at another’s misfortune — is a uniquely German coinage.)
But then on Thursday, as Americans were taking a day off for Thanksgiving, the unthinkable happened. Germany had trouble selling its bonds. The bond market, in its panic, was fleeing even the safest haven. Europe is now approaching a Lehman Brothers moment, where nobody trusts anybody else’s promise to repay a debt.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-kuttner/europe-on-the-brink_b_1115401.html
By James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor
25 Nov 2011
As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.
Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.
“It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,” the minister told the Daily Telegraph.
From The BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15953806
29 November 2011
Up to two million public sector workers are staging a strike over pensions in what is set to be the biggest walkout for a generation.
Schools, hospitals, airports, ports and government offices will be among sites disrupted, as more than 1,000 demonstrations are due across the UK.
It would “achieve nothing”, Downing Street said, calling for more talks.
Unions object to government plans to make their members pay more and work longer to earn their pensions.
Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude branded the action “indefensible and wrong”.
“While discussions are continuing, I would urge public sector workers to look at the offer for themselves rather than listening to the rhetoric of their union leaders,” he said.
“These are the sort of pensions that few in the private sector can enjoy.”
Shadow chief secretary of the treasury, Rachel Reeves, told BBC’s Newsnight that Labour did not support the industrial action.
Continue reading at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15953806
By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
WASHINGTON — The polarized US Senate on Tuesday beat back an attempt to set aside proposed rules on detention of terrorism suspects, defying a White House veto threat and criticisms from the FBI and the Pentagon.
By a 37-61 margin, senators defeated an attempt to strip the proposed regulations from a vast annual spending bill that has yet to pass but is seen as a sure thing because it affects US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Democratic Senator Mark Udall’s amendment would have replaced the rules with a call for US military and intelligence officials to study the plan and offer their own blueprint for how to interrogate and detain alleged extremists.