Group targets transgender healthcare disparities

Sorry I didn’t see this one earlier.

From The Dallas Voice:

Trans Pride Initiative’s Nell Gaither hopes Saturday’s breast cancer screening event at UT Southwestern will expand into annual health fair

19 Oct 2012

October is a popular month for cancer screenings for women because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but many masculine women and transgender people won’t undergo them because of fear of discrimination and embarrassment.

That’s why Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, said she planned a Chest & Breast Wellness Day at UT Southwestern Medical Center on Saturday, Oct. 20. Gaither said the event is intended for gender non-conforming individuals to have access to healthcare without feeling uncomfortable or facing discrimination at a doctor’s office.

Gaither started the nonprofit Trans Pride Initiative in August 2011 to end the disparities in trans healthcare. She then quit her job this past June to focus on the organization’s goals to end discrimination in healthcare facilities and provide better information and access to care.

“A lot of times people will avoid healthcare out of concerns for discrimination. There’s a high level of not getting healthcare in the trans and gender non-conforming communities,” she said.

“They may not be comfortable in that (traditional) setting, so it’s them being considerate of others, as well as them not wanting to be exposed to that type of situation.”

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Romney: Hospital Visitation For Gay Couples Are ‘Benefits’ Not Rights

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

by David Badash
on October 20, 2012
Mitt Romney wants you to know that allowing same-sex couples to visit each other in the hospital is a benefit — not a civil right — and he will let states take away that “benefit” if they want to. Two years ago, President Obama mandated that all hospitals treat same-sex couples with the same rights as married heterosexual couples, including visitation rights. (That’s also included, separately, in Obamacare.)

Also on the table, filed under “states rights” and not civil rights, is adoption of children by same-sex couples, and, presumably, single gay people.

“Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman,” Romney advisor Bay Buchanan told Buzzfeed today. “Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children. I referred to the Tenth Amendment only when speaking about these kinds of benefits – not marriage.”

READ: ‘I Didn’t Know You Had Families’ Mitt Romney Told Group Of Gay Parents

While this should not be a surprise to anyone, since Romney signed the National Organization For Marriage‘s pledge in January, and told Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition that he would “propose and promote” a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the U.S.

Why toss this out into the media now? Two reasons. First, red meat for the base. President Obama is the first sitting president to state he supports same-sex marriage, and has done more for the LGBT community than all U.S. presidents combined.

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The Head and The Heart: Why We’ve Got the President’s Back

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Third instance of voter registration dumping found in Virginia

Republicans get caught once again tampering with people’s right to vote.

From Raw Story:

By David Ferguson
Friday, October 19, 2012

A third instance of fraudulent voter registration has been uncovered in the important swing state of Virginia, where a Republican consultant has been arrested and thousands of discarded voter registration forms were recovered from a dumpster earlier this week. According to the Not Larry Sabato blog, a law student at James Madison University registered to vote on campus, but found when she tried to verify the change online, found that her form had never been submitted.

On Thursday, Raw Story reported that 31-year-old Colin Small, a Republican operative employed by Pinpoint, a firm contracted by Republican Party of Virginia, was arrested and charged with “four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of disclosure of voter registration application, and one count of obstruction of justice” for throwing active voter registration forms into a dumpster.

Not Larry Sabato blogger Ben Trippett wrote that 2 to 3 weeks ago, a woman, identified only by her first name, Lucy, attempted to update her voter registration at a table on the campus of James Madison University.

“She stopped to fill out a voter registration form to change her voting address from her parents house in Fairfax to her dorm address in Harrisonburg so she could vote in person on election day,” wrote Trippett.  ”On Wednesday night Lucy went online to check her voter registration status and found out she had not been registered in Harrisonburg- meaning whoever was collecting her form on campus had not turned it in.”

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Two Steps Backward: Suppressing the Vote in 2012

From Truth Out:

By Arlene Ash and John Lamperti
Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The United States has a history of promoting free elections – and of restricting them. The Constitution of 1786 left elections up to the states, and generally, only white, male property owners could vote. Since then, constitutional amendments and enabling legislation have hugely extended citizen suffrage. But it has not been a steady climb.

Until 2000, the trend favored expanding the franchise: to African-Americans, women, 18 to 21 year-olds, and those who couldn’t pay poll taxes. Recently however, and especially since the 2010 elections, the tide has turned. New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice calls what’s happening “the biggest rollback in voting rights since the Jim Crow era.” At the state level – where most voting rules and regulations are defined – many recent laws make registering and voting more difficult. Much of this has been facilitated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded think tank that supplies model legislation to conservative state legislators. ALEC also promoted, among other things, the “stand your ground” gun laws that have cost many lives.

In the last few years, more than 30 states have adopted restrictive voting laws, whose burdens “fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as voters with disabilities” says the Brennan Center. “These new laws could make it significantly harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.” [1]

What sorts of measures are we talking about? They include:

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BEHIND THE VEIL: Never-Before-Seen Footage of Secret Mormon Temple Rituals

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Draw the Line – Sign the Bill – SPREAD THE WORD

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A Question for Anti-Choicers: How, Exactly, Would Your Rape Exception Work?

From RH Reality Check:

by Bridgette Dunlap
October 18, 2012

There is much discussion these days of banning abortion with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. Setting aside the issue of whether this can possibly be true given the right’s support for “personhood” amendments, I want the right to explain what the process would be to seek an exception from a ban on abortion.

If efforts to criminalize abortion succeeded, would it be a medical, legal, or theological authority that would make the determination as to whether a woman qualified to have the banned procedure? If I was raped, would I have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, or might a preponderance of the evidence standard suffice? Would I make my case to a doctor? A judge? A police officer? An ethics committee?

And on what basis would the appointed entity make the decision? The embrace by many politicians of an exception for the life but not the health of the patient would presumably require legislation that would then leave authorities in the position to determine, for example, whether a delay in beginning cancer treatment would be considered a threat to my life or merely a risk to my health.

And how would the exception-seeking process work in an emergency? Reports from doctors seeking to comply with the Catholic Healthcare Directives suggest not well:

I’m on call when she gets septic, and she’s septic to the point that I’m pushing pressors on labor and delivery trying to keep her blood pressure up, and I have her on a cooling blanket because she’s 106 degrees. And I needed to get everything out. And so I put the ultrasound machine on and there was still a heartbeat, and [the ethics committee] wouldn’t let me because there was still a heartbeat. This woman is dying before our eyes. She was so sick she was in the [intensive care unit] for about 10 days and very nearly died. Her bleeding was so bad that the sclera, the white of her eyes, were red, filled with blood…

Imagine if this doctor also needed to comply with a statute and seek the approval of a governmental authority while his patient was “dying before [his] eyes.” Would he need to get an emergency court order or is the idea that the legislated “exceptions” would work as a defense should he be sanctioned or prosecuted for having performed an abortion without approval or sufficient cause?

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Paul Ryan Mocks ‘War On Women’ At Private Fundraiser

From The Huffington Post:


At a private fundraiser in Naples, Fla., on Thursday, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan mocked the so-called “war on women.”

“Now it’s a war on women; tomorrow it’s going to be a war on left-handed Irishmen or something like that,” Ryan told the crowd of donors, according to Shushanna Walshe of ABC News.

Democrats began using the “war on women” rhetoric in late 2011 to describe an unprecedented legislative focus by Republican lawmakers during the last two years on limiting women’s access to abortion and contraception. Ryan has cast 60 votes on abortion and reproductive rights issues during his time in the House of Representatives, and all of them were deemed “anti-choice” by women’s health advocates.

In addition to passing or proposing laws that would limit abortion rights, mandate ultrasounds, allow employers to deny women birth control coverage and defund Planned Parenthood, Republicans have repeatedly come under fire during the past several months for making inflammatory comments about women’s health. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” for advocating for contraception coverage, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant, and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said on Thursday that there should be no abortion exception for the “life of the mother” because “with modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” in which a woman would actually die from a pregnancy.

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‘Binders full of women’ reconsider voting for Mitt Romney

From The Guardian UK:

Until now, the Republican ‘war on women’ was mostly a meme wielded by Democrats. But Mitt’s mask has slipped on equality, Wednesday 17 October 2012

Mitt Romney‘s real success in the first presidential debate was to not emerge from the wings wearing horns and carrying a pitchfork, demanding that all the women in the audience submit immediately to transvaginal ultrasounds and relieving them of 23 cents for every dollar they happened to have on them. That is what the Obama campaign – with the help of many elected Republican officials who have been championing policies that slip easily into such shocking scenarios – prepared swing voters to expect.

When, instead, he came off as genial and direct, a proclaimed lover of both Big Bird and green energy, a lot of Americans appeared to accept this version of Romney. Polling in the immediate aftermath of the first debate showed that the Obama-Romney gender gap, which had been as high as 20 points in some states, had shrunk to almost nothing. Democratic pollster Celinda Lake told USA Today:

“Women went into the debate actively disliking Romney, and they came out thinking he might understand their lives and might be able to get something done for them.”

In Tuesday night’s second presidential debate, however, Mitt Romney not only failed to further his case that he understood women’s lives, he made the mistake of revealing exactly what it is he might be able to do for them: commission a “binder full” of their resumes.

Right. I guess this is what makes him a “small-government conservative”. Forget creating a law that allows women to sue for equal pay (the Ledbetter Act, Obama’s first major piece of legislation); just personally hire a woman every once in a while.

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Neoconservative Jingoism Plus Mormon Delusion Equals Perpetual War

From Alternet:

If he’s elected let’s pray Romney isn’t a good Mormon! Let’s hope he’s faking it!

By Frank Schaeffer
October 19, 2012

The danger to our military families posed by having a man in the White House whose knowledge of the world seems to only extend to avoiding military service, tax shelters, investing in Chinese sweat shops and a stint as a missionary in France, comes from the fact that to be a good Mormon one has to be jingoistic and combative about foreign policy. So if he’s elected let’s pray Romney isn’t a good Mormon! Let’s hope he’s faking it!

Bill Maher said: “In 100 years this country will be Mormon. It’s a stupid religion and a stupid country. They were made for each other.” I hope Maher’s wrong. However one proof that he’s right about our stupidity is that we Americans debate the impact Romney may have on the economy while ignoring his unique Mormon-inspired potential to get Marines like my son killed.

And that’s where Romney’s combination of Mormon theologically-inspired ignorance of the world and neoconservative stupidity will be deadly if Romney’s elected.

Don’t get me wrong I could care less about Romney’s personal religious beliefs. It’s his foreign policy and how those “personal beliefs” may get people like my Marine son killed that scares me.

You see unlike Romney’s sons my military-aged son volunteered to serve our country. (Thank God he came home from multiple wartime deployments alive.) I co-authored a book with Kathy Roth Douquet, Blue Star Families CEO about who serves in the military these days and who doesn’t that John McCain wrote the forward to: AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service — and How It Hurts Our Country . Point being unlike Romney I have had skin in the game in our wars.

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No to a Romney Economy

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Too late to stop global warming by cutting emissions, say experts

From Yahoo News:

ANI – 
Thu, Oct 18, 2012

London, October 18 (ANI): Governments and institutions should focus on developing adaption policies to address and mitigate against the negative impact of global warming rather than putting emphasis on carbon trading and capping greenhouse-gas emissions, researchers say.

“At present, governments’ attempts to limit greenhouse-gas emissions through carbon cap-and-trade schemes and to promote renewable and sustainable energy sources are probably too late to arrest the inevitable trend of global warming,” Johannesburg-based Wits University geoscientist Dr Jasper Knight and Dr Stephan Harrison from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom wrote.

The paper argues that much less attention is paid by policymakers to monitor, model and manage the impacts of climate change on the dynamics of Earth surface systems, including glaciers, rivers, mountains and coasts.

“This is a critical omission, as Earth surface systems provide water and soil resources, sustain ecosystem services and strongly influence biogeochemical climate feedbacks in ways that are as yet uncertain,” they wrote.

Knight and Harrison want governments to focus more on adaption policies because future impacts of global warming on land-surface stability and the sediment fluxes associated with soil erosion, river down-cutting and coastal erosion are relevant to sustainability, biodiversity and food security.

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A Simple Fix for Farming

From The New York Times:

October 19, 2012

IT’S becoming clear that we can grow all the food we need, and profitably, with far fewer chemicals. And I’m not talking about imposing some utopian vision of small organic farms on the world. Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use — if it wants to.

This was hammered home once again in what may be the most important agricultural study this year, although it has been largely ignored by the media, two of the leading science journals and even one of the study’s sponsors, the often hapless Department of Agriculture.

The study was done on land owned by Iowa State University called the Marsden Farm. On 22 acres of it, beginning in 2003, researchers set up three plots: one replicated the typical Midwestern cycle of planting corn one year and then soybeans the next, along with its routine mix of chemicals. On another, they planted a three-year cycle that included oats; the third plot added a four-year cycle and alfalfa. The longer rotations also integrated the raising of livestock, whose manure was used as fertilizer.

The results were stunning: The longer rotations produced better yields of both corn and soy, reduced the need for nitrogen fertilizer and herbicides by up to 88 percent, reduced the amounts of toxins in groundwater 200-fold and didn’t reduce profits by a single cent.

In short, there was only upside — and no downside at all — associated with the longer rotations. There was an increase in labor costs, but remember that profits were stable. So this is a matter of paying people for their knowledge and smart work instead of paying chemical companies for poisons. And it’s a high-stakes game; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about five billion pounds of pesticidesare used each year in the United States.

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