Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

Woman in catcall video getting rape threats now

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It’s becoming increasingly apparent (to men—women already were aware of it, for the most part) that there is indeed a strong misogynistic strand in modern American culture. Not all men, sure, but a lot of men—and it certainly does not help that non-misogynistic men are so often completely unaware of what women face. Mary Elizabeth Williams writes in Salon about the woman in the video I posted recently:

Because if there’s a way to make a depressing story even more demoralizing, the trolls will be there for it, Shoshana B. Roberts, the actress whose video of being catcalled a hundred times in a single day has gone viral this week, is now reportedly getting rape threats. Still think this is about just being friendly?

The video, created by the Hollaback anti street harassment campaign and creative director Rob Bliss, has racked up over a million views in its just first day on YouTube. In it, Roberts, clad in a black t shirt, jeans and sneakers, walks the streets of New York City to a steady chorus of “Damn, girl!” and “You don’t wanna talk?” At one point, a man silently walks right beside her for a full five minutes.

The video eloquently depicts what it’s like for a normal young woman to simply move from place to place in the course of a day – a journey that can span the gamut of experiences from an innocuous “Good morning” to demands for her phone number to persistent and creepy behavior.

As the comments on the YouTube clip – and the comments on every site that’s a run a story about the clip – make very clear, there’s still a vast amount of confusion to flat out fury that women might find this kind of behavior offensive. (There’s also, this being YouTube, a breathtaking amount of racism!) Some of the YouTube commenters are just “tired of these stupid bitches” while others jeer, “Boo-hoo, you’re beautiful and have to deal with attention” — and many, many purport to not see a problem at all, like the guy who says, “The only thing I see is her being a bitch and not saying hello or anything back to people, that try to be nice to her.” Makes you kind of wonder, then, why this video strikes such a chord of anger, most notably in male commenters. Makes you wonder why Hollaback tweeted late Tuesday, “The subject of our PSA is starting to get rape threats on the comments. Can you help by reporting them?”

For those who think the behavior depicted in the video is just about being friendly, let me try to assist. Most adult humans know what being friendly involves. And most of us, by the way, understand that there’s a spectrum between a cordial “Good morning” and explicit sexual commentary or touching. But consider why someone might feel the right to comment on a woman, to a woman, at all. Consider that a “friendly” remark can escalate into something rude or even threatening quickly. Note for instance, in the video, the person who tells her, “Somebody’s acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you more!”

Believe it not, a woman walking around does not necessarily need or desire a) a stranger’s opinion about her looks and b) a demand for a reaction to it. And behind so many of those random comments is an order – to smile, to say thank you, to give a number. To validate, in short, the total stranger who has chosen a woman because she happened to stroll into his sightline. You know what? It gets a little tiring. Especially when it happens again and again and again. And if you think that the intimidation that women routinely face isn’t real and isn’t a problem, I’d love to know why then the actress in this video is now being insulted and threatened online. Hollaback’s director Emily May told Newsday Tuesday, “The rape threats indicate that we are hitting a nerve. We want to do more than just hit a nerve though, we want New Yorkers to realize — once and for all — that street harassment isn’t OK, and that as a city we refuse to tolerate it.” So you think you’re a good person? You think you’re a nice guy? Then try this – try having an unexpressed thought when a woman walks past you. Try giving her room to get where she’s going without benefit of your commentary. Because however flattering you think your remarks are, she doesn’t need them.

Needless to say, men who make rape threats to women definitely are part of that misogynistic subculture that festers in this country.

Written by LeisureGuy

29 October 2014 at 11:11 am

How LCHF helped one epilectic woman

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From DietDoctor.com, run by an MD in Sweden:

Hi! I feel like sharing my story with you.

When I was younger, I was a healthy and happy girl of normal weight. But when I was 12 years old I was hit by epilepsy. I quickly turned into a different person. Due to the frequent seizures (often several times a week) and more medications with very difficult side effects, I became a girl who was constantly depressed, tired, and I gained a lot of weight. For eight years I lived my life in a tangible darkness, and completely without energy or joy of living.

In early 2014 I was told by my doctors that there was nothing more they could do for me, and that they had tried everything to stop the seizures. They said the only thing I could do was to hope that the seizures would disappear with time. At that time I was having seizures 3–4 times a week. I was quite overweight and because I was in such poor shape I couldn’t work either. In addition, this unsustainable situation had already brought me to a suicide attempt, and I knew that if there were no improvement soon, I’d make a second attempt.

I decided to take things into my own hands, and thought that at least I could try to lose some weight. In late February (8 months ago), I started to eat LCHF. Without a doubt, absolutely the very best decision I have ever made! Already in the first week my seizures disappeared. By 3 months on LCHF, I had phased out all drugs and was still seizure free. Today I’ve lost 121 pounds (55 kilo). I’m not taking any drugs, and I finally became that happy, healthy girl full of energy again. As long as I stick to LCHF, I don’t notice my disease at all and I don’t run out of energy.

Imagine that something as simple as reducing the amount of carbohydrates gave me my life back, and experiencing this journey has also made me grow a lot as a person. The plan now is to study to become a diet counselor, and I hope to help others in a similar situation.

I also want to thank the Diet Doctor for inspiring and great posts.

Sincerely, Emmy Frisk

Emmy Frisk, 20 years old. Please feel free to publish name and picture. [picture's at the link - LG]

Continue reading.

A couple of other posts on LCHF and epilepsy:

“The Verdict Was Medication for At Least 10 Years”

How a Diet Change Can Free People from Epilepsy

Written by LeisureGuy

29 October 2014 at 11:01 am

The New Health App on Apple’s iOS 8 Is Literally Dangerous

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I think she’s onto something, and I can see no reason on earth why the customer should not be able to delete apps from his or her own phone. Apple is sometimes way too controlling.

Written by LeisureGuy

28 October 2014 at 6:15 pm

Kansas Governor Is Forcing Disabled People Off Medicaid

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Sam Brownback’s experiment—running Kansas strictly on modern conservative principles—is not working out so well for the public. This latest development is tragic, but I get the sense that Gov. Brownback really doesn’t care about the disabled. Carl Gibson reports at ThinkProgress:

The conservative experiment in Gov. Sam Brownback’s Kansas has led to more suffering across the board — not just for the state’s economy, but for people with disabilities who are losing life-sustaining services.

At the time of his inauguration, Brownback was touted by fellow Republicans as a model example of what conservative governance nationwide could look like. While he promised to rejuvenate the state’s economy by slashing the state’s top income tax rate by 26 percent, his fiscal policy has instead blown an $800 million hole in the state budget, downgraded the state’s bond rating, and slowed job growth to a much lower rate than the national average. Brownback, once thought to be a strong contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, now has just a 48 percent chance at being elected to a second term, and his tax cuts are the central issue of the campaign. These tax cuts have been devastating for Kansas’ disabled population.

Since Brownback’s inauguration, 1,414 Kansans with disabilities have been forced off of the Medicaid physical disability (PD) waiver. In January of 2013, Brownback became the first governor to fully privatize Medicaid services, claiming he would save the state $1 billion in 5 years without having to cut services, eligibility, or provider payments. Now, under Brownback’s “KanCare,” PD waiver cases are handled by for-profit, out-of-state, Fortune 500, publicly-traded managed care services. Kansas has contracts with three managed care profiteers — United Healthcare, Sunflower State Health Plan (owned by Centene Corporation), and AmeriGroup. Amerigroup and Centene each gave $2,000, Kansas’ maximum allowed contribution, to Brownback’s re-election campaign.

“They wanted to cut my full-time care hours by 76 percent, which all three of my doctors said was totally unrealistic,” said Finn Bullers, a disability rights advocate who suffers from muscular dystrophy, uses a wheelchair, has type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes, and requires a ventilator in his throat to breathe. “Essentially, they wanted three out of every four hours to go away.”

“Often, these are not optional services,” said Rocky Nichols, executive director of the Kansas Disability Rights Center. “These are life-sustaining services like properly caring for and cleaning out feeding tubes, colostomy bags, and other devices so people don’t die, transferring the person with a mobility impairment from the chair so they can toilet, assisting with the critical and life-sustaining activities of daily living that most of us take for granted. These are basic human needs, not optional wants.”

But Brownback’s claims of savings without risking patient eligibility is mere sleight of hand when taking a closer look at the numbers. When Kansas experienced a $217 million revenue shortfall in April of 2014, Brownback actually broke a promise made to the federal government as to how many people with disabilities would be served. When applying to launch the KanCare program, the Brownback administration originally promised the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services it would accommodate7,874 people on the PD waiver, according to numbers from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. After the first revenue shortfall, Brownback changed that number to 5900 – nearly a 25 percent cut in services amounting to $26 million.

Just before Brownback’s inauguration, Kansas served 6,752 people on the PD waiver. More than 2,000 people with disabilities were added just in the last decade as a result of more advanced healthcare and disabled people living longer lives. However, the gradual uptick in new enrollees stopped abruptly once Brownback took over. According to this chart, over 1,400 disabled Kansans were dropped from the waiver between 2010 and 2014, with a sharp decline in 2014, coinciding directly with the revenue shortfalls resulting from the recent tax cuts.

“It is mind-boggling to think that in 2004, just ten years ago, there were 4,527 people on the waiver… It grew to 6,752, and it’s been in a death spiral ever since then,” Nichols said. “That cannot be an accident. There is just no way you can have, year after year, for four years in a row, those types of reductions in the number of people served.”

According to one state elected official, the sudden drop-offs could easily be traced back to . . .

Continue reading.

American government seems to be for sale these days. See next post.

Written by LeisureGuy

27 October 2014 at 1:01 pm

President and Govs. Cuomo and Christie debate Ebola quarantine; no people with actual medical experience and knowledge involved

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Somehow I don’t think any of these three should be making a medical or public health decision: they have the power but lack the expertise. In particular, Cuomo and Christie seem to be arguing from ignorance, with no interest in the facts but lots of interest in posturing. Here’s what a knowledgeable person thinks, FWIW.

Written by LeisureGuy

26 October 2014 at 5:06 pm

We Need to Normalize Drug Use in Our Society

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Stanton Peele has an interesting article in Pacific Standard:

Drug use was never considered to be in a special category of human experience until we medicalized addiction—and that idea has been disastrous. Drugs are now returning to their life-sized status as part of the range of normal human behaviors. And they are ubiquitous. Realism about drugs and addiction must dictate drug policy.

HOW WE DISCOVERED, THEN REJECTED, ADDICTION

There is a myth that narcotics cause addiction, a myth created early in the 20th century. Yet both Americans and Brits used copious amounts of opiates in the 19th century—think laudanum, a tinctured opiate, given lavishly to infants and children—without any thought that they caused addiction.

How was it that people so familiar with the use of opiates were so unfamiliar with addiction to them? According to social historian Virginia Berridge, in Opium and the People, despite the liberal dosing of much of the British population with opium and then morphine, “There is little evidence that there were large numbers of morphine addicts in the late nineteenth century.”

But then, at the turn of the century, we made the brilliant discovery that narcotics caused a unique, irresistible, pathologic medical syndrome. As Berridge says: “Morphine use and the problem, as medically defined, of hypodermic self-administration were closely connected with the medical elaboration of a disease view of addiction.”

And so, by the 1960s, when many drugs burst on to the American scene, pharmacologists constructed lists of drugs and their dangers. These lists had two columns—drugs that cause addiction (or physical dependence), and those that merely cause psychological (“psychic”) dependence: . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

25 October 2014 at 2:11 pm

Posted in Drug laws, Medical, Science

Capitalism vs. The public

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Sometimes the drive to charge people for everything—particularly those who have fallen on hard times—is somewhat sickening.

Here are some examples:

How Insurers Are Trying To Get Around Obamacare And Avoid Covering Sick Patients

That article explains the primary tactics and provides more detail under three headings:

1. Offering skimpy plans to workers that don’t cover all their needs.

2. Making drugs too expensive for sick patients to afford.

3. Forming narrow networks to discourage sick people from enrolling.

Of course, these things could be easily fixed were it not for the absolute opposition of the GOP, which does not want healthcare to work.

A Dallas Company Finds Profit in Video-Only Jail Visitations. The article begins:

There’s nothing nice about jail. The food stinks. There’s nothing to do. People are in a bad mood. The best you can hope for is to get out quickly with minimal hassle. One of the few things you have to look forward to is a visit from a friend or a loved one—a brief face-to-face connection to remind you that the world is waiting on the other side of the glass. But some Texas jails are eliminating in-person visitation and requiring instead the use of a video visitation system sold by Dallas-based Securus Technologies. Critics say it’s an outrageous profiteering scheme that has no policy rationale and could actually deteriorate security at jails.

Securus markets its video system as a cost-saver for jails and a convenience for family members who live far from their incarcerated loved ones. But the structure of the deals suggests there are powerful financial incentives for jails to curb or eliminate face-to-face visitation. Securus charges callers as much as a dollar a minute to use its video services, and jails get a 20 to 25 percent cut. For big-city jails, that could mean millions in extra money. . .

The article concludes:

. . . A report released this morning by Grassroots Leadership and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition found that disciplinary infractions, assaults and contraband cases all increased within the year after the video-only policy was put in place. The report concedes that the trends may be an aberration or temporary but cites social science and long-standing prison policies holding that visitations improves jail security and lowers recidivism rates. One studyof 16,420 offenders commissioned by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, for example, found that “prison visitation can significantly improve the transition offenders make from the institution to the community.” Even one visit lowered the risk that a person would re-offend by 13 percent.

“Video-only visitation policies ignore best practices that call for face-to-face visits to foster family relationships,” the report argues. “They advance arguments about security that are dubious, not rooted in research, and may be counter-productive.”

Grassroots Leadership and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition report found 10 counties in Texas that have already deployed video-only systems, with more considering the option.

Because cutting taxes means less money for government services, many police departments look for other sources of revenue, such as civil asset forfeiture in addition to things like the cash-up-front video-only visitation system. Indeed, Ferguson MO’s criminal justice system had a nice little racket going, constantly extorting money from the poor.

Turning Public Education Into Private Profits

One excellent way to destroy public education is to turn it over to private, for-profit companies. It may start okay, but pretty quickly the drive to grow profits will result in cost-cutting, and the schools will go downhill, short of teachers, short of supplies, short of maintenance, and so on. The article at the link is worth reading, particularly if you will at some point have children that will attend schools. Take a look at the start of that Pacific Standard article by Marian Wang:

In late February, the North Carolina chapter of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation—a group co-founded by the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers—embarked on what it billed as a statewide tour of charter schools, a cornerstone of the group’s education agenda. The first—and it turns out, only—stop was Douglass Academy, a new charter school in downtown Wilmington.

Douglass Academy was an unusual choice. A few weeks before, the school had been warned by the state about low enrollment. It had just 35 students, roughly half the state’s minimum. And a month earlier, a local newspaper had reported that federal regulators were investigating the school’s operations.

But the school has other attributes that may have appealed to the Koch group. The school’s founder, a politically active North Carolina businessman named Baker Mitchell, shares the Kochs’ free-market ideals.  His model for success embraces decreased government regulation, increased privatization, and, if all goes well, healthy corporate profits.

In that regard, Mitchell, 74, appears to be thriving. Every year, millions of public education dollars flow through Mitchell’s chain of four non-profit charter schools to for-profit companies he controls.

The schools buy or lease nearly everything from companies owned by Mitchell. Their desks. Their computers. The training they provide to teachers. Most of the land and buildings. Unlike with traditional school districts, at Mitchell’s charter schools there’s no competitive bidding. No evidence of haggling over rent or contracts.

The schools have all hired the same for-profit management company to run their day-to-day operations. The company, Roger Bacon Academy, is owned by Mitchell. It functions as the schools’ administrative arm, taking the lead in hiring and firing school staff. It handles most of the bookkeeping. The treasurer of the non-profit that controls the four schools is also the chief financial officer of Mitchell’s management company. The two organizations even share a bank account.

“This isn’t as if one of the board members happens to own a chalk company where they buy chalk from, and he recused himself from buying chalk. This is the entire management and operation of the school.”
Mitchell’s management company was chosen by the schools’ non-profit board, which Mitchell was on at the time—an arrangement that is illegal in many other states. . .

Written by LeisureGuy

23 October 2014 at 4:03 pm

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