Weekly Pulse: DADT, Vampire Bees, and Other Hazards to Your Health

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Dr. Kenneth Katz recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Health Hazards of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This week, he penned an op/ed for RH Reality Check about his experiences treating U.S. military at an STD clinic in San Diego. Dr. Katz sees the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule for LGB members of the military as a huge roadblock to good medical care. He’s pretty confident that his military patients feel safe divulging their sexual histories to a civilian doctor like himself. But when those troops go overseas, they are cared for by military doctors. Technically, doctor-patient communication is exempt from DADT, but many patients don’t realize that they can tell their military doctors about gay sex without fear of reprisals (at least in theory). Dr. Katz’s patients have told him that they won’t go for recommended follow-up STD screening after they ship out because they’re afraid to be honest with their doctors. He worries about how many troops are suffering from treatable infections in war zones because they aren’t allowed to serve openly.

Food stamp use skyrockets, swordfish sales unaccountably flat

Monica Potts of TAPPED points to the alarming statistic that in the last month alone an additional 500,000 Americans went on food stamps. She notes that the right wing website Daily Caller is alarmed not by the fact that fellow citizens can’t afford food, but rather that there’s no gruel-only foodstamp program available:

Meanwhile, the conservative news site The Daily Caller is shocked, shocked, to learn that you can use food stamps to buy all manner of food. The government, apparently, doesn’t restrict you from purchasing an $18-per-pound swordfish steak from Whole Foods. But that kind of discovery, like almost everything else in the “debate” over food stamp use, is the sort of ridiculous one that comes from a person who’s never been hungry.

The Hyde Amendment

In Campus Progress, Jessica Arons and Madina Agénor call for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment for being an assault on the reproductive rights of poor women and women of color. The Supreme Court declared abortion to be a constitutional right in 1973, yet nearly 40 years later, the Hyde Amendment still prohibits nearly all federal funding for abortions. In practice, the women most affected by the Hyde Amendment are those who depend on government health care programs like Medicaid and the Indian Health Service:

Former U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), the law’s sponsor, admitted during debate of his proposal that he was targeting poor women because they were the only ones vulnerable enough for him to reach. “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman,” he said. “Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the … Medicaid bill.”

Meanwhile, ultra-conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is calling on Congress to de-fund the reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood, Andy Birkey reports in the Minnesota Independent. In an interview with a conservative news site, Bachmann doubled down on that idea, suggesting that all of health care reform be de-funded because it funds abortions. This is not true. The aforementioned Hyde Amendment guarantees as much. Furthermore, even though health reform never would have funded abortions, President Obama signed an eleventh-hour executive order guaranteeing that health care reform would not fund abortions.

Brooklyn bees gorge on maraschino cherry run-off

Home beekeeping is the hottest new trend for health-conscious locavores. New York City recently changed the law to accommodate beekeepers in the five boroughs. Just because you live in an industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn is no reason to miss out on this sweet action, right? Well, actually, there is a catch. That nice honey at the farmers’ market tastes like lavender because that’s what those rural bees ate. What do bees in Red Hook, Brooklyn eat? Run-off from a maraschino cherry factory. The overindulgent bees “look like vampires” according to one local keeper and their honey runs bright red. Maraschino honey sounds like a delicious mash-up of high and low culture. Unfortunately, Sarah Goodyear reports in Grist that the end product doesn’t taste nearly as good as it looks. Arthur Mondella, the owner of Dell’s Maraschino Cherries, wants to do right by the beekeepers. He initially suggested putting out vats of different colored syrup to “help” the bees make rainbow honey. His proposal was not well-received by the crunchy set. Instead, he has agreed to work with the beekeepers to keep the bees out of the vats next year.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

DADT and the Wall of Whoop

DADT has been studied more than cancer, but the data is finally in. A vast majority of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines said, “big whoop”. The Secretary of Defense and many senior commanders have said – as they have for quite some time – “big whoop”. And the public, which the Tea Baggers and Republicans claim gave them an overwhelmingly clear mandate to do whatever they wanted screamed, “big whoop!” The Republican caucus, a minority of military commanders, and most notably Lindsey “Rentboy” Graham and the world’s most petulant child, John McThuselah, have said, “Not so fast. There’ll be no whooping in my military.”

On this issue – come to think of it, on most issues – McCain has been a major pain in the tuchus. He whined because the 17 gazillion studies that have been done since DADT was enacted just weren’t thorough enough, if by thorough you mean agreed with him. He said he’d gladly go along with repeal once the troops on the ground said, “big whoop”. Not unexpectedly, when confronted by the troops’ Wall of Whoop, his response is, “Whaaaaaaaa! I don’t wanna!”

McCain: Formally Admiral Crybaby
How the hell did such a crybaby survive being a POW? “Wahhh! I want more gruel. Whaaaa! I’m hot, and cold, and hot. Whaaaa! You waterboarded me with a neti pot instead of a towel and bucket. What kind of enhanced interrogator are you?!”

Look, almost every military on Earth, except perhaps Pope Ratzzie’s Swiss Guard, accepts gay people. And like the old saw about masturbation (with apologies to Christine O’Donnell), those that think there are none already there are lying. So far as I know, there has never been a military failure attributable to sexual orientation unless you count drumming out qualified and critically needed translators at just the time we needed them most.

Way to fight the War of Error there Boehner Bitches.

There have been no instances of soldiers running out of the shower tent directly into the groping hands of a TSA agent because someone looked at their junk. Even little old ladies from Pasadena waited until someone took x-rays of their desiccated old vajayjays followed by the most embarrassing crotch grab in history to complain.

AAAAAHHHHH! Look, It’s a Dick
Are you saying that accidentally looking at an underwhelming, soap-lathered dick will cause a top notch military to take up arms and resist the legal orders of Congress and the President – who ought to stop pussyfooting (no pun intended) around and issue? If you do, are you not saying, “These colors never run!” but, “These colors will always run from a comrade they never even knew was gay before they were allowed to ask”? You’re not describing a world class military; you’re describing an extremely well-armed gaggle of unpatriotic, cowardly traitors.”

As a veteran, I for one am as insulted as those in uniform should be.

John Boy, Graham Cracker, Boehner Boys, Senate Leader Yertle, stop turning an issue with as much import to the country as your last 27 anti-flag burning amendments into a holy crusade that allows you to stomp your little wingtips and whine whenever the Democrats’ chiropractor accidentally finds a spine.

I believe you’ve been bragging about that massive mandate you got from the public. A public, BTW, that rates you several points below your craven Democratic colleagues and that sorry excuse for a President across the aisle. Quitcher bitchin’ and do as the vast majority of voters have commanded.

Your behavior is just so, um, gay (apologies to the LGBT community for the insult).

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

Cynical and Obvious

Senate Republicans to Reid: We'll hold our breath!

[W]e write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers," the letter reads. "With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that mig ht ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.

Unemployment benefits, DADT, the DREAM Act.  Republicans are willing to block all major Dem initiatives unless they get their way on continued tax breaks for millionaires. 

Reid responds:

With this letter, they have simply put in writing the political strategy that the Republicans pursued this entire Congress: Namely, obstruct, delay action on critical matters, and then blame the Democrats for not addressing the needs of American people. Very cynical, but very obvious.

The obvious lesson to learn here is that Democrats just need to give in one more time, and the President needs to legitimize a few more Republican talking points.  More "good faith" meetings with the 42 Senate Republicans who just agreed privately to block everything will surely do the trick.  Stick hand out in concession, get bitten, repeat:

An extension, reform or expiration could've been pushed long ago. The White House, too, has kept asking for meetings and processes rather than simply using its leverage -- the veto pen -- to set a clear line in the sand and let Republicans decide how to respond. Despite controlling all branches of government and having the more popular position on the tax cuts, the Democrats have acted like a minority party in disarray.

Meanwhile, the Catfood Commission, in their "Moment of Truth," will recommend a stomp on the middle-class once they figure out exactly which pair of boots to wear to the party, and Republicans in the House prepare for a 112th Congress that will make Democrats long for the days when Republicans forced lengthy discussions over Bill Clinton's Christmas card list.

Dysfunctional is too mild a word. 

Also: Bipartisanship!

Values Voters: Hating Sin, Loving Sinners Only Applies to Their Own Group

When will politicians learn that running on personal values is a non-starter, particularly since most voters don’t care? But more importantly, how is it that the most sanctimonious pricks are usually the ones who turn up in compromising positions with those they hate on?

I don’t care what a person does behind doors. Really, I don’t. Plushies, fisting, or sex with park benches, it’s all good with me. By the same token, if you don’t like something, I’m OK with that too as long as you don’t try to force others to embrace your kookie, holier than the holiest of holies blather. But when a lout like Carl Palidino screams about the evils of the “homosexual life style” and is then caught emailing “awesome lesbian porn” (BTW Carl, lesbians are homosexuals) it’s rank, “large H” hypocrisy.

However, I expect a some “little H” hypocrisy, even though it too is wrong. There are a variety of reasons for candidates to change positions – from legitimate conversions of opinion to taking a slightly different spin on an issue to placate a particularly important constituency. But, there is something different about ignoring what you preach, particularly when you scream it at the top of your sinning-assed lungs.

And, here’s the difference.

When a candidate changes position on, for example, whether the Department of Education should be abolished, most voters – if they notice at all – forget about it within days. Most wouldn’t vote based on that single issue anyway.

But when a sanctimonious ass cake preaches the evils of homosexuality and is then found in bed with hookers or shipping porn spam around like a Nigerian Viagra dealer, values voters never seem angry about the breach of faith. In fact, they often scapegoat others, from the media to some innocent party, to protect the “sinner”. Values voters are much more likely to care less that a soldier who was never asked and never told was discharged than the sin of the anti-gay, red-handed jackwad pulling his pud over lesbian porn.

And values voters do often vote purely on values issues. They seem to have an attitude of hating the sin but loving the sinner only when the sinner is one of their own – even if the sinner has compounded their original sin with the sin of lying about it – repeatedly.

It’s also different in another important way.

If someone is elected and succeeds in abolishing, say, the Department of Education, the Republic may suffer from a stupid decision, but it’s unlikely to perish. However, if values voters continue to ignore and defend the transparent imbeciles like Palidino and nibble away at constitutional protections because someone is gay or Muslim or black or just different in some way, the Republic will perish.

If you think the worst thing that can happen is the repeal of DADT or gay marriage, you ain’t seen nothing like a country turned into group-belief theocracy.

Especially if you’re not a member of the theocratic elite.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Irony: Log Cabin Republicans Achieve What Congressional Democrats Could Not

The big news circulating throughout the blogosphere Tuesday afternoon is a report that a federal judge has halted the enforcement of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which does not allow GLBT Americans to serve openly and honorably in the military.

Judge Virginia Phillips ordered the military "immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced" under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Levine, Adam (2010-10-12). Judge orders military to stop enforcing 'don't ask, don't tell'. CNN. Retrieved on 2010-10-12.

This ruling is a pure case of irony.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) was not ended due to a Democratic Congress enacting legislation repealing the military policy. DADT was struck down due to legal action filed by the Log Cabin Republicans.

Now THAT'S ironic.

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