Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's latest, Americanah, follows the trials and tribulations of Ifemelu, a middle-class Nigerian immigrant to America. Reviewer Jennifer Reese calls Americanah a "rich and gloriously detailed tapestry ... hung on the sturdy scaffolding of a sweet love story."
Roz Kaveney’s Dialectic of the Flesh may be pocket-sized, but the poems in this book open up into pathways dark and guttural, witty and wistful. A finalist for the 25th annual Lambda Literary Awards, the thirty-one poems in the book vary between tightly constructed poems—sonnet variations and villanelles—to free flowing confessional narrative ones.
Offering meditations on corporal self-perception, love, abandonment, intimacy, and lost friends, Kaveney’s subject matter and minute aesthetic adjustments crack the poems’ conventions and constructedness into tiny but malleable surprises. Take, for instance, in “Tangle,” where “[t]he human heart is but a maze of meat / where muscle tangles in a gorgeous knot” (14). Or in “Awkward” where Kaveney writes, “[y]et sometimes, when love comes, you have to hurl / yourself into it, crazy for some girl” (7)—ostensibly playing on both the physical act of throwing oneself “into it” and the ill affects associated with it.
Other poems deal with aging: “All bodies of my age are made of scar / and callus and the aching bit of bone / I broke at ten” (“Calluses” 30); and “[m]y hernia just like a cooling fin, / I try to hide it with a shoulder bag” (35), Kaveney writes, in the haunting form of the villanelle where the lines “I wish I thought my beauty was within” and “My body is far older than my skin” serve as the poem’s two refrains.
Moving towards a political landscape, Kaveney’s “Stonewall” breaks away from the formulaic nature of the majority of the poems, opting for shorter lines, enjambments—a general loosening of form—that highlight and intensify the urgency of Kaveney’s imaginative reconstructions. As the speaker writes:
It wasn’t a bar
you went to
if you were
too poor, too queer, too young, too brown.
It was a bar
down the street. (44)
We don’t know all their names,
the people in the bar
when the police went in.
And then things changed.
So make them up. (46)
Kaveney goes on to provide several imagined lives and in these small, intimate worlds that she builds. Everything blooms visceral, becoming delicate, erotic, nostalgic, and elegiac. We’re thrown into a world where there are people “[i]n jeans that looked like you could peel them off / like fruit skin, / like peach skin, / like grape skin” (50).
Dialectic’s confessional tone allows for an intimate read. Yet, it isn’t burdened by an overbearing or self-obsessed tone. Rather, Kaveney welcomes her readers into a private world where looking isn’t supposed to be sympathetic or intrusive but honest—accented with well-timed quips that give us enough distance not to be fraught with despondence. “I’m sick / of being told I’m bitch, or whore, or pig,” the speaker in “Mirrors” writes, “of feeling less than loved. I’ll kiss the glass / and feel my own hands warm up my arse” (29).
As the title of Kaveney’s book of poems suggest, the bodily dialectics between the corporeal and the imaginative are echoed in her poems through the tensions between her subject matter and conventional poetic forms. The oft familiar structures and rhythms become acutely displaced, rendered just a bit horrid, or weird, by the turns put forth by Kaveney. “Fragile and yet tough” (15) is an apt description of these poems.
Closing her poem “For my Transdyke Sisters,” Kaveney writes that “[w]e bite and lick and groan in sweet surprise, / then check our lip gloss in each other’s eyes” (13). Here’s a book of poems to stand in with raw humility, anguish, and self-love.
Dialectic of the Flesh
A Midsummer Night’s Press
Paperback, 9781938334009, 64 pp.
TV networks announced their fall programming schedules last week and the slate of new shows is both (kind of) good and bad news for portrayals of people people with disabilities.
Making good on a promise he made when he first ran for president of France a year ago, President Francois Hollande signed into law a bill that will allow same-sex couples to not only marry but also adopt children. His decision came about after months of tumultuous, and sometimes violent, protests led by the country’s right-wingers and Roman Catholic leaders.
The new law was officially added to the statute books of France after the country’s Constitutional Council rejected challenges from a conservative opposition party on Friday. In its ruling, the Council stated that it approved the law “in the name of the principle of equality, to allow homosexual couples to marry and benefit from the legal status linked to marriage” and to guarantee same-sex couples “the same protection in the event of divorce.” The latest addition to France’s civil code simply reads: Marriage is a contract between two people of different sex or the same sex.
President Hollande said after passing the law,
I want the law to apply throughout the land, in full, and I will not accept any disruption of these marriages.
France is the 14th country to legalize gay marriage. In the U.S., 12 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized same-sex marriage.
The new French law is being touted as the most notable social reform in the country since the 1981 banning of the death penalty. The first same-sex marriages in France are expected to take place by the end of May.
But what about FB pages, groups and images that condone or encourage rape or domestic violence, such as Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus, Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich, Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs or Raping your Girlfriend? The moderators let those fly.
It appears that Facebook considers violence against women to be less offensive than non-violent images of women’s bodies, and that the only acceptable representation of women’s nudity are those in which women appear as sex objects or the victims of abuse. Your common practice of allowing this content by appending a [humor] disclaimer to said content literally treats violence targeting women as a joke.
WAM!—backed by dozens of other groups (including Ms. magazine)—is fed up with this wink-wink treatment of violence against women. So it’s launched a campaign today to hold Facebook’s feet to the fire, so to speak:
Specifically, we call on you, Facebook, to take three actions:
- Recognize speech that trivializes or glorifies violence against girls and women as hate speech and make a commitment that you will not tolerate this content.
- Effectively train moderators to recognize and remove gender-based hate speech.
- Effectively train moderators to understand how online harassment differently affects women and men, in part due to the real-world pandemic of violence against women.
To this end, we are calling on Facebook users to contact advertisers whose ads on Facebook appear next to content that targets women for violence, to ask these companies to withdraw from advertising on Facebook until you take the above actions to ban gender-based hate speech on your site.
WAM!’s Take Action to End Gender-Based Hate Speech on Facebook campaign includes trigger-warning’d examples of hellacious images posted on Facebook, a very useful FAQ and links to five prominent companies “whose Facebook ads have appeared alongside violent, hateful content.” Campaign supporters are urged to contact these companies—by tweet, email or FB message—and ask them to stop advertising on Facebook until it takes “real action to end gender-based hate speech on its site.”
Write Chemaly, Friedman and Bates:
In a world in which hundreds of thousands of women are assaulted daily and where intimate partner violence remains one of the leading causes of death for women around the world, it is not possible to sit on the fence. We call on Facebook to make the only responsible decision and take swift, clear action on this issue, to bring your policy on rape and domestic violence into line with your own moderation goals and guidelines.
One other way to join this campaign: tweet under the hashtag #FBRape. Let’s see how our voices together can make change!!
Photo is a screenshot from Facebook
I’m tired of being told I should be thankful that things aren’t worse for women in Texas.
When the 83rd Texas Legislature began its session in January, Texans were looking at a whole host of anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-science bills, proposed by Republicans and championed by Gov. Rick Perry. None of those bills have, so far, seen debate outside of senate and house committees. Good sense willing, none of them will.
Why aren’t those bills getting the floor hearings they need in order to be put to a full vote? Because legislative leaders—perhaps most vocally, Republican Joe Straus, Speaker of the House—decided to prioritize other issues this session. This isn’t a victory for Democrats, or even a good compromise between the two parties. It’s a legislature in a holding pattern until Republicans go on the offensive against women again.
The situation: Republicans will talk about restoring some family planning funds in the state budget—conservatives slashed family planning funds by two-thirds in 2011—as long as Democrats don’t get mouthy about their own issues, specifically in challenging Texas’ abortion “affiliate” ban, which prevents public money from going to Planned Parenthood or any other entity the state thinks is a little too close to any provider of one particular safe, legal medical procedure. The ban, in place since 2005 but not enforced until 2012, effectively dismantled the state’s money-saving, federally funded Women’s Health Program, which was a success, due in large part to the specialized and affordable services provided by Planned Parenthood to low-income women.
Fifty-nine family planning providers—including public and private primary care clinics, federally qualified health centers, and public and private family planning clinics—closed as a result of the 2011 budget cuts, according to the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas.
Currently, lawmakers are discussing restoring family planning funding as part of the budget discussion in conference committee, a closed-door negotiation between the house and the senate.
The Texas Tribune has described this lack of further decimation of access to reproductive health care in Texas as a “semblance of concession.” When the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal re-ran the Tribune‘s story, the headline used the phrase “rare harmony.”
I’m not sure I would describe someone holding an anvil over my head and promising not to drop it as long as I don’t say the wrong thing as “harmony” so much as a “hostage situation.”
It’s important to keep in mind that we’re only talking about the beauty of this potentially renewed family planning funding because, two years ago, it was decimated. Restoring funds, which may or may not bring financial support back up to previous levels, isn’t an easy or quick fix. Clinics have closed. Doctors, nurses, and support staff have been laid off. It’s not a matter of turning the light switches back on and dusting off the stirrups in some kind of imagined feel-good montage.
Even with full funding restored, however, mending the safety net will take more time and effort than making the cuts did. Because Planned Parenthood clinics will be excluded from state support, other providers will have to increase their preventive care services for women, and the state will have to monitor the number of providers available to women in these programs and the level of access patients have to needed services.
Rep. Bryan Hughes, a Republican, has said that it’s “wonderful” to have the abortion affiliate rule go unchallenged, because both Republicans and Democrats “agree we want to make sure these services are provided and women get the health care that they need.”
But excluding Planned Parenthood, or any so-called abortion “affiliate,” from providing low-cost family planning care is not the most effective, cost-saving, access-increasing solution to the family planning crisis in Texas. Republicans say they want to fix what they broke in 2011, but they’re trying to do so without the most effective tool for the job.
Bob Deuell, a Republican senator and doctor, told the Texas Tribune earlier this month that his conservative colleagues “got snookered by some of the people in the pro-life movement about that family planning issue,” as if all the available evidence didn’t point toward more unplanned pregnancies, and less cost savings to the state, if funds were cut. As if Tea Partiers and Republicans were just hapless do-gooders caught in a no-win situation.
Deuell himself proposed a bill this session that would reduce the total number of abortion clinics in Texas to five. Five. Bob Deuell isn’t a reasonable guy looking for compromise. He’s an extremist who’ll say anything to stay in office after the family planning backlash.
There’s no “harmony” in capitulating to an anti-woman party that holds women’s health care hostage for the sake of scoring political points with a right-wing base that would like to see abortion made illegal, forcing all pregnant people to carry to term no matter what. Republicans aren’t being reasonable. They’re biding their time. And until Democrats go on the offensive, rather than the defensive, that’ll be the status quo in Texas.
So no, I’m not grateful to Texas lawmakers who say they’re piecing public funding for family planning care back together. Making life as fair and equitable as possible for constituents is what elected representatives (should) do, and restoring family planning services isn’t a grand gesture, a benevolent compromise or a favor. It’s the bare minimum.
The post Texas Republicans Don’t Act on Threats Against Repro Rights, and That’s Called Harmony? appeared first on RH Reality Check.
Abortion stigma is a complicated phenomenon. It affects abortion providers, people who have abortions, and even abortion rights activists, all in different ways. Tackling abortion stigma, especially in our current political climate, is a difficult but necessary task.
For people who have abortions, stigma may negatively affect their mental health after an abortion. Stigma also makes it difficult for people to talk about their abortion experiences, even with those they normally trust. For abortion providers, stigma makes it difficult for them to disclose the type of work they do and seek support from their families and communities. Advocates, researchers, and anyone who supports people who have abortions or abortion providers may experience stigma in the form of difficulty finding funding for their research or organization based on their association with abortion.
Scholars and advocates have both spent the last few years defining and documenting abortion stigma among different groups of people. Recently, the Guttmacher Institute released a new study that parses out how different women experience abortion stigma. The researchers found that Catholic and Protestant women experience higher levels of stigma compared to non-religious women, that Black women were less worried about judgment related to their abortion than white women, and that women who had previously given birth had fewer worries about judgment than women who had never given birth.
What can we do with this data? How can we use it to create programs that actually make a dent in abortion stigma? We have clear definitions of abortion stigma and diverse chronicles of how this phenomenon affects different people (although certainly more is needed). What we don’t have is evidence of what interventions work and don’t work to decrease abortion stigma, with whom, and why.
Kate Cockrill at ANSIRH is working on a study called Reading Women’s Lives, in which she recruited 13 women’s book clubs and had them read a book called Choice, which contains 23 non-fiction stories of experiences with pregnancy. Participants took both quantitative and qualitative surveys about their pregnancy history and attitudes toward different reproductive health experiences, including abortion. Trained researchers (myself included) went around the country recording book club discussions of Choice, observing and not directing the conversations. Many book clubs contained at least one person who’d had an abortion, and in most circumstances, that person discussed her experiences, often for the first time. After looking at the surveys, we found that the women who expressed the most prejudicial attitudes toward abortion actually had the most improved attitudes after the discussion of the book, and that these improved attitudes remained four months later. Putting women who haven’t had abortions in contact with women who’ve had abortions in an intimate setting like a book club enabled the reduction of prejudicial attitudes towards abortion (for more on the theoretical basis of this study, read about Gordon Allport’s contact theory).
Of course, book clubs as an area of study are limiting; they are comprised mostly of older, white, and heterosexual cisgender women. We need more interventions like the book club study in diverse contexts, where people are in spaces that encourage openness, curiosity, and empathy. We need to find spaces that enable people to be vulnerable and share their experiences with abortion without feeling like they are putting themselves in danger, emotionally or physically. Creating and nurturing these spaces, in addition to measuring and evaluating stigma reduction programs, will be paramount in figuring out the most effective strategies to reduce abortion stigma.
ANSIRH isn’t the only organization thinking creatively about interventions that decrease abortion stigma. Ipas, Exhale, Advocates for Youth, Preterm Clinic, and the Abortion Conversation Project are all pioneering innovative strategies and programs to reduce stigma around abortion, particularly for people who’ve had personal experiences with abortion. The key to figuring out if any of these interventions are successful will be measurement: Who did the program target? What were their attitudes about abortion before and after the program? Did their attitudes change, and if so, did those changes remain over time? Working together using the data we have now, researchers and advocates can create, measure, and evaluate evidence-based strategies to reduce abortion stigma.
While national politicians mull the idea of a 20-week federal abortion ban as a response to the Dr. Kermit Gosnell case, state legislators continue to push for unnecessary clinic regulations under the guise of making abortion “safer” for patients. Both Nebraska and New Hampshire have joined in the chorus of states suggesting they may propose new bills to monitor abortion providers, calling them necessary in rooting out unsafe practices.
Nebraska state Sen. Bob Krist (R-Omaha) has vowed that next year he will introduce a bill to “require stricter oversight of doctors who provide abortions in Nebraska,” according to the Omaha World Herald. The state already requires clinics to be licensed and subject to inspections, making it unclear exactly what sort of proposal Sen. Krist may be devising over the legislative break.
In New Hampshire, state Rep. Kathleen Souza (R-Hillsborough) says she too is beginning to write legislation for clinics, but hers would require inspections and licensing of clinics in the state. Rep. Souza cites the Gosnell case as her impetus for the bill. “Nobody has oversight,” Souza told the New Hampshire Union Leader. “Right-to-life people have been trying to put in legislation for 20 years to require abortion clinic licensing and clinic inspections.”
New Hampshire reproductive rights advocates say they aren’t as concerned with attempts to license or inspect them, citing their own safety records, but are more worried about back door attempts to shut them down. They should be, if states like Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Virginia are served as examples, where “licensing” the clinics meant forcing them into expensive and medically unneeded remodels, staffing, and equipment purchasing.
They are right to be concerned, if American’s United for Life’s (AUL’s) model legislation for licensing and inspection of a clinic is in play. Even if a legislator decides to draft only portions of an anti-choice bill, and reject the sections calling for wider doorways or mandatory admitting privileges for doctors who perform abortions, the “fill in the blank” do it yourself licensing portion of the bill, complete with “[Insert appropriate amount]” when it comes to deciding how much an annual, renewable license must cost the clinic, is a set up for legislators to price clinics out of offering services.
Considering Rep. Souza is an avid AUL fan, even stating she “eagerly” awaits her copy of Defending Life, the anti-choice action group’s yearly list of model legislation to introduce in the session, the odds of her using an AUL template are fairly good. Whether she will use it as a suggestion, or simply fill in the blanks, remains to be seen.
Conservative legislators began using the Gosnell trial as a means to push anti-choice abortion restrictions in a variety of states with little success. One Pennsylvania lawmaker did evoke the Gosnell trial as a reason he believed no insurance plans in the state should be allowed to cover abortion. The bill passed the committee although it was unlikely the senator’s argument affected lawmakers on either side of the issue.
The post Nebraska, New Hampshire Consider More Clinic Regulations Post-Gosnell Trial appeared first on RH Reality Check.
Well, gang, there is some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that feminist comedians and feminist critiques of comedy have been all over the news lately! Woo! Yay! The bad news is that this is, in large part, because there are a bunch of people who think that they have a constitutionally enshrined right to tell rape jokes and then never have to hear any criticism about them. Boo! Blerg!
On Tuesday a panel of judges of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals permanently struck down an Arizona law banning all abortions at 20 weeks, calling the extreme measure “unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of Supreme Court authority, beginning with Roe and ending with Gonzales.”
The state law, which had been scheduled to take effect on August 2, 2012, would have banned all abortions at 20 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period (LMP) without any exceptions for a pregnant woman’s life or health unless she is experiencing a dire and possibly life-threatening emergency. The law, HB 2036, would have banned abortion earlier in a pregnancy than similar laws recently enacted across the country and at a critical point when many women undergo prenatal testing to evaluate their own health and the status of their pregnancy.
The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit, Paul A. Isaacson, M.D. v. Tom Horne, Attorney General of Arizona, in July 2012 in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, on behalf of three physicians who perform abortions and serve women with high-risk pregnancies—arguing that the Arizona law violates the U.S. Constitution by banning pre-viability abortions. After a federal district court judge denied a request to temporarily block the law and issued a final ruling upholding the statute, CRR and ACLU appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which immediately blocked the law from taking effect while it deliberated the appeal of the District Court’s decision.
The opinion that followed was a forceful reaffirmation of a woman’s right to control her pregnancy pre-viability. The 44-page order repudiates much of the reasoning used by U.S. District Judge James Teilborg in originally ruling the law constitutional, including his parsing of the difference between a “ban” and a “regulation” and his assertion that because some pre-viability abortions would theoretically remain available under the law that it did not violate Roe. “The challenged Arizona statute’s medical emergency exception does not transform the law from a prohibition on abortion into a regulation of abortion procedure,” the opinion states. “Allowing a physician to decide if abortion is medically necessary is not the same as allowing a woman to decide whether to carry her own pregnancy to term. Moreover, regulations involve limitations as to the mode and manner of abortion, not preclusions of the choice to terminate a pregnancy altogether.”
Importantly, the Ninth Circuit rejected outright the argument that the federal courts are not bound to consider viability as the point at which to determine whether a state can pass a restriction that creates an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose. In other words, one of the goals of the Arizona ban was to test the strength of viability as a cut-off point in banning, or severely restricting, access to abortions. This is important as anti-abortion activists pursue increasingly restrictive laws on abortion access based on blurring science on issues like so-called fetal pain as is the case here.
But, in this ruling, the Ninth Circuit said clearly that pre-viability bans run contrary to precedent and are unconstitutional. “Roe identified fetal viability as the earliest point in the pregnancy when the state’s interest becomes sufficiently compelling to justify not just regulation of the abortion procedure, but proscription of abortion unless necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” the court wrote. “Since Roe, the Supreme Court and lower federal courts have repeated over and over again that viability remains the fulcrum of balance between a pregnant woman’s right to control her body and the state’s interest in preventing her from undergoing an abortion.”
On the issue of whether or not Arizona’s pre-viability ban would survive because of its narrow exception for the life and health of the pregnant woman, the court forcefully disagreed. “The presence of a medical exception does not make an otherwise impermissible prohibition constitutional. The adequacy of the medical exception has no bearing on whether the prohibition is permissible in the first place. The twenty-week law is unconstitutional because it bans abortion at a pre-viability stage of pregnancy; no health exception, no matter how broad, could save it.”
Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the following in a statement: “Today’s decision is a huge victory in the fight to protect women’s fundamental reproductive rights, and it should send a clear message to anti-choice politicians that their attempts to deprive pregnant women of critical health care are clearly unconstitutional and will not hold up in court.”
Attorneys for the ACLU who were also involved in the legal challenged were similarly pleased with the ruling. “We’re glad the court has reaffirmed that states cannot place unlawful burdens on a woman’s right to access safe reproductive health care,” said Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Politicians do not have the right to interfere in serious and personal decisions that should only be made by a woman with the help of her family and her doctor. The ban would have forced a physician caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to wait until her condition poses an immediate threat of death or major medical damage before offering her the care she needs. The ban also contained no exceptions for a woman who learns her fetus will not survive after birth.”
“Lawmakers cannot impose their personal ideologies on the women of Arizona,” said Dan Pochoda, legal director with the ACLU of Arizona. “This law endangered women’s health and was knowingly passed by the Arizona legislature despite clearly violating established constitutional requirements.”
This is the second opinion from the Ninth Circuit to unequivocally support abortion rights. Last year the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled states can’t prosecute pregnant women for “self-abortion” in the cask of Jenni Lynn McCormack who purchased medication online to terminate her pregnancy.
The ruling is not binding nationally, but covers the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. And since supporters of the measure, including Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, have made it clear the law is designed specifically to prompt the Supreme Court to take up and reverse Roe v. Wade, there’s every reason to believe supporters will appeal the ruling. In the meantime, though, the decision represents a significant victory for women, doctors, and public health and a defeat for those legislating religious extremism under the pretense of “protecting” women.
The post Federal Appeals Court Permanently Blocks Arizona 20-Week Abortion Ban appeared first on RH Reality Check.
We gotta pay to park--so we're throwing a dance party to benefit "The South Main Community Arts Center."
All monies raised goes to the gracious and benevolent Church of Holy Colors who share their land with the Co-op, CMC, SAW, Display, Radical Press, Gainesville Compost and soon to come Wild Iris Books.
Yesterday I felt like I could not do a single thing right. I tried to drink coffee; I moved the cup so the cat wouldn’t knock it over, I forgot about it, it got cold, I reheated it in the microwave, forgot about it there, etc. etc.. Clearly I was not meant to have a good hot cup of coffee. Bitchface Cat would get up all in my face, on the desk, as if to say “scoot that chair back, woman, I need a lap!” and then I’d offer her lap space and she’d settle for less than a minute before she was up and off again. Clearly my lap was not cozy enough.
I tried to dye eight skeins of tri-color yarn, and only got to six because our old electrical wiring in our old house suddenly decided that I can’t use four crock pots, I can only use three (this house has a history of not being able to run so many things at the same time or we trip breakers, and yes, I get that tripping breakers is much better than the house just going up in a fireball, BUT STILL). Out of those six skeins, two of them absolutely refused to run clear, so I’m going to have to continue to soak them until they do. To add insult to injury, all six were of a color that I’ve been contemplating not making more of, because it doesn’t sell very well (I’m not, however, making a decision to nix any colors until after an event I’m doing this Fall, nor am I going to name the color, Catherine, so don’t even ask). And then when I pulled them all out of the pots as it was getting dark, it looked like one of the three colors didn’t even take at all (in the light of day, however, it is there, just lighter than usual). Clearly I wasn’t meant to have a productive yarn dyeing day yesterday.
I’d also had to make a call out to the vet, as she wanted to come get another blood sample from Princess Cat. Wait, did I ever even blog about that? About six weeks ago, we’d had the vet out for something, I don’t even remember what — they just kept sending me postcards about how one of my cats was overdue for something and so I went ahead and made an appointment to shut them up. It turned out that Princess Cat had lost more weight than the vet was comfortable with, and we have fleas (wait, this is Florida, is there ANY pet owner who doesn’t have fleas?), and Princess Cat was anemic and OH GOD THIS IS TURNING INTO A LONG STORY.
The vet had to take a blood sample twice while she was there, and the second sample was clotty by the time they got back to the office. So they asked me if I would bring the cat in, and this turned into a long fight. OK; not a looooong fight, because I just flat out said “no. What part of me having a mobile vet is difficult to understand?” because here’s the thing — if I wanted to shove my pets in a box and take them to a traditional vet, I’d have a traditional vet. And if you, a mobile vet, would prefer me to come to you in the traditional manner, then you are no longer offering the service for which I wanted you for; which means that if I’m using you as a traditional vet, I could just as well find a new traditional vet that isn’t a 45 minute drive from my house. So I got kind of bitchy about it. I’ve not gotten the best service from anyone either on the phone or at their desk when I’ve been out there — I hesitate to even use the word “best”, as the customer service I’ve received is more along the lines of “cursory”…. blargh. ANYWAY. It resulted in her coming back again a few days later to give me a lecture on fleas and do another blood draw, and that resulted in much flailing of arms (on her part) as the cat is anemic and oh my god may drop dead at any moment let’s all run around in a circle and scream in sheer panic.
I’m not trying to say that I don’t love my cat, or that I think somehow that a cat’s health is not worthy of worry; I think what just happened with me is that the shittastic customer service I’ve received from the office staff coupled with her lecture on fleas and the Chicken Little attitude just… pushed me over the edge. Look, lady, I’m the one who will poke the dog if she’s napped too long, in case she’s died in her sleep. DON’T TELL ME WHEN TO PANIC. I can panic JUST FINE on my own. The more you TELL me I have to worry, the less I’m going to take you seriously. Perhaps my cat is underweight because she’s lost a lot of her back teeth, only we didn’t notice her not eating as much as normal because we have four cats and it’s not like we stand over each of them, counting the kernels of kibble. If that makes me a bad cat mommy, then fine. Whatever. We’ve beefed her up by switching her to wet food, which has been great for her because she loves it (and has put on weight) but bad for us because now she tries to trip us every time we walk near the cat room.
Needless to say I was really looking forward to calling her yesterday, HAHAHAHAHAHAH /end sarcasm.
But I had to call her, because – and this is getting so long already I’m going to put this part in another post – if I want to adopt a new (three-legged) dog, I’m going to need my vet’s recommendation for that. Which means I’d better play nice-nice. Or find a new vet quickly. There are no other mobile vets in town. So it’s this, or back to a traditional vet, and after 15 years of in-home vet care I can’t say I really am itching to going back to shoving everyone in a box and driving someplace. So I called her, and the first thing the person on the phone did, besides put me on hold for so long that I literally forgot why I had called, was to say that even though I was telling her that the vet had wanted to do another blood sample, that she could not find a record of that, so could she talk with the vet and call me back later? Yeah. Fine. Whatever.
So I spent most of the day yesterday wondering about my vet situation; do I want to keep this vet, does this vet want to keep me, what do I do if I leave this vet and don’t find another right away, why did Dr. Camp have to retire, is this vet going to lecture me about fleas again, what if she comes in and takes all my pets away and calls me a bad pet mom, blah blah blah blah blah.
So I got a call back late in the afternoon, for an appointment this morning (if, you know, I can’t just bring my cat in for such a simple procedure) and as I’m writing this in the afternoon of Tuesday, she’s been and gone. But that’s another long story, and my fingers hurt from typing. See why I don’t blog much any more? TOO MUCH TO SAY. I should look into one of those talk-to-text programs, heh.
Kaitlin Hunt was arrested in February and charged with “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16″ after the parents of her partner filed charges against Hunt. According to Hunt’s mother, Kelley Hunt-Smith, “These people never came to us as parents, never tried to speak to us… and tell us they had a problem with the girls dating…They were out to destroy my daughter. [They] feel like my daughter ‘made’ their daughter gay.”
Hunt and her partner were both on the Sebastian River High School basketball team and in some classes together. Hunt-Smith maintains that the two had completely consensual relationship. According to the Free KateFacebook page, “Kaitlyn’s girlfriend denies that Kaitlyn ever pressured her and is adamant that their relationship is entirely consensual, but her parents are out to destroy Kaitlyn’s life.” When the basketball coach found out the two were dating, Hunt was kicked off the basketball team and the coach notified the other girl’s parents, who pressed charges. Hunt was able to remain at Sebastian despite repeated efforts by her partner’s parents to have her expelled. When they petitioned the school board, Hunt was expelled from school despite two judges and the school’s administration denying their previous requests.
The State Attorney, Brian Workman, has offered Hunt a plea deal. If she accepts, she will face two years house arrest and one year probation. If she does not accept, she could go trial and if found guilty become a registered sex offender. She must decide whether or not to accept the offer by Friday. Her family has also created a petition on change.org that received so much traffic it crashed the site.
Media Resources: CBS News 5/20/2013; Huffington Post 5/19/2013; WPTV 5/19/2013; ThinkProgress 5/18/2013
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A highly contagious strain of meningitis that has struck 22 men in New York City in the last three years, killing seven of them, has public health experts scratching their heads and looking for ways to get as many gay men vaccinated as possible.
Meningitis is a disease marked by the inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. The inflammation is usually caused by an infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The infection can be the result of bacteria, a virus, a parasite, or a fungus. This outbreak is caused by bacteria that live in a person’s nose or mouth. It can be spread through kissing, sneezing, or sharing a spoon or cigarette. It is not as easy to spread as a cold or the flu but it is not a sexually transmitted disease, which is why public health experts do not quite understand why it is targeting gay men.
The current strain of bacterial meningitis was first detected among drug users in Brooklyn in 2006. In that outbreak, 23 people were infected and seven died. The city conducted a vaccination drive at drug treatment centers and soup kitchens, which seemed to work as there were no additional cases for three years. Then there was one case in 2010, four in 2011, 13 in 2012, and four so far this year. All of the cases were among gay or bisexual men, and 12 of those infected were HIV-positive. (There was one additional case in a man from upstate New York who came to the city frequently. A case in Los Angeles turned out not to be the same strain.) Dr. Jay Varma, the city’s deputy health commissioner for disease control told the New York Times, “We don’t have any evidence that it’s different in some biological way, we just know that it’s different. And what is concerning is that it is largely restricted to men who have sex with men. So we don’t really understand why that is.”
Though potentially deadly, bacterial meningitis is curable with antibiotics if caught early enough. Unfortunately, the symptoms, which include sudden onset of fever, headache, and a stiff neck, are often mistaken by individuals for something that is not serious and they don’t seek medical attention soon enough. The good news is that the vaccine works within seven to ten days and protects individuals for up to five years. Widespread vaccination is important because “herd immunity” will protect the community, even those who do not get vaccinated.
Vaccinations in New York City are up, with over 10,000 people receiving one this year. This weekend, the New York Times profiled one of the more unorthodox vaccine distribution programs in the city. Demetre Daskalakis, a doctor, advocate, and gay man, sets up shop in after-hours gay clubs offering free vaccines to anyone wants one. The Times joined him at Paddles, in Chelsea. His presence at the club was promoted through fliers by Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and patrons were reminded every hour or so by the club’s owner that they should see the doctor at the front of the room. Dr. Daskalakis is not affiliated with the health department, though he says that his colleagues there “love, love, love” what he’s doing and they do provide him with free vials of the vaccine. The health department has been less successful with its own outreach in gay clubs. (As the Times put it, people go to clubs to have fun, not be reminded there’s a deadly disease going around.) Dr. Daskalakis, however, is more effective perhaps because he does what he can to fit into the scene; at a house party in Brooklyn where he was offering vaccines a few weeks ago he dressed as a blonde nurse.
Though the infection is curable with antibiotics and preventable with vaccination,l its presence in the gay club scene in New York City is reminding many people of the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. As one of the club patrons at Paddles told the New York Times, “I feel like it’s the next narrative on from HIV, ‘Gay something happens in New York City gay spots.’”
The post Highly Contagious Strain of Meningitis Targets Men Who Have Sex With Men in NYC appeared first on RH Reality Check.
It was predictable that, in the illegal and deplorable actions of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of murder and involuntary manslaughter earlier this month for deaths he caused at his Philadelphia abortion clinic, anti-choice activists would find a rationale for curtailing women’s rights.
Because Gosnell’s market was poor women whose pregnancies sometimes exceeded the legal gestational limit under Pennsylvania law, right-wing activists pounced on the topic of later abortion—whose low incidence accounts for about 1.3 percent of all abortions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—as a way of framing all abortion in the most grisly of terms. The later abortion focus now appears to be part of a legislative strategy to further chip away at the reproductive rights of women by conferring equal or greater rights upon fetuses.
When the Gosnell case went to trial, right-wing activists saw their moment at hand, and got busy.
Live Action, famous for Lila Rose’s often deceptively edited videos on abortion clinics, released a new video on May 1 focused on later abortion.
The day of Gosnell’s conviction, the Family Research Council (FRC) and the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) issued press releases calling for a ban of later abortions in the District of Columbia (which is largely under the control of Congress).
The day after the Gosnell verdict was announced, activist Star Parker—whose group, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), is closely allied with FRC—convened a group of African-American pastors on Capitol Hill to demand congressional hearings on abortion as an alleged plot against Black people. Tim Goeglein, the chief lobbyist for the right-wing Focus on the Family empire, appeared on the panel for CURE’s May 13 legislative briefing.
But before the Gosnell case caught the public’s attention, the NRLC had declared its most important national legislative priority to be the District of Columbia 20-week abortion ban, which, if voted into law, would affect only women who sought abortions in Washington, D.C. The “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” would ban abortions after 20 weeks from the date of fertilization, based on the disproven theory that fetuses beyond that level of gestation feel pain, all in an apparent effort to confer the rights of personhood on fetuses. (Nine states have passed bills based on the NRLC model legislation. But measures that would extend the rights of personhood to human zygotes and embryos have yet to become law, although they have been introduced in nine states.)
Passage of such a bill by Congress would constitute a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion up to the point of fetal viability, generally accepted as occurring at around 24 weeks.
In the U.S. Capitol, right-wing legislators took the hint, embarking on a festival of grandstanding that is likely to continue for months, all apparently designed to shift public opinion on a woman’s right to choose (while safeguarding incumbent House Republicans from primary challenges). And now NRLC has endorsed an attempt in Congress to make its proposed later abortion ban apply to all 50 states. Here are the four lawmakers currently in the limelight for playing politics with women’s rights.
1. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
It was Franks who last month introduced the version of of the National Right to Life Committee’s later abortion ban that would have applied only to the District of Columbia if it passed both houses of Congress, and would then likely have to override a presidential veto. That’s a pretty heavy lift.
So given the bill’s likely failure, why not use the publicity surrounding the Gosnell verdict to make a bigger splash, rewriting it to apply to all 50 states, as well, for the opportunity to hold a variety show of hearings for the benefit of anti-choice lawmakers? That’s apparently the way Franks, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee and chairs the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, is thinking—because that’s exactly what he did on May 18 when he announced his intention to introduce a bill rewritten that way.
The first subcommittee hearing on the newly nationalized bill is scheduled for May 23. At a hearing for the D.C.-specific version of the bill introduced last year, Franks refused to allow Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s representative in Congress, to testify.
Franks also subscribes to the conspiracy theory that abortion is a plot by white eugenicists to wipe out the Black race. (See David Weigel’s 2010 report here.)
2. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Goodlatte saw in the Gosnell case an opportunity to use his committee’s power to make demands of the attorneys general of all 50 states, with a letter co-signed by Franks, that requires answers and supporting documentation to three questions regarding the statutes and procedures of the individual states regarding the treatment of fetuses and infants in abortion clinics, one about deaths of women in abortion clinics, and one about the state’s own gestational limits for legal abortion.
In the letter, dated May 7, 2013, Goodlatte sets a June 1 deadline for the provision of answers by state officials. (Compliance by the state attorneys general is optional, but the committee could issue a subpoena for the requested materials.)
Congressional jurisdiction does not generally apply to the actions of law enforcement personnel or legislators in state government, unless they are in conflict with federal law. So, in a press release issued by the Judiciary Committee, the Goodlatte letter is described as an attempt to determine “if the federal government might be able to partner with states to prevent newborn homicides.”
However, the first question asked by Goodlatte in the letter also asserts the committee’s interest in determining the state’s compliance with the federal 2002 “Infants Born-Alive Protection Act.”
Among the questions asked by Goodlatte and Franks in their letter:
“Do prosecutors in your state treat the deliberate killing of newborns, including those newborns who were born alive in the process of abortions, as a criminal offense? If so, have there been any prosecutions of this crime in your state?”
“Does your state have different statutes of limitation for culpability in the death of an infant and culpability and culpability for the deaths of human beings in later stages of development? If so, what is the understood rationale for that difference?”
In addition, Goodlatte and Franks ask the attorneys general to provide logs involving cases of women who have died or “suffered serious complications as a result of an abortion,” as well as logs of any cases that may have been prosecuted for abortions carried out beyond the state’s legal gestational limit.
As he faces reelection in 2014, Goodlatte’s abortion gambit may serve as one way to protect him from a primary challenge.
3. Fred Upton (R-MI)
As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Upton issued his own letter to the attorneys general in all 50 states, containing a potentially burdensome battery of questions on topics ranging from the licensing and regulation of abortion clinics that include demands for records and other supporting materials for a five-year period beginning in 2008. (The politically minded will note that the 2008-2013 period coincides with the election and subsequent presidency of Barack Obama.) The letter is dated May 7, 2013, and set a deadline of May 22 for compliance with the committee’s demands.
The letter from the Energy and Commerce Committee is significant because the Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, and since women often find it necessary to cross state lines in order to obtain an abortion, the Health subcommittee of Energy and Commerce claims a certain level of jurisdiction. Like the letter sent to state attorneys general by the Judiciary Committee, failure to comply with the Energy and Commerce Committee requests do not carry a legal penalty, but the committee does have subpoena power.
In addition to a long list of technical questions regarding the inspection and licensing of abortion clinics, the Energy and Commerce committee chair also asks state officials to detail what steps the state has taken to ensure that at every clinic there is “a designated individual to report suspected medical neglect (including withholding of medically indicated treatment of disabled infants with life-threatening conditions) to the state child protective services agency.” The letter states that this is necessary in order for a state to comply with the 2005 federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.
Despite his embrace of anti-choice positions, Upton isn’t a darling of the GOP’s right wing. In 2011, he managed to bring his National Right to Life Committee vote score up to 100 percent after scoring a mere 75 percent in 2009. With this letter, he apparently hopes to keep that full-bore rating going into the 2014 congressional elections. In fact, Upton only secured his chairmanship of the committee after GOP leaders promised the NRLC that they would name the stalwart anti-choice Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) to head the health subcommittee.
In any hearings prompted by the states’ response to the Goodlatte letter (which was co-signed by Pitts and other subcommittee chairs), Pitts can be expected to play a prominent role.
4. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
When he’s not crusading against the United Nations, Mike Lee can be counted on to lead the charge against women’s rights. As the Gosnell trial unfolded, Lee offered a resolution on May 8, blocked by Democrats, that seemed to paint virtually all abortion clinics in Gosnell’s image, and called for national hearings on later abortions. (The Democrats, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), instead offered their own resolution, which condemned abusive and unsanitary conditions in any health-care facility, not just abortion clinics.)
Lee’s resolution read, in part:
Congress has the responsibility to investigate and conduct hearings on abortions performed near, at, or after viability in the United States…and evaluate the extent to which such abortions involve violations of the natural right to life of infants who are born alive, or are capable of being born alive, and therefore are entitled to equal protection under the law.
The day before, Lee introduced a Senate version of the NRLC bill that would ban later abortion in Washington, D.C. Although the bill has virtually no chance of passage in the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority, it is gathering Republican co-sponsors, who now number 33.
The post Four Right-Wing Lawmakers Exploiting the Gosnell Case to Pass Anti-Choice Laws appeared first on RH Reality Check.
Hey, local business owners–be sure you’re listed here. It’s another handy way for us to look up local businesses
Vision can feel a little too reality-bound sometimes. We don't let ourselves see a deeply desired outcome if we can't see how it will come to be.
Especially in communities/cultures of "conscious creation," there's a lot of pressure around the visions we hold. It needs to be the "right" vision -- divinely guided, aligned with our values, of service to society, whatever allows us to approve of the vision.
With fantasy, there's more flexibility. There's no expectation that it will come to fruition, so we can play a little more freely.
The magic is that the fantasy reveals some of the ingredients of a heartfelt vision -- at the *qualitative* level. The qualities we imagine in our fantastical job / business / mate / home / whatever become ingredients of the vision at an *energy* level.
In fantasy, we also get to enjoy the flavor of an imagined experience without the expectation of making it reality. We can "try on" various possible visions to discover what we truly desire.
So to the "vision --> mission --> goals" triumvirate of conscious living, I would add the preface of "fantasy." Fantasy informs vision which shapes mission which translates into goals.
What are some of the qualities of your fantastical ideal job / business / mate / home / whatever?
On Friday, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) introduced legislation that would allow the government to investigate crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that falsely advertise abortion services. The “Stop Deceptive Advertising For Women’s Services Act,” introduced in both the House and the Senate, would allow the Federal Trade Commission to investigate reports of CPCs advertising as providing abortion care without offering any such services just as any other consumer complaint. The bill would not affect CPCs that accurately advertise as not providing abortion services.
Maloney and Menendez were joined by cosponsors Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in announcing the bill. In a released statement, Maloney said, “Deception has no place when a woman is seeking information about her health or a pregnancy. Women shouldn’t be deliberately misled or coerced when they seek legitimate medical services… While I will defend crisis centers’ First Amendment rights even though I disagree with their view of abortion, those that practice bait-and-switch should be held accountable so that pregnant women are not deceived at an extremely vulnerable time in their lives.” Menendez echoed her sentiments, “We have worked too hard to expand the availability of women’s health care services to have any confusion created by those who would deliberately deceive a woman to suit their own purposes. I am proud to be an original sponsor of this legislation that is aimed at reducing the risk of women encountering unnecessary worry, anxiety and interference with getting the health care they need.”
Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, are often owned and operated by churches or anti-abortion groups that pose as legitimate health centers in an attempt to trick pregnant women seeking abortion care. CPCs will provide medically inaccurate information and convey religious beliefs in an attempt to convince women to carry their pregnancies to term. To learn more about CPCs visit the Choices Campus Leadership Program’s Campaign to Expose Fake Clinics.
Media Resources: The Hill 5/20/2013; ThinkProgress 5/20/2013; Statement of Frank Lautenberg 5/17/2013
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