Tag Archives: The man

Stopping by to say hi

I used to blog here, right?

I had company in town and a lot of social commitments over the Thanksgiving holiday. I have had a few ideas for posts, but no time to write them. In the meantime, in light of the total lack of any contraceptive coverage requirements in either health care bill, and the Stupak amendment, here’s a cartoon:

From In Contempt, hat tip to Alas, a Blog.

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Nice to find an uncracked pedestal

When I was a child, I had a book of Norman Rockwell’s illustrations art that I used to joyously pore over. I remember even doing a report on him for school, and I had to make sure he wasn’t too much of a commercial artist to qualify.

In my previous life before motherhood and medical school, I actually went to art school and was a portrait artist. I could never even begin to touch the hem of Normal Rockwell’s garment when it came to the emotional quality he could bring to his faces, much less his exquisite technical skill. I never, ever mentioned being inspired by him in art school, however. No one else mentioned him either. I was busy discovering other portrait artists like Francis Bacon and Sigmund Freud.

There is a Normal Rockwell exhibit at a nearby art museum, and I really want to go. I was listening to a story on it on my local NPR station (you guessed that I listed to a lot of NPR already, right?) and I was stunned and impressed by their coverage of his dedication to civil rights. I was also stunned and disgusted by their explanation why none of his pieces depicting civil rights for African Americans were ever in the Saturday Evening Post; they had an official policy that blacks could only be portrayed as servants: waiters, housekeepers, etc. This was in the 1960′s.

(Another example of very institutionalized racism, and why I had the “there is no such thing as a race card” this very morning. Before I heard this story.)

I am looking forward to seeing the exhibit, especially two pieces that I had never heard of until they were described on the radio this morning. It used to mildly annoy me when they did stories about art on NPR and tried to describe the works, but I am so happy they do, now. (Obviously, it is beneficial to the visually impaired, also). Here are internet versions of two of the pieces at the exhibit: (click to embiggen)


“The Problem We All Live With”

This piece depicts four federal marshals escorting a black six year old girl (SIX!) to school in Louisiana. All the white parents pulled their children out of the class, according to the coverage. There is a tomato smashed on the wall behind her, as if it just whizzed past her head. And, the N word is emblazoned, lightly, on the wall above her head.

The second piece they described: (click to embiggen)


“Southern Justice” (Murder in Mississippi)

This hair raising image depicts the shootings in Mississippi during the civil rights era. I am fairly sure they are the shootings that lead to the movie “Mississippi Burning”. Only the blood on one of the victims is in color, and the rest of the piece is in black and white. According to the radio story today, he actually purchased a pint of human blood to make sure his portrayal was accurate.

It’s nice to find out more about someone I love (and may have been a little embarrassed for loving) and be even more in love with them.


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Right on, senator

“There is a very small chance any Republicans will vote for this healthcare plan. They were against Medicare and Medicaid [created in the 1960s]. They voted against children’s health insurance. We have a moral choice. This is a classic case of the good guys versus the bad guys. I know it is not political for me to say that. But do you want to be non-partisan and get nothing? Or do you want to be partisan and end up with a good healthcare plan? That is the choice.”—Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), on the necessity of a public healthcare plan and the futility of bipartisanship when it comes to doing the right thing.

(H/t Shakesville)

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Compliance is a tricky thing

I love Barbara Ehrenreich’s writing. I have a signed copy of Nickel and Dimed from a reading she did at a local bookstore.

She has a new post on her blog, which was printed as an opinion piece in the New York Times. Read the whole piece, it’s fantastic.

One part that leapt out at me:

What are the stations between poverty and destitution? Like the Nouveau Poor, the already poor descend through a series of deprivations, though these are less likely to involve forgone vacations than missed meals and medications. The Times reported earlier this month that one-third of Americans can no longer afford to comply with their prescriptions.

Sure puts this AMA resolution on patient non-compliance in perspective, doesn’t it?

(H/t on the AMA to Rixa at Stand and Deliver and Jill at Unnecesarean)

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Ugh, what horrible news

After many attempts over decades, Dr. Tiller was murdered today in the lobby of his church. Dr. Tiller performed abortions as part of providing comprehensive reproductive care in Wichita. He was known for being one of the few providers who would perform second trimester abortions in his area.

What a shame. What a cowardly, hypocritical crime against humanity. Anyone who passionately wanted to reduce abortion in Knasas could have promoted comprehensive sex education and access to affordable birth control.


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Speaking of autism offensively…

Michael Savage just thinks it’s just brats putting on an act. Oh, ha ha, just kidding!


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Look, but don’t touch

According to Motherlode, a Connecticut middle school is banning hugs and high fives between students.

So, in other words, it is Ok to strip search a middle schooler and make her shake out her bra and underwear, but the kids can’t high five or hug each other?

These aren’t the priorities I want to instill in my kids.

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Vaccinations – dipping my toes in the waters

I have wanted to talk about vaccinations for a while, but I have been afraid to broach the subject. I am definitely at a clash between two cultures when it comes to vaccinations. I know how ugly the language can get coming from both sides of the issue. I want to discuss some nuance here. Let’s see if it works.

I got an email from a faculty member at my medical school asking us to make phone calls against Florida SB 242 relating to immunizations, which is on the agenda of the Policy and Steering Committee on Ways and Means April 21st. I am not taking a stand on whether this sort of email is appropriate. I do encourage political discourse. I wish the email had a link to the full text (pdf) of the bill (which is actually hard to pin down. I think there are a lot of proposed amendments, too) or used the original language of the bill. I would like to exercise my same freedom to discuss the issue that my faculty member took, and examine some aspects of the proposed legislation.

The proposal wants to start a registry of vaccines by lot number. Why is this a problem? I know many people swear there is no link between autism and vaccines. Vaccine reactions are supposed to be rare. Why can’t we support this by tracking lot numbers? Autism was not under any form of surveillance in Florida when I wanted to research it five years ago in an epidemiology class. There are supposed pockets of autism here. What’s wrong with a little old fashioned public health research here? Nothing wrong with data. The lot number is an easy enough thing to note. When I administer an HIV screen I note the lot number (with a sticker) in no less than eight places. Parents can refuse to be part of the registry. So, this doesn’t have to be a burden if parents are resistant to having that sort of information recorded. I am a big fan of opt out options. (Although I tend to think there will be some overlap between the parents who don’t want their kids’ vaccines tracked by big brother and the parents who don’t want to vaccinate, period.)

The second recommendation (one of the links above) is to prohibit:

The sale, purchase, manufacture, delivery, importation, administration, or distribution of any human vaccine used for children under age 6 or pregnant women which contains any organic or inorganic mercury compound in excess of 0.1 microgram per milliliter.

There is an exception made for epidemics. I always hear vaccine advocates saying that thimerosal is no longer an issue, it has been removed from virtually all vaccines. So, again, what is the problem. Why defend the mercury? I know some people say dental types who want to defend the mercury in silver fillings are just trying to prevent lawsuits. Is this the same sort of issue? Mercury was in most vaccines up until very recently, and is still present in some, namely the flu vaccine.

Finally, it allows for a modified schedule for vaccine administration. Again, what is the problem? Why the utter inflexibility? It does not say it allows for any new exemptions. Some diseases do not cause outbreaks generally (bacterial meningitis, hepatitis B), at least not in young children. I can still see how a pediatrician can inform the parents, allay fears, and try to set up a schedule that works for everyone. Is the child not going to be in daycare (which may not accept the adjusted schedule) and not exposed to many people? What’s wrong with waiting on a few?

I think my professor is afraid that making accommodations about vaccines in any way gives credence to vaccine critics. I think the opposite. Making sure vaccines are as toxin free as possible and allowing for some parent autonomy, within reason, actually takes fuel away from the extreme anti vaccine crowd.

OK, have at it. Try to be civil or you may get a square on the bingo card.


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If I was in charge of the FDA…

I may not teach at Harvard Medical School like the author of this interesting op-ed in the Boston Globe, but I also have some opinions on what the new FDA should do. I am right with the people who have many complaints about our foreign policy under the past administration, but medicine and health were also gutted and ruined, and the FDA was at the rotten core.

I agree with every recommendation she makes, especially the ones about comparing new drugs with existing drugs in the same category for efficacy, and using clinical endpoints like heart attack and stroke instead of biomarkers like cholesterol. (H/t Our Bodies, Our Blog)

I would go one step further and recommend that all pharmaceutical companies do the preliminary research themselves on new drugs, but contribute to a general fund for advanced trials. Independent scientists would do blinded research, including older drugs for comparison. All results would be published. These companies would have to be damn sure all the kinks were out by the time it got to that stage.

Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

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Reply turned post, I’ve heard this song before style

Pretty soon I may actually come up with an original post, and stop doing only replies-turned-posts. I have recently added more sites to my feeder. I deleted some, too, so that may be a moot point. I also just finished classes and S’s birthday party, and am looking forward to a week “off”. I have a lot planned for this week, including a trip to a Medical Students for Choice convention on Friday. I also have to catch up on a lot of business I let slide until this week off. Not to mention, I have a written final in Osteopathic Principles and Practice, and a cumulative practical, on Tuesday after spring break. That includes license and car registration renewals, quizzes for my public health class, plans for my research project, my FAFSA, exercising and gardening…and catching up on hundreds of updates in my blog feeder. This catching up process explains a lot of replies. Some turn into posts. I like doing these because it shares other sites with people who have similar interests, and at least half of my ranting occurs on other sites.

So, this was a reply on a post about the resistance to the increased Medicaid contraception coverage in the stimulus package on RH Reality Check. I am not sure why this was being discussed now, since it happened in January, even though I welcome this kind of an article anytime. I swear, even thought I am backlogged, the post on RH Reality Check and the original article from FAIR were both published yesterday. It may be timely, since this provision as supposed to be added to the budget that just got passed.

Anyway, the reply:

Not only is the corporate media guilty of not challenging talking points or critical attacks by politicians, but this case was even more egregious. The mainstream media, even liberal sources, tend to treat women’s reproductive health, especially contraception and abortion, as a political third rail. It’s automatically “controversial”, so everyone’s outrageous statements are accepted under the umbrella of controversy.

By including women who would qualify for Medicaid if they got pregnant to Medicaid’s contraception program, women would have more control over their reproductive autonomy, not less.

It didn’t even matter that this provision would PREVENT abortions, not increase them, so it could not fund the nonexistent “abortion industry”. It most certainly would not impose them on pregnant citizens like the Chinese government.

I really wonder why Rep. Boehner and his ilk are opposed to contraception if they are supposedly interested in decreasing abortions. They need to add “anti contraception” to their platform. I would be interested in seeing the reaction to that.

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