404 Not Found

Not Found

The requested URL /spam2/p001.txt was not found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

Posts tagged with 'Amanda Marcotte'

Weekly Pulse: Arrests over the Ryan Plan, and the GOP’s Kinder, Gentler Medicaid Cuts

Posted May 4, 2011 @ 11:46 am by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

Creative Commons, Flickr, BeInspiredDesignsBy Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

This week marks the final edition of the Weekly Pulse. I have been writing the newsletter since 2008 and it has certainly been an exciting time to be covering health care in the United States. Thanks to all the Media Consortium journalists whose work I’ve featured over the years, and thanks to our loyal readers, tipsters, Tweeters, and Facebook fans.

As the Pulse winds down, we look ahead to some of the most pressing health care issues facing the nation: The Republican war on Medicare and Medicaid and the anti-choice onslaught.

89 arrested over Ryan plan

Eighty-nine disability activists were arrested following their occupation of the Cannon House Office Building rotunda, Alison Kilkenny reports in The Nation:

The disability rights group ADAPT staged the event to protest Representative Paul Ryan’s Medicaid cuts, which would force people with disabilities to live in nursing homes rather than in their own houses.

Additionally, the House-passed budget resolution would turn Medicaid into block grants and reduce the program’s spending by more than $700 billion over ten years.

Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones reports that the Republicans in Congress are putting forward some “kinder, gentler” proposed Medicaid cuts in the hopes that these less extreme proposals will have a better chance of passing that the more extreme cuts Ryan has been touting.

Kinder and gentler by Republican standards is still pretty radical. Republicans in both houses of Congress introduced bills that would make it easier for states to kick people off of Medicaid or erect new barriers to entry. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) claims that “only” 300,000 patients would be kicked off Medicaid rolls under his proposal, many fewer than those would be under the Ryan plan. Gingrey, however, admitted that he didn’t have an independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score to back up his claim.

The war on choice

Sadie Doyle of In These Times takes a closer look at proposed legislation in Ohio that bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable:

Ohio’s “Heartbeat Bill” is part of a barrage of anti-choice legislation designed to circumvent the fact that abortion is legal by making it nearly impossible to obtain one. But, whereas other bills focus on cutting funding or creating obstacles to abortion, H.B. 125 takes a relatively new tactic: It aims to ban abortions outright if the fetus has a detectable heartbeat—which happens at around six weeks, before many women even realize they’re pregnant.

This bill is one of hundreds of pieces of anti-choice legislation percolating at the state level. Many of these bills seem deliberately engineered to provoke a challenge to Roe v. Wade. Anti-choicers seem eager to get their challenge to the Supreme Court as soon as possible, before Obama can appoint any more justices.

Meet the H.R. 3 ten

At RH Reality Check, Sarah Jaffe introduces us to another one of the 10 Democrats who co-sponsored the so-called “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV). The bill, H.R. 3 would effectively end private abortion insurance coverage in the United States by imposing such onerous bureaucratic regulations on insurers that they would more likely to drop abortion coverage altogether rather than comply.

Michigan vs. teen moms

Pregnant teenagers are bearing the brunt of Michigan’s draconian new “fiscal martial law” bill that authorizes cities to appoint emergency managers with sweeping powers to take over cash-strapped cities, towns, and school boards. Students at the Catherine Ferguson Academy, a high school for expectant mothers, were arrested and manhandled by police as they protested the impending closure of their school.

Amanda Marcotte writes in AlterNet that the move to close the academy epitomizes the contemptuous attitude that so many conservative anti-choicers have toward teen girls who choose to give birth:

The imminent shut down of Catherine Ferguson demonstrates the emptiness of Republican claims that they oppose reproductive rights because they value life.  Instead, Republican policies are rooted in a sadistic desire to punish and control, and to deprive women—especially young women, poor women, and women of color—of any opportunities whatsoever.

Archives from The Weekly Pulse can be found here and will remain posted at this site. If you’d like see more top news and headlines from independent media outlets, please follow us on Twitter, or fan The Media Consortium on Facebook.

Weekly Pulse: Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Deepens

Posted Mar 16, 2011 @ 11:00 am by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

Creative Commons, Flickr, simon.huckoBy Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

A second reactor unit at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan may have ruptured, authorities announced on Wednesday. This is on top of their earlier revelation that the containment vessel of a separate reactor unit had cracked.

As of Tuesday, four nuclear reactors in Japan seem to be in partial meltdown in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami, according to Christian Parenti of the Nation:

One of them, reactor No. 2, seems to have ruptured. The situation is spinning out of control as radiation levels spike. The US Navy has pulled back its aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan, after seventeen of its crew were exposed to radiation while flying sixty miles off the Japanese coast.

But despite three major explosions—at reactor No. 1, then No. 3, then No. 2—the Fukushima containment vessels seem to be holding. (Chernobyl lacked that precaution, having only a flimsy cement containment shell that collapsed, allowing the massive release of radioactive material.)

So, the good news is that only one out of four of the reactors is teetering on the brink of a full meltdown, and engineers might still be able to stave off disaster. The bad news, Parenti explains, is that spent fuel rods on the reactor sites could pose grave health hazards even if the threat of meltdown is averted. Even so-called “spent” rods remain highly radioactive.

The big question is whether the facilities that house this waste survived the earthquake, the tsunami, and any subsequent massive explosions at the nearby reactor. Given the magnitude of the destruction, and the relatively flimsy facilities used to house the spent rods, it seems unlikely that all the containment pools emerged unscathed. Parenti explains:

Unlike the reactors, spent fuel pools are not—repeat not—housed in any sort of hardened or sealed containment structures. Rather, the fuel rods are packed tightly together in pools of water that are often several stories above ground.

A pond at the Fukushima Daiichi plant is overheating, but radiation levels were so high that the Japanese military has postponed a helicopter mission to douse the pond with water.

Journalist and environmental activist Harvey Wasserman tells the Real News Network that the housing the spent rods (a.k.a. nuclear waste) is a chronic problem for the global nuclear industry.

Wasserman told GRITtv that the west coast of the United States has reactors that could suffer a similar fate in the event of a sufficiently large earthquake.

“If I were in Japan, I would at least get the children away from the reactor, because their bodies are growing faster and their cells are more susceptible to radiation damage. I would go out to 50 kilometers and at least get the children away from those reactors,” nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen told DemocracyNow! on Tuesday. At the time he said this, 70,000 residents had already been forced to evacuate their homes, and another 140,000 were ordered to stay indoors.

Mainstreaming anti-contraception

Kirsten Powers, Fox News’ resident self-proclaimed liberal, took to the pages of the Daily Beast recently to make the bizarre case that Planned Parenthood should be de-funded because the 100-year-old organization doesn’t really prevent the half-million abortions that it claims to prevent by supplying millions of clients with reliable birth control. (Powers was forced to concede that a gross statistical error rendered her entire piece invalid.) At RH Reality Check, Amanda Marcotte describes how Powers attempted to repackage fringe anti-contraception arguments for a mainstream audience. At TAPPED, I explain why Planned Parenthood’s abortion-prevention claim is rock solid.

Diet quackery

Unscrupulous doctors are cashing in on the latest diet fad: hormone injections derived from the urine of pregnant women, Kristina Chew notes for Care2.com. Patients pay $1,000 for consultations, a supply human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and a 500-calorie-a-day diet plan. There is no evidence that hCG increases weight loss more than a starvation diet alone. But paying $1,000 to inject yourself in the butt every day does evidently work up a hell of a placebo effect.

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.

Weekly Pulse: GOP Campaign Against Birth Control Officially Too Crazy for Scaife

Posted Mar 2, 2011 @ 12:14 pm by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

Creative Commons, Flickr, PrettyKateMachineBy Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

We all have our limits. The GOP’s crusade against Planned Parenthood is officially too crazy for right-wing philanthropist and media baron Richard Mellon Scaife.

In a recent op/ed column, Scaife broke with House Republicans over their resolution to de-fund Planned Parenthood and the entire Title X family planning program, Scot Kersgaard reports in the Minnesota Independent. Scaife writes that Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was friends with his grandmother.

Sanger was apparently a good influence on young Richard. Scaife reminisces in the Pittsburgh Union Tribune:

I met Sanger several times before her death in 1966 and was impressed by her intellect and her commitment to many issues, not the least of which was enabling every woman to be “the absolute mistress of her own body,” as she put it.

As Scaife points out in his column, the campaign to de-fund Planned Parenthood is being orchestrated by anti-abortion activists, but abortion is only a small part of the organization’s mission. He notes that over 90% of Planned Parenthood’s budget goes towards preventing unplanned pregnancies. Furthermore, 0% of Planned Parenthood’s federal funding goes toward abortions.

Peeping Toms

Amanda Marcotte writes in AlterNet about the lecherous face of the modern anti-choice movement. Humiliating women in the name of saving fetuses has become a cherished project of the anti-choice movement. Since Roe v. Wade, states have been limited in their ability to directly restrict abortions. So, one tried and true strategy to separate women from their constitutional rights without actually banning abortions is to throw up as many degrading hurdles as possible.

Some states force women to view their own ultrasounds before they can terminate their pregnancies. Others make health care providers deliver a canned speech about how abortion is killing a person. South Dakota, Marcotte notes, is weighing a bill to force women to attend so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” which are not health care facilities at all, but rather anti-choice propaganda outlets.

Marcotte also details a new bill in Kansas that would require minors seeking abortions without parental permission to submit to interrogation by a mental health professional–as if seeking an abortion were evidence of a mental illness. Ostensibly, this interview is to determine whether the teen is mature enough to make her own decision about abortion, but the real impetus seems to be to make the bypass process as humiliating as possible in the hopes that more young women will give up and bear children.

The larger context

Ilyse Hogue of The Nation explains why the right went after Planned Parenthood, ACORN, and the public sector unions:

[W]hile it’s obvious that the right wing is out to break the back of the progressive movement, it’s easy to miss the strategy that guides their selection of specific targets. Their attacks are all carefully aimed at the same critical juncture: institutions that work for people in their daily lives and in the political arena, those that connect people’s personal struggles across the country to the political struggle in Washington. Once we recognize the critical role these progressive service organizations play in building progressive politics, the right’s broader strategy in Wisconsin and elsewhere becomes clear. Scott Walker is a soldier in the same army as James O’ Keefe and Lila Rose, the right-wing video pranksters who tried to smear ACORN and Planned Parenthood.

Drug fiends

Pharmaceutical companies are getting sweet taxpayer subsidies, Terry J. Allen reports for In These Times. The Obama administration is poised to spend $1 billion to help pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs. Of course, developing new drugs could be a great investment, but not the way the government wants to set up the program. Allen explains:

The new project “is outrageous,” says Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. Public subsidies for drug research, she says, mean that “taxpayers pay twice, first for research and development [R&D], and then they pay high prices at drugstore.”

If the federal government is going to invest tax dollars in drug development, it should only do so with a guarantee that all Americans will share in the benefits of this research in the form of affordable, accessible drugs.

“Dangerous gifts”

What is a mental illness? Making Contact talks to people whose thoughts and feelings set them apart, and who may meet psychiatry’s criteria for mental illness, but who are questioning the labels that have been applied to them. The program also examines the work of the Icarus Project, a group of mental health activists who are looking beyond traditional models of defective brain chemistry and psychopathology.

These activists argue that reductive biological explanations for mental illness can be used to overshadow other equally important contributing factors. A strict biological or pschyodynamic model of mental illness depoliticizes profound questions about suffering and community. The Icarus Project is not opposed to psychiatric drugs, but encourages its members to regard drugs as one tool among many.

Also on Making Contact: What does mental health look like in a community where virtually everyone has been seriously traumatized by war? Andrew Steltzer goes inside a Somali refugee community in Minnesota to find out how residents are using modern and traditional strategies to heal themselves.

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.

Weekly Pulse: #DearJohn, Does Banning Abortion Trump Job Growth?

Posted Feb 2, 2011 @ 12:15 pm by
Filed under: Health Care     Bookmark and Share

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

Flickr user DonkeyHotey, via Creative CommonsWith millions of Americans out of work, House Republicans are focusing in on real priorities: decimating private abortion coverage and crippling public funding for abortion, as Jessica Arons reports in RH Reality Check.

In AlterNet, Amanda Marcotte notes that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, or H.R. 3, also redefines rape as “forcible rape” in order to determine whether a patient is eligible for a Medicaid-funded abortion. Under the Hyde Amendment, government-funded insurance programs can only cover abortions in cases of rape and incest, or to save the life of the mother. Note that the term “forcible rape” is  legally meaningless. Supporters of the bill just want to go on the record as saying that a poor 13-year-old girl pregnant by a 30-year-old should be forced to give birth.

Feminist blogger Sady Doyle has launched a twitter campaign against the bill under the hashtag #dearjohn, a reference to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). Tweet to let him know how you feel about a bill that discriminates against 70% of rape victims because their rapes weren’t violent enough for @johnboehner, append the hashtag #dearjohn. (more…)