715 posts categorized "Health"

January 17, 2017

President Obama commutes sentence of Chelsea Manning

President Obama today shaved 28 years off the sentence of Chelsea Manning. Below are items by Lawfare Blog and Jacobin Magazine supporting this decision. My comments follow.

Until the past week I had opposed freeing Manning due to the seriousness of her crime, though I defended her right to appropriate healthcare and criticized the apparent denial of care as a form of punishment. I was persuaded by the Lawfare piece, which makes a good point about the difference between pardon and commutation, and about mitigating circumstances. I agree with the distinction between Manning and Edward Snowden. That Manning's jailers have been at best indifferent to her health, and appear to have gone to considerable lengths to harm her health as an extra-judicial punishment, was perhaps the best argument for clemency.

Further, the disgraceful handling of her incarceration makes a strong case for demanding better training and health-related protocols moving forward. It is no more acceptable to treat trans prisoners this way than to condone prison rape. If the latter is truly what we want, then we should advertise our barbarity by explicitly including it in formal sentencing. Otherwise we should damn well stop it.

Parents in India seek ‘corrective rape’ for son after finding out he is gay

No matter how bad things get, never say it couldn't get any worse.

January 14, 2017

A letter from one president to another

My fantasy letter from #44 to #45, left on the Resolute desk in the Oval Office:

"Dear Mr. President,

Congratulations. The rubes bought what you were selling. Isn't it a gas that your supporters thought you were only killing "Obamacare" and they were safe with their ACA coverage? I only hope our republic survives your presidency. I have stocked the fridge upstairs with lots of high-cholesterol junk food so you can stuff yourself. I have also installed plastic mattress covers in the presidential bedroom. Just don't get too carried away; the walls have ears.

Best wishes,
Barack"

January 13, 2017

Norton slams anti-democratic congressional effort to block D.C. Death with Dignity Act

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Contact: Benjamin Fritsch – o: 202-225-8050, c: 202-225-8143
January 12, 2017

Norton Blasts Lankford and Wenstrup for Introducing Bills to Block D.C.’s ‘Death with Dignity Act,’ Violating Local Control Principles by Trampling on D.C. Home Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said she plans to mount a vigorous defense of the District of Columbia’s medical aid-in-dying bill, the Death with Dignity Act, from congressional attacks after Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) today introduced resolutions of disapproval to block the District’s local legislation from taking effect.

“Senator Lankford and Representative Wenstrup claim to carry the mantle for a small, limited federal government, yet they have introduced bills that abuse the federal government’s power over the District in order to interfere with our purely local affairs,” Norton said. “It is particularly disappointing that Senator Lankford has chosen to abuse congressional authority over D.C., as I have worked successfully with him on federal matters affecting the District, including reforms and improvement to the D.C. courts. The District held hearings and heard vigorous and thoughtful debate from both sides of this controversial issue. Ultimately, the local officials who represent the 680,000 American citizens living in the District of Columbia deliberated and passed the Death with Dignity Act. Unaccountable Members of Congress have no business legislating on the local affairs of our jurisdiction. Since they believe medical aid-in dying is bad policy, Senator Lankford and Representative Wenstrup should advocate their positions on the national stage, where Congress has clear jurisdiction, and introduce bills to prohibit physicians nationwide from prescribing lethal doses of medication, instead of singling the District out for different treatment. The House and Senate have more than enough on their plates trying to solve the many issues facing our country. While Congress tackles the country’s issues, we ask that Congress let the District handle its own local issues, a right enjoyed by every other jurisdiction. I am ready to fight these naked attacks on the District’s local democracy until the day D.C.’s Death with Dignity Act becomes law.”

Under the Home Rule Act of 1973, all D.C. legislation must be transmitted to Congress for a review period before they can take effect. A bill takes effect at the expiration of the review period unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted into law during that period. Norton has prevented a disapproval resolution from being enacted into law since 1991.

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Bowser and Mendelson slam undemocratic congressional effort to block Death with Dignity Act

Thanks to Mayor Bowser and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson for their strong statements against the undemocratic resolution introduced in Congress to block the District's Death with Dignity Act. The District does not need people we did not elect imposing their views on our local public policy over those of our elected reps. The struggle continues.

Keisling: "A Fight for #Obamacare Is a Fight for #LGBT Lives"

Thanks, Mara!

January 11, 2017

Rep. Chaffetz plans to block D.C. Death with Dignity Act

Our usual congressional bully threatens another GLAA-supported measure. Time to fight!

January 01, 2017

Court blocks healthcare nondiscrimination rules: what now?

December 31, 2016

Judge blocks rule barring anti-trans discrimination in health care

December 26, 2016

Sentence overturned in HIV transmission case

GLAA has long opposed the criminalization of what should be understood and treated as a health issue. A good rule of thumb when facing the making of public policy based on controversial cases is: who will be helped by our doing this?

Trump Pick to Head Health & Human Services Traded Health Stocks While Sponsoring Bills That Could Have Affected Them

Of course he did.

Carrie Fisher in stable condition after heart attack

One of the hardest jobs a parent can have is to face the loss of a child. Carrie Fisher is 60, her mother 84. Both have survived a lot. Both are smart and feisty. A lot of people are sending healing thoughts Carrie's way.

December 20, 2016

Mayor Bowser signs Death with Dignity Act

Thanks to Mayor Bowser for signing this legislation.

Surrogacy bill, death certificate bill pass second reading at D.C. Council

DC_Council_6Dec2016

Two bills passed their second and final readings Tuesday afternoon on the consent calendar at the D.C. Council's legislative meeting:

Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2016, Bill 21-16

Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2016, Bill 21-444

The first of these legalizes and regulates surrogate parenting agreements in the District. GLAA and our coalition partners have pushed this for four years. Special thanks and congrats to Alison Gill who coordinated our coalition effort.

The second clarifies the process for designating a decedent's gender identity or expression on their death certificate. Lack of respect for people's gender identities after their deaths has been a recurring problem.

December 16, 2016

Pittsburgh Bans Ex-Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors

The movement to end "ex-gay" quackery continues.

November 26, 2016

Major HIV vaccine trial in South Africa stokes hope

Many in Florida refused to believe that a benefit they count on would actually be taken away

The wages of folly.

November 19, 2016

Mom sues her own daughter for starting trans hormones without her permission

Gee, why would anyone want to get away from such a loving mother?

Launch party set for new D.C. trans group

November 17, 2016

Congresswoman Norton pledges to defend Death with Dignity Act from congressional interference

November 01, 2016

Death with Dignity Act passes first reading at DC Council

(That's me, Rick Rosendall, in the yellow shirt at center left in above pic.)

On Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 1) the Death with Dignity Act passed first reading at the DC Council by a vote of 11-2. (Dissenting were CMs Alexander and Nadeau.) Most advocates on both sides (I have testified and lobbied in favor on behalf of GLAA) have been civil toward one another during the process leading up to today's vote. Health Committee Chair Yvette Alexander, for example, held a committee markup on the bill despite her personal opposition.

But one opponent was quite exercised as today's meeting was about to begin, threatening to defeat every Councilmember who supported the bill. (Good luck with that, lady, since most Washingtonians disagree with you.) She even gave a dressing down to bill supporter Romaine Thomas, a beloved local figure who is widow and mother of past council members and a longtime public servant in her own right. The angry woman refused even to shake Romaine's hand; I, as usual, had embraced Mrs. Thomas, asked after her family (her grandson is in college), and said I was glad we were on the same side.

Continue reading "Death with Dignity Act passes first reading at DC Council" »

October 22, 2016

AIDS training website debuts for black MSM

October 09, 2016

Ben Carson: Same-Sex Marriage Will Bring "Mass Killings"

In case you hadn't seen enough craziness today.

October 05, 2016

Health Committee sends Death with Dignity Act to full D.C. Council

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(Photo by Rick Rosendall)

The D.C. Council Committee on Health and Human Services held a markup of Bill 21-38, the Death with Dignity Act, on Wednesday, October 5 at 2 pm. I was there with fellow supporters of the bill.

Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), the committee chair, spoke against the bill. She insisted that the matter should be decided by voter initiative. No. We elect representatives to deal with difficult matters. But to give her due credit, she did bring the bill up for a vote, keeping her word. That was honorable.

Committee members David Grosso (I-At-Large) and LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) spoke in support, as did the bill's author, Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) joined Alexander in speaking against. The bill was then passed by the committee without amendments. It is expected to get its first reading by the full Council at an additional legislative meeting later in October.

After the vote, one woman who opposed the bill, gave a dressing down to May, saying that she had no right to vote for the bill, she had overstepped her authority, and that such a controversial measure should be put before the voters. May, the duly elected legislator representing Ward 8 (though she was defeated in the June 14 primary by Trayon White), stood her ground. She had said that poor residents of her ward could not afford to move to Oregon to take advantage of that state's Death with Dignity statute, which was passed twenty years ago and was the model for the District bill.

The same demand for a plebiscite was made in 2009 and 2010 by opponents of civil marriage equality. They lost before the Board of Elections and Ethics, in the Court of Appeals, and were denied cert by the Supreme Court. If B21-38 passes, opponents can try to do a referendum. Such a course is unlikely to succeed. The opponents inadvertently helped the bill by making eye-stretching arguments. Stating that council members had no right to vote for the bill, preposterous as it was, nicely demonstrated the failure by opponents to grasp the separation of church and state.

Thanks to Councilmembers Cheh, Grosso, and May for voting for the bill, and to committee chair Alexander for bringing it up for a vote.

September 29, 2016

Gov. Brown signs bill mandating PrEP ed for HIV-negative test recipients

September 21, 2016

Sept. 30 - Solutions for Wellness Conference

Solutions for Wellness 2016 flyer

September 15, 2016

Ivanka Trump Suggests Gay Male Couples Are Out of Luck in Donald Trump's Family Leave Plan

September 12, 2016

Hillary Clinton Body Double Conspiracy Theories Take Over Twitter

I wish this were a joke.

September 07, 2016

The cough nonsense

When you or I cough, it's allergy season. When it's Hillary, people lose their minds.

September 01, 2016

RNC head Priebus claims Clinton Foundation has 80% overhead — it’s actually 12%

Charity watchdog groups gave the Clinton Foundation high ratings

August 31, 2016

Obama to Congress: take action against the Zika virus

Congressional Republicans are holding funding to fight the Zika virus hostage to their other pet priorities, like gutting the Affordable Care Act and fighting Planned Parenthood. The moral treason of these cynical people becomes ever more evident.

August 30, 2016

'Safer Sex for Trans Bodies' guide released

August 25, 2016

Orlando hospitals announce they won't charge Pulse nightclub massacre victims

August 23, 2016

New lawsuit seeks to overturn pro-trans rule in Obamacre

August 14, 2016

Christopher Barry dies of drug overdose

I learned this awful, shocking news early Sunday morning from my friend Ronald King, who recently worked with Christopher on community outreach in Ward 8. Like so many others, I was rooting for this young man's healing. I met him last year during the special election, and found him very affable, though I was concerned that those who pushed him to run were exploiting him and not helping him. May he rest in peace. Condolences to his family and friends, and to all who did try to help him, who will be especially hurting today. It is so hard to free others of their demons. As Ronald wrote, may we redouble our efforts against the scourge of drug addiction in our communities. What a sad day. There was so much life ahead for him.

July 31, 2016

Answering Trump Supporters

Trump_and_Pence

Wayne Grudem, a Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona, writes at the conservative website Townhall.com about why he supports Donald Trump. His article, "Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice," acknowledges several of Trump's character and behavioral flaws and then says it doesn't matter if the alternative is worse. He goes into a long list of issues on which he claims that Trump is better than Hillary Clinton.

I could not disagree more with Professor Grudem, so here I will respond to several of them. Given the enormous gulf between the candidates with regard to experience and qualifications, this election should not be close. The fact that the race is close should be a stark reminder not to treat the frightening prospect of a Trump presidency as something to dismiss lightly. Perhaps you may find some of my arguments useful in making the case to friends and family members who are sticking with Trump despite his almost daily barrage of appalling statements. Here goes, for what it's worth.

Abortion. I am sick of the religious bullying on this issue. The utter contempt for people making different choices in this area is very disturbing. I am personally troubled by abortion, and think that the ideal situation is for unwanted pregnancies to be prevented through contraception. But the question of whether to continue or end a pregnancy is not my decision. It is up to the woman. You can say a thousand times that this makes me pro-abortion, but that is not true. Respecting people's right to make a different choice than mine does not mean I agree with that choice. The point is that IT IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS.

As for contraception, the Catholic Church, in which I was raised, is stoutly opposed to it. A leading anti-choicer, former senator Rick Santorum, has made it clear that he does not just want to overturn Roe v. Wade, but also Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized contraception for married couples, and Eisenstadt v. Baird, which did the same for single women. I find it stunning that people in this day and age are willing, much less determined, to mind their neighbors' business in such an intrusive way. The constitutional separation of church and state protects everyone by prohibiting us from imposing our religious dictates on one another.

Continue reading "Answering Trump Supporters" »

July 29, 2016

Jill Stein, anti-vaxxer

Disturbing. These days it can be hard telling the far left from the far right.

July 28, 2016

Chelsea Clinton: 'Ex-gay' therapy worst part of GOP convention

Hear what this gay black man with HIV had to say to the Democratic Convention

Meet Daniel Driffin. A must-watch.