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Showing posts from 2011

Sex and the stigma of money: a discussion on whoredom (aka prostitution)

Whoredom and Free Sex
Call a woman a whore and you have declared verbal warfare.

Underlying this aggression is the notion that sex, because it is so valuable, should be given freely and that money contaminates the mutual exchange of physical intimacy.

I have taken a few economics classes recently and despite the discipline's ability to confound intuition and everyday logic, this concept of 'free is better' still escapes my young economic mind. My mathematical mind can't seem to conjure up the right equation either.

It is said that money can't buy you love (though some may disagree) but why should it not buy you sex? Legally.

It appears to be more socially acceptable (though more by young adults than us older folk) to get drunk and have sex with some recently met acquaintance than it is to soberly and intently have sex where money changes hands. (And for the purposes of this piece I will focus on women getting paid by men).

The question for me is: If sex is so valua…

Humpty Dumpty, straight marriage and what gay people are thinking

Can all the kings horses and all the kings men and civil union policies and the Defence of Marriage Act and lots more legally entangled people put marriage back together again? I dont think so but let's entertain the thought. Today I am really asking the question: What does marriage equality mean? And though you may not find the answer below, that's where my mind started. First some disclaimers:

1. If you're looking for an advocacy piece on gay marriage this is not it but you will get the point at the end if you're patient enough to read through my why I think marriage is.... well.... I'm not really sure. 2. I am not a believer in the institution of marriage because its balance of power is not in a woman's favor. Gay marriage presents a whole other set of factors which I may explore on another day. 3. I have no idea what gay people are thinking but it gets attention in the title. 4. Who knows? I may lose my mind over someone and..... well.... my mind cannot ima…

Feeding healthy food to hungry children: The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

This is an advocacy post so I wont make it too long. I will just provide you with the basics and the links to explore more. But this one is an easy one. Really. Healthier food for kids???!!! We have to advocate for this???? Seems we do!!

About the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 - as benign a political decision as can be but in today's political climate there are no guarantees. There are forces working to block the passage of the bill in Congress even though tens of thousands of parents and organizations have lobbied to get this bill passed. The House of Representatives wants the USDA to start from scratch because they don't like a few things. You check out the details using the links I have provided here and decide for yourself.

Last year, the Senate unanimously passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), requiring USDA to update school nutrition standards. Once these new proposed school nutrition guidelines are implemented, our nation's school children will ha…

Poverty 101 v1.0: The metrics of it all

The Technicalities of Counting the Poor

One month after announcing that approximately 46 million Americans (~15%) are poor, the Census Bureau revised their number to include another 3 million people. What changed? The Census has decided to: 1. include non-cash welfare benefits; 2. account for medical care and transport; and 3. take into account the changing composition of families. (For a Census press release on income, poverty and health insurance in 2010, click here).

Who is poor? What does 'poor' mean?

According to the Census Bureau's calculation - available in the press release noted above - poor in 2010 meant an income of $22,314 for a family of 4!!! That is a NATIONAL figure based on the Consumer Price Index and includes only the bare necessities of life. In any city in the USA, one person living on $22,314 would find it challenging. (For 30 years of poverty threshold data, click here).Using data from CommunitiesCount - a government and non-profit collaboration in the…

Genital cutting (aka circumcision), condoms and HIV prevention in Africa

It was in 2009 when I got a most provoking announcement from Marie Stopes International - (A UK based sexual health NGO) that in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Population Services International (PSI), The Population Council, and Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (JHPIEGO), they were going to provide 'voluntary' male circumcision (MC) services to more than 650,000 men in Africa in an effort to curb the HIV epidemic. (There is now a male circumcision for HIV prevention clearing house where all you ever wanted to know about male circumcision in HIV prevention is there). Included with the MC services was going to be 'behavior change communication' to "highlight the need for safer sex practices and continued condom use".

So here's the bit that got my attention: "continued condom use". If they are continuing condom use, what do they need with circumcision?? So if I am one of these 6…

Preventing the health hazards of adolescent sex: Condoms, sex ed, and the HPV vaccine

Today, the topic of the day is HPV. I'll start with the facts, get them out of the way and get on with the rant.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the USA with more than 50% of all sexually active people getting the virus at some time in their lives. Almost all cervical cancer is linked to HPV. Most of the time HPV goes away by itself within 2 years and does NOT cause health problems. Some strains of HPV cause cancer if they remain in the body for a long time and there is presently no way of knowing which people will develop cancer or other health problems. All women are at risk of cervical cancer and most cervical cancers occur after age 30. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2011, 12, 710 women will get cervical cancer and 4,290 will die of the disease. This works out to 8.1 cases and 2.4 deaths per 100,000 women per year - a fairly rare illness in the USA (but much more common and dea…

Dear Missouri, Re: the fetus, the baby and PAID maternity leave

Missouri and Mississippi have decided that they will decide when life begins. Too many US states have god complexes which make them think they have the wisdom (hahahaa!!) to decide when life begins and the authority to decide when it ends. And oh... by the way.... just because the law (of Missouri of all places!) says its so don't make it so.

Of course, this law is about abortion. And whatever the beliefs of the governor or the laws of the state, when a woman in Missouri wants an abortion she will leave the state to get one. Contrary to the belief of many, the decision to have an abortion is a tortuous one that women do not take lightly. That "Oh shit!" moment of a positive pregnancy test is one of the most feared moments in the life of a woman unprepared (emotionally, psychologically and financially) for a child. If this country was more child friendly in its social welfare policies perhaps women would not go through the mental and physical anguish of termination. 

And wh…

What provokes me

The current political climate in the USA and in Europe is enough to provoke anyone to comment (or rant in my case). So I don't feel particularly unique in that context.

But I am more than a bit of a pain in the arse when it comes to talking about policy. Why? Because I tend not to take sides. And when I do, it's not usually consistent with the 'side' I may have taken on another policy. I admit: I do not judge policy through some political lens but rather through the lens of: Does this make sense? Why? And for who?

In a country full of centrists (Democratic Reps and Republican Dems), its a pretty easy thing to go either way. In the USA there is a new group of people that have actually brought some right to what has always been a center game: the tea drinking folks. To make it really fun there needs to be a whacko left to join them. I use the term 'whacko' because despite my sharp brain and that of commentators around the world it's pretty tricky business to …