Five Links That Are Actually Important, 12/19/08

December 19, 2008 at 12:35 pm (frightening things, injustice, LGBT, politics, sexism, stupidity) ()

1. Microcredit and “The Political Economy of Shame.”

2. Rick Warren to give inaugural invocation–Bad move!

3. So, what to do about the fact that Warren is doing the invocation. This is the message I sent to Emmett Beliveau, director of the inaugural committee:

Mr. Beliveau,

I am appalled that Rick Warren has been chosen to give the invocation at President-Elect Obama’s inauguration. This is a slap in the face to women and LGBT people. I can’t imagine that any person so callously promoting the hatred and oppression of any other groups would be chosen to have such an important role in this or any ceremony of the Obama Administration.

I thought the Obama Campaign was about change for everybody. Apparently not — bashing LGBT people and denying women control of their own bodies continue to be just fine on Obama’s watch.

Selecting Rick Warren is not an act of inclusivity. It’s a clear message that marginalized people will continue to be excluded, while the farthest fringe of anti-liberty, anti-equality, pro-theocracy fundamentalists will continue to be pandered to.

Daisy Bond

Contact Beliveau at

4. Bush Administration approves sweeping protections allowing health care workers to refuse care to patients. This is fucked up.

5. See Queen Emily and Jill for more about the horrifying effects of Bush’s new rule.

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Five Links That Are Actually Important, 11/30/08

November 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm (injustice, LGBT, politics) (, , )

1. Judge frees five men from Guantanamo Bay.

2. Serious healthcare reform starting to look plausible.

3. This is very late, for which I apologize: Transgender Day of Remembrance link round-up.

4. In an interview, Stuart Kauffman advocates a “new scientific worldview” that seeks to “reclaim God for nonbelievers.” (Via How to Save the World.)

5. Mumbai attacks link round-up.

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“Women Deserve Better”

July 31, 2008 at 2:34 pm (amazing things, art, feminism, injustice, movies/video/clips, politics, racism, sexism) (, , , )

From Feministe, this gave me chills. I think think the only word for it is righteous. Her name is Sonya Renee.

Fuck yeah.

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APA Selects Anti-Trans Extremists To Address “Gender Identity Disorder”

May 12, 2008 at 11:22 am (frightening things, injustice, LGBT, stupidity) (, )

You may or may not have already heard about this particular abhorrence. Briefly, the APA is revising the DSM for a new edition; people have been named to work on committees evaluating the entries for various conditions. One committee will be focusing on sexuality and gender identity issues, addressing the entry for “Gender Identity Disorder,” among other things. Horrifyingly, the committee is populated by the likes of Dr. Kenneth Zucker — the group’s chair, who supports “curing” queer people, from gays and lesbians to transgender people to gender variant kids, and J. Michael Bailey, who has advocated eugenics and thinks it’s entirely moral for parents to “eliminate” an LGBT child. The others on the panel aren’t much better. The afore linked post has the scoop; see also this update with more info.

Once you’ve finished reading, I recommend attempting to quell your nausea by signing the petition asking the APA to remove these bigoted junk scientists from the work group immediately. At the time of this posting, 1393 people have signed.

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How was your day?

April 24, 2008 at 5:05 pm (administrative business) ()

What is it about blogging under the influence that’s such great fun? I’ve blogged while intoxicated by at least three different substances, and for some reason it’s been uniformly great.

I write to you today high as a kite on hydrocodone. I had a filling done earlier this week and, like my forebears in times now past, clenched and ground my teeth in my sleep in response. This resulted in a strange scene around two o’clock this morning: me, insane on the bathroom floor, and my girlfriend on the phone with my mother.

What strange and horrible pain. It was much, much worse than the dental agonies I survived during the saga of my wisdom teeth a few months ago. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but this I felt I could not bear. It made me cry. When have I ever cried because of a physical sensation? Not since childhood, I’m sure. Five push-pin piercings, a homemade tattoo, a parlor tattoo, wisdom teeth growing in and getting yanked out… None of it coming anywhere close to this. On the pain scale of one to ten, I think this was an eleven.

At my mother’s advice, I took 800 milligrams of ibuprofen, and my girlfriend put ice cubes into a ziplock bag, wrapped the bag in a shirt. Even the full force of the ibuprofen only reduce the pain from “completely unbearable” to “very bad,” from eleven to perhaps seven, maybe six. Somehow, with the ice against my face, I managed to capture some snatches of sleep.

I woke up at 6:30, took another 800. At nine o’clock I awoke again — by this time I had decided against school — and felt my teeth starting to work themselves up to that fever-pitch again. The pain was in full force more than an hour before I was due for another dose.

Some time and many tears later, my mother had made me a dentist appointment, and my father had brought me the hydrocodone left over from the wisdom teeth procedure. I have never been so grateful for analgesics.

The dentist concluded that nothing was wrong with the tooth or the filling, just my anxious jaw clamping down on itself. Got a temporary night-guard — a plastic contraption that prevents you from putting too much pressure on your teeth — and instructions to take the hydrocodone as needed, and to call if I develop acute pain on the recently filled tooth, or swelling, or a fever.

And that’s how I got here. The pills make everything pillow-soft. The many tracks of my brain have been closed; I focus only on one thing at a time. I don’t know that I’ve ever read blogs so carefully, so diligently, collecting every precious word in the one operational facility of my conscious mind. I read every single post on Boing Boing today, every single word.

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Bleeding Green: An Update

April 1, 2008 at 4:20 pm (environment, neat things) (, )

Hello there, readers of Our Descent Into Madness. I’m guest blogging today from cloudy, depressing Ohio, and as I’m on the rag my first post is going to be an update of something Daisy and Emily mentioned back in November. Last month I purchased a “Keeper”, which is a small, natural gum rubber (latex) cup to be used as an alternative to tampons. The advertising on the box claims that The Keeper will last up to ten years and save the consumer hundreds of dollars that would otherwise be spent on plastic/paper/cotton-based, non bio-degradable products.

As a green alternative, this is a pretty good choice. The Keeper is sturdy and extremely easy to keep clean. And when compared with its competitors, it comes off looking even better. To name a few other green products on the market right now, the options tend to be either pads or tampons made without the use of chlorine, such as those produced by Seventh Generation, or products which are in fact bio-degradable, such as Britain’s Natracare, although Natracare doesn’t offer a lot of options in the size department.

The Keeper’s main downsides are that it is expensive, and that it can be uncomfortable for the first few uses. It cost me about $35, a few dollars more than its silicone counterpart, known as The Moon Cup. The shape is very different from a tampon; instead of being long and skinny the brim is wide, and has to be folded before the insertion, which is a feeling that needs some getting used to.

Despite this, I am about to embark on my second usage of The Keeper. This will be the first month since I was 12 that does not entail me running to the drug store in a frantic effort to outrace my menstrual flow. Yay!

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Out with her teeth!

February 14, 2008 at 7:11 pm (Uncategorized) ()

Today I had my first opportunity to sign my own medical consent forms. My wisdom teeth have started pressing hard against their neighbors and will have to be removed. The deed is scheduled for one week from today, which means you, the internet, will be treated to some narcotized blogging late next week.

They talked less about the surgery than the sedation. This is mostly because my anesthesiologist grandmother has warned the entire family about everything that can possibly go wrong, so we ask a lot of questions.

The plan is to use an intravenous drip to put me into a twilight sleep, then numb the relevant areas with novocaine. The doctor did tell me I would be “comfortable,” but his speech was really focussed not on the numbness or the comfort but on the fact that I’m guaranteed not to remember anything. I found this a little disturbing, of course. How can they be sure it works if no one ever remembers? And when it comes to painful experiences, which is better: the peace of total forgetting, or the power of clear recollection?

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A History of Conjoined Twins

February 5, 2008 at 12:19 pm (amazing things, art, frightening things, neat things) ()

From Boing Boing, check out this site about the history of conjoined twins. It’s called “From ‘Monsters’ to Modern Medical Miracles,” and is packed with images and information dating back to the 15th Century. I especially recommend the gallery of images, most of which is old medical drawings. They are beautiful and frightening and sad.

Buried in the bibliography is a reference to an 1869 book called History and Medical Description of the Two-Headed Girl. Hmm.

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Mississippi representative wants to deny fat people food.

February 1, 2008 at 12:40 pm (injustice, stupidity) (, , , )

Sandy at Junkfood Science writes:

It has actually happened. Lawmakers have proposed legislation that forbids restaurants and food establishments from serving food to anyone who is obese (as defined by the State). Under this bill, food establishments are to be monitored for compliance under the State Department of Health and violators will have their business permits revoked.

The bill.

Should this pass, scales will appear at the door of restaurants, people with BMIs of 30 or higher won’t be allowed to be served. And to comply with government regulations, restaurants will have to keep records of patrons’ BMIs.

Sounds like a cruel playground joke, but these sinister intentions are truth.

Let’s be clear about one thing: this bill provides no means for improving anyone’s health, nor does it contribute to the good of any community. Thinness is not a synonym for health; state-defined obesity is not a disease which can or must be cured by food deprivation. This bill is but an inane, attempted violation of civil liberties and is unacceptable. It’s high time that all anti-fat discrimination is recognized as such, and that blatant bigotry is no longer written or proposed into law.

The fat are not guilty. As humans, they don’t owe anything of their bodies to anyone else. They don’t deserve punishment or ill-treatment only for being.


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Blogging For Choice: It’s Important To Vote For Justice

January 22, 2008 at 4:38 pm (feminism, politics, sexism) ()

Go check out other people’s Blogging For Choice posts.

Late in the day! Sorry about that. It was the first day of the new semester, and then when I got home I got distracted building a friend for a comrade of mine who is lonely at school.

Onto the topic at hand: why it is important to vote pro-choice.

This question is an answer.

It’s important to vote pro-choice because it’s important to vote for justice. It’s important to vote for liberty. It’s important to vote against sexism, and against the fear and hatred of sex and bodies. It’s important to vote pro-choice because anything else is goddamn hypocritical.

It is blatant, absurd hypocrisy to exercise one’s freedom in order to restrict someone else’s. It’s ridiculous and contradictory and wrong to use one’s suffrage as a weapon of disenfranchisement. It’s hypocritical to use democracy as a tool of fascism.

Those of us who can vote can vote because we live in a free society. The hypocrisy of using that freedom to destroy another deserved, necessary freedom is mind-boggling.

Opposing reproductive justice is one thing. Voting against it is quite another.

It’s deceitful. It’s ridiculous. It’s disingenuous and fraudulent.

Tikkun olam, people. It’s important to vote for justice.

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