Y’all! There’s so much to talk about, we haven’t caught up for some little while. I’m going to hit some highlights from around the web so that we can all be up-to-date. It’s not Coffee Tawk, but it’s the new Pulse equivalent.
First, Women’s eNews had an interesting piece on choosing a doctor. Do you go to the OB/GYN for primary care? Do you go to a primary care doctor for your annual pap smear? We all know how important it is to have regular checkups, I’m especially sensitive to this since my mother died of ovarian cancer. It doesn’t matter if all there is to see is a chipped tooth and bloody eyeball, someone’s got to look up your business every year. We live in a state where there are probably many women who only have access to one kind of doctor, if that, and still plenty who can’t go at all. But we’re lucky enough to live in an area where we might be able to influence this part of the problem: “While the Affordable Care Act provides some incentives for medical students to go into primary care and some incentives to incorporate mid-level providers, the current medical education system is still ‘incentivized to produce more specialists.’”
The Guardian reported on a promising development in the fight against the abomination that is female genital mutilation. So far the proposed ban is only a resolution passed by the UN human rights committee, it may soon be approved by the full general assembly. “It calls on the UN’s 193 member states to condemn the practice and launch educational campaigns for girls and boys, women and men, to eliminate it. It also urges all countries to enact and enforce legislation to prohibit FGM, to protect women and girls ‘from this form of violence’ and to end impunity for violators.” Can we get a witness?! It’s astounding that there could still be debate about this horror, but nice to see the UN take the side of vulnerable girls.
Foreign Policy has named its top 100 Global Thinkers for the year. The list includes a good number of women and suggests that if you too would like to be a top 100 global thinker (and who doesn’t?), you better get to work as either a dissident or some kind of techie. You can see Top Global Thinker Number 5, Melinda Gates, at Duke’s commencement in May. Save the date!
Mother Jones, bless her, has a list of ways the fiscal cliff could hurt the poor. I’m not going to provide a bunch of fiscal cliff – or austerity bomb, as the Krug calls it – links because, if you’re breathing, I know you can’t avoid it.
Mark Bittman, food columnist for the Times, points out that while the number of Americans receiving food stamps is at a record high, there should be way more of them. Many people do not realize they’re eligible for food assistance and so don’t apply. “Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs brought the poverty level down to 11 percent from 20 percent in less than 10 years. Ronald Reagan began the process of dismantling that minimal safety net, and as a result the current poverty level is close to 16 percent, and food stamps are not fully doing their job. ‘There was a time in this country,’ says Maryland Food Bank president and C.E.O. Deborah Flateman, ‘when food stamps had practically eliminated hunger; then the big cuts happened, and we’ve been trying to recover ever since.’” Let me guess, these programs will be cut automatically when the austerity bomb goes off. Let’s hope everyone can make nice and defuse it instead.
A very sad piece on NPR detailed the way that drug cartel violence in Mexico is changing childhood there. How could it not? More than 50,000 people have been murdered there since 2006, which just shows how aptly named the drug war actually is. If we legalized drugs, would 50,000 people OD in six years? Of course not, but while the killings remain pretty much south of our border, we’ll ignore them. Let’s get a million moms to stand up against stats like this: “[A]ccording to U.S. Customs and Immigration, in the past three years, the number of kids under 18 caught carrying drugs over the border increased tenfold.”
There was an interesting Diane Rehm show on the 25th anniversary of Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. Remember how gross those financial guys seemed when that came out? Flash forward twenty years to when they almost destroyed the world economy. Now skip another five years and see that they’re still Masters of the Universe who could crush the eighties guys before the Nikkei opens. The good news, women have made a lot of progress since then. Sure, they still have to be social X-rays, but now they can contribute to income inequality that rivals the Gilded Age. You’ve come a long way, babies!
Finally, I have to point out the hilarity that is the US House GOP. You can read the real news here or just know that Jezebel’s response to the House choosing only men to be committee chairs is “The Republican Party might as well rename itself The Sausage Party.” Word!