Politics & Law

Elizabeth's picture

But will Medicare pay for lube?

drawing "Penis Pump" You might have missed the part about the penis pumps. It was in a New York Times article about Medicare overpaying for things like oxygen tanks. Apparently Medicare, despite its potentially enormous bargaining power, spends more for many items than they would cost in your neighborhood pharmacy or surgical supply store. In the midst of the article is this paragraph:

For example, last year Medicare spent more than $21 million on pumps to help older and disabled men attain erections, paying about $450 for the same device that is available online for as little as $108. Even for a simple walking cane, which can be purchased online for about $11, the government pays $20, according to government data.

Elizabeth's picture

Researchers and Doctors tell Democrats "No more abstinence-only funds"

Via Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon and RH Reality Check :

Ten prominent researchers in adolescent health and sexuality sent a letter to Congreswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Harry Ried explaining why it is wrong to continue funding abstinence-only education.

Not only is it ineffective, it also puts teens at risk for disease and pregnancy, and, as Marcotte points out, it puts schools in the business of disseminating propaganda instead of fostering critical thinking skills and putting a high value on complete and accurate information.

Elizabeth's picture

Gratitude in the Square

cranberries

Happy Thanksgiving, in the "day of gratitude" sense of the holiday.

It is easy to be pretty depressed about this country's sexual state of affairs. Much of the news and politics we cover here is of the sort that provokes outrage and activism. Less often does it prompt celebration. But today is a day for reflection and for gratitude, and there are, in fact, some bright spots in the past year. I'll start us off. Add your own reflections in the comments.

The US Congress -- both houses -- voted to repeal the global gag rule. We wrote about it here.

New York, Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, Colorado, Maine, California, and Pennsylvania and at least five other states, have rejected Title V "abstinence-only" funding.

Genarlow Wilson was freed.

A circuit court declared the 2257 regulations unconstitutional.

Oh, and of course, this site was born, and had its coming out party. See the photos! We're grateful for Rapture Cafe and its amazing crew, and for the super-talented writers and performers who celebrated with us! And I'm very grateful for Chris Hall, the most amazing collaborator I could have.

So, what sex-related events or news or goings-on are you thankful for?

 

The cranberries are destined for our table later in the day. 

Elizabeth's picture

The awful logic of "she was asking for it"

You are sitting in a car with your exboyfriend. You want some pictures back. You are planning to marry someone else. Suddenly your car is attacked, you and your ex are both kidnapped, and both raped.

When your case goes before a judge you are punished, along with your attackers. You are sentenced to 90 lashes for being out alone with a man who is not a member of your family. Your attackers are sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 months to 5 years and to 800 to 1,000 lashes.

You appeal.

On appeal their sentences are increased but so is yours. Now you are sentenced to 200 lashes and 6 months in jail.

Now, it seems, you are being punished for appealing in addition to being punished for talking to your exboyfriend.

This is the case of a woman in Saudi Arabia, one of our "allies" and the only good thing to report is that it has, according to the New York Times, "provoked a rare public debate about the treatment of women" in that country.

Even lawyers have spoken out, some on television, objecting to the sentence and pointing to other cases where women were not treated so harshly.

Elizabeth's picture

ENDA Passes the House: Why We're Not Partying

The Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) was voted on by the House of Representatives today. It passed by a vote of 235 to 184 with 14 not voting. It needed 212 to pass.*

It passed by the skin of its proverbial teeth. So, why are we not celebrating?

Let's review:

1. ENDA does not really protect gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Even though the debate about including or not including protection for gender identity or expression was framed in terms of protecting the transgendered, really those provisions would have protected gays, lesbians and bisexuals better than simply stating that, as the bill that passed the house does, that you can't fire or refuse to hire someone because of his or her real or perceived sexual orientation.

That is like saying "Fine, so we can't fire you for being a lesbian as long as you aren't too butch." If you're "too butch" all bets are off.

Elizabeth's picture

ENDA: A sacrifice on the table?

HRC is announcing that tomorrow, Wednesday November 7, the House is scheduled to vote on ENDA.

Please call Tammy Baldwin and urge her to offer her amendment and not to withdraw it. Then call your representative and urge that person to support her amendment.

If representatives are given the chance to avoid going on record about gender identity they'll take it. I, for one, don't want them to have that chance.

Click here to find contact information for your congressperson or use the Speak Out!! section on the left.

Oh, and happy election day.

 

UPDATE 10:00pm NOV 6: This is not such good news as it first appeared. This is the notation from GovTrack.us about the schedule debate and vote:

Last Action:
Nov 5, 2007: Rules Committee Resolution H. Res. 793 Reported to House. Rule provides for consideration of H.R. 3685 with 1 hour of general debate. Previous question shall be considered as ordered without intervening motions except motion to recommit with or without instructions. Measure will be considered read. Specified amendments are in order. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived except those arising under clause 9 or 10 of rule XXI.

So, maybe one of you can help decipher this but I read this to mean that the "previous question" (a yes or no vote on the bill as presented) will be considered without any other motions (e.g., amendments) except motions to send it back to committee.

This makes it sound like Tammy Baldwin's amendment will not be offered.

Tune in tomorrow to see what the debate sounds like.

Meanwhile, expect an ENDA without gender identity included. In other words, expect a largely ineffective ENDA that reflects the needs of elite gays, lesbians and bisexuals but does not meet the needs of most of us.

New forum on age of consent laws

 

Genarlow Wilson's case, which is back in the news because he has been freed finally, makes us think this is a good opportunity to get smart people thinking about the problems with age of consent laws.

We've opened a new forum and we invite you to join in the discussion. Right now its wide open. Anybody want to dive in? Click here to join the discussion 

For past coverage of the Wilson case on Sex in the Public Square, click here.

 

Chris's picture

What Obama's All About

Like a lot of people, I've always been unclear about what exactly it is that Barack Obama stands for.  I liked it when he was honest enough to point out that wearing a flag pin had become "a substitute for true patriotism," but in the grand scheme of things, how far does refusing to wear a flag pin go?  He's been sold to us as a fresh alternative to the Beltway crowd, but he's given very little to back that up beyond having more more charm than his fellow Dems.

Chris's picture

The End of ENDA?

So, I've been sitting around for three days thinking about the situation with ENDA, and every time I sit down to write something, I find myself utterly voiceless, and wind up searching Wikipedia for the history of "Bizarre Love Triangle" or clicking the StumbleUpon button for hours on end. That's what I do when I want to procrastinate, and I am very, very good at procrastinating. I have procrastinated whole phases of my life with ease.

JanieBelle's picture

She Should Run

Last night at my blog UDreamOfJanie I got this comment, from Joey Appley-Epstein:

Hi Janie Belle,
My name is Joey Appley-Epstein, and I’m writing to you on behalf of a project by the Women’s Campaign Forum called “She Should Run.” The goal of the project is to encourage both women and men to nominate inspiring pro-choice women to run for office — in every type of election from school boards to the United States Senate. So far, the project has collected 800 nominations and because of the positive feedback and response, we’ve decided to make a final push to 1,000 total nominations.

For this final push, we have decided to reach out to online communities for their help. The project focuses on the encouragement, empowerment, and election of pro-choice women. As you yourself are pro-choice I thought you might be interested in taking action for this movement. To reach our goal of 1,000, it certainly is going to be a community effort and we would really appreciate your help in discussing this special project before it concludes.

The greatest part of this project is that it’s the real thing, too, and not a superficial exercise by any stretch of the imagination. As the nominations have come in, the WCF has been following up to make sure these women receive the support and resources they need to run. They’re even planning their first training session with women who have been encouraged to run as a direct result of this project.

With that, here are some resources on the project:

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