Apr. 12th, 2007

lurkitty: (Awaken)
So it goes.

Another great writer has passed from our midst. Go out and read.

"When I think about my own death, I don't console myself with the idea that my descendants and my books and all that will live on. Anybody with any sense knows that the whole solar system will go up like a celluloid collar by-and-by. I honestly believe, though, that we are wrong to think that moments go away, never to be seen again. This moment and every moment lasts forever."

— "Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons," 1974.

Goodbye, Kilgore Trout.
lurkitty: (albert)
Today's Baby Blues, a comic by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, struck me as particularly apropos today. SInce I cannot find a link anywhere, you'll have to settle for a description. Mom is sitting on the couch reading a magazine with her young son beside her. He's making a noise like a coyote. In the next panel, she asks, "Would you do me a favor and stop making that annoying noise." The boy says okay. We see him think for a moment, then ask, "What sort of annoying noise would you like me to make?"

Some days I just cannot believe that it is 2007, or even 2000 anything, for that matter.

First, we have the case of Robert Daniels, a 27 year old man sitting in solitary confinement in a jail cell, a light burning both day and night. He is not allowed to take a shower, but must take sponge baths. It is not known if he will ever be able to get out. What was his crime? He didn't commit one. Daniels has a drug resistant form of TB, of XDR-TB, that is considered untreatable. He has been confined for the sake of public safety.

According to an MSNBC article, Daniels was confined as the result of a court order because he failed to follow doctors orders and wear a mask in public. Daniels argues that he did not fully understand the doctor's orders, and that no one explained the consequences of not wearing the mask.

One wonders why they cannot even find a shower the man can use. Because of national news coverage, his television and cell phone have been returned to him this week after guard seized the items in February, saying he should be treated like other prisoners. He has a hearing on April 19th regarding his confinement.

Women in civil service jobs in India are incensed that a new mandatory government health appraisal form contains detailed questions about their menstrual history.

According to BBC News, a federal official said he assumed the questions "will help evaluate the officer's fitness." The form, which comes into effect in March of next year, asks for a detailed menstrual history as well as the dates of the woman's last period and last maternity leave.

Once again, a completely normal function of female anatomy is being treated as a disease. This seems like a giant step backward for women's rights. Kudos to the women who are fighting this nonsense.

And last, but not least, I bring you a bit of good news the latest salvo in the war for a woman's right to govern her own body. The Seattle Times reports that: In a unanimous vote, the state Board of Pharmacy ruled that drug stores have a duty to fill lawful prescriptions, regardless of an individual pharmacist's personal objections to any particular medication.

This ruling was made in response to objections by some pharmacists to selling Plan B, the so-called "morning-after pill". A pharmacist may ask that another pharmacist fill the prescription, but only if the patient is able to obtain her prescription in the same pharmacy visit. It reverses a previous ruling that allowed pharmacists to deny some prescriptions for "personal reasons".

Pharmacists attend a rigorous 4 year course of study to obtain a license, and their coursework covers human anatomy and drug actions. My question is why, then, do some of them believe that Plan B causes an abortion? Plan B does not allow the egg to be implanted in the first place. There is no abortion involved! By their reasoning, any woman who has sex outside of the time she is fertile or has a menstrual cycle is having an abortion.

What this debate is really about is whether women should have any sort of birth control. I'm willing to bet that the same pharmacists who object to dispensing Plan B also object to any other sort of birth control. This is not a free speech issue. It's a medical issue. The pharmacist does not know the reasons the patient wants or needs the drug. There are dozens of reasons that women do not want to get pregnant, and some of them are life-threatening. The pharmacist needs to do his or her job - which is to dispense drugs, not misguided and unscientific morality.

The common thread in each one of these cases is communication. The situation came to the attention of the media, and media is bringing pressure on the authorities to fix problems.

So, what kind of annoying noise would you like us to make?

ETA According to a BBC report, the controversial page of menstruation questions has been dropped by the Indian government.

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