Archive for July 2009
These are some items I have come across on the topic of sex education in the U.S., specifically the failure of it. I have a friend who works as a wellness counselor, and these are things I would share with her. I figure they are things a lot more people should read as well.
- The Guttmacher Institute has a report which finds that "the progress made in the 1990s and early 2000s in improving teen contraceptive use and reducing teen pregnancy and childbearing stalled, and may even have reversed among certain groups of teens" The report is entitled “Changing Behavior Risk for Pregnancy Among High School Students in the United States, 1991–2007,” Previous studies, which are linked in the press release, have found that contraceptive use has been found to be a key factor in reducing teen pregnancies in the 1990s. What changed? The new federal policies favoring abstinence only education under G.W. Bush. A hat tip to Docuticker.
- Do you need to know what your teen needs to know about sex? Here are "6 Things Your Teen Needs to Know about Sex" via Health.com. This is the kind of thing we should be printing out or forwarding the link to every parent and teen in the nation. Dispel the myths and get the facts.
- The Guardian has an excellent summary of how the Bush Administration's policy of abstinence-only failed miserably and lead to a new rise in teen pregnancies and STDs for young people. The article features some very good links to studies and sources of information as well. It is sad that it takes a British news source to point out what people in the U.S. should be discussing. Then again, I often find as a reader and librarian that the best coverage of issues in the U.S. comes from outside the United States. And this kind of ignorant, myopic, religiously influenced policies do continue after G.W. is gone. For instance, Planned Parenthood getting its funding cut so some religious fundie influenced abstinence-only peddler can get more funding. That's the way to go: keep teens ignorant, and while at it, deprive women of basic health services (yes, Planned Parenthood does a lot more than just sex education and reproductive services. For many women, PP is their health provider, especially for poor and disadvantaged women).
- Here is another study, this one from the Journal of Adolescent Health, looking at "Trends in Sexual Experience, Contraceptive Use, and Teenage Childbearing, 1992-2002." The findings are not as black and white: there has been some reduction in teen pregnancies, but also increases in contraceptive use and decreases in early sexual experience. "However, researchers, advocates, and policy makers disagree about whether the decline in teen birth rates is because of increases in abstinence or to increases in contraceptive use or more effective method use among sexually active teens." A hat tip to Docuticker.
- Marie Cocco, on AlterNet, describes "Unprotected Sex: Abstinence Education's Main Accomplishment." The article does look at the Guttmacher Institute report I link above. From the article, I think this says quite a bit and makes for quite the indictment: "But now we have sad and clear evidence that political foolishness among adults is leading to foolish and harmful behavior among kids. Who could reasonably want more teen pregnancies, more abortions among teenagers, more unmarried mothers, more babies born with greater health risks and with the sorely limited economic prospects that burden the children of young, single mothers? No one would dare promote such a policy. Yet these are the results of our recent national sex-education policy, which was based on religious faith, not science, and put political gamesmanship ahead of public health."
- Of course, you can find a fine example of how to keep your kids ignorant in my own current backyard of Texas, where it turns out Haitians know more about STD transmission and how to prevent it than Texans. Haitians for cripes sake. From the TFN Insider.
- I am tossing this one as a bonus. This is a site I just discovered called Whyzz. If your kid is asking tough questions, type it in here, and get a helpful answer. I typed in "where do babies come from?" to try it out. It gave me a couple of choices, including a pretty nice answer on how to give an answer to a young kid. This is more for dealing with children, but keep in mind, you have to start educating early. The response I got was well-written and thoughtful. The site gets answers from users as well as experts, and often, answers have sources from some very reputable sources. For instance, the answer I read drew from information by SIECUS.
- And apparently teens are not the only ones needing some education. "Ten percent of Americans with AIDS are over 50" according to this article. Some seniors took matters into their own hands and made a video to educate their peers. Get the story with links and the video here. Via YesButNoButYes. Figure after all this, I had to toss in a bit of humor, but the issue of seniors and sex is a serious one. And it also shows that sex education needs to go on at all ages.
I have an interest in leadership as a subject. I also have an interest in topics about bosses and managers, in large part because I am "managed" by others, so to speak. I am not my own boss. I always make the distinction between management and leadership. Leaders can be managers, but not all managers can be leaders. In fact, a lot of managers are lousy both at managing and in leadership.
These are some items I have come across recently in relation to bosses that have caught my eye:
From Bob Sutton's blog:
- Sutton comments on a post by Scott Berkun that discusses "Top ten reasons managers become assholes."
- Sutton asks "Do you end meetings on time?" Another big peeve of mine. It is not just bosses who do not know how to allot time efficiently for meetings, but bosses that simply do not know how to run a meeting at all. The second item on the post's list–boss not dealing with blabbermouths– is something I encounter continuously. Sometimes, you have to have the guts to tell some self-important blabbermouth to shut the fuck up. If you are the boss, that is your job. Do it.
- Sutton gives an interview on the topic of "Good boss, bad times."
- "The effects of asshole bosses on victim's families, friends and partners." Sutton looks at the collateral damage that an asshole boss can have on those close to the victim. When the victim brings the pain and effects of an asshole boss home, it throws the rest of the household into turmoil. Your relationship with your spouse can suffer, and so on. This is something worth thinking about, and yet it is not often considered.
- "How to avoid being a nasty, clueless, and idiotic boss during the downturn." He cites advice telling bosses to really listen. This often has been the case in my experience where a boss pretends to listen, but you already know that they will pretty much do whatever they want anyways. In other words, the boss's mind is already made up before they even asked for your view or opinion. It is basically an exercise in futility and pretense, and personally, I do find it a lack of respect on the part of the boss when they do that.
From Inside Higher Ed:
- Dean Dad looks at "When the Boss is Awful." I think at times the dean does defend bosses a bit much. In my opinion, there are times when a boss is an asshat pure and simple. No amount of searching for a "reasonable explanation" will do in such cases. And such assholes, to use Sutton's term, should not be tolerated in academia or elsewhere.
- "How to deal with jerks at work." They are interviewing Bob Sutton about his book, The No Asshole Rule. When it comes to the book, it should be required reading as far as I am concerned; see my review of the book here. As for this particular interview, there are some gems worth reviewing, and not just for bosses.
While the politicians in Congress are more worried about appeasing the insurance companies than actually doing something decent and humane for the people who need health care now, the evidence keeps coming in of why it is we need a good, universal health care system that will take care of all citizens. These are things that I think more people should be reading. Also, if I had a student researching the topic, this would links I would like him or her to read.
- I saw this from Families USA. It is a short report entitled "The Clock is Ticking: More Americans Losing Health Coverage" (link to PDF) that details how people are losing health care coverage on a daily basis. You can look at your own state and see how they are doing in terms of losses. By the way, Texas, where I reside now, is not doing very well. This definitely worth a look.(via Docuticker).
- The AFL-CIO reports on a survey they ran with Working America. The Health Care Survey (link to the survey on here; press release here). This survey, which includes personal stories, is a very good dataset on the topic. From the press release, "Over half of the 23,460 people who responded online to a health care survey sponsored by the AFL-CIO and Working America say they cannot get the health care they need at a price they can afford, and the problem is even more acute among people who buy their own insurance, Hispanics and young adults." And that is just for starters. (via Docuticker). In the meantime, the politicians in Congress are more worried about appeasing the insurance companies than actually doing something decent and humane for the people who need health care now.
- The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, has a Middle Class Task Force. This task force has put out a statement on "Why Middle Class Americans Need Health Care Reform" (note PDF link; found via Docuticker). This is definitely a good question to answer. This country has a very screwed hierarchy. The rich can obviously pay any doctor and get the best care since they can pay for it. The poor can go to the emergency room at any time, since the hospitals can't turn them away; the hospitals just pass the cost on to the middle class workers with insurance, which is a reason why premiums for people like me, who are gainfully employed, keep going up. It has been argued that it is a hidden health tax for middle class workers when they have to pay increased premiums because insurance companies and hospitals have to "eat the cost" of the poor and unemployed. Granted, with a universal system, someone still has to pay, but the cost would likely go around and certainly be a lot more equitable.
- I just saw that Congressional Budget Office, according to ABC News, stated that there are no cost savings in the Democrats' health plans. Now, before the other side gets too excited, keep in mind that you do have to look at the costs, and it is likely that some costs will go up no matter whose plan is being applied. Actually, the CBO has a few other reports related to health and health care that may be worth looking at before people get too excited.
- And while talking about costs, you can get a look at cost implications of three health reform scenarios (link to press release; the report page is here). The report is presented by the Commonwealth Fund (via Docuticker).
- Oh, the famous number of 45 million uninsured? FactCheck takes a look at it in context.
Posted July 8, 2009on:
The items just keep coming in, and I want to be able to share them with readers out there as possible. If people need yet another reason to consider why we need a universal care system that is not based on whether some pirate insurance company let's you get treated or not, here are a few more things to consider. For now, this is just some fodder or food for thought.
From Docuticker (this is a great lifesaver when it comes to tracking down specific documents, whether government or think tanks):
- Yes, losing your home can be an extremely traumatic experience. And it will affect your health as well as if things were not already bad enough. "Will the Public's Health Fall Victim to the Home Foreclosure Epidemic?" from the PLoS Medicine Journal. By the way, the journal is open access.
- Did you know that nearly 44 million Americans were without health insurance in 2008? Here is the press release from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. You can get the full report here.
- Learn about funding from the Recovery Act (you know, the bailout) for Community Health Centers. You can check it out by state. From the Health and Human Services Recovery Site.
- From the Employment Policies Institute, "Who are the Uninsured? An Analysis of America's Uninsured Population, Their Characteristics and Their Health." Get the abstract here. From there, you can get the full report in PDF. Their study looks at the voluntarily and involuntarily insured, i.e. those who actually choose not be insured versus those who can't afford it. Keep in mind a policy institute like this one has an interest in raising the question because if they can say a significant number of people choose not to have insurance, then it must mean there is not really a problem. Not exactly the greatest logic, but worth a read for the sake of seeing the opposition. For instance, from the abstract, "Furthermore, the lack of health insurance is often equated with a lack of healthcare, despite the fact that individuals without coverage often receive medical services from a wide variety of sources within the healthcare system." See for example other links here to issues like home foreclosure or my previous post (linked below) where, sure, they may get health care, but it often drives them to financial ruin, something these people interested in things like "the impact of new labor costs on job creation" (from their About page) are probably not considering as much.
- To go along with the study by the EPI, you can always get a more accurate picture by looking at "The Hidden Costs of Health Care: Why Americans are Paying More But Getting Less." From the Health Reform website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Since it does not look like we will get a decent universal system anytime soon, odds are you are going to have to buy your own health insurance, especially if you are self-employed, under-employed, or unemployed. The Wall Street Journal had an article on "Buying Health Insurance on Your Own." (Lifehacker link, which has one other item as well).
This adds to the list from my previous post.