Health Care in the USA

Dr. Mehmet Oz, the now famous TV personality, held a free medical clinic yesterday in Houston. Figures vary, but the Houston Chronical is placing the turn out at nearly 2,000; he had about 700 volunteers helping. That turnout is low, given that one in three people in the county lack health care insurance.

The stories of the people are important and illuminating.   A video from the Chronicle, which I can’t seem to get on this blog, is here.   It is really worth watching.  As the Chronicle says:

Patients told stories of their barriers to health care: insurance loss after layoffs; premiums that became too high to pay; and being underinsured — having coverage, but not enough money to pay deductibles and co-payments.

Here’s another video taken before the clinic opened:

The opening placement of a commercial from Cadillac is too ironic.

The reference to Katrina is to the massive attempt by Houston and Galveston to take in the refugees from the hurricane that devastated New Orleans.   Next to the Reliant Stadium, where Dr. Oz is, is the Astrodome, which provided shelter for the people of New Orleans who were originally in a stadium there.

Save the Boobs campaign

Perhaps you’ve heard of this campaign.

Two opposing views of it..
First, the LA Times.

In recent years, the increasing frankness of breast cancer PSAs has been a bright spot of adult sensibility in what is Americans’ generally neurotic relationship to the female anatomy. Bear in mind that our national dialogue was brought to an inane standstill when Janet Jackson’s breast was briefly exposed during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Compared to the “Save the Boobs” spot, Jackson might as well have been wearing a burqa.

Also, this ad — and a couple more like it — represent one of the few occasions when the male tendency to objectify the female body is put to good use, as opposed to selling beer and premium football cable packages. They seem to answer a question that must have nagged breast-cancer-awareness advocates: How to get men to care?

Now Broadsheet:

According to Cho, the group’s founder believes the PSA will encourage men to help their wives and girlfriends check for breast cancer — despite the fact that the ad never includes such a suggestion, even though it would have been easy to build in. (“Like boobs? Why not spend more time touching them? Help your girlfriend check for breast cancer.”)

But what really bothers me about the PSA, aside from the obvious — how problematic it is to sexualize cancer, the implication that only hot girls with nice racks are worth caring about — is its cynicism toward young men. Does Rethink Breast Cancer really believe that the only way to make guys care is to slap together a sexy ad with a boobs-to-information ratio that’s downright offensive? Is it impossible to believe that men’s interest in breast cancer research might go beyond the selfish desire to “Save the boobs”? I’m all for reaching out to get as many people involved in the fight against breast cancer as possible. I just don’t think insulting men’s intelligence is the way to do it.

Thanks, J-Bro and Jender-Parents!

Poland passes law to enforce chemical castration

The BBC reports that Poland has now passed legislation making it obligatory to chemically castrate certain sex offenders. The law has been in the making since Poland had their own Fritzl case, back in 2008 (see the TimesOnline for that).

When I read “chemical castration” I was immediately reminded of the recent UK apology to Alan Turing, and wondered briefly whether the Polish government would have to apologise for driving a person to suicide in the coming century. But then I read the article and learnt it’s meant for pedophiles and rapists etc. hence entirely different, or so I think.

The Dutch have the dubitable honour to have the only political single issue pedophile party in the world, which caused quite some worldwide uproar back in 2006. However, because of them I learned of the flabbergasting argument that since homosexuality used to be illegal and is now accepted, obviously that is the way it will go with pedophilia as well. It is just a matter of time.

I see some flaws in the parallel. But nevertheless, despite my almost unreasonal abhorrence of child molesting, I think obligatory chemically castrating of offenders goes too far.

Finally, Beds for Men

That’s right. Beds for men.

After years of catering to women, manufacturers are setting their sights on men. The new macho mattresses they’re introducing have “muscle-recovery properties” and cooling technology, on the theory that men are more likely to feel too hot in bed. The bed frames feature built-in TVs, iPod docking stations, wine coolers, safes and other guy-friendly gadgetry.

Who are they catering for? Men who really care about their quality of life. Men like Dave Shapiro:

Dave Shapiro, a 33-year-old real-estate investor in Philadelphia, paid $30,000 for a Hollandia International adjustable bed that offers a built-in 32-inch Sony flat-screen TV, surround-sound speakers and outlets for laptops. “The best thing is the TV,” he says. “You don’t have to get up”

Thanks, J-Bro!

Virtual Birthday Greetings to Hypatia!

Louise Antony writes:

I’m sure there are many of you who, like me, would love to attend the upcoming birthday bash for Hypatia, but just cannot do it. Well, thanks to Alison, her colleague John Manchak, and intrepid cyber-amazon Kate Norlock, you can send to the conference your congratulations, reflections, reminiscences, expressions of appreciation — whatever you’d be saying if you were there in person to say it! John has set up a beautiful blogspot here:

All you have to do is post a comment.

Skull for Girls



Want a better view?

Yes, it’s what you’ve been waiting for: another Gendered Products Bonanza here at Feminist Philosophers. Stay tuned. (Thanks to Mr Jender for this one! And, J-Bro fans, don’t worry, there’s a good one coming for you.)

Simply speechless

Terence Kealey, vice-chancellor of Buckingham University, says female students are a perk of the job for male university lecturers – though they should look, not touch.

In an article for the Times Higher Education magazine on lust, part of a feature on the seven deadly sins of universities, Kealey wrote: “Normal girls – more interested in abs than in labs, more interested in pecs than specs, more interested in triceps than tripos – will abjure their lecturers for the company of their peers, but nonetheless, most male lecturers know that, most years, there will be a girl in class who flashes her admiration and who asks for advice on her essays. What to do?

“Enjoy her! She’s a perk.”

For the rest of the story, see here.

(Thanks J-Bro and Kalbir!)