Medicine

None of My Business

Detail of FLCL episode 3, 'Marquis de Carabas'.

Do what you’re gonna do: Roll your eyes, groan, gnash your teeth, bang your head on the desk, throw your hands and declare, “I could have guessed that!”

If you happen to be a woman interested in taking Addyi, the first FDA-approved drug intended to treat low libido in women, your doctor will first tell you this: You absolutely cannot drink — at all — as long as you’re taking the drug, because alcohol has been shown to exacerbate its side effects, including fainting, dizziness, and low blood pressure. When the drug hits the market in mid-October, it will come with a black box underlining the importance of abstaining from alcohol while taking the medication.

But here’s the thing. Nobody actually even knows what would happen if a woman taking Addyi were to cheat and have, say, a glass of wine with dinner — because the research on the effects of drinking while on the medication was done almost entirely on men. The alcohol-safety study included 23 men, and a grand total of two women.

(Dahl)

Okay, so: The good news is that there is a reason this happens, and it is perfectly understandable. The bad news is that this doesn’t actually help anything, and thus doesn’t count as good news.

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Something About Adam’s Butt

Composite includes detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 24 August 2015.  'Bug Martini' and Bug Martini logo are drawn by Adam Huber, and presumably thus copyrighted.

For the puns on the buns this one’s got no good runs for the big guns rockin’ in a title really idle for the teevee something something oh Jesus God why are you letting me carry on like this?

There isn’t a frame in this one that isn’t … well … okay, Uncle Sam Bug kicking bug-ass isn’t exactly creepy, but as we’re fond of saying around here, it all goes downhill from there.

Don’t blame Adam; make him famous.

The fourth panel is worth a Nerd Bug that doesn’t know how to keep his damn mouth shut, too. Really. All that and a bag o’shivers, too.

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Huber, Adam. “Have Buns – Will Travel”. Bug Martini. 24 August 2015.

A Brief Note About Nothing (Ask My Doctor Edition)

In a way, I’m surprised I haven’t noticed before; to the other, maybe it’s because this one is so blatant. An advert for a respiratory drug running in the background, a silly, touching narrative of a grandfather having to explain the problem to his granddaughter during story time, because he’s just like the big bad wolf, huffing and puffing. All of which leads to the setup, and the first joke to mind really is straightforward: So I asked my doctor, and she read me a script written by a pharmaceutical company that wants me to take their drug.

Can of corn, right? Don’t need to hack up a lung chasing that one down.Say what?

But right on its heels another thought struck, as the doctor played on TV read the standard plea: So I asked my doctor, and she told me to ask my doctor.

Maybe it’s time to rework the script template.

Just sayin’.

Some Words About Something I Know Nothing About

Detail of frame from Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, episode 8, '… Of the Dead'.

This is one of those I should simply steer clear of.

Critics, on the other hand, point out the teensy problem that the pharmaceutical company’s own drug trials have shown that Addyi (the brand name for flibanserin) doesn’t actually work all that well. The drug, which will likely be available to consumers in mid-October, is a daily medication, and has been associated with some decidedly unsexy side effects, such as dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, insomnia, and dry mouth. Alcohol exacerbates the side effects, so women taking Addyi are told to abstain from drinking as long as they’re taking it. And the payoff is modest at best: In clinical trials involving about 2,400 healthy, pre-menopausal women (their average age was 36), the women taking flibanserin reported up to one more “satisfying sexual event” per month on average, compared with the women who took a placebo.

(Dahl)

After all, if ever there is a time to hide behind being … oh, right. Anyway, yeah, it’s after a paragraph like that, something, something, mumble, murmur, I’ll just shut up now.

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My Own Private Disgrace

'Two Shades of Grey': Remix of Bug Martini, by nobody important, for no good reason, 23 August 2015; original by Adam Huber, 19 August 2015.

With utmost apologies, of course, to Adam Huber, though in truth none could possibly suffice. Sorry, Adam, I couldn’t help myself.

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 19 August 2015.To the other, such exercises are useful; in printed news media, the notion of column inches is disappearing into the electronic aether, but it does still exist for those whose writing aims to appear in the paper edition. And the nature of cartooning, of course, will always force some consideration of panel space.

This is the important part, because just how far does one push in order to make the joke work? There is an obvious hole in the remix, but it’s hard to explain just how our hero comes to expect that the stuff in the container is his grandmother’s cremated ashes mixed into baby fat and other such disgusting ingredients that she might await chthonic resurrection. (more…)

The Rand Paul Show (Picking Up His Balls)

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to guests gathered at the Point of Grace Church for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff on April 25, 2015 in Waukee, Iowa. The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian organization, hosted 9 potential contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nominations at the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Because, you know, gay marriage is just the last straw.

No, seriously. The one and only Rand Paul:

The government should not prevent people from making contracts but that does not mean that the government must confer a special imprimatur upon a new definition of marriage.

Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.

Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it. It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.

Strangely, the Kentucky junior has no real grasp of political optics. We have heard this sort of talk before in Oklahoma, or as Mr. Paul noted in his special to Time, Alabama. But when it comes to the proposition that if you can’t make all the rules you’ll just pick up your balls and go home and pout, is that really a caliber of behavior we might reasonably describe as presidential?

There really isn’t any more time to adjust; Americans have had nearly two decades to accustom themselves to same sex marriage, and if they chose to spend those years bawling and stomping and fighting and pouting, why should everyone else have to wait even longer just so they can find new ways to pitch tantrums?

Is Mr. Paul capable of comprehending the optics, understanding just how ridiculous he looks striking this pose? Well, okay, of course he doesn’t; this is a guy who has trouble grasping the basics of plagiarism.

Stupid and petulant is no condition for mounting a presidential bid.

Oh. Right. Clown car, all that. He trails Bush, Walker, Rubio, and Carson. Maybe that’s the problem. Given the stupid factor in effect, Mr. Paul’s terrible shitty brat routine doesn’t really stand out as extraordinary, does it?

That still doesn’t mean the self-certified ophthalmologist has a clue about political optics.

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Image note: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to guests gathered at the Point of Grace Church for the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff on April 25, 2015 in Waukee, Iowa. The Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition, a conservative Christian organization, hosted 9 potential contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nominations at the event. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Paul, Rand. “Government Should Get Out of the Marriage Business Altogether”. Time. 28 June 2015.

Rubin, Jennifer. “Rand Paul has another problem”. The Washington Post. 8 November 2013.

A Note on Conscience and Freedom

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

Look … there are … there are some things in this world ....

It began when Kallio found a lump on his breast just three months after a mammogram. He had a second mammogram, then a biopsy and, when weeks went by without receiving any test results, he just assumed everything was fine. That changed when he suddenly got a phone call from the doctor who performed his biopsy — and who was not his primary physician.

“She said to me, ‘Hi, I was just curious how you were doing with your diagnosis.’ And I said, ‘What diagnosis?’ She sort of spurted, ‘[Your doctor] hasn’t called you yet?'” Kallio remembered.

The biopsy confirmed that Kallio had “very aggressive” breast cancer, and Kallio knew he needed treatment immediately, especially as the pain in his breast intensified.

“It felt like getting shot slowly. It felt like it was heading right for my heart. So I was getting nervous. I still get nervous when I think about it,” he said.

Even after that, Kallio’s doctor still wouldn’t contact him, which came as a huge surprise considering his doctor was head of surgery at a major hospital in “great big blue Manhattan,” a liberal city where Kallio expected “embracing care” from “competent experts.” The physician eventually got in touch when Kallio made moves to have his case transferred, but the conversation did not go as he hoped.

“The first thing [the doctor] said was, ‘I have a real problem with your transgender status.’ And he said, ‘When I found out you were transgender, the first thing I wanted to do, my first impulse was to send you to psychiatry,'” Kallio said. “So this is what a breast surgeon wanted to do with my breast cancer, is first send me to psychiatry.”

(Buxton)

Conscience. Freedom. Equality.

This is what they’re asking for when demanding freedom to opt out of equality for the sake of conscience.

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Image note: “The world is a cruel place” ― Mikasa awakens, ready to fight. (Detail of frame from Attack on Titan, episode 6, “The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2”.)

Buxton, Ryan. “This Trans Man’s Breast Cancer Nightmare Exemplifies The Problem With Transgender Health Care”. The Huffington Post. 15 June 2015.

Spiritual Warfare, Among Other Things

Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd speaks to the faithful in Columbus, Ohio, June 16, 2015. Floyd exhorted members to stand united against same-sex marriage and vows that he will never officiate a same-sex union. (Eric Albrecht/Columbus Dispatch via AP)

We may or may not have mentioned before something about bigots, victimhood, and insurrection.α

If I told you we could add the Southern Baptist Convention to the list, would you really be surprised?

Or, as Craig Schneider of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution explains:

Declaring “spiritual warfare” on gay marriage, thousands gathered here Tuesday for the annual Southern Baptist Convention and vowed that, no matter what the Supreme Court rules this month, they will never yield on the issue.

The Baptists acknowledged that the court seems likely to legalize same-sex marriage when it rules in the next two weeks, but leaders urged the faithful to stand fast and, indeed, lead the nation in opposition.

“We are in spiritual warfare,” said convention president Rev. Ronnie Floyd. “This is not a time for Southern Baptists to stand back.”

Floyd echoed a generally defiant tone among attendees, many of them pastors, who have faced increasing criticism for their belief that the Bible declares homosexuality a sin and limits marriage to a man and a woman. At a time when society is increasingly tolerant of same-sex unions, he said, Southern Baptists must stand by their views.

“This is not the time to retreat,” said Floyd, who leads Cross Church in Arkansas. “The alarm clock is going off around the world. Now is not the time to hit the snooze button.”

And it goes on. Fuel to the “wildfire of sexual revolution” that would “move it beyond all control”. At least Dr. Floyd is honest about the connection between sexuality and control. But this is also an attempt by Southern Baptists to paint themselves as victims of gross injustice:

Many of their congregants, sensing the shifting cultural climate on gay marriage, feel defensive and afraid to publicly state their views, wary of being cast as bigots or hate-mongers.

“We understand how fully unpopular our view is, and where the culture is on this issue,” said the Rev. Bryant Wright of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in East Cobb and a former convention president. “But we must stay true to God’s word.”

Wright acknowledged the difficulty of communicating that church members are not hateful or discriminatory against gays and lesbians, though Baptists do believe they are sinners. He noted that he preaches to teens who have sex outside of marriage, people who divorce, and those who commit adultery. He loves them and hopes they find their way, he said.

Let us be clear: When you are calling for warfare of any kind, spiritual or otherwise, in response to the fact that other people have human rights, there is not really any useful way to slip the question of bigotry; nor do people believe the claim that you are not hateful or discriminatory.

Really, that part seems pretty self-evident.

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An Important Difference

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signs new legislation allowing one-year prescriptions of birth control, 11 June 2015, in Salem. (AP Photo)

Sometimes it really does make a difference.

With Gov. Kate Brown’s signature Thursday, Oregon women will be the first in the nation who can get a year’s supply of birth control with one prescription.

When the change takes effect Jan. 1, women will no longer have to renew their prescriptions every 30 to 90 days. After an initial three-month supply, refills of the same prescription can be obtained for one year.

“We knew that the medical research was very clear that filling a yearlong prescription all at once is a significant contributor to improving the effectiveness of birth control,” Mary Nolan, interim executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, told the Associated Press before the signing.

(Winter)

Many are the occasions on which we might hear a neighbor bitterly proclaim that politicians are all the same, that it doesn’t matter who you vote for because it doesn’t make a difference. This argument is intended to help one of the parties. As Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) reminds yet again, there really is a difference, and some days it can be really, really important.

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Image note: Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signs new legislation allowing one-year prescriptions for birth control, 11 June 2015, in Salem. (AP Photo)

Winter, Michael. “Oregon women first to get yearlong birth control”. USA Today. 11 June 2015.

An Annoying Sort of Friend

Scott Walker ... the best friend your vagina doesn't want and never asked for.

This is a mystery … we hope:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Monday that he’d be willing to sign a 20-week abortion ban without exceptions for rape or incest, adding that women were mostly concerned about those issues “in the initial months” of pregnancy, television station WKOW reported.

“I mean, I think for most people who are concerned about that, it’s in the initial months where they’re most concerned about it,” Walker said of pregnancies caused by rape and incest.

“In this case, again, it’s an unborn life, it’s an unborn child and that’s why we feel strongly about it,” Walker said. “I’m prepared to sign it either way that they send it to us.”

(Garcia)

We are possibly witnessing a spaghetti-meet-wall moment in conservative politics as the various factions of social conservatism dealing with sex and gender undergo what seems a complete meltdown. Mr. Walker is emblematic. The Cowardly Clown decided to come out swinging on this issue, going on conservative radio to explain that using force of law to put things in women’s vaginas was “just a cool thing out there”. And for whatever reason, he wants this fight; he went back to the same radio program to push his case. It was a particularly dishonest sleight, at that, suggesting the law “doesn’t designate which type” of ultrasound, but transvaginal is the standard medical procedure. Additionally, as Steve Benen explained, “no one’s opposed to ultrasounds in general, but plenty of people are opposed to state-mandated, medically unnecessary procedures imposed by right-wing politicians who choose to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship as part of a larger culture war”.

Remember that the purpose of this is to subject women to an unnecessary medical procedure, the standard method involving vaginal penetration by a foreign object, under force of law and with the intention of persuasion.

Yet Mr. Walker is not finished finding ways to molest women for the sake of his own moral satisfaction.

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