Jenny McCarthy And The Anti-Vaccine Movement: Pseudoscience At It’s Worst

The news that Jenny McCarthy will join “The View” has sparked plenty of discussion. Not because she her mark on the entertainment primarily because she proved adept at stripping her clothes, which is perfectly fine with us, but because to be blunt, she’s a bit of a nutcase. McCarthy is the default celebrity spokesperson AGAINST vaccinations.She believes they cause darn near every illness under the sun including autism which she claims her child contracted via vaccinations and she cured with an organic diet.
As soon as the news broke that McCarthy was going to have a pulpit to spread her anti-vaccination views, (no pun intended) the Internet immediately divided into two separate camps. There is the camp on her side and one against. Each has a right to their opinion, but only the camp against has hard science on their side.

McCarthy's own Doctor

McCarthy’s own Doctor

McCarthy has a lot going against her. Almost the entire pediatric community is against her. Numerous peer reviewed duplicated studies are against her. Science is against her. History is against her. Science is against her. Heck, even common sense is against her. So what is on her side? Her story of curing her son on her own which hasn’t seemed to work for anyone else and a study that she bases her entire stance upon – which has been debunked and patently proved as a propagandist piece of information in which the doctor conducting it admitted under oath to manipulating the numbers to get the slant he wanted.

Vaccinations save lives. We know this. McCarthy and her ilk are so far beyond any point of reason or logic they are treading water in a sea of retarded mentality.

 
vaccine-copyAnd before you start getting all uppity about me saying that, let’s look at the facts. Vaccinations have been a standard part of healthcare for about 80 years now and the formulations have changed very little. Why then wasn’t autism being diagnosed at the rate it is now back in the 1940’s for instance? Why is it that it’s been the last decade that autism diagnoses have skyrocketed by almost 100x – vaccinations, or that the autism spectrum has been broadened out immensely and there is some serious $$ to made with the diagnosis because it is never ending treatment basically?

Autism was often called childhood schizophrenia, childhood psychosis or just the weird kid in school. In order to be diagnosed with autism, kids had to be almost wholly non-verbal, have a low IQ and be nearly completely withdrawn from all human interaction. When it became the broad umbrella of ASD and they started including Aspies and even kids that just seem a little off socially, the numbers were bound to rise.
Ms. B. Hall, a medical professional, stated “For some extremely annoying reason, incorrect information speeds through the field and then the general public, but the later correction takes years if not decades to travel. For another instance: the researcher who thought he’d found a cause/effect link between low serotonin and depression later recanted, admitting he’d been mistaken, but few people know that.”

Another medical professional. Ms. A. Fujishima stated: “Most people pinpoint the mercury used in the vaccinations, what they don’t realize is it’s not the same mercury that is viewed as toxic, like, say, what is in a thermometer. The mercury used in vaccinations is naturally occurring all around us, we eat that stuff every day. Thimerosal (which is in some vaccinations) contains ethyl mercury, which is chemically different from methyl mercury (which is found in thermometers and in the fish many want to shove down their craw). People hear the word “mercury” and fly off the deep-end without even having the facts to back up their insanity.”

In an interview with Jeffeey Kluger, McCarthy had this to say to his questioning her belief mercury exposure via vaccinations was responsible for the rise autism: “We don’t believe it’s only the mercury. Aluminum and other toxins also play a role. The viruses in the vaccines themselves can be causing it, too.”

561286_493297960740218_790434548_nShe cites her “evidence” as being that between 1983 and 2008 that autism diagnoses has escalated along with the incline of vaccination rates. She ignores the FACT that there is almost 1000 times more aluminum in a typical antacid as a vaccination. Why don’t Rolaids, then, cause Autism? Why does she ignore that in the same 15 year period she uses as the basis of her “evidence” that childhood obesity has increased as well as diabetes? McCarthy has gone on the record as to being against vaccinations such as Polio as well and has clearly and constantly echoed this sentiment:

“I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f___ing fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s s___. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.”

182852_508087579261256_2130214309_nMcCarthy, however, goes on to say that she isn’t against vaccines. She wants BETTER vaccines. She believes in her heart of hearts that whatever vaccination a child receives somehow leads to another disease – a trade-off of ills. She ignores that she was vaccinated and contracted no other ills as have countless other people when saying this so straight-faced. She ignores the obvious. She states the same in regard to diabetes and ADD and ADHD.

Yes, there are children with autism. I am not arguing that. I am simply arguing that you cannot prove with ANY legitimate scientific research that vaccinations cause autism. The above stated reasons along with the bullshit autism alternative cure industry and paranoid as hell conspiracy theory nuts are what is driving all this talk about vaccinations being bad.
Just because a child is vaccinated doesn’t mean they will get autism or the incidence of it occurring would be a hell of a lot higher that less than 1%. Loose correlation does not equal causation.

Advertisements

Domestic Violence: One Victim Is One Too Many

Domestic violence is an epidemic, that quite frankly, makes me sick. Right now most people are talking about the Trayvon Martin verdict, Texas and the idiocy running rampant through the legislature or the overdose of Glee star Cory Monteith. Each topic has value in what we can learn from them, but domestic violence is a part of the daily fabric of our lives. It never goes away. You may be fortunate enough that you are not a firsthand victim of it, but the odds are overwhelming that someone you know quite well, is.

c73e8e687b02e14a035afbb1a9e5f9bdI say is and not is or was, because once a victim, always a victim. The violence may end, but the scars remain on the inside and sometimes the outside as well. While some will move on and reclaim their personal power after victimization, the scars still remain. The scars are the reminder of what once was and never, ever, should be.

I could put a slew of statistics up here and try to use that route to demonstrate how big the problem is, but we know it’s a major problem already. No one living in the rational world can deny that domestic violence isn’t a major problem. Men are victims. Women are victims. It happens with gay couples as well as heterosexual couples. Some will speak up and others will suffer in silence. No matter who … No matter how or what … It is always heartbreaking. It is always a crime. It is NEVER justified.

 
With everything else going on in the world right now that does deserve our attention and discussion at length, this is what is on MY mind. It is on my mind because it is hitting home for me right now. I’m not being directly abused nor is my partner, but someone close to me recently was. Someone that is as close to me in my heart as my own family. Someone I genuinely love as one of my best friends if not my best friend. And it is killing me.

 

 
middle_850babc1aa3041df48e935a7df3f75a804_424577_434746423227658_628179999_nIt is killing me to be too far away to physically intervene and protect her. It is killing me that she is in a somewhat impossible situation to speak up and make it stop. It is killing me to know it has happened before, it has happened again even though they are apart, if something isn’t done it will probably happen again. The waves of fear, anger, nausea and very dark thoughts I am feeling are nothing compared to her hell. I can’t even imagine.

 

 
I don’t know what to do. Part of me is screaming to be on the next plane out of town if for no other reason than to sit vigil on her porch and wait … and watch … I know that isn’t what she wants right now. I know that won’t do anything more than serve as a stopgap at best and at worst … I don’t care to entertain those thoughts …

 
2026970_f520I could try to anonymously report it, but then again I know … I know firsthand how that often makes things worse. I know how broken the system is. I know all too well how it turns into “he said/she said” and we all know the justice system often fails to deliver justice. I know that even though I am close, it is not my decision as to how and when to act. I don’t have all the information. I don’t know the reality of the on the spot, right there, right now. I’m impotent to act. You may judge me harshly for that, but I know the reason why reporting the crime, at least now, will make it worse. So I sit. I wait.

 

I sit and wait to make sure I hear from her, even if it is nothing more than a quick “I’m here” so I know … I know she is okay. At least for the moment. I wait to hear if she needs someone to listen. I remind her that she is loved. That she has people that will protect her any way that she needs. I remind her it isn’t her fault. She did nothing wrong. I remind her that help is only one call away.

DV1You or someone you know may be in dire need of support right now. Every situation is unique. We can’t say one solution fits all because it doesn’t. What we can do, and need to do, is be there for each other. We need to know exactly what to do if someone needs our help and we need to not be ashamed to ask for it should we be that person in need.

Below, I will include some information that would be good for everyone – women, men, the young, old, gay, straight — EVERYONE — to file away in a place that can be quickly and safely retrieved. You never know when it may be necessary to get help. Please, I beg you, know HOW to help someone in their hour of need. Know how to get yourself help if it is ever necessary. It can be the difference between life and death not only for yourself, but for others. Maybe even your children.

This isn’t some sort of abstract “bad things could happen” warning. Bad things do happen.  Bad things will always happen to people. We need to be prepared. I cannot say that enough or with sufficient emphasis. ALWAYS BE PREPARED!
****** Please remember that if you are in IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 911

If you feel that none of the following resources will not provide you with the help you need or you are outside the US, please contact us at out Facebook page and we will make every effort to get you the information you need for help in your area. https://www.facebook.com/spitfire.gals

 
National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.
Crisis Helpline Call 1-888-7HELPLINE
Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Hotline: 800.621.HOPE (4673)
Safe Horizon’s Crime Victims Hotline: 866.689.HELP (4357)
Safe Horizon’s Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline: 212.227.3000
TDD phone number for all hotlines: 866.604.5350

National Battered Women’s Law Project
275 7th Avenue, Suite 1206
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-741-9480
FAX: 212-741-6438

Battered Women’s Justice Project
Minnesota Program Development, Inc
1801 Nicollet Ave, Suite 102
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: 800-903-0111, ext.1
Phone: 612-824-8768
Fax: 612-824-8965

Battered Women’s Justice Project
c/o National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women
125 South 9th Street, Suite 302
Philadelphia, PA 19107
TOLL-FREE: 800-903-0111 ext. 3
Phone: 215-351-0010
FAX: 215-351-0779
National Clearinghouse is a national resource and advocacy center providing assistance to women defendants, their defense attorneys, and other members of their defense teams in an effort to insure justice for battered women charged with crimes.

National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape
2325 Oak Street
Berkeley, CA 94708
Phone: 510-524-1582

Feminism: It’s Not Just For Women

By: Amanda K. Fox

Here at Spitfire, we get called feminists a lot and not always in the nicest tone. It’s true, we are feminists. There is quite a bit of confusion about what a feminist is though, so let’s try to come to a better understanding about it. The basic definition of feminist is a person who believes in gender equality. It does not state that a feminist is woman, however, that is the common assumption. Men are feminists too. It is that first syllable, FEM, that throws so many people off. Feminism is more than that though.

 

The more formal definition of feminism is the movement for social, political, and economic equality of men and women. When that definition of feminism was used in polling a random selection of people both male and female, without telling them it is the definition of feminism, about 67% stated they are in favor of it. When the next group was told they were being given the definition of feminism, those in favor of it dropped to around 59%, based largely on men viewing it less favorably. What does that tell us?

 

Primarily, it tells us that many men have a preconceived negative idea about feminism – but in fairness some women do as well. What seems to be additionally off-putting is the use of the word “movement” which for some men seems to indicate a concerted effort to work against them. The word feminism, in and of itself, comes with quite a bit of baggage and it seems, in part, may be one of the stumbling blocks toward women attaining truer equality. Put bluntly, the image some people have of what the word feminism means is disagreeable to them.

 

When men were asked what feminism is to them, many answered that it was an effort to advance women through legal measures such as affirmative action. Less than 30% cited feminists as being “man haters” or “angry lesbians”. Men under 25 saw it differently, having more of an image of a grassroots type of movement mostly free of the man hating lesbian spin, but again aimed at women attaining legal protections and affirmative action type advancements.

 

In actuality, they all have it partially correct and partially wrong. Being a feminist does not mean you hate men or that you’re a lesbian. You do not have to hate or not be sexually attracted to an entire gender in order to advance the other. They can peacefully advance together. As many men identify them self as feminists as well, it makes very little sense to try to make an argument that men are the enemy. You can love a man and be an upstanding feminist. Period. Male feminists you likely know of quite well include John Lennon, Brad Pitt, President Barack Obama, Eddie Vedder, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Joss Whedon and the Beastie Boys.

 
Feminism is not an organized movement, at least not since 1973. Since then, feminism has been an attitude more than anything else. There are organizations that do advocate on behalf of women’s equality, but they are generally careful to avoid the feminist label. Modern feminism is more about knowing what your rights are, or should be, and demanding them. Feminists are not the type of person that goes hat in hand and asks for their equal rights – they stand up, hold their head up high and demand equal rights because they have been earned, not just because they can be doled out as a panacea that is forever held over their head as some sort of gift.

 
There are some who claim the label of being a humanist to try to escape being labeled a feminist, and although it is a misuse of the word, in a roundabout way it has evolved into being equated with equal rights for all people and some feel the umbrella feminism falls under. Humanism is actually the rejection of supernaturalism (An all knowing creator of otherworldly origin). Feminism is very specific in that the goal is gender equality. Nothing more or less.

 
Feminism is not a bad thing for men or women. If one believes feminism is bad, they are literally stating that they hold man superior to woman. They are saying equality is not only not deserved, but not earned. That attitude hurts everyone whether it is immediately evident or not.

 

 

Feminism has brought with it sexual liberation and micro-loan organizations that have helped launch thriving women owned businesses that employ both women and men. It has helped pave the way for a number of women to reach their full potential in educational pursuits, business, politics, the military and the list can go on and on. When women achieve their potential, the men that are with them benefit from that achievement as well, personally, professionally or perhaps both.

 
If it had not been for feminism, a woman like Prof. Lynn Conway may not have made the advances she did in computer science that helped the digital age evolve. Cisco wouldn’t exist without co-founder Sandra Lerner. Flickr, which is used by millions daily, was invented by Caterina Fake in 2002. Stephanie Kwolek took polymers DuPont discarded and turned them in Kevlar which has served numerous men and women quite well. The disposable cell phone is the invention of Randi Altschul, an accessory many men would feel lost without.

 
Swinging the doors open to allow women equal opportunities along with equal compensation and rights is good for everyone. When you marginalize 52% of the population you are not going to get very far. So what if men and women are different? It is often those very differences which open new doors.

 
Feminism is something we need to embrace on a global scale and the sooner the better. Women have not only closed the education gap, we have swung it in the our favor. More and more women are becoming the family breadwinner despite earning 22.5 cents on the dollar less than men for the same job. Knowing what feminism is and how positive it is for women and men alike, how can one not want to be a feminist?

 
For those that still think feminism is wrong or somehow bad, consider this one point for a moment – when women do eventually take control of politics and industry on a greater scale, do you want women to marginalize you in the manner you’ve marginalized them?

Personhood: The Nightmare That Won’t End

By: Amanda K. Fox

The personhood bills are among the most potentially frightening pieces of legislation that lawmakers have brought to the floor in many years. What makes them frightening is not just the language they use, but how radically misunderstood what exactly personhood is. No woman, on either side of the political divide, can afford to not know the reality of what personhood means – not only legally, but personally.

 

7297815-espermatozoides-humanos-intentar-llegar-a-un-ovulo-humanoIn lay terms, personhood means that life begins at conception. Quite a few people personally believe this, but the real issue is the debate over when conception begins. In most states, the push is for conception to be defined as the instant an egg becomes fertilized. In Arizona, however, conception is defined as occurring two weeks prior to fertilization – and that is a law on the books since April of 2012.

 
With no nationally accepted definition of when conception occurs, this is a messy can of worms to open. The conservative right has their eyes set on a national policy if they can take control politically. This also entails the availability of contraception. The problem with any personhood legislation, uniform or not, is that American women will lose control of their reproductive rights. Give that a moment to sink in because it is not said for shock value.

 

By the numbers, 62% of all women in America use some form of contraception. Another 7% use nothing and the remainder report being postpartum, sterile, not sexually active or actively trying to conceive. Of those who report trying to get pregnant, most have used some form of contraception at an earlier time or plan to in the future (according to Planned Parenthood.) Personhood bills are intended to minimize Roe v. Wade. Most agree that the decision itself is almost impossible to overturn; however, if enough impediments are in place, legal abortions will be virtually impossible to obtain. This is where the talk of such nonsense as “legitimate” and “illegitimate” rape comes from, as victims of rape and incest have long been an issue that stands in the way of getting Roe v. Wade off the books.

 
personhood11 (2)-375x250This is the problem women face if personhood bills are passed: miscarrying could technically result in “wrongful termination of a pregnancy” charges in certain situations. It all depends on the interpretation of each case. Personhood legislation endows eggs with civil rights – in some cases, again as with Arizona, even an unfertilized egg (ova) now has civil rights. For all intents and purposes, it has the same legal rights as you do while you are reading this. Since the Arizona version of personhood is the standard that many supporters of the concept are pushing for, let’s examine the implications, even if farfetched, a bit closer.

 
What Arizona has done with the passage of their personhood legislation is that they have narrowed the window for legal abortions to the slimmest margin in the US. Because pregnancy is assumed to begin the day after a woman’s last menstrual period ends, they have cut the window to about 18 weeks. While that is 4-6 weeks less than the national norm, that is not where everything gets ridiculously tricky.

 
Because pregnancy is assumed prior to actual conception, women are basically assumed to be nearly perpetually pregnant. Would a fertile woman that drinks in excess be looked upon as endangering her child even if she is not carrying a fertilized egg? Drinking to excess would be damaging to an embryo and if woman did not become pregnant during that cycle, could it be said that the alcohol was to blame triggering a wrongful and illegal termination accusation?

 
422192_344769372230533_218167498224055_1006731_793468284_nWhat about a woman that smokes? Carcinogens can impact an embryo and therefore could be considered child abuse? And yes, we are saying embryo, because even if an egg is not fertilized to the standards of science and reality, legally it is a person of a few minutes to couple weeks old. What if you left the state and your husband/lover/potential sperm donor decides he misses the unfertilized egg and claims you kidnapped it? That’s a federal charge! It is, after all, legally a person.

 

Consider the Mitt Romney viewpoint, in which there is a less restrictive personhood concept. Romney is nominally in favor of allowing abortions in cases of rape, incest or a terminal pregnancy. The problem is, it needs to be a “legitimate” rape and incest must be proved. Why is that problematic?

 
The problem lies in who determines whether a rape is legitimate or whether an incestual encounter resulted in the pregnancy. Even if a woman does prove she was raped, if she was having normal sexual relations with someone aside from her rapist during the window in which she could be impregnated, can she prove it is the rapist that got her pregnant? To prove rape or incest, a woman must have the wherewithal and ability to immediately report it and preserve evidence for a proper rape kit – even in the case of incest.

 
From that point, the victim has to deal with the police, then wait for a DNA warrant on the perp (If possible to obtain), a preliminary hearing, and a trial before the defendant’s peers. Does anyone realistically think that will all come down in less than 18 weeks – keeping in mind this is not an episode of Law & Order where everything is resolved at the top of the hour?

 
Should a “legitimate” rape or case of incest not be proved within the legal abortive window, there are no extensions for obtaining an abortion. The same is true even if it is proved outside the legal abortive window. The woman has to carry the child to term. She does have the option to place the child for adoption.which may or may not happen. Of course, she could opt to keep the child, but that choice comes with its own host of potential problems.

 
personhood-map-0521This doesn’t even address the can of worms that is birth control – conservatives wish to make that harder to obtain as well. Illegal, in fact, if some legislators had their way. Even invitro fertilization would become so risky from a liability standpoint that it could potentially go the way of the dinosaur. This is an actual declaration of war on the reproductive rights of women. Curiously enough though, only 50% of the equation necessary to create human life is being held to any kind of standard. No matter how legislation is worded, an ova alone does not create a human – sperm is needed as well and that comes from a man. Sperm is being perpetually produced in fertile males, not cycles, in which ova is available for fertilization in women.

 
This is the other half of life an ova requires to become a zygote. Why is not included in personhood legislation?

 
images (2)Sperm is not considered a person like an egg, even though it is no more or less impressive than an egg regarding reproductive purposes. Therefore, a man has full reproductive rights of his body. He can masturbate and not worry about violating the law, potentially incurring a charge of child abandonment. He can smoke and drink to excess and not be legally open to the possibility of potential legal repercussions for damage to his reproductive system.

 
It is understood that this seems far fetched, but in a nation of equals, shouldn’t men and women be held to an equal standard regarding their reproductive systems? It isn’t very likely anyone would charge a woman with child abuse of her unfertilized ova even if they are considered people under the law. We point these scenarios out to demonstrate how poorly thought out and written much of this personhood legislation is.

 
What is not far-fetched is the fact that women will suffer under personhood laws. Children that otherwise would not exist if their mother’s had control over their reproductive rights may suffer. Couples trying to get pregnant using IVF may find it more difficult and expensive. There is also the question of whether or not all fertile women have to be afforded all the legal rights of a pregnant woman in the workplace along with proper prenatal care by default. After all, that ova may turn into a person one day and no one would want to be held liable for failing to provide proper care.

Bullying And What You Can Do About It

By: Amanda Fox

Bullying has, according to some analysts, reached epidemic proportions. It’s hard to argue against this as we see more and more cases of teen suicides that stemmed from bullying than ever before. Perhaps it is that they are being reported more often, or it is possible that it has grown to become a bigger problem than ever before as well. One inescapable fact in all of this is that for the person being bullied and the bully them self, there is absolutely nothing positive that comes from any of it.

No-Bullying-circleMost adults over thirty tend to think of bullying as a schoolyard problem, but the fact is that bullying continues on well into the adult years. Often, the sad fact is, once a bully, always a bully. The flipside to that, however, is that just because you were once a victim doesn’t mean you always have to be a victim. You have the ability to stop bullying as it pertains to you and your children. It often isn’t easy, but it is a necessity.

 

Let’s start getting serious by looking at some statistics regarding bullying that should serve as a wakeup call for anyone that hasn’t grasped how prevalent it is in both the physical realm and online. (Statistics are for the US based on 2010)

 

1. Each month, an estimated 280,000+ students are physically attacked in secondary schools.
2. It is estimated that 15% of all school absences stem from bullying.
3. 90% of all students in the 4th-8th grade report being bullied at least once.
4. 1 in 10 school dropouts reports their reason for quitting school as chronic bullying.
5. Approximately 75% of all school shooting incidents have been linked to bullying.
6. Over 50% of all children under 18 report being cyberbullied at least once.
7. Over 1/3 have received threats of physical harm.
8. It is estimated that less than 20% of cyberbullying incidents are reported
9. The cell phone is the most common tool used in cyberbullying right now.
10. Adults are quickly approaching being responsible for better than 25% of all cyberbullying incidents.

 

BullyingWe have spoken to a couple dozen people of varying ages regarding bullying. The common thread seems to be that bullying has gotten far more severe in the last decade than it was before. A big reason that is being cited, is that prior to the Internet being a fixture in most households and so many modes of getting online being easily available, bullying was generally limited to school.

 
Bullies tended to ply their trade on their victims at school, the school bus or maybe in the neighborhood. Generally speaking (Excluding cases of abuse at home), kids did have a safe haven when they got home. The bullying would stop. There was a little downtime to regroup. With the Internet, the bullying, often, never ends. Kids are victimized at school and then again when they login. The bullying isn’t limited to people they know even. In many cases, people that have never met the victim personally will pile on and heap abuse as well.

 

Cyberbullying makes it easy. It depersonalizes the experience for the abuser. They think “What do I care? I don’t even know this person and they probably have it coming to them.” To add insult to injury, most social networks, where cyberbullying is most prevalent, do very little to stop the trend. “Hate pages” and fake accounts meant to do nothing but damage the reputation of the intended victim are easy to create and hard to get rid of. The pack mentality takes over and the bullying gets beyond out of control.

 

The same often holds true in cases of adult cyberbullying, except you can substitute work for school where appropriate. Bullying knows no boundaries. Bullies and their victims come in all shapes and sizes, colors, religions, genders, socioeconomic backgrounds, nations, ages, education levels and even the deceased aren’t spared. There are numerous instances where a victim of bullying that has passed away naturally or by suicide, continues to be bullied. It’s seemingly never-ending and insane.

 

stop-bullying-sourceWe’re not going to pretend we can end bullying. Bullying will continue from one generation to the next and that is as sad a fact as the statistics cited above. There are, however, measures we can take to help decrease the prevalence of bullying and make bullying, whether cyber or face to face, an action that comes with consequences no bully wants to face. These are the actions we propose.

 

1. Be aware of what is happening around you. Take notice of any bullying and not only report it to the proper authority, but make others aware as well. Far too many people fail to act out of fear of being bullied them self for taking a stand. Please, do not be an observer.

 
2. When you see instances of cyberbullying, such as “hate pages” or blatantly false accounts created only to defame a person, report them! Get your friends to report them and tell them to have their friends do it as well. Again, you have to take action!

 

3. Anytime you see bullying that crosses the line to making physical threats against a person, the first step is to make sure you have screen captures of everything. Next, report it to not only the platform it appeared on, report it to your service provider as well. They are very good at tracing the origin of communications and holding it under seal until/if requested by legal authorities. Finally, report it to legal authorities. It is very easy to go online and Google the appropriate entity to make a report to. Your local police can always direct you in this well. Cyberbullying is a crime that is punishable by both fine and in some instances actual jail time. Reports should begin with the local police, or in some cases to your local magistrate court, should the cyberbullying involve multiple states/nations.

 
Cyberbullying is a crime
Regarding Cyberbullying, the process of investigation and consequences can be erratic at best. There are literally tens of thousands of cases for cybercrimes divisions to wade through and there are too few people tasked to handle them. Sadly, it is often a matter of knowing someone that is required to get a case fast-tracked. Stopbullying.gov along with several other authorities do provide some steps you can take to decrease the aggravation of cyberbullying once a report has been made.

 

1. Block the persons involved from having contact with you if it is possible. Bullies love to get together in their secret enclaves to “trash talk” a victim, but what they really seek is the public audience and doing it in front of their victim in most cases. If you are not in the audience, their motivation often wanes over time.

 

2. Do not friend people on networks that you do not actually know. A common tactic many cyberbullies use is to create fake accounts to try to bully anonymously. This works well enough until they are reported. Very few cyberbullies are good enough to cover their tracks in a manner that cybercrimes dectectives can’t easily uncover.

 

3. Communication – Let your kids know it is not only okay, but required that they tell you about any instances of bullying. Let them know that it is not their fault they are being bullied and that they have every right to stand up for them self. If you don’t know what is happening, you can’t help.

 

Bullying, in all of it’s forms, has gone too far. People need to take notice of it and take action against it. It has to be a constant vigil – not just when we hear stories of bullying gone too far where kids kill them self or people become an emotional and physical wreck due to it. Not just when it is someone in our family. Vigilance means you are ALWAYS watching. If you witness bullying and do nothing, you ARE a part of the problem. Don’t be a part of the problem – be a part of the solution.

Women In Media: Who Speaks For Us?

By: Amanda K. Fox

According to a recent survey of 35 major national publications conducted by the 4th Estate over the last six months, when it comes to women’s issues, women are the last people being asked about them. This is not a trend limited to one specific outlet; it is in print, over the airwaves and on television. The numbers are shocking and they don’t lie. Whether it be reproductive rights, EEOC matters or any relevant topic regarding to women, the odds are if you’re watching, hearing or reading an opinion about it, that opinion is coming from a man.

 

Stephanie Gaskell

Stephanie Gaskell

The study conducted by 4th Estate focused heavily on three specific topics that are always of great concern to women: Birth control, Planned Parenthood and abortion. The topics are controversial. The issues are not easy for everyone to come to agreement on, however, they are issues that impact women in ways that they do not impact men. Men do not get abortions. Responsibility for birth control is still primarily placed on the shoulders of women. Planned Parenthood is the only option for many women that fall into the lower income brackets to receive health care services. It would make sense that in the public debate raging on over each, women would be the logical choice to go to for opinions, but the reality is that women are often left out.

 

Over the last  year, when quotes have appeared in mainstream news concerning abortion, 81% of the time, the quote is coming from a man. Various organizations were cited 7% of the time, meaning women, the people most directly impacted by abortion, where only cited a paltry 12% of the time the issue was raised. There is no denying men can be emotionally effected by abortion nor that they in some cases may be impacted by the outcome of physical maladies that can sometimes stem from the procedure, it is not nearly enough to warrant they receive such a disparate proportion of the voice given to the issue.

 

Women were only cited in 19% of the stories concerning birth control measures. While condoms, which are worn by men, are still the most popular form of birth control, the burden of having them available and ensuring they are used is often the responsibility of women. A variety of health services organizations provided 7% of the quotes on the issue while men accounted for the remaining 75%. Again, men are not responsible for taking birth control pills and maintaining that daily schedule. Men do not have any under the skin implants, or shots like Depo Provera that they can rely on for effective birth control, begging the question, why do they make up the bulk of the debate? Even in the Planned Parenthood firestorm that has raged on nearly a year, men still account for 67% of all citations.

 

rachel_maddow27Even in the debate over women’s rights in general, women only account for 31% of all quotes that were provided versus 52% for men and an additional 17% for organizations. It begs the question, why are women on the fringes of these discussions? Theories are abundant, but none seem to truly make any sense. There is no shortage of women to provide quotes that voice a personal or professional opinion on any of these issues. There is no shortage of women in the media that know enough to understand that women are as capable as any man to provide a wealth of knowledge and tantalizing sound bites as men are. Knowing all of this, the simple question, why, remains.

 

 

Jasmine Linabary, of The Gender Report, cites a major issue being that women are still largely relegated to covering the “Four F’s” (Food, Fashion, Family and Furniture) while men are doing what is primarily considered the “real news”. When men need a quote on anything, it often seems that they go to another male for it, while women tend to go to other women when applicable. A possible secondary factor has to do with using approved sources which have often been curated by male editors. Women may rely on their personal sources initially only to discover that once they turn in their article they are being directed to go with the editor’s choice even if it may not be as relevant or accurate.

 

This is far from a secular opinion, and claiming secular bias not an accurate response. The findings of the 4th Estate study were upheld not only by The Gender report, but by a second study conducted by the OpEd Project and third from Global News Intelligence. The fact, pure and simple, is that even women that have a voice and should be heard are often being squeezed out over a number of irrelevant biases. While there is no denying women are far better represented than 50 years ago, or even 20, there is also no denying that the disparity is both glaring and disproportionate.

 

All women should view this as a wake-up call. These are issues related to our bodies and minds. If you do not like the idea that men are providing the bulk of the information on women’s issues, issues they may be capable of sympathizing with or understanding in a clinical sense only, then it is necessary to be an active voice that stands out and demands to be heard. Claim your power and right as not just a woman, but a human being, to play an active role in shaping policy not just for yourself, but for all women now and in the future.

The War On Women: It’s More Than A Buzzword

By: Amanda Fox

The term “War on women” is tossed around so much lately that you could easily begin believing it is nothing more than a hollow buzzword being used to attract attention. As a woman, I wish that was the truth, but the fact of the matter is that there is a very real war on women being waged in the US. It is going on abroad as well, but this week we want to focus on what is happening right here at home.

 
6935023423_f67b6ba58c_zWhat is the “War on Women”? Depending on who you ask, it can be any number of things. Generally speaking, however, the war on women is being loosely defined as a concerted effort to deprive women of self sustaining upward mobility by denying them the ability to make the basic choices needed to control their lives. Plenty of people would claim that is far fetched. They would tell you that it is impossible to be done and even if it could be done, it would be so evident that everyone would rage against it – something those people would claim is not happening.

 
Those naysayers would be wrong. There is a concerted effort to keep women from having the same control of their destiny afforded to men and there is an evident and very vocal uprising against it. The problem is that too many people are choosing to ignore it – or they are actually in support of it. It’s easy to say that, but what people want is evidence.

 
We can begin with a recently concluded study in the New England Journal of Medicine that has tracked the effect of the 2/3 budget cut ($111m to $38m) to birth control spending in Texas during 2011. Usually, it would take a few years to track demonstrable changes, but in this case the changes were so drastic the impact was immediately felt. For starters, due to actual family planning services being the last in line to receive available funding, 53 clinics that provided birth control and family planning initiatives closed in one year.

 
10703550-largeKeep in mind, the remaining clinics did not magically make up for the shortfall in service provision. There was no phantom money that was diverted from elsewhere in the budget to help defray any of the shortfall. The simple fact is fewer people were served and in some of the less urban areas of Texas, there was no service at all. Just a long drive with the hopes of being seen in another county. Even then, some of the clinics that once provided services for free had to begin charging for services just to keep their doors open.

 
That has opened up another set of issues such as women choosing less effective means of birth control, taking chances by skipping the pill now and then to try to stretch out the time between purchases and women foregoing birth control altogether. Many are also opting to do without being tested for STDs as their cost is rarely covered by clinics anymore due to cutbacks. The short term result is more unplanned pregnancies, a rise in the level of STDs and healthcare programs for the indigent run by county hospitals being pushed far beyond their breaking point. And this was all done in an attempt to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

 
We’ve seen the impact on the small scale, but now it is time to change gears and look at the big picture. How much legislation aimed at women’s health and rights has really been proposed or gone through? What do they all really mean to women in the right here and right now?

 
War_on_WomenThe biggest issue, to many women, has been the immediate threat to reproductive rights. During 2011/2012, 1100 provisions related to RESTRICTING the reproductive rights of women were introduced at the state level. Of the 944 provisions in 2012, over half were aimed at restricting abortions. The main focus of these bills has not been to defeat Roe v. Wade so much as circumvent it by narrowing the legal window to obtain an abortion, allowing limits on insurance coverage of abortions and implementing mandatory invasive ultrasounds prior to being granted the ability to obtain an abortion.

 
Speaking of abortions, as we can’t avoid them in this discussion, in 2011, 135 pieces of legislation were passed which aimed to restrict the ability of a woman from obtaining a legal abortion.

 

Government mandated transvaginal ultrasounds became a mandatory procedure prior to abortion in some states during 2011/2012. For those unaware of the how and why of this, if a woman’s pregnancy is not very far along, a traditional ultrasound produces no image. To rectify that, a transvaginal probe is inserted in the woman’s vagina to capture what is essentially an image of a blob or something a bit egg-shaped. The procedure serves absolutely no medical purpose and is very close to the definition of rape in almost every state. In states like Louisiana where that was already the law, they have tried to push it a little further to get a bill passed requiring that the fetal heartbeat be listened to as well even if it has to be audio enhanced to the point of being more an interpretation of the machines software than an actual heartbeat.

 

The “fetal pain bill” passed in Georgia (HB 954) states that no abortions may occur beyond the 20th week of development with NO exceptions – even cases of rape or incest. Not surprisingly, Arizona passed an even more restrictive measure that states no abortions beyond 20 weeks, but they start the clock on that at the time a woman completes her last menstrual cycle meaning the window is trimmed down to about 18 weeks in all actuality. Ohio wants to go even further with their “fetal heartbeat bill” which would not allow an abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That would cut the window to obtain an abortion to about 6 weeks.

 

And now for the quick and dirty rundown of the presentation:

 
The 2011 budget proposed by House Republicans included a $758m cut to the WIC program which assists low-income pregnant women and children under 5 meet basic nutritional needs.

 
In 2012, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker repealed the state Equal Pay Enforcement Act which provided the victims of workplace discrimination the ability to reek redress in court. Support for the repeal was provided by Sen. Glenn Grothman (R) on the basis that young men are more money conscious about their earnings because they may be breadwinners one day.

 
war-on-women-432x250In an epically failed move to save money prosecuting domestic violence cases, Topeka, Kansas, decriminalized domestic violence using the logic that since it was still a crime at the state level, Shawnee County would be forced to absorb the legal costs. The result was 18 people that were charged with domestic violence were released because there was no one to provide them with a swift trial while everyone argued over jurisdiction and who was really responsible for picking up the bill.

 
In a move to cut the amount of Medicaid money spent on abortions, the GOP has tried to redefine rape creating categories like, rape, forcible rape, violent rape, legitimate rape, illegitimate rape, date rape, acquaintance rape, non-forcible rape and rape reduced to lesser sexual assault charges. You can thank the Republican proposed 2011 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” for this gem of illogical thought.