Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Got Questions? Ask the Patriarchy!

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation where the amorphous concept of "the patriarchy" came up and you weren't quite sure you knew what it meant? Well wonder no more. Friend of Julie Sunday and former Austinite Marc of Pandagon has started a new video channel and Formspring feature called "Ask the Patriarchy" and it is hilarious.

He breaks it down thusly:

Are you white, straight, packing a baby cannon--that works--and of the firm belief that the Lord Jesus Christ delivered us the Second Amendment when he descended from Mount Testosterone? Then you are in the right place.

The first video is about whether caring about the BP oil spill makes a guy a pussy. Short answer: yes. Oh, and by the way: it's okay to masturbate on the subway. As long as she's hot.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dancer Charged with Manslaughter for Strip Club Fight.
Also, Male Strip Club Open in Austin!

LaBare: It's the "Ultimate"!

According to the Statesman, a dancer at LaBare, Austin's only "All-Male Review [sic]" has been charged with manslaughter after he hit a club guest, Kelvin Monroe, who later died.

In other news, there's an all-male revue in Austin! And it's just up the street from my house!

But back to the story. The dancer accused of manslaughter, Maurice McKnight, aka "Moon," doesn't appear on the list of dancers on the website, many of whom look buff and strong enough to kill a dude by "hit[ting] Monroe in the face with an open hand because Monroe had been harassing several of his friends at the male strip club that night, the affidavit said."

The investigation also reveals they have a dancer in chaps!

Anyone who has information on the story is encouraged to call the Austin Police Department. Officials will stay hard on the case and will be deeply investigating the matter. The police ask that anyone with personal knowledge of the incident call the homicide tip line at 477-3588.

Also, admission is free before 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Anti-Gay Texas Republicans to Join George Rekers Outside the Closet

Woah. Via the Bilerico Project, the Texas GOP is going completely insane. A copy of their platform is apparently floating around the interwebs and they're so busy making sure every little teeny facet of gay life regulated and punished that it's amazing they have time for the really important stuff, like keeping the gun show loophole open and executing mentally retarded inmates.

But thisee here is my favorite part:
We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.
You know what else contributes to the breakdown of the family unit and spread "dangerous, communicable diseases" (read: STIs)? Heterosexuals. Since you have to be married in order to divorce, we can't go blaming the queers for the breakdown of the family. And anyway, should gay people just be like George Rekers and stay in the closet and hire "baggage handlers" from time to time?

Okay, Rick Perry, I get it. Escalating anti-gay extremism on the part of a public figure usually precedes the accidental exposure of the fact that the figure is, in fact, totally gay. Somebody ought to be checking the parking lot at the Midtown Spa...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

FDA Deprioritizes Women's Sexual Dysfunction, Again: Flibby is a No-Go

The helpful educational website funded by Boehringer

An FDA advisory panel voted unanimously Friday not to approve Flibanserin, a drug aimed to remedy "hypoactive sexual desire" in pre-menopausal women. This drug has been in clinical trials for a while so we've heard about their poor measures before: the researchers found that women taking the drug reported .8 more "sexually satisfying events" per month than those on placebo (though the placebo users also had an increase in "events") and the difference was statistically significant.

What they failed to show was an increase in desire. They also didn't explain what "sexually satisfying event" meant. But none of the flaws in the research design kept the manufacturer, a German company named Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, from developing a media blast and securing Lisa Rinna, the generously lipped former soap star, as their shiller.

Let me repeat that: this company began advertising the disorder it purports to treat before their drug was approved. Now that the drug has been formally rejected it will be interesting to see how long the website, SexBrainBody, stays up. The site is formally under the guise of the Society for Women's Health Research but surely the grant won't go on forever now that the drug is a no-go.

Of course there is a connection between sex, the brain, and the body. But that framework excludes another important reason women might experience low sexual desire: a shitty relationship. One may feel sexual desire in general, but not for one's long term partner in particular. Such decline is a well documented feature of even the healthiest of marriages. But to pathologize such a problem recalls the days when a husband could present his wife to a physician for being refusing to perform sexually and expect a diagnosis of "frigidity."

But on the other hand, the reason given for rejecting the pill, that its "risks" did not justify the use, seem a bit thin: the side effects include dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. While I'm no advocate of medicalization, drugs for women's sexual dysfunction have repeatedly failed to pass muster with the FDA, sometimes for bullshit reasons. Considering that Viagra increases the risk of cardiac arrest--a leading cause of death for men in the silver fox age group--dizziness, nausea, and fatigue sound pretty mild.

Everyone knows that many men take Viagra, Cialis and Levitra as "enhancements" and not because they have clinical erectile dysfunction, and women ought to have their own fair share of drugs to enhance their sexual experience, either on the front end of desire or the back end of response. The FDA's continued refusal to approve testosterone and other sex enhancing drugs for women suggests a fear of women's sexuality, not agreement with anti-medicalization sentiment.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Abortion via Teleconference:
Is Texas the New Frontier?

Texas abortion providers (clinics only) Clinic info, NAF. Map, HTHSIT.

An article in today's Times about Iowa Planned Parenthood physicians providing medication abortion services via teleconference to women unable or unwilling to travel to the city to a clinic got me thinking about Texas, which has more than 3 million residents considered "medically underserved" because they are so far from any healthcare provider, much less an abortion provider.

Turns out I'm not the only one thinking about how videoconferencing could help doctors treat patients too far away to come to the doctor's office. Both Texas Tech and UTMB have Telemedicine programs. According to Texas Tech's Telemedicine website:

Telemedicine electronically transports primary and specialty medical care into the most remote areas. Persons who live hours from advanced medical care, or even from basic medical services, can directly access high quality medical expertise without leaving their communities.
This description of Texas Tech's rural telemedicine program shows that they are focused on providing services to patients that can't get to a doctor--and, presumably, aren't in an emergency situation where they must get to a hospital ASAP. Sounds like most abortion circumstances, which are rarely medical emergencies.

Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin all have plenty of abortion providers, both private and not-for-profit, but Texas is a big state and plenty of women find themselves in need of an abortion and unable to get to the city.

The Texas Tribune did a series earlier this year, No Country For Health Care, and revealed the following:

Sixty-three Texas counties have no hospital. Twenty-seven counties have no primary care physicians, and 16 have only one. Routine medical care is often more than 60 miles away — and specialty care is almost unheard of. Most of Texas’ 177 rural counties, home to more than 3 million people, are considered medically underserved.
Women seeking an abortion in Texas can already document their "24 hour waiting period" with a phone consultation and can download the mandatory disclosure from a clinic's website. Why couldn't they have a video consultation with a provider and just get the drugs at the pharmacy or by mail?

According to the American Telemedicine Association Texas profile, Texas law requires that insurance plans cover telemedicine, so in theory if a woman's insurance plan covers abortion services (as many do) she ought to be able to get an abortion that way.

Of course the nutty Abby Johnson, former director of Bryan, Texas's (read: Texas A & M)Planned Parenthood clinic-turned-insane anti-abortion activist, is ringing the alarm bell about "telemed" abortions because Texas women could really benefit from this service. But, hey, we haven't paid any attention to her yet.

Sounds to me that, for now, telemed abortion in Texas is legal. For now.