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Member since: Sat Jun 23, 2012, 05:03 PM
Number of posts: 3,183

Journal Archives

Gender Identity is Biological, Study Says

There is growing body of evidence that gender identity is hard wired into the brain and not simply a matter of psychology, according to a new Boston University School of Medicine study.

Writing in the journal Endocrine Practice, the researchers said that as many as one in 100 people could be living with some form of gender identity disorder -- meaning they may identify their gender differently than the one they were born with. "

This makes the case for doctors to use surgery and hormone treatment rather than psychotherapy alone to help their patients come to terms with their gender identity, Dr. Joshua Safer, the lead researcher and a professor at BUSM, said.

“The paper was a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence that gender identity is a biological phenomenon," Safer explained. "As such it provides one of the most convincing arguments to date for all medical providers to gain the transgender medicine skills necessary to provide good care for these individuals," he added.

Nearly 40 percent of medical students they surveyed said they were uncomfortable caring for transgendered patients, and 5 percent of medical students said that the treatment was not part of conventional medicine. After teaching a course that raised the medical student’s awareness about transgender medical need, the students discomfort dropped by 67 percent. "

Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 12:37 PM (0 replies)

Out of Detention: How to Stop the School-to-Prison Pipeline

A single instance of incarceration in a young person’s life increases the risk of future imprisonment, at a cost to taxpayers of $240.99 per day. Living in jail worsens the mental, emotional, and behavioral problems with which these children and adolescents must struggle. And mental disorders and youth incarceration already share an alarmingly strong link. As James Barrett, a psychologist at the Cambridge Health Alliance and in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry, said in an interview with the HPR, a “massive overlap” exists between the two groups. While just 20 percent of all American youth live with one or more mental disorders, that proportion jumps to 70 percent for the juvenile justice population."

A small percentage of incarcerated youth are unsurprisingly diagnosed with a conduct disorder, a term that describes a young person who harms or is threateningly aggressive toward others. Yet even excluding conduct disorders, 61 percent of males and 70 percent of females involved in the juvenile justice system struggle with mental disorders at the start of detention, including anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. The rate of psychosis, a severely distressing and debilitating condition, is 10 times that of the general population.

Furthermore, the majority of these youth are not dangerous. Just 23.5 percent of those in the juvenile justice system are imprisoned for truly violent offenses. Many face legal penalties for far less distressing behavior that is consistent with fighting a psychiatric illness, such as truancy or other minor school infractions. Youth as young as eight end up in the juvenile justice system after struggling with undiagnosed mental disorders."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Tue Mar 3, 2015, 09:58 AM (3 replies)

L.A. police kill unarmed homeless man. Myrtle Beach police avoided shooting armed man.

The facts are still emerging, but no matter how we slice it, the video of the L.A. police shooting a homeless man looks awful.

That doesn’t mean we should be certain that it wasn’t justified, especially if the officers can prove that the guy went for and almost had one of the officer’s gun, as they are claiming. That would make what we see on the video at least make a little more sense.

Even under that scenario, though, it is disturbing and begs the question: If a handful of officers - who have a suspect on his back on the ground - can’t subdue him short of filling his body up with bullets, is there ever a situation in which shooting a suspect isn’t OK?

Usually, many people claim the officers had no other choice. Oftentimes, that’s simply not true. Police officers throughout the country, and in Horry County and Myrtle Beach, find ways to deal with extremely difficult situations without resorting to lethal force.

In recent months, the Myrtle Beach Police Department faced similar circumstances twice - and each time the officers and the suspect walked away with their lives.

From a piece I wrote in December:

Just last week, a couple of white Myrtle Beach police officers showed incredible restraint when facing an armed black man during a traffic stop, one in which the man presented a handgun, went for the officers weapon after he was disarmed, and after running away turned around, pulled something out of his pocket and threatened to shoot.

The cops didn’t empty their clips into his body. Instead, they noticed he was pointed a cell phone at them.

They arrested instead of shooting him.

Read more here: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2015/03/02/4818917/blog-la-police-kills-unarmed-homeless.html#storylink=cpy

Posted by damnedifIknow | Mon Mar 2, 2015, 11:33 PM (3 replies)

“Tamir Rice "A 12 Year Old In an Adult Body"

It is tempting to look at the problem of police brutality and try to summarize it into a problem we have the tools to repair. Then you read a quote like this one, about Tamir Rice.

“Tamir Rice is in the wrong,” he said. “He’s menacing. He’s 5-feet-7, 191 pounds. He wasn’t that little kid you’re seeing in pictures. He’s a 12-year-old in an adult body. Tamir looks to his left and sees a police car. He puts his gun in his waistband. Those people — 99 percent of the time those people run away from us. We don’t want him running into the rec center. That could be a whole other set of really bad events. They’re trying to flush him into the field. Frank [the driver] is expecting the kid to run. The circumstances are so fluid and unique.

“The guy with the gun is not running. He’s walking toward us. He’s squaring off with Cleveland police and he has a gun. Loehmann is thinking, ‘Oh my God, he’s pulling it out of his waistband.’”

— Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association President Steve Loomis, as reported in Politico Magazine.

Even a mildly attentive reading of Loomis’s language and reasoning is both illuminating and alarming. Without the carefully tailored language of the written official statement, the constructive seams in the logic of the police officer begin to show. Far from admitting culpability in Rice’s death, Loomis neatly dismisses even the idea that this was just a tragic and fatal misunderstanding. Tamir Rice is guilty in the crime of his own death. Loomis denies Tamir the innocence of childhood because Tamir has the wrong body for a child.

Posted by damnedifIknow | Sat Feb 28, 2015, 03:26 PM (6 replies)

Homophobes Have Invented a Scary New Tactic to Undo Equal Rights

Homophobes, having lost the fight over marriage, have just launched a new stealth attack to undo equality -- and so far, they're winning.

Conservative lawmakers and religious fundamentalists have disguised their new strategy so well that you might not even have noticed what they're up to. Or at least, you won't notice until you get fired, or evicted or thrown out of school just for seeming too gay.

Here's their sneaky trick: They've realized that they can't pass laws that specifically target LGBT people, since public opinion has turned against that kind of bigotry. So now, instead, they're selectively re-writing nondiscrimination laws so that they have a Big Gay Loophole that's so big it could ruin lives.

This week they passed a law called SB202 that undoes civil rights protections in Arkansas. And now, West Virginia and Texas are considering copycat bills of their own, with HB2881 and SB343."

*if you're in a hurry, here's all you really need to know: Most states allow discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender expression. In those states, some towns have filled in that civil rights loophole by passing more inclusive nondiscrimination laws at the local level. But now, the homophobes have realized that they can pass state laws that make it illegal for those towns to add protections for new groups.

In effect, that wipes out the existing local laws that protect LGBTs. It doesn't just widen the Big Gay Loophole -- it holds the loophole open, so nobody can close it.

Or in other words: They're making it a crime to protect people from discrimination.

Sounds nuts, doesn't it? "Outlawing nondiscrimination" is such a bizarre notion that it made me feel weird to even type the phrase.

But, it's what they're doing, and they're getting away with it.

And it gets worse: This doesn't just affect LGBTs -- it affects straight people, too. You don't have to be queer to be evicted or fired or denied access to a public accommodation. It's enough for someone to just suspect that you're gay, or even that you're not behaving stereotypically male or female enough.

A woman could be evicted from her home for wearing pants."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Sat Feb 28, 2015, 10:44 AM (55 replies)

Denver policeman accused repeatedly of excessive force taken off streets

DENVER (Reuters) - A Denver police officer who has cost the city more than $1 million to settle excessive force cases for which he was never disciplined has been pulled from street patrol, a department spokesman said on Friday.

Shawn Miller has been placed on "non-line assignment" duty pending a review of his conduct and a plan to improve his performance, Denver Police Commander Matthew Murray told Reuters.

According to internal affairs files released this week, 40 complaints have been lodged against Miller during his nine years on the force, nearly half from citizens who accused him of excessive force, using profane language and threatening to arrest people for no reason.

The details emerge at a testing time for the Denver Police Department, which has been embroiled in controversy since the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old girl by two officers last month that led to protests."

* Two excessive force cases involving Miller resulted in large payouts to settle federal lawsuits filed against him and the city.

In one instance, the city paid $225,000 to a man who was struck by Miller and suffered a broken leg following a verbal altercation.

Most recently, it agreed to pay $860,000 to James Moore, a disabled veteran who said he was beaten by Miller and another officer without provocation after they responded to his home on a noise complaint.

The pair "beat Mr. Moore with such brutality while he was helpless on the ground that he lost consciousness, his heart stopped beating and paramedics or law enforcement officers had to administer CPR to save his life," the lawsuit read.

The lawyer for both victims, David Lane, called Miller "one of the most violent officers on the force who should not only be fired but prosecuted."

Posted by damnedifIknow | Sat Feb 28, 2015, 08:55 AM (0 replies)

Countering the Neocon Comeback

The neocons are back, and they’re trying to get Hillary Clinton’s ear. Which makes this exactly the moment for Clinton to forge her own distinct path."

Something pivotal is germinating in the politics of American foreign policy. It is a shift rightward toward a tougher line, notably among powerful Democrats. It is dislodging the leftward thrust that was triggered in the mid-2000s, when George W. Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq became widely seen as disasters.

Robert Kagan, the neoconservative extraordinaire, sees this shift as an opportunity to change the political center of gravity and is trying to shape the new consensus. In his latest book, The World America Made (2012), and other writings, he is reaching across the decades-old political abyss to tempted Democrats. And there, he has found Hillary Clinton, the unannounced Democratic nominee for President, among others, carefully reaching back. This potential embrace on international matters is not beyond the means of such experienced players. Foreign-policy alignments have shallower roots than domestic policy differences, and historically, the parties have enjoyed considerable overlapping of hawks and doves, activists, and de facto isolationists. Moreover, these positions can change on a dime.

Kagan’s courtship of Clinton has been quite open. “I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” he told The New York Times in June. “t’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly her supporters are not going to call it that.” He himself tellingly prefers the term “liberal interventionist.”

*For much of this period of neoconservative ascendance, Robert Kagan has been their intellectual tribune. This is why his courtship of Clinton is so interesting. Kagan’s open flirtation with Clinton has been coyly accepted and even reciprocated. While continuing to clutch the liberals’ new priorities like women’s rights, democracy, and climate change in her left hand, she is extending her right hand to the hawks. Few failed to notice when she selected Kagan to sit on her bipartisan State Department advisory group or when she picked his wife, Victoria Nuland, a very accomplished diplomat in her own right, as her spokeswoman."


Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Feb 27, 2015, 08:16 AM (0 replies)

Supporters Urge Passage Of Police Accountability Laws


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The fight against police brutality heads to Annapolis, where advocates are pushing for laws to hold officers accused of misconduct accountable.

Derek Valcourt has more on the push for changes in the wake of some recent claims of brutality in Maryland.

It has been a hot button issue for Baltimore City, which has paid out millions of dollars in police brutality claims in recent years. Now advocates say it’s time to address the issue statewide.

WJZ exclusive cell phone video of a city officer poking and then punching a 19-year-old launched a police internal investigation. It now draws criticism from groups like the ACLU of Maryland."

Good for Maryland, now if we could do this nationwide.

Posted by damnedifIknow | Fri Feb 27, 2015, 12:34 AM (0 replies)

LAPD Kill Unarmed Mentally Ill Veteran on TV -- And Their Defense Won't Shock You

Brian Beaird never appeared to be a threat to the officers who shot him 21 times.

He went for his waistband. Yeah, it's so strange how much unarmed men, confronted by police with guns drawn, seem to LOVE digging in their waistband. Police claimed that they thought they saw Brian Beaird do this over and over again, but as you watch the video below, you won't see anything like this—which is probably why the City of Los Angeles just agreed to pay his family $5 million. In essence, Los Angeles, which refused to prosecute the three officers who fired 21 shots at Beaird, are forcing the taxpayers to cover it.

Brian Beaird, a 51-year-old veteran struggling with mental illness, led police on a car chase throughout Los Angeles until he crashed his car and staggered out of it with his hands up and back turned toward the officers. The entire ordeal was on live television in Los Angeles as the car chase was covered close up by news helicopter—including the final shooting, which seemed to even stump the newscasters at the time. Beaird, clear as day, posed absolutely no threat to the officers."

"How is this justified? Why are we continually told to ignore our own eyes with this type of police violence? Why did the City of Los Angeles pay the family $5 million if it was justified?


Our system is broken. Agree?"
Posted by damnedifIknow | Thu Feb 26, 2015, 08:46 PM (8 replies)

Jon Stewart: Rep. Aaron Schock would ‘make an awesome Travel Channel host’

Posted by damnedifIknow | Thu Feb 26, 2015, 06:40 PM (6 replies)
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