May. 13th, 2009

joreth: (Nude Drawing)
http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE54B61920090512

It's been very frustrating reporting on all the latest HPV information because so many articles leave out just enough information to raise more questions than they answer.

But this one specifically addresses how HPV is possibly transmitted orally.

It has been an unanswered question whether HPV that causes throat and mouth cancers is transmitted through oral sex only or also through kissing.  According to this article, open-mouth kissing *does* pose a significant risk factor in the prevalance of HPV in oral tissue.

Now remember everyone, this is a very small study and still requires more research.  Also, although oral cancers have a lower success rate because of it's late discovery, the chances of getting oral cancer is *still* quite low, and you can reduce your risk by quitting smoking, even with the HPV-caused cancer.

But this article is right on the heels of another one that says girls are getting HPV prior to coitarche (like, age 4) and adjusted for the possibility of sexual abuse.

Which means that HPV is even more ridiculously easy to catch than even those of us who have been saying so for years ever knew.  Which, IMO, should remove it from the STD list, since it appears to be nearly as easy to catch as a cold.  Unfortunately, colds don't have a link to causing cancer, so this should still be taken seriously, but the stigma of having an "STD" really needs to be re-evaluated, particularly in light of recent evidence that shows this particular STD (and herpes too) can be passed to people through contact, but not necessarily sexual contact. 

Long URLs

May. 13th, 2009 12:56 pm
joreth: (Bad Computer!)
How do people feel about long urls?

Old School url conventions had us putting the name of the business in full in the domain because it helped Google to find it and rank it high.  Keywords were of utmost importance in Google rankings, and if any of your keywords were part of your URL, that was weighted even more highly.

But the problem is that you end up with these really long URLs that have the full business name.  So you have to type this whole thing in, but the positive side is that you could find just about any business' website by taking a chance and typing their name into the address bar.  I still find websites this way and only go to Google if that doesn't work.

So nowadays, linkbacks are the more important method of getting high Google rankings.  The more independent websites (that are not link farms) that link back to you, including blogs, the more important Google thinks you are, because people are talking about you. 

This means that the specific characters in the URL are much less important, but for non-Google advertising, it still helps to have an easy-to-remember URL, like for business cards and ads.

The point of all this is that I'm ready to buy the domain for the Polyamory Media Association that I am creating, which will bridge the gap between the poly community and the media.  We will be maintaining a database of poly people who are interested in talking to the media, including their relationship setup, what types of media they're interested in, etc., we'll offer media training, and we'll also screen media requests as well as actively pursue media events.  I've been calling the organization PMA for short, and I finally decided to create www.pma.com only to discover today when I tried to buy it, that pma.com was already taken, as well as every other suffix possible for pma.

My next instinct is to go with the full URL, polymediaassociation.com but I'm resistant to such long URLs even though I tend to prefer full name URLs.

So, I'm throwing this open to suggestions.  What kind of URL would you like or be willing to follow or be able to remember if you wanted to find this website?

TAKEN:
pma
tpma
pmassociation
pmassoc
pmagroup
thepma

POSSIBLE OPTIONS:
polymediaassociation
polyamorymediaassocation
polymediaassoc
anthing else?

*UPDATE* polymediagroup.com is available, and I suppose I could always change the name to PMG, I just like how "association" sounds.  I'm trying to come off as professional as possible, it's a national organization, so I don't want it to sound like a local poly group or run by a single person (it's not, I have lots of associates who are helping me).

*UPDATE #2* I just thought about possibly changing the name to polymedianetwork.com since I've pretty much ruled out polymediagroup.  The pros:  shorter than polymediaassociation; no double letters; the word "network" is very similar to "association" in connotation.  The cons: still longer than pma.com or polymedia.com; I have to change the name and the acronym to PMN and I don't know if I like how it looks as well as PMA; "network" implies a looser connection than "association" but not significantly so.
joreth: (Nude Drawing)
This is one reason why things like marriage and gay rights should not be a "state issue".  Civil rights should *never* be decided upon individually by state, but for simple practical reasons, it makes interstate travel complicated.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/opinion/12boylan.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=is%20my%20marriage%20gay&st=cse


Is My Marriage Gay?

By JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN
Published: May 11, 2009
Belgrade Lakes, Me.

Room for Debate: New Battle Lines on Gay Marriage
Room for Debate: When a Court Decides Who Can Marry

AS many Americans know, last week Gov. John Baldacci of Maine signed a law that made this state the fifth in the nation to legalize gay marriage. It’s worth pointing out, however, that there were some legal same-sex marriages in Maine already, just as there probably are in all 50 states. These are marriages in which at least one member of the couple has changed genders since the wedding.

I’m in such a marriage myself and, quite frankly, my spouse and I forget most of the time that there is anything particularly unique about our family, even if we are — what is the phrase? — “differently married.”

Deirdre Finney and I were wed in 1988 at the National Cathedral in Washington. In 2000, I started the long and complex process of changing from male to female. Deedie stood by me, deciding that her life was better with me than without me. Maybe she was crazy for doing so; lots of people have generously offered her this unsolicited opinion over the years. But what she would tell you, were you to ask, is that the things that she loved in me have mostly remained the same, and that our marriage, in the end, is about a lot more than what genders we are, or were.

Deirdre is far from the only spouse to find herself in this situation; each week we hear from wives and husbands going through similar experiences together. Reliable statistics on transgendered people always prove elusive, but just judging from my e-mail, it seems
as if there are a whole lot more transsexuals — and people who love them — in New England than say, Republicans. Or Yankees fans.

I’ve been legally female since 2002, although the definition of what makes someone “legally” male or female is part of what makes this issue so unwieldy. How do we define legal gender? By chromosomes? By genitalia? By spirit? By whether one asks
directions when lost?

We accept as a basic truth the idea that everyone has the right to marry somebody. Just as fundamental is the belief that no couple should be divorced against their will.

For our part, Deirdre and I remain legally married, even though we’re both legally female. If we had divorced last month, before Governor Baldacci’s signature, I would have been allowed on the following day to marry a man only. There are states, however, that do not recognize sex changes. If I were to attempt to remarry in Ohio, for instance, I would be allowed to wed a woman only.

Gender involves a lot of gray area. And efforts to legislate a binary truth upon the wide spectrum of gender have proven only how elusive sexual identity can be. The case of J’noel Gardiner, in Kansas, provides a telling example. Ms. Gardiner, a postoperative transsexual woman, married her husband, Marshall Gardiner, in 1998. When he died in 1999, she was denied her half of his $2.5 million estate by the Kansas Supreme Court on the ground that her marriage was invalid. Thus in Kansas, any transgendered person who is anatomically female is now allowed to marry only another woman.

Similar rulings have left couples in similar situations in Florida, Ohio and Texas. A 1999 ruling in San Antonio, in Littleton v. Prange, determined that marriage could be only between people with different chromosomes. The result, of course, was that lesbian couples in that jurisdiction were then allowed to wed as long as one member of the couple had a Y chromosome, which is the case with both transgendered male-to-females and people born with conditions like androgen insensitivity syndrome. This ruling made Texas, paradoxically, one of the first states in which gay marriage was legal.

A lawyer for the transgendered plaintiff in the Littleton case noted the absurdity of the country’s gender laws as they pertain to marriage: “Taking this situation to its logical conclusion, Mrs. Littleton, while in San Antonio, Tex., is a male and has a void marriage; as she travels to Houston, Tex., and enters federal property, she is female and a widow; upon traveling to Kentucky she is female and a widow; but, upon entering Ohio, she is once again male and prohibited from marriage; entering Connecticut, she is again female and may marry; if her travel takes her north to Vermont, she is male and may marry a female; if instead she travels south to New Jersey, she may marry a male.”

Legal scholars can (and have) devoted themselves to the ultimately frustrating task of defining “male” and “female” as entities fixed and unmoving. A better use of their time, however, might be to focus on accepting the elusiveness of gender — and to celebrate it. Whether a marriage like mine is a same-sex marriage or some other kind is hardly the point. What matters is that my spouse and I love each other, and that our legal union has been a good thing — for us, for our children and for our community.

It’s my hope that people who are reluctant to embrace same-sex marriage will see that it has been with us, albeit in this one unusual circumstance, for years. Can we have a future in which we are more concerned with the love a family has than with the sometimes
unanswerable questions of gender and identity? As of last week, it no longer seems so unthinkable. As we say in Maine, you can get there from here.

Jennifer Finney Boylan is a professor of English at Colby College and the author of the memoir “I’m Looking Through You: Growing Up Haunted.”
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
This is why people are morons.

OK, so I'm updating my myspace page and I accidentally see a bulletin someone on my "friends" list posted. Since it's the Miss Poly Manners site, these people aren't actually my friends, they're followers of MPM, so I take no responsibility for the level of stupidity I'm about to reveal.

The headline of the bulletin reads: FDA THREATENS CHEERIOS! says it's a drug - WTF??!

Now, I get the FDA recall notices directly from the government, in my inbox daily. I don't recall seeing any notice like this, nor seeing any headlines anywhere else. So I was curious because it sounded so far-fetched. I clicked on it.

This moron starts out with a rant about how the FDA needs to be dismantled completely. He is completely unaware of all the protections the FDA has placed on corporations and food producers (not to mention those greedy pharmaceutical companies) to prevent them from trying to slip something harmful into our marketplace or make baseless claims to rip off unknowing consumers. It's always amazing to me how uninformed and ignorant people are of how our government actually works, and how much is taken for granted.

Of course the government isn't perfect, and the FDA doesn't have a spotless record. One of the things that's so great about this country (in theory) is that we can and are supposed to be keeping an eye on the government, y'know, watching the watchmen. But you GOTTA have some idea of what you're looking at before you can make reasonable claims about what is going on.  And the point is that for every drug that slips through the cracks, there are several thousand other drugs that are caught and prevented from being released onto the shelves that are harmful or that do not work as advertised.  And BECAUSE the FDA does its job as well as it does, we have the luxury of being complete idiots who can't see how we're being protected.

In my business, we have a saying: "If they notice you, you aren't doing it right".  This means that if we did our jobs properly, no one will see us or see how we did it.  If someone *does* notice us, it's because we fucked up somewhere and brought the audience member's attention to us or our screw-up.  There's a reason why our job is a thankless one.  We're supposed to go unnoticed.  And our government is the same way in a lot of ways.  I have lamented on several occasions, and a friend just did so very recently, that it's incredibly sad how excited I am to have a president make pro-science statements.  It's coming to our attention because the last 12 years were such a monstrous clusterfuck of anti-intellectualism.  These statements *should* go completely unnoticed and unremarked because it should be so commonplace that we don't even hear them.

And that's what the FDA is like.  When they do their job right, we don't hear anything from them.  We don't think about the hours of scrutiny and research and evaluation that went into each and every bite of food we put in our mouths, or the YEARS of testing that resulted in our over-the-counter bottles of ibuprofin.  We only hear about the FDA when they do something we don't like.  And if we do not understand the processes used by the FDA, then we make stupid accusations like the government intentionally wanting to piss off consumers with their fancy-schmancy technical talk.  That sound familiar?

Here, I'll just let ya'll read what he thinks of the FDA:

Oo I think it's time to dismantle the FDA entirely. This is taking anal retentive bullshit way too far. Who exactly hires these obviously retarded people in the FDA anyways?

Cheerios is not a drug. It's food. Shut the fuck up and leave my fucking Cheerios along you fucking FDA morons.

I'd laugh if bullshit laws, regulations, and rules collapsed America under their oppressive overbearing mass and cause our nation to implode in on itself like a neutron star.

This is just another example of people in the system being too damn controlling and spending too much time fapping to the idea of pissing off us consumers with their senseless technical jargon.

They remind me of fucking Vogons.

 

What the FDA is ACTUALLY doing is responding to a specific health claim that General Mills makes about Cheerios ... exactly as they're supposed to.

You see, GM claims that eating Cheerios can lower cholesterol, which is a risk factor for coronary heart disease and they cite a clinical study. This indicates that GM is making a specific health claim that is intended to treat a disease. Since Cheerios has not been submitted to the FDA for approval of these claims, that makes it, technically and by definition, a "new drug".

Let me repeat that.

GM claims that their product can prevent or treat coronary heart disease.

This falls under the classification of a drug by the FDA. If GM wants to go back to saying "Cheerios is part of a balanced breakfast" and doesn't reference any specific disease that it can treat, then it's considered a food product. But as long as it claims to treat or prevent a specific disease, it must be regulated as a drug by the FDA.

The FDA sent a letter to GM saying they can either submit their claims for approval or change their marketing. That's Standard Operating Procedure, and the one that works to keep false and harmful drugs off our store shelves.

GM responded by saying their heart-benefit statement was approved by the FDA 12 years ago and the cholesterol message has been on the box for 2 years. If that's true, well, then yeah, someone at the FDA needs to explain what they think they're doing. Maybe they restructured the regulations or definitions or something or maybe it has been in violation all these years and no one did anything about it until now.

But, as the regulations stand as of today, making a claim that your product can prevent or treat a specific disease marks your product as a drug to be regulated by the FDA. Period. This is why we have so much crap on the shelves claiming to "boost your immune system" and "give you energy". These are not treating any diseases, and they are addressing non-specific symptoms that are notoriously susceptible to placebos and suggestion and are also completely undetectable from psychosomatic symptoms in most cases.

Which means that if the company gets the packaging and commercials right, they *will* actually do these things, in a totally untestable, unfalsifiable, unmeasurable way. Therefore, they are not subject to the FDA drug-approval process. If you eat apples, chances are you'll get an energy boost too. And, as the old saying goes, an apple a day will keep the doctor away. In other words, it's food that doesn't actively harm anyone who isn't allergic to it, and not a drug.

But as soon as apple growers slap a label on their apples that says "eating 2 of these a day will cure cancer", then the FDA steps in to make sure that claim is valid  and the apple isn't harmful and the apple becomes labeled a "drug".  Just as they're supposed to.



Oh yeah, here's the actual article:

Cheerios Are a Drug? FDA's Surprising Letter to General Mills
By , Agence France Presse
Posted on May 13, 2009, Printed on May 13, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/139990/

Popular US breakfast cereal Cheerios is a drug, at least if the claims made on the label by its manufacturer General Mills are anything to go by, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said.

"Based on claims made on your product's label, we have determined that your Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug," the FDA said in a letter to General Mills which was posted on the federal agency's website Tuesday.

Cheerios labels claim that eating the cereal can help lower bad cholesterol, a risk factor for coronary heart disease, by four percent in six weeks.

Citing a clinical study, the product labels also claim that eating two servings a day of Cheerios helps to reduce bad cholesterol when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, the FDA letter says.

Those claims indicate that Cheerios -- said by General Mills to be the best-selling cereal in the United States -- is intended to be used to lower cholesterol and prevent, lessen or treat the disease hypercholesterolemia, and to treat and prevent coronary heart disease.

"Because of these intended uses, the product is a drug," the FDA concluded in its letter.

Not only that, but Cheerios is a new drug because it has not been "recognized as safe and effective for use in preventing or treating hypercholesterolemia or coronary heart disease," the FDA said.

That means General Mills may not legally market Cheerios unless it applies for approval as a new drug or changes the way it labels the small, doughnut-shaped cereal, the FDA said.

General Mills defended the claims on Cheerios packaging, saying in a statement that Cheerios' soluble fiber heart health claim has been FDA-approved for 12 years, and that its "lower your cholesterol four percent in six weeks" message has been featured on the box for more than two years.

The FDA's quibble is not about whether Cheerios cereal is good for you but over "how the Cheerios cholesterol-lowering information is presented on the Cheerios package and website," said General Mills.

"We look forward to discussing this with FDA and to reaching a resolution."

Meanwhile, the FDA warned in its letter that if General Mills fails to "correct the violations" on its labels, boxes of Cheerios could disappear from supermarket and wholesaler shelves around the United States and the company could face legal action.

According to General Mills, one in eight boxes of cereal sold in the United States is a box of Cheerios. The cereal debuted on the US market in 1941.

© 2009 Agence France Presse All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/139990/

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