This Week in the Mercury

Watching the Clock


Watching the Clock

Heidi Julavits' Diary: Just as Dull as Most People's!

$15 and Rising


$15 and Rising

The Minimum Wage Movement Is Catching Fire


Monday, March 2, 2015

Jimmy Kimmel's Blistering Anti-Vaxxer PSA

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 10:29 AM

Since Oregon is almost as guilty of this as Los Angeles, take a few minutes to check out Jimmy Kimmel's hilariously blistering rant against those who refuse to vaccinate their children. Yep, some of the jokes are of the "slow moving target" variety, but by the time he has actual doctors chime in with their own VERY funny (and true) PSA on the subject, his point is well taken. WATCH IT!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Conan Devises the Perfect Antidote for Unvaccinated Kids

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 1:14 PM

Are you one of those parents who refuse to vaccinate your kids? Well, I'm not going to judge you!* However, if you have unvaccinated kids that are being unfairly discriminated against,** then don't miss this commercial that was featured on last night's Conan O'Brien, called the "Kind Hearts Day Care for Unvaccinated Kids." It is a completely real place.***

*Actually, I'm judging the shit out of you.
** This discrimination was caused by your ignorance and selfishness.
*** I wish it were a real place.

More on the Löyly Expansion

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Last month I revisited the health benefits of sauna for the Mercury Fitness Issue, in which I gave props to Löyly—the gorgeously minimal, white-walled space off SE Clinton (2713 SE 21st) that gave Portland its most glamorous option for Finnish-style sweat sessions when it opened back in 2006.

Apparently most of you already knew that, because (as I briefly mentioned recently) Löyly has announced that it's expanding, with a second, even bigger location due to open on or around March 1 (at 3525 NE MLK). Owner Jessica Kelso worked with the same architect, Brendon Farrell, as she did with the serene original location, and we're now talking almost 1,000 more square feet. Also:

- 20’ ceilings with exposed wood bow trusses
- 2 large cedar saunas with rotating scents
- “Cooling” room with a cold shower, cool mist, and circulating air - Lounge area with wooden benches for cooling and relaxing
- Locker room with several changing stalls - 5 massage rooms with natural light

And, presumably it will also soon be easier to get an appointment! Kelso was inspired to start the business after traveling through Finland on something of a sauna mission, and bases her model on the idea that the sauna should be a daily experience for well being, not just a fancy salon experience. That said—it'd be cost-prohibitive for most people to go to Löyly anywhere near that often. But at $23 for two hours (including towels, shower soap, shampoo and conditioner), it's great little splurge, and a much more wholesome way to hang out with friends than dropping that same amount of coin on a few drinks and an order of chicken wings. (They also offer a host of other services, like skincare treatments, foot soaks, massages, etc.) Also, Valentine's or whatever: They're currently running a special on gift certificates during the run-up, where you can get that same basic visit for 19 bucks instead.

  • Löyly

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Work That Pole: My Visit to a Pole Dancing Class

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 1:44 PM

  • Illustration: Olivia Storm
THERE ARE LIFE SKILLS important for day-to-day existence, and there are life skills developed solely to impress and amaze those around you. The "booty clap" belongs in the second category.

When I signed up for Ecdysiast's beginner pole dancing fitness class, I figured I'd learn a few of the basic acrobatic skills practiced by the many talented members of Portland's stripper community, but I HAD NO IDEA I'd also be taught the signature move of twerkers everywhere: the booty clap. For the sadly ignorant, a booty clap (actually called "The Dorothy" by those in the know) is where the practitioner sticks her/his bottom out in a seductive manner, and "claps" the cheeks together furiously for erotic effect. (Note: I realize my description sounds somewhat less than erotic.)

Once thought of as a fitness regimen practiced solely by erotic performers, pole dancing is gaining popularity at light speed among urban professionals, performing artists (dancers, aerialists, circus folk), and of course, those looking to add a bit more "sexy" to their lives. As for me, I grow quickly bored with most workout routines, and I'm always on the lookout for a new exercising experience, especially one that tests and challenges new muscle groups. But is pole dancing a good fit for non-strippers? And especially dude non-strippers?



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Here are the Dire Results of Multnomah County's Health Disparity "Report Card."

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 7:54 AM

The Multnomah County Health Department is releasing a "report card" this morning that offers a snapshot of the disparities between white Multnomah Countians and minority populations in the county. You can guess what the results are.

In category after vital category, people of color experience a slew of adverse factors at greater rates than white people. They access pre-natal care less, are more likely to struggle with reading and have only a high school education, and more frequently have children as teenagers.

There is so much of this type of thing in the report, in fact, that it's pointless to attempt description. Check out the graphics the county provided reporters in an early copy of the report's executive summary [pdf].

Here's the salient key:


And here are the depressing findings:




As you can see, the results are especially striking for Multnomah County's black community, which has significant disparities from white people in 27 of the 31 categories listed—more than 87 percent—far outstripping other populations (African Americans also disproportionately live in areas with more exposure to diesel exhaust, and with less-healthy food options). In nine of those categories, the disparity is bad enough it "requires intervention."

It's not bad news across the board. Asian and Latino people in Multnomah County get cancer less than others, for instance.

But this is also just health factors we're talking about. Minority populations are also over-represented in the criminal justice and juvenile systems. They're even disciplined at school more often than whites. And on and on.

What to take from these findings? Health department officials will make a formal presentation later this morning, but the executive summary states the obvious: Fixing this stuff—the ugly fallout of decades—isn't going to be easy.

"The Health Department and community partners are working to reduce health disparities," the report says. "But public health strategies alone cannot address the complex societal issues that perpetuate differences in health outcomes, including racism, poverty, substandard housing, and lack of employment, education, and opportunity."

Monday, December 1, 2014

Muscle Memory: Drumming & Yoga with Lisa Schonberg

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Explode into Colors, Secret Drum Band... when I think of the world of Lisa Schonberg, it's all prisms and triangles and art grants for experimental performances in Joshua Tree. There's also her work in entomology and as the NW correspondent for Tom Tom Magazine, so of course she is now co-teaching a class that taps into the commonalities between yoga and drumming.

Muscle Memory is a joint effort between Schonberg and Sweethome Teacup to teach concurrent exercises for the body and mind, from vocal exercises and basic stick form to "rhythm, improvisation, and syncopation." There aren't many types of yoga I haven't tried, but this certainly qualifies, and is such a perfectly Portland joining of creative and holistic forces, that it needed to be mentioned, especially since it's one day only! The day in question: This Saturday, Dec 6, 10-11:30 am, Revival Drum Shop, $15.

In other Schonberg happenings, she joins PDX EcoUnite for their monthly gathering January 9 at Holocene to talk about the Hylaeus Project, wherein she and Aidan Koch have documented threatened native bees in Hawaii through "visual art, natural history writing, music composition, and photography." Some of those bee songs are performed by Secret Drum Band, BTW, which also has a show at Mississippi Studios Dec 18... Yoga, music, bugs, and the Hawaiian sun sound like a good way to be, so there are three ways to have some of what Schonberg's having.

  • Yogic.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ClassPass & Your Ass

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Like many of you, I worry about my ass. Especially during the winter months and especially, especially during the holidays. Duh. I mean for one thing it's too dark to go running before work, and too dark to go running after work too, which forces one to spend more time and money on the inside of a gym.

I have a place I'm happy with, but I never turn down the opportunity to try something new, and it's hard to believe that something like ClassPass hasn't already happened. It just launched in Portland, and it's essentially the gym equivalent of being able to pick your own cable channels. Basically you pay a monthly fee of $99, which yes, is more than your average 24-Hour subscription, but not that much more than what you frequently pay to be a regular at some of the nicer private yoga studios and CrossFit whatnots around town, and it gets you unlimited classes per month. But rather than having to commit to one style of exercise instruction, a ClassPass membership allows you to visit any of the participating gyms/studios in your city.

Unsurprisingly, the Portland options lean heavily yogic at the moment, but there are also dance studios, strength training, Pilates, Barre, and cycling. It's pretty awesome: When you're dealing with almost 30 studios' schedules, there's a class time for just about anyone's day, and the only real rule is that you have to mix it up—you can't visit the same place more than three times a month. I assume that more places will join if the program picks up speed, but if you simply must go to CrossFit eight times a month, say, you might want to hold out for another studio (or two) of that kind to sign up. However if whoring around to different yoga classes is your thing, you're pretty much good to go right now.

Ok for starters.
  • ClassPass
  • Ok for starters.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Found Poem of Outrageous Things Republicans (and CNN) Have Said About Ebola

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 1:45 PM

One of the poets waves to his adoring audience after delivering a new verse.
  • Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock
  • One of the poets waves to his adoring audience after delivering a new verse.

Ebola: The ISIS of Biological Agents? [1.]

The protocol for a positive Ebola test
should be
immediate humane execution
sanitization of the whole area.
That will save lives. [2.]

They say it's hard to get
Obama's telling us that
the CDC guy is telling us it's
they're telling us we've got
nothing to worry about
David something-or-other
he actually said
in his own politically correct way
that we bear
the responsibility for these people
in Africa getting this disease
and we can't turn our backs
on them
because of that. [3.]

Which is a more dangerous infection:
#Ebola, or the dreams from [Obama's] father? [4.]

I don't want to sound alarmist

Continue reading »

Friday, August 22, 2014

Federal Judge in Alabama Cleverly Equates Abortion Rights to Gun Rights

Posted by Cienna Madrid on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Before an hour ago, I couldn't have named one good thing to come out of Alabama off the top of my head, except maybe Helen Keller. But good news! Now I have one more thing: Last week, Judge Myron H. Thompson, a federal judge in that state, ruled that a new law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges—a common conservative tactic used to shut down clinics across the country—is unconstitutional.

That's news in and of itself, but the parallel that Thompson draws in explaining his decision is especially striking. Via the LA Times:

Thompson also said he was struck by the parallels between gun rights and abortion rights, which former New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse described as "a pairing no previous judicial opinion has made."

“[N]either right can be fully exercised without the assistance of someone else," the judge wrote. "The right to abortion cannot be exercised without a medical professional, and the right to keep and bear arms means little if there is no one from whom to acquire the handgun or ammunition.”

Imagine the outcry, he said, if Alabama regulated all but two gun stores out of existence.

Thompson meticulously demolished the state’s argument that such a law safeguards patient safety and functions as a way of ensuring medical competence among doctors. It does exactly the opposite, he said.
In order to have admitting privileges, he said, most hospitals require doctors to admit a certain number of patients per year. But complications from early abortions (the only kind performed in Alabama, where abortion after 20 weeks is illegal) are so “vanishingly rare,” as he put it, that such a quota could never be met.

If this is the tactic we need to take to successfully reinstate women's access to abortion in conservative states, slap my ass and call me a gun nut.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Courts Do Battle Over Typo in Obamacare

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 1:44 PM

If, like me, you woke up this morning to the alarming news that a couple of activist judges basically curb-stomped Obamacare to death, you might want to read this ThinkProgress post, which explains the thinking behind the ruling:

The two Republicans’ decision rests on a glorified typo in the Affordable Care Act itself. Obamacare gives states a choice. They can either run their own health insurance exchange where their residents may buy health insurance, and receive subsidies to help them pay for that insurance if they qualify, or they can allow the federal government to run that exchange for them. Yet the plaintiffs’ in this case uncovered a drafting error in the statute where it appears to limit the subsidies to individuals who obtain insurance through “an Exchange established by the State.” Randolph and Griffith’s opinion concludes that this drafting error is the only thing that matters. In their words, “a federal Exchange is not an ‘Exchange established by the State,’” and that’s it. The upshot of this opinion is that 6.5 million Americans will lose their ability to afford health insurance, according to one estimate.

But now the news has changed again. We're basically in the middle of a court-fight:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a federal regulations that implemented subsidies that are vital to President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, in direct conflict with another ruling on the issue handed down earlier on Tuesday.

As the New York Times points out, there are more rulings from other courts on the way, too. It's the legal equivalent of a roller coaster! Keep your arms and legs inside the moving car at all times, because you may or may not have health insurance if your limbs are accidentally ripped off.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Under Bush: 8 Million Lost Health Insurance; Under Obama: 15 Million Have Already Gained Health Insurance

Posted by Charles Mudede on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 3:14 PM


Of George W. Bush’s myriad of failures that continue to wreck havoc at home and abroad, 7.9 million Americans losing their health insurance rarely gets mentioned.

“When [former president Bill] Clinton left office, the number of uninsured Americans stood at 38.4 million,” Ron Brownstein wrote in 2009. “By the time [former president George W.] Bush left office that number had grown to just over 46.3 million, an increase of nearly 8 million or 20.6 percent.”

And as Bush left office, the percentage of those without insurance continued to grow as millions continued to lose their jobs in the recession President Obama inherited. But in 2011 the percentage of uninsured began to shrink slightly as the Affordable Care Act went into effect. That shrinkage leveled out over the next two years but 2014 will likely offer the biggest reduction in the uninsured population at least in decades.

The Incidental Economist‘s Aaron Carroll — who hosts a great YouTube series called Healthcare Triage — looked at a new survey from Gallup and found that it suggests “more than 15 million Americans are newly insured this year. Almost 9 million of them received private insurance through the exchanges.”

And there is more bad news for the GOP. Forbes is reporting that nearly 60 percent of those who signed up for an insurance policy under Obamacare had no coverage previously. This figure, which is based on reliable data, pretty much puts an end to the argument that nearly all who are enrolling already had a policy.

Kaiser Family Foundation is out with a report today that harshly puts the lie to one of the anti-Obamacare troops loudest and most effective rallying cries—“Obamacare is only signing up people who already had insurance!”

And all of this from a president who is not even anything like a socialist.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Anderson Cooper and the "Schizophrenia Simulator"

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM

For a recent segment on his CNN show 360, Anderson Cooper spends a day wearing a "schizophrenia simulator"—basically headphones that mimic what it's like to hear voices constantly in your head. The voices, which vary between being very negative and somewhat positive, make it extremely challenging for the normally very smart and level-headed Cooper, who at times just seems to be barely holding it together. This is not only an extremely interesting experiment, it's simultaneously creepy and heartbreaking. Watch.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Living Near Skinny People Makes Overweight People Unhappy

Posted by Dan Savage on Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 9:59 AM


If you are overweight, you are not necessarily destined to be sad, says a new study from the University of Colorado–Boulder. The paper comes out today in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and it tracks the three-way relationship between obesity, life satisfaction, and where you live. It finds, perhaps unsurprisingly, that obese men and women who live in U.S. counties with high levels of obesity are much happier than obese men and women who live in slenderer areas....

“Where obesity is more common, there is less difference among obese, severely obese, and non-obese individuals’ life satisfaction,” the researchers write, “but where obesity is less common, the difference in life satisfaction between the obese (including the severely obese) and non-obese is greater. In that light, obesity in and of itself does not appear to be the main reason obese individuals tend to be less satisfied with their lives than their non-obese peers. Instead, it appears to be society’s response to or stigmatization of those that are different from what is seen as ‘normal’ that drives this relationship.”

Knock it off, skinny people.

Friday, May 23, 2014

There Might Be E. Coli in Your Tap Water. Boil It Before You Drink It.

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Portland's water bureau has begun urging its customers all across Portland, and beyond, not to drink tap water unless its been boiled—after state officials, doing routine tests, discovered E. Coli in water samples taken from two reservoirs on Mount Tabor and elsewhere in the system over the past few days.

The city's got a website set up with info,, but it was down when I was typing this.

It's not been announced why there's poop bacteria in the water, but a press conference is scheduled and maybe we'll learn more there. And don't worry if you're reading this right after guzzling a cold, refreshing glass of Bull Run's bounty.

This is from the city's news release. You might get a case of the trots, but that's about it.

"The chance of any health problems related to this water test result is low. If any problems occur, we would expect diarrhea," said Dr. Paul Lewis, Interim Tri-County Health Officer. "We monitor cases of bacterial diarrhea and will be aware of any increase following this event."

Hit the jump to read the rest of the release.

Continue reading »


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The CIA Will No Longer Use Vaccination Programs as Cover

Posted by Eli Sanders on Tue, May 20, 2014 at 9:44 AM

The New York Times:

Three years after the Central Intelligence Agency set up a phony hepatitis vaccination program in Pakistan as part of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration told a group of American health educators last week that the agency no longer uses immunization programs as a cover for spying operations.

In a letter to leaders at a dozen schools of public health, President Obama’s senior counterterrorism adviser said the C.I.A. had banned the practice of making “operational use” of vaccination programs, adding that the agency would not seek to “obtain or exploit DNA or other genetic material acquired through such programs.”

Using a vaccination program to try to find bin Laden is thought to have led to the deaths of 56 immunization workers in Pakistan, and it may well be contributing to the current polio emergency (which is partly rooted in Pakistan).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Does The Biggest Loser Lie About Important Weight Loss Information?

Posted by Paul Constant on Thu, May 15, 2014 at 9:44 AM

This Cracked article by Evan V Symon, headlined "5 Details They Cut from My Season of The Biggest Loser," deserves to be read by a bigger audience. Symon tells the story of Biggest Loser runner-up Kai Hibbard, and it's more horrifying than you'd think. Everyone knows that reality shows are total bullshit, but the amount of bullshit that goes into a season of The Biggest Loser in this account is truly remarkable. Here's just one example:

My season made a big deal of showing us all drinking our milk to prove how nutritious it was. But as soon as "cut" was yelled, the trainers made us spit it out. Calories do not trump calcium, apparently. They claim the weigh-ins you see are weekly, but that's a straight-up lie. When people exclaimed "I lost 12 pounds in a week!" that wasn't always the case. It's all based on filming schedules. Sometimes the real period between weigh-ins was over three weeks, and you got liked like a rock star for losing so much weight so quickly. Other times it was only five days, and the audience thought you were phoning it in that week — after which you probably hung up and dialed for a pizza, you lazy cheese-beast.

It seems like if you're going to make a reality show about losing weight, you have a responsibility to be honest about the facts, so that viewers can try to replicate the results at home. But if this account is true, they lie about everything: The food contestants eat, how long the process takes, and how much they have to work out to see results. This is incredibly irresponsible, and could easily harm the health of viewers who are trying to lose weight along with contestants on the show. This is above and beyond the usual irresponsibility of reality shows, which routinely edit footage of human beings to make them look like cartoonish villains. If this report is true, this is a new level of despicable.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

E-Cigarettes Will Now Be Regulated

Posted by Eli Sanders on Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 9:44 AM

New York Times:

The Food and Drug Administration will propose sweeping new rules on Thursday that for the first time would extend its regulatory authority from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes, popular nicotine delivery devices that have grown into a multibillion-dollar business with virtually no federal oversight or protections for American consumers.

One effect of the new regulations, once they're finalized, will be a ban on selling e-cigarettes to minors. One thing the new regulations won't do: ban flavors, "like bubble gum and grape," the Times reports, "that public health experts say lure children to use the products."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Mercury Marijuana Guide!

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Sure, recreational marijuana isn't legal in Oregon... YET. But it's widely considered inevitable that by next year or the one after, it will be. We like to think ahead, so this week we published a big olde guide to gigglebush that covers some of the basics, like:

What Oregonians are looking at in term of pot-legalizing ballot measures coming down the pike.

—Let's talk about all the money our so often cash-strapped state could stand to make.

—On a lighter note, the face of stoner culture is changing. Here's a handy do/don't list so you won't get left behind.

—Oregonians are big gardeners, and legality presents a new crop to consider. But growing your own stash might not be as easy as you might think.

—The marijuana industry claims it can recommend a strain to suit just about anyone. I made two Mercury staffers who are terrified to smoke weed test that theory.

—DUIs are one of the stickiest ickiest issues surrounding pot legalization. Here's a snapshot of where it stands.

—Brownies and cookies are fine, but they're a little passé compared to the candies and tinctures you should be making if you want to take your edibles next level.

—We also checked in with reporters in Colorado and Washington who have been following the rollout of legalization in their own states closely. They've each composed letters addressed to Oregon containing some great advice.

—The times they are a changin', and you might consider that are a cleaner, healthier ways to get your dope on. Like vapes!

—You've hear about THC, but the next era of medicinal marijuana may well have more to do with CBD.

—Getting stoned to the bone is fine at times, but a legal industry means the pressure's off to make everything ultra-potent. Consider the introduction of a mellower, more casual joint.

—Plus oodles of stoney art thanks to Alex Chiu!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Obamacare Cheaper Than Expected

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Kate Pickert at Time says:

The cost of expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act will be billions less than previously expected, according to a report released Monday.

An analysis from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that the coverage provisions of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, will cost the federal government $104 billion fewer over 10 years than the CBO predicted back in February.

These savings come thanks to years of futile Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. Oh, wait. No, no they don't. These saving come in spite of years of futile Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare. Republican opposition actually had nothing to do with any of this.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Obamacare Is Working

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 2:11 PM

German Lopez at Vox says:

A new RAND Corporation survey estimates 9.3 million Americans gained insurance between September, the month before Obamacare's marketplaces kicked off, and mid-March. That represents a drop in the uninsured rate from 20.5 percent to 15.8 percent, according to RAND.

The report doesn't necessarily translate to a huge victory for Obamacare's marketplaces: among the newly-insured, the biggest gains were in employer-sponsored coverage.

Republicans right now appear to be preparing to run for midterms on a strict anti-Obamacare platform. That could be a mistake.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Obamacare Enrollment Hits 7,000,000 Target

Posted by Dan Savage on Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 1:29 PM


Seven million was the White House's initial projection. After a rash of severe technical problems during the roll out of the website, the White House brought that number in line with the Congressional Budget Office's 6 million figure. As we've reported, the month of March has been a blockbuster for the new health care exchanges. The pace of enrollments picked up drastically, as the open enrollment deadline of March 31 approached. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said during his regular press briefing that about 200,000 people signed up yesterday, bringing the total number of enrollees to 7.04 million by midnight last night.

Great news!

And Republicans—who will never offer a Republican alternative health-care plan and who will never acknowledge that Obamacare used to be the Republican alternative to the kind of single-payer health care plan preferred by liberals, progressives, and sane countries everywhere (countries like Canada, Germany, France, Israel, and Vatican City)—are gnashing their teeth. But even with Obamacare's popularity rising Republicans will still win the midterm elections thanks to gerrymandering, transparently racist efforts to make it harder for people of color to vote (which Salon plans to cover once they pinch out twenty more #CancelColbert "think" pieces (#CancelColbert is to Salon as #MH730 is to CNN)), and the fact that poor people, young people, people of color, and white kids with dreadlocks tend to sit out midterm elections.


Even with millions of Americans gaining access to health care thanks to Obamacare—seven million have signed up, but 9.5 million are now covered thanks to Obamacare (Medicare expansion, kids who can stay on their parents health care plans until they're 26)—the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 30,000,000 Americans will remain uninsured in 2017 despite Obamacare. That number is not expected to budge. There were 60,000,000 uninsured Americans before the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act and halving the number of uninsured Americans is a huge achievement and a hard-won victory. But... again... still: 30,000,000 uninsured Americans. So the hardships, bankruptcies, and deaths due to lack of access to health care will continue. But instead of 45,000 Americans dying every year because they lack health coverage, after 2017 we can look forward to "only" 22,500 Americans dying annually because they lack access to health coverage. That's "just" 7.5 9/11s. Every year. Forever.

So, yeah.

Let's take a moment to celebrate the successful launch of Obamacare. (And let's protect Obamacare by VOTING in the midterms, people.) But let's not fool ourselves: our health care crisis isn't over. We still need to fight for a single-payer system that covers all American citizens.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Complete History of Republican Aggression Against Obamacare

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Igor Volsky at ThinkProgress has assembled a comprehensive timeline of Republican attempts to kill Obamacare. When all four years of threats, futile repeals, and baseless claims are put together like this, it almost looks like Republicans have no idea what they're doing.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

HIV Treatment = HIV Prevention

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 1:59 PM

Who gives a shit about Fred Phelps? This, for me, is the headline of the day:

No-one with an undetectable viral load, gay or heterosexual, transmits HIV in first two years of PARTNER study

More from AIDSMap:

The second large study to look at whether people with HIV become non-infectious if they are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) has found no cases where someone with a viral load under 200 copies/ml transmitted HIV, either by anal or vaginal sex. Statistical analysis shows that the maximum likely chance of transmission via anal sex from someone on successful HIV treatment was 1% a year for any anal sex and 4% for anal sex with ejaculation where the HIV-negative partner was receptive; but the true likelihood is probably much nearer to zero than this. When asked what the study tells us about the chance of someone with an undetectable viral load transmitting HIV, presenter Alison Rodger said: "Our best estimate is it's zero."

The obvious takeaway: universal testing plus universal treatment equals the end of the HIV pandemic. (Via JoeMyGod.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis (And Some Dude Named "Barack Obama")

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 9:44 AM

It is truly an incredible world when President Barack Obama pays a visit to Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis—and true, he's mostly there to plug Affordable Health Care, but trust me when I say the President sneaks in some wicked hot burns. (Got insurance for those burns, Zach?)

More context from the NYT:

The pop-culture appearance is the latest public relations gamble that Mr. Obama and his aides have taken in their pursuit of new ways to deliver their message to the connected-but-distracted generation. “Between Two Ferns,” which satirizes the low-budget look of public access television, much as “Wayne’s World” did, has had episodes that have been viewed as many as 30 million times, often because of their outrageous content.

“We have to find ways to break through,” said Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s senior adviser and chief communications strategist. “This is essentially an extension of the code we have been trying to crack for seven years now.”

Aides said Mr. Obama’s immediate reason for subjecting himself to Mr. Galifianakis is to urge young people to sign up for health insurance on the government’s website, As a March 31 deadline for enrolling for 2014 approaches, the White House is making one final push to try to increase the numbers.

Monday, February 17, 2014

This Might Be Why Your Kid is Home Sick All the Damn Time

Posted by Bobby Roberts on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Okay, the fluoride debacle was one thing. So far as rejection of science goes, it could be worse. Like, say, leading the country in not vaccinating your children.

Oh, wait.

This post over at Mother Jones highlights how and why American children aren't being vaccinated. Of course, there's large elements of Jenny McCarthyism at work, but some researchers think kids aren't getting their shots for an even shittier reason: Some parents just don't want to bother taking time out of their busy schedule to make sure their kid doesn't get sick. And indulging that level of "fuck it" is made easy by how simple it is to opt out of immunizing your children.

The full article details the steps some states (not Oregon) are taking to reduce this health risk. Hopefully legislators in the region are paying attention.

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