The OB Media Rundown for 3/11/12

Editorial: Time to make birth control pills available over the counter

Partly because birth-control pills are available only by prescription, people tend to think they’re more dangerous and less well understood than they actually are. In fact, “more is known about the safety of oral contraceptives than has been known about any other drug in the history of medicine,” declared an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health back in 1993. That editorial accompanied an article arguing for over-the-counter sales.

Unlike most medications, the article noted, birth-control pills require no medical diagnosis: “A woman herself determines her need for oral contraception; she assesses her own risk of pregnancy … and the costs and benefits of both pregnancy and alternative contraceptions.” Nearly two decades later, birth- control pills look even safer than they did then, and recent research indicates that women are both able and eager to manage their own purchase decisions.
. . .

Going to the doctor is costly in time, money and sometimes in dignity. Not surprisingly, the prescription requirement deters use of oral contraceptives. In a 2004 phone survey, 68 percent of American women said they would start the pill or another form of hormonal birth control, such as the patch, if they could buy it in a pharmacy with screening by a pharmacist instead of getting a doctor’s prescription. Two-thirds of blacks and slightly more than half of whites and Latinas surveyed said they chose their current, less-effective method of birth control because it didn’t require a prescription.

98 Major Advertisers Dump Rush Limbaugh, Other Right-Wing Hosts

Premiere Networks is circulating a list of 98 advertisers who want to avoid “environments likely to stir negative sentiments.” The list includes carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm) and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway). As you’ll see in the note below, those “environments” go beyond the Rush Limbaugh show –

“To all Traffic Managers: The information below applies to your Premiere Radio Networks commercial inventory. More than 350 different advertisers sponsor the programs and services provided to your station on a barter basis. Like advertisers that purchase commercials on your radio station from your sales staff, our sponsors communicate specific rotations, daypart preferences and advertising environments they prefer… They’ve specifically asked that you schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity). Those are defined as environments likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public.”

Rush, Peter Gabriel, Fab Thunderbirds, Philadelphia Orchestra, want off Limbaugh’s show

First the money walks, now it’s the music. Rush, Peter Gabriel and the Fabulous Thunderbirds have all demanded that their music immediately stop appearing on Limbaugh’s program. (And lest you think it’s confined to rockist quarters, the Philadelphia Orchestra, which bought a package of ads through CBS Philly, has also “taken steps to ensure that our ads no longer run on the Rush Limbaugh show,” according to its Twitter feed.)

Raising Taxes on Rich does not Slow Jobs Growth


JAY: Well, let’s start with one of the big arguments against raising taxes. This applies at any level, federal as well, but you’ve taken it up on the state level. And that’s that people at the high income end are the, quote, job creators, and if you tax them, they will create less jobs. They’ll invest less and they’ll start less new businesses and all that. What did you find when you dug into that?

THOMPSON: Well, ultimately there’s not much evidence to support that claim. I mean, there are a number of reasons to think that it’s much weaker when you dig behind the superficial appeal. For example, there’s a vast literature on the decision for entrepreneurs to start business. So self-employment, small businesses, and the tax-the literature on that very question, that decision to start new businesses, finds that there’s no reason to think that tax increases by state and local governments, or at least income tax increases, actually deter the formation of small businesses. There are a couple of papers here and there that find that very high property taxes or payroll taxes may have some deterrence effect, but almost nothing on income taxes, so the taxes that actually get at the rich.

Fed may finally stand up to banks and force them to curtail dividend payouts and stock buybacks

The Federal Reserve is pushing back against some banks’ proposals to pay dividends and repurchase shares, after concluding that the lenders are underestimating the potential for losses on consumer debt in a severe economic slump, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

Report about dramatic growth of Patriot movement and other violent rightwing groups highlights failed economy as a cause

“The worse the economy gets, the more the groups are going to grow,” [said August Kreis, a neo-Nazi leader.] “White people are arming themselves – and black people, too. I believe eventually it’s going to come down to civil war. It’s going to be an economic war, the rich versus the poor. We’re being divided along economic lines.”

At the most macro level, the growth of right-wing radicalization – a phenomenon that is plainly evident in Europe as well as the United States – is related directly to political and, especially, economic globalization. As the nation-state has diminished in importance since the end of the Cold War, Western economies have opened up, not only to capital from abroad but also to labor. In concrete terms, that has meant major immigration flows, many of which have drastically altered the demographics of formerly fairly homogenous populations. In Europe and the U.S. both, white-dominated countries have become less so. At the same time, globalization has caused major economic dislocations in the West as certain industries and kinds of production move to less developed countries.

The sorry U.S. economy also may offer the best single explanation for the huge expansion in the so-called “sovereign citizens” movement, a subset of the larger Patriot movement. Although the size of the sovereign movement is hard to gauge – sovereigns tend to operate as individuals rather than in organized groups – law enforcement officials around the country have reported encounters. The SPLC, for its part, has estimated that some 300,000 Americans are involved.

Scholarships for CA high school students who write about the Occupy movement

The National Bar Association (NBA) is accepting applications for the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition.

More than $25,000 in scholarships will be awarded to high school juniors and seniors who place in the regional and national competitions. All students must submit an essay about the “Occupy Movement” by March 31, 2012 to compete.

High school juniors and seniors from California are invited to submit an essay for the 2012 competition. In no more than 1,000 words, students should address the following issue: Consider how the Occupy Movement, an international protest movement primarily directed against social and economic inequality, compares with the Civil Rights Movement and the activities of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. How would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. address either: 1) the tenants of the tent cities or 2) the opponents of the Occupy Movement?

Occupy Chicago Movement will join young immigrants in march

The ‘Occupy Chicago’ movement, in association with its sister organization ‘Occupy the Barrio’ announced its participation in the national march for young immigrants of America called ‘Out from the Shadows’.

The ‘Out from the Shadows’ march will start the campaign for an American dream for youth to step out from the shadows and stand in solidarity without fear of their immigration status according to recent reports.

Reproductive health care divides Redlanders

With women’s reproductive health a hot-button issue in the news today, some Redlanders are on different pages when it comes to some of the most discussed bullet points, including contraception and abortion rights.

Occupy Redlands pounded the pavement Saturday in San Bernardino in support of Planned Parenthood, one of the most looked at health-based organizations that provide reproductive services to women.

“It’s important for supporters of women, of reproductive rights, of basic fairness and decency to actively demonstrate appreciation for all that Planned Parenthood does to provide affordable health-care options,” said Occupy Redlands member Ande Spencer before Saturday’s effort. “In this vitriolic climate of attacks on women’s rights and reproductive options, it is vital for those of us who believe in Planned Parenthood’s mission to stand up, stand out and shout out our approval.”

OWS Still Strapped For Cash As May Day Approaches

[Many MSM reports about this yesterday and today]

Occupy Wall Street’s funds are getting tighter. According to the General Assembly’s website there’s roughly $44K in a general fund and $90K in a bail fund for the massive protests planned for May 1. It doesn’t appear that the totals include the cash to be donated from a group of wealthy backers (including the founders of Ben & Jerry’s) but concerns over lack of funding somewhat belie the point of OWS.

“Occupy Wall Street is about our abundant human resources-the creative talent, dedication and sweat equity of people here and elsewhere that have decided to stand up against a corrupt and unjust society run by a powerful elite few,” OWS spokesman Ed Needham told Reuters.

Current expenditures include food and subway cards for protesters to travel to meetings and an “average” bail amount is around $2,000, depending on the charges, according to the GA.

Vt. College Hosts “Occupy” Conference

Vermont’s Goddard College in Plainfield is hosting a weekend conference on the Occupy Wall Street movement.

On Saturday, panels are discussing the ramifications of the movement for higher education and the country.

Les Leopold, author of “The Looting of America,” will be the keynote speaker, followed by three panels that include activists who have helped shape the movement.

Hoyer Finally Admits the Obvious: Health Care Bill Killed the Dems in 2010

What caused the members of Official Washington’s institutions, particularly those part of or linked to the institutional Democratic Party, to go after [blogger] Jane Hamsher hammer and tongs?
Answer: Her insistence on pushing for at least a public option in the health care bill – and her warnings that without a public option (which poll after poll showed was the most popular part of the health care reform proposal as originally conceived, but which Obama and the Dems dumped in order to please industry lobbyists), the bill would become a deadly stinky rotting albatross of a millstone around the Democrats’ collective necks in November of 2010.

Status quo organization plays on discomfort about ‘diversity of tactics’ arguments to peel off Occupy supporters

[New boilerplate text from a MoveOn email for a rally in Framingham next week]

“MoveOn is committed to nonviolence in the long tradition of protest movements throughout our history that have brought America closer to our founding dream-liberty and justice for all. As progressives, we respect all people and do not support or endorse any violence or property destruction.”