LA House Bills 117 and 149 + LA Senate Bill 241

About a week before the Louisiana Legislature convened, state Rep. Dalton Honore trekked to Denver for field research related to legislation he’s pushing in Louisiana. The journey brought him just a few blocks from the Colorado State Capitol, to a marijuana dispensary.

The 72-year-old is a former sheriffs deputy who has “never had a marijuana cigarette in my life.” Moreover, he said, he’s never been in the company people smoking it. But Honore said it is time stop locking people up for using the drug and start treating it more like alcohol by focusing on education and treatment.

Honore’s legislation, House Bill 117, proposes to put a measure on the 2016 presidential ballot asking residents to vote on marijuana legalization. He chose that date because it falls after re-election for most of his colleagues in the Legislature and because there’s likely to be higher voter turnout.

[State Rep. Austin] Badon’s [D-New Orleans] legislation, House Bill 149, would drop the maximum sentence for second-offense marijuana possession from five years in prison to two years. It would also drop the maximum sentence for third-offense possession from 20 years to five. Subsequent convictions could allow for a maximum sentence up to eight years, but the habitual offender law could not apply to marijuana possession. 

[State Sen. J.P.] Morrell’s [D-New Orleans] legislation, Senate Bill 241, carves out a new section of the law that deals strictly with possession of an ounce or less of marijuana or synthetic marijuana — all the offenses would be considered misdemeanors.

The primary goal of the legislation, Morrell said is to prevent people from earning “the scarlet letter of felony drug possession” when they’re caught with an ounce or less. Felony drug charges, he said, can impact offenders’ employment eligibility for the rest of their lives.

Marijuana in Louisiana: 1 state lawmaker pushing to get legalization on the ballot while others fight for less jail time. The Times Picayune|, 4/27/15. Links to text of bills, not the original article links.

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AFT Survey: Quality of Work-Life in Education

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Education is both a profession and a calling. But just because the work is rewarding doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging too.

We know very little about the impact of work on the health and well-being of educators and school staff. While many countries have studied the effects of work environments on these workers, no real study of the issue has been done in the United States.

We’ve created a robust survey to find out how work affects you, and to help make the case for a thorough scientific study.

Please take our anonymous survey on how the conditions at work affect your life.

By joining thousands of other educators and school staff, you’ll help us make the case for a major study on how working conditions affect the adults who power our schools.

The AFT health and safety team met with dozens of educators and staff from around the country to design a thorough survey to help us gauge how issues in the workplace are affecting our members.

Take the anonymous survey on school working conditions and help us make the case for a major study.

The survey will be open until May 1. I hope you’ll take the time to help us make the case for a major study by sharing your own experiences.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President

P.S. Please share this survey with your colleagues and help us learn as much as possible from others on the frontlines in education.

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Murder, Part Deux

But, this distrust can be pervasive, spreading to a general skepticism about the truthfulness of their own accounts of their own experiences. If women’s feelings aren’t really to be trusted, then naturally their recollections of certain things that have happened to them aren’t really to be trusted either.

This is part of the reason why it took an entire high school football team full of women for some of us to finally just consider that Bill Cosby might not be Cliff Huxtable. It’s how, despite hearing complaints about it from girlfriends, homegirls, cousins, wives, and classmates, so many of us refused to believe how serious street harassment can be until we saw it with our own eyes. It’s why we needed to see actual video evidence before believing the things women had been saying for years about R. Kelly.

There’s an obvious parallel here with the way (many) men typically regard women’s feelings and the way (many) Whites typically regard the feelings of non-Whites. It seems like every other day I’m reading about a new poll or study showing that (many) Whites don’t believe anything Black people say about anything race/racism-related until they see it with their own eyes. Personal accounts and expressions of feelings are rationalized away; only “facts” that have been carefully vetted and verified by other Whites and certain “acceptable” Blacks are to be believed.

Damon Young. Men Just Don’t Trust Women. And This Is A Problem. VSB, 12/16/14.

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Another Stupid LA Senate Bill

Legislation seeks to define life as beginning at conception. The [New Orleans] Advocate, 4/7/15.

The proposed constitutional provision, Senate Bill 80, is narrowly tailored to address the right to life of the unborn. But those opposing propositions similar to Louisiana’s say there are a host of unintended consequences because the unborn child becomes a “legal person.”

Among the consequences cited: criminalizing birth control; eliminating abortion exceptions for rape and life of the mother; scrapping the death penalty; allowing a fetus to be counted as a dependent for tax purposes and welfare benefits; and potentially lowering the legal age at which a young person can drive, smoke and drink by nine months.

Will miscarriage be “involuntary manslaughter”? 

“Life begins at conception!” is a religious tenet, a patriarchal religious belief that asserts life, and therefore “legal personhood,” comes from the sperm, not from gestation or birth or breathing or the essential ovum and uterus. The pregnant woman is an adult, a citizen, but if the zygote, embryo, fetus is a “legal person,” whose rights will be honored? If a husband chooses to save his wife, will he and the doctors be charged with murder? Or could the mother claim self-defense? Will Viagra become sacred? If someone broke into my house and moved a couple people in, I could legally have them removed from my home but if some creep ass shitbox rapes and impregnates me, I have to carry that shit to term? So the rapist can lock me up in court with custody battles and visitation rights that he gets because he committed a crime? Against me? My body and integrity? 

Laws about Pregnancy by Rape, State by State:

“I was astonished,” said Shauna Prewitt, who was raped when she was a senior in college.

Her daughter was six months old when she found out that the man who raped her wanted partial custody.

“How could I possibly entrust my beautiful … baby to him,” she wondered, “but beyond that I didn’t know how to spend the next 18 or more years of my life tethered to my attacker.”

Child custody rights for rapists? Most states have them. CNN, 8/1/13.

Filing for custody is another way to harass, stalk, psychologically torture a survivor of sexual assault, which is a lifetime of survival, not a few therapy sessions and a good cry. Any man who does that to another human being—and women actually are human, though if you’re reading a blog called The G Bitch Spot, you probably don’t object to that idea—should be considered unfit. But I’m no fool and know how badly the world works when you are a woman, a victim/survivor, poor, in need, confused, a child, etc.

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Bit(ch) 22: Really?

Drugs, Inc.—a National Geographic Channel series on drugs, drug money, drug use, etc.

drugs inc nat geo screenshot

No, I haven’t watched it but I have Netflix and Netflix’s images for this show….

2014-06-25 15.26.10

2014-06-25 15.26.33

The creepy trying-too-hard-to-look-Bad expressions on the actors’ faces I can almost handle. But why are these people, who are clearly white, made to look darker, brownish…non-white?

At the Nat Geo Channel Drugs, Inc. page, you won’t find these images and you will not see anyone who looks obviously brown. Or browned.


It perpetuates the myth that brown people are a bunch of drug users, and hides the drug use of whites, who are still in the numerical majority and who aren’t less likely to use illegal drugs but are far less likely to be arrested or jailed for using “drugs.”

Nearly 20 percent of whites have used cocaine, compared with 10 percent of blacks and Latinos, according to a 2011 survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — the most recent data available.

Higher percentages of whites have also tried hallucinogens, marijuana, pain relievers like OxyContin, and stimulants like methamphetamine, according to the survey. Crack is more popular among blacks than whites, but not by much.

Still, blacks are arrested for drug possession more than three times as often as whites, according to a 2009 report from the advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

When It Comes To Illegal Drug Use, White America Does The Crime, Black America Gets The Time. HuffPo, 9/17/13.

So what the fuck?

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hctiB G: The 20% who stayed

posted Dec 27, 2005

Many made fatal choice to stay behind [dead link]

The anecdotes of voluntary decisions not to evacuate contradict the perception in some quarters that whose who didn’t get away from the strike zone were essentially trapped against their will, doomed by a belated evacuation push that made little use of buses and no use of trains in a city with a high incidence of households without private cars.

The evacuation faced withering criticism from some Republican members of Congress during a Dec. 14 hearing. “You are quick to talk about the inadequacy of the federal government. Please talk about New Orleans’ inadequacies,” U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., told Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

Local emergency response officials say the rhetoric obscures an important truth: that the removal of 1.2 million people from southeast Louisiana, 80 percent of the population, was one of the most successful evacuations in U.S. history, far better than Houston’s snarled effort ahead of Hurricane Rita three weeks later. Officials credit a contraflow plan retooled by the Blanco administration after a disastrous trial run for Hurricane Ivan a year earlier.

The proportion of people fleeing Katrina far surpassed the 34 percent who said in a University of New Orleans survey, released in July, that they would “definitely” leave in advance of a Category 3 hurricane if urged by public officials to do so. As it made landfall, Katrina was exactly that, a Category 3 storm, but hours earlier meteorologists had warned of a potential Category 5 storm, a sharp stimulus to an intensified evacuation.

Most of the MSM and the Republicans who grilled Gov. Blanco and Mayor Nagin want the rest of you to believe that New Orleans and the state of Louisiana abandoned hundreds of thousands of people in the metro area—poor, disabled, elderly and not—to die out of ignorance, incompetence, heartless racism and “corruption,” a word thrown around by Congressional Republicans as if there is corruption only in Louisiana or black city mayors, not in House majority leaders or lobbyists or government contractors. Almost all the finger-pointers, congressional and otherwise, have no experiential understanding of evacuation, especially of living in an area that calls evacuations of some sort at least once if not three times in a 6-month period. To get 80% of people to do anything, much less anything as drastic, stressful and uncertain as leaving their homes and 99% of all they know, own and love, is something to be applauded. If 80% of my students turn in an assignment, I’m pleasantly shocked. If 80% of faculty showed up for a meeting, the provost would serve champagne! If 80% of people used turn signals or condoms or acetaminophen correctly [dead link]—shit, if 80% of registered voters bothered to vote!

There were folks, black, white, poor, rich, in between, who didn’t want to leave their homes, their pets, their city, who “simply said God would take care of them.” I mourn all those losses and feel them weighing down the air around me but when your great-auntie says God will spare her or take her Home, what can you say or do?

Posted in Best of, hctiB G: Redux, N.O. brought to you by G B. | Leave a comment

Stand with LA Women Rally SATURDAY

Stand with Louisiana Women Rally
WHEN: 1:30pm Saturday, March 7
WHERE: The First Presbyterian Church, 5401 S. Claiborne Ave.
WEAR: Pink


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“inflammatory arthritis” + “pain management” = Tylenol?!?

Inflammatory arthritis [IA], an autoimmune condition, includes rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.

Recommendation 2
Paracetamol is recommended for the treatment of persistent pain in patients with IA.

Data from 12 short-term randomized controlled trials (RCTs) at high risk of bias provided weak evidence for a benefit of paracetamol over placebo and an additive benefit of paracetamol in combination with NSAIDs [11]….

There was consensus among the experts that paracetamol is generally a safe and effective analgesic in IA, both alone and in combination with other pain pharmacotherapies. It was recognized that there is variation between countries in the maximum recommended dose and that clinicians should follow local dosing guidelines. No evidence exists regarding the preferred formulation or dosing interval.

Whittle, S., et al. (2012) Multinational evidence-based recommendations for pain management by pharmacotherapy in inflammatory arthritis: integrating systematic literature research and expert opinion of a broad panel of rheumatologists in the 3e Initiative. Rheumatology. Retrieved from

Note that only paracetamol/acetaminophen, NSAIDs and placebos were studied. If NSAIDs do not provide enough pain relief? There’s no answer to that because the question wasn’t asked.

The panel’s findings:

  • Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is recommended for the treatment of persistent pain.

  • Weak opioids are recommended for short-term treatment of pain only when other treatments have failed or are contraindicated but caution should be advised for long-term use and strong opioids should only be used in extreme cases under close supervision.
  • A drug with a different mode of action should be added if acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) monotherapy is inadequate, but 2 or more NSAIDs should not be combined.

(2012) 11 recommendations reported for arthritis pain management. Drug Topics. Retrieved from

Yes, Tylenol, the liver-demolishing pain reliever, is considered the best pain relief and management for inflammatory arthritis pain in rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. The pain of inflammatory arthritis is not temporary and lasts a lifetime, so a lifetime of Tylenol is the best “recommendation.”

Even though Tylenol most likely does not cause serious liver damage in recommended doses, it can cause elevations of liver enzymes in the blood suggesting injury to the liver. In a study of 145 healthy subjects who were randomized to receive placebo or 4 grams of Tylenol daily for two weeks, subjects in the placebo group experienced no elevations of ALT, a liver enzyme, but 33%-44% of the subjects in the Tylenol group had ALT elevations greater than three times the upper limits of normal. The highest ALT elevation was greater than 500 which is approximately 10 times the upper limit of normal. All enzyme elevations returned to normal after stopping Tylenol. Thus, recommended doses of Tylenol given to healthy subjects for two weeks can cause mild to moderate reversible liver injury. [emphasis added]

Lee, D., & Marks, J. Tylenol Liver Damage. Retrieved from

Tylenol is not without its serious complications. It is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, and the drug in some cases led to fatalities. The active ingredient in Tylenol, acetaminophen, accounts for more than 100,000 calls to poison centers, roughly 60,000 emergency-room visits and hundreds of deaths each year in the United States. In England, it is the leading cause of liver failure requiring transplants. In 2009, the FDA issued guidelines for adding overdose guidelines to packages and in 2011, the agency confirmed the link between the drug and liver damage.

In October 2013, Johnson & Johnson will add a warning to the caps of bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol warning consumers that the drug contains acetaminophen and may cause liver failure. Severe liver damage from the drug led people to file lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson and/or McNeil. On April 1, 2013, a judge consolidated several federal lawsuits in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Tylenol. Drug Watch.

Acetaminophen is often used in pain medications with opioids such as oxycodone (Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and codeine (Tylenol with Codeine). These are called combination drugs, and the Food and Drug Administration is asking doctors to stop prescribing those that have more than 325 mg of acetaminophen per dose.

The FDA says no data show that taking more than that amount provides enough benefit to outweigh the risk of liver damage.

FDA: Acetaminophen doses over 325 mg might lead to liver damage. CNN.

Q. Are there risks from taking too much acetaminophen?

A: Yes, acetaminophen can cause serious liver damage if you take too much. It is very important to follow your doctor’s directions and the directions on the medicine label.

You may not notice the signs and symptoms of liver damage right away because they take time to appear. Or, you may mistake early symptoms of liver damage (for example, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting) for something else, like the flu. Liver damage can develop into liver failure or death over several days.

Acetaminophen is generally safe when taken as directed. To lower your risk of liver damage make sure you do the following:

  • Follow dosing directions and never take more than directed; even a small amount more than directed can cause liver damage.
  • Don’t take acetaminophen for more days than directed. [Chronic pain is every day so recommending acetaminophen for inflammatory arthritis is recommending that it be taken for years, even decades.]
  • Don’t take more than one medicine that contains acetaminophen at a time. For example, your risk of liver damage goes up if you take a medicine that contains acetaminophen to treat a headache, and while that medicine is still working in your body, you take another medicine that contains acetaminophen to treat a cold.

FDA: Acetaminophen and Liver Injury: Q & A for Consumers

But is Tylenol really the answer for inflammatory arthritis pain?

The clinical trials identified compared paracetamol to placebo, NSAID, or weak opioids; 2 compared paracetamol + NSAID to placebo + NSAID. Several studies included multiple arms using different comparators and were therefore included in the analysis for more than 1 comparator group. Eight articles, with a total of 9 separate trials, included pain as an outcome measure and were included in the efficacy analysis (7,8,9,10,12,13,14,15). Three articles included safety data but did not include pain as an outcome measure and were therefore included only in the safety analysis (5,6,11). Two trials were parallel-group design (10,11) and the remaining were crossover. The included studies were older (1959–1993), had small sample sizes (range 12–143), short trial duration (range 6 –13 wks), and often used atypical doses of paracetamol (range 650 mg/day–7.5 g/day). 

Based on 8 trials with high risk of bias we found weak evidence for the following in patients with RA: an increased benefit of paracetamol over placebo, an uncertain benefit of NSAID over paracetamol, no difference between paracetamol and weak opioids, and an additive benefit of paracetamol in combination with NSAID. There was no evidence in patients with other forms of inflammatory arthritis. For the efficacy of paracetamol versus NSAID in patients with RA, the SLR we identified in our search drew a similar conclusion: the trials were of poor quality and it was uncertain whether NSAID were superior to paracetamol.

The design of the studies was not reflective of current practice, leading to difficulties in extrapolating the results to treatment recommendations. The doses of medications used were atypical, the study duration was too short for the treatment of a chronic pain condition, and the comparators included medications not commonly used. 

Extrapolating these results to treatment recommendations is difficult. When limited disease-specific data are available to guide the therapeutic choice, other disease models may provide insight. When pain medications are tested in chronic pain, osteoarthritis is often the model used. In a recently updated Cochrane Review on the efficacy and safety of paracetamol in osteoarthritis that included 15 RCT with a total of 5986 patients, there was evidence to support the efficacy of paracetamol in comparison to placebo, but with a low overall effect size (SMD –0.13, 95% CI –0.22 to –0.04) (18). When compared with NSAID, paracetamol was found to be less effective, but had a decreased risk of any GI event when compared with traditional NSAID (number needed to harm 12, 95% CI 6 to 66) (18). In summary, the results of this systematic review showed that there is limited disease-specific evidence to support the role of paracetamol in the treatment of pain in patients with inflammatory arthritis. The available evidence, all with high risk of bias, suggests that there is a potential benefit of paracetamol, alone or when combined with NSAID in patients with RA. Given the relative paucity of information, recommendations should incorporate expert opinion and may rely on extrapolation from evidence in other chronic pain conditions. [emphasis added]

Hazlewood, G., van der Heijde, D., & Bombardier, C. (2012) Paracetamol for the Management of Pain in Inflammatory Arthritis: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Rheumatology. Retrieved from [PDF].

So the recommendation is a guess based on an arthritis not like rheumatoid arthritis, spondyloarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis that leaves out many variables and conditions, such as long-term use for chronic pain, and is drawn from studies with bias and reporting problems. But even with “difficulties in extrapolating the results to treatment recommendations,” it is still in the recommendations, and implies to me that rheumatologists and pain management doctors are being advised that acetaminophen/paracetamol is an effective pain reliever for chronic inflammatory arthritis pain and is safe for long-term use, safer and far more “desirable” than opiates, even “weak” ones.


If Tylenol handled my inflammatory arthritis pain, I never would’ve gotten a diagnosis because I never would’ve mentioned to my motherfucking doctor how much fucking pain I was [and am] in.

So if my severe pain isn’t alleviated by Tylenol or NSAIDs, I’m shit out of luck and have the privilege of living with severe pain every day until I fucking die? That’s medical care? That’s pain management? Am I getting something wrong here? I know I’m kind of pain-addled right now but I am seeing what I’m seeing, am I not? 

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National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015: The Importance Of An Early Intervention:

Signs of disordered eating aren’t always obvious, Health reported. Subtle insecurities, excessive exercise, and feeling shy or self-conscious about eating in public are all warning signs a loved one may have a problem.

There are physical symptoms, too, apart from dramatic weight loss. According to Health, “people who have been depriving their bodies of nutrition for extended periods of time often develop soft, downy body hair — almost a thin film of fur — on their arms and other parts of the body.” It’s a symptom of starvation and the body’s attempt at keeping itself warm, Dr. Cynthia M. Bulik, author of The Woman in the Mirror: How to Stop Confusing What You Look Like with Who You Are, told the magazine.   

That said, feeling cold is another result of decreased nutrition and body fat. Though there’s no clear-cut way to spot a developing eating disorder. 


There’s nothing mild or cute or girly or white about having an ED: 10 Things I Wish People Understood About Eating Disorders:

1. Eating disorders do not discriminate.

2. There are more than two eating disorders.

Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, orthorexia, yogarexia, binge eating disorder, EDNOS, and more.

3. Eating disorders are mental illnesses with physical side effects.

…At the end of the day, eating disorders aren’t really about food. They’re so much more complicated than that. And when you try to simplify them, you really do a disservice.

In other words, sending your ED or ED-recovery friend pictures of food, recipes, or “encouragements” to “just eat” are not recovery, do not help, and are a sign that actually you don’t know what the fuck you’re doing or talking about. If you have an ED friend, please check out NEDA’s site before you talk to her or him or them.

4. Eating disorders do not determine your body type.

5. Similarly, your body type doesn’t determine having an eating disorder.

6. Eating disorders are not a choice.

…Eating disorders choose you. And as such, giving “advice” like “Just eat!” really isn’t helpful.

You can’t tell a depressive to just “cheer up.” You can’t tell someone with an anxiety disorder to just “relax.”

7. Eating disorders are not diets.

8. Recovery is a long, hard process.

9. Recovery doesn’t look the same for everyone.

10. Eating disorders matter.—are you at risk for an eating disorder? [I am at risk for disordered eating. But I knew that, mostly, already.]

And because it merits saying again and again, EDs are not confined to white college girls:

And recovery? 5 Common Questions About Eating Disorder Recovery Answered

Look around this week. Does someone need your understanding and support?


Shit—now you fucking tell me. 

OSFED stands for “Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders” and is a subclinical categorization to describe eating disorders that do not meet all of the required qualifications of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, as recognized by the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM).

Diagnosing these eating disorders requires a specific list of symptoms. If you only have some of the symptoms, you don’t get the official diagnosis.

For example, a bulimia diagnosis requires that a person both binge eats and purges their food. So eating a normal-size meal and throwing it up doesn’t qualify as bulimic, even though it’s clearly an unhealthy eating behavior. Similarly, people may exhibit all the symptoms of anorexia but not be far enough below a healthy weight to meet an official diagnosis.

The Most Common Eating Disorder Is One You’ve Probably Never Heard Of. Buzzfeed, 2/24/15.

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