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Court denies abortion to 10-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle

A 10-year-old Indian girlwho was raped repeatedly by her uncle and is six months pregnant has been ruled unable to have an abortion.

A districtcourt in Chandigarh, India, ruled the girl is too young and the pregnancy too advancedfor the procedure, whichcould threaten her life, CBS News reported. Their decision was based upon an opinion of an eight-doctor panel from the city hospital where the girl was examined.

India’s laws ban abortion beyond 20 weeks, though courts have made exceptions for if the fetus wasn’t viable, or the pregnancy risked the life of the mother. However, the panel determined that the fetus was viable, and that an abortion was “not an option at this stage.”

“The only way to terminate the pregnancy is to deliver the baby,” a senior member of the panel told CBS News.

According tothe Indian Express, the girl’s parents found out she was pregnant after she complained of stomach pains. She then told her mother that her uncle had raped her six to seven times when he visited them. The uncle was later arrested.

Pregnancies for younger girls come with life-threatening complications, such as anemia and hemorrhaging,the Washington Postpoints out. Additionally, full-term pregnancies, vaginal births, and Caesarean sections are all risky for someone so young, as pelvic bones don’t funny develop until the later teen years.

Despite the panel’s recommendation, other gynecologists argue that the girl should have the fetus abortedand that the psychological effects of giving birth at 10 years old outweigh the potential risk of the abortion itself.

While the girl and her family have the legal option to seek a review of the ruling with a higher court, the doctor panel says she may not have enough time to do so before the baby is born.

H/T Women in the World

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/irl/india-chandigarh-abortion-rape/

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The week in patriarchy: Trump clearly doesn’t understand health insurance

If you dont realize by now that a total clown is in charge, nothing is going to change that. At least its Friday

If you want to be able to sleep this weekend, do yourself a favor and dont read the New York Times expansive interview with Donald Trump. The president makes little sense as he answers questions about everything from Russia to Jeff Sessions and healthcare and if you were already worried about whose hands the country is in, this piece will not put your mind at ease. For example, it seems pretty evident that the president of the United States has no idea how health insurance works.

I used to see interviews like this and be a bit pleased because the more coverage of Trumps stupidity the better. But if you dont realize by now that a total clown is in charge, theres no interview or expose thats going to change that. So join me this week in a good old fashion wallow: things are bad, the president is bad. At least its Friday.

Glass half full

Scotland just became the first nation to offer free sanitary products to low-income women. Access to tampons and pads arent just a hygiene issue but a health and rights issue. At least one country is getting it right.

What Im RTing

Amir Talai (@AmirTalai)

I read this brilliance on race and couldnt help thinking the world could really use Fran Lebowitz blogging or tweeting or something. pic.twitter.com/KLTHaZa6op

July 18, 2017

Laurie Penny (@PennyRed)

Most of the interesting women you know are far, far angrier than you’d imagine.

July 18, 2017

Renee Bracey Sherman (@RBraceySherman)

Home care workers care for families, and sometimes deal with abuse, sexual assault, and only get paid $10 an hour. https://t.co/P6oream4xT pic.twitter.com/TNzJJn1HwK

July 20, 2017

Planned Parenthood (@PPact)

.@ppfa & @ReproRights are suing Texas over its latest abortion ban. Politicians make bad doctorshttps://t.co/zRfjG51i5t #WeWontGoBack pic.twitter.com/wmksAUMYmm

July 20, 2017

Who Im reading

Soraya Nadia Mcdonald on R Kelly and the truth behind why he hasnt been held accountable for his abuse we just dont care about black women; Daniel Kibblesmith with a humourous but way too real take on the expectation that Hillary Clinton disappear from public life; and ProPublicas incredible investigation into maternal deaths in the United States.

What Im watching

How Fox News is trying to normalize collusion. Oh good.

How outraged I am

I was already at a ni ne out of 10 over Betsy Devos listening to anti-women rape deniers, and this first person account at Vox from a sexual assault survivor put me at a full 10.

How Im making it through this week

A golden retriever in Long Island rescued a baby deer from drowning and Ive watched it at least 15 times.

Sign up for Jessica Valentis weekly newsletter on feminism and sexism

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/21/the-week-in-patriarchy-trump-clearly-doesnt-understand-health-insurance

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Spicer’s exit will not lift White House siege as walls close in

Washington (CNN)In a White House under siege, something had to change.

Press secretary Sean Spicer’s resignation Friday let off a pressure valve, allowing an administration that is being pummeled on multiple and multiplying fronts the chance, at least for once, to dictate its own story.
But Spicer’s departure after the most fraught six months of antagonism between the press and a West Wing that anyone can remember, is just one move in a shuffle of personnel and tactics that augurs an aggressive White House fightback that is likely to intensify the current discord in Washington.
    Trump has beefed up his legal team and escalated his rhetoric in an apparent attempt to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller, and any results of his probe into alleged collusion between his campaign team and Russian officials.
    Trump appears to be trying to revive his organization in an attempt to break out of a prolonged funk that has to a great extent wasted the first six months of his term — a time when presidents are usually at the apex of their power.
    But the reshuffle will not address what many critics see as the root of the crises that are assailing the White House the behavior and political conduct of the President himself. Scaramucci made that much clear.
    “The President himself is always going to be the President. I was in the Oval Office with him earlier today, and we were talking about letting him be himself, letting him express his full identity,” he said.
    “I think he’s got some of the best political instincts in the world, and perhaps in history.”
    Trump’s own behavior in recent days, in which he has all but declared war on both Mueller and his own Attorney General Jeff Sessions as well as revived questions over the Russia investigation in an astonishing interview with the New York Times, appeared at the least to call Scaramucci’s assessment of his political sense into question.
    His heated interventions also appear to be betraying the rising pressure inside the White House at the expanding allegations and investigations marching inexorably closer to the administration and the Trump family.
    News broken by CNN Friday that Mueller’s investigators asked the West Wing staff to preserve documents relevant to a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer last year confirmed that the White House itself is now in Mueller’s crosshairs.
    Mueller is also moving inexorably closer to the thing Trump cares about most — his family — with both his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Donald Jr. under scrutiny over their past history of meetings with Russian intermediaries.
    Trump’s warning in the Times interview that it would be a “violation” if Mueller probed his personal finances, could indicate that he believes the special counsel is targeting tax returns he has refused to release.
    Trump’s position is that his and his family’s financial dealings are off limits, even though Mueller might view them as a possible tool to see whether his business history poses any conflicts of interests to the President’s current role.
    “The President’s point is that he doesn’t want the special counsel to move beyond the scope and outside of its mission,” Sanders told reporters after Scaramucci had vacated the podium. “And the President’s been very clear, as have his accountants and team, that he has no financial dealings with Russia.”
    The Russia pressure is not going to relent next week either.
    Key members of the Trump campaign team, including Donald Jr., Kushner and former campaign chair Paul Manafort have been asked to give testimony on Capitol Hill that would send Russia fever into overdrive.
    Meanwhile, the White House is still struggling for the kind of “wins” that Trump promised. Despite introducing new measures to curtail illegal immigration, there are few other obvious successes for the new communications team to trumpet. While jobs creation has remained steady and strong, the economy has not yet exploded into growth. And though the stock market has been on a bull run, many presidents find that tying their performance to the markets is a perilous practice.
    Scaramucci’s first job, in his first appearance at the podium in the White House Briefing Room on Friday, was to insist that the walls are not closing in around Trump. And he appeared to be performing as much for the President as the journalists in front of him and the audience watching at home.
    “I’ve seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire, I’ve seen him at Madison Square Garden with a topcoat on, standing in the key and hitting foul shots and swishing them — he sinks three-foot putts,” Scaramucci said.
    “I don’t see this as a guy who’s ever under siege. This is a very, very competitive person. Obviously there’s a lot of incoming that comes into the White House. But the President’s a winner and what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a lot of winning.”
    Scaramucci’s attitude to his new job appears, for public consumption at least to be that Trump is actually doing a great job as president, but that his successes have simply not been properly communicated to the nation.
    “When you look at the individual state by state polls, you can see the guy’s doing phenomenally well,” Scaramucci said. “It’s indicating to me that the president is really well loved. There seems to be a disconnect in terms of some of the things that are going on and we want to connect that.”
    Scaramucci’s smooth, urbane performance was in contrast to the antagonistic and defensive performances from the podium that characterized much of Spicer’s tumultuous tenure as White House spokesman.
    But it was a contrast in style more than it was a contrast in substance.
    He punted on the question of Trump’s unproven assertion that millions of illegal votes cost him victory in the popular vote against Hillary Clinton in last year’s election. But he was careful not to contradict the President in one of his most infamous falsehoods, suggesting that questions of credibility and truthfulness will continue to be an issue once he is running the show.
    “If the president says it, … let me do more research on it, My guess is that there’s probably some level of truth to that,” Scaramucci said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/politics/donald-trump-sean-spicer-crises/index.html

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    Oxygen therapy brings ‘remarkable’ turnaround for toddler who fell in pool

    (CNN)Eden Carlson’s story might be one in a million.

    The toddler, who suffered brain damage after falling into a swimming pool at 23 months old, has begun to rebuild her brain function after treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, according to a case study published last month in the journal Medical Gas Research.
    “We’re stimulating growth of tissue and inhibiting inflammation and stopping cell death,” said Dr. Paul G. Harch, clinical professor and director of hyperbaric medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.
      Hyperbaric oxygen therapy introduces a greater-than-usual amount of oxygen to patients within a special chamber. The special chamber allows a doctor to control both the pressure and the level of vital gas, explained Harch, who treated the child and is lead author of the case study.
      After months of oxygen treatments, Eden is a “typical 3-year old,” said her mother, Kristal Carlson of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
      “Her cognitive abilities and speech are completely recovered. Most of her fine motor skills have returned,” Carlson wrote in an email. “Today she walks with assistance really well. She can walk independently, also, but not long distances.”

      A mother’s nightmare

      While Carlson was in the shower on February 29, 2016, Eden, who had just learned to walk, slipped through a baby gate and fell into the backyard swimming pool.
      “Her older siblings lost track of her and thought she was with me,” explained Carlson, who is still unsure how long Eden may have been in the water.
      It could have been “as long as 15 minutes,” she said, but was “at least five minutes.”
      Also unclear is how long her heart stopped beating, Harch said.
      “She stopped breathing, obviously, once she was face-down and probably inhaled some water, but we don’t know how long after that her heart stopped and her blood pressure went to zero,” Harch said. “We just know that when Mom got her out of the pool, there was nothing.”
      Carlson said her first instinct was to get her daughter to breathe.
      “So I gave her a couple of breaths and patted her, saying her name,” Eden’s mother said. “Then chest compressions.” Paramedics took over CPR, which was delivered for 100 minutes before Eden’s heart began beating on its own.
      Stabilized, the child was flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where she spent five weeks, her mother recalled. “When we brought her home, she was a vegetable, unable to do anything,” she said. “She had a feeding tube, could not speak, could not sit up, etc.”
      “She was profoundly injured,” Harch said. The hospital sent the child home with a monitor because when she’d fall asleep, she’d stop breathing at times and needed her parents to resuscitate her. “The predictions given to the family by the doctors were a list of never-evers: She will never ever talk, walk or eat on her own.”
      It soon became clear that the doctors and neurologists at Arkansas Children’s Hospital could do nothing more for Eden, so her parents “started googling alternative ways to treat brain injuries,” Carson explained. They found Harch’s website about three weeks after returning home from the hospital and “went from there.”

      ‘Bridging treatment’

      Eden could not be moved, and no hyperbaric oxygen chambers could be found in the Fayetteville area, so Harch treated the girl remotely with a “bridging therapy.”
      Using a normal oxygen tank with tubes to the nose, Harch put the child on “just 2 liters per minute for 45 minutes a day,” with the first treatment exactly 55 days after Eden fell into the pool.
      “We noticed an immediate difference in her,” her mother said. She videotaped Eden’s response to send to Harch.
      He said he saw a positive change in the child’s affect and decided to continue the treatments for three weeks.
      “She was more relaxed, her neuro-storming stopped, she started smiling, laughing, swallowing, tracking with her eyes, and saying words,” Carlson said.
      When Eden’s condition stabilized, her parents took her to New Orleans for treatments in a hyperbaric chamber, using the same amount of oxygen but with added pressure.
      The treatments are spaced out over time in order to allow the brain to improve on its own, said Harch, who is also a co-owner of Harch Hyperbarics Inc., a consulting company.
      “She began saying more words and speaking in sentences,” her mother said. “She started sitting up, crawling, pulling to stand, and trying to walk!”
      The ultimate proof: An MRI scan taken 162 days post-drowning — 27 days after Eden’s 40th oxygen session — compared with one taken in the hospital shows only mild residual injury to the brain, plus a near-complete reversal of brain shrinkage that sometimes occurs in similar cases.

      How does hyperbaric medicine work?

      “It’s not completely understood,” Harch said, explaining that in the late 1950s, doctors in the Netherlands began experimenting with trying to give maximum amounts of oxygen to patients with conditions in which lack of oxygen was a problem, such as gangrene.
      The US Navy also uses hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat decompression sickness or diver’s disease.
      It wasn’t until 2008 that the medical profession really began to understand “what this therapy is about,” Harch said. “Some doctors took human cells, put them in a Petri dish and put them in a hyperbaric chamber and gave them a typical treatment.” They used mass gene array analysis to measure and analyze gene activity.
      “What they found at the end of 24 hours, 8,101 human genes had either been turned on or turned off, and the largest clusters were those that code for growth and repair hormones — in other words, stimulate tissue growth and heal wounds — and the anti-inflammatory genes,” Harch said. “And the largest clusters of the turned-off ones — and these are temporary, the turning on and turning off of genes — were the pro-inflammatory genes and the ones that code for cell death.”
      Dr. Justin Sempsrott, executive director of Lifeguards Without Borders and medical director of International Surf Lifesaving Association, said Eden’s case is “remarkable” and “shows future direction for rehabilitation after non-fatal drowning.”
      Sempsrott, who was not involved in Eden’s treatment or the case study, noted that it was “done in an academically rigorous way.”
      “The most important determining factor of whether or not a person — adults or children — is going to survive drowning is how long they were under water,” Sempsrott explained. For those known to be underwater for fewer than five minutes, 86% survive with good neurological outcome, and when it’s less than 10 minutes, 77% survive with good neurological outcome.
      People underwater for 15 to 25 minutes are “kind of all over the place,” Sempsrott said. “More than 25 minutes is universally bad outcomes; they are typically neurologically devastated.”
      This is one reason giving breath along with good-quality chest compression is recommended for drowning resuscitation, he said.

      Cold vs. warm water

      “It’s possible to maintain that oxygenation even for a long period of time when someone comes out of the water,” Sempsrott said. “The time she was given CPR and survived is really not unheard of.”
      Generally, though, CPR cannot distribute oxygen throughout the body as effectively as natural breathing.
      Though Harch believes that the cold water in the pool was protective, Sempsrott said that “overwhelmingly,” most people who fall into cold water are simultaneously dying of hypothermia and drowning. “Hibernation state” does not help preserve the organs from harm, he said, though this is a common misperception.
      “They actually have either worse or the same outcomes,” he said.
      In most cases, Semsprott said, “after the news story dies down,” the person with little to no brain function requires round-the-clock care for the rest of their lives.
      “Non-fatal drowning is far more common than fatal drowning,” he said. A conservative estimate is that for every drowning, there are four non-fatal events, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tallies seven non-fatal events for every drowning among children.
      Dr. Paul S. Auerbach, Redlich Family Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said “prevention is the name of the game.”
      “Parents need to understand all the best methods for trying to prevent drowning in children,” said Auerbach, whose complete list of tips in his classic book, “Wilderness Medicine,” begins with the single most important rule:
      Watch your children.
      “Toddlers are at greatest risk for drowning,” he said, though all children under 14 are at a high risk.
      “Teach children to swim, but be advised that such teaching does not absolutely ‘drownproof’ a child,” Auerbach said. “In other words, never let a small child out of your sight when he is near the water, even if he knows how to swim.”

      See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

      Ultimately, Sempsrott said, Eden’s story is “remarkable” and one he hopes can be reproduced, “because this was an otherwise very common, hopeless, severe brain damage drowning story.” Still, he said, even if this is a one in a million story, for the Carlsons, hyperbaric oxygen treatments have “made all the difference in the world.”
      “We have no doubt that as she grows, the walking will become easier for her,” Carlson wrote of her daughter’s progress. “Eden is doing really well today.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/21/health/oxygen-therapy-drowning-brain-damage/index.html

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      6 Common Myths About Healthy Eating You Probably Believe

      The official food of the Western world is two burgers stuffed inside a third, larger burger. We could all stand to eat a little bit healthier, so it’s a good thing there’s an entire thriving health food industry to help us do so. Less thankfully, the primary ingredient in most of these superfoods is 100 percent organic, free-range horseshit.

      6

      Nutrition Labels Don’t Mean Anything

      Since 1990, the FDA mandates that all packaged food in the U.S. must feature nutrition labels. We still eat like crap, but at least we know where, or what, that crap comes from. Well, we think we do, at any rate. See, the FDA knows that no two cookies are exactly the same. That means the nutrient content can slightly vary even between two packages of the same product. So naturally, they allow nutrition labels a small margin of error to account for these differences. These “small” margins? They can be up to 20 percent.

      bowdenimages/iStock
      “Fat: 0g +/- 20%?”

      Although this doesn’t automatically mean everything you eat has 20 percent more calories than it says on the packaging, we have an inkling which side most companies err on. If these lax standards bother you, perhaps you’ll be comforted by the fact that it doesn’t matter. There’s no process in place for regularly auditing food nutrition labels, so it could all easily be lies.

      Yes, using the honor system to police an industry that has repeatedly shown a serious deficit on the honesty front has gone roughly as well as you’d assume. In 2008, the Government Accountability Office researched how often manufacturers’ vitamin and mineral claims fell within the FDA’s 20 percent rule. Of the 300 products tested, 47 percent were outside of the accepted range for vitamin A, 31 percent were outside of the accepted range for iron, and 12 percent were outside of the accepted range for vitamin C. The FDA allowed five different methods to determine a food product’s calories, all of which yielded wildly different results. If you ran one of the shadier health food companies and were about to launch a new product, wouldn’t you use whichever method looked best on paper, regardless of accuracy? Of course not, because you have integrity. Which is why you don’t run a shady health food company.

      KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock
      “So after we started writing ‘Contains 1 Billion % Daily Vitamins A-Z’ on everything,
      that’s when we really started seeing returns.”

      5

      There’s Nothing Wrong With Egg Yolks

      Eggs are great, but be sure to only eat the whites, because that ugly yellow blob in the middle is teeming with cholesterol. And you don’t want high cholesterol, do you? After all, you are what you eat (in your case, mostly bacon grease and your own words).

      rez-art/iStock
      “Fuck it. ‘Oink, oink.'”

      Ah, but the most recent evidence indicates that although egg yolk does contain most of an egg’s cholesterol, foods high in dietary cholesterol have little to no effect on your blood cholesterol. This means that egg yolks do not actually increase your risk of heart disease. The yolks are in fact the healthiest part of the egg. They have more of the good stuff — phosphorus, calcium, zinc, folate, and B12 vitamins — along with things that the white doesn’t have at all, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Of course, this isn’t to say the white is bad. It’s just a little bland and a lot overrated. It’s the Top 40 of the egg world.

      4

      High-Fat Dairy Products Are Fine

      Back in the 1970s, when studies first started to suggest that high-fat foods led to obesity, sales of whole milk plummeted. Skim milk was the new hot ticket, and has seen its sales rise a whopping 156 percent between 1975 and 2014. Whole milk was even outright banned from American school lunch programs.

      But it turns out real milk has curves. There’s an increasing amount of evidence showing that high-fat dairy may lower your risk of obesity and diabetes (aka Americancer). Science isn’t sure what gives whole fat dairy its protective qualities. One theory is that it acts to suppress our hunger (so you don’t feel the need for those extra Oreos). Another is that the fats in the dairy interact directly with our cells, massaging our livers and muscles into breaking down sugar from food more efficiently. Anyway, here’s hoping that one day Science finds out that bacon protects you from cancer.

      3

      Coconut Oil Isn’t Good For You

      Not only can coconut oil replace evil cooking fats like butter and olive oil, but you can also use it as coffee creamer, cram it in fruit juice to make a sports drink, or huck it in a smoothie to add vital nutrients. Why, some health professionals claim it can cure relatively benign ailments like urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and arthritis, while others say it combats Alzheimer’s, colon cancer, and even HIV.

      This, of course, is bullshit.

      Coconut oil is 90 percent saturated fat, which is a way higher percentage than other conventional cooking fats like butter and lard (which have “only” about 64 percent and 40 percent saturated fat, respectfully). Coconut oil also has a different chemical structure from other fats, which means the body may absorb it differently. Some studies say it raises “good” cholesterol, which is good, but at the same time it also raises “bad” cholesterol, which is … bad. Long story short: If you’re lactose intolerant or stuck on a desert island, go ahead and use coconut oil like a dairy product — but don’t think it’s going to save your life. Unless you use it to power a radio and call for rescue … but no, that only works on TV. Probably.

      2

      “Immune Boosters” Do Nothing

      The idea behind immune boosters is that the right combination of vitamins and minerals can prevent you from getting sick, sort of like a magic potion. But the only thing they’re boosting is the money out of your wallet. We do have a pretty great system of medications to prevent you from getting sick. They’re called vaccines, and despite what half the internet thinks, they definitely work. If hot lemon water with wheatgrass juice truly helped, pharmaceutical companies would own a patent on it and you’d need a doctor’s permission to boil your lawn.

      That doesn’t stop Jamba Juice from selling an addition to their smoothies called a Probiotic Boost, which somehow makes your 430-calorie smoothie with 77 grams of sugar healthy. Now, there is some evidence that a deficiency of zinc, Vitamin C, and other micro-nutrients may alter an immune system’s response, but it’s as minuscule as it is unproven.

      At least Jamba Juice is delicious, unlike Airborne. That “medication’s” popularity soared about a decade ago, when a second-grade teacher cured all the world’s ills and created a product that prevented people from ever getting sick again. Of course, all she really created was a subpar fizzy soda, and the company was faced with a $23.3 million class-action lawsuit for false advertising. And yet that doesn’t prevent Airborne from still advertising their products as immune boosters, because their legal fees are smaller than their profit margins.

      1

      Kombucha Isn’t Healthy; It’s Nothing But A Mild (Gross) Buzz

      Kombucha is the beverage they serve in Hell’s cafeteria. It’s a fermented tea that tastes like ass, but supposedly cures cancer and give you superpowers. Unsurprisingly, it does none of these things except for the ass part. It also has the potential added bonus of dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, severely low blood pressure, and death.

      So why does it make you feel good after drinking it? One theory: The University of Maine collected samples from several brands of kombucha, and found that they had between 0.5-2.5 percent alcohol by volume. Lower than beer, but sold to minors, and juuuust enough for a little pick-me-up after yoga class. You want to chase that feeling, chug a Pabst. Nobody’s saying it tastes great, but it’s better than withered-ballsack tea.

      Alyssa Feller will never lie to you. Follow her on Twitter to see for yourself. Check out Patrick Coyne’s blog, because why not?

      For more B.S. that’s being spoon fed to us, check out 5 Well-Known Tips For Healthy Eating (That Don’t Work) and 5 Supposedly Healthy Things That Are Good For (Killing) You.

      Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out The 7 Most Blatant Lies Famous Brands Based Entire Ads On, and other videos you won’t see on the site!

      Follow us on Facebook, and we’ll follow you everywhere.

      Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24399_6-common-myths-about-healthy-eating-you-probably-believe.html

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      What we need to learn from Linkin Park frontman’s death

      (CNN)It’s a tragic day for the music industry. The lead singer of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington, was found dead in his Los Angeles home at 41. Sadly authorities were treating the case as a possible suicide. Eerily, Bennington died on what would’ve been his dear friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday — the Soundgarden frontman hung himself on May 18, 2017. Both men are now part of a long, disturbing history of rock and roll and untimely death.

      Linkin Park was a groundbreaking rock band that shattered the music industry with 2000’s “Hybrid Theory.” In an era of overly sweet pop music with boy bands and copycat starlets, the group was a refreshing mix of angst, grit and raw emotion.
      Chester Bennington’s melodic but rugged voice helped spawn rock classics like “In the End,” “Numb” and “What I’ve Done.” Arguably, one of Linkin Park’s most brilliant (and unexpected) moments was pairing with Jay-Z for 2004’s “Collision Course.” The album was a mashup of Jay and Linkin Park, and launched the single “Numb/Encore.” Not since Aerosmith and Run-DMC did “Walk this Way” had people heard this perfect fusion of rock and hip hop. The six-track album was critically acclaimed and a smash hit, going to number one on the Billboard album chart and selling over two million copies.
        One thing no one can deny is the significant pain in Bennington’s voice. He clearly purged his anguish through his music. Bennington was open with his history of abuse and struggles with drugs and alcohol, which he claimed helped him create some of the band’s biggest songs. When describing the song “My Suffering,” he told the music website Noisecreep.com in 2009 it’s “literally about (how) being an alcoholic and a drug addict has paid off for me in many ways. I have been able to tap into all the negative things that can happen to me throughout my life by numbing myself to the pain, so to speak, and kind of being able to vent it through my music.”
        He said that another song, “Crawling,” is “probably the most literal song lyrically I’d ever written for Linkin Park and that’s about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol. That feeling, being able to write about it, sing about it, that song, those words sold millions of records, I won a Grammy, I made a lot of money. I don’t think I could’ve been inspired to create something like that by watching someone else go through that. So in a lot of ways that’s been very constructive for me.” This sentiment is sadly familiar for many artists who are obviously struggling with pain or addiction and see the battle as a space of creativity.

          Linkin Park singer on his past, drug use (2009)

        Tragically, when I think about artists like Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell and so many more, I can’t help but wonder what is the price for singing the lifelong blues? Do you have to suffer for your art to create? Even back to the days of Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix, all of whom died too young, these artists were living every note, lyric and chord of their music.
        Sure, pain and angst create great music. But considering the phenomenal artists we have lost in the past few years to suicide and inner demons, it is long past time to prioritize real mental health over the sporadic catharsis of bars and chords. According to Health.com, musicians are fifth in the top ten professions with high rates of depressive illness.
        If you make a choice to not suffer for your art, can you still be a great artist? The answer is, yes. When Adele released her “25” album, she admitted she would no longer thrive off of depression to create. When Mary J. Blige was criticized for “getting happy,” she specifically told me in an interview for BET.com, “Some of them (fans) are mad at me for making the switch, but I would’ve died over there. Literally, I’d be six feet under.” Thankfully, Mary and Adele made the switch.

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        I hope there is a lesson that can be learned in the deaths of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. We need to support our artists to be healthy and loved even when they evolve out of the sadness that inspired our favorite songs. Depending on pain to create is a dangerous road to travel. I can’t help but wonder about the sonic and vocal brilliance we will, now, never get from Chester Bennington.
        Long live a god of rock.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/opinions/lesson-in-chester-bennington-death-opinion-cane/index.html

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        The Importance Of Being Orgy

        After a trip to visit my brother (named Mardi Gras) in New Orleans I found it best to go visit the free STD testing center run by the AHF here in Los Angeles. Every time I go there I run the full gamut of tests, partially because it just feels good to get a digital report card where everything negative is actually a good thing – chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, oral, anal, everything – and its completely free, no co-pays, no-nothing.

        When one is recently covered in a rainbow of beads, shirtless, with countless tongues and spicy shrimp in ones mouth and youre shoving your dick in more hiding places than even crawfish know, sometimes its best to take a moment and pause. It also didnt help my state of mind that I had a pimple on my dick shaft immediately following that blurry weekend in NOLA, which was almost healed, but still. I cant say I often get dick acne, Dacne? Dickne? Dimples?

        I should also mention that lately I havent quite found my way forward – or perhaps some other direction, not yet discovered, on some other plane of existence. Sometimes I like to think of myself as a river or an ocean or some kind of body of slutty water, and I just need sunshine to turn into some kind of ethereal vapor again, to roam and grow again. Its just been one massive damn dam after another in seemingly every direction, and to every one of those dams, I say thank you. God bless you. Because youre just a sneeze.

        Freelance life aint all its cracked up to be. In other words, freelancing aint free. I just got a notification for negative three hundred dollars in my bank account, which is sandwiched between two emails from the human resources representatives for jobs I didnt get – honestly, out of hundreds, over many months and many a moon, which makes one feel a bit like a loon and possibly soon like a raccoon, rummaging through trash bins, hissing…

        Back to the day of the STD testing. My meditation that day on the beach, ravenously drenched in sunlight and coconut oil, was let go and let flow, which is sort-of a mix between Taoist/Buddhist/Jesus-ish philosophy, which is tough for me, because to let go always sounds like to give up, which I was taught to never do. But I thought, okay, fuck it, lets try this. Lets try trying.

        STD clinics are always so somber, as if one is waiting to go get burned alive for past sins, or for simply existing. Perhaps this is the new church – discovering your STD status – and we were all waiting for confessional. Everyone is looking at their phone or sitting with their eyes closed, nervous, contemplative, ready to sing a hymn of praise or despair. Many fidget there with an aura of tamed shame. There was even one girl who just couldnt stand being inside the waiting area with all the other sinners. It was too much for her.

        She kept popping her head in the door, Did they call my number? No? Okay Uhgghhgh BYE Shed slam the door again and again, disgusted, as if by the sight of everyone else reminded her that there were witnesses to her recent sluttiness. Oh yes, my dear, we know. Were all the same. Youre one of us, we the slut-saints.

        I walked in and recognized a cute blue-eyed fella with the same green shorts of a cute blue-eyed fella I just saw at the gym earlier in the day, post-beach-meditation. I had previously tried to get his attention at the gym, sweatily sex-eyeing him there on the leg press, but it was clear he was making love to Candy Crush instead – the great sin of our time, sacrificing the present moment on the cross of being cross-eyed, in front of a rainbow screen of addiction.

        He knew it, too, because when I walked into the waiting area of we lady-whores and we man-whores and we trans-whores we nodded and started laughing, as if to say, YUUUUP, which began what would become a three-hour long obnoxious and giggly conversation between the two of us and two other homos that we roped in too. Who said you cant giggle in church? Everyone knows those are the best kind of giggles anyway, the ones that make you feel a little guilty.

        He was a Special Ed teacher, and very sensitive to the word retard. Another was a Filipino chef with a special kinship to soul food, which I could relate to, since deep down Im a morbidly obese giggly southern black lady in white face, with ample amounts of chest hair. And the other was a Latino restaurant manager who had just broken up with his long time boyfriend that week. His ex stole his TVs, but left the dog, and left him with having to pay all the rent.

        What ensued was the kind of man-to-man camaraderie that most people crave on a daily basis. Brutally honest connection. Schoolboy giggles-in-church laughter. Shooting the shit and fucking with each other the way brothers and lovers do. Im normally the kind of person who hates layers of formality and secrecy; everyone walks around acting all serious all the damn time, thinking being serious will somehow keep death – or sexually transmitted infections – away. This place just amplified that feeling for me, for all of us.

        We couldnt help but see the situation for what it was: were all basically here because we love to fuck and now were dealing with the consequences.

        You can be all somber and earnest and ashamed about it all, or you can just let the fuck go and laugh at it all. Youre a slut and Im a slut, lets break the bread of conversation together and then get pricked with needles that suck our blood, shall we?

        Thankfully all of us were negative after the HIV rapid test; it helps that all of us are on PrEP too, that once-a-day revolutionary pill that has helped a great many homosexual not get impregnated with an HIV-baby. We would find out the results of Chlamydia (Anal), Chlamydia (Oral), Chlamydia (Urine), Gonorrhea (Anal), Gonorrhea (Oral), Gonorrhea (Urine), and Syphilis in a day or so.

        The next day we decided to all meet up at one the guys places, on his rooftop (named hot tub). We drank shitty champagne and awesome micro-brewed beer in the LA sunset light, shirtless and drenched in coconut oil and chlorine, as bubbles massaged our balls. Bees swarmed around us for some reason, perhaps the countrys last remaining bees, and maybe its because they noticed we were all sweet with the sweaty nectar of giggling with strangers connecting over bad music blasting from a boombox.

        Later that night, we had dinner at blue-eyed-green-shorts place; he and his husband have a cute candlelit suburban bungalow with multiple cats. The Filipino cooked us a lovely meal. I brought the cheapest wine I could find. Some of their other friends joined – a perky-chested trainer and a muscled hairy Japanese fella (yes, hairy Asians exist, and theyre lovely), and we sat at a long found-wood rustic table and discussed the importance of taking care of blind people as they get old and close to dying.

        The Filipino was also a nurse. One of his blind patients paints these grand floral paintings and we all oogled-and-ahhed over how amazing they were, passing around the colorful screen of a phone, how he obviously remembered the details of flowers from his brighter days, even the right colors, the nuance of sunlight hitting the leaves and petals, shimmering petals for the dying bees that care more about hot tubs full of buttfuckers these days than pollen.

        And as all good dinner parties go, eventually we played strip Cards Against Humanity. Perhaps it was cards like Bukkake or Making love to a dolphin blow hole or Cutting off your best friends balls with garden shears – or maybe it was the importance of how many White Russians we lost count of slurping and burping, but all that simmered into one of us declaring, My dick is cold; you should probably warm it up.

        Which vaporized into a six man all-out sex-orgy on the couch, cards left behind, glasses completely empty. They became glassy Russian spies to how our giggles and sexually-frustrated wiggles replaced the air with groans and moans and the metronome of a dance. With my new friends dick in my mouth, and my new friends mouth on my dick, I couldnt help but wonder in that moment, in a trance of engorged and merging blood and flesh and light and words:

        Eventually I let go of trying to figure it out, flowing or not flowing, who the fuck knows, and simply enjoyed what we were all there to enjoy, what were always here to enjoy, the ecstasy of connection with whats right in front of us. And there we were, new waves of men crashing upon one another, a tide of something, a ride on something, and none of us thought about money or honey or whats not supposed to be funny. We werent even thinking at all.

        The next day we all got texts at the same time from the AHF. One by one, all clear. One by one, a fury of negatives that actually felt positive. And it stung me, sometimes pimples are just pimples and have nothing to do with the fact that youre trying really hard to fuck your way to the top of all your problems in the dark, meditating on the secret spaces between your soul that you have yet to discover, with the claws of one more breath, one by one, transcendent, light, clean, floating somewhere between care-free and probably a little bit careless.

        For more of Micah’s writing
        pick up his book,
        ,
        available here.

        Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/micah-enloe/2017/04/the-importance-of-being-orgy/

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        Tennessee county inmates get reduced jail time for getting a vasectomy

        (CNN)Yes, you read that right. Inmates in White County, Tennessee, can shave 30 days off their jail sentence if they undergo an elective birth control procedure.

        Both male and female inmates can volunteer for the new program. Women receive a Nexplanon implant in their arm, which provides up to three years of continuous birth control. Men undergo a vasectomy. The procedures are free and conducted by the Tennessee Department of Health.
        General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield signed a standing order on May 15 enforcing the program.
          “I hope to encourage them to take personal responsibility and give them a chance, when they do get out, not to be burdened with children,” Benningfield told CNN affiliate WTVF. “This gives them a chance to get on their feet and make something of themselves.”
          Since the program started, 32 women and 38 men have volunteered. The men are currently waiting to have the vasectomies performed.
          “I understand it won’t be entirely successful, but if you reach two or three people, maybe that’s two or three kids not being born under the influence of drugs. I see it as a win-win,” Benningfield said.

          Controversy over new program

          Not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea. District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and the ACLU are speaking against the ethics and legality of it.
          “Those decisions are personal in nature and I think that’s just something the court system should not encourage or mandate,” Dunaway told WTVF.
          Dunaway has instructed his staff not to make any arrangements involving the birth control program.
          “Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director, in a statement.
          “Judges play an important role in our community — overseeing individuals’ childbearing capacity should not be part of that role.”

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/us/white-county-inmate-vasectomy-trnd/index.html

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          Trump’s blast of Sessions has ‘chilling’ effect inside West Wing

          Washington (CNN)For President Donald Trump, loyalty in Washington is a one-way street.

          Trump’s trashing of several of his administration’s top justice officials in an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is causing deep alarm inside the West Wing, leading some to worry that their loyalty to Trump might not be reciprocated from the man in the Oval Office.
          There’s also a general sense of bewilderment as to why Trump gave the interview. Health care was the focus of the day. He actually got engaged — but then this.
            “It’s chilling,” one White House official said.
            Conversations with the official and one top Republican in frequent contact with the West Wing show a president who has long been angry with Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia probe, but rather than subsiding and moving on as Trump sometimes does, the anger has grown into a passionate rage.
            “No one was more loyal than Sessions. No one,” a White House official said, speaking confidentially to avoid drawing the President’s ire.
            The thinking goes: If this could happen to Sessions, it could happen to anyone. One official described the President’s blasting of Sessions as only intensifying the already low morale inside the West Wing.
            Trump faulted Sessions for accepting his offer to be attorney general and then recusing himself shortly thereafter due to undisclosed contacts he had with Russian officials during the campaign. The President said those actions were “very unfair” to him.
            “Sessions,” Trump told The New York Times, “should have never recused himself and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”
            He added: “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the President.”

            Loyalty

            The comments are a stunning rebuke from a president who craves loyalty, demanding it from those who work for him. Trump has written extensively about the trait in his books, as well, touting it as the most critical quality as person can have.
            But as Trump has eased into life in the White House, his demands for loyalty have proven to be unrequited, most recently shown by how he lashed out at Sessions, one of his earliest and most dedicated supporters.
            Sessions declined to hit back at Trump during a press briefing Thursday, telling reporters that he “plan(s) to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate.”
            Sessions loyalty to Trump has been unflinching for years. The conservative senator was his first Senate endorsement, long before any other Republican heavyweights were on board. The senator also stood by Trump after the Access Hollywood tape controversy, where Trump was heard making lewd comments about sexually assaulting women. And Sessions even helped fill Trump’s inner circle with confidants of his own, including Stephen Miller, Trump’s top policy aide, and Rick Dearborn, a top White House legislative aide.
            The acrimony between Trump and Sessions has long been simmering — Sessions tendered his resignation earlier this year but Trump declined to accept it — but Wednesday’s comments signal a shift in Trump’s leadership style, one that former employers used to say rested on unflinching loyalty to the company and, more importantly, the boss.
            Earlier in his career, during a question-and-answer session from The Learning Annex Wealth Expo, Trump was asked for the “key things” a boss should look for when hiring someone and building a team.
            “The thing that’s most important to me is loyalty,” Trump said. “You can’t hire loyalty. I’ve had people over the years who I swore were loyal to me, and it turned out that they weren’t. Then I’ve had people that I didn’t have the same confidence in and turned out to be extremely loyal. So you never really know.”

            One-way street

              Comey: Trump asked to lift ‘cloud’ of probe

            He brought those beliefs to Washington by bringing many of his own employees with him, but his credo now appears to be Trump asking for loyalty, not giving it back.
            Trump asked fired FBI Director James Comey for his loyalty during a January 27 dinner at the White House, Comey said in written testimony to the Senate earlier this year.
            “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty,” Comey recalled Trump saying, adding later that the soon-to-be fired FBI director offered him “honest loyalty.”
            Trump later fired Comey in May, citing his disloyalty as one of the reasons in later interviews.
            The President also asked Republicans in the House to stick with him on health care reform, touting the bill as “incredibly well crafted” during a Rose Garden ceremony after narrowly it passed the House. Weeks later, Trump went back on those comments and called the House health care bill “mean” in a meeting with senators.
            The remark shocked some lawmakers who stuck with Trump on health care, despite the political perils.
            Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican and member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was flummoxed when CNN asked him what he thought of the President calling the bill “mean.”
            “The one,” he asked, “that he had us come over and celebrate?”

            Long-held belief

            Those close to Trump have long said loyalty is critical to him.
            Bill Zanker, the president and founder of The Learning Annex who wrote “Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life” with Trump in 2009, put it bluntly in his intro to the self-help book: “Loyalty is important to Trump and is a wonderful trait to have in business.”
            “I try to hire people who are honest and loyal. I value loyalty very much,” they wrote. “I put the people who are loyal to me on a high pedestal and take care of them very well … I go out of my way for the people who were loyal to me in bad times.”
            And former employees, who requested anonymity to speak bluntly, said Trump’s desire for loyalty is the reason why he brought someone like Keith Schiller, his longtime bodyguard and adviser, into the White House. Schiller is an asset to the White House, many who know him say, but his steadfast loyalty is his biggest asset to Trump.
            Trump’s love of loyalty stems, according to those close to him, to his mentor Roy Cohn, who stood by Trump and his family in the face of housing discrimination and grew into his guide through the rough New York real estate industry.
            “Sometimes I think that next to loyalty, toughness was the most important thing in the world to him,” Trump wrote of Cohn in his 1997 urtext “The Art of the Deal.”
            “He was a truly loyal guy — it was a matter of honor with him,” Trump wrote. “And because he was also very smart, he was a great guy to have on your side.”

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/politics/trump-loyalty-sessions-white-house/index.html