New York Stock Exchange 1

New York Stock Exchange 2

And this is how my pics would look like if only I didn't use a cell phone camera...and had a feel for framing:

Photo by tanakawho.

AIDS, Arabs, and Adultery

Eight out of 10 women with HIV in the Arab world have contracted the disease from their husbands, a UN expert said...urging religious leaders to help rise prevention awareness.

"There is a wrong perception in our societies that HIV/Aids infection is a result of adultery and victims are discriminated accordingly. On the contrary, figures available with UNAIDS show that 80 per cent of women in the Arab world have been transmitted the disease by their husbands," Dr Al Zenari told Gulf News. "Women whose husbands have died of Aids are in most cases rejected by their own families," he said.

Um, if the majority of infected women contract the disease from their husbands, isn't the perception that HIV/Aids infection is a result of adultery--male adultery, that is-- correct? Assuming, of course, that reality applies equally to people.

Mike Huckabee, Dr. Fay Boozman And God's Little Protective Rape Shield

Mike Huckabee wants to amend the U.S. Constitution (1) so it's in God's standards, (2) to ban abortion, and (3) to say that life begins at conception.

Sorry, but that's not good enough! Unless, and until, Mike Huckabee vows to amend the Constitution to ban physiology and to say that God's little RapeShield(TM) controls conception I for one shall scoff in his general direction.

I sense some of you are not familiar with the role God's RapeShield(TM) plays in conception. Allow me to educate you.

In 1999 Gov. Mike Huckabee appointed Dr. Fay Boozman, an ophthalmologist who served on the medical advisory board for a "crisis pregnancy center", as the head of Arkansas Department of Health.

Dr. Boozman became [in]famous for passing off personal belief and/or religious propaganda as medical opinion when, during a 1998 failed state senate campaign, he stated that "pregnancies from rape are rare because of 'God's protective little shield'." [The WaPo, reports that Dr. Boozman denied he attributed the phenomenon to "God's little shield," as the local paper reported....]

According to the person who was appointed head of the Arkansas Department of Health by Gov. Huckabee, it's unlikely for women to get pregnant during rape because an adrenaline rush triggered by fear causes hormonal changes that block a woman's ability to conceive during a violent attack.

When asked to justify his [own] ignorance of medical matters, Dr. Boozman apologized for - wait for it! - causing hurt feelings but refused to retract his statement that rape rarely results in pregnancy because of RapeShield(TM) hormones. Although admitting that he was not quoting a scientific study, he insisted that he was sharing his personal observations as a doctor.

Right, 'cause as we all know "sharing a medical observation" and "hiding behind medical credentials to spout malicious nonsense" are one and the same thing. Not.

Medical observation

If you see a lot of reproductive age patients who've been raped AND who are not using contraception at the time of the rape (or aren't postpartum, or breastfeeding, or have a history of infertility, etc.) AND who have not received the proper medical care (no pregnancy prophylaxis) AND you are their primary care physician and see them in the immediate post rape period AND you have good follow up AND you test and find that most do not become pregnant, saying that it appears that pregnancies as a result of rape are rare among YOUR patient population is a medical observation.

[Of course, this observation still doesn't allow you to say that rape victims are less likely to become pregnant because of hormonal changes that block a woman's ability of conceive during a violent attack.]


If you have no significant clinical experience with the patient population under discussion AND no supporting studies, saying that it's rare for women to get pregnant as a result of rape because their fear triggers hormonal changes that block conception is propaganda.

In the absence of clinical experience, population studies and invasive testing, the only way you can say that it's rare for young ladies to be impregnated during a rape because their fear triggers hormonal changes that block conception is if you have HormonoVision(TM) and you can look at a patient (or, better yet, imagine you're looking at a patient) and know exactly what's going on with her hormones and feedback loops. [And since you are not present at the time of the rape, you'd also need the BackInTime(TM) plug-in for your HormonoVison(TM).]

According to Gov. Huckabee, Dr. Boozman (who tragically died a couple of years ago in a farm accident) was one of my most trusted team members...."One of my happiest days as governor was when he became director of the Department of Health., and one of our finest ever and most pure-hearted public servants who loved others more than self and was incapable of anything other than statesmanship and kindness....

If a pure heart, love of others, kindness and an utter contempt and disregard for female patients and a sadistic, sacred, drive to demean them aren't enough of a basis to amend the Constitution I don't know what is.

Bottom line: Mike Huckabee's ignorance of basic science precludes him from being a competent public servant. His stated goal to impose a theocracy if he becomes president makes him a potential public danger.


We, The People Inc.

Societe Generale, France's No. 2 bank, writes off $2.99 billion lost in the subprime mortgage crisis and fails to detect tens of billions in fraudulent deals, while one of corporate America's most admired executives...named best CFO in managed care for four years in a row and former chief financial officer of health insurance giant WellPoint Inc. is accused of infecting sexual partners with herpes and chlamydia.

I think we all need to incorporate and shirk our responsibilities accordingly.

Phill Kline Sues Planned Parenthood...Again

If you want a preview of what will happen to your medical records once abortion is banned in the U.S., pay close attention to the demented antics of Kansas' very own Phill "Patient Chart Thief" Kline.

After being ousted as Kansas' Attorney General, but before leaving office to become the Johnson County District Attorney, Phill "Patient Chart Thief" Kline stole the medical records of 90 patients who had post-22-week abortions in 2003 at Comprehensive Health or Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, Kan.:

2004 - Kline subpoenas patient records.

February 2006 - State Supreme Court rules Kline can seek access to the records but not before he presents his reasons for seeking the subpoenas to District Court Judge Richard Anderson.

November 2006 - Judge Anderson turns over patient charts to Kline's office.

November 2006 - Paul Morrison, Johnson County district attorney, defeats Kline and becomes the new Kansas Attorney General.

January 5, 2007 - Kline forwards copies of patient charts to the Johnson County district attorney's office.

January 8, 2007 - Kline leaves the state attorney general's office for the Johnson County district attorney's office where he replaces Morrison as the new district attorney.

June 2007 - After finding no evidence of any criminal wrongdoing by the clinic, Kansas Attorney General Paul Morrison ends the investigation of Comprehensive Health.

June 2007 - Morrison also informs Comprehensive Health that Kline, the Johnson County district attorney, retains copies of the patient charts and he finally tells the clinic about Kline forwarding copies of the charts to the Johnson County district attorney's office on Jan. 5.

June 6, 2007 - The clinic files a petition with the state Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus against Kline.

June 22, 2007 - State Supreme Court tells Kline he has until July 12 to respond.

Unfortunately, no further information is available about this lawsuit. Those involved have not discussed the case and the documents are sealed.

Putting the stolen charts to good use, Phill "Patient Chart Thief" Kline sues Planned Parenthood again, and then some more:

October 2007 - Kline files a 107-count criminal complaint against Planned Parenthood. The complaint consists of 23 felonies and 84 misdemeanors, alleging unlawful late-term abortions and inadequate record keeping at Planned Parenthood's Comprehensive Health clinic in Overland Park.

December 2007 - Kansas Attorney General Morrison acknowledges having an extramarital affair with a former subordinate in the district attorney's office.

According to the AP:

[The woman] also accused him of harassment and trying to get her to provide sensitive information on Kline's activities, including his investigation of Planned Parenthood.

Morrison has denied the allegations of professional misconduct, but he plans to step down as attorney general Jan. 31. Kline has said he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Morrison's conduct.

January 16, 2008 - Judge Stephen R. Tatum denies Kline's motion to disqualify two attorneys representing Planned Parenthood.

Phill "Patient Chart Thief" Kline alleged that Planned Parenthood altered patient records before turning them over to Judge Anderson in 2006 as part of Kline's initial criminal investigation. From the AP article:

Kline based his records allegations on testimony that Shawnee County District Judge Richard Anderson gave Wednesday. Anderson is the judge who at Kline's request subpoenaed the records in 2004 after Kline - then Kansas attorney general - began his initial Planned Parenthood investigation.

Anderson testified that records he eventually received from Planned Parenthood in 2006 - after the agency fought the subpoenas - did not match the original records. Anderson said the questionable records were the same ones that current Attorney General Paul Morrison reviewed when he cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing last year.

Based on that, Anderson said he does not believe Morrison should have issued his letter clearing the agency.

However, despite Judge Anderson's testimony and Kline's allegations:

Judge Stephen R. Tatum said after the hearing that Kline did not present evidence that proved the attorneys should be removed from the case.


Tatum said Kline cannot show that the attorneys had anything to do with preparing the records.

Furthermore, not only did Planned Parenthood officials say that Kline's allegations about the records possibly being altered are false, but according to Irigonegaray (one of the attorneys Kline sought to remove):

Kline filed the motion to disqualify the attorneys to draw publicity about the criminal charges. "It was a complete waste of the court's time and everyone else's," PPKM President Peter Brownlie said, adding that Kline "produced absolutely no evidence of anything that would disqualify our attorneys so clearly he had some other reason for it."

Kline said he wanted to present the information now so PPKM could not appeal a verdict on the basis of ineffective counsel. "These documents were manufactured and are false information, and counsel represented them to be something they are not," Kline said.... Irigonegaray disagreed, saying, "We were very disturbed by Mr. Kline's efforts to put on the record information that's not only erroneous, but without any basis in fact"....

Bottom line: It's easy to dismiss Phill "Patient Chart Thief" Kline as the pustulant voyeur that he is and to regard what's going on in Kansas as some peculiar regional drama. What's not so easy is to realize that any one of us might be part of the next batch of 90 female patients whose medical information is at the abject mercy of assorted miscreants.

Saudi Arabia and Us, Bestest of BFF

Bush, God and Saudi Arabia (via)

They still throw witches in jail in Saudi Arabia (among other things).

Well, if you can't look at your bestest friends for guidance on how to bring more God into women's lives and the affairs of the State, who can you look at?

Patient Office Visits, Phreesia Style

Shorter Phreesia, the first company to provide a free and substantially more useful patient check-in solution in a doctor's waiting room:

You, the doctor, provide the captive audience.

We, Phreesia, provide a free touch-screen pad and enough pharma ads to make us all [who aren't doctors or patients] rich.

I don't think so! Blasting patients with pharma ads does not a pre-visit personalized interactive patient interview in [my] waiting room make.

A first visit, when you're trying to establish a rapport with the patient, gather information, figure out what the problem is and devise a plan of treatment is not the appropriate time for third party commercial endeavors.

I don't have any experience with Phreesia, nor do I know anyone who has. It's just that something about the concept rubs me the wrong way. A lot of bells and whistles to mask the underlying business model: Pharmas pay a middleman to serve their ads to vulnerable people in an inappropriate setting.

I mean, why not just cut out the middleman, pay the doctor directly and have him/her deluge the poor patient with ads. Speaking of which, have I mentioned that there's quite some down time (literally) during a gyn exam and a whole celling begging for a pharma ad projection. [If interested, call me! Lots o' wall space at reasonable rates!]

That's my first impression of Phreesia. What's yours?

Mike Huckabee. On Tape: I Want a Theocracy


"[Some of my opponents] do not want to change the Constitution, but I believe it's a lot easier to change the constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that's what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards...."

Five minutes ago on MSNBC. Just heard Mike Huckabee at a campaign stop in Michigan saying that "...we need to change the constitution to include God, rather than (?expect God to change) change God to accommodate the constitution...."

The moron MSNBC host, Chris Jansing, totally misses the enormity of a presidential candidate admitting on tape that his goal as POTUS is to transform our country into a theocracy and talks with a Huckabee campaign manager about fluffy kittens.

NOTE: If you happen to have the clip, or know where to get it, please let me know. I want to make sure Huckabee said what he said (as opposed to, you know, the voices in my head).

UPDATE: I found a mention of the program (MSNBC's "All Politics" program with Chris Jansing today at 1:30 p.m). Jansing was talking to Sen. Hutchinson, and the clip in question aired right before that interview.

If you know how to get a hold of the clip please let me know.

UPDATE 2: Via Pam, the exact quote (bumped to top).

Sacrificing Your Medical Privacy At The Altar Of Future Crimes Detection

What do security guards involved in the shooting of two Christian women in Iraq, flawed testing booklets leading to invalidated test scores for U.S. students on an international test, and your private medical information have in common?

Give up? Why, RTI International of course.

RTI International, a factotum consulting outfit in North Carolina, has been funded by its benefactor the government to develop a plan that would allow payers to act as fraud monitors by giving them remote access to patient records. Payers would then be allowed to review patient records regardless of whether the record involves a specific claim.

Now, in all fairness to RTI International, irrespective of a consultant's competence and accountability, the plan to allow any Tom, Dick, and Harriette to go on a fishing expedition through your medical records is a very bad idea to begin with. Any plan premised on the idea that the privacy of your medical information (such as it is) should be compromised in the service of some theoretical fraud detection scheme is bound to be a spectacular failure.

As the linked article points out there are many problems with this plan, like data mining and hackers, not to mention the difficulty of detecting unauthorized access by reviewing application logs and figuring out what details look suspicious in a morass of data. But the main problem, as I see it, is the attempt to do away with the concept of medical privacy.

Notice how the alleged purpose of the plan is to detect health-care fraud and gather evidence for fraud prosecutions using electronic health record (EHR) systems, but whether the record involves a claim or not is irrelevant. In other words, first we rummage through your chart (or we demand you produce an ID, we listen in on your conversations, go through your bags, inform on you to the Feds about the contents of your apartment and your behavior), and then we decide if there was any justification to violate your privacy in the first place.

Least we forget, bad things happen when strangers are allowed to rummage through your medical records just because they have a funny feeling in their manly tummy.

When Phill "Patient Chart Thief" Kline demanded access to complete, unedited patient charts, in his quest to find a crime that would fit his ideology, not only was he tilting at windmills but he had no compunction about targeting only a select group of patients for abuse.

Maybe predictably, once no crime was found Phill "Patient Chart Thief" Kline simply stole the charts (charts he hasn't returned to this day, as far as I can tell) to do with them as he pleases, and use the patients' private medical information as he sees fit.

Mind you, the plan to allow payers unrestricted access to your medical record to act as fraud monitors is even more insidious. At least Phill "Patient Chart Thief" Kline had to at least pretend that a crime might already have been committed. No such fig leaf pretense is needed for a plan that would allow strangers to go through your medical records in search of future crimes.

Of course, since your medical record doesn't contain anything sensitive you wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with perfect strangers, opening up your chart to the Future Crimes Monitor Squad (TM) shouldn't be a problem.

After all, you've nothing to hide.....right?

Psst, Wanna Sample Some Free Pills

A study of prescription use of nearly 33,000 U.S. residents during 2003 found that the neediest are least likely to get free samples:

"Our findings suggest the free samples serve as a marketing tool, not a safety net," said Dr. Sarah Cutrona, co-author of the report to be published in the February issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

I have to tell you that the findings of this study are far removed from my experience. From the first days of internship, when I learned from senior residents to hoard Lupron samples ($400/shot) in my locker to give to uninsured patients, to clinic days when we used to stuff all the available drawers with free OCP samples*, I'm hard pressed to come up with a single example when the free samples were used as a marketing tool.

Our patients could barely afford the trip to the clinic; spending money on the latest or trendiest OCP just wasn't an option for them.

*[Even when we were no longer allowed to keep free samples in the clinic (possibly, one of the most counterproductive regulation ever), we still managed to supply our patients with OCPs from, you guessed it, the free supply of samples.]

Mike Huckabee Is A Clueless Git

Shorter Mike Huckabee: The fact that I want to ban all abortions doesn't mean that I'm imposing my doctrinaire perspective on my fellow citizens. Why? Because I'm an American! No wait. Because I hold a particular human, as opposed to religious, personal belief (and, wouldn't you know it, my personal belief just happens to trump yours). Umm, too lame? OK then, my final answer, because I use sciencey-sounding propaganda.

Oh, and, incidentally, I don't consider females of reproductive age who either need or elect to have an abortion competent adults, capable of giving consent. I consider the poor, simpleton, deluded dears victims, V.I.C.T.I.M.S. I tell you, of the Big, Bad Doctors (TM).

(via Pam)