Untitled III (Envelopes, Stamps and Pamphlets, courtesy the Post Office at the Citadel Military College)
Untitled II (Chocolate Syrup, Coffee, Napkins)
Please visit SalvageArt.net to check out their amazing artwork. Everything is made of objects and…
Fibromyalgia has a reputation as a mysterious illness: The symptoms are diverse, the causes are unknown and the diagnosis is difficult. For the first time, researchers at the University Hospital of Würzburg now have found clear proof of damage to patients’ small fibers.
The responsibility for pain and temperature sensation lies with so-called small fibers, i.e. small-caliber pain-transmitting nerve fibers terminating in the skin. In the search for the causes of fibromyalgia-related pain, University of Würzburg researchers have focused their research on these fibers. With success: “We have detected clear signs of damage to the small fibers in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome,” says Nurcan Üçeyler, a private lecturer at the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital of Würzburg. The results of their study are reported in the current issue of the journal Brain.
According to Üçeyler, this discovery heralds a “paradigm shift”: The results of the study are highly relevant in that they challenge the conventional pathophysiological concept of fibromyalgia. “Since we have established that the small fibers are impaired in patients with fibromyalgia, the pain related to this disease now fulfils the criteria for being considered as neuropathic pain, i.e. pain arising from an impairment or illness of the nervous system,” Üçeyler explains. Furthermore, for the first time, medical professionals have an objectively measurable criterion at their disposal to help them with their diagnosis.
As the Supreme Court weighed arguments on same-sex marriage, Chief Justice John Roberts wondered aloud from the bench whether action on the issue by the court was necessary, because “politicians are falling all over themselves” to bring the legal rights of gay and lesbian Americans in line with those of everyone else. If only this were true. In up to 34 states it’s still legal for employers to deny jobs to citizens simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
The lack of legal protections in two-thirds of the states for members of the LGBT community means that more people live in poverty and have a harder time making it simply because their rights aren’t on an equal footing with other Americans. This is even more the case for LGBT women and people of color, where employment discrimination fuels an even broader economic crisis.
But these hardships can be rolled away, and we need not wait for members of Congress to finish “falling all over themselves” to make it happen. As a report released earlier this week by a coalition of non-discrimination organizations lays out, President Obama can take unilateral action right now to help more LGBT Americans secure jobs, improve living standards and live out their dreams.
As Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said to me recently, “Hopefully 2013 will be the year that President Obama fulfills his written 2008 campaign promise and signs an employment non-discrimination executive order.” A Freedom to Work online petition already has over a 185,000 signatures pressing the president to do just that.
The case for doing so is persuasive and the numbers are staggering. Contrary to the aspirational images wealthy white men in popular media, such as the gay-millionaire couple on NBC’s hit-comedy “The New Normal” or the upwardly mobile denizens of “Will & Grace,” LGBT Americans are more likely to be poor and less educated than their peers, and come from communities that have been historically, economically marginalized. More than half of LGBT people in the U.S. are women, and black Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos make up a greater proportion of those identifying as LGBT than do whites.
According to a Gallup Survey last year, LGBT Americans are 30 percent more likely to have low-income jobs than the general population. Correspondingly, LGBT Americans are less likely to have high paying jobs than workers as a whole, and have a greater sense of dissatisfaction with their living standards as a result.
Furthermore, lower levels of education, fed by the open hostility that many LGBT youth grapple with in school, creates yet another economic obstacle for the community. LGBT Americans have lower levels of education than the overall population.
The bottom line is that employment non discrimination measures are required. Too many people neither can get nor keep good jobs without them.
According to a report by the Center for American Progress, as many as two out of five gay and lesbian workers “have experienced some form of discrimination on the job” with up to one out of five of these having been “fired for their sexual orientation.”
For transgender workers, these astounding numbers become astronomical. Nine out of 10 transgender employees have encountered “some form of harassment or mistreatment” at work with almost half of those who encountered difficulty on the job reporting extreme hardship, such as losing employment “due to gender-identity discrimination.”
Extreme bigotry has dire economic consequences. In certain cities, as Queers for Economic Justice points out, the unemployment rate of the transgender community can be up to seven times higher than that of the muncipality as a whole.
Though the cruel truth is that all of this is perfectly legal, the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t think it should be. Public support for non-discrimination is 20 points higher than that for gay marriage, but you wouldn’t know it from the way things are moving in Washington.
A bill to end employment discrimination in all 50 states has been introduced in almost every Congress for the past two decades, but has never passed. Last year the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) received a hearing in the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee but not a vote—not in the committee, the Senate itself nor the full Congress.
For Republicans the problem is that ENDA would require greater federal monitoring and enforcement to ensure compliance. Given the Congress’ desire through sequestration to roll back the government, including in life and death areas ranging from cancer treatment, to air traffic control, to protections for those facing capital punishment, there is little appetite on Capitol Hill for greater federal involvement in anything.
As for the Democratic-controlled Senate, Almeida says, “too many believe that you can only have one LGBT bill per year. Last session it was the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ ” He adds a hope that 2013 may be ENDA’s year in the Senate declaring, “We need to help people right now.”
Stalled efforts in Congress have frozen movement in the federal courts as well, because without a national ENDA law there is no legal mechanism that an individual can use to file suit.
Almeida sums up the problem this way, “There are dramatic cases where someone faces discrimination, calls a lawyer and the lawyer says, ‘Federal law doesn’t protect you, state law doesn’t protect, so there’s nothing I can do.”
But there is one branch that can act immediately to expand protections for gay workers, and that’s the executive. With a stroke of a pen and without congressional approval, the president could issue an executive order to extend employment protections for up to 16 million workers. As Center for American Progress blogger Hillary Anderson points out, “this executive order would cover 20 percent of the American civilian workforce.”
Why would it have such a big impact? Because in the 29 states without individual ENDAs, the federal government does close to $300 billion in business. Through the presidency, Obama has the power to mandate employment non-discrimination for the LGBT employees of those companies.
An executive order won’t cover all LGBT workers. Only an act of Congress can do that. But given the economic distress of the LGBT community caused by bigotry and joblessness, something perhaps would be better than nothing.
I pop bubble wrap at 5.09 bubbles per second!
(Source: Free People Blog)
UPDATE: This post originally ran on November 13th 2012 but now that we’re in the midst of winter we needed to remind ourselves of these great natural remedies!
One of my biggest annoyances come winter is dry skin. I literally will not go anywhere without a small bottle of lotion, because in my opinion there are few things worse than when my hands are dry – it drives me crazy. The thing with store-bought lotions, though, is that within a half hour of applying them my hands feel dry again. I’ve been looking into some natural alternatives and it turns out there are some awesome dry skin remedies that I already have in my kitchen!
1. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of those miracle substances that seems to have endless uses (just see this post…this post…and this post…). It works wonders for dry skin, and is actually the base ingredient for many store-bought moisturizers. By using it on its own, you eliminate chemicals and other ingredients in lotions that can actually counteract the power of the oil. Olive oil is packed with antioxidants that can repair dry, irritated or inflamed skin, and can help prevent and repair damage that can lead to wrinkles or sun spots. Soak cotton swabs in the oil and apply to dry patches of skin; let sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing.
2. Olive Oil, Lemon, & Salt Scrub
If the thought of applying oil directly to your skin freaks you out a bit (which I know it might for some people!) this is a great alternative. Mix the juice from 1 lemon with 5 tablespoons of sea salt and one tablespoon of olive oil to create a luxurious body scrub. The fresh lemon scent is invigorating and with the addition of olive oil, this scrub will leave your skin feeling fresh and moisturized and incredibly soft.
Honey softens and moisturizes dry skin, and can be applied directly to problem areas – massage gently into skin and let sit for 2-3 minutes and rinse. Repeat daily and you will experience noticeably softer skin!
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another wonder oil, and one of its specialties is moisturizing! There are so many ways you can use it – lather it right onto the skin, apply to problem areas like your hands, cuticles, and joints, or add a few spoonfuls to your bath! It leaves skin feeling incredibly soft and it also smells amazing.
I got an aloe plant this summer and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made! They live for a very long time and are easy to maintain. When you need aloe, simply cut one of the tentacles off the plant and squeeze the gel directly out – the gel is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part of the aloe plant leaf (not the yellowish substance just under the skin, which is aloe latex). Cutting the plant won’t harm it either, which is evidence of aloe’s amazing healing powers – the plant will seal itself back up and continue to grow!