Friday, August 31, 2018


CDC Warns Of A ‘Steep, Sustained Increase’ In STDs

Changing sexual behaviors and downright dumbness have contributed to a fourth straight year of a soaring rate of sexually-transmitted diseases across the United States.

New cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia spiked another 10 percent last year, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.

New cases diagnosed alone in 2017 totaled 2.29 million for these three diseases, a national record. They are all easily detected and treatable and prevented with condom use.

CDC officials called the enduring eruption of STD infections a “steep, sustained increase” that began in 2013.

“We’re sliding backward,” said Jonathan Mermin of CDC. “It’s evident the systems that identify, treat and ultimately prevent STDs are strained to near-breaking point.”

Diagnoses of gonorrhea jumped 67 percent since 2013 and 19 percent during the last year, the CDC said. They cited lax screening procedures by too many medical professionals.

Primary and secondary syphilis diagnoses have climbed 76 percent. Chlamydia remained the CDC’s most commonly reported STD with almost half of all new cases being found in females ages 15 to 24.

The diseases are easily treatable and, obviously, the sooner they’re detected the better. But many cases go undetected because patients do not ask for and doctors do not always offer screening.

CDC officials worry now the diseases will soon mutate to overcome existing antibiotics. Already, gonorrhea is resistant to all antibiotics except ceftriaxone.

Without proper treatment, these diseases can cause infertility, pregnancy complications, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancies and greater risk of HIV transmission.

Gail Bolan, who is director of the CDC Division of STD Prevention, said:
We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed. We can’t let our defenses down. We must continue reinforcing efforts to rapidly detect and prevent resistance as long as possible.
They said with improved management of HIV, too many people have stopped using condoms. And called on state and local health officials to aggressively drive home the need to use protection during sex.

.”You don’t need a medical degree to prevent an STD,” said Michael Fraser, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. “You need to talk to people about using condoms.”

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Are You a Virtue Signalling 'Slacktivist'?

Slacktivism: A 21st century term defined by as "actions taken to bring about political or social change but requiring only minimal commitment, effort, or risk." I consider examples of slacktivism to include, but are not limited to, signing online petitions, sharing think pieces on Facebook, or changing one's profile picture to a certain image in support of a cause. In reality, everyone has been a slacktivist at one point or another, myself included. There's no harm in sharing your views and opinions through social media, but after awhile, you have to wake up and realize it really isn't doing much.

Many claim that social media campaigning and sharing messages through the Internet help to spread the word on issues and get people aware. However, I believe that it does nothing more than spread awareness about an issue that's in no way getting fixed. Now, those who know me are very aware of the constant think pieces and videos that I share on my page and may be quick to call me a hypocrite. However, a key difference between myself and a slacktivist is that I also try to go out and speak up for what I believe in.

In this day and age, most sources of information we receive is through the media, so it's easy to get comfortable and satisfied with just signing a petition to save the whales. However, that's not enough. Not everyone is an activist, I agree. To be honest, you won't see me chaining myself to a fire hydrant in solidarity for anyone anytime soon. But that doesn't mean that I won't attend a rally on a matter that I fervently support. As millennials, we have to find the time to use our voices to speak, not our fingers to share. If there's a march on your campus for an issue you believe in, go, don't just repost the flier on your Instagram. If there's an event that needs volunteers for an organization you'd love to be a part of, sign up, don't just click that you're attending the event on Facebook. There are little ways in which you can make a difference for your community and issues that you support that are much more effective than social media.

Oftentime, we are quick to share about why we think something is unjust, but aren't as quick to go out and work to fight that injustice. Slavoj Zizek, a Slovenian philosopher, responded to critics of today's injustice by asking, "OK, but what do you really want? What should replace the system?" If all we do as a generation is use social media as a platform to share about our oppression without actively voicing our opinions where it matters, who is ever going to know what we really want? The point I am simply trying to make is that 500 people gathered together in protest is much greater than 5,000 likes for a picture on Facebook.
The Odyssey Online

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Blue Wave in Maryland?

A Comparison of EARLY Voters in Maryland Primaries

Total Early Voters - 77,288
Democrats - 54,770 (71%)
Republicans - 21,656 (28%)

Total Early Voters - 141,590
Democrats - 104,776 (74%)
Republicans - 33,981 (24%)

Total Early Voters - 222,100
Democrats - 77% (~170,356)
Republicans - 21.5% (~47,736)

2018 - Primary Total (Early + Election Day) Voters
Total Voters - 597,317
Democrats - 414,519 (69%)
Republicans - 161,289 (27%)

Democrats were motivated to turn out Early this year, but seemed to fade on election day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

So Much for the Baltimore Ceasefire...Maybe Thugs Don't Do Community Outreach?

from the Baltimore Sun
'It's really senseless:' One killed, four injured in Baltimore shootings during Ceasefire weekend

Five people were shot — one fatally — in three separate shootings over the weekend in Baltimore.

Around 7:35 p.m. Sunday, a 27-year-old man was shot multiple times in the 2400 block of Wilkens Ave. in Southwest Baltimore, police said. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Less than two hours earlier, three people were shot in the 900 block of North Broadway, a few blocks from Johns Hopkins Hospital, according to police.

When officers arrived on the scene around 5:46 p.m., they found one man who had been shot in the leg. A 37-year-old man was wounded in the torso, but did not die as police previously reported. On Sunday, police said he is listed in grave condition. Officers soon learned of a third victim who walked into a hospital with a gunshot wound to the foot.

On Saturday at around 5 a.m., officers found a man suffering from a gunshot wound to the head at the 1800 block of Winchester St. in West Baltimore. The man was listed as in critical condition at an area hospital, police said Saturday.

The weekend shootings took place during the third Ceasefire weekend this year — a movement meant to halt the citywide violence for a 72-hour period from Friday to Sunday.

Until Sunday, there had been no fatal shootings during the three Ceasefire events this year.

Just before midnight Sunday, Ceasefire organizer Letrice Gant, dressed all in white, scrubbed the air above the marble steps on the 2400 block of Wilkens Ave. with a bundle of smoking sage. It was a ritual cleansing of the space still stained with blood from the fatal shooting hours earlier.

The fire department had sanitized the sidewalk earlier, but a dark splotch still remained. They would need to use a power washer, said Gant.

Ceasefire organizer Erricka Bridgeford waved a bundle of sage and whispered chants. She bent to the ground, touching the splatter.

“A very dark thing happened here today,” she told a group of around a dozen people who gathered in a circle, holding hands. “We leave love and light right here.”

A woman walking by in Hello Kitty shorts watched uncomfortably, curiously. She sniffed and fidgeted. Someone offered a hand, and she, too, joined the circle.

“I was going through my own thing,” said Krystal Moffett, 32, when asked what moved her to join the group. “I miss my kids. I wanna get my life together. I’ve lost people, too.”

Following the shooting near Hopkins, Shaennika Miles, 29, said she knew two of the victims and was still collecting her thoughts after witnessing such trauma.

“It’s really senseless,” she said. “I heard all the shots when I was in the middle of Broadway. I see [one of the victims] in the middle of the street. I pray that he’s OK.”

Of the victims, she said, “We’re really good friends. … They made sure I’m OK. Tell me how good of a mom I am.”

Miles said she was speaking out in the hopes that she could change the status quo.

“Most of our kids are suffering,” she said of the violence in the city.

When they heard the shots, sisters Linda Cooper and Maggie Austin ran inside in such a hurry that Austin, 92, left her cane.

“I just grabbed her by the arm,” said Cooper. “I went in my door. All I can know is I got out of that shooting.”

After police arrived, they were willing to come back to sit on their front steps.

On the other side of the yellow tape, police scanned the nearby row homes, looking for possible security cameras and evidence.

“We don’t got nothin’ to worry about,” Cooper told her sister, touching her hand. With the officers in the area, they felt safe, she said. “When they leave, we’ll leave.”