Obamacare and LGBT Health

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Obamacare and LGBT Health
Throughout the administration, we operate on the fundamental belief that every American deserves equal opportunity, equal protection, and equal rights under the law. That’s why the Affordable Care Act is so important for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.

The health care law prevents health insurance companies from charging anyone a higher premium just because they happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It also prevents insurers from raising rates or denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition like HIV/AIDS, cancer, or mental health concerns.

Thanks to the law, insurance companies can no longer impose a lifetime limit on your coverage. This is particularly important to HIV/AIDS patients, and anyone who has a chronic condition.

The Affordable Care Act also includes critically important, non-discrimination provisions. For example, starting in January 2014, it will be illegal for any of the insurance companies who offer coverage through the Marketplace to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. We’ve also taken action to strengthen the civil rights provision in the law, by clarifying that the new law’s prohibition on sex discrimination includes discrimination based on sex stereotyping, and on gender identity.

All of this is good news for the LGBT community, particularly when we consider that one in three lower income LGBT adults in our country do not have health insurance. Starting October 1, they are going to have the opportunity to sign-up for quality, affordable coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace for coverage beginning as early as January 1, 2014.

But here’s the thing: most of these Americans are not yet aware of their new options.

You don’t have to be an expert to figure out what we need to do to get the word out. It’s outreach. It’s education. It’s communication.

That’s why, last week at the White House, I joined Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama, and nearly 200 LGBT community leaders and allies from across the country for a briefing on Obamacare and the LGBT community. The purpose of this briefing was to equip community leaders with the tools, information, and resources they need to get involved and help local LGBT communities get access to quality, affordable health care.

And that’s why we are excited to work with organizations like Out2Enroll, a new initiative to educate the LGBT community about the Affordable Care Act. Rooting for more of our neighbors to sign up for health care is not enough. It’s going to take work at the grassroots. And so Out2Enroll has a very important mission.

Dr. King taught us, “Human progress never rolls in on the wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless effort and the persistent work of dedicated individuals.”

So in the weeks and months ahead, we look forward to working with a diverse range of partners – national advocates, LGBT community centers, HIV/AIDS service providers, Pride organizations, PFLAG chapters – to ensure that members of the LGBT community have the information, resources, and tools they need to sign up for quality, affordable health care.

I hope you will join us in this important work.

In case you missed it:

Video of Secretary Sebelius’s keynote remarks

Improving Health for LGBT Americans

On the Road in Philadelphia: Focus on LGBT Health

Ask the Drama Queen
“Drama finds her in her life and work… and she works through it fearlessly every time!” — Brooke Lewis

Who better to life coach women than a board-certified life coach who has been through “drama” in both her life and work? Award-winning actress, producer, writer and life coach, Brooke Lewis, has lived her own soap opera as a single woman on a mission to always follow her heart and pursue her dreams. Facing challenges from self-esteem to body image to heartbreak along her way, she is here to help you be fearless through whatever drama life brings you!

ALANA: What do you think about women dating younger men? My boyfriend is 15 years younger than I am. Is this crazy or could it really be true love?

BROOKE: Alana, I am so glad you emailed me this question, because there are so many women wanting an answer to this right now! Although it has been happening for ages (especially in European countries), the Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz/Justin Timberlake unions seemed to set a trend a few years back, making the “older woman/younger man” relationship hip and sexy. It became more “acceptable” in our society, seemed to empower women and surely gave women more options to choose from. Plus, any time something happens in Hollywood, it must be real, right? Now, let’s look at where both couples mentioned above are today and discuss what is real.

As a life coach, I do not judge and I will give you my professional objective opinion. Before I go there, however, I do want to share my experience with you. As a single woman, I have had many relationships with all different types of men. One of the true “loves of my life,” and the only man I have ever lived with, was a younger man. He was one of the most gorgeous, sexy, passionate, doting, loving, supportive men I have ever dated. He pursued me like crazy and I fell hard… hard enough to ignore everything that my intuition was telling me… hard enough to let him move in with me. I was very clear to share my future wants and needs with him upfront, including the fact that I wanted to continue to live in Los Angeles, that I did not want to have children and that I was very focused on my career.

He agreed that he was on the same page with everything and I dove right in! How I could have thought that a guy in his mid-20s could possibly know exactly what he wanted for his future, I will never understand. I do, however, understand that sometimes love makes us blind to the real truth. After our honeymoon stage of living together, things began to get more clear. I discovered that my guy was still drinking and partying like a fraternity brother, was in the process of changing careers and wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He was greatly missing his life and family on the East Coast and was still truly experimenting in life. I remember watching The Break-Up. with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn one night and thinking, “Oh, no! This is my life!” After a year of living together, things went south and we started to resent each other. I felt like he was my son and he felt like I was behaving like his mother (I mentioned earlier that I did not want children, right?) and when a relationship turns into that dynamic, there is nothing sexy about it! We had a bad break-up and I was left heartbroken and beating myself up over knowing it would end like this, but choosing it anyway! The happy ending is that a year after the breakup, he reached out to me and we had a powerful and loving conversation. We are friends to this day, and I can honestly say I learned a great deal from that relationship. I can also honestly say that I have dated men who were much older that I, yet still behaved more immaturely and irresponsibly than my younger man!

So, as a life coach, what do I think about women dating younger men and is this crazy? Or could it really be true love?

Well, if we were in a coaching session, I would first ask what you think? I feel like since you emailed this question, you are either having some doubts yourself or you are listening to the chatter of others whom are making your choice wrong. Could it really be true love? You betcha! I support the idea that true love does not discriminate… it comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, genders and can be the most incredible feeling in the world! We all know the old saying, “You can’t choose who you fall in love with!” Well, I coach around the idea that true power lies in our choices in every moment!

That said, I believe that we can fall in love with someone and still choose to be or not to be in a relationship with him. So, let’s talk about whether you are choosing powerfully and responsibly. You will hear me talk about “taking responsibility” for our actions, choices and lives quite often. You will also hear me say, “With every choice, there is a consequence.” What are the consequences (not good, nor bad… simply results!) you face by dating a man 15 years younger?

Now, we know you never ask a lady her age, so I am going to pretend that you are 45 and your boyfriend is 30 (and again, I recently went out with a 50-year-old guy (much older than me) who was divorced and lived in a house with two other guys, so bear with me for the sake of helping Alana here!).

Is he able to share in, or meet your financial needs or are you picking up most of the checks? Does he want to have his own children one day, and what happens if he chooses to do so 10 years from now? Do you enjoy the same places and activities or are you uncomfortable hanging out with him at bars where everyone is under 30? How do you feel about yourself when you are with him… does he make you feel younger or do you feel too old for him? How does it make you feel when people stare and notice the age difference? And, sadly, but in keeping it real, what happens in 15 years when he is 45 and you are 60? I know today women are looking hotter and better than ever as they age, but will true love endure and will this younger man look past the natural physical changes that occur at 60?

I cannot predict the future and neither can you, but only you are in your relationship and only you can know what your heart and gut tells you! I believe we need to live in the now, the moment and not guess so much about what the future holds, but I do believe in taking responsibility for our choices, so that if our relationships end we understand and are clear that we allowed ourselves to be in that experience and the heartbreak is ours to own!

— Ask The Drama Queen, XO Brooke Lewis

Email all advice questions to Brooke Lewis.

Be You And Be Fearless Life Coach.

Inspiration
2013-09-14-styledinsideoutinspiration.jpg

Inspiration comes when you least expect it. You can be inspired by anything. Many are predictable. Art, nature, sunsets, magazines, books, people, animals, etc. The list goes on and on. But yesterday I found myself overcome with tremendous admiration at a place where I had been many, many times.

Nine years ago I underwent surgery for uterine cancer. I had been working in Greece and knew something wasn’t right. Thank goodness I was scheduled to go home in a couple of days. I immediately call my nurse practitioner whose astute observation saved my life. She immediately took a biopsy and found out I had cancer. I will never forget that phone call. One moment I feel like a very healthy 50-year-old and the next moment I’m wondering whether I will see my son graduate from high school. Looking your mortality dead in the face is something you can’t explain. It’s not that it’s so overwhelming. It’s just that when it’s not expected it’s jarring.

No one quite understands what the feeling of having cancer is until you have it. No words, observations, sayings, articles… nothing prepares you. I’m not trying to be melodramatic. Cancer is very cut and dry. You have it or you don’t. You die or you don’t.

But here’s where the inspiration comes in. I went for my yearly exam that will be a part of my regime for the rest of my life. I entered Cedars Sinai as I had entered so many times. For the first five years it was every six months, but now I have gotten past the stage where I can get life insurance. Before five years cancer free they deem you too risky. I didn’t have to do chemo or radiation. Didn’t lose my hair. Some of my insides were taken out, but I feel I got the better end of the stick.

I go to the front desk and check in. They give me my wrist band as a reminder I’m a patient, not a visitor. I will always be a patient. I’m healthy now, thank God, but here I will always be a patient. I go into the waiting room and notice that there are so many more people waiting than there were even five years ago. I don’t know if that means more people are being treated, but it appears that way.

My name is called, and they take me into a room where people are getting their chemo treatments. And this is when the realization creeps up and grabs me. I see an older man with his wife. The nurse is giving him his meds and talking about the weather. It seemed it was a way of focusing on something else that wasn’t as difficult as the task at hand. I am so inspired and in awe of her strength and kindness to this couple. She does this all day long, day after day (she had said she had been there for 27 years) and her focus on her patient and her professionalism in the midst of such sadness was astounding.

Not far away, sitting in another chair, was a beautiful young lady with a scarf on her head receiving her treatment. Our eyes met and she gave me such a pure smile, like a small child. We were patients in the same room, but the connection in our glance I think made her feel like she wasn’t alone.

I feel guilty just having my temperature and blood pressure taken. I feel like I have escaped from something. I am called in to see my doctor, but I excuse myself to go to the restroom. And once I am behind the closed door by myself I start to cry. I can’t stop. For some reason, being there is a reminder of how lucky I was to dodge the big C. I am cancer free now, and am determined to be for the rest of my life. But somehow in that bathroom I realize it could have happened to me. Instead it has happened to so many people I see when I come here, and today it has been overwhelming. I’m angry, I’m grateful, I’m sad and I’m crying because I am so happy I have survived. But more than any of that, I’m inspired by how hard people fight and how much they are loved and how many dedicate their lives in trying to win the battle.

Photo credit: Kris Evans.

For more by Kris Evans, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.

Green – The Huffington Post
Earth’s Core Spins In Two Different Directions, Groundbreaking Research Reveals
Researchers may have just solved a 300-year-old riddle.

As part of a study to determine the direction in which Earth’s core spins, scientists in the United Kingdom and Switzerland analyzed seismic readings from earthquakes from the past few decades.

But, instead of finding out whether the planet’s center rotates eastward or westward, the team discovered a surprising answer to the question that’s evaded scientists for centuries: It’s both.

“The link is simply explained in terms of equal and opposite action,” lead researcher Dr. Philip Livermore, of the University of Leeds, said in a released statement. “The magnetic field pushes eastwards on the inner core, causing it to spin faster than Earth, but it also pushes in the opposite direction in the liquid outer core, which creates a westward motion.”

Put simply, the Earth’s solid inner core spins eastward at an incredibly fast pace, while the molten outer core rotates the other way, but much slower.

Though scientists previously discovered that Earth’s inner core spins faster than the planet itself, the recent study is the first to find a connection between the two sections.

For the research, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team of scientists used a computer model to demonstrate the connection between the planet’s geomagnetic field and the direction of the core’s inner and outer layers. The researchers hope to learn more about the interaction between the two layers since the Earth’s center is widely believed to generate the planet’s magnetic field.

Earlier this year, researchers revealed other significant findings about the makeup of the planet’s center. In May, two Nature Geoscience studies indicated that the inner core of solid iron may be softer than previously thought. Its rotational speed can actually fluctuate over time. Research published a month earlier suggested that the core runs much hotter than previously measured, estimating the center’s temperature to be 6,000 degrees Celsius (about 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit), or roughly as hot as the surface of the sun.

Joe Becker, Injured Montana Farmer, Finds Out How Just His Awesome Neighbors Are (PHOTO)
A group of farmers from Rudyard, Mont., are reminding us what it really means to love your neighbors.

Local farm owner Joe Becker broke both of his legs earlier this year after falling 12 feet while helping his son build a cabin, the Havre Daily News reports. The accident occurred around the time when Becker would have had to harvest his crops, but his injuries left him bedridden in the hospital.

Story continues after photo.

joe becker

“I knew I had good neighbors, but you really find out what kind of neighbors you have in a time like this,” he told Havre Daily.

Fourteen of Becker’s neighbors and friends told him not to worry, assembled their equipment and took over harvesting his crops.

“To have those combines lined up like they were cutting their own crops was great,” Becker said. “Once they got together, nobody had to tell anybody what to do or ask anybody to do anything. They just did it.”

The story, posted to Reddit in early September, prompted others to share similar stories of kindness and camaraderie in the farming community.

User HoldMeBabyJesus wrote:

You’ll see stuff like this all the time around here (rural Minnesota). If a farmer happens to pass away or get severely injured, the neighboring farmers will help harvest. A guy passed away a few years ago when he touched the grain auger after it came in contact with some power lines. The next few days dozens of combines, tractors, disc rippers, plows, and grain trucks showed up to help out. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

User Fuzzybeard also commented that farmers helping each other is so common in Illinois that it’s sparked a saying: “Today, you; tomorrow, me.”

H/T: Reddit/r/UpliftingNews

Rahm Emanuel Discusses Plans To Build School On Possibly Toxic Site
Some Chicago residents are concerned that the district’s plans for a new school involve building the facility on a potentially toxic site.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke Sunday at the Gallistel Elementary Language Academy, discussing plans to construct a school near the Chicago Skyway and Indiana border. The idea is to build a space that would ease the overcrowding of schools in the neighborhood, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Preliminary environmental tests conducted last year at the proposed construction site found unsafe levels of chemicals in the soil and a leaking underground gasoline storage tank, reports the Chicago Tribune.

It’s a horrible site, and it would be terrible for students,” Jose Garza, chairman of the local school council at Gallistel Elementary Language Academy, told the outlet last year.

A city spokesperson told the Tribune that environmental concerns would be taken care of in the future.

Still, parents recognize the need for another school in the community. According to the Sun-Times, parents have lamented the issue of school overcrowding since the 1990s.

“The days of deferring are over,” said Emanuel, according to the outlet. “For all of you that have been asking for this for years, this is your day. Take pride in it.”

Emanuel’s plans for the new school come after the district closed nearly 50 public schools this past year due to “underutilization.”

In 2011, high levels of toxic lead were identified outside an elementary school in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

Protecting Americans from Power Plant Pollution
On September 20, the Environmental Protection Agency will release new safeguards against carbon pollution that, if expectations are on target, will confirm something investors, governors, community leaders, and everyday Americans have been saying for a decade – in the 21st century, it just doesn’t make sense to build new coal-fired power plants. To be specific, we’ve said that 179 times.

Since 2002, an unprecedented national network of more than 100 organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers has stopped the construction of 179 proposed coal-fired power plants across the U.S. This happened in red states and blue states, under the leadership of Republican and Democratic governors, in coalitions including doctors, teachers, mayors, ministers, dads, moms, young people, and pretty much everyone under the sun. As the director of the Beyond Coal Campaign at the Sierra Club, I’ve had the privilege of being part of many of these campaigns, alongside volunteer co-lead Verena Owen and senior campaign director Bruce Nilles.

As a result of that scrappy, tenacious effort, almost no one is trying to build a new coal plant in America today. Investors and decision-makers abandoned those projects because the proposed plants would have harmed the health of local residents, increased dangerous air and water pollution, crowded out markets for wind and solar, and pushed our climate over the brink. As time wore on, those proposed coal plants had an increasingly hard time competing with clean energy like wind and solar.

Today, it’s painfully clear that, with Americans bearing the loss, suffering, and multi-billion dollar price tag of climate-related disasters like Western wildfires and Superstorm Sandy, it would have been sheer madness to lock our nation into another generation of reliance on coal, our most carbon-intensive energy source and the single biggest source of carbon pollution in the U.S.

Electric Slide To Clean Energy

Now the EPA is expected to release a draft carbon pollution standard for new power plants that would finally require the coal industry to deal with its climate-disrupting carbon emissions, which, to date, it has been dumping into our shared atmosphere without any limits whatsoever. As President Obama put it in his June 25 climate speech at Georgetown, “Power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air for free. That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.”

This standard covers all fossil fuel plants. Unfortunately, the standard for natural gas plants will likely not be as strong. We will push hard to strengthen that standard, so that we don’t incentivize a new generation of natural gas plants and all the climate, water, and air pollution they would create.

Goodness knows we don’t need to. Just last week, utility Xcel Energy announced it was making big new investments in wind and solar because – get this – they were actually cheaper that natural gas. Simply put, clean energy has been cleaning coal’s clock for some time now, and it’s now catching natural gas as well, even when gas is at record low prices. Rapid innovation and the real-time effects of climate disruption are turning energy markets on their heads, and there will be no return to the past for the coal industry.

But that isn’t stopping the coal industry from trying to drag us backwards. There has already been much hew and cry about the new power plant standard from coal barons and their friends in high places, and EPA is encountering fierce resistance. And that’s just a warm-up to the fight over standards for existing power plants that will follow next summer.

It will be up to all of us to get strong standards across the finish line, and there will be lots of opportunities to get involved this fall, which I’ll write about here in the coming weeks. The EPA must remain steadfast, and the agency should keep this in mind – over the past decade, without the backing of the White House or a fraction of the resources of their fossil fuel opponents, regular Americans said no to new climate-destroying coal plants 179 times, and instead chose a cleaner energy path for their communities. It’s long overdue that we do the same as a nation.

Good News – The Huffington Post
Cone Cat Just Can’t Take It Anymore
As if wearing one of those cone things on your head isn’t bad enough, we can tell that having a (cone-less) kitten playing with your tail at the same time is pretty annoying.

Needless to say, this adorable cone-headed cat is more than patient until he really just can’t take it anymore.

Via Daily Picks and Flicks

William ‘Freddie’ McCullough Obituary Claims Georgia Man ‘Adored The Ladies,’ Hated Veggies
William “Freddie” McCullough had a lust for life.

Last week, an obituary went viral because the deceased was a “wicked, wicked witch” to her children. But McCullough’s is notable because it fondly remembers its subject as larger-than-life.

McCullough, who passed away Sept. 11, was celebrated in an obituary in the Savannah Morning News that was a testament to his love of telling tall tales, not to mention living like one. The father of six enjoyed cooking ribs, building houses, shooting bottles, “popping wheelies on his Harley at 50 mph” and of course, “the ladies,” the obit claims.

In fact, it’s that lust for women that’s drawing particular attention to the father of six from Bloomingdale, Ga. from websites like Gawker, which observed that the “obit is most notable for its mention of the ‘colorful’ women he loved, including ‘Crazy Pam’ and ‘Big Tittie Wanda.'”

From the obituary:

Freddie adored the ladies. And they adored him. There isn’t enough space here to list all of the women from Freddie’s past. There isn’t enough space in the Bloomingdale phone book. A few of the more colorful ones were Momma Margie, Crazy Pam, Big Tittie Wanda, Spacy Stacy and Sweet Melissa (he explained that nickname had nothing to do with her attitude). He attracted more women than a shoe sale at Macy’s. He got married when he was 18, but it didn’t last. Freddie was no quitter, however, so he gave it a shot two more times. It didn’t work out with any of the wives, but he managed to stay friends with them and their parents.

The obituary’s only negative point (provided you don’t see his lusty side as such) is its passing mention that McCullough “hated vegetables and hypocrites.”

Even his reputed nature of death is worthy of a folk hero:

Freddie was killed when he rushed into a burning orphanage to save a group of adorable children. Or maybe not. We all know how he liked to tell stories.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Inspiration
2013-09-14-styledinsideoutinspiration.jpg

Inspiration comes when you least expect it. You can be inspired by anything. Many are predictable. Art, nature, sunsets, magazines, books, people, animals, etc. The list goes on and on. But yesterday I found myself overcome with tremendous admiration at a place where I had been many, many times.

Nine years ago I underwent surgery for uterine cancer. I had been working in Greece and knew something wasn’t right. Thank goodness I was scheduled to go home in a couple of days. I immediately call my nurse practitioner whose astute observation saved my life. She immediately took a biopsy and found out I had cancer. I will never forget that phone call. One moment I feel like a very healthy 50-year-old and the next moment I’m wondering whether I will see my son graduate from high school. Looking your mortality dead in the face is something you can’t explain. It’s not that it’s so overwhelming. It’s just that when it’s not expected it’s jarring.

No one quite understands what the feeling of having cancer is until you have it. No words, observations, sayings, articles… nothing prepares you. I’m not trying to be melodramatic. Cancer is very cut and dry. You have it or you don’t. You die or you don’t.

But here’s where the inspiration comes in. I went for my yearly exam that will be a part of my regime for the rest of my life. I entered Cedars Sinai as I had entered so many times. For the first five years it was every six months, but now I have gotten past the stage where I can get life insurance. Before five years cancer free they deem you too risky. I didn’t have to do chemo or radiation. Didn’t lose my hair. Some of my insides were taken out, but I feel I got the better end of the stick.

I go to the front desk and check in. They give me my wrist band as a reminder I’m a patient, not a visitor. I will always be a patient. I’m healthy now, thank God, but here I will always be a patient. I go into the waiting room and notice that there are so many more people waiting than there were even five years ago. I don’t know if that means more people are being treated, but it appears that way.

My name is called, and they take me into a room where people are getting their chemo treatments. And this is when the realization creeps up and grabs me. I see an older man with his wife. The nurse is giving him his meds and talking about the weather. It seemed it was a way of focusing on something else that wasn’t as difficult as the task at hand. I am so inspired and in awe of her strength and kindness to this couple. She does this all day long, day after day (she had said she had been there for 27 years) and her focus on her patient and her professionalism in the midst of such sadness was astounding.

Not far away, sitting in another chair, was a beautiful young lady with a scarf on her head receiving her treatment. Our eyes met and she gave me such a pure smile, like a small child. We were patients in the same room, but the connection in our glance I think made her feel like she wasn’t alone.

I feel guilty just having my temperature and blood pressure taken. I feel like I have escaped from something. I am called in to see my doctor, but I excuse myself to go to the restroom. And once I am behind the closed door by myself I start to cry. I can’t stop. For some reason, being there is a reminder of how lucky I was to dodge the big C. I am cancer free now, and am determined to be for the rest of my life. But somehow in that bathroom I realize it could have happened to me. Instead it has happened to so many people I see when I come here, and today it has been overwhelming. I’m angry, I’m grateful, I’m sad and I’m crying because I am so happy I have survived. But more than any of that, I’m inspired by how hard people fight and how much they are loved and how many dedicate their lives in trying to win the battle.

Photo credit: Kris Evans.

For more by Kris Evans, click here.

For more on personal health, click here.

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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