Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Monday, April 19, 2010

President Obama Issues Historic Memorandum

Filed under: GLBT Social Issues and Civil Rights,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 15:08

On Thursday, April 15, 2010, President Barack Obama issued a memorandum to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) directing relevant agencies to take steps to ensure that individuals are not discriminated against in hospital settings on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The memorandum requests agencies to develop rules to protect gay and lesbian patients and their families and address issues of hospital visitation, medical decision making, or other healthcare issues. Specifically, any healthcare agency that receives federal dollars for medical service reimbursement (for example, Medicare and/or Medicaid) must allow partners of gay and lesbian patients full visitation rights and allow them to serve as the decision-maker for their plan of care (placing them in-control of execution of advanced directives, do not resuscitate protocols, living wills, durable power of attorneys, etc.). Check out THIS LINK for the complete memorandum. The measure serves as another sign of President Obama’s intelligence and understanding of the importance of commited relationships among gay and lesbian persons.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

“Teabaggers” Show New Level of Hatred while “Stonewall” Uprises

Filed under: GLBT Social Issues and Civil Rights,Movie and Entertainment,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:36

Straightpride2 Just when you thought the ignorant and complete lack of IQ “teabaggers” couldn’t get any more stupid, they showed a new level of hatred towards gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons on their “Teabag Express” tour stop in Lansing, Michigan on April 10th. A vendor at the event was selling “Straight Pride” t-shirts highly reminiscent of the “White Power” hate speech associated with the Ku Klux Klan and Skinhead/ White Supremacist movements. Reaction to the t-shirts in the gay community has been overwhelmingly negative although many are defending the rights of the “teabaggers” to wear such hate garbage. Ironically, the “teabagger” pictured appears to also be ashamed of his or her hateful display as he/she covered his/her face during the photograph. And perhaps as a very appropriate and unintended reaction, the trailer for the documentary Stonewall Uprising released today. The documentary details the “Rosa Parks” moment of the gay liberation movement in the United States, where patrons of the Stonewall Inn bar refused to acquiesce to police brutality and homophobia and fought-back against the physical violence and abuse inflicted upon them. On a personal, note, I discussed the importance of the Stonewall Riots in my Doctoral Dissertation in the context of the GLBT civil rights movement. Watch the trailer below. Stonewall Uprising, from First Run Features, released in select markets beginning on April 8th and will hit the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on April 27th, 2010.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Republican Party Leaders Involved in Spending Scandal

Filed under: Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:12

antirepublican.jpg Closely scrutinized documents detailing Republican spending, particularly by Chairmen Michael Steele, show the party wasting large amounts of money frivolously. Steele’s travel records indicated he used thousands upon thousands of dollars to charter private flights from various airports (violating the party’s own policies on strict use of commercial flights). Steele also lives on the Republican hog quite lavishly. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,946. 25 spent at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex. The club caters to interest in sadomasochism and other types of domination sexual fetishes. Not that this new is any real surprise; it’s just another example of the ridiculousness that is the Republican Party.

Monday, March 22, 2010

History Made! House PASSES Healthcare Reform Bill!

Filed under: Health and Social Policy,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 00:43

The Urgent Need for Health Reform

In a historic night, the United States House of Representatives has PASSED the Healthcare Reform Bill! The vote was 219-212 with the vast majority of Democrats voting “Yes” while the Republicans voted “No.” Republicans also failed to stall the Bill by attempting to argue language in the Bill related to abortions (which will NOT be eligible for federal funding). The Bill has been largely edited since its original inception. In its original form, the Bill included a comprehensive public healthcare option which would’ve provided coverage of the uninsured through a government-subsidized insurance plan. The new plan has some provisions for subsidization of the uninsured and underinsured through a sliding scale and provides financial incentives, mostly through pooling of money (particularly among small business owners), to augment insurance coverage to those who usually fail to obtain health insurance because their employer cannot afford to help provide it or the employee cannot afford to pay for the coverage themselves. Perhaps more importantly, however, are the strong provisions placed in the Bill to protect consumers from tactics used by insurance companies to deny coverage, escalate copays and deductibles, and limit the affordability and portability of health insurance policies.

The Bill was largely supported by healthcare’s professional organizations; the American Nurses Association, American College of Nurse Practitioners, American Medical Association, America Hospital Association, American Association of Retired Persons, and National Association of Social Workers all strongly endorsed the Bill and issued supportive proposal statement encouraging members to support the Bill. Personally, as a Nurse Practitioner who has worked in the acute care arena for almost a decade, I applaud this Bill greatly! Our practice has seen the number of uninsured patients rise dramatically over the past several years. While I personally am reimbursed for my services through our practice, our practice never receives a dime of payment for the services we provide to these patients. Sometimes, the number of uninsured have approached 30% of our patient population. Ultimately, the hospital obtains tax breaks and other financial incentives for caring for these patients through tax-payer funded mechanisms; but rarely are the actual total costs ever covered and the lack of insurance leads to a perpetuation of broken care and rapid re-entrance into the healthcare system to continue to rely on tax-payer funded care that has no choice but to be substandard. The US Department of Health and Human Services provides an analysis of how the BIll will effect each state. You can access Florida here:


This is the change we need! If your Representative voted “Yes” on Healthcare Reform (Suzanne Kosmas–the representative for the UCF Area voted “Yes”), take a moment to send him or her a “Thank-You” E-Mail or letter. If your Representative did not vote in-favor for the Bill, show him or her your appreciation at the voting booth and vote him or her OUT OF OFFICE!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Representative Tim Ryan Denouces “Teabaggers”

Filed under: Health and Social Policy,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 17:34

While normally I would be determined to ignore such rhetoric for fear of giving it any kind of attention, today on the House Floor, Representative Tim Ryan denounced the disgusting and moronic “teabaggers” who spewed racist and homophobic slurs to Congressmen Barney Frank and John Lewis (also spitting on Lewis) yesterday. Some Republicans have attempted to distance themselves from the behavior while others, like Devin Nunes (R-CA), have actually defended it! Take a look at Ryan’s response below, where he slams the Republicans for endorsing the moron “teabaggers” who continue to demonstrate their complete lack of intelligence and inability to understand how vital this reform bill is for the nation’s healthcare system (despite its endorsement from every major reputable nursing, medical, and hospital profesional organization). Regardless, the Bill now looks like it has the necessary 216 votes to pass, making their attempts not only laughable, but futile as well.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Simply Mind Boggling

Filed under: Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:03

Despite the fact the most reputable healthcare organizations within the United States have endorsed the Healthcare Reform Bill coming up for a vote in the House of Representatives on Sunday, the ignorant contiue to spew their stupidity and Faux News talking points trying to scare policymakers into voting against the measure. The Healthcare Reform Bill is endorsed by the American Nurses Association (the professional organization representing the nation’s nursing workforce), the American Medical Association (the professional organization representing the nation’s physician workforce), the American Hospital Association (the professional organization representing the nation’s public, for-profit, and non-profit hospitals), the American Association of Social Workers (the professional organization representing the nation’s social workers), and the American Association of Retired Persons (the national advocacy group representing the nation’s senior citizens).

Ironically, regardless of the hard work and research these groups have put into their analyses of the Bill, conservative dolts who know absolutely nothing about healthcare are causing a debate when there should be none to begin with. Below, watch the responses given to simple questions posed by a journalism student to “Tea Baggers” lobbying in Washington, DC to defeat the Healthcare Reform Bill. Besides false and inflammatory talking points from Faux News and the brainless Glenn Beck, none are able to articulate a single specific point from the Bill. Going into this weekend, I encourage you to contact your Representative to show you stand behind our nation’s health experts and realize just how salient passing this Bill truly is. I have sent several letters of support to my Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas. She indicated today that she will vote “Yes” on Healthcare Reform! For the sake of our nation and our nation’s healthcare system, this Bill is a must!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Republican Hypocrites Who Deny Stimulus Vigorously Spending Funds

Filed under: Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:30

Sen. Kit Bond  Watchdog group Think Progress released a not-too-surprising yet head-shaking report today. While economist and economic researchers are indicating the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Bill) has put the American economy back on-track and created millions of jobs, Republican politicians hoping to make strides in November continue to brand the stimulus as wasteful government spending, all the while spending every dime of the money given to their districts. Many of the Republicans have even lied, claiming funds spent didn’t come from the stimulus package. Here’s some highlights from the reports’ findings:

– Top Republican Senate Recruits Are Stimulus Hypocrites: As ThinkProgress reported, Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), a candidate for Senate, touted over $5 million in stimulus programs he voted to kill. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), the GOP nominee for Senate in Illinois, signed a letter urging Gov. Pat Quinn to provide “Recovery Act (ARRA) funding to expand the Illinois Community College Sustainability Network.”– GOP Leadership Leads The Way In Hypocrisy: Although he regularly slams the stimulus as a waste while in DC, McConnell has returned to Kentucky to take credit for stimulus programs, even taking time to request more funds. ThinkProgress attended two job fairs held by Cantor, where we found dozens of employers able to hire directly because of the stimulus. Indeed, even Boehner’s office released a statement boasting that the stimulus will create “much needed jobs.”

– The Audacity Of Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds: Many opponents of the stimulus have been quite brazen with their ability to try to claim credit for the program. For instance, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) spent the morning of July 28th railing against the stimulus, yelling “Where’s the stimulus package? Where’s the jobs?” on the House floor. On the same day of his rant, Kingston’s office sent out multiple press releases bragging that he had secured hundreds of thousands in stimulus funds to hire additional police officers in his district. Other stimulus opponents, like Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) — who has called the stimulus a “trillion dollar debt bill” — have printed out jumbo-sized ceremonial stimulus checks to present to local communities to try to garner positive press.

The report concludes: “Individually, over half of the entire Republican caucus has hailed nearly every aspect of the stimulus as a success — from infrastructure funds, to food programs, to education grants. But politically, admitting its success might harm the GOP’s chances in November. So with Republicans fixated on winning politically, they have focused on deceiving the public by calling the stimulus a failure, while pretending successful programs aren’t stimulus funded.”

While I wish I could say this is surprising, nothing over my lifetime has ever made me expect anything less from the Republican “leadership.”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

President Obama Delivers a Knockout State of the Union Address

Filed under: American Life and Society,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:28

On Wednesday night, President Barack Obama “knocked one out of the park” in what many are calling a “home run” State of the Union Address. In his first Union Address, President Obama discussed some of this successes and setbacks of his administration in his first year as President. Perhaps more importantly, he also outlined some specific plans to stimulate America’s Bush/Republican-ravaged economy and lower the $3 trillion deficit he inherited from Bush when he took office. A salient point the President made was the need for bipartisanship to make forward-progress. He also promised to take action on the military’s discriminatory ban on allowing openly gay servicemen and women to serve in our nation’s armed forces.

The nation agrees. Polling data released by CNN right after the State of the Union Address indicates a positive perception. 78% of participants indicated an overall “Very Positive” or “Positive” reaction to President Obama’s Address. 71% also reported they believed the policies being proposed by President Obama “will move the country in the right direction.” 66% indicated a level of confidence for President Obama’s abilities to carry-out his duties. And 67% believed President Obama’s plans will “improve the economy.”

Personally, the two pieces of legislation I am most proud of President Obama signing into law thus far are the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which included sexual orientation and gender identity in federal intervention in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provides $237 billion in individual tax cuts over the next few years where America needs it the most–the Middle Class . Congratulations to President Obama on his successful State of the Union Address. Let’s hope the Republicans and Democrats can somehow come together to bring America the progress it so desperately needs. With the addition of a Republican to the Senate, the mandate to work together has never been stronger. Below, watch President Obama pledge to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

With Massachusetts Senate Vote, US Takes GIGANTIC Step Backwards

Filed under: Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:15

Brown  Despite the need for progressive and forward-thinking policies which will improve America’s Republican-ravaged economy and get the country back on-track, 52% of the voters in Massachusetts handed Republican Scott Brown the Senate seat vacated by the late Edward Kennedy on Tuesday. With 93% of precincts reporting, Scott was beating Attorney General Martha Coakley 52% to 48%, giving Brown enough votes to declare a victory. With the win, Republicans now have the 41 Senate seats needed to place major roadblocks to the important policies, including healthcare reform, the Democrats and President Barack Obama have worked so hard to pass. While the defeat creates challenges for the Democrats, it should not be interpreted as a major conservative mandate from voters; Coakley lost by only 4% and her loss is largely seen as her failure to run a good campaign. Nonetheless, the United States just took a GIGANTIC step backwards.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

UF’s Tim Tebow Records Super Bowl Commercial for Anti-Gay Group

Filed under: Politics,Religion,Sports and Athletics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 17:14

View Image  Tim Tebow, the University of Florida Gators’ quarterback for the last several seasons, has filmed a Christian-themed anti-abortion commercial for an organization with strong anti-gay ties. The ad, costing nearly $3-million, will air during this year’s Super Bowl and provides the following anti-abortion message by Tebow’s mother: “Pam Tebow contacted amoebic dysentery while on a Philippines mission, and the bacterial infection sent her into a coma. Upon recovery, doctors urged Pam to have an abortion because of the damage to her body. Tebow was born healthy on Aug. 14, 1987.” The ad is being paid for by Focus on the Family, who over the years has funneled millions of dollars to fight equality legislation for GLBT Americans. Most recently, the group donated nearly $1 million to strip-away marriage equality rights in California’s Proposition 8 ballot initiative. Hmmm… Nearly $4 million spent on promoting conservative social policies which strip away the rights of women and minorities…That’s a lot of money that could’ve been spent on helping the homeless, researching cures for cancer, or providing healthcare to the poor…What Would Jesus Do?

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