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Posts from the ‘Media’ Category

Military Sexual Assault – Male Victims Coming Forward

Justice Denied

Justice Denied

The epidemic of rape in the United States military is not a new issue. The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 22,800 violent sex crimes in the military in 2011. 20% of all active-duty female soldiers are sexually assaulted. Female soldiers aged 18 to 21 accounted for more than half of the victims. Now, men are coming forward to share their stories of sexual violence while in the military.

Thursday, April 17th on WBAI 99.5 FM at 11:00 PM tune into Healthstyles when co-host Barbara Glickstein interviews Michael Matthews, USAF Retired disabled veteran who served for 20 years. He is a military sexual trauma (MST) survivor. He is joined by Geri Lynn Weinstein Matthews, MSW LICSW, a licensed clinical and medical social worker with a specialty in trauma. They were subjects in The Invisible War, a documentary about military sexual violence that was nominated for an academy award in 2013.

They have co-produced a documentary, Justice Denied about MST from the Male perspective. You can view the trailer here.

They are committed activists working to end sexual assault within the U.S. military and to help survivors of Military Sexual Assault heal.

You can contact Michael Matthews by telephone at 505-270 2496 if you or anyone you know has been a victim of MST or want to reach out to support their work.

Gerri Lynn Weinstein Matthews can be sent a direct message via her Facebook  page.

You can listen to the interview MST with Matthews

WANTED: Stylist. CLIENT: Medicaid.

Sometimes, on a rare Wednesday morning off, this nurse just has to cook herself a full pancake breakfast. This morning with bacon and eggs sizzling, I upped the nerd ante, and tuned into The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. A few segments (and pancakes) in, I was lucky enough to catch an interview with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation‘s Senior Policy Adviser, Susan Dentzer, regarding the upcoming March 31st deadline for health insurance sign-ups under the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA Deadline is Coming via Brian Lehrer and WNYC

“The ACA Deadline is Coming” via The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC

Callers rang between juicy policy tidbits, with one striking me as particularly shocking. A young woman explained that she was working as an independent contractor (in my ‘hood, we call it freelancing), and that this year had been rough. She was unable to log hardly any income on the books. What would she do? How could she afford Obamacare? Dentzer’s answer was incredibly simple, but behind her clear instruction, I could hear her excitement to give this woman good news: In essence, she had nothing to lose by looking into the ACA – she lives in New York! – she’d likely qualify for Medicaid! In response, the caller seemed baffled, quiet, like this information had never occurred to her.

This stopped me in my tracks. By that time in the show, I had moved on to housework, and was ironing a shirt. With hot iron swinging, I yelled to my leftover pancakes, “SHE DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT MEDICAID?!” Amazed by the idea that someone my age, in this super-connected town, didn’t know that she might qualify for completely free medical coverage set my wheels turning. Why, oh millennial generation, why, are we so out of the loop on this new fad?

But then I wondered, after I put my iron down, is it cluelessness, or is it shame? The origins of Medicaid, while sterling, have suffered decades of abuse from the conservative right, religious groups, and the recipients themselves, leaving its reputation quite tarnished, maybe even a little grimy. Most times, it’s lumped in the same conversational pile as disability, and that dreaded word that I wish someone would abolish, “welfare.” Stereotypes abound; people abusing the system, the noncompliant poor, the bad care offered.

No wonder this woman, and likely many in my generation, might balk at the public declaration of poverty. New York is a place that exalts the wealthy to demigod status, and shuns the poor to the periphery of anonymity. But in a town where most of us are trying to make it in our careers, just starting out on our own creative or scholastic measure, or already do what we love regardless of the paycheck, poverty is kind of the norm. Maybe we do an okay job of hiding it by playing the part of the thriving progressive, but I know very few people my age in New York who live with exorbitant amounts of expendable income for things other than the tools for their survival and success (rent, fashion, fun).

Lindsey Jones is a NY-based freelancing makeup artist. Here, she shows followers her makeover tricks.

Lindsey Jones is a NY-based freelancing makeup artist. Here, she shows followers her makeover tricks.

Which makes me think…maybe Medicaid needs a makeover? Maybe, instead of the tired brand we’ve long written off, up-and-coming artists, fashion designers, writers, actors and freelancers of all types should start “coming out” as proud recipients of the most fashionable accessory on the market: Medicaid. Maybe, if we use our millennial insight and technical savvy to demand the most out of this sexy new commodity that our country (and state!) is giving to us for free, the provided services would improve – not just for us newcomers, but for those who have used it since its inception.

We change our wardrobes daily with each passing fad, we dress our dogs, we’re the most eclectic city in the country: Come on, New York. I know you like a good before and after. Why not Medicaid? Time’s running out before the clock strikes twelve Monday night.

March Madness


March. It’s now officially spring. Division One NCAA mens’ college basketball starts and we have the March 31st deadline to sign-up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

With so much competition, those running the media campaign to get people to sign-up for health insurance know that the traditional use of PSAs to get your message across just won’t do it anymore.

Last week, President Obama appeared on the Funny Or Die series to reach a younger audience about signing up for health insurance. Young adults ages 18 to 34 are the least likely to be insured (nearly 30 percent in 2012) and the most likely to pay premiums without costing the system much. The 13 million views on the “Between Two Ferns” video in less than 24 hours resulted in driving a 40% increase in visits to site.

Yesterday, President Obama appeared by live feed from the White House on the Ellen DeGeneres Show asking mothers to reach out to their kids and telling them to sign up for Obamacare.

The Ellen Show draws 3.5 million viewers  daily.

“Moms out there, email your kids if they don’t have health insurance and tell them to at least check it out, because they may be pleasantly surprised that it’s much more affordable than people thought.”

Yesterday, President Obama also had a taped appearance on ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd show The Herd, to reach a wider young male audience. When asked about his recent unconventional appearances he said that as president “you have to remind yourself of the wonderful people that you are supposed to be serving, who have a sense of humor, and aren’t thinking every day about position papers.”

President Obama also talked about his picks in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament. He promised to reveal his picks for the women’s college basketball tournament next week.

March Madness. I think the President understands that if you can figure out the brackets, braketology, you can certainly go to and sign-up for health insurance.


Did You See That Video With…?

Our Commander in Chief talks with popular comedian, while plugging the ACA.

Our Commander in Chief bantered with the popular comedian, plugged the ACA.

I’m a fan of Zach Galifianakis. It takes guts to stride through life with his mouthful-of-a-name, much less Hollywood. The Hangover conglomerate, while amusing in its extravagance, generally left me with my eyes rolling, but his offbeat character refreshed the barrage of alpha-males the film trilogy celebrates. His SNL bits always make me laugh, and I’m appreciative of what I’ve read of his off-screen life; he secretly married his long-term girlfriend, and he appears to be happy with his generally atypical celebrity appearance.

But Between Two Ferns, Galifianakis’ parody talk show on the site Funny or Die, takes the cake. The show, where guests are interviewed, literally, between two ferns, typically involves a heavy dose of awkward slander from Galifianakis. A little bit like British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s talk show Da Ali G Show, some guests seem in the loop on the hoax, while others flabbergasted by Galifianakis’ supposedly serious gal.

Yesterday, Between Two Ferns jumped its status in a unique way; President Obama appeared as a guest. Most of the six-and-a-half-minute show was a battle of the wits, with Galifianakis clearly losing to an extraordinarily sarcastic Obama. Stuck in the middle of quite a few funny bits, including a reference to North IKEA, and a call for the legalization of same-sex divorce, this episode included a minute-and-a-half Presidential plug for the Affordable Care Act. I’ll be honest, I set my phone down at that point. The President lost my undivided attention when he broke character and fell back into his stump-speech lingo. The show, usually 100% hilarity, had deviated; a slightly odd public service announcement, saved only by returning to comedy for the final minute.

But on second-review, I can’t help but think how cool it is that we have a President willing to try something as quirky as this. It’s widely known these days that Obama has won the heart of the Millenials, but can’t seem to get a grip on how to sell us the pearl of his Presidency – health care for all, at the cost of a cell phone bill. While his message via Galifianakis seemed more patronizing than playful, at least he’s breaking out of the box a bit, using the power of the viral video to push us youngsters to take out our iPhones and sign up before the March 31st deadline.

Texting, Walking, Staying Alive in New York City

While crossing a busy East Side intersection earlier today, I was almost hit by a turning bus. The white walking man symbol gave me the right-of-way, but I’m quite sure if I hadn’t jumped up and down, waved my arms and screamed to get the oncoming behemoth’s attention, I would not be here to pen this post.

As I continued my walk curbside, I said to myself, “Well, I’m glad I wasn’t texting.”

A short-lived 2012 DOT ad campaign appealing to the true, albeit snarky reality of text-walking.

A short-lived and snarky 2012 DOT ad campaign calling attention to the reality of NYC text-walking.

Turns out my scrape with death isn’t the only evidence suggesting that our all-too-common practice of walking and texting is unsafe. This week, The New York Times published an article discussing a recent Australian study, with findings supporting the theory that texting while walking isn’t just rude, it could be bad for your health. Making participants walk with cell phone in hand, then reading from cell phone in hand, then texting, the researchers videotaped each pattern. People who texted while walking appeared to become human robots, adopting a stiff gait, swerving path and tendency to trip. The study equated this observation with that of an elderly person with cognitive dysfunction, prone to falling and other motion-related accidents. And this simulation was done in an empty hallway, not on the chaotic streets of New York.

Looks like it might be in our favor to pocket our phones on the streets, and pull our weight in the new mayor’s plan to eliminate all traffic-related deaths in the city. But how might the ever-multi-tasking New Yorker’s text habits be harnessed? As much as I plan to curb the habit, I sure hope the future of Vision Zero doesn’t include tickets for text-walking.


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