DADT, Vampire Bees, and Other Hazards to Your Health

Dr. Kenneth Katz recently published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Health Hazards of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This week, he penned an op/ed for RH Reality Check about his experiences treating U.S. military at an STD clinic in San Diego. Dr. Katz sees the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” rule for LGB members of the military as a huge roadblock to good medical care. He’s pretty confident that his military patients feel safe divulging their sexual histories to a civilian doctor like himself. But when those troops go overseas, they are cared for by military doctors. 

Technically, doctor-patient communication is exempt from DADT, but many patients don’t realize that they can tell their military doctors about gay sex without fear of reprisals (at least in theory). Dr. Katz’s patients have told him that they won’t go for recommended follow-up STD screening after they ship out because they’re afraid to be honest with their doctors. He worries about how many troops are suffering from treatable infections in war zones because they aren’t allowed to serve openly.

Food stamp use skyrockets, swordfish sales unaccountably flat

Monica Potts of TAPPED points to the alarming statistic that in the last month alone, an additional 500,000 Americans went on food stamps. She notes that the right wing website Daily Caller is alarmed not by the fact that fellow citizens can’t afford food, but rather that there’s no gruel-only foodstamp program available:

Meanwhile, the conservative news site The Daily Caller is shocked, shocked, to learn that you can use food stamps to buy all manner of food. The government, apparently, doesn’t restrict you from purchasing an $18-per-pound swordfish steak from Whole Foods. But that kind of discovery, like almost everything else in the “debate” over food stamp use, is the sort of ridiculous one that comes from a person who’s never been hungry.

The Hyde Amendment

In Campus Progress, Jessica Arons and Madina Agénor call for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment for being an assault on the reproductive rights of poor women and women of color. The Supreme Court declared abortion to be a constitutional right in 1973, yet nearly 40 years later, the Hyde Amendment still prohibits nearly all federal funding for abortions. In practice, the women most affected by the Hyde Amendment are those who depend on government health care programs like Medicaid and the Indian Health Service:

Former U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), the law’s sponsor, admitted during debate of his proposal that he was targeting poor women because they were the only ones vulnerable enough for him to reach. “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion, a rich woman, a middle-class woman, or a poor woman,” he said. “Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the … Medicaid bill.”

Meanwhile, ultra-conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is calling on Congress to de-fund the reproductive health provider Planned Parenthood, Andy Birkey reports in the Minnesota Independent. In an interview with a conservative news site, Bachmann doubled down on that idea, suggesting that all of health care reform be de-funded because it funds abortions. This is not true. The aforementioned Hyde Amendment guarantees as much.

Furthermore, even though health reform never would have funded abortions, President Obama signed an eleventh-hour executive order guaranteeing that health care reform would not fund abortions.

Brooklyn bees gorge on maraschino cherry run-off

Home beekeeping is the hottest new trend for health-conscious locavores. New York City recently changed the law to accommodate beekeepers in the five boroughs. Just because you live in an industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn is no reason to miss out on this sweet action, right? Well, actually, there is a catch. That nice honey at the farmers’ market tastes like lavender because that’s what those rural bees ate. What do bees in Red Hook, Brooklyn eat? Run-off from a maraschino cherry factory. The overindulgent bees “look like vampires” according to one local keeper and their honey runs bright red. Maraschino honey sounds like a delicious mash-up of high and low culture. Unfortunately, Sarah Goodyear reports in Grist that the end product doesn’t taste nearly as good as it looks. Arthur Mondella, the owner of Dell’s Maraschino Cherries, wants to do right by the beekeepers. He initially suggested putting out vats of different colored syrup to “help” the bees make rainbow honey. His proposal was not well-received by the crunchy set. Instead, he has agreed to work with the beekeepers to keep the bees out of the vats next year.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. 

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago


The doc is probably right -- don't know if "secrets" in the military b/w doc and patient, will be kept.

The choice issue -- we have a ruling by the Supreme Court -- Roe vs Wade. Choice, privacy, b/w a doctor and patient is our right. OUR RIGHT AS WOMEN. These politicians that impinge on our right MAKE ME FURIOUS. THEY may believe as they want, but they have no right to believe FOR OTHERS. Poor women, as usual, have no rights.

Michelle Bachman is a joke. Planned Parenthood has helped women in a myriad of ways, for decades, women without other recourse.

Food stamps -- yes, those object, who have never been hungry. The difference b/w caring people (Dems), and people who believe in themselves, and pulling one's self up by one's bootstraps, and to hell with everyone else (Repubs)

"They" say to buy local honey -- it protects against local allergies.

Carol E.
Carol E7 years ago

DADT Vampire bees, what next, buying honey from a farm, now ask where are the bees from?

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

Thanx for article

Past Member 7 years ago

interesting variety of issues in this article...but if one witnesses an abuse of the it...both the offending party and the store...when we just turn away, our silence is an endorsement of that incorrect behavior...just complaining about it on here is not is either part of the solution or part of the problem...sorry need to report them..

Olivia Schlosser
Past Member 7 years ago

Thanks. Gruel is cruel....just like the Right.

Ozgur Yarar
Ozgur Yarar7 years ago

Son Dakika Haber
So gay vampire bees are opposing Don't ask, Don't tell us how to make honey policies..?
Tuba Büyüküstün
They should try it; they might like it. I know the rest of us certainly would.

Bart V.
Bart V.7 years ago

It is deplorable that gays in the military is still an issue with anyone. America's closest allies have changed years ago, with nothing but positive results. The use of religious reasons for not allowing someone to put their lives on the line in defense of ones liberty is primitive & places the US in a terrible light. Additionally, it is a grave insult to the countries that would come to America's protection in a heartbeat.

Doug D.
Doug D7 years ago

Enjoyed the article.

Will Wilson
William Wilson7 years ago

It's so easy for people to criticize. I wonder when or if they'll ever try to empathize regardless as to whether it's about DADT or food stamps. They should try it; they might like it. I know the rest of us certainly would.