local artist. . .

I got a tip today that this play is happening at our very own Riverside theater! Check it out!

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mark your calendars . . .

This Saturday (Sept. 10th) is the Iowa Women’s Music Festival! Located in Upper City Park, the day stage is FREE (noon-5 p.m.). The evening performance by Janis Ian will be at the Englert theater. Come check out these wonderful musicians and hear some kickin’ music. For more info about the artists and the event, click here. 

bad move Des Moines Register . . .

Apparently I’m a little late on this Des Moines Register editorial stating the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that insurers cover preventative health services for women goes “too far.”

Excuse me, that’s bullshit.

The argument behind this naïve and short-sighted stance is that Americans in general overuse health care, and if people don’t have to pay things like deductibles or co-pays then they don’t “think twice about the expense.” Which is actually kind of ironic phrasing, considering this writer must not have thought twice—or once—about the cost of preventative measures (birth control, yearly exams) versus the cost of unintended/ unplanned pregnancies, or sexually transmitted infections.

“This is exactly why co-payments and deductibles are necessary in health insurance. They help to prevent the overuse of care, something Americans are globally notorious for.”

How you gonna overuse birth control? Hmmm? OD on the 4th week sugar pills?

Placing the burden of disorderly spending on the shoulders of women, especially low income women, is not the way to break Americans from their “drug habit.” This will just mean a continuance of unintended pregnancies of which the parents aren’t financially ready for (because if it’s hard to afford the cost of birth control it might be harder to afford the cost of a child). Not to mention the services that child will need, most likely to be paid for (at least in part) by social and governmental services—aka tax money. It also means covering the cost of women’s medical needs that could have been prevented or detected and treated earlier (cervical or breast cancer), as well as the cost of treating STIs.

If the Register is truly concerned with our country’s dependence on prescription drugs then it needs to go after the pharmaceutical companies that exploit patients into thinking they need useless drugs. (Sexual female dysfunction anyone?!) Keeping women from preventative health measures is really what will cost you in the long run.

missing out . . .

Here in Iowa City the discussion on affordable education tends to center on rising tuition and plunging state appropriations for the three regents’ universities. And rightly so—we’re in the thick of Hawkeye country, and higher education is fast ascending to prices unattainable for lower or middle class students.

But a recent report by ProPublica (a nonprofit, investigative news source) shows some school districts in Iowa are not providing equal access among students to advanced courses, programs, and opportunities that prepare them for higher education. The disparity leaves students in low-income areas (schools and districts with a large percentage of free/reduced lunch) without access to Advanced Placement (AP) classes, advanced math or science, or Gifted/Talented programs—“programs that researchers say will help them later in life.”

The Marshalltown Community School District, for example, at 60 percent Free/Reduced lunch (22 percent higher than the state’s average) has a whopping 0 percent of students taking advanced math, and less than average amount of students taking AP courses (only 11 percent compared to a 17 percent average). Whereas a district like Waukee Community School District, with only 9 percent of students receiving Free/Reduced lunch has 28 percent of its students taking advanced math courses.

And the disparities extend throughout the entire state, meaning that many low-income students who already lack financial opportunities to affordable higher education are missing educational opportunities as well.

This is depressing, frankly, and it completely disputes claims that it’s by choice or lack of motivation, as those who voice the “bootstraps” mantra might have you believe. It exemplifies our still-prevalent class boundaries that keep those at the bottom relegated to a life of inequality.