What's interesting today

Digital Shift: Librarians Feel Sticker Shock as Price for Random House Ebooks Rises as Much as 300 Percent
Random House has increased the price they charge libraries to purchase ebooks for lending. I could understand this if they were also changing their lending model such that more than one person at a time could use a single copy of the book. But it remains a “single-seat” model. Oh, and as David Lee King points out – libraries don’t actually OWN these books, and the price increase isn’t due to a change to an ownership model. I think that for most libraries, this price hike is ultimately going to mean fewer copies of popular titles available, and fewer ebooks purchased in general. I know the publishers need to make money to stay afloat, but do they really think this is the way to do it?

Unofficial SXSWi Primer for Rowdy Librarians
A quick take on how to make the most of SXSW. This includes some great general tips for any conference, and for any time when you need or want to try and strike up a conversation with someone. It seems so obvious but I rarely think to ask “so what brought you here?” which will really work in ANY situation.

The Hairpin: The Contraception “Debate”
This is a brief post on what’s been going on lately with the debate around contraception. I find it disheartening how conservatives (well, at least the loudest ones) seem to only see the issues around “separation of church and state” from one angle. I have no problem if someone chooses not to do something because of their religious beliefs.  But trying to impose those beliefs on others is where I draw the line. A few stray thoughts I’ve had in the last week or so as I continue to hear and think about this issue:

  • What do conservative women think and feel around this topic?
  • As far as the politicians involved are concerned, I keep thinking to myself “did they forget women got the vote?!”
  • Imagine what things might be like if our elected officials spent this much energy on something like job creation.
  • Would we be having this discussion if men could get pregnant?

Bitch saved!

Holy smokes!

We’re thrilled to announce that in just three short days, you’ve
rallied together and propelled us beyond our $40,000 fundraising goal.
In fact, by the time we looked up from our computers, you’d already
donated $46,000! (Read more.)

That’s amazing. I still plan to send them some money after my next paycheck (I always think about it when I read their appeals each issue), but it’s fantastic that so many people feel so strongly about this magazine that they didn’t wait — they donated, immediately.

As I write this post (which will be auto-posted sometime tomorrow), they’re at $55,000.

Save Bitch!

Oh shit! Bitch Magazine needs $40,000 by October 15 or else they won’t be able to print the next issue. Sounds like they are working to figure out an alternative publishing model that will be more sustainable, but in the meantime they still need to get the goods out there.

I don’t know how many of you read Bitch, but if you do, I hope you’ll think about donating something. I will be (as soon as I get my next paycheck and feel a little less “ack!” about my account balances). It’s a fantastic publication, and I’ve read about all sorts of things that I otherwise never would have read about. As I feel like I often hear other people say, I don’t always agree with everything I read in Bitch, but I’m glad that someone’s out there doing what they do.

Four months later . . .

(This is a bit of a rant, and also may be too much information for those who don’t care to know about Girl Things. Consider yourself warned.)

. . . I think I have finally resolved the billing problems I was having with Planned Parenthood. I was really excited in July when I went to the clinic in Davis Square to get my birth control. They give you a years’ worth up front and then bill you each month, cool right? But there was a hitch — I left without the 13 months’ worth I should have received — they didn’t have enough that would still be within the expiration date. I was told I could go back at any time and pick the rest of it up. When I went back before moving, they still didn’t have enough. They assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem to contact the billing office and stop the contract, and gave me the contact info. Continue reading

Popline blocking searches for abortion resources

Popline, which I previously hadn’t heard of, bills itself as “Your connection to the world’s reproductive health literature.” The site is run by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The gist of the current news, according to Wired, is that USAID currently has a policy to deny funding to non-governmental organizations that perform abortions or promote them as an option. JHU has apparently decided to stop returning results on searches for “abortion” since they are funded by USAID.

My friend Ellen has already put together some information & screen shots here, check them out. I’ll be interested to see how this plays out in the next couple of weeks.

3:17 PM — Edited to add:

ResourceShelf reports that “abortion” has been removed from Popline’s stop word list (words ignored when you search for them — typically things like a, and, the) and posts a response from the Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Read more here.

Another reason why Planned Parenthood rocks

In which I divulge personal information you may prefer not to know, depending on who you are and how you know me. I clearly don’t think it’s too much to put on the Internet (and I think about these things), but FYI.

So, despite being a huge Planned Parenthood supporter, I had actually never been to one until late last week, when I visited Plan, an express clinic that opened a few months ago in Davis Square. I went to get an STD check and a refill on my birth control, since I currently can’t afford to go visit my regular OB/GYN to take care of this (and get a pelvic exam)*. Plan doesn’t offer pelvic exams, but they do STD tests and other counseling. Continue reading


I’m sorry, but if you’re going to include Viagra as a prescription covered by the health care you offer your employees, you damn well better cover birth control so the women married to these guys can have some non-surgical control over the situation. Via Planned Parenthood: Eighth Circuit Upholds Excluding Birth Control from Health Care Plans

The press release doesn’t make the Viagra point; that was in an email alert I got from PP.

If you can afford to donate (I wish that I could) please consider it. This is preposterous.

Remember Sassy?

If you’re a female in her mid-20s, you probably remember Sassy, the awesome magazine that was everything Teen and Seventeen were not. There is a great article on Nerve.com right now that is apparently excerpted from a book due out in April. Go read it: Cute Band Alert: How Sassy Magazine Created a New Sex Object. The article talks a lot about how Sassy introduced the “indie rock sensitive boy” to the lineup of male stereotypes for teenage girls to lust after. It also hits upon and hints at some other reasons why the magazine was so great. I remember being completely disgusted when my subscription to Sassy turned into a subscription to Teen when Sassy folded. For a little while there was a section of Teen that tried to be a mini-Sassy, but failed miserably. I’ll be interested to check out this book when it’s published.

I trace my dislike of magazines like Cosmo (yeah, I’ll look through it if someone has it around–it’s like a car wreck, you can’t take your eyes away) to my early embrace of Sassy. That’s why I was so excited when Jane debuted–same editor, it’ll have to rock, right! Eh. I was a subscriber for a couple of years, but then let it lapse. For me, they were tipping too much towards Cosmo–good feature articles on important topics, but turn the page and there’s the ridiculous fashion spread featuring clothes that no one I know wore (or could afford, or even think about affording). After a while, every issue I was thinking “gee, I’m really not their demographic. Their demographic is clearly more trendy and well-off than I am.” So that was the end of that.

I’m still on the lookout for the adult woman’s version of Sassy. I like Bitch, because of the interesting, intelligent articles, and the feminist POV. I was picking up Bust for a little while, but that wasn’t quite right for whatever reason. Who knows. Maybe I’m just too picky. I’ll stick to the New Yorker and Wired, which I think balances the pretentiousness of the former pretty well.

EC – Over the counter!

This is exciting news!

Finally, emergency contraception (EC), one of the safest and most effective ways to prevent unintended pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure, will be available to women without a prescription. On August 24, after more than 18 months of delay, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made Plan B, a brand of EC, available over the counter for women over 18.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

The shadow over this is that, due to the age restriction (women under 18 will still need a prescription), the majority of pharmacies will probably put this behind the pharmacy counter. We’ve seen that there are pharmacists who refuse to dispense this when women go with a prescription, so this could be a problem in some areas. It’s a tricky situation. While I respect that pharmacists, like all of us, have all sorts of different religious and moral beliefs, I believe that those need to be put aside while at work (unless of course you work for your religious organization or something like that). And if a pharmacist is absolutely not willing to do that, he or she should to ensure that, at all times, there is another clerk or pharmacist on duty who will provide Plan B to women who ask.

Anyway, I was glad to see the announcement about this in my inbox. I think it’s an important step. If you’re happy to hear this, please consider sending a thank you note to Sens. Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray.

More in the Boston Globe.

And so it begins

S.D. Governor Signs Abortion Ban Into Law

This law doesn’t even contain an exception for victims of rape or incest–the only exception is if it’s medically necessary to save the mother’s life. It’ll be tied up in the courts for a while, but still.

In slightly better news, Planned Parenthood recently opened an express clinic in my neighborhood. They have good hours, and they offer all the basics: birth control consultations, pregnancy testing, emergency contraception and testing & treatment for STDs. Maybe I’ll switch my prescription there.