Saturday, March 28, 2009

Two Ways to Help ALL Victims of Domestic Abuse

For the past few years, I have gone to local libraries and domestic violence centers to distribute literature for two national organizations: Stop Abuse for EVERYONE ( and The Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women ( Both are fine organizations that understand that neither violence nor victimhood has a gender. The most common scenario presented with respect to DV involves a violent male battering his wife or girlfriend, but there is much evidence demonstrating that women often initiate (that's a key word) abuse against their male partners. Indeed, this study indicates that, within heterosexual relationships in which only one partner is engaging in violence, the woman is the violent party 70.7% of the time:

I mention the word "heterosexual" to point out that a disturbing level of violence also occurs within the gay-and-lesbian community, another facet that is overlooked when we only consider the "man beats woman" scenario. We do female victims of abuse no favors by ignoring male victims. Some DV shelters are fair and will assist any victim who walks through the door, but far too many ignore, ridicule, and harass male victims. I ask you for your help in two ways.

First, please look at and sign a petition that was introduced by DAHMW:

"For decades domestic abuse has been looked upon as a social problem of violence against women by men. Battered women's advocates and others concerned about domestic violence have created and funded over 2000 non profit agencies across the country that help victims. For more than 20 years these agencies have specialized in offering a full spectrum of services to what has been considered the traditional victims of domestic violence, women and children. Yet society has changed a great deal since we first became aware of the violence that goes on behind close doors. Men are now stay at home dads, some do the cooking, cleaning, laundry, change diapers, give the kids their baths and food shop...all the things that were unheard for men to do back in the 1950's and 60's when we first started recognizing the social problem of domestic violence. Women have changed quite a bit also. Many work outside the home, some hold high powered jobs and others run cement mixers. Women are also doing things that were unheard of in the 50's & 60's. They also get violent with their spouses/boyfriends and children. Our current system that offers supportive services to victims of intimate partner violence, everything from obtaining a court order to keep victims safe to clothing and transitional housing, for the most part, still runs under the antiquated notion that 95 - 98% of domestic abuse victims are women abused by men. This means that services for men abused by women or other men in same sex relationships are nearly non existent in these federally funded shelter programs. If you believe that federal and state funded domestic violence victims shelter programs should be mandated to support any victim and give them them same opportunities and services regardless of their gender, age, able-ism, ethnicity, religious beliefs or race etc. please sign our petition."

Second, you can support this organization just by surfing the Web, at no cost to you. The folks at GoodSearch will donate to DAHMW with every search you make on its site. Go to, and enter "Helpline Men" in the "Who Do You Goodsearch For?" box, and then search away. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

BeneGram's 2009 Final Fourcasts

WOMEN: Connecticut, Oklahoma, Stanford and Louisville. UConn over OK in the final. (UPDATE: Yay! Another 4-for-4 prediction!)

MEN: Louisville, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, Memphis. Louisville over OK in the final. (UPDATE: Pshaw! A 0-for-4 prediction.)

I should point out that I had all four teams right in the 2005 women's Final Four (except I didn't have Baylor winning it all), and I had three of four teams right in the 2003 men's Final Four (the exception being Syracuse, who took the whole thing). I point that out not because it foreshadows future success, but rather because it'll probably never happen again. For amusement purposes only. BeneGram is not responsible for any action taken after reading the predictions herein. Enjoy the Dances.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

World Turns Clocks Forward; Obama Turns Calendar Back Eight Years

Well, on Saturday night/Sunday morning, most of us moved our watches up an hour for Daylight Moving Time. (It doesn’t save anything. It’s like Fake Time. If we all want more sunlight, let’s all just get up earlier. Bah…)

Then, on Monday, Obama was partying like it’s 2001, expanding federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, all the while polishing the same tired talking points from when this issue was first hitting the fan eight years ago -- talking points that were never true to begin with. Many in our oh-so-evenhanded mainstream media got credit for the assist. I like to think that even many who support ESCR were nauseated by the hyperbolizing going on over the past few days, with comments that “we’re finally going to have science in this country” and “opening the door to hope that had been closed for so many years.” (All those thousands of people who’ve been treated successfully with adult stem cells must have thought for a split second that their improved conditions were just a really nice dream.)

Stunningly, not only did Obama expand the funding of embryo-destructive research, but he also rescinded Bush’s executive order 13435, which had mandated funding of research into “alternative” sources of stem cells. We know that we might as well remove the quotations around the word “alternative,” as advancements with induced pluripotent stem cells – meaning skin cells coaxed at reverting to an embryonic-like state – are coming just about every week, and researchers keep finding easier and more efficient ways of making it work.

Meanwhile, the success stories just keep on comin’ with adult stem cells, such as the story this week of the young man who is regaining feeling in his chest and foot after receiving an injection of umbilical-cord stem cells in Peru. A dirt-bike accident left had left him paralyzed from the neck down. Not anymore:

(Thanks to Don Margolis ( for linking to this story first.)

But remember: a patient with Parkinson’s or juvenile diabetes multiple sclerosis or a spinal-cord injury being successfully treated with anything other than embryonic stem cells simply doesn’t qualify as science, right? This kid can feel the lower half of his body again, and his blood pressure has stabilized, but if no embryonic human beings are destroyed we’re still “in the Dark Ages.” Right, mainstream media?

These exciting stories come from the kinds of promising, completely non-controversial research to which Obama gave lip service during his Monday press conference -- precisely while signing something that revoked President Bush’s executive order to study that research. Millions will support stem-cell research unless embryos are destroyed. Evidently, Obama will support stem-cell research ONLY IF embryos are destroyed. What a unifier.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Conveniently Brand-New Call for Unity

This letter of mine appeared in The Philadelphia Daily News on Feb. 25.

I keep hearing this call for unity and bipartisanship. Oddly, the plea for us to all get along just so happened to coincide with President Obama's inauguration. Somehow I doubt that Democrats were this eager to "agree to disagree" when it was the GOP controlling the White House and Congress. No, then they were pledging to "stand up to Bush."

I'm also reminded of the classless louts who decided to "put their differences aside" and show their "unity" by shamefully booing President Bush on Inauguration Day, and making obscene gestures at his helicopter as he left.

As much as people disagreed with President Bill Clinton, I just can't seem to remember people flipping him off while Bush was being inaugurated eight years ago.

Unity and bipartisanship are great things. Less great is the Democrats' gross misunderstanding of those two words. Contrary to what they believe, "bipartisanship" doesn't mean silencing all who disagree with you.

This time, left on the cutting-room floor was my point that even "if these dolts can’t even show respect to Bush for one day – which they should – then how about showing respect to President Obama by not marring his ceremonies?" Instead, it became a pep rally.