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NEWS -- 2012.03.03.Saturday evening rest

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  • James Martin
    1) Clooney, Pitt star in Prop. 8 play 2) Santorum backs nullifying existing gay marriages 3) My little missive to Rick Santorum 4) Medical pot: San
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2012
      1) Clooney, Pitt star in Prop. 8 play
      2) Santorum backs nullifying existing gay marriages
      3) My little missive to Rick Santorum
      4) Medical pot: San Francisco seeks tighter rules on edibles
      5) Gay Oakdale Marine’s Kiss Garners Major Attention
      6) 'Glee' Suicide Episode Gives The Trevor Project A Spike In Web Traffic, Phone Calls
      7) Sex Work Among Medical Students On the Rise?
      8) Ultrasound Zap May Be New Form of Birth Control
      9) Close your facebook account -- satire
      10) Will You Get Audited by the IRS?

      Watch the video of Saturday night March 3rd performance of the trial.
      Clooney, Pitt star in Prop. 8 play

      Buddies George Clooney and Brad Pitt are teaming up in a star-studded play based on the historic ruling overturning California’s Prop. 8, banning gay marriage.
      Pitt is the latest addition to the “8″ cast that also includes Martin Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, and George Takei.
      The one-night only event is happening March 3 at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, but it will also be streamed live on YouTube.
      Pitt plays the controversial U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who ruled in a 2010 case that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional. Supporters of the proposition later challenged Walker’s impartiality because he was in a long-term same-sex relationship.
      Clooney and Sheen play lawyers for the plaintiffs. Christine Lahti and Jamie Lee Curtis are plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, a lesbian couple together for 11 years and the parents of four boys. Matthew Morrison and Matt Bomer play plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a gay couple together for more than ten years.
      The dramatization is based on actual court transcripts and features the best arguments and testimony from both sides.

      The performance is a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Rob Reiner, who is a board member, is directing the play.
      “8″ was written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (“Milk,” “J. Edgar”). The play debuted on Broadway September 19, 2011 and featured stars Morgan Freeman, John Lithgow, and Ellen Barkin.
      The preshow broadcast begins at 7:30 PT. Curtain is at 7:45 PT. It can be viewed at www.youtube.com/AmericanEqualRights.


      Santorum backs nullifying existing gay marriages
      Bob Egelko

      Saturday, March 3, 2012

      There are 18,000 married gay and lesbian couples in California and at least 131,000 nationwide according to the 2010 census, conducted before New York state legalized same-sex marriage in July.

      Rick Santorum says he'll try to unmarry all of them if he's elected president.

      Once the U.S. Constitution is amended to prohibit same-gender marriages, "their marriage would be invalid," the former Pennsylvania senator said Dec. 30 in an NBC News interview.

      "We can't have 50 different marriage laws in this country," he said. "You have to have one marriage law."

      The comments didn't attract nearly as much attention as Santorum's recent invocation of his Catholic faith to denounce government support for birth control, prenatal testing and resource conservation - which, in the last case, he attributed to President Obama's "phony theology."

      But his declared intention to nullify past as well as future same-sex marriages has reinforced his position to the right of the other Republican contenders, even though each of them has also voiced fervent support for traditional unions.

      Mitt Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts when the state's high court became the first in the nation to declare a right to same-sex marriage in 2003, backs a constitutional amendment to outlaw such marriages in the future, but says he'd leave currently wedded couples alone. Newt Gingrich also wants an amendment but hasn't said whether it would be retroactive.

      Ron Paul opposes same-sex marriage but wants the federal government to stay out of it - no federal benefits for gay and lesbian couples, no federal court authority to overturn state laws like California's Proposition 8 and no constitutional amendments overriding a state's prerogative to decide which of its residents can marry.

      'Bigoted, shameful'
      Santorum's proposal for constitutionally mandated divorces would affect couples like Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis of San Francisco, longtime partners who wed in June 2008, five months before Prop. 8 banned same-sex marriage. The couple later helped to found an organization called Marriage Equality USA.

      "It's with profound sadness that I contemplate somebody running for the highest office in the land on a platform of taking away anyone's marriage," Gaffney said Friday.

      Fred Karger, a longtime Republican political consultant and gay-rights activist who is also running for president and will be on the Republican primary ballot in California, said Santorum's comments on marriage were "the most destructive of any Republican candidate by far, bigoted, shameful."

      Santorum's stance was endorsed by the Family Research Council, which was involved in an unsuccessful attempt to win passage of a constitutional amendment during George W. Bush's presidency.

      "Same-sex marriage is an oxymoron" because marriage can only be a male-female relationship, said the council's Peter Sprigg. If the Constitution is amended to include that definition, he said, states that had recognized same-sex marriages would have to convert those relationships to civil unions.

      Future conduct
      Santorum's position is noteworthy because laws revoking individual rights are usually drafted, or interpreted by the courts, to apply only to future conduct.

      The issue arose in California when the state Supreme Court upheld Prop. 8, which amended the state Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. The measure declared that only marriage between a man and a woman would be ''valid or recognized" in California. Its sponsors argued that the language barred the state from "recognizing" 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples who had wed in the months before Prop. 8 passed in November 2008.

      But the court said Prop. 8 did not clearly inform voters that it would invalidate existing marriages. Therefore, the justices said, the 18,000 couples were entitled to rely on the rights they had gained in the court's May 2008 ruling, which briefly legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

      Spelling it out
      That doesn't rule out the possibility of a U.S. constitutional amendment like the one Santorum favors, which would nullify existing same-sex marriages.

      "You'd have to word it so it was perfectly clear," said Jesse Choper, a UC Berkeley law professor who submitted arguments to the state's high court against the retroactive application of Prop. 8. The amendment would have to declare that "marriages that were once valid are no longer valid," he said.

      Santorum, who once practiced law, hasn't said how he would draft a constitutional amendment - or how he could get one passed even while opinion polls suggest increasing public acceptance of same-sex marriage.

      "Just because public opinion says something doesn't mean it's right," he said in the NBC interview. "I'm sure there were times in areas of this country when people said blacks were less than human."

      A constitutional amendment requires approval by two-thirds of each house of Congress and three-fourths of the states. Even when Republicans controlled both houses in 2004, the Bush-endorsed marriage amendment failed to pass either chamber, with a handful of states'-rights Republicans joining Democratic opponents.

      But Sprigg, of the Family Research Council, said the political climate could change - and the prospects of a constitutional amendment increase - if the courts spoke first.

      "If you were to have some sort of sweeping decision ... which would essentially impose same-sex marriage on every state in the country," he said, "I think that would perhaps create a huge backlash."

      Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. begelko@....


      This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


      My little missive to Rick Santorum
      Jon Carroll

      Thursday, March 1, 2012

      Dear Sen. Santorum: I have heard your cry to make religion more a part of the government and, by extension, more a part of the law than it is at the moment. And I have seen your ideas in action in the so-called "personhood" bills and other bits of legislation that seek to prevent a woman from controlling her own body.

      And that is the essence of the problem.

      When you say you want religion closer to public policy, you're not just talking about any religion. You're talking about your religion, which is an insular form of Roman Catholicism. If, say, the precedents of Shariah law were accorded some deference in Supreme Court rulings, you might not be as happy with the intermingling of church and state.

      If the tales of Shiva, maker and destroyer of worlds, were somehow to become a fundamental part of the curriculum in public schools, this development would, I wager, cause you some distress.

      The Hindu myths are not to be taken literally, although some people do. The Bible stories aren't to be taken literally, but some people do. Do we really want myths conflated with facts to guide our reasoning about pragmatic issues of the day? Not me.

      See, that's my problem, Senator. Your religion wants to tell me what to do and what to think. It wants to run my life, even though I don't believe in the stories and tenets of that religion.

      You know the Big Government that all you guys rail against, the one that is sapping our precious freedoms? Well, that ain't nothing compared with Big Religion. So as a conservative, Senator, you would substitute one form of tyranny for another? Am I getting that right?

      You said that you almost "threw up" when you read John Kennedy's speech about the meaning of freedom of religion. Then you lied about what the speech said, even as you've lied about the Dutch government's euthanasia program. Maybe you didn't know the truth. Recently you've been attacking education as unnecessary. And yet education can help us arrive at the truth.

      But you are a member of that good old faith-based community, are you not? How can we, in the reality-based community, ever hope to understand the rightness of your position? And how are you ever to understand our position, since you already know what is right?

      Discussion is fruitless; truth is as plain as the nose on your face. Truth is all laid out for you like a banquet. Please, don't go anywhere where your views might be challenged, because that would hurt the truth's feelings. Stay right there and listen to the echo.

      Clearly there should be morality in public life; there should be morality in private life, come to that. You don't steal or kill or loiter with intent. You don't need a religion to tell you that; the secular law does a fine job, as does common sense and a host of cautionary television programs.

      Morality is not the same as religion. As we have seen in recent scandals, there are plenty of pious but immoral people. So when you say you want more religion in American life, you're not talking about morality. Heck, anyone who has to beg for as much money as you do probably left his moral compass on the kitchen table a long time ago.

      So what you're talking about is building a new society that is even more hypocritical than the current one, even more misogynistic than the current one, even more repressive than the current one. I think of a religious government as meaning: more sermons, fewer bridges.

      Honest to God, Senator, I do not need more lectures from you and your magic book about how to run my life. And I certainly don't want the whole engine of government shifted so that it accords with your theology. Give that baby a rest; you're scaring the horses.

      In other news: Peggy Ford, an internationally known clown and circus executive, died a few weeks ago. She toured with Ringling Bros., became artistic director of Make-A-Circus and then program director of the Circus Center, for whom she created the Clown Conservatory. She will be missed.

      On March 13, her friends, colleagues and students are holding a memorial for her at Z Space (the former Theater Artaud), 450 Florida St. in San Francisco. There should be juggling and pratfalls and ancient gags, all in tribute to Ford. Tickets are $20, and are available at brownpapertickets.com. For information, call Z Space at (415) 626-0453 or go to www.zspace.org. Y'all come.

      Have your religion leave me alone, please. I'm happy with my belief system just now.

      Sir, you have shown today your valiant strain, and fortune led you well: You have the captives that were the opposites of jcarroll@....


      This article appeared on page E - 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle


      Medical pot: S.F. seeks tighter rules on edibles
      Kevin Fagan

      Saturday, March 3, 2012

      Candy drops distilled from real fruit. Gourmet chocolate bars. Carrot cake that melts in your mouth.

      Stop by the average medical marijuana dispensary, and these cannabis-infused, professionally wrapped goodies and many more like them beckon from beneath glass cases. That delights cannabis customers - but it worries local officials who have to oversee the hazy world of medical pot, where the drug is legal under state law but is still federally banned.

      Once mainly the province of brownie-making hippies, pot edibles are now turned out by trained chefs whose products are checked by special Bay Area laboratories that assess marijuana quality. There are few state guidelines defining how pot edibles can be made and sold, however, and a flurry of local attempts to do that has done little to change the fact that the edibles industry largely regulates itself.

      Now, with federal prosecutors having begun a crackdown on medical marijuana operations, San Francisco is trying to tighten its rules on pot sweets. The city already has the most stringent guidelines in California, requiring that makers become state-certified food handlers and follow sanitation guidelines. But this winter it took a cut at restricting big-volume producers.

      The result has been a quiet push-me-pull-you between pot-food makers and health officials that could help determine the future of the edibles industry.

      "Patients love having edibles that are dependable and safe, and come from places they know are producing products they can count on - and that's what they're getting right now," said Steph Sherer, director of the national Americans for Safe Access medical cannabis advocacy organization.

      S.F. letter on limits
      Sherer said she thinks San Francisco should leave edibles production just as it is.

      "The city has a system that works and it is absolutely impossible to fully appease the federal government, so why change?" she said. "No other city in California is having this struggle over edibles right now."

      In the latest attempt at edibles regulation, all 21 medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco received a letter last month from the city Public Health Department ordering them to sell only edibles made from pot grown by their enrolled members. The medical pot industry hit the roof, fearing that noncompliance would mean their department-issued licenses would be revoked.

      At least a half-dozen large makers of cannabis edibles have been supplying multiple dispensaries in the Bay Area since around 2010, when the industry suddenly expanded beyond the casual homemade stuff.

      Within days of receiving the letter, dispensaries started dropping the big makers. The producers, dispensary owners and clients began complaining to every local official who would listen.

      'It was shocking'
      "I don't think anybody has a problem with being regulated," said Stephanie Tucker, spokeswoman for the Medical Cannabis Task Force, which advises the Board of Supervisors. "However, under the current climate of a federal crackdown, it was shocking for a letter like this to go out.

      "The edible makers that we have had in our dispensaries are going above and beyond to make the best products and become professional," Tucker said. "Nowhere in state law does it say you cannot be a member of more than one dispensary, and that should mean for edible makers as well."

      The big advantage of having a single type of edible available at different shops, advocates say, is that clients can count on a standardized product being available no matter where they shop.

      "Limiting my choices worries me," said Bruce Buckner, 59, who uses pot edibles for relief from bladder cancer and Crohn's disease and cannot smoke because of emphysema. "It's a very fine line between eating something that works or having it knock you out. You try them, then stick with what works."

      Buckner's chemotherapy appointments vary, he said, so he's unable to go to the same dispensary each time he drives to a San Francisco clinic from his Sonoma County home.

      "If I can't get the same product no matter where I go, I'll be flying blind," he said.

      City's strategy
      Rajiv Bhatia, San Francisco director of environmental health, said he and his staff generated the letter to try to protect the burgeoning trade from trouble with the feds.

      "What we totally did not anticipate was the proliferation of commercial vendors making a diverse array of cannabis edibles," Bhatia said. "So we have concerns."

      He said limiting dispensaries' edibles to those made with members' pot would be more in line with the state law allowing individual collectives to distribute medical marijuana. The backlash to the letter persuaded his department not to make it a requirement, but Bhatia still thinks it's the right thing to do.

      "We're trying to steer the dispensaries toward what we believe to be the legally authorized cannabis practices," Bhatia said. "And there are gray areas."

      Making changes
      The owner of the Shambhala Healing Center in the Mission District began asking all his edible suppliers this week to use only marijuana from his dispensary for products he stocks.

      "I can understand the city's concern over this," said the owner, who asked that his name not be used because of the increased federal scrutiny of marijuana dispensaries. "But if everyone does what I'm suggesting, I think all the officials would love it."

      That may not be so easy to pull off, said Jade Miller, a professional caterer who runs one of the bigger manufacturers, Sweet Relief, which makes cannabis-infused fruit drinks and candy.

      "People say weed is just weed, but it's not," Miller said as she whipped up a batch of cherry-flavored drinks that sell for $7 a serving. "To do this, you need trusted growers who are very consistent."

      Kevin Fagan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. kfagan@...


      This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


      Gay Oakdale Marine’s Kiss Garners Major Attention

      snelsonkovr, CBS Local - Sacramento-Wednesday 29 February 2012
      Images have been resized. Originals at CBS Local - Sacramento
      OAKDALE (CBS13) – It’s a homecoming with a twist when a Marine sergeant jumped into the waiting arms of his boyfriend and gave him a kiss that’s making headlines.

      Brandon Morgan grew up in Oakdale before joining the Marines. Now his mother says because of the reaction to a picture of that kiss, her son’s safety is her main concern.

      “I didn’t think of it any way — whether it be bad or good or whatever. It’s just like ‘Thank God he made it home safe,’” Angie Panelli told CBS13 in a phone interview.

      Morgan, 25, was returning from Afghanistan when he jumped into the waiting arms of his boyfriend, Dalan Wells.

      The military’s ban on openly gay and lesbian service members was officially repealed last September.

      Morgan said he’s proud of the attention the photo has generated.

      “Apparently this photo has been dubbed the kiss seen or heard ’round the world,” he said. “It’s breaking barriers. People feel more confident to live their own life and be truthful to who they know they are.”

      Reaction in Oakdale was mixed.

      “He’s definitely served our country so he deserves that right,” one woman said.

      “I’m a Christian so I wouldn’t advocate it,” said another.

      The picture has gone viral, with tens of thousands of hits and comments. Reaction ranges from encouraging to cruel..

      Angie appreciates the support but is concerned about backlash.

      “You got people out there that are so full of hatred that,” she said. “That’s what scares me and my husband the most is we don’t want him to get hurt because of all this.”

      Angie describes her son as brave with a big heart, and reminds the people she calls “the haters” that her son is fighting for freedom.

      People have the right to say what they want, she said. She just wants them to think about what they say.

      “I think he’s compassionate, loving and caring and any mother would be happy to have a son like that.


      This article originally appeared in CBS Local - Sacramento


      'Glee' Suicide Episode Gives The Trevor Project A Spike In Web Traffic, Phone Calls
      --- click on the URL --- lots of videos and stuff here ---

      Last week's controversial winter finale episode of "Glee" may have shocked fans, but one lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth advocacy group has seen a number of benefits as a result.

      As Entertainment Weekly is reporting, The Trevor Project saw their web traffic spike and their phone calls triple after the episode, which depicted former bully Dave Karofsky (played by Max Adler) attempting suicide -- to the tune of Young the Giant's "Cough Syrup" -- after being outed as gay to his classmates.

      "What was great about the show is that they worked in conjunction with us so we knew in advance that there was going to in all likelihood be an increase in volume," Trevor Project co-founder Peggy Rajski tells EW. “What happened was the volume went up about 300 percent, but we were ready."

      Adding extra punch, of course, was "Harry Potter" star Daniel Radcliffe's public service announcement, which also aired during the "Glee" time slot. "On average, our site probably attracts about an average of 1,500 visits a day,” Rajski said. “Tuesday we got 10,000. There’s the power of network TV.”

      For his part, Adler praised the decision to bring back his character in such a poignant way. "It was a complete rainbow of emotions when I read it," the 26-year-old actor told the Hollywood Reporter. "There's excitement of being able to send a message like this into the world when people really need it and need to be spoken to honestly. It comes with the fear of representing it honestly and accurately."

      Learn more about The Trevor Project here.


      ABC News
      Sex Work Among Medical Students On the Rise?
      By MIKAELA CONLEY (@mikaelaconley)
      Feb. 29, 2012

      Sex work among medical students is on the rise, claims a new editorial, published in the journal Student BMJ. The UK-based publication noted that students are likely seeking extreme measures to deal with their financial hardship.

      One in 10 students knows of another who participated in prostitution to pay their medical student loans, according to the editorial.

      "Mounting evidence suggests that more university students are engaging in prostitution as a means to pay increasing tuition fees, growing debts, and high living costs," Jodi Dixon, the author of the editorial, wrote. "With escalating debts, students in the United Kingdom may view prostitution as an easy way to get rich quick."

      Dixon refused ABC News' request for comment.

      The numbers are rising, she noted. In 2006, about 6 percent of students reportedly knew a peer who participated in sex work. Now, those figures have risen to just below 10 percent, according to the research.

      Prostitution is not illegal in the UK, but soliciting for sex and brothels are prohibited. Prostitution is banned throughout the U.S., except Nevada. In 2009, Natalie Dylan of San Diego, Calif., made headlines for auctioning off her virginity to pay for her master's degree in family and marriage therapy.

      Dixon wrote that the media may also influence students' turn to prostitution to pay the bills. She pointed toward a popular UK television show, "Secret Diary of a Call Girl," which is based on the life of Brooke Magnanti, a research scientist who worked in prostitution while gaining her doctorate in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science.

      Past surveys have noted that pole and lap dancing are the most popular type of sex work of which students participate. Stripping is second and prostitution came third, according to the report.

      "[These are] very unfortunate choices that go against the ethical standards that doctors are expected to uphold," said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist and author of the book, "Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets." "Prostitution is worse and convictions for prostitution need to be acknowledged by medical students when they apply for a license, hospital positions, and so on."

      While most would agree that prostitution isn't the best way to deal with school debt, Lieberman, who has treated medical students who have contemplated prostitution to pay back loans, said there are other, greyer, areas where people can trade sex for money.

      "Gold-digging is a seemingly more sophisticated pursuit that necessitates a lot of denial, if not delusion," continued Lieberman. "The woman pretends she's enjoying the man's company, and the man pretends she loves him for himself, not his money. And websites that match 'sugar daddies' with 'sugar babies' are on the rise as being favorite solutions for students who need or want more money."

      Of course, many more students who are in significant debt do not seek out sex work to pay it off. Students who have been sexually abused in the past or came from a household where they watched "flagrant sexual encounters" are more likely to rationalize the pursuit of sex work to pay the bills.

      Parents are to blame for not instilling healthier attitudes toward sex, said Lieberman, and the media is to blame for glamorizing "bad girls" and encouraging young women to do the same.

      But before putting too much weight on Dixon's commentary, Dr. Ted Marmor, professor emeritus of public policy and management at Yale School of Management, said there is too much "speculation" on very "thin evidence" to make such bold proclamations about students and prostitution.

      Nevertheless, financial guidance may assist students in curbing decisions to seek out sex work to cover the costs. Even more importantly, students should get "at the root of their problems through psychotherapy," said Lieberman.


      My comment ---
      Psychotherapy will solve money problems?


      Ultrasound Zap May Be New Form of Birth Control
      By MIKAELA CONLEY (@mikaelaconley)
      Jan. 31,2012

      Do not try this at home.

      A new animal study, published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, revealed that a couple zaps to the testicles might be the future of contraception.

      Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that zapping the testicles of rats with a therapeutic ultrasound machine, the type normally used by physical therapists to treat muscle injuries, abolished the germ cells that produce sperm. The best results were seen when the testes underwent two 15-minute zap sessions.

      "This caused rat sperm counts to fall far below the [equivalent] range seen in normal fertile men, and this happened in just two weeks," said James Tsuruta, lead author of the study and assistant professor of pediatrics in the laboratories of reproductive biology at UNC Chapel Hill.

      "This method dropped sperm counts 10-times lower than just using heat," said Tsuruta. "It's going to be exciting to figure out how this exactly works: if it's safe to use repeatedly, how long it lasts, and if it's reversible."

      Of course, more research is needed to see whether the treatment could someday be available to men, but researchers said the zaps show promise as a cheap, reliable and reversible birth control option in the future.

      Dr. Paul Turek, director of the Turek Clinic in San Francisco said the research is a "nice feasibility or proof of concept study, [but], as with other studies in medicine, it is always wise to remember that mice are not men."

      Women have long been waiting for equality in the birth control realm. Research studies have found that male hormone injections showed some promise in contraception, but many experts say the failure rates are too high to create a reliable contraception method from the research. And, over time, testosterone injections may cause sterilization.

      Oral contraception pills for men have also been tested, but nothing has proven safe and effective for consumer use.

      Experts say vasectomies continue to be the gold standard for permanent male sterilization. Yet following a vasectomy, it usually takes 20 to 30 ejaculations for a man to clear all viable sperm from the testicles, Dr. Ryan Terlecki, assistant professor of urology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, wrote in an email to ABC News.

      Terlecki cautioned that likewise, with this new method being studied, there may still be an unacceptable "window of opportunity" for viable sperm.

      "I would be hesitant to get too excited about the application of this to human reproductive medicine," Terlecki wrote. "It is important to realize that 'less sperm' does not equate to 'zero sperm.'"

      There are also other issues to consider when researching this novel zap method, according to Turek. Rat testes are like "lima beans, compared to the kiwi-sized testicles of humans," he said.

      "The laws of physics may differ a bit and if the beam misses a single area of the 700 feet of sperm producing tubules in the human testicle, you may have a sperm count," said Turek. "If you have a sperm count in humans, then the possibility of fertility exists. The record low sperm count for natural conception in my practice is 60 sperm (20 million/ml is normal)."

      Researchers also must keep the safety of the sperm in mind. If the technique did not eradicate sperm entirely, or if the sperm recovers down the road, in, say, six months, conception is possible and the risk of birth defects and genetic anomalies in the fetus would become a concern.

      About 26 percent of U.S. men use one method or another to control fertility, including vasectomies and condoms.

      Even though about 70 percent of U.S. couples use some form of contraception, an estimated one million pregnancies end in abortion each year in the U.S. About half of all pregnancies are mistimed or unwanted, and Tsuruta, an assistant professor of pediatrics, said he believes that every child who is born should be wanted.

      "The most direct path to reducing the rate of unwanted or mistimed pregnancies is to have women and men sharing responsibility for family planning," said Tsuruta. "One of the goals of research in male birth control is to provide men with more options for controlling their fertility. "We are planning studies on rats to work out issues of safety, reliability and reversibility, before testing the method on men. Safety is paramount."
      Despite the potential experts see in the zap, there is still much to be learned about the procedure and any new, widely-available contraception method using the technology is probably a long time away.

      "I wouldn't expect a 'scrotal boombox' to hit stores any time soon," Terlecki said.


      "I love how people are too stupid to realize its the Onion, the Onion does their job so damn well."
      My comment ---
      The Onion might have a good idea here.


      Will You Get Audited by the IRS?

      By Jim Wang | U.S.News & World Report LP – Wed, Feb 29, 2012 3:27 PM EST

      Who loves the IRS? Probably very few of us.

      The numbers probably diminish when you start asking the folks who have undergone an IRS audit. I've been audited twice (the easy paper variety) and I still appreciate the IRS (love might be too strong a word), but my tune would probably change on a full-fledged audited with a revenue agent.

      It'd be easy to cast the IRS as the villain, as a heartless entity seeking to punish honest hardworking people, but at the end of the day, the IRS is concerned about one thing: generating revenue. They don't make the tax laws; they simply enforce and collect on them. With all the political talk about debts and deficits, you'd think more politicians would laud the IRS for their efforts to more accurate collect tax revenue ... right?

      [See also: Tax Breaks for All]

      Our tax system is heavily based on honesty. Despite the rise in electronic and paper trails, a lot of our transactions are still conducted without any written record whatsoever. When you buy something at the local bagel shop with cash, that money may or may not be recognized when the shop does its taxes. The tip you leave for that nice waiter or waitress might not be recognized. So the IRS has a difficult task of trying to accurately collect tax revenue, and audits just one of the mechanisms it uses.

      [See 12 Money Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes.]

      Audits are, for the most part, not random. The IRS published a page back in 2006 that explained how the IRS chooses which tax returns to audit. It comes down to four categories:

      Computer Scoring: The IRS uses two scoring functions to calculate the likelihood that you under-reported income, based on models they've built using historical data. This alone doesn't determine whether you will get audited, but a higher score on either function means you're more likely to be examined (that's the polite word for audited.)

      Information Matching: Since the IRS gets your W-2s and 1099s, it can match them up with your return to see if the numbers add up. A mismatch will trigger an audit, usually a CP2000 paper audit.

      [See also: How to Live on 50% Less]

      Relationship-Based: If you have a relationship with someone, usually a company, that is audited, you might be audited as well. For example, let's say someone paid you and issued a 1099-MISC but their return was audited. You might face an audit because you were issued a 1099-MISC.

      Participating in Tax Avoidance: This is a version of the relationship-based case, but one that bears separate discussion because it's becoming more and more common as enforcement picks up. An example is the recent Justice Department case against Swiss bank Wegelin & Co. that charged three bankers of tax fraud; you might be audited if you have an account at the bank.

      In my case, both audits were the result of information matching. In the first case, I never received a 1099-INT from an online bank and the penalty was a few dollars of interest. In the second case, information on a 1099-MISC was included on a corporate tax return and then reflected on a Schedule K-1, but the IRS expected it to be on a Schedule C, so there was no net additional tax there.

      In both cases, it wasn't the IRS being mean... they were simply doing their job.

      Jim Wang writes about personal finance at Bargaineering.com. When he's not tackling money issues, he's usually looking forward to his next vacation and writing about it at Wanderlust Journey.


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