Monday, April 23, 2007

Earth day, murder, women, and the FDA

Here's one of the nicest Earth Day essays I've ever read, from Lynne Sweeting in the Bahamas. Seeing trees cut hurts her soul. Mine too.
My mother planted that tree. Why didn’t she plant it in her own yard? That’s another story. It hangs over our driveway and has done since forever, it will be covered in blazing yellow flowers in the summer. We love her like a grandmother. Who would cut her down? But there are some who would. Me and my family are standing guard.

(Thanks to Global Voices for the pointer to this and other international blogs on Earth Day.)

A week later, some interesting discussion over the Virginia Tech story, especially as it relates to women:
At Mother Jones, James Ridgeway writes about 'what we're still not getting':
One third of female murder victims are killed by an intimate partner (as opposed to about 3 percent of male victims). Of these, 76 percent had been stalked by the partner in the year prior to their murder. Murder ranks second (after accidents) as the leading cause of death among young women. And if the Supreme Court and abortion opponents really want to protect the lives of fetuses, they might consider this: Murder is the number one cause of death of pregnant women in the United States.

(Speaking of shooting victims and gender, did you see this interesting graphic from the New York Times? It shows the most likely shooting victims are older white men -- from suicide. Hmm.)

And, in a story that's getting lots of comments around the blogosphere, from The Sunday Times, by Sarah Baxter: American Psycho, exploring "the poisons lurking in popular culture but the crisis of young males in a feminised society". Camille Paglia is heavily quoted here:
Paglia, who has taught in American universities for 35 years, describes America’s residential campuses as vast “islands of green and slack conformity where a strange benevolent and tyrannical paternalism has taken over. It’s like a resort atmosphere”.
Paglia believes the school Cho attended would have been no better equipped to deal with frustrated young males. “There is nothing happening educationally in these boring prisons that are fondly called suburban high schools. They are saturated with a false humanitarianism, which is especially damaging for boys.
...Cho is a classic example of “someone who felt he was a loser in the cruel social rat race”, Paglia says. The pervasive hook-up culture at college, where girls are prepared to sleep with boys they barely know or fancy, can be a source of seething resentment and alienation for those who are left out.

And, on another topic, another essay of interest: Conservative Policies Are Ruining Your Health, by Rick Perlstein at AlterNet. On the FDA and its eroding watchdog role:
First, they came for the spinach.
...Next they came for the peanut butter...
Then they came for the tomatoes. Then the Taco Bell lettuce. Then the mushrooms, then ham steaks, then summer sausage. I started worrying.
Then, they came for the pet food.

For more on the FDA and how it fails us, see this in the Washington Post: FDA was aware of dangers to food.


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