Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz


Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

COMMENTARY: STILL MORE EVIDENCE THAT ABSTINENCE DOES NOT WORK

Posted in Miscellaneous on June 26th, 2008

WHEN WILL WASHINGTON DISCOVER THAT THE ONLY WORKABLE SOLUTION IS MANDATORY SCIENCE-BASED, THEOLOGICALLY NEUTRAL SEX-ED?

2007-07-16-kissing1.jpgWell my inquisitive friends, I can see you tuning in, drawn perhaps by the salacoius slug, or maybe it’s the provocative couple featured in the attached graphic. No matter. For the record, sex stories tend to do better on this blog than many of the more scientific ones, which in a way is sad, because this is, after all, an environmenal blog. But this posting deals with the best of both worlds, sex and science, and that boondoggle that is ABSTINENCE education. Well, the latest numbers are in as to the effectiveness of abstinence – only education, and as predicted, the news is not good for the politicians and religious groups promoting abstinence as a way of controlling teenage sexual activity.

According to the latest federally funded study of four abstinence-only programs by Mathematica Policy Research Inc., teenagers participating in abstinence-only programs had “just as many sexual partners as nonparticipants”. What’s more, the teenage men and women studied had “started having sex at the same median age as nonparticipants”.

What makes this latest data particularly compelling and worth repeating here is that each of the groups Mathematica studied had taken a broader, better though out approach to teaching abstinence than what might be considered the norm; balancing the heaven/hell/eternal damnation hysteria with meaningful discussions of human anatomy and sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, each of these programs also helped their students to develop better, more accurate communication skills, resist peer pressure, set personal goals, and enhance their self-esteem, important character building blocks that are all to often passed over in our schools today as they struggle to comply with the requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Lest this seem an endorsement of this sort of abstinence-only education, let me make it perfectly clear, I find it morally and ethically wrong to bully our young men and women with threats of eternal damnation, life threatening diseases and other bad things befalling them merely for pursuing their purely natural hormonal urgings.

What I do endorse is a mandatory, science-based, theologically neutral sex-ed syllabus; one that not only touches on all the major accepted methods of birth control – including abstinence – but which also helps our young men and women develop the character traits necessary to decide wisely when, and with whom, it is correct to establish a physical relationship with.

Now, I am sure that any older evangelicals reading this posting will go ballistic at the mere though that teenage men and women would be wise enough to know when and with whom the time was right to have sex. But then, many of these same folks, more than likely, do not give today’s youth credit for being the sophisticated, wise and thoughtful individuals that so many of them are; figuring, I guess, that because they were unable to make appropriate decisions at that age, that others would have trouble as well.

Thankfully, this is not the case. But then, there are many differences between today’s teenagers and those who have gone before, not the least of which is in the way that they practice their religious faith.

Raised on My Space, MTV and the Internet, these young men and women are technologically astute and worldly. In a break with tradition, they care more about the important issues of the day, such as world hunger, health care, and global warming and less if gay people are allowed to marry, adopt children or serve in the military, issues that drove many of their parents and grandparents to the picket lines and voting box in years previous.

Additionally, today’s young people are more racially and ethnically accepting than their predecessors, believing that all people regardless of color, sexual orientation, or belief system are entitled to freedom, happiness, a good job and a fulfilling family life.

Those who are religious, and that’s a pretty significant number, overall, find themselves drawn more to the personal style of Christianity practiced by Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, than that practiced by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson, religious icons of a previous time. This support of Obama has Republican political strategists scrambling to find ways to draw today’s young evangelicals to their candidate. The only problem is, they have taken these people for granted for so long, they have no idea of how to get them back. If they did, they would not be running that tired, old, out of touch, Beltway hack, John McCain against young, brilliant, Barack Obama and actually thinking that McCain can win.

But how can one expect a party that preaches abstinence to have any concept of what people want?

–Denis

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

“MR. BIG” NOT BIG ON REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ENVIRONMENATAL POLICY

Posted in Conscious Actions, Miscellaneous on November 14th, 2007

“I DON’T THINK THERE’S ONE REPUBLICAN I’D EVER VOTE FOR. IN TERMS OF THEIR CORRUPTION AND THEIR INSENSITIVITY TO WHAT’S REALLY NEEDED IN OUR SOCIETY, THEY’RE REPUGNANT” – Chris Noth

chris-noth-large.jpg“There may be a few good ones (Republicans) out there, but I haven’t read of any.”

“Whenever you bring up the issue [of global warming] with them, they’re like, ‘Let’s wait and see what the facts are,’” Noth continued. “If we’re going to drill for oil, we should get on Crawford [Bush’s ranch in Texas] and put some oil wells there!

“I think this administration has been probably the biggest tragedy in the history of the United States.” So far he said he supports Democrat Barack Obama, but he wants to see more candidates talk about global warming.

“They’re all diverted by wars in foreign countries,” he said. “The real war is going to be when nature decides they’ve had enough. I don’t think any of them are acting with the kind of immediacy that’s needed.”

Source: US Magazine

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

DID BUSH’S “MARS MISSION” SCUTTLE NASA CLIMATE RESEARCH?

Posted in Miscellaneous, News Brief on October 22nd, 2007

The posting, which follows was pilferred from Calvin, Honey and Kevin over at CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION. The idea that George Bush’s wet dream of going to Mars is nothing more than a way clever way to silence NASA scientists from speaking about about the environment, makes a lot of sense.

But you be the judge.

-LIB

When the now-Nobel Laureate Al Gore proposed the DSCOVR mission way back in 1998, he was widely jeered by Republicans for interfering in the scientific business of NASA.
“Gore-sat”, “Gore-cam”, and “the multi-million dollar screen saver” were all quips trotted out on the floor of the Senate and Congress in opposition to the mission.

DSCOVR was a victim of such partisan politics. Even though it is fully completed at a cost of $100 million, this unique spacecraft remains in a storage box in Maryland, rather than providing critical data on the progress of climate change.

NASA quietly cancelled DSCOVR last year, citing “competing priorities”. What could they be?
Perhaps the biggest was George Bush’s January 2004 edict that NASA put a human on the surface of Mars.

Bush made the high-profile pronouncement at NASA headquarters as their entire staff watched by video. In an apparent effort to emulate JFK, he intoned that “human thirst for knowledge ultimately cannot be satisfied by even the most vivid pictures, or the most detailed measurements. We need to see and examine and touch for ourselves.”

Besides the fact that it is difficult to “touch” a Martian rock when you are wearing a space suit, there are two obvious questions: Where will the money come from to bankroll this massive intervention in NASA’s science program?

MORE….

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

RECYCLE YOUR USED RABBIT – YES THAT ONE

Posted in Miscellaneous, Public Service Announcement on October 8th, 2007

SEX TOY RECYCLING: ALL THE BUZZ

recycle001svg1.pngOh, yes, you can.

Major companies in the U.S., like Sony, are now creating “take-back” programs so that consumers can send their old, obsolete electronics back to the manufacturer — with the goal of taking in as many products as they send out.

Well, because remote control helicopters and Wiis aren’t the only electronics people play with in their free time, LoveHoney, a UK based purveyor of adult toys, has started the “world’s first sex toy recycling scheme” for their line of Rabbit vibrators.

Their offer is simple: send your old one back, get half off on a brand new one. Perhaps the sexiest part of all is that for every vibrator returned, LoveHoney makes a donation to a green charity (lovehoney.co.uk/rabbit-amnesty).

Source: Whole Life Times

Learn more about the Rabitt on Wikipedia

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

CALIFORNIA RECALLS STATE SPONSORED LUNCH BOXES

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Miscellaneous, Public Service Announcement, Toxin Alert! on September 21st, 2007

MORE THAN 50,000 LUNCH BOXES GIVEN OUT BY THE STATE AS PART OF ITS NUTRITION EDUCATION EFFORT MAY CONTAIN ELEVATED LEVELS OF LEAD

lunchbox1.jpgThe California Department of Public Health said testing found increased lead levels in three lunch boxes, which were made in China. They are green canvas and bear a logo that says, “Eat fruits & vegetables and be active.” Officials urged the public to stop using the roughly 56,000 such boxes that have been handed out at health fairs and other events.

People should return the lunch boxes to the places they got them or take them to their local household hazardous waste collection facility for disposal, officials said.

The department has handed out about 300,000 lunch boxes for health promotion and nutrition education, through programs such as the Network for a Healthy California Program and the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Dr. Mark Horton, director of the department, said in a statement that all of its health promotion items would be evaluated for safety.

“We will no longer use lunch boxes until such time as we are assured that every lunch box is safe,” he said.

The boxes that tested positive for lead were manufactured by TA Creations, which has factories in Canton, China.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are more vulnerable than adults to lead poisoning, and even low levels of exposure can affect a child’s mental and physical growth.

No known cases of lead poisoning have resulted from the use of the lunch boxes, officials said.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

FDA IGNORES CALLS TO STEP UP PRODUCE INSPECTIONS FOLLOWING E. COLI OUTBREAK IN 2006

Posted in Miscellaneous on September 19th, 2007

HOW MANY MUST DIE BEFORE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION GETS SERIOUS ABOUT FOOD SAFETY?

spinach95.jpg Normally, it is the job of the federal government to regulate industries proven to be incapable of regulating themselves. That was, of course, in the years before George Bush and his corporation-centric approach to governing became the law of the land.

Today, federal inspections are more myth than reality, their infrastructure and inspection personnel defunded to near nonexistence. While this may be good for corporate allies in the food industry, it is potentially fatal to you and I. But what is best for you and I is not the prioritiy here. Our needs are subservient to those of big business. Hence, it is more important that the food industry not have to deal with pesky little inspectors shutting down their operations over something so unimportant as worker safety, or purity of product, than it is to worry the effects of this policy on the general public.

So, timely inspections were replaced with corporate America’s uber-sincere promise to self-regulate. And we all know what a joke that turned out to be.

In the two postings, which follow, we will see this failed policy at work in the produce/leafy green industry.

The first posting, courtesy of the Associated Press, recaps the news organizations in-depth Freedom of Information (FOAA) investigation into the failure of government regulators and politicians to tighten produce inspections following last year’s fatal E.coli outbreak involving pre-packed spinach.

The AP investigation revealed that little if anything had been done to step up inspections of the farms supplying most of the nation’s produce. Moreover, the health regulations governing the produce industry “remained much as they were when bacteria from a cattle ranch infected spinach and killed three people and sickened more than 200 in 2006”.

In a shocking turn of events, the AP investigation further revealed that federal officials currently inspect companies growing and processing salad greens “an average of just once every 3.9 years” and not the four time per year as one of the proposed pieces of legislation had called for.

Moving to the present, in the second posting, we will learn of another produce recall, also for E.coli. This time the product involved is Dole prepackaged salad.

Now, if I was paranoid, I might think that this is an organized campaign against vegetarians and vegans, groups not know for their strong support of this administration or corporate America.

But then, I would be in the same class as those who swear that George Bush and Dick Cheney blew up the World Trace Center.

Come to think of it….

-LIB

Government regulators never acted on calls for stepped-up inspections of leafy greens after last year’s deadly E. coli spinach outbreak, leaving the safety of America’s salads to a patchwork of largely unenforceable rules and the industry itself, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The regulations governing farms in this central California region known as the nation’s “Salad Bowl” remain much as they were when bacteria from a cattle ranch infected spinach that killed three people and sickened more than 200.

AP’s review of data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act found that federal officials inspect companies growing and processing salad greens an average of just once every 3.9 years. Some proposals in Congress would require such inspections at least four times a year.

MORE….

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

MATTEL AUTHORIZES THIRD WAVE OF RECALLS OF CHINESE MADE TOYS

Posted in Miscellaneous on September 5th, 2007

PRODUCT LINES INCLUDE FISHER-PRICE AND BARBIE ACCESSORIES

toysmatrecall.jpgThe posting, which follows, is yet the latest in what seems to be a never-ending saga of recalls of products manufactured for distribution in the United States by companies based in the People’s Republic of China. In that light, it is nothing special.

What makes it special and worthy of comment is that it forces me to question whether Mattel will be able to absorb the losses involved in recalling and replacing millions of toys and remain financially solvent? Moreover, should bankruptcy be in Mattel’s future, what will become of the recalled toys, most of which contain unsafe levels of lead in the paint used in their construction?

For those fortunate enough to be uninitiated, bankruptcy can be a devastating process for a company, particularly one as successful for as long as Mattel.

Court appointed trustees – usually attorneys or CPA’s – assume day-to-day control of the bankrupt company. These trustees have great latitude in all matters related to the bankrupt company and, for the most part, answer to no one, other than to the Federal bankruptcy court, which appointed them.

With the bean counters in control every asset is evaluated and the decision is made whether to liquidate said asset for cash, or to maintain it as a part of the reorganized entity.

Inventory such as these recalled toys would be evaluated for their block value, meaning, what they would bring at liquidation, and would then broken into lots or sold in toto to the highest bidder(s). This is one scenario, common in this sort of proceedings, which could take place.

The other, though less bleak, has a similar outcome.

In it, the normally first-rate Mattel, striving to avoid insolvency and the stigma that comes with it, would take liberties itself in the disposal of this recalled product, liberties that in better economic times they might never consider doing.

This could include “dumping” – selling for cash -much of this product to the “discount stores”, both here domestically and abroad in countries where safety rules may not be that clearly defined.

While this may be good for Mattel’s economic bottom line, it could be devastating to the children who come in contact with these toys.

With names like Big Lots, Marshall’s, T.J. Max and Ross the “discount stores”, with their promise of “brand name products for less”, have spread like wildfire from coast to coast penetrating neighborhoods rich and poor, replacing, for the most part, the smaller specialty stores.

The question is can we count on these stores to protect us against toxic products the way the neighborhood merchant would? I don’t think so.

Usually, transactions within this segment of the marketplace are all about the money saved. I really don’t think all that many questions are asked other than price, amount of inventory available, and when delivery can be expected.

For this reason, it is my opinion, that the Federal, State and Local agencies charged with product safety need to become involved. These agencies, working in conjunction with Mattel and the other companies affected, could then devise a safe method of product disposal, which would guarantee that these products never see the light of day or are able to harm anyone.

If this means destroying the entire load, smashing them to smithereens and burying them in a very deep hole (landfill), then that needs to be considered. What also needs to be considered is what the concentration of all these toxins would do to the area surrounding the landfill’s precious environmental balance?

But sadly, with the present administration still in office, it is unlikely that any of these considerations will be given much thought, and poor children the world over will pay a price, which could have been avoided.

Now if there was only a method of disposal that served all the needs in this tricky situation?

If only…..

-LIB

The recalled items include:

About 675,000 Barbie accessories, sold between October 2006 through August of this year. This does not include the Barbie doll, just the accessories.

About 8,900 Fisher Price Big Big World 6-in-1 Bongo Band toys, sold between July 2007 through August 2007.

The recall also includes 90,000 units of Mattel’s Geo Trax Locomotive toys. These toys were sold from September 2006 through August 2007.

These toys are hazardous because the surface paints on the toys contain excessive levels of lead. Parents should immediately take the toys away from their children and contact Mattel and Fisher-Price for instructions on returning the toys.

For a complete list of the September 2007 recalls go to…

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prerelsep07.html

MORE….

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

PARENTS ALERT! EARTH FRIENDLY BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS

Posted in Cool Products, Miscellaneous on August 27th, 2007

RECYCLED PRODUCTS REDUCE WATER POLLUTION BY ONE-THIRD AND AIR POLLUTION BY 75 PERCENT

bush_dunce.jpg Back to school is usually a stressful time for both parent and student. There is so much to be done and usually the way it works out, so little time to do it. At least this was the story around my house for many years and only improved when my daughter finally made it to college. Year after year she would wait seemingly until the last minute to announce that she had lists of things needed for school. The division of labor, the way that it worked out, was that was that I would take her to shop for the expendables – the notebooks, pencils and art supplies – while her mom would oversee the clothes shopping end of things.

So I can appreciate that someone has tied to make things easier for us beleaguered parents. The fact that it is the WWF and that these tips are environmentally friendly is all the better.

-LIB

See if there are things, such as pencils and pens, left over from last year that can be used this fall.

Look for school supplies—folders, notebooks, staples—made of recycled materials. Using recycled products helps save landfill space and cut pollution.

Try finding back-to-school deals on the Web. Ordering school supplies online or by phone saves you a trip to the store as well as the fuel needed to drive from store to store.

Look for the FSC label on pencils and paper. Many paper products are made from trees specifically grown and harvested for papermaking, thus sparing delicate rainforest ecosystems. The Forest Stewardship Council certifies that wood and paper products are grown and managed responsibly.

Purchase supplies with minimal packaging. Packaging makes up about a third of the garbage that piles up in landfills. Also, less processing and packaging means less energy goes into production, and less global warming pollution is created.

Brown bag meals and avoid plastic. Pack school lunches in brown, unbleached, recycled paper bags whenever possible. And if your child has a favorite superhero, there’s a good chance the character is printed on a re-usable lunchbox.

Prepare lunches using local produce. Be aware of the distances food travels and the emissions necessary to ship and truck it there. Although broccoli is grown at nearby farms, the ones that shoppers pick up at the supermarket traverse an average distance of 1,800 miles.

GET THE REST OF THE LIST…

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

SCOOTING ALL OVER TOWN

Posted in Conscious Actions, Cool Products, Eco -Chic, Global Warming, Miscellaneous, Sustainable Transportation on August 20th, 2007

AN ENVIRONMENTALLY SANE MODE OF TRANSPORT OR THE LATEST FASHION STATEMENT?

SCOOTERS2.jpg All cynicism aside, in today’s era of the three dollar gallon of gas, it is good to see people making creative substitutions for their normal modes of transportation. Scooters are particularly viable in warmer climates where one does not have to concern themselves with snow and freezing rain. Maybe Audrey Hepburn had it right in Roman Holiday, after all, and we just were not paying attention.

-LIB

All over America, riding a scooter is suddenly chic, not to mention economical. Scooter sales are skyrocketing, say manufacturers, with women making up nearly half of the buyers in many cities. Every time gas prices rise, say dealers, the phones start ringing. While the concentration of riders is mostly urban, in cities such as Miami, Seattle and New York, there are emerging pockets of new scooteristas in such unlikely spots as Texas and the Carolinas.

MORE….

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace

SANITY PREVAILS AS FDA CANCELS PLANS TO CLOSE FIELD TESTING LABS

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 19th, 2007

PLAN WOULD HAVE MADE IT EVEN TOUGHER TO INSPECT IMPORTED FOOD PRODUCTS

fdalogo2.gifThe Food and Drug Administration canceled plans Friday to close more than half its field laboratories.

The proposed closures, part of a reorganization of the agency’s field operations, previously had been suspended to await recommendations from a presidential panel about how to better guarantee the safety of imported food and other products.

Congress has been investigating the plan, including whether it would give to private companies some food safety work now performed by government employees. Lawmakers also had introduced legislation to block the closures.

In a “Dear Colleagues” e-mail sent Friday, FDA regulatory affairs chief Margaret Glavin said the reorganization plan would be canceled, in part to provide a “fresh look” at the challenges facing her office and its plans for addressing them.

The FDA originally said it sought to consolidate its lab network to modernize its food safety efforts. The proposal was met with protests from lawmakers, lab employees who testified before Congress and the union that represents much of the FDA work force.

Michigan Democratic Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak applauded the cancellation, saying the closures would have jeopardized public health.

Share:
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Fark
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Netscape
  • Slashdot
  • MySpace