Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend web readin'

Money quote:
Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, have turned plenty of heads via billboards near Mile High Stadium, with the first featuring a soccer-mom-type woman revealing her preference for cannabis and the second spotlighting a father saying, "Please card my son" -- the implication being that regulation will do a better job of keeping kids away from pot than will prohibition. But the latest billboard, this one in reliably Republican Grand Junction, is arguably the grabbiest yet. It features televangelist Pat Robertson and the slogan "Pat Robertson would vote YES on 64. Will you?"
From Feministe, On Perfume, Chemical Cleaning agents and "Scent-free" workplaces 
Money quote:
My friend, a severe asthmatic, had suffered a massive attack and had to be rushed to the hospital after encountering a perfect storm of asthma triggers while her and her husband were going about their business that evening.  It had began in an appliance store where a customer coming inside had wafted some cigarette smoke in with them. So began the wheezing and discomfort. The situation was further aggravated when my friend and her husband went for dinner and she went to use the bathroom, and another patron sprayed air freshener in the small space. Finally, in their local Wal-Mart, the smell of the cleaning supplies aisle set her right off and within minutes, she was struggling for air while her husband rushed her out the door so he could take her to the nearest hospital. She very nearly had to be intubated, as her airways had quite nearly closed all the way up. It had been an incredibly close call. 
In the aftermath of this near-miss, the government department where my friend works took it upon themselves to implement a scent-free policy, in spite of the fact that the county had out-right refused to put one in place for its offices. My friend found herself a poster girl for the cause, in the position of having to go to each and every one of her co-workers, one on one, and explain her condition and why her very life depended on adherence to the scent-free policy. The reasoning behind this being that simply addressing the office as a group would allow too many people to not pay attention. I guess it’s easier to convincingly say “If you ignore this, I could die,” and have it stick when you’re up close and personal. 
My friend’s case is fairly extreme one, but more and more workplaces are adopting scent-free policies and no wonder, as sensitivity to scent can have a lot of unpleasant, if not devastating, effects. My SO frequently meets me at the end of the cleaning aisle as the smell of the chemicals nauseates him. A former co-worker hung a sign on his office specifically asking the cleaning staff not to use cleaning chemicals in his office, due to migraines.
Over the years, so much public awareness and policy has gone towards minimizing smoking in public places, due to the harm it does not only to smokers but to those around them. In that vein, many work-places have started adopting “scent-free” policies and it’s something I’d like to see spread, at the very least to my own office. 
From Huffington Post, 9 Lies Republicans Tell About Women's Bodies 
Money quote:
2. Abortion Causes Breast Cancer.The New Hampshire House recently passed a bill that would require doctors to tell women seeking abortions that the procedure can cause breast cancer. Here is an excerpt from the bill, sponsored by Notter:
Materials that inform the pregnant woman that there is a direct link between abortion and breast cancer. It is scientifically undisputed that full-term pregnancy reduces a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer. It is also undisputed that the earlier a woman has a first full-term pregnancy, the lower her risk of breast cancer becomes, because following a full-term pregnancy the breast tissue exposed to estrogen through the menstrual cycle is more mature and cancer resistant. In fact, for each year that a woman’s first full-term pregnancy is delayed, her risk of breast cancer rises 3.5 percent. The theory that there is a direct link between abortion and breast cancer builds upon this undisputed foundation. During the first and second trimesters of pregnancy the breasts develop merely by duplicating immature tissues. Once a woman passes the thirty-second week of pregnancy (third trimester), the immature cells develop into mature cancer resistant cells. When an abortion ends a normal pregnancy, the woman is left with more immature breast tissue than she had before she was pregnant.
There is no link between abortions and breast cancer, according to the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and other major health organizations. Similar provisions requiring doctors to make the abortion-breast cancer connection remain on the books in other state laws. Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas all inaccurately assert a risk in written counseling materials, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based reproductive health research organization.
From The Monkey Cage, The Declining Culture of Guns and Violence in the United States
Money quote:
The massacre unleashed by James Holmes in Aurora, Colo. shortly after midnight on Friday is a tragedy of national proportions.  Like other mass shootings before it—Columbine in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007 come to mind—it leaves us desperate for explanations in its wake.  There are those who blame our nation’s relative paucity of gun control laws and others decrying the power of the gun lobby.  Cultural explanations abound, too.  On the right, has pinned the blame on long-term national cultural decline.  On the left, fingers are pointed at America’s“gun-crazy” culture.
But as pundits and politicians react, they would do well to keep in mind two fundamental trends about violence and guns in America that are going unmentioned in the reporting on Aurora.
First, we are a less violent nation now than we’ve been in over forty years. In 2010, violent crime rates hit a low not seen since 1972; murder rates sunk to levels last experienced during the Kennedy Administration.  Our perceptions of our own safety have shifted, as well.  In the early 1980s, almost half of Americans told the General Social Survey (GSS) they were “afraid to walk alone at night” in their own neighborhoods; now only one-third feel this way.

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