Thursday, August 19, 2010

The big news this week is that cancer cases are increasing around the world, and that cancer may pass heart disease as the leading cause of death. I've read several versions of the story and not one of them mentions the possibility of focusing on causes and prevention of the disease. Almost all the emphasis in scientific research, as well as in fund-raising, is on finding a cure, or at least, finding new treatments. These things are worth working on, but discovering the causes and finding ways to prevent the disease's occurrence will mean that fewer people will come down with the disease. Medical people are fond of pointing out the improved treatment and cure statistics, but never mention the horrendous late effects of chemo and radiation. Never getting the disease would also prevent those. Dare I say that one reason for this lopsided focus is money? There is more profit in treatments and cures than in prevention. If people are healthy, they don't need to pay the doctor or the pharmaceutical company to treat and/or cure their diseases.
We're approaching Breast Cancer Awareness month, the month of pinkness--October. Try to notice this year who is sponsoring many of the pink ribbon campaigns--the pharmaceutical companies, for one. Their shareholders certainly wouldn't want them involved in a campaign that would reduce their profits. An organization simply called The Breast Cancer Fund ( is trying to redress that imbalance by focusing on environmental causes and prevention.
Samantha King, in her book Pink Ribbons, Inc., states that corporations, under the guise of philanthropy, "turn their formidable promotion machines on the curing of the disease while dwarfing public health prevention efforts and stifling the calls for investigation into why and how breast cancer affects such a vast number of people."
Breast Cancer Action, an organization based in San Francisco, has a campaign called, "Think Before You Pink," which "calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions." Think Before You Pink also highlights "pinkwashers," companies that "purport to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon campaign, but manufacture products that are linked to the disease."
Rita Arditti writes about "Why Cancer's Gaining on Us," at, noting that the rise in breast cancer cases has coincided with the flood of synthetic chemicals in out environment since the 1950s, and calling for research into any possible links.
Make this October a time of real awareness--to learn about why so many people come down with cancer, and to be aware before you donate or participate, what cause you are supporting.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pardon my French

Pardon my French, but I heard that Shaun White's coach was told to apologize for using the adjective "fuckin" when talking to Shaun before his last half pipe run on Wednesday because he was close enough to an NBC microphone that someone might have heard what he said. It reminded me of the brouhaha about a certain nipple appearing on network TV for a fraction of a second. Because I don't see what the harm is for anyone, even a child, to see a human nipple or to hear an adult say a "bad" word. Hello, last time I looked, we all had nipples, and the vast majority of us have heard bad words, and no harm has befallen us. I have never seen the harm in using these words in this way. The person being talked to was certainly not offended or harmed. He was not being condemned to go to a bad place after death. His religion was not being blasphemed. And I can't help but imagine that the people squawking the loudest about so-called offenses like these are not often complaining about our soldiers being sent overseas to die young or to kill others in a useless cause that benefits no one but a few politicians and oil companies. How do they define harm?

Monday, January 11, 2010

sermon on the left coast

Am I the only one who noticed the great irony of two Associated Press articles in the newspaper today, one about how China was caught making children's jewelry from cadmium, a known poison, and the other about how China has just taken the lead as the world's biggest exporter? How many years have we been hearing about how China has been injecting poison into its farm and factory products, usually because the poisonous ingredient is cheaper than the real one? I know it's hard to avoid buying products from China these days, but isn't everyone trying to stop buying them? No? Why the hell not?

The article describes China as a "key voice in managing the global economy." Does this sound like a smart idea? Why are we letting this happen? Economists have been saying for years that China's been holding more and more of our debt and that that might someday backfire on us if they were to decide that they didn't want to hold it anymore. Is anyone listening to these economists?

Boycotts used to work in the old days. Just a suggestion--stop buying Chinese products, especially if they are edible or if they are for children. Suggested easy fix--buy local.

Oh, and speaking of economics, if you haven't already done so, move your money from that major bank that's ripping you off to either a local bank or a credit union. Get rid of your major bank, high-interest credit cards and if you need a credit card, get it from a good non-profit or from your local credit union.

Sermon over.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's hard to stay optimistic

Not much to say, but it's been so long, I must speak. It's very distressing what's happening to the so-called health care reform bill, both in the Congress and in the media. Interestingly, someone took a poll where they compared people's reactions to what they thought was in the bill, which were negative by a wide margin, and their reactions to the actual tenets of the original bill, which were positive by a wide margin. What's being said by the Republicans and by most of the media is a pack of lies, stated in order to make people so afraid of change that they will seem to prefer the unconscionably untenable situation we have today in health care in this country and fear taking us any closer to the rational systems long used by most countries in the world. When will we climb out of this pit of corporate slime and join the civilized world?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It is so painful to listen to the news these days. Not only is all the euphoria gone, but people are falling over each other to be the first to pile on the new president and say what's wrong with the latest plan. After 8 years of no planning, no discussing, and no interest in feedback, 8 years of disposing of more than 4000 of our finest young people, not only for no reason, but for deliberately falsified reasons, after 8 years of destroying families in Iraq and Afghanistan, after 8 years of trashing our environment and the world's, our economy and the world's, our international reputation... I could go on...
The point is, how dare the Republicans, who stood by silently while the surplus was turned into a record high deficit, scold the new president for increasing the deficit? How dare they ask for more tax cuts and less spending on schools, health care and infrastructure, when their tax cuts during wartime had led to the deficits they are now criticizing? The economy was in recession all last year, and the former president did nothing to deal with it. When it became obvious to everyone that we were in crisis, he sent his Treasury secretary to the microphone to announce that we were going to give 700 billion dollars that we did not have to the bankers who contributed the most to the crisis. And why bail out automakers who fiddled while Rome burned, kept making hummers while global warming worsened, and now are crying for help to avoid failing. The government gave them millions--now they're laying off thousands and closing factories. Just one suggestion--auto factories could be retooled to build mass transit--trolleys and train cars. Why is all this human and property capital being allowed to be wasted?
We have elected a new president who is gathering as much information as possible from as many different sources as possible. With all the incompetence, failure and corruption we have witnessed during the last 8 years, how about giving this new guy more than a few weeks to see if his plans might work?