May 302009

Remember the study of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) a few years ago that was halted when researchers found that it caused an increased number of breast cancers?  Turns out that wasn’t the only cancer impacted by HRT.  Researchers following participants in the study have found lung cancer is more deadly for women who /took HRT.

There’s more troubling news about hormone therapy for menopause symptoms: Lung cancer seems more likely to prove fatal in women who are taking estrogen-progestin pills, a study suggests.

Hormone users who developed lung cancer were more than twice as likely to die from the disease as women who weren’t taking hormones, according to results reported Saturday.


“It’s another piece of evidence to suggest that hormone replacement therapy should be used with great caution,” said Dr. Richard Schilsky, a cancer specialist at the University of Chicago and president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

I have a better idea.  How about we take these death pills off the market and prosecute the pharmaceutical companies that have raked in the profits at the expense of women’s lives.

 May 30, 2009  Posted by on May 30, 2009 Comments Off on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Makes Lung Cancer More Deadly
May 282009

If they ever do a remake of An Officer and a Gentleman, it should surely star the  chivalrous General Antonio Taguba, who feels that the innocent eyes of Americans and the world should be shielded from seeing photos that confirm acts of rape and abuse that are included in his 2004 report about Abu Ghraib.  He told The Telegraph (UK) that,

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

However, Taguba supports President Obama’s decision not to release the photos:

I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.

“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

And indeed we Americans have a long history of taking the word of those in charge as truth.  It is, unfortunately not something to be proud of.  And we have taken the word of our media whose job it is to ask hard questions, not to spew propaganda, only to find out  that they have purposely lied to us.

So no, General Taguba, we will not take your word for it because indeed the whole point here is that American and international laws were broken and atrocities were committed.  And it is not acceptable to pin the blame only on the soldiers in the field.  The true blame lies with the officers and Commander in Chief who gave the orders and allowed this to happen. And if releasing these pictures endangers troops, then the questions that need to be asked are why they continue to be there in the first place and and why we are now being told they could  stay for another ten years.

If we truly believe in democracy, the photos must be released, the perpetrators brought to justice and in response to the will of the people, the troops brought home now.

 May 28, 2009  Posted by on May 28, 2009 Comments Off on Why We Must Release The Abu Ghraib Pictures
May 282009

Memo to the Presidents of Pakistan and the U.S., the leaders of the Taliban, their generals and their ministers:  Malalay is an 11-year old girl living in the Swat Valley of Pakistan.  She speaks with an understanding of truth and justice that I fear you will never have.  Please take a few minutes and sit down, shut up and take her words to heart:

“Every child of my age in the area is terrified. We are not allowed to go to schools, when they asked us not to go to schools, we stopped going there,” she added. “Yet, they torched our schools. We couldn’t go out to play.”

“I want to become a doctor. I want to tell all the extremist elements that if they deny female education, where would they send their own daughters for medical treatment,” Malalay said.

Malalay is also fearful for her teachers who are threatened everyday by these militant elements.

“My teachers have dedicated themselves for the mission of imparting education and yet, these forces have threatened to kill them and forced them to stay at home,” she added

“My school has 62 teachers and around 700 children are studying in the school and it’s been weeks that no educational activity has taken place in our schools. I won a quiz competition on my last day at school and I was so happy that I beat all the other students of my age, but now I dread that I would never be able to go to school, participate in quizzes and win prizes for my abilities,” Malalay said, with tears in her eyes.

Malalay is a very intelligent girl and has a very good understanding of what is happening in her community. Her love for her homeland and her anguish on the current situation is very obvious from this poem, which she wrote herself to address elders and the people in power.

Education is my basic right
My books have been burnt
My pen has been broken
My school has been torched
O’ the protector of human rights and justice,
Come out! Stand by us!
Give my books back!
Give my pen back!
I am the daughter of the Eve!
I’m a mother, I’ m a sister, I’ m a daughter…
I am an honorable part of this global village…
Is there anyone to hear my voice, to hear Swat??
Help us and protect us!

 May 28, 2009  Posted by on May 28, 2009 Comments Off on 11 Year Old Swat Valley Girl: “My Books Have Been Burnt, My Pen Has Been Broken”
May 282009

As we pointed out several weeks ago, the recent way over the top reaction to Swine Flu comes at the cost of diverting resources and attention from known and frequently curable epidemics.  In an excellent piece with the very excellent title, Domestic Violence More Deadly Than Flu, Casey Gwinn points out that while we were having the bejeepers scared out of us by the media, government and world health agencies, more people died from domestic violence than of swine flu.

As of May 2, there have been 167 confirmed cases of the flu in the United States and one death. But there has been little news about the mass killings of 68 people across America in the last 52 days, with men doing all the killing and virtually all related to men with a history of violence against women.*

There have been 12 mass killings in the last 52 days in the United States. In 10 of the 12, the killer had a history of violence against women. Eleven of the 12 were directly related to or defined as domestic violence. Sixty-eight people have been killed in those mass killings including 20 children and seven police officers. Those who have lost their lives are listed.

March 10 – Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people, including his mother, grandmother, aunt and uncle, and the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy in rural Alabama. He then killed himself. The worst mass killing in the history of Alabama killed: Virginia White, 74; James White, 55; Tracy Wise, 34; Dean Wise, 15; James Starling, 34; Lisa McClendon, Michael’s mom; Bruce Maloy, 51; Andrea Myers, 31; and Corrine Gracy Myers, 18 months.

March 21-Lovelle Mixon, a parolee with a history of violence against women, sexual assault, and other violent crimes shot and killed four heroic Oakland police officers – Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40; Officer John Hege, 41, SWAT Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43; and SWAT Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35 before he was shot and killed by police.

March 29-Robert Stewart, 45, shot and killed eight people at Pinelake Health and Rehab Center in Robbins, N.C. He came to the center seeking to kill his wife, Wanda Neal, 43, a nurse’s assistant. She was working in the Alzheimers Unit when he entered the facility and survived after herding residents into the TV Room and locking the door.

Mr. Gwinn goes on to list all of the murders.  It is quite a list and you should read it in its entirety and heed his wise call to action,

The next time you hear someone say they cannot afford to keep a family justice center or domestic violence shelter program open because of the economy, ask them to read this article. Next time, you hear someone say that we don’t need any new, evolving, innovative approaches to family violence prevention because our current service delivery models are doing the job well; ask them to read the list of 68 names from the 52 bloody days of domestic violence in 2009.

Don’t be silent; don’t let elected officials, or policy makers, or bureaucrats, or disinterested community members ignore the tragedy of domestic violence. We must address flu in America and around the world but we must also take guns away from men who are violent and start spending the time, energy, and money necessary to stop the pandemic of violence by men against women that is destroying families, killing women, men, and children, and continuing to destroy the lives of so many.

In late April, President Obama asked Congress for $1.5 billion dollars to fight the current outbreak of Swine Flu.  Consider that the next time funds to your local shelter are cut and yet another woman in your community dies at the hands of her abuser. It’s not that we don’t have the funds, it is how we choose to spend them.

*As of May 27, there are 100 known deaths from Swine Flu world-wide and the death toll for intimate violence world-wide would obviously be much higher.

 May 28, 2009  Posted by on May 28, 2009 Comments Off on The Girls’ Guide To The Economy Part 18–While We Were Obsessing About Swine Flu, 68 People Died From Domestic Violence
May 272009

Last year, Chevron had its most profitable year ever, but that profit comes at a horrendous cost to the environment and to people throughout the world, according to a report by The True Cost Of Chevron.  In Ecuador for instance,

For over three decades, Chevron chose profit over people.

While drilling in the Ecuadorian Amazon from 1964 to 1990, Texaco – which merged with Chevron in 2001 – deliberately dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater, spilled roughly 17 million gallons of crude oil, and left hazardous waste in hundreds of open pits dug out of the forest floor. To save money, Texaco chose to use environmental practices that were obsolete, did not meet industry standards, and were illegal in Ecuador and the United States.

The result was, and continues to be, one of the worst environmental disasters on the planet. Contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface streams has caused local indigenous and campesino people to suffer a wave of mouth, stomach and uterine cancer, birth defects, and spontaneous miscarriages. Chevron has never cleaned up the mess it inherited, and its oil wastes continue to poison the rainforest ecosystem.

In Kazakhstan there are stillborn babies, in Nigeria, babies drink contaminated water, in the U.S. children’s asthma rates soar. The impact on health to people living near Chevron facilities throughout the world is horrendous. Major kudos to The True Cost Of Chevron for producing this alternate corporate report and advertising campaign in conjunction with Chevron’s annual meeting being held in California this week.

 May 27, 2009  Posted by on May 27, 2009 Comments Off on The Girls’ Guide To The Economy Part 17–Stillbirths and Miscarriages: Bearing The Cost Of Chevron’s Profits