Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hoodies and Bandanas Do Not Justify Murder - NAM

Hoodies and Bandanas Do Not Justify Murder - NAM
In the summer of 1994, my friends and I were driving to a local basketball gym when our two cars were pulled over by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. My four friends in the lead car were asked to exit the vehicle and put their hands on the hood. I was in the back car with two other friends and we were allowed to stay inside.

Throughout this stop, from beginning to end, the deputies had their guns drawn on us.

I sat in the back right seat. When one of the deputies asked us for identification, I fumbled around inside my duffel bag.

“Don’t mess around in that bag,” the deputy sheriff said. “Or you might get shot.”

But how could I not be nervous? He had the damn barrel of a gun pointed inches from my head!

As I remember back, I can still feel the dominating, almost arrogant presence of that gun. How hot it felt. How it made me cringe. The fear ― of cops and guns ― the moment has permanently instilled in me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Neocotinoid Pesticides Play a Role in Bees’ Decline, 2 Studies Find -

Neocotinoid Pesticides Play a Role in Bees’ Decline, 2 Studies Find -
In Thursday’s issue of the journal Science, two teams of researchers published studies suggesting that low levels of a common pesticide can have significant effects on bee colonies. One experiment, conducted by French researchers, indicates that the chemicals fog honeybee brains, making it harder for them to find their way home. The other study, by scientists in Britain, suggests that they keep bumblebees from supplying their hives with enough food to produce new queens.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quick Hit: One woman’s experience with Texas’ new mandatory ultrasound law

Quick Hit: One woman’s experience with Texas’ new mandatory ultrasound law 
Bad as you thought it would be? YES!
Here’s a rule: When you, as legislators with neither professional medical experience nor personal experience being pregnant, pass laws that result in doctors and nurses repeatedly apologizing to sobbing women, you’re doing something wrong.
“I am so sorry,” the young woman said with compassion, and nudged the tissues closer. Then, after a moment’s pause, she told me reluctantly about the new Texas sonogram law that had just come into effect. I’d already heard about it. The law passed last spring but had been suppressed by legal injunction until two weeks earlier.
My counselor said that the law required me to have another ultrasound that day, and that I was legally obligated to hear a doctor describe my baby. I’d then have to wait 24 hours before coming back for the procedure. She said that I could either see the sonogram or listen to the baby’s heartbeat, adding weakly that this choice was mine.
“I don’t want to have to do this at all,” I told her. “I’m doing this to prevent my baby’s suffering. I don’t want another sonogram when I’ve already had two today. I don’t want to hear a description of the life I’m about to end. Please,” I said, “I can’t take any more pain.” I confess that I don’t know why I said that. I knew it was fait accompli. The counselor could no more change the government requirement than I could. Yet here was a superfluous layer of torment piled upon an already horrific day, and I wanted this woman to know it.
In this horrifying case, the woman was terminating a much-wanted pregnancy. But it only takes a little imagination – and I suppose the compassion that anti-choice politicians have shown they clearly can’t muster – to think of other reasons patients and doctors might not want clueless politicians inserting their own views into the doctor’s office. As Carolyn Jones asks, “Shouldn’t women have a right to protect themselves from strangers’ opinions on their most personal matters?”

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Neo-Nazis cloak themselves in eco-rhetoric | Environment | DW.DE | 08.03.2012

Neo-Nazis cloak themselves in eco-rhetoric | Environment | DW.DE | 08.03.2012
They're into organic farming, oppose GMOs and worry about endangered species protection. Right-wing extremists are increasingly active in typically left-wing movements. Experts say the trend is troublesome.
"Environmental protection should be inherent to cultural progress." That's a statement that could easily be attributed to any environmentalist group. Instead it comes from the National Democratic Party (NPD), a far-right but still legal German party, and it's another sign of how right-wing groups are increasingly latching on to environmental topics.
The connection between right-wing extremism and environmentalism is not new, but experts believe the growing trend represents a real threat, because it helps push extremist views into the mainstream.
Two recent publications have responded, seeking to educate the public by explaining what's behind such efforts, and debunking certain lines of reasoning within them.