February 3, 2012 archive

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No More Pink Ribbons

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Since of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity’s decision to eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, the Komen foundation has come under not just criticism for abandoning many women’s only option for breast cancer screening but it has brought to light some very ugly truths about the organization. The most critical one is that its pink ribbon campaign has done more harm than good. As David Dayen and TBogg at FDL both note, Komen’s official line that “our priority is and always will be the women we serve” is a joke considering the number of women who use Planned Parenthood for their health care and that Komen does virtually nothing for women’s health or fighting breast cancer

A documentary that premiered last fall at the Toronto Film Festival, Pink Ribbons, Inc, that is about to be released in Canadian theaters, exposes the Pink Ribbon campaign for what it is, a money raising farce for corporations that have done nothing to find a cure for breast cancer but in some cases may have contributed to its rise:

Indignant and subversive, “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” resoundingly pops the shiny pink balloon of the breast cancer movement/industry, debunking the “comfortable lies” and corporate double-talk that permeate the massive and thus-far-ineffectual campaign against a disease that claims nearly 60,000 lives each year in North America alone. Veteran helmer Lea Pool, working from Samantha King’s book, won’t be making any friends with her full-frontal attack on the corporate co-option of the breast cancer cause, which could limit Stateside circulation of this Canadian production. But there are plenty of women who’ll want to see it. And they’ll be seeing red, not pink.

The thrust of King’s thesis is that all the pink-themed walk-a-thons, parades, singing children and rose-lit monuments (the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls), actually do more harm than good. By putting a warm and fuzzy spin on the state of breast cancer, the public is distracted from some very ugly numbers: In 1940, a woman had a one-in-22 chance of developing breast cancer; today, the number is one in eight. Only 20%-30% of women with breast cancer have high-risk factors, which means no one really knows what causes the disease. The leading foundations involved in funding cancer research are peopled by representatives of the pharmaceutical, chemical and energy industries, so their ethics are inherently compromised.

This article from Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams details where all the Komen money goes. They raise a huge amount of money but only 24% goes to research and yet spends:

a million dollars a year in donor funds” aggressively going after other organizations that dare to use the phrase “for the cure” – including small charities like Kites for a Cure, Par for the Cure, Surfing for a Cure, Cupcakes for a Cure, and even a dog-sledding event called Mush for the Cure.

The Komen foundation is nothing more than a front for corporations. Running for cures, buying pink ribbons and balloons will not find a cure and hasn’t done a damn thing but rake in profits for corporations. Those pink ribbons should make every woman and man (they get breast cancer, too) see red.

On This Day In History February 3

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

February 3 is the 34th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 331 days remaining until the end of the year (332 in leap years).

On this day in 1959, “the music died” when rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson are killed when their chartered Beechcraft Bonanza plane crashes in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City on a flight headed for Moorehead, Minnesota. Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”

After mechanical difficulties with the tour bus, Holly had chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane.

Crash

The plane took off at around 12:55 AM Central Time. Just after 1:00 AM Central Time, Mr. Hubert Dwyer, a commercial pilot and owner of the plane, observing from a platform outside the tower, “saw the tail light of the aircraft gradually descend until out of sight.”

Peterson had told Dwyer he would file a flight plan with Air Traffic Control by radio after departure. When he did not call the Air Traffic Control communicator with his flight plan, Dwyer requested that Air Traffic Control continue to attempt to establish radio contact, but all attempts were unsuccessful.

By 3:30 AM, when Hector Airport in Fargo, North Dakota, had not heard from Peterson, Dwyer contacted authorities and reported the aircraft missing.

Around 9:15 AM, Dwyer took off in another small plane to fly Peterson’s intended route. A short time later, he spotted the wreckage in a cornfield belonging to Albert Juhl, about five miles (8 km) northwest of the airport.

The Bonanza was at a slight downward angle and banked to the right when it struck the ground at around 170 miles per hour (270 km/h). The plane tumbled and skidded another 570 feet (170 m) across the frozen landscape before the crumpled ball of wreckage piled against a wire fence at the edge of Juhl’s property. The bodies of Holly and Valens lay near the plane, Richardson was thrown over the fence and into the cornfield of Juhl’s neighbor Oscar Moffett, and the body of Peterson remained entangled inside the plane’s wreckage. Surf Ballroom manager Carroll Anderson, who drove the musicians to the airport and witnessed the plane’s takeoff, made positive identifications of the musicians.

All four had died instantly from “gross trauma” to the brain, the county coroner Ralph Smiley declared. Holly’s death certificate detailed the multiple injuries which show that he surely died on impact:

The body of Charles H. Holley was clothed in an outer jacket of yellow leather-like material in which four seams in the back were split almost full length. The skull was split medially in the forehead and this extended into the vertex region. Approximately half the brain tissue was absent. There was bleeding from both ears, and the face showed multiple lacerations. The consistency of the chest was soft due to extensive crushing injury to the bony structure.[…] Both thighs and legs showed multiple fractures.

Investigators concluded that the crash was due to a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error. Peterson, working on his Instrument Rating, was still taking flight instrumentation tests and was not yet rated for flight into weather that would have required operation of the aircraft solely by reference to his instruments rather than by means of his own vision. The final Civil Aeronautics Board report noted that Peterson had taken his instrument training on airplanes equipped with an artificial horizon attitude indicator and not the far-less-common Sperry Attitude Gyro on the Bonanza. Critically, the two instruments display the aircraft pitch attitude in the exact opposite manner; therefore, the board thought that this could have caused Peterson to think he was ascending when he was in fact descending. They also found that Peterson was not given adequate warnings about the weather conditions of his route, which, given his known limitations, might have caused him to postpone the flight.

Cartnoon

Foney Fables

Learning to Fly? Sorry. No can do.

Quite a few people have written me asking about the (not so) new airline travel regulations in Canada.  Many of the headlines scream about the fact that Transpeople will not be allowed to fly.

Transgender People are Completely Banned from Boarding Airplanes in Canada reads one headline.

Conservative MPs laugh at concerns that trans people face flight ban reads another.

Discrimination Takes Flight reads an editorial.

I’d like to be able to say that’s all hyperbole.  I’d like to.  But I try not to spread falsehood.

Justin Trudeau, Liberal MP, brought up the issue in parliament.

Later he tweeted:

This government keeps pushing its agenda of intolerance and hopes we don’t notice. This is just wrong.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Sizzle

Late Night Karaoke

Well, you might just be a Red Neck.

Listen up you elitist cheese-eating surrender monkeys.  Chuck Murray (so much less elitist than Charles) of Bell Curve uhh… fame? has a quiz to determine if you are a real ‘murikan or not.

For the record I scored a dismal 59.  Questions in bold.  Scoring in plain type.  My feeble excuses in italic.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

   

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A new window has opened for your Bloguero on the meaning of “insignificance.” Your Bloguero is delighted to be able to tell you about it and to allow you to infer, if you wish to, how he and you may now be the zenith of insignificance (Note: or the nadir of significance, if you prefer).

On Ground Hog Day the “celebrity businessman” who calls himself “The Donald” endorsed Willard for president. (Note and digression: your Bloguero does not refer to this person as “Mitt”. He will never refer to him by that name. “Mitt” is a preppy, friendly, brotherly, harmless sort of name.  “Willard,” the candidate’s real moniker, reminds of rats and is, therefore, preferable). It wasn’t much of a surprise. It was an ersatz “surprise.”  A manufactured event. So, of course, there were front page stories, and videos, and the kind of breathless oohing and ahhhing reserved for contrived, fabricated, apparently meaningless events. (Note and digression: Your Bloguero notes that such oohing and ahhing isn’t required and never accompanies really breathtaking, really surprising events. The Egyptian Soccer Riots for example. Those are accompanied by eye popping incredulity. By gasps. By screams. They don’t need a laugh oohing and ahhing track). But your Bloguero digresses.

And in the midst of the simulacrum of excitement, CNN reported deep in its story:


It was unclear whether Trump’s decision will have any impact on the Republican race. A Pew survey last month found that 64% of definite and likely GOP voters said an endorsement from the reality television star would make no difference to them.

In the survey, 13% said it would make them more likely to back a candidate, while 20% said it would actually make them less likely.

May your Bloguero translate this paragraph? 84% of “definite and likely GOP voters,” almost 6 in 7, said The Donald’s endorsement didn’t matter or would make them less likely to vote for whoever the Donald chose to endorse.  Your Bloguero wonders who “definite and likely GOP voters” might be and whether, having scrutinized the potential nominees, admitting to be a “definite or likely GOP voter” might be tantamount to admitting that one had a diagnosed thought disorder or suffered from delusions (Note: Even if the assertion that these people are mentally ill is problematic, your Bloguero does not retreat from it. If the reader is more comfortable with the venerable assertion that they are “fools,” the reader may so edit the previous sentence). But your Bloguero digresses.  A further translation: even among the zealots nobody gives a hoot about The Donald’s endorsement, or they just don’t like it.

Your Bloguero was talking about “insignificance.” If an endorsement actually hurts the candidate, why would the candidate show up to accept it amidst all the oohing and ahhing reserved for such obviously fake events? Wouldn’t the candidate be better served by actually campaigning in Nevada or Maine or making speeches to likely primary voters, the people whose votes he needs to receive to win a primary? Put another way, what kind of loon seeks out and accepts an endorsement in New York City, which is not having a primary this weekend, that will hurt him with voters in states having primaries he is running in? Why would Willard show up to kiss The Donald’s [expletive deleted]?  Thereby, as the Bard said, hangs the tale.

How na├»ve even to ask such a thing. As if this had to do with voters. As if this had to do with directly seeking votes. Tsk. Tsk. No. As everybody by now knows, the candidate is always better served by fellating a ginormous donator like The Donald than by doing the actual campaigning, the shaking hands, the eating corn dogs, the VFW halls, inspiring his GOTV workers. (Note: the adjective “ginormous” refers to The Donald’s money, and not to any part of his anatomy). The old school, get out the vote stuff. The old routine of getting votes directly. This, [email protected], is not about The Donald’s appeal to voters. It’s not about old school politicking. That, as your Bloguero and CNN have pointed out, is the definition of “insignificance.”  Of no importance. Without importance. Without meaning. With no significance. Meaninglessness. The Donald’s appeal to voters is the very definition of “insignificance.”

No, this is about something else. You know what it is already. Admit it. Ok.  If you insist, your Bloguero will tell you. It’s about money. Dinero. Moolah. Cash. Greenbacks. What used to be called “bread.” Surprise! It’s about Citizens United and the spigot of funds The Donald claims to possess and to be willing to turn on in the service of Willard, and the supposed message from The Donald’s explicit endorsement to other fat cats to pony up. To pay up. To buy the votes. To buy the TV attack ads. That’s why The Donald is significant, and we, compadres, aren’t. We’re insignificant. We cannot fund a campaign that is about meeting our desires. Nope. All we can do is vote for whatever candidates others have bought for us. We are that insignificant.

The opposite of “insignificance,” the precise antonym is what Willard expects from The Donald.  And what he showed up on Ground Hog’s Day to attain. How many zeroes are in the number?

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Usually, it appears on Friday. Sometimes, like now and for several of the past weeks, it isn’t actually a digest of essays posted at The Dream Antilles. For the essays you have to visit The Dream Antilles.