Category Archives: Living

Cincinnati proclaims February 12, 2008 Darwin Day

The Free Inquiry Group of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, Inc. (FIG) is pleased to announce that the Honorable Mark Mallory, Mayor of the City of Cincinnati, has proclaimed February 12, 2008 as “DARWIN DAY.” You can read the press release and actual proclamation on Edwin Kagin’s blog.

John Welte, Sr., President of FIG, who had requested the Proclamation, said he was very gratified to see the City of Cincinnati continue its historic support of science, reason, and free inquiry. “This is particularly important in light of the fact that there are constant attacks on the evidence of evolution by the ‘Creation Museum’ here in our area, by educators who want to allow the religious viewpoint called ‘Creationism’ to be taught in our schools, and even by candidates for the Presidency of the United States. Evolution has been clearly established as one of the most robust of scientific facts,” Welte said.

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The breast pad thing

Hard to imagine anyone who likes a mammogram. At best, there must be those who don’t mind it. It’s not that it’s particularly painful, for me, because it’s not, really — it’s, just as they describe it, more uncomfortable than anything — but I have bad feelings about it. Deeply bad. I resent it: that I have to do it; that there’s controversy surrounding it’s usefulness especially in the face of the procedure itself, the radiation, as harmful to the human body; that there is the disease of breast cancer that is directly attributable to our toxic environment and as such, preventable, and nobody is doing a thing about that. Resentful and fear. Will I, despite my best efforts, going out of my way to avoid the foods, the cosmetics, the g-d water of  rustbelt, not quite post-industrial cities, be one of the ones struck down?

But I do my best with this resentment and fear; you know, all the right things to manage the stress (because stress is a killer, too! you know). Yoga. Deep breathing. Etc and so on.

So I go to the hospital at the appointed time, which actually includes an extra fifteen minutes pre-appointment time to run through another registration cycle. I mean that this on-site physical registration is on top of an earlier pre-registration by phone that took about thirty minutes of my time one afternoon.  After it is clear that today’s registration is stretching well beyond my appointment time, I get annoyed. I point out to the person on the other side of the desk that I’m late for my appointment and that I hope this doesn’t mean that I will then be kept waiting further for my service. Nothing. More clicking on the keyboard keys, more scrutinizing the screen at data I can’t see, then the helper/clerk gets up and goes out of the space, no comment. She returns with another clerk, who after much pointing at the screen and further key-clacking, confirms that, yes, all is as it should be. “Pardon me,” I say, “but what was the purpose of my having spent thirty minutes pre-registering by phone only to come here and go through another lengthy process that causes me to miss my appointment time?” No good answers, the consulted clerk scurries off, my clerk gives (at least) a tepid “I’m sorry” and wan smile. This is something to take up with those powers who be who have enacted processes that are not working as they should. Will I do that? Probably not. Throw more of my time away. Unlikely. And so it goes.

Back in the Breast Health Center, I have indeed missed my appointment time. It turns out that I will wait. But first, more papers to fill out. The chipper clerk behind this counter hands me a pamphlet and wants to know if I would like the breast pads, which cost $5, just check the box here yes or no.  Meanwhile, there are other women coming through, and asked again verbally by the clerk who I must assume just does not bother to look at how each women has checked her form — surely she can read yes or no. Many of the women answer affirmatively. I sit waiting. And think, why? Why if this is now understood as a standard of comfort, a little foam pad to put on the machine to ease the cold, the discomfort of the surface, why put the burden on the patient? What does it mean to decline? (I don’t care about myself? My breasts can take it?) Where in the hell are all these used pads going? Consider there is no “away.” What a gimmick!

A cold and broken Hallelujah

Dutton, who is, (according to the bio — see the link) , a professor in Miami University’s Department of Architecture and Interior Design, and is director of the university’s Center for Community Engagement in Over-the-Rhine, gets it right with his guest column, which I was really pleased to read. It’s not just that he is spot-on with the Drop Inn’s contribution and value but that he points out the terrible problem with the Enquirer’s previous approach to its earlier, Jan. 12, “story” on the Drop Inn in terms of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood’s current and ongoing gentrification.

The front-page headline of The Enquirer on Jan. 12 read “Will Drop Inn Center be pushed out?” bolstered by the subhead “Some wonder if homeless shelter hurts Over-the-Rhine development.” If those questions weren’t bold enough, readers were encouraged to register their opinions to the question “Should the Drop Inn Center move?”

The prejudicial character of these questions should be obvious. People say that to really solve a problem, the question that frames that problem is crucial. These questions are no example of a decent framing. They are sly and specious, harboring assumptions that in no way reveal what the Drop Inn Center is and does. Example? The questions presuppose incompatibility, and worse, that such incompatibility rests with the Drop Inn Center. The questions place you too far down the road to recognize a more fundamental question: What is our society’s capacity for empathy?

Read the rest of the column here: The Enquirer – Drop Inn Centers power is capacity for love

Cincinnati Sun and Soot

So there is today finally a bit of sun redeeming Cincinnati, almost enough to make one forget about all the particulates in the air while one is outside. Almost, not quite. It’s a terrible irony that here, while one attempts to do what was once considered the healthy thing to do — get outdoors, in the sunshine , get active, take in the “fresh” air — one is actually taking in the elements of death.  If you’re so inclined, you can get a good look at what this “sunny” deadly day looks like here via the Cincinnati Pollution Air Web Cam, which also gives readings of fine air particulates (ranging just inside the high zone at the moment).

Ohio Public Interest Group:

• Cincinnati ranks 2nd statewide and 11th nationwide for the worst chronic fine particle pollution among large metro areas in 2004. Fine particle pollution was high year-round in Cincinnati and exceeded EPA’s standard for what is safe to breathe over the long-term (the annual standard).

• Ohio ranks 5th nationwide for chronic soot pollution.

In 2005, the Bush administration’s science advisors and EPA staff scientists concluded that the current health standards for fine particle pollution are too weak to fully protect the public. They recommended that the administration make the standards more protective, which would require power plants and other polluters to clean up. The Bush administration rejected these recommendations and instead proposed a very minor change to the health standards. It is unprecedented for an administration to disregard the recommendations of the independent Clean Air Science Advisory Committee.

“The American Lung Association strongly believes that the Bush administration should listen to its advisors and strengthen fine particle pollution standards. Current standards do not do enough to protect the public from the serious health dangers associated with this form of pollution,” stated Joel Kaplan, Executive Director, American Lung Association, SW Ohio.

EPA’s own risk assessment shows that the current annual fine particle standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) and 24-hour standard of 65 µg/m3 protect only 56 million people. The administration’s proposal would maintain the annual standard at 15 µg/m3 and only slightly lower the daily standard to 35 µg/m3.