Saturday, February 27, 2010

Next time, wear protection

So I got home to Claremont, and limped from the train station to my car, so that I could go to the urgent care, and get a piece of what used to be my ceramic Starbucks coffee mug removed from my left hand. While driving to the urgent care, they had a report on NPR about how girls living on campus get raped in obscenely high numbers Any number above zero rapes is obscene, but the numbers on campus are above those for the general population. I have two friends whose daughters just left for college, and other friends whose daughters are leaving for college in the next year. My daughter is turning 5, soon, and I don't want it happening to her.
I spent hours spent in the urgent care. X-rays said I was wrong; the cut was deep and ugly, but no piece of ceramic embedded in the palm of my hand. Just to make sure, the urgent care PA (physician's assistant: these guys are good--they keep up on the medical literature better than most doctors) injected the palm of my hand with lidocaine, and looked inside. The injections of what was ostensibly pain killer into the palm of my hand were the equivelant of a root canal in the most sensitive part of your hand. Next time somebody wants to stick a needle into the palm of your hand, you might want to say "No thanks!" jump up, and run out of the building. I wish I had.
So I get home hours later, and the Netflix movie, Vera Drake, has arrived. Awsome movie--that takes place in post-World War II England--about a working class woman who works at multiple jobs, takes care of her sick mother, feeds her husband and kids, and oh, yeah--commits highly illegal acts at night and on the weekends. She feels that she must carry out her illegal work. The best scene in the movie is when the cops are investigating allegations against her, and when they interview her, you can tell that nobody wants to be in the room: Vera, the lady cop, or the detectives.
One interesting part of the movie is a parallel story about a rich girl who gets raped, and is pregnant from her attacker. Because she is of the upper classes, she can legally get an abortion by going to a psychiatrist who justifies her request for her abortion, getting her legal permission not available to the cleaning ladies, cooks, and maids in the same town.
I highly recommend this movie.
Gun Nuts (not the responsible gun owners--the rightwing nutjobs who think Barack Obama was born in Saudi Arabia/Kenya/Jakarta/Disneyland) like to say "When they criminalize guns, only the criminals will have guns." Well, Vera Drake is a good reminder that when abortions were illegal, the rich still got their abortions. Still illegal in Eire today, Irish women get on airplanes to "cross the water" to England to get their abortions legally.
Amazing how the Irish--who fought so hard, and risked so much to get their freedom--are less free than their former oppressors.
My mother--whom I have described as "More Catholic than the Pope"--was in West Germany during the Cold War, cut off from her family in Communist Hungary, close to 40, and pregnant with me. She confessed to me when I was in high school that she thought about getting an abortion. That's right, Little Miss More Catholic than Thou thought about ending her pregnancy. I'm glad she decided not to. She was glad that she decided not to, but the lesson that needs to not get lost in a fog of rhetoric was the she made her decision. Not my dad (they were happily married), not the government, not the Pope. She made the decision; and that's how it should be for every woman everwhere.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why Black People Don't Trust Whites:

I thought I had heard every story about how black people got exploited during the 20th Century, starting with the Tuskegee Airmen, and the CIA experiments mind control in Toronto in the 1970s, but this interview I heard on NPR today about Henrietta Lacks-who died in 1952-and her cancer cells that live in laboratories around the world to this day fried my brain cells.

The interview doesn't cover all the bases. The Spittoon details problems with the HeLa cell line that should force research scientists to not trust their own results.