28 May 2010


FAT COPS. We're all familiar with the unfortunate stereotype of police officers frequenting donut shops. Alas, it appears that cops are not immune from our culture's descent into overeating. Fully one third of Americans (including children) are clinically obese, and another third are seriously overweight. Cops are getting fatter too. So much so that many cities are setting standards for diet and exercise. Among them is Mexico City, where three-quarters of the 70,000 police officers are overweight. My own observation in my travels in the US is consistent with this trend among police officers. Not only is it harder to run down an escaping suspect when one is fat, it also increases one's risk for early disease or death. To see where you stand, check out the BMI (Body-Mass Index) chart, broken down by gender and by height. As a rule, the closer you are to the lower end of your ideal weight range, the healthier you are.

AMNESTY. As in Amnesty International, the human rights and social justice organization whose genesis was in an article published in 1961. The group is independent of any state funding or control, thus is free to evaluate and publicize human rights violations by any nation -- and does so effectively and impartially. If you would like to learn more, or would like to become involved in their mission. please check out their website.

OIL SECRETS. Well, secret only if you've had your head in the sand. I've posted frequently on the causes (both physical and corporate) and the effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster which occurred on April 20. The oil spill has become the largest in US history. Even if BP is successful in capping the damaged wellhead today, there are still five and a half weeks' worth of oil slicks making their way toward the Louisiana coast, with another newly-discovered subsurface oil plume moving toward Florida.
Here, for those who take a serious interest in the environment and in responsible business, is a list of ten things you need (but don't want) to know about the BP oil spill. These facts are an offense to any rational, concerned person, and yet they are not anomalies. They are the norm.
Tangentially, here is a link to a photo essay by Gerald Herbert, documenting the effect of oil on wildlife large and small. His photography is excellent, the images heart-rending. Be sure to click on the "View Essay" cue to see all his images. Their disburbing subject matter is not a reason to avoid seeing these photos. I've long been an adherent to the Quaker belief in bearing witness, i.e. not turning away from an unjust or abusive event that is unfolding before one's eyes, merely because it is distressing Rather, if one cannot intervene directly, then remaining present and mindful is the most effective way to respect and honor the victims -- especially when coupled with sharing the event with others, through telling the story or by sharing images like these. It is the only way to bring home the full reality of tragedies like the Gulf spill.

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