Friday, March 26, 2010

Something In The Water: Packaged Ice

Feeling a little down as a result of the state's involvement in your love life? Chewing on ice as a way to alleviate your sexual frustration? Well, stop! That crap is poisonous! Do you even know what's in packaged ice? Unfortunately, we just found out.

People often worry about rancid food or contaminated beverages, but what about the other things we consume? If bad food and drink can make you sick, can't bad ice as well? The Food and Drug Administration doesn't seem to think so. Despite the fact that studies show that packaged and manufactured ice chips are about as clean as toilet water, the FDA does not regulate packaged ice producers or the ice made at food retailers. That's right, the ice in your Big Gulp has never been inspected and is not held to any standard.

So what, it's just a little bit of ice, right? That's not how the Beeman family of Phoenix, Arizona feel. In 2002 their son died after drinking beverages chilled in a public cooler. The cause was filthy ice, which infected him and 80 other youngsters. Noroviruses, like the one that killed Scott Beeman, are rarely fatal, but they can (and should) be easily avoided. Maybe this wouldn't happen if the FDA had a standard for the production and handling of ice? No, that's too much to ask.

If the United States government is so worried about the health and well-being of its citizenship then why allow contaminated ice on the market? It's almost as though they are too busy regulating our private lives to notice that some of these companies are getting away with murder. Does it sound like we are suggesting that there's a discrepancy between how corporations and citizens are expected to operate? Because we totally are.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Overcrowded Prisons: Welcome To The Neighborhood

Who do these Gays think they are, acting like they should be treated like everyone else? So what if they are tax-paying, law-abiding citizens? How dare they follow their natural instinct to pursue happiness! You know who really got the short end of the stick? Criminals. You're probably going to say that these people have broken the law and have maybe even harmed others. Well, if that's what you have to say then California thinks you're dumb.

Prisons are overflowing with, um, prisoners. This isn't like arriving at Bryn Mawr College to realize you will have three roommates stuffed into the average double dorm. We are talking about hundreds of people-- disorganized, shuffled, and forced into spaces that aren't safe or efficient. Local and federal governments have run out of places to put the newly-convicted, and so many are implementing early release programs to give these pillars of society just a little more elbow room.

Early release? Of ex-cons? Into my neighborhood? Without so much as an ankle monitor? Don't worry! State governments only authorize the early release of low-risk criminals, like drug dealers and child molesters - no big deal. Have you read the news lately? A young woman's remains were found in San Diego, California after she was kidnapped, raped and killed by, you guessed it, an early release prisoner. But many state officials insist that the only way inmates will receive fair treatment and adequate medical attention is if prison numbers are kept down through these release programs. That's curious, because there are other populations of Americans that receive neither of those things . . .

Can anyone make sense of this? Here is the message we are getting: California is willing to let dangerous criminals walk free, but tax-paying citizens (who happen to be gay) are the ones punished with forced singularity, which happens to be a life sentence. Is that it in a nutshell? Okay, thanks.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Faux Weed: Innocent Marijuana Is Spared As Fake Pot Stones The Nation

One might argue that if a committed relationship looks like a marriage, smells like a marriage, acts like a marriage and desperately wants to be a marriage - then it should be considered a marriage. Right? Similarly, if what you're smoking looks like pot, smells like pot, acts like pot and is being used as a pot equivalent - then it should be considered pot. Right? Shouldn't these real experiences be treated the same as their hetero-normative/cannabis-derived doppelgangers? Time for the classic B4GayMarriage punchline: NOPE.

K2, or "spice" as it is sometimes called, has the drug nation in a tizzy. The magic of this legal substitute comes from just the right mix of herbs, spices, with a hint of a synthetic psycotrope sprinkled on top. This mixture has similar effects as traditional weed: the feeling of being high and mad munchies, with the added bonus of hallucinations.

Interestingly, there have yet to be any state or federal bans on this product. The lack of regulation is particularly striking because (in addition to its desired traits) this fake chronic can cause intense agitation, seizures, extremely high blood-pressure, and other adverse effects to the cardiovascular and nervous systems that have required hospitalization. Some mid-western states like Kansas and Missouri have tried to introduce legislation to regulate faux weed, but so far these governments seem slow and unmotivated.

The K2 drug is still new and not completely understood. Toxicologists and chemists at three universities are working hard to study the dope-esque product, as well as the myriad of emergency room cases that have resulted from its use. In similar news, scientists have yet to replicate bliss, which 30 million Americans are currently being denied on the basis of their sexual orientation.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Puppy Mills: Get the Most Bang for Your Bark

After a long, internet-less period of darkness we are BACK! Thank you for your patience, your smoke-signals of encouragement, and your support!

Many states have recently taken steps to limit the potential for same sex couples to create families. And with good reason-- everyone knows that the only way to stop homosexuality from spreading is to prevent gays from marrying or adopting children. But fear not, Squirrel Friends, for if you happen to live in a state that prohibits gay couples from adopting (Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, et al) there are plenty of other opportunities for you. May we recommend the high-price, low-quality option of adopting a Puppy Mill pet?

This is likely preaching to the choir (gay are notorious for rescuing their pets), as you must know that Puppy Mills are brutal at best, often with hundreds of animals living in filthsome and horrific captivity. We don't need to tell you that these poor creatures -- kept alive solely for the purpose of breeding -- are stacked in cages like legos, inadequately fed, ineffectually housed and unloved. Didn't these Puppy Mill proprietors ever suffer the 10th-grade reading requirement that was Brave New World? How crazy and dystopian can you get!?

Do the cute, cuddly ends justify the inhumane, abusive means? The United States government seems to think so. Currently, there are no federal laws to regulate the number of dogs that can be kept at breeding locations. Only four states (Virginia, Oregon, Louisiana, and Washington) have strict limits on the quantity of animals per facility. Conversely, 17 states have no licensing standards whatsoever, a veritable Puppy Mill free-for-all. While there are cruelty laws that should, by definition, keep these creatures safe and healthy, the enforcement of such regulations is laughably slack.

You've got to wonder why there are so many laws that protect our ability to treat other people and creatures in such terrible and unjust ways. And to think, we've been looking for a law that allows us to celebrate and recognize our love and commitment. . .