By Bill McKibben
In the cloud of toxic dust thrown up by the Kavanaugh hearings last week, two new Trump initiatives slipped by with less notice than they deserve. Both are ugly, stupid — and they are linked, though in ways not immediately apparent.
In the first, the administration provided the rationale for scrapping President Obama’s automobile mileage standards: because Trump’s crew now officially expects the planet to warm by 4C . In the environmental impact statement they say it wouldn’t make much difference to the destruction of the planet if we all keep driving SUVs.
The news in that statement is that administration officials serenely contemplate that 4C rise (twice the last-ditch target set at the Paris climate talks). Were the world to actually warm that much, it would be a literal hell, unable to maintain civilizations as we have known them. But that’s now our policy, and it apparently rules out any of the actions that might, in fact, limit that warming. You might as well argue that because you’re going to die eventually, there’s no reason not to smoke a carton of cigarettes a day. …
By Mandy Len Catron
I was 19 the first time someone shared her story of being sexually assaulted with me. Over AOL Instant Messenger, a friend from high school said she’d lost her virginity at a party a year earlier. “But,” she added, “it wasn’t what I wanted. I was drunk. He took advantage of me.”
I had no idea what to say. I understood that she was describing a traumatizing experience. I could tell she was still upset. What she was alluding to was terrible, but it was also commonplace. I heard stories of hookups gone bad almost every weekend. …
By Kathleen McLaughlin
I started my decade-long turn as an international blood smuggler in 2004 with a mundane task: packing. I gently stacked a dozen half-liter glass vials into two soft-sided picnic coolers. The bottles held the components of a syrupy mix, a powerful medicine made from the immune system particles collected from thousands of people. A nurse would infuse the syrup into my veins, a treatment to keep my immune system under control, to halt its potentially paralyzing attacks on my nerves.
First, I had to get all of this, plus my own needles, to China.
Shortly after learning I had a nerve disease that required these periodic infusions, I moved from the US to China, home to the world’s largest and deadliest blood plasma debacle. Early on, I learned a statistic that would guide me through nearly 15 years in China: at the time, an estimated 50% of medications sold in the country were counterfeit or compromised. This was only one symptom of a fractured system where blood was perhaps the most notoriously unsafe product of all. …