Forum Post: Brooklyn Students Lose Opportunity to Vote, Could Become a Trend in Hurricane Affected Areas
Posted 6 months ago on Nov. 1, 2012, 4:22 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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Brooklyn Students Lose Opportunity to Vote, Could Become a Trend in Hurricane Affected Areas
Thursday, 01 November 2012 11:55 By Martha Sorren, Truthout | Report
Months ago, in an unprecedented progressive move, Pratt Institute, a college located in Brooklyn, New York, called a holiday for November 6th to encourage students to go to the polls and vote. Now, with less than a week to go before the election, the school's administration is rescinding this promise and is making the 6th a regular school day to make up for Tuesday, October 30th, which was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.
The hurricane wreaked an enormous amount of havoc in New York City alone, not to mention all the other states it hit. It closed the historic NYC subway system and made it both nearly impossible and incredibly dangerous for students to attend school during the storm. Schools had no choice but to close and now the students are being punished. Though Pratt, like all New York City schools, also cancelled classes on October 29th and 31st, no immediate effort has been made to make those two days up, resulting in student frustration at the double standard. This disenfranchising of Pratt voters, many of whom will be voting for the first time, is disheartening to many of the students.
Kate Tsyrlin, a student at Pratt, said, "Because of this sudden change I am no longer able to vote. With more notice I would have been able to receive an absentee ballot.
Now, unprepared students are faced with the tough decision: skip class and see their grade potentially suffer, or skip voting. Pratt's harsh attendance policy mandates that three absences from any class results in an automatic failure. Some students who already have two absences are now unable to choose voting over class due to a fear of failing.
Another student, Haele Wolfe, said, "Voting is my right as a citizen, and as a paying student at the institution I attend, I also have a right to go to class and get my education. National issues are everyone's concern and the institution I attend should not play tug of war with my interests as a citizen and student."
Many other students expressed concern at the change in scheduling as they were planning on visiting surrounding states such as New Jersey or Rhode Island to vote at home.
"I need to vote. And since I am not registered in New York I have to go home. We shouldn't have to get an absence in class for voting," Alejando Arias-Camison, another Pratt student, said.
Fatalities in the GOP War on Regulation
Thursday, 01 November 2012 09:10 By Dr Brian Moench, Truthout | News Analysis
More Americans than died in the attacks on the World Trade Center die every year from contaminated medicine, food, air and water. Yet the GOP argues we cannot afford the promulgation and enforcement of the regulations that would save these lives.
I doubt Lilian Cary, 67, would be voting for Mitt Romney or any Republican this year. Actually, Lilian won't be voting for anyone next week, because she died of meningitis, weeks after being injected with steroids for back pain. She is one of 25 people so far to have died from contaminated vials of epidural steroids. Her husband was also given those injections at the same clinic and could be facing a similar fate. As of late October, 338 people have been stricken by infection. In all, over 14,000 people have been injected with these contaminated steroids. There will undoubtedly be more illnesses and deaths before this mass tragedy is over.
The tainted vials were made by a pharmacy, New England Compounding Center (NECC). A deadly black fungus, Exserohilum, found in the vials was also found throughout the facility. "The entire pharmacy was an incubator of bacteria and fungus. The pharmacy knew this through monitoring results, and chose to do nothing," said former FDA officer Sarah Sellers who left the agency in 2008 after unsuccessfully pushing it to increase regulation of compounding pharmacies. Employees knew about the unsterile conditions and violated established protocols, but the pharmacy chose to do nothing about it. Inspectors found multiple breaks in sterile techniques, including that employees had turned off the air conditioning at night to save the company money, undermining the conditions needed to prevent growth of contaminating organisms. Every drug the company made is now suspect.
Drug manufacturing companies such as NECC, prepare medications for clinics and doctors largely outside federal control. The FDA says that the law does not give it adequate authority to establish oversight, leaving regulation largely to the states. In my state, there is exactly zero oversight of this kind of product.
In my speciality, anesthesiology, it isn't just contaminated drugs; there's also a shortage of critical drugs. For the last several years, anesthesiologists have had to resort to suboptimal drug selection because some of our most important drugs have simply been unavailable. It seems that the free market doesn't compel drug companies to make drugs if they don't want to, or don't find it profitable, or they can create artificial shortages to drive up prices.
GMOs, Seed Wars and Knowledge Wars
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 15:26 By Dr Vandana Shiva, Z Communications | News Analysis
The only reason crops have been genetically engineered is to take patents on seeds, and collect royalties. If during colonialism the concept of Terra Nullius, empty land, allowed the takeover of land and territories by the colonizer, a new concept of Bio Nullius, empty life, is being used to claim “intellectual property rights” on seeds, biodiversity and life forms. But life is not empty. Seeds are not an invention. They embody millions of years of biological evolution, and thousands of years of cultural evolution and farmers breeding. When corporations claim patents, they basically “pirate” traits that nature and farmers have evolved. They pirate and patent the aroma of basmati, the low gluten qualities of our native wheat, the salt tolerant, drought tolerant, flood tolerant traits of climate resilience our farmers have bred. This is not innovation and invention, it is Biopiracy. The only traits that the corporations have introduced into plants through genetic engineering are the toxic traits of Bt toxin and herbicide resistance. Besides being toxic, these traits have not reduced chemical use as has been repeatedly claimed. Our studies in Vidharba show a 13-fold increase in pesticide use since Bt cotton was introduced.
A report, published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, shows that genetically engineered crops have led to a 404 million pound increase in overall pesticide use from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011. This equates to an increase of about seven percent over the last 16 years.
The data on increased chemical use shows that the claim that Bt toxin crops will reduce pesticide use and herbicide resistant crops will reduce herbicide use, is false.
As the Navdanya report, “The GMO Emperor has no Clothes “shows, genetically modified crops have led to resistance, both in weeds and pests, demanding higher use of pesticides and herbicides. More than two dozen weed species are now resistant to glyphosate, the primary ingredient in Monsanto's broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup and farmers are being asked to spray Agent Orange, that was used in the Vietnam War.