Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Tax Cut Lost in Space

Is Mercury the New Exploding Gas Tank?

Charlie’s Last Ride

Is Guilt Obsolete?

The Sweet Fruits of a Media Fast

Tax Cut Lost in Space

By Lisa Martinovic

[Note to Readers: I wrote this piece very early in the GW Bush administration. It’s great background for helping us understand the current economic crisis.]

So now its official: after summarily debating the President’s proposed budget and tax cut, the Senate made like a good doggie and dutifully delivered 54 well-fed and manicured thumbs-up onto the doorstep of young Master Bush. But before we lay back and enjoy the pillaging of our national coffers, I want to make sure that we’re clear on how this coup came to pass.

Apparently, one day on the campaign trail,

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Is Mercury the New Exploding Gas Tank?

by Lisa Martinovic

The most chilling aspect of the debate swirling around the EPA’s new rules on airborne mercury is what’s not being debated. 

The dispute erupted when The Washington Post revealed that the EPA buried the results of a Harvard University study it had commissioned.  The study sought to determine the public-health benefits likely to result from a reduction in the levels of mercury emitted by coal-fired power plants.  Mercury is a persistent neurotoxin that causes brain and nerve damage as well as behavioral changes. Released into the atmosphere, it accumulates in rivers, lakes and oceans, concentrating in

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Charlie’s Last Ride

by Lisa Martinovic

 

An enduring presence and local legend at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, Charlie Grimm would have appreciated this day in his honor: a balmy winter’s morning after nearly a week of rain.  The surf was small, but perfect, with a gentle offshore breeze pulling spray off the lip of each wave as it peaked.  Charlie’s friends and relatives began to gather mid-morning, just south of the Cliff House, on the sidewalk abutting Kelly’s Cove.  The crowd would swell to more than a hundred before the event was over.  Two fire trucks parked along the adjacent stretch

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Is Guilt Obsolete?

by Lisa Martinovic´

Now that the various Abu Ghriab commissions have finished their unseemly tap dance around the assignation of blame, it’s time to explore some of the subtler, far-reaching implications of the “scandal.”

Before Abu Ghraib, before Fallujah, in fact just weeks before the whole shock and awe campaign was to launch, came news of a preemptive strike–on memory. The stealth attack was initiated by clever scientists who thought not of a cure for infectious greed, or a vaccine against the plague of moral relativism, but instead prepared to market a pill that will help us forget what we cannot

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The Sweet Fruits of a Media Fast

by Lisa Martinovic´

[Note to Readers:  I wrote this piece in the aftermath of the Bush v Gore election.  The names have changed, but the principles are true as ever.]

Normally, I keep my habit under control. I don’t start using till after noon; I never pull all-nighters any more. And I don’t touch the hard stuff at all, don’t even own a TV. Nothing stronger than NPR for me, no, sir. Except in the face of extraordinary circumstances, of course. Though I have strong ascetic tendencies, I’m still an American–an urban American in the 21st century where Information is King, Celebrity

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