The Sorensen Monologues

Archive for August, 2015

Bosom Baddies

If you haven’t heard about the Times Square flap, you can catch up here. And you can read a report by a journalist who went undercover as a desnuda (the term for the painted performers) here.

Personally, I’m scratching my head over why a progressive mayor like de Blasio would even consider destroying a bustling pedestrian space over a few lightly-disguised nipples. As the undercover journalist noted, a half-nude Miley Cyrus already looms over the plaza from a video screen. Traffic-related injuries (the reduction of which has been a cause championed by the mayor) are down since NYC’s plaza program started. European plazas are filled with buskers and street performers, yet those cities manage to cope somehow. By all means, regulate panhandling. But don’t destroy a rare public space designed for human beings instead of cars.

Seriously, there are far more constructive things the NYPD could be doing these days rather than harass women wearing body paint.


Forest Fire: Guns gone wild in national parks

This cartoon was inspired by this disturbing NYT article. I like to think the right to bear s’mores without being shot at falls under the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


This week in That’s Disgusting: Oil Wastewater Irrigation

According to this Mother Jones article, the drought in California is leading to increasing amounts of oil wastewater being applied to crops. While I understand and support programs like Bill Gates’ effort to extract potable H20 from sewage water as a means of preventing disease in poor countries, this would not be quite the same. Benzene, a known carcinogen, is showing up in concentrations higher than is allowed for drinking water. As an official comfortingly reassures us in the MoJo article:

“I admit that [some oilfield contaminants] are in there,” says David Ansolabehere, the General Manager of the Cawelo Water District, “but they are at such a low level I wouldn’t think they are doing any harm. But we are looking into that to make sure there isn’t any harm being done.”

The trouble is, testing methods are badly outdated — only recently have officials begun testing for a wider range of industrial chemicals — and fracking chemicals tend to be trade secrets. Energy companies have a long history of claiming their chemical recipes are proprietary information. So how do scientists know what to test for?

I’ll take slightly more expensive clementines than ones laced with unknown industrial effluvia, thanks.

More info on Think Progress.


Legacies of the Trump presidency


Tissue-gate

Yes, it’s a big scandal, folks. What with all this fetal tissue research, Planned Parenthood may even have a hand in curing Parkinson’s someday. They must be stopped!

As noted in this editorial, fetal cells have been saving lives for decades:

The use of fetal tissue in research is not new. Fetal cells extracted from the lungs of two aborted fetuses from Europe in the 1960s are still being propagated in cell culture. They’re so successful that today we still use them to produce vaccines for hepatitis A, rubella, chickenpox and shingles. From two terminated pregnancies, countless lives have been spared.

The idea that this smear campaign is a scandal for Planned Parenthood has been assisted by some media outlets taking a clueless, “he-said, she-said” approach to reporting. Politicians such as Rand Paul (who love freedom, except for the reproductive kind) are clamoring for the end of federal funding for PP, yet many news orgs fail to report that no taxpayer dollars actually go to abortions. Many reports (and Republican presidential candidates) also fail to mention the close ties between the video makers and violent extremist groups.


Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

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