By Joe Simitian
Everywhere there are campaigns with pink ribbons. People march in pink T-shirts. Baseball players hit with pink bats. These campaigns to save our mothers, sisters and wives from breast cancer have had great success in increasing awareness and in raising funds for a cure.
As a result, most women know they need to get regular mammograms as they get older. Yet surprisingly few of them are aware of a widespread condition that raises the risk of breast cancer and makes it harder to detect.
The condition is dense breast tissue. Although 40 percent of women tested by mammograms have dense breast tissue, a recent survey found that fewer than 10 percent of women are aware of their breast density. To spread the word, and to encourage women to talk to their doctors, the Legislature has declared Aug. 8 “Are You Dense? Day.” Women need this essential knowledge to make informed decisions about their health.
By Sheila Kuehl
Somehow, writing about the Governor's initial budget for education made me think about schoolyard games. Is the money there or not? Is the state giving or taking away?
Where's the ball?
For me, schoolyard games always began when they pushed us out of class for recess expecting that we would get some good exercise and have some fun. Maybe it's just me, but I remember those "fun" times in a darker light as vehicles for the stronger kids to terrorize, embarrass and trick the rest of us, especially during the ball games.
Ball game tricks probably date all the way back to the ancient Mesoamericans who were thought to have played games with rubber balls as early as 1600 B.C. I'll bet they also played some version of an early twentieth century English and American game called Queenie Queenie, Who's Got the Ball?
By Sheila Kuehl
In my last essay, I compared the poor families in California to an array of long-suffering silent movie heroines who were threatened by heartless landlords or mustachioed villains and inevitably rescued in the nick of time by the super hero of the day (much like the spate of films we're all shelling out big bucks to see). Unfortunately, there is no end of the reel rescue for the millions of kids and families further abandoned by this year's budget.
In a state where the rate of children living in poverty increased by more than 5% between 2009-10 and just continues to grow, where the numbers of single mothers with jobs fell by more than 10% between 2007 and 2010 and is now much worse, we, nevertheless, seem to return again and again to slashing the social services area of the budget in order to balance it.
By David Bradfield & Kevin Wehr
Recently, the State Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a budget that recognizes the need for a public university system that is an accessible, affordable avenue for millions of Californians seeking the path to prosperity and a better life. This budget stops the cycle of decreased funding for public higher education and freezes what has become an annual rite of tuition increases.
However, there is a gaping loophole to the tuition freeze within the California State University (CSU) system, which operates on minimal oversight and accountability.
Within this “People’s University” lies a separate and unequal educational model called “Extended Education.” Originally developed as a “self-support” extension of the public university designed to offer non-traditional adult students the chance to take college courses, Extended Education has grown and morphed into an enormous program that offers almost 150 degrees to over 250,000 students.
By Sheila Kuehl
Most people don't know that L. Frank Baum, who wrote the Wizard of Oz books, was a populist with a passion for true American equality. Thanks to the MGM movie starring Judy Garland, most of Baum's political overlay is lost to the general public, but, in truth, he fashioned the Tin Man to stand for industrialization, which didn't have a heart, while the Scarecrow stood for the farmer, who looked to be wiped out by industrialization. The saving factor, Baum thought, would be for the workers in industrialized cities (the tin men) to develop their hearts and make league with the farmers for the good of all.
By Kim Glazzard, Organic Sacramento; Samantha McCarthy, Better Urban Green Strategies; Jack Milton, Stop West Nile Spraying Now; Asael Sala, Pesticide Watch
Aerial mosquito spraying over populated areas this year by the local mosquito control district used a more hazardous pesticide than in previous years. While there is no scientific evidence that the spray is effective in stopping the spread of West Nile virus (WNv), there is evidence that the spraying endangers health.
The more dangerous pesticide used this year is an organophosphate. Similar to chemical warfare agents produced during World War II, this chemical adversely affects the human nervous system even at low exposure levels, and ingredients are on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer.
By the Public Policy Institute of California
Most California likely voters say that the presidential candidates’ positions on global warming and energy policy are important in determining their vote, and a majority trust President Obama over Mitt Romney on these issues. These are among the key findings of a statewide survey released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), conducted with funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.
While global warming and energy policy have not been the focus of debate in the campaigns so far, 30 percent of California likely voters say these issues are very important in determining their choice for president and 42 percent say they are somewhat important. A majority—54 percent—say they trust Obama to handle these issues, while 33 percent trust Romney.
A Farewell From The California Progress Report's Editor, Zack Kaldveer, and Weekly Columnist, Peter Schrag
By Zack Kaldveer
It is with a heavy heart that I must step away as editor
of the California Progress Report. It has been nothing less than a dream opportunity to publish writings on the most pressing issues facing California by some of its most dedicated social, economic, and environmental justice advocates. I must also pass on to our readers that our legendary weekly columnist Peter Schrag is also officially retiring from the California Progress Report. It has been an honor and an education to work with Peter for these past 4 years.
By Rosa Martha Villarreal
Speaking at a campaign stop on July 13, 2012, President Barack Obama noted that business creation does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, the state, he said, provides the infrastructure that supports economic growth and private sector job creation. Leaving aside that the Republicans do not understand that in the English language the indicative pronoun “that” in the was referring to roads and other infrastructure not business, the president was accurate in every empirical and historical context.
By Randall G. Shelden
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Currently, about 9,500 California inmates are held in private prisons in other states. In its April 2012 correctional blueprint, CDCR recommends returning all out-of-state inmates to California by FY 2015-16, resulting in estimated savings of $318 million. CJCJ’s recent publication evaluating the potential public safety and policy merits of the CDCR proposal finds that returning inmates to California and eliminating the use of out-of-state transfers is sound public policy.