The Media’s Distortion of Beauty

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French breast implant firm link to second company

From The Guardian UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/30/french-breast-implant-second-company

Jean-Claude Mas, head of firm at centre of implant scandal, was employed by a new prosthetics company set up by his children

in Paris
guardian.co.uk
, Friday 30 December 2011

The French head of the company at the centre of the international breast implant scare was employed by a second firm making medical prosthetics set up by two of his children.

Jean-Claude Mas, the founder of Poly Implant Protheses (PIP), the firm accused of using cheaper industrial silicone rather than approved medical material in its implants, is listed as a “technical and commercial consultant” to the new company, set up eight months after his own firm was closed down.

According to confidential documents leaked to the French newspaper Nice-Matin, the second company, France Implant Technologie (FIT), was registered in June to Nicolas Lucciardi, 27, and his 24-year-old sister Peggy and registered at the address of their mother, Dominique Lucciardi, Mas’s former partner.

Official company records lodged with the local authorities describe FIT as a “company making medical-surgical and dental material”, but Nice-Matin says the leaked documents it has show the firm’s “business plan” was to make breast implants.

The plan described Mas, 72, as a “creative genius” and says its collaborators have “30 years of experience in the field of quality, research and development, production and commercialisation of breast implants”.

It stated its aim was to produce 400 silicone gel implants every day at the former PIP production site in the south-east of France, to be sold to “the European, South American and Chinese market”. The manufacture of breast implants was due to start in June next year and reach a turnover of €6m (£5m) a year, according to the reports.

Continue reading at:    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/30/french-breast-implant-second-company

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Should the World of Toys Be Gender-Free?

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/opinion/does-stripping-gender-from-toys-really-make-sense.html?_r=1

By PEGGY ORENSTEIN
Published: December 29, 2011

Berkeley, Calif.

NOW that the wrapping paper and the infernal clamshell packaging have been relegated to the curb and the paying off of holiday bills has begun, the toy industry is gearing up — for Christmas 2012. And its early offerings have ignited a new debate over nature, nurture, toys and sex.

Hamleys, which is London’s 251-year-old version of F.A.O. Schwarz, recently dismantled its pink “girls” and blue “boys” sections in favor of a gender-neutral store with red-and-white signage. Rather than floors dedicated to Barbie dolls and action figures, merchandise is now organized by types (Soft Toys) and interests (Outdoor).

That free-to-be gesture was offset by Lego, whose Friends collection, aimed at girls, will hit stores this month with the goal of becoming a holiday must-have by the fall. Set in fictive Heartlake City (and supported by a $40 million marketing campaign), the line features new, pastel-colored, blocks that allow a budding Kardashian, among other things, to build herself a cafe or a beauty salon. Its tasty-sounding “ladyfig” characters are also taller and curvier than the typical Legoland denizen.

So who has it right? Should gender be systematically expunged from playthings? Or is Lego merely being realistic, earnestly meeting girls halfway in an attempt to stoke their interest in engineering?

Among the “10 characteristics for Lego” described in 1963 by a son of the founder was that it was “for girls and for boys,” as Bloomberg Businessweek reported. But the new Friends collection, Lego says, was based on months of anthropological research revealing that — gasp! — the sexes play differently.

While as toddlers they interact similarly with the company’s Duplo blocks, by preschool girls prefer playthings that are pretty, exude “harmony” and allow them to tell a story. They may enjoy building, but they favor role play. So it’s bye-bye Bionicles, hello princesses. In order to be gender-fair, today’s executives insist, they have to be gender-specific.

As any developmental psychologist will tell you, those observations are, to a degree, correct. Toy choice among young children is the Big Kahuna of sex differences, one of the largest across the life span. It transcends not only culture but species: in two separate studies of primates, in 2002 and 2008, researchers found that males gravitated toward stereotypically masculine toys (like cars and balls) while females went ape for dolls. Both sexes, incidentally, appreciated stuffed animals and books.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/opinion/does-stripping-gender-from-toys-really-make-sense.html?_r=1

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Norman Lear on fighting the good fight

From The Los Angeles Times:   http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-lear-occupy-the-new-year-20111230,0,4956520.story

The Occupy Wall Street movement has unleashed patriotic outrage. If you don’t want to camp out or protest in the street, find another way to let your voice be heard in the new year.

By Norman LearDecember 30, 2011

I was recently shown a picture from one of the Occupy protests taking place across the country. It featured a young woman surrounded by police. She was the only protester in the picture, but she didn’t seem intimidated. All by herself, up against the police barricade, she held a handwritten sign saying simply “I am a born again American.”

I’ve never met this woman, but I think I know exactly what she’s feeling.

I had my first “born again American” moment 30 years ago, when I was moved to outrage and action by a group of hate-preaching televangelists who were trying to claim sole ownership of patriotism, faith and flag for the far right. One of them asked his viewing congregation to pray for the removal of a Supreme Court justice.

I did what I knew how to do and produced a 60-second TV spot. It featured a factory worker whose family members, all Christians, held an array of political beliefs. He didn’t believe that anyone, not even a minister, had a right to judge whether people were good or bad Christians based on their political views. “That’s not the American way,” he wound up saying. I ran it on local TV, and it was picked up by the networks. People For the American Way grew out of the overwhelming response to that ad.

One of the most encouraging things to happen in 2011 was the birth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which is giving the entire country the chance for a “born again American” moment. In calling attention to the country’s widening chasm between rich and poor, the Occupiers have unleashed decades of pent-up patriotic outrage against the systematic violation of our nation’s core principles by the “say good-bye to the middle class” alliance of the neocons, theocons and corporate America.

Continue reading at:   http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-lear-occupy-the-new-year-20111230,0,4956520.story

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Utah Doctors Join “Occupy” Movement

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/27-3

by Brian Moench
Published on Tuesday, December 27, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

Taking inspiration from the Occupy Movement, last week a group of doctors and environmental groups in Salt Lake City, Utah announced a law suit against the third largest mining corporation in the world, Rio Tinto, for violating the Clean Air Act in Utah. This is likely the first time ever that physicians have sued industry for harming public health.

Air pollution causes between 1,000 and 2,000 premature deaths every year in Utah. Moreover, medical research in the last ten years has firmly established that air pollution causes the same broad array of diseases well known to result from first and second hand cigarette smoke–strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, virtually every kind of lung disease, neurologic diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, loss of intelligence, chromosomal damage, higher rates of diabetes, obesity, adverse birth outcomes and various cancers such as lung cancer, breast cancer and leukemia.

Most of Utah’s cities are in violation of many of the EPA’s national air quality standards, and for several days during a typical winter Utah is plagued by the worst air pollution in the country. The American Lung Association routinely gives Utah’s largest cities an “F” for our air quality. Last February, Forbes magazine, hardly a cheerleader for excessive environmental protection, rated Salt Lake City as the nineth most toxic city in the country, and the biggest contributor to that ranking was the mining and smelting operations at the Bingham Canyon mine, run by London-based mining conglomerate Rio Tinto/Kennecott (RTK).

This mine is the world’s largest man made excavation and has created the largest mining related water pollution problem in the world. The mine is located on the western doorstep of Salt Lake City, home to well over one million people. There is no comparable juxtaposition of an enormous mining operation this close to such a large urban center. RTK’s mine and smelter operations account for 30% of the particulate matter emitted into the atmosphere over Salt Lake County, making it by far the largest source of industrial pollution in the urban areas of Utah.

Continue reading at:    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/12/27-3

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Obama, Hillary ‘Most Admired’ Of 2011

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Major Ron Paul Supporter Favors Death Penalty for Gays

From Alternet:   http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/153607/major_ron_paul_supporter_favors_death_penalty_for_gays/

Paul’s endorsement from a pastor who wants the death penalty for gays exposes his links to radical Christian Reconstructionists.

By Adele M. Stan
December 29, 2011

At first it seemed like the moment of triumph for the Ron Paul for President campaign. The Texas congressman had won the endorsement of Rev. Phillip G. Kayser, a prominent right-wing Nebraska pastor, just as momentum built toward a possible big win for Paul in next week’s GOP caucuses in neighboring Iowa, where evangelicals comprise a majority of voters.

The campaign issued a press release on Wednesday, lauding Kayser and trumpeting his endorsement, citing “the enlightening statements he makes on how Ron Paul’s approach to government is consistent with Christian beliefs.” Then came word of Kayser’s “Christian belief” in applying the death penalty for gay male sex, and the Paulites got busy scrubbing their press release from the campaign Web site. (The text of the release and a screen shot can be seen on the Web site Outside the Beltway.)

What reporters Pema Levy and Benjy Sarlin of TPM uncovered when they scrolled through Kayser’s writings on his Web site, Biblical Blueprints, were not simply the rantings of a random fringe preacher, but a “blueprint” for the philosophy of Christian Reconstructionism, which seeks to make manifest biblical law as the law of the land. That would include the death penalty not only for the practice of sex between men, but also for adultery and insubordination by children.

Coming on the heels of recent revelations by a former aide that Ron Paul would not use the bathroom in a gay man’s home or shake the hand of a gay supporter, and the homophobic and racist utterances attributed to him in a series of newsletters published under his name in the 1980s and ’90s, news of Kayser’s death-to-the-gays theology was hardly a boon to the campaign.

In one of the many pamphlets authored by Kayser, the TPM reporters unearthed this from a tract on the biblical validity of the death penalty:

It is not just the sinfulness of homosexuality that is known, but also the justice of the death penalty for homosexuality. In verse 32 Paul says, “Who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

The mere threat of the death penalty for the sin of gay sex, Kayser wrote elsewhere, can be “restorative” to those so threatened. When questioned by reporters Sarlin and Levy, Kayser confirmed his beliefs.

Continue reading at:     http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/153607/major_ron_paul_supporter_favors_death_penalty_for_gays/

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