Boy, did Proposal 1 ever go down hard. They may have to invent a new word for it; how can you call a ballot prop that went down in two counties by 90 percent merely “defeated?” It was loathed across the spectrum, and that doesn’t happen often. Historic!
But now it’s in the rearview, I think I’m finally done writing about it, and it’s time to look at some excellent bloggage I stumbled across. First, a heartbreaker about the HIV outbreak in southern Indiana, the one that prompted the right-wing governor to allow an experimental, 30-day needle exchange program. The 30 days is up and some would like to allow exchanges in other communities, but they best get schooled, because not only are the prosecutors against it, it’s not working so well:
Officials here say the need for education is urgent and deep; even local health workers are learning as they go. Brittany Combs, the public health nurse for Scott County, said she was stunned to discover from talking to addicts that many were using the same needle up to 300 times, until it broke off in their arms. Some were in the habit of using nail polish to mark syringes as their own, but with needles scarce and houses full of people frequently shooting up together, efforts to avoid sharing often failed.
Ms. Combs also learned that many addicts were uncomfortable visiting a needle distribution center that opened April 4 on the outskirts of town. So she started taking needles directly to users in their neighborhoods.
At the same time, H.I.V. specialists from Indianapolis — who have evaluated about 50 people with the virus here so far and started about 20 of them on antiretroviral drugs — are fighting a barrage of misinformation about the virus in Scott County, where almost all residents are white, few go to college and one in five live in poverty, according to the census.
As I said on social media earlier today, what the hell are we going to do with these people, living in these hollowed-out parts of rural America? What is there to do in Scott County, Ind., if you can’t get a job and you’ve got a bad back and a doctor willing to write scripts for painkillers? What are we going to do with these people?
Sigh. Moving on:
I wasn’t paying full attention to the news this weekend, and missed that the shooting in Texas was wrapped around the loathsome Pamela Geller. I’m glad Neil Steinberg did, and wrote this blog about it.
“This incident shows how much needed our event really was,” she told the New York Times. “Freedom of speech is under violent assault here in our nation. The question now before us is: Will we stand and defend it, or bow to violence, thuggery, and savagery?”
And how do we defend free speech? Oh right, by insulting Islam. An oddly selective defense. If Geller’s show was a general collection of sacrilegious art, I might be tempted to buy her ruse. But it isn’t, it’s a stiletto designed to stab at Muslims. To prove how free we are.
Actually, Muhammad shows up in the “Inferno,” receiving a particularly gruesome punishment, split from chin to anus, his entrails hanging out, as contrapasso for his splitting of his world by forming a new religion. Muslims do not, to my knowledge, attack those reading the 700-year-old work of literature because, unlike Geller’s stunts, the “Inferno” isn’t a hate carnival designed to stigmatize and marginalize a certain group (Well, it is, but that group is Florentines, and they’ve adjusted themselves to it by now).
The comments are pretty good, too.
Finally, circling back to the NYT, a look at the differences between Baltimore and Muskogee, Okla. It turns out they have a lot more in common than you might think!
In Muskogee County and in Baltimore, the percentage of households composed of married couples with children dropped from 2000 to 2010 for both whites and blacks.
The violent crime rate in both cities has fallen over the past decade, just as it has nationwide, although the 22.3 percent drop in Baltimore is four times as large as the 5.6 percent decline in Muskogee.
Over time, Lesthaeghe foresees a convergence in the marital and reproductive behavior of whites and blacks — and of red and blue states — with low marriage rates, dipping fertility, and rising cohabitation rates for both races.
It’s a sad story. I’m not gloating.
Tomorrow there’s a radio interview for me, lap swimming and, whaddaya know –the downslope of the week.