Friday, January 27, 2006

Life: It's a Risky Business

I'm in my kitchen. As I am merely a housewife, I'm usually in my kitchen. It seems like a safe place. It's got sunny east windows, warm food (when I cook it), a great papasan for catching up on naps and grueling novel-fests that I must hold when my library books become overdue and, of course, my computer.

So I'm a bit concerned to find out today the dangers that can befall me in my wonderful house, including my kitchen. It appears that the EPA has actually done something positive that will protect us. (That noise was a huge collective gasp from the teeming throngs of people who've come to expect that the EPA will do nothing about pollution of any kind.)

It appears that the EPA is actually BANNING a toxic substance: PFOA. Huh? The NY Times says, "PFOA makes high-performance plastics resistant to fire, grease and stains. Its presence may be best known in Teflon, made by DuPont, but it is also found in fabrics, leather, automobile parts, wire insulation and microwave popcorn bags."

I can give up my Teflon pans. But my microwave popcorn bags? What's the risk here? Cancer. Strokes. Oh. Guess that popcorn goes, too. Frankly, the risk is probably pretty high, if the EPA is actually doing something to avert our exposure. It's going to be classified as a
"persistent bioaccumulative toxin--a pollutant that builds up in people and animals and takes years to break down." Other stuff like that is mercury, lead and PCB.

But the EPA assures us there's no reason to be concerned about using products that have PFOA in them. And I'm certainly going to follow that advice. After all, all I'm doing is sauting my food in my Teflon pan, rolling it around endlessly in a heated area which probably releases those toxins into my food so that I can regularly ingest them . . . .

I'm going to metaphorically move from my kitchen now. It's too dangerous. Think I'll pick up my camera and move to the living room. Maybe take some snap shots of my doggy.

But wait. No. Photographs are a risky business, too. Just ask President Bush. Those photos of him with Abramoff are so potentially devastating to his veneer of honesty and integrity that he's not only refusing to release them, but he's had someone get after the company who held them, removing them from the internet.

Never mind the photos. They might become incriminating evidence if poor Schafer does something awful like meet with corrupt guys like Abramoff. Then I'd have to go around, cleaning up after him like he'd had an accident in the house. And that's a bit demeaning, isn't it? Too bad Bush doesn't think it's demeaning to have these accidental, meaningless meetings with scum in the first place.

OK. Ditch the living room with the potentially problematic photos. I'll go call watch TV news in the den. Hmm. Fox News is on. Now there's a news source you can trust. Can't you? Not if you're reading columnist Steven Molloy. Apparently he's been paid to shill
against global warming and the dangers of second hand smoke by oil and tobacco interests. Now, that's a journalist you can trust. And Fox has apparently known about this since last spring. Nice.

Maybe I should call someone and talk out my paranoid fears of being misled by news sources. Calling. On the telephone. Where our government is spending countless hours wiretapping heaven and earth. Hey, what am I worried about? As long as I'm calling locally, my call is domestic. What if I want to call someone in London? Well, than that's international and the fact that I'm domestic (an American citizen with civil rights including the right to not be spied on without a warrant) makes not a whit of difference. My phone call and I become international and immediately up for spying on.

Speaking of stupid logic, read the intriguing but ultimately failed logic of Richard Posner on a way to make wiretapping us ok. He says that the government should be allowed to do all the eavesdropping it wants as long as there's a law that says that they can't USE the information for any prosecution other than one affecting national security. Given how much attention the President and his administration have given to following rules and laws, this law wouldn't make me feel a whole lot better, Judge. Our President doesn't "honor" much of anything these days unless he wants to.

I'm feeling better unsafe in my little abode right now. I think I'll take a drive. In my car. That requires gas. Good thing I'm not overseas in Georgia right now. Glad that disaster couldn't happen here.

Forget the car. I'm going to hide under the covers until it's safe to come out.

Until tomorrow,


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