Friday, June 29, 2012

Does she look like a killer to you?

My "inherently dangerous" dog
and her favorite kitty
This week, legislators gathered in Annapolis to reconsider an April ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals that imposes strict liability on owners of pit bull-type dogs and the landlords who rent to them, based on the assumption that the animals are born with an “aggressive and vicious nature.”

The case stems from a 2007 dog mauling in which a 10-year-old boy was seriously injured by an American Staffordshire terrier, requiring several surgeries. The parents of the child sued the dog’s owner and his landlord, and the case went all the way to Maryland’s highest court. In deciding in favor of the plaintiffs, the court cited statistics suggesting that pit bulls are responsible for a higher incidence of fatal attacks than other breeds, and extrapolated the data to conclude that the dogs are “inherently dangerous.”

Under the new precedent, it’s no longer necessary to prove negligence in bite cases where a pit bull or pit-mix is concerned. The way the court sees it, simply owning one is negligent enough.

Well, I can think of about a dozen people off the top of my head who own pit bulls who could present a solid argument as to why that’s complete bullocks. But personal bias aside, the court’s finding simply doesn’t hold water. For one thing, equating an ability to inflict harm with a propensity to is irresponsible, shortsighted and a “slippery slope” if ever there was one.  But that’s not the only problem with the ruling. Continue reading at The Philly Post...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Philadelphia tackles obesity crisis

Last Wednesday — the day before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a controversial ban on the retail sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in the Big Apple — a coalition of community activists, health care policy advocates and concerned citizens participated in a national conference call sponsored by the group Local to Global Advocates for Justice to discuss the nutrition crisis that continues to plague communities of color.

 The call — which attracted participants from cities stretching from Oakland, Calif., to Washington D.C. — offered a platform for representatives of the so-called Food Sovereignty Movement to share stories and brainstorm new strategies for retaking control of the dietary choices in their communities.
Jackie Byers — director of the Oakland-based Black Organizing Project — hosted the call. Byers — who has worked for more than 16 years advocating for a variety of social justice issues and was formerly the associate director of the Center for Third World Organizing — says it’s time for people of color to assert their moral authority over the corporations that are destroying their communities by flooding them with foods that are high in fat, high in sugar and lacking nutritional value. 

“Across the country our children, Black children, are under a profound nutritional deficit,” she said. “The food system that’s feeding them, that’s feeding us, is not a wholesome, vibrant, healthy food system that promotes our health and well being; it’s promoting caloric overload, it’s promoting not only obesity, but chronic conditions that are reducing our quality of life and our longevity.”  Continue reading at The Philadelphia Tribune...

Monday, June 4, 2012

On The Street

Graffiti commemorating May 27, 2011 clash between police and protesters in Barcelona, Spain.
Calle Carampangue, Valparaíso, Chile (2012)