Why are women dying?

This article on Mother Jones, juxtaposed with the article in Rabble (CA) I had just read, piqued my interest. Is the female life expectancy going down in correlation with other factors? Initially I thought it might be related to institutional neglect of reservations, though my side-by-side comparison has proved that to be at least on its face inaccurate, with the possible exception of in South Dakota. (What does make for an interesting point, however, is then the either normalization or increase of female life expectancy on the reservations.) Then I compared to a map of the poorest counties in the US. There were a few more alignments here, but it didn’t seem the overall geographic trend could be attributed to either of these factors (inferior healthcare either in poverty-ridden areas or on the reservation or both).

Female Life Expectancy
Reservation Map
Low Income Map


Concerned Citizen.

That would be me. Surprise, surprise.


Press Herald Letters to the Editor May 25 (do I have to blockquote it if I wrote it?):


I have no doubt that George Mitchell is a great man; a brilliant diplomat, a stalwart patriot and a phenomenal role model for young Mainers.

The Press Herald’s response to his resignation, though well-intended, detracts from his achievements. That George Mitchell is an intelligent man prompts me to believe his resignation is a wake-up call: The conventional style of babysitting diplomacy is dead.

Henry Kissinger, Camp David and Oslo couldn’t find a Mideast peace. Why should Mitchell be different? The fundamental problem is not lack of American effort — perhaps better to call it meddling or intervention — but rather a lack of a people’s voice in the process.

The reaction to his resignation from both supporters and detractors has one disastrous commonality: It disenfranchises the very people whom peace in Israel-Palestine most affects by putting all the eggs in the basket of international diplomacy.

Supporters (like the Press Herald) say that if peace comes, it will be because of Mitchell’s groundwork. Detractors say there is no peace now, therefore Mitchell failed.

If a peace in Israel-Palestine comes in my lifetime, it will not owe anything to the efforts of outsiders or politicians. It will reflect a collective effort between Israelis, Palestinians, Armenians, Ethiopians, even Syrians and Jordanians. It will be trans-national, trans-religious and trans-ethnic.

I could not possibly pretend to know how this will happen, but I imagine the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” are a reliable indicator.

I applaud Mitchell on his resignation from an impossible job. He has extracted himself from this downward spiral of endless, futile “negotiations,” and I can only hope that rather than speculating on various ratios of failure and success, we learn from him.

We need to re-approach our unbalanced relationships with Israeli and Palestinian “leadership” and our involvement in a struggle that means life or death — but not ours.

Mystery Maggy

Maggy, Prom?

Why did this never happen to me in high school? Why does Maggy get to have all the fun?

Fun fact: The request was signed ♥N+G. Friends? Two boys? Hmmm…Maggy intrigues me.

What we all want to know: did she say yes?

Spotted and phone-photographed upside down in the West End by yours truly.

If he had a million dollars

I was walking down Carroll Street in the West End (the part of the West End with huge, old fancy brick houses, not the part with poor kids like me), and there was a landscaper trimming the bushes and running his mouth, apparently to no one. (About halfway through the following monologue, I realized the “uh huh”s and “yeah”s coming from the bush were actually coming from his fellow landscaper, ostensibly trimming the backside of the bush from the cellar window hole.)

“I don’t understand those people who say they wouldn’t know what to do with a million dollars. I could spend a million dollars in one day. I mean, you could save it and spend it wisely, and live on it for a long time – but you could buy an island or a fighter jet and it would just be gone.”

(You can read it again here.)

I laughed, and immediately texted it to myself so I wouldn’t forget. Then I emailed it to Overheard in Portland and told my co-worker about it. But it also got me wondering, how much does an island cost? Or a fighter jet?

According to Google Shopping (previous Froogle, the demise of which I sorely bemoan), fighter jets can cost from $2 to $1,049 for the model/toy variety. Unfortunately, it doesn’t understand “island,” “geological island,” or “real live island” and is trying to sell me books, kitchen surfaces, and bonsai trees.

This handy-dandy resource will sell you islands from just over $30,000 (for small islands off the coast of Panama or New Brunswick, Canada) to $160,000,000 (off of Thailand).

Then again, the Dubai world map islands range in price from $6,000,000 to $36,000,000.

And, dude, fighter jets will run you at least $25 mil. So good luck with that.

(But really what I wonder is, would he still eat Kraft dinner?)