One of our biggest stories from last week — which we covered in two articles and a podcast with Michael Mann, the “Climategate” scientist who was the target of a (now dismissed) fraud probe by the Virginia attorney general’s office — came directly from a Pitch Room suggestion! So keep the ideas and the feedback coming! Here are some of the pitches we’ve been receiving lately — what would you like to hear more about?
A story about the global grassroots movement 350.org. Next worldwide event is scheduled for 10-10-10. Started by Bill McKibben author, activist, environmentalist two years ago. 350 is the parts per million of carbon in the atmosphere that is considered safe by many scientists. We are currently at 392.
Native Americans in the U.S.
My suggestion for the “Pitch Room” is to cover the state of our Native Americans or Indigenous People’s across our American Nation. From shore to shore to cover the struggles be they: humanitarian, economic, political, and especially moral. The suicide rate amongst Native American male youth is climbing. If we believed the climate is stacked against African-Americans is horrible, than for Native Americans its double or triple those numbers across the board.
Reservations or tribal lands are like third-world nations within our borders. Be it housing stock, lack of heating during the harsh winters (e.g. the Lakota), or unemployment rates soaring beyond depression era rates of over 50%.
Tiokasin Ghosthorse, would be an excellent point man to discuss this at great lengths. He hosts a radio show called “First Voices Indigenous Radio” for Indigenous people for nearly across the globe, although mostly for the Americas.
It seems in discussion of race in America from Whites, Hispanics, Blacks, and Asians. That Native Americans are always left out of the discussion.
We all know that people dress a certain way to identify ourselves to others. But we speak differently, too. I work at a community college, and we have set up a Safe Spaces program to aid our at-risk LGBT students. To that end, we are creating the first searchable, comprehensive list of LGBT terms — in 3 different languages. I have a great group of LGBT college-aged students contributing to it, and getting authorship status. The point is that we recognize that to engage in a culture, or to understand why a student is being hurt by certain words, you need to have access to those words.
So that’s practice. But the reality is that we want to present a dictionary to those who are new to the gay community. We want to help them learn the lingo, and we want to make that lingo mainstream to help end the ‘ick factor’ and discrimination.
All of this opens up the very interesting question: How are language and culture related? What pictures are made when speakers use or are exposed to certain words? The Department of Defense issued a survey to troops regarding their perceptions of gays serving openly in the military. But instead of ‘gay’, they used ‘homosexual’, which has known connotations. The point is that they were priming negative perceptions, and manufacturing negative replies.
- Elise (via email)
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (We had quite a few requests for stories on this topic, and about the XMRV virus associated with the condition)
I would like to see a program on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. A significant number of people who have CFS have all three of these disorders. Having multiple conditions is not surprising when people are chronically ill. Most people who have an immune or an “autoimmune” illness have multiple illnesses. But what is unique about these illnesses is that the sick person has been blamed to such a degree that the average person out there may very well believe that the illnesses are not physiological. Indeed, I’ve read that over half of all doctors still don’t believe in CFS and the WHO and CDC both recognize it as a real physical illness.
There are plenty of studies that now show that these illnesses are real. Indeed, just recently a French research team has proved Dr. Martin Pall’s NO/ONOO theory (pronounced No Oh No) as to the physiological changes that go on with folk who have CFS, FMS, MCS, and PTSD among people who are diagnosed to have MCS. As far as I know, this is the first time that folk with MCS have been shown to be physiologically different from “normals.”
At any rate, people with these illnesses have been shunned and left to cope with lives that have essentially crashed and burned, ignored by many in the medical community, ignored by family, ignored by friends. If having support is essential to good health, then our larger community has certainly done all it can to keep us ill. Thank goodness for online support groups and the cyber world in general.