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A MIX OF SCHOLARSHIP AND HUMOR

events, family

Our brother-in-law, Marshall Goldman, may be known as a scholar, but we always think first of his humor! This Friday, May 16, 7 PM, you'll have a chance to hear him in person at Schwartz  Bookshops, 4093 N Oakland Avenue in Shorewood.

Here's an excerpt from Marvin Kalb's review of Marshall's latest book, “Petrostate: Putin, Power, and the New Russia”: "This may be Goldman's best book, and that's saying a lot. Focusing on Putin's Russia with a scholar's commitment to deep and meaningful research and a reporter's eye for detail and color, Goldman has explained why and how Russia has again emerged as a global power.." --Marvin Kalb, former Moscow bureau chief for CBS News.

I asked Marshall to send me something about his book to forward to our list, and here it is: Less than a decade ago,  Russia was effectively bankrupt.  Its banks were closed and its debt worthless.  Then in August 1999 Putin was appointed prime minister.  Now Russia has the world's third largest holding of reserves, its banks are profitable and its GDP has doubled.  No wonder the Russian people credit Putin with this turnaround.  Would Russia be any different today if someone else had been appointed instead?  The answer is yes and no.   Because Russia today is the world's largest producer of petroleum, no matter who would have been appointed prime minister, Russia today would be prosperous.  But Putin did make a difference. In what way?  What are the implications of all this for the European Union and the US and what difference will it make now that Medvedev is the new president?

Hope to see you Friday!
 

JUST SAY MOW!

environment, pesticides

One of the advantages to living in Shorewood is our proximity to UWM. This is self-evident, so I won't try to elaborate! There's also a downside to living near the university: when UWM sprays, the whole neighborhood is forced to inhale!

Last Saturday the fumes were so strong I felt nauseous when I tried to bike past, yet people sat in the TruGreen grass right next to the little white signs. They clearly felt that the university sets an example and practices safe lawn care. I called John Krezoski in the Safety and Assurances Dept at UWM (414.229-5265) and left him a message expressing my disappointment.

I'd been told he's the person to call since this is a safety issue. It IS definitely a safety issue, especially when the fumes are sickening and the lawn care company is TruGreen. One place out of many to get additional info on TruGreen is on the Refuse To Use Chemlawn web site

The university is worried about people who don't like dandelions. This seems strange to me since Warren Porter, one of the country's top researchers into the effects of pesticides, works at UW-Madison. Here's a quote from his web site: "Subtle Biological Effects of Environmental Contaminants: We have serious concerns about children exposed to low level pesticide mixtures from lawns and in the food, water, and air that passes through their bodies.  Children do not have defensive enzymes at levels present in sexually mature adults. Our 2002 paper showed that a common lawn chemical pesticide mixture can induce abortions and resorptions of fetuses at very low parts per billion concentrations. The greatest effect was at the lowest dose.  Thanks to Richard Dwelle and Dr. James Jaeger, we have an extraordinarily sensitive new means of measuring mouse learning abilities at many levels.  We are currently conducting long term studies to explore the effects of subtle low level pesticide mixture exposures on learning abilities, immune function, hormone levels, and developmental disorders."

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A LETTER TO EDITORS

environment, Grass Roots, Shorewood: pesticides

When I think of a pun, it’s so much fun, that I don’t let go. Following my last post, JUST SAY MOW, which seemed to me quite apropos, for mowing’s cheap to do. Or UWM could get a cow, then I’d call this JUST SAY MOO. Well, I know UWM can’t have a cow. A neighbor of mine once wanted a goat grazing on her grass, and the Village of Shorewood just said no.  

I sent an Email, UWM Sprayed Again, to my Grass Roots list, and poets Susan Firer (Milwaukee Poet Laureate) and Jim Hazard sent this letter to Kate Nelson at UWM. They also plan to edit it to distribute to their neighbors. If some of you have neighbors who spray, perhaps you, too, would like to edit and use it!

Dear Kate Nelson,
I heard on WUWM today UWM bragging about its Green Ethic.  However, the recent spraying of the campus by TruGreen has no place in anyone's Green Ethic. Reliable studies have linked pesticides to a six-fold increase in childhood leukemia (Journal of the National Cancer Institute and American Journal of Public Health), have shown that dogs exposed to lawn pesticides are 4 to 7 times more likely to be diagnosed with bladder cancer (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association), and have demonstrated the link between long-term exposure to pesticides and neuron damage that triggers Parkinson's disease (UCLA study reported in Chicago Tribune).

This glaring contradiction between public relations statements and university actions is a very serious matter, affecting anyone who sets foot on the campus grounds and the surrounding community.  Its effects extend beyond the immediate locale since the run off of pesticides and fertilizers does great harm to Lake Michigan's water quality and contributed to the dangerous presence of E. coli on area beaches: a strange policy given the information to that effect UWM's Great Lakes Water Institute has researched and published.

I hope the university will reconsider this irresponsible social behavior, change its policy toward harmful lawn treatment chemicals, and assume community leadership in this serious public health matter.
Susan Firer and Jim Hazard
 

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