Tig Notaro has been getting a heaping dose of publicity lately. It's well-deserved. You may already recognize the charming comedian from her standup, or watched her play the feather-haired policewoman who briefly (and understandably) lesbianizes Sarah Silverman on the latter's eponymous "Program," or listened to her discuss her frequent run-ins with 80s pop star Taylor "Tell it to my heart" Dayne on This American Life. Maybe you've also read that earlier this month Tig released a half-hour standup comedy set (care of friend/comic superstar Louis C.K.), recorded after a diagnosis of breast cancer (in both breasts) only a few days prior. The performance was instantly touted as legendary, with audience member Louis C.K. calling it "one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw. I can't really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life."
Here's a reality check the next time someone wants to tell you about clean coal: They're still cleaning up the biggest fly ash spill in U.S. history that occurred in December 2008, which occurred at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant. A dam holding back tons of slurry burst in the middle of the night, dumping more than a billion gallons of coal ash slurry into Tennessee River tributaries. The sludge leveled entire communities with a four-foot-deep layer of coal ash slurry and killed off an unbelievable number of fish living in the rivers. The spill has been said to be one hundred times as large as the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989.
How did hormone replacement therapy become so popular for American women going through menopause? Well, it turns out that pharmaceutical giant Wyeth helped write many of the supportive scholarly articles about its own hormone replacement drugs. The New York Times revealed this morning that the manufacturer of drugs like Premarin and Prempro paid ghostwriters to pen research articles about the hormone replacing drugs, which were then signed off on by a doctor and printed in reputable places like The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Sales of Wyeth's female hormone replacing drugs have fallen by 50 percent since 2001, when a Women's Health Initiative study linked menopausal hormone treatment to an increased risk of cancer. But before that damning study, the company sold more than $2 billion worth of hormone drugs to thousands of American women.
There is not much we can agree on as a nation, but if there's one thing we every American should be able to declare a common enemy, it's cancer. Right? Sometimes we're allies with Afghanistan, sometimes we let North Korea slide but we, as modern intelligent Americans, will never defend that old varmint cancer.
So then why are some true-blooded American politicians getting on their soapboxes to kill legislation that could help kill cancer? The way some politicos are spinning it, female sexuality is a greater risk to our nation than cancers that kill 3,700 American women every year.
The HPV vaccine shouldn't be controversial – it prevents 90 percent of those types of deadly cancers in women. But as the HPV vaccine snags headlines recently thanks to new research showing it's more effective than previously thought, conservative leaders are seizing the spotlight to swap morality for science and make sexually-active women the threat, rather than our arch-nemesis cancer.