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Monthly Archives: June 2010

The heart is colorblind. Interracial couples have known it for millennia. But a new study of heart transplants confirms that transplant recipients can expect similar outcomes whether the donor and recipient were race-matched or were interracial.

The study, conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, examined medical records from over 20,000 transplant patients identified as black, white, Hispanic or Asian and found that survival rates were the same for race-matched and mismatched donors up to one year after the procedure.

This evidence suggests that donor–recipient race matching will not improve transplant success in the short term, but it fails to explain long term differences in survival of African-American transplant recipients. Five years after heart transplant surgery African-American patients have a survival rate of 65% compared with nearly 72% for Hispanics and 75% for whites.

The same gap exists when patients were followed for 10 years after a heart transplant. The likelihood that an African-American transplant recipient will survive for 10 years after surgery is 10.8% and 11.4% lower than rates seen in Hispanics and whites respectively.

While race-matching was ruled out as a root cause for short-term survival differences, other factors including health insurance, education, hypertension, gender mismatch and donor tissue antigen mismatch may play a role.

Great article on health disparities at

For more info see:

Image: Corbis


 In front of the Capitol, the Congressional Black Caucus, the National Conference of Black Mayors, and the Hip Hop Caucus made their official push for the passage of clean energy legislation.  
Reverend Yearwood, CEO of the Hip Hop Caucus, had a message for politicians and lawmakers about playing games with our lives.

I also interviewed Vanessa Williams, Executive Director of the National Conference of Black Mayors as well as Mayor Grace of St. Gabriel, Louisiana who reps the infamous Cancer Alley. 

Not only is public transportation affordable, but it can also keep you healthy. Read more about a new study that shows how going car-free can improve your fitness.

Photo by tyger_lyllie

Receiving a speeding ticket is never fun – between fees, fines, and greater insurance costs, you are looking at more than $400. In Ohio, it is a lot harder to fight that ticket. The Ohio Supreme Court decided to rule that "trained" officers can rely on visual estimates to hand out legally binding speeding tickets.

Resource for this article: Ohio speeding tickets could really cost you – no proof needed

The Ohio speeding ticket court case

A 5 to 1 decision of the Ohio Supreme Court stated that officers do not need verifiable data to issue a speeding ticket. The officer has to be “trained” in estimating speed. This means it’s just your word against the officer’s. The supreme court of Ohio is quick to point out that this is not what they wish to see as policy, but what the constitution allows for cops to do.

The reality of speeding tickets financially

Small towns use speeding tickets for more than safety enforcement. You will find a couple of cities making a lot more than 30 percent of their spending budget from traffic enforcement. An average speeding ticket in the United States costs about $150, and increased insurance costs can run up to $300 over 3 years from just the first infraction. Some states — like Florida — have even passed laws stating that cities aren’t allowed to make any a lot more than 30 percent of their income from speeding tickets. Some states have even instituted systems where speeding tickets can be paid for on the spot with a credit card.

Reaction to the Ohio speeding ticket case

Around the world, millions criticize Ohio. The ACLU has stated that this case will open up Ohio racial profiling, stops for no reason and civil liberty violations. SB 280 has been introduced in the Ohio congress to address this concern. Senator Tim Grendell and Senator Capri Cafaro have introduced a bill that is there to require verifiable evidence for speeding tickets.

Did you know Funding is Available for Gardeners and Community Gardens?

Grant Opportunities available NATIONALLY and for Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin,  Baltimore MD Area, Boston MA, and San Antonio TX.

The Mission of the American Community Gardening Association is to build community by increasing and enhancing community gardening and greening across the United States and Canada

.More information at   (grant information is located under the Learn Tab-Resources-Funding opportunities). or you can email me at 

    Obesity plagues all states and it’s especially bad in Alabama where nearly 1 in 3 children is overweight, according to a study done by the Alabama Cooperative Extension.

    But Anna Lloyd, a senior at the University of Birmingham at Alabama, hopes to change the way kids are eating, through the power of  music video.

    Lloyd’s “Fresh Grown” features five young performers rapping and dancing in a grocery store and farmers’ market, letting people know that eating healthy foods is cool.

    Lloyd began the project after being recruited by the Jones Valley Urban Farm, a nonprofit organization that educates children in Birmingham about the benefits of healthy eating.

    Lloyd said she surveyed students from urban schools in the area about their opinions on nutrition, music, websites and television.

    “My conclusion was they didn’t think healthy food was cool, but the culture they were most into and they found most cool was the hip-hop culture,” she said. “I thought it’d be unexpected to mix two things that seemed so different and unrelated and would make it more interesting, surprising and memorable.”

    With the help of teacher Michele Foreman and the artistic director of a local dance company who auditioned and selected dancers, Lloyd finished the project last month.

    The video has been reposted on several websites and even viewed in other countries, Lloyd said.

    “My hopes were on a more small scale initially, but I feel the video has already traveled farther on the Internet than I expected it to,” she said.

    Though Lloyd made the video to appeal to all children, she said inner city kids are most negatively impacted by poor nutrition.

    A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service last year shows that 11.5 million people live in low-income areas more than one mile away from a supermarket where fresh produce and fruit is available and affordable.

   “There are a lot of challenges that I think exist for every American family,” Lloyd said. “We need to look at ways to make eating healthier easier, and I certainly think in low income communities it’s even harder for those changes to occur.”

Lloyd said she will continue to use the video to promote awareness on issues of healthy eating. She and those who collaborated on the project are currently pitching the video to television stations.

  “To me, it was such a humbling experience,” she said. “It was so cool to see how I would use other people’s talents and showcase them in a way for the better of the kids.”

Fresh Raps.mp3 1.1 MB

We are pretty green around here (both kinds). But we are not the only new site with the "Planet" in mind.  British Petroleum is launching their own online magazine called Planet BP.  The Wall Street Journal got a hold of an inside-draft of the publication that shows the company desperately trying to put a glossy sheen on the crisis in the Gulf (another glossy sheen).  Since your friendly environmental news site, Planet Harmony, also covers the on-going gusher, I’d hate for people to get us confused. Below are a few differneces so people can tell which "Planet" they’re on.

While Planet Harmony talks to researchers exploring why clean-up crews are falling sick,  Planet BP profiles a shrimper who argues "there’s no reason to hate BP."

When Planet Harmony shares videos of hip hop criticisms of the spill (By Mos Def and the Cornel West Theory), Planet BP publishes sunny stories about how BP is helping the Gulf tourism industry, including claiming that "hotels have been prospering because so many people have come here [the Gulf] from BP and other oil emergency response teams"

And while Planet Harmony covers environmental issues pertaining to communities of color (and sometimes writes sarcastic commentary), the "Massive flow of Bullshit Continues to Gush from BP Headquarters."
Image Courtesy of Virzaq

Chaz Ganster, an artist working in New Orleans, has turned his concerns about the relationship between fossil fuels and their products, money and Gulf Coast wildlife into a set of art he dubs the Zinc Menagerie.

Ganster describes them as a "group of small sculptures made from thrown pennies and blastoid fossils. The materials represent the relationship between money and fossil fuels, the gooey money a metaphor for the oil devastating the Gulf of Mexico."

See the whole set here.

Large hispanic populations moved to New Orleans after Katrina to fill out the reconstruction jobs.  Now a new catastrophe is employing recent immigrants. The number of hispanic workers (many of whom aren’t here legally) working clean-up jobs has caght the eye of Louisiana Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  “It’s like, ‘round everybody up and leave the oil on the beach,’” said Darlene Kattan, Director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana. “In a catastrophic situation like this, I think we should be more well-reasoned.”

(Image by Annie Correal)

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