Short Takes: News From All Over

By the Drug Policy Alliance
Politicians with sagging poll numbers have a new source for political vitality: ‘Talk to your spin doctor about Incarcerex.’ This satirical ad from the Drug Policy Alliance explains that locking up drug users with Incarcerex can help politicians by ‘making voters think you’re doing something about the drug problem.’ Common side effects include a loss of civil liberties. — Bennett Gordon

No (Hot) Dogs Allowed
By Roz Cummins, Grist
Food writer Roz Cummins has some tasty alternatives to the meat-laden Fourth of July barbecue, from ‘dogless chili dogs’ to a ‘cheeseburger’ with all the trimmings and none of the burger. Cummins provides a list of must-haves for vegetarian-friendly party planners, including classic Independence Day side dishes like potato and egg salads and baked beans and the more adventurous Chinese-style cold pickled cabbage with sliced ginger. — Bennett Gordon

When Veggies ‘Committed Suicide’ to Spread a Message
By Staff, the Hindu
The streets of Bangalore, India, filled with mourning produce late last month as Greenpeace activists continued their campaign against genetically modified agriculture. A mass garden suicide, replete with a suicide note addressed to the government, was staged to denounce India’s decision to allow trials of genetically modified vegetable farming. Afterwards, a funeral procession delivered a casketed corn-cob to a local grocery store. — Anna Cynar

Science Idol: The Scientific Integrity Editorial Cartoon Contest
By the Unionof Concerned Scientists
The Bush administration’s interference with scientific inquiry does seem comical at times. With a few marks of a red pen, global warming became far less of a problem. And who really needs clean air anyway? To lampoon federal efforts to strong-arm the natural world, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is hosting it’s 2nd annual Science Idol cartoon contest. Hundreds of artists from across the United States responded with thoughtful and humorous cartoons. Peruse the 12 finalists and vote for your favorite on the UCS’s website. —Cara Binder

Color Them Green: EPA Grants Will Help Nail Salons
By Lisa Stiffler, SeattlePost-Intelligencer
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded two Seattle nonprofits $100,000 grants to detoxify local nail salons. The Toxic Beauty project aims to minimize the illnesses, carcinogens, and birth defects related to salon chemicals by providing salons with better equipment and researching health-friendly alternatives to currently used chemicals. Toxic Beauty is also an environmental justice program focused on improving the health of minorities: Most of the area’s salons are run by Vietnamese and patronized largely by African-Americans. (Thanks, Commonground at ScienceBlogs.) — Eric Kelsey

U.S.Courts Consider Political Asylum for Lesbians
By Cynthia L. Cooper, Women’s eNews
Lesbians around the world often face severe persecution; beatings, rapes, and other acts of violence are tolerated by communities and the law. To escape such treatment, a small number of lesbians have turned to asylum in the United States. This option, however, appears to be gravely underused. Dusty Araujo, a coordinator for the Asylum Documentation Program of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, reports that only 435 asylum inquiries have been made by lesbians since 1994. And only 62 were successful. — Cara Binder

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