Rad Geek People's Daily

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The well-intentioned law seeks to cut down on waste and single-use plastics…

This month in unintended consequences:

Shared Article from nytimes.com

Why Do Some People in New Jersey Suddenly Have Bags and Bags of …

A ban on single-use plastic and paper bags in grocery stores had an unintended effect: Delivery services switched to heavy, reusable sacks — lots of…


Why Do Some People in New Jersey Suddenly Have Bags and Bags of Bags?

By Clare Toeniskoetter
Sept 1, 2022

Nicole Kramaritsch of Roxbury, N.J., has 46 bags just sitting in her garage. Brian Otto has 101 of them, so many that he’s considering sewing them into blackout curtains for his baby’s bedroom. (So far, that idea has gone nowhere.) Lili Mannuzza in Whippany has 74.

I don’t know what to do with all these bags, she said.

The mountains of bags are an unintended consequence of New Jersey’s strict new bag ban in supermarkets. It went into effect in May and prohibits not only plastic bags but paper bags as well. The well-intentioned law seeks to cut down on waste and single-use plastics, but for many people who rely on grocery delivery and curbside pickup services their orders now come in heavy-duty reusable shopping bags — lots and lots of them, week after week.

While nearly a dozen states nationwide have implemented restrictions on single-use plastic bags, New Jersey is the only one to ban paper bags because of their environmental impact. The law also bans polystyrene foam food containers and cups, and restricts restaurants from handing out plastic straws unless they’re requested.

Emily Gonyou, 22, a gig worker in Roselle Park who provides shopping services for people through Instacart, said she was surprised when she learned the delivery company had no special plans for accommodating the ban. They pretty much said, OK, do exactly what you’re doing, but with reusable bags, she said.

. . . Compared to single-use plastics, the more durable reusable bags are better for the environment only if they are actually reused. . . . [A] typical reusable bag, manufactured from polypropylene, must be used at least 10 times to account for the additional energy and material required to make it. . . .

The goal of bag bans is to reduce reliance on single-use plastics like the thin bags that became ubiquitous decades ago . . . . Paper bags are sometimes seen as an eco-friendly alternative because they are more recyclable and made from trees, a renewable resource, yet they take significantly more energy to produce.

The ban in New Jersey, which applies to grocery stores 2,500 square feet or bigger, is meant to encourage in-store shoppers to skip single-use plastic and paper entirely, and instead bring their own reusable bags.

But that, of course, doesn’t work for most online orders. . . .

. . . Dr. Miller said the bag situation in New Jersey was emblematic of a lot of environmental policies. If we don’t pay attention to the unintended impacts of policies such as the plastic waste ban, we run into the potential of playing environmental Whac-a-Mole, she said. We solve one environmental problem only to create or exacerbate another problem.

— Clare Toeniskoetter, Why Do Some People in New Jersey Suddenly Have Bags and Bags of Bags?
New York Times, 1 September 2022.

OC OTC, 2022 Edition

Shared Article from Ms. Magazine

The Case for Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pills - Ms. Magazine

Over-the-counter birth control pills would help millions of U.S. women who experience barriers to contraception access.

Mimi Zieman @ msmagazine.com

Once againof course birth control should be available over-the-counter.

There is no reason but pure control-freak politics to require prescriptions from medical gatekeepers to pharmaceutical gatekeepers. — Oh, but what about side effects? The side-effects are minimal for most women, well-known after six decades of research, and not worse than the health effects of unplanned pregnancies. In any case the information is easy to understand and communicate, and ordinary women are perfectly capable in ordinary circumstances to come to their own decisions and make their own choices about the risks they want to take when it comes to their own bodies and their own health. — *Oh, but how will the insurance pay for it? If insurance won’t pay out without an Rx, then there’s no law that says a doctor can’t write an Rx for an over-the-counter medicine. In any case over-the-counter availability will also make oral contraceptives a lot cheaper and practically more accessible, even if it does become somehow harder to get insurance specifically to pay for them. This problem has already been solved in many cases with contraceptive products that are already available over the counter (like Plan B emergency contraceptives), and it shouldn’t be hard to figure out how to extend it to this case.

If there’s no victim, there’s no crime. If it’s your body, it should be your choice. Free the Pill, and all political prisoners.

Hearing Aids OTC

Shared Article from nytimes.com

F.D.A. Clears Path for Hearing Aids to Be Sold Over the Counter

The agency’s action opens the door to cheaper, more accessible devices without a prescription or medical exam.



Why in the hell weren’t hearing aids for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss available over-the-counter already? For Christ’s sake.

In Soviet Socialist Republics, Border Crosses You

Shared Article from Responsible Statecraft

The Karakalpakstan protests are both a history lesson and warnin…

The tiny independent region is one of many places living within arbitrary borders imposed during colonial or Communist eras.

Ted Snider @ responsiblestatecraft.org

Karakalpakstan, and the disputes surrounding it, are the result of the administrative and ethno-national arrangements created under successive Soviet constitutions. They can also in a way be called the product of modernity: the creation of national states in areas where such entities had never previously existed, where in some cases local nomadic people had never had settled states at all, and where multiple ethnicities are grouped under one state and overlap with other states.

As an example of the difficulty, until the later 19th Century the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, violently disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan, is supposed to have had an Armenian majority in winter and an Azeri majority in summer, when Azeri pastoral tribes drove their sheep up into the mountains.

— Anatol Lieven, The Karakalpakstan protests are both a history lesson and warning for the West
Responsible Statecraft (5 Quintilis 2022). Boldface added.

Nationalism is violent, tyrannical, stupid and bad in every circumstance, but some of its most glaringly, grindingly bad effects come about when the demands of national identity and border are slammed down, like a cookie-cutter, on top of human lives that have nothing to do with static, mappable boundaries, whether from long histories of nomadic life, or from seasonal migration, or from settled minority populations and ethnic patchworks, or from the million other perfectly sensible and peaceful things that human beings do and ought to be left in peace to do without regard for the demarcation of political or military frontiers.

Released From Custody

Shared Article from Los Angeles Times

ICE rushed to release a sick woman, avoiding responsibility for …

Documents offer a rare look into one of several known instances in which ICE detainees were discharged as they were on the edge of death.


National borders are a system of unending, creative and unspeakable cruelty. The police and prisons that serve them show, over and over again, that there is just no bottom to how low they can go, nothing too costly or vile in the course of their relentless service of this gibbering Moloch, this idol that demands a world of blood for the sake of nothing but the stupidest, vilest and most senseless of nationalistic political fantasies.

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