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The Good

Pipe Fitting In mid-February, a Nebraska judge struck down a 2012 law that incorrectly gave our governor, Dave Heineman, supreme power over where the Keystone Pipeline would be allowed to go. The law allowed Herr Heineman the option to cede condemnation power and Right of Eminent Domain to the Canadian corporation, TransCanada. Essentially, TC would have had the right to confiscate land from Nebraska farmers and build the pipeline wherever governor wanted. The law was ruled unconstitutional. This reversal again reminds TransCanada and others that Nebraska ain’t Canada’s bitch. Why it’s important: Foreign countries shouldn’t control Nebraska; the pipeline is a dangerous undertaking; we need to shift from fossil fuels.

Cat Pause Some crazy people rammed a ruling through a couple years ago that allowed the State of Nebraska to award licenses to chase down, tree and gun down cougars. With a measly 22 mountain lions holding claim to 49 million acres of Nebraska (about one puma per 2 million acres!) they justified it “to control the cougar population.” WTF? Fortunately, Ernie Chambers is one of the sane ones in Lincoln and has collected enough votes to reverse the cougar hunting law. Why it’s important: Humans need more respect for nature.

Baby Steps Women have been birthing babies for, oh, millions of years. Modern surgical procedures have been around, oh, about a hundred years. Lately, docs have been cutting open wombs to pluck babies more often than ever. About one in three US deliveries is done by C-section. Finally, modern docs are figuring out that the female animal has not forgotten how to birth. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued guidelines that delivery docs should be a little slower with the scalpel. C-sections are valuable when indicated by life-threatening complications but too often they are scheduled for bad reasons: a doctor’s tee time, convenience or fear of liability lawsuits. C-sections have a whole list of dangers and cutting back on the cutting up is good news.

Mammograms Questioned One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done, involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter-century has found that they are statistically useless in regard to saving lives. Perhaps more attention will be given to what causes the disease and focus on that.

The Bad

Water Crisis Triple hit of bad news on this front. Drought in the west and California, where most of our produce is grown, is pretty much out of water. Seriously. Here in Nebraska, all across the state, our precious groundwater that has built up over thousands of years was drawn down three feet (!) last year, a huge amount of water used up to grow ethanol, cow food and candy bars. And in West Virginia, a half million people can’t bathe in, touch or drink their tap water because of chemicals leaked into it. And we’re contemplating a pipe carrying unknown chemicals (Canada refuses to tell us what ones) and sludge crossing our state? Bad news.

Bad Farm Exports What we grow and eat is killing us and we’re losing money doing it. A Harvard study looked at one horrible byproduct of our American agriculture system, the pollutant ammonia. Comparing the revenue from exporting the ag products to how much we spend in healthcare combatting the results of ammonia-induced illness and death here in the US, we lose; by a minus $13 billion and thousands of deaths. Meanwhile, China smiles and now owns the largest pork producer in the world, recently purchasing the American company Smithfield Foods. China gets the pork; we get the poop.

Unconscionable A study by Oxfam puts global inequity in perspective: 85 richest people — you could fit them all in a city bus, (as if they’ve ever been in one), — 85 people own more of the planet’s wealth than the poorest 3.5 billion. 85 to 3,500,000,000. That’s pretty unsettling. There is nothing inherently wrong with prosperity. There is something inherently wrong with inequity.

The Ugly

One Bad Apple Genetically modified organisms, GMOs, are everywhere. Their implementation has a sordid and corrupt history driven by collusion between the Bush One administration and greedy corporations. Lackey Dan Quayle, veep under Bush One, was the figurehead chairman of the panel okaying GMOs in the early ‘90s. Important: Not one commercially grown GMO improves nutrition, is healthier or in any way benefits consumers. They don’t have more vitamins or nutrients. They are not environmentally better and in fact, worse. They lead to more pesticide use while filling corporate coffers. A new GMO apple is expected to be approved by the USDA this year. Known as the Arctic Apple, its single advantage over a natural apple is that it won’t turn brown when cut. There are lots of things wrong with that as an incentive but what’s the worst is that the genetic trait is accomplished by inserting a gene from E. coli bacteria into the apple causing antibiotic resistance. Crazy and ugly news.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit for more information.

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