Fields of Antidepressants

Digital Photo Collage
Lukanovich



Killing in the Name of War - The Impact on Soldiers

March 27, 2009
N.J. Lukanovich

I once met a man from West Virginia who lamented the deaths of the men he had killed. He was a trucker who gave me a ride over two decades ago from Modesto, California to Flagstaff, Arizona; a Vietnam vet locked without respite in moments he could not undo, trapped in a state of pitiable remorse agonizing over the faces of 25 men. "I remember each and every one of them," he said, then asked me to hold his hand for comfort as we traveled through the night and he talked and talked and told his stories and tried to ease the anguish that had crippled his dreams and transformed his life into a never ending quest to forget. Since returning from his tour of duty, he could do nothing but drive and remember.

When a nation sends it's children off to war, to fight whatever devil that may lurking in another nation or pounding on the borders of home and hearth, there is talk of soldiers being killed in action, of the wounded, there is even muted discussions about post-traumatic stress. What is never spoken of with any clarity, or the brutality of truth, is the undeniable fact that young men (and now women) are sent off to become killers.
read more






Frozen Embryo vs. Baby

Digital Photo Collage
Lukanovich




The Debate Over Embryonic Stem Cell Research

March 13, 2009
N.J. Lukanovich

Is a frozen embryo the equivalent of a human being? This is the political, religious, or ideological question that lies at the heart of the stem cell research debate between those who wish to annihilate stem cell research and those who want scientists to pursue research that could lead to treatments for spinal cord injuries and a multitude of diseases, such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, cancer, congential diseases, and the creation of new organs for transplant purposes.

On Monday, March 9, President Obama signed an executive order to lift the restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research, but the issues of what types of stem cell lines can be used and what types of studies will be supported is still unclear; the NIH (National Institute of Health) has been entrusted with the responsibility to make these decisions, and has been given 120 days to review both the science of stem cell research and ethical concerns.
read more






Papal Bull - Detail

Lukanovich


The Ordination of Women Priests

March 6, 2009
N.J. Lukanovich

International Women's Day is a mere two days away, and while there has been much progress in the last century the obstacles and inequities for women around the world remain enormous. Even in the Western world, where it is assumed that women have equal rights, there exist institutions and groups that still deny equality, using freedom of religion as the justification for continued treatment of women as a secondary class of human. The largest church in the world, the Catholic Church, with one billion adherents including 67 million in the United States, refuses to even discuss the ordination of women priests.

The Vatican, led by Pope Benedict XVI, issued its strongest decree against the ordination of women in May, 2008. Written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith it stipulates that any women ordained as priests and any bishops ordaining them are to be punished by latae sententiae excommunication, which means that it is automatic, immediate, and self-imposed.
read more






Girls Return to School - Swat Valley

Digital Photo Collage
Lukanovich


Note: this image was created from 3 photographs taken in the Swat Valley: a bombed girl's school, teenage school girls, and a young school girl.


More News About the Peace Deal in Pakistan

Feb. 27, 2009
N.J. Lukanovich

One choice morsel of new information about the Sharia/peace deal negotiated between Pakistan's President Zardari and the Sufi Muhammad Khan is that the deal apparently included a 6 million dollar payment from the government. Another tidbit is that the militants are keen on extending the cease fire in the Malakand division beyond tomorrow, day ten of the truce, and the cease fire has been extended to the adjoining Bajaur Agency (part of the Federally Adminstered Tribal Areas - FATA). The news that's meant to make us feel warm and fuzzy (and reassured that the Taliban in the Malakand division, including the Swat Valley, is kindly and not too strict), is that girls have now returned to school. At least private schools. At least in the Western part of the Swat Valley. And only up to grade 5 level. There is a photo that has appeared in several newspapers of girls sitting in school, providing "proof" that girls can now go to school.

It would probably be more accurate to report that some girls in some villages have been allowed to return to school. How people are living in the Swat Valley or the rest of the Malakand division depends on where they are living and on how much of an impact the TTP has in their local area, who their local members of the TTP are, and how strict their attitudes towards "Islamic" law may be.
read more






TTP in Control of Swat Valley

Digital Photo Collage
Lukanovich




The Obliteration of Human Rights in the Swat Valley

Feb. 21, 2009
N.J. Lukanovich

The government of Pakistan has bowed to the wishes of the TTP, (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), and agreed to impose Sharia law in the Malakand Division of the NWFP (North West Frontier Province), a region that includes the Swat Valley - a former popular tourist destination known as the Switzerland of Pakistan, now commonly referred to in Pakistan as the Valley of Death. Hundreds of thousands have fled the region in terror, running from the brutal attacks by the militants on homes and schools, the violence perpetrated against any suspected of opposing the TTP, and increasingly barbaric rules enforced by the TTP that deny women of any human rights.

The region is a mere 100 kilometers from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital; it is not part of the tribal region FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) nestled against the Afghan border, where the Taliban rule, it is part of Pakistan proper. (The northern part of the NWFP shares a border with Afghanistan, but most of its length is separated from Afghanistan by the tribal areas.) Many in Pakistan fear that what has happened in the Swat Valley can happen elsewhere in Pakistan.
read more






The Two Chinas

Digital Photo Collage
Lukanovich




The Tragedy Amongst Rural Chinese Women

Feb. 12, 2009
N.J. Lukanovich

There's an enduring myth that suicide rates are especially high in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, the short days and long nights of winter causing terminal depression, and a newer myth that Japan has the highest rates in the world - too much pressure to succeed, goes the common wisdom. But the reality is quite different: the country with the highest rate of suicide in 2008 is Lithuania, followed by Belarus and then Russia. The lowest rates are in St. Kitts, Jordan, Haiti, Honduras and Antigua, where less than 1 in 100,000 people take their own lives. In Lituania, the rate is 81 people out of 100,000.

There have been sensational reports about China's suicide rate, but their overall rate isn't high, what makes China notable is being one of only two nations in the world where women commit suicide more often than men, the other being Afghanistan. Although women attempt suicide more often than men, the choice of less violent methods allows for intervention, but in rural China women have been using pesticides to kill themselves, and intervention is only successful if there is a hospital close by where the effects can be quickly treated.
read more






In Vitro

Digital Photo Collage
Lukanovich




The Ethics of Reproductive 'Miracles'

Feb. 6, 2009
N.J. Lukanovich

It's been quite a week for reproductive miracles, or more accurately: scientifically induced miracles. The issues of reproductive rights are extending far beyond birth control or abortion. There has been no shortage of opinion and controversy in the last few days concerning two women: one who had octuplets and a 60-year-old who had twins. These reproductive events have triggered much discussion concerning procreational ethics.

Nadya Suleman is a 33-year-old woman who gave birth to 8 babies ten days ago. She made a statement about the miracle of life, but let's be clear: she would never have had octuplets without the discoveries of medical research and a doctor who implanted far more embryos than recommended. The general guideline for doctors performing in vitro fertilization is to implant no more than 3 embryos, due to the astronomical risks for infants in multiple births beyond triplets.
read more






Limbaugh's Soviet America

Digital Photo Collage
Lukanovich




Rush Limbaugh Fears Collectivism in America

Jan. 23, 2009
N.J. Lukanovich

President Barack Obama's words and actions during the first days on the job should give hope to the most cynical among us. He has signed executive orders and presidential memorandums that overturn poorly thought-out policies enacted by George W. Bush. He has frozen the salaries of his top aides, initiated a new era of openness and transparency by opening government agencies to public scrutiny, and issued new rules for lobbyists to limit their influence.

Obama has also immediately improved brand America to the rest of the world by signing two critical executives orders: one to shut down Guantanamo Bay within the year and halt the use of interrogation methods that would be defined as torture, and another that prevents the CIA from creating new detention centers on foreign territory and closes down the centers that currently exist.

The inititatives bode well for those who are hoping for the changes that Obama has promised. But there are always those who will whine and complain and some who even wish for him to fail, one of the most vocal being Rush Limbaugh.
read more


More Articles




FRONT PAGE