Saturday, July 31

"Sanitation workers always say you can go your whole life without ever needing a firefighter," Ms. Nagle, the anthropology professor, said. "If you're lucky, the same goes for calling the cops. But you need sanitation workers every single day." This and other trash-talk in the NYT today.

Thursday, July 29


Children may be “vaccinated” against the effects of cocaine and other drugs in a plan recently revealed by the UK government, reports the well-regarded British newspaper, The Independent. The article explains that "Doctors would immunize children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection" and that the program would operate in a way similar to the "current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme." Further the authors reveal that "such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years."

OK folks, this is just the worst thing I have ever heard done "in the name of the children."

Guerrilla Drive-ins. Yes.

Wednesday, July 28

The City, but "cleaner": ...the developers of I'On have attempted to extract the architectural essence of nineteenth-century Charleston and plop it down in a greenfield suburb. ... I can't help wondering if I'On appeals to homebuyers who love historic architecture but can't deal with the diversity of the old city. If they wanted a place that mimics Charleston except in that all residents would be affluent and most if not all would be white, those buyers may well have found it...

Friday, July 23

On the great divide between the US and Europe - Hating America - a very good and long article from the Hudson Review by Bruce Bawer.

Thursday, July 22

"In his trenchant short study, Che Guevara, the British historian Andrew Sinclair concludes that, during the guerrilla war, Che 'discovered a cold ruthlessness in his nature. Spilling blood was necessary for the cause. Within two years, he would order the death of several hundred Batista partisans at La Cabana, one of the mass killings of the Cuban Revolution.'"
The Observer on Che and the upcoming film The Motorcycle Diaries.

Wednesday, July 21

Scientists are still working on a cure for the obesity epidemic - but you can help, too. Just check out this concerned American's example: "Marge Hampton is an obese American who has responded to the epidemic by trying to raise awareness and money for obesity research. In May, Hampton coordinated the Obesity Awareness Five-Mile Fun Ride, which led participants on a motor tour of Chicago's waterfront parks, and she orchestrated an obesity-awareness bake sale last month."
Some of those crazy Brits want to ban Happiness! Well, not exaclty, but they want to ban happy-hour.  It's "part of a wide-ranging plan to reduce alcohol-related disorder." Ahh, the war against disorder! Can we group that war with the war against drugs, since it, too, will never end (and besides, they are both much too politically useful to have active)?
Really, shouldn't all such attempts to control people's behavior that isn't harming anyone else be seen as what they are - authoritarianism, even if in the guise "doing what's good for us?"
And don't leave the US out of the loop - we can ban (non-government approved and possibly harmful) happiness here, too! (1 example)
The medical marijuana movement has gained significant ground in recent years, and look for more state ballot actions this fall (a report can be found through this page).
Meanwhile,  the Feds are keeping their heads in the sand (or elsewhere), and obstructing efforts at legitimate scientific research into the medical uses of herb.   Fear, prejudice and politics apparently play bigger roles than science does in federal health policies.

Thursday, July 15

If Kerry does win the whitehouse this fall, we can expect him to continue at least one of the current unjust wars being waged by the Bush administration (though, it should be noted, Bush didn't start this one).

Tuesday, July 13

Ten Reasons to Fire George W. Bush and nine reasons why Kerry won't be much better by Jesse Walker. Good reasons to fire Dubyah, most of which probably won't be a surprise to you. But let's remember, being the better of 2 choices doesn't necessarily make Kerry a good choice.
Experts Set a Lower Low for Cholesterol Levels: New recommendations call for drug treatment for millions of Americans who had thought their cholesterol levels were fine.

Now, I'm going to take the glass-half-full approach and ASSUME that the new recommendations calling for MORE DRUG INTAKE come from pure, unbiased research and have NOTHING TO DO with any sort of DRUG INDUSTRY influence.

I just LOVE when the medical community makes recommendations that call for more pills, rather than a healthier, more disciplined lifestyle. Oh, and I couldn't help but notice the ad for Crestor embedded within this NYT article. How convenient...just in case I need to up my prescription.

Monday, July 12

...the United States, for the first time, challenged how a foreign industrialized country operates its national health program to provide inexpensive drugs to its own citizens. Americans without insurance pay some of the world's highest prices for brand-name prescription drugs, in part because the United States does not have such a plan.

The Bush administration wants to increase the price of drugs overseas because, their argument goes, the burden of research and development is currently borne disproportionately by the United States.

So, let me understand this: Instead of finding a way to make prescription drugs less expensive here, we want to make them more expensive for the rest of the world? Now THAT is some dandy logic...

Friday, July 9

The standard bleat about television news is that it has become entertainment, and that the audience is too inured by exposure to the media to know the difference between entertainment and reality anyway (a snob's argument that depends on viewing most people as morons). It seems much more insidious than that. Anchors and reporters seem like the ones with no sense of the reality of the events they talk about. Salon's Charles Taylor on why most tv anchors are self-parodying. ( click and watch ad first for non-subscribers)
...the U.S. Justice Department itself projects that 32% of African-American men born in 2001 will spend time in prison. That's one in three black men, folks. One in three.