Sunday, November 22, 2015

California is a funny place

The entire state is experiencing drought conditions. Yet, some who use 178 gallons per person each day are being fined. While others who use 30,000 gallons of water each day are not fined. This is due to the fact that the state has 411 separate water districts which make their own rules. Some districts are mainly middle or lower class, some in the 1%. In Bel Air one person used more than 11 million gallons of water in the year that ended April 1. The top 10 users in LA totaled over 80 million gallons a year. 

I think California should adopt the Israeli practice of just one water authority

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Some intelligent words about dealing with ISIS

The American and Western approach is not to relate to the religious element behind ISIS, to refer only to violent extremism. That’s a grave mistake, in my view. One of the greatest enemies of the war on terror is political correctness. In this war, we need to agree on who is the enemy, on the instrumental causes, on what goals they are trying to achieve. 
That doesn’t mean that Islam is the problem. We are talking about a small group within Islam — the Salafi jihadists — who are seeking to hijack the religion. But to deal with ISIS, you cannot disconnect from the religious aspect. It cannot be done with winks and hints. So the Muslims themselves have to come out against the jihadis. We, the Western world, are here to help. But it is the Muslims’ problem first and foremost.”

An Open Door Policy

Pope Francis thinks the Church should have an open door policy. His comments:
“Please, no armored doors in the church, everything open”. There are places in the world where doors should not be locked with a key. There are still some but there are also many where armored doors have become the norm.
We must not surrender to the idea that we must apply this way of thinking to every aspect of our lives. To do so to the Church would be terrible.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The AMA and drug ads

Eight years ago the American Medical Association voted to allow drugs to be advertised on television. And drugs are advertised; the revenue for the tv people from the ads in 2014 was about $4.5 billion. The ads do include the potential negative side effects of the drugs but they are recited when the scene is very placid and are difficult to understand. Only two countries in the world allow drug companies to engage in direct-to-consumer advertising that includes product claims - the U.S. and New Zealand.

Now the association has had second thoughts and want to ban advertising as it makes patients seek out expensive treatments and artificially inflates demand for the drugs.

Words from the Dalai Lama

People want to lead a peaceful lives. The terrorists are short-sighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings. We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.

We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody's interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.

$50,000,000 reward

Russia has determined that the plane that exploded over Egypt was the work of terrorists. A home-made bomb was placed on the plane. 

Russia has announced a $50,000,000 (that's dollars) reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

Another addition to the Fear of Terrorists list.

Almost human

Courtesy of our Arlington correspondent

Total Face Transplant

Monday, November 16, 2015

Comments on our medical care

Sunset at Scottsdale, Az, in October

Courtesy of The Peak

Fearing Fear Itself

That's the title of Paul Krugman's op-ed about the Paris attacks. Yes, the attacks were frightening but we need to remember that the purpose of these attacks is to scare us, to make us panic.  We must also remember that we live in a world where nothing is perfect. There are many dangers in the world. Terrorism is not the only one and not the worst one. It won't destroy the world physically, climate change will. Krugman concludes, "Again, the goal of terrorists is to inspire terror, because that’s all they’re capable of. And the most important thing our societies can do in response is to refuse to give in to fear."