January 31, 2014 |
It seems to happen at a disturbingly frequent rate. A massive typhoon, hurricane, earthquake, tsunami or other horrible catastrophe occurs. The media show heart-wrenching images of disaster beyond anything most people have seen or could even begin to imagine. People want to help; it is human nature to want to help. And many aid agencies offer just that opportunity as they fundraise for relief efforts. But if we give to them, does it actually make a difference? This isn't about deceitful and fraudulent charities.
January 5, 2014 |
As the acute problems of the Affordable Care Act become increasingly apparent, it also has become clear that we need new ways of ensuring access to healthcare for all Americans. We should begin with an examination of health insurance. Insurance is about protecting against risk. In the health arena, the risk at issue is of large and unexpected medical expenses. The proper role of health insurance should be to finance necessary and expensive medical services without the patient incurring devastating financial consequences.
November 22, 2013 |
Death and denial were made for each other, but for those facing tragedy, the raw truth can be a tonic. In "We're Gonna Die," theater artist Young Jean Lee turns the bleaker facts of life into a delightful, hourlong hipster cabaret. The show, a presentation of UCLA's Center For the Art of Performance running through Sunday at the Actors' Gang at the Ivy Substation in Culver City, introduces one of New York's most exciting experimental playwrights to Southern California. Daft, direct, unvarnished and stylishly awkward, Lee's shape-shifting work doesn't try to bowl us over with its polish and professionalism.
November 8, 2013 |
"The Book Thief," the handsome, inevitable adaptation of Markus Zusak's internationally bestselling novel, unfolds as a curiosity on the big screen. Centered on a war-afflicted girl who develops a passion for books, it features little discussion of the emotional pull of reading, storytelling or writing. It's set in Hitler-run, World War II-era Germany with an odd emphasis on uplift over unease. And, most peculiarly, it's a tale narrated by Death (a slithery-sounding Roger Allam) that wants tears shed for tragedies that befall its big-hearted non-Jewish German characters, but skirts explicitly addressing the fate of that generation's Jews.
October 1, 2013
Re "Experts set threshold for climate-change calamity," Sept. 28 Twenty-five years to reach the climate-change tipping point sounds like a long time. But the truth is it will take all of that time, and more, to rebuild our fossil fuel-based energy system using clean renewable energy. It will take a concerted, sustained effort to make it happen, not business as usual. A good place to start is to implement the "polluter pays" principle: Add a price to carbon so that what a consumer pays includes the cost of the damage caused by burning it. When this price is included in the cost, clean renewables are clearly the low-cost option.
September 3, 2013 |
The Dodgers are set to open the National League playoffs on Thursday, Oct. 3, according to a postseason schedule released Tuesday by Major League Baseball. That date comes four days after the conclusion of the regular season. The Dodgers thus would have plenty of time to align their starting rotation so Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke could start the first two games of the first round on normal rest. This assumes, of course, that the Dodgers win the NL West. They lead the Arizona Diamondbacks by 12½ games with 25 to play.