September 1, 2013 |
Both Gov. Jerry Brown's ill-considered plan for complying with a court-ordered prison population cap by contracting out for inmate beds, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg's much smarter plan to control the flow of new inmates into prison, are based on the desire to prevent, at almost all costs, the early release of inmates. And that is understandable. California's 33 prisons are overpopulated by about 9,600 felons, according to courts that have ordered the number of inmates to be reduced to 137.5% of design capacity by Dec. 31. The prospect of that many convicted criminals being released onto the streets in a single wave is frightening.
October 25, 2013 |
Give women the vote and what outrageous thing happens next? In Saudi Arabia, they start demanding the keys to the car. Thus a relative handful of brave Saudi women will slip behind the wheel Saturday for a "Day of Female Driving. " Saudi Arabia is the only nation that bars women from driving. Not that there's an actual law against them doing so. But the government won't issue them licenses. There are, however, women with licenses obtained in other countries; they will be the driving force, if you will, of the Saturday demonstration.
November 3, 2013 |
The day after Halloween, the federal government rolled back food stamp benefits for all 47.6 million people who receive them, officially ending one of the last remaining stimulus efforts left over from President Obama's first months in office - while also making it harder for millions of Americans to get enough to eat. The callousness displayed in cutting vital safety net benefits at a time when millions lack the resources to feed their families adequately...
October 21, 2013 |
Sweden has virtually eliminated salmonella in store-bought chicken, even though poultry there is industrially produced, just like in the United States. And even in this country, a 2010 Consumers Union study found no salmonella in the organic store-brand chickens it tested. In other words, consumers shouldn't have to accept salmonella-tainted chicken as just one of those unavoidable things. Yet that wasn't the attitude of Foster Farms and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in response to the recent salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 300 people, most of them in California, and sent close to half to hospitals with antibiotic-resistant infections.
October 3, 2013 |
Americans are becoming more familiar with e-cigarettes, which are beginning to appear in restaurants, bars and coffeehouses where regular cigarettes have long been banned. An e-cigarette is, in effect, a battery-operated nicotine delivery system that works by heating a mixture of water, nicotine and other chemicals. The user inhales and exhales the resulting vapor rather than smoke. E-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes and, for many people, substitute for them. But enormous questions remain.
September 28, 2012
Was the American Beverage Assn. trying to defend sugary sodas when it said last week that they amounted to just 7% of the typical American's caloric intake? The association may have thought that sounded like very little, but it's actually a lot. For a person eating 2,000 calories a day - the level the federal government assumes in calculating nutritional requirements - consuming 7% fewer soda calories would theoretically lead to a loss of 14 pounds a year, with little if any loss of nutrients.