February 25, 2011 |
Let's call it what it is: a sin tax. A California lawmaker is targeting the obesity epidemic with a tax that would slap a penny-an-ounce levy on drinks sweetened with sugar or corn syrup. The food industry, not surprisingly, has squared off against the idea, arguing that the tax bill is a punitive assault on personal choice. "The government doesn't have the right to social engineer," said J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst at the industry-backed Center for Consumer Freedom.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 26, 2010 |
For the first time in more than four decades, Los Angeles is on track to end the year with fewer than 300 killings, a milestone in a steady decline of homicides that has changed the quality of life in many neighborhoods and defied predictions that a bad economy would inexorably lead to higher crime. As of mid-afternoon on Sunday, the Los Angeles Police Department had tallied 291 homicides in 2010. The city is likely to record the fewest number of killings since 1967, when its population was almost 30% smaller.
December 13, 2010 |
The wood-frame Carousel grammar school survived the earthquake that destroyed much of this city in January. Beatrice Moise had taught there for five years and hoped she would continue when schools reopened in spring. But in February she found out that the director had rented the building out to the international relief group Oxfam. Buildings in the upscale suburb of Petionville, where foreigners like to live and work, were in high demand, and Oxfam paid $10,000 a month. The students, mostly from wealthy families, would probably have little problem finding other schools.
December 8, 2010 |
Call it the McVictim syndrome. Too many pundits, public health experts and politicians are working overtime to find scapegoats for America's obesity epidemic. In his latest book, former FDA Commissioner David A. Kessler argues that modern food is addictive. In it, he recounts how he was once helpless to stop himself from eating a cookie. In a paper in this month's Journal of Health Economics, University of Illinois researchers join a long list of analysts who blame urban sprawl for obesity.
November 27, 2010 |
In the final hours of a chaotic presidential campaign in a country that needs no more drama this year, candidate Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly sent out a "breaking news" announcement: He had survived an assassination attempt by a member of the nation's leading party. His campaign called a news conference in the capital Saturday, and Martelly's cousin ? the manager of a hotel immortalized by Graham Greene as a place where you expect to be greeted by "a maniac butler, with a bat dangling from the chandelier" ?
November 12, 2010
Another calamity in Haiti Re "Haiti once again at disaster's brink," Nov. 10 It appears that the world doesn't understand the adage "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. " After the disastrous earthquake hit, there was an outpouring of contributions from Americans and people all over the world to help the Haitian people rebuild. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush went to Haiti to help lead the efforts. It appears somewhere along the line, the world just forgot about Haiti.
November 10, 2010 |
A mother cradled her limp 2-year-old boy, gently bouncing him on her knee as though she would lose him if she stopped. Her lap was soaked. The boy's eyes were half-open and his face was ashen. His sister rubbed his withered feet. Rosemane Saintelone could not let her youngest son die now. When they arrived at this hospital in the seaside slum of Raboteau on Monday afternoon, he was still alert , looking around, moving a little. Only an hour later, he was unconscious. His chest rose and fell faintly.
October 16, 2010
Researchers have identified another cause of the American obesity epidemic – too many of us don’t realize that we’re overweight. In fact, the doctors and other experts who published this hypothesis this week in Archives of Internal Medicine have a clinical name for this problem: body size misperception. And about 8% of adults in Dallas have it, according to their study. The primary symptom is that when shown pictures of nine figures – ranging from very thin to morbidly obese – these adults selected an “ideal body size” that was the same or bigger than the image they thought best reflected their own body size.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 7, 2010 |
Next fall, seventh-through12th-grade students in California will be required under a new state law to get a whooping cough booster shot before starting school, health officials said this week. Before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 354 last week, California had been one of only 11 states that did not require middle school students to get a booster shot against whooping cough, or pertussis. The legislation had been stalled for several years amid concerns that California would have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for vaccinations for children on Medi-Cal, the government insurance program for the poor.
October 3, 2010 |
Perhaps one of the keys to aging as a writer, Philip Roth is saying, is how one engages with calamity. Certainly, that's an issue in his latest novel, "Nemesis" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: 280 pp., $26), which involves a polio epidemic in the Jewish Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, N.J., in the summer of 1944. "I was making a list of subjects I had lived through that I've never written about," the author explains, sitting in a small conference room at the Manhattan offices of his publisher, long fingers steepled before him, voice smooth and understated as if worn down a little bit by time.