July 20, 2007
Re "My president's better than yours," Opinion, July 17 Jonah Goldberg commits the basic logical fallacy of "two wrongs make a right." President Bush's may not be "the most radical presidency we have ever had," and Bush may be matched in his transgressions by other presidents, both Democratic and Republican, but that does not excuse his assault on the Constitution. Goldberg implies, "This is the way we've always done things, so it's OK" (another fallacy).
September 3, 1989
Harry Bernstein's otherwise comprehensive July 18 column on drug prices ("Soaring Prices of Drugs Squeeze Workers, Pharmacists") suffered from one error in understanding the drug manufacturing industry. The column mentioned "the huge amounts of money they spend on research and development." But many studies have shown that the industry as a whole--one of the most profitable industries in the United States--spends less than 10% of its revenue on research and development. And then the drug companies spend 80% of their income on marketing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 16, 1987
The Gaza Strip is a 100-square-mile area along the Mediterranean that Israel has occupied since 1967's Six-Day War. About 40% of the area is home to 2,200 Israeli settlers. Crammed into the remaining space are 650,000 Palestinian Arabs, making the Gaza Strip among the most densely populated sites on Earth. More than half of Gaza's population is under age 20 and has known only Israeli rule. That rule, never quietly accepted, is again being violently protested.
September 4, 2009
Since the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe vs. Wade, every federal health insurance program has become enmeshed in the debate over federal funding for abortion. This year's efforts to reform the healthcare system have triggered a new tussle, with opponents of abortion claiming that the proposals would change the long-standing policy against using federal tax dollars to terminate pregnancies. But the provision that antiabortion groups find so objectionable would actually have the opposite effect, forcing private insurers to go further to fund and account for abortion coverage separately from federally subsidized services.
October 29, 2007 |
Striving to find the "middle ground" on abortion -- that is, coming up with ways acceptable to pro-choice and pro-life Americans alike to reduce the number of abortions in the United States -- is a worthwhile undertaking. But it also has given rise to some fairly resilient myths about the best way to achieve this goal. Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani prominently featured one such myth in his speech Oct. 20 to a group of social conservatives.
March 25, 2006
Re "Abortion lessons from Latin America," Opinion, March 21 As a clinical psychologist, I have witnessed too many cases of women irreparably damaged by their decision to abort their fetuses to abide any more hackneyed arguments in support of a woman's right to "lose." Marianne Mollmann's argument is based on a few arguably dubious case studies and stands on the fallacious notion that because certain women apparently will go to any length to abort their fetuses, the government must officially sanction the act. The government should provide counseling services for women experiencing traumatic pregnancies that would dissuade them from turning to abortion as an act of desperation.
November 18, 2001
This hoary old myth needs to be put to rest: Farmers do not use 80% of California's water supply. James Flanigan asserts it as fact in "Creating a Free-Flowing Market to Buy, Sell Water" [Oct. 24], but it's just not true. According to the state Department of Water Resources, agriculture uses 43% of the available water, which in itself is a fraction of the rain and snow that falls on California each year. Furthermore, most California farmers pay full price for their water, receiving no subsidy, and that price can vary widely.
March 30, 2011 |
Assemblyman William Monning (D-Carmel), the Health Committee chairman, introduced a bill in February to tax soda in California. Monning joins a growing list favoring such a tax. Count in President Obama, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, bestselling author Michael Pollan and many from the public health community. The tax aims to better Americans' health with financial disincentives for sugary soda while providing needed revenue for government treasuries. But a quick consideration of the price and success of one sandwich — McDonald's Big Mac — shows the impracticality of the soda tax. The Big Mac is the leading symbol of fast food.
May 16, 2006 |
TWENTY YEARS AGO, I was invited by then-State Superintendent of Public Instruction Bill Honig to join a committee to revise California's history curriculum. Over 18 months, we produced a document that added more time for the study of American and world history and called for the teaching of the dramatic controversies that make historical study engaging and honest.