September 3, 2011
Life and death Re " Putting a price on added life ," Column, Sept. 2 As I expected, your article — that a health insurer refused to pay for a life-extending treatment that it had previously paid for, and that had worked, for the same person — both saddened and angered me. I can't get my head around the insurance companies and our healthcare situation. But the irony was another article in the Business section titled "Health Insurers ordered to publicly justify rate hikes.
July 13, 2011 |
Nearly half the country's population sweltered under essentially triple-digit temperatures, as brutal heat and humidity afflicted a vast swath of the nation from New England to Texas. At least 15 states were under heat warnings Tuesday. The heat advisories — issued when the combination of temperature and humidity makes the perceived temperature more than 100 degrees — covered areas where 150 million people live, representing nearly half the nation's 310 million people, said Eli Jacks of the National Weather Service.
June 21, 2011
John Bryson's nomination to be President Obama's next secretary of Commerce has been met with the predictable combination of delusion and obstructionism that characterizes the modern confirmation process. Some Senate Republicans vow to hold him hostage to the passage of several long-sought free-trade agreements; others insist they will reject him based on his presumed politics, which they wish were more like theirs. None has advanced an argument worthy of defeating this nomination, and though sensible people will withhold a final judgment until after Bryson is questioned, his credentials are encouraging, as are the endorsements of those who know him. Bryson is a familiar figure in Los Angeles.
May 28, 2011 |
The most troubling thing about the current drug accusation against Lance Armstrong is that, at first blush, it doesn't seem to be all that troubling. Famous cyclist, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, is accused of enhancing his performance. Yawn. Yet another of his former teammates points a finger, and does so on national television, CBS' "60 Minutes," no less. The teammate, Tyler Hamilton, with little comprehensible reason to lie, fesses up to his own drug-enhancing use and goes into detail about wheres, whens and hows of Armstrong's use. In some cases, he does so as an eyewitness.
April 24, 2011 |
At the place I lunch every day in an effort to cut down on life choices, I've been reading a Tolstoy-sized article in the New Yorker about Scientology. Nearly every day, some patron raids my airspace, saying something like, "I read that article. " Eye roll, then, "What whack jobs. " L.A. finds Scientology so endlessly fascinating that weeks after publication, people are still talking about the article all over town. Why? Here's a theory: There is no city on Earth that makes rationalization more difficult than Los Angeles.
April 18, 2011 |
Several years ago, I was asked to speak on end-of-life issues at a retreat for Southern California physicians. A number of doctors there brought up one particular case: an 82-year-old woman who'd suffered a massive heart attack while visiting her daughter. Her story captures the difficult choices that keep us from controlling healthcare spending. Unless we all confront those choices, the costs of medical care will consume us, stealing away an ever-larger share of our national wealth and driving federal budget deficits to catastrophic levels.
March 29, 2011 |
They sleep with just one blanket apiece anywhere there's space — in a conference room, in the hallway, near the bathroom. Because deliveries of supplies are limited, they get by on very little food: Breakfast is packages of high-calorie emergency crackers and a small carton of vegetable juice; dinner consists of a small bag of "magic rice" (just add bottled water) and a can of chicken, mackerel or curry. There is no lunch — handing out a noontime meal would be too complicated in the crowded two-story building.
March 14, 2011 |
A fresh explosion rocked a crippled nuclear complex as rescuers from around the world converged on Japan's devastated earthquake zone, searching for survivors and ministering to the sick and hungry. With the death toll from the largest quake in Japan's recorded history expected to ultimately reach the tens of thousands, more than a half-million people have been displaced by growing radiation fears and the massive swath of destruction. Japanese officials ordered people near the Fukushima complex ?
December 22, 2010
A rule for rainy days Re "Storms line up to pelt region," Dec. 20 Now that our rainy season has arrived with a vengeance, perhaps it's time to remind both motorists and, apparently, local police forces that a state law passed a few years ago requires headlights to be on if your windshield wipers are. It's common-sense traffic safety: Rain-spattered side windows make unlit cars disappear as they pull up or change lanes behind and...