Cigarettes cause cancer. Each pack has a warning label that tells us that. Tobacco smoke not only hurts the smoker, but the smoke also harms non-smokers. That’s the reason why laws were passed banning smoking in all work places and public places.
When the most recent Iraq war began, I was serving as student rabbi at a wonderful little synagogue in New England. One of the regulars at our monthly Torah study was a World War II veteran – let’s call him Sam. Sam would always bring consideration and deep insight to text study. But more than that, Sam was – and is – a mensh.
BULLY, a new documentary whose title tells you all you need to know about its subject matter, has been earning reams of publicity– and deservedly so. For one thing, the Motion Picture Association of America, the organization charged with rating movies, originally slapped BULLY with an “R” rating. This designation would prevent countless young people who need to be educated about the effects of bullying from seeing this important film. (Happily, the MPAA has indeed changed the film’s rating to “PG-13.”)
The numbers are in for March auto sales and lo and behold, electric vehicles and gas-electric hybrid vehicles had their biggest month ever. According to the Associated Press, consumers bought a record 52,000 gas-electric hybrids and electric vehicles in March, up from 34,000 a year ago. The higher numbers come –not coincidentally—as gasoline prices return to around $4 a gallon.
There have always been many good reasons to choose to drive the most fuel-efficient vehicles:
It has been widely reported that the Chinese government is providing loans and outright grants to Latin American and African nations for the construction of schools, clinics, power plants, and even soccer stadiums. The Chinese have flexed their economic prowess across the globe generating approval in many quarters and raised eyebrows and concerns in some diplomatic circles.
There was some big news for New York’s uninsured last week. First, a report was released that examined the characteristics of those upstate New Yorkers who lack health insurance coverage. Using data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, the health insurer Excellus released a profile of those who lacked health insurance in upstate New York. Here are some of them:
HOUSE OF PLEASURES, which was shown on the film festival circuit under the more appropriate and less commercially exploitable title HOUSE OF TOLERANCE, is a stinging mood piece which explores the plight of a group of prostitutes in a high-end Parisian bordello at the turn of the 20th–century.
A hospital in Texas recently made the national news when it announced that it would no longer hire obese workers. According to the new employment policy at the Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas, all new employees — be they physicians, nurses, orderlies or janitors — must have a body mass index (BMI) of less than 35.
While the Road to Serfdom is paved with good intentions gone awry; the road to self fulfillment—the dream of the modern person—is constructed with freedom stones resembling personal license. What is emerging in the United States, based in part on the empirical data in Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, is a selective version of morality. If it feels good, do it. The constraints inspired by the Judeo-Christian tradition, our genetic inheritance, even our sex, are mere trifles compared to personal choice and desire. To my astonishment, even murder is justified as an act of personal morality.
Let me suggest a solution to the fracking problem. The self-styled energy companies want to draw natural gas out of the shale deposits deep below the earth’s surface. Environmentalists like myself believe that fracking will foul the drinking water, damaging a much more crucial resource than the gas they’ll extract. We also think that if gas is so valuable, they wouldn’t be burning it off where it already comes up alongside oil wells. But that’s another story. Let’s stick to safety.