Environment and Health

As Death Nears, Be Prepared to Suffer

Have you heard about the Belgians? They now allow assisted suicide. Takers have quickly risen to two percent of the failing population. The Swiss too have developed a relaxed view of dying. Their immediate goal is to keep from becoming a one-way destination for sick Englishmen, where terminal pain is just part of the stiff-upper-lip image. But even that fine old tradition is now shredding, as a poll shows that 74 percent of Brits favor death with dignity. Of course mere popular support is often insufficient impetus to change such an ancient pointless policy.

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Let’s Pretend to Do Something about Climate Change

More than 190 nations have now agreed: Climate Change is bad and we ought to do something about it…let’s meet again someday to decide what. Naturally, low-lying islands want quicker action. So do lands whose life-giving glaciers are melting, or whose rivers are drying up, and whose wells have gasped their last.

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Health-Care Reform: A Good Start

When you strip off the rhetoric and the partisan politics and remove the fear factor, the health-care legislation working its way to President Barack Obama’s desk is, for most Americans, the healthiest medicine ever offered. Sure, there are missing pieces and probably things that should not be there. Instead of trying to produce perfect reform legislation, which has failed in the past, the Democrats in Congress, under pressure from Obama, have made a good start.

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Reporters Should Tell Us the Truth about Global Warming

Reporters Should Tell Us the Truth about Global Warming

There’s international scientific agreement that emissions generated by humans are, in fact, warming the planet. So just as a journalist has no need to quote a “scientist” claiming the Earth is flat, journalists have no professional obligation to present the views of scientists who deny that global warming gases, produced by humans, are warming the planet—unless the skeptics have new and credible evidence to back them up.

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Let’s Chuck the Bottle

It’s worth $11 billion-worth a year–our bottled-water industry, dominated by such giants as Nestlé and Coca-Cola. But wait, shriek industry PR flacks, our product is pure goodness, not pollution. What are you talking about?!

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Our National Pastime Is Too Brutal

It’s hard to believe but there was a time when there was hardly a town or village that didn’t support some sort of baseball team, be it minor league, semi-professional or amateur. Baseball players were national heroes. The World Series was a big deal. For six months of the year the sport dominated the water-cooler-lunch-room chitchat. No more. Now it’s football, football, football.

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Health-Care Reform Won’t Cure this Sick System

Good riddance to 2009: the recession, the Wall Street bailouts, the main street misery, and most of all the so-called health-care “debate.” Now that the debacle is mostly over, for better or worse, we’d best turn our attention to the one factor driving up health-care costs in this country that hasn’t even been mentioned—the lack of paid sick leave.

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Climate Scams Won’t Save the Planet

hether you listen to NPR or Rush Limbaugh, you’ve probably heard about climate change. And if you’ve heard about climate change, chances are you’ve also heard about “cap and trade.” It’s a scheme that tries to sell business-as-usual as a solution to global warming. Here’s how it works. The government puts a limit on how much greenhouse gas can be released in a year (the cap), and industries covered by the system are issued an equivalent number of emissions permits. As the cap is tightened each year, permits become scarcer and thus more valuable. The increasing value of the permits is supposed to encourage dirty industries to clean up their act fast, and sell their spare permits to the dinosaurs that didn’t innovate. That’s the trade.

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