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Doctor-assisted suicide is least slippery slope

October 21st, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

cover-768The tragic story of photogenic 29-year-old Brittany Maynard has predictably revived the debate over physician-assisted suicide.

Suffering with an unstoppable brain tumor, Maynard moved with her family to Oregon to avail herself of that state’s law permitting doctors to help dying patients end their lives.

Foes of such laws warn of a slippery slope.  The availability of a legal means for the terminally ill to shorten their suffering with a doctor’s aid, they say, will result in pressure on very sick people to take their lives. They create an “expectation,” as conservative Michael Gerson put it.

On the contrary, death-with-dignity laws, such as Oregon’s, relieve pressure that already exists.  It’s no secret that doctors often hasten death through a variety of totally legal means — and at patients’ requests.  And it’s no secret that heirs or exhausted family caregivers might want the terminally ill to “move things on.”

Well-written death-with-dignity laws end the secrets. They pull the patient out of  he isolation that often comes with being terribly ill.

They put in place a legal framework full of safeguards that ensure, among other things, the patient isn’t suffering from severe depression, and is truly in his or her last few months. And they inform patients of alternatives, such as palliative (pain reduction) care or hospice.

Here are my arguments:

‘DEATH WITH DIGNITY’ LAWS ARE THE LEAST SLIPPERY SLOPE

 

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Millennials just not that much into cars

October 17th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop
Fleetwood

Was nice for a while, but the American love affair with the car is so over.

And who can blame them, given so many of their childhoods trapped in the ugliness of chain-store sprawl?

An interesting new report offers other reasons, chiefly economic ones, for the phenomenon.

But here’s my take:

WHY MILLENNIALS DON’T DRIVE THT MUCH

 

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Mobile, Alabama . . .

October 12th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

My geography lesson:  The Mobile River leads to Mobile Bay, which opens into the Gulf of Mexico.

It is one of America’s great transportation corridors — a giant path shared by boats, trains, cars and trucks.

Here’s the busy Mobile River at dawn seen from the Battle House Hotel:

Note the ship, the train and the vehicle traffic.

Please ignore finger.  Promise to do better next time.

 

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Joni Ernst castrates conservative principles

October 12th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

In the tight race for Iowa’s open U.S. seat, Republican Joni Ernst goes forth in full tea-party regalia.

She rails against government subsidies while peddling the most unappealing items on the right-wing menu  — for instance, she’s against raising the federal minimum wage and for privatizing Social Security.  And she wants to gut the Environmental Protection Agency.

OK, that’s who she is.  But it turns out Ernst a total phony on the government subsidy part. She defends the outrageous ethanol program, which sends freight trains of taxpayer dollars to Iowa corn growers for no good reason other than to send the freight trains. Bear in mind, this is on top of the ordinary, everyday, farm subsidy boondoggle that The Wall Street Journal has properly labeled corporate welfare.

Thus, Ernst castrates her conservative principles as easily as the pigs she claims to have desexed on her family farm.

Subsidies ‘R’ Us

We get it. This is vote-buying in Iowa.

CASTRATING CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES IN IOWA

By the way, Ernst’s Republican opponent, Rep. Bruce Braley, is also for the subsidies, natch.  But he provided otherwise reasonable contrast in last night’s debate in Davenport, sponsored by The Quad City Times. Check it out.

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Casinos Just Aren’t the Answer

September 20th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

What Atlantic City could do today with the grand hotels it saw demolished 40 years ago to make way for casinos!

Gone forever

Casino gambling was to be the magic potion lightening the load of New Jersey taxpayers.

Now the casinos are closing.  But the likes of the Marlborough-Blenheim and Traymore Hotels will not return.

Meanwhile, New Jersey pols have come up with another “bright idea”: If casinos in South Jersey are failing, let’s build casinos in North Jersey.

CASINOS JUST AREN’T THE ANSWER

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Who cares what ideology drives the high-speed train

September 20th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

There’s a plan in Texas to built a high-speed rail system with private money.  California want to do likewise with public funds.

Let’s not have a one-track mind when it comes to paying for fast trains.

WHO CARES WHAT IDEOLOGY DRIVES THE HIGH-SPEED TRAIN?

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Racing the Pacific Crest Trail

September 20th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

As one who has an opinion on everything, I also have an opinion on trail racing — that is, using paths designed for nature hikes to set speed records.

I join some environmentalists in slightly raising one eyebrow on such activity.  I mean, if you’re intent on speed rather than breathing in the nature around you, why not just use the side of a road?

It’s no big deal, really . . . . still.

RACING THROUGH NATURE

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How NOT to get your country back

September 19th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

Dwight Eisenhower

The tea party wants the return of an economically secure American middle class. Well, don’t we all?

But its tax-slashing, government-shrinking ideology is not the way to get there. Quite the contrary.

HOW NOT TO GET YOUR COUNTRY BACK

Mamie

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Travelers can be sad

September 12th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

Passing through

“I fear you have sold your own lands to see other men’s”

Thus said the wise Rosalind to the melancholy traveler Jaques in “As You Like It.”

Lots of people have traded home for the supposedly glamorous life of full-time travel.

They seem fabulously content on their Facebook feeds — but are they really?  I’m not sure.

DO WE NEED A PLACE CALLED HOME?

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Spiral of Silence

September 6th, 2014 by Froma Harrop in Froma Harrop

With folks yapping all day on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the rest — how can there be such a thing as a “spiral of silence” online?

The spiral of silence is the theory that people are less likely to offer opinions when they are not shared by the majority audience.  It pre-dates the Web.

For a while it was believed that social media would free more people to make their minority opinions known.  Turns out that was wishful thinking.

A new Pew/Rutgers report says that people are actually less likely to speak out online.  Here are some reasons:

THE SPIRAL OF SILENCE

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