It’s About The Money–Health Concerns Are Being Ignored

Many of our more liberal states are looking for additional sources of revenue. Unfunded liabilities and expanded welfare programs and medical programs have been very expensive to the states that have embraced them. One thing that many states are looking at to increase tax revenue is the legalization of marijuana. On Saturday, Yahoo Finance posted an article about how much income legal marijuana is actually generating in California.

The article reports:

California’s legal cannabis revenue isn’t growing as fast as many state officials anticipated, recent data suggests. And one industry expert believes that taxes and a still thriving black market for marijuana, are partly to blame.

“The legal market is struggling with the set of regulatory rules and tax rates that are pretty onerous and make it fairly uncompetitive versus a thriving black market that’s had the whole industry for 60 years now,” Tom Adams, BDS Analytics managing director, told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM in an interview this week.

California’s marijuana excise tax produced $74.2 million in revenue for the second quarter of this year, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

Yet back in January, Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget predicted the state would generate $355 million in excise tax revenues for the fiscal year. That projection was later revised down again to $288 million back in May.

The shortfall is reminiscent of Michigan, where a nascent medical marijuana market has resulted in lower than expected revenue.

Adams contended the legal market faces additional expenses like the cost of testing, that the illegal market does not.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that marijuana is harmful to the developing brains of young adults. There also may be a link between marijuana and mental illness.

In January 2019 I posted an article which stated:

After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”

…These new patterns of use have caused problems with the drug to soar. In 2014, people who had diagnosable cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana abuse or addiction, made up about 1.5 percent of Americans. But they accounted for eleven percent of all the psychosis cases in emergency rooms—90,000 cases, 250 a day, triple the number in 2006. In states like Colorado, emergency room physicians have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis.

Cannabis advocates often argue that the drug can’t be as neurotoxic as studies suggest, because otherwise Western countries would have seen population-wide increases in psychosis alongside rising use. In reality, accurately tracking psychosis cases is impossible in the United States. The government carefully tracks diseases like cancer with central registries, but no such registry exists for schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses.

On the other hand, research from Finland and Denmark, two countries that track mental illness more comprehensively, shows a significant increase in psychosis since 2000, following an increase in cannabis use. And in September of last year, a large federal survey found a rise in serious mental illness in the United States as well, especially among young adults, the heaviest users of cannabis.

Is the extra tax revenue worth it?

San Francisco Has A Language Problem

When you drive through the streets of much of San Francisco, you see tents of homeless people. You have to step over things you would find in a third-world country. There are rats, needles, etc. There is definitely a problem. Many of the homeless have mental issues and drug problems. Many of them are well-known to local law enforcement. The Gateway Pundit posted an article today noting the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ solution to these problems–the are changing the language used to describe many of the people involved.

The article reports:

San Francisco has a lot of problems: Rampant drug use on the streets, homeless defecating everywhere, medieval diseases like typhoid and bubonic plague engulfing the once-great city.

But fortunately, elected officials are tackling the most important problem: Politically incorrect language.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is busy rewriting “language guidelines” for what to call certain people. For instance, a convicted felon or an offender released from jail should be called a “formerly incarcerated person,” or a “justice-involved” person. A person who commits another crime — once called a “repeat offender” — should be called a “returning resident.”

 People on parole or probation should be referred to as a “person on parole” or  a “person under supervision.”

In addition, a juvenile “delinquent” should become a “young person with justice system involvement,” or a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.” And drug addicts should become “a person with a history of substance use.”

“We don’t want people to be forever labeled for the worst things that they have done,” Supervisor Matt Haney told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We want them ultimately to become contributing citizens, and referring to them as felons is like a scarlet letter that they can never get away from.”

The article concludes:

The Chronicle points out the resolution makes no mention of victims of “justice-involved” people, and constructs a sentence to show the absurdity of the new language: “[U]sing the new terminology someone whose car has been broken into could well be: ‘A person who has come in contact with a returning resident who was involved with the justice system and who is currently under supervision with a history of substance use.’ “

San Francisco needs a history lesson that provides an example of how to deal with runaway lawlessness (which is what they are dealing with). A website called ThoughtCo.com explains the concept of ‘broken window theory’:

In 1993, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and police commissioner William Bratton cited Kelling and his broken windows theory as a basis for implementing a new “tough-stance” policy aggressively addressing relatively minor crimes seen as negatively affecting the quality of life in the inner-city.

Bratton directed NYPD to step up enforcement of laws against crimes like public drinking, public urination, and graffiti. He also cracked down on so-called “squeegee men,” vagrants who aggressively demand payment at traffic stops for unsolicited car window washings. Reviving a Prohibition-era city ban on dancing in unlicensed establishments, police controversially shuttered many of the city’s night clubs with records of public disturbances.

While studies of New York’s crime statistics conducted between 2001 and 2017 suggested that enforcement policies based on the broken windows theory were effective in reducing rates of both minor and serious crimes, other factors may have also contributed to the result. For example, New York’s crime decrease may have simply been part of a nationwide trend that saw other major cities with different policing practices experience similar decreases over the period. In addition, New York City’s 39% drop in the unemployment rate could have contributed to the reduction in crime.

While other factors may have played a part, there is no doubt that the ‘broken window policy’ made New York City a much more pleasant place to be. My middle daughter attended Cooper Union from 1992 to 1996 and lived in New York City for a number of years after that. The change under Mayor Giuliani was noticeable. It was a pleasure to visit the city during the time he was Mayor.

San Francisco needs to deal with their problems–not rename them.

As People See The Results Of Democrat Policies, They Begin To Wake Up

CNS News posted an article today about California’s vanishing middle class. Being middle class in California is not a successful long-term plan.

The article reports:

A survey recently released by the Public Policy Institute of California found that President Donald Trump is more popular in the deep blue state than the Democratic legislature.

Democratic consultant Steve Maviglio recently told the Los Angeles Times, “All they hear from Sacramento are proposals for more taxes and more spending for everyone except the middle class. And they rightfully wonder where the high taxes they already are paying are going.”

While the president’s approval ratings are underwater with only 38 percent of Californians approving of his job, this pales in comparison to the state legislature having only 34 percent among likely voters having confidence in them.

With voters still anxious about a gas tax hike pushed through last year, recent suggestions of a $2 billion tax hike on everything from water to phones by California Gov. Gavin Newsom hasn’t eased that apprehension.

Newsom holds a job approval rating of 45 percent among likely voters with 29 percent disapproving and a 26 percent responding “don’t know.”

California’s fiscal policies are going to result in bankruptcy at some time in the not-so-distant future. The bad news is that the rest of the country will be required to bail them out. The major cities in California, San Francisco and Los Angeles, have areas that look like third-world countries–unsanitary conditions, homeless people living in tents, and needle-strewn streets. Diseases that America has not seen for decades are cropping up in these areas. Meanwhile, the state government continues raising taxes and doing business as usual. There will be a tipping point fairly soon. People are leaving the state in droves. The only thing keeping the population stable is the flow of illegal immigrants who are generally not contributing to the economic well being of the state.

We Need To Re-evaluate Vaccine Requirements

There have been stories in recent years that childhood vaccines may cause autism. I have no idea whether or not this is true. My children were routinely vaccinated in the 1970’s with no ill effects, but I have no idea if today’s vaccines are the same as the ones given to my children. However, as more and more people decide to decline vaccinations for their children because of fear of autism, we need to look at the consequences of that decision (for all of us).

The New York Post posted an article today about measles in America.

The New York Post reports:

America has charted 387 cases of measles across 15 states since the beginning of the year — the second-highest number of reported infections since the disease was declared “eliminated” in 2000.

The number was topped only once before, in 2014, when 667 cases were reported by the same date.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s graph of year-over-year cases — updated every Monday — shows that 2019 passed last year in terms of outbreaks as of March 28. There were 372 cases confirmed by this time in 2018.

The states that have reported cases are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

Outbreaks — defined as three or more cases — are ongoing in California (Santa Cruz and Butte County), New Jersey, New York (Rockland County and New York City) and Washington, according to the CDC.

Rockland County has banned unvaccinated minors from public spaces. The recurrence of measles in America is the result of two things–parents who refuse to vaccinate their children and travelers who brought the disease to America from foreign countries such as Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, which currently have measles outbreaks.

We need to find a way to make the vaccine safer (divided into more doses?) to assure parents that it is a good idea to vaccinate their children. This is a public health issue. The other aspect of this measles epidemic is that we need to make sure we control our borders to insure that immigrants are not bringing diseases into this country that have been eradicated. We need to question both legal and illegal immigrants about their health history.

Actions Have Consequences

I am not a doctor, and I raised children before the controversy over vaccines began. I had my children vaccinated because it was what their pediatrician recommended. At the time that was pretty standard. Times have changed, and I am not sure what the right answer is, but at some point it seems that common sense should play a role.

The Hill is reporting today that state lawmakers are considering eliminating the vaccine  exemptions that have been granted to parents. The reason is the recent outbreaks of measles.

The article reports:

But the most recent measles outbreaks, which have infected 159 mostly unvaccinated people in 10 states, is leading some states to reconsider.

“That goes beyond religious freedom,” said Burke.

Every state requires that students be vaccinated to enroll in school, and all states allow exemptions for children who are too sick to receive vaccines or who have a weakened immune system.

Most states also allow exemptions for religious reasons, and 17 states, including Washington and Texas, allow exemptions for both religious and personal or philosophical beliefs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Both Washington and Texas have seen measles outbreaks this year.

Lawmakers in Iowa, New Jersey and Vermont, which already ban personal or philosophical exemptions, are now debating proposals to eliminate religious exemptions.

I am concerned that if these exemptions are eliminated, exemptions for more controversial vaccines will also be eliminated. I am also concerned that smallpox vaccines are no longer given to American children because the disease is said to have been eradicated in America. Unfortunately, a person recently stopped while attempting to enter America illegally was diagnosed with smallpox. I would like to think that he was the only person with the disease attempting to enter America, but I am not sure that is realistic.

The article concludes:

Outbreaks can occur in communities where there is not a high enough percentage of people who are vaccinated.

Described as “herd immunity” by public health experts, at least 94 percent of a community must be vaccinated against measles to prevent the disease from spreading.

Herd immunity protects those with weakened immune systems, babies who can’t be vaccinated or those who are too sick to receive vaccinations.

But as more and more parents claim vaccine exemptions, experts say, the disease is more likely to spread.

And federal officials have indicated the government might step in if state legislatures don’t.

“Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they’re creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications,” Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNN last week.

If “certain states continue down the path that they’re on, I think they’re going to force the hand of the federal health agencies.”

Health committees in the House and Senate are set to hold hearings on the measles outbreaks this month.

It will be interesting to watch the hearings. Good arguments can be made on both sides of this issue.

Why Is There A Typhus Epidemic In Los Angeles?

This article is based on two articles, one posted at The Gateway Pundit yesterday and one posted yesterday at NBC 4 Los Angeles. Typhoid shots are often required for people traveling overseas, but it used to be a fairly unusual disease in America.

The article at NBC 4 reports:

Last year set a new record for the number of typhus cases — 124 in LA County for the year, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Last October, Mayor Garcetti vowed to clean up piles of garbage throughout the city to combat the typhus epidemic.

The Mayor allocated millions of dollars to increase clean-ups of streets in the Skid Row area, known lately as “the typhus zone.”

…Statement from Mayor Garcetti’s Office:

“Last fall we directed multiple City departments to begin a coordinated and comprehensive effort to improve cleanliness and protect public health in the Civic Center, including City Hall and City Hall East. In addition to increased trash collection and cleanings, aggressive action has been taken to address pests both in the buildings and in the surrounding outside areas — including abatement treatments and the filling of 60 rodent burrows and 114 tree wells. This work in busy and highly populated public buildings is executed carefully to protect workers and visitors, and the scheduling of extermination activities takes these factors into consideration.” — Vicki Curry, spokeswoman, city of Los Angeles

The Gateway Pundit notes:

Typhus is mainly spreading across the homeless population through fleas that live on the rats that rummage in heaps of trash, however Liz Greenwood, the Deputy City Attorney who works at City Hall contracted the disease.

Symptoms of typhus include fever, headache and a rash. Untreated cases are fatal.

I seems to me that Los Angeles needs to increase its efforts to deal with the sanitary problems in its streets and in its municipal buildings.

Amazing News From Israel

The Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that a group of Israeli scientists believe that they have found a cure for cancer. If their clinical tests prove what they believe, this is fantastic news.

The article reports:

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Weizmann Science Park. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

…Aridor, chairman of the board of AEBi and CEO Dr. Ilan Morad, say their treatment, which they call MuTaTo (multi-target toxin) is essentially on the scale of a cancer antibiotic – a disruption technology of the highest order.

The potentially game-changing anti-cancer drug is based on SoAP technology, which belongs to the phage display group of technologies. It involves the introduction of DNA coding for a protein, such as an antibody, into a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria. That protein is then displayed on the surface of the phage. Researchers can use these protein-displaying phages to screen for interactions with other proteins, DNA sequences and small molecules.

In 2018, a team of scientists won the Nobel Prize for their work on phage display in the directed evolution of new proteins – in particular, for the production of antibody therapeutics.

AEBi is doing something similar but with peptides, compounds of two or more amino acids linked in a chain. According to Morad, peptides have several advantages over antibodies, including that they are smaller, cheaper, and easier to produce and regulate.

The article concludes:

The MuTaTo cancer treatment will eventually be personalized. Each patient will provide a piece of his biopsy to the lab, which would then analyze it to know which receptors are overexpressed. The individual would then be administered exactly the molecule cocktail needed to cure his disease.
However, unlike in the case of AIDS, where patients must take the cocktail throughout their lives, in the case of MuTaTo, the cells would be killed, and the patient could likely stop treatment after only a few weeks.

The company is now writing patents on specific peptides, which will be a large bank of targeting toxin peptides wholly owned and hard to break, said Aridor.

Morad said that so far, the company has concluded its first exploratory mice experiment, which inhibited human cancer cell growth and had no effect at all on healthy mice cells, in addition to several in-vitro trials. AEBi is on the cusp of beginning a round of clinical trials which could be completed within a few years and would make the treatment available in specific cases.
Aridor added: “Our results are consistent and repeatable.”

Wow. Just wow.

At Least It Was British Money–Not American Money

On Wednesday, CBN News posted an article entitled, “Study Finds Poor Health Leads to Early Death.” Somehow I don’t think this is rocket science.

The article reports:

The finding comes from a British study that looked at more than million people over a 50-year period. Researchers warn the problems get worse the earlier those unhealthy lifestyles begin.

A 40-year-old man who has dealt with diabetes, heart attack, and/or stroke could lose 23 years from his life. Someone in their 60s who has dealt with two of those problems could lose 12 years.

The worst problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, are preventable largely by eating right and staying active.

I would call this an example of spending money to study the obvious. I can’t believe they spent 50 years and a lot of money to figure this out. In most cases, this is something your mother told you when you were little.