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So why am I writing about the Zika virus when I live in Montana, one might ask. Living in one of the states least likely to be affected and being way past the age when pregnancy might be a factor, I’m unlikely to contract the virus.

  • 0

On the eve of the Democratic National Convention, I’m tempted to give the whole thing a pass. The Republican convention of last week was an unmitigated disaster. And we saw up close and personal what happens when an unpopular, and possibly unelectable, candidate runs the show.

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In a season of supreme political silliness, it’s nice to know that some of our best thinkers are focused on solving real problems. Climate change and California’s drought are among the most pressing.

  • 3

How encouraging it was to read that President Obama is touring many of our national parks and talking about how climate change is affecting them. In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, coming up in August, the president and his family visited Yosemite National Park, …

  • 0

If you thought food labels were already confusing, get ready to rethink what not to eat and how much. Announced last Friday, the newly approved food labels, which won’t go into effect for two years, will give you something to chew on. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

  • 0

I’m at an age where I think a lot about cognitive decline. And I live in a facility for seniors, which includes both independent living and assisted living. The people who run this place seem to be interested in keeping all of us functioning at our best for the longest time possible.

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Peabody Energy, the largest coal company in the U.S., is leading the fight in court to nullify the administration’s Clean Power Plan that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Oral arguments will be heard in federal court June 2. 

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At the United Nations (UN) on Earth Day, a record 175 nations signed a landmark deal on climate change known as the Paris Agreement. The agreement will only be enforceable once 55 countries representing at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have formally joined.

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This all started when I tried to buy a Tom’s of Maine toothpaste labeled “clean and gentle.” The store that previously carried it no longer does and blames their distributor. Guess what; I’ve heard all this before. When in doubt, blame the distributor. Could it be that when Colgate-Palmolive…

  • 0

People sometimes ask why I read magazines from back to front. I always thought it was just a weird habit, but actually there’s method to my madness.

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Every so often, the focus will shift in medicine from one extreme to another, and we can only wonder why. For instance, several decades ago, doctors were told they weren’t doing enough to manage their patients’ pain. 

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In the past month I’ve read just short of a dozen news stories about the armed takeover of the 200,000-acre Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County of southeast Oregon. Problem is, none of them answered my questions: Why were the anti-government militants allowed to camp out in the…

  • 0

Before news of lead poisoning from city water tarnished the name of a Michigan town, Flint had already lost half of its 200,000 population and had 80,000 abandoned houses.

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Released last week, the government’s five-year update to dietary guidelines is a bit of a disappointment. Early clues as to what it would contain gave industry groups time to circle the wagons, removing key provisions that might save lives and avoid deadly diseases.

  • 0

On Dec. 11, 2008, The Malibu Times published my column, “Finding Judy.” The piece was about karma — what it means and how the things we do can come back to us, bringing great happiness and peace.

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The latest mass shooting has taken the attention of people on both sides of the gun control debate. And, although the FBI is investigating the atrocity in San Bernardino as an act of terrorism, we don’t know that much about its motivation. 

  • 0

Are you as tired as I am of commercials promoting prescription drugs on TV? Well, apparently so are doctors, according to a recent news item courtesy of Bloomberg News.

  • 0

When the World Health Organization (WHO) classified processed meats as a group 1 carcinogen — the same category as cigarettes, asbestos and plutonium — cries from bacon lovers were heard worldwide.

  • 0

For only the third time in 40 years, there will be no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for our Social Security checks in 2016. While previous raises were small (usually less than four percent), they were always welcome.

  • 0

What we learned about Pope Francis during his trip to Cuba and the United States was that he knows how to walk a fine line. In his heart, he is a pastor, forgiving sinners, giving support rather than judgment.

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One of the joys (or trials) of summer is relatives visiting on their holidays. For me, it’s been a great joy to see my sister, Cindy, who has been staying with me for about 10 days.

  • 0

At the risk of being labeled a flip-flopper, I am willing to reconsider a former position on oil transportation safety. We are hauling more flammables (crude being the most common) in railroad cars to more than 500,000 carloads so far this year from 9,500 in 2008. I addressed this in a May 2…

  • 3

As of this writing, the National Rifle Association (NRA) hasn’t weighed in on the high-speed train incident last week in Belgium. To be clear, the gunman seemed to be overwhelmed by three unarmed American passengers on the train, when it became clear the heavily armed assailant was ready to …

  • 2

For those who have been crawling along the 405, 101 or PCH, this one’s for you: Long a quagmire of stalled traffic, Los Angeles is finally poised to do something about it. My apologies to former President Eisenhower, GM and gasoline purveyors, but we just have too many cars.

  • 0

Some of my relatives and friends think I’ve gone bonkers, but I’ve told them all I don’t ever want to go to the emergency room or any other part of the hospital. It’s been two or three years since I saw a doctor, and then it was because my daughter insisted.

  • 0

Being without a dog for the past 10 years has been one of the most difficult aspects of growing old. Since childhood, I’ve always had one particular dog that was my friend and protector, and I miss that relationship even more than my youth.

  • 0

It seems everyone with an axe to grind is weighing in on the mass murder in Charleston, S.C. last week. People with fixed opinions on gun control, hate crimes and religious differences lined up to spout their reasons for the crime and what may or may not have prevented it.

  • 0

Wow! I tried not to get my hopes up as I did all the other times there was a chance for another Triple Crown winner. When California Chrome won the first two legs — the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness — last year, only to have those hopes dashed in the Belmont Stakes, I almost gave up.

  • 0

You don’t have to live near the railroad tracks to have concerns over the recent spate of accidents with explosions involving cars carrying crude oil. 

  • 0

When one reaches the age where good days are often followed by not such good ones, we tend to take advantage of those that are high in energy and low in pain. But doing too much often results in sore backs and hips that heal more slowly than they once did.

  • 0

Earth Day has expanded into Earth Week and is going strong after all these years. Volunteer clean-up crews on beaches, parks and other public spaces are well attended and produce squeaky-clean landscapes across the nation. But the focus of these efforts and much public discussion has recentl…

  • 0

In a March 3 program of “To the Point” on local station KCRW, Warren Olney discussed the relatively new issue known as “Free-Range Parenting.” He asked if that view is the same as child endangerment, citing recent cases where parents have come into conflict with the law.

  • 1

Five years ago, my column “Is water the new oil?” appeared in these pages, explaining a few things about how different states deal with water rights. And that was before California’s current four-year drought.

  • 0

That old saw makes perfect sense: What matters more than what you know is what you do with what you know. Sometimes advice has been around so long that while we once paid attention, now we say, “Oh, I know all about that.” 

  • 0

Suddenly, it’s OK to talk about money, brought out in the open at last, perhaps by Ron Lieber’s book “The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous and Smart About Money.”

  • 1

The current outbreak of measles in several states has caused unfortunate reactions from politicians, who have made some knee-jerk remarks and then had to walk them back. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie both stepped in it last week and wound up scraping their shoes.…

  • 0

Two stories in this month’s news should catch the attention of those who seek a healthier life. One reflects new government guidelines that may reflect environmental costs; the other features market strategy designed to sell more soda, maybe to those who have sworn off sugary drinks. 

  • 1

In its annual report, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) alerts its membership to the reckless waste of antibiotics. And while many of us have long recognized the problem, we chafe at the glacial pace of change. 

  • 0

It’s that time of year when those of us who use computers try to clean things up a bit. That means deleting hundreds of e-mails and unsubscribing to hundreds more that acquired my email address and have been choking my inbox with election stuff and bids for donations. 

  • 1

Everybody’s got an opinion, even before they have all the facts. Maybe even after, if the facts don’t happen to fit their personal bias. 

  • 0

The best news of this year has hardly been news. It is rarely discussed on TV or radio and many conservative pundits talk only about its downsides, most of which are illusory or non-existent. 

  • 0

Although I didn’t plan to get involved in politics this year, it now seems I must. Many states have passed laws that infringe on voting rights while insisting their aim is to combat voter fraud. 

  • 0

The recent PBS special on the Roosevelt family was not only entertaining, it was a way to jog one’s memory of history. Watching several nights in a row, I realized that I had acquired some misconceptions about FDR and the times. I was, after all, only a child. 

  • 0

I’ve reached an age where I accept invitations carefully, graciously declining to attend weddings, funerals, graduations and the like. But recently I agreed to go to our yoga instructor’s wedding. Wow, was it different: outdoors, relaxed and totally wonderful.

  • 1

Well, it’s happened again. A company I trust has angered a cohort of women’s health advocates and I’m being asked to choose between the opposing positions. How can I do that? 

  • 0

The world is in crisis, from Ukraine to Iraq to Gaza/Israel. If we feel helpless to do anything about these conflicts, we become frustrated and angry, blaming politicians and world leaders with no hope of influencing their actions or the outcomes. 

  • 0

In his third novel, “Cross Purposes,” author and Malibu resident Thomas B. Sawyer introduces the reader to an entirely new character, the New York private investigator Barney Moon. Cracking wise is his modus operandi and sharing the New Yorker’s disdain for all things Hollywood give Moon ple…

  • 0

People often ask me why I live in Montana, as though the state is so far from civilization that it couldn’t possibly offer anything more than gorgeous scenery. 

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