Social cost is too high to pay for ‘buck a beer’

By STUART HICKOXOpinion

Wed., Aug. 8, 2018

It’s the smell that woke me up and saved me — an acrid and artificial searing. My shoe, too close to the wood stove, was smoking, about to burst into flames, with my foot in it. I knew then that I had to quit drinking.

I had gone alone to my cabin in the woods of P.E.I., a simple place I’d built 20 years earlier on a 10-acre clear-cut. As a painful introvert, the cabinandlandwerea safe space to reconnect with my estranged father and then be a dad myself.

That is, until I nearly died there, passed out in what almost became a tiny cabin tinderbox. What hurts me still, five sober years later, is that I came so close to depriving my sons of a father and destroying the special shared space where we had bonded.

Second chances come with responsibility. So that’s why I must speak out about Premier Doug Ford’s boneheaded “Buck-a-Beer” plan. Frankly, it’s B.S.

No one chooses to be addicted to alcohol. It’s a slow-moving choking weed that often germinates innocuously with after-work wine, growing to an uncontrollable daily impulse. Addiction is increasingly seen as a response to the mental anguish of emotional trauma. In my case, I used wine to hide from the lingering pain of sexual abuse I experienced as a child.

But this isn’t about me. It’s about us. Ford said Ontario would act “smartly and responsibly” while lowering beer prices. It’s insulting, particularly to people in recovery, when he says that he “trusts Ontarians to know when they’ve had one too many.”

There’s nothing smart or responsible about “Buck a Beer.” Here are some facts:

 

  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health notes a direct connection between alcohol consumption and increased traffic accidents, heart and liver disease, violence, suicide and child abuse.

 

 

  • The Canadian Public Health Association reports that alcohol costs the Canadian economy $7 billion in lost productivity, $3 billion in health and social services costs, and $3 billion forpolicing.

 

And how do you measure the cost of lives lost and families destroyed?

 

Alcohol has its place. I’m not suggesting prohibition. But it’s ironic that Ontario’s artisanal brewers (who arguably produce the best beers), are least able to afford “buck a beer” because their production costs are higher than those of large brands.

So, small business in Ontario will also suffer unless overall consumption rises. And with greater consumption comes higher social and health care costs.

In short, the premier’s insistence that “buck a beer” will result in no additional cost to taxpayers is either stunning ignorance or a flat-out lie. Either way, he needs to be held accountable.

Instead of glorifying the $24 two-four, our leaders should be promoting recovery, responsible consumption and healthy lifestyle choices.

So, if you’re feeling uneasy today, take note: That bad smell is our feet on fire. It’s time to wake up and take a clear-minded stand against policies that threaten our communities, our economy, and our kids.

Stuart Hickox is a community-based social marketing specialist living in recovery in Ottawa.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2018/08/08/social-cost-is-too-high-to-pay-for-buck-a-beer.html

Biased Title IX investigation costs USC $111,965

The University of Southern California (USC) has been ordered to pay $111,965 in attorney fees to a male student who was expelled after an unfair Title IX investigation.

According to a press release issued by the attorneys representing the anonymous plaintiff, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White ordered USC to pay the sum on June 28 after finding that a John Doe was expelled from USC after an “improperly biased” Title IX investigation into disputed allegations of sexual assault.

The court determined that “not only was USC’s Title IX Office improperly biased against [the male student],” but also that the Title IX investigator “held an adversarial position in relation to the petitioner,” and struck down her claims of neutrality.

Further, the judge determined that USC did not allow the male student to review all evidence against him, withheld contradictory information from its initial report against the male student, and failed to interview a potential first-hand witness to the alleged assault.

Judge White also granted that bias against men likely played a role in the eventual expulsion.

For example, the male student and his advisor were referred to as “motherf***ers” by USC Title IX Officers Gretchen Dahlinger Means and Patrick Noonan, according to the lawsuit, which add that they in turn referred to the female student as “cute,” “intelligent,” and “a catch.”

Judge White found that such remarks “demonstrate an unacceptable probability of actual bias” on the part of USC’s Title IX officers, and in USC allowing these Title IX investigators to be a “decision maker” in the case, that “institutional bias” corrupted the investigation.

https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=11101

 

FDA to use aborted fetus parts to breed ‘humanized mice,’ pro-life lobby outraged

In a headline that reads like the darkest nightmares of the pro-life lobby, the US Food and Drug Administration is using tax dollars to buy aborted fetus parts to breed ‘humanized mice’ for experiments.

According to FDA documents, the agency intends to acquire “fresh” human fetal tissue from Advanced Bioscience Resources, a California-based non-profit that specializes in sourcing human tissue for scientific research.

According to ABR, this tissue is obtained from first- or second-trimester abortions, as well as full-term stillbirths. The non-profit company offers clients bespoke services, allowing them to specify “tissue characteristics, preservation methods, and delivery times.”

Under its latest contract with ABR, the FDA will purchase $15,900 worth of fetal tissue. The agency has been purchasing such tissue from ABR for several years, as it continues its research into developing humanized mice – lab mice with human immune systems.

By removing a mouse’s bone marrow and implanting human thymus and liver tissue, human stem cells can then beintroduced,and will be used by the mouse to form a functioning human immune system. These mice can then be used to test the adverse effects of drugs on the human immune system.

The pro-life lobby has accused the FDA of using tax dollars to fuel a demand for fetal tissue. They argue that, as its experiments need a constant supply of fresh tissue, the FDA has a vested interest in the continuation of legalized abortion.

“Under no circumstances should the US government be contracting with baby-parts dealers like ABR – who have partnered with abortion giant Planned Parenthood – or taxpayers be forced to fund such atrocities,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List group. “We call on Congress to… stop taxpayer funding of these repugnant practices and act swiftly to ban them altogether.”

“Every part of this transaction is a tragedy. A woman is driven to abort her baby, too often by coercion or abandonment, and there in the shadows is a government contractor waiting to tear apart the baby’s body to deliver pieces in exchange for payment,”added Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council, another anti-abortion group.

The tissue business

Human stem cells divide rapidly and adapt easily to new environments, making them ideal for a wide range of research applications. In acquiring the tissue, however, agencies like the FDA run into a problem: federal law prohibits the sale or trade of fetal tissue for profit, and donations from hospitals and university labs are unreliable.

Since 2010, a number of ‘tissue brokers’ have stepped in to play middleman between abortion clinics and scientists. ABR denies charging money for the fetuses, but its own documents say that it pays clinics “a nominal fee” for the remains, and charges the FDA and other clients a markup for the service.

The FDA has had contracts with ABR since 2009, and has attracted controversy along the way. A heavily edited undercover video filmed by anti-abortion activists in 2015 appeared to show a Planned Parenthood director talking about profiting from selling fetus parts to a tissue broker.

A congressional investigation that followed found that ABR paid Planned Parenthood between $45 and $60 per specimen, and charged researchers between $340 and $550, depending on processing costs.

Planned Parenthood denies profiting from the transactions. When contacted by a pro-life journalist, the FDA stated that its research is “conducted responsibly, conforms with all legal requirements, and meets the highest ethical standards.”

The agency added that ABR has provided assurances that it complies with all legal requirements, but noted that where ABR sources its tissue is not the FDA’s business. ABR did not respond to a request for comment.

In June, a federal judge refused to order Planned Parenthood to turn over documents showing the income allegedly generated by selling human tissue. The 2015 video and subsequent congressional report had been cited by anti-abortion activists as evidence that the family-planning organization was engaged in the trafficking of human body parts.

President Donald Trump has spoken out against Planned Parenthood throughout his campaign and first year in office, but signed a spending bill in March that continued to fund the organization. Last December, the Justice Department requested documents from a Senate investigation of Planned Parenthood, but said no more on whether it was actively investigating its alleged role in the tissue trade.

https://www.rt.com/usa/435452-fda-aborted-fetuses-mice/