Columnists

Thu
12
Jan

William C. Hall: Anti-tobacco campaigns dramatically reduce smoking-related illnesses and death

William C. Hall

William C. Hall

 

Every person should be able to breathe tobacco-smoke-free air. Smoke-free laws protect the health of nonsmokers, are popular, do not harm business, and encourage smokers to quit.

Tobacco users need help to quit

Studies show that few people understand the specific health risks of tobacco use. For example, a 2009 survey in China revealed that only 38 percent of smokers knew that smoking causes coronary heart disease and only 27 percent knew that it causes stroke.

Among smokers who are aware of the dangers of tobacco, most want to quit. Counseling and medication can more than double the chance that a smoker who tries to quit will succeed.

National comprehensive cessation services with full or partial cost-coverage are available to assist tobacco users to quit in only 24 countries, representing 15 percent of the world’s population.

There is no cessation assistance of any kind in one-fourth of low-income countries.

 

Thu
12
Jan

Tanner Andrews: Enjoy a five-finger discount on your next holiday shopping spree

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

One of the worst aspects of shopping is the cost. Every time I go to the store, it winds up costing me money. I am getting tired of this.

Fortunately, thanks to modern shoplifting technology, this problem may be solvable. At least the recent reports from The Home Depot suggest that they are viewing shoplifting as a viable payment-replacement technology.

This is the way it works: Shopper roams aisles, selecting products by placing them in a rolling basket. This “shopping cart” technology is modeled on internet purchasing methods, where one browses websites that track product selections.

When the shopper has selected the desired products, he rolls his basket to what is termed an “exit portal.” In earlier models, the shopper engaged in what was called “payment” at the exit portal. This was often slow and inconvenient.

Thu
12
Jan

Russ White: Karma may bite Trump’s voters and the GOP

Russ White

Russ White

Karma is an ancient Sanskrit concept that, literally, translates as “act,” “action” or “word.” There are several well-used clichés that describe how the Buddhist/Hindu law works.

“What goes around, comes around.”

“For every action there is an equal, and opposite, reaction.”

And, most appropriate, “You reap what you sow.”

As the GOP takes the reins of unified government in America, there are likely to be some massive doses of karma experienced throughout this country. It will not be pretty.

For six years, the GOP has vilified the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), slandering it with unending spin, distortions, and outright lies. They have used it like a cudgel to inflame their base. Sixty times they sought to embarrass the sitting president by voting to repeal it, wasting thousands of hours of congressional time and millions of dollars of taxpayer money, knowing Obamacare was safe and they could not really get rid of it.

Thu
05
Jan

David Rauschenberger: Obama has never liked Netanyahu

David Rauschenberger

David Rauschenberger

Remember when President Barack Obama traveled around the country during Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign wagging his finger at Democrats, telling them their vote was a vote for his policies and his legacy? He told them he’d be angry if they didn’t get out and vote. It’s laughable that he now blames Hillary and her people.

That’s because Hillary’s loss was as much a defeat of his policies as it was a snub of the entitled “Hillry.”

Obama began his occupation of America by apologizing to our detractors, our enemies and our friends for being American. He went on a world tour. It was just the beginning.

It’s no stretch to say that Obama isn’t a friend of Israel. In 2010, Obama angrily ended a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu and left him to have lunch with Vice President Joe Biden. That was rude and telling.

Thu
05
Jan

Russ White: Boomers gave vast power to Big Pharma

Russ White

Russ White

There is no better example of the destruction the baby-boomer generation has wrought on American society than the explosive power of Big Pharma (the powerful pharmaceutical industry) in our era. One need only watch commercial television for an hour to be bombarded with the evidence.

It’s not where we started. Our post-adolescent awakening into the adult world was defined by an unpopular, unnecessary war halfway around the world that many of our generation were drafted to fight. We rebelled, taking to the streets, and eschewing many of the standards and traditions of preceding generations.

Music was one avenue we used to express our disdain for the world as it existed. Perhaps no band came closer to presenting an anthem for our generation than did Steppenwolf, with their iconic “Born to Be Wild.” They also told our story with another song, “The Pusher.”

Wed
04
Jan

Tanner Andrews: How to win friends and influence important people

Tanner Andrews

Tanner Andrews

It just got harder to bribe someone in Florida. It used to be so simple: You gave an official money, and he helped your case get through his agency. That was easy. Everyone understood how to get what they wanted.

For instance, when DeBary wanted to develop some conservation land held by the Water Management District, they gave the chairman $38,500 to grease the deal. At one time, we would understand this as a good old-fashioned bribe.

The parties also knew to keep bribery secret. When the public found out about the DeBary deal, the deal collapsed. The only bright point was that Chairman Miklos got to keep the money.

Someone got sore and reported the payment to the Florida Commission on Ethics. Fortunately for Miklos, a majority of the Ethics Commission are appointed by the governor, with predictable results.

Wed
04
Jan

William C. Hall: Why do Walgreen drugstores sell cigarettes?

William C. Hall

William C. Hall

I grew up in Chicago, where the home of the Walgreen drugstore chain (which I have long admired) is located. Indeed, their stores are well-organized, and their retail staffs are well-trained and helpful.

That said, I find their corporate slogan to be laughably ironic: “Walgreens, at the corner of happy & healthy!”  Walgreen checkout counters (for non-pharmaceuticals) are typically at the front of their stores, where the checkout clerk presides over a 6-foot wall of various (addictive) cigarette brands. At some locations, there is also a Walgreen-operated liquor store adjacent to their drugstore.

So how does one reconcile the Walgreen slogan “At the corner of happy & healthy” with the promotion of tobacco and alcohol?

An analogy would be the Humane Society of the United States promoting the consumption of beef, pork and lamb or the nation’s automobile and gasoline retailers complaining about air pollution!

Wed
04
Jan

Beacon editorial: DeLand on track to choose a good chief

The West Volusia Beacon

The West Volusia Beacon

DeLand has no more important work in the months ahead than the hiring of a new police chief. We’re delighted to see the city taking this task very seriously.

The DeLand Police Department has had a serious problem attracting qualified officers. Sixteen percent of the officer jobs are currently vacant.

Further, in addition to the chief who’s leaving April 30, the DPD stands to lose other veteran leaders: A deputy chief is retiring that same day, and five more senior officers will retire between now and 2021.

The right new chief can brighten this dim picture.

The DeLand City Commission, at the urging of City Manager Michael Pleus, has bumped up starting pay for officers to $17.65 an hour, and that’s a good thing. But, with DeLand’s starting pay now more than $1 per hour higher than that of a Volusia County sheriff’s deputy, that’s enough money thrown at the problem.

Now let’s throw some leadership at it. 

Thu
29
Dec

David Rauschenberger: Predicting President Trump trashing Obama’s executive orders — and more

David Rauschenberger

David Rauschenberger

My family and friends know I never make New Year’s resolutions. It’s stupid. It might be way more fun to tell you what I predict will happen in 2017.

It would be foolish to expect the left (the Dems, their mainstream media and malcontents) to simmer down before the inauguration. There’s talk of who will not entertain us. I couldn’t care less. The left thinks the inauguration is a time to gloat and party. It’s a solemn ceremony, comrades.

I just want to watch outgoing President Barack Obama stand there and endure incoming President Donald Trump’s hand on the Christian Bible meaning what he says when he takes that “stupid” oath.

Afterward, I’m inviting all of you to watch and learn how a businessman handles the business of the people. I tell people Trump’s not a politician. That’s the beauty of it. He’s not predictable. There is no historical record. It’s gonna happen fast.

Thu
29
Dec

Beacon editorial: Unquenchable light

Happy New Year from The West Volusia Beacon

Happy New Year from The West Volusia Beacon

To put it mildly, 2016 has been a difficult year, in many ways. 

Terror attacks have continued to ripple across the globe, and in our own backyard. Our nation has gone through an ugly, divisive presidential election, from which it will take a long time to heal. 

We’ve lost great entertainers at what has seemed to be a breakneck pace, including Prince, David Bowie and, most recently, Carrie Fisher, known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. 

There was no shortage of violence, tragedy and political wrangling here in West Volusia, either. An entire family lost their lives in a horrific accident in April along State Road 44 west of DeLand. Shootings, some involving law-enforcement officers, continue to be not rare enough. 

Don’t worry. We’re not going to sit here and recount every negative happening in the past year — not least of all because to do so would be unfair. It simply wouldn’t be the entire story of 2016.

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