Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

The business of pot

When I was in high school and college in the 1970s, marijuana was (a) illegal and (b) plentiful. I may or may not have inhaled, but people I knew were certainly growing, drying, selling and buying dope at the time. From a public health standpoint, marijuana is more benign than alcohol and tobacco. I’m happy […]

Greed killed Red Lobster

I seldom eat at chain restaurants, and I’ve never set foot in a Red Lobster. So the latest bankruptcy of Red Lobster doesn’t affect me personally, but it does serve as yet another illustration of pernicious consequences of vulture capitalism. When the private equity firm Golden Gate Capital bought Red Lobster, the chain was already […]

“I was there,” another man called out. “We were peaceful.”

Some history: For the longest time Michigan districts were gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. Since the 1980s, Republicans had control of the Michigan Senate. On and off, Republicans had control of the House for 22 times. A trifecta in favor of Republicans was in place 14 times. It was not until voting districts were decided […]

Abortion, IVF and the nanny state

Let’s be very clear: in vitro fertilization (IVF) results in far more zygotes than will ever be implanted. Further, pre-implantation testing means that some zygotes will be rejected. In the end, this means that millions of fertilized eggs will be discarded. That was always baked in the IVF cake. For reasons that escape me as […]

Brave new world of scientific publication?

My dissertation research was published in 1983 in a two-author paper in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. JBC is the house journal of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. After your referees and the editor approved, the manuscript was published with the payment of “page charges,” to cover the journal costs since it […]

Crocodile tears

Here’s Jerome Adams, MD, former Surgeon General, now outraged at the absurdity that is the American “healthcare” system: “Numerous Americans have found themselves ensnared in analogous predicaments while seeking medical attention, as evidenced by the myriad stories shared in response to my tweet. The opacity surrounding healthcare pricing makes it difficult for patients to ascertain […]

Tax the rich!

I was a graduate student in a STEM program when Reagan was elected and the Laffer curve was used to justify tax cuts. The problem that immediately stood out to me at the time was that neither the ordinate nor the abscissa in the Laffer graph had scales, so it was impossible to assess where, […]

Oh, Elon!

My wife drives a 21 year-old Pontiac Vibe (= Toyota Matrix). It could fail at any time, and the question of what she’ll replace it with is on our minds. EV or hybrid? I personally know some Tesla owners who are happy with their choice, but I remain concerned about range and charging stations. Thanks, […]

Social Security and Medicare updates

Since many AB readers are either retired or about to be: “Looking solely at the trust fund that covers retirement and survivor benefits, Social Security will only be able to afford scheduled payments in full until 2033, roughly the same projection as last year. At that time, the fund’s reserves will be depleted, and continuing […]