A Larger View

A Commentary On How Current Events Reflect— Or Not—Our Search For Higher Values

  • Volume XXII
  • No. 6
  • November/December 2017
  • Bulletin of The Inner/Outer Partnership

in this issue:

  • Cancer Drugs Prices
  • Private Prisons Boom
  • The Deaf In Prisons
  • Cancer Drugs In Africa
  • Donations From Inmates
  • Kids And Robots
  • To Ponder On

Cancer Drugs Prices

To most of us it’s hardly surprising!! A new analysis found that the claim by drug companies justifying the high price of drugs by the expenses of research and development cannot be proven. In an article published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the researchers found that the cost of developing a new drug is around $650 million. The drug companies put that cost at $ 2.7 billion or several times the actual cost established by the researchers. On top of the $650 million the researchers add another $100 million to cover the cost of what the companies would have gained by investing the money instead of using it in R and D.  Of the 10 companies the researchers looked at, the drugs earned 7 times what they cost to be brought to market and of course the profits will continue in the years to come. One argument the pharmaceutical Continue reading

A Larger View

A Commentary On How Current Events Reflect— Or Not—Our Search For Higher Values

  • Volume XXII
  • No. 5
  • September/October
  • Bulletin of The Inner/Outer Partnership

in this issue:

  • Children and Guns
  • Child Marriage and Economic Development
  • Extreme Commutes
  • Modern Slavery--The Scope of the Problem
  • Bias Against Atheists
  • Sex and Gun Violence
  • To Ponder On

 Children and Guns

Here are some statistics about children and guns

  • In a typical week in the US 25 children die from gunshot wounds
  • Between 2012 and 2014 1297 children under 18 died each year as a result of firearm injuries
  • In addition there were 5790 non-fatal injuries from gunshots
  • African American children are 10 times more likely to be killed by homicides than white children: 3.5 per 100,000
  • Suicide among white children is 4 times as high as it is for African American children
  • The rate of unintentional firearm deaths is twice as high for African American children than it is for white children
  • The District of Columbia and Louisiana had the highest firearm death, respectively 4.2 and 4.5 per 100,000
  • Child suicide by gun were highest in Montana, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Alaska
  • Most children who died of unintentional gun injury were shot by another child about the same age
  • Child gun homicide deaths have declined, but suicide have increased by 36% from 2007 to 2014
  • Gun suicide rates for that period increased 60%

Child Marriage and Economic Development

Child marriage has normally been seen as a human right issue. But a new study by the World Banks and the Center for Research on Women (CRW) suggest that child marriage is also an issue of economic development.  While child marriage does occur even in countries like the US, the greatest proportion occurs in poor countries. In Niger for example 77% of women between the ages of 18 to 22 were married before the age of 18. Sometimes the poorer the country, the more child marriage is likely to occur. Often there are laws banning child marriage, yet it still Continue reading

A Larger View

A Commentary On How Current Events Reflect— Or Not—Our Search For Higher Values

  • Volume XXII
  • No. 3
  • May/June
  • Bulletin of The Inner/Outer Partnership

in this issue:

  • Human Trafficking--Some Stats
  • Libyan Slave Market
  • AnAnti-War Lesson
  • Famine and Its Consequences
  • Alternatives Therapies in Hospitals
  • The Structurally Unemployed
  • To Ponder On

Human Trafficking—Some Stats

Here are some statistics about human trafficking, statistics that require no commentary.

<>79% of trafficked people are women and children

<>Victims of trafficking are found in 106 of 193 countries

<>from 2012-14 the UN Office on Drug and Crime estimated 0ver 500 flows of trafficking from 137 different nationalities

<>Victims are compelled to act as beggars, enter into sham marriages, forced into organ removal, participate in pornography production among others

<>According to the ILO human trafficking earns $150 billion a year for the traffickers. The following is a breakdown of profits by sector

  • 99 billion dollars from commercial sexual exploitation
  • 34 billion dollars in construction, manufacturing, mining and utilities
  • 9 billion dollars in agriculture, including forestry and fishing
  • 8 billion dollars is saved annually by private households employing domestic workers under conditions of forced labor

<>22% of the victims are trafficked for sex, but commercial sexual exploitation earns 66% of the profits

<>Sexual exploitation can result in 100 to 1000% profit while an enslaved laborer in India 50%

<>Labor exploitation in the US includes many industries particularly hospitality, restaurants, nail salons, massage parlors

Libyan Slave Market

Once in a while in all I read to prepare for these pieces, I find myself in disbelief, encountering how evil humans can be. This week it was a story in The Guardian newspaper about what they called Libyan slave markets. Migrants, usually from West Africa, with little or cash and often with no papers, manage to pay people smugglers to get across the desert to the coast. The rescued Continue reading

A Larger View

A Commentary On How Current Events Reflect— Or Not—Our Search For Higher Values

  • Volume XXII
  • No. 2
  • March/April
  • Bulletin of The Inner/Outer Partnership

in this issue:

  • Fact Checking Sites
  • A Nursing Home for Sex Workers
  • Social Media Downside--A Possible Answer
  • About a Refugee Selling Sex
  • GMOs Technology and Indusgrial Food Production
  • Good News in Public Health
  • To Ponder On

Fact Checking Sites

 In these days where so many seem to be challenged by facts and where truth can be at a deficit, it is helpful to have a few fact checking sites at our disposal. Here are  5 that are, as far as I can tell, among the most reliable.

www.factcheck.org

www.politifact.org

www.snopes.com

www.opensecrets.org

www.mediabiasfactcheck.com

there is also the Washington Post blog Fact Check, the Sunlight Foundation, the Poynter Institute, among others that can be trusted.

A Nursing Home for Sex Workers

In many countries once sex workers are no longer desirable enough to work, they end up destitute and homeless. Carmen Munoz saw that, and a sex worker herself she was not only touched by their plight she wanted to prevent this from happening to her. Her own story Continue reading

A Larger View

A Commentary On How Current Events Reflect— Or Not—Our Search For Higher Values

  • Volume XXII
  • No. 1
  • January/February
  • Bulletin of The Inner/Outer Partnership

in this issue:

  • The Fight Against Deportation
  • Antibiotics Immuinity
  • Trump's Victory and Trumps' Ideas
  • White Nationalists--TheChain's Weak Link
  • For Profit Colleges Redux?
  • Fear and Fears
  • To Ponder On

The Fight Against Deportation

There’s already the outline of a movement to fight whatever the Trump administration may do about deportation.  Several Ivy League universities including Harvard, are making plans to protect the students there illegally, some young people in the US since childhood. The Catholic Bishops have asked Trump to rethink his planned deportation policy. Cardinal Jose Gomez, head of the Los Angeles diocese has already expressed his opposition to deportation. There’s also the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, Charlie Beck, who declared that deporting people is not the job of the police. The Los Angeles Unified School district has also reaffirmed that its campuses are safe zones, that is places where immigration agents are not welcomed.. Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C. along with several others cities—32 so far in California, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut and several other states—are sanctuary cities, that is cities where people here illegally are not prosecuted just for being here illegally. While it’s not a guarantee and the concept has no legal standing, it nevertheless indicates that these cities are and will be more welcoming to illegal immigrants. There are already several churches Continue reading

A Larger View

A Commentary On How Current Events Reflect— Or Not—Our Search For Higher Values

  • Volume XXI
  • No. 6
  • November/December
  • Bulletin of The Inner/Outer Partnership

in this issue:

  • Hacked E-Mails, Leaks and Transparency
  • Refugee Children
  • Gun Ownership: A New Picture
  • Human Trafficking: From Nigeria to Paris
  • Forced Catheterization
  • Medecins Sans Frontieres: A Lesson in Principle
  • To Ponder On

 Hacked E-Mails, Leaks and Transparency

Are we enabling hackers? Every time  someone is hacked, not only is the fact known, but what is hacked is made public. Sure the gossipy part of us reads what Colin Powell had to say about Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. But do we actually need to know what he said? Is that truly newsworthy? What cause has been advanced? The ratings of certain news outlets or the voyeuristic part of us? Same thing when Sony was hacked a while back. Careers were lost over it,  but was it necessary for us to know what celebrity said about what executive? The media make no distinction between what is relevant and what is not. Similarly they make no distinction between leaks, which are at times legitimate, that is when they have no axe to grind, and hacks. In the personality base media age, it is tempting to go for the lowest denominator—one way our culture has gotten to be the way it is—but that does not mean it is right, or constructive. Indications are that Continue reading

A Larger View

A Commentary On How Current Events Reflect— Or Not—Our Search For Higher Values

  • Volume XXI
  • No. 5
  • September/October
  • Bulletin of The Inner/Outer Partnership

in this issue:

  • "Survival of the Nicest"
  • Trafficked Children And "The Ugly truth"
  • Implicit Bias
  • Food Waste And The Cult of Perfection
  • About a Child Predator
  • Nate Parker And The Issue of Rape
  • To Ponder On

“Survival of The Nicest”

I ran across “ Survival of the Nicest” (published by The Experiment in 2014) at least a year ago and then somehow forgot about it until I read about it again in a newsletter I receive. It’s not the kind of book one should forget, it speaks about how altruism could actually help human kind with its struggles. Its full subtitle is “How Altruism made us Humans & Why It Pays to Get Along.” You may not read this book, but regardless you ought to know its thesis. It is written by a science writer and PhD in biophysics, Stefan Klein,  and looks at how  the idea of evolution is helped by our ability to cooperate, share and be generous, and this not only in humans but in other species of  the animal kingdom. He addresses how our social nature leads to our ability to adapt and succeed. He suggests that while the ideas of survival of the fittest may work in the short term, in the long run it is survival of the nicest that should make us get ahead. He cites examples from nature and tries to answer questions such as what motivates humans  to help others, does unselfishness exists and why are some individuals more altruistic than others?

Next time the news, people’s behavior, or circumstances around us remind us of Continue reading