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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘alcohol’

Israel’s Tax Hikes Help Cure Smoking and Drinking

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Finance Minister Yair Lapid raised taxes – again – on cigarettes and alcohol in July, and there already is a change in consumption habits of Israelis, according to a marketing report cited by Globes.

The survey showed that 44 percent of those drink alcohol have reduced their intake, while 60 percent of smokers puff less. The C.A. Marketing Information Institute said that its survey covered a month before the tax hikes took effect and a month afterwards.

The liquor tax hike upped the price of Arak by more than 20 percent, with the tax increases focusing on drinks like Arak, which have a high level of alcohol.

The cigarette tax rose by 18 percent.

The bill for alcohol dropped by more than 20 percent, to an average of less than $40 per person. More significantly, the number of drinkers who said they kicked the habit rose from 17 percent before the reform to 29 percent afterwards.

Five percent of the Israelis Jews told the market survey that they stopped smoking after the tax hike, and one-third said they smoked fewer cigarettes.

The big drawback for Lapid is that he may have killed the goose that has laid the golden egg of reliable tax revenues, but it is worth cost by improving Israel’s health and longevity. Two long-term benefits might be less expenditures on health care and higher productivity at work, as well as a better family life.

Jewish Scientists: Block Memory of Alcohol Use and Cure the Habit?

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Research teams headed by a Hebrew University graduate and Tel Aviv University researchers have suggested that an experiment on rats showed that blocking their memory of alcohol use helped them break the habit.

Memories of addiction often cause drinkers to return to their habit when they are aroused by the smell of alcohol, creating pattern difficult to break.

Dorit Ron, a neuroscientist at the University of California at San Francisco and a graduate of Hebrew University, led her team’s research that disrupted memories of rats that had been exposed to alcohol.

The scientists, along with a team from Tel Aviv University, identified a potential molecular target in the brains of rats that might be able to be used to help cure alcoholics.

Their study, published this week in Nature Neuroscience4, explained that rats became problem drinkers after spending seven weeks exposed to a choice of water or a mixture of water and 20% alcohol.

Ron said, “It’s pretty amazing. Over time, you can see they develop a strong preference for alcohol.”

The researchers then took the alcohol away from the rodents, but then gave them a drop a day of a liquid that had a slight taste and odor of alcohol. The rats that also received a drug to inhibit memory showed a lesser tendency to go back to the booze.

Mezuzah Firebug Remembers Nothing from that 2-Day Bender

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Ruben Ubiles, 35, suspected of setting fire to more than a dozen mezuzahs during a two-day hate crime spree, told a NY Daily News reporter he has no alibi “because he can’t remember a thing.”

“I’m nothing but a lost boy in a man’s body,” a tearful Ruben Ubiles told the Daily News in an interview conducted inside Rikers Island. “I don’t hate nobody, I don’t even remember. . . . It don’t make no sense.”

According to police, Ubiles can be seen on security camera recordings inside two buildings in Williamsburg where 11 mezuzahs were torched last Monday, and another on Tuesday.

“I don’t remember burning nothing. It doesn’t make sense. Why would I do that?” Ubiles repeated.

Ubiles, the father of two, said his lack of memory could be explained by his lavish use over the previous weekend of methadone, cocaine, marijuana and pills, and—my personal favorite—lots and lots of alcohol.

“I was clean since February, and then three weeks ago I went back to getting high,” he said. “I’ve been in jail since I was 16. I’m tired of this cycle, it’s killing me.”

Ubiles was arrested Wednesday morning, when police found him hiding under a bed in his girlfriend’s apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He was taken to a hospital because he was too high on drugs to answer questions.

Police told the News that the suspect’s rap sheet has 52 previous arrests, including drug and assault charges.

An American Tragedy in Steubenville

Monday, March 18th, 2013

A significant number of American values failures came together to create the tragedy in Stuebenville, where two teenage High School football stars, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl.

Foremost among them is the American tragedy of sexualizing teen girls at an age where they are not yet women. Madonna sexualized herself in her mid twenties. Brittney Spears brought the age down to about eighteen. Not young enough for you? Miley Cyrus reduced it further to sixteen. One wonders when our culture will feel that even sixteen is not a young enough age to sexually exploit girls.

Then there is the issue of sports as an emerging religion where those gifted to be athletes feel a sense of entitlement that often has them crossing lines to their own detriment. The idea that two High School football stars would think it acceptable to post pictures of a nude sixteen year old to their friends on social media shows how they thought the normal rules did not apply them. And this would be true even if there weren’t the far more serious conviction on rape. How sad that two young men have ruined their lives and done so much damage to a defenseless victim.

Next is the growing culture of alcohol abuse by minors. Alcohol played a central role in this unfolding tragedy with the essential argument on the part of the prosecution that the girl in question was so drunk there was no possible way she could give consent. One wonders why our youth are so inclined to heavy drink. Is it mere experimentation or is something deeper at work? Are they already, at so young an age, as unhappy as adults who have been battered by life and are therefore drinking negative emotions away? After all, no one in America really portrays the teen years as a bowl of cherries.

I passed my later teen years in an all-male environment in Yeshiva where the focus of my life was study. I certainly was a lot happier than the co-ed environment in which I was immersed in my early teen years where peer pressure, popularity among the girls, and a general self-consciousness made my life less enjoyable than it should have been.

Then there is the general tragedy of the absence of responsible parenting in America. The biggest question for me in this heartrending story was where were the parents? Where were they when the three teens left one party at 12:30 am to go to another? Where were they to monitor extreme drunkenness on the part of people not old enough to vote?

Many African-American young men are not raised with a father’s guiding hand. I was astonished, therefore, at the honesty displayed by Malik Richmond’s father, Nathaniel, when he said in a CNN interview that he had walked over to his son right after the guilty verdict and told him he loved him, essentially for the very first time. “I haven’t been involved in Malik’s life like I should have been at those early years. And I want to stress that parents should be more involved in their child’s life… be a parent and not a friend.”

No one is better qualified to address this issue than President Obama who also grew up without his father and is by all accounts a very loving and involved parent himself. The President has addressed the subject only lightly, but it’s time that he make this an all-out campaign.

But the greatest tragedy made manifest in Steubenville is the attitude of teenage men toward girls. Immanuel Kant wrote that the definition of immorality is treating a fellow human being as a means rather than an end. The abomination of American slavery was that a white child was taught to see a black child as a walking bale of cotton. Slavery trained a white man to see a black woman as lacking the same spark of the divine that lent him his humanity. When he looked upon the woman, she was stripped of her own dreams, her own opinions, her own aspirations. She was nothing but an extension of the white slave owner’s drives and ambitions. Like a third arm she existed to simply to do his chores.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/america-rabbi-shmuley-boteach/an-american-tragedy-in-steubenville/2013/03/18/

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