A HANDFUL OF CASH MAKES THE MEDICINE GO DOWN
A severe but underappreciated American drug problem (sometimes deadly and often expensive) is patients’ failure to take prescribed medications, even to save their own lives (such as with anti-coagulants or cholesterol-regulating statins). In recent pilot programs, according to a June New York Times report, compliance rates have been significantly improved–by giving patients money ($50 to $100 a month, sometimes more) if they remember to take their drugs. Data show that, indeed, such compliance subsidies reduce society’s overall health care costs by preventing expensive hospital admissions. Beyond health care costs is the social benefit when violent schizophrenics take their meds and refrain from attacking people.
ATTENTION ARIZONA LATINOS: BUY SQUIRREL COSTUMES
Arizona (viewed by some as hard-hearted for its April law stepping up its vigilance for illegal immigrants) showed a soft side recently, implementing a $1.25 million federal grant that it believes will save the lives of at least five squirrels a year. The state’s 250 endangered Mount Graham red squirrels risk becoming roadkill on Route 366 near Pima, and the state is building a rope bridge for them to add to several existing tunnels.
At a June concert in Australia’s Sydney Opera House, American musicians Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed performed Anderson’s 20-minute, very-high-pitched composition, “Music for Dogs,” an arrangement likely to have been largely unmelodious to humans, who generally cannot hear such high pitches, but of more interest to dogs, who can. (Dogs were permitted in the audience, but news reports were inconclusive about their level of enjoyment.)
AUTO-TUNING FOR ALLAH
Many jihadist recruiting pitches are dry and pious, but in May, the Somali activist Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, 26, who was born in Alabama, began streaming Internet rap “music” videos to encourage warrior sign-ups. (Sample verse: “It all started out in Afghanistan/When we wiped the oppressors off the land/The Union crumbled and tumbled/Humbled, left them mumbled/Made a power withdraw and cower.”) Actually, there was no music but merely al-Amriki singing, presumably because in the version of Islam favored by Somali jihadists, “music” is not permitted.
In May, the chief media spokesman of the Nye County, Nevada, sheriff’s office, Det. David Boruchowitz, announced to the press the arrest of a man charged with burglary and assault. The suspect’s name, he reported, was Det. David Boruchowitz. The chief investigator on the case, Det. Boruchowitz told reporters, was Det. David Boruchowitz. (Three days later, the charges were dropped, but that announcement was made by someone else.)
In Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, it is illegal for men and women to publicly reveal their genitals and for women to reveal their breasts, but Police Chief Keith Banks, confronted in June with complaints about some beachgoers flouting their shapely breasts, said there was nothing he could do. Banks said the offenders were actually biological males in the midst of hormonal transgendering. As Banks explained, “They had male genitalia. Therefore, they were not guilty of a crime.”
BEATING THE SYSTEM
In April, Prince Edward Island (Canada) judge John Douglas acquitted minor league hockey player Chris Doyle of assaulting his former girlfriend, though Doyle had arrived at her home uninvited, had annoyed and berated her and would not leave. The girlfriend was injured when Doyle punched a door, causing it to smash against her face, but Judge Douglas accepted that Doyle honestly did not know she was behind the door. Said the judge, “If he was charged with being a colossal asshole, I would find him guilty. Of ‘assault causing bodily harm,’ I find him not guilty.”
MUST BE THE VODKA
On television in May, the governor of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, recounted that he had been abducted in a spaceship in 1997 and forced to communicate with aliens telepathically, and later entertained some in his apartment. One opponent seized the moment and called for an inquiry into whether Ilyumzhinov had telepathically spilled government secrets while under the aliens’ spell. Then, former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov announced he would challenge Ilyumzhinov for the position of head of the World Chess Federation (which Ilyumzhinov has been since 1993), but yet another Russian chess icon, Arkady Dvorkovich (who is President Medvedev’s chief economic adviser), said he still backed Ilyumzhinov because of the latter’s superior managerial talent