Culver City Observer -

Peanuts Is The Way To Go


By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

I just finished reading the Journal of the American Medical Association’s “Internal Medicine” report published online March 2, 2015. Briefly, Vanderbilt Medical School looked at data of 72,000 Americans and 135,000 Chinese and found those who ate the most peanuts lived longer than those who ate the fewest.

The House of Representatives on May 13, 2015 voted overwhelmingly to end the federal government’s bulk collection of telephone records, and then it was up to the Senate. However, this NSA provision expired when the Senate failed to act within the deadline so it appears that bulk collection is over. But maybe not. There is talk that the government may be seeking to reauthorize this program.

As reported in the New York Times on May 14 those who drink a moderate amount of coffee, three to five cups each day, have a lower risk for stroke, heart problems and cardiovascular disease. Also, coffee consumption (black, no cream or sugar) was associated with a lower risk for type 2 diabetes, liver cancer and Parkinson’s, and indicated a potential protective effect against Alzheimer’s.

Federal prosecutors and the Justice Department announced in March that they would no longer pursue civil asset forfeiture without a criminal charge or evidence of criminal activity. As I was told, our government, upon searching and then finding a large amount of cash on a person, would allege it was from drugs, take the money and not give it back.

The Treasury Department said on Tuesday May 12 that the April budget surplus was $156.7 billion, up from $106.9 billion a year earlier. Also, remember Governor Brown was doing back flips over dozens of wheelbarrows full of what was once our money. Now that Culver City Unified School District is getting a large super duper check from Sacramento they should be able to hang it up on that other bond issue, but they will not because they need gold-plated lawn mowers.

Some people with cystic fibrosis might be helped by a drug just okayed by the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee. The FDA is supposed to decide by July 5. One concern is the modest effectiveness of the drug soon to be called Orkambi.

I just bet you thought taxes in California were crazy, but take a look at Maryland where Governor Hogan signed a bill recently repealing the rain tax which forced local jurisdictions to collect a storm water remediation fee from homeowners.

Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors appeared ready to create an independent group to oversee the Sheriff’s department regarding citizen complaints and shootings by the deputies.

In the June issue of “This Old House” there’s reference to a house located in Neponset, Illinois. It’s a two story with three bedrooms, one bath and 1,740 square feet. Solid foundation, but the house needs a lot of work – the plumbing and electrical need updating. $8,900 is the full price. Contact Kyle Graham, (309) 525-1111.

It just seems more and more of us are having sinus problems. We get to the doctor’s office and he/she reaches for the Rx pad. Twenty minutes later the pharmacist hands you some antibiotics, but these meds are effective on bacteria and not on a virus. Finally, help is almost here, thanks to the Oho State University Wexner Medical Center, they have developed a cotton swab, your doctor runs it in and out of your nose, and five minutes later the doctor knows what you have and gives you the best medicine available. This magical version of a Q-tip should be on the market in three years.

I read the news release from the Oxnard School District that claims refinancing some of its bonds will save taxpayers $1.6 million. Homeowners will save an average of $47 over the remaining life of the bonds; not much, but it’s something.

The Associated Press reports that Kirk Odom was convicted of a 1981 rape and robbery after a woman identified him as her attacker and an FBI specialist testified hair on her nightgown was consistent with hair on Odom’s head.

DNA testing 30 years later affirmed what Odom long had maintained. The hair wasn’t his; neither was the semen left on the pillowcase and robe.

It’s just another example of flawed forensic science from the pre-DNA era, a simmering problem that now appears far more widespread than initially thought. A new disclosure by the FBI that experts gave erroneous testimony on hair analysis in more than 250 trials before the year 2000 suggests the number of innocent people wrongly convicted could rise dramatically.

It was in February that Sacramento raised the state gasoline tax from 18 to 38 cents per gallon. That’s right, doubled it with a stroke of the pen. Soon it will be Washington’s turn, but that’s another article. Check out Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, who recently proposed raising their state gas tax in 2015 by just two cents per gallon and an additional two cents each year going forward. To those who have asked about Iowa, Governor Terry Branstad is considering raising the state gas tax from 22 cents per gallon or letting each county vote for a one percent sales tax to be used solely on that county’s road improvements.

For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in that website's search box.


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