California Illegal Healthcare and Vintage Wine

Grind for June 15th
“Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.”

– Voltaire

Say What?!

The Headline

California wants to give illegal immigrants healthcare at the expense of its legal citizens

The Grind

California is a “sanctuary state,” which means it has policies in place to prevent local agencies from cooperating with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – even in cases where illegals commit misdemeanors.

This week, state lawmakers approved a proposal to give illegal immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25 access to Medi-Cal, an insurance program for low-income families.

The measure is part of the latest state budget, which lawmakers have until June 15th to pass.

The Details

To pay for the $98 million plan, lawmakers are considering raising taxes on legal residents who refuse to purchase health insurance.

The tax is similar to the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate,” which forced Americans without health insurance to pay a fee.

Supporters insist that healthcare is a “fundamental right,” while opponents view the bill as an unfair tax on American citizens who don’t have health insurance.

The controversial proposal is expected to make it through the Democrat-controlled State Legislature and be signed by the state’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom.

Earlier this year, Newsom rejected a proposal to offer Medi-Cal coverage to residents over the age of 65 because it was “too expensive.”

Drink Up

The Headline

How the wine industry is preventing natural selection

The Grind

According to a study published this week in Nature Plants, many of the wines we enjoy today are almost genetically identical to those enjoyed in ancient times.

This is strange considering the fact that most organisms evolve over time.

To determine the genetic lineages of common wines, researchers collected 28 grape seeds from ancient wine-making sites in France and tested the seeds’ DNA.

Sixteen of the grapes were within one or two generations of modern varieties, and at least one was identical.

“It’s incredibly likely that someone 1,000 years ago was drinking something that’s pretty much genetically identical to what we drink today,” says study co-author Nathan Wales.

The Details

The grapes’ unchanged DNA is the result of “vegetative propagation,” a growing method whereby farmers insert dormant buds into existing roots to create clones of the mother plant.

“[These grapevines have] been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, but everything around [them] has continued to change,” says Zoë Migicovsky, a Canadian researcher who specializes in apple and grape genetics.

The downside with vegetative propagation is that it leaves plants susceptible to modern pests, pathogens, and weather.

“If these varietals are genetically identical all over the world…it means they’re all susceptible to the same pests and diseases as well,” says Migicovsky. “We [will] need to use more chemicals and sprays in growing.”

The wine industry in Nova Scotia has already been “devastated” by changing weather patterns,” she adds. “We’re going to see more and more of that now.”

To save the wine industry, we might have to abandon the classics and embrace new grapes that are able to tolerate the current environment.

Did you know… Boys who have unusual first names are more likely to have mental problems than boys with conventional names. Girls don’t seem to have this problem.