Friday, July 15, 2016

Politics as I see it

Image result for Hillary Clinton
This has been the most exasperating election season I can ever remember. 
That wasn’t the way it started out for me. Early on I was excited to see such a great field of Democrats vying for President.

Republican politics has just never appealed to me. 
It would take a pretty great person for me to vote for a Republican. It has happened in the past, but not very often. I just do not share the same philosophy with the party of ‘bigger is always better.’  This year’s candidates almost seemed like jokesters to me. I could hardly relate to any one of them. One seemed worse then the other, and there were a whole host of them. To me, the worst of the bunch were Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz. Not only did none of them impress me, but they aggravated and annoyed me.

I admit I was partial to Hillary Clinton at the start. In simple terms, I was excited about the prospect of the first female President, but I also felt that Hillary has worked hard for the opportunity to serve as President. I felt she was deserving and completely prepared for the job. These are tough times, so I am not sure there is ample time to break-in a new President. It really would be advantageous to have a candidate hit the ground running, so to speak.

Despite support for Hillary, I related completely to the words of Bernie Sanders. He echoes my own feelings about what is wrong with government. I know I’m not alone there. I have plenty of friends and family members that have also been taken with the notion of a Sanders presidency. Lots of people out there “feel the Bern.”

I was also pretty impressed with Martin O’Malley, who I felt could have easily succeeded Barack Obama. I’d like to see him advance his political career. He seems to share the kind of common sense that is necessary to deal with today’s problems. And, he is a good speaker, something the American people need in a leader.

A very important primary election
I admit that due to some personal problems that have kept me very busy, the inability to connect with the clerk’s office to obtain an absentee ballot, and being in a quandary about who to support, I admit, for the first time, publicly, that I did not vote in this state’s primary election.

The primary is over now and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic presumptive nominee, though who knows how secure that position will be, with every effort on the Republican side and even some on her own team, trying to destroy her. As I write this, I see increasing animosity toward Clinton by the Republicans, but also by the folks that support Sanders. Have they just finally been swayed by the relentless attacks by the GOP?

It is time to think hard about the future
With the national convention where a nominee will be officially named, this primary season is now at a crossroads. It is impossible for anyone to make a prediction, based on the news, lack of news, lies and innuendo, too many political pundits—both professional and amateur—as well way too many opinions on social media, television, and elsewhere. The information available is as varied as it can possibly be.

Bernie Sanders has finally endorsed Clinton for President, but that may not be enough since his supporters are so vehemently opposed to a Hillary Clinton Presidency. They still hold out hope that she will fail and he can be whisked in at the last minute to become the nominee.

But there is another spoiler entering the fray—Jill Stein—the Green Party Candidate for President. I have nothing against her, and in fact like what she espouses, but feel she is nothing more than a stick for which to stir the political soup pot. A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Donald Trump. This is still a country with two parties. Any third party candidate is a spoiler. Stein will take votes from Clinton, not from Trump. The result could be disastrous, if enough people vote for her. That is what the GOP is hoping for. Siphon enough votes away from Clinton, so they can get Trump to win the contest.

Haven’t we learned this lesson in the past? 
There is a dangerous game being played in Democratic politics and it may serve to blow up in everyone’s face. If Hillary Clinton is not elected, there is only one alternative—Donald Trump as President. No thinking person wants that to happen.

No candidate is perfect 
While I do not agree with Hillary Clinton 100% of the time, she still will have my vote. I refuse to pick her apart by policies—policies that are continuing to evolve—when there is a big picture to look at. We must look at the total package, and not be dazzled by the pretty ribbon tying it together on the outside.

Some people don’t seem to understand that. Often times, folks are just one-issue voters. Some voters are completely inexperienced about how the political system works. Many of these are students and young people that have never seen how long it takes to fight for a cause. Others are complete idealists, refusing to see beyond their own beliefs. There is no compromise for them. They see the world through black and white with no gray area. If there are enough of these kinds of voters, we will certainly face a Donald Trump administration in our future. In my view, that would be a disaster of epic proportion, not just for our country, but for other countries of the world.
While I understand the Bernie Sanders movement, and the enthusiasm he brought to the table, there is no reason to believe the movement is done. It certainly can continue from a seat in the United States Senate. Government and politics are slow-moving. A political revolution, which was promised, is not something that happens overnight. These things take time, nurturing, and planning before they are carried out.

My problem with Bernie Sanders has always been that he has never been tested. We’ve seen plenty of Bernie amid like-minded people, but what would happen to him in a general election with the likes of a Donald Trump, where insults and manufactured information was recklessly revealed on every television station multiple times per day. Anyone can buy an ad. It doesn’t matter if it is truthful. Most times, it completely isn’t. There is no truth in advertising, especially in political advertising. We do know that Hillary can handle it. She has withstood it for decades.

Bernie has painted himself into a corner, by claiming to be a socialist without enough explanation. So many dismissed him as a crackpot, because of their own ignorance and not by anything he did. He did little to educate them.

Let’s give the woman a chance
So much has been said about Hillary and her shifting positions. I’m a woman, so I understand that nothing is ever set in stone. As new information comes to light, even our long held positions can be tweaked, tempered, or even shifted. Everything is a work in progress. Nothing is so perfect that it doesn’t need to be re-thought and re-thought again. We live in an ever-changing world. Things change. I caution against judging Hillary Clinton by the good ole boys of the past. We’ve never had a woman in the White House and it could make all the difference.

I don’t believe all the ugly things I’ve heard about Hillary Clinton, because frankly, there is never any proof—just a bunch of hot air—by people with an axe to grind. People generally don’t like strong, independent women. I do. I want to see Hillary succeed. I want to see what she can do. I think that like Barack Obama surprised some of his adversaries, Hillary Clinton will too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Better to build bridges than to build walls


I realize it has been some time since I posted here, and for that I apologize. Truth is, I've been trying not to be a writer of late. 
Writing has been so important to me for the most recent half of my life, which translates into about 30 plus years. I've always used writing to express my hopefulness and positive inspiration. Thing is, there isn't always hope and inspiration has two sides.


...which brings me to the state of the country and the most recent primary election.

I'm an avowed Democrat, only because I believe in the philosophy the Democratic Party espouses, even if it doesn't always live up to its own values. Then again, as much as we all try, who does? It is hard to hold firm to everything we believe in when outside forces often times make that so difficult.

That said, my inspiration this morning, is a mixed bag. 

Image result for public images of Hillary ClintonOn one hand, I was thrilled to see Hillary Clinton secure the Democratic nomination for President. First and foremost, I'm proud  of the continuation of a hard-fought progression of this historic undertaking. Woman have fought long and hard for equality, but that doesn't mean they are the same as men. In fact, the differences between women and men and how they think is precisely why I wanted to see a woman in the White House. Equality does not now, nor ever did mean that men and woman are the same. It is just all about fair treatment under the law.

For those who despise Hillary Clinton, I'm sorry you feel that way. There have been stories made up about the Clintons since they entered the national stage. So many of them have been debunked, fallen away like too many foul balls that never made it over the plate. I've heard the criticisms, and I can't help but wonder how many of them are simply made up by men of the opposing party who seem to be unable to cope with a strong woman in a leadership position. Misogyny has proven to be very real, even in this day and age.

Consider the fact that no one, perhaps not even Hillary herself, knows just what she will do or how she will react, when it is she who sits at that desk in the oval office. I don't feel she can be judged necessarily, based on her job as First Lady, past votes in the U.S. Senate or even her deeds as Secretary of State. She was always a part of someone else's administration. It is far different to take someone else's orders than to be the one giving them and being responsible for how and by whom they are carried out.

What president has ever been seen with prior crystal ball clarity, even when it entails their own policies and procedures? Things happen! Pre-planning isn't necessarily the name of the game when it comes to governing a country. The game does, however, require experience, intelligence, ability, and a knowledge of every consequence. The U.S. President has to be able to react in a moment's notice, and with judgment, strength, and understanding, to every disaster and potential crisis thrown at them.

I don't know of anyone on the national stage that is as prepared as Hillary Clinton to do that.

That brings me to the other side of my inspirational need to write about this primary election.

Image result for public images of Bernie SandersWhile Sen. Bernie Sanders has energized many folks, especially young people, his job is far from over. History will not remember that he held huge rallies and scored millions of votes in a primary election. History will remember him for what he does next.

In my view, it is time for him to have a teaching moment with his followers. Many of them are young and inexperienced. They don't know the history, and have likely never participated in national politics before. I would bet most never even participated in their own local politics either.

Bernie said all the right things. I felt the Bern at first as well. I believe all the things he believes. It was so gratifying to hear someone on the national stage and running for President who espoused the same things I believe. It was like he spoke directly from my own soul. But then I started to question how he could get them done. I've seen how government operates. It is a long, drawn out process. It is like the U.S. government operates on dial-up while the rest of us connect at higher and higher speeds. While I am still hopeful that Bernie can get done the things he is passionate about, and that I am passionate about too, it could never be as President. Barack Obama's inability to get things done with an obstructionist Congress is a perfect example of why Sanders would fail.

Sanders has never been tested in the way that Clinton has been tested. The GOP never took him serious enough to try to annihilate his character or demean his very existence as they have with the Clintons. We don't know how Sanders would react to that type of unfair, unethical scrutiny. The opposing media never hammered on his every word. Bernie Sanders was an unknown in that regard.

Bernie Sanders could very well beat Donald Trump in the election, but there is so much more to governing than campaigning.

Bernie has done little to change the membership in Congress or help individual governors get elected. The GOP and especially the tea-party wing of the party has to go. That is part of what a political party does. Bernie has simply not played the game. To a political party, the election of senators, representatives, governors and mayors is almost as important to the operation of a united country as electing a President.

Many of the criticism of the Democratic Party are by some who have never participated in it before. If I were Bernie, I would challenge all my supporters to participate in their own local elections, to run for office themselves if they feel strongly enough, and to study how a local political system operates. That is how things change, from the bottom up. Young people who are interested in how things operate and are inspired to change it, need to stick with it.

There is no place in politics for instant gratification. If young people aren't willing to start at the bottom and work their way up, they don't understand how it works. If real change is going to happen in this country, it will not happen in one election cycle. If this really is a movement, then it is imperative that it continue.

My hope is that Bernie Sanders and all his supporters continue to stay active and involved. Reach out and work with the next President of the United States to make the changes we all want and need.

The most important thing Hillary Clinton said when she secured the delegates needed to clinch the nomination Tuesday, was that it was better to build bridges than to build walls. While she aimed that remark toward Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee she will likely face in November, it is true for all people in all aspects of life.

Isn't it time all Americans come together and fight for what we all want? Don't we all just want a better country and a better way of life for everyone?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Just one Hillary Clinton Criticism

Every day the politics of this country become more and more inane. I think it is time I begin writing about it, because even if no one else ever reads what I write, I will have the satisfaction of purging some of the raging feelings politics in 2015.

Just one Hillary Clinton criticism
So much negativity is being said about Hillary Clinton, even from people who have and should support her. I believe it is time for a woman to occupy the White House. Hillary is the woman who can get it done because becoming President of the United States isn't a walk in the park. It takes experience, tenacity, intellect, and so much more, including guts. It has been interesting to watch the evolution of Hillary since her early days as First Lady. She has matured into a power house of knowledge about the world, the government, the voters, and above all her opponents. She has come a long way from baking cookies in the White House kitchen just to prove a point, to the politically-savvy woman she is today. Hillary is qualified to be the Commander and Chief of this country for many reasons, but most of all, because she's been through the fire and come out the other side. She is stronger, smarter, and more able to fend off her foes. This race will be interesting to watch.

In trying to satisfy my urge to communicate through Facebook posts, I found that to no longer suffice. There seems to be so much that needs saying these days. Besides, I just can't help myself. 

I was inspired by a Facebook meme I saw this morning depicting Hillary Clinton talking to Henry Kissinger. It was apparently a piece by Reverb Press, an online news and lifestyle magazine, entitled "Why Did a War Criminal Advise Clinton For Years?" In it, a litany of questions were asked about which of his policies she supports.

I'd like to know why is there an assumption that she supports any of them. 

This publication appears to have a liberal slant, but it could have come from the other side just as easily. 

The piece outlines how the dastardly Kissinger enabled Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and protected Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. 

"We know thanks to the posted emails from the Clinton server that she was in regular contact with Kissinger," the webzine stated, adding, "We know that she considers him a friend thanks to her review of his book last year."

The assumptions are troubling, but what really troubles me is the conclusion, "That Clinton would willingly interact with the man who engineered the genocide in Bangladesh should give us all pause."

These kinds of assumptions harm our politics, malign good people, and rev up a frenzy among unintelligent, non-thinking, reactionary masses of people who hate Hillary Clinton for whatever is their reason du jour.

Can't we just stop it? It is so frustrating to see such jump-to-conclusion journalism with nothing to back it up but assumptions. I'd personally like to see the motive behind these allegations that somehow Hillary has a mutual agreement with Henry Kissinger just because of a few past interactions. The reality is that this woman was the Secretary of State, charged with the handling of all the foreign affairs of this country. She has to interact with everyone who may provide insight, information, or informed opinion available to her. That can't be an easy task, given the climate in today's world filled with so much upheaval, particularly when it comes to the Middle East. I'm sure it is a bitter pill to take, to have to talk to people you agree or disagree with on a regular basis. But that is how it is done! Keep your friends close; your enemies closer. 

Whatever happened to giving the benefit of the doubt, trusting in judgement, refusal to burn bridges, and recognizing that Regular Joe just isn't privy to all the information needed to make an informed opinion on this or any subject. The point is that to run a country, or in Clinton's case, to manage its international affairs, all the information available is not just fair game, but may be vital and necessary. To discount any one person or bit of data or factual truth is to fail. To do the best you can, which is all I believe Hillary Clinton ever did in any job she has ever or will ever hold, there can be no less. 

To make a real judgement, it takes facts, as many as can be obtained, from all angles. I would expect nothing less of her than to seek out friends, enemies, and all parties involved in decision-making before a rush to judgement is ever made. Decisions must be products of calculated thought without speculation.

Regular Joe doesn't seem to get that. And stringing words together does not a journalist make. Regular Joe doesn't get that either. Too many people are believing too many things that simply aren't true based on what they read on the Internet. 

I don't know if Hillary Clinton considers Henry Kissinger her friend. I really don't care. Does it really matter? As long as she is qualified and does the best job she can do, that is all that really matters. I am not in her close circle of friends. In fact, I've never met her. So I don't care about her personal life. I do care about the decisions she makes that affect the country I call home. And if Henry Kissinger can giver her insight into doing that, great! And I believe she will do the best she can to make the right decisions that are best for the U.S. of A., as I believe she has always tried to do. 

Folks need to slow down and think about what they read. It seems we could all take a lesson from Hillary Clinton. Don't discount information, no matter where it comes from. And don't believe everything you see and only half of what you read. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Already sick of 2016? There is a long way to go!

English: Barack Obama delivering his electoral...
English: Barack Obama delivering his electoral victory speech on Election Night ´08, in Grant Park, Chicago. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It is rather amazing that it is only the summer of 2015 and already the political season seems to be in full swing. In a few short weeks, debates will be held. Well, they aren't really debates; they are more like Fox News' idea of who they'd like to see compete.

In my view, everything that has to do with Fox News and every "candidate" that has anything to do with them should simply be considered satire. Who in their right mind would believe any of the drivel they "report?" I suppose the optimum phrase here is "right mind."

The only good thing I can see about this ever-earlier focus of news organizations on the upcoming election is that it has resulted in the country's dimmer switch on President Barack Obama. He's had enough of their attention, which isn't really attention at all; it is more like a negative obsession. Since the day he announced his run for office, so long ago, they have been criticizing, complaining, and making up whatever they like to discredit him. So, while the right-wing nut jobs have been rallying around Donald Trump, wondering how they can get a word in edgewise, Obama has been able to simply do his job.
English: This photo depicts Donald Trump's sta...
English: This photo depicts Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh, the Donald! These damn crazy Republicans are easily distracted by a well-placed media spotlight, especially when they all dance around it, hoping they can steer it their way.

It has been positively shameful how our President has been treated. Clearly, his racial makeup is responsible. Some folks just can't handle that a President of both black and white descent occupies the White House. I think this is evident, as the country seems as divided as it was in the 1860's.

Despite how long this election season has gotten, I do see a bright side. If nothing else, it will be an interesting one to watch.

I can't help but wonder if the next President will face similar scrutiny as the current one. I suspect that we ain't seen nothin' yet, especially if the next President happens to be the first female to hold the office. I suspect it very well could be. We will see all the misogynists come out of the woodwork. Equality is not something that is clearly understood in this country. It seems as though the bottom line is, if you aren't a wealthy white male, you just don't seem to count.

Republican field 

I don't mind admitting that I have very little respect for the Republicans in the field. In fact, I dislike most of them and would hate to see any of them as our 45th President. Surprisingly, there are now 33 declared Republican candidates with two more considered potential. I have never heard of some of them and can only hope they have better credentials and stronger positions than the ones that have already made a mark--or at the very least have name recognition.

Democratic field 

Even the Democratic field is much fuller than we are told by our friendly neighborhood reporters. There are about 16 declared candidates and others possibly waiting in the wings.

Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont
Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Republicans have the Donald. Democrats have Bernie. As much as I would love to see a Bernie Sanders Presidency; I mean this guy says everything I want to hear. I am not convinced that it is possible to elect him. As much as the Conservatives like the Donald, the liberals like Bernie. We have both wings of the Republicans and Democrats. While it is true that the county is divided, I believe the majority still lies between the two. That is why I just don't think Bernie will be elected. There is also a real fear factor. Democrats will do anything not to get another Republican in the White House. And, one of the most popular Democrats is running as well--Hillary Clinton.

The county has a real dislike for much of what is going on in the country. It has awakened an interest in many that never participated in the process before. Bad economic times touched lots of people too, as did unemployment, housing, poverty, and other society ills.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, January 2007
Hillary Rodham Clinton, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There have been other hot-button issues, like the legalization of same sex marriage, way too many mass shootings, insensitivity invoked by the Confederate flag, police shootings caught on video, part of the Voting Rights Act being struck down, the rise in income inequality, the war on women, the makeup of the Supreme Court., etc. More and more people in this country are being touched politically by one issue or another. So, who really knows which way the country is going.

Personally, I don't think things will run much farther amok than they already have. If the election were held tomorrow, I think Hillary Clinton would be our 45th President. But, we have a very long way to go. So, I for one plan to watch and see how it all plays out.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tipping my hat to Shonda Rhimes

English: This is the title screen from the ABC...

I am more than a little shocked at how many people refuse to grasp the fact that television is an entertainment medium, and not real life.

English: Patrick Dempsey at the presentation o...
Patrick Dempsey (Photo by Wikipedia)



This has been evident in the total meltdown of Grey's Anatomy fans after the untimely death of heart throb Derek Shepherd, played by Patrick Dempsey, who was killed in a traffic accident just minutes after he rescued victims of another wreck at the same location. Gotta love the irony!

My shock sounds pretty funny even to me. In fact, when I read what I just wrote, I'm a little surprised by it myself.

Lassie (1954 TV series)
One of my favorite TV shows Lassie (1954 TV series)
(Photo by Wikipedia)
I love television! Admittedly, I'm an addict. I grew up in the golden era of television, nurtured by the likes of I Love Lucy, the Carol Burnett Show, and my all-time favorite show, Lassie.

In addition to animal stories and variety shows, and daytime drama, I was always drawn to medical/emergency shows like ER, Rescue 8, Emergency, Trauma, and so many others over the years. It is no wonder that I have watched Grey's Anatomy since the day it started.

I too get emotionally invested in my television viewing. I don't miss a single line of dialogue, when a favorite character is on screen. As a writer, I know how important every word can be as a plot twists and turns throughout the story. Every word is a contribution.

I love a good story! When the writing is good, and in Grey's case it is far better than good, I empathize with the characters. I feel I know the people I see each week. I too was shocked by the death of this beloved character I had watched for 11 seasons. But life goes on in television, as it does in life. Ironically, in a television drama, the closer it is to real life, the better the show. If there is anything I despise, it is the 'all feel good all the time' model that television has been dabbling in for too long. Television is basically fantasy that mirrors real life. Something is terribly lost however when fantasy mirrors just more fantasy. The realism is the draw for me. I really hate all the dark fantasy that is filling the airwaves, but that is another blog post entirely.

So basically, instead of hating Shonda Rhimes, the brilliant creator/writer of Grey's Anatomy, I give her props. The outrage by fans merely serves to validate Rhimes' work. The hatefulness being expressed toward her is, in many ways, better than an winning an Emmy. Writers want to engage their audience. Rhimes certainly has done that. And, she has done it very well.

To the outraged fans who say they will never watch Grey's Anatomy again, I don't believe you. Who doesn't want to see how the doctors and nurses of Grey/Sloan Memorial Hospital fill the void left in their hearts by the loss of their beloved friend and colleague?

Kudos Shonda Rhimes. I can't wait to watch what you are thinking.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Dr. Oz's reputation is far more credible than his critics

Dr. Öz at ServiceNation 2008
Dr. Mahmet Oz
photo credit: Wikipedia)
The latest media feeding frenzy now centers on Dr. Mehmet Oz, a well-known, well-respected cardiothoracic surgeon who made a name for himself when he was first appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show more than a decade ago.

Since then, he has hosted his own show on ABC where he has delved into just about every health issue imaginable, explored even the most private ones, and offered expert medical advice to anyone who was interested.

"There are no embarrassing questions," he would tell his audience, as he urged viewers to share as much information as possible with their own family doctors.

Dr. Oz encouraged viewers to be aware of their own feces for changes in color and consistency in order to ward off diseases such as colon cancer. Oz underwent his own colonoscopy in an effort to assuage the fears of the dreaded test that can detect and potentially prevent early colon cancer.

He has long celebrated patients who have lost weight and encouraged many more to change their diets in favor of more healthy eating habits. He advocates for sexual intercourse as a normal, healthy, activity for adults.

Some of the topics he has broached have been controversial, outside the customary medical parameters.

Oz has been an advocate for traditional medicine to work in conjunction with alternatives. He is an advocate for patients, calling himself, "their cheerleader." He is not just another doctor who touts taking a pill and calling him in the morning.

But it appears he has ruffled a few feathers in the medical community. 

Doctors are not always the driving force behind personal medical decisions that drive health care. Pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry are becoming more entrenched in these decisions. There are millions of dollars at stake by complying with these industries. And, the close ties between business and government is not lost on those in the field. The FDA and USDA for example, drives the food industry, with complete control of the food that is regulated and therefore consumed in this country.

So, it stands to reason that anyone who questions the wisdom of widespread practices would be taken to task. So, while this is not the first time, Oz, who has created in a wrinkle in the system by urging individuals to think about the treatments they are using, has recently come under fire by other doctors closely aligned with the health care industry. They are calling for Dr. Oz to be fired from his faculty position at Columbia University. He is being called a quack and charlatan.

A letter, signed by Dr. Henry I. Miller of the Hoover Institutional at Stanford University says Oz "endangers patients and is a menace to public health." Miller went on to say that he doesn't believe Dr. Oz should be on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution.

Request denied!

Doug Levy, chief communications officer for Columbia University Medical Center, responded, "As I am sure you understand and appreciate, Columbia is committed to the principle of academic freedom and to upholding faculty members' freedom of expression for statements they make in public discussion."

He later clarified that the university planned no action against Oz because the university "does not regulate faculty engagement in public discourse."

This is political, pure and simple

From what I can tell, and I don't claim to be an expert, Dr. Oz is an advocate for his patients. He wants what he says he wants, for people to be the best they can be, when it comes to their health and with regard to their health care. 

His biggest critic is Dr. Henry I. Miller, the founding director of the Office of Biotechnology at the Food and Drug Administration. He is an advocate of genetic engineering of food sources, opposes an FDA mandate to label GMO foods, and has been critical of Dr. Oz's skepticism over the safety of Arctic apples, those that are genetically-modified to prevent them from turning brown after being cut into.

This isn't Miller's first go-around with Dr. Oz. In 2011, he went after Dr. Oz when Dr. Oz did a show that resulted in the identification of identified high levels of arsenic in apple juice. Oz was critical of FDA approval of this known health hazard. Two years later, the FDA proposed a limit for the amount of naturally-occurring arsenic in apple juice. 

Rather than weighing into the debate of the facts presented by these two professionals, all I can speak to is what I've noticed in the years I've watched Dr. Oz's television show. 

I've learned a great deal about coping with my own medical issues. I've been inspired by Dr. Oz's common sense approach to health care. I've learned what signs to look for in determining the severity of potential illnesses. Dr. Oz has offered important advice about the benefit of eating healthy food. I have taken some of his advice and at 63-years old, have never felt better in my life. I understand the benefits of healthy food choices and recognize that you really are what you eat.

Watching Dr. Oz has demystified the medical stigma, which makes it easier to talk to my family doctor about ailments. In short, a trip to the doctor is not so intimidating. I've learned the value of second opinions, prevention and cures, and questioning things I don't understand. I have learned to listen to what my body tells me. 

I see a value in watching an informative television show, especially one that is so enlightening about issues that affect us all every single day. I have no qualms about watching Dr. Oz. and following his advice. 

It is ironic that criticism of Dr. Oz comes from a source that is so obviously has his own conflicts of interest. Dr. Miller is affiliated with the Hoover Institution, which in itself is a right-wing public policy think tank. It doesn't take a scholar to realize that questioning the long-held status quo in the medical field is going to make some waves.

One of the others who signed the letter is Dr. Gilbert Ross, who heads an independent research organization--American Council on Science and Health, (ACSH) that defends fracking, opposed New York's efforts to ban sugary beverages, and supports the use of pesticides such as atrazine and BPA (bisphenol-A), according to Al Jazeera America.

The publication also noted that according to Mother Jones Magazine, donors to ACSH are largely from energy, agriculture, cosmetics, food, soda, chemical, pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations like Monsanto, DowAgro and Syngenta. Read more about Dr. Gilbert Ross, who is a convicted felon who defrauded New York's Medicaid program of approximately $8 million for which he spent 46 months in prison.

I dismiss these critics and I stand with Dr. Oz.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Response to U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly

I haven't written updates about the Peotone Airport (South Suburban Airport) for some time. I just couldn't help but respond to an editorial in the Chicago Sun Times by U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, entitled "Still Waiting on 3rd Airport" that was touted by the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, (SSMMA).

My opposition to the state building a new international airport began in 1987 as part of a small protest outside the IDOT offices on Michigan Avenue. That led to the formation of RURAL, Residents United to Retain Agricultural Land, which I helped get off the ground officially on Aug. 2, 1988. RURAL was the predecessor of the present anti-airport group STAND (Shut This Airport Nightmare Down). 

More than 10 years ago I moved out of the area, so I was no longer confronted with the day-to-day assault of my senses in the form of the deteriorating landscape at the hand of the State of Illinois. Much of the land has been sold or taken by the state through eminent domain scattering the inhabitants of the rural community. Perfectly good homes have been razed, homesteads destroyed. I've kept in touch with some of those who remain, despite communications that continue to break my heart. Even now, with each headline, Facebook post, or random thought, I still find myself annoyed. I said in those early days that this airport will never be built. I'd like to stand behind that premise, although who could predict the lengths the state has and will continue to go to try to get this airport built despite its lack of support and lack of need.

That brings me to the editorial written by U.S. Rep. Kelly. 

She attempts to paint a dismal picture of O'Hare International Airport, which incidentally has recently reclaimed its rank of the #1 busiest airport in the world. At one point it was third. Ms. Kelly, O'Hare is doing just fine, thank you very much. She goes so far as to call domestic hub operations and cargo potential as in a "decline." Oh really!!!

She touted the increased capacity of a new airport as being roughly 100,000 flights per year at a cost of $1 billion. All that tells me is she has bought into without question, the wildly-inflated numbers the state has used since the project was first envisioned in 1985. What they have done is write, revise, write, revise until their numbers are close to acceptable. Then, even though inflated, they build from there. The foundation of the study of this project is faulty, which logically, all else built upon it merely teeters. The state has gone to great lengths to control the study process, so all of it has been bought and paid for by them. They have had ultimate control. Since the beginning, IDOT has used every trick in the book to paint a rosy picture of this project. It just never really stuck. But they are relentless. They will try anything.

Take the new jobs figures Kelly touts--pie-in-the-sky. I hate to tell her, but the jobs figures have always been overstated. Thanks to the late Suhail al Chalabi and his wife Margery, who have long manipulated the numbers. Suhail is gone now. I wonder who the state will get to produce the salable numbers now? 

When an elected official tells you "dollar for dollar, the third airport is a better deal for taxpayers," you better start asking questions. Better yet, you better start electing better officials. Kelly is the replacement for Jesse Jackson, Jr., who is currently finishing his sentence for corruption in a half-way house. He was a big promoter of this airport along with Gov. Pat Quinn, who just lost the election to new Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

Building on projections is not wise. Wouldn't it be better to build on past experience? Look at what the state has already done. Mid-America Airport in downstate Illinois is an example of an airport the state had to build to relieve St. Louis' Lambert Field. Trouble is, Mid-America has no air traffic, no airline tenants, and little hope. It does have funding--from the taxpayers. 

Kelly suggests that it would be smart for American and United Air Lines to reinvest in Illinois to ensure Illinois as a premier aviation hub. Sorry Ms. Kelly, but Illinois is already a premium aviation hub. It is called O'Hare International Airport. Furthermore, American and United Air Lines have already stated their opposition to a new airport near Peotone. Had you been at all informed about this project and its history, you would know that American and United hate the idea of another new airport. So do all the other air lines that have been on the record for decades opposing this project. 

There are far better ways to create jobs for the beleaguered south suburban region of Chicago. An airport 40 miles away is not the answer. The only thing that should be done with the South Suburban Airport is drop it and move on! This project started in 1968. It is about as innovative as transistor radios and 45 rpm records. 

As far as the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, they tout this editorial in their website. "Editorial: South Suburban Airport needed to regain aviation market."  This group has been the lead voice for three decades. At least they are consistent, but isn't that a long time to beat the same dead horse?



More content:
Illinois Airport featured on NBC "Fleecing of America"
Voice of reason

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