I share with you here my personal comments on random challenges for our world and the human condition.

August 22, 2019

The Democrat Agenda 

 

In general, the Democrat “agenda” includes:

 

-preservation of the environment, including to reverse deleterious man-made climate changes

-equitable distribution of wealth and resources

-equitable tax laws that do not overly favor the ultra-wealthy and corporations

-limits on “corporatism”

-limits on oppressive bank policies 

-maintenance of vital public institutions, including especially the post office and to expand post office services

-maintenance of excellent public education

-public health

-access for ALL to proper healthcare

-investment in science research and medicine

-world peace

-rational and humane immigration laws

-access of women to safe abortions without unnecessary restrictions and hassles

-infrastructure investment and maintenance

-maintenance of public radio and television

-internet “neutrality"

-complete separation of "church-state"

-reverse urban blight

-investment in renewable, safe energy sources

-rational “gun control” 

-passage of ERA

-preservation of voting rights for all 

-reforms in the justice system

 

Republicans presumably care about these things as well, but we Democrats these days have difficulty to discern it. (EG)

August 19, 2019

Secession has been underutilized…  

 

We should never dismiss secession. It is an excellent maneuver that has been underutilized.
For example, we would have been better served in so many ways if we had let the South secede.
The horrors of the Civil War would not have occurred. The North could have opened its borders to allow the slaves to escape the South; and that would have over time ended slavery.


Furthermore, the current US has become too big to succeed; and we are, once again, a house divided. (EG)

August 15, 2019

Subject: To speed up the game of baseball… 

 

The only action necessary to return the game to normalcy, balance, and fast pace would be to return the strike zone to what it used to be: from top of the shoulders to bottom of the knees.

Also, consider to prohibit that a batter can completely step out of the batters box between pitches. If he does, call an automatic strike. That’s it. (EG)

August 06, 2019

NO NEED FOR ‘’WHITE PRIDE’’ 

 

Generally speaking, an overwhelming, multifactorial majority that has oppressed minorities should not feel the need to claim “pride” for its self-preservation.

July 11, 2019

RANDOM COMMENTS FROM A SPRINGFIELD PHYSICIAN 

 

The US health care system is a multifactorial mess. Too many profiteers. Too many mediocre physicians. Too many unhealthy patients that no one can fix, as they have gone way past "the point of no return.”

 

As for the opiate crisis, it, too, is multifactorial in origin and perpetuation. Most illicit substance users become addicted through “recreational” use, not through prescription use.

And the majority of opiate addicts also use other drugs, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and many more. 

Many addicts use 5-6 drugs of abuse. Astonishing what people can do to themselves. There is no reason to think that legalization of marijuana, in any form, will mitigate our epidemic of substance abuse.

 

No one “promotes” abortion.

EVERYONE is “pro-life.”
What rational people “promote” is that women who want to have an abortion to preserve their health must have unrestricted access to safe abortions in proper medical settings. (EG)

July 10, 2019

TIME FOR A UNICAMERAL ILLINOIS STATE LEGISLATURE
 

One cost saving measure for our essentially bankrupt Illinois would be to eliminate the state's bicameral legislature. Just have a single state legislative body, a House with only 100 representatives.

(Nebraska is the only state that has such a unicameral legislature, and it works quite well.)

This would eliminate hundreds of unnecessary salaries and transition our government from bloated to efficient. Have each term be 6 years, with staggered elections; so that every two years one third of the body is up for election. Limit terms to two. (EG)

July 08, 2019

Subject: About the Founding Fathers 

 

About the generally revered Founding Fathers, let us remind ourselves that the majority, including George Washington, were unapologetic slave owners. Many after the Revolution fell on hard times, but their fates were surely less oppressive than those of their slaves.  None particularly cared about slaves, women, children, native Americans, non-Protestants. They were the white men of their times. But none appeared to be ahead of their times. (EG)

June 17, 2019

Republican Canard  (June 2019)

 

It has always been an interesting (and infuriating) Republican concept— initially perpetrated by the vacuous tandem of Gingrich and Reagan and now fully concretized in Republican babble— that those who acknowledge social problems and try to solve them are themselves the cause of said social problems.

June 12, 2019

NO ONE ‘’PROMOTES’’ ABORTION  

 

No one “promotes” abortion. What rational people “promote” is that women who want to have an abortion to preserve their health must have unrestricted access to safe abortions in proper medical settings.

Furthermore, the life of the living mother takes precedence over that if the unborn.

Also, a fetus is not as person; as one has to be “born” to be a “person.”  (EG)

May 11, 2019

For those incarcerated, my "Rule Of Halves” 

 

I have a “Rule of Halves” for the world of incarceration:
-Half of all those incarcerated should have their sentences halved.
-Half of all those incarcerated could be released to parole/half-way house status.

And then there is the “Rule of 20%”:
-About 20% of those incarcerated are wrongfully convicted in the first place, most of them because of judicial misconduct.

And then there is the separate issue of suboptimal medical care for the confined— about which much requires correction. (EG)

May 09, 2019

The trademarked Rhetoricon, with examples of usage 

 

INTRODUCING MANKIND’S LATEST & GREATEST PUNCTUATION MARK:
 

The “RHETORICON"
 

The “rhetoricon” is my proposed and now officially trademarked punctuation mark. Its use is to mark the end of a sentence, phrase, statement, or comment that is both rhetorical and sarcastic; with or without a sense of double entendre.
 

Example: “Would you not agree that those Chicago winters are the loveliest we can get (rhetoricon)”

Another: “Republicans always inspire us, don’t they (rhetoricon).”

Yet another: Anti-vaxxers are some of the most thoughtful and well-educated people around, don’t you think (rhetoricon) 

Look for the rhetoricon emoji and rhetoricon rubber stamp— both coming your way soon. 

Surely you’ll want to have your very own rhetoricon tool as soon as it becomes available.

Would any sentient person ever want to be without one (rhetoricon).

Write on,

EG

 

PS: Still working out the subtleties of a proposed variant: the “semi-rhetoricon.”

Will let y’all know what I come up with. Of course, your suggestions always welcome.

April 02, 2019

Voter ID Laws are a bad idea 

 

My Republican friends continue their obsession to institute exclusionary Voter ID laws. As do almost all Democrats, I think such laws are a bad idea. Here is why: 

 

The right to vote is a more basic one than are other “privileges,” such as to drive, to work at a nuclear power plant, to run a daycare, etc. Only US citizenship and a pulse should be required. There should be NO barriers to be able to vote once one has properly registered.

 

Voter fraud is rare. (Voter fraud involves illegal votes by voters themselves.)

 

Election fraud— not the same as voter fraud— on the other hand is quite common. (Election fraud involves mechanisms by outside agencies to prevent votes or to miscount them once they are cast.) More stringent proposed voter ID requirements—  a popular Republican voter suppression “tool” these past decades to disenfranchise potential voters—  would help make election fraud even more common. 

 

One would think that a fancy information-laden voter ID card would not be burdensome to anyone, but it is exactly that to the segment of the population that is poor, vulnerable, transient, displaced, without bank accounts, without access to postal services, & without drivers licenses. Yet, their votes count as much as do those of, say, the Koch Brothers, corporatists, and other so-called pillars of the community. 

 

An unencumbered, efficient registration process can establish identity, US citizenship, and the signature/mark to verify at the polls.

This signature/mark confirmation should then be the only thing necessary to vote at election time, not a fancy ID. Granted that 98% of the poor and desperate tend to vote Democrat, but Republicans should happily celebrate the remaining 2% who do vote their way and should not inhibit their chance to do so.

LITERARY LESSONS FROM THE FAR— VERY FAR-- EPISTOLARY SIDE

 

November 26, 2018

Yo, listen up once again, boys and girls:

 

The increasingly used, ubiquitous, and idiotic non-word, “GONNA,” is truly a piece of verbal trash.

It represents lazy nonsense that ruins language and thought. 

 

This “word”— a contraction of "going to”— is a refuge for intellectual scoundrels, especially those who tend to live in the future, such as weather forecasters and sports pundits.

“It’s gonna be cold outside tomorrow, baby.” Please just say, “It will be cold…”

“That ball is gonna fall in there for a single.” Please just say, “That’s a single.” Or, “That will be a single,” or, “The ball falls in for a single.”

 

Some talk radio folks cannot utter a sentence without this word. Even erudite newscasters use it. And guess what, horror of horrors, the most eloquent person on the planet, Barack Obama, uses it all the time. Veyz mir!. (Yiddish for “Oh my!”)

What goin’ on! It really has “gotta” (also a horrendous word) go.

 

Changing subjects, sort of: We also need to eliminate to the extent possible the use of those awful gerunds— the “ing” form of verbs.

Examples: going (as in gonna get going), flying, trying, etc. 

 

Better to use always, to the extent possible, the purer infinitive form of verbs— to go, to fly, to try, etc. "To use the infinitive form is a much more elegant way to speak and write" than is "using the gerund form of speaking and writing."

 

And, please, NEVER use a gerund infinitive— a yucky double ugly—as in: “I look forward TO WORKING with you.” Please write: “I look forward TO WORK with you.”

 

Also, to the extent possible, avoid to use the “passive voice.” It is cowardly. “It was done by me,” is not nearly as forthright as the integrity-laden “I did it.” Be proud of the subjects of your sentences. Do not hide them. (Unless you are British. For some reason, when the Brits use the passive voice in speech or prose, it comes out as proper and distinguished.) Another mystery of the universe.)

 

“…and one more thing," as TV’s Lieutenant Columbo would say: please don’t tell me that “going forward” I need to get a life. The expression “going forward” (also a gerund) is a tautological waste of time that corporate and actuarial types use all the time to no apparent advantage. Where else are we to go in time if not forward? None of us have figured out yet how to go otherwise. Just say: ‘in the future,” or "from now on.”

 

And also remember that “at the end of the day,”……… the day simply ends. Seemingly out of nowhere, perhaps from a meteor strike, “At the end of the day” has become another ubiquity— a lazy interjection that too many use for no purpose. Simply say: “to summarize,” “ultimately,” “finally,” etc. Or say nothing, as we know the day will ultimately end. It always has.

 

I look forward to hear (not "to hearing") your comments, suggestions, and criticisms. 

 

And I will not find myself exercised if you inquire into my state of mind, after I have subjected y’all to these literary obsessions about which most likely none of you remotely care.

 

Here’s to the write life.

EG

OBLIGATIONS OVERRIDE RIGHTS

 

The "right" to do something does not necessarily make it the right thing to do.

"Obligations" are what really matter, not "rights." One always has the right to do something suboptimal or stupid, but one has the obligation not to do it.

 

EG

The Twaddle of "Support"

Listen up boys & girls: The latest, most overused word in our lazy, overheated world is "support." Personally, I'm tired of it. Every entreaty, every other sentence (especially by or about politicians), and every other statement these days seems to carry it. So, I, myself, now refuse to use it. I pause and try to conjure up a suitable substitute--among which are the following:

 

endorse, help, stand with, buttress, contribute to, agree with, side with, align with, partner with, push along, carry, lift up, move along, pull for, sustain, tolerate, provide for, advocate, maintain, prop up, back, assist, aid, bear with... and more.

 

Shall we be more creative with our language and speech, then! Please support me on this.  (EG)

After I wrote to a good friend (JM), that some, perhaps most, of my Republican friends no longer maintain contact with me, he replied with these remarkably sage words:

 

“…they (meaning my Republican friends) are living in a fact-free, delusional fantasy land of their own devising. Aside from their prejudice and narrow world view being extremely susceptible to slick propaganda, what disturbs me most about them is their complete lack of effort to really investigate with some depth the issues, problems, economics, & policies they pontificate upon. They don’t even realize that the dystopian, laissez-faire, no regulation, no social policy agenda and carte blanche corporate world they yearn for would eat them alive and utterly destroy what little they have now for themselves."

 

From my point of view, JM, is 100% on target. Still, I do miss my Republican friends. I hope they do not shun me just because of the way I think about the world at large. (EG)

Whatever defines the nonsense term "Conservative," my suggestion is to find a cure for the "tunnel vision" that seems to be endemic among creatures who dub themselves "Conservative."  (EG)

Misplaced Pity for the Palestinians

The increasingly common favorable sentiment for the “plight” of the Palestinians is misplaced. The door to peace with Israel has been open for over seven decades. It still is. All the Palestinians have to do is declare the end of their hostilities towards Israel and acknowledge as permanent fact Israel's existence. No more suicide bombings. No more rockets and other atrocities aimed at Israelis. At that point, Israel will share with the Palestinians everything that they could reasonably want. Yes, it's that simple. For those who doubt it, best to go to Israel to learn and experience in person the realities.

 

Once there is genuine peace among the Israelis and the Palestinians-- noting that despite the longstanding hostilities they do share much in common-- both peoples will likely attain a level of prosperity that will be the envy of the rest of the world. (EG)

After I wrote to a good friend (JM), that some, perhaps most, of my Republican friends no longer maintain contact with me, he replied with these remarkably sage words:

 

“…they (meaning my Republican friends) are living in a fact-free, delusional fantasy land of their own devising. Aside from their prejudice and narrow world view being extremely susceptible to slick propaganda, what disturbs me most about them is their complete lack of effort to really investigate with some depth the issues, problems, economics, & policies they pontificate upon. They don’t even realize that the dystopian, laissez-faire, no regulation, no social policy agenda and carte blanche corporate world they yearn for would eat them alive and utterly destroy what little they have now for themselves."

 

From my point of view, JM, is 100% on target. Still, I do miss my Republican friends. I hope they do not shun me just because of the way I think about the world at large. (EG)

A critique of a Favorite Republican Canard

 "Trickle down" never works." A rising tide lifts all boats" might work; but invariably the ultra-wealthy divert the tide waters to their own lakes. (EG)

Anti-Choice

I have a good friend in Pennsylvania, “NH", an RN, now retired, who had been for many years a Regional Director for Planned Parenthood. About a year ago, she wrote to me this very sage segment that I share with you here:

"Merely my two-cents worth here: Everyone is pro-life or believes in life, so I personally prefer the terms 'pro-choice' or 'anti-choice' to truly get across the point of loss of a human right of self determination. To label the anti-choice folks 'pro-life’ seems to me to elevate them to a righteous level above all others. And of course those who do call themselves ‘pro-life’ often do nothing to help the living...the poor, the hungry, the tired, etc.”

 

I think NH nailed it. (EG)

Windbags

The world's second biggest windbag/fabulist, Rush Limbaugh, recently declared that we "liberals" purposely inflate the damage and danger of hurricanes such as "Matthew" in order to promote our politically self-serving "global warming" agenda-- a truly astute position for the asinine among us.

 

By the way, the world's supreme # 1 windbag is my fellow Jewish Philadelphian, Mark Levin. He truly leaves me breathless and thankful that I share nothing else in common with him.

 

It is the obnoxious Levin who is the inspiration for my KRAP radio station cartoons, and well as for many other cartoons that focus on the fascinating psychology of today’s Republicans.  (EG)

When Catholic Charities and I Parted Company

I confess that several months ago I received a call from the Executive Director Of Springfield Catholic Charities. He informed me that I had been precipitously kicked off its Board of Advisors because of my endorsement of Planned Parenthood and my vociferous stance that women must have access to safe abortions in proper medical settings. It appears that I agitated too much some of the town’s sanctimonious, self righteous “pro-lifers.” (There goes my dream to be the next “Jewish Pope.” Oh well.)

 

The Executive Director & I actually had a very civil conversation. He’s a good guy who I had known for the past 8 years or so. He was apologetic about my termination, thanking me for my previous years of service to Catholic Charities. (I was on the Board Of Quincy Catholic Charities from 2007 through 2015. At one point, I was even asked to be President of the Board, noting that the Board was, to its credit, composed of both Catholics and non-Catholics, with its noble mission to help those in need regardless of religious affiliation.)
 

I reassured him that I respect and acknowledge the Catholic position that life begins at conception and that pregnancy is not a disease, but I made it clear to him that the Catholic position is not that of Jewish consensus or Jewish Law.. 

 

It was the below letter-to-the-editor of the local paper published the day before the above phone call that caused the “firestorm" that got to my friends at CC:

 

"Subject: Abortion redux.

For those who continue their short-sighted assaults on Planned Parenthood and women who may contemplate abortion, I offer the below somewhat blunt, counter point of view.

 

Some thoughts for those obsessed with the matter of abortion:

 

A woman may feel that her health is “threatened" by a pregnancy. In that case, she should not feel intimidated or obligated to be an “incubator,” forced to placate the sanctimonious zealots among us who wrongly think that abortion is uniformly evil. It is not so, as the life of the living mother must take precedence over that of the unborn.

 

According to Talmudic Law, the "unborn" is not yet a "person." Thus, abortion— while admittedly a sad thing-- is not "murder.” 

 

The definition of "life" is simply the ability of a DNA-infused entity to endlessly duplicate itself. Viruses, sperm cells, and amebae qualify. “Life" is not the same as “personhood.” Furthermore, a blastocyst or an embryo is no more a “baby” than is an unmated ovum or sperm cell.

 

Pregnancy is a unique biological circumstance. It is potentially dangerous and can kill. Let the pregnant woman determine her fate. It's really no one else's business, unless she asks for guidance. Then the self-righteous can weigh in with all their dogma. 

 

To the extent that Planned Parenthood teaches its clients how to be healthy and how to avoid unwanted or unhealthy pregnancies, it actually decreases the number of abortions. Thus, it would be more logical for the “Pro-Life” segment to support Planned Parenthood rather than to malign it.

 

Only a barbaric society would restrict the ability of a woman to have a safe abortion in a proper medical setting."

 

(EG)

Talmudic Law

Talmudic Law-- Rabbinic consensus--  exists specifically to make certain that we do NOT take literally the words of the Torah. "The Torah is a "love story," from God to the Jewish people, to instruct & to inspire. It is not meant to stand alone as the only worthy document in the journey of an evolving mankind. 

 

There is no subject that Jewish Talmudic Law has not covered.  We Jews have a blueprint--Torah/Talmud-- for life in this world, to help us to navigate and to make sense of our troubled, complex world.  We do not seem to have the ethical conundrums and intellectual blind alleys that our non-Jewish friends have. Thus, we can sort out the multiple elements of something so difficult as, for example, the matter of abortion. Judaism integrates multiple contexts and perspectives, including pragmatism.  

 

Judaism teaches that the spiritual/ethical world and the physical world are separate. (e.g. We can't stop earthquakes, but we can come to the aid of those harmed by earthquakes.) That "obligations" matter, not "rights." (e.g. "I have a “right" to be a jerk, but I have an “obligation" to be the best possible person that I can be.")
That we have an obligation to learn about the physical world through scientific study and then apply the scientic advances to good ends.  That science-- the physical world-- is morally neutral. But how we apply it deals with the spiritual/ethical world.


They say that it's hard to be a Jew. Actually, the alternative is much tougher.
May the current year, 5777, be a good one. And may it see our beleaguered world get closer to peace, tolerance, justice, mercy, and prosperity-- for ALL mankind. (EG)

Dual Terms that Confuse Us Because They Mean the Same thing. (Don’t they?)

As fellow logophilics— but not logophobics--please help me out here. I would like to expand the below list. 

Any favorite “word twins” on your palettes that you can offer up?

No rush, of course. We’ll merge/consolidate our suggestions when the time comes.

Thanks a quadrillion.

 

As a person who suffers from “logophilia,” it gives me mental dyspepsia to always have to figure out the alleged differences between these DUAL TERMS THAT CONFUSE US BECAUSE THEY MEAN THE SAME THING.  (Don’t they? But institutions usually insist that they do not.)

-merger vs consolidation (in business)

-adherence vs compliance (in medicine, to describe whether or not a patient follows the doctor’s recommendations)

-morals vs ethics (in life)

-hurt vs injured (in sports)

-impairment vs disability (in social security claims)

-control vs command (in baseball, to describe a pitcher’s ability to throw the ball to the desired spot)

(EG)

Dual Terms that Confuse Us Because They Mean the Same thing. (Don’t they?)

As fellow logophilics— but not logophobics--please help me out here. I would like to expand the below list. 

Any favorite “word twins” on your palettes that you can offer up?

No rush, of course. We’ll merge/consolidate our suggestions when the time comes.

Thanks a quadrillion.

 

As a person who suffers from “logophilia,” it gives me mental dyspepsia to always have to figure out the alleged differences between these DUAL TERMS THAT CONFUSE US BECAUSE THEY MEAN THE SAME THING.  (Don’t they? But institutions usually insist that they do not.)

-merger vs consolidation (in business)

-adherence vs compliance (in medicine, to describe whether or not a patient follows the doctor’s recommendations)

-morals vs ethics (in life)

-hurt vs injured (in sports)

-impairment vs disability (in social security claims)

-control vs command (in baseball, to describe a pitcher’s ability to throw the ball to the desired spot)

(EG)

My Republican friends have always been on the forefront of public health.

I continue to "preach" that we should eliminate the terms "liberal" and "conservative," as they have both become literary refuse bags for the intellectually lazy.

 

"Liberal" to the non-liberal currently means any and every person who is perpetually psychotic and wrong abut every issue known to mankind.

 

"Conservative" to the non-conservative currently means any and every person who is greedy, self-serving, and oblivious to the entire spectrum of mankind's problems. 

 

The same would apply to the equally vacuous terms: "left" and "right."

 

I would prefer that we revert to the old-fashioned terms: "Democrat" and "Republican."

 

I believe Obama did for a long time try to work with Republicans, but after the obstructions became rote and concretized he just gave up and went ahead to take on the stance of  "I did it my way" for everything he deemed important.

 

I do acknowledge his tendency to emulate in some ways the emperor, Napoleon.

 

I agree that Hillary was a suboptimal candidate in many ways-- aloof, strange, inconsistent.

 

Trump is so unhinged that he may do some good things by chance occurrence alone. But randomness in leadership is not a particularly good trait to engender confidence in the leader and his entourage.

 

The worldly issues of main importance to me are in descending order: 

 

Protection of a woman's right to control her own body and health

Protection of minority rights

Protection of the environment, including to acknowledge the science about the threat of global warming

Continued support of scientific and medical research

Continued emphasis on public health

Continued support of PUBLIC education

Creation of a good NATIONAL healthcare system

 

You will note that I am not hung up on the tautological challenges of "jobs and the economy." Those are ALWAYS issues and are always on the political forefront. At any rate, I'll acknowledge that Trump will be good to and for the ultra-wealthy, something that will allow my beloved Republican friends to sleep better at night. 

 

I am not particularly optimistic that the current Republican universe will come through properly on any of the issues that I deem most important.

 

But, the Republicans won the elections, fair and square, presumably; even as there is substantial evidence that several million potential voters were "scrubbed away" from the voter registration lists in the so-called "swing states" that Trump won. 

 

WHITE Middle America has spoken loud and clear. The RAGE-IO talk show hosts are having a feeding frenzy.

 

I remain thankful that The Creator made me a Democrat.  (EG)

Vandalism at Philadelphia Area Jewish Cemeteries

Noting my connection to Philly, a friend recently asked me to comment on this topic. 

The Philly metro area has, I estimate, about 15 large Jewish cemeteries. Until a couple of decades ago, Philly had the world's fifth largest Jewish community-- after New York City, Israel, Paris, and Los Angeles. My parents are buried in the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in Collingdale, a southwest suburb of Philly, so their cemetery was not the one involved in this incident..

 

Most of the Philly-area Jewish cemeteries are in areas that are no longer particularly Jewish, including both the Mt. Carmel and Mt. Lebanon ones. It is reassuring to note that the vandalism of the Mt. Carmel cemetery led to an immediate and unified response by the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities to repair together the damages.  (EG)

Some More Words on the Difficult Subject of Abortion

Abortion is never a good thing. Lots of pain and angst for all involved. Would that it would never be in order.

No one, including the often-maligned Planned Parenthood organization, forces a woman to have an abortion. For those who are totally opposed to it regardless of circumstances, as former President Jimmy Carter, himself a devout Christian said: “do not have one."

 

Nonetheless, I, myself, am on a crusade to counter the sanctimonious zealots-- predominantly & predictably white Christian men-- who would intrude on women's rights to control their own health and bodies. 

 

As a physician, I have seen countless women-- and their physicians, too-- who are literally scared to death about what unwanted or unanticipated pregnancies might do to them physically and/or mentally. Pregnancy is a tough assignment and it has many dangers. To consign women to the role of obligatory "incubators" is the paradigm of cruel arrogance. 

 

The whole premise of Roe v Wade is that the matter of abortion is a MEDICAL matter, to be handled by the women & their physicians, not by politicians or by religious fanatics.

 

Without Planned Parenthood, countless women would be stranded without proper medical care, and many would either die or be permanently injured by preventable medical disorders.

 

We can usually judge the worthiness of a society by how it treats its women. The US does not win any major awards in this category.

 

Here are a few questions for the anti-abortion zealots: Are the women who use birth control guilty of “pre-abortion abortion”? Are the men who obtain vasectomies equally so? Are the surgeons who do oophorectomies, hysterectomies, and orchiectomies so as well? After all, ova and sperm are “living’ cells as much as are blastocysts. Where or when, indeed, does life begin? Or is the real issue “sentient” life, rather than just “cellular/potential” life?  (EG)
~

It's Possible to do Two Good Things at the Same Time

There is a rather silly, yet popular Facebook post these days that shows a destitute, homeless US Vet on the street, with the caption: “We should take care of our homeless vets first rather than refugees.”

 

To which I have this reply: We have plenty of room and resources to accommodate both. And the refugees could be hired to take care of the Vets. We humans can actually do two good things at once. (EG)

Is there not a US Constitutional amendment that says: "Do not oppress, criticize, or make fun of greedy, self-serving, narrow minded white Republican politicians." Or is that from the Bible?  (EG)

Our over-rated Constitution-- the one that ignored and/or endorsed slavery, elimination of Native Americans; & subjugation of minorities, women, and children-- pairs up nicely with those popular Ronald Reagan idols. "J" and all good folks are definitely perplexed by what we have come to "worship.” (EG)

Words from a Congenital Democrat

I do not ever endorse either vulgar or hateful speech, or crude behavior. Only a minute percentage of Democrats would champion what appears on California Democrat Party Chairman John Burton’s video of several weeks ago.

 

No question the Democrat party is in trouble, because we seem temporarily to have a paucity of inspiring leaders. But, I think we will resurrect ourselves soon with a younger generation of caring, effective politicians. 

 

The Democrat agenda historically has been to promote programs that help the poor and downtrodden and the so-called “middle class.” Also to preserve the environment, improve public health & public education, and eliminate discriminations. In general, therefore, to take the side of those in need rather than those in greed. This is not to say that Republicans do not have these goals in mind as well, but since the days of Reagan, it just does not seem so to me.

 

Assuming that we must always have a two-party system to maintain a democratic republic, I choose to still be a Democrat. I would not recognize myself if I ever chose to be a Republican. Occasionally, I do vote for Republican candidates, although I am proud to say that I have never voted for one who ran for President, and most likely never will.

 

In 2002, while living in Denver, I campaigned in the Republican primary for a Republican running for the US House of Representatives. He was a friend and a truly good person. I told him that I could help him as a Democrat because he could say to potential voters that even Democrats would find him effective. Alas, he finished third in a three-person race. If he had won the primary and then the November election I think he would have taken me with him to D.C. to be his chief-of-staff.

 

Another pipe dream on my part. Much like the pipe dream I once had that I could personally populate the Jewish people with the genes of Wyatt Earp. Did I ever tell you that story?  (EG)

About the Merits of Laws to Regulate Harmful Practices - Such as Helmets for Bike Riders

The issue of voluntary personal responsibility vs. legislatively mandated responsibility is an age-old controversy for the myriad activities in which our often dumb and self-serving species engages. The Israelis— as do also, I believe, most “enlightened” countries around the world— endorse the concept that when a person engages in self-destructive behavior, he or she harms not just himself or herself but also society as a whole, both emotionally and financially. In turn, society as a whole has an obligation to protect an individual from his or her self-destructive behavior. So, it is a very common site in Israel to see a police officer pull over a bicyclist or motorcycle rider who does not have on his or her helmet. In Israel, there really is the sentiment that “I am my brother’s keeper."

We here in the US do not generally buy into this sentiment, even though it is society as a whole that ultimately foots the bill to care for and rehabilitate those who have harmed themselves. 

You are right: “You can’t legislate morality.” Certainly not here in the U.S., although the U.S. lawyers have become pretty good to file suits for moral lapses and adverse outcomes. However, I maintain that in a rational country, we would care about others and society as a whole, not just ourselves.
 

As for cigarettes and illicit drugs, entities that can only cause harm, I would not make it illegal to use these, but I would make it so to manufacture and sell them.

Since it is the medical profession that attends those sick and injured from destructive habits and practices, I think it is valid for us to discuss methods to limit or reverse these habits and practices. But, you are right, we can overdo it. For example, I would not want us at the STATE MEDICAL SOCIETY to discuss the harmful effects of bad taste in clothes or improperly sharpened skis.

(EG)

Why Physicians Use the Word "Patient" Rather Than "Client" 

The word "client" trivializes the special and sacred "Doctor-Patient” relationship which is unique in the human experience. "Client" is also a mercenary "business" term. It implies the voluntary search by the client for goods or services for sale by some sort of merchant or provider. While money is often an issue in medicine, it should never define the doctor-patient relationship.
 

"Clients" of any sort rarely have emergencies or die. "Patients" do-- all the time. “Clients" do not have to actually visit with their providers, whereas "patients" must visit with their physicians, nurses, and health care professionals. (EG)

Rotary

One of the world's great organizations, and I am honored and thrilled to be one of its 1.3 million worldwide members. My Springfield, Illinois, Sunrise Rotary Club is one of the world's 34,000 Rotary Clubs, including the 4 other terrific clubs in Springfield and the 46 other fabulous clubs in our Rotary District 6460. The only requirement to be a Rotarian is to be a good citizen who cares about others and who endorses Rotary's motto: "Service Above Self.”  (EG)

A 2016 Pre-election Missive To A Republican Friend Who Disliked My Farcical Criticisms Of His Beloved Party

I appreciate your passionate and erudite reply to my farce-laden posting(s). Farce is a lazy man’s way to debate and argue. Sometimes I do get carried away with my cuteness. I’ll apologize for that. (Obsession is not always a good thing.) I assume, however, that you can separate taking offense from another’s point of view from disagreement with that person’s point of view. (If I took offense with everything and everyone I disagreed with, I would lead a very lonely life, indeed.)

 

A nation’s real wealth is built of the production of goods and services by a physically and mentally healthy, engaged, and un-oppressed citizenry who take advantage of education, infrastructure, and freedoms. A balanced partnership of public (i.e. government) and private (private enterprise) is in order to set the stage for the production of maximum wealth. We used to have such a partnership in our country, but no longer.

I think it is a myth to think that the current amalgam of wealthy folks in this country actually do contribute to our wealth. I think they have stolen it. I think the wealthy have, themselves, already “thrown out the baby with the bath water,” with their collective greed and financial schemes— a product of the Reagan era from which emanated the canards that "government is the problem, not the solution,” that the “social contract” in which all citizens care about their neighbors and their neighbor’s kids is an outdated quaintness, that welfare really is meant to be for the wealthy, and that those “liberals” who think otherwise are mentally ill.

 

Our obscenely paid corporate executives, those making millions upon millions, who neither created the companies they lead nor own them, have sucked the life out of our economy and our nation. Corporatism, corporate greed, outsourcing, closures, mergers, banking schemes, financial engineering— all the tools the wealthy use to enrich themselves— have made life difficult for those who either cannot or choose not to play these games at the expense of the masses. 

 

I agree: we must have incentives for those who take risk to create something great. But the majority of this nation’s wealthy have not created anything great. They have destroyed, manipulated, and schemed.  And, as Trump would say, they have cleverly gotten us non-wealthy fellow countrymen to pay them for it. 

 

I did take economics and finance courses in college— at the Wharton School, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania, my alma mater. I got A’s in all of them. Trump went there too, at the same time I did. His major was finance, whereas mine was chemistry and "liberal”-- not “conservative”-- arts.  Apparently, DT got more out of college than did I.

 

If Hillary is part of these financial schemes, shame on her. I agree that she is not the ideal candidate. But, no matter how bad she may be, she still will get my vote because on all the issues that I consider to be the 3-4-5 most important ones, she scores 100% in my book; whereas the Republicans score less than zero. (By the way, for me the “economy" is NOT among these top 5 issues.*)

 

I emphatically do not include you among those about whom I poke fun in my cartoons. (If you read between the lines, I do take some pokes at myself.) I know you are a caring person, dedicated to help repair our broken world. Maybe you can work more on your Republican friends, though. (EG)

 

* THE TOP FIVE

1) The ability of women to maintain, without hassle, total control of their health and bodies.

2) Preservation of the environment so that our descendants will have a suitable planet to sustain them.

3) Creation of a good National Healthcare system.

4) Continued societal investment in public health, public education, science, medicine, and infrastructure.

5) Maintenance of "Church-State" separation.

A Note to Writer Friend Who Asked Me to List My Favorite Writers

An impossible universe to deal with and make compact into something doable.

So many great writers, so many books; but, alas, so little time. (Same

with music and movies.) For what it’s worth, here are some of my favorite writers— those who have taught me to think, expand my horizons, to empathize with the human condition, and to write.

In no particular order and vastly incomplete is this list:

W. Somerset Maugham— a varsity misogynist, alas, but no one had better command of the language. WSM obtained an MD degree, but he never it used, as concurrently he became the author of his first hit novel.

 

Joseph Cronin— also an MD, but a real one who actively practiced before tuberculosis forced him to become a full-time writer.

 

William Carlos Williams— also a REAL MD, including to be one of the nation’s first legitimate pediatricians. I prefer his prose rather than his poetry, even though he was more acclaimed as a poet. Come to think of it, I hate poetry, except when it rhymes.

Sholem Asch

Pearl Buck

John Updike— also PERFECT command of the language. No one captured pathos better.

Philip Roth— the master of the rant-filled, rambling, polyphasic novel. No one has captured angst any better.

Jonathan Frantzen— our latest iteration of Philip Roth.

JK Rowling— everything she writes I love, EXCEPT the Harry Potter stuff which does not appeal to me. Just as I don’t like poetry, I don’t like fantasy or mythology, either.

My all-time favorite book (I think): “Cry The Beloved Country,” the 1950 masterpiece of the South African writer, Alan Paton. It captures perfectly the mid-20th century mentality about race and humanity.

Best book I have read the past several years: Judy Blume’s magnificent historical novel, “In The Unlikely Event," about life in Elizabeth, New Jersey. It is based on the real-life nightmare— in 1951, within a 60-day period, inexplicably and randomly, three airplanes crashed while either taking off or about to land at the Elizabeth Airport. The protagonist in the novel, it’s main character, a teenager named Miri, is one of the most sympathetic and decent characters imaginable. So are the numerous family members and friends who are part of her life and the tragic events.

 Yes, so many good books; so little time. (EG)

~

Golfers should choose wisely their spouses.

As for the cartoons, there truly is no end in sight. I now conjure up 3-5 new concepts a week. Would you believe that two weeks ago, while playing golf with my son-in-law and a friend, I thought of 6 new concepts— yes, 6!— during the round, one of which was that brilliant one-- if I do say so myself— with the pregnant wife and her golfing hubby. (The inspiration for that one came about when our 3-some was joined briefly by a 4th golfer who had been playing behind us alone. He was a bit of a goofy chap. He shared with us that his wife was expecting twins any day now.)

 

The trio of golf, medicine, and marriage is an especially fertile one for the cartoon universe, as all three endeavors— even as each by itself is— are so full of unrealistic expectations. And all of them are essentially impossible to master. Thus, it is especially true that any combination of 2 or 3 of them together carries no limit of obliviousness and failure— the hallmarks of satire and comedy.

 

Wait till you see the cartoon concepts that I have currently teed up for my two artists, Eva & Angela. No hernia will be safe. And no Republican either, for that matter. (EG)

Golfers should choose wisely their spouses.

As for the cartoons, there truly is no end in sight. I now conjure up 3-5 new concepts a week. Would you believe that two weeks ago, while playing golf with my son-in-law and a friend, I thought of 6 new concepts— yes, 6!— during the round, one of which was that brilliant one-- if I do say so myself— with the pregnant wife and her golfing hubby. (The inspiration for that one came about when our 3-some was joined briefly by a 4th golfer who had been playing behind us alone. He was a bit of a goofy chap. He shared with us that his wife was expecting twins any day now.)

 

The trio of golf, medicine, and marriage is an especially fertile one for the cartoon universe, as all three endeavors— even as each by itself is— are so full of unrealistic expectations. And all of them are essentially impossible to master. Thus, it is especially true that any combination of 2 or 3 of them together carries no limit of obliviousness and failure— the hallmarks of satire and comedy.

 

Wait till you see the cartoon concepts that I have currently teed up for my two artists, Eva & Angela. No hernia will be safe. And no Republican either, for that matter. (EG)

The NBA-- including KD's cowardly jump last year to the Warriors--  is a joke! In the last 60 years, about half its teams never had, do not now, and likely never will have a shot at a championship. This is in direct contrast to the NHL--  the only major sport where all the players hustle all the time and are not prima donnas-- and, to some degree, the NFL. In these two pro leagues, the outcomes of seasons are never pre-ordained.  (EG) 

Cathy O'Donnell's last motion picture role was in 1959, in "Ben Hur"-- as Ben Hur's sister, Tirzah. She never got the recognition she deserved. In every movie in which she acted, she took over every scene, even those that featured stars such as James Dean, Dana Andrews, & Kirk Douglas. She succumbed to breast cancer at age 47, in 1970. The scenes with her and the double-amputee, Harold Russell, in the 1946 movie, "The Best Years Of Our Lives," represent Hollywood's "finest hour." And, in my opinion, this is the best movie ever made.  

Vaccine Science

Vaccine science is excellent. Nothing is 100% guaranteed in life, but modern-day vaccines come pretty close. Serious vaccine side effects are rare-- on the magnitude of one in every 500,000 doses. But the morbidity and mortality of the vaccine-preventable diseases is enormous. These diseases often kill or leave the victims with permanent severe residual deficits. This is not what rational persons should risk for themselves, their kids, or others and their kids.

 

To the extent that we maintain societal vaccination rates of at least 95 percent (ideally closer to 99%), we no longer need suffer from the previously universal pandemic scourges of vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio, smallpox, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, diphtheria, tetanus, yellow fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, meningococcal meningitis, whooping cough, cancer-causing human papillomavirus, and others. 

 

When we do have outbreaks of any of these-- fortunately rare and contained to small groups because of (very expensive) emergency public health interventions-- the cause is almost always due to inadequate vaccination rates.


On the horizon are vaccines for diseases such as HIV, TB, malaria, Hepatitis C, herpes simplex, and many more. 

 

There are those "vaccine doubters" who say that "if you want a vaccine to protect yourself, go ahead; but I choose not to vaccinate myself or my kids and that is my right." Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. When we vaccinate ourselves, we also vaccinate others-- the concept of "herd immunity." All vaccine-induced immunity tends to decrease over time, so even a previously vaccinated person may be vulnerable to a disease transmitted by an unvaccinated person. Thus, it is vital that everyone be vaccinated-- to make it mathematically almost impossible to have an outbreak.  


Those who deny the benefits of vaccines are what we can term “innumerates”— folks who simply cannot process or acknowledge science, numbers, and facts. They are the equivalent of “illiterates”— those who cannot read. We need science, not superstition, to guide us.
~

The Democrat party is in trouble because we seem temporarily to have a paucity of inspiring leaders. But, I think we will resurrect ourselves soon with a younger generation of caring, effective politicians. 

 

The Democrat agenda historically has been to promote programs that help the poor and downtrodden and the so-called “middle class.” Also to preserve the environment, improve public health & public education, and eliminate discriminations. In general, therefore, to take the side of those in need rather than those in greed. This is not to say that Republicans do not have these goals in mind as well, but since the days of Ronald Reagan, it just does not seem so to me.

 

Assuming that we must always have a two-party system to maintain a democratic republic, I choose to still be a Democrat. I would not recognize myself if I ever chose to be a Republican. Occasionally, I do vote for Republican candidates, although I am proud to say that I have never voted for one who ran for President, and most likely never will.

 

In 2002, while living in Denver, I campaigned in the Republican primary for a Republican running for the US House of Representatives. He was a friend and a truly good person. I told him that I, a Democrat, could help him because he could say to potential voters that even Democrats would find him effective. Alas, he finished third in a three-person race. If he had won the primary and then the November election I think he would have taken me with him to D.C. to be his chief-of-staff.


Another pipe dream on my part. One of my fellow Rotarians has-- probably accurately-- dubbed me "the champion of lost causes."
~

We forgive ourselves all the time. Thus, it would be hypocritical not to forgive others. And hypocrisy is among the worst of human traits--one that we should absolutely eliminate, as its combines greed and stupidity.
~

Religion is the realm of morality and ethics. Science is inert in this realm, i.e. morally "neutral." Neither one needs to replace the other. "And one more thing," as Columbo would say: Not all religions are the same.

~

UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION.” A meaningless statement, in my view. There is nothing to "uphold." Neither the Bible nor the Constitution are TV Guide magazines to hold up or down. They are, rather, guidelines-- sources of wisdom for actions, laws, policies. Neither is an object or material entity unto itself to be "held up" or "held down.”

~

I call it lack of perspective-- the inability to see the "big picture," and its entire context. Its a defect common to all fanatics and fundamentalists; and probably to most "conservatives" (whatever that term means) as well.
~

For the Vaccine "Doubters," Bold Champions of Innumeracy

 

Yes, we have "murdered" all of these "living" creatures: polio, smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, meningococcal meningitis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, & others. Soon to be murdered, based on government sponsored murder vaccine research, are: TB, HIV, malaria, drug addiction, many cancers, Hepatitis C, & more. Yes, murder is a terrible thing.

 

Oh, and did I forget to mention those other horrible vaccines that murdered our friends typhoid, yellow fever, pertussis, rabies, & cancer strains of HPV. We sure do miss these.  It will no doubt be absolutely terrible when we are able to vaccine murder soon things like HIV, malaria, dengue, TB, Hepatitis C, E, & G, chlamydia, addictive substances, dementing illnesses, and so many other poor darlings that make life so pleasant for millions. It's so much better to be innumerate and in synch with the quacks of this world.

~

My Vision for a Better Sports World

 

-Phillies to Oakland.
-A's back to Philly from which they never should have left.
-Tampa Rays to Havana to become the Havana Cubans.
-Colorado Rockies to Montreal to reconstitute the Expos. 
-Springfield Sliders to Denver.
-Somehow, we also need to reconstitute the St. Louis Browns, but I'm fresh out of prospects for that.

~

My Vision for a Better Sports World

 

-Phillies to Oakland.
-A's back to Philly from which they never should have left.
-Tampa Rays to Havana to become the Havana Cubans.
-Colorado Rockies to Montreal to reconstitute the Expos. 
-Springfield Sliders to Denver.
-Somehow, we also need to reconstitute the St. Louis Browns, but I'm fresh out of prospects for that.

~

Zealots and extremists— about any issue, not just abortion— rarely see the whole picture or the context of a controversial issue. Lack of perspective all the way. And, they never seem to read or pay attention to any of the elements in an argument that counter their myopic views. They simply ignore these. And then they "blind side" with outrageous, irrelevant accusations, out of nowhere. (An example might be something like: “Hillary is a secret cannibal.”)

~

Abortion is legal, and must remain so, because it is in many circumstances a life saving procedure for the mother-- whose life takes precedence over that of the unborn. Thus, "pro choice" IS "pro life"-- the life of the mother.

~

There should be no such thing as "athletic scholarships." 

All scholarships should be academic, and based on financial need. We should have "athletic students," not "student athletes." Athletics should be part of the overall educational experience, not independent of it. All athletes should attend all classes, pass the classes, and graduate. 

~

There are plenty of forlorn places in the US that could use more people to liven things up, keep us company, and make things interesting; especially if the new folks bring along some different elements to counter our ever increasingly boring and boorish US society. We do have lots of physical room for the oppressed "strangers." We should make room for them in our hearts as well.

One of the most trite & over-utilized words on the planet nowadays is "support.” There seems to be no end to it’s use in day-to-day speech, the media, politics, requests for donations, etc. And hat exactly does the word mean: endorse, tolerate, lift, buttress, encourage, vindicate, agree with, disagree with but allow to go on, follow, lead, contribute to, catch when falling…, and on and on. Let's stop the twaddle and be a bit more creative, shall we. Please support me on this.

~

A Facebook person used the term "just sayin'" in one of his posts-- to which I "commented" the following:

 

"Here's another expression-- a nuisance add-on--  that is totally bereft of meaning and necessity, but full of redundancy and wasted breath. This vapid entity is: "Just saying," or it's lazy variant "just sayin'." Well, of course you are; because if you were not saying it, you just wouldn't be sayin' it. You can't not say what you say. How does that expression go: "You reap what you say." "

 

He in turn commented back that I was "incoherent, among other things.

 

So then, of course, I, myself, just had to say something more, to-- like, y' know-- expand a bit on the subject:


"Nothing personal. I am fascinated by meaningless sayings & canards that are the refuge for the intellectually lazy, including me. 
"Just sayin' " is way up on the list. Other spectacularly useless language/intellectual entities in no particular order are:
-politically correct
-conservative
-liberal
-uphold the Constitution
-I get it
-bad decision "
-bad choice

 

I refuse to say here "Just sayin," but if I were to, it would certainly apply.

~

Will God take care of the issues of health care access, preservation of the environment, protection of women and minorities, overpopulation, equitable distribution of resources and wealth, continued scientific & medical advances, & public health?  I hope so, because I doubt that our fellow evangelical Republicans have any commitment to deal properly with these entities.

~

The "electoral college" is a strange contrivance. It can make either one vote decisive or thousands of votes completely irrelevant. It does, however, preserve the two-party system, and that is probably a good thing.

 

Trump won FL, NC, PA, OH, MI, & WI. (Hillary won only VA.) DT won overwhelmingly where both he & Hillary campaigned. DT also won the majority of voting enclaves in NY & CA. Nothing else matters, but the Electoral College. There was no "split decision." Time to regroup and work with what we have-- a country that is currently overwhelmingly Republican, for better or for worse. 

~

 

Trump campaigned specifically to win the electoral college votes, as did Hillary. If they had campaigned with the different strategy to win the "popular" vote, the sad fact is that Trump would still have trounced Hillary. "White America" has spoken loudly and clearly. The election is OVER! DT won fair and square. We Democrats have to better educate ourselves and others to improve our country. "Sour grapes" is never a good strategy.

Some ignorant "crybabies" may, indeed, find it traumatic to think that women's health, the environment, civil rights for minorities,  the concept of the "social contract," science, research, access to medical care, and a habitable planet for our descendants are all now very much in question. After all, only the weak would care about others and the future.

~

Our Founding Fathers-- all white wealthy protestant males-- conveniently ignored the pesky problems of slavery, subjugation of women, children, minorities, and native Americans. (An argument could be made that the wrong side won the Revolutionary War.) At least, our FF's were not enamored of the oppressions of the 11th century. Interestingly, 50% of our US population voted in November for a return to the 11th century. 

~

Talmudic Law-- Rabbinic consensus--  exists specifically to make certain that we do NOT take literally the words of the Torah. The Torah is a "love story" from God to the Jewish people, to instruct & to inspire. It is not meant to stand alone as the only worthy document in the journey of an evolving mankind.

~

Photo ID's for Voters

Not a good idea. It might disenfranchise thousands of citizens from the right to vote, which is not the same as the "right" to drive or to charge for manicures. Voter fraud is rare. Election fraud is relatively common and is in the province of the well connected.

~

Medical science has NOT demonstrated an epidemiological link that abortion is a risk factor for breast or any type of cancer. Keep in mind that about 25 percent of conceptions end in "natural" spontaneous abortions, presumably by the hand of The Creator.

~

The US debt computes to about the price of a Buick SUV per person. Not bad for clean air, public health, infrastructure, education, and other public benefits available to all of us. So, the national debt issue is largely a contrived one, as long as the money is well spent.

~

In an ideal world, taxes would be low and businesses, institutions, & individuals would all be honorable and buy into the "social contract." There would be an ideal balance between public and private enterprises and initiatives. 
Unfortunately, the world is full of greed and self serving behavior. 

I maintain that "corporatism" and the greed of the ultra-wealthy have contributed to most of our current economic failures. 

The corporations of JFK's time did not cannibalize corporations, transfer work overseas, or pay their executives obscene, undeserved salaries. They paid their workers well. They and their bankers did not scheme. 

We do live currently in a welfare society-- "welfare for the wealthy.” 

~

A gun has only one purpose-- to kill. A truck's intended purpose is not so. Water, knives, fire, oxygen are life sustaining, but can also kill. So, misplaced metaphors are about as bad as misplaced theology.

 

Well, on second thought— "Guns don't kill, BULLETS do." Thus, I target not the NRA, but the NBA (National Bullet Association) & the BRA (Bullets, Rifles, & Atrocities)

~

Best NBA Team of All Time (And it’s not the current Golden State Warriors)

The 66-67 Philadelphia Sixers were the best team of all time: Chamberlain, Jackson, Walker, Greer, Jones, Cunningham, & more. Won 67 games during the regular season at a time when the NBA had no patsies. Beat a strong Celtics team in 5 games, and then easily vanquished a decent Warriors team for the championship.

~

Excessively favorable sentiment for the Palestinians is misplaced. The door to peace with Israel has been open for over 7 decades. It still is. All the Palestinians have to do is declare the end of hostilities towards Israel and accept Israel's existence. No more suicide bombings. No more rockets and other atrocities aimed at Israelis. Yes, it's that simple. For those who doubt it, best to go to Israel to learn and experience in person the realities.

~

Misplaced Metaphors and Comparisons

It is possible to talk about different, unrelated things or issues with love, respect, and endearment. Not everything requires a connection. Almost always, two sad, wrong or bad things are just that— two sad, wrong or bad things. Neither modifies or cancels out the other so it is best to deal with each as completely separate entities. No need to equate them. 

Do not become enamored of or hung up on misplaced, meaningless links, analogies, metaphors & comparisons,
as this is nothing but a form of intellectual laziness. A meaningless connection is too often a refuge for intellectual scoundrels.

~

And what exactly does "politically correct" mean? I have always thought it to be a truly meaningless term-- to describe anything, everything, or usually nothing. Does it mean to do that which is right? Or does it mean that which is expediant? Where does "politics" enter?

~

Not everyone qualifies to be a Republican. There will always be those strange folks who actually care about science, education, public health, equitable distribution of resources, the environment, women's health, the down and out, the arts, and the world at large. These are the pathetic ones who are simply unable to worship the wealthy or to subsidize them.

~

"If you know one religion, you know none." There is a difference between knowledge of a religion and identification with it. Study of religions is not the same as practice of any of them. Ignorance & intolerance should not be the signature of our kids' education.

~

Planned Parenthood provides family planning and vital medical services that actually DECREASE abortions.

Furthermore, for a woman who decides that she must have an abortion to preserve her health, only a barbaric society would make it difficult for her to have a safe one in a proper medical facility.

~

​For Some Unknown Compulsion, We Folks Tend to Say Too Much. 

We think it's cool to be prolix & clever, when it is almost never so.

In our frenetic quest to be clever and cute, we often say something stupid and hurtful.

Always better to tone it down and simply emphasize the positive about others. 

If humor is required-- which it usually is not-- it's always "safe” and much better to just make fun of oneself. 

~

It's not just Trump. He has at his side a huge team of demolition experts who have adopted the concept that those who care about others and society as a whole are mentally ill-- a legacy of Gingrich, Reagan, Limbaugh and his avatars, and many others-- most of whom hide behind the nonsense term of “conservative.

~

So, you JUST got scared!!? The fact is that we have been heading in the wrong direction since the times of Reagan— when the ultra-wealthy and the elite among us decided that several things had become universal truths:

 

1) That they could and should opt out of the "social contract,”including to care about their neighbors and their neighbors’ kids. 

2) That government and social programs were inherently bad, except for the military and military-related industries.

3) That those who thought differently than they thought were mentally ill.

4) That our “Founding Fathers,” who were all white Christian men, were inherently correct to exclude from freedom all other variations of humanity.

 

We certainly have much work to do to un-scare ourselves.

~

Charity for a Beggar

The question posed-- should one donate to a person or cause whose proper use of the donation might be suspect is an ancient Talmudic discussion. The Talmudic sages came to the conclusion that one SHOULD contribute regardless of one’s doubt, as the act of charity (“tzedacha”) itself is the good deed and it enhances the habit to continue future good deeds. 

Of course, one should be reasonable about the charity. If there is ample evidence to suggest that the use of the money would be wasted by the recipient, then one is either not obligated to donate anything or one can donate a small sum to test the recipient’s intentions. 
 

The Talmudic sages also opined that one is obligated to first provide for his or her family and immediate community, then to others; that one is not obligated to impoverish himself or herself with the act of giving; and that the 10 percent tithe is more or less a proper amount. Also that EVERYONE is obligated to donate, even the beggar. 

~

How to Unlock Writer's Block and Fear of Public Speaking

My personal best cure for dreaded writer’s block is to pretend that I am to write a letter to a friend. This epistolary mindset almost always works for me. It seems to relieve tension and the obsession to make every word, phrase, sentence perfect. I pretend I have a story I need to tell my friend, not a major treatise that the The Book Of The Month Club should consider. The words seem to flow. Progress, not perfection. Perfection comes later with the re-writes that are infinitely easier than the first draft of anything. For me, the use of paper, fountain pen and my funky ink colors is pleasurable in itself, so these epistolary tools help thoughts to flow on paper. 

 

So I tell my locked-up friends to pretend that they are writing me a letter. 

 

For those who dread public speaking, I say just speak from the heart, speak with a smile, and pretend you are among friends who want to hear your story. Do NOT try to be clever or glib. Avoid jokes unless they are relatively simple and self deprecating. OK to make fun of oneself. Try to make fun of others, though, and one’s mouth seems thereafter never quite big enough to accommodate one’s foot. It’s always painful to apologize for an unintended insult. 

~

The war on the downtrodden, poor, and dispossessed is not an easy one, that's for sure.

It takes courageous Republicans to see it through. Do not oppress the wealthy!

~

The Republicans are pleased to report that at last the "war on the wealthy" is finally over. Now it's time for us to focus on the wars against the poor, the oppressed, women, science, and the environment. After all, the Bible makes it clear that if one saves a single wealthy person, it's as that person has saved the whole world.
So please, do not oppress the wealthy.

Furthermore, it is horrifying to contemplate a society in which the wealthy find themselves impeded in their pursuit of even more wealth because of any ill-advised concern for the poor.
 

Does not the Bible teach us: "Am I not my ultra-wealthy brother's keeper?!”

~

Health care is neither a right nor a privilege. It is, instead, a sacred OBLIGATION of a rational, decent, caring society to make proper medical care readily available to ALL. Medical care should not be a "business opportunity" for profiteers.

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I am proud that about half my fellow Americans agree that we have a lot of work to do to make things better for all mankind, including the downtrodden, disadvantaged, dispossessed, and those who actually care about our planet and its sustainability for future generations.

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Introducing perhaps the world's most trite and meaningless sentence:

“I get it*: At the end of the day(1), I'm gonna** support(2) and trust(3) Trump, a man who makes good choices(4)-- just sayin'(5)."

Explanation: Entities 1-2-3-4-5 are all inherently meaningless and lately horribly over-utilized, especially by radio folks who babble about sports and politics.

*Of course you “get it.” How could you not. You can agree or disagree with it, but you get it.  One of the consummate irrelevant, redundant nonsense phrases— all the rage now among talk show hosts (especially sports ones), who tend to use it with an air of condescension. 
 

**The ultimate example of lazy, slimey speech.

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Most of the short-sighted sanctimonious anti-abortion zealots-- those who fail to acknowledge that the life of the living mother must take precedence over that of the unborn-- appear to have the opinion that life begins at conception and ends at parturition.

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In the late fifties and early sixties, there appeared on television a commercial for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. It used a quote the origin of which has been attributed without definite proof to multiple persons, including Abraham Lincoln, Bobby Jones, and others. Regardless of its origin, the quote is a brilliant one: “A person never stands so tall as when he or she stoops to help a child.” That quote has never left me. From the first day that I heard it on the commercials, I vowed to myself that “I will be a Big Brother one day.”

I did, indeed, keep that vow; and have been a participant in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program since 1983—  a source of great pride and accomplishment to me. Of all the things that I have done in my life, I think that to have been a Big Brother to, now, five boys has likely been the best thing that I have ever done. No matter what else might characterize my life, good or bad, I can always point to my experiences as a “Big” to a “Little" as something that has been, without reservation, productive, meaningful, and joyful— for the “littles,” for me, and for all of society. 


After all, what could be better than to help a boy or girl in challenging circumstances, vulnerable to failure and disappointment, at risk to live an unfulfilled, sad life, to instead transition over time to an adolescent, young man or woman with expanded horizons. Is it not the coolest thing in the world to help another, especially a child, develop self-confidence and to set no limits upon himself or herself. Of course, it IS the coolest thing in the world!


And that is what BBBS makes possible, including here in the Springfield region, with its superior organizational staff and volunteers. The statistics prove that the BBBS model to help kids at risk absolutely works. But I will leave further detailed discussion of this to the dedicated staff of BBBS of The Capitol Region. For now, I share with you a bit more my about my personal journey with BBBS. 


My first four “Littles” range in age from about 45 through 21, and are respectively: Scot E, a master chef; David H, an organization executive and former US Marine; Roger Y, a business department head; and Curtis S, a fine young man currently trying to "find himself." I maintain contact with all of them. A notable highlight of my life occurred in November, 2015, when I attended the Philadelphia- area wedding of my third “Little,” Roger Y, and served as his Best Man. 

 

My fifth and current “Little” is Dayton B, here in Springfield. Dayton, now 16 years old, a sophomore at Springfield High, is now actually bigger than me. He and I have been together over eight years, having been officially matched on December 23, 2009, Dayton’s eighth birthday, just a few months after I first moved to Springfield.

 

Over the years, Dayton and I have shared together hundreds of experiences including: adventures, discussions, events, gatherings, exhibits, movies, sporting events, meals, and family events— both his and mine. There is hardly any museum or park within one hundred miles of Springfield that we have not visited. There is no sport that we have not either played or watched together. We have shared emotions, including those of disappointment and those of elation. We have reminded ourselves continuously of the importance to read, to speak and write properly, to always be respectful and tolerant, to be good citizens. We speak of the need for him to treat his family members well, including his troubled father. 

 

I remind him that he has an obligation to take good care of his mind and body and to make the best of his talents that are considerable. I encourage him to pursue new activities, to consider multiple aspirations, to not place any limits on himself. For example, we discuss that he should eat and exercise properly, try out for high school sports, apply for a regular job (especially now that he drives his own car), and consider other extra-curricular activities.

 

And, that he should read, read, read-- perhaps my most important entreaty to him. Study properly all the school subjects. Help others. Expand those horizons. Become a citizen of the world that needs you and welcomes you. And, yes, I try to lead by example, as another thing that I teach Dayton is that the worst thing in the world is hypocrisy.


How do I know that all this is not just platitudinous twaddle?  Because I have seen Dayton’s progress— his incremental growth physically, emotionally, and mentally, week after week, month after month. I think I really do have a positive impact on his life. And it also works the other way: as I, myself, get to go out and enjoy his company and all the things we do and places we go, most of which I would not likely  experience without him at my side. 


I have confidence in Dayton, although I always worry about ongoing elements in his life that might have negative impact on him. But I will continue to be his “Big,” forever and a day, even after the formal aspect of our BBBS match comes to an end as he grows older. 


In addition to the above advices that I give Dayton, I tell him that in turn I request of him only one thing to repay me: that one day he too become, himself, a Big Brother.

 

EG

© 2016 Eli Goodman, M.D.
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