Tag Archives: Surgeon General

Uh, Mr. President, you don’t deserve a ’10’ on coronavirus response

OK, Mr. President, I cannot let your self-aggrandizement stand.

Today, you gave your response to the coronavirus crisis a “10,” also while giving the professionals a “10” for their actions to deal with the pandemic.

Let me try to parse this answer carefully, Mr. President.

The pros you’ve gathered to direct the federal response have done a stellar job, given the confusion and chaos you’ve provided with (a) your big mouth and (b) your Twitter account.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has sought to provide a realistic view of the crisis that’s still developing. He says the “worst is yet to come.” Meanwhile, you keep saying we’ve got this virus under control. Then you had Larry Kudlow, the economics adviser, tell us the virus has been “contained,” although he tried to qualify it by saying it wasn’t bulletproof. The virus is far from contained anywhere on Earth, Mr. President, so you need to tell your pal Larry to shut his trap, too.

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams has sought to lend a key voice of reason. The health and human services secretary presents a professional demeanor. Oh, and the vice president, Mike Pence? Well, his obsequiousness is nauseating … but that’s just me.

I shouldn’t need to remind you to stop glad-handing those around you or to stop handling microphones while others get ready to speak to us about the coronavirus. However, you don’t get it, Mr. President.

I do applaud the tone you took today. I am heartened to hear you actually thank the media for the work they are doing to keep Americans informed. I am not sure about your sincerity, but the words are welcomed among the ranks of those you have vilified and demonized as purveyors of “fake news.”

Still, Mr. President, you need to cool it with the self-congratulations. Dish out the good word to those who are doing the work. You, sir, need simply to stop talking and let others tell us the truth … given that you are incapable of doing so.

VPOTUS to continue ‘moon shot’ work to fight cancer

Vice President Joe Biden has let it slip.

He didn’t mean to tell us about his post-public-office plans. But he did. They involve continuing his “moon shot” effort to find a cure for cancer through the Biden Trust.

Allow me to cheer this accidental scoop.


Biden let it slip and the news was picked up by a C-SPAN microphone.

He’ll set up his “moon shot” operation at the University of Pennsylvania. The Biden Trust will administer the work that the vice president will do, presumably to raise money dedicated to continuing the scientific research that’s underway to find a cure for cancer.

The vice president, of course, has some serious skin in this game. His beloved son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015 and it is believed that Beau’s death — and his father’s profound grief that followed — prevented the vice president from running for president in 2016.

Indeed, I was hoping the vice president would be retained in some capacity by the new administration to continue his “moon shot” work using the imprimatur of the White House, the surgeon general or the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Biden Trust, though, is a valuable venue to continue this important work.

I wish the vice president well and pray his “moon shot” hits pay dirt.

Dr. Carson changes his mind; he is ‘qualified’ after all


Was I hearing things a week after the presidential election?

I could swear I heard — and read — something from Dr. Ben Carson and his closest associates in which he declared he didn’t want a job in Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet because, in Carson’s view, he wasn’t qualified to run a federal agency.

That’s not his skill set … supposedly.

Carson opts out of Cabinet post … but why?

Carson ran for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination and was one of 16 pretenders to get crushed by the Trump juggernaut.

So, what precisely is Dr. Carson’s skill? He’s a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon. He has performed what amount to medical miracles on children in need of them. His brilliance as an MD is beyond reproach.

Now, though, he’s being tossed into a brand new arena. Trump has nominated him to run the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

I don’t understand this choice.


As The Associated Press reported: “In a statement, Trump says he’s ‘thrilled to nominate’ Carson, saying he “has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities.” Great! Does the passion qualify him to manage a massive federal agency? Time will reveal that in due course.

If the president-elect were to ask me, I’d say Carson would be a better fit as secretary of health and human services or as surgeon general. Trump seek my advice.

As for his ability to run HUD, I’ll just suggest that managing a massive federal bureaucracy ain’t exactly brain surgery … if you get my drift.

Senate approves surgeon general … finally!

For the first time in I don’t know how long, the United States has a top doctor.

He is Vivek Murthy, who today was approved by the U.S. Senate to become the nation’s next surgeon general.


Despite his sparkling medical credentials and the work he has done to combat HIV/AIDS, senators had held up his nomination because he has spoken out against gun violence, calling it a public health issue.

Imagine that. A physician wanting to control gun violence because bullets injure and kill people.

His confirmation vote today was 51-43, with Republicans overwhelmingly opposing him because he is no friend of gun-rights advocates. Some Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in opposing Dr. Murthy.

One of them was Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who issued a statement opposing the doctor because, according to Manchin, his political views muddled his medical policy. I understand why Manchin joined other senators in opposing Murthy. It’s because he’s scared of gun-rights groups such as the National Rifle Association and the potent political power they possess.

That doesn’t make it right.

Vivek Murthy is perfectly qualified to serve as surgeon general. His views on gun control are well-known, but they do not infringe on his ability to help set medical policy or recommend measures to promote good health on behalf of the Obama administration.

Indeed, had their been a surgeon general on board during the recent Ebola mini-scare, there might not have been a need for the president to appoint an “Ebola czar” to coordinate the administration’s response to the disease’s arrival in the United States.

OK, so that task is done. We have a surgeon general. It’s good to know that at least 51 senators had the guts to vote in favor of hiring a chief medical officer to advise the nation on how to take better care of its health.


CVS deserves a huge salute

It’s time to offer a word of praise and a tip of the cap to a corporate giant.

CVS Pharmacy, take a bow.


The drug-store chain announced it will phase out sale of all tobacco products by Oct. 1. Its mission is to promote good health and CVS officials say the sale of cigarettes and snuff/chew next to medicinal products undermines that mission.

Do you think?

The end of selling these products is going to cost the company about $2 billion annually in sales, according to a statement issued by CVS. That doesn’t seem to matter as much to the corporate brass as it’s staying true to its belief in promoting good health.

President Obama — a former smoker — was quick to praise CVS. “As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs — ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” he said in a statement.

I know about quitting smoking. I was a smoker for half my life before quitting cold turkey 34 years ago this week. I was smoking two-plus packs a day when I decided — after incessant nagging from my wife — to throw them away. I’ve never looked back.

I’m not sure I could afford the habit today, given the huge increase in the cost of these products.

This is a big deal in the retail business. Walgreens said it is “evaluating” whether to eliminate tobacco sales. Will other pharmacy chains follow suit?

I hope they do. It sends a powerful message across the country about the hazards of this hideous habit, as if the Surgeon General’s warning on cigarettes packs that smoking can kill you isn’t enough.