Category Archives: medical news

Thank you, Dr. Fauci

While we’re giving thanks to this or that person, I want to offer a word or two of gratitude for the public service delivered by someone who served seven U.S. presidents.

Anthony Fauci has retired from his post as chief medical adviser to President Biden. He is calling it a career after serving as the nation’s chief infectious disease expert.

I want to offer him thanks for taking on a job that earned him as many foes as friends over the years. Why is that? Because he was unable to predict the course that infectious diseases would take, but he still managed to save literally millions of lives over his many years of service.

Republicans who are about to take control of the House of Representatives have promised to bring Dr. Fauci back to Capitol Hill to answer stern questions about his service during the COVID pandemic. The good doc likely will stand strong against the GOP onslaught.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Fauci while attending the International Conference on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok back in the summer of 2004. He was there to provide wise counsel to those seeking answers to that disease. I was in Bangkok as part of a journalist contingent traveling through Southeast Asia to learn about the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in that part of the world.

Fauci served with distinction in presidential administrations dating back to Ronald Reagan. He served under the administrations of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and finally, Joe Biden.

Yes, there were some rocky times, particularly during the Trump years as the administration sought to get its arms around the COVID virus. The vitriol hurled against Dr. Fauci from those on the far right has been unfair and just plain wrong.

I just want to take this brief moment to express one American patriot’s deep thanks for the service Anthony Fauci delivered. Those who survived illness from the killer virus well might owe this good man their lives.

Selective indignation …

I want to introduce a new term to this blog, which I will call “selective indignation.” It comes from the right-wingers who suggest that had Donald Trump said some of the wild things that come from Joe Biden’s mouth, the “left” would be going bonkers.

Really? Well, maybe so. Except that Donald Trump would say things and would demonstrate a cruel streak the likes of which I have never seen in a president of the United States.

And have you taken the time to listen carefully to the way Donald Trump seeks to articulate a point?  I would be willing argue, furthermore, that the Donald Trump of 1992 is a much more formidable debater than the Trump of 2022.

Rather than the left going nuts, we have the right frothing at its mouth. The latest Biden gaffe involves his calling out a congresswoman who has been deceased since August. “Where is she?” Biden asked at a public event the other day. She’s dead, Mr. POTUS.

And so … the right wingers out there are pointing fingers are suggesting that they have been right all along, that President Biden lacks the mental snap to serve in the world’s most powerful office.

OK. I won’t go there. I am not going to climb onto that political haywagon. The man made a mistake. I accept that it’s a beaut. It is not an indicator of anything more serious. If someone can produce any actual “evidence” of decline, then let ’em show us what they have.

Until then we have two sides of this great divide arguing among themselves over whether one side is reacting unfairly and tossing the “what about” argument that tries to defend the conduct of a politician on the other side.

Take it from someone who has lived with a loved one suffering from actual decline in mental acuity, what we are seeing in the president doesn’t qualify.

Biden’s goof causes … what?

Here I go. I am about to tiptoe into an area that I have avoided discussing on this blog, but which finally has me concerned enough to bring it up: President Biden’s mental acuity.

Now, do not misinterpret where I am heading with this brief post. I do not believe Joe Biden is losing his marbles. However, his latest gaffe — and, admittedly, it was a doozy — is going to bring the issue of his fitness for the presidency back to the front burner.

This week, the president wondered aloud at a press event why U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., wasn’t in attendance. “Jackie, where are you? Where’s Jackie?” Biden asked.

Well, she’s dead, Mr. President. Rep. Walorski died in an auto accident in August.

The White House is brushing it off. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called it a “top of mind” moment, that Biden had Walorski’s name at the center of his attention span. That’s not good enough of an answer, Mme. Press Flack.

White House digs in on Biden’s gaffe about dead congresswoman: The Note – ABC News (

Joe Biden has been prone to this kind of verbal miscue since long before he was elected president. He gets fired up and at times seems to lose his train of thought.

Well, that’s for others to discern. I am not qualified to offer an armchair medical diagnosis of the president’s mental fitness. I do hope — and that’s all I can do, is hope — that President Biden can find a way to eliminate these kinds of gaffes that only serve to feed the multiple rural mills that swirl around the presidency.

He told “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley to “Watch me” if he doubts the president’s ability to do a difficult job. Well, Mr. President … we’re watching.

What would they do … ?

I am willing to wait for as long as it takes for a self-righteous, sanctimonious politician to answer a simple question that I believe needs asking.

What would they do, how would they react, if their daughter was raped and beaten half to death and then learned that she is carrying an unborn child as a result of that attack?

While we’re on the subject, how would they react if, say, a lecherous uncle impregnated them?

No one has asked the likes of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, or Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that question. Nor has anyone asked any other politician who has enacted laws that all but eliminate abortion, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

It’s a fair question. I admit it’s a bit of a “gotcha” inquiry. I can remember when then-GOP Sen. Dan Quayle was running for vice president in 1988 on a ticket led by VP George H.W. Bush. Quayle said he would “support” whatever decision his daughter made, even if she chose to have an abortion. Quayle was notably pro-life on the issue of abortion but didn’t flinch when someone asked him publicly about how he would react if a member of his own family faced that gut-wrenching decision.

Politicians simply must thrust themselves into the lives of those who must live by the laws enacted. They must be forced to answer the tough questions that some of those decisions require of them.

Mental acuity test for The Donald?

Ronny Jackson keeps yammering nonsense that challenges President Biden’s fitness for high office, without bothering to offer any solutions of his own on how to guide the nation.

I have stopped expecting anything constructive from the Amarillo Republican member of Congress.

As long as we’re talking about mental acuity, though, I want to offer a suggestion for Donald J. Trump to ponder: The former Imbecile in Chief ought to consider submitting to such a test for himself.

I mean, any former POTUS who would suggest he could “declassify top-secret documents simply thinking about doing so” clearly has a screw loose in his fluffy noggin.

What kind of brainless idiocy is that? Trump took top-secret documents from the White House and squirreled them away at his Florida mansion.

Earth to The Donald: You can’t “declassify” anything just by “thinking” about doing it.

As for Jackson, he ought to ponder whether the moronic observation from his hero should require him to take another test of his mental fitness.

Pandemic is not ‘over’

OK, Mr. President, I feel the need to set the record straight on something you reportedly blurted out on national TV the other evening.

You told “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley that the coronavirus pandemic “is over.” Uh, Mr. President? It’s not over! It’s still with us. Pharmaceutical companies are producing new vaccines and boosters. They’re making them available for schmucks like me to take … and I damn sure am going to receive my second booster shot in very short order.

What troubles me about your careless assertion that the pandemic is “over” is that it well might cause too many Americans to let down their guard.

I also heard what you told Pelley about how so many more millions of Americans are getting vaccinated than there were when you took office. I also heard how you said that the death toll has dropped off dramatically. That’s all true.

However, if the pandemic is “over,” why make such a big deal of having this vaccine booster available?

To be clear, I am not going to join the right-wing cabal of critics in suggesting that you’re “out of touch” or that you don’t have the intellectual heft to stay on the job as president. I am with you, Mr. President.

It’s just that your words carry tremendous weight. I mean, jeez, don’t say things that reverberate the way public pronouncements do. That reverberation is amplified when it involves statements that have killed nearly 1 million Americans and caused enormous anxiety among millions of other Americans.

Look, Mr. President, a member of my immediate family became sickened right after Christmas 2020. We could have lost her! We didn’t. However, she isn’t right just yet.

Others, too, are suffering recurrences of the disease.

Businesses are still “strongly encouraging” masks. Hospitals are offering free instant exams to patients checking in with unrelated emergencies.

Does that sound like a pandemic that has run its course?

It’s still with us, Mr. President.

Abortion: state or national issue?

Lindsey Graham once thought and talked like a traditional Republican, such as the time he said that abortion laws needed to be settled by states.

Now, though, the South Carolina Republican is ratcheting up the argument, pitching for a national ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Which is it, Sen. Graham, state issue or national prerogative?

Politicians on both sides of the divide have criticized Graham’s about-face. Then, of course, are those of us who dislike the government dictating how a woman can govern her own body.

Public opinion polls suggest Graham is on the losing side of this debate. He isn’t dissuaded. Graham believes the nationwide ban will become law despite those polls and despite some election results that suggest Americans want to retain a woman’s right to choose whether to end a pregnancy.

I will give Graham some credit for recognizing the need for excepting cases involving rape and incest from the ban. Certain statewide bans, such as what’s been enacted in Texas, require girls impregnated by their lecherous uncles or fathers to carry their pregnancies to full term.

However, Graham is getting way ahead of himself if he believes most Americans will line up behind what he’s proposing. According to the Huffington Post: “I am confident the American people would accept a national ban on abortion at 15 weeks,” Graham told “Fox News Sunday.” “And to those who suggest that being pro-life is losing politics, I reject that.”

Graham ‘Confident’ Public Backs U.S. Abortion Ban Despite Elections Proving Otherwise (

Instead, he has joined the wacky wing of the Republican Party that now wants to nationalize what used to be part of the GOP mantra: it is better to leave some things up to the states than to have the feds impose their iron will.

Land of the Free? Hah!

Didn’t this country found itself as the “Land of the Free,” a nation that prided itself on delivering freedom to all Americans, a land that honored our civil liberties?

I ask because of what has transpired in recent months with the U.S. Supreme Court rescinding one of our sacred civil liberties, the one that granted women the right to determine how to control their own bodies, as covered in the rights of privacy spelled out in the U.S. Constitution.

The court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal in this country. Over the nearly five decades of its existence, legal scholars and other courts had determined that Roe was “settled law.” In other words, we couldn’t mess with what had become part of the nation’s legal fabric.

Not so, according to the current Supreme Court.

When the court rescinded Roe v. Wade it essentially determined that on this key issue, women are longer free to make critical, gut-wrenching and highly emotional decisions involving their own bodies.

There doesn’t appear to be any remedies available, given the current makeup of the U.S. Senate and certainly given the ideological bent of the court, with its six conservative justices. Senate Democrats want to “codify” legality of abortion legislatively, but they would have to overcome a certain Republican filibuster; they need 60 votes to end such an obstructionist act. A 50-50 Senate split isn’t likely to bend.

Oh, but wait. The midterm election could give Democrats an actual majority, enabling them perhaps to toss out the filibuster. We’ll have to see.

I just am baffled at the frontal attack that the GOP and their allies on the Supreme Court have leveled against a fundamental principle established by our nation’s founders. It is that American citizens enjoy the freedom to make decisions that only they can make for themselves.

I would say that a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy qualifies as a critical component of living in the Land of the Free.


Blogging: preventative measure

I have read countless articles over many years about the value of maintaining one’s interest in matters such as, oh, national and world affairs can help stave off mental decline.

I mention this today because I just marked the 38th year since my dear mother died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. You surely know what that ailment entails. My family and I had little knowledge of it in the early 1980s when Mom was first diagnosed with it. She left us on Sept. 17, 1984 at the age of 61.

I have learned since then, though, that mental stimulation can be used as a preventative measure to fend off the symptoms of a decline in cognition. To be brutally frank, Mom’s life essentially ended when she no longer could work. She didn’t have interests outside of home or away from her profession as an administrative secretary, a career at which she excelled for many years.

It’s strange to say this out loud, but I will anyway: I think about Alzheimer’s disease almost every time I sit in front of my computer keyboard and pound out thoughts on this or that issue. My interest in these matters has outlived my career in print journalism by more than a decade. My full-time career ended on Aug. 31, 2012. The end came suddenly but given the state of decline in newspapers at the time, it wasn’t a surprise.

I have been able to transfer my modest skill at stringing sentences together to this avocation I have enjoyed. I also am able to continue writing for other media outlets: I freelance for a weekly newspaper in Collin County and for a public radio station affiliated with Texas A&M University-Commerce. I have told my employers at both places I intend to keep writing for them until (a) they no longer want me or (b) I lose my ability to string thoughts together … whichever comes first.

If the first event occurs, at least I will have this blog to keep me engaged. My hope now is that all I have read about how intellectual stimulation can stave off Alzheimer’s-related dementia is true.

So … let’s continue to enjoy the ride.

Personhood debate enters absurdity level

A North Texas woman got pulled over by a police officer because she was the sole occupant in a vehicle that was traveling down a high-occupancy vehicle lane — which requires two or more passengers to qualify.

Except that the woman is pregnant, so she has contested the citation issued in Dallas County, contending that her unborn child is a person, which makes the HOV restriction moot.

Hmm. How do I say this? This incident goes beyond absurd. It is ridiculous in the extreme, but it surely opens the door to endless debate over the whole “personhood” issue brewing now that Texas has made abortion illegal.

The driver in question, Brandy Bottone, said she isn’t trying to make this a “political” issue. Yeah, sure thing. It’s like the pro athlete who holds out for more money who then says, “It’s not about the money.” Of course it is … about the money. Bottone’s bitching about the traffic ticket is most certainly a political issue.

The Texas Tribune reports: Bottone argued that under Texas’ abortion laws, which went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, a fetus is considered a living being. She argued the same should be true when it comes to the state’s traffic laws. “I’m not trying to make a political stance here,” Bottone said, “but in light of everything that is happening, this is a baby.”

Fetal personhood law is complex and Texas is only beginning to untangle it | The Texas Tribune

I have a fear that other would-be political activists are going to test this law and well could clog up municipal courts with ridiculous arguments that suggest that even though a woman is, say, six or seven weeks pregnant that she is therefore allowed to flout a reasonable law aimed at helping motorists who have actual passengers sitting next to them navigate their way through traffic congestion.

This whole matter appears to be taking an absurd turn.