George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section. It will
quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in
this rapid-fire world of ours. Of course, as in military
a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed
by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction. Charge that to
"the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or
campaign must maintain to be effective. But the mission will
be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick",
by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.
That's all I promise.
to return to the current Rapid Response list
SATURDAY, June 29 and 30, 2012
got to get the
truth out. Too many media outlets have become whores.
Romney’s Success Contrasts Sharply With
June 25, 2012 11:01 AM
By: Ronald Kessler
Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. —
Forced to ignore his own record of failure on
the economy, President Barack Obama has been lashing out at Mitt
record of success.
First, Obama tried demonizing Romney’s Bain Capital, which pension
inventors have entrusted with $60 billion in assets. That move
a procession of top Democrats praised Bain and its free-market approach.
Now Obama and his campaign team are trying to portray Romney as a
Massachusetts governor. The truth is quite the opposite.
As noted in my story "Olympics Spotlights
Romney’s Turnaround Skill," Romney erased the 2002
Winter Olympics’ deficit and wound up with a surplus. As governor of
Massachusetts, Romney did the same thing.
When Romney took office in 2003, Massachusetts had a $3 billion
2005, the state had a $1 billion surplus, plus a so-called rainy day
another $2 billion. When Romney left office on January 4, 2006, the Bay
had a balanced budget plus the rainy day fund — all without ever
“It struck me that there were three courses to take — two easy, one
Romney has said.
“Those courses included simply raising taxes or alternatively,
I rejected both of those as being too hard on working families and too
to future generations. Instead, I chose the third, more difficult
was finding ways to reduce spending, cutting back government, and using
vehicle imaginable to restore fiscal discipline, allowing us in the
invest in education, healthcare, and the environment and job creation,”
Even though it was dominated by Democrats, the Massachusetts
Romney extraordinary powers to cut spending.
“What I think stands out about his relationship with the legislature is
it a point not to demonize his political opposition,” Eric Fehrnstrom,
senior adviser, tells me.
“Instead of giving speeches that were critical of the Democratic
invited them into his office every week for a meeting to discuss their
agenda for the state. And sometimes there was business to discuss, and
there wasn't, the meeting still took place. They would end up talking
last movie they saw,” Fehrnstrom said.
Having grown up five blocks from where Romney and his wife Ann lived in
Belmont, Mass., and having been a Boston Herald reporter, I know
problems Romney faced. Massachusetts is heavily unionized. Whether
union work rules or pure laziness, typically two workers watched,
their shovels, as three other workers dug holes for utility projects.
accepted practice, and no one thought it strange.
Thus, Romney was not able to accomplish all that he hoped to achieve as
governor. Romney found collecting tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike
cents for every dollar collected. That was in part because the toll
union contract gave them an average $56,300 a year in wages plus $9,880
In 2004 and 2005, Romney proposed abolishing the Massachusetts Turnpike
Authority and folding its operations into the Highway Department,
$200 million the authority keeps in an escrow account as required by
of the bonds it sold. The idea was to stop collecting tolls on most or
all of the
highway, where tie-ups at toll booths could snake for miles. The
87 percent controlled by Democrats — refused to go along.
Lately, Obama’s campaign has been running ads claiming that
47th in the country in job creation under Romney. As FactCheck.org
pointed out, that is a distortion.
“Massachusetts’ state ranking for job growth went from 50th the year
[Romney] took office to 28th in his final year,” FactCheck, run by the
respected former Wall Street Journal reporter Brooks Jackson, states.
47th for the whole of his four-year tenure, but it was improving, not
declining, when he left.”
Indeed, while Romney was in office, the unemployment rate in
from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent. In contrast, the national unemployment
under Obama has increased from 7.8 percent to 8.2 percent. In contrast
Romney’s record of surpluses, the federal debt under Obama has
increased by $5
Because of a hostile press, we rarely get the real facts. As noted in
"Media Play Games
Success," the press has put free enterprise on
by attacking Romney’s record at Bain Capital with fallacious statistics.
At a National Review Online anniversary party, Romney began a short
telling the guests, “I come from a city where there are two factions in
media: the Hillary-loving Kennedy apologists on the one side, and the
on the other.”
The same could be said for the national press.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of
Newsmax.com. He is
the New York Times best-selling author of books on the Secret Service,
THURSDAY, June 28, 2012
June 28, 2012
Mary Ann Walsh, US Conference of Catholic Bishops
RENEW PLEA TO
CONGRESS AND ADMINISTRATION TO REPAIR AFFORDABLE CARE
Court decision does not
address fundamental flaws in the law
still needed to
fix conscience, abortion funding, immigration problems
United States Supreme Court
issued a decision upholding as a tax the provision of the Affordable
(ACA) that requires individuals to purchase a health plan-the so-called
For nearly a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have
continue to be consistent advocates for comprehensive health care
ensure access to life-affirming health care for all, especially the
the most vulnerable. Although the United States Conference of
Bishops (USCCB) did not participate in these cases and took no position
specific questions presented to the Court, USCCB's position on health
reform generally and on ACA particularly is a matter of public
The bishops ultimately opposed final passage of ACA for several reasons.
First, ACA allows use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions
plans that cover such abortions, contradicting longstanding federal
policy. The risk we identified in this area has already
particularly in the initial approval by the Department of Health and
Services (HHS) of "high risk" insurance pools that would have covered
Second, the Act fails to include necessary language to provide
conscience protection, both within and beyond the abortion
have provided extensive analyses of ACA's defects with respect to both
and conscience. The lack of statutory conscience protections
to ACA's new mandates has been illustrated in dramatic fashion by HHS's
"preventive services" mandate, which forces religious and other
employers to cover sterilization and contraception, including
Third, ACA fails to treat immigrant workers and their families
ACA leaves them worse off by not allowing them to purchase health
the new exchanges created under the law, even if they use their own
money. This undermines the Act's stated goal of promoting access
life-affirming health care for everyone, especially for those most in
Following enactment of ACA, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
not joined in efforts to repeal the law in its entirety, and we do not
today. The decision of the Supreme Court neither diminishes the
imperative to ensure decent health care for all, nor eliminates the
correct the fundamental flaws described above. We therefore
urge Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
OBAMA-CARE, AND YOU.
OBAMA-CARE SURVIVES...OR DOES IT?
A VICTORY FOR THE PRESIDENT'S RE-ELECTION...OR IS IT?
The U.S. Supreme Court did what it is supposed to do, and also what it
- it correctly interpreted the Commerce
Clause as not being so wide as to legitimize the insurance purchase
- it correctly interpreted the 10th
Amendment as to prohibit some Federal mandates on the States in this
Republic, in this case the forced expansion of Medicaid on an unwilling
- it acted as the 800 lb. gorilla: "It
sits where it wants to sit", calling the insurance mandate a "tax",
thereby opening the door to Federal penalties for many other
undesirable personal activities - in this case undesirable because
non-covered individuals parasitize the health care system;
- It left to Congress the duty and right
to interpret the political desires of the people through legislation by
Congress...and not by the Court.
And now, President Obama and his ultra-liberal cabal must defend
behemoth against many public adversaries...and especially against the
charge of being economic idiocy, both at the micro- and macro-
If the Republican Party cannot articulate clear arguments against
and for proper health care reform, they deserve to lose in November, at
levels of government.
Obama will come to rue this holding by the USSC.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
STATEMENT. PLEASE SEE MY PRIOR POSTING ENTITLED: HEALTH CARE REFORM: A
Republican National Committee
Court upheld Obamacare. While this may come as a devastating blow to
millions of Americans who rallied against the government's infringement
their health care and basic freedoms - the fight's not over. It has
can't afford Obamacare.
hurts the economy, limits Americans' choice in health care, and
interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. Hidden among the 2,700
of Obamacare crafted behind closed doors is a web of new government
regulations liberals disguised as cost cutting measures. In reality,
care costs continue to rise, and Obamacare will cost taxpayers
trillions in new
needs real health care reform, and that means repealing Obamacare.
need market-based solutions that give patients more choice, not less.
answer to rising health care costs is not, and never will be, Big
We must protect Americans' access to the care they need, from the
choose, at a lower cost. We must enact commonsense, step-by-step
on the free market and not dictated by government bureaucrats.
a change of leadership, Americans will continue to suffer.
Supreme Court decision sets the stakes for the November election. Now,
the only way to save the country from Obamacare's budget-busting
takeover of our health care and intrusion on our basic freedoms is to
Republicans who understand the economy, respect free enterprise, and
provide the leadership we need.
still much more to do - the stakes are too high. On November 6, we must
elect Mitt Romney and Republican candidates and put America on the path
a brighter economic future and successful health care reform.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
following is the
homily offered by Rev. Mark O'Donnell, Pastor of St Joseph Parish in
Ct. on Sunday, June 24, 2012. The message is all the more
view of the action of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding
Solemnity of St. John the Baptist
Faith, Fortitude and the Fortnight for Freedom
by Fr. Mark O'Donnell
*** “He must increase but I must decrease”
-Those simple, direct words of St. John The Baptist, whose feast we
celebrate today, summarize the life of the Christian disciple.
-In all things, we want Jesus to increase and our own will, our own
desires, our own attachments, to decrease.
-In my heart, in my prayer, in my family, in my parish, in my work, in
my study, in my leisure, in my entertainment, may the Lord Jesus
-In our common life together as Americans, in our civil society, in our
politics-may the Lord Jesus increase!
-In the time of Jesus, the king decreased the space for the things of
God; he did not want to hear the voice of religious truth, he did not
want to permit the preachers the freedom to preach.
-St. John the Baptist refused to acquiesce to the kings unjust
demands. For his fidelity he was imprisoned and beheaded.
-So were John Fisher and Thomas More, all because they stood firm
in their faith and in the truth they were cut down and beheaded.
-The Lord Jesus tells us that John the Baptist is the greatest of all
born of woman. Perhaps, his greatest virtue was his fortitude.
-He was truly fearless in his preaching. John the Baptist was
martyred for speaking the truth about the king, and from him we have
much to learn about fortitude in defense of our faith, and in defense of
***The Catholic Bishops of the U.S. have declared a Fortnight for
Freedom, asking Catholics to engage in a “great hymn of prayer for
our country” and a “national campaign of teaching and witness for
-Our Bishops have asked us to look to the great saints of Catholic
history whose courage we can emulate.
-The fortnight began on June 21st, the vigil of the Feast of Saints John
Fisher and Thomas More, who, like John the Baptist, were beheaded
by a king who desired them not to speak the truth about the Church
and the sacred bond of marriage of which I celebrated two wonderful
sacramental marriages yesterday of two couples in two different
-During this coming week we celebrate the Feast of Saints Peter and
Paul, who likewise were martyred by the Roman Emperor for their
preaching of Jesus Christ. And the fortnight concludes on July 4th,
the day when we celebrate our American Liberty.
-Our first, most cherished liberty as Americans is religious freedom.
-It is the first freedom enumerated in the First Amendment. It is the
foundation of all our freedoms, for if Americans are not free in their
consciences, in their religious faith, in their corporal works of mercy,
then all our freedoms are fragile.
-When the government commands us to do what God commands us
not to do, the American heritage of freedom is threatened.
-And the response of the Christian citizen as we learned vividly in the
example of Revered Martin Luther King, Jr. is to refuse to obey an
-Our Bishops have identified several attacks on religious liberty.
-Recently, enacted federal regulations dictate what purpose a church
must have and try to define what a church must be before the federal
government will defend our right to religious freedom.
-Recently enacted state legislation includes measures that outlaw any
kind of spiritual and charitable assistance given by the Church to
***When the government says that we must do what our faith forbids
us to do, or when it says we cannot do what our faith mandates us to
do, then we too might be called to have the courage of John the
Baptist to refuse those unjust orders. It is a stark question that we
face: Shall the government increase, and Jesus decrease?
***The Fortnight for Freedom reminds us that our liberty is not
something we have invented for ourselves, much less is it the
largesse of the government. It is God’s gift. We have been set free
in Christ Jesus for freedom. The genius of the American experiment
in ordered liberty is that it recognized this.
-As Catholics and Americans we insist again upon that recognition.
We insist today as John the Baptist insisted before King Herod; we
insist today as Peter and Paul insisted before the Emperor Nero; we
insist today as Bishop John Fisher and Sir Thomas More insisted
before King Henry VIII, Grant us freedom or give me death for my
faith, and beliefs.
-We pray then, calling upon the intercession of John the Baptist, for
all branches and levels of government, that our religious liberties be
-More urgent though we pray that all Christian disciples may have the
fortitude to stand up for our faith and our freedom.
-In standing fast for our faith, in standing fast for our freedom, we
know that we may have to suffer and to sacrifice.
-Perhaps, we may decrease. No matter in the larger scheme of
things. All that matters is that Jesus increases!!!!!!!
-May it always be so in this blessed land of Liberty. Amen.
SATURDAY through WEDNESDAY, June
23 through 27, 2012
TOOK SO LONG?
Msgr. William Lynn is the first Catholic Church cleric criminally
the long and obscene story of pedophile priests and their
Meanwhile, nobody was protecting the children. An article in The
Day (www.theday.com) on Saturday,
June 23, 2012
(pA7) tells the whole sordid Philadelphia Story. As for recently
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, his superior who ordered his actions:
"Vengeance Is Mine, Sayeth The Lord; I Shall Repay". And that
goes for all of the others who took part in this flagrant obstruction
justice through the years.
We are now told that "things have changed". Let us hope and
pray for that.
MONDAY through FRIDAY, June 11
through 22, 2012
TRUE, AND RELATED".
No, this is not a test. It is only the result of my being placed
reflective mood with the report in the last 24 hours of the outcome in
criminal cases. As usual with me, I defer any opinion regarding a
criminal case until the jury has rendered its verdict. After all,
the jury in the court room, after witnessing the testimony of all
witnesses, and after seeing all the evidence, is in a position to
verdict...on the Law and on the facts. Of course, there is also
"Jury Nullification" and JNOV (Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict),
both of which, although rare, raise difficult questions.
The cases are that of Jerry Sandusky and that of the Monsignor from the
Philadelphia Diocese, in both of which cases the verdict was Guilty.
Now for the questions:1) Are human beings all capable of the greatest
Good...and also of the greatest Evil? Answer: True.
human beings inherently insecure, inward-looking and self-serving,
in the absence of a Faith in God? Answer: True. 3) Is
the Evil in the world the result of the inaction of good people rather
action of evil people? Answer: True.
So, where am I going with this? I recently read a book entitled:
"How Do You Kill 11 Million People", referring to the action of the
Nazis throughout the 1930's and 1940's. Answer: by good people
This must not happen in the November, 2012 State and National
This nation has reached a political and moral cross-roads - and we
simply "take it", ala Yogi Berra. We must choose.
We must ALL choose by voting. Only in that way will the
whatever it is, be accepted by the losing side. Otherwise, it
will not be
accepted and will lead to the further undermining of this nation,
"unrest", rioting and even revolution.
Thus, the mission of all of us non-politicians between now and
must be to GET OUT THE VOTE. Many Federal elections in
decades were decided by as few as 100,000 votes - and rarely by more
million votes...while over 100 million voters stayed at home.
is outrageous and unsustainable for the greatest democracy in the
That is our Mission. Start with your family; then, your neighbor;
your City...and on.
Do you remember that exercise we used to do in Typing class?
NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY.
SUNDAY, June 10, 2012
again, a worthwhile reading list is offered for your
Fall Is In America's Interests"
by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, WSJ Thursday, June 7, 2012, pA19.
"America's Syria policy has been all wishful thinking and no national
will...This devalues America's power and influence in the world, with
disastrous and lasting consequences". Amen.
Obama: The Drone Warrior", by Charles Krauthammer, in The Day
Monday, June 4, 2012, pA4. Thumping a puny chest.
State With The Right Reason", WSJ Editorial, Wednesday May 30,
2012, pA12. Nineteen States now get a pass on No Child Left
Behind, thanks to the Teachers' Unions. "Back To The Future".
John Roberts", WSJ
Editorial, Tuesday, May 22, 2012, pA16. The Left tries to
intimidate the High Court on ObamaCare, accusing it of being "activist"
while ignoring Marbury v Madison: the case that established the
obligation of the Supreme Court to overturn unconstitutional
Obama Strikes Out In Court", by Ilya Shapiro, WSJ Wednesday, June
6, 2012, pA15. "Three unanimous Supreme Court decisions against
the government suggest that the administration has a faulty view of
federal power." And this, from our "Professor of Constitutional
SATURDAY, June 9, 2012
U.S. HEALTH CARE REFORM: A PRIMER
As a practicing physician for 55 years, and as
attorney practicing and studying Health Care Law for the last 28 years,
been writing and publishing on this subject for decades.
of this production is available on relevant sections of my web
In fact, an early publication, dating back to
be re-published with only minor revision…reflecting how little progress
society has made in addressing the real issues of Health Care Reform.
The “Accountable Care Act” (aka ACA and
ObamaCare) is a
Christmas Tree of “wants” that gives short shrift to the real needs
health care reform. As such, that ode to
political expediency needs to be repealed and replaced.
“With what”, you say.
Alright: ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING.
- Nearly half of health care
expenditures in this country are directly life-style related:
obesity, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, irresponsible
motor vehicle practices, the governmental support of unhealthy personal
practices like abortion, children out of wed-lock, defending failed
schooling, etc. These practices should be
heavily taxed and otherwise discouraged instead of being supported as
- A large percentage of health
care costs incurred by individuals and by society occur during the last
6 months of a person’s life. This,
while a strong majority of adults support Advanced Directives…and a
small minority of them actually have such “personal choice”
instructions to guide their loved ones and their physicians. Furthermore, physicians should recognize that
they have an ethical obligation to refrain from offering “futile care”.
- At least 20% of health care
costs represent “Defensive Medicine”, defined as actions taken by
health care providers predominantly to protect themselves from
allegations of “medical mal-practice” adjudicated in a lucrative and
unnecessarily adversarial system. The
current practices should be replaced by Health Care Courts similar to
Patent Courts and Bankruptcy Courts. Only
in that way can Justice be achieved and defensive medicine minimized.
- The great need in the existing
system of health care delivery is Coordination of Care among the
increasing number of medical specialists and other health care
providers involved in much if not most of current patient care. Such services are time-consuming and require a
broad - based knowledge of Medicine to be effective.
They can be provided by any one of a patient’s physicians
who is willing and who has the necessary level of insight and expertise. And they must be paid for adequately!
- There must be established and
enforced – by society as a whole and not by the Medical Profession – a
system of Prioritization (Rationing!) -
among the many services and potential recipients of those services. Coverage of cosmetic surgery and of Viagra
does not rise to the level in importance of immunizations.
Right now, cynical efforts are being made to force
physicians to make such decisions through unethical mechanisms such as
“accountable care organizations” which place a physician’s
self-interest in direct opposition to the interests of his or her
- Payment for all medical care,
subject to clearly defined exceptions for indigence and serious medical
necessity, should require at a 20% co-pay by the patient. The patient must be a serious first
decision-maker in his quest for medical care. For,
once a patient enters a physician’s office, the cost is generated and
the service is provided. The physician
cannot and will not be the arbiter of the “need” for the care requested
– or demanded.
A comment about the much-discussed “Electronic
Records”. These have been given a
very high priority and much pressure by our “leaders”…not because they
important, but because they are the easiest of the above issues to
address. Easiest, but not in-expensive
and definitely disruptive of the vital eye-to-eye physician / patient
physician / physician relationships on which all good medical care
so, what is the prognosis of the
above 6 vital areas of reform being addressed and implemented any time
soon? Poor to Grim.
Meanwhile, actions in the direction of
ObamaCare and of “Universal Health Care” will produce the opposite of
goals: lower quality, higher cost, and reduced access.
Folks, it’s your choice…and your life
FRIDAY, June 8, 2012
the way to
"take care of your buddies".
Share the burdon while remediating the failed results of a school
system and a
society. Re-install the Draft.
Article published Jun 8, 2012 in The Day
surge among U.S. troops
By ROBERT BURNS AP
National Security Writer
why they are dying about one a day
- Suicides are surging among America's
troops, averaging nearly one a day this year - the fastest pace in the
nation's decade of war.
suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days
of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in
Afghanistan - about 50 percent more - according to Pentagon statistics
obtained by The Associated Press.
reflect a military burdened with wartime demands
from Iraq and Afghanistan that have taken a greater toll than foreseen
a decade ago. The military also is struggling with increased sexual
assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other misbehavior.
suicides had leveled off in 2010 and 2011, this
year's upswing has caught some officials by surprise.
The reasons for
the increase are not fully understood. Among
explanations, studies have pointed to combat exposure, post-traumatic
stress, misuse of prescription medications and personal financial
problems. Army data suggest soldiers with multiple combat tours are at
greater risk of committing suicide, although a substantial proportion
of Army suicides are committed by soldiers who never deployed.
war in Afghanistan is winding down with the
last combat troops scheduled to leave at the end of 2014. But this year
has seen record numbers of soldiers being killed by Afghan troops, and
there also have been several scandals involving U.S. troop misconduct.
active-duty suicide total of 154 through June 3
compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 percent increase.
And it's more than the 136.2 suicides that the Pentagon had projected
for this period based on the trend from 2001-2011. This year's
January-May total is up 25 percent from two years ago, and it is 16
percent ahead of the pace for 2009, which ended with the highest yearly
total thus far.
have exceeded U.S. combat deaths in
Afghanistan in earlier periods, including for the full years 2008 and
pattern varies over the course of a year, but in
each of the past five years the trend through May was a reliable
predictor for the full year, according to a chart based on figures
provided by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner.
The numbers are
rising among the 1.4 million active-duty
military personnel despite years of effort to encourage troops to seek
help with mental health problems. Many in the military believe that
going for help is seen as a sign of weakness and thus a potential
threat to advancement.
widow of Marine Maj. John Ruocco, a helicopter
pilot who hanged himself in 2005 between Iraq deployments, said he was
unable to bring himself to go for help.
"He was so
afraid of how people would view him once he went
for help," she said in an interview at her home in suburban Boston. "He
thought that people would think he was weak, that people would think he
was just trying to get out of redeploying or trying to get out of
service, or that he just couldn't hack it - when, in reality, he was
sick. He had suffered injury in combat and he had also suffered from
depression and let it go untreated for years. And because of that, he's
currently director of suicide prevention programs
for the military support organization Tragedy Assistance Programs, or
head of a newly established Defense Suicide
Prevention Office at the Pentagon, said in an interview Thursday that
the suicide numbers this year are troubling.
"We are very
concerned at this point that we are seeing a
high number of suicides at a point in time where we were expecting to
see a lower number of suicides," she said, adding that the weak U.S.
economy may be confounding preventive efforts even as the pace of
military deployments eases.
experts are still struggling to understand
"What makes one
person become suicidal and another not is
truly an unknown," she said.
Dr. Stephen N.
Xenakis, a retired Army brigadier general and
a practicing psychiatrist, said the suicides reflect the level of
tension as the U.S. eases out of Afghanistan though violence continues.
"It's a sign in
general of the stress the Army has been under
over the 10 years of war," he said in an interview. "We've seen before
that these signs show up even more dramatically when the fighting seems
to go down and the Army is returning to garrison."
said he worries that many senior military
officers do not grasp the nature of the suicide problem.
example of that became public when a senior Army
general recently told soldiers considering suicide to "act like an
Maj. Gen. Dana
Pittard, commander of the 1st Armored
Division, last month retracted - but did not apologize for - a
statement in his Army blog in January. He had written, "I have now come
to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act." He also
wrote, ""I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take
their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult,
act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest
of us." He did also counsel soldiers to seek help.
drew a public rebuke from the Army, which has the
highest number of suicides and called his assertions "clearly wrong."
Last week the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin
Dempsey, said he disagrees with Pittard "in the strongest possible
services have set up confidential telephone
hotlines, placed more mental health specialists on the battlefield,
added training in stress management, invested more in research on
mental health risk and taken other measures.
established a counseling service dubbed "DStress
line," a toll-free number that troubled Marines can call anonymously.
They also can use a Marine website to chat online anonymously with a
arguably have had the most success recently in
lowering their suicide numbers, which are up slightly this year but are
roughly in line with levels of the past four years. The Army's numbers
also are up slightly. The Air Force has seen a spike, to 32 through
June 3 compared to 23 at the same point last year. The Navy is slightly
above its 10-year trend line but down a bit from 2011.
As part of its
prevention strategy, the Navy has published a
list of "truths" about suicide.
people are not psychotic or insane," it says.
"They might be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing."
In a report
published in January the Army said the true
impact of its prevention programs is unknown.
"What is known
is that all Army populations ... are under
increased stress after a decade of war," it said, adding that if not
for prevention efforts the Army's suicide totals might have been as
much as four times as high.
Maj. Bryan Battaglia, the senior enlisted adviser
to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently issued a video
message to all military members in which he noted that suicides "are
sadly on the rise."
to general, we shoulder an obligation to look
and listen for signs and we stand ready to intervene and assist our
follow service member or battle buddy in time of need," Battaglia said.
numbers began surging in 2006. They soared in
2009 and then leveled off before climbing again this year. The
statistics include only active-duty troops, not veterans who returned
to civilian life after fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. Nor does the
Pentagon's tally include non-mobilized National Guard or Reserve
surge in suicides has caught the attention of
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Last month he sent an internal memo to
the Pentagon's top civilian and military leaders in which he called
suicide "one of the most complex and urgent problems" facing the
Defense Department, according to a copy provided to the AP.
on one of the most sensitive aspects of the
problem: the stigma associated with seeking help for mental distress.
This is particularly acute in the military.
continue to fight to eliminate the stigma from those
with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues," Panetta
wrote, adding that commanders "cannot tolerate any actions that
belittle, haze, humiliate or ostracize any individual, especially those
who require or are responsibly seeking professional services."
TUESDAY through THURSDAY, June 5
through 7, 2012
IS AN ADDENDUM
TO MY ADVICE FOR THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY AND TO MITT ROMNEY...IF
WANT TO WIN IN NOVEMBER.
(This is in addition to my list posted as a Rapid Response, May
REGARDING CONSERVATION AND "ADAPTIVE REUSE", (vs.
reflexive "drill baby, drill" and vs Preservation for preservation's
sake), see the article by Thomas L. Friedman entitled "G.(reen)O.P",
Sunday Times June 3, 2012, Sunday Review, p13.
REGARDING THE ARCTIC, THE LATEST FRONTIER FOR AMERICA,
of State Clinton is in Norway talking "cooperation" among the several
nations with interests and claims in that rich region.
"Cooperation"...YES. Law of the Sea Treaty...NO.
AND THAT GOES FOR ALL EFFORTS TO SUBORDINATE AMERICA'S NATIONAL
ANY OTHER GROUP...ESPECIALLY THE DYSFUNCTIONAL UNITED NATIONS.
Time to Kill the Law of the Sea
Senate ratifies it, China will have its best weapon yet to limit U.S.
action in Asia.
The Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST)—signed
by the U.S. in 1994 but never ratified by the Senate—is showing some
signs of life on Capitol Hill, even as new circumstances make it less
attractive than ever. With China emerging as a major power, ratifying
the treaty now would encourage Sino-American strife, constrain U.S.
naval activities, and do nothing to resolve China's expansive maritime
At issue is China's intensified effort to
keep America's military out of its "Exclusive Economic Zone," a LOST
invention that affords coastal states control over economic activity in
areas beyond their sovereign, 12-mile territorial seas out to 200
miles. Properly read, LOST recognizes exclusive economic zones as
international waters, but China is exploiting the treaty's ambiguities
to declare "no go" zones in regions where centuries of state practice
clearly permit unrestricted maritime activity.
Take the issues of intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance, both by air and sea. LOST is silent on
these subjects in the exclusive zones, so China claims it can regulate
(meaning effectively prohibit) all such activity. Beijing also brazenly
claims—exploiting Western green sensibilities—that U.S. naval vessels
pollute China's exclusive zone, pollution being an activity the treaty
permits coastal states to regulate out to 24 miles.
China wants to deny American access to
its nearby waters so it can have its way with its neighbors. Beijing is
building a network of "anti-access" and "area denial" weapons such as
integrated air defenses, submarines, land-based ballistic and cruise
missiles, and cyber and anti-satellite systems designed to make it
exceedingly hazardous for American ships and aircraft to traverse
China's exclusive zone or peripheral seas.
If the Senate ratifies the treaty, we
would become subject to its dispute-resolution mechanisms and
ambiguities. Right now, since we are the world's major naval power, our
conduct dominates state practice and hence customary international
law—to our decided advantage.
This dispute is not really about law.
China simply does not want the U.S. military to gather intelligence
near its shores. And other nations quietly support China's position,
including Russia, Iran, Brazil and India. Given China's incessant
incursions into the exclusive zones of other Asian nations such as
Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan, these states may seek to restrict
international maritime activities in their exclusive zones as well,
further complicating U.S. efforts.
All Washington wants is to continue doing
what it has been doing since it became a maritime power: use its Navy
to enhance international peace and security, deter conflict, reassure
allies, and collect intelligence. LOST undercuts these strategic
imperatives, and that is why it has always been a bad idea for the
U.S.—a formula for endless legal maneuvering and the submission of
conflicting claims to the treaty's international tribunal, where our
prospects are uncertain at best.
One hopes India and Japan will stop
reflexively supporting LOST. They have significant alternatives to
check China's growing power, including closer cooperation with the
United States. The treaty is not an answer—it is only a beguiling,
flawed escape hatch from the hard work America and others must do to
meet China's challenge.
That hard work must include properly
funding and equipping the Navy and exercising it in China's exclusive
zones, including especially on intelligence missions, based on
long-established state practice. Together with diplomacy to prevent
nascent conflicts from escalating, these steps will reassure allies of
full U.S. support in resolving disputes with China.
Mr. Bolton served as U.S. ambassador
to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006. Mr. Blumenthal was a senior
country director for China and Taiwan in the Office of the U.S.
Secretary of Defense. Both are fellows at the American Enterprise
MONDAY, June 4, 2012
DO WE DARE HOPE FOR
Stay tuned...for the cooperation - or continued obstructionism - of the
Article published Jun 3, 2012 in The Day
London a great place to start state education reform
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was able to get his education reform bill through
the legislature, in the process reaching a compromise with the state's
powerful teachers unions that takes a deliberative approach to
implementing performance evaluation policies.
this past week Connecticut received its gold star for education reform
policy - a federal exemption to the federal No Child Left Behind
requirements. Appearing at the state Capitol to deliver the good news
was U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
waiver means that the U.S. Department of Education has concluded the
state's reform plans, if implemented successfully, can turn around
low-performing schools by providing them the necessary support, raising
standards and improving teaching.
said the effort to meet the "proficiency" required by NCLB led to a
dumbing down of standards and a narrowing of curriculum. Nearly half of
state schools were failing to meet the federal performance standard.
NCLB law needs major changes, but like most matters it is stalled in
Congress. In the meantime a waiver is the only means for a state to
avoid tying up time and resources trying to meets its arbitrary
standards, rather than getting about the task of truly reforming public
now that the governor has his education reform law and his waiver, he
needs to show some success. I have a suggestion for him - New London.
is no secret many of the city's students are struggling. New London
ranks among the four lowest-performing school districts in the state,
with the sixth lowest high school graduation rate. Yet because of its
relative small size, as compared with struggling school districts in
places like New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford, an aggressive
intervention by the state in New London could provide quick results.
state is well aware of New London's struggles. State Education
Commissioner Stefan Pryor recently sat down with the city's Board of
Education to go over a state audit that raised concerns about the
governance and management of the district.
New London has some things going for it that hold out the prospect of
significant student progress in a relatively short time, just the kind
of thing proponents of the education reform package need to demonstrate
Nicholas A. Fischer has overseen the implementation of tougher teacher
evaluation standards and sought to clarify for teachers what effective
instruction lookes like. As the state continues to formulate the
teacher evaluation program called for in the legislation, it could look
to New London to test it.
London's Winthrop Magnet Elementary STEM School - science, technology,
engineering and mathematics - will open next school year, while the
Nathan Hale Magnet Elementary School for Performing and Visual Arts
opens the following year, both built largely with state funding. The
opening of these innovative schools adds to the potential for rapid
progress in New London. The Science & Technology Magnet High School
of Southeastern Connecticut, adjacent to the high school, has proved a
London is the perfect place to aggressively pursue the parent outreach
and involvement called for in the education reform plan. Its a place
where the state can get big results for a relatively small investment.
state officials are looking for a manageable test case, New London can
be it. It has established a literacy standard for graduation, and made
progress in improving school safety. A foundation is there to build on.
London needs to accelerate progress in turning its struggling schools
around, while the Malloy administration would like some genuine
educational success to point to before the next gubernatorial election.
Sounds like the perfect match.
Choiniere is the editorial page editor.
FRIDAY through SUNDAY June 1
through 3, 2012
contemplation of the parties" (alla "Hadley vs Baxendale") who
drafted the U.S. Constitution. Civil Union, YES; Marriage, NO.
Article published Jun 3, 2012 in The Day
should welcome the end of DOMA
appeals court acted appropriately this week in finding unconstitutional
a 1996 federal law that restricts the ability of same-sex couples in
Connecticut and other states from obtaining the rights and privileges
provided other legally married couples.
such couples will not see an immediate benefit. The United States Court
of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston issued a stay of its
decision, anticipating that the Supreme Court will take up the case.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the subject of the court's ruling,
denies various federal benefits to individuals in lawfully recognized
same-sex marriages or civil unions.
prohibits legally married same-sex couples from filing joint federal
income tax returns. It stops a spouse in a same-sex union from
receiving a Social Security death benefit. DOMA forces a surviving
spouse in such a marriage to pay an estate tax on an inheritance that
for other widowers is tax free. It prevents same-sex military families
from receiving the same treatment and benefits as their straight
counterparts. And it allows corporations to discriminate against
employees in same-sex marriages when it comes to providing spousal
is a bad law, and Congress should repeal it. But short of that, the
Supreme Court should find it unconstitutional.
Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law in 1996 when he was seeking
re-election. The law sought to discourage states from giving legal
status to same-sex couples. Signing it helped burnish Mr. Clinton's
moderate credentials. The same political calculation led Mr. Clinton to
approve the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that allowed gay individuals
to serve in the military as long as they kept their mouths shut.
Barack Obama was able to persuade Congress to abandon that policy and,
as a result, homosexual members of the military can now serve without
having to hide or lie about a major part of who they are.
Obama administration likewise refused to defend the constitutionality
of DOMA. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives took
up the cause, appointing a group called the Bipartisan Legal Advisory
Group to defend it.
irony is thick. Republicans, who like to characterize themselves as the
party of state rights, lined up in defense of a law that seeks to force
states to bend to the federal government's will.
DOMA, the federal government had never challenged the authority of
states to define marriage. States have different ages of consent,
different restrictions on marriages within families, different
requirements to get a marriage license. But however the states defined
marriage, Congress recognized its legal status when it came to federal
policies and benefits.
writing the appellate court's decision, Judge Michael Boudin noted the
unprecedented and unconstitutional attempt by Congress "to put a thumb
on the scales and influence a state's decision as to how to shape its
own marriage laws."
the way, the Judge Boudin was appointed by a Republican - President
George H.W. Bush.
is reason for optimism that the Supreme Court will follow the appellate
court's lead. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who will quite possibly cast
the deciding vote, has written prior decisions advancing gay rights.
The First Circuit ruling relied on the logic found in Justice Kennedy's
between two males or two females is legal in the District of Columbia
and six states, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York,
as well as Connecticut. It is set to become legal in Washington next
week and in Maryland in January, but in each state the implementation
could be delayed by opponents placing the question on the November
states have legalized domestic partnerships and civil unions for such
couples, including New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island and
Hawaii, largely providing the same rights as marriage, without the name.
again a court has used the Constitution's civil rights bulwark, the
equal protection clause, to prevent unequal treatment toward one class
of people - same-sex married couples. The Supreme Court should follow
the lead of the First Circuit.
(c) Copyright 1999-2018, Allergy Associates of New London, PC