Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rather Pokes Media

Dan Rather, former CBS newsman and current managing editor and anchor of the television news magazine Dan Rather Reports which appears on a cable channel, recently poked the news media for mollycoddling Donald Trump saying nearly no one is asking tough questions or tough follow-up questions and that the media has become Mr. Trump's business partner. Basically, Rather said the media isn’t doing its job by letting The Donald get away with blathering a lot of B.S., so to speak, and then not calling him out on it.

It’s about time the “legitimate” media was slammed for “dereliction of duty” and for giving away millions of dollars worth of publicity to Mr. Trump.

It will be interesting to see if all this coverage eventually overloads the public and Mr. Trump becomes yesterday's news... making continuing coverage of the Donald a money loser.

*Dan Rather is a journalist I’ve always respected. Through the years he has absorbed devastating attacks launched by various political stooges aimed at destroying his credibility. The George W. Bush story comes to mind. He lost his job over it and was banished from CBS for saying that Bush’s record with the Texas Air National Guard was not what Bush claimed it to be. The documents cited by Rather in his segment, "For the Record" which aired on 60 Minutes Wednesday, September 8, 2004, were never proven to be forged, so it remains entirely probable that Bush disobeyed orders and very likely went AWOL from the Guard.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Stop Eating Sugary Foods

Breakthrough Monday #2
If you follow scientific, health or technology, you know that breakthrough findings and developments are being made nearly everyday. We are constantly learning new things about ourselves, our world and our universe. Here is a life changing breakthrough that can literally make the difference for you and those you love:

No matter your age there is nothing more important than good health. If you are not healthy you can do zero with your time remaining on this earth.

At this very moment there is one thing that will change your life and help move you into the “healthy” category. Stop eating sugary foods.

If you reduce the amount of sugar you eat you will help your body return to health, no matter your age, sex or nationality. At the very least you will begin to help your body reduce the catastrophic results of too much sugar consumption – the eight chronic metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) diseases: heart disease, lipid (blood) problems, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer (especially breast and colon), polycystic ovarian syndrome, and dementia.

Sugar is ubiquitous… it is added to nearly every processed food you consume. That is why it is a problem. That is also why reducing sugar consumption will be one of the hardest challenges of your life. But your health is worth it.

Go here for more information:
Here is the Sugar Coated trailer on Vimeo:
Sugar Coated, the movie, is available on Netflix
Download One Sweet App for your iPhone or iPad here:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Making Health a Priority

(Part Two)
It is literally impossible to overstate the challenge we confront when it comes to our health and the substances we consume. The forces at war against our good health are in every way the enormous powers of our culture, our institutions and the very structure of our society.

We are talking here about trillions of dollars in commerce — the food and agriculture industries, healthcare and nutrition industries, the global advertising and public relations giants, our political systems, to name only the most obvious —  and, the most ferocious Titan of them all, the most addictive substance on earth… sugar. These are the powers we face.

Unless we work together to deal with our sugar addiction challenge and the inevitable, catastrophic results of too much sugar consumption – the eight chronic metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance) diseases: heart disease, lipid (blood) problems, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cancer (especially breast and colon), polycystic ovarian syndrome, and dementia – we will be responsible for passing on a horrendously flawed and fatal legacy to our grandkids.

So what will our legacy be? On our watch will we look the other way and continue to allow certain “powers of our society” to destroy our health and more importantly (as a child of the Baby Boomer generation) the health of our children and grandchildren? Or, will we rise to the challenge and make Health a priority?

Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D., MSL Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, one of the world’s most vocal anti-sugar advocates, characterizes the enormity of our challenge: “the obesity epidemic itself is in large part a direct result of “sugar addiction” similar to alcohol and cocaine brought about by the ubiquitous use of fructose (sugar) in nearly 100% of processed foods sold to the public. (1)

“No one chooses obesity. Obesity chooses them... How long do you believe you can exert a cognitive inhibition (willpower) control over a biochemical drive that goes on 24/7/365, getting worse every single day that you don’t perform it? No one can exert that level of willpower over a biochemical. It’s just not possible.” (2)

Nearly all of us in the U.S. unknowingly consume mega-amounts of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). And, after years of consumption we are in serious trouble physically and our nation is near the healthcare breaking point financially.

High Fructose Corn Syrup, and its cousin sucrose, are both slow poisons. Consumption of mega-amounts of sugar is now proven to link directly with at least eight of the most common diseases which affect 60% of U.S. population and total 75% of global healthcare expenditures. (2)

“Further, Dr. Lustig, et al., clearly described our challenge in the conclusion of Toward Evidence-Based Polices for Reduction of Dietary Sugars, Lessons from the Alcohol Experience (3.):

“Any successful regulatory approach to preventing the health harms associated with the overconsumption of dietary sugars must not just confront, but ideally balance, the complex and competing interests of consumers, government, and commercial interests, including producers, distributors, and retailers. The production and sale of alcohol, as with sugar, is an important economic activity that generates profits, jobs, tax dollars, and currency. Industrial producers and distributors face economic losses when consumption is reduced, thus placing public health goals at loggerhead with commercial interests. Meanwhile, government has its own competing interests. On the one hand, it is charged with protecting the economy, encouraging commodity exports, increasing its own tax base, and generating tariffs. On the other hand, governments are responsible for protecting public health, as well as financing the costs of chronic disease through pubic insurance programs like Medicare and subsidizing the costs of food through federal assistance programs for low-income populations. While these interests are not necessarily irreconcilable, understanding and balancing these personal–commercial–governmental alignments is essential for promoting effective regulatory regimes.”

“The political and economic barriers inherent in applying lessons learned from the alcohol experience to dietary sugar are significant, but not insurmountable. One barrier to policy change is the food industry itself. Virtually all food companies are now part of vast, publicly traded conglomerates that have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders and are judged on 3-month profit cycles.”

Taken in the light of the gargantuan health challenge we face, Philly’s Sugar Tax is obviously only a single step toward slaying enormous giants to ensure the health of ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

Still, it is a step which we must make in every city throughout the world in order to mount our successful challenge to overcome the powers of our society.

1. “Sugar the Bitter Truth”, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D., MSL Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, UCTV Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [7/2009] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 16717] 

2. “The Skinny on Obesity”, 7-part series, (Ep. 4): Sugar - A Sweet Addiction, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D.

3. Toward Evidence-Based Policies for Reduction of Dietary Sugars, Lessons from the Alcohol Experience, Laura A. Schmidt, Anisha I. Patel, Claire D. Brindis, and Robert H. Lustig, M.D.

More Valuable Information

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sugary Beverage Tax to Help Fund Philly

(Part One) On 16 June, the City of Philadelphia became the first “major” U.S. city*  to adopt a “sweetened beverage tax”. The vote marked the third time in the past six years that Council considered similar legislation.

This time Philadelphia City Council voted 13 in favor and 4 opposed to approve the 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax that will be applied to sodas and other sugary drinks, including teas, sports drinks and energy drinks. Drinks exempt from the tax are those that are more than 50% fruit juice, vegetable juice or milk. The tax will take effect 1 Jan 2017 and is expected to raise $91 million annually.

While the Philadelphia City website shows in detail the health reasons to minimize drinking sugary beverages, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney made no secret of his major reason for the tax: it is to secure funding for city projects including, “pre-kindergarten expansion, the creation of community schools and an investment in parks and recreation centers”.

The Philadelphia sweetened beverage tax (SBT) legislation could become a tipping point for other U.S. cities which are equally hungry for funding to overcome budget shortfalls and because it signals a path for overcoming the beverage lobby, which has spent millions of dollars to beat down similar tax efforts throughout the nation. Until Philadelphia, the record stood at 45 wins for the beverage lobby to 1 for local communities.

While local legislation will not alone solve our health crisis, it’s possible that Mayor Kenney has discovered a “key” to putting a dent in the U.S. obesity epidemic while helping to reduce sugar-addiction-caused metabolic disease and local budgetary shortfalls, too.

Local legislation is one step toward helping to solve our health crisis. See Part 2 tomorrow: Making Health a Priority.

*In Nov 2014, Berkeley, CA was actually the first city to pass similar legislation.

From the City of Philadelphia website:
Obesity has become a public health crisis in Philadelphia.
“In 2010, 66% of adults and 41% of children were overweight or obese.”
 “In some Philadelphia neighborhoods, almost 70% of children are overweight or obese. Obesity and being overweight are major risk factors for heart disease, many forms of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.” 

For more about the dangers of our sugar addiction, please go here:
For Your Loved Ones & For Your Health – Stop Eating Sugar-Loaded Processed Foods

Monday, June 20, 2016

Breakthrough Monday #1

If you follow scientific, health or technology, you know that breakthrough findings and developments are being made nearly everyday. We are constantly learning new things about ourselves, our world and our universe. Here are four breakthroughs which will at some point change our lives:

1. Scientists confirm DNA holds a second layer of information.
“Physicists at Leiden Institute of Physics have confirmed a long-standing hypothesis, that a second layer of information exists on top of the genetic code in DNA. Leiden theoretical physicists have proven that not only the genetic information in DNA determines who we are, but also DNA’s mechanics. Helmut Schiessel and his group simulated many DNA sequences and found a correlation between mechanical cues and the way DNA is folded.”

2. Desalination Breakthrough: Saving the Sea from Salt
“A chemist finds a way to cut supersalty discharge and CO2 as the Middle East relies ever more on seawater desalination.”

3. Tiny lasers on silicon means big things for electronics
“Scientists have found a way to create nanoscale lasers directly from silicon, unlocking the possibilities of direct integration of photonics on integrated circuits.”

4. Early Puberty in Girls Is Becoming Epidemic and Getting Worse
“Girls with early onset puberty face a number of mental and physical health risks.”

“Girls with earlier maturation are at risk for lower self-esteem and higher rates of depression. They are more likely to be influenced by older peers and more deviant peers, and initiate intercourse, substance use, and other norm-breaking behaviors at younger ages,” writes Frank M. Biro in the journal Pediatrics. “The biologic impact of earlier maturation includes greater risk of several cancers, including breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer, as well as obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and hypertension.”

Heart disease risk is also increased. - RB

Above figure caption: The rigid base-pair model is forced, using 28 constraints (indicated by red spheres), into a left-handed superhelical path that mimics the DNA conformation in the nucleosome.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Better World for the Grandkids

Have you noticed that life seems upside down nowadays?
The wrong things are getting all the attention when the important things are not even on the discussion agenda. I mean, the tough questions are not even being addressed. For instance, for the first time in the history of the United States, experts are saying that our grandkids will not succeed financially more than we have. They may not even own their own homes or attain the careers they want.

For lots of perfectly good reasons we have taken our eyes off the ball. We had our lives to live... jobs to work... mortgages to pay. But today all those excuses seem pretty lame, don't they?

I mean, what kind of world are we passing on to our children… our grandkids?
Are we to accept that our grandkids will have less of life’s blessing than we have? You know, less of the important things, like:
  • Fewer opportunities
  • Less quality of life
  • Less satisfying employment
  • Lower life expectancy
  • Poorer healthcare 
  • No home of their own
  • No clean water to drink
But more of
  • Monumental education debt
  • Plenty of roads full of potholes and crumbling bridges
  • Failing dams and levees
The truth is we have not taken care of the important things. For years we have not paid attention to the details. The result is we have allowed underfunding or no funding of schools and universities; road and bridge repair; water and sewerage systems, and much more.

Further, we have allowed our politicians to ravage our public trust by privatization of public assets and services — where contracts have been awarded without effective controls, unenforced performance measurements of the private owners and no enforced imperative to create long-term value.

It’s likely that many of us won’t live long enough to witness the impact of all this neglect — but, our grandkids will.

Over the next few months we have an opportunity to make the system work for our grandkids by forcing the candidates for office to show us their plans to turn these problems into solutions.

Let’s do it for the grandkids.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Muhammad Ali The Greatest

"I am the Greatest," I said that even before I knew I was.- Muhammad Ali. 

June 1967 was an important time in my life. I had just graduated from High School and was going to enlist in the Army with two of my friends. I thought I had enough of school and wanted to do something else.

My father stopped me from going with my friends that day. He said, "Ron, your mom and I have never asked you to not do something you wanted to do. But, today we want you to not go to enlist. Please, go to college. Then if you want, enlist after you've graduated. Don't become cannon fodder for them, Ron. Don't waste your life for nothing. I know. I enlisted. They wasted millions of lives and for what? You'll see. In a few years we will be selling things to the Vietnamese and making money, just like we did after WWII."

June 1967 was when Muhammad Ali was convicted of draft evasion. He knew then that the war in Vietnam was wrong. He had been stripped of his heavyweight title. He faced five-years in a federal penitentiary and a $10,000 fine, plus three-and-a-half-years in exile from boxing... but not from the people of the world and not from history.

After the Texas Federal District Court decision (later overturned by the Supreme Court) he said, "I strongly object to the fact that so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in this stand — either I go to jail or go to the Army. There is another alternative, and that alternative is justice. If justice prevails, if my constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end, I am confident that justice will come my way, for the truth must eventually prevail."

Years later, he said:
"Some people thought I was a hero. Some people said that what I did was wrong. But everything I did was according to my conscience. I wasn’t trying to be a leader. I just wanted to be free. And I made a stand all people, not just black people, should have thought about making, because it wasn’t just black people being drafted. The government had a system where the rich man’s son went to college, and the poor man’s son went to war. Then, after the rich man’s son got out of college, he did other things to keep him out of the Army until he was too old to be drafted."

My family wasn't wealthy. Mom was a nurse and Dad was a postman. Yet, I was rich because of their love for me.*

Ali will always be the Greatest.

*While in my junior year at the University of Akron I enlisted in the Army. I graduated in March 1971.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Feel Much Better Now

I feel much better now that I know who is workin' the dummy.* Don't you?
*Apologies to Paul Winchell and Jerry MaHoney and, of course, Alfred E. Neuman of MAD Magazine fame.
MAD Magazine cover, August 2016. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

About Those References

Odd about some things in life.
How some times you figure you might have a handle on something. But then it turns out it’s not the way you thought.
Take references.
Back a ways, I looked for references to check before I hired a person. I felt better knowing that the applicant’s references reinforced his job-related and life accomplishments.
Recently though, I’m baffled.
I mean … the guy on the left has endorsed the guy on the right.

Could be it’s time for me to rethink the reference thing. On the other hand, perhaps what really matters is who's giving the reference. So, now I know. It all depends.