Wednesday, July 27, 2016

USA, USA... What Will We Do?

These past few days have been frightening. The Republicans seem to have galloped off into total insanity. And I fear the Democrats, while adopting a Progressive leaning platform, will continue the same-old-same-old oligarchy and march the nation into Fascism. In this video report, Robert Reich, labor secretary under President Clinton, and Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, capture my concerns. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dealing With My Conscious Self

A very long time ago I tried to smoke. Immediately my body said, "No". I coughed and hacked and ended up with a sore throat and a smelly mouth. I never tried to smoke again.

I never tried marijuana or drugs. I guess I feared I'd lose control of myself, similar to the time I was knocked out while playing football and ended up with a concussion. I blacked out for several hours and remembered nothing until I woke up in the hospital.

Later, my Dad told me I'd punched the emergency doctor in the nose because he kept making me lay down on the ice-cold examining table. Dad said, "You told him several times to stop holding you down... they had taken your shirt and you were cold... so you finally punched him. The doctor understood... you weren't yourself due to the concussion."

I was sorry, of course. That episode cured me of any interest in drugs which would put my conscious self into some other place.


It's time for a reboot now that it appears that medical marijuana could become a major good thing in our lives. This from The Atlantic:

"A new study by researchers Ashley Bradford and W. David Bradford at the University of Georgia indicates that legalizing medical marijuana prescriptions for seniors reduces “use of prescription drugs for which marijuana could serve” and also “has a significant effect on prescribing patterns and spending in Medicare Part D,” the Medicare component that pays for prescription drugs for enrollees."

In the study, the researchers identified "nine conditions for which medical marijuana has evidence of efficacy in treatment—including anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and pain."

OK... OK... I've learned that you don't have to smoke the stuff to realize the medical benefits. So, no sore throat for me if I ever need to use it to deal with my conscious self in this world.

Go here for the story: What Can't Medical Marijuana Do, Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic, 18 July 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Stand Up for Our Rights

This song, written by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, is perhaps even more relevant today than back in the 70s when it was originally written. It's about the Marley's fight for respect and acceptance of his Rastafarian religion in Jamaica. It reverberates for me today because I fear we will soon be fighting for our constitutionally guaranteed rights due to over reaction to the now everyday horrors we are witnessing throughout the world.

"This was the last song Marley performed; he sang it from a stool at a show in Pittsburgh on September 23, 1980. Marley's cancer had spread to his brain and it was surprising he could perform at all, but he did a 20-song set that night, closing with a 6-minute rendition of "Get Up, Stand Up," and collapsing soon after the show. He would die on May 11, 1981."

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Team of Heroes

It’s Friday, late afternoon. It’s time to put aside all the terrible happenings of the past few hours…the needless deaths and the senseless political comments of presidential politics… for a few moments of reflection on life’s true heroes.

Heroes are those few people who are truly a breed apart from the rest of us. Somehow they find motivation and their reward by helping others less fortunate than themselves. So today, we honor the people of a Detroit program call Midnight Golf which “mentors young students, helps them get into college, teaches them life skills – and golf – and nurtures them until they get their degrees.”

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley recently wrote about them in an article centered on DelShawn Fowler, a young man who refused to give up his dream of a college education. Fowler missed his ride to visit Ohio State University but convinced (former) Uber driver Kevin Fuller to help him get to Ohio and catch up with his campus tour bus.

DelShawn Fowler deserves a ton of credit for his never-give-up attitude and perseverance. But importantly he had his opportunity because of Renee Fluker and Winston Coffee, two of the outstanding mentors of Midnight Golf Program; his mom, Crystal Fowler; and former Uber driver Kevin Fuller.

Together they make an unique winning team of heroes.

*Photo Credit: DelShawn Fowler (18) by Salwan Georges, The Detroit Free Press 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Day with Dr. Ben Carson

by Gail Albin

I have always loved a rags to riches story.

There are a lot of well -known people who would be delightful to know and spend a day with. Oprah would be high on my list. She would be fun and would probably have her people make me over and dress me in a stylish way. She might suggest that her skin care people give my skin a treatment from years of teen sunbathing damage. She is able to hire people, she has loads of talent and probably has had excellent timing.

There are many famous sportspersons who grew up on the mean streets of cities. They persevered and became amazing and famous athletes. Many farm boys skated every winter on the frozen pond behind the barn and a few ended up being stars in the National Hockey League. A lot of people have amazing musical talent, for some it comes to them naturally and others must work and then never excel to become well known.

My choice would be to spend the day with Dr. Ben Carson.

I can’t imagine anyone faking being an outstanding world famous neurosurgeon. I would ask him if we could meet in Detroit and then he could show me his old neighborhood and maybe even his house where he lived as a boy. I would like to see what streets he used to walk to school.We could visit his schools if they are still open. I imagine that there could be a few of his teachers still living that we could contact. I need to know how he was as a boy.I imagine all who read this know that he is an African American man. He recently ran for President of the United States.

I would want to know what made him work so hard to become a world known neurosurgeon. I have watched the movie Gifted Hands all about his life. I have read a lot about him and find it amazing that he did so well after such an unpromising childhood.

The father was not in the home and his mother couldn’t read or write. Far too many with backgrounds like Ben’s end up in prison. I am an independent voter and probably would choose a person with broader experience to be our president. Dr. Carson would be better suited to be surgeon general. He must surely be an outstanding role model to all who know about him.  

I wish someone could do a blood test or a brain scan on Dr. Carson to find out where he got that momentum and drive to succeed. I would like to see more young people with the right stuff as some would say. I will in fact ask Dr. Carson to bring all of his family along for our day. His wife is a professional violinist and his three sons have done well as professionals in different careers. Dr. Carson appears to be a good family man. I think our day together will go too fast. I had better have someone take a video so I can live my day over and over.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Itty Bitty Seed of Hope

Trump or Clinton... Is that a choice?

Well, yes, of course. It’s a choice between unpredictable, off-the-wall lunacy and the same-old-same-old lunacy.

I can not imagine the world’s best known “unhinged” hair-triggered bully occupying America’s “bully pulpit”… with his finger hovering over the world-destroying button.

On the other hand, I find it hard to consider voting for Sec Clinton who is advised by one of the most evil people known to take a breath in this world, Sec. Henry Kissinger, and likely to continue the warmongering, neoconservative policies put in place under the Geo. W. Bush administration. Those are the “Project for the New American Century” policies which “lied” us into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; created a bottomless cesspit of hatred, both in the U.S. and throughout the world; and, installed a plethora of neo-fascists in the State Department - who to this day remain in power, actively pushing us into a new cold war by poking the Russians at every opportunity.

November will here way too soon and we will likely be making a choice between off-the-wall lunacy and same-old lunacy.

Wait... there may be an itty bitty seed of hope. There may be another option: Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president.

After Sen. Sanders' endorsement of Sec. Clinton, she said:

“For decades, the Democrats have increasingly campaigned on the politics of fear, promoting a lesser-of-two-evils voting strategy because ‘the Republicans are even worse.’ But that politics of fear has brought us everything we were afraid of.”

“All the reasons you were told you had to vote for the lesser evil — because you didn't want the massive Wall Street bailouts, the offshoring of our jobs, the meltdown of the climate, the endless expanding wars, the attack on immigrants—all that, we've gotten by the droves, because we allowed ourselves to be silenced.”

“People are voting for Clinton because they fear Trump, and vice versa. But democracy is not what we don't want. It’s what we DO want. And it needs the moral compass of our values to chart our course. So silence is not an option.”*

Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for president, might help plant our sanity seed.

*The revolution continues: Plan 'B' for the Bernie movement, Jill Stein, The Hill, July 12, 2016

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Grandma Baker

One day while in my senior year at the University of Akron, I rushed home to change cloths. I remember walking into my parent’s home and seeing my grandmother in the living room. 

Grandma Baker was always a kind and wonderful person to talk with. She took care of me when I was a tiny terror and my mother was ill with TB. Maybe that’s why I felt so close to her and saw her more of a friend than a “grandmother”. I enjoyed stopping by her place and sharing a few moments with her while on my way to work at City Hospital while I was in school.

But this time was different.

I remember the look on her face when she saw me, At first, it was totally blank… then her expression turned to fear. She didn’t recognize me at all.

I was totally devastated. Grandma was one of the most important people in my life. In fact only a few weeks prior we had talked and laughed together, just like always.

“Those good days are past now… and Grandma is a person I no longer know,” I remember thinking.

Today I know that my Grandma was ill with some form of Alzheimer’s disease.
But in 1969, I didn’t know. I was frightened because I understood even back then that it is a fatal disease with no known cure.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about five million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s and researchers predict that the incidence of Alzheimer’s will triple over the next 50 years.

The other day, I stumbled upon an article about a new study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Researchers there have found that, “… tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active compound in marijuana, appears to remove toxic buildups of amyloid beta protein in the brain — the brain plaques which are linked with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

I know much remains to be done before this breakthrough becomes a part of our lives. Still, I wish Grandma Baker were still on this Earth. Maybe there would be enough time to help her.

And, me, too. I miss my friend.

Please go here for the rest of the story:

Friday, July 1, 2016


Nearly every day I see another story about people being afraid to reach out to one another. We’re afraid of people coming to the U.S. because they are different from us; different from our next door neighbors. You know, they may speak something other than American… wear different cloths… and eat funny foods. They may even be some sort of terrorist.

A Dutch landlord is providing a 25% rent discount to any of his tenants who help a refugee resettle. The landlord’s company currently houses 85 refugees and wants to bring in 190 next year. Here are a few excerpts from the recent article:

“Home is truly where the heart is for this Dutch landlord.”

“The Trudo housing corporation in southern Netherlands is offering a 100 euro discount on rent for any tenants who help refugees resettle, according to the Guardian. To receive the cut, tenants need to spend 10 hours a week helping new migrants navigate Dutch bureaucracy and settle into the neighborhood.”

“We want to find someone in the housing complex who can help [refugees] feel at home in the neighborhood,” director Thom Aussems told Dutch news outlet Omroep Brabant. “And let them know the customs of our country.”

"This project hopes to combat the tensions with a dose of human connection."

“Tensions occur when people don’t know each other, can’t understand each other or can’t communicate,” Aussems told the Guardian. “If you give people the opportunity to connect with each other and work together, it’s a lot more effective.”

Sounds a bit like the America I read about once.