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Thursday, 28 July 2016 15:44

Water Quality Rally

Saturday afternoon, a rally
took place on Fort Myers Beach
with activists and local citizens
lined up and down on both sides of
the pier chanting "What do we
want?" "Clean water" than a response
back "When do we want
it?, "Now."
Thronging the pier were
about 100 protesters all uniting
against the current discharge problems
from Lake "O" in our community.
Leading the way was John
Heim, an environmental activist
Representative for the SouthWest
Florida Clean Water Movement.
Heim, bullhorn in hand, marched
up and down the pier and Times
Square with residents getting the
word out to the public about the
discharge problem and its contamination
of our waterways. "We're
here to protest with a group of residents
so we can enjoy our little
Beach community. As concerned
citizens we are speaking out
against the discharge of Lake "O"
into our waterways; and the over
development of our quaint little island."
Even with some signs saying
"4 Storey Max." (referring to
the potential resort construction on
the beach) The South West Florida
Clean Water Movement has been
around for 20 years yet has really
exploded the last 3 due to the Lake
"O" problem.
Since 2013 the state of
Florida has been releasing pollutedlake water into our waterways that
in turn lead to the Gulf. Local sea
lovers, oceanographers,
and activists in the community
helped organize this hopeful,
peacefull protest in an effort to
make the public aware of the proliferation
of algae in the waterways.
"Demonstrate to educate."
Algae reproduces quickly
filling in the waterways and destroying
native plants and thereby
impacting marine life. The proposed
sea wall is another aspect of
the protest. Heim was explaining
how it will disrupt the natural flow
of the water. He said firmly, "We
are against anything that disrupts
the natural flow of the water." We
all have recently been watching as
our local beach waters turn from an
aquatic blue into a dark muck following
releases from Lake “O”.
This also affects the local business
and shop owners, that resonates in
the heart of our small town. "I'm a
32 year resident of the community
and as we all know this has many
negative impacts specifically on
tourism which affects everyone
here," Heim exclaims.
As you walk through the
tunnel of people you hear activists
relentlessly chanting and screaming,
"Save our waters," as visitors
and locals look out over the rail at
the dark murky water. People of
all ages from kids to the elderly,
carrying signs that read "Stop Lake
“O” water release," or "All creatures
need clean water." The sign
that hit home most was "Do not
swim, toxic water" considering I
swim in it almost every other day.
The large inland Lake
Okeechobee is experiencing its
highest water levels in a century
due to heavy rains. According to
the Sanibel Natural Resources, this
summer alone has had 150 percent
more rainfall than normal. The
problem is that Lake “O” is toxic
with fertilizers, chemicals, runoff,
and cattle manure, while all of this
was once contained in the lake it's
now flowing towards Florida's
coastal communities via local
rivers. In a hope to relieve stress
from the lakes aging dikes its flowing
out at a rate of 70,000 gallons
per second. This will not only pollute
the Gulf of Mexico but also
the Atlantic Ocean as well.
Not realizing all the consequences,
I decided to research
the problem. This pollution has
horrible repercussions for Southern
Florida's environment not to mention
the economy. The waters,
which are untreated, contain chemicals
that are harmful to local Flora
and Fauna, also known to cause
algae blooms that have and continue
to poison Shellfish ergo affecting
the Marine life and the
natural food chain.
Tourism and local beach
goers have taken a downturn since
locals dubbed the summer of 2013
"the lost summer" due to the polluted
Coastal waters. Local economy
is driven mostly by tourism
which has been affected negatively
for the past three years due to the
construction of the new drain lines.
. At this time aggregate real
estate value
fell half a billion
dollars as
potential buyers
were reluctant
to buy or
invest in
homes by waters
that are
toxic. Immediate
have been difficult
to find,
the army corps
of engineers
say "The waters
could not
be diverted
south of the
Everglades because the lake water
level is too high." Heim said following
up with "The only solution
is to buy the land south of the lake
and only discharge clean water."
In the meantime, people
affected by the lake discharge are
taking action. Mayors and local
officials have called on Governor
Rick Scott to issue a state of emergency,
also traveling to Capitol
Hill to ask federal lawmakers for
help. Heim has already visited
Washington D.C. eight times in
three years bringing awareness and
working on solutions to our state's
water quality issues.
Florida senator Bill Nelson
toured the Okeechobee waters
along with Lt Colonel of the Army
Corps of Engineers, they stated the
discharge was "Idiotic." Gov. Rick
Scott announced on Wednesday
that the Corps will be reducing the
release flow by as much as 57 percent.
They are currently working
on Bipartisan for funding to remedy
the situation. He also committed
$40 million towards the
completion of the C-44 StormWater
Treatment Area, a reservoir and
treatment zone designed to reduce
nutrients, pesticides, and suspended
materials from runoff. Organized
activist groups along with
locals are holding protests on both
the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Thursday, 28 July 2016 14:21

Remembering Bruce Cermak

It's been almost two years
since I've felt compelled to write
about something sad. For it was
two years almost to the day when
my life-long mentor and friend
Gene "King Sax" Walker passed
from this Earth. But the loss of my
closely cherished friend Bruce Cermak
on July 2nd changed that for
me. It's no mere coincidence to me
that Gene and Bruce were also
friends. May the circle be unbroken.
Most of the old-timers on
Fort Myers Beach know that Bruce
and I started The Island Sand Paper
together in 1999. We didn't get the
first issue on the street until the
following year, but the conception
occurred during one of our frequent
heart-to-heart talks bellied
up to the bar back when Bruce was
the owner of the Surf Club. Many
was the day when we'd talk about
life and good fortune over a bottle
of Moet & Chandon. Bruce and I
both loved champagne and "Big B"
- as I liked to call him - was a bon
vivant; a lover of the good life and
good times. We shared a lot of
them over the years.
Our friendship, however,
goes back even further to 1992
when we first met. Bruce was
working the bar and I was running
an island based apartment building
on Mango Street and living as
Captain Carl on my 32' foot sailboat
Chelsea in the back bay. I also
played sax at the Gulfshore when
John Wendel owned it, Bruce
loved jazz so he would frequently
show up at my gigs and in between
sets we'd talk music and of New Orleans - a city we
both loved and frequently met up
in to enjoy the music and food festivals
the Big Easy is so famous for
Over the years I learned a
lot about Bruce's family. He was
extremely proud of them and loved
it when they came to visit him.
Nothing was more important to
Bruce than his family.
Bruce also tried to take
good care of his friendships and
community associations. He was
legendary for giving to local
causes. I will never forget the time
we hosted the Santone auction together.
Bruce put up the Surf Club,
I did the auctioneering, Errol Barret
put up a car and Lorraine Albino-
Hinckley helped us organize
the event. We raised thousands of
dollars for a family in need. It was
one of many such endeavors.
Every year when Christmas
came around I
would go to
Bruce with my
hand out on behalf
of the Spirit
of the Holidays
that helped so
many needy children
on Fort
Myers Beach
have a bountiful
Holiday season.
Dressed as Santa
Clause riding the
Fire Truck my
bag was never
empty due to
Bruce and others
like him. He had a soft touch and
many received it over the years.
Bruce also had a wiser,
street-smart side. Trust was very
important to him. He'd help you,
but if you burned him, then that
was a bridge too far. I remember
asking him why he choose to get
involved with me starting the Sand
Paper and his answer was direct
just like he was: "I trust you Carl,
you always pay those you owe and
your word's good and that's all I
need from someone."
So many people on the
beach came to know this about
Big B and most respected it. I remember
when he would cash
checks for the Shrimpers who
came into the bar. Most of them
didn't have an account and many
were pretty transitory but Bruce
said he was rarely burned.
"Sometimes people just
need a little trust and a hand up,"
he told me once when I questioned
why he cashed so many checks
from virtual strangers.
Years later when I sold the
Sand Paper and gave Bruce his
share of the proceeds, he told me
investing in the paper and watching
it grow to a fat 48 pager during the
ten years we owned it together was
one of the proudest accomplishments
during his time on the
Not many people know this
that have no connection to the
Windy City, but Bruce' s last name
is on one of Chicago's main thoroughfares
- Cermak Street. It goes
all the way back to when one of
Bruce's relatives - Anton Cermak -
was mayor of Chicago. Anton
would have been proud to see how
Bruce turned out for though he was
never elected, he was in the eyes of
many the honorary Mayor of Fort
Myers Beach. A man beloved by
many who will live on in the hearts

of those who knew him
Here are a few
comments from some locals
that also cared about
Dr. Sherwood
Cooper, a well-known and
well-liked veterinarian
called him the "Salt of the
Karen Stott, wife
of Paul Stott last of three
brothers that owned the
legendary Casey's Alley,
told us that: "He was one
of the first to reach out to
us after Greg and Pat
(Stott) passed. He has a
big heart..sad day?
Bruce was a dedicated
friend of Greg Stott
and the three of us spent a
lot of time just hanging
out. It may be no coincidence
but Greg died right
when I was putting out
the first issue of the Sand
Paper and that issue -
number 1 - also had a sad
tale of loss.
Thomas Van
Oyen, knew Bruce personally
and also through
his wife who worked several
years for Bruce after
he renovated the old Waffle
House and moved the
Surf Club across the street
to its current location,.
"He was such a
great guy. He gave my
wife her first job on the
beach." said Thomas.
And another lifelong
friend who goes all
the way back to my college
years, Andy Lutkoff,
a local Real Estate Broker
and Artist, wrote to us
"Sorry to hear
about Bruce... (he)Was always
a nice guy to me
and great supporter of you
Carl! A loss to the human
brotherhood for sure."
As those we love
pass from us in this life,
somewhere in the ethereal
twilight, they wait for us.
In the oft-quoted words of
Thomas Dunne:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by
the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory
As well as if a manor of thy
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes
Because I am involved in
And therefore never send to
know for whom the bell
It tolls for thee.

By unanimous consent, the
U.S. Senate passed a bill Tuesday
that would update federal chemical
safety protections for the first time
in four decades. The measure gives
the Environmental Protection
Agency new power to require
safety assessments of chemicals
found in ordinary products from
toys and clothing to household
The Senate approved the
legislation that was passed by the
House of Representatives on May
25, sending it to President Barack
Obama for his expected signature.
The bill reforms the Toxic
Substances Control Act of 1976,
TSCA, lifting restrictions that have
kept the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency from regulating
chemicals in common use from asbestos
to flame retardants.
Today, tens of thousands of
chemicals, including many that
Americans come into contact with
in daily life, to go on the market
without any safety evaluation.
The legislation, titled the
Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical
Safety for the 21st Century Act, is
named for the late Senator Frank
Lautenberg, a New Jersey Democrat,
who championed TSCA reform
until his death in 2013.
The measure was moved
through the Senate by the bipartisan
efforts of Senators Tom Udall,
a New Mexico Democrat, and
David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican.
“Today’s victory is a culmination
of years of hard work and
dedication from both sides,” said
Vitter. The first bipartisan bill to
reform the TSCA was introduced
by Senators Lautenberg and Vitter
in May 2013.
four decades of
living under a
stagnant chemical
safety law, I
am so very glad
to have passed
a law that
strengthens our
country’s international
provides desperately
regulatory certainty
for industry,
mandates that
the federal government
better science
and provide
more transparency,” the Louisiana
senator said.
“This law will be a game
changer for the safety of our families
and communities and will help
promote economic success in an
industry that is of paramount importance
to Louisiana,” he said. “I
know Frank would have been
pleased with this huge historic accomplishment.”
Senator Udall said, “Most
Americans believe that when they
buy a product at the hardware store
or the grocery store, that product
has been tested and determined to
be safe. But that isn’t the case.
Americans are exposed to hundreds
of chemicals. We carry them
around with us in our bodies –
even before we’re born. Some are
known carcinogens; others are
highly toxic. But we don’t know
the full extent of how they affect us
because they have never been
“Without a working federal
safety program, states like New
Mexico have no protection. When
this bill becomes law, there will finally
be a cop on the beat,” he said.
The last of the major environmental
laws of the 1960s and
70s to be updated, the TSCA was
broken from the start, and rendered
virtually useless by a court decision
in 1991 that blocked an attempt
by the EPA to ban asbestos,
the two senators said in a joint
Since 1976, the EPA has
been able to restrict just five chemicals,
and has prevented from
going to market only four of the
hundreds of chemicals produced
each year. Because the law is broken,
they said, tens of thousands of
chemicals, including known carcinogens,
have been on the market
for decades without being evaluated
for safety and without meaningful
regulation or restriction.
The chemical industry is
behind the new legislation too. Cal
Dooley, CEO of the American
Chemistry Council, a chemical industry
trade association, called the
measure “truly historic.”
“This is almost unprecedented
where you have an environmental
legislation where you have
this breadth and depth of support,”
he said.
“This legislation is significant,”
said Dooley, “not only because
it is the first major
environmental law passed since
1990, but because TSCA reform
will have lasting and meaningful
benefits for all American manufacturers,
all American families and
for our nation’s standing as the
world’s leading innovator.”
Environmental groups have
long advocated for an effective
chemical safety law.
“Today’s vote is an historic
victory for public health,” said Dr.
Richard Denison, lead senior scientist
with the Environmental Defense
“While not perfect, the
Lautenberg Act fixes the biggest
problems with our current law—by
requiring safety reviews for chemicals
in use today, mandating
greater scrutiny of new chemicals
before they can be
Congress Strengthens U.S. Chemical Safety Law
sold, removing the barriers that prevented
EPA from banning asbestos
and other harmful chemicals, enhancing
transparency, and much
“The failures of the current
law have undercut consumer confidence
in the safety of everyday
products, leading many businesses
to support a national system even if
that means tougher regulation,” said
Science has linked chemicals
used in everyday products such
as household cleaners, clothing and
furniture to serious illnesses, including
cancer, infertility, diabetes
and Parkinson’s disease.
The new law will:
*Require the EPA to protect the most
vulnerable people: children, the elderly,
pregnant women, and chemical workers.
*Give the EPA new authority to order
testing and ensure chemicals are safe,
with a focus on the most risky chemicals,
such as known carcinogens and
those with high toxicity.
*Ensure the EPA reviews new chemicals
before they go on the market.
*Provide the EPA with resources to do
its job and require that industry do its
share to support the program, providing
$25 million a year.
*Set mandatory, enforceable deadlines
for the EPA to act.
*Allow all states multiple ways to act on
chemicals, including unfettered authority
on chemicals where the EPA is not
acting, and options for state co-enforcement
and waivers from federal preemption
where the EPA has acted to restrict
a chemical.

The clinical microbiology
laboratory at Emory University
Hospital in Atlanta processes more
than 800 patient specimens every
day. Samples of urine or stool arrive
in stacks of petri dishes, sometimes
by pneumatic tube straight
from operating rooms. Most of the
microbes the lab's technicians investigate
are familiar creatures that
can be dealt with by modern medicine.
But in the fall of 2013, something
puzzling appeared.
Lab director Eileen Burd
and her staff of 36 work around the
clock to figure out what kind of infections
are making patients sick,
and what drugs will work best to
heal them. Three years ago, they
tested a strain of the bacteria E.
cloacae that infected a kidney
transplant patient. The bug fought
off a battery of antibiotics including
colistin, the drug doctors rely
on when no other antibiotics work.
Colistin killed most of the germs,
but a small colony survived.
This wasn't the first time a
resistant bug had been found. But
the fact the lab was even testing
colistin against the microbe "signaled
to me that this was a very resistant
organism to begin with,"
Burd said.
Discovered in 1949, colistin
was later abandoned in most
human medicine because of its
toxic side effects, but doctors have
been forced to employ it in recent
years to treat infections where most
other antibiotics fail.
For years scientists have
warned that humanity is squandering
antibiotics in medicine and
agriculture. The drugs are frequently
deployed against illnesses
they don't even treat, or to make
pigs, cows, and chickens grow
faster. Reckless practices can speed
the emergence of microbes that
can't be killed by any drug we
have. Cancer patients, premature
babies, and organ recipients all rely
on these medicines to fight off microbes
when their own immune
systems are weakened. Without effective
antibiotics, a skin infection
after a scraped knee could turn
Already, so-called superbugs
kill at least 23,000 people in
the U.S. every year and sicken 2
million. Globally, the number of
deaths annually is 700,000, but that
figure could spike to 10 million by
2050, according to a May report
commissioned by the British government.
That would make superbugs
bigger killers than cancer.
While these bacteria and
what they might do in 30 years are
scary, what's more frightening is
that some may have the biological
equivalent of stealth technology:
They appear to be treatable because
diagnostics aren't sensitive
enough to detect their resistance
powers. That's precisely what
Emory researchers found when
they began investigating the
strange organism that turned up in
that kidney transplant patient.
Burd sent the sample to a
colleague, microbiologist David
Weiss, at Emory’s School of Medicine.
“I called him and I said,
‘David, I think I’ve got something
weird,’” she said.
Weiss is an academic researcher
who can spend years untangling
the inner workings of a
single type of bacteria. Burd runs a
workhorse hospital lab that delivers
results to doctors in hours.
They live in different worlds, and
in many academic medical centers,
the two would never cross paths.
But a few years ago, Emory decided
that bringing the Burds and
Weisses of the world together
would be essential to tackling the
urgent problem of superbugs.
“The problem of antibiotic resistance
threatens our entire medical
system,” says Weiss, 39. “It’s only
going to get worse before it gets
Weiss traces his love of biology
to childhood trips with his
grandmother to the Central Park
Zoo, where his favorite animal was
the elephant. As he grew older, he
became fascinated with nature's
smallest life-forms. “How could it
be that these little primitive singlecelled
organisms could do all these
terrible things to us?” he asks.
Two years ago, he became
director of the new Emory Antibiotic
Resistance Center, which includes
a network of 35 faculty
members, a gaggle of students and
postdocs, and more than $10 million
a year in research grants. His
lab is hidden in the forest on the
edge of the university's campus, a
short drive from the busy hospital.
In the hallway outside the labs,
graduate students leave their water
bottles, thermoses, and half-eaten
slices of pizza on top of a small
fridge to avoid picking up
pathogens they're studying. Inside,
researchers conduct experiments
with some of the trickiest bacteria
there are.
The bugs evolve constantly,
and scientists don’t fully understand
all the ways they can defy
medicines. “These organisms, because
they replicate every 20 minutes
and there’s untold trillions of
them, are out ahead of us,” says
Cliff McDonald, associate director
for science at the Centers for Disease
Control’s division of healthcare
quality promotion.
Since the unwelcome surprise
inside that Emory transplant
patient, another troubling development
arose, this time in China. In
November, researchers there identified
a gene called MCR-1 that
makes microbes resistant to colistin.
MCR-1 wasn’t among the
thousands of resistance genes scientists
had already cataloged.
When health authorities around the
world went back and tested samples
in storage, they found the new
gene in at least 19 countries.
On May 27, as Americans
were preparing for the long Memorial
Day weekend, U.S. authorities
announced they had detected
MCR-1 in a Pennsylvania patient’s
urinary tract infection and, separately,
in a sample from a pig intestine.
The bacteria remained
susceptible to some other drugs,
just not colistin.
But the gene is particularly
scary because it can spread swiftly
to other types of bacteria, imbuing
new strains with resistance traits. If
it reaches a bug like CRE (carbapenem-
resistant enterobacteriaceae),
the highly resistant bacteria
that the head of the CDC has called
a "nightmare bacteria," resulting
infections could be untreatable.
Back at Emory, the type of
resistance uncovered in the kidney
transplant patient didn't generate
the same alarming headlines, in
part because it was a bug that can't
spread its resistance power as easily
to other types of bacteria. But their findings, published
in the journal Nature Microbiology
in May, raise a different
concern: that routine diagnostics
can miss superbugs, incorrectly labeling
them as susceptible to treatment.
The sample from the patient
turned out to have an unusual
form of resistance: A small population
of the bugs survived treatment
with colistin even though they
were genetically identical to ones
that were vulnerable to the drug.
More concerning still, the resistant
bacteria flourished in mice without
any treatment, actually reproducing
faster as a result of the rodents'
own immune response.
Victor Band, a fifth-year
graduate student in Weiss's lab,
said the small population of resistant
bacteria begins to expand when
the mouse's immune system tries to
fight the infection. Nature's chemical
defenses killed some of the
bugs but made the surviving ones
stronger. Colistin had the same effect.
"It’s almost like a stacked
deck against the drug," Weiss said.
How could doctors treat an infection
that behaves that way in a
human patient? "It’s a conundrum."
(Under medical privacy
rules, the fate of the original
human patient infected was not
After analyzing the initial
strain from Emory, Weiss’s lab got
several similar bugs from the
freezers of the Georgia Emerging
Infections Program, a collaboration
among Emory, the CDC, and the
state's health department. For 25
years, the program has been tracking
unusual or important pathogens
circulating in hospitals, the community,
and the food supply.
They found a similar strain
of E. cloacae with a small subpopulation
that colistin couldn’t kill.
But the standard lab tests indicated
that this strain was susceptible to
antibiotics. The superbug was masquerading
as a more vulnerable microbe.
To be sure, antibiotics still
remain effective most of the time.
But science has blind spots:
"We should be most concerned,
I think, about the problems
we don’t even know about,” Weiss
says. "Those are the ones that can
really creep up on you.”
It's hard to tell how often
antibiotics fail, but such cases
aren't unheard of. Even a bacterium
considered "susceptible" to a particular
drug may not respond to the
treatment up to 10 percent of the
time, though other medicines will
often still work. The kind of phenomenon
Weiss’s team identified
might explain mysterious treatment
They’re currently investigating
how prevalent such strains may
be through a network of other U.S.
The weird bug that Burd
flagged to Weiss could have easily
been shelved in another hospital.
To better understand what kind of
novel pathogens are circulating,
Emory plans to set up a new lab
capable of more closely examining
unusual specimens from hospital
The goal is to "not to lose
something that’s really interesting
and let it slip through our fingers,”
Weiss says.
The government is waking
up to the same need, albeit on a
broader scale. Stronger surveillance,
improved diagnostics, and
accelerated research are central elements
of the National Action Plan
for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant
Bacteria, published by the White
House in March 2015. That document,
just 15 months old, makes no
mention of colistin resistance, or
the MCR-1 gene. They weren’t on
the radar last year.
But the CDC is ramping up
to fight superbugs. Armed with
$160 million from Congress, the
agency plans to equip about eight
labs around the country to test resistant
bacteria discovered in hospitals
and clinics. They should start
operating in the fall. It’s also trying
to improve the capabilities of state
public health departments to track
superbugs. “We need to have a robust
system for seeing, understanding
what’s out there, in terms of
what’s making people sick," says
Beth Bell, director of the CDC’s
National Center for Emerging and
Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.
In the meantime, Emory’s
superbug hunters will continue to
search for strange organisms passing
through the hospital lab. “It
takes somebody recognizing that
something is odd,” Burd says, "and
then kind of knowing or figuring
out what to do with it."

Thursday, 28 July 2016 13:42

Guest Opinion

People who are well educated
usually have fewer children.
Poorer people typically have larger
families, because they feel that
their family is their wealth, or because
their social economic position
limits their chances of success,
so they feel the need to improve
their odds by having more children.
Unless there are social
economic changes, the continued
growth of this trend could present
You can chalk it up to white
people being able to do this because
of their white privilege, but
there is more to it than that.
Many of these white people
have roots back to the influx of
poor and uneducated European immigrants
of the late 19th and early
20th century. Those new immigrants
typically arrived here and
created large families, that resulted
in a high poverty rate which leaded
to more poor children, which led to
more big families etc etc.
It took a mix of events to
turn that tide. First they noticed
wealthier families were having
fewer children but those children
were more successful. Since these
large families were trapped in a
cycle of lower income, they
seemed to not be able to break into
the demographic of those more affluent
and educated people.
The reason was that smaller families
meant that school classrooms
were less crowded.
Parents with fewer children
could put more focus on the performance
of each child, that created
a situation where classrooms
were filled with a higher percentage
of driven children and the
schools performed better, further
improving the education those children
It wasn't really until the
post war economic boom that the
decendants of those European immigrants
turned this situation
The baby boom wasn't
about people having larger families,
it was about the number of
children from the pre-war “large”
families now being of child bearing
age. The overall economic boom
set the stage for the new boomer
generation to enter into a more advantaged
demographic they formerly
weren't able to fit into.
Today a high percentage of
minority families are stuck at that
lower income level and are continuing
to use (I hate to say it) the
"quantity over quality" approach.
Not saying that they as humans are
inferior, just that their approach is
keeping them in their current social
economic situation.
Helping these minority
families lift themselves out of
poverty will only have the maximum
effect if they can limit their
family size so that they can better
focus on each child they have.
This isn't about lazy parents,
it is just the opposite, it is
about parents who become overburdened
by the physical and economic
situation caused by their
large family and end up needing to
work more hours.
It usually results in families
that not only require 2 incomes, but
those 2 incomes are from parents
who are extremely overworked.
The overworked parents can't put
the needed effort into maximizing
their children's potential. Large
groups of these children end up
sharing the same schools, these
schools end up being overcrowded,
filled with children that aren't getting
the support that they need at
Some may view this as a
racist view, but it really isn't about
one race of human beings not having
the potential of another.
The situation is about the
perpetuation of a practice and
mindset that had already proven to
fail lower educated white imagrants
a century ago,which is now
being followed by a new generation
of people.
Slowly minority people are
beginning to break this cycle. I
work in poor, mostly minority
neighborhoods and see them struggling
to do so every day, these
communities have a long way to go
before they change the tide.
This is all the opinion
of a middle aged “privelaged”
white guy who works in the dark
underworld of poop covered utility
cables for a company that is staffed
by a high percentage of minorities
who are working hard to break that
old mold.

Lamarr Harry Stevens,
age 43 of Fort Myers, Beach
passed away on June 15, 2016.
Lamarr was born in Fort Myers,
and had attended Cypress Lake
High School.
He will most prominently
be remembered as Manager-
Waiter at his family's restaurant
Maria's Smokehouse. Lamarr
was well known for smoking
fish, a legacy passed down to
him from his late father.
Anyone who had the opportunity
to meet Lamarr would
understand the loss the local
community is feeling now.
“He will be missed
around here! There are givers
and takers in the world, he was
what I would call a giver” said a
neighbor, “I lived next to Lamarr
for the last 10 years, I would
see him out floating in his
kayak, man he loved to fish.”

When Army veteran Greg
Mullen developed symptoms of
post-traumatic stress disorder while
stationed in the Middle East during
the first Gulf War, his symptoms
from nonstop anti-missile blasts
were severe enough after a sixmonth
deployment for him to transition
out of his 12-year military
The disorder later would
later become commonly known as
PTSD, a signature wound of the
Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Mullen’s doctor told him he had a
personality disorder and prescribed
drug therapy.
But the medication did not
help his severe anxiety, panic and
migraines, Mullen said.
Mullen, a former material
control and accounting specialist
from SW Florida didn’t know
where to turn for help.
Self-Expression Through Art
With assistance provided
by a psychologist, Mullen realized
he had an aptitude for art. He
found himself doodling on paper
one day, making small circles
within circles, within more circles.
The more he repeated the
pattern, Mullen said, the less anxious
he became.
Little did Mullen know as
he doodled those patterns that his
life would dramatically change for
the better. Gradually, as he transitioned
from pencil and paper to
paint, overlaying a series of dots
onto objects, he felt the entrapment
of PTSD’s chains begin to fall
“It gives me peace of mind
and calms me down,” Mullen said
of his art.
“It gives him a chance to
take a breath, when most people
might go into panic,” Mullen’s
husband, Edward, said. “He just
immerses himself in it. When
you're concentrating on creating
dots, you're not thinking about
much else.”
Objets D’ Dot Art
Edward began collecting
items made from a variety of materials
such as wood, ceramic and
metal from thrift stores, flea markets
and garage sales for his husband
to refinish and decorate with
lavishly colorful dot patterns.
With no project too small
or too large to try, a collection
began, born from what Mullen
calls “layered-dot artwork.”
Edward said his husband
does not plan out or use templates
when he creates his close-together
dot patterns. “When he paints the
dots, it just takes him where it
takes him,” he added.
Mullen has donated a
mother-and-child figure to a major
children’s charity and a model biplane
to a veteran service organization
-- both for auctions to raise
money for their causes.
Helping Vets Help Themselves
As his collection of art
grew, Mullen began showing his
wares at military installations from
the East Coast to Colorado, where
he is able to interact with other veterans
and show those who also suffer
from PTSD symptoms that an
alternative to medicine might exist
for them, too. He receives emails
from inspired veterans who found
coping skills through activities
such as yoga, meditation and art.
Seeing Mullen’s work helps other
veterans challenge themselves, Edward
His husband’s art displays
at military bases “gets him out
there in front of other people who
need to hear his story from him,”
Edward said. “There are other veterans
who are going through the
same thing.”

In 2001, a dozen Chinese
expats met one Saturday in San
Jose to trade tips on pharmaceutical
proteins and share career advice
over craft beers and garlic fries.
The gathering was a networking
session organized by two friends
originally from Wuhan who met in
the Bay Area as graduate students
in the 1990s. Fifteen years later,
many members of the group have
returned to China to start their own
businesses. And what had been an
informal networking circle is now
an exclusive industry group called
BayHelix that counts among its
members more than 300 senior executives
active in the Chinese biopharma
Called hai gui, or “sea turtles,”
in their home country, these
returnees are trading on relationships
forged in the U.S. and tapping
the hundreds of millions in
venture capital flowing through
China. They’re building or backing
health-care startups and brokering
deals, all in the hope of giving
China an original blockbuster drug.
“Everything’s falling into
place,” says Nisa Leung, a managing
partner at Qiming Venture Partners,
a China-focused venture
fund. Leung, who studied at Stanford
and Cornell, has led investments
in more than 50 Chinese
health-care companies in the past
decade. Commercial investment in
China’s life sciences sector totaled
more than $30 billion in 2015, up
70 percent from the previous year,
according to ChinaBio Consulting.
China is the second-biggest
pharmaceutical market in the world
after the U.S., according to IMS Institute
for Healthcare Informatics,
which expects the country’s annual
spending on drugs to reach $190
billion by 2020, up from an estimated
$115 billion last year. To ensure
that not all that money flows
into the coffers of foreign companies,
the Communist Party has enacted
measures to foster national
champions in life sciences. Pharma
and biotech startups are eligible for
tax incentives and rent subsidies,
and their products qualify for expedited
regulatory approval. “We’re
at a tipping point in China,” says
Ge Li, founder and chief executive
officer of Shanghai-based WuXi
Apptec. “I personally believe that
we have another 10 to 20 years of
good growth ahead.”
Li gave up a six-figure
salary at New Jersey-based Pharmacopeia
in 2000 to start WuXi.
He had to improvise at first, hiring a kitchen manufacturer
to build him a lab because no qualified
vendors were available in
China. Now he presides over
11,000 scientists who conduct research
and assess clinical data for
other drugmakers. The company is
expanding into drug manufacturing
and has a venture capital arm that
invests in U.S. and Chinese startups.
Li took NYSE-listed WuXi
private last year but plans to relist
in China at some point.
In some respects, Chinese
pharma companies enjoy advantages
over their U.S. counterparts.
Bringing a drug to market in the
U.S. could cost as much as $4 billion,
according to Leung; in China,
it’s closer to $50 million. But all
face the same tough odds in that
only a fraction of drugs in development
ever reach market. “I will expect
that many of them won’t make
it,” says Kewen Jin, chairman of
BayHelix. “That’s the nature of
this industry. But even if a few
make it, that’s enough. A few winners
will take it all.”
Among the contenders is
Zai Lab, a two-year-old Shanghai
company backed by about $140
million in funds from Sequoia Capital
China and Qiming, among others.
Its founder, Samantha Du,
worked for Pfizer in Connecticut
before returning to China. Zai’s
focus is on anti-inflammation therapies
and oncology treatments. Du
says that while it’s a thriving time
to start a health-care business that’s
“global but based in China,” the
country has yet to amass the scientific
know-how to rival the U.S.
Ultimately that may depend
on whether other Chinese living
abroad follow in Du’s path. Chinese
made up almost a third of all
foreign students in the U.S. in the
2014-15 school year, according to
the Institute of International Education.
Steve Yang, a BayHelix cofounder
who once worked at AstraZeneca
and is now chief -
operating officer of WuXi, likens
the histories of many of the industry’s
top movers to DNA strands,
with combinations and recombinations
of networks built at U.S.
graduate schools, in Silicon Valley,
and now as entrepreneurs back
home. “In China, we have a saying:
‘It takes a long journey to test
how good your horse is,’ ” Yang
says, referring to trust built through
the years. “So it’s good we started
early in 2001.”
The bottom line: Investment in
China’s life sciences sector shot up
70 percent last year, to more than
$30 billion.

Thursday, 28 July 2016 11:48

Brexit Indicative Of Multiple Ills

Oh the tension, as eyes of
the world were focused on the vote
in Great Britain to leave the European
While much has been made
about the stock market losses and
other financial fallout from the
“Brexit”, it is equally, if not more
important to see how the vote to
leave is reflecting a critical disconnect
by voters from their governments
in the Western democracies.
Right up to the moment
when the final tally of British voters
was made public, Western
media was hammering home the
point that the Brexit would fail;
that Great Britain would remain in
the European Union. If fact, the
handful of honest journalists left
who are allowed to report with accuracy,
suggested the mainstream
media intentionally glossed over
evidence that clearly showed the
British people were favoring splitting
from the rest of Europe.
When one realizes the
media is manipulating facts to suit
the agendas of multi-national corporate
interests; when readers
clearly see obvious bias; where the
‘tail wagging the dog’ is understood
to be the order of the day for
our supposedly “neutral” sources
of news, then one also begins unravelling
trust, that must exist, between
media and the people for
news reporting to function with integrity.
In effect, where media has
been a trusted source of information
for decades if not centuries, it
no longer is trusted nor believed.
This shift in the relationship
between “news” sources and
those who seek information can be
seen everywhere these days. There
are several well-known examples
that come readily to mind.
For example, for over a
year U.S. media - almost without
exception - hammered home that
Donald Trump was a flash in the
pan; that he was going to lose his
momentum; that it was impossible
for him to be the nominee. Yet he’s
now the leader of the Republican
pack. Was the media merely wrong,
or, like in the Brexit matter, just
keeping up the pressure to help the
cause of their owners?
Make no mistake about it,
the same people who profit from
the Euro zone are the ones who
own the very media reporting on
its desirability. They are the corner
man for the dog in the fight.
They also profit from the
destruction of native pride, by
breaking down the kaleidoscope of
current European cultures to dismantle
resistance to unchecked immigration
by the government (over
the will of the people) they are
paving the way for a one world
Fortunately, Western people,
justifiably proud of their own
cultures are seeing the mess others
have made in their own neck of the
woods, in places like the Middle
East and Africa, are pushing back
at the ballot box.
This is a movement likely
to continue to gain force. Yet, despite
all evidence to the contrary,
media continues to play the game
of deception.
Capitalism itself is losing
the support of many. A recent study
showed that people under 40 in the
U.S. no longer believe it is the best
form of government.
Granted – and I say this
with the greatest of sincerely – by
and large these same naysayers
have not articulated a viable alternative
ready to implement. Nevertheless,
the very strength of their
discontent does not bode well for
those currently holding the reins of
Once legitimacy is removed
and trust no longer present, the end
game is usually in play. Several
economic pundits have been suggesting
we are in the end game already.
By now, almost everyone is
aware that our economy has been
on life support for almost a decade.
Without reserve currency
status and its corresponding
“power to print money”, the dollar
would have fallen a long time ago.
Its value, just like the media, is
built on trust by the people in those
who are in control. In and of itself
the dollar is just paper and unlike
gold or food or any other commodity
that must be produced by toil,
paper currency has no true value
beyond that trust.
More and more people are
dropping out of the system. That is
why our labor participation rate is
the lowest it ever has been. Here
again, those in control use their
lapdogs the media, to try and make
the people believe we are in a general,
strong recovery. We are not
and have not been since the shell
game was revealed with the fall of
Lehman Brothers and the corresponding
near total collapse of the
fraudulent worldwide banking system.
Already we are being told
to brace for a recession. For many
the last recession has never ended,
it is now a permanent condition for
a lot of people.
It is hard to say with any
accuracy what the end result of
failing trust by the people will be
this time around. But if the past is
any indication, there is generally a
revolutionary fracture that precedes
any real change in the reins of
power. Now I am well aware that
some readers will accuse me of
writing conspiratorially. Some people
use the word to suggest those
who believe in conspiracies, look
to the boogeyman.
Get real, since the beginning
of time people have entered
into conspiracies and those who
believe there are none in play
today are either totally naïve or
they are part of the cabal working
night and day to keep you in the
dark. Just keep watching the predictions
of the media fail like they
did with Trump or the recent Brexit
and your eyes – if still shut – will
soon be open.

Secret campaign cash from
groups that aren’t supposed to coordinate
with candidates has over
recent election cycles poured into
state and local races where the impact
can be much greater than at
the federal level, according to the
Brennan Center for Justice.
The New York-based nonprofit
law and policy institute researched
spending by outside
groups in six states between 2006
and 2014. Instances in which
donors could be clearly identified
fell to 29 percent from 76 percent
on average after a landmark 2010
U.S. Supreme Court decision that
allowed unlimited and anonymous
spending, according to the study
released Sunday, billed as the first
of its kind.
So-called dark money is
more likely to be tied to a specific
benefit for contributors at the state
and local levels than in federal
elections, the report said. Donations,
for instance, may influence
the selection of a regulator or the
passage of a ballot measure affecting
a company’s bottom line, and
they can have a greater impact on
the outcomes by dominating total
spending in low-cost races.
“The problem is not that
dark money will flood every state
and local election or even most,”
the Brennan Center report said.
“It’s that dark money is most likely
to turn up where the stakes are particularly
valuable, in amounts that
could make all the difference in
persuading voters.”

Cash Fountain
The Citizens United decision
allowed as free speech unlimited
spending by corporations,
labor unions, and the wealthy,
often through super political action
committees that are technically independent
from candidates and
must reveal their contributors. Yet
it also led to increasing contributions
to non-profit groups that
spend money on campaigns even
though their primary purpose isn’t
supposed to be politics. And they
don’t have to disclose their donors.
Hundreds of millions of
dollars in dark money have been
spent to influence federal elections,
and the same phenomenon is happening
at the state and local levels,
the researchers said. Dark-money
spending rose 34 percent at the
federal level between 2006 and
2014 and 38 percent during that
time in the states examined, the
study found.
“There’s just less scrutiny
of what’s going on in state and
local elections,” said Chisun Lee, a
senior counsel at the Brennan Center
and one of the report’s authors.
In the 2012 race for Utah
attorney general, for example, a
state legislative committee determined
that payday-loan companies
worked with Republican John
Swallow’s campaign to use
generic-sounding PACs such as
“Now or Never” and secret nonprofit
spending to obscure about
$450,000 in donations for election
ads seeking protection from new
consumer-rights rules, the study
In Wisconsin, an out-ofstate
mining company secretly put
$700,000 into ads attacking legislators
who opposed speeding mine
permits, according to the report.
The company gave money to one
non-profit organization that contributed
to a second non-profit that
ran the ads, and the company’s role
surfaced only through an unrelated
court case, the report said.
Gray Fog
Working with the National
Institute on Money in State Politics,
a nonpartisan organization in
Helena, Montana, that compiles
campaign data, Brennan Center researchers
identified states where it
was possible to track all spending
for elections in 2006, 2010, and
2014. Only nine met the criteria for
the study, and analysts chose to
look at Alaska, Arizona, California,
Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts.
Researchers tracked dark
money -- donations to non-profits
that don’t have to be revealed -- as
well as what they dubbed “gray
money”: contribu-tions to super-PACs whose sources
are difficult or impossible to identify
because they are made in the
name of other PACs or by nonprofits.
The amount of gray money
in the states examined increased
to almost 60 percent
in 2014 from 15
percent in 2006, the study
Secret spending often
flows from donors who have a
direct economic stake in lowerlevel
elections, making them
easier to dominate, the report
found. Researchers examined
court cases and other investigations
in states where the secret
donors to dark-money groups were
revealed to show the influence of
the spending.
“There’s good reason not to
want folks to know who’s behind
the spending,” said Lawrence Norden,
deputy director of the Brennan
Center’s Democracy Program.
While there’s been
little action on the federal level to require
more disclosure, efforts at the
state level can make a difference,
the researchers said. In California,
which had the most outside spending
of the six states examined,
stricter disclosure laws meant a low
amount of dark money, the report
The study makes recommendations,
including requiring
disclosure by all groups
that spend a substantial
amount on politics, extending
disclosure to organizations
that donate to other
groups, and naming the
people in charge of
spending entities with
opaque titles, while
also making reasonable
for spenders.
“There is more realistic
hope of change at the state and certainly
city level,” said the Brennan
Center’s Lee.


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