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Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Dear Doctor: It has been six weeks since my husband, who is 57, had a heart attack, and I'm afraid he's depressed. His doctors say he's doing really well, but he's getting more quiet and withdrawn. How can we help him?

Dear Reader: Depression following a heart attack is not uncommon. Up to one-third of people who have had a heart attack report symptoms of depression. It's not just the body that suffers the effects of a heart attack -- there can be a mental and emotional toll as well.

A person who goes through a life-changing medical event -- and a heart attack certainly qualifies -- often faces an emotional struggle once the initial danger is past. He or she can wind up feeling alone, frightened and fundamentally different from everyone around them. Even when surrounded by a loving family and caring friends, these feelings of isolation can be profound.

The first challenge is to recognize that something is wrong.

In addition to becoming quiet and withdrawn, symptoms of depression include anxiety, persistent feelings of sadness, problems with concentration, and a lack of interest in the people and activities that were once important. There may be changes in appetite or in eating habits, as well as changes in sleep patterns, whether insomnia or sleeping too much.

One danger posed by depression is that heart patients may not fully engage in their recovery. They may not be careful to always take their medications, and may either put off or refuse to make the lifestyle changes recommended by their doctors. Studies have shown that individuals who are depressed may be twice as likely to have another heart attack.

The most effective treatments for post-heart attack depression are anti-depressants and seeing a therapist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Anti-depressants can ease the burden of the difficult feelings that have derailed the patient's journey back to normal daily life. And in talk therapy, patients can safely explore their fears, pinpoint their anxieties, and gain an understanding of the many ways that surviving a heart attack has reshaped their lives.

If your husband isn't interested in the one-on-one environment of a therapist's office, then a support group is a good alternative. The chance to meet other heart patients and to hear their stories and to share his own can go a long way toward piercing the wall of isolation.

Another excellent avenue of support is something called cardiac rehabilitation. It's a highly structured program, usually 36 weeks long, that includes exercise, education and counseling, all done under careful medical supervision.

The cardiac rehab team typically consists not only of doctors and nurses, but also dietitians, exercise physiologists and other professionals. Participants attend classes and lectures, get important information about the medications they are taking and learn how to return to their daily lives.

Eve Glazier, M.D.,
and Elizabeth Ko, M.D.

Published in Lifestyle
Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:37

Is the Left Playing with Fire Again?

To those who lived through that era that tore us apart in the '60s and '70s, it is starting to look like "deja vu all over again."

And as Adlai Stevenson, Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey did then, Democrats today like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are pandering to the hell-raisers, hoping to ride their energy to victory.

Democrats would do well to recall what happened the last time they rode the tiger of social revolution.

As the riots began in Harlem in 1964 and Watts in 1965, liberals rushed to render moral sanction and to identify with the rioters.

"In the great struggle to advance civil and human rights," said Adlai at Colby College, "even a jail sentence is no longer a dishonor but a proud achievement. ... Perhaps we are destined to see in this law-loving land people running for office ... on their prison records."

"There is no point in telling Negroes to obey the law," said Bobby; to the Negro, "the law is the enemy." Hubert assured us that if he had to live in a slum, "I could lead a mighty good revolt myself."

Thus did liberals tie themselves and their party to what was coming. By 1967, Malcolm X had been assassinated, Stokely Carmichael with his call to "Black Power" had replaced John Lewis at SNCC, and H. Rap Brown had a new slogan: "By any means necessary."

Came then the days-long riots of Newark and Detroit in 1967 where the 82nd Airborne was sent in. A hundred cities were burned and pillaged following the assassination of Dr. King on April 4, 1968.

And what happened in our politics?

The Democratic coalition of FDR was shattered. Gov. George Wallace rampaged through the Democratic primaries of Wisconsin, Indiana and Maryland in 1964, then ran third party and carried five Southern states in 1968.

His presidency broken by Vietnam and the riots, LBJ decided not to run again. Vice President Humphrey's chances were ruined by the violent protests at his Chicago convention, which were broken up by the club-wielding cops of Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Race riots in the cities, student riots on campus, and that riot of radicals in Chicago helped deliver America to Richard Nixon.

Came then the huge anti-Nixon, anti-war demonstrations of the fall of 1969, the protests in the spring of 1970 after the Cambodian invasion and the Kent State killings, and the Mayday siege by thousands of anarchists to shut down D.C. in 1971.

Again and again, Nixon rallied the Silent Majority to stand with him -- and against them. Middle America did.

Hence, what did its association with protesters, radicals and Black Power militants do for the Democratic Party?

Where LBJ swept 44 states in 1964 and 61 percent of the vote, in 1968 Humphrey won 13 states and 43 percent.

In 1972, Nixon and Spiro Agnew swept 49 states, routing the champion of the countercultural left, George McGovern.

And the table had been set for California Governor Ronald Reagan, who defied campus rioters threatening him with violence thusly: "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with."

Without the riots and bombings of the '60s and '70s, there might have been no Nixonian New Majority and no Reagan Revolution.

Today, with the raucous protests against President Trump and his travel ban, the disruption of Congressional town meetings, the blocking of streets every time a cop is involved in a shooting with a black suspect, and the rising vitriol in our politics, it is beginning to look like the 1960s again.

There are differences. In bombings, killings, beatings, arrests, arson, injuries and destruction of property, we are nowhere near 1968.

Still, the intolerant left seems to have melded more broadly and tightly with the Democratic Party of today than half a century ago.

Where Barry Goldwater joked about sawing off the East Coast and "letting it drift out into the Atlantic," Californians today talk of secession. And much of Middle America would be happy to see them gone.

Where Nixon was credited with the "cooling of America" in 1972, and Reagan could credibly celebrate "Morning in America" in 1984, any such "return to normalcy" appears the remotest possibility now.

As with the EU, the cracks in the USA seem far beyond hairline fractures. Many sense the country could come apart. It did once before. And could Southerners and Northerners have detested each other much more than Americans do today?

Fifty years ago, the anti-Nixon demonstrators wanted out of Vietnam and an end to the draft. By 1972, they had gotten both. The long hot summers were over. The riots stopped.

But other than despising Trump and his "deplorables," what great cause unites the left today? Even Democrats confess to not knowing Hillary Clinton's presidential agenda.

From those days long ago, there returns to mind the couplet from James Baldwin's famous book, from which he took his title:

"God gave Noah the rainbow sign/ No more water, the fire next time."

Patrick J. Buchanan

Published in Business
Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:32

Exercise-Deprived? The Fearless Path to Fitness

I have a personal question. It's not intended to make you feel guilty (which is the mother of all useless emotions). It's meant to tickle your neurons and invite thought.

What keeps you from exercising more?

You know you should. Exercise is the miracle cure for whatever ails you. Feeling tired? Depressed? Overcome with PTSS (post-Trump stress syndrome, a nonpartisan epidemic)?

Get your body in motion. Regular, rhythmical exercise -- over time -- also helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure and is your truest and best friend when it comes to living a healthier, happier lifestyle.

But you know all that. Shoulda, woulda, coulda...

So what's the answer? What keeps you from exercising more?

Let me guess: You're too busy. It's the No. 1 excuse in America: too much to do; too little time; people to see; places to go; family members -- including dogs, cats and parakeets -- who need to be fed on a regular basis.

As your most personal trainer, I need to spread a little tough love. Not having enough time to work some amount of physical activity into your day is a lame and self-destructive excuse. And you're better than that.

Make exercise your priority -- something you value because you know it brings relief and adds joy -- and you'll make the time. You'll write it down in your calendar and not feel guilty when you follow through. You'll walk at dawn, replace happy hour with restorative yoga, spend more time on your bike and less time on the giant time-suck known as social media.

It's up to you. But what else might be holding you back?

That's it: Dig a little deeper.

Maybe it's fear.

Over 50 percent of people drop out of fitness programs within the first six months. Sports psychologists who have interviewed the dropouts have uncovered the fear factor as something that undermines people without their realizing it.

Could your fears be getting in the way of your best intentions? Let's explore.

FEAR OF DOING IT WRONG.

This is a reasonable fear, because it's painfully true that if you don't learn the correct way to hit a ball, lift a weight or do warrior pose, you can hurt yourself.

So learn! Read a book. Study with good teachers. Learning to strength train safely isn't like learning to speak Chinese. You can master it without great effort if you're mindful and patient. Approach it with a beginner's mind. Ask questions; understand the basics of injury prevention. When confidence replaces fear, the ease of exercise increases mightily.

FEAR OF LOOKING STUPID.

Chances are this fear began when you were a kid and grew up thinking you were klutzy and uncoordinated. Too bad someone kind and loving didn't get to you and help you discover that there are no stupid moves when it comes to being active. Every move is bringing you further down the road to better health, greater energy and more mobility.

You may not be the slimmest, fastest or most graceful person in your class or on your team, but so what? As we say in yoga, keep your eyes on your own mat. Enjoy the athlete you are; appreciate that you're doing the best you can; and keep moving. When you stop knocking yourself as too fat, too slow or too stiff, fears about looking stupid in front of other people will disappear.

FEAR THAT PEOPLE ARE JUDGING YOU.

This is an ego thing, so let it go. Simple truth: Other people are absorbed with themselves. When you start imagining that others are watching you critically, simply come back to the sound of your own breathing. Focus on your performance, the sensations in your own body. Fitness isn't ice hockey: It's not a competitive sport. It's a personal journey. Turn your attention inward, and find joy in the moment. Allow that useless fear of being judged to melt away, like that extra flesh that keeps your jeans from feeling really comfy.

If you feel that personal anxiety is behind your failure to exercise more, get some help. Talk to a qualified listener. Join a support group. Start a journal. Acknowledging fear is the first step toward overcoming it.

Good! Class dismissed. Thanks for playing along.

"He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Marilynn Preston

Published in Outdoor
Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:25

Is the Left Playing with Fire Again?

To those who lived through that era that tore us apart in the '60s and '70s, it is starting to look like "deja vu all over again."

And as Adlai Stevenson, Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey did then, Democrats today like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are pandering to the hell-raisers, hoping to ride their energy to victory.

Democrats would do well to recall what happened the last time they rode the tiger of social revolution.

As the riots began in Harlem in 1964 and Watts in 1965, liberals rushed to render moral sanction and to identify with the rioters.

"In the great struggle to advance civil and human rights," said Adlai at Colby College, "even a jail sentence is no longer a dishonor but a proud achievement. ... Perhaps we are destined to see in this law-loving land people running for office ... on their prison records."

"There is no point in telling Negroes to obey the law," said Bobby; to the Negro, "the law is the enemy." Hubert assured us that if he had to live in a slum, "I could lead a mighty good revolt myself."

Thus did liberals tie themselves and their party to what was coming. By 1967, Malcolm X had been assassinated, Stokely Carmichael with his call to "Black Power" had replaced John Lewis at SNCC, and H. Rap Brown had a new slogan: "By any means necessary."

Came then the days-long riots of Newark and Detroit in 1967 where the 82nd Airborne was sent in. A hundred cities were burned and pillaged following the assassination of Dr. King on April 4, 1968.

And what happened in our politics?

The Democratic coalition of FDR was shattered. Gov. George Wallace rampaged through the Democratic primaries of Wisconsin, Indiana and Maryland in 1964, then ran third party and carried five Southern states in 1968.

His presidency broken by Vietnam and the riots, LBJ decided not to run again. Vice President Humphrey's chances were ruined by the violent protests at his Chicago convention, which were broken up by the club-wielding cops of Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Race riots in the cities, student riots on campus, and that riot of radicals in Chicago helped deliver America to Richard Nixon.

Came then the huge anti-Nixon, anti-war demonstrations of the fall of 1969, the protests in the spring of 1970 after the Cambodian invasion and the Kent State killings, and the Mayday siege by thousands of anarchists to shut down D.C. in 1971.

Again and again, Nixon rallied the Silent Majority to stand with him -- and against them. Middle America did.

Hence, what did its association with protesters, radicals and Black Power militants do for the Democratic Party?

Where LBJ swept 44 states in 1964 and 61 percent of the vote, in 1968 Humphrey won 13 states and 43 percent.

In 1972, Nixon and Spiro Agnew swept 49 states, routing the champion of the countercultural left, George McGovern.

And the table had been set for California Governor Ronald Reagan, who defied campus rioters threatening him with violence thusly: "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with."

Without the riots and bombings of the '60s and '70s, there might have been no Nixonian New Majority and no Reagan Revolution.

Today, with the raucous protests against President Trump and his travel ban, the disruption of Congressional town meetings, the blocking of streets every time a cop is involved in a shooting with a black suspect, and the rising vitriol in our politics, it is beginning to look like the 1960s again.

There are differences. In bombings, killings, beatings, arrests, arson, injuries and destruction of property, we are nowhere near 1968.

Still, the intolerant left seems to have melded more broadly and tightly with the Democratic Party of today than half a century ago.

Where Barry Goldwater joked about sawing off the East Coast and "letting it drift out into the Atlantic," Californians today talk of secession. And much of Middle America would be happy to see them gone.

Where Nixon was credited with the "cooling of America" in 1972, and Reagan could credibly celebrate "Morning in America" in 1984, any such "return to normalcy" appears the remotest possibility now.

As with the EU, the cracks in the USA seem far beyond hairline fractures. Many sense the country could come apart. It did once before. And could Southerners and Northerners have detested each other much more than Americans do today?

Fifty years ago, the anti-Nixon demonstrators wanted out of Vietnam and an end to the draft. By 1972, they had gotten both. The long hot summers were over. The riots stopped.

But other than despising Trump and his "deplorables," what great cause unites the left today? Even Democrats confess to not knowing Hillary Clinton's presidential agenda.

From those days long ago, there returns to mind the couplet from James Baldwin's famous book, from which he took his title:

"God gave Noah the rainbow sign/ No more water, the fire next time."

Patrick J. Buchanan

Published in General/Features
Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:22

Trump Must Break Judicial Power

"Disheartening and demoralizing," wailed Judge Neil Gorsuch of President Trump's comments about the judges seeking to overturn his 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from the Greater Middle East war zones.

What a wimp. Did our future justice break down crying like Sen. Chuck Schumer? Sorry, this is not Antonin Scalia. And just what horrible thing had our president said?

A "so-called judge" blocked the travel ban, said Trump. And the arguments in court, where 9th Circuit appellate judges were hearing the government's appeal, were "disgraceful." "A bad student in high school would have understood the arguments better."

Did the president disparage a couple of judges? Yep.

Yet compare his remarks to the tweeted screeds of Elizabeth Warren after her Senate colleague, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed as attorney general.

Sessions, said Warren, represents "radical hatred." And if he makes "the tiniest attempt to bring his racism, sexism & bigotry" into the Department of Justice, "all of us" will pile on.

Now this is hate speech. And it validates Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision to use Senate rules to shut her down.

These episodes reveal much about America 2017.

They reflect, first, the poisoned character of our politics. The language of Warren -- that Sessions is stepped in "racism, sexism & bigotry" echoes the ugliest slander of the Hillary Clinton campaign, where she used similar words to describe Trump's "deplorables."

Such language, reflecting as it does the beliefs of one-half of America about the other, rules out any rapprochement in America's social or political life. This is pre-civil war language.

For how do you sit down and work alongside people you believe to be crypto-Nazis, Klansmen and fascists? Apparently, you don't. Rather, you vilify them, riot against them, deny them the right to speak or to be heard.

And such conduct is becoming common on campuses today.

As for Trump's disparagement of the judges, only someone ignorant of history can view that as frightening.

Thomas Jefferson not only refused to enforce the Alien & Sedition Acts of President John Adams, his party impeached Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase who had presided over one of the trials.

Jackson defied Chief Justice John Marshall's prohibition against moving the Cherokees out of Georgia to west of the Mississippi, where, according to the Harvard resume of Sen. Warren, one of them bundled fruitfully with one of her ancestors, making her part Cherokee.

When Chief Justice Roger Taney declared that President Abraham Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus violated the Constitution, Lincoln considered sending U.S. troops to arrest the chief justice.

FDR proposed adding six justices to emasculate a Supreme Court of the "nine old men" he reviled for having declared some New Deal schemes unconstitutional.

President Eisenhower called his Supreme Court choices Earl Warren and William Brennan two of the "worst mistakes" he made as president. History bears Ike out. And here we come to the heart of the matter.

Whether the rollout of the president's temporary travel ban was ill-prepared or not, and whether one agrees or not about which nations or people should be subjected to extreme vetting, the president's authority in the matter of protecting the borders and keeping out those he sees as potentially dangerous is universally conceded.

That a district judge would overrule the president of the United States on a matter of border security in wartime is absurd.

When politicians don black robes and seize powers they do not have, they should be called out for what they are -- usurpers and petty tyrants. And if there is a cause upon which the populist right should unite, it is that elected representatives and executives make the laws and rule the nation. Not judges, and not justices.

Indeed, one of the mightiest forces that has birthed the new populism that imperils the establishment is that unelected justices like Warren and Brennan, and their progeny on the bench, have remade our country without the consent of the governed -- and with never having been smacked down by Congress or the president.

Consider. Secularist justices de-Christianized our country. They invented new rights for vicious criminals as though criminal justice were a game. They tore our country apart with idiotic busing orders to achieve racial balance in public schools. They turned over centuries of tradition and hundreds of state, local and federal laws to discover that the rights to an abortion and same-sex marriage were there in Madison's Constitution all along. We just couldn't see them.

Trump has warned the judges that if they block his travel ban, and this results in preventable acts of terror on American soil, they will be held accountable. As rightly they should.

Meanwhile, Trump's White House should use the arrogant and incompetent conduct of these federal judges to make the case not only for creating a new Supreme Court, but for Congress to start using Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution -- to restrict the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, and to reclaim its stolen powers.

A clipping of the court's wings is long overdue.

Patrick J. Buchanan

Published in General/Features
Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:13

WHALE WEEK - FEB 13th - 17th 2017

Whales are the largest and oldest mammals on Earth. They are found in every ocean of the world—and their songs—can travel further than any other mammal.

Whales are becoming entangled in fishing gear and marine debris at an increasing rate and scientists are unsure why. Studies of whale body scars show that 83 percent of all right whales and 70 percent of whales overall in the U.S. have been entangled in fishing gear or other marine debris at some point in their lives. Fortunately, the efforts of whale entanglement response teams are paying off. There are endangered whales alive and reproducing today because of successful disentanglement efforts from NOAA and our partners.

29 species of whales live in U.S. waters. All of these species are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). Endangered and threatened marine mammals are also protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

10 Wonderful Whale Facts

1. Male humpback whales found in U.S. waters sing complex songs in winter breeding areas in waters near Hawaii, in the Caribbean, and elsewhere that can last up to 20 minutes and be heard miles away.

2. The blue whale is the largest animal that ever lived and can grow to 90 or more feet and weigh as much as 24 elephants! That’s more than 330,000 pounds (150,000 kg).

3. Some species of whales are among the longest lived mammals. Scientists estimate bowhead whales (a baleen whale found in the Arctic) can live for more than 200 years, and killer whales (a toothed whale found in various habitats worldwide) can live for more

4. Killer whales are highly social and often travel in groups that are matrifocal—a family unit focused or centered on the mother.

5. Beluga whales have flexible necks, allowing them to move their heads. Their complex communication repertoire of whistles, clicks, and chirps has prompted the nickname “canaries of the sea.”

6. Gray whales make one of the longest annual migrations of any mammal: they travel about 10,000 miles (16,000 km) round trip!

7. The minke whale is the smallest baleen whale in North American waters.

8. North Atlantic right whales gather small organisms near the water surface, straining seawater with their long baleen plates. The whales’ surface feeding behavior and buoyancy make them vulnerable to collisions with ships.

9. Sperm whales were almost driven to extinction by commercial whalers who sought the whales’ blubber and the unique oil derived from the “spermaceti organ” found in their massive heads. The spermaceti organ is a key part of their echolocation system.

10. In 2014, a Cuvier’s beaked whale made the deepest and longest dive ever recorded for a cetacean when it reached a depth of 1.9 miles (2,992 m) and stayed submerged for more than 2 hours.

Noaa.gov

Published in Environment
Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:08

ADVICE AND CONSENT -- OR COMBAT?

Without issuing an opinion -- no ruling on school desegregation, no decision on abortion rights -- the Supreme Court is at the center of perhaps its gravest constitutional crisis in eight decades. The stakes could not be higher, the implications could not be greater, the consequences could not be more far-reaching.

In the span of a few months the country has witnessed the high court nomination of a supremely competent jurist, Judge Merrick B. Garland, be ignored by a stubborn Republican-controlled Senate, followed by the prospect that another supremely competent jurist, Judge Neil Gorsuch, might be blocked by a recalcitrant Democratic minority; and, just the other day, a blistering critique of judges by the president followed by Judge Gorsuch's comment that the Trump remarks were "disheartening."

This whole contretemps is a substantial departure from American history. A Ronald Reagan appointee, Anthony Kennedy, won confirmation by a 97-0 vote. Two of Republican George H.W. Bush's nominees were confirmed by a Democratic Senate, once by a 90-9 vote (David H. Souter). As recently as 2009, nine Republicans voted to confirm the choice of a Democratic president (Sonia Sotomayor).

But last year Republicans refused even to take up the nomination of Garland, and now Democrats are threatening to return the favor and stall, if not defeat, the nomination of Judge Gorsuch.

"Now no one from the other party is acceptable," says Dan Urman, who directs the law and public policy program at Northeastern University. "This is the political equivalent of the Hatfields and McCoys. Each side wants to get even for what happened the last time."

That could mean extending this dispute indefinitely, threatening the independence of the judiciary. "Prolonged civil wars," the Israeli historian Benny Morris once wrote about the Middle East, "tend to brutalize combatants and trigger vengefulness."

That's what's happening here today. There is no premium in asking who started this (perhaps a group of Democrats including future Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. that killed the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork in 1987), or for refighting the war over whether a president toward the end of his term ought to make a high-court nomination (as Reagan did with his nomination of Justice Kennedy in November 1987, a result the GOP ignored last year).

At the heart of this crisis is how to interpret Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, which says the president "shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint" justices to the courts.

Does that mean that the Senate has a co-role in the appointment of these jurists? Or does it specifically grant the predominant responsibility to the president, putting the Senate in a minor role? It depends on whom you ask, and what his or her interests are.

Overall the Senate has rejected a dozen Supreme Court nominees, including a George Washington selection, John Rutledge, who was engulfed in a complex political struggle involving the Jay Treaty of 1794. Two Richard M. Nixon appointees, Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell, were rejected.

Generally, however, the president gets his way, and generally the Senate applies few ideological tests. But now we are in a cycle of revenge that imperils any nominee's efforts to win confirmation.

"The Democrats are understandably angry about the Garland nomination," says Kenneth Gormley, former dean of the Duquesne Law School and now president of the university. "At the same time, that does not change the fact that the Constitution says what it says, and the current Senate, including the Democrats, have an obligation to consider the president's nominee and consent to it if he is qualified. The fact is that President Trump won the election, and he gets to pick the justice."

But the fact also remains that many Democrats, including Senate minority leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, are determined to fight the Gorsuch nomination, their ardor heightened after Trump pilloried federal Judge James Robart, a George W. Bush appointee who was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, as a "so-called judge" for putting a hold on his executive order on immigration. Schumer said the president's attack "raises the bar even higher for Judge Gorsuch's nomination."

The possible result is Senate, and thus high court, paralysis. Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who three times was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said seven years ago that Judge Garland would be a "consensus nominee" for the court, and yet the Judiciary Committee refused even to hold hearings. Schumer presumably was one of those who supported Judge Gorsuch's appointment as a federal appellate judge for the 10th Circuit in 2006, and yet he is threatening to hold up the Coloradan's confirmation.

"We could be entering a situation where one party consistently blocks nominees of the other party, waiting its turn to take over the White House," says Gormley. "Then each party will be obstinate. It turns the system upside down."

So is there a way out of this mess, the worst since President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court to preserve his New Deal legislation in 1937?

A start would be presidential initiative to reach out to leaders of the rival political party, to seek their views on Supreme Court appointments, and to get a sense of who is confirmable. President Bill Clinton did some of that, and it helped him win large margins for Ruth Bader Ginsburg (96-3) and Stephen Breyer (87-9), both of whom had strong ideological tints.

Or my proposal: Trump, facing a divided country with high emotions, seeks to mend fences and salve past injuries by offering a deal to both parties. He asks Democrats to join Republicans in giving swift and perhaps even unanimous approval to his nomination of Judge Gorsuch. He accompanies that with a vow to fill the next vacancy -- whether it is produced by the death or resignation of a Republican-appointed justice or one appointed by a Democrat, a gamble for everyone -- with Judge Garland, vowing to ask Republicans to support that selection.

About one in five Americans who voted in last November's election said that Supreme Court appointments were "the most important factor" in their choice; and more than half of those who selected that factor voted for Trump. The president would risk alienating part of his constituency by this offer.

But the president would stand above the public fray and would be aligned with the broad national interest at a time of partisan bickering. He would drain the Senate swamp of the choking woody plants of partisanship -- a boon to all who called in November for dramatic change in Washington and a gift to his successors.

David M. Shribman

Published in General/Features
Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:03

Background Checks are Absolutely Warranted

Could there be any good outcome from making it easier for seriously mentally ill citizens to buy guns? The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives apparently thinks so, voting 235-180 along party lines to overturn an Obama administration rule extending background checks for Social Security recipients who are mentally unable to work or care for their own finances.

The regulation was part of an effort by the Obama administration to strengthen gun control laws after the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Conn. Not surprisingly, the National Rifle Association opposed it, but the former president finalized it in the last days of his administration. The House bill to reverse Obama's regulation now goes to the Senate.

Gun-control advocates say the expanded regulation, increasing scrutiny on about 75,000 recipients of Social Security disability benefits, would have had limited impact on gun violence. But limited impact in a nation with weak gun laws is better than nothing.

It also might have prevented the deaths of some seriously mentally ill people. Mental health experts say that between 6,000 and 18,000 mentally ill people kill themselves with guns every year. The National Alliance on Mental Illness cites research that about 90 percent of people who commit suicide have experienced mental illness.

Psychiatrists say the mentally ill are no more prone to committing violence against others than the population at large, despite highly publicized mass shootings by the likes of James Holmes in Aurora, Colo., and Adam Lanza in Newtown, who had histories of mental illness. They say about 4 percent of all violence in the United States is attributable to
serious mental illness.

Janet Delana of Wellington, Mo., near Kansas City, asked Congress to hold off on repealing the regulation, saying it would have prevented her mentally ill daughter from buying a gun she used to kill her father in 2012.

"She shot her father to death, and tried once again to take her own life," said Delana in an Associated Press story about the regulation. "She is now in an institution for life, and my husband is gone."

The regulation would not have denied guns to mentally ill citizens. It would have flagged them for the Social Security Administration to report to the federal background check system so their names would come up if they tried to purchase firearms.

The NRA and the American Civil Liberties Union argued the rule violates the Second Amendment rights of people with mental illness without adequate due process. But screening people with serious mental illnesses before they purchase guns doesn't seem like too much to ask.

A person who is unable to handle forms for disability benefits may be too ill to own a gun. The regulation didn't take away their right; it simply added a layer of protection for the rest of us.

Published in Business
Thursday, 16 February 2017 12:56

DID ORWELL FORESEE THE ELECTION OF TRUMP?

He clearly enough saw, given the trends of his time, and the people behind the scenes (who manipulated them for their own selfish purposes), where we were headed if there was not a collective awakening of humanity. His vision was most fully realized in his novel “1984”. Most Americans have read this book at one point or another, in school or afterwards. If it is not remembered, it should be reread. It uncannily mirrors much of the world we live in today. It was meant to.

Undoubtedly, the renewed interest in this book must be in part tied to the inauguration of Donald Trump, at least in America. It also reflects life in many other countries, many of them with similar socio-political phenomena to what we are experiencing here. Some have thoughtlessly proposed that the interest in this book now is entirely because of the rise of Trump.

This does not seem realistic. While there are some apparent correspondences between aspects of the Trump administration so far and elements of the book, these have more to do with Trump’s place in time, and global trends that he is only a part of and responding to, than with him being the prime cause of world conditions today.

While he is certainly contributing AN effect, he is not THE effect.

As a people, we have all been warned repeatedly, down through the centuries, by any number of wise and observant (and often connected) thinkers, writers, leaders and more. If we only cared to listen to those among us whom have labored so patiently and tirelessly to control us (as John Perdue noted, “The logo of the Fabian Society, a tortoise, represented the group’s predilection for a slow, imperceptible transition to socialism, while its coat of arms, a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’, represented its preferred methodology for achieving its goal”).

Typically these shadowy, unseen people organize and operate through secret societies which the great majority of others are not invited into.

“Skull and Bones” is a notable one in this country, and if one chooses to believe that organizations like this one are simply harmless social clubs, then they will do so at their own risk.

Orwell was at one time a member of this English society called the “Fabian Society”, which like many secret societies, had many levels of membership, allowing in people with no real knowledge of (or interest in) the deeper workings of the organization, providing a good “cover story”. In Orwell’s case, he later repudiated the work of the organization and its members.

The Fabian Society remains globalist in nature, seeking one-world government under their own “benevolent” guidance. Many famous and prominent people were drawn to this organization, initially because of its stated interests in promoting what THEY called “socialism”. Members ranged from George Bernard Shaw to H. G. Wells to Oliver Lodge to Winston Churchill.

Simply, as member Annie Besant said, “A democratic Socialism, controlled by majority votes, guided by numbers, can never succeed. A truly aristocratic Socialism, controlled by duty, guided by wisdom, is the next step upward in civilization.”

Not surprisingly, the Fabian Society acquired and sealed the records of Eric Blair not long after the death of his wife. The Fabian motto, fittingly, is “Remold it Nearer to The Heart’s Desire.”

One book they have sought to suppress is called “The Road To Wigan Pier.” In this book Orwell states, “… the ugly fact is that most middle-class Socialists, while theoretically pining for a class-less society, cling like glue to their miserable fragments of social prestige… sometimes I look at a socialist--- the intellectual, tract-writing type of socialist, with his pullover, his fuzzy hair and his Marxist quotation--- and wonder what the devil his motive really is. It is often difficult to believe that it is a love of anybody, especially of the working class, from whom he is of all people the furthest removed. The underlying motive of many Socialists, I believe, is simply a hypertrophied sense of order. The present state of affairs offends them not because it causes misery, still less because it makes freedom impossible, but because it is untidy; what they desire, basically, is to reduce the world to something resembling a chessboard. Take the plays of a life-long Socialist like Shaw. How much understanding or even awareness of working-class life do they display? … The truth is that, to many people cal themselves Socialists, revolution does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders…”

Orwell’s take on Trump might be would be the subject of another entire article. It seems safe to say that while Trump enjoys a larger stage than most of us, he appears to be sincerely trying to use it to benefit as many people as possible. Let’s wish him luck!

Mark Stiggs
North Fort Myers

Published in Politics

Joe Bonamassa has been featured on the cover of virtually every guitar magazine multiple times. His name is notorious among guitarists not only for being a virtuoso, but also for his incredible collection of vintage guitars, gear and memorabilia.

One of the biggest names in Blues Rock, Bonamassa has sixteen #1 /billboard Blues Albums, almost every album Joe has produced instantly rockets to the #1 spot. His last studio record was even on Billboard’s Top 10 album chart, proving that a Blues album could debut next to the biggest names in popular music.

At 12 years old, Joe toured with B.B. King, opening for him with musicians three times his age.

He has played in some of the worlds best venues like Radio City Music Hall in N.Y., Royal Albert Hall in London and Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado.

His band is packed with seasoned musicians!

Reese Wyans on the Keys was a past member of the Second Coming, playing with guitarist Dickey Betts and bassist Berry Oakley, bothof which became founding members of The Allman Brothers Band. Wynans joined Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in 1985, playing keyboards on Soul to Soul and In Step and played with the band until Stevie Ray Vaughn’s tragic death in 1990.

Anton Fig on the drums, spent the last 29 years as the drummer for David Letterman’s house band on the NBC and CBS networks. Fig is one of America’s most widely-heard musicians and has racked up an impressive session resume playing on albums by Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Rosanne Cash, Joe Cocker, and Ronnie Spector. During his Letterman years, Fig recorded or performed live with such legends as James Brown, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, and B.B. King.

Michael Rhodes on the bass; Some of the musicians he's recorded for include Mark Knopfler, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, and even the hottest star in the entire music industry, Taylor Swift.

Lee Thornburg on the trumpet, has played with many legendary artists and is also a former member of Supertramp and Tower of Power. Thornburg played with Wayne Cochran and the C.C. Riders in the 1970s.

He then went on to tour with musicians such as Tom Petty, Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, Huey Lewis, and Rod Stewart. In 1992, he joined the band Chicago for a show released on VHS cassette called And the Band Played On. He also arranged for and performed with Etta James and the Roots Band. For over five years Thornburg played Trumpet in Jay Leno’s house band.

You can hear Thornburg’s past work with Bonamassa on four of his #1 Billboard releases, including Live at the Royal Albert Hall, the Grammy-Nominated album Seesaw with Beth Hart, Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks, and Live at Radio City Music Hall.

Paulie Cerra on the Sax, a versatile and dynamic Saxophone player, spent years on the road touring the world over and recording with many of the top blues and R&B acts. These have included Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin, Lucky Peterson, Luther Allison, Little Milton, Bobby Bland, Billy Preston and Jimmy Johnson. Cerra joined Joe’s band earlier this year and you can hear him on the #1 Billboard Blues release Live at Radio City Music Hall.

Don’t miss this opportunity to see Joe and his band here this week at the Barbara B. Mann theater, Friday the 17th!

Al DiPasquale
Fort Myers

Published in Lifestyle
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