Showing posts with label Disease. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disease. Show all posts

May 2, 2020

Bacteria Vs. Virus--The Cure!

There is an old adage that:
The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Both bacteria and viruses are enemies of people in that they often make us sick. 

If they can make us sick, why can't they be used to fight and make each other sick (i.e. destroy each other). 

Thus, bacteria can be our friend, if we use them to destroy viruses, like Coronavirus. 

Why can't we create a "virus-eating bacteria" (and vice versa "bacteria-eating virus") to destroy these little monsters that are infecting and killing us?

Let our enemies kill each other!  ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 27, 2020

The Doctor Is Out!

So one huge downside to this Coronavirus shutdown is that you can barely get any help for other medical conditions or elective surgeries. 

I just heard this morning from a relative about family members that can't get shots they need for pain control or surgeries for breathing problems.

Everything now is COVID-19.

That's the priority (maybe all of the top ten priorities)!

But does it really make sense to completely triage COVID-19 above Cancer, Heart Disease, Respiratory Disease, Strokes, Alzheimers, Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, Parkinson's, and more. 

Coronavirus patients are who the hospital and ICU beds are for now. 

And the respirators. 

The testing. 

The new research dollars. 

Perhaps, the global medical community has gone a little Coronavirus crazy, extreme, radical, overboard in their singular focus, panic, and chaos over just one virus to the exclusion of everything else!

Apparently, our totally "overwhelmed" medical system can't "walk and chew gum at the same time."

Certainly, we have a lot to be grateful for to the dedicated and selfless doctors and nurses in the medical community for everything they are doing to help people with Coronavirus under very trying circumstances.

The problem is that in the meantime, people that have new or other chronic conditions are being left out and sometimes to rot. 

Unless of course you are a big fan of telemedicine, which may be good to get something routine looked after, but something major, and I think you're in big trouble. 

After this Coronavirus (assuming there is an after), there is going to be a lot of pent up demand for medical care. 

I think a lot of people are suffering now with conditions that they were waiting to take care of until they were absolutely necessary, but unfortunately when it became necessary, then the care was not there. 

Makes you wonder whether and when you should do or put off medical procedures in the future: just because the care is there "today," doesn't mean it will be there tomorrow. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 15, 2020

The Coronavirus Panic


Fruits and Vegetables...


Bread....


Cereal...


Paper Towels and Toilet Paper...

(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal @Harris Teeter)


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October 16, 2018

Paul Allen And Steve Jobs - Both Left Us Early!


Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft died yesterday, Oct. 15, 2018.

His untimely death reminded me of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Microsoft who died Oct. 5, 2011.

Allen co-founder Microsoft in 1975 and Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976

Allen was 65 and Jobs was just 56 at time of death.

Both were pioneers in the IT Revolution.

Both died of cancer.

Both dropped out of college.

Both accumulated $20B of wealth in today's money.

Both own(ed) 2 sports teams (Jobs posthumously)

Both were huge philanthropists in terms of what they left the world: money in Allen's case and many innovations in Job's.

Both have been in Time's 100 Most Influential People.

Both died an early death--sadly too young!

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 16, 2017

The Horrible C Word

Cancer is such an awful killer disease.

After heart disease, it is the #2 cause of death in the United States taking almost 592,000 lives a year or 22.5% of all deaths!

Usually, we don't even like to say the word and even tempt fate.

Instead we just refer to it as the horrible "C word."  

Today my daughter forwarded to me this poem written by a teenager with terminal cancer, and I thought this was worth sharing with you all...

SLOW DANCE
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask, “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short
The music won't last.

Ever told your child, 
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die 
Cause you never had time 
To call and say,'Hi'

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last..

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
You miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 4, 2017

The Excuses We Make

So on the way to the airport, I am talking with the Uber driver. 

"There is such a discrepancy between the rich and the poor here," I say.

"Yeah," she says, "When I drive and stop at the lights, there are many poor people that come up to the car looking for a handout."

She continues, "I usually have a few dollars here" pointing to the little cubby hole under the parking break. 

"But my friends make fun of me saying, they [the panhandlers] are just going to go out and buy a beer!"

Excuse #1 not to give poor people--they'll misuse our charity and buy alcohol, drugs, or prostitutes. 

The driver says, "But so what...if I were in their shoes, I'd buy a beer too."

I'm thinking, hey this is nice...she's fighting the bad inclination and her friends pressure and still wants to give--this is great!

Sure enough, we stop at a red light, and a really poor man starts walking up to the window to ask for help.

This person is dressed in dirty battered rags of an undershirt, and has sores on their arms and body.

The driver says, "Yeah, if I gave him, he'd probably just switch his shirt inside out later [as if the other side would be magically less dirty and ripped] and go home to his Rolls Royce!"

Wow, when excuse #1 doesn't hold...

Excuse #2--the poor people are just faking it...really they aren't poor, but rather they are fantastically rich and trying to pocket some more money for free.

It's like the evil inclination sitting on one shoulder telling us "don't give,"  even as the good inclination is sitting over our other shoulder beseeching us to have mercy and "give, give, give."

In this case, the evil inclination won out. 

I reached for my wallet and wanted to open my window, but honestly this person looked scary--dirty and maybe sick--I was afraid of this person. 

I hope G-d forgives me, because I feel it wasn't my evil inclination making excuses, but this time it was genuine for me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 24, 2017

Locked Inside Your Own Body

So being imprisoned in torturously tight spaces and uncomfortable positions is...physically, mentally, and emotionally harrowing. 

Of course, the criminal justice system centers around incarceration (and less so rehabilitation) and for most of history--from chains, cages, and dungeons--the most vile despots have placed people's bodies in desperate restraints. 

But I have learned that people can be not only physically incarcerated and shackled, but they can also literally be imprisoned within their own bodies. 

My own dear mother suffered terribly with Parkinson's Disease and I watched helplessly and in horror as the degenerative rigidity, contortion, and incredibly horrendous pain made her suffer so. No amount of pain medication could ease her unbelievable suffering...only death itself.

In another instance, a colleague's spouse got sick with ALS and as this horrible disease ran it's course, the person could not move, eat, speak, and eventually even breath on their own.  Their mind worked fine, but it was imprisoned within a body that continuously closed in on itself and could no longer function. 

In both these cases, the body itself was the prison of the mind and soul--no bars, no barbed wire, and no high walls necessary. 

Another case, I read and watched about his week, was of a husband and father who suddenly became a quadriplegic.  Kevin Breen was a healthy and active 44-year old, when suddenly he came down with a case of strep throat that traveled to his stomach and almost ended up killing him. He survived, but had to have his hands and feet amputated. Can you imagine the absolute horror of this?

There are so many good things that can happen in life, but also so many, G-d forbid, misfortunes--it is frightening to think about let alone confront. 

Locked up or imprisoned within our own failing bodies, leave mankind looking out into the darkest and deepest of the abyss, and that is when we need G-d's ultimate mercy and to answer us more than ever.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 19, 2016

Sukkah Surprise



I'm in Washington D.C. and I look towards the World Health Organization (WHO) a specialized agency of the United Nations. 

And lo' and behold, what do I see? 

It looks like a sukkah!

A sukkah is a small temporary hut that is put up on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles or Booths) which we are celebrating now. 

The sukkah commemorates when the Jewish people left Egypt and journeyed through the desert for 40 years until they reached the promised land of Israel. 

Sukkot is traditionally one of three times a year of historical pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, and this was fascinating to see this in DC just as the UNjust UNESCO failed history by erroneously declaring the Temple Mount in Jerusalem only sacred to Muslims. 

So while I'm thinking how cool is it that the WHO has a sukkah for the celebration--I've never seen a sukkah in Washington DC before.--I'm realizing this is something much more.

As I get closer, I see there are pictures of impoverished people with names of diseases like chagas and elephantiasis caused by parasites. 

As I then learn, this is not like any traditional sukkah--usually decorated, happy, and celebratory for the redemption from slavery and the founding of Jewish nationhood. 

I stop by some people outside and ask what this structure is and they tell me it's a favela (like a shanty town hut from Brazil).

The WHO had this put up as a display for an important meeting of public health officials, and they said I am welcome to take a look. 

So what is to some a sukkah for celebrating the holiday of redemption to another is a favela for learning about critical health conditions around the world. 

People are so connected all over the world in more ways than we normally realize. 

Either way, this temporary shelter is no place to call home, even though seeing it from a distance made me feel just that way.

Unfortunately, the UN does not duly recognize and respect the Jewish homeland, it's ancestry and religious connections to G-d, the Temple, and the Holy Land.

To the unfortunate bigoted and hateful UNESCO, I'm sure a sukkah is just another favela--that is the disease so prominent in their hearts and minds. 

But with hopefulness, perhaps even they can be miraculously redeemed like the symbolism we get from the sukkah. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 7, 2016

Getting "Unf*cked"

So on July 4th, I wrote and did a short video about how messed (f*cked) up things are in the world today (of course, technology-aside), and I advocated for people being a good influence and for constructive change. 

On the positive side, I saw this neat bumper sticker to "Unf*ck The World," and I checked out their website utwnow.org

It was impressive to see people advocating for, banding together, and engaging to do good things to help others such as assist the homelessness by giving them haircuts, doing laundry, providing "mobile hygiene," and helping with a thrift shop and job opportunities.  

In contrast again, it was interesting in the Wall Street Journal today, there was an editorial on how Brexit (Britian leaving the EU) has nothing on Amexit (America's disengagement from global affairs). 

Around the world, there is cause for not only pause, but great concern.

- From allowing Syria to cross the red line in using chemical weapons (on civilians!) to the recommendation to not charge the former First Lady, we are in moral and leadership retreat.

- Russia takes over Crimea and agitates in Eastern Ukraine and the Baltics, while China continues its island buildup in the strategic South China Sea.  

- ISIS continues to hold ground across the Middle East and Northern Africa and attacks targets literally everywhere in the world and routinely takes, enslaves, and sells women to the highest bidder on the Internet.

- North Korea and Iran test ballistic missiles, and nukes are a forgone conclusion for them. 

- South America and Europe are in economic and political turmoil with varying degrees of recessions, runaway inflation, shortages, impeachment proceedings, voter recalls, and fractioning. 

- The U.S. is struggling to maintain its leadership role as we fluctuate between recognizing the dire need and pulling back all around. 

In the election cycle, I think just about every single person I have heard from now says in near hopelessness something like, "If only there was another candidate that I could vote for."

What we can do locally to help--and certainly there is a lot more to do there with poverty and homelessness--perhaps people can do nationally and globally in demanding more--not material things, but rather a real caring about others and not just ourselves, a genuine discourse on policy and not just punch lines for the next election or media soundbite, a solutions-oriented mindset rather than a gaming the system one, and a big vision to settle the stars, cure vicious diseases, pull everyone out of poverty, and resolve endless cycles of global conflicts.

Do you hear much of anything on this these days and is anyone taking the high ground or is it just who is more crooked and untrustworthy--this cannot be the answer. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 19, 2016

Bird's Nest Surveillance

I took this photo today of a bird's nest on top of a surveillance camera. 

I find this fascinating!

The pure irony of a bird finding safety and shelter in a nest atop a surveillance camera looking out for bad things like criminals and terrorism. 

On one hand, safety and security.

And on the other hand, the fear and insecurity of it all. 

A bird may find a peaceful nesting place there.

But for the rest of us, the world continues to be a very dangerous place. 

Often walking the streets of a major urban city, I think to myself the chaos and danger that could so easily ensue if events took a sudden and serious turn for the worse where society as we know it can completely start to unravel, and as they say, "the sh*t hits the fan!"

I believe that many, if not most people are worried about this, hence the incredible popularity of shows and movies far and wide such as:

 (Fear) The Walking Dead
Containment
The 100
The Last Ship
Jericho
Mad Max
Road Warrior
I am Legend
The Book of Eli
The Postman
World War Z 
Waterworld
Children of Men
Outbreak
Armageddon
Oblivion 
The Day After Tomorrow 
and more. 

The camera is surveilling and the bird is watching from their perch. 

We go about our days like the post apocalyptic zombies that wander the Earth.

But not so deep down, in our minds and hearts is the terror of what can happen at any moment and what is likely destined to happen eventually. 

This is not about doom and gloom, but about what the threats are out there, what is being done or not done about them, and who will ultimately survive and would you even want to. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 12, 2016

From Top To Bottom


The the other day, I was walking through the grass.

I came across these toys horses that had been left in a pile.

I thought about the innocence and beauty of children.

How nice it is to just sit in the green grass and play with your horsies. 

Today, I was downtown and GWU has a big graduation going on.

This guy wrote on the bottom of his cap, "If youre reading this, I just graduated."

Of course, this is America, and so he left off the apostrophe (') in you're (you are).

Oh well--neither STEM nor spelling is apparently part of the education curriculum anymore. 

But how quickly the kids grow up and before we know they're college graduates. 

From childhood innocence and dependence to adulthood independence and its colorful assortment of sin. 

All grown up and what we hope happens next...

...off to start a big career, continue with graduate studies, marriage and kids of their own...the sky is the limit. 

We need smart and enthusiastic people coming of age with big ideas, teamwork, and precision execution to solve the ginormous problems we face.

Still huge debts, hunger and poverty, dreaded old to frighteningly new illnesses, a unsustainable use of our planet with tongue in cheek efforts to change, rising social inequity and racial tensions, and raging terrorism and WMD that is making a global and more deadly comeback.

I have no grads this year, but we sure as hell need every person coming off the assembly line to step up and make a difference. 

Right now, the leadership in the world (commercial, spiritual, and government) is overwhelmingly deadwood (people lacking in caliber and  integrity like Steve Jobs, the Lubavicher Rebbe, Nelson Mandela, and Ronald Reagan).

From failing products and falling profits, to "religious" sex abuse, demagogues overseas, and plenty of lying and corruption at home. We need and should expect more, demand more, perhaps in the young people there will be more--that is our hope and saving grace. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 8, 2015

Seriously Big And Out Of Order

I took this photo in Washington, D.C., and I don't know about you, but I hate when things are out of order.

We count on everything to be in normal working condition, and for life in general to function with at least a modicum of structure, process, and according to basic laws of nature. 

But these days, the world is seriously off-kilter and here are just a few examples:

- Russia, post the Cold War Soviet Union, isn't supposed to do a blitkreig and just take over Crimea and fight an undeclared war in sovereign nation, Ukraine. Additionally, our vital economic partner, China, presumably wouldn't have near unfetterd access to our industrial and government secrets, including the personnel records of the entire Federal workforce. 

- The major world powers comprising the P5+1 normally wouldn't treat Iran deferentially and as a negotiating equal or even more than than that with near open negotiations and crucial concessions, especially when dealing with no less than the proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction. 

- Terrorist organizations such as ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, and more wouldn't be taking over swathes of the Middle-East, Africa, and Asia, and we are not sure what our strategy even is or whether we have one yet. 

- Advanced industrialized nations wouldn't be polluting themselves and the rest of the world towards the environmental catastrophic brink all the while denying that our lifestyle is not sustainable and that global warming even exists. 

- Smart democratized nations wouldn't be living incessantly beyond their means and borrowing themselves into national debt oblivion--from Greece to Spain, Portugal, and Italy, and right here in the United States of America. 

- The Center for Disease Control doesn't handle deadly biological pathogens callously and negligently with the potential for a massive lethal outbreak, while admitting to a serious pattern of safety lapses.

- Medicine isn't just another "business and medical treatments for the sick shouldn't cost $250,000 a year for a regiment of one or two pills a day, medical professionals don't simply extend quantity of life without weighing it's quality, and those in hopeless cases with severe pain and suffering wouldn't be forced to go on "living."

- The richest 1% of the world can't truly hold more than 50% of the world's wealth, live in mega mansions and drive fleets of cars, yachts, and planes, while masses of people are malnourished, diseased, homeless or in substandard living conditions.

No life is not perfect and certainly, even those perfectionists among us wouldn't expect everything is be in 100% working order all the time--things break down, accidents and mistakes occur, and sh*t happens--but when life is getting shamelessly more out of order than in order than we need to be asking ourselves some serious and potentially life-altering questions, like what the heck is going on around here? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 15, 2015

The Back To The Future Car

OMG, so cool...the Back To The Future car.

It's the DeLorean sports car on display by Smithsonian Magazine in Washington, D.C.

I love the winged doors that go up, the cool muscle body, and of course being able to time travel. 

The past--I'd like to stroll through the Garden of Eden, witness the splitting of the Red Sea and the giving of Ten Commandments, see Samson bring down the pillars on the Philistines, meet King David and worship at the Holy temple, shake hands with Ben-Gurion, and talk with and hug my parents and grandparents again.

For the future...its got to include space travel to other worlds, the eradication of disease and hunger (and by the way the national debt too), and the coolest technology to do everything. ;-)

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)
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April 21, 2015

Growing Shoes For Growing Feet


Great innovation from The Shoe That Grows.

Innocent children around the world living in poverty are frequently forced to walk barefoot, without shoes, risking dangerous injury from hard and sharp objects as well as disease from contaminated soil. 

Now there are expandable shoes that can be adjusted in the front toe piece and side with snaps, as well as with a back heel strap.

The shoes are made to expand five sizes and last 5 years with high quality rubber soles and leather uppers.

A donation of one pair for a needy child is just $10.

No child--or adult--should ever have to go without the basics like shoes and this can help millions get to a higher standard of living, which everyone deserves. ;-)

(Thank you to Michelle Blumenthal for sharing this with me.)
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December 19, 2014

Amazing Advances In Prosthetics


Watch this video...

Where a man who lost both arms over 40 years ago is fitted with these amazing dual prosthetics that he is able to control with his mind and muscle movements. 

Made with financing from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).

John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab shows the possibilities for the future for helping everyone from Wounded Warriors to those disabled from accidents and disease. 

G-d creates and we imitate and together we make an incredible flourishing world. ;-)

(Note: My gratitude to Rebecca Blumenthal for sharing this video with me.)
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December 12, 2014

Cancer 101


I saw this in a doctor's office and thought it was very educational on Cancer.

The first diagram has a brief definition of cancer and the incidence of cancer type for males and females.

The second explains the stages of cancer, I through IV, and is shown in the small intestine, as an example. 

This stuff is so scary and horrible. 

The "C" word...we should never hear it, say it, or know from it anymore!

G-d should help us find a cure to rid this world of this disease.

Save us from that which afflicts us, and send us a complete healing of body, mind, and soul, Amen!!!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 10, 2014

Cure Cancer B4 It Kills Again


Nice seeing these signs and slogans against cancer posted today in Washington, D.C.

Looking at the 2014 statistics, there were almost 1.7 million new cases and almost 687 thousand deaths in the U.S. alone for cancer including of the brain/nervous system, female breast, colon/rectum, Leukemia, liver, lung/bronchus, non-hodgkin lymphoma, ovary, pancreas, and prostate.

Way too much suffering and death from cancer...we must fight this killer. 

Whatever we can do to raise money, caring, and empathy...we should do. 

Run, walk, give, support, remember...even just hold someone's hand. 

Thank you American Cancer Society and everyone out there helping to find the cure. 

"14 million cancer survivors are celebrating birthdays this year."

Won't it be miraculous when everyone is a survivor in a world without cancer anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 9, 2014

Medicine Back When




I thought you may find these photos interesting of how medicine used to be--not all that long ago.

I took these at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. 

1) The Circo Electric Bed rotates a patient 210 degrees to help them go from a prone to a vertical position; push the button and you go almost loop de loop. 

2) A Hospital Ward--no private or semi-private rooms yet; say hello to a dozen or so neighboring patients sharing a room, moaning and groaning, each their own. 

3) An X-ray--say cheese as this machine peers inside your body, hopefully not emitting too much radiation to the patient.

4) An operation--looks serious, almost like an alien abduction, hope they had plenty of anesthesia so it didn't hurt. 

Okay, medicine has come a long way...but we're not there yet, not by a medical tricorder longshot. ;-) 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 3, 2014

Disabled Be Heard


Promising technology coming from Israeli startup Voiceitt.

Chosen by Wall Street Journal global technology conference as an audience favorite application.

This technology will help the disabled who have trouble speaking to effectively communciate with others. 

The application translates sounds and intonation patterns into words that can be understood. 

Victims of Stroke, Parkinsons, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism may benefit from this. 

The founder of the technology himself has two siblings with Cerebral Palsy and he is driven to personally address their challenges. 

Application is expected to be released 2nd quarter 2015.

To me, it is especially encouraging when we use technology to help the disabled live a fuller and more comfortable life.

Life is tough enough on people the way it is already, so if we can help make things better for those who are disadvantaged in any way, what a great, great thing to do! ;-)
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October 28, 2014

No Way To Fight The Good Fight

Unfortuantely, like many things we do...we do it only halfway. 

While there is certainly a place for vetting issues, moderation, and compromise, often we are overly worried about the ramifications of going too far and thus don't go far enough to accomplish strategic goals.

Similarly, in a pendulum swinging out of control way, we may fluctuate and treat friends as enemies and pretend our enemies are our friends.

Whether in fighting terrorism and nation state enemies, ebola and other horrific diseases, and even righting the national economy...we don't lead, we hesitate or as many commentators have said, we lead from behind. 

ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbolah and more...all alive and still terrorizing.  

Russia, North Korea, Iran...not contained, and threats are growing, while questionable deals involving no less than WMD in some and territorial sovereignty in others loom on the horizon. 

Cancer, parkinson disease, and a dreaded endless list...killing our loved ones and research funding goes to political juggernauts. 

Our national deficit grows, social entitlements are skyrocketing and unpaid for, and we can't seem to manage our way out of a pending breadline. 

There is something to be said for making a real decision based on morality and inner strength, going all in, and achieving the seeming impossible...decades ago, we did it when we put a man on the moon and defeated the Japanese in WWII. 

Now we seem to fight with one arm tied behind our backs (sometimes two) and our eyes covered with hands stained in the blood of social favoritism, stealth corruption, and defeatist attitudes, and at the end of the day, with very little to show for it. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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