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Monday, February 20, 2017

Prominent mental health professionals publicly raise The Question: “Is Trump nuts?”

And they say, “Yes.”

A group of 37 psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals published a letter to the editors of The New York Times warning that “Trump’s speech and actions make him incapable of serving safely as president.”

This is particularly significant, as the letter itself states, because of the 1973 Goldwater Rule.

Since 1973, the American Psychiatric Association and its members have abided by a principle commonly known as “the Goldwater Rule,” which prohibits psychiatrists from offering opinions on someone they have not personally evaluated. The rule is so named because of its association with an incident that took place during the 1964 presidential election. During that election, Fact magazine published a survey in which they queried some 12,356 psychiatrists on whether candidate Sen. Barry Goldwater, the GOP nominee, was psychologically fit to be president. A total of 2,417 of those queried responded, with 1,189 saying that Goldwater was unfit to assume the presidency.
Maria A. Oquendo, M.D., Ph.D. and current president of the American Psychiatric Association, is quoted on the website as stating: “Simply put, breaking the Goldwater Rule is irresponsible, potentially stigmatizing, and definitely unethical.”

Despite the grievous nature of violating the Goldwater Rule, these 37 mental healthcare professionals (35 of which are either M.D.s or Ph.D.s) felt the risk posed by Trump is grave enough to warrant signing this open letter.

President's Day

Moment of silence for Sweden

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Critical condition: Health experts sound the climate alarm.

Experts paint a dire portrait but leave a little room for hope.
By Peter Dykstra for The Daily Climate

Image result for climate change & healthIn a gathering impacted by presidential politics, an all-star cast of public health experts largely stuck to their own bleak script: Climate change is poised to unleash an unprecedented, global public health crisis. 

Not even former Vice President Al Gore, who served as the day's emcee, waded into the political swamp. He presented a half-hour, health-themed version of his much-lauded slide show. 

While Gore summarized the gob smacking array of climate impacts—heat stress, water supplies, food security, mental health, respiratory and infectious diseases, allergens, and weather disasters—he left room at the end for some more convenient truths: The world, he said, is more than able to shift to a clean energy economy, reduce CO2 emissions, and blunt the worst impacts of climate change. 

President's Day

Eat Pizza and die

Deutsches Zentrum fuer Diabetesforschung DZD

The global proliferation of overweight and obese people and people with type 2 diabetes is often associated with the consumption of saturated fats.

Scientists at the German Diabetes Center (Deutsches Diabetes-Zentrum, DDZ) and the Helmholtz Center in Munich (HMGU) have found that even the one-off consumption of a greater amount of palm oil reduces the body's sensitivity to insulin and causes increased fat deposits as well as changes in the energy metabolism of the liver.

The results of the study provide information on the earliest changes in the metabolism of the liver that in the long term lead to fatty liver disease in overweight persons as well as in those with type 2 diabetes.

Langevin plans to bring a guest to Trump speech to debunk Trump attacks on immigrants

“Diversity makes our nation stronger, and I believe it should be celebrated.”

Image result for Dr. Ehsun MirzaCongressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) announced he will bring Dr. Ehsun Mirza, a critical care doctor originally from Pakistan who is a leader in Rhode Island’s Muslim community, as his guest to President Donald Trump’s address to Congress on February 28.

Langevin is leading an effort among House Democrats to invite guests who have, despite discrimination, made positive impacts on their communities.

“As a candidate for President, Donald Trump mocked a reporter with a disability and made statements that were offensive to so many Americans, including women, members of the LGBTQ community, people of color, immigrants, and people of differing faiths.

“Once he assumed the highest office in the land, his first order of business was to close our borders to immigrants and refugees, particularly those from Muslim-majority countries,” said Langevin.

“Diversity makes our nation stronger, and I believe it should be celebrated. I am proud to call Dr. Mirza a friend, and I hope that his presence on February 28th will serve as a reminder to the President that true Americans come in every color and creed – and not all are born here.”

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway charges that media coverage of Donald Trump lacks “respect for and recognition of the dignity for the office of the president.

No, Kellyanne, it’s Donald Trump who lacks respect for and recognition of the dignity of the office of the president.

A small sampling of Trump’s words and actions from recent days:

1. After being told of a Texas state senator who wants to require convictions before the state can forfeit property, Trump asks for the senator’s name and says “we’ll destroy his career.”

2. In response to criticism by Senator John McCain that his Yemen operation wasn’t successful, Trump says McCain “only emboldens the enemy! He’s been losing so long he doesn’t know how to win anymore.”

3. After Senator Richard Blumenthal relates that his Supreme Court nominee finds Trump’s criticisms of the courts “demoralizing,” Trump blasts Blumenthal “who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him.”

And lots more....

Beware of squirrels!

Why is this?

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It’s 1984 in Trumplandia

Thanks to Trump, Orwell's 70-year-old classic is a bestseller again.

Image result for Trump & 1984Tromp-tromp-tromp — troops are marching to battles. Boom-boom-boom — bombs are blowing up communities. Whoooosh — poisonous gas is being released.

Forget Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan — this is Trump’s War.

Our bellicose commander in chief is at war in the homeland, deploying his troops to attack everything from our public schools to the EPA, dropping executive order bombs on Muslim communities and the Mexican border.

He’s spewing poisonous tweets of bigotry and right-wing bile at the media, scientists, inner cities, “illegal voters,” Meryl Streep, diplomats, Democrats, and people who use real facts.

Basically, Trump is at war with everyone who doesn’t agree with him — in short, with the majority of Americans. And you thought Nixon had a long enemies list!

Yet Trump’s most destructive assault so far hasn’t targeted any one group, but instead an essential and existential concept: truth. Bluntly put, he believes that truth is whatever he says it is, and that he can change it tomorrow.

Years ago, in a futuristic novel, the author wrote about the rise of a tyrannical regime that ruled by indoctrinating the masses to accept the perverse notion of capricious truth. It was George Orwell’s 1984, which depicted a dystopia he named Oceania.

Thirty-Day Review

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“Everything our parents said was good is bad”

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Image result for Everything our parents said was good is bad"Everything our parents said was good is bad," complains Alvy Singer, the character played by Woody Allen in "Annie Hall," his 1977 Oscar-winning romantic comedy.

That's a bit of an exaggeration, but when it comes to what certain foods can do to or for you, it's probably best to take motherly advice, familiar sayings and other bits of conventional wisdom with a grain of salt.

"There's some validity to some of them, but many of them are just old wives' tales or myths that have trickled down over the years," said Annette Frain, a registered dietitian at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

To help draw the line between what is and isn't baloney, so to speak, here's the medical lowdown on a couple of widely held notions about food and health.

Don’t get distracted

The editors of the Catholic magazine Commonweal remind us that this new era is not normal.
We must not forget that.

Every day brings new outrages or misdeeds. 

Any of the stories flitting across our screens might have been enough to dominate the news for days or weeks during previous presidencies: continuing investigations into Russian interference in the election, shameless lies by the White House staff, unhinged statements to the press, saber-rattling tweets, unvetted cabinet nominees, Trump’s continued refusal to release his tax returns, and surreal exchanges with foreign heads of state.

Surely one element of Trump’s strategy is to exhaust his critics and divert their attention, making it difficult for ordinary citizens to focus on what really matters or even keep track of what is actually happening.

Terms like “autocrat” and “authoritarian” are being used by thoughtful observers to describe Trump, and not without reason.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pope Francis calls for organizing to stop “walls of exclusion, indifference, racism, and intolerance”

Pope supports organizing to support economic and political justice, the environment and democratic values
By Pope Francis

Image may contain: one or more people and textThe following is the message sent by Pope Francis to the participants in the Meeting of Popular Movements taking place in Modesto, California, United States of America, from 16 to 19 February.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your effort in replicating on a national level the work being developed in the World Meetings of Popular Movements. By way of this letter, I want to encourage and strengthen each one of you, your organisations, and all who strive with you for “Land, Work and Housing,” the three T’s in Spanish: Tierra, Trabajo y Techo. I congratulate you for all that you are doing.

I would like to thank the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, its chairman Bishop David Talley, and the host Bishops Stephen Blaire, Armando Ochoa and Jaime Soto, for the wholehearted support they have offered to this meeting. Thank you, Cardinal Peter Turkson, for your continued support of popular movements from the new Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development. It makes me very happy to see you working together towards social justice! How I wish that such constructive energy would spread to all dioceses, because it builds bridges between peoples and individuals. These are bridges that can overcome the walls of exclusion, indifference, racism, and intolerance.

I would also like to highlight the work done by the PICO National Network and the organizations promoting this meeting. I learned that PICO stands for “People Improving Communities through Organising”. What a great synthesis of the mission of popular movements: to work locally, side by side with your neighbours, organising among yourselves, to make your communities thrive.
A few months ago in Rome, we talked at the third World Meeting of Popular Movements about walls and fear, about bridges and love.[1] Without wanting to repeat myself, these issues do challenge our deepest values.

We know that none of these ills began yesterday. For some time, the crisis of the prevailing paradigm has confronted us. I am speaking of a system that causes enormous suffering to the human family, simultaneously assaulting people’s dignity and our Common Home in order to sustain the invisible tyranny of money that only guarantees the privileges of a few. “In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history.”[2]