Tag Archive: CDC


“This is someone (President of the United States) whose grasp of science is at the third-grade level.” – New York Times science and health “beat” reporter Donald McNeil, Jr. during his May 12 CNN interview. He also called on the CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield to resign.

“Donald McNeil went too far in expressing his personal views . His editors have discussed the issue with him to reiterate that his job is to report the facts and to not offer his own opinions.” — New York Times management rebuking McNeil

Reporters should not be part of the story, let alone be the story.

The acceleration of the decline in public esteem in elite media is not solely attributable to the Fourth Estate’s collective hatred of the president, and ensuing pack mentality that ensures that any reporter, correspondent, anchor can never be seen as being even a tiny bit sympathetic to Donald Trump.

It was the same pack mentality that unofficially declared any positive discussion of Trump’s 2016 electoral chances (exception: FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten) was strictly verboten in print, digital format and broadcast. In effect, the media became a major part of the story and may have unintentionally suppressed Hillary Clinton’s GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts, thus aiding and abetting Donald Trump’s narrow upset victory.

Almost DailyBrett noticed a disturbing trend years ago, even before Trump’s Apprentice days: Reporters interviewing reporters.

Wait. Aren’t reporters supposed to be covering news makers, the important achievers in our society? As a member of the great unwashed, your author wants to hear from Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx when it comes to virology, not Donald McNeil, Jr., who graduated summa cum laude from Cal Berkeley with an undergraduate degree in …  rhetoric.

And yet instead of a credentialed medical expert, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour was interviewing McNeil about the Covid-19 outbreak and America’s response.

On what basis of fact does McNeil conclude that President Trump’s grasp of science is at the “third grade level,” “sycophant” Vice President Mike Pence should not be serving as the chair of the Corona Virus Task Force, and CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield (MD, Georgetown University, 1977) should resign.

Should we all be wearing masks even outdoors, Dr. McNeil?

It’s a rare day when Almost DailyBrett totally agrees with the editors at the New York Times, but McNeil expressed his obviously biased political views and did not even attempt for even a nanosecond to report any facts. The rebuke from the New York Times was essentially a slap on the wrist.

Your author believes that if McNeil was to appear on one of the many ubiquitous reporters interviewing reporters shows, he should stick to his coverage based upon facts learned. Now that he has called for Redfield to resign from his leadership at the Centers for Disease Control, how can McNeil cover the agency fairly?

McNeil is now jaded and exposed. He needs to be taken off the beat. He is not impartial. All of his subsequent copy is now and forever suspect. The fault is McNeil’s, and McNeil’s alone.

The next time McNeil editorializing occurs (Almost DailyBrett is taking the “over”), the blame will be directed to the management of the New York Times.

Taking A Vow Of Poverty

“It seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” — CBS Anchor Walter Cronkite, Feb. 27, 1968

Your author remembers J-School back in the Stone Age (1975-1978).

We learned how to gather facts and report the news professionally, fairly and objectively with the views of both sides represented regardless of our personal expression.

As we all took a vow of poverty, our opinions were irrelevant and most of all … should not enter into our copy or scripts.

What mattered were the ex-cathedra statements and fallacies of our elected leaders. We were there to cover them … not to preach, pontificate or bloviate. Right, Jim Acosta of CNN?

And there it is, Washington Week In Review on PBS with panelists enlisted from more than 100 reporters (curiously none from cable market leader, Fox News). Each Friday night, if you didn’t have anything better to do, reporters kibbutz and provide you with their hallowed personal opinions. The “interpretation” disease is now widespread and mutating.

One commenter pointed to Almost DailyBrett’s admiration of the professionalism and demand for both sides of any story to be covered by revered former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite. It was the very same Cronkite, who based upon years of coverage including on the ground in Southeast Asia declared the Vietnam War as a “stalemate.

Wasn’t Cronkite offering his opinion?

He was making a conclusion based on the on-the-ground facts immediately following the Tet Offensive, which made it clear the Communists had grabbed the upper hand in Vietnam. Declaring the Vietnam War as a “stalemate” was actually a mild description. America lost the war. The end came with helicopters on the roof of the collapsing American embassy in Saigon in 1975.

Isn’t Cronkite’s Vietnam declaration the same as McNeil’s opinion making?

Incorporating Cronkite and McNeil in the same sentence, besmirches the good name of 1972’s “Most Trusted Man In America.”

https://www.cnn.com/videos/health/2020/05/12/donald-g-mcneil-jr-senate-hearing-coronavirus-sot-amanpour-vpx.cnn

https://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/panelists

https://www.usnews.com/news/ken-walshs-washington/articles/2018-02-27/50-years-ago-walter-cronkite-changed-a-nation

“ … There is the theme of the amazing passion, vision, perseverance, and guts of various individuals who were determined to make wine as good as Europe and to turn Washington’s desolate sagebrush into world-class vineyards: Pretty brave and visionary.” – Historian, Department Chair and Wine Enthusiast Marji Morgan

My boss Marji made a mistake in her Sagebrush to Vineyards: Washington’s Route to the World Wine Map Central Washington University College of Arts and Humanities lecture that a few biology students noted.

She marveled out loud how Washington’s early winemakers had the vision thing to see past the desolate sagebrush landscape, infested with rattlesnakes. They cleared out the brush, exiled the rattlers and planted vitis vinifera grapes for a wide variety of varietals, all in the name of progress and good wine.

The biology students accused Marji of not respecting rattlesnakes.sweetwater1

These budding scientists may be environmentally correct in standing up for desert ecosystems and slithery reptiles, but very few are going to join them in jumping to the defense of rattlesnakes. Most would jump away from these lethal vipers.

Almost DailyBrett identifies a core presentation problem that comes with fangs, scales, pissed-off personalities and poison. All of these characteristics may work for American politics, but rattlesnakes will never be considered warm and fuzzy.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has even suggested on its website that donors “symbolically adopt” rattlers. They’re serious.

Scientists have identified 36 separate species of these vipers, ranging from Alberta to Argentina, 13 of which reside in Arizona. Doesn’t sound like rattlesnakes are going extinct anytime soon. Reportedly they take out their aggressions on rats (another species with bad PR), birds and other small critters, which provides rattlers with their raison d’être.

Sea otters, deer, horses, seals, dolphins, puppies and kittens – mostly furry and/or cute — have much better public relations. Schlanges have issues that go back to the Book of Genesis. Back then, the serpent served as the first consultant in the Garden of Eden, and it has been downhill for business consultants ever since.

Swallows in Capistrano; Rattlers in Sweetwater

“The sound of rattling at these roundups is in fact a thousand snakes screaming.” — Melissa Amarello, cofounder of the Tucson-based Advocates for Snake Preservation.

Looking for something to do right around St. Patrick’s Day?

Well, you could check out the annual return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano along the Southern California coast or you could head to West Texas for the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup.sweetwater

Every second weekend in March, the Sweetwater Jaycees hold the world’s largest rattlesnake roundup (not sure many towns want to beat them for this distinction) including a carnival, guided tours, a dance (tango with a rattler?) and the Miss Snake Charmer contest.

About 25,000 folks descend of Sweetwater to observe the netting of 3,780 pounds of snakes. Miss Texas even took her turn standing in the middle of what appears to be an above-ground swimming pool filled with rattlers, instead of water. Want to dive right in?

Almost DailyBrett usually comes down on the side of critters, not engaging in hunting (let’s give the Elk guns too, just to make it fair). Heading to Spain this summer with its bull fighting culture, which to this author seems like a waste of bovine testosterone. Sea World has its issues with killer whales. And Almost DailyBrett vividly remembers the “Coyote People” descending en masse on the Glendale, California City Council after an offending coyote killed a little girl.

Guess which side the “Coyote People” took?

If one was searching for an international public relations firm to take on rattlesnakes as a client, Burson-Marsteller may be a solid choice. Burson has represented Philip Morris (now Altria) for decades and made no apologies. According to the CDC, cigarettes kill 400,000 Americans each year. Only six Americans succumb to rattler bites each year.

Sounds like an easy client for Burson-Marsteller with favorable third-parties (e.g., The National Wildlife Federation) to call upon. You can just imagine the PowerPoint presentation. Maybe, Burson-Marsteller can convince WME/IMG to hold the Miss Universe contest next year in Sweetwater, Texas to coincide with the rattlesnake roundup … or maybe not?marji

Back to Marji Morgan, all she was doing was delivering an overall well-received address about the history and future of wonderful Washington wines. Simple until the ecologically correct spoke up.

Instead of sipping varietals, she figuratively stepped on a rattlesnake hiding in desolate sagebrush.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattlesnake

http://www.desertusa.com/reptiles/rattlesnakes.html

https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Amphibians-Reptiles-and-Fish/Rattlesnakes.aspx

https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/livingwith/rattlesnakes

http://www.rattlesnakeroundup.net/

http://www.rattlesnakeroundup.net/roundup.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/03/12/how-to-kill-thousands-of-rattlesnakes-in-just-four-days/

 

 

 

 

“Believe in the Power of the Run.” – Legendary University of Oregon and U.S. Olympic Team track coach Bill Bowerman

“Food is the enemy.” – Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

“Drive-throughs are killing more people than the drive-bys.” — LA Gangsta Community Gardener Ron Finley

Went to the big-box store looking for a men’s reversible belt. Supposedly, you are supposed to buy one size larger than your actual waistline.DSC02471

Let’s see: There is size 38, size 42, size 46, size 50 …

Where the heck is size 34? Do they still make size 34 belts, let alone anything smaller?

Your Almost DailyBrett author may be vertically challenged. There is no doubt he is follicly challenged. Damn it, he will not be horizontally challenged.

No convulations over my size 34 belt.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 34.9 percent of American adults or 78.6 million are obese. The added medical costs nationwide amount to $147 billion or about $1,429 in additional doctor visits for each obese adult.

Day-in, day-out millions of Americans are literally eating, smoking and/or drinking themselves into infirmary. Wheel chairs, scooters, canes and walkers are just waiting to be purchased (an unfortunate growth industry) and the kidney dialysis centers are popping up like Starbucks.

This trend has to stop.

When you think about people in wheelchairs you feel sorry and sad particularly for what they can’t do in their lives any longer. There world is literally getting smaller and more restricted with each and every day.

For some, this state of affairs was unavoidable and unfortunate. They deserve our sympathy and support.

For others …

And then, there are the 400,000 Americans who die each other because of smoking-related diseases. Can’t they read the warning labels? Ah, yes it is the nicotine talking; it is always the nicotine talking.

Without Limits

More than a few don’t want to hear anything about running. There is a commitment to a level of pain when it comes to getting into shape.

Some correctly believe that it’s near-insanity to wake up early in order to run in 16-degrees (ski cap, gloves, thermal undies); others may see this commitment as dedication.

And some may be concerned about running in 90+ degree heat; better make sure that plenty of water is available.

Why should we even consider running? How about because we want to not only live, but live well?

Literally hundreds of thousands of people outrun little ole me on a daily basis. They have the 13.1 or even better, 26.2 decals on the backs of their cars. These stickers are tributes to themselves and to Pheidippides, who according to myth immediately died after  running 26.2 miles to deliver the good news of “Victory” after the Battle of Marathon.marathon

In My Time of Dying

“I see the smiling faces; I know I must have left some traces; And I see them in the streets; And I see them in the field; And I hear them shouting under my feet … “– Robert Plant and Jimmy Page

At 11 minutes and 6 seconds, “In My Time of Dying” is the longest Led Zeppelin song ever recorded. For some reason, it seems to be an apt title for a run of almost two miles. There are times when you actually believe: This run is really In My Time of Dying.

The question that needs to be asked, besides the obvious bout against overweight/obesity, why take the time and effort (particularly in extreme temperatures) to make a commitment to fitness and staying in shape?

The answer is multi-fold, but one of them revolves around having clothes you wore 20 years ago still fitting. Another is the little extra bounce in your step that arises from increased stamina. And how about the prospect of living longer, doing more, being sharper and enjoying life to the fullest?

If one needs further stimulation consider a mobile device with Nike+ software. The little tyrant actually awards you video game-style “medals” just to make sure that you run more than 30 miles each month.stonescuba

When the author of Almost DailyBrett contemplates the Rolling Stones are still bringing it on the road, even visiting Cuba for the first time just last month, in their collective seventh or eighth decades (i.e., Ronnie Wood, 68; Keith Richards, 72; Mick Jagger, 72 and Charlie Watts, 74), one needs to rebel against a lethal sedentary lifestyle.

Watching Jagger dance and perform in his 70s for upwards of two hours with a reported waist line around 30 inches-or -so is simply awesome.

momsledPondering how my mumsy at 97-years young has kept her slender build, just renewed her driver’s license for FIVE MORE YEARS, and still goes to Curves three days a week is motivation enough for me, and maybe it should be inspirational for others as well.

Yes, I am a tad biased on this subject.

Her father, an avid fitness kind of guy, made it to 100-years-young with all of his personal transmission running just fine.

Happy Birthday mumsy. You are still ready to hit the sled and drive the nose guard off the ball.

Something tells me, she will see the century mark and then some.

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/prevalence-maps.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DUnOup4tVY

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Bowerman

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/split-an-entree-today-enjoy-a-free-lunch-for-two-tomorrow/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/life-in-your-years/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/plant-some-shit/

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/mar/26/rolling-stones-enjoy-historic-cuba-gig-havana-obama

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_My_Time_of_Dying

http://www.lakepowell.net/marathon.html

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m someone who went to college, had the opportunity in my senior year to go and take a job full-time … and I took it, thinking someday, maybe, I’d go back,” – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walkerwalker

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing,” – Republican presidential campaign strategist Karl Rove.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans have never marched up to the podium in a graduation gown, sporting a mortar board and fluttering tassel to receive a bachelor’s degree, let alone an advanced degree.

Does this automatically mean that two-out-of-every-three Americans are automatically disqualified from serving in the Oval Office? That seems to be the implication as the Washington Post weighed the fact Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker went to college, but didn’t finish. Sounds like a familiar story for way too many people.

As the 2014 mid-term elections are growing more distant in the nation’s rear-view mirror, the assembled political proctologists (e.g., talking-head pundits) are starting to probe and analyze the contenders and pretenders for the first open seat for the White House in nearly eight years.

Some have already questioned New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s girth and temperament, reflecting on the fact that Howard Taft was the last rotund American president. Taft ran and won (1908) and then lost (1912) in a pre-digital-video era. That was then; this is now as evidenced by Time Magazine’s November 2013 “Elephant in the Room” cover focusing on Christie with a not-so-subtle reminder of his weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

Translated: The majority of Americans are not obese, albeit far too many are overweight, a distinction with a difference. Weight is clearly a problem for Governor Christie both politically and physically. A presidential debate involving Christie may not be a pretty sight.christie

Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc.

Not having a college degree may not be a big deal for the folks on Main Street, who probably don’t have the hallowed degree either, but it is a huge deal for the Harvardheads, attending the cocktail parties in Washington, D.C. and in Midtown Manhattan.

For the Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc., a bachelor’s degree or better from an Ivy League school is a minimum qualification to occupy the Oval Office. Consider the academic pedigree of the last four presidents:

  • Barack Obama received his undergraduate degree from Columbia and his J.D. from the Harvard Law School.
  • George W. Bush received his bachelor’s degree from Yale and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.
  • Bill Clinton received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown, earned a Rhodes Scholarhsip and his law degree from Yale.
  • George H.W. Walker received a bachelor’s degree from Yale.

Ronald Reagan received his bachelor’s degree from Eureka College (Illinois) in economics and sociology in 1932. Tiny Eureka College with its 785 students (Go Red Devils) will never be confused with a Big Ten School, let alone an Ivy League university. And yet, Reagan is regarded as one of our best presidents.

The same applies and more to Harry S. Truman, who never attended college. Despite this “handicap,” history called on Truman to make some of the toughest calls in the nation’s history (e.g., use of the atomic bombs, firing Douglas MacArthur) in the period beginning at the end of World War II and the early years of the Cold War and its first-ever nuclear threat.

Can a Governor Without a Degree Become a President Without a Degree?

“I’ve got a master’s degree in taking on the big-government special interests, and I think that is worth more than anything else that anybody can point to.” – Governor Scott Walker 

There are many during the past four years who wrote off Walker, particularly after he invoked the eternal wrath of Wisconsin’s public employee unions. As it turns out, he survived a recall and was twice elected governor of the Dairy State; his re-election was last November.

Is the fact that Walker not having a degree, game, set and match for any presidential aspirations, particularly for the Washington cocktail circuit? Most likely this crowd will have influence, particularly during the before-the-primaries shadow campaign when it comes to raising the estimated $88 million or so that it will take to win a party nomination.

Major contributors are not looking to make a donation, but an investment in a candidate that has a chance to win. There is no doubt that Walker is both bright and smart, but that will not stop the know-it-all Pharisees from pointing to the governor’s lack of a degree and thus question whether he has the “gravitas” to do the job.Truman1

Our constitution precludes those who were born overseas or just over the border from running for the presidency. There is not a similar stipulation in the same document when it comes to having a college degree (e.g., Truman and Grover Cleveland were degreeless), but for all intents and purposes it could be a game-ender for Governor Walker and presumably any others that aspire to the highest office without a diploma on the wall.

Almost DailyBrett hopes this indeed is not the case, believing in the romantic notion that anyone with fortitude and perseverance — and not just those with diplomas — can aspire for the highest office in the land.

Almost DailyBrett Note: Credit for the clever term, “Harvardheads” or the Ivy League types that populate Washington, D.C. and Wall Street in particular must be directed to former presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan. She references these creatures several times in her book, “What I Saw At The Revolution.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/08/scott-walker-has-no-college-degree-thats-normal-for-an-american-but-not-a-president/?wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/life-in-your-years/

http://www.rove.com/articles/564

 

 

 

“Even when you died; Oh the press still hounded you; All the papers had to say; Was that Marilyn was found in the nude.” — Elton John’s tribute to Marilyn Monroe, Candle in the Wind.

Quick: When you think of Robin Williams, what immediately comes to mind?

robinwilliams

Good Will Hunting?

Mrs. Doubtfire?

Good Morning, Vietnam?

Or his inexplicable suicide this week (after he first tried to slice his wrists … Thanks TMZ) by hanging?

Wasn’t there a suicide at the end of Dead Poets Society?

The Ultimate Negative Story to be Exploited

As singer Elton John (and lyricist Bernie Taupin) correctly surmised in his Candle in the Wind about Norma Jeane Mortenson (a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe), the digital and conventional media critics will always seize on the negative, even the ultimate negative: Death.

When one thinks of Kurt Cobain what comes first flashing? Nirvana?  Or how he blew out his brains with a shot-gun.

Brian Jones? Rolling Stones guitarist? Or drowning and/or murder?

Judy Garland? The Wizard of Oz? Or her self-administered overdose of barbiturates?

Marilyn Monroe: Happy Birthday, Mr. President? Or another case of self-administered overdose of barbiturates?

American Masters: Marilyn Monroe

And now, Robin Williams. There will be no more movies. No more humor. No more humanitarian acts. No more, no more … except for the TMZ crowd and countless others, the mental images of his hanging.

Depression and Drugs

Many will delve into the reasoning behind the decision by Robin Williams to take his own life. Cocaine and alcohol were an on-and-off presence during the course of his adult life. And there was the disease of Depression, which afflicts an estimated 16 million Americans.

What cannot be rationalized comes in the form of the media-taken aerial images of his pad in gorgeous Marin County Tiburon overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and ultimately the City by the Bay on a beautiful day. He seemingly had it all … fame, fortune, accolades … and now there will be no more.

The likes of Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and many other celebrities who took their lives and/or lived way too close to the edge with drugs/alcohol (usually part of all of these stories) will always be remembered for more than their tragic end.

For the 12.7 out of 100,000 Americans or the 39,518 who took their own lives in 2011 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most likely very few people knew them let alone appreciated the demons that were obviously part of their respective lives. Another 713,000 were taken to emergency rooms in the same year as a result of “self-inflicted injury.”

And how will most of those who take their own lives be remembered? By how they died: 19,900 by firearms (e.g., Cobain); 9,913 by suffocation (e.g., Williams) and 6,564 by poisoning (e.g., Garland and Monroe).

Covering the Consummate Self-Destructive Act?

For the famous and non-famous alike there will be a service, a eulogy, readings, a celebration of life, an internment or the scattering of ashes by those left behind. Family and friends are sorry. They are confused. They may feel guilty. They are in many cases, embarrassed. In many respects they are victims of the consummate self-destructive act.

tmz1

 

Did any of them consider their own reputation before they fired the gun, tied the noose, and took the pills? For the rich and famous did they contemplate how the most sensational of the conventional and digital media would cover their self-inflicted demise? Do they even care?

Did any of them … famous or not famous … weigh the impact of their suicides on their families and friends?

Did any of them contemplate that others may want to follow their path to the grave in the same egregious way?

The most important public relations are personal public relations, even in the last seconds of life.

And how will they be ultimately remembered, particularly those who attained celebrity? By the last act.

He shot himself.

She overdosed on drugs.

He hung himself.

Do any of us really want to be remembered this way, particularly with the prospect of glaring digital and/or conventional headlines about our self-inflicted death?

http://www.tmz.com/2014/08/12/robin-williams-death-autopsy-suicide-hanging-news-conference/?adid=hero1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/11/robin-williams-dead-dies_n_5670050.html

http://www.tmz.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candle_in_the_Wind

http://www.eltonography.com/songs/candle_in_the_wind.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Williams

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Cobain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Garland

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/celebrity/brian_jones/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm

http://www.webmd.com/depression/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-hurley/theres-nothing-selfish-about-suicide_b_5672519.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life in Your Years?

“The Elephant in the Room.”

elephant

Time Magazine editors must think they are oh-so-very clever with their double … maybe even triple … entendre silhouette cover. Some readers were offended. Some were not. Nonetheless, people are talking about it, which deep down inside you know was the ultimate goal.

Re-elected in a landslide last week in a dependable blue state, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has a bright political future…but one must ask: How much life is there in his remaining years?

His doctor cannot be happy with his weight, which drew the questionable Time cover. The question is how many other Americans are battling the bulge, and thus limiting not only their years on this planet, but the life in their years?

America’s two most recent presidents, regardless whether you agree or disagree with their politics and policies (e.g., Obamacare, Iraq War), have been models for the nation when it comes to physical fitness. Even in the face of the incredible stress that comes with the presidency, Barack Obama can be repeatedly seen shooting a basketball or playing golf. He is a classic ectomorph.

obamabasketball

His predecessor, George W. Bush, worked out every morning before heading to the Oval Office for the daily 7 am national security briefing. Bush and his Trek bicycle were a constant during his summer vacations at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

georgew

Come to think of it, our presidents have for the most part been relatively fit (okay Bill Clinton had an affinity for Big Macs). This point is particularly true with the advent of the television age and the impact of the tube on politics. The last truly Christie-like, portly president was Howard Taft in the early years of the 20th Century.

If elected, Christie would obviously break this trend. Even though he has been trying to lose weight and reportedly had undergone lap-band surgery, does having a rotund chief executive send the wrong health message to a nation in which two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese?

Former Navy doc Frederic Morgan was my primary physician, when I lived in Pleasanton, CA. He is huge believer in the Body-Mass Index (BMI) to determine the optimum weight for his patients. He repeatedly made the point to me (and presumably others) that lean humans are the ones that are most likely to live long-and-healthy lives. They are the ones who more times than not will have life in their years.

That is a contrast to the notion of years in your life. Think of it this way: What is the point of having years of your life, when you are essentially incapacitated? And yet millions are experiencing or looking at just this prospect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

taft

One of the inevitable causes of this alarming number of obese people is a sedentary lifestyle. Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Physics: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

How many people, particularly Baby Boomers, are becoming invalids before our very eyes? How many simply will not climb that flight of stairs? How many will not walk up that hill? How many cannot push themselves away from the television or worse yet, the dinner table?

How many are wasting away the remaining years of their life, drinking themselves into a comfortable stupor in some dive, as described in Almost DailyBrett’s “Running out the Clock.”

Is Almost DailyBrett arguing for or against a Chris Christie presidency? Neither.

If the heavily covered (no pun intended) governor could engage in an active, as opposed to energetic, lifestyle…one that is characterized by cross-training, sensible diet, calories-in, calories-out…and drop 100 pounds or more, he would be a model for the nation.

christie

As noted by pundits, obese people are often the subject of snide, snarky remarks made with impunity. The Time Magazine cover was predictable. More will be coming. The late-night comedians are licking their respective chops.

But what happens if a relatively svelte Chris Christie is elected to White House?

Guess they will be referring to the Republican Elephant in the Room.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/onpolitics/2013/11/07/christie-time-magazine-elephant/3465209/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57609404/chris-christie-losing-weight-steadily-medical-report-says/

http://www.state.nj.us/governor/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/running-out-the-clock/

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/new-jersey-governor-chris-christie-2016-presidential-elections-weight-issue-99561.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZys_mi-ERY

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion

Terrie

terri

“My (11-year-old) grandson has never heard my real voice. I don’t even remember what my own voice sounds like.” – Terrie Hall of North Carolina.

Terrie was a former high-school cheerleader.

She has blonde hair, and was once very pretty.

She started smoking at 13 years of age.

Today, one can hardly stand looking at her or listening to her…even for a second. Her voice is reminiscent of fingernails on a chalk board.

And yet there she is night-after-night during the intermissions of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are running a series of absolutely graphic and brutal ads to shake people up.

Will they be able to overcome the controlling addictive power of nicotine?

I doubt it.

Walking up to the University of Oregon “Smoke and Tobacco Free Campus” each day, I literally run the second-hand smoke gauntlet. The policy has cleared the air on campus, but nicotine has simply pushed the smokers to the peripheries.

Have we accomplished anything?

Don’t get me wrong, I support this policy 100 percent even though I harbor a strong libertarian bent.

Some have commented that getting off nicotine is more difficult than going cold turkey with heroin. I wouldn’t know in either case, and I am not going to find out.

Whether or not this is an empirically and peer-reviewed scientific fact, there is little doubt in my mind about the addictive power of cigarettes.

Reportedly, Terrie was smoking right before her larynx removal surgery in 2001. She now breathes through a stoma and speaks through a “hands-free” device. Charming.

Wonder if the smokers on the edge of campus think about this prospect?

As many of my readers know, I am a widower because of smoking. I am neither neutral nor dispassionate about this subject.

All forms of encouragement from me, my daughter and her friends failed to convince my late-wife Robin to quit her death pins. There was always a reason, always a rationale, always an excuse. The nicotine was talking. It was always talking.

The days leading up to her death were horrific. I will spare you the details other than to say that one bodily function after another failed.

As Robin was mercifully sleeping as the clock was running out on her life, I remember walking out of the Pleasanton, CA hospital into early spring chill. There they were. Patients bracing the wind and rain in their hospital gowns clinging to their IV-poles…smoking.

Robin passed on July 10, 2005, officially ending her addiction to cigarettes. She would say now that I am blaming the victim. I say she was the self-inflicted victim of nicotine.

Terrie does not have the luxury of death…at least not yet. You know it’s coming earlier than it should. Her ads will be sad reminder of the end of her life…but does anyone really care?

As a public relations instructor and practitioner, I comprehend the power and reach of social marketing using both conventional and digital means. The CDC ads during the Stanley Cup Playoffs certainly grabbed my attention…but fortunately for me, I am not the “target” audience.

The smoking hockey fans may simply flip the remote switch. Instead of watching “Terrie,” let’s see what is happening in the NBA playoffs…

How long will it take for our society to do the right thing?

Ads and bans are well-intentioned half-way steps in the right direction, but they will ultimately fail. The nicotine enemy is too strong.

If Philip Morris came out with a Goebbels-brand of cyanide cigarettes, Bunker 45s, the government would immediately ban them just as they would step in to stop the sale of Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid.

The reason is simple cyanide cigarettes and Jamestown Kool-Aid are fast-and-lethal poisons.

Okay, let’s state categorically and unequivocally that cigarettes are slow-and-lethal poisons. The key words are “lethal” and “poisons.” If the primary purpose of government is to protect the health and safety of its citizens, shouldn’t the government do the right thing and wipe this nicotine scourge off the planet?

How many tobacco farmers will lose their jobs? How many support workers lost their jobs when Dachau closed down?

How much public revenue will be lost if cigarettes are banned? The higher cost ($6 a pack) has not dented smoking. Addicted smokers will pay anything and even sacrifice the well-being of their loved ones for their lethal fix. Are tax revenues coming at the expense of dead-and-dying smokers, blood money?

Consider the dynamic effect on government expenditures if smoking related illnesses dropped dramatically, thus reducing public health-care costs.

My call for banning slow-poison cigarettes will be dismissed as impractical at best and radical at worst.

I have never been labeled as “radical” in my life. Heck, I voted for Mitt Romney…does that put me into the fondly remembering the excesses of Woodstock crowd?

Some will say that I am still suffering from the loss of my smoking wife, Robin. That criticism is valid, but how many people in this country and on this planet have endured the same fate…and for what purpose?

Well-conceived and intended half-way measures will ultimately fail with all due respect to the CDC’s Terrie. Even if cigarettes are banned…and I pray that someday we will have the courage to do so…there will always be a black market for smokes.

So what?

At least, we won’t have to watch the next generation’s Terrie in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/resources/videos/terrie-videos.html#terrie

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyVLKHEqTu0

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/28/cdc-anti-smoking-ads/2018121/

http://www.cdc.gov/

http://healthyoregon.uoregon.edu/Tobacco.aspx?q=TobaccoFree

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