A series of incidents in the last several weeks suggest that Cuban Maximum Leader Fidel Castro's physical and mental health may be in rapid decline. On June 23, 2001, Castro nearly fainted while delivering a speech in El Cotorro, near Havana. Cuban security agents had to assist him at the podium and kept him from falling to the ground. The incident was caught on camera and shown live in Cuba, and subsequently the taped incident was viewed in Miami. Last April, the Cuban tyrant lost his train of thought while delivering a speech commemorating the Bay of Pigs invasion. In that speech, he fumbled through papers, unable to locate some pieces of information. In another incident, he went blank in front of television cameras in the municipality of Las Palmas in Pinar del Rio.
Many informed authorities believe the death of Fidel Castro will rapidly precipitate the downfall of communist tyranny in the Caribbean Island. Fidel and his brother Raúl assert that communism will survive them.
What follows is Part I of a four-part article that first appeared in LaNuevaCuba.com between March and May 2001. The articles describe what may happen in Cuba once Castro is out of the...
Strong parental involvement is essential in education, public or private. And, true, public schools need to do better. But while public (government) schools have been deprecated by many education critics --- particularly because they have repeatedly shown that increasing per-pupil spending has not resulted in the expected academic return and because of persistent disciplinary and scholastic problems --- public schools, at least in Middle Georgia, have one big plus over many of our private or independent schools:
They do not require compulsory community service for graduation. Most independent schools in Middle Georgia do. In fact, students must complete 75 to 300 hours of "community service (CS)" before graduation from high school.
How, you ask, can anyone complain about having young people serve in their communities, allowing them to give of themselves to those who are less fortunate and assist our fellowmen in need? Certainly, in the short term it's an excellent public relations requirement that could preemptively disarm critics of private education. But is it really good in the long term for students and our communities?
Rooted in dictatorship
Almost weekly I'm receiving solicitations for "People to People" Cultural Exchanges from physician groups or sundry other organizations travelling to communist Cuba. The latest invitation has been from none other than Mary Jean Eisenhower, the CEO of People to People International. She is the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
June 14, 2001
Mary Jean Eisenhower
Chief Executive Officer
People to People International
Dear Ms. Eisenhower,
It has come to my attention that you are travelling to communist Cuba from November 4-12, 2001. In the past you have visited and conducted missions of education, culture, and humanitarianism in over twenty-three countries. Unlike the previous countries you have visited, Cuba, under the Maximum Leader Fidel Castro, remains a collectivist, totalitarian state of the old Stalinist variety. While you are there, keep your eyes open so that you will be able to see the truth.
While you are there, you and some of your fellow participants should independently rent a taxi (probably driven by an MD or professor who is forced to do so for pressing economic reasons, despite his exalted education) to...
You may have heard about the story of the psychiatrist who was prosecuted for murder because he prescribed pain medication for several patients who ultimately died. Nevertheless, you may not have thought about the implications of this news story or about how it may affect you and your loved ones.
Yes, last year, Dr. Robert Weitzel, a physician who also happened to be a psychiatrist, was prosecuted for allegedly killing five elderly patients with the effective and legal narcotic analgesic (painkiller) morphine. His intention was to treat their pain, not to kill them; nevertheless, serious complications can arise, including death, in the best of treatment rendered by the most devoted and caring of physicians. Be that as it may, his trial and prosecution are having a cumulative, chilling effect on physicians when they are called upon to treat patients suffering from chronic pain disorders.
On the one hand, Dr. Weitzel asserts that ultimately it will be patients who will suffer because their physicians will now more than ever be afraid of prescribing the proper analgesic medications to treat their patients' pain. On the other hand, state prosecutors said that Dr....
In the early spring of 1995, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan medical liability bill (tort reform) by a significant margin (247 to 171), despite a strong opposition by the trial lawyers. This legislation was a sweeping tort reform bill that would have gone a long way towards reforming medical "malpractice" and alleviating the adversarial and litigious climate in which physicians have been practicing medicine for the last three decades. It included a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages, limits on "joint and several" liability, and even a provision for "loser pays" rule that would have penalized plaintiffs for filing frivolous lawsuits.
Robert E. McAfee, M.D., then president of the American Medical Association, called it "a giant leap forward"; not surprisingly, the AMA flexed its heretofore flabby abdominal musculature claiming victory for "its decade long advocacy on behalf" of physicians.(1) But, unfortunately, it was a premature muscle flexing exercise.
Something happened on the way to the forum in the high stakes of politics. Less than two months later, the U.S. Senate, led by then-Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., and outflanked by his own Sen...
I was struck one particular morning when I heard on the radio on January 15, 1999, that the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), George D. Lundberg, M.D., had been fired by the AMA for using JAMA for his own political purposes. The chickens had come home to roost, I thought.
JAMA and Medical Journalism
In 1991 when the AMA launched a major campaign against domestic violence, I joined in this campaign as a member of organized medicine, although admittedly, with significant skepticism. What I found over the next four years, particularly after I became editor of the Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia (JMAG) was that instead of providing a balanced and honest approach to socioeconomic and political issues based on facts and scientific data, as would be required by professional, objective medical journals, JAMA and other AMA literature, echoed the emotionalism, rhetoric, and political correctness (and particularly so with fashionable and trendy issues) championed by the mass media.(1) This was particularly dishonest because physicians, policy makers, and the general public place a great deal of trust and credibility in the AMA,...
The AMA is joining the gun prohibitionist movement in full force. Led by the long-time speaker of the AMA's House of Delegates, now president-elect of the AMA, organized medicine has joined the gun control movement full steam ahead. This new leader, Richard F. Corlin, M.D., will call for the AMA to increase funding to "study data on firearms injuries" at its June 20 annual meeting.(1)
The fact is that the public health establishment, incarnated in the CDC, other government agencies and the myriad of schools of public health, has been sponsoring and conducting "gun research" for nearly two decades that has been found to be biased, result-oriented, and based on what has been characterized by a number of serious investigators as junk science.(2)
The AMA, using its publication empire, has been publishing this "research" in its journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Essentially only those researchers who embraced the politically correct, preordained conclusions that "easy gun availability results in crime" and that "guns and bullets are pathogens that must be eradicated" were published. Contrary views have been censored.
Another favorite view of the gun control, public health establishment is the myth propounded by Dr. Mark Rosenberg, former head of the NCIPC of the CDC, who has written: "Most of the perpetrators of violence are not criminals by trade or profession. Indeed, in the area of domestic violence, most of the perpetrators are never accused of any crime. The victims and perpetrators are ourselves - ordinary citizens, students, professionals, and even public health workers."(6) That statement is contradicted by available data, government data.
Gun Violence and Street Crime
The fact is that the typical murderer has had a prior criminal history of at least six years with four felony arrests in his record before he finally commits murder.(17) The FBI statistics reveal that 75 percent of all violent crimes for any locality are committed by six percent of hardened criminals and repeat offenders.(18) Less than 2 percent of crimes committed with firearms are carried out by licensed (e.g., concealed carry permit holders) law-abiding citizens.(11)
Violent crimes continue to be a problem in the inner cities with gangs involved in the drug trade. Crimes in rural areas for both...
Americans lost a bit more of their right to privacy last week -- and a little more of the freedom that goes along with it.
On April 12, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will be implementing the so-called medical privacy regulations which were written and hurriedly submitted in the closing days of the Clinton administration.
The initial date for implementation of the "regulations" had been set for Feb. 26, 2001, but it had to be postponed because of a groundswell of opposition that developed as a result of a Feb. 22 press release issued by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
The AAPS press release pointed out that even though problems existed with specific provisions in the regulations, the bottom line was that the regulations were so egregious that they should be discarded. The regulations, ballyhooed as protecting privacy and medical record confidentiality, actually would compromise the privacy of unwary citizens.
Among other things, the "regulations" create a behemoth federal bureaucracy, which has been estimated to cost anywhere from $18 billion over 10 years to a much more frightening...
I have related previously (Medical Sentinel, Spring and Summer 1997) how the 1991 American Medical Associations (AMA) campaign against domestic violence launched for public relation consumption went hand in hand with the public health establishments 1979 stated objective of eradication of handguns in America, beginning with a 25 percent reduction by the year 2000.(1-2) Toward that objective, in the 1980s, hundreds of articles describing politicized, biased, result-oriented research funded at taxpayers' expense were published in the medical journals.(3) One of the principle investigators was Dr. Arthur Kellermann, who now heads the Emory University School of Public Health.
"A Gun in the Home"
A significant portion of the gun control agenda, not only of the public health but the entire health advocacy establishment, in fact, comes from Dr. Kellermann's landmark articles, particularly "Gun Ownership As a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home," published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 1993.(4) And yet, much of the methodology, not to mention conclusions in the article, have been questioned by numerous investigators.(5-7)
Since at least the mid...