Wednesday, March 3, 2021

A Message to Texas Governor Greg Abbott

I was very concerned with the announcement by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on March 2, 2021, lifting all COVID-19 mandates. I wrote to him through his website today, March 3, 2021, and the text of my message is below. The picture is courtesy of The Hill publication.

Governor Abbott,

I was very dismayed with your decision to take away the mask mandate and allow all businesses to fully open up in the state of Texas. My youngest son is finishing up college in Texas and I have other friends that are just getting over the power and water issues caused by the very cold weather you recently had.

We are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and are just now finally ramping up vaccine production. There are also variants of the COVID-19 virus that are active across the country and in Texas that are even more virulent. By opening up this will only lead to a further spread of the virus across Texas and through people traveling into and out of the state it will also spread to other states. Spring break will become a super spreader event.

Being a public health graduate, I do hope that you are closely listening to the public health and medical professionals in your state that I am sure are expressing the same concerns. Please reverse this decision and help save the lives of Texans and all Americans. We will beat this virus, but we all need to be working together. Right now, that means continuing the mask mandates and limiting the opening of businesses. We all want to open things up but doing it prematurely will only prolong the pandemic and allow even more mutant strains.

I apologize but did not know much about you until I heard your announcement yesterday. I saw that you were in a wheelchair and looked it up thinking that it was something temporary. Furthermore, I read about what happened which is a very inspirational story of real perseverance. We need that same perseverance with the COVID-19 virus. Please don’t give up the fight when we are so close.

Thank you for listening and you’re understanding.

Take care and be safe.

Edward R. Eroe

Saturday, December 19, 2020

It's A Wonderful Life!

 

It's A Wonderful Life, the 1946 classic movie with James Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore directed by Frank Capra, is one of my favorite, if not my favorite!

The film is considered one of the greatest films of all time. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The American Film Institute ranks It's A Wonderful Life as its Number 1 inspirational film of all time. It was met initially with mixed reviews and was financially unsuccessful but did become a classic Christmas film after it was put in the public domain in the 1970's. For more information go to the It's A Wonderful Life Wikipedia page.

In an article by Rachael Scott on December 19, 2020 titled How World War II shaped It's A Wonderful Life on CNN Entertainment, I learned something I never knew about the movie. Rachel says in the article:

"The movie captures a period of American life packed with some of the most landmark historical events in the 20th century, including the Great Depression and World War II.

After serving in the Army Air Corps, Stewart had been absent from Hollywood for five years when he was offered the role in It's a Wonderful Life. He was initially hesitant to do the film, according to biographer Robert Matzen, but it was his only offer except for a film featuring his war service.

'It's a Wonderful Life was a result of Jim's war experiences because it unlocked this depth of soul in Jimmy ... He had to learn to act again and that's what you're seeing on screen. It's like lightning that just got captured in a bottle,' biographer Robert Matzen told CNN.

This is seen in one of the film's most iconic, unscripted scenes, when George Bailey finds himself at the end of his rope: 'I'm not a praying man but if you're up there and you can hear me, show me the way.'

George Bailey wasn't scripted to cry, but Jimmy Stewart did.

'As I said those words, I felt the loneliness, the hopelessness of people who had nowhere to turn, and my eyes filled with tears. I broke down sobbing,' Stewart said in an interview in 1987."

I did not know this about the scene until reading Scott's article. It shows the empathy that Stewart had and was able to convey. The film speaks to us today during this terrible pandemic. So many are out of work, have lost loved ones to COVID-19, are suffering themselves from the virus, and are experiencing mental health issues including even thinking about committing suicide. Much like Jimmy did in the movie.

The Guardian Angel Clarence showed George Bailey how different the world would be if he no longer existed and what an impact we all make in the world. Clarence was the symbol of hope and while we may not have a guardian angel the movie shows that success is not about materialism but how much each of us give back. Today that includes everyone on the front line during the pandemic, most importantly healthcare workers but all others that allow us to obtain food and stay warm. Let's hope congress can do it's part by assisting those out of work and not playing politics with people's lives.

With vaccine now becoming available and a new administration about to be inaugurated there is hope again. Mr. Potter did not succeed and neither will Trumpism. Empathy and caring for everyone is back with a Biden Administration.



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Former President Barack Obama Talks about His New Book, George Floyd, President Trump, and the Divisions in Our Country

 

This is an excellent interview of Former President Barack Obama by CBS Correspondent, Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes this past Sunday, November 15, 2020.

In the interview Obama talks about his new book, George Floyd, President Trump, and the divisions in our country. I highly encourage all my friends to see this interview. You can view it on the CBS 60 Minutes website.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Inspiring Words from President-Elect Joe Biden

President-Elect Joe Biden
These are some very inspiring words from President-Elect Joe Biden's Victory Speech on Saturday evening, November 7, 2020.

It was so refreshing to hear a president that wants to pull our country together to face the many issues we have, including this terrible COVID-19 Pandemic!

For all my friends, no matter how they voted it is time to stop the divisiveness and work together. Joe Biden has the experience, skills, and empathy to bridge the divide and lead us down this path. Here are Joe's words:

My fellow Americans, the people of this nation have spoken. 

They have delivered us a clear victory. A convincing victory. A victory for “We the People.” 

We have won with the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of this nation -- 74 million. 

I am humbled by the trust and confidence you have placed in me. 

I pledge to be a President who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see Red and Blue states, but a United States. And who will work with all my heart to win the confidence of the whole people. 

For that is what America is about: The people. And that is what our Administration will be about. 

I sought this office to restore the soul of America. To rebuild the backbone of the nation -- the middle class. To make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home. 

It is the honor of my lifetime that so many millions of Americans have voted for this vision. And now the work of making this vision real is the task of our time. 

As I said many times before, I’m Jill’s husband. I would not be here without the love and tireless support of my wife, Jill, Hunter, Ashley, all of our grandchildren and their spouses, and all our family. They are my heart. 

Jill’s a mom -- a military mom -- and an educator. She has dedicated her life to education, but teaching isn’t just what she does -- it’s who she is. For America’s educators, this is a great day: You’re going to have one of your own in the White House, and Jill is going to make a great First Lady. 

And I will be honored to be serving with a fantastic vice president -- Kamala Harris -- who will make history as the first woman, first Black woman, first woman of South Asian descent, and first daughter of immigrants ever elected to national office in this country. 

It’s long overdue, and we’re reminded tonight of all those who fought so hard for so many years to make this happen. But once again, America has bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice. 

Kamala, Doug -- like it or not -- you’re family. You’ve become honorary Bidens. 

To all those who volunteered, worked the polls, local election officials -- you deserve a special thanks from this nation. To my campaign team, to all the volunteers, to all those who gave so much of themselves to make this moment possible, I thank you for everything. And to all those who supported us: I am proud of the campaign we built and ran. I am proud of the coalition we built, the broadest and most diverse in history. 

Democrats and Republicans and Independents. Progressives, moderates and conservatives. Young and old. Urban, suburban and rural. Gay, straight, transgender. White. Latino. Asian. Native American. 

And especially for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest -- the African American community. 

I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America, and I think we did that. 

And to those who voted for President Trump, I understand your disappointment tonight. I’ve lost a couple of elections myself. 

But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans. 

The Bible tells us that to everything there is a season -- a time to build, a time to reap, a time to sow. And a time to heal. 

This is that time for America. A time to heal. 

Now that the campaign is over -- what is the people’s will? What is our mandate? 

I believe it is this: Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness. To marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time. 

The battle to control the virus. The battle to build prosperity. The battle to secure your family’s health care. The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country. The battle to save the climate. The battle to restore decency, defend democracy, and give everybody in this country a fair shot. 

Our work begins with getting COVID under control. 

We cannot repair our economy, restore our vitality, or relish life’s most precious moments -- hugging a grandchild, birthdays, weddings, graduations, all the moments that matter most to us -- until we get this virus under control. 

On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as Transition Advisors to help take the Biden-Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action blueprint that starts on January 20th, 2021. 

That plan will be built on a bedrock of science. It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern. I will spare no effort -- or commitment -- to turn this pandemic around. 

I ran as a proud Democrat. I will now be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me -- as I will for those who did. 

Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end -- here and now. 

The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. It’s a choice we make. 

And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate. And I believe that is part of the mandate from the American people. They want us to cooperate. 

That’s the choice I’ll make. And I call on the Congress -- Democrats and Republicans alike -- to make that choice with me. 

America’s story is about the slow, yet steady widening of opportunity. Make no mistake: Too many dreams have been deferred for too long. We must make the promise of the country real for everybody -- no matter their race, their identity, their ethnicity, their faith. 

America has always been shaped by inflection points -- by moments in time where we’ve made hard decisions about who we are and what we want to be. 

Lincoln in 1860 -- coming to save the Union. FDR in 1932 -- promising a beleaguered country a New Deal. JFK in 1960 -- pledging a New Frontier. 

And twelve years ago -- when Barack Obama made history -- and told us, “Yes, we can.” 

We stand again at an inflection point. We have the opportunity to defeat despair and to build a nation of prosperity and purpose. We can do it. I know we can. 

I’ve long talked about the battle for the soul of America. Now we must restore the soul of America. 

Our nation is shaped by the constant battle between our better angels and our darkest impulses. It is time for our better angels to prevail. 

Tonight, the whole world is watching. I believe at our best America is a beacon for the globe. And we lead not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. 

I’ve always believed we can define America in one word: Possibilities. 

That in America everyone should be given the opportunity to go as far as their dreams and God-given ability will take them. 

You see, I believe in the possibility of this country. We’re always looking ahead. Ahead to an America that’s freer and more just. Ahead to an America that creates jobs with dignity and respect. Ahead to an America that cures disease -- like cancer and Alzheimers. Ahead to an America that never leaves anyone behind. Ahead to an America that never gives up. 

This is a great nation. And we are a good people. This is the United States of America. And there has never been anything we haven’t been able to do when we’ve done it together. 

In the last days of the campaign, I’ve been thinking about a hymn that means a lot to me and to my family. It captures the faith that sustains me and which I believe sustains America. 

And I hope it can provide some comfort and solace to the more than 230,000 families who have lost a loved one to this terrible virus this year. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. 

“And He will raise you up on eagle's wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.”
 

And now, together -- on eagle’s wings -- we embark on the work that God and history have called upon us to do. 

With full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and in each other, with a love of country -- and a thirst for justice -- let us be the nation that we know we can be. 

A nation united. A nation strengthened. A nation healed. 

God bless you. And may God protect our troops. 

Joe Biden

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Covid-19 has unmasked the true nature of Donald Trump and Trumpism - Jonathan Freedland

 

This is an excellent opinion piece by Jonathan Freedland that was published in The Guardian on October 9, 2020.

Donald Trump is not only a useful idiot to Vladimir Putin but is dangerous to the health of Americans and our democracy. He has so mismanaged the COVID-19 Pandemic and it did not have to be this way. Other countries were able to contain the virus and open their economies and due to his misinformation we have had the most deaths per capita than any other major developed country. Donald Trump also received the best care for COVID-19 in the totally government run Walter Reed hospital at no cost but still wants to take healthcare away from millions of Americans they get through the Affordable Care Act. And, he only paid $750 in taxes!

I know some of my friends will agree whole heartily with this article and others will dismiss it. To those that dismiss it I hope you have read it and that you understand how dangerous this man is to our American values. Donald Trump cares only about himself and nobody else. He is destroying the Republican Party and our country. I hope my Republican friends will wake up to this fact. It is time to put an end to Trump and Trumpism. The real "Fake News" is just about everything Donald Trump says and has ever said. Don't be conned again in this election.

The link to this piece Covid-19 has unmasked the true nature of Donald Trump and Trumpism - Jonathan Freedland is here.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci Cold Open - SNL

This is one of the best Saturday Night Live opening segments titled, Dr. Anthony Fauci Cold Open, for many reasons!

Brad Pitt plays Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID and who has been providing factual information during the White House COVID-19 Briefings. When interviewed by CNN on April 10, 2020, Dr. Fauci was asked by Alisyn Camerota who he would like to have play him in a possible upcoming SNL episode on the White House briefings, and he said Brad Pitt in a joking way.

Well, Brad Pitt not only did a great job of playing Anthony Fauci on April 25, 2020, it was what he said at the end of the segment that really was heartfelt and touching. Way to go Brad!

Thank you Dr. Fauci, along with Dr. Deborah Birx the United States AIDS Coordinator, for your thoughtful and factual leadership through this horrible COVID-19 Pandemic.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Conservative activist family behind 'grassroots' anti-quarantine Facebook events


This story, titled Conservative activist family behind 'grassroots' anti-quarantine Facebook events by NBC News reporters, Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Collins is very concerning for our country since we are in the middle of fighting this terrible COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of protests against "Shelter at Home" initiatives that have been put in place in most of our states is now being challenged for unfounded political reasons by right-wing groups. These protests also do make any sense because we all want things to get back to normal, if there is ever to be a normal again. Opening things up too early will only exacerbate the number of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and thus deaths. All of which will keep us from getting to at least a new normal in hopefully the near future.

I realize that there are many people hurting and out of work as well as the incredible pressure on our health system in fighting this pandemic. It brings to light that with so many unemployed now how flawed our system is in basing health insurance coverage on employment. Perhaps we do need a national health system or at least a public option that all citizens can obtain. People need not worry about getting the care that they may desperately need.

It is my hope that people will not follow these faux groups and obtain the real facts rather than these made up issues that, I am sure the ones propagating, would not follow themselves. We must work together. This is going to take time, so we all need to be patient in protecting ourselves, our families, our friends, and the citizens of this country.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

America Doesn’t Have a Public Health System

Once again Robert Reich hits the nail on the head with this post from his blog, titled America Doesn't Have a Public Health System.

As a graduate of a public health school in healthcare administration, I have been saying this for years. Yes, the United States has a great healthcare system but we don’t have a public health system. The COVID-19 virus is exposing our weaknesses in a glaring way.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Alarming Scope of the President’s Emergency Powers

This article, titled The Alarming Scope of the President's Power by Elizabeth Goitein in the January/February 2019 Atlantic Magazine is very concerning. I recommend you read it no matter what your political persuasion may be.

I did not realize the scope and past use of presidential emergency powers over the years and this article details how and why we are where we are with their use. You will be quite surprised. We must do something now to curtail and put checks in place so that the president in the present and those in the future cannot abuse this power like some in the past have done.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

'You can't hack paper': How Oregon fights election meddling

This seems like the most logical, convenient, cost-effective, and hack-proof way that all states could be running their elections. Why invest in all the equipment, staff, time, and polling place locations when everyone could just mail in their paper ballots?

Thanks to Cynthia McFadden and Kevin Monahan of NBC News who wrote this article, titled 'You can't hack paper': How Oregon fights election meddling, on how Oregon Votes.

Oregon instituted vote by mail in 1998. Colorado and Washington also vote by mail and some states have a vote by mail option. I took advantage of this method in Minnesota.

However you vote in your state be sure to vote! It is your right and duty as a citizen. No complaints on policy and the direction of our country if you don’t participate!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Opinion: Why 'Fact Checking' and 'Reality Check' Do Not Apply to Trump

As I said in my post on April 17, 2017, I tried to come to grips with the fact that Donald Trump was our president. I have now given up any hope as every day there is something new that he says that is not true or just a bold-faced lie.

Ever since his horrifying inaugural address on January 20, 2017 he has only gone more downhill and does not deserve to be our president. In fact, I have called him the Liar In Chief (LIC) for many months now.

Given all this, why are not more Republicans and Democrats speaking out against him? Why are we letting him ruin our country and our standing with our allies? This is not about party this is about our values and what we have stood for since 1776. Republicans who want to obtain their tax cuts, supreme court justices, the destruction of the Affordable Health Act will still have Pence if they impeach him in the House of Representatives and convict him in the Senate.

Democrats that think it is better to wait until the election in 2020 because they feel that Trump will be easier to run against need to beware. There are too many people that don’t want the truth as evidenced by his campaign style rallies that the LIC continues to do. We need to put country first. Never before in our history have we had a wrecking ball like the LIC.

I agree with Tom Steyer who has been calling for the LIC’s impeachment for months now. He lists 8 impeachable offenses at this website https://www.needtoimpeach.com/impeachable-offenses/. I encourage you to sign on. Trump is a clear and present danger to our country and it is time for all of us to speak out.

This NPR Opinion piece, titled Why 'Fact Checking' and 'Reality Check' Do Not Apply to Trump, by Ron Elving is an excellent article on why fact checking, and reality checking does not apply to Trump. He does this by explaining Trump’s past influences and how he has been running his business for years. Click on the link above.

Mr. Elving is a Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR News, where he is frequently heard as a news analyst and writes regularly for NPR.org. He was previously the political editor for USA Today and for Congressional Quarterly. He has been a Distinguished Visiting Professional in Residence at American University, where he is now an adjunct professor. In this role, Elving received American University’s 2016 University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment. He has also taught at George Mason and Georgetown University.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Robert Reich Nails it Again! Excellent Post on 2017 and Some History on Why We Have the Income Inequality We Have Today! Unfortunately, it is Only Going to Get Worse with the Latest Tax Bill.

I follow Robert Reich and he has posted some of the best commentary and facts on a variety of subjects. This post, titled A Year with Trump, includes a great video on how we got to where we are with income inequality.

Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Support Al Franken to stay in the Senate

Please sign this petition! Minnesota Senator Al Franken should not resign and there needs to be a full Senate Ethics Investigation completed.

I believe that some of these accusations will be shown to be politically motivated and not true. Democrats are trying to be self righteous in pushing Senator Franken out, which is very misguided. Innocent until proven guilty and not guilty by accusation! Go to this link at Change.org to sign the petition.

Former Republican Minnesota Governor, Arne Carlson, is also urging Senator Franken not to resign. A December 10, 2017 article and interview from Minnesota Public Radio is here: https://blogs.mprnews.org/capitol-view/2017/12/former-gop-minn-governor-urges-franken-to-stay/

This article titled "Facts, nuance should matter more in Al Franken rush to judgement" by John Ziegler in USA Today on November 30, 2017 also raises questions about Leeann Tweeden's claim of sexual abuse. Article here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/11/30/al-franken-scandal-slow-down-sexual-assault-accusations-john-ziegler-column/886722001/

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump’s Lies vs. Your Brain

I have tried to come to grips with the fact that Donald Trump is our president. I knew very early on that he was nothing but a con artist from watching an excellent movie, call “Trump: What’s The Deal” which exposes his business practices. The documentary film, which was commissioned in 1988 by Leonard Stern was finished in 1991. It was the first in a series on celebrity businessmen. Link here: http://trumpthemovie.com/
 
It was horrifying to listen to Trump’s inaugural speech on January 20, 2017 and his talk to the CIA as well as his Press Secretary’s press conference on February 21, 2017 after the Woman’s March. Trump painted a dystopian view of the United States and lied to CIA personnel that his issues with the agency were all fabricated by the media when his tweets say something completely different. Sean Spicer spent most the administration’s first press conference saying that the media distorted the number of people attending the inauguration when pictures clearly show it was smaller in comparison to Obama’s first one in 2009. Furthermore, what is the difference?

The Woman’s March with millions of people marching across the country and world against Trump and what he stands for is what we all should be paying attention to. Trump has no mandate but he acts like he does by ignoring that he clearly lost the popular vote and that the Russians influenced the election. By not releasing his taxes we may never know what entanglements he has with foreign governments and how that may compromise decision making. That should be a law before anyone can even run for president. His so-called “trust” for his many businesses is a joke.

I found this article by Maria Konnikova from the January / February issue of Politico click this link for the story from Politico http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/01/donald-trump-lies-liar-effect-brain-214658) that is compelling and why we need to do everything we can to counter this very narcissistic man.

I do not believe he will ever step in or up to the role of president. This is all about him and he can’t stand anyone critical of his separate reality or what his Counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, calls “alternative facts”. Oh, really, so now when you don’t like the facts you make up alternate ones? I don’t believe anything Trump says. Nothing! His lies are so pathological and very easy for any person to clearly see.

Maria Konnikova is the author of several books with one that supports this article. The book is called “Mastermind” and it is an investigation into the minds, motives and methods of con artists as well as the people who fall for their cons. Whether you voted for Trump or not she points out some very real dangers of his personality that we all need to take heed of.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Problem With Hillary Clinton Isn’t Just Her Corporate Cash. It’s Her Corporate Worldview

For all my friends in New York and other states that have not held a primary or caucus as yet. Please read this article titled, The Problem With Hillary Clinton Isn't Her Corporate Cash. It's Her Corporate Worldview by Naomi Klein in The Nation on April 6, 2016. Photograph by Shannon Stapleton of Reuters

What you will see is a sharp contrast between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on climate change and how accepting money from energy companies to fund her election is compromising her decision making and our future if we don't rapidly move away from fossil fuels.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Post's Wrong-headed Attack on Bernie Sanders's Health Plan

If you do not already do so, please take the time and follow former Labor Secretary Robert Reich's Blog. He has the most level-headed thoughts on so many subjects of importance.
In this post, titled The Post's Wrong-headed Attack on Bernie Sanders's Health Plan, he called out a recent Washington Post Editorial that was slamming the Bernie Sanders single payor health care plan. Reich correctly points out that the Post is assuming that the United States has the best healthcare, which in case you have totally been immune to how our system operates, it does not. For so many reasons!

Lets name a few. Very high rate of infant mortality, not all Americans have access to healthcare with 29 million still not covered by insurance, high deductibles that are pretty much unaffordable by even those earning good incomes, very high administrative costs with insurance companies, and all this while spending more per GNP than most all other western nations. Canada, which has a provincial single payor system, is showing longer life expectancy, even though, okay yes you may have to wait a bit longer for some specialized services. All Canadian citizens have access, however! It is a right and it is not a right in the United States. It needs to be!

It is very refreshing to have a voice of reason today.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

America - Bernie Sanders

This is the best political ad that I have seen in years. It defines Bernie Sanders and the political revolution that he stands for and has stood for his whole career. No matter your political persuasion it is hard not to see the brilliance in this 1 minute ad, titled America.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Donald Trump: What's the Deal?

This documentary film called Donald Trump - What's The Deal? was commissioned in 1988 by Leonard Stern as the first of a series on celebrity businessmen. It was finished in 1991 and except for a couple of showings was never released until August 3, 2015.

Those of every political persuasion should watch this film, especially if you are contemplating on voting for Trump for President of the United States.