Make America Constitutional Again

Early March 2020 major news broke out across the world about a possible worldwide pandemic. Since one of my projects years ago when I worked in the pharmaceutical industry was to work with infectious disease medical thought leaders about a new drug to treat influenza called zanamivir I had been scouring through the CDC’s web site for information about this new strain of coronavirus.  I recalled what these thought leaders taught about how quickly a pandemic could spread throughout the world given our modern travel habits.  I knew it was a matter of time before it would be a local issue.

But, I also remembered that doctors, even the thought leading ones at the prestigious medical school are humans vulnerable to pride to fill their curriculum vitae’s with publications, speaking engagements, referrals, and political advancement within the medical and local communities of which they partake.  They are subject to the quality and quantity their subordinate researchers support them with.  The accuracy and speed of their testing equipment limits and sometimes fails them.  And most of all the statisticians can “cook the books” or power their studies to say just about whatever the writer of the hypothesis really wanted to prove.   A professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center taught me to be careful of the latter.  He repeated frequently, “Figures lie and lairs figure.”

So I began to tune in to dissident voices that argued against what the mainstream media was saying to see what they had to say and why. Fragmented parts of my life finally came together to form a clear picture much like lost pieces from 1000 piece puzzle.

Fast forward to January 2024, another bizarre time of events. Rumors of what happened on January 6 still haunt many. I’ve always felt that there are two sides to any story with the truth often falling somewhere in the middle.

I don’t really remember where or how I came across an article featuring one of the J6 prisoners and the treatment they have endured. I felt compelled to share it through one of my social media accounts on December 2, 2023. I forgot about it and moved on. But then early in January 2024, at an informal dinner out, I met the fiancé and mom of one of one of those men!

What has ensued since is a friendship with these two women who encouraged me to write to Barry.

First I had to re-write my first letter to him in order to comply with the standards of what the federal prison system would allow for me to send. No stickers, tape, cards, or flyers are permitted. Only a hand written note on white paper. Then I started receiving letters back from him along with updates from his fiancé and mom on how happy he was that I started to write.

It’s been a long time since I had a pen pal and wrote letters. It’s also been a while since I studied at public school and university. Most of us weren’t taught much about the Constitution of the United States. Most public school curriculum offers Civics: American Government for only one or maybe two years. However, I’ve worked to ensure that my homeschool daughter has it every year since middle school.

One organization that has helped me to do this is Constituting America. They host weekly live podcasts on Tuesdays at 2 PM EST. Each week they host a different guest who is well experienced in the Constitutional topic they plan to discuss. This guest gives a brief monologue on the subject which is followed by the most thought provoking Q & A by regular members of the show.

They have also introduced me to a few other great resources like the Ashbrook Center which is an independent organization at Ashland University that is committed to restore and strengthen the capacity of the American people for governing themselves. Below are links to these organizations and their resources.

Lastly all of these organization offer their resources freely because people who can support them financially do. So if you can, please consider donating to them, thank you and let’s make American Constitutional again.

Home

https://constitutingamerica.org/

https://online.hillsdale.edu/landing/constitution-101

Volunteerism

Perhaps the push began in the early 2000’s. At least that’s when my manager at the time informed my colleagues that we would be given a day off to do some volunteer work project as a team. We chose d.c. Central Kitchen as some of us had already volunteered there with various other church and civic groups. It has an amazing reputation for turning excess food from restaurants and catered events in delicious meals for the local shelters.

It was a fantastic change of scenery and experience for us. The cook in charge, a former hopeless unemployed homeless man, made demands in his commands that gave us an appreciation for the essence of time when working with food. He also enlightened on how to cut vegetables properly quickly without endangering the tips of one’s fingers. While this experience turned delightful for the most part, sidebar conversation broke out and discussed that pharmaceutical companies have public image problems so this must be the higher ups way to combat it, market a new “We’re Do Gooders” campaign. Meanwhile it also turned out like a holiday week that put pressure on us to get the job done in less time.

Back to volunteering, I was raised that this is what Christians are supposed to do. They are to care for the poor and needy any chance they can. I had also learned over the years that it was a great way to accrue a new skill that would prove useful in my personal life. For example, to this day, I think of that cook every time I slice carrots. So, I took advantage of this dual reality raising my daughter.

First, we worked with Tiffany, a Miami Dade County Biologist, in removing invasive plants species. Next we raised mangrove seedlings that we secured from Frost Science Museum and then mucked around in the swamps near Virginia Key with MUVE to plant them. Another time we met up an army of people that packed up meals at the Fairgrounds for Feed My Starving Children.

In Alabama my daughter learned how to care for goats with a local farmer. What a delight this turned out to be. She would have never been permitted to volunteer with animals at any 501 3-C organization because she was too young. Rather she experienced what happened in old school America, children had to help on the farm.

Another amazing experience my daughter had volunteering in Alabama was at Ft. Toulouse/Ft. Jackson State Park. We stumbled across this opportunity when we stayed there in our RV when we had evacuated from Hurricane Irma when we had lived in Miami. Deborah Jenkins noticed how interested my daughter was in the history she taught, took her under her tutelage, and supported one of the new favorite child re-enactors.

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Our last volunteer opportunity in Alabama was one I wrote an extensive blog on. It is linked below for convenient viewing. Elise wound up as one of the leads in a unique cross-cultural theater production with A-KEEP, Alabama Korean Education Economic Partnership.

All these experiences add up to more than 200 hours of volunteer experience that we found out counted for nothing in the State of Florida for High School Graduation or the Bright Futures Scholarship because they happened before she was in high school, but they certainly have exponentially accumulated to enable my daughter to be one of the most amazing people one can interact with.

Since, thankfully, my daughter has been able to volunteer helping children safely on and off horses at Delmar Farm in Loxahatchee.

She enjoyed a semester singing with Young Singers of Palm Beaches

A 3:30 AM wake up call at the Kravis Center to make the 6 AM News

She’s helped at Vacation Bible School at our local church Crossbridge and now actively serves with the Dirty Mechanics so she should be able to claim the over 100 hours of volunteer work in high school.

Every single one of these experiences have been worthy and a good use of time, but one cannot keep giving their time away especially with the price tag college and post graduate school comes with. My daughter needs to work for money in addition to study to learn and perform well. So why are colleges now sending flyers bragging about how many hours of volunteer service their students have clocked in?

Granted that University of Tennessee Knoxville’s sports teams take their name, the Volunteers, from the state’s nickname I’ve seen service hours quoted by other college recruitment flyers my daughter has received. Why is this the new bragging and selling point from universities?

When I went to college back in the late 80’s I struggled to study and work as a Resident Assistant so that I could get in and out in four years without summer school. I needed to save on housing costs and go home to work in the summer to keep my college loans low. There was barely time to go to church on Sundays, much less enjoy a day of rest. There is no way I had time to “serve” the community in addition to.

Think this through, those who brag about their volunteer hours must have enough income to hire housekeeping, lawn service, and a myriad of other help. They also do not need to juggle two or three jobs to pay the bills. So, this push for serving for free is really a way to bully the poor and make their lives harder.

It’s also a convenient means to move towards the social credit score economic system that many are supporting. While this may seem oh so caring and kind, think about the realities of life and human nature first.

I’ve examined the income and benefits of the people who work for 501 3-C’s verses those who are in small business. It makes the executives of 501 3-C look like cushy jobs. They don’t personally have to manage the hassles much less bear the financial risks that owners do. Yet, they get to brag that they work for a 501 3-C. Meanwhile they convince people to work for them for free via volunteering.

Don’t get me wrong, many of these community groups do provide helpful services to their neighborhoods and not all of them pay well. It’s also good to volunteer, but at what cost and how efficient is it really? Plus if business owners aren’t allowed to make any money after all the licensing fees, taxes, and insurance they have to pay much less healthcare for themselves and their employees who’s going to donate the dough to keep the 501 3-Cs running?

Questions like this are why some governors are requiring students to take and pass Economics before they graduate from high school. But whose curriculum and philosophy of economics is being taught?

Do yourself a favor and brush up on your own understanding of economics. Consider taking the free online classes from Hillsdale College. Sign up for the Mises Institute publications and newsletters from Steve Moore, Committee to Unleash Prosperity. They are posted below for your convenience. Just beware that your email account may mark them as spam or junk because they want to keep you as a “useful idiot.” But don’t let them, press on.

Also, your personal life may benefit quite a bit from a better understanding of just where your money is going. It may also depress you to see that much of it is stolen from you a.k.a. taxes and redistributed. But take heart, only the ignorant continue to live with their heads buried in the sand.

Lastly, contemplate: “The law has been perverted through the influence of two very different causes–naked greed and misconceived philanthropy.” -Frederic Bastiat first published in 1850 “The Law.” I highly recommend securing a copy of this classic essay. Read and consider the whole 55 pages.

https://www.akeep.org/

https://www.crossbridgeboca.org/

Home

https://delmarfarm.org/

https://www.dirtymechanics.org/

https://online.hillsdale.edu/

https://mises.org/

https://www.yspb.org/

Who’s the best candidate?

A friend invited me to Kings Point Republican Club in Delray’s Meeting last night where they hosted the Republican Candidates for Sheriff Q &A Debate.

It started off with a friendly gesture by Gauger to allow Diaz to go first.

Republican Candidate for Sheriff, Lauro Diaz addresses the King’s Point Republican Club

Diaz started off stating his motto, “Citizens Before Politics.” He went on to say that the Sheriff’s budget should be out in the open. He wants to order an audit of what has been spent to date. He believes money has been mismanaged under the current sheriff of Palm Beach County. Next He wants to advocate for victim’s of domestic abuse. The former Captain has witness too many repeat calls where mostly, but not all women are trapped in their situations. They don’t know their rights, how to seek refuge, and become independent of their abusers financial provisions.

Mr. Diaz Proceeded to his next area of concern, how the homeless are treated. He cares to find out WHY are they homeless before jumping to judgments and putting them behind bars. Again in his experience he found that too many of them are military veterans, sufferers of PTSD and other mental illnesses. The fourth commitment he made is to get a better partnership with PBSO and PBCSD police. He wants the corresponding neighborhood officer very familiar with the school layout. Lastly, Lauro Diaz shared that he would assess all these special units that Sheriff Bradshaw set up. If the units are not producing results then the individuals working there will be placed back out to patrol the streets.

Next the other Republican candidate for PBSO Sheriff, Michael Gauger, took to walking the aisle. He boasted of all his previous awards and accomplishments during his 50 years of law enforcement and community involvement. Michael flaunted that he had his masters in social work. He set up citizen’s patrol and other volunteer agencies that once numbered 4,000 but is now down to ~700. Gauger then tagged onto some of what Diaz said. He exposed that Sheriff Bradshaw set up an opulent office on PGA Blvd that houses 11 people and is costing tax payers $46,000 a month. That Bradshaw has increased salaries in some instances $30,000 more. He has purchased GMC Denali’s. Overall Sheriff Bradshaw has run debt in excess of 1,000,000. The last point that Gauger made was that Bradshaw did away with evaluations. Supervisors are too busy trying to be the buddy of deputies. He promised to bring back accountability, but he didn’t say how.

Next Peter Cavanagh, President of King’s Point Republican Club, walked a microphone around the room for attendees to ask questions.

Laura Diaz on left and Michael Gauger on right take turns answering questions from the audience.

I had a tough time keeping up taking notes on who said what, but I did notice that it seemed that I began to hear similar responses from each of the candidate that would assuage the inquisitor’s concern. So it caught me off guard towards the end when they were asked if they would support one another during the election against Bradshaw. Diaz seemed more open to the proposition, but emphasized that differences would have to be worked out. Gauger said the same. He also was burned in a deal years ago by someone who convinced him of similar deal so I sensed great hesitation which will hurt the Republican ticket when the time comes to defeat Bradshaw.

Albeit many of the responses sounded similar, I was endeared to hear that Diaz has suffered himself a few life threatening situations where his backup froze and couldn’t respond to prevent him from getting beat any further. This is service to appreciate. Thank you former Captain Diaz for putting your life on the line. I also appreciate that you don’t sugar coat situations and are upfront about the current weaknesses that exist in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. I hope that this doesn’t come back to hurt your efforts as unfortunately some would rather burry their heads in the sand and want to just hear that everything is going fine.

Here is the web sites for both candidates in the debate in alphabetical order. Thank you to Peter Cavanagh and the Kings Point Republican Club for hosting this last night. I hope this helps you to make an informed vote in the Palm Beach County Primary on Tuesday, March 19, 20204.

https://www.diazforsheriff2024.com/

https://www.gaugerforsheriff.com/

https://www.votepalmbeach.gov/Elections/Election-Dates-and-Deadlines

Who Are Your Role Models and Why?

A feature on the life and impact of Vivien Thomas

A common question to get people to interact is to ask, “Who is your role model?” Many raise or teach their children in the hopes that their kids will bring themselves up when the question is answered. Then others of us want to point the students to a myriad of individuals who overcame life’s hurdles to make significant impact in life. In this blog I will be focusing on Vivien Thomas.

I knew nothing about Thomas nor the physician, Dr. Alfred Blalock who he helped make famous before I was directed to invite a prominent black academic physician to attend the premier PBS Home Video showing of Partners of the Heart with the Black Caucus at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, partnered with The Alfred Sloan Foundation, Liberty Mutual, Scotts, National Endowment for the Humanities, cpb, and PBS to fund the production of this documentary. I’m so glad they did.

Following this event, I was given a few copies of the video tape to share with the doctor who attended and keep one myself. I’m grateful as I needed to watch the video several times to catch all the history I was never taught. I also needed to re-watch it to inspire myself when feeling professionally inferior because I never paid for more initials like, RN, RpH, NP, PA, or MD that would enable me to get clinical job instead of just sales and marketing.

This became even more important to me when I fell back on what my undergraduate degree had trained me to do. I could no longer deliver the messages that I was mandated to do for big pharma, but I could return to the classroom to encourage and raise up a better generation who would restore the ethical environment I so longed to promote in health care and in other sectors.

Each February I found time to share this video in celebration of Black History month with my students. I wrote up questions to correspond and ensure students were engaged and personally reflecting on the story. It turned out to be a great lesson to pass onto a substitute teacher as my health declined.

My physical condition digressed to the point of making teaching an impractical option for me especially with a little one at home. So, I left the public classroom and switched to homeschooling my daughter.

Time wore on. VCRs and videos became obsolete. But I continued to keep a VCR player so that when my young one reached the age of reason she too could be blessed by watching this.

In 2004 HBO films decided to produce Something the Lord Made featuring Alan Rickman as Blalock and Mos Def as Vivien Thomas. As usual a different spin on the relationship and history between the two men filled out the story more.

The character traits that I found so inspiring in Viven Thomas were several. First, he taught how to not take disrespectful behavior from a superior in the most well mannered way. He calmly and respectfully told Dr. Blalock that he wouldn’t be treated that way after Blalock lost his temper and blamed Thomas. He was resigning. However Vivien was so winsome in his manner, that Blalock begged him not to quit, promised to never treat him that way again, and didn’t.

Secondly, Thomas never wallowed in self-pity even though he had many justified reasons to do so. He couldn’t go to medical school even though it was his plan. The stock market crashed. The money his dad saved to pay for him to go was gone. He made the best of what job options were available to him. He and his wife figured out how to live on menial job income.

Third, he never stooped to the level of the arrogant medical elite. Thomas dressed impeccably, walked confidently, and stayed humble in relation to The Lord God Creator. When he was treated poorly by the staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital during the Jim Crow era, he held his head high, didn’t fuss, and maintained his own good manners. He did what he could with the social circumstances of the day, but never reduced himself to yelling, ugly protests, or violence.

Lastly, and certainly not least, Vivien proved that education has nothing to do with the school attended or degree attained. Instead it has everything to do with personal attitude, ability to think, and desire to learn. 

The story between the two also taught me how different  Nashville and Baltimore were in the 1950-60’s. The cities today reap what they sowed then. 

There are many lessons in economics to be learned from this time as well. Here today and gone tomorrow. Borrower beware.

Learn history, black, white, yellow, and brown. There are good and bad role models in each with applicable lessons for improvement for all. #BlackhistoryMonth

For more information on Vivien Thomas visit

https://www.lindahall.org/about/news/scientist-of-the-day/vivien-thomas/