Thursday, February 18, 2016

Non-theists deserve a Supreme

One consequence of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is an opportunity to provide a measure of justice for us 72,000,000 American non-theists. While we make up 23% of the population, our percentage of the Supreme Court is zilch, zero, nada. Not only that, we've never held a single one of the 112 Supreme slots in the 227 years since the Supreme Court was established in 1789. Prior to his death, Catholics made up 67 % of the current court compared to just 21% of the population. Jews made up the other 33%, an even bigger anomaly to their tiny 2% of the populous. Though Protestants haven't a single Supreme either, a majority of all 112 Justices were Protestants. Scalia has left his extreme Catholic mark on a number of issues that a non-theist has no interest in interfering with.
A huge benefit of getting one of our team on the Court is tamping down the extreme prejudice the so-called religious practice against us non-believers. When polled, non-theists rank dead last in terms of a group folks couldn't bring themselves to vote for. Only 4% wouldn't vote for a black; 11% for a gal; 12% for an Hispanic; 45% for a gay; and a whopping 53% for a non-theist. That must change. Though legally twisted and unenforceable, seven states, Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, Tennessee, North and South Carolina still have laws forbidding a non-theist to hold state office.
A fitting coda to Scalia's 30 years of injecting his religious predilections on the fabric of our polity might be paving the way for a non-theist having a chance to play God.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Shkreli simply lightning rod protecting real drug czars

Martin Shkreli, oft called the "most hated man in America" for raising the price of an Aids drug from $13.50 to $750 a dose, may not be quite so hated by the mega rich drug czars. One might surmise they'd be aghast at the attention Shkreli brings to the vastly overpriced US drug industry but the reverse may be true. Shkreli is so smirky, creepy actually, in his unbridled greed, he may actually direct much of the public outcry against overpriced drugs from the major drug CEOs to his easy to hate persona, leaving those real drug ogres relatively unscathed. Shkreli's drug footprint is so small, Aids drug Daraprin alone comes to mind, that Joe Sixpack simply can't relate his avarice to the truly heartless greed practiced by major pharmaceuticals. They spend hundreds of millions every year on TV demanding we demand our doctors write us prescriptions we don't need that imperil our overall health, even life. This is called 'direct to consumer' advertising and it's evil. The laundry list of serious, even deadly side effects is recited too fast for the human ear to comprehend. Those millions garner many billions in profits from overpriced drugs making America the world's worst advanced country in delivering true pharmaceutical health. And the brilliant CEO drug pushers pushing them reap obscene yearly compensation for their efforts. The top five in 2013 include:

Len Schleifer, Regaeneron, $41.2 million
Jeff Leiden, Vertex, $36.6 million 
Brent Sanders, Allegan $36.6 million
Martine Rothbllatt, United Therapies, $33.2 million
Lamberto Anndreotti, Brystal Myers $27.1 million

You won't find these truly greedy Shkreli's hauled before Congress to be pilloried by publicity seeking congressmen. They dare not imperil the source of massive campaign funds funneled to the similarly greedy lawmakers. But bear in mind the true words of progressive political economist Robert Reich: "What Shkreli did wrong was to be more audacious while playing the same game many others are playing on Wall Street and in corporate suites"

We can reduce this unconscionable greed and public health menace by banning 'direct to consumer' drug advertising which only became legal in 1997. Let's return to the days when 'Speedy Alka Seltzer' was the strongest drug pitchman on TV. As far as we know, Speedy never killed anyone...and drug czars couldn't afford too buy a congressman.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

McGuire socked, shocked Lopez picker reformer seventh COD Board Trustee

If College of DuPage Board member Dianne McGuire had any hope ICCB Chair Laz Lopez would pick a seventh Board member favorable to McGuire's Boycott 3 faction, it was quickly dashed with Lopez's pick of likely reformer David Olsen. McGuire quickly criticized Olsen's pick saying 

"There was an opportunity to bring someone to the table with objectivity, neutrality, and perhaps even some educational experience to help the college restore its full accreditation and address the ongoing disagreements between the veteran and the new trustees, But that is not what has occurred."

Considering McGuire's boycott of COD business for 6 weeks, including her letter to Lopez saying she wouldn't work with the Board to do their elected duty of selecting a seventh Board member, is what forced Lopez to make the pick, she shouldn't be surprised. 

It's time for Dianne McGuire and her two fellow boycotters Erin Birt and Joe Wozniak to end their boycott of the entire Board agenda. Coming to one meeting after 6 weeks to pay a few bills and approve a few expenditures is not enough. They must attend every meeting and work with the likely new majority to complete reform at COD. They must make removal of academic probation Job One. They must vote to release transcripts of the 2014 closed Board sessions they attended, which extended former President Breuder's contract, as requested by the DuPage States Attorney. 

From a personal standpoint they need to stop disgracing public service by boycotting their elected duties. They should also personally apologize to the 26 local residents whose resumes to be selected seventh Board member weren't even considered by the Board because of their disgraceful conduct. They still have time to leave office as COD Trustee on a high note. Continuing to trod the low road of boycott, obfuscation and denial won't get them there.