Monday, April 14, 2014

‘Boston Strong,’ the Rallying Cry That United a City

Boston Strong” is an important part of the story leading to this year’s running of the Boston Marathon. “Boston Strong” encapsulated a need for the community to unite in face of daunting challenges and an uncertain future.

It began on Patriots Day, Monday, April 15, 2013, when three spectators were killed and 260 injured by two bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon’s Copley Square finish line. It was a very violent and traumatic day for the city of Boston. But the days that followed proved to be just as intense and distressing.

Within a few days, police identified Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the suspects in the bombings.

On Thursday evening, MIT police officer Sean Collier, in responding to a reported disturbance, was shot multiple times and killed. Police linked his murder to the Tsarnaev brothers.

Early Friday morning, the Tsarnaev’s hijacked a car in Cambridge, taking the driver hostage. The hostage escaped. Led by information provided by the hostage, police pursued the brothers into Watertown. They confronted the Tsarnaev brothers, and in the ensuing gunfight MBTA Police Officer Richard Donahue was shot and critically wounded. Killed in the shootout, Tamerlan was no longer a threat, but his brother Dzhokhar who escaped capture was.

Motivated by the threat Dzhokhar still posed, Governor Deval Patrick ordered a Greater Boston lockdown and its residence to shelter-in-place. In Watertown, police officers made a house-to-house manhunt. On the evening of Friday, April 19, they captured a bloodied and wounded Dzhokhar and transported him to Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Now held at the federal prison at Fort Devens in Ayer, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to go to trial in November.

The bombs killed eight-year-old Martin Richard; Krystle Campbell, 29; and Lu Lingzi, 23.

Of the 260, 16 had their legs amputated; two of the victims had both legs amputated. All of them have been fitted with prostheses. Many have returned to school or work.

Professional dancer Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost her leg in the bombings, last month performed at the 2014 TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia for the first time on her prosthetic leg specially designed for her by Hugh Herr, director of the Biomechatronics group at The MIT Media Lab.

Jane Richard, Martin Richard’s sister, lost her left leg. Their mother, Denise Richard, suffered a head injury and lost her vision in one eye. Bill Richard, their dad, lost part of his hearing and suffered burns and shrapnel wounds to his legs. The Richards have organized a group of 100 who will be running in this year’s Marathon in support of their charity, The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation.

The other amputees have been fitted with prostheses and are learning to run anew.

Police Officer Richard Donahue is still recovering from his wounds.

“Boston Strong” has a much deeper meaning than a simple slogan or catchphrase. It sums up all of what happened during and after the tragic events of the week of April 15, and the refusal of Massachusetts and Boston to let anyone interfere with their hopes and dreams.

First responders and ordinary citizens who without hesitation ran into the chaos and the unknown that was behind the cloud of smoke and debris, not knowing whether there were other bombs or not, exemplify the meaning of “Boston Strong.” It’s exemplified by the Richard’s foundation, the Boston One Fund, and other charitable events organized to support those afflicted by the tragedy. It’s exemplified by the resilience of Boston and its support of law enforcement’s determination to bring justice to those who would commit such acts.

“Boston Strong was in full display when Haslet-Davis walked off of the “Meet the Press” set because they, at her request, promised not to name the accused bombers, a promise they did not keep.

“Boston Strong” represents the defiance against those who might think they can create fear and break the spirit this city possesses. It’s the motto written across the invisible banner that will be hanging over this year’s Boston Marathon finish line, where an estimated 36,000 runners on Monday, April 21, will again make that historic 26.2-mile attempt from Hopkinton to Boston to cross the finish line.

Articles by Horatio Green on Yahoo:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vitamin D Played an Indispensable Role in the Treatment of My Asthma and an Underactive Thyroid

Convinced by the research and through my own experience, I now know that the missing ingredient in the treatment of my asthma and underactive thyroid was vitamin D.

Here in the Northeast, most people enjoy the season of snow angels, snowmen, throwing snowballs, skiing, and snowmobiling. They look forward to the holidays. They look forward to the competitions for the Stanley Cup, the basketball championships, March Madness, and Super Bowl. I wish that I could enjoy the wintertime too, but with the season brings cold, dry weather that has increasingly become hell on earth.


High heating costs makes it a struggle to heat my home and keep warm. I use a space heater in one room for warmth, but during the winter months, the rest of my home is pretty much without heat.

Wintertime always triggers my asthma, and at some point, I will become afflicted with severe bronchial asthma that lasts off and on until spring.

An underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism, produces many symptoms. One of those symptoms is an increased sensitivity to cold. My underactive thyroid causes and extreme sensitivity to cold weather. Without precautions and treatment, my fingers and toes become numb, cracked, and very painful.

My symptoms and diagnosis

In hindsight, I now recognize earlier symptoms. My symptoms didn’t come into perspective until after retirement six years ago. Over time, though, they all came together to make life perilous and very difficult.

A couple of years prior to retirement, it became increasingly difficult to breathe. When I retired, my doctor’s diagnosis was persistent asthma. He prescribed an inhaler for maintenance, and an inhaler in case of an emergency that I often use to pre-medicate.

About a year later, I received my first complete physical exam. A blood test revealed that I was hypothyroid. My doctor prescribed a daily intake of a synthetic thyroid hormone.

Although my symptoms did improve, to one degree or another they persisted. Primarily, I continued to be afflicted with depression, memory and concentration problems, fatigue, weakness, aches and pains in my neck and shoulders, tingling, hoarseness, leg cramps, and difficulty sleeping. My asthma required more medication from my emergency inhaler than should have been necessary.

About seven weeks ago, I discussed these lingering symptoms with my doctor. He ordered another blood test. The result was low levels of vitamin D. He prescribed a daily intake of 2000 IUs of vitamin D.

Now, six weeks later, I feel like a new man

There has been a reduction in the severity of my asthma, and other symptoms have not returned. It takes a while before vitamin D, not acquired from sunlight, to become optimal, so things should only improve.

Subsequent to this diagnosis, I did some research and found that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in many medical conditions. Specifically, the research shows that a vitamin D supplement can reduce the severity of asthma and vitamin D plays an indispensable role in thyroid hormone function -- an underactive thyroid may actually play a direct role in asthma.

Articles by Horatio Green on Yahoo:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

For-Profit Prisons Create World’s Highest Incarceration Rates While Providing Cheap Labor

The Republican obsession to reduce the size of government by privatizing all non-inherent government functions comes from a false belief that private enterprises can be more cost-effective than what they deem as inept government. Their quest to privatize Medicare and Social Security, education, and other public sector services is good for corporations, but certainly not for society.

A case in point, in 1984 a Republican controlled Senate passed legislation that allowed for-profit prisons. But the pursuit of profit only created an incentive to keep people behind bars, which have turned the privatized prison system into a multimillion-dollar industry. Not surprisingly, today, prison populations have increased to the extent that the United States has higher incarceration rates than any other country.

Increasingly over the last 30 years, things have been golden for private prisons. Jails are now bursting at the seams with two-thirds of prisoners returning to prison within three years. The incarceration industry has been successful lobbying Congress for greater and stiffer conviction guidelines and reducing opportunities to earn probation and parole. It’s their imperative because without prisoners these industries would be out of business.

Professors Steve Fraser and Joshua Freeman attributed the rise in prison populations to prison privatization, which “has meant the creation of a small army of workers too coerced and right-less to complain.” Prisoners produce military equipment, paints and paintbrushes, body armor, home appliances, headphones/microphones/speakers, office furniture, airplane parts, medical supplies, provide equipment assembly services, and they raise seeing-eye dogs; they work in call centers, take hotel reservations, work in slaughterhouses, make textiles, shoes, and clothing. All of this while being paid between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.

Moreover, in their pursuit of profit, private prison companies solicit state governments for contracts that include occupancy guarantees. They charge states if they don’t meet contracted lockup quotas. This essentially leaves taxpayers to pay for empty beds if there are decreases in crime rates.

In any case, to “… prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation” is un-American, immoral, and simply wrong. It has not worked nor will it ever work.

Easy Company’s ‘Wild Bill Guarnere,’ Immortalized on HBO’s ‘Band of Brothers,’ Dies at Ninety

On March 8, at the age of 90, “Wild Bill,” the nicknamed bestowed on William Guarnere for his tenacity in battle, died. You may remember him as a member of Easy Company in the hit HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers.” In the series, Frank John Hughes portrayed his character.

There now remains eighteen members of the legendary Easy Company still alive.

Guarnere enlisted in the Army on August 31, 1942. Following training, he deployed to Europe with Easy Company’s Second Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division. He made his first combat jump over Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) as part of the Allied invasion of France.

Soon after, Guarnere received a battlefield promotion to sergeant. Alongside the Rhine River in mid-October 1944, Second Platoon’s placements were about a mile apart, so Guarnere confiscated a farmer’s motorcycle to facilitate his task of checking their positions that ended when a sniper’s bullet fractured his right leg. Thrown from the motorcycle, he fractured his shinbone and shrapnel found his rear end.

In England, recovering from his wounds, he went AWOL to rejoin Easy Company in fear of his reassignment to another platoon.

Guarnere was caught, court-martialed, and demoted. But because his court-martial notification hadn’t reached Easy Company in time, he rejoined Easy Company as sergeant of Second Platoon just before their deployment to Belgium.

During the Battle of the Bulge, Guarnere, while attempting to help a wounded comrade, Joe Toye, lost his right leg in an artillery barrage on his position.

Evidently his court martial never did catch up to him and he returned home in March 1945 with many commendations, medals, and decorations.

In the intervening 68 years, he devoted his life keeping Easy Company together. He coordinated reunions, produced newsletters, and helped members keep in touch.

In 2007, Guarnere co-wrote with another member of second platoon, Edward “Babe” Heffron, along with journalist Robyn Post, the national best-seller “Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends: Two WWII Paratroopers from the Original Band of Brothers Tell Their Story.”

Guarnere, and Heffron who died on December 1, 2013, were born 18 days apart, lived a few blocks from each other on Philadelphia’s south side, and in war fought side by side. After the war they continued their friendship, became best friends, visiting and talking to each other every day.

Easy Company’s commanding officer, Major Richard Winters (Lieutenant at the time), described Guarnere and Heffron as “natural killers.” Perhaps with greater determination than others, they, nevertheless, did what our country required of them; as they described it, they did their duty, doing what they needed to survive.

But, in the midst of all the adulation, we shouldn’t forget there are millions of other warriors who don’t get the praise that Guarnere, Heffron, and some others receive, even though they too performed equal feats of courage, did their duty, and did what their country required of them. So it’s important to keep in mind that we should hold in reverence the lives of all our warriors with an understanding that war is all about killing.

Other articles on Yahoo by Horatio Green:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Serving the World’s Poor and Working-Class Women

The care given by a midwife may come down to whether a mother and baby live or die. It’s the only contact they may have with any kind of professional care, by those who have the capacity to love and be compassionate of others.

Read article here: Ellen Cohen’s Memoir Captures the Essence of Midwives Serving the World’s Poor and Working-Class Women

The Sixties, Vietnam, and Beatlemania Culturally Produced No Meaningful Lessons Learned

It was a decade that changed my view of America's claim of exceptionalism, racial equality, patriotism, and an era that culturally destroyed America. The Beatles exemplified how to make money by exploiting adolescent music. The results are disappointing.

Read article here: The Sixties, Vietnam, and Beatlemania Culturally Produced No Meaningful Lessons Learned

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hypothyroidism and Me

Diagnosed at 72 years old, I inherited hypothyroidism from my mother. Diagnosed late in life, like me, she experienced the same symptoms. Since my diagnosis, I have learned much about the disease and in the process learned much more about me.

Read article here: Hypothyroidism and Me

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

We Are All Richer For Having Known Sam Berns

A Beloved Teenager Whose Very Rare Disease Known as Progeria Finally Caught Up To Him

Sam Berns, diagnosed with progeria in 1998, became well known for his fight against the disease. The disease is a rare genetic mutation that causes the body to produce the protein progerin, which causes accelerated aging. But the disease caught up to him

Read article here: We Are All Richer For Having Known Sam Berns

Monday, January 13, 2014

Inequality Is ‘The Defining Challenge of Our Time’

Denying People Work Based On Loss of Credit Is a Mode of Inequality

For years now, credit-reporting agencies have been selling credit histories to employers. Because of a poor credit history, many seeking work have been denied employment, and inequality has taken a giant leap forward.

Read article here: Inequality Is ‘The Defining Challenge of Our Time’