Lest We Forget What’s Really Important

September 8, 2010

If it seems to you there’s been a lack of input from me lately, it’s not your imagination. Perhaps it’s been a lack of mine. The promise of Grand Rants is to discuss our world, not just politics. Unfortunately, the most important news over the past 2 years has been political in nature. And make no mistake: We intend to cover political issues as needed. Expect a lot of it from now until the mid-term elections.

But every now and then, I need to step away from the sewer of politics and just breath in the beauty of life itself. And the older I get, the more beauty I discover. Some of the most special moments can be found in the examples some people give us of their selfless devotion to causes. Sometimes it’s just a touching moment or lyric that makes me realize the beauty of a phrase or a simple act of kindness. These moments are easy to miss if we are so steeped in the argument of politics that we close our eyes to the awareness of that which sometimes surrounds us. I needed to open myself up to an awareness of these things, and so I stepped back from the body politic for a brief period in an attempt to bring something a little more uplifting and positive to the table.

I believe my efforts have paid off.

Meet Kristian Anderson, from Australia. Last October, Kristian was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Because he waited so long to be tested, he discovered it had also spread to his liver. Anderson, 35, is married and the father of 2 little boys. He’s not ready to leave his two children fatherless, so he’s stayed positive with the support of his wife Rachel. Together, they are fighting the disease.

Recently, with her birthday coming up, he wanted to make it very special… and he chose a very special way of accomplishing that goal: In addition to a surprise party, he created a video birthday card for her. Through a local radio station, he was able to get actor Hugh Jackman to make a cameo appearance and, because his wife is from New Zealand, Andeson managed to get New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to appear also.  The video has found its way to youtube and I predict it will go viral. I hope it does, because in the four minutes it takes to watch, it acts as a reminder to us all of just how important it is to get checked periodically for any unusual health issues that might benefit from early detection. And it also teaches us how important it is to stop and smell our own roses:

Kristian has kept a blog to chronicle his journey since becoming diagnosed with cancer. It’s called “Days That Matter.” I invite you to follow his journey. Something tells me that as this video goes viral, he and his family are going to have the prayers of a lot of people pulling for him.

I know he’s got mine.

Gerry Ashley


Heirloom Diseases

August 27, 2010

You’ve probably heard of heirloom vegetables. You know, they’re the ones that have been preserved by passing seeds down from generation to generation. Heirloom varieties are generally at least 50 years old, but many are 100 years or older.

While heirloom vegetables are actually benign–and frequently very tasty–it seems to me that we are currently witnessing an alarming wave of another type of heirloom: diseases. I started thinking about it when I read this post from Gateway Pundit earlier today, about an outbreak of typhoid (yes typhoid) in California and Nevada. Typhoid, once the scourge of many major cities, was nearly eradicated by the advent of clean water technologies in the early part of the twentieth century. Yet typhoid is back, and it’s not the only heirloom disease we’re seeing in America of late.

We’ve probably all seen the reports in the paper, on blogs, and on the nightly news of outbreaks of bedbugs in places like New York City (replete with video that’ll make you think twice before climbing into bed). But it’s not just there. Those little suckers (ha!) are appearing all over the country

You’re no doubt also aware that we’ve been having problems with salmonella. According to the Food Poison Journal, there have been 12 major outbreaks of salmonella across the country this year, none of which seem to be related to the current egg recall.

Leprosy is another heirloom that was once nearly wiped out in this country. But in northwest Arkansas in 2008, there was an outbreak. Sadly, it’s not just in Arkansas, either.

“…[L]eprosy is clearly here in New York, and our clinic at Bellevue Hospital treats more than 500 identified cases of leprosy. While most are Caribbean, Hispanic and Asian immigrants, in recent years we have identified and reported endemic cases in New York City…

Based on the cases we see at the Bellevue leprosy clinic, there are many additional unidentified cases of leprosy in the tristate area and the mid-Atlantic region.”

Another oldie once thought to be under control, scarlet fever is back this year, as well, and in our nation’s capital.

Tuberculosis, another throwback to yesteryear, is also making a come-back. Once thought to be on track to be completely eradicated by this year, evidence suggests that it will not happen.

The U.S. is unlikely to meet its goal for eliminating tuberculosis (TB) by 2010, primarily because of high rates of latent (dormant) TB infection in certain population subgroups, according to a nationwide survey…

Continuing basic TB control measures, as well as targeted evaluation and appropriate treatment of individuals in high-prevalence groups — including immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, and poor people — “are needed to further TB elimination efforts in the United States,” Navin and colleagues maintain.

Typhoid, leprosy, tuberculosis, scarlet fever, bed bugs. All thought to be afflictions of previous generations, rendered harmless by better sanitation, better technology, better medical treatment. All alive and well here in America. Why?

There are many reasons for the resurgence of these diseases, but I believe one main factor has facilitated this deadly resurgence: open borders, which let in more than just illegal aliens. They also allow in the third-world diseases that some border-crossers carry. Close the borders, and you begin to control the diseases that piggyback in with the illegals.

This seems to be a microcosm of our national outlook–our government is not making the hard decisions, it’s making the politically correct ones. And until we change that, we’d all better get accustomed to bedbugs and the occasional outbreak of a long-forgotten heirloom disease.


First Ad For New Obamacare Plan

March 22, 2010

Photo Source: aviewofcities.com

Gerry Ashley

Healthcare Bill Violates Constitution, Period.

January 7, 2010

Harry Reid has been boasting that his Healthcare reform bill is irreversable in places. Once passed, there is language in there that stipulates that it cannot be reversed or repealed by future Congresses.

In the section titled “limitations on changes to this subsection,” the wording states:

it shall not be in order in the senate or the house of representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.”

Sorry, Harry, but at this point, you have crossed the line from writing legislation to attempting to sneak in a fundamental Congressional rules change. And if I’m not mistaken, you can’t pass a bill that changes the rules governing yourselves unless you have a two-thirds majority… not merely the 60 votes you have. That’s gonna take a lot more “Lousiana Purchases.”  But hey, since you’re arrogant enough to try to force healthcare down the throats of an American public (the majority of whom have made it abundantly clear they do NOT want this), I guess you figured you might as well slip in this gross attempt at hijacking the political system itself.

That dog  just won’t hunt.

Oh, you and your self-absorbed sycophants may get the automatic 60 votes to send it on to the President for signing in the wee hours of the morning (when no one in the Obamanation of an administration has to worry about transparency).  But if there are any working brain cells in the Republican Party, this will only result in a challenge that will, in all likelihood, stretch to the Supreme Court. 

You see, Senator, there is a document you and your comrades in the Senate seem to have forgotten about.  It’s called The Constitution of The United States of America. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. It’s been in the news and everything. It’s looks something like this:

First Page Of The Constitution Of The United States

In fact, if you care to read it some time, you can see the original pretty easily. It’s right there in Washington DC in the National Archives. Don’t bother to bring your eraser, however. It doesn’t work that way.

In short, what you have written into your legislation is a combination of Senate Rule Changes and changes in how The Constitution of the United States works. Again, that takes a 2/3rds majority of Congress. Any attempt to  negate the Constitution in any manner is to break the oath of office you took and would officially reduce you to what the vast majority of us already know you to be: A traitor to your own country.

I doubt the Supreme Court of the United States would back you on this. That is, perhaps, unless the deciding vote is one cast by a “wise Latino woman.”

Gerry Ashley

Bodhisattva – It Can “Strike” Anytime, Anywhere!

November 13, 2009


–noun (from Buddhism)

A person who has attained prajna  (Enlightenment), but who postpones Nirvana in order to help others to attain Enlightenment.

Then again, sometimes, you just meet these people unexpectedly in your working day without realizing it.  How we react tells us more about ourselves than the Bodhisattva.

That said, with all the waves of negativity in the world today, may you encounter your own Bodhisattva… and enjoy your day.

Oh, and don’t worry…The stress will wait for you until later. But if you should happen to attain your own prajna, be sure to share it with others, won’t you? And somehow, when the stress resumes, you’ll be far better prepared to control it rather than vice versa.

Enjoy the present (and presence) of Bodhisattva!

Gerry Ashley

Note: If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy something related, yet a little different: The Simple Power Of “Now”


Obama Botches Border Issue, Could Put Millions At Risk

April 30, 2009


In his press conference last night, President Barack Obama raised a few eyebrows when he said now is not the time to close our borders with Mexico, comparing it to “locking the barn door after the horse is out.”  It was a poor metaphor to begin with. In this case, there are milions of “horses” still in Mexico that would love to leave and come here to get away from the Ground Zero of the Swine Flu… but if they are in the early stages, they could easily be bringing it with them during a time when they are most contagious.

What doesn’t President Obama understand about taking all available steps in a crisis like this? Yes, it’s too late to prevent the flu from entering the country; but it’s another thing altogether to keep out others who might carry it here and spread it even farther or faster.  Any type of missed opportunity to slow down or limit the spreading of this disease is unfathomable, and could quite possibly cost more lives.

In his first hundred days, Obama has spent more money than all previous Presidents combined (and that’s money that’s been adjusted for inflation).  As he begins his second hundred days, he has shown extremely poor judgement in regards to sealing the borders in an attempt to limit the spread of Swine Flu.  This could be a huge mistake in the number of lives needlessly put in jeopardy.

I was going to end by saying we may live to regret this.  But I already regret having a President with no guts and no vision as to the consequences of his actions visa-vis a pandemic scenario. 

So I’ll end by simply saying, some among us may not live to regret this.  Bad decision, Mr. President.  

Gerry Ashley

State of Emergency Declared As Swine Flu Spreads In US

April 27, 2009

With 20 cases of Swine Flu now confirmed in different locations around the United States, the Obama administration yesterday declared an official State of Emergency.
Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Richard Besser spoke at a White House briefing, declaring that all the cases in the US have, thus far, been mild. President Obama is being briefed on a regular basis as to the potential spread of the new strain of virus which has been blamed for the deaths of at least 81 people in Mexico.

John Brennan, assistant to the president for Homeland Security, announced, “At this point, a top priority is to ensure that communication is robust and that medical surveillance efforts are fully activated.”

A press release from Reuters provided the following additional information:

[Brennan] said beefed up monitoring would enable rapid identification and notification of any new cases that might occur in the United States and Mexico.

Besser said the CDC has confirmed one case of swine flu in Ohio, two in Kansas and eight in New York. There were already seven confirmed cases in California and two in Texas. Officials emphasized that the U.S. cases are not as severe as the cases that have been identified in Mexico.

Nevertheless, the officials recommended planning for potential U.S. school closures and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the United States would release some of its stockpiles of anti-flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza. She also said the United States would declare a public health emergency to start the flow of aid to states and communities that might be affected by the outbreak.

While we at Grand Rants will continue to post appropriate additional information as it becomes available, I think it should be stated clearly at this time that while we look to federal, state and local government for information, it is incumbant upon each of us to step up and take the necessary pro-active measures at the individual level to minimize both our own susceptibility to the virus as well as its spread. 

The biggest problem in the prevention of spreading any communicable illness comes from individuals who fail to act in a responsible manner either through poor hygiene practices or simply being uninformed. The CDC has made available for downloading and printing, guidelines for the steps we should all take to help prevent the spread of this and any other flu-virus. You can download these posters here.

For more information,including links to resources, please read my previous post on this topic. Michelle Malkin is also providing excellent coverage.

 Gerry Ashley