Tag Archives: breast cancer awareness

Susan G Komen stirs up a hornets nest (Updated, again)

Pecos wilderness

Many, many years ago, I was out in the Pecos wilderness with several of my classmates. We found out, first-hand, what happens when you stir up a hornet’s nest. We were walking down this trail single-file. All of us were city slickers and most of us did not really appreciate being out in the woods. Therefore, we really were paying attention to our surroundings. Suddenly, one guy grabbed his leg and ran off the trail screaming in pain. A few seconds later, the guy behind him did exactly the same thing. It turned out there was some sort of hornet’s nest in the middle of the trail. The first two or three guys walked down the trail that the hornets stirred up. The middle of the group got stung. Those of us who were lagging behind saw the commotion and took a different path. In the end, everybody was fine, with the exception of a few stings. In this highly charged political atmosphere, one would figure that a major fund raising foundation would steer clear of hornet’s nests. Not the Susan G Komen Foundation for the Cure. On Tuesday, they decided, for purely political reasons, to stop funding Planned Parenthood. There was significant blowback. Today, they are in 100% damage control mode and almost ¬†reversed their decision. This was a major announcement that did very little to guarantee future funds for Planned Parenthood.

We needed a pink gun, did we??

We live in an era in which nothing is exactly as it seems. Just a couple of years ago, the average American thought that British Petroleum really cared about the environment. They had a charm offensive which included more than five years of commercials filled with environmentally friendly talk. It only took one oil well and a completely tone deaf CEO to show America that British Petroleum was no different than any other major oil corporation. The Susan G Komen foundation had completely infiltrated the American psyche. They equaled breast cancer awareness and treatment. Even the NFL had one game where players would support the Foundation by wearing pink shoes or pink gloves or even have pink towels hanging from their waist. Personally, I have purchased golf balls, baseball caps and other merchandise which sported the Susan G Komen logo and supported breast cancer awareness and treatment. I have personally given money to people who have run in their multiple, well-publicized, “race for the cure” over the years. Now, that’s not happening. Millions of Americans have the same feeling. It will take Susan G Komen foundation years to recover from this strategic blunder.

In my opinion, the Board of Directors needs to clean house. The power structure of the Susan G Komen foundation needs to be fired. New management needs to be brought in if they are to convince the American public that they truly understand what the problem is. In my opinion, today’s announcement tells me that they know what the problem is, but that they don’t really want to fix it. Personally, it’s going be hard for me to pony up money to the Susan G Komen foundation ever again. I’ve already donated to Planned Parenthood, which I’ve never done in my life. I plan on making it a habit.

The Daily Kos has done an excellent job covering the to and fro of this debacle. Please check out their many posts here, here and here. Marcy Wheeler, fabulous blogger and personal friend, has an excellent post here. You can give to Planned Parenthood here.

Update: This is what anyone would describe as a bizarre episode in PR. This case just gets stranger. Ari Fleischer, Bush’s former press secretary, raises his ugly head. This just gets crazier and crazier. Komen has not been officially labelled a partisan, dead organization. I don’t see how the Susan G Komen foundation will be surviving this.

Here’s what I think is very sad about this whole ordeal. Women need an organizational advocate to raise huge sums of money to combat breast cancer. The advocate must be non-partisan and focus like a laser on breast cancer research and on helping women.

Update II:

I thought that this graphic would be helpful.

The Errington Thompson Show 10-10-09

This is an outstanding show. I opened the show by talking about Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. There is some that are angered on the right and left. Some on the right say that Barack Obama hasn’t done enough. Those on the left point to the fact that Guant√°namo Bay still hasn’t been closed. Those that allowed torture to occur in the name of the United States have not been brought to justice. Both sides mentioning that Barack Obama has sent more troops to Afghanistan. I agree with all of these but President Barack Obama has also done an enormous amount to change the tone of America. He is also changed our relationship with many nations and the Muslim world. There is still a lot to do. I’m not sure if I was on the committee how would’ve voted for Barack Obama but I congratulate him and the United States for having the vision to choose him as our president.

Again I reminded my listeners that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. I continue to encourage those that have the means to give generously.

There was some sort of attack on the Pakistani military base early Saturday morning. At the time of my show there weren’t many details. Several of the attackers and Pakistani soldiers were killed. It is critical to our national interest to have a stable and prosperous Pakistan. Former Texas Representative Charlie Wilson, the man who is credited with funding the mujahedin in Afghanistan to help topple the Russians, said we need to get out of Afghanistan now. To be honest, I’m still studying the issue and reading whatever I can on it. Words like quagmire and goals keep popping into my head.

A recent poll showed only 38% of parents were likely to vaccinate their children against the swine flu (H1N1). This sets up an extremely dangerous scenario. If 38% of children do not get vaccinated this leaves an enormous amount of children and adults vulnerable. I talk with Greg Dworkin (physician and Daily Kos contributor) about this virus and where we are. We discuss health care reform and the fact that we are closer now than ever to getting something passed in both the House and the Senate.

I also talk with Doctor Eddie Cornwell who is the chief of surgery at Howard University. Ever since Representative Alan Grayson (Democrat — Florida) mentioned a study which clearly showed that health insurance status affects your ability to survive illness, many in the media have been reporting this like it was new. Doctor Cornwell published a nice paper in the surgery literature which clearly showed that race affects outcome and insurance status. Surprisingly, insurance status was a stronger predictor of survival than race.

All of this an more! Enjoy this podcast.

The Errington Thompson Show 10-03-09

I’m back. I’m fresh. I’m happy to take on all of the mess. Great show.

Just got back from Rome and Athens. It was awesome.

Thanks to Leslie from Local Edge Radio for sitting in for me. I truly appreciate it.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Mammograms, chemotherapy, research… we need more.

My guests: Heidi Sheirholz, PhD, from the Economic Policy Institute is in the house to chat about the latest jobs numbers. Igor Volsky is the healthcare policy wonk at the Wonk Room which is part of the Great ThinkProgress.org blog.

More later.