News Roundup – Syria, Jobs

It has been a while since I have had a news roundup. Sorry. I have fallen down on the job. First, on a personal note, a couple of years ago, I thought that I could get out of medicine. So, I thought that I should/could buy a building. I would broadcast from the building and rent out some space to help cover costs. I put pen to paper and found a great building. I looked for financing and started negotiating. We got to a price that was somewhat less than outrageous and then the fun began. To make a long story short, I couldn’t get financing and wanted to back out of the contract. The owner of the building said no, I couldn’t get out of the contract. I couldn’t back out. He wanted me to buy the building by hook or by crook. Soon thereafter the lawsuits started flying. I was being sued for over a million dollars. I had to retain my own lawyer. (Did you know good lawyers are expensive??? I mean really expensive.) So, the owner of the building sold the building for more than I had offered. I thought that the lawsuit would be dropped. Nope. He still wanted his money. Now, however, he only wanted $100,000. He was wronged. 18 months later. Thousands of dollars later. The lawsuit was dropped at last. This ends one of the craziest chapters in my life. The one thing that I have learned is that a good lawyer is worth the money. 🙂

Syria chemical attacks

Syria. Well, damn. So, here’s what we have been told. Syria had used chemical weapons against its people before. Syria attacked its people with chemical weapons. We know from where the missiles were launched and we know where the missiles landed. We know that Syria shelled the area in order to destroy evidence. At least this is what we were told by John Kerry today. I hate to say it, but we were told that we knew that Iraq had nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. We were told that Iraq was a threat to the US. These statements were lies. Is the Obama administration lying to the American people? If we know all of this, why don’t the British know the same things? Why didn’t Prime Minister David Cameron present this information to Parliament? (I admit that I don’t know what he presented. All I know is that he didn’t convince Parliament that any type of military action was necessary.)

Let’s assume that Secretary Kerry is giving us the straight scoop. Now, what? Can we sit by and do nothing? Is the use of chemical weapons really a game changer? Should using chemical weapons trigger an automatic response from the US or other Western nations? I don’t know. I do know that there isn’t a side that I like in Syria. On one side is a terrible dictator who kills his own people and on the other side are Islamic fundamentalists who resemble the Taliban. I’m sorry, but I don’t like either side. Russia and Iran are aligned with Syria, so attacks will have some consequences. Can we do some sort of economic embargo? I don’t think so. Most Western nations don’t trade with Syria and Russia would supply anything that we would withhold. I think our military options are awful. First, we could create some sort of blockage, with nothing going in or coming out through their sea ports. Again, Russia could and probably would supply anything that they needed. Surgical air strikes, what’s the purpose? To destroy chemical weapons factories? I would figure that Syria would have been smart enough to avoid centralizing production. Hitting one or two places would be worthless. Maybe we should target the leadership of Syria. Remember when we tried to take out Saddam before the war and basically blew up an empty building? We have less intelligence on what is going on inside Syria than we did with Iraq.

So, what do we do? I don’t have the answer. I’m leaning toward worthless targeted air strikes. I don’t think that we can do nothing. Then again, maybe nothing is the right thing to do.

Jobs. As most of you know, fast food workers have been staging strikes for the last couple weeks in order to try to pressure places like McDonald’s into paying a living wage. First of all, our perception of who would benefit from a living wage is mostly wrong. Many Americans believe that only teenagers will be affected by places like Walmart, McDonald’s and others raising the minimum wage. This is wrong. It turns out the average age of workers that would be affected by raising the minimum age is 35 years old. 35% of these workers are at least 40 years old and 56% of these workers are women. 28% have children. Economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has been leading the fight to get Walmart to raise its minimum wage. It’s not surprising that Walmart responded by not answering the question. A Walmart spokesman stated that Walmart was a major job creator. As Robert Riech points out, “the brutal fact is that Walmart’s typical employee makes less than nine dollars an hour.” “To offer lousy jobs in such an extraordinary scale is not something to brag about.” I couldn’t agree more. We need jobs that pay a living wage. This will help everybody.

Satellite photos reveal a canyon hidden under glacial ice in Greenland.

The Perot Foundation gives $1,000,000 to Planned Parenthood of Texas. This is great news.

Dave Chapelle continues his bizarre behavior and walks off stage.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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