Profits and priorities
I remember a time when the United States was considered a symbol of freedom and democracy, a “beacon on the hill.” We rightly denounced repressive tyrants, suspended diplomatic relations with nations accused of human rights violations, and slapped trade embargoes on countries guilty of apartheid and genocide.
Not any more. We now have an administration that has shown, by word and by deed, that it cares more for cutting lucrative arms deals to profit the corporate U.S. weapons industry than it does for preventing war and maintaining the moral high ground.
After the gruesome torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Embassy, I would have expected an immediate denunciation of such barbarism, and an immediate end to further arms sales to the Saudi regime – especially when those weapons are killing innocent civilians in Yemen and creating human suffering of unprecedented proportions.
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Instead, our president has made clear to the world that we’d rather put profits into the pockets of U.S. munitions makers than prioritize our nation’s true interests: our people’s needs here at home; the right to life – and to free speech – for people both here and abroad; and our standing in the world, now reduced to that of a rogue nation.
America has an alcoholism epidemic. This is a public health issue, and the Surgeon General should promote sobriety.
We must promote ways to increase dopamine to combat that urge to drink alcohol to feel good. It doesn’t work, ergo hangovers.
To increase dopamine, eat salmon, spinach, broccoli, almonds, walnuts, bananas, apples, yogurt, eggs, and cheese. To feel good, find a hobby such as fast-walking with a friend or doing 50 push-ups or sit-ups every day.
Dopamine functions as a neurotransmitter, a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells. The brain includes several distinct dopamine pathways, one of which plays a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior. (Wikipedia)
ABC stores and bars make a ton of money. Why else would some stay open until 2 a.m. serving poison-on-the-rocks? Maybe no one in their family has died in an accident caused by a drunk driver. Maybe their marriage hasn’t ended due to a drunken spouse. Maybe they haven’t lost their job due to alcohol abuse. Maybe they have not spent a mint to deal with a DUI citation. Maybe they haven’t had a sister raped because a boy was too drunk to think straight.
Public health and medical professionals should also take a strong stand for sobriety. America can no longer act like an ostrich and stick its head into a hole to ignore the problem. The media, faith leaders, elected officials and others must rise to the clarion call to urge Americans to stay sober.
On Sept. 17, 1918, the formal opening of The State Home and Industrial School for Girls (Samarcand Manor) took place. Until its closing in 2011, Samarcand ministered to the spiritual, academic, and vocational needs of generations of North Carolina’s adjudicated youth. Today it carries on that same spirit of service as Samarcand Training Academy for law enforcement.
In rural Moore County, hands-on agricultural pursuits provided all the produce and livestock needs of the students. In time and with the support of government and civic organizations, it became an exemplary rehabilitation model for the state.
Students lived in cottages (dormitories) and were provided round the clock supervision by a trained and compassionate staff. Entering students were given an orientation period before being released onto the main campus. Services for the students mirrored that of the public schools.
Like any correctional facility, there were dark episodes in its history. There was the occasional riot and the nationwide practice of eugenics has been well documented. The year 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Samarcand Manor. My prayer is that any living former students and staff will pause and reflect on their time there. In my 30 plus years as a teacher, Samarcand was an epiphany; a place to call home. Happy birthday my Friend!
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