I'm Right Again Dot Com

A new commentary every Wednesday        Oct 22, 2014

  Questions - We have questions:

    Beginning with the most troubling one: Where is the Iraqi army—reportedly 120,000 soldiers, upon we lavished billions of dollars worth of hardware, not to mention the lives of nearly 4,500 dead and 32,000 wounded U.S. service members?

    We don't wish to include the several divisions of Iraqi military, who along with scores of officers, stripped off their uniforms and abandoned tanks, artillery and vehicles made in the USA, to flee in terror upon their first encounter with the Islamist State forces. To know that Iraqi government forces are unwilling to defend their own country, although disappointing, should not be unexpected.

    Is it true that the so-called "coalition," led by the U.S., dropped supplies intended for the Kurds fighting ISIS, into the hands of the Islamists this week, and if this question is germane, who is to blame for this latest debacle?

    This third question requires a short prologue. Usually, when an organization exhibits a less than stellar performance that affects some segment of our population adversely, the head of the organization, whether it be General Motors, a bank, Wall Street firm or governmental agency, the media can expect the head of the agency to make a statement. Even Bernie Madoff defended his reprehensible behavior.

    It occurred to me that throughout the Ebola scare involving the Texas Presbyterian Health Center in Dallas, that the head of the hospital has not, as far as I know, appeared on television, nor have I heard his voice on radio, nor seen his name mentioned on the World Wide Web. That doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    Curiosity provoked this old "reporter" to call KRLD radio in Dallas—since 1926, the top source for broadcast news coverage in middle-Texas, and with 50,000 watts, most of America. I asked a KRLD reporter if he knew who Jim Berg is ? (No-never heard of him, he responded).

    When I told him that Mr. Berg is the chief operating officer and interim president of TPHC and asked if he, the reporter had seen, heard or read an account in the Dallas Press of what Mr. Berg had to say about what I termed an "unfortunate mistake," in the handling of Ebola patients and protocol, he admitted that no, to his knowledge, Mr. Berg had maintained a curious silence during this entire episode.

    My questions of you readers are: has anyone interviewed Mr. Berg and if so, what did he say?

    Just curious. More so, about why he, like the Wizard of Oz, has remained behind the curtain for so long and has been permitted to do so by Dallas media. He and they must suffer from collaborative reticence. Under the circumstance, I can't really blame him. News came yesterday that the Dallas hospital is no longer to be relied upon to serve patients with Ebola.

    For both of you readers' information (all of this gathered from the Internet): James (Jim) Berg has been at TPHC since 2007. He holds a Masters Degree in hospital and healthcare administration from St. Louis University. He began his career at the Hill Air Force Base, near Salt Lake City, and in fact, is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve; was named the Reserve's Most Outstanding Hospital Administrator in 1981. Beyond that, he is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and came to Dallas after being president and CEO of the Methodist Hospitals System in Chicago.

    I most often heard from a talking head, referred to as Clay Jenkins. It took some time to determine what his role is in the matter.

    FYI: The administration of Texas counties is unique. A five-member "Court" of elected commissioners, who control the purse stings of the counties, are headed by a judge, who is, in fact, the chief administrator of the county but holds no more voting power than any of the other county commissioners. I presume this the reason we have often heard from Clay Jenkins, Judge of the Dallas County Commission Court, in relation to the Ebola challenge there, and who may be presumed to also have jurisdiction over the county health department. Why he came to be the Dallas spokesperson for the Ebola matter is not entirely clear. 

    One final question: Who or what are we celebrating on Halloween? We know what Christians celebrate each December 25. Our Jewish friends have Yom Kippur, Muslims have Ramadan. We also celebrate President's Day, Fourth of July, Flag Day, St. Patrick's day, Columbus day, (maybe not so much by Native Americans), and there is a day dedicated to members of the military, the laborer, mother, father, even grandparents (not so much formally), and of course the BIG ONE: Superbowl Sunday.

    Freedom to cadge candy under a sort of coercive threat, delivered by an elf disguised as Bela Lugosi, ignores the health issues of throngs of real, suffering diabetics and fatties. I admit to being a chocolate-a-holic, myself. I always stock up on far more than I give away each Halloween, and am prevented by my Scottish genetics from throwing it away,

     What got me going on this subject is that I recently read in Time magazine (October 27), in an article by Kristen van Ogtrop, that this Halloween, Americans are projected to spend $7.4 billion on this "hallowed" tradition, $350 million of which is to go for costumes for our pets. No, not our children...our dogs, cats and Vietnamese, pot-bellied pigs!

    That far exceeds using soap to write insults on the window glass of one's cranky neighbor or even with the assistance of chums, the supreme stunt of tipping over a rural outdoor toilet or two—the most outrageous act of my miss-spent youth. Incidentally, turning one topsy-turvy with an unfortunate inside is a part of American apocrypha. Never really happened. Not to my knowledge, anyway.

    Perhaps some of you dedicated Druids have answers to the above.

-Phil Richardson, Curmudgeon, Observer and Storyteller. 

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