Let Us Pray

2A15CB05-3680-4A29-8FF3-FB0B083B395E Donald Trump said today that his administration will deem churches and other places of worship “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic. He said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue guidance that deems houses of worship essential places that provide essential services, and he is urging state governors to allow churches to reopen. “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now,” he said. “If they don’t do it, I will override the governors.”

Trump added, “In America we need more prayer, not less.” And so he is calling on houses of faith, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, to reopen “right now.”

I’m not a religious man. I’m not a churchgoer. But I have been under the impression that faith comes from within and that you can pray at any time from anywhere. Do you really need to go to a crowded church, synagogue, or mosque to practice your faith and to pray to whatever god you pray to?

This is not a rhetorical question. It’s not a trick question. I really want to know. Do you need to risk the health and life of others and your own health and life in order to practice your religion?

Fandango’s Friday Flashback — May 15

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of you earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 15th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This post was originally published on May 15, 2011 on my old blog.

Reheat Your Meat

No, the name of this post is not the tagline for an ad about a new miracle drug to cure erectile dysfunction or to enhance male sexual performance.

It is about a warning that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued for women who are pregnant, people over 50, “and especially for those over 65.”  Uh oh!

According to a recent article I read in USA Today, the CDC is warning us old timers against eating cold lunch meats, cold cuts, and deli meats.601C1786-F305-4F5F-91DE-3BC94F919C82Who knew that the latest threat to the survival of the human race would be honey cured ham, roasted turkey breast, or bologna? And yet the CDC suggests that such luncheon meats should not be eaten unless they’ve been thoroughly reheated to “steaming hot” (or at least 165 degrees) in order to kill any bacteria that might be present.

Can you think of anything less appetizing than a plate piled high with steaming hot cold cuts? And if sliced luncheon meats are steaming hot, are they still considered to be “cold cuts”?

This recommendation to reheat your meat is due to an insidious food-borne bug by the name of listeria monocytogenes. It’s the source of an uncommon but potentially fatal disease called listeriosis. About 85% of cases of listeriosis are linked to cold cuts or deli meats. The remaining 15%, according to reliable sources from the makers of Scope mouthwash, are linked to the use of Listerine, which, competitors claim, has listeria as its active ingredient.

By the way, Listeriosis is fatal about 20% of the time! And like all really scary threats to your health and well being, you can’t see, taste, or smell listeria.

Most luncheon meats are cooked at food processing plants where the bacteria in them are killed during the packaging process. But the problem is that once the cold cuts are sliced or the package is opened, they are vulnerable to listeria.

If just a single cell of listeria from a contaminated surface, a meat slicer, or even the air gets on the meats, it has a unique ability to keep growing even when refrigerated. It’s like a friggin’ zombie that just won’t die.

The CDC also advises that you not keep opened packages of lunch meat, or meat sliced at the local deli, for longer than three to five days in your refrigerator. I looked at a package of organic roasted turkey breast that my wife bought at Whole Foods Market a while ago.  The label does say, “Keep refrigerated (best within four days of opening).” Perhaps they should revise the label to say, “Best within four days of opening; possibility of death if consumed after that.”

The suggestion that cold cuts should be consumed within three to five days of opening is something that virutally no one pays attention to, says Douglas Powell, director of food safety at Kansas State University. “Anecdotally, lots of people keep cold cuts in their refrigerator far longer than they should,” he says. “People keep them for one to two weeks. That’s the key message. If you get it from the deli counter, four days max.”

I always thought that if it doesn’t smell bad, if it doesn’t feel slimy, if the edges haven’t turned green or blue, and if there aren’t little white spots of mold on the meat, it’s still okay to eat.

By the way, the CDC also recommends that, after having consumed refrigerated luncheon meats or deli cold cuts without reheating your meat, if you get an erection lasting more than four hours, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Or gargle with Listerine.

Political Rallies Über Alles

66433C55-4F23-44F2-BB64-740C1082164CWhatever happened to the notion of leading by example?

Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have chosen to ignore calls from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cancel rallies and other large events because of coronavirus fears. The CDC has been absolutely clear that people should avoid congregating in large groups.

Donald Trump isn’t slowing his pace, either, even though he — like Sanders and Biden — is in his 70s, which is a high-risk group for “getting very sick from this illness,” according to the CDC. There are now more than 600 confirmed coronavirus cases and 22 deaths in the U.S. And many of those who have died are in the same age range as the three finalists in the presidential campaign.

Seriously, guys, what are you thinking?

The Dickey Amendment

FBB58C3D-AC95-4F1A-9782-6B371D5015CCDid you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is prohibited by federal law from studying firearm violence even though the American Medical Association calls gun violence in America an epidemic and has dubbed it as “a public health crisis”?

It’s true. In 1996, the Republican-majority Congress threatened to strip all funding from the CDC, which the National Rifle Association accused of promoting gun control, unless it stopped funding research into firearm injuries and death.

And in 1997, with strong backing from the NRA, the “Dickey Amendment,” named for Republican Congressman Jay Dickey of Arkansas, was passed by Congress. The Dickey Amendment to the federal congressional appropriations bill stipulated that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the CDC may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” As a result, the CDC stopped funding gun control research.

Although gun violence is one of the leading causes of death in America, it is also one of the most poorly researched. In relation to US mortality rates, gun violence research is the least-researched cause of death and the second-least-funded cause of death, after falls.

Critics of the restrictions argue that the government should not try to limit the collection of scientific information, which is by nature apolitical. Facts are facts, and public health researchers do not have a vested interest in politicizing the outcome of such studies.

Non-partisan research could uncover any number of constructive actions that might help stem the tide of gun violence that don’t necessarily include limiting access to guns. But with these gun violence research restrictions, policymakers have very little up-to-date data about what causes gun violence or how it can be prevented or reduced.

So just why are the NRA and congressional Republicans so determined to prevent research into gun violence? My guess: follow the money.

Maybe now might be a good time to contact your senators and representatives and encourage them to consider allowing funding for gun violence research.

After all, before he died last year, none other than the man behind the Dickey Amendment, Jay Dickey, expressed a desire to turn gun violence research “over to science and take it away from politics.”

Forget Flu Shots, Christians

Texas minister Gloria Copeland, who sat on the Trump campaign’s evangelical executive advisory board, claimed in a Facebook video that there is no severe flu outbreak in the United States. Well, at least if your Christian.

This religious wacko said, “Jesus himself is our flu shot. He redeemed us from the curse of the flu.”

As if that wasn’t crazy enough, she advised that when someone suggests that you get a glue shot because “everyone is getting the flu,” just tell those non-believers that, “We’ve already had our shot: He bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases. That’s what we stand on. And by his stripes we are healed.”

And in the event you somehow did come down with the flu, all you have to do is recite, “Flu, I bind you off of the people in the name of Jesus,” and you’ll be feeling fine in no time at all.

Yet, despite Jesus’ efforts on our behalf, this year’s flu season is among the worst in recent history. According to the CDC last Friday, flu-related hospitalizations were the highest since the agency began tracking that statistic in 2010. Agency officials said the death toll among children has risen to 53 so far.

I wonder how many of those who died or have come down with the flu are Christians. If they are, they must not have thanked Jesus enough for fluing for their sins.