Ex-Surgeon General Carmona visits

Dr. Richard Carmona, former U.S. Surgeon General, came by Tuesday to promote the worthy agenda of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. That’s yet another of those groups — such as this one, and this one, and this one (not to mention the one that advertises at the top of this blog) — that has established a presence in South Carolina in order to try to get the presidential candidates to address their issues of concern. As with the others, the effort is avowedly nonpartisan, and just as avowedly disinclined to promote any one solution over others.

I urge you to read about the group and its aims at this address.

Anyway, I asked the former Surgeon General whether his recent headline-making appearance at a congressional hearing — at which he complained that the Bush Administration, as is its wont, pressured him to get in line politically, regardless of science — had any effect on his ability to be heard across the political spectrum. I didn’t see why it should have, logically speaking, but I had long ago realized that political partisans don’t feel compelled to speak logically. His response was encouraging:


As long as I had him, I figured I’d ask him what he thought about South Carolina’s recent failed efforts to raise our cigarette tax:

Finally, I asked the question that I had always wanted to ask, and which I would not have been allowed to ask if my more task-oriented colleagues had been present (but fortunately, they were not): What’s with the Navy uniform (which one could also word, How come a "general" is wearing an admiral’s uniform?)

7 thoughts on “Ex-Surgeon General Carmona visits

  1. Karen McLeod

    “The only legally obtainable product, which when used as directed results in death.” I quoted that from memory, so it could be off, but it’s pretty close and says it all. The tobacco growers have known this for years, and have been given millions of dollars to help them transition to less lethal crops. Yet they object. And people get hooked, and die. Many people smoke. Most started as a teenager, as I did. Some of those quit. Others rail against increasing taxes on the drug that they are addicted to, and die. Some restaurateurs and bar owners claim that making their places of business smoke-free will hurt their income, so they risk the health of their waitstaff, and those who come in with smoking friends. They don’t realize that there’s a group of us out there that they’d see more frequently if they went smoke free. I believe Dr. Koop stated that nicotine addiction is harder to break than heroin addiction. I know it isn’t easy. If we’re not willing to ban a killer drug, can’t we at least price it out of the range of teens, and make it expensive enough so that if their parents do smoke, they’ll notice the kid stealing their smokes? Maybe, if we can’t change this insane position (a legal drug that kills) we can at least limit it to the older, hooked, and dying.

  2. Gary

    I had the good fortune to do some work with Dr. Carmona at HHS. He’s a good man. Most of his disputes, from people I talked to and trust, were really with one or two other political appointees (and to be honest, it sounds like those others were REALLY heavy handed), not with some grand command from the White House.
    But that doesn’t get at a couple of bigger points. For one, the coverage of his remarks assumes that there is complete unanimity among science and health experts about all matters, and the only thing that keeps those experts from airing their views is political interference. That is just patently false. There is often vigorous debate among scientists and health experts, and sometimes — this will shock you — those scientists actually have political biases.
    Secondly, the Surgeon General is appointed by a political figure — the President. He or she is thus accountable to a person who has to submit himself or herself to the voters. To have the Surgeon General be someone completely removed from any voter accountability is to fly in the face of what The State’s “Power Failure” series was all about.
    Third, there was some coverage of Dr. Carmona’s remarks implying that he had said there was some Bush Administration decree about mentioning the president in speeches. I helped edit and write speeches for the head of Medicare and Medicaid, and there was no such decree on us that I ever heard of, and if there was, we probably violated it.
    I write all of this not to criticize Dr. Carmona, who I traveled with once or twice to help get the word to seniors about the new drug coverage. He said nothing controversial on those trips, nor did he express any desire to depart from our mission. He seemed to be enjoying himself, except when we got stuck once at the Boston airport.

  3. xxx gay fetish

    I haven’t gotten much done recently. I don’t care. My life’s been basically boring these days. Whatever. More or less nothing exciting going on lately, but pfft.

  4. ericperry123

    I really impress to those surgeon who are so talented and blessed and have concern about International Health, especially if they share that blessing to those who need most not for the self-interest. Their kind acts like volunteer medical missions and other charitable programs can be nothing in other’s eyes but it is meaningful in God’s. How glad to see such people who are concerned in helping his fellows, but is this enough? We should also do something…make our move…do our part before it’s too late!

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