Wounded: Warriors,
Commercial Labs, Medicine, and Presidential Aspirants

EXTRA: Free Issue of
Cancer Letter Covering Gilman/CPRIT Controversy (link below)


Leonard Zwelling


         A confession. I give money every month to the Wounded Warrior
Project. Yes, I got the free blanket and from what the first article above
says, I am in the demographic that provides the charity much of its money. This
seemingly worthwhile organization that is supposed to tend to the needs of returning
veterans is under the media and regulatory microscope for lavish spending and
overly harsh HR practices including firing members of the very group for which
it is supposed to help gain employment, disabled vets. I am not a happy giver
right now.

         Another confession. I have been watching the progress or
regress of Theranos, a clinical lab testing company that is purporting to do standard
lab tests on much smaller blood samples than the familiar purple, green, blue and red Vacutainer
tubes, but which has hit a real snag in technology and now, it appears, with
the regulators. Its Stanford dropout CEO Elizabeth Holmes had promised to
revolutionize laboratory testing with her new technology, but is now being
criticized for having an inexperienced management and technical team with the
expected resultant problems in business practices. It all sounded too good to
be true to me when I first read about Theranos and its media attracting CEO,
and now it appears that my initial suspicions were correct. Were that I were as
careful with my charitable giving. At least I never bought Theranos stock.

         These sorts of stories of over the top spending and over
promising and under delivering should come as no surprise to us in the medical
field. We see it all the time with an overindulgence in fancy venues for less
than cutting edge scientific meetings, too many members of faculties taking
more days off than is permitted by attendance rules, and too lavish spending on
office furniture. It’s all the same. It’s called corruption. Sometimes it is
illegal, sometimes just unethical, but it is never good. It’s fraud and the
people perpetrating the fraud are themselves frauds and should be called such.
Instead we seem to call far too many of them Doctor, President or Madam. Yes,
the Clinton e-mails are another example of bad behavior, as yet unpunished, that
may well amount to criminality before this is all over if any of the documents
on her private server were confidential or classified (and the news this Friday afternoon suggests this is so). My guess is like her
husband, she will escape a court appearance, although he did get impeached for

         The final example of a fraud is our current race for the
White House. Shouldn’t there be some competency test for anyone wanting to run? How about an IQ test (whoops, Ben Carson would have passed that one, but not
the quiz on current events about eating hummus and fighting Hamas. He did demonstrate rote knowledge of the Preamble to the Constitution, something I learned in high school and I am not ready for the Oval Office at all, so why is he?) Supposedly,
the nominating process is a contest, but if it is, it appears more a beauty
contest than a competency challenge and there is no Miss Congeniality.

         So here are some ideas:

1. Unless you win a World War, the US Presidency cannot
be your first elected office. (Bye-bye Carly, Dr. Ben and The Donald)

2. One term in the US Senate is insufficient experience
for this job, too. (Au revoir Marco, Teddy and Rand—and Barack).

3. If you say three stupid things in one month of
campaigning, the gong is sounded and you are out. We will have an independent
board of randomly selected regular Americans to judge the stupidity level.
(Uh-oh, only Kasich and Bernie are left).

4. You cannot use your own money to run for President.
This may take an amendment as the use of money is always interpreted as a right
of free speech by our courts.

5.  You get extra
positive points for actually having been an executive (this did not help
Jindal, Huckabee, Pataki and may or may not save Christie, Bush, and Kasich. Bernie
was a mayor of Burlington, VT. Does that count?)

you see there are several people who ought to be disqualified for the run and
we ought to be left with just Clinton, Sanders, Christie, and Kasich, assuming she’s
not in a federal pen. So let’s save all that PAC money and put it into
biomedical research and have a Clinton-Sanders vs. Christie-Kasich race.

Link to Cancer Letter of
January 29:


Leonard Zwelling