EXTRA: The Latest Chronicle Nonsense

The Latest Chronicle
Nonsense

 http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Major-reset-7213593.php

“While the last
five years under DePinho’s leadership have been mixed, with much disappointment
over ethics and spending, in addition to his top-down leadership style, all
institutions – particularly those that have enjoyed a large measure of
historical success – have employees who question the need to change. Yet change
and a sense of urgency in scientific research is inevitable as long as so many
die of cancer.”

From today’s (April
4) editorial, Houston Chronicle

      As
one of those proud of being an ex-Anderson faculty member and current
questioner of the President’s ethics, I am really unsure what the Houston Chronicle’s editorial staff
thought it was doing with this editorial commentary, but it missed the mark—as
usual.

      Using
a favorite technique of the Trumpites, they equate the misdeeds of Dr. DePinho
with the complaints of the faculty as of equal weight and equal potency as if
they were both legitimate sides of an argument. This is simply untrue.

      At
MD Anderson ALL the power is with the President, none with the faculty, and if
there are problems they must be laid at the feet of the leadership. There is
NOT equal culpability and the Chancellor has done next to nothing to fix the
problems he himself identified over 6 months ago.

      It
will take a lot more than a recitation of Kumbaya
to fix what ails the Anderson.

As Ronald
Reagan said of Jimmy Carter in the 1980 campaign:

“Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is
when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”

       Here it is trouble
is when your chairman loses his or her job. Tragedy is when you lose yours.
Recovery is when Dr. DePinho loses his. There is no in between or negotiated
settlement for this kind of power abuse. Until DePinho is gone, there will be
no sighting of the old MD Anderson.

       And by the way all
you realists out there, the cure of cancer is neither imminent nor a matter of
societal urgency. It is a challenging scientific and medical problem the
solution for which will take a great deal of effort and is not something to
place on the time line of some strategic planning exercise. Cancer will not fall
to a moonshot given that we have been shooting at it for over 44 years and the
real Apollo Moonshot took all of 8 to culminate. And no fancy and costly video
featuring John Kennedy and Ron DePinho can change that history.

       Lofty goals are
great in politics. In science, goals are also useful, but mostly it takes hard
work. And time.

       Remember, curing
cancer will add all of 3.5 years to the life span of the average American. Most
people who get cancer are far beyond their child-bearing years and as such the
long term survival of these people, meaning them dying of something else, is
not in line with evolutionary nor biologic theory.

       Cancer is life gone
awry. To cure cancer will necessitate understanding the essence of what life is
and that is not an easy task that will be accomplished with outrageous spending
on couches.

       This is serious
business and the faculty understands that far better than the MD Anderson
leadership does. Let the faculty get back to work, Ron. And you need to get
back to Boston.

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