October 2021

An Israel I Recognize

A long-form front page article in The New York Times on October 26 by Patrick Kingsley describes a ten-day automobile journey from the top to the bottom of Israel with many stops in between including Tel Aviv and the West Bank. It was the Israel I have come to know over my four trips. It is a place as complex as the United States and for largely the same reason. It’s complicated. It’s diverse. Things are contentious, especially the people although I do love Israelis and enjoyed spending time with the few Palestinian Arabs I was able to meet.

Rules Don’t Rust

As someone who spent many years enforcing “the rules” of research, particularly clinical research, I appreciate the importance of having rules in most walks of life. That was certainly true of human subjects research, animal care and use, and biosafety when I was the designated inmate for research administration at MD Anderson from 1995-2007. The rules surrounding conflicts of interest, as this blog has noted on many occasions, are still being written. Until they truly eliminate conflicts, those rules will be wanting and those the rules are aimed to protect will still be vulnerable if they break their fiduciary responsibility to academic integrity and patient care by pledging dual allegiance to science and their wallets.

Another place that rules seem to apply is on a movie set. Who knew?

Standing Up To Cancel Culture

One of the many things I do not understand is cancel culture. Why is it so important to demean another person for his or her stating an opinion, even if it vehemently disagrees with yours? I know I write a blog that tends to vilify Donald Trump, but he’s uncancellable

Why Trump Voters Ought To Be Looking For Another Choice

If nothing else has shaken you Trump voters from your insane belief that there is anything good to be said about Donald Trump, this should do it. Trump was actively working to reverse the results of a legitimate election right up to his last days in office. And he was trying to use the Department of Justice to do it. Now I know most of you who voted for Trump did so because you hate the Democrats and you want to protect your pocketbook, but please consider the fact that Mr. Trump tried on nine separate occasions to get the election tossed out by using the power of the federal government. That, my friends, is a true insurrection. In fact, it’s treason.

Substance Abuse

What is going on in Congress right now with Democrats fighting over two infrastructure bills and Republicans relishing them doing so is nothing short of moronic.

First, as Michelle Goldberg points out in The New York Times on October 5, Arizona Democratic Senator Krysten Sinema has tied the debate up in knots simply because no one knows what it will take to get her to vote for anything in the social welfare package, if she will. Considering her past as a progressive activist, that’s pretty humorous. I think she became enamored of money—hers and her campaign’s.


When I got to MD Anderson in 1984 and began collaborating with members of a then-fractionated department previously called Developmental Therapeutics led by the legendary J Freireich, I was told about “Eli.”  I had recently left the NCI where we had our own Eli (Glatstein) and I wondered who the local Eli was. I soon found out.

The attached commemoration of the late-Eli Estey, MD written by his friend Vinay Prasad appeared in MedPage Today on October 13, five days after Eli’s sudden and unexpected death.


I enjoy watching Kyrie Irving play basketball. I have ever since he was a one-and-done at Duke and then went to the NBA and brought the Cleveland Cavaliers a championship alongside LeBron James. Mr. Irving is a gifted basketball talent and a dedicated spokesman for Black Lives Matter and has made major contributions to worthy causes. He’s a good citizen. BUT—he’s not vaccinated and this is going to cost him about $380,000 per home game plus several road games because New York where he plays for the Brooklyn Nets and San Francisco have vaccine mandates to allow entry into athletic stadiums. It could cost the Nets the NBA championship as well.

Borders Or Boarders

One of the hallmarks of Donald Trump’s run for the White House and his presidency was his stance on policies concerning immigration and the borders of the United States. He famously said “if you don’t have borders, you don’t have a country.” Guess what? He was right!


There are many vexing issues presented to the thinking person by the covid-19 pandemic. Why are so many people resistant to getting vaccinated? Why are people willing to use unproven and unapproved medicines to treat a disease for which there are real treatments, albeit not curative ones? Why are so many infected people minimally affected by the virus and some fatally infected? But for sure, the most vexing of all of the questions surrounding SARS-CoV-2 is where the heck did it come from?


As I understand it, the Physicians’ Referral Service (PRS) was the brainchild of R. Lee Clark. It served as a repository for the clinical revenues generated by the clinical faculty and paid for many of the benefits for BOTH clinical and basic science faculty.

The benefits package when I arrived at MD Anderson in 1984 was the best in all of academic medicine. Even as the salaries here were more than competitive, the benefits package was superlative and abetted the recruitment and retention of many stellar faculty members over the years. PRS benefits were the golden handcuffs that kept our best faculty in Houston.