Amazing – They Go In And See

Had my routine colonoscopy this morning. 


It is so amazing that they can go in with camera and everything. 


Look around and if necessary, cut out anything bad. 


Years ago, people just felt sick or pain and maybe saw some symptoms from outside.


But they had no idea what was happening inside. 


So grateful to G-d for the technology and doctors that can make sure all is okay. 


We are truly living in miraculous times. 


They even send you home with some pictures afterward.


It’s interesting to see, but maybe a little TMI. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

@National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

So good today to visit the NIST Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE).
The cybersecurity solutions developed are aligned to the well-known Cybersecurity Framework (CSF). 


Got to see some of the laboratories, including demonstrations for securing the Healthcare and Energy Sectors. 


Interesting to hear about examples for securing hospitals records and even things like infusion pumps.  


The medical devices are tricky to secure, because they are built to potentially last decades and are expensive to replace, but the underlying technology changes every couple of years. 


Also, learned more about securing the energy sector and their industrial control systems.  


One scary notable item mentioned was about the “big red button” for shutdown in many of these facilities, but apparently there is malware that can even interfere in this critical function. 


It is imperative that as a nation we focus on critical infrastructure protection (CIP) and continuously enhancing our security.


Time is of the essence as our adversaries improve their game, we need to be urgently upping ours. 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Trends In Homelessness

So the plight of the homeless in Washington, DC and other large cities like NY and LA is despicable. 


This photo is taken not far from the Capitol building in DC. 


The homeless are not living in tents in the dead of Winter. 


As the people pass by, under this particular overpass were no less than 4 tents. 


While millionaires and billionaires splurge on themselves, so many people continue to go without adequate food, shelter, clothing, plumbing, healthcare, education, and jobs in America. 


When G-d looks down and see the unsympathetic wealthy next to the downtrodden poor–and many of the wealthy act like insatiable pigs, while the poor go hungry and cold–shall the L-rd that judges all the earth not do justly?  


Yes, there should be incentives for people to work hard and contribute, but when the wealth is skewed so that more than 50% of all the wealth is owned by just the top 1% of people and the top 1% own more than the bottom 90% of the population–we have a system that is not just broken, but grossly unjust and inhumane. 


Corruption is alive and well, and who is there among our leaders to stand up and say and do what is right by G-d children? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Some Reflections From The Procedure

So I had a little procedure this week. 


I hate going to the hospital–who doesn’t?


But I figured better to take care of something before it gets worse. 


I think of it like taking the car into the mechanic for a tuneup every once in a while. 


This analogy stuck with me years ago, when the orthopedist told me I needed to get a hip replacement and started to describe it as having a flat tire that needed to be repaired. 


Leading up the the procedure, someone sent me this funny cartoon:

This really hit a nerve too because even the best medicine these days reminds me of the truly horrible medicine not so long ago.  


Ah, have some liquor, bite on this piece of wood, and now we’ll saw your leg off!


I remember my father never even liked to go to the doctor, and he had total faith that G-d was his doctor–I think he actually managed to avoid the doctor for literally something like 30-years.


He also used to joke that many doctors were butchers, and he didn’t want to get caught under their knife. 


So that’s certainly some apprehension going in to this. 


The other thing that was interesting-sad that I saw this week when I went for an MRI was someone taking a homeless person into the radiology center for a scan. 


But when the lady asked for insurance the person didn’t have any, so the lady asks for “proof of homelessness.”


I was flabbergasted at this as the guy was obviously homeless and literally was wearing tattered clothes.


They wouldn’t do the scan until the person escorting him would come back with this proof.  


I felt so bad for him and thought to myself is this what the healthcare system and care for the poverty-striken in this country has come to? 


While I am so truly grateful for the miraculous care that I received this week, I am equally saddened at the care that others don’t get that need it, and pray that we as a “caring society” will do better. 


Anyway, I want to express my gratitude to the doctor, the hospital, my wonderful family who stood by me, and most of all to G-d for seeing me through the procedure this week and for watching over me always. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Amazon + Teva = A Marriage Made In Heaven

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Amazon has upended so many industries–and you can basically buy almost anything there.


And yes, what you can’t buy today, you will be able to buy tomorrow. 


What started as books and DVDs is now virtually synonymous with e-Commerce itself!

Next up for Amazon is pharmaceuticals!


Some people may think that Whole Foods gives Amazon the footprint it needs to sell these and dominate.


But what people aren’t considering is that Amazon can sell the pharmaceuticals online.


Amazon can do what other online drug distributors can’t.


Why?


Because Amazon has the most unbelievable distribution network in the world. 


Currently, people can order drugs through the mail, but these tend to be for regular reoccurring prescriptions that have lead time. 


However, Amazon can outdo these mail order pharma companies, because they can get you the drugs you need when and where you need it. 


– You don’t feel well and can’t make it to CVS, Amazon will deliver to your door. 


– Need same-day delivery, no problem. 


– Plus do all your shopping together in one fell timesaving swoop. 


My prediction: 

Amazon the low cost, efficient online seller of everything to everywhere is going to partner with Teva Pharmaceuticals, the #1 world leader in low cost generic drugs.


Teva already produces 120 billion tablets and capsules every year, operates in 80 countries, and currently fills 1 in 6 generic prescriptions in the U.S. 

Together, Amazon and Teva can make beautiful music, that is medicine + money!


Who needs CVS when pharmaceuticals perhaps soon can be gotten at Whole Foods or at your Trusty Amazon.com.  


One more time, I see some radical disruption–and this time it will bring you cheaper and more convenient drugs–make a l’chaim to your health. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)


(Endnote: I am a big fan + investor in Teva, and of course, all opinions here are my own.)

Doctors In Houston

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With the crisis of Hurricane Harvey and the rains still battering Houston…


It was so amazing to read this morning about the doctors who are going all out to help people in need there.


Doctors staying in the hospital for days to cover their patients stuck there and requiring care and treatment.


And others that are wading through the waters at there own risk to get there to treat the sick.


One doctor mentioned was Adi Diab M.D. who trekked 3 miles through a foot of water to get Anderson Cancer Center “to attend to a patient undergoing an experimental cancer treatment.”


He did this so as not to interfere with the patients scheduled treatment for the re-engineering of immune cells to fight a tumor.


I’ll tell you, there really are some truly amazing people out there–whether doctors and nurses, firefighters and emergency responders, law enforcement and military personnel.


They run into danger and disaster zones when everyone else is running out. 


Is it professionalism, dedication, duty, or an angelic calling to help people and the nation in need.


This is our nation at its best–united!!!–and helping our neighbors, saving lives, and putting others before self.


“Houston there is a problem”, and as unbelievably horrible and unfortunate as it is, perhaps it is also a critical reminder of what’s really important and a healing to our great nation.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The REAL Problem Is NOT Healthcare

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Why can’t all the really smart people in this country solve the healthcare crisis?


The democrats tried and it didn’t work out to well. 


And now the republicans are trying and sort of the same thing so far.


Is it politics?


Sure, that is what it can easily look like. 


One side wants to give more to these folks and less to someone else, and the other side vice versa.


But I don’t think that is the truth!


Wouldn’t we all like to give health coverage to every single man, woman, and child in this country!


Seriously…doesn’t everyone have a heart and soul somewhere in there.


And we all know and/or fear what it’s like to be at risk, without proper coverage, and without the medical care and medicine that can be lifesaving!


So here’s the real problem folks:


It’s not healthcare, nor any of the other social or national security issues we face–whether the military, space exploration, environmental concerns, jobs, or anything else. 


This is what it is…


It’s called the national debt, which stands art $20,000,000,000,000


And that doesn’t even include ANOTHER 127,000,0000,000,000 of unfunded liabilities for things like social security and medicare etc. 


This is a nation that collectively doesn’t save–it spends–and it spends not only it’s current purse, but it’s future one too!


In fact, total U.S Household wealth in aggregate of $90,000,000,000 is eclipsed by our overall national debt!


True, this doesn’t include trillions of dollars of other significant business or national assets, but it does point to the overall severity of our highly-leveraged financial position.


So where does this leave us?


We can’t really solve healthcare or any of our other problems–if we are BROKE, busted, and a debtor nation. 


Yes, it takes money to invest, and money to pay for solutions for now and for the future. 


But how can you possibly solve anything, if your pockets are not only empty but have a big f*ckin’ hole in them. 


So folks, the lousy decisions of the past and present are coming back to haunt us. 


It’s a tidal wave, a tsunami of debt–of unbelievable corruption and kicking the can down the road–of fraud, waste, and abuse–of shortsightedness and lack of real leadership–and the time is coming to pay the piper!


If you think the political infighting–liberal and conservatives–tea party and progressives–alt left and alt right–socialists and dictators–is bad now?


But unfortunately, unsolvable problems lead to accusations and recriminations–finger-pointing all around–calls for impeachment–calls to let the other party or some independent lead us out of this mess.


Do you think being in such a challenging situation could also lead us to make rash and stupid mistakes or even go to war? 


In the end, how do you lead us out of a dead-end caused by generations of recklessness with our country’s finances?


Some say perhaps we can grow ourselves out of the debt–maybe we need to go back to school and all get our MBAs and start the whole messed up story all over again?


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)