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The Center for Disease Control hasn't released statistics on the effectiveness of this season's flu vaccine, but it acknowledges that getting it is no guarantee you'll avoid getting sick.  As a matter of fact, last season's vaccine effectiveness was 39 percent.  (Source:  Allure)   That's probably why I've never been a fan of the flu shot and the last time I had one was more than 30 years ago.

For nearly a month I have been battling some flu like symptoms.  Because I don't appear to be getting better with my own homemade recipes of tea with lemon and honey, plenty of fluids, and Robitussin, I decided it was time to see my doctor.  Unfortunately my Primary Care Physician was unable to see me because he was booked solid, so I had to see a Nurse Practitioner.  I had never seen her before so I was reluctant but I figured she was better than going to the Urgent Care (next door) which was overflowing with sick folks.

I'm not exactly sure how much of my medical history this NP read before she saw me but she immediately apologized for being more than an hour late in seeing me for my scheduled 9:20 am appointment.  She indicated she was seeing patients back-to-back and two people had to be taken from the clinic to the ER. 

Right at the beginning I wanted her to understand my concern because of my congestive heart failure diagnosis more than 10 years ago.  I'm already dealing with an enlarged heart so additional fluids around that area can have a negative impact on my overall health.  As result, she ordered a bunch of tests. Moments ago, I received the results, which could've been in a foreign language because I didn't understand what they were for and the necessity.  Furthermore, there was nothing in the results that indicated what was wrong although the flu was definitely ruled OUT.  But here's the kicker:  She prescribed some medication for a "possibility" of what I might have.  Who takes medication without knowing why?  I certainly don't!

Why am I sharing this?  Because there are people just like me all over the country who see doctors and don't get definitive results or they're misdiagnosed. This is especially true in the black community, where the quality of healthcare often depends on your skin color. (Source:  HuffPost)

Once I read the results in my email, I immediately sent a note to the NP.  I also sent a :cc to my PCP.   

Ms. NP,

I have looked at the test results from my office visit today.  Since the results are unclear to me, can you tell me what the medication is actually for?  I don't see anything in my test results to indicate what my diagnosis is.  All I know is I continue to feel bad with a tightness in my chest and coughing and congestion.

I will not take the medication until I am clear on the reason why.  The reason for this is several years ago I was given antibiotics for what a doctor thought was pneumonia.  It turned out to be cardiomyopathy.  Terrible misdiagnosis!

Thank you

Don't be afraid to challenge your medical provider.  While you're in the office, take the time to ask questions:

1)  What is the test four?

2)  When will I get the results?

3)  Why do I need this treatment/medication?

4)  Will this medicine interact with medicines I'm already taking?

5)  Are there any alternatives

I'll be sure to follow up to this blog post with the response I receive. 
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First of all, let me say, the media ought to be ashamed of itself!  Every news program I turned to this morning was talking about the possibility of Oprah running for President in 2020.  This came as the result of her powerful and I do mean POWERFUL acceptance speech upon receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes awards show Sunday night.

Personally, I have never seen Oprah give a speech when she wasn't powerful and inspiring with something extremely relevant and thought-provoking to say.  She's a journalist by profession so she knows how to use words and use them effectively.  That's what we do.  The major difference between Oprah and the rest of us is she went on to create a media dynasty that opened doors for many in the process.  Folks like Tyler Perry, Ava Duvernay, her gal-pal, Gayle King, former President Barack Obama and a host of  authors, along with one of my hometown friends Delores Pressley, all owe some debt of gratitude to the former Queen of the Daytime Talk Shows .

But here we are now, thanks to the media, thinking about the possibility of Oprah becoming the next President of the United States.  Sources close to Oprah allegedly told a CNN correspondent that she was "actively thinking" about it.  We all actively think about a lot of things so what does that actually mean?  Every morning when I get out of bed I "actively" think about going to the gym. I don't always "actively" get there though.  Every day I "actively" think about what I might make for dinner and most times end up changing my mind to something else or not to make anything at all. I also "actively" think about my next vacation to St. Lucia but my bank account says otherwise.

Here's my point:  Most of the news programs have become nothing more than sensationalized entertainment shows designed to boost their ratings.  We all know how well they did with making Donald Trump our latest President.  They went out of their way to give him more air time and credibility than he ever deserved and now spend their days and nights gawking over how he could've possibly won.  These days every story they run is to tear the same man down that they spent a whole campaign building up, all for the sake of some "good soundbites."  Now they've got their sights on Oprah Winfrey.

One thing we all know about Oprah is she is very media savvy so she knows what she'll be up against during a knock down drag-out campaign.  But we also know the media too.  We know you can be their darling one minute and they'll be out to destroy you in the next.  As a matter of fact, right after her rousing speech at the Golden Globes, some old, cozy photos of her and alleged sex offender Harvey Weinstein showed up on social media as a reminder that if you live in a glass house you may not want to throw any stones.

Here's another perspective on Oprah for President by the LA Times:  OPRAH
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The sexual harassment scandals involving old white men in power just keep on coming.  Now we have Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson offering to sell the team now that an NFL investigation involving his workplace behavior is coming to light.  Not only is he accused of sexual misconduct but he is also accused of using racial slurs on at least on occasion.  And thanks to an investigative reporter with Sports Illustrated, we now know there were several payouts over the years, also known as "hush money."

When it was learned that the NFL was taking over the investigation that was initially started by the Panthers internal investigative team, Richardson immediately announced he would be selling the team at the end of the year.  How convenient for him.  His value has skyrocketed to over $1 billion since he first bought the team in the early 90's for a little over $200 million.

The sports world is stunned.  Say it ain't so Joe!  Oh, but it is and probably a lot more prevalent than we know.  Let's look at what we do know in this case.  Jerry Richardson is 81 years old, which means he was born in 1936 and he was raised in a tiny town known as Spring Hope, NC (outside of Fayetteville).  Heck, they were still lynching black folks so he grew up in that type of environment and the only exposure he had to blacks during that time period were as maids and other slave labor.

As Richardson was climbing the ladder of white male privilege, he became CEO of a company known as Flagstar, which just happened to own the Denny's chain, which had been sued by the Justice Department for refusing to serve black patrons.  In 1994, Flagstar agreed to pay more than $50 million to settle lawsuits filed by thousands of black customers around the country.  All under Richardson's helm.

Now I know there are people who will say that was a LONG time ago we should judge him on his merits now.  After all, he's got a black quarterback and a head coach who is of Puerto Rican descent.  Richardson had a chance to be a shining example of what it means to be an owner who values diversity but these allegations just goes to show you, you can't teach an old southern dawg new tricks.

Furthermore, here's what else we also know about Richardson.  When black NFL players were taking a knee over racial inequality, Richardson threatened to punish anyone on the team who participated and he made it clear that he didn't want to see any of his "boys" on the team wearing dreadlocks.

Publicly, Richardson presents himself a Traditionalist---a conservative Christian man who stands for moral values but behind the scenes we are learning about a different side.  Much like the "behind the scenes" comment made by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair when he said "We can't have inmates running the prison!"  While he swears he wasn't referring to the NFL players, they majority of people who heard about it took it that way.

We all know the NFL owners are the Good Ol' Boy Network and they pride themselves in being an exclusive white male privilege club.

How will scandal impact Richardson's legacy or will it have an affect at all?  We'll let the Football Hall of Fame committee tell us.
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With the holiday season upon us, more and more people are looking for ways to connect with loved ones and old friends if they can't be with them in person. Social media sites like Facebook have seen an influx of baby boomers in recent years and with the holiday season here, more and more of us are looking for ways to connect with loved ones and old friends if we can't be with them in person.

While it's wonderful to use social media to make connections, it can have a downside. Here are holiday social media tips to keep you relatively safe:

1) Do not make public announcements about where you're going. No one needs to know you're leaving your home to go away to visit your children in another state. As a matter of fact, no one ever needs to know when you leave your home because that means it could be unattended and an open invitation to thieves.

2) Don't tell people where you are. On Twitter, people are known to post where they are while they're there. Once again, that's an open invitation to burglars.

3) Don't announce your shopping expenditures. Why brag that you've spent several hundred dollars on Christmas gifts this year? That's a signal that you HAVE money and could become a target for a robbery---or something far worse.

4) Advise your children and grandchildren not to go public with your business. While the family may be excited that you're coming to visit, it isn't necessary to put the information on their Facebook page or "tweet" about it. You don't know who they're connected to that might be interested in such information.

5) Finally, don't click on links from people you don't know. People may try to send you a holiday greeting in disguise---which could actually contain a nasty virus. You may be connected to the friend of a friend of a friend but if you don't know they personally, don't click on the link. Instead, just go their page and post a personal greeting and thank them for thinking of you. If they didn't post the link, you'll be doing them a huge favor.

By following these tips, baby boomers, their families and friends can enjoy the holidays and stay safe at the same time.
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Now we can add Harvey Weinstein's name to the list of dirty, old, white, arrogant, privileged men who's accused to sexually harassing women. He has now joined the elite white male privileged club that also boasts names like 71-year-old Donald Trump, the late former Fox News executive Roger Ailes, and 67-year-old Bill O'Reilly Their abuse of power and their lack of respect for women doesn't shock me, as a black woman, because history tells us that's what white men have always done dating back to the years of slavery. The only difference now is that white women are the victims. They're speaking out and getting paid big time.  My great-grandmother, on the other hand, had no voice and would've probably been murdered if she spoke about it.

The Harvey Weinstein scandal broke when an article by the New York Times in October detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations against him.  Actress Rose McGowan was the first to come out publicly followed by Ashley Judd and a host of others.  So, once again, I am supposed to be outraged and disgusted by the actions of these white, arrogant, privileged, dirty, old, white men. When the news of all of the settlements Fox News had made on behalf of Bill O'Reilly white women were up in arms raising all kinds of hell about his male privilege and why Fox News kept it quiet for so long.  Now with the Weinstein scandal I am supposed to stand shoulder to shoulder with the victims and say "enough is enough." I get that and I am glad these women decided to come forward but I also wonder why the voices of minority women have never been heard in a similar situation.

Sexual harassment against women on the job has been going on for a VERY LONG time.  This really isn't anything new.  It's just that women now feel they have more of a voice to come out an publicly denounce the perpetrators using various media platforms, which are all very willing to "break the story."  

But, like with everything else, there are always two sides to a story.  There are women who actually use their sexuality to get to the top.  You can be shocked and appalled to be reading this but it's the truth.  
Now, don't get this twisted.  I am not saying any of the female accusers did anything to aggravate whatever situation they found themselves in.  Sexism, like racism, should never be tolerated in the workplace. But I can tell you, first-hand, that I do know of white women who used their "feminine wiles" to get a man's attention at work.  I was there.  I was a witness. This one particular young lady, fresh out of college, always wore provocative clothing in the newsroom and flaunted her best assets in our New Director's face every chance she got.  And yes, she did get a promotion. The same goes with Weinstein who reportedly promised to advance their careers in return for sexual favors. 

According to a Center for Work-Life study, conducted some years ago, 37 percent of the women questioned said the sexual affair they had resulted in a career boost. In a blog post written by Samantha Brick she said, "The truth is, I’d much rather work for a man than a woman. I’ve always dressed with the express intention to please and gratify my male bosses in the workplace. If I had a choice of how to spend my ideal lunch hour, it’s a no-brainer. Each and every time I’d choose to flirt over lunch with a male superior rather than engage in mindless gossip with the girls..."

So yes, there are women out here who intentionally turn on the sex appeal and they flirt with a goal in mind.  As Samantha pointed out, "I learned very early on in my career how to clock within seconds who the important male was in any room and pandered to him accordingly. And it paid off."

So the Samantha's of the world have made it hard for those women who are truly trying to advance based on their own merit, talents and expertise.  And as long as there are Samantha's on the job, there will be dirty, old, arrogant, white, privileged men abusing their power.

So that brings us back to Harvey Weinstein, who comes from that dirty, old, arrogant, white male privilege fraternity.  So now he's lost ALL of his Hollywood privileges, while he claims to seek help for his "sickness."  But is he really gone?  That remains to be seen.  

I am reminded of Anita Hill and what she was subjected to by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  Humiliating, degrading and broadcast on prime time TV for the world to see.  What did she get out of it?  Perhaps, a chance to let everyone know who this man was that Congress was so gung ho about.  What did he get?  A lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.  Oh, but wait a minute.  She was a black woman and Thomas was supported by the dirty, old, arrogant, white privileged men of the republican party.
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As the mother of a Millennial, I became concerned when I read the results of the annual Truth About Abuse Survey conducted by Mary Kay.  Yes, I'm talking about the same Mary Kay Company that created an empire by making women of all ages look beautiful and developed many entrepreneurs who show off their financial success with their trademark pink cars.

The survey implies there is a new epidemic spreading among our young people and it's called Digital Dating Abuse.  So exactly what is this type of abuse?  According to The Women's Freedom Center website, Digital Dating Abuse is "a form of verbal and/or emotional abuse, which can include unwanted repeated calls or text messages, pressure to send nude or private pictures or videos, and the use of social media networking sites to bully, harass, stalk or intimidate a girlfriend/boyfriend.

Some of the signs of digital dating abuse include a boyfriend or girlfriend who:
  • Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with on Facebook or other sites
  • Sends you negative, unwanted, insulting or even threatening email, Facebook messages, tweets or other online messages
  • Uses social media sites to keep constant tabs on you and constantly criticizing you
  •   Looks through your phone frequently, checks up on your pictures, texts and outgoing calls.  
  • According to the Mary Kay survey, 1 in 4 young people say they have personally experienced digital dating abuse.  So if you are a parent reading this, that means your adult daughter could very well be a victim or the young adult of one of your friends. 
  • 69 percent of young people believe their peer group is more likely to tolerate abusive behavior online than in person.
  • 60 percent say they would not tell a parent or guardian if they were experiencing digital dating abuse.
  • 76 percent of college students say they have been victims of abuse, compared to 61 percent of high school students.
The 2017 survey is part of Mary Kay's Don't Look Away campaign which works to educate the public on recognizing the signs of an abusive relationship.  

Parents BEWARE! 
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Did you know more than 70 percent of employers say they have been adversely impacted by prescription drugs, while less than 20 percent say they are extremely prepared to deal with prescription drug abuse.  These are some of the findings based on research conducted by the National safety Council. 

As I reported in my previous blog post, nearly one million people spent $50,000 or more on prescription drugs in 2016.  The National Safety Council says a whopping 75 percent of people struggling with a substance abuse problem are in the workforce.  A frightening thought!

While a large majority of companies have adopted smoke-free policies over the years, the NSC study says 81 percent lack a comprehensive drug-free workplace policy.  More than 70 percent of employers believe prescription drug "misuse" is a disease but 65 percent believe it is grounds for termination. 

Drug addicted employees, no doubt, can have an impact on an employer's bottom line.  As a matter of fact, 7 out of 10 employers say they have felt some effect of prescription drug abuse.  Incidents experienced as a result of prescription drug usage include:


  • Absenteeism 
  • Impaired or decreased job performance
  • Borrowing or selling prescription drugs on the job


Employees who abuse prescription drugs are two to five times more likely to take unexcused absences, be late for work, be injured or violent, quit or be fired within the first year of their employment. 

Although this has nothing to do with the NSC study I wanted to add some statistics from 2015 provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation:


  • Opioid overdose deaths by whites:  27,056
  • Blacks:  2,741
  • Hispanics:  2,507
Perhaps the fact that over 90 percent of people addicted and dying from prescription drug abuse are white is why Trump is preparing to sign an executive order calling it a National Emergency.  That's what covering his base is about.


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$50,000
That was the average cost nearly one million people spent on prescription drugs in 2016.  ($50,000 is more than a lot of people make in a year).  Between 2014 and 2016, the number of people with annual medication costs of $50,000 or greater increased by 35 percent.  Also in 2016,  two out of every one million Americans (total population 323.1 million) had pharmacy costs of at least $1 million.  These are some of the statistics gathered by Express Scripts in their research.

Taking prescription drugs appears to be the new normal in today's society.  Opioids, which include prescriptions painkillers and drugs like heroin and fentanyl, now kills more than one hundred Americans a day. 

On an average day in the U.S.

  • More than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed
  •  3900 people initiate non-medical use of prescription opioids
  • 580 people initiate heroin use
  • There were more than 20,000 deaths from prescription painkillers in 2015.
  • In Ohio alone, there were over 4000 deaths in 2016)
  • In 2015, more than 120 thousand young people between the ages of 12-17 were addicted to prescription painkillers. 
In all fairness, it should be noted that not everyone taking prescription drugs is or becomes addicted. There are plenty of people who take their medication as needed and when they heal from their injury or surgery, they stop taking them.  But the sad fact is more and more people are using prescription drugs illegally and there are doctors who are willing to feed their habit.

It should come as no surprise that baby boomers lead the way by accounting for nearly half of all annual pharmacy costs of $50,000 or more.  Millennials, on the other hand, account for just 10 percent of pharmacy costs.

So who's paying the cost for this new normal?  According to research by Express Scripts, Employers, insurers and government payers covered 98 percent or more of the costs for people whose prescription costs reached or exceeded $50,000 or more.  Some Employers pay a heavier price with an addicted employee through repeated absences or just not showing up for work at all.  That, of course, results in a higher turnover rate for the Company.

And let's not forget the families of those who are addicted.  Their costs are, often-times, life changing because of the emotional drama, ongoing medical expenses and even funerals to prepare for. 
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Mondays are the worst days for many people who have jobs. They insist the weekend wasn't long enough or they wake up with the Monday morning "blahs" and then they muddle through the week waiting for Friday to return.

But did you know Monday is actually a great day for people who are unemployed? According to a survey by Bright.com, 30 percent of job applicants who apply on a Monday have a good chance of making it to the next stage in the hiring process. Getting your application in at the beginning of the week gives it the best opportunity to be seen by a fresh pair of eyes and ahead of all of those other applicants who wait until the latter part of the week to submit theirs. Applications that come in later may have a higher chance of falling between the cracks or getting pushed aside.

Anyone who hopes to get a job today must have access to the Internet. Many employers only post their jobs online, and a large percentage only allow people to apply through their web-based application. The good thing about getting your application in on Monday is you can do it right from home--provided you have a computer. Job sites like Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com make it easy for us to job search and apply wearing our pajamas if we want to.

One final point: Make sure you tailor your resume to fit the specific job you're applying for. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all anymore. Your resume is marketing document and you want to make sure it's marketing you properly to each job. Don't make it too long, focus on achievements, and leave off the objective. Remember the average person looks at a resume for less than a minute, so bullet points are better than paragraphs. Remember to check your spelling and grammar.
Happy job hunting and good luck!
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According to a recent survey conducted by Valient Market Research, more millennials want to see the confederate statues removed than do baby boomers.  These results are not surprising to me because I do believe millennials are more progressive thinkers while a large number of baby boomers have become more conservative and stale-minded as they age.  (Not me, of course).

As the Valient Poll reflects, 39 percent of Generation Y said they thought the statues should be removed, 30 percent said no, 20 percent were unsure and 11 percent had no opinion.  Meanwhile, 56 percent of baby boomers said they were opposed to the removal, along with 60 percent of people 72-years-old and older.

As for the breakdown within the various ethnic groups, it should come as no surprise that more than half of Blacks are in favor of the removal, compared to just 30 percent of whites.  What I did find rather shocking was the fact that 56 percent of Native Americans said they were not in favor of their removal.  That was even higher than the 49 percent of whites who said they against it.  

As a veteran journalist, I am often skeptical of many surveys because I always question whether they truly represent the MAJORITY of public opinion.  In this case, only 1000 people were surveyed online.  That certainly does not reflect the over 300 million people in the U.S. and if you only have 10 blacks taking the survey, only 6 would have to say they oppose the statue removals to make it reflect over 50 percent.  

I am a baby boomer who grew up in the Midwestern part of the United States so I never gave much thought to the whites in the South and their continued loyalty to the Confederacy.  But having lived here for more than 30 now, I have become very politically aware of the fear and hatred some Blacks feel towards the confederate flag and the statues of their so-called fallen heroes who did their best to divide the nation by seceding from the Union over the issue of slavery.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 1297 confederate statutes in the top 10 states of Virginia, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and Florida.  Meanwhile, Oregon, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota and Minnesota are the ONLY states that don't have any at all.

I really didn't have an opinion about the confederate statues until I saw the events of a Unite the Right play out in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017 that ended with the tragic death of a young woman named Heather Heyer.  While I truly believe everyone should celebrate their heritage, I also believe the neo-nazis and white supremacists have turned their misguided, warped sense of pride into a very divisive racial issue. Perhaps Washington should consider a Museum for the Confederacy but they do not deserve to be publicly displayed as an example of great leaders who fought and died for the DEMOCRACY of this nation.

Do you see anybody in Germany protesting for the right to erect neo-nazi statues in Germany?
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