Opinion

For the past several years, SETMA has been involved in a research project with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation conducted by the MacColl Institute in Seattle, Washington. In the fall of 2014, a SETMA team attended a face-to-face meeting with all 30 practices that are part of the “Learning from Exemplar Ambulatory Practices” study (see www.setma.com/letters/Robert-Wood-Johnson-Foundation-PCT-LEAP).

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I have always loved America, my home country, and our entire family is very patriotic. Never in my life have I been more proud of this great nation than I was last weekend while visiting Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago, Illinois. If you think America has gone to the dogs and you are not particularly happy with any political party, try to think past those disillusions and focus for a few moments on what is really good and right about the nation we call home.

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Visiting a friend’s home the other day, I witnessed something that I’m not sure I will ever forget. The family had a new, furry puppy, and who doesn’t love seeing a little fellow run and play, attempt to chase his own tail, pounce on a small rubber ball, and try to mimic the big dogs in the house? This pup’s little legs were very short and he was plump, but boy, did he get around on the hardwood floors.

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In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday this week, it might be a good time to take stock of the world and our place in it. As bombs and rockets explode on battlefields around the globe, we can take comfort in our relative security at home even as U.S. troops remain in the danger zone in Afghanistan. The bitterness and rancor from the election just past is starting to recede in most quarters, though there are some for whom the fear and loathing for the other side will remain, although hopefully we won’t have to hear it so much anymore.

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Bill Hammond, the president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business, issued a prediction this week. By 2040, if current trends continue in Texas, one-third of Texas adults would not have a high school diploma, Hammonds said. His concern strikes me as being very similar to the little boy who killed his parents and then pleaded for mercy before the judge on the grounds he was now an orphan.

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2012 has been a crazy year in presidential politics, from Rick Perry’s suggestion that Texas might secede from the Union to Rick Santorum railing against all forms of birth control to Newt Gingrich’s talk of an American colony on the moon by the end of his second term. While that is unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future – either a lunar colony or a Gingrich presidency – those bizarre notions might have been surpassed this week by the Republican nominee for president, former Gov. Mitt Romney, who appeared on the CBS News program 60 Minutes.

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As we mark the second week since the Beaumont Independent School District got caught letting a bigoted principal shut down an adult cosmetology class rather than admit a gay student, some things never seem to change. Once again a district functionary commits a clearly wrong act, triggering the typical BISD response – first deny, then lie.

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One of the things that sets America apart from most other countries is the freedom we enjoy to give our opinions and basically say what we want to say. The importance of this right was reflected in numerous quotes of Thomas Jefferson who placed freedom of speech and freedom of the press at the highest level of our constitutionally guaranteed liberties. The right to speak one’s mind was further reinforced by a revolutionary new concept in America when early on our Supreme Court ruled that truth was a defense to libel and slander.

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Prejudice is an ugly thing. After decades of struggle to promote equality in these United States of America, we obviously have a more just society than the one we inherited from previous generations. But there is still plenty to be accomplished on the road to equality, despite unmistakable progress.

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My kids and my husband were off to do something fun, and I readily admit, I wanted to go and share their afternoon with them. I wanted to be with those I love, have some fun, and see and hear about what they were enjoying.

However, somewhere in my brain, and perhaps my heart, I knew I had work to do and I also knew I needed to get it done while I was fresh and alert. At the end of a tiring and busy day, my writing would suffer.

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