Journalist creates ‘tip jar’ to save himself from Pharma poison, pay for cannabis

Up and coming musicians live off their meager tips while belting out tunes in tired bars.

Street performers rake them in near Los Angeles’ famed “Muscle Beach.”

And now, the internet makes it easy for even online journalists to place a tip jar on their website.

Here’s mine:

 

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Thank you for helping me by donating a small amount toward what I do. You can adjust the amount donated by scrolling the up and down arrows next to the $10 denomination

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I don’t get paid for any of the stories you see on my website, other than those that appear under the paid portfolio pages.

Which stories do you think get the most views, and the most feedback?

The Rock Island County corruption pieces, of course. I’m proud to say many other victims have reached out to me, shared their stories, and then reported their own abuse through the proper channels.

Not only am I NOT getting paid for these pieces, they’re costing me work.

My attorney friend, Michael Warner, former partner of Rock Island County Chief Justice Walter Braud, told me I’d be severely blackballed if I ever reported what happened in the jail.

He was right.

Waving my tin cup for medical cannabis

Before this blog turns “negative,” because the County of Rock Island indeed is a pathetic disgrace and we’re going to get into that in a minute, I want to share some of what I consider my best unpaid work.

Your mom or grandma is extremely curious about medical cannabis

‘When you take him to Trinity, tell them he’s a sex worker’ (second most viewed story of the year so far)

Treating addiction with cannabis works, and Illinois lawmakers have taken notice

Yes, baking pies and cakes really does relieve PTSD symptoms 

Blood pressure down, anxiety receding: Me. Pharma free.

I hope you will continue to support my work, and even consider a small offering via my secure electronic tip jar on the home page. Click here to go back to the home page, then scroll down to the tip jar and PayPal/MC/Visa portal.

PTSD and employment are like oil and water

It has been hard for me to find work after what I have been through. I have a temper and do not tolerate lies or abuse of any kind any more.

I have intrusive thoughts (the reel of the jail terror plays constantly in my head), I sometimes spontaneously fall asleep (not unusual in people with PTSD) and working with the public anywhere in the Quad-Cities is pretty much out of the question.

I don’t need to explain that, but it’s the truth. And verifiably so.

That leaves me working at home (and thank God that has worked in the past) or landing a job somewhere like a plant…a marijuana cultivation center, for example.

As a medical cannabis patient, I can’t pass a drug test. No, you don’t get a free pass on drug tests just because you have the card.

And anyone who says, “Suck it up and dry out for 30 days” can go straight to hell. A diabetic doesn’t stop taking insulin for 30 days.

Life was so much easier for me here when I was a coked up drunk.

Ashamed community pretending nothing happened to me

They trespassed me for advocating for my dad.

They threw me in jail on no charges and tortured me for turning in criminals and/or politicians for drugs, suspected human trafficking, and additional allegations.

I was laughed at, and continue to be laughed at by many, even though one politician admitted he lied to a grand jury. Almost nobody knows Davenport Alderman Bill Boom resigned from the City Council and had to relinquish ownership of the town gay bar.

Believe me. Most people in this town do not read a newspaper. The brazen radical left bias of the local sheets has left all but a few chuckling over the soaring cost of these failing products.

You don’t have to feel sorry for me. But if you appreciate, even silently, what I have accomplished so far with my reporting, I really would appreciate your support.

My parents are dead. There are maybe two people in this town who care whether I get out of bed each day. I am being punished for blowing the whistle on drugs, human trafficking, dirty cops, and dirty politicians.

I applied for some help today with a bill. I’m happy to report that I do have a small income coming in from what has evolved into a regular gig with a local business. And I’m loving it.

But I’ve been on a tight budget which basically leaves no money for medical cannabis. As a result, I’m seeing a doctor about being doped back up on Pharma poison. At least it’s a backup.

Illinois Medicaid expansion will happily dope you up and pay for, in full, all the addictive opioids or benzoidazepines you want. But…NO MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR YOU!

Ignorant.

I cannot lose my temper when I have PTSD triggers. It’s not an option. I appreciate myself too much.

But I hate the idea of bloating up, feeling itchy, depressed, etc. Pharma anxiety pills are just what I said: Poison.

But they work for a short while, if you only use them once in a great while.

 I took abuse for years and years and years from the hateful, corrupt, narcissistic LGBT community of the Quad-Cities.

Particularly the depraved, woefully corrupt County of Rock Island, which has been lying to taxpayers over just about everything for decades and decades and decades.

This town has not acknowledged my worth since the day I moved back here. Journalists who report the truth about the corruption that has plagued this town for a century long have faced what only can be called as “Blackball Syndrome.”

Read my Parachute by MapQuest opinion piece: Fall into line and resign Quad-City filthies; run along now (and they have!)

One of my former Mary’s on 2nd Street bar friends, indisputably the most powerful lawyer in Rock Island County, warned me I’d be blackballed for reporting what happened inside the jail. Indeed, he flat out said I probably never would work again.

As for the lying, corrupt filthies, the business community isn’t going to like looking like foolish accomplices when the truth comes out about political indiscretions.

It’s already out.

Thankfully, a few local companies are more concerned with their bottom lines and/or their moral compasses than pleasing corrupt politicians. Some of these dishonest, filthy politicians repeatedly have intimidated their constituents and/or members of the business community alike.

They’ve done it too many times to too many people. And we’re connecting now.

You’re caught, filthies, whether anything happens to you via the justice system this time around or not.

Some rather powerful and wealthy members of this community are tired of the drama that a couple of these previously untouchable politicians have caused. You can’t cross certain industries in this town and expect to stay in office long-term.

Money and lies can’t change the truth during political campaigns. The truth doesn’t change.

So, let them blackball me all they want. My number one goal in my life is staying sober and having purpose. Blowing the lid off just how slimy the politicians in this depraved town really are has brought me great contentment during a period of otherwise terrifying duress.

All while I’m supposed to be healing. The filthiest, most dishonest politicians of this corrupt bunch of Rock Island County rodents knows exactly who they are, and exactly why I’m angry.

I’ve known you all for years. I was caring for my dad and was sober. Your political cronies and some of my other friends were boozing and drugging and, well, I’ll stop there.

You know I’m right AND YOU’RE FILTHY.

Eventually you’re all going to be caught in your lies, because none of you know how to act right. Plain and simple.

This county is so filthy and corrupt it sidesteps elections every chance it gets, for God’s sake. What a slap in the face to the United States Constitution.

CLICK HERE. This story by a rare fine journalist at the Rock Island Argus should be required reading for every fourth-grade child in Rock Island County. In the context of what happened to me, it’s just chilling as hell on every level as far as I’m concerned

For those of you with your heads still up you’re a$$e$ about Democrats who smile and blow stand-for-nothing propaganda soundbites out both ends, it’s time to wake up now.

Until next time.

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How did Washington, D.C. rank fifth on WalletHub’s Healthy Cities list?

If the latest ‘Healthiest Cities’ study to roll into my inbox hadn’t come from WalletHub, I would not even have clicked on it.

Let alone write about it.

And while this list, at first glance, suffers from the same predictability of so many other “healthy cities” lists, it does offer a few interesting nuggets.

First things first: The top 10 “Healthy Cities” include the usual West Coast suspects. San Francisco? Yet. San Diego? Of course. Seattle? Yaaaaaassss.

But Washington, D.C.? I’m not even trying to be funny when I say that’s one of the last places I think of as “healthy.”

When I was writing about HIV/AIDS, I knew D.C. had one of the most serious problems with the disease of any urban area. Many people in Washington are marginalized and do not have proper access to care.

But a quick Google search showed me that things have changed in Washington D.C. as it pertains to HIV/AIDS since I last regularly wrote about the topic. The Washington Post reported in June that “efforts undertaken by the city — including distributing more than 6 million male and female condoms in 2016 and removing more than 800,000 needles from the street — are helping to make progress, Health Department Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said.”

How much progress? Just seven HIV infections were tallied in 2016, down from 149 in 2007.

So, I’m intrigued: Just how did WalletHub arrive at this list of “healthy” cities?

A case study: DC and HIV

“Location matters when it comes to health,” the financial literacy website explained. “Some places promote wellness by expanding access to nutritious food and recreational facilities. Others strive to keep healthcare costs affordable for everyone or keep parks clean and well-maintained.

“When a city doesn’t take care of these issues, it can be hard to keep up good health. After all, the cost of care in the U.S. is rising and life expectancy is declining.”

In the case of Washington D.C. and HIV, the public health menace was injection drug use. Public health officials there found themselves in a pickle caused by Capitol Hill, of all places.

“From 1998 to 2007, Congress blocked the District from allocating local tax dollars for ­needle-exchange efforts, the Post reported.

This exacerbated D.C.’s HIV/AIDS problem. More on how D.C. turned things around in a second.

How WalletHub arrived at its conclusions

“In order to identify the overall healthiest cities in the U.S., WalletHub compared 174 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across four key dimensions: healthcare, food, fitness and green space,” the financial literacy website explained.

Under the healthcare heading, metrics include a community’s overall mental health, which were based on the number of adults reporting 14 or more unhealthy days in a month.

Other metrics included access to care, quality of the local hospital systems, healthcare costs, and even specific metrics such as the percentage of adults receiving cholesterol screenings and the number of women ages 50-74 receiving mammogram screenings.

For my local followers, the Quad-Cities is not ranked. Chicago ranked 17th, but by no means can we compare our healthcare system to their’s. Cedar Rapids, Iowa ranked 77th, but again, Cedar Rapids has much closer access to the world-class University Hospitals in Iowa City than we do in the Quad-Cities, about 60 miles away.

Find out where your city landed on the list by clicking here.

Walk, take the bus, eat your fruits and veggies

So how can you choose a healthy community?

One panelist in this WalletHub report says to do what I do: Walk, and use public transportation, to stay healthy.

Of course, that means you need to live someplace where you can safely do those things.

“Studies show that people who use public transportation tend to walk more and have a lower body mass index (measure of weight) than those who do not,” says Lorrene Ritchie, director and cooperative extension specialist in the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “So, look for places to live where you can take public transit to work and other places.

“Taking public transit is an example of a built-in way to make you be more active — without you having to buy a gym membership, find time to work out, or go out of your way. Can you walk from home to the market, or do you need to drive everywhere? How walkable is the neighborhood? Are there parks and other green spaces nearby? Would you bike to work if you could? If so, are there bike paths? Sidewalks? Connected streets?

“If you have children, can you live close enough to a school to have them walk or bike? Is it safe? Does the school have a joint use agreement with the city so that the school grounds are open to the public during non-school hours? For children, are there places in the neighborhood to be safely outside and play?”

The other thing to remember is that canned or frozen fruits and vegetables ARE better than no fruits or vegetables at all, if you are on a budget and cannot afford fresh.

“There is nothing wrong with frozen vegetables and canned fruits and vegetables (as long as low in sodium and without added sugar), Ritchie advises. “They are typically cheaper and less prone to spoiling — so less waste. Frozen may not have the texture that fresh produce does, but often, the flavor is pretty close. And if you put them in mixed dishes, you can hardly tell the difference.”

Choose a community with a good health IQ

So, why are all those healthy cities on the left coast?

Well, because that’s where smart people go these days to get rich (tech boom). So, there are a lot of smart people there, and consequently, a lot of people who care about staying healthy (and rich).

“Research has consistently shown a positive correlation between health status and years of education,” said John Sardelis, associate chair of health administration and professor at St. Joseph’s College, New York.  

Sardelis’ statement underscores the importance of effective public health messaging, which can be a challenge in places where educational attainment and access to care are not high.

And that historically has been the case with HIV/AIDS in Washington. In recent years, however, public health officials have overcome these obstacles.

In addition to getting all those needles off the street and distributing millions and millions of condoms, the city also became the first in the country to roll out a public health campaign promoting PrEP, the HIV prevention pill. In addition, the city has created an innovative “UequalsU” campaign about HIV.

The point? Take your HIV medication every day and you cannot pass along the virus. That makes you “undetectable” and destigmatizes the disease by placing people with HIV on the same level as everyone else in the bedroom.

That’s still a huge deal, and stigma is never good for public health.

Says Sardelis:

Local authorities should encourage health systems to address the social determinants of health (education, nutrition, housing, etc.), since so much of health is determined by these factors. Our medical system is wonderful, but we need to address the root causes that emanate from social factors.

And that’s what Washington, D.C. has done. No wonder it landed fifth on the “Most Healthy Cities” list.

Until next time.

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Yes, baking pies and cakes really does help relieve PTSD symptoms

Josh Tredinnick, a retired Army sergeant and fellow at the Dog Tag Bakery, is training to become a baker through a work-study program conducted by Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, Oct. 19, 2015, in Washington. DoD photo by Marvin Lynchard.

I woke at midnight yesterday and decided I want to know the truth, once and for all: Does baking have healing qualities for people with PTSD?

I’m talking pastries and pies, not medical cannabis. I already know medical cannabis is the most effective treatment available for my chronic PTSD, and I’m so grateful I live in a state with a medical cannabis program.

But I’ve been trying to implement other life changes to control my PTSD that don’t involve cannabis. The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better.

In recent months, I’ve been getting cake mixes, pie mixes, and the like from the St. Pius food pantry. It has been piling up, and a few weeks ago I thought: Try baking. It can’t be that hard.

And then I asked myself: Do I know any angry bakers?

And I don’t. Again, I’m talking cookies and cakes.

The truth is, I never had baked anything in my life before my midnight yesterday rendezvous with Duncan Hines.

My first project: White, Super Moist, Rainbow Chip Cake.

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Physical exercise, good memory trigger, accomplishment

So, I don’t have those mixer-beater things, so I had to toss the mix “vigorously by hand” for two minutes. It was good exercise.

I also had fun tossing the three eggs in, as it reminded me of a childhood adventure of about 40 years ago that took place in that very kitchen….

A friend had thrown an egg at another friend when we were playing outside, and it hit him in the head. My mom had to wash the egg out of the kid’s hair. Pretending to be angry, my mom turned to the egg hurler and said, “Eggs belong in cakes.”

….I was pleased that even though I did not have a mixer, the mix turned out smooth. All I had to do was hope I didn’t burn it.

Can I tell you? That cake turned out perfect. And I ate it right up.

But before I tell you about the NEXT baking project I took on (key lime pie!) … let’s explore the very serious question: Is baking good for your health and, specifically, for people with PTSD?

Now, I have come to decide that the British have a much better handle on mental health research and messaging than we do here in the United States. In the U.S., we stigmatize mental illness and seldom discuss ways of preventing it. A mentally healthy nation isn’t good for Pharma now, is it? And Pharma fuels our economy.

I’d rather give my money to Duncan Hines than Pharma any day. Let me quote from this British website to explain what I already suspected about baking:

In recent years both mental health and culinary experts have come round to the idea that baking could very well be helpful in relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression by combining the physical and projection aspects of the traditional occupational therapies. Kneading a batch of bread dough for 10/15 minutes will sure take away a lot of frustration and negative feeling, the weighing of the ingredients, the repetitive motions and the feeling of being in control could help keep calm and level up unruly anxiety feelings, decorating a cake, making beautiful artistic creations can mirror the feelings of projection people might experience when painting or writing.

And obviously let’s not forget that at the end we get to indulge in some great home bakes which would definitely put a smile on anyone’s face and share our creations with family and friends reclaiming those great positive feelings of nurturing and making someone else happy.

Thanks to the website Mental Healthy for that great info. You can learn more about baking your way to better mental health by clicking here.

Research conducted just a few months back showed that cooking has “psychosocial” benefits.

I can tell you already I had so much fun baking that cake (and I haven’t even told you about the key lime pie yet) that I may just start baking cakes for neighbors.

“Finding benefits to cooking that extend beyond nutritional may be helpful in increasing motivation and frequency of cooking. This review suggests that cooking interventions may positively influence psychosocial outcomes, although this evidence is preliminary and limited,” concluded Farmer et al in the journal Health Education and Behavior. “Further qualitative and rigorous quantitative research are needed to identify mechanisms by which cooking interventions may improve psychosocial outcomes.”

Combat vets baking away stress

Finally, the picture with this piece says it all: Even manly military men are finding PTSD relief from baking.

From a Department of Defense news release that you can read for yourself here by clicking here:

For Josh Tredinnick, a medically retired Army sergeant, the Dog Tag Bakery fellowship gave him a new future.

Tredinnick was injured in 2009 in Afghanistan when he was struck by an improvised explosive device. He had hip and back surgery and has a TBI and PTSD. He said his work in a veteran support office was fulfilling, but baking has always been beneficial for him. 

“Baking has been very therapeutic as far as just getting me involved in a healthy activity,” he said. “What I’ve enjoyed most about it that you can take this set of ingredients, you can follow these steps, and you’re more than likely to come out with this final product every single time.

“You take these small steps and do it correctly, you put everything you’ve got into it, and you’ll come out with a better product on the other end,” Tredinnick added. He said his favorite part of baking is the variety of breads that can be made from the same basic set of ingredients.

He said his wife, Erica, has enjoyed his work at the bakery, especially when he brings home some of the French baguettes he bakes.

So, regarding that key lime pie…

I did not have “heavy cream,” nor did I even know what it is. And I have bene putting my computer in a “lockbox” for hours at a time to stay off social media and become mentally healthier, so I could not Google “heavy cream.”

So instead, I used milk and sour cream.

My key lime pie turned out PERFECT, just like my Rainbow Chip Super Most White Cake. I made the cake and the pie back to back, and I ate them back to back as well.

I cannot tell you how PROUD I was of my very first cake and my very first pie.
it was a lift, and I’ll for sure bake again.

Until next time.

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Superman of U.S. opioid crisis will save us from the benzodiazepine blizzard, too

You may remember from a couple of video and blog posts I’ve made in the past couple of weeks that I was invited to sit on a panel regarding the opioid epidemic in America.

The panel was sponsored in part by the Butterfly Protocol, a Chicago-based organization developing a taper-down system for people addicted to opioids.

I am very humbled and honored to have been invited to sit on this rather large panel that included doctors and also esteemed addiction journalist Maia Szalavitz.

You can read more about all of that here.

Problem is, PTSD triggers were just too intense yesterday for me to participate.

I pulled out at the very last minute, almost like someone walking out of a wedding at the very moment the pastor says, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”

As the only victim of an opioid-related violent crime, and also the only person in recovery with a medical cannabis card, I could have brought an interesting point of view to the discussion.

There’s just too much going on right now related to my opioid-related attack and all the reasons why I was granted the medical cannabis card in the first place.

Thank God I have it. Medical cannabis is my Superman. Superman saved me from the benzodiazepine blizzard. This little green plant without a cape will save America from it, too.

And the reason I was granted the card isn’t just about the attack in my basement, or the terror in the jail, the terror in the hospital, or any of the things that happened to me in recent years. I have been in horrific car accidents, I have been raped, and I was beaten by my parents as a child.

You can read all about why I was given the card by clicking right here.

I want to thank the Butterfly Protocol for inviting me to participate. I know they understand PTSD, so I expect they forgive me.

Below are answers I provided as opening statements for the panel discussion:

  1. As a person in recovery and a medical cannabis advocate, the biggest challenge I face is the federal government’s prohibition of a plant proven to save lives. Across the nation, opioid addicts and the opioid dependent are finding recovery through cannabis. States, meanwhile, are finding much needed tax revenue through legalization. That tax revenue can go on to be used as law enforcement sees fit to fight the opioid epidemic in other ways.
  2. My biggest concerns for the U.S. and Canada moving forward is that we’ll find the Pharma-made opioid epidemic is only the tip of the iceberg – prepare for the benzodiazepine blizzard next. With so many veterans returning from war with PTSD, not to mention the trauma natural disasters and an increasingly violent world reek on our populations, millions have been prescribed anxiety pills in recent years. For people with substance abuse issues, these drugs are disastrous. The natural alternative? Cannabis. I am a legal medical cannabis patient in Illinois with the qualifying condition of chronic PTSD.
  3. Simple: Understand there is no one road to addiction, or dependence, and therefore no one road out. All legitimate forms of treatment, especially with medical cannabis, must be considered.
  4. Removing roadblocks to stigma starts with speaking up and owning our addiction. In the 1990s, when I was working as executive news editor of The Advocate magazine, President Clinton became the first sitting president to speak to a Human Rights Campaign gala. He told the mostly gay crowd that to achieve equal rights and to shatter stigma, everyone must stand up and come out. For decades, the idea of being in the closet not only was accepted but encouraged. We now realize this is a dangerous, flawed way of living for marginalized populations. In this regard, I vehemently despite 12-step groups. We must stand up, raise our hands, and share our stories of recovery as addicts, however unusual our own journey to recovery may sound. It may help another.
  5. The answer to No. 5 is much the same as the answer to No. 4, but it requires us to stop stigmatizing others in our own recovery community. Healthcare providers, social workers, addicts…because we’re not in agreement, we stigmatize one another, and we often forget we all have the same goal: Freedom from opioids when possible, the ability to live comfortably when not. It’s time we stop passing judgement, and it’s beyond time we stop letting profits drive our decisions for those who work in healthcare and its assorted tentacles. Rehab isn’t always an honest business; neither is Pharma.

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Ch. 3: After hospital, a ride to McD’s in a squad car

Amidst trauma that probably should have left me for dead, there are heroes.

Even with PTSD, you know who the heroes are.

Well, when it comes to police it can be hard. But I can tell you a story about a cop who I believe to be good.

The story speaks for itself.

I had been released from UnityPoint Trinity after two terrifying nights held in the Rock Island County Jail on no charges at all.

Upon walking out the doors of UnityPoint Trinity, who would I call?

Probably not who you would think after being terrorized by Moline police at dad’s memory care institution, roughed up, and taken to jail for raising my voice thinking my dad and I were in danger.

It’s all coming into focus now. “You’ll never get anywhere with Moline PD.”

Another story. But I have figured out so much. And it’s scary. But I’m safe.

Back to walking out the doors of the hospital. Who did I call?

In fact, I called 911. Because I was in Rock Island now. Where police are honest.

Well, most of them. At least nine out of 10, I’d wager.

I hope.

Not only did the dispatcher not laugh at me, I was treated with complete and total respect.

RIPD good as (crimson and) gold

Let me say here: I am humbled by the respect I have received from the Rock Island Police Department.

Humbled beyond belief.

There are bad eggs coming out of good chickens every day.

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When I dialed 911, I asked for an officer to meet me at my home because I feared it could have been booby-trapped while I was held in the jail on no charges.

I knew it had been illegally searched. I heard them talking when I was inside the jail.

Of course, it took me a long time to get that officially confirmed, even though my neighbors saw them do it.

The cop met me at my house. Intense, good cop who will give himself a heart attack trying to do the right thing in a corrupt town.

At least that’s how it looks to me. I could be wrong

Meet a key character in my book: Officer Billy Ray.

Billy Ray arrives on scene at Redneck Ritz HQ

The officer met me at my house. Although he was edgy, I knew he was good.

He immediately asked me for mail in case “your brother tries to say it’s his house.”

I heard at the hospital someone say, “The brother says he rents it and he pays his rent on time but always has candles burning when the brother shows up to inspect.”

And just because I heard things doesn’t make them truth. Much of what I heard inside the jail was master fu*&ery, for example. But much of it I thought to be that has turned out to be true, some of which I never could have believed to be true.

People say I have ESP. Indeed, the high-ranking politician inside the jail said, “How can Dave hear us?” and “It’s almost like Dave’s clairvoyant.”

So somehow, I knew a day may come when I had to PROVE I was a resident of my dad’s house, where I was his caregiver and had received mail for one year.

I had it all ready to go under my mattress. Officer Billy Ray did not seem particularly fazed that I was so prepared.

But before your mind goes there, Billy Ray did something exceptional.

“I am on deadline for a story for Healthline, and I need to get to McDonald’s so I can file my story and get paid and pay my electric bill.”

My brother forbade me to get internet. The emails all are there. Mediacom said I had to get my brother’s POA approval to add internet even though I paid the bill.

Long story short, Officer Billy Ray drove me to McDonald’s.

“I’m sorry, you have to ride in the back seat,” he said.

Arrival at McDonald’s in police escort, still wearing hospital band

When Officer Ray let me out of the back of the squad, and I walked into the McDonald’s with a hospital bracelet and a blood draw Band-Aid, it drew stares.

One group of men stared a long time. They are retirees. One is a bailiff at the Rock Island County Courthouse and I have known him more than 40 years.

At any rate, this elderly woman who attends Edgewood Baptist Church, who I believe to be the kind of true Christian like my Grandma Nellie (mom’s side) of many years gone by, gazed into my eyes.

I felt safe.

Suddenly, a man who sort of looks like me walked by with a blood draw Band-Aid also.

And the elderly woman exclaimed, “Except HE! (and pointed at me) has the hospital bracelet, too!

I’d love to tell you all I am creative enough to make this all up, but I am not. It is all true.

Finally, the nosy retiree club sent over an ambassador.

“Can I ask you why that cop just dropped you off at McDonald’s?”

My response? “That’s none of your business.”

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I was intimidated by the FBI in a political corruption case, and it’s scary as hell

Image courtesy Pixabay

URGENT … BULLETIN … NEW INFORMATION ON BUSTOS

I was standing outside St. Pius Church in Rock island waiting for the bus when the call came on an October morning, just four months ago.

“Springfield, Ill.” the caller ID said.

I knew I better answer it, because half an hour earlier I had emailed my former victim’s advocate at the FBI. I knew she was in the Springfield office.

The agent on the other line, who if I recall correctly was named Jonathan, did not like the email I had just composed.

“This really straddles the line of what’s appropriate,” the agent said, or something to that effect, and then reading back to me what I had written to the victim’s advocate.

Specifically, he did not like an idiom that one of my neighbors, a longtime federal employee, used to describe victims advocates that I repeated in the email.

He also did not like that I referenced in the email that I was about to blog about how poorly I had been treated by the FBI.

What caused me to repeat the comment?

My neighbors know I’m NOT crazy. They live in my neighborhood. They see what happens outside my house and around the neighborhood while I’m sleeping, or during one of the three scary times in the past six weeks when someone tried to enter my home in the middle of the night while I slept.

Nuff said.

Read more: Why did President Obama start following me on Twitter?

The FBI agent did not like the fact that I wanted to write about my year-long “snafu” with the FBI. I’m not sure how else to describe it other than an aggravating “snafu.”

In the email, I wrote:

“I am ready for the stand at any time and unafraid.

As I speak, and write you this, my email inbox is filling with emails from someone named “Itchy Butt.”

This is what I have dealt with for two and a half years.

My next blog post will be about the FBI.

This is RIDICULOUS”

The agent wanted to know “what’s your main complaint to us…what did you originally reach out to us for…”or something to that effect.

This seemed like a bizarre question given the fact I had been assigned the advocate in January. She called me while I was vacationing in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Imagine walking on the beach after finally settling your dad’s estate after a nasty, protracted legal battle the day before (I jetted to Miami the next morning) … and a call comes from the FBI.

At first, I was excited. It went south a short time later, and turned out to be a total cluster. More on that in a second.

When I told the agent what happened inside the jail, and specifically who was in there who I believe should not have been, and what I heard her say, he exploded.

And I mean EXPLODED in the most intimidating, unprofessional way possible.

“I know (said politician)….it didn’t happen.”

Read more: Jailed on no charges for being an informant in a political corruption case, and how the GPS on my phone busted some dirty cops

He then corrected himself. “I talked to her, it didn’t happen.” Or something to that effect.

My reply: “Really? Wow.”

Then, the screaming:

“One more stunt like this and we will pursue federal….we will pursue charges through the Rock Island County States Attorney’s Office.

“DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR!”

And he said it again: “DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR!”

I never give up

I curled into a ball and cried for several days. Since that moment, I have landed almost zero paid work, although thankfully that appears to be on the verge of changing soon. I hope.

Finally, after a month, I went to the Rock Island city police and told them what happened. They came to my home and I’m quite certain they videotaped my report with their body cameras.

I also told someone else I trusted in law enforcement, in a different state and different jurisdiction, just how this unprofessional FBI agent intimidated me.

In my gut, I now expect the FBI knows I told the truth. I expect they know what this agent did to me, too. And I think, but do not know for sure, that they are keeping me safe.

I hope and pray they are.

But I definitely could be wrong.

Read more: How my terrifying experience continued seamlessly from the jail to UnityPoint Trinity Hospital

How did I get hooked up with the FBI to begin with?

I had been assigned a victim’s advocate after going to Braking Traffick, an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking in the Quad-Cities.

Months passed after I met with Braking Traffick at Lee’s on 14th Restaurant, which I have not been to since, for whatever reason. And I love Lee’s.

Read more: How I got into writing about human trafficking

I suppose now it may forever be a PTSD trigger.

When the victim’s advocate called me while I was in Florida, she told me she would be calling in a week again to discuss “next steps.” She said she could be present when I testified, but that I should not share details of what happened to me with her, as she might be called to testify against me.

How scary for a guy who has been through all I have been through. And my hateful, dishonest former newspaper friends and colleagues just delight in gaslighting me despite everything I have been through and what they know to be true.

We all worked together many years with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos at the Quad-City Times newspaper in Davenport, Iowa. You can read this excerpt from my book, to be published next year, by clicking here.

Cheri’s husband, Gerry, is our sheriff. He was appointed to an elected position.

Read more: Corrupt Rock Island County Democrats routinely ignore U.S. Constitution, skip elections

Read more: Gaslighting, subpar care in local hospital unacceptable; hospital should be fined, taken over

When I had not heard from the victim’s advocate a couple of weeks after she called me, I called her myself. She said “I never told you I was your victim’s advocate…”

HUH????

WOW!

I continued to email her all year long, because when bad things would happen to me – I originally was denied SNAP and Medicaid benefits, for example – they seemed to get fixed after I would reach out to her.

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Regarding my financial situation, which is no one’s business: I own a beautiful home that my dad left me, and that I sank an additional $40,000 into. Beyond that, I do not have one cent in my pocket, and have had very little income in many, many months.

Read more about my childhood home, which I inherited twice, in this blog post

Read more: Former owner of my home’s son held in Rock Island County Jail on $100,000; Local MSM refuses to report story

Almost everything from my dad went into this house, which I believe was a smart long-term decision. The house was built in 1941 and had many, many problems.

Although the MSM is not reporting it, the FBI is under intense scrutiny for corruption as it pertains to showing favoritism to the Democratic party. You can read all about that here.

From the story:

“They weaponized the most fearsome government agencies to target, monitor and presumably illegally unmask political opponents, including members of Congress, journalists reporting unfavorable stories, Trump allies and average Americans.” 

I have nothing more to say. The truth is the truth is the truth is the truth.

No, I do have more one thing to say: To the filthy journalists of the Quad-Cities who used to be my friends and colleagues — most all the longtime ones, not the awesome new ones at places like WHBF and KWQC — turn in your press badges right now.

You’re dishonest.

Until next time.

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Electrical current to the brain might zap depression and anxiety right out of you

I had no idea.

Devices that literally zap the brain with electricity – a therapy known as cranial electrical stimulation – have been around since 1960.

And active-duty service members can even get them for free.

And in an era where people suffering from pain and anxiety want to avoid dangerous Pharma solutions such as opioids and benzodiazepines, CES treatment is burgeoning in popularity.

A new study published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine concludes the devices are safe and that there is some evidence to show they are effective in treating anxiety and depression.

However, fibromyalgia, headache and joint pain sufferers typically don’t find relief with CES, the paper concluded.

The research, a systemic review by Veterans Administration doctors, analyzed approximately three dozen previous studies.

But, the researchers admit those studies were less than sound science, and therefore their research could be flawed, too. “Most trials had small sample sizes and short durations; all had high risk of bias due to inadequate blinding,” they listed under ‘Limitations.’”

You can check out the study for yourself by clicking here.

In an accompanying editorial, a doctor in a military hospital expresses surprise at the study’s findings. He explains he has seen great efficacy with the CES devices.

“We need more nondrug approaches for these conditions. I work in a military hospital, where active-duty patients can get a CES device for free and those not on active duty can get one with a $300 copayment. The machine costs the hospital about $1,500. The justification for this policy is that the FDA has cleared CES devices for marketing and a federal survey reported that they are useful. That survey of more than 1000 military patients had less than a 20 percent response rate, but most reported improvement (>25 percent effectiveness) in depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, insomnia, or pain.”

“As a result, our clinic contacted the company for a demonstration, purchased 2 machines, and trained our third-year residents in their use.

“Although some were skeptical, many patients and physicians liked having a nondrug option that, at least on the surface, seemed safe. When one of my patients, who had chronic pain, depression, and insomnia, finished her first CES treatment, she said she loved it. “I felt really relaxed,” she said. “Can I have one of these at home?”

“Our policy is to have patients try the treatment in the clinic at least three times. If it improves pain, depression, or insomnia, the patient can apply to get a home machine.”

Dr. Wayne Jonas goes on to say he expects his hospital will continue to use the machines despite the researchers’ findings, but with less vigor.

“After being trained on the CES device, one resident at our clinic said, “Oh, I get it. This is sort of like forced mindfulness.” He may be right. We do not know the mechanism of action, so the effects may be achievable with self-care approaches that are less expensive and less passive.

“Clearly, we need to know more on how it works, not only compared with sham CES but also with other approaches, both drug- and nondrug-based. Who will pay for that research is uncertain.”

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Opioids, e cigarettes and your lung health: Getting ahead or falling behind?

New research published tonight in Annals of Internal Medicine offers insight into two hot-button issues in regard to our nation’s public health: Opioids and e-cigarettes.

In one study, researchers showed an association between opioid use and pneumococcal infections.

“Researchers from The Vanderbilt University Medical Center used data from the Tennessee Medicaid database linked to Medicare and Active Bacterial Core surveillance system databases to test the hypothesis that prescription opioid use is an independent risk factor for invasive pneumococcal disease,” Annals reported. “They found a significant association between opioid use and the risk of laboratory-confirmed invasive pneumococcal diseases, and that this association was strongest for opioids used at high doses, those classified as high potency and long-acting formulations.

“The data also showed that opioids previously described as immunosuppressive in prior experimental studies conducted in animals had the strongest association with invasive pneumococcal diseases in humans.

“According to the researchers, providers should consider these findings when discussing pain management with their patients.”

In an accompanying editorial, a Kaiser Permanente doctor shows how the elderly may be most at risk as it pertains to the research conclusion.

She ends with a stern warning:

“While awaiting more definitive answers, we must reconsider the risks and benefits of opioids. The current widespread use of these drugs in the United States is not based on adequate research establishing either their effectiveness or their safety. Reflexive and poorly monitored prescribing of opioid analgesics on the untested assumption that patient outcomes are improved may be harming more patients than we care to admit….

“Cautious prescribing should not be limited to patients deemed at increased risk for drug addiction or overdose. Before prescribing an opioid, the clinician should carefully consider all reasonable alternative approaches to pain relief. It now seems that decision making also should take into account the risk for serious infections.”

You can check out the study for yourself by clicking here.

You can check out the accompanying editorial by clicking here.

E-cigarettes: Better than the stinky kind? Perhaps

In a second research letter, Dr. Nancy Rigotti warns Americans not to overestimate the benefits to your health of e-cigarettes.

It is a painstaking explanation undertaken by a doctor whose concluding statement illustrates true to service to patient:

“My approach is as follows: I tell patients that using e-cigarettes is less harmful than continuing to smoke cigarettes, but because e-cigarettes are so new, I caution them that many questions about their long-term safety remain unanswered. As first-line treatment, I recommend FDA-approved smoking cessation aids with established safety and efficacy. If smokers want to try e-cigarettes, I recommend switching completely and avoiding flavored e-cigarettes.

“I encourage smokers who switch to e-cigarettes to eventually quit using e-cigarettes too because of uncertainty regarding their long-term safety. To avoid exposing others to chemicals in the e-cigarette aerosol, I advise users not to vape indoors or around children. Overall, the message I aim to convey is that I will continue to support and assist patients on their journey to becoming nonsmokers.”

E-cigarettes and opioids both are topics I have written a ton about. I know both of these health trends affect just about everyone in one way or another.

Until next time.

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BREAKING: Study Declares 4/20 deadly to motorists (the date and time, specifically)

The medical establishment has determined 4/20 to be hazardous to motorists’ health.

And regardless of where you stand on pot consumption, the conclusion really isn’t surprising, is it?

In a research letter published today in JAMA Internal Medicine, Canadian doctor John Staples (blame Canada) delved into whether stoners celebrating the “High Holiday” known as 4/20 contribute to traffic fatalities.

“We examined a quarter-century of national data and found a 12 percent increase in the relative risk of a fatal traffic crash after 4:20 p.m. on April 20 compared with identical time intervals on control days,” he concluded. “Although the vast majority of Americans do not celebrate 4/20, the observed association was comparable in magnitude to the increase in traffic risks observed on Super Bowl Sunday. Policymakers may wish to consider these risks when liberalizing marijuana laws, paying particular attention to regulatory and enforcement strategies to curtail drugged driving.”

Read more: My report on how Americans are drinking themselves to death like never before

I’m not surprised. I’m a huge advocate of medical cannabis, and even support full-blown commercial legalization (at least in Illinois, for many reasons).

How did the doc arrive at his conclusion? Pretty deliberatively. He used U.S. NHTSA safety data regarding traffic fatalities after obtaining a waiver from his Canadian institution.

The study “includes data on all crashes involving a motor vehicle traveling on public roadways in which at least one participant died within 30 days of the event,” he wrote. “The study interval began the first full year after popularization of 4/20 in High Times magazine and extended to include the most recent year with data available, thereby reflecting 25 consecutive years (January 1992 to December 2016).”

Read more: It’s time to legalize cannabis and make America healthy again

Just this morning, I told my friend who drove me to the dispensary that a portion of the tax on cannabis, if recreational use were to be passed, must fund law enforcement. Specifically, it needs to fund enforcement of impaired driving.

I know this is tricky. How do you define “impaired?” And how do you measure for it?

I know I sold my Prius shortly after I got my medical cannabis card. Yes, I did wait for stop signs to turn green. Several times.

Many years ago, a colleague saw a story cross the AP wire about the future of cannabis. He read aloud how one day people would actually vape cannabis with stealth devices.  He joked one could keep it in their desk and sneak a toke each day at 4:20!

My friends, that day has arrived.

Until next time.

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BREAKING: If you’re a drunk, you’re probably married to one, too

If you’re a drunk, you’re probably married to one, too, new research published today in JAMA hints.

And if you’re not a drunk, but your spouse is, you have a good chance of becoming one eventually.

In a first of its kind study on Swedes, researchers analyzed more than 8,500 husband-wife pairs. They discovered that upon a spouse’s diagnosis of alcoholic use disorder, or AUD, the other spouse’s chances of developing AUD skyrocket before leveling back off after a couple of years.

“The increase in risk for AUD registration in a married individual following a first AUD registration in the spouse is large and rapid,” the researchers concluded. “When an individual with serial spouses is married, in either order, to partners with vs without an AUD registration, the risk for AUD registration is substantially increased when the partner has an AUD registration and decreased when the partner does not have an AUD registration.

“These results suggest that a married individual’s risk for AUD is directly and causally affected by the presence of AUD in his or her spouse.”

The study included nuptials born between 1960 and 1990. Women were more likely to slide into AUD after their husbands did, rather than the other way around.

“We identified 5883 marital pairs in which the husband first developed AUD and 2679 marital pairs in which the wife first developed AUD, as well as matching samples of control pairs, reported the authors in a JAMA original investigation. “First onsets of AUD in both wives and husbands were much greater in pairs in which the spouse had an AUD onset than when the spouse did not. Furthermore, that increase was especially concentrated in the first year after spousal onset of AUD. “

What else happens when one spouse drinks heavily and the other doesn’t, according to the research?

“Early phases of problematic drinking in a married individual might increase risk both for divorce and selection of another marital partner with heavy drinking,” according to the authors.

“The chances that this problem produces biases in our findings is reduced by our showing that controlling for AUD registration between marriages had little effect on the predisposing effect of moving from a first spouse without AUD to a second spouse with AUD.”

A while back, a chain of treatment centers hired me to write all of the web copy for CouplesRehab.com. I was excited to take on this project, because “couples rehab” has been frowned upon by the behavioral health establishment for years. Heaven forbid we meet the alcoholic or the addict where they are and help them get sober on their own terms.

I suspect this piece will garner one of two reactions: “Duh,” or “BS.”

Concluded the Swedish authors:

“Although genetic and biological factors contribute strongly to the predisposition to alcohol dependence, these findings complement our prior work on marriage and divorce in showing how close social bonds such as marriage can also powerfully influence, for better or worse, the risk for AUD.”

Until next time.

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