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Showing posts from May, 2020

The Fight That Never Ends ... Against Cancer

We have come to the end of May which has been designated Skin Cancer Awareness Month. I can’t let this pass for several reasons.  Not least that i am a skin cancer survivor. I was very fortunate to accomplish early detection and treatment.  My brother was not so fortunate.  He died, as a very young man, of a melanoma.  I’ve never gotten over his death.  It changed my life and was an important influence on my decision to enter politics.  In the U.S. Senate, I made the fight against cancer my abiding cause and in 1999, I was given a lifetime achievement award by the National Coalition for Cancer Research.  (Viewing the photograph is a shock.  I can’t believe I ever looked that young.)     After my time in Washington, I returned to Florida where I served, first, as Chairman of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and, then, as Chairman Emeritus.  I am now retired from both of those posts but remain keenly interested in the work of Moffitt which I like to think I helped make

Remembering a Special Man on a Special Day

Memorial Day was originally meant as a way to remember and honor the Civil War dead and was known, until 1971, as Decoration Day.  The day is now set aside to remember all those who have fallen in America’s wars.  And, further, to honor all those who have served.   Among those who service I particularly remember is John McCain.   John and I were both elected to the House of Representatives in 1982.  And as I write in my book Citizen Mack : We elected John McCain leader of our incoming Republican freshman class and it was a no-brainer. He had the leadership skills and the enormous respect that we all felt for him given the courage he’d demonstrated while he was a POW in North Vietnam for five years. John also came to the job with a lot of experience working with Congress. He had been the Navy’s liaison to Capitol Hill for several years before he was elected to the House, and he knew the institution and the people who made it run.  John and I both moved on to the Se

Justice Clarence Thomas: A Good Man

On Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his Senate confirmation hearings: Clarence Thomas is a remarkable man with a life story that you might even call heroic.  He was born in a little town in Georgia with the unusual name of Pin Point. He was the descendant of slaves. His father was a farm worker, and his mother was a maid and housekeeper, and the family lived in the kind of poverty that would grind the ambition out of most people. He was seven years old before he lived in a house with indoor plumbing.  Thomas was the only African American student in his high school. He was also an honor student. He studied English literature at the College of the Holy Cross and graduated cum laude. He went on to Yale Law School, graduating in 1974.                                                           * * * When he did, finally, get a chance to answer the charges, Thomas drew a line in the sand. The charges were not true, and he would not endure the humiliation of answering them