Celiac Awareness Month

In case you were not aware of the fact, May is Celiac Awareness Month.


Celiac Disease affects approximately three million Americans, many of whom are suffering without knowing the cause of their malaise.

You keep hearing about people needing their food to be “gluten-free”, but why? Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, barley and many oats (particularly those grown in the US). It is in many foods that wouldn’t seem at first blush to contain gluten, and is a filler in many medicines.


Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease whereby one’s body is attacked when gluten is consumed. Symptoms can be digestive…or extend to the rest of the body. It can also compromise the body in a way that invites other diseases to take hold, such as other autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and cancers. It tends to run in families. It can be present but dormant, and be kicked into gear by such events as severe stress, physical injury, another disease such as Lyme’s, infection, pregnancy or childbirth or surgey.

Avoidance of gluten cannot be sporadic or intermittent or half-way; if one has Celiac Disease, one must cut it out 1000 percent of the way. Even a speck of gluten can wreak significant damage on the system of a person with Celiac Disease, and traces of gluten can remain in one’s system for nine full months.

Get tested! Find out if you should be avoiding gluten. It’s a pain in the neck to go gluten-free and requires vigilance, but it becomes a way of life and gets easier as one gets used to it. And as friends of mine have assured me, the benefits far outweigh the drag of it.
-Jack Simony

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A Not-So-Idyllic Marriage

So, Fatah and Hamas are reconciled and will form a joint government to run the Palestinian Authority. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/27/us-palestinians-reconciliation-idUSTRE73Q50820110427?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

U.S. lawmakers are not pleased to see a terrorist organization (Hamas) joining the PA government the U.S. has been funneling money to for years.

House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released a statement warning that “The reported agreement between Fatah and Hamas means that a Foreign Terrorist Organization [Hamas], which has called for the destruction of Israel will be part of the Palestinian Authority government. U.S. taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten U.S. security, our interests, and our vital ally, Israel.”

And Democrat Rep. Gary Ackerman, Ranking Member the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, said that “the United States will be compelled by both law and decency to withhold any assistance that could fall into the hands or control or even partial control of anyone reporting to, or belonging to a terrorist entity, as is Hamas.”

The accord between the two is a sweet deal for Fatah and Hamas, since apparently they neither trust nor fear the U.S., and since they need each other now that their primary backers (Hosni Mubarak for Fatah, Bashir Assad for Hamas) are currently in hot water.

It’s not so sweet for Israel, though, since the deal reportedly doesn’t require Hamas to make even a pretense of giving up its stated mission of driving Israel into the sea.
-Jack Simony

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“Medically Ready”

Since I’ve written about her in the past, I feel compelled to note that Representative Gabrielle Giffords has flown from Houston, where she is in hospital, to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, to attend the Friday launch of the space shuttle Endeavour. The flight is to be commanded by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly.


This is fantastic news, not just because Representative Giffords is happy to finally get some time away from the hospital that has been her home since she was shot in Tucson on January 8, but because of what it says of her current condition. Representative Giffords has been making a remarkable recovery.

This will be the final space mission for the Endeavour, and it will be delivering communication antennae and other equipment to the international space station.


President Obama and his family are also slated to attend the launch.

Representative Giffords has long wanted to attend this launch. She worked hard at her rehabilitation to be “medically ready” to do so. I am so pleased for her and her husband that she will be there on Friday.
-Jack Simony

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While it’s been kind of fun – and definitely riveting – to watch the game of chicken going on in Washington over the budget, there was also something sickening about the spectacle of all the political chest-thumping as we inched closer and closer to a government shutdown. And now we get to go through it all over again, thanks to Friday night’s last-minute, short-term.

Well, you might be thinking to yourself, boys will be boys, and politicians will be politicians. That’s certainly true; and it’s also the problem. As anyone who has ever managed a business or a household knows, it is possible to live within your means if you’re really committed to it, though you’re probably going to have to do without something you may want very badly.

Instead of watching as the politicians send government workers – and a lot of other people – home from the office, maybe we’d all be a lot better off if we sent the politicians on an extended vacation, with some useful reading material.

Ironically, had there been a shutdown, the only government employees not to have their salaries interrupted would have been the very ones who voted for the shutdown, our legislators. I’d have wanted them to be the first to face a salary freeze — funny how very quickly that shutdown would have ended.
-Jack Simony

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The Next Great Equalizer

By Jack Simony

So, New York City is planning to spend more than $500 million next year to upgrade classroom technology – even as the schools are facing $1.3 billion in budget cuts over the next three years, which may lead to the loss of 6,000 teachers. The fact is, this is apple-and-orange money; the capitol improvement funds slated to go to the tech revamp could not be used to save teacher salaries. But the symbolism is already causing some controversy. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/nyregion/30schools.html?_r=1&nl=nyregion&emc=ura1

Understandable perhaps, but still misguided. Technology is not a luxury item that can be scratched off a tight budget like a night out at a fancy restaurant. In this day and age, availability of and familiarity with technology is an essential tool in preparing our children for the future. You could even say that technology will be the next great equalizer, as military service was once upon a time. And, as with so much that ails our education system, those who suffer most from the lack of up-to-date technology in public schools are inevitably going to be our neediest children. Affluent kids, should their schools somehow fail to provide technological expertise, get it at home from their iPods, iPads, tweeting, texting, G-chatting, and Facebook surfing.

Of course, all the technology in the world can’t replace the smart, energetic, dedicated teachers who have such a profound influence on the intellectual and social development of their students.

Too bad such teachers get short shrift in our public education system.

– By Jack Simony

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An Idiot With Innocent Blood On His Hands

By Jack Simony

By Jack Simony

“We’re not big debaters. We’re not very well-educated,” Luke Jones said. “We’re just simple people trying to do the right thing.”


You may be wondering just who this simple, uneducated Luke Jones might be, and whether his self-characterization is correct or just false modesty.  Well, it sure isn’t false modesty. He’s the son of Terry Jones, an idiot with blood on his hands — the simple, uneducated pastor whose idea of doing the right thing is dousing a copy of the Koran with kerosene and setting it on fire.  Jones (the father) had threatened to bring his simple, uneducated (and very small) flock to New York City to do just that in September, in response to plans to build an Islamic center near Ground Zero.  And the threat got him just as much attention as he was hoping for.

After a media feeding frenzy that must have had Pastor Jones thinking he’d died and gone to Heaven, and after an intervention by the United States Secretary of Defense, Mr. Jones backed off.  But apparently once you’ve had a taste of international attention, it’s hard to do without it. (“It’s like people forgot about us.”). So week before last, he remedied that situation by holding the Koran burning at his Gainesville, Florida church – and live-streaming it on the Internet, with Arabic subtitles. (He must have gotten help with the Arabic from someone a little less simple and uneducated.)

A $2 million bounty on Jones’s head in Pakistan.   Oh, and riots in Afghanistan that have killed 16 people and injured 90.

– By Jack Simony

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