Lt. Gen. Nadja West Becomes First Black Female Three-Star General
Military pioneer continues to break diversity barriers in higher ranks

“Lt. Gen Nadja West will be honored February 10, 2016 in an official ceremony formalizing her promotion to three-star general, making her the first African American woman to achieve that rank in the United States Army. She is also the highest-ranking woman of any race to have graduated from West Point, according to reports.

Late last year, the 54-year-old military leader was confirmed by the Senate as the new Army surgeon general and commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM).  

“I was once an orphan with an uncertain future,” West told theGrio. “And I am incredibly honored and humbled to lead such a distinguished team of dedicated professionals who are entrusted with the care of our nation’s sons and daughters, veterans, and family members.”

West’s military career includes deployments during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and she was part of a medical mission with the 5th Special Forces Group. She has held command at two army medical centers, as well as the Europe Regional Medical Command. She has also served as joint staff surgeon at the Pentagon.” 

Read the full piece here

Congratulations General West!

Why not have the Surgeon General head this up?

Actual quote by Republican congressman, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) complaining about the lack of a Surgeon General to combat Ebola in the United States, while conveniently omitting the fact that, led by Rand Paul, conservatives, Libertarians and Republicans blocked President Obama’s Surgeon General nominee –because guns

You should recognize the m.o. by now:

Step 1. intentionally break the government’s ability to act more effectively by blocking nominees and/or cutting funding

Step 2. blame someone else

Step 3. complain about how ineffective the government is right after being the cause of said ineffectiveness…just like with Benghazi

It should also be noted (with no small irony) that these are the very same conservatives who, when asked about climate change will swiftly respond, “I’m not a scientist” but when fear-mongering about Ebola, neocons like Rand Paul have absolutely no problems with telling flat out lies

This is a conservative tactic. Government is not dysfunctional. Republicans are. If the government is broken, it’s because Republicans broke it. On purpose. To prove government is dysfunctional

After waging a smear campaign aimed at taking down Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General, Fox wants to know why there isn’t a Surgeon General to deal with Ebola.

Fox host Steve Doocy:  

You would normally think that in something like this, the Surgeon General would be in charge, but right now at this point oddly, the United States of America does not have a Surgeon General. His nomination is tied up in politics.

The New Surgeon General (Finally!)

I know I talked about Dr. Vivek Murthy a while ago now.. he was nominated to become Surgeon General last November. Unfortunately due to politics (and ignorance) he was rejected by the senate… but after a year of not having a Surgeon General, the senate finally accepted the nomination!

It’s going to be very interesting to see where this is headed. This is the first time we are having such a young Surgeon General, and with his close ties and beliefs to Obamacare, his actions and decisions will be very unique compared to all others that preceded him.

I am looking forward to hearing about all that will change… Good luck Dr. Vivek Murthy!

Read more:

If Elected, Trump to Appoint Jenny McCarthy as Surgeon General

NEW YORK - In a move which further establishes his anti-vaccine stance, Donald Trump announced yesterday that, if elected, he plans to appoint fellow famous anti-vaxer Jenny McCarthy to the position of Surgeon General. Trump explained his rationale in a post-debate interview with Gomerblog.  …


How Ted Cruz helped the Democrats appoint a new surgeon general over the weekend

President Obama and congressional Democrats got some big help from an unlikely source this weekend: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

No, the tea party favorite didn’t have a change of heart and decide to start working across the aisle. Rather, his plan to keep the Senate from adjourning in order to prove a point about immigration backfired horribly (or wonderfully, depending on your political affiliation) when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the extra time to get many of President Obama’s political appointees confirmed.

And Republicans are not happy about it

Watch on

Starting September of 2012 all tobacco products sold in the US will have these new warning labels on them. I definitely approve! They are graphic and shocking, which is exactly the point. Many other countries already have these same types of labels, some even more graphic than these. Canada is also going to join the bandwagon and they have until March 2012 to begin printing them. These new labels are pretty controversial and some say they will not work. Do I think they’ll work to make people stop/prevent them from starting the habit? Yes and no. I think it could go one of two ways: it will either piss them off or it will make them think. I don’t think a lot of smokers will care, which is sad, but I know that this will affect the smokers who want to quit but haven’t yet and also people and young kids that are thinking about beginning to smoke. Overall, I think this is an excellent idea and I can’t wait until half the package of cigarettes are taken up by these images.

via Moms Demand Action:

“CALL TO ACTION - STOP THE NRA FROM DICTATING PUBLIC HEALTH POLICY: Surgeon General nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy believes America’s epidemic of gun violence is a public health issue. He wants pediatricians to be able to ask parents about guns in the home the same way they ask about car seats, swimming pools, and smoking. He wants to prevent the deaths of the eight children and teens who are shot and killed in America every day. But Sen. Rand Paul is using NRA talking points to try and derail Dr. Murthy’s nomination:

Dr. Murthy’s confirmation vote is coming any day, and we urgently need your help to overcome Sen. Paul’s NRA-backed antics. CONTACT YOUR SENATORS TODAY and tell them to confirm a Surgeon General who looks at data and listens to the experts - not the NRA:

If you support Dr. Murthy’s nomination and support common sense safety measures, please take action.

Joycelyn Elders

External image

Dr. Minnie Jocelyn Elders was born in 1933 in Schaal, Arkansas. She became interested in medicine while an undergraduate at Philander Smith College after hearing Edith Irby Jones, the first Black person to attend the University of Arkansas Medical School, speak. After college, Elders served in the army and trained in physical therapy. When her service ended she enrolled in the University of Arkansas Medical School.

Elders graduated in 1960 and completed her internship in Minnesota before returning to Arkansas for her residency. She earned a master’s degree in biochemistry in 1967. In 1971, Elders became a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas. 

Elders was the first person in the state of Arkansas to be board certified in pediatric endocrinology. Her work focused on juvenile diabetes and teen sexual behavior. As state director of public health, Elders led Arkansas to expand their sex education and substance abuse prevention programs. She also increased childhood immunizations and home care options for the chronically ill.

In 1993, Elders was the first Black person and the second woman to be named U.S. Surgeon General. Her term was controversial and short as Elders advocated for comprehensive sex education and other progressive policies. A remark about teaching masturbation as a part of human sexuality led to President Clinton asking for her resignation after just 15 months. After leaving office, Elders returned to the University of Arkansas Medical School. She is retired and lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.


Smith, J.C. (2003). Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events. 2nd Ed. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press.

Neither I, nor anyone else, could have envisioned that by the time he left office eight years later, he would have managed to transform his job into the most electrifying bully pulpit in medicine. And he did it in the most unexpected way: by telling the truth.

Michael Specter reflects on the influence of C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general who died yesterday:

And here, a look at what the magazine had to say about Dr. Koop on the occasion of his retirement, in August, 1989:



Elmo sings Shake it Off at the end!
What The NRA's War Against Obama's Surgeon General Pick Is Really About

With the White House and Senate Democrats in retreat, the National Rifle Association is winning its battle to scuttle President Barack Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, but the group is escalating its war against him anyway.

The gun industry lobby issued a “special alert” to members on Wednesday with a call to action in bright red: “Please call your U.S. Senators and Ask Them to Oppose the Confirmation of Vivek Murthy for U.S. Surgeon General.” The group provided a phone number for members to call their representatives.

The group reaffirmed its previously stated beef with Murthy, specifically that he has supported gun control measures such as a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and limits on ammunition purchases. The NRA also claims his characterization of gun safety as a public health issue makes him a “gun control activist” with a “radical anti-gun agenda.”

Proponents of gun control are furious.

“The NRA is unconscionably putting the country’s health at risk by attempting to prevent Dr. Murthy’s approval,“ Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told TPM. "He is eminently well-qualified, with strong support from leading medical and hospital groups and prominent professionals.”

The action alert came after TPM and other outlets reported that Senate Democrats were well short of the 50 votes they needed (after eliminating the filibuster last November for most nominations) to confirm Murthy. One top Democratic aide said the party was eight to ten votes short after members bolted over the NRA’s letter last month coming out against Murthy.

So, why is the NRA fighting a battle that it appears to have already won?

An NRA spokesman declined to comment. One plausible reason is that the group wants to deliver a knockout blow in order to scare Democrats out of considering the nomination after the 2014 elections, where vulnerable members in pro-gun red states are defending their seats.

But there’s a more overarching goal. The aggressive pro-gun lobbying group has crushed its gun control opponents over the last two decades, racking up victory after victory in Congress and the Supreme Court. With lawmakers on their side, and the courts on their side, the logical next step is to go after public servants who dare to cross them. It never hurts to find new ways to excite members and keep the funds flowing, even if it means extending their tentacles into unchartered waters. Without new ways to instill fear that the government is coming for peoples’ guns, member enthusiasm wanes and fundraising slows down.

Attacking a nominee to a post that lacks any ability to vote on gun laws is a curious move on its face. But it serves a dual purpose for the NRA: it keeps the pro-gun community energized and sends a message that the NRA will target anyone hoping to serve in public life if they voice support for gun control, even if their influence over the matter is tenuous.

Blumenthal, who stepped up his support for gun control in the wake of the horrific Newtown, Conn. shooting in December 2012 that left 20 children dead, said Murthy was “fully appropriate in addressing gun violence as a public health issue.” The senator added that “[i]n his confirmation hearing, he indicated clearly that his focus will be on obesity, mental illness, tobacco-related disease and other public health issues unrelated to gun violence.”

h/t: Sahil Kapur at TPM