Wednesday, February 27, 2013

C. Everett Koop, a former...

...surgeon general, died at age 96. From his obit in the Times (all emphasis mine):

At a sturdy 6-foot-1, with his bushy gray biblical beard, Dr. Koop would appear before television cameras in the gold-braided dark-blue uniform of a vice admiral — the surgeon general’s official uniform, which he revived...

Okay, okay, I guess Dr. Koop was an officer -- just like an airline pilot is a captain -- but don't you think he took that whole uniform thing just a little far?

Oh, and how about this paragraph:

Dr. Koop traced his interest in medicine to watching his family’s doctors at work as a child. To develop the manual dexterity of a surgeon, he practiced tying knots and cutting pictures out of magazines with each hand. At 14 he sneaked into an operating theater at Columbia University’s medical college. At home he operated on rabbits, rats and stray cats in the basement after his mother had administered anesthesia. By his account, not one of the animals died. 

Yikes! Isn't that how Jeffrey Dahmer got his start? (No wonder some people called him C. Everett Kook.)

But on a more serious note:

Dr. Koop ... almost single-handedly pushed the government into taking a more aggressive stand against AIDS...

Dr. Koop later wrote that “political meddlers in the White House” had complicated his work on the disease, and that “at least a dozen times I pleaded with my critics in the White House to let me have a meeting with President Reagan” on AIDS in the mid-1980s. Too many people, he said, “placed conservative ideology far above saving human lives.”

He added: “Our first public health priority, to stop the further transmission of the AIDS virus, became needlessly mired in the homosexual politics of the early 1980s. We lost a great deal of precious time because of this, and I suspect we lost some lives as well.” 

See? The Republicans have been fanatical as far back as the '80s. The tea party is just the latest generation of "crazy."

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