Guest writers

Patterson, Traci 2010                 Traci Patterson

By guest writer Traci Patterson

Depression could be breaking your heart. Two of the most common chronic illnesses suffered by both men and women are heart disease and depression.
Research estimates that more than 25 million people in the United States live with heart disease and more than 31 million Americans have had at least one episode of major depression during their lives.
Surprisingly, most people do not realize that these conditions are closely linked, so Mental Health America Of Greater Houston wants you to join the fight for healthy hearts and healthy minds.
Depression not only affects your brain; it affects your entire body – including your heart. According to National Institute Of Mental Health, the past two decades have shown that people suffering heart disease are more likely to suffer from depression than people without the condition.
The institute says people with depression are at greater risk of developing heart disease and the risk of death after a heart attack is greater for people with heart disease who are depressed than for those who are not depressed.
About one in three people who have survived a heart attack will have at least one episode of major depression, according to the institute.
Some studies show that people with heart disease are more likely to suffer from depression than otherwise healthy people. While researchers are unsure exactly why this is so, they do know that heart attacks are closely linked with depression and that some symptoms of depression might reduce your overall physical and mental health, increasing your risk for heart disease or making symptoms of heart disease worse.
Fatigue or feelings of worthlessness can cause a person to ignore their medication plan and avoid treatment for heart disease. Depression increases a person’s risk of death after a heart attack.
Symptoms of depression can include continuing sadness, anxiety or empty feelings, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness or helplessness, irritability or restlessness, difficulty concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, thoughts of death and suicide attempts.
Symptoms of heart disease can include chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea and extreme fatigue, pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels in those parts of your body and pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back.
While each person experiences symptoms of depression and heart disease differently, Mental Health America Of Greater Houston suggests that depression is a brain disorder that is manageable along with treatment for co-occurring illnesses like heart disease.
As an advocate for overall patient health, the organization suggests that patients consider and request an integrated healthcare plan to treat depression that co-occurs with heart disease.
This coordinated care is managed by a mental-health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker who stays in close communication with the patient’s physician and heart-disease care team.
Integrated healthcare has been shown as an effective course of treatment to improve both illnesses and Mental Health America Of Greater Houston encourages it no matter how advanced a patient’s heart disease.
No one has to suffer from depression; however, it’s important to remember that recovery from the disease takes time. Don’t let it break your heart.
If you or someone you know is living with heart disease and possibly depression, talk to a primary-care or mental-health professional before it’s too late.
Traci Patterson is director of communications for Mental Health America’s Greater Houston branch.

Candelari, Walter                       Walt Candelari

Crimewatch with Walt Candelari

In Star Wars, the evil Darth Vader was always urging Luke Skywalker to come to the “dark side”. While Luke resisted, it seems as though we have numerous burglars who heard the call and indeed go to the dark side to gain entry into a home. SOC_GasStationSafety
When you combine a dark area, some shrubbery to duck behind, no apparent alarm system and a window that has only a single lock on it, you have the perfect “10” on the burglary accessibility scale.
One of the easiest ways to improve the security of a window is to add an extra lock on its side rail. Hardware stores have several models to pick from, ranging from the simple to some that require tools to install.
Keep in mind that, whichever model you choose, you will need to be able to uninstall it quickly in case of an emergency. Having to search for a screwdriver or hex wrench to unfasten the lock could cost you valuable time – not good if a fire is raging inside.
You can increase the security of sliding glass doors by having a bar – often an old broom handle – on the bottom rail and by drilling several holes on the top rail and placing pins or pegs in them to prevent a burglar from lifting the door up and off the rail.
The pins or pegs should not be screwed in and you should be able to pull them out quickly if needed.
Another simple way to discourage a burglar is to add reflective film to a window. Some films boast that they will deter a burglar. Probably the best they do is to slow the thief’s entry, not prevent it.
As well as reflecting heat, films can be dark enough to prevent someone from looking in and some are coated to completely block anyone from seeing in. It’s good because a burglar can’t see in but neither could the police if someone were inside illegally.
Be sure that, if you choose this type of film, you install it correctly because – and, reportedly, this has happened – if you don’t you will provide interesting viewing for your neighbors!
Finally, there are those windows that have a laminate film between two panes of glass. I have seen someone take a baseball bat to one and, although the glass broke, it did not shatter nor was he able to punch a hole through it. Given enough time and motivation, however, someone could eventually break through.
Remember: You might never be able to make your home 100 per cent burglar proof but you can make it difficult enough to gain entry that an intruder might want to go elsewhere!
Always think, plan and execute crime-prevention designs. Don’t become a crime victim.
Walt Candelari has been a crime-prevention specialist and community-policing officer with Dickinson police department for almost a decade and is a former Galveston County sheriff’s deputy and principal at Clear Creek intermediate school.

Weber, Randy 2014 Web Ready               Randy Weber

US congressman Randy Weber writes exclusively in The Post about issues involving his work as part of our nation’s government

CLOSING our detention center at Guantanamo Bay and transferring the dangerous terrorists housed there to United States soil is a terrible and illogical idea. Instead of putting America first, the president once again continues to weaken our national security by pursuing actions geared towards solidifying his legacy.
Did you know that as many as one in three former GITMO detainees have returned or are suspected of returning to terrorist organizations?
The most infamous former Guantanamo detainee is Ibrahim al Qosi, who was once the cook for Osama Bin Laden and pled guilty to charges of conspiracy and providing material support to Al Qaeda.
Al Qosi was transferred to Sudan, his home country, after two years at Guantanamo Bay. Since his release, he has become an influential leader within an Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.
The president’s plan includes “transferring the bulk of remaining detainees to other countries and moving the rest – because they’re deemed too dangerous to transfer abroad – to an as-yet-undetermined detention facility in the United States”.
For those who side with the president’s plan and attempt to rationalize the fact that these dangerous and deadly terrorists will be in supermax detention facilities, let us not forget about the prison break that happened in upstate New York just last year.
The two men who escaped on that occasion weren’t masterminds. So can you imagine what architects of mass terror could plot? Who knows how much help they could get from the outside.
A recent poll from Rasmussen confirms that the majority – 56 per cent, in fact – of American people widely disapprove of the president’s irresponsible plan to close GITMO .
I am not willing and, evidently, the majority of Americans are not willing to support the president’s ill-conceived plan.
Fortunately, congress took preventative measures by including language in the recent National Defense Authorization act that bars Guantanamo detainees from being transferred to the United States.
The president has signed this legislation into law. For the president to close Gitmo, current law must be changed, new legislation must be written, approved by congress and sent to the president’s desk.
I will not support any measure that will allow these dangerous terrorists to be transferred to the United States.
Randy Weber is the US representative for the 14th district of Texas, which covers Brazoria, Galveston and Jefferson counties.

The views and opinions expressed by our contributors are their own and do not necessarily agree with those of The Post newspaper.

160306 Alamo ride 1

TODAY, Sunday, is the 180th anniversary of the battle of the Alamo, the legendary conflict in which lieutenant colonel William Travis and Jim Bowie, accompanied by Davy Crockett, led no more than 250 or so Texians in a glorious but vain defense of the mission against some 1,500 Mexicans under the command of their president, general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
Led by land commissioner George Bush, the state has been recreating the 13-day siege that led to the battle, in which all the mission defenders died, and will draw the event to a grand finale this evening with a ceremony titled Dusk At The Alamo commemorating the lighting of the funeral pyres that Santa Anna ordered for his fallen adversaries.
Bush has also accepted an invitation by The Post to write a special article for our readers. The column appears below.

The Alamo – the past that forged our future

By guest writer George Bush

No place captures the spirit of Texas more than the Alamo. It represents independence, faith, family and the belief that our ideals are not a gift to be received but an honor to be won.
This week we have been gathering at the Alamo to mark the 180th anniversary of the battle that made it legendary and to remember what it cost to become a Texan.
We are commemorating not just the sacred place but everything it stands for in the hearts and minds of all Texans.

160306 Alamo anniversary Travis letter
The Alamo rests on hallowed grounds, sanctified by the blood of men who chose to die free rather than live oppressed. It is our duty to ensure that this place will always honor those heroes who gave their lives so we might have a future.
Theirs is the story that still inspires men and women from around the world to come to Texas and visit the great city of San Antonio and to understand what happened there and how it shaped who we are today.
The Alamo is where all Americans became Texans – united for the cause. It is where Texans took a stand for the radical idea that everyone is born with a God-given right to rule their own destiny.
Lieutenant colonel William Travis’ Victory Or Death letter, above, written during the siege, showed the world what it means to be a Texan. Travis’ tenacity inspired his men and stirred the nation to action in support of Texas, or rather, in support of the men and women here fighting against tyranny.
This past year, we have once again heard the Alamo’s call. With the combined support of the Texas legislature, San Antonio city leadership and all who cherish our state’s noble roots, we are coming together to make sure its story is as powerful in the 21st century as it has been since 1836. 160306 Alamo anniversary logo
Late last year, I was proud to announce the acquisition of three buildings that lie across the street from the Alamo and rest on part of the original footprint, including the site where Lt Col Travis penned his famous letters calling for reinforcements in 1836. The purchase of these buildings caps an extraordinary year during which we have made great strides towards making the Alamo the visitor destination that it should be.
This year, we mark the 180th anniversary of the siege and battle of the Alamo. On February 24, 1836, after Travis wrote the now famous Victory Or Death letter, courier Albert Martin carried it from the Alamo to deliver Travis’ impassioned plea for reinforcements to the people of Texas. This year, this act of valiance has been reenacted in front of the iconic Alamo chapel.
Throughout the anniversary of the 13-day siege, the Alamo has hosted several special events commemorating this extraordinary chapter in our state’s history. Living-history presentations have taken place throughout the Alamo grounds inviting children and visitors to discover what life was like in 1836 and to learn of the events of each day during the siege and battle.

George P Bush Official Portrait in San Antonion Texas at the Alamo  March 16, 2015

People unable to visit in person have been able to follow along on the Alamo’s Twitter feed, @OfficialAlamo, as the shrine’s education and history experts narrated the events of each day.
Bringing the past to life makes the Alamo a special place for families and Texas history enthusiasts of all ages.
You see, Texas doesn’t just have history – we have legend. And the Alamo is where that legend was born, where flawed men were redeemed by their service to a cause greater than themselves.
The Alamo isn’t just our past; it is our future. The heroes of the Alamo gave our great state a future of freedom. By working together in their shadow, we will create a brighter future for Texas’ most important piece of history.
This isn’t just any state. This is Texas. What happens here matters everywhere. Thank you for your support of our beloved Alamo and may God continue to bless the great state of Texas.
Texas land commissioner George Bush is chairman of the Alamo Endowment board of directors. Born in Houston, he lives with his wife and two sons in Austin.

Mollette, Glenn New               Glenn Mollette

Uncommon Sense with Glenn Mollette

Lots of comments are flying about Donald Trump’s vocabulary. Some of the conversation has been about his lack of vocabulary. Others have pointed out that he is uncouth and crude in his speech.Trump, Donald edited
Others have noted that Trump, far right, tells it like it is, holding nothing back, saying whatever comes to his mind or speaking from his heart. Some on social media have commented that they don’t want a president who cannot communicate more articulately or smoothly than Trump does.
I have to note that we have a smooth president by the name of Barack Obama, below. I think he uses the teleprompter as well as anybody I’ve ever seen. Or, when he has time to master his content, he can release his words in a very convincing manner.

Official portrait of President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.

I don’t see that there is much debate on our current president’s ability to deliver a high-powered speech. On the other hand, we’ve all heard the president at press conferences “hem and hah”, searching for the right words to say when answering a question or speaking impromptu.
On July 27, 2004, then US senator Obama delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic convention in Boston. On that Tuesday evening, he spoke masterfully. He delivered a rousing speech that was smooth, powerful and convincing that elevated his status as the new rising star in the Democratic convention.
At that time, I said to several people that Obama was on his way to being president of the United States and I was right.
Almost 12 years later, not as many Americans are overly impressed with our president. Many hate his healthcare legislation, popularly called Obamacare. Some feel he loves Muslims more than Christians.
Others see Obama leading the charge to take guns away from everyday Americans. Still others feel that he has mistreated Israel – the list of course goes on and on.
Some of the people who dislike Obama are now criticizing Trump for his inability to deliver the kind of speech that we would have heard from John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan or our current president.
Donald Trump is Donald Trump. If he makes it to the presidency, he will not be a slick podium orator. In all likelihood, he will say what he is thinking and probably do it without a teleprompter. Often when a speech is delivered unwritten or without the aid of a teleprompter, it will come across as unprepared.
Whether we like it or not, this is another reason why Trump has done so well. He is not the typical polished political statesman and that chaffs some people, but millions more love it.
We will not get everything we want in one human being. Everybody
is different.
Obama is a suave, fit, articulate man who has done what few will ever accomplish by becoming president of the United States.
Trump is not Barack Obama or similar to anybody else we’ve elected in recent years and, because of that, he might very well win.
Glenn Mollette is an American author whose syndicated column is read in all 50 states.