Rick Anhalt: ‘As a former airline instructor pilot, I can assure you everyday use of checklists is increasing, and for good reason. Whether it be a routine item or emergency there is a better way to do things, and that way is researched, documented, printed, and followed. As always, not all situations can be covered (UAL DC-10 in Iowa years ago, superior airmanship on the crew’s part) but most can and the traveling public is safer for it. I have no doubt the medical industry will follow, even if it takes the insurance industry to force the checklist practice with higher premiums for those who resist.’


The Democratic Leadership Council has been coming up with lots of good ideas this primary season (and for many years past). Here’s the latest – ‘a 21st Century G.I. Bill that would deposit $5,000 in the name of every child born in a 529-type college education fund. But to receive the government’s contribution with interest, a child would have to commit one year to military or civilian service. This type of program could help rebuild the middle class and dramatically increase the chances for ordinary Americans to prosper in the global economy.’

It would encourage parents and kids who otherwise might never even consider college to do so, and from a very early age. It would encourage national service. It would encourage further saving, aspiration, responsibility, opportunity, and community.


So I really didn’t know who Fran Drescher was when I was invited to go to some kind of cocktail party for her at a fancy-schmancy address (she’s an actress, no?). But I went anyway because a quick check of her political giving showed that she was a Democrat, and it sounded like the kind of party that might be attended by wealthy progressives – which is to say, potential DNC donors.

I donned my best mail-order shirt and slacks, and when she opened her mouth, I instantly knew who she was. Not that I had ever seen ‘The Nanny,’ but – that voice!

I almost laughed out loud.

She’s not acting: that’s her real voice.

I don’t know where I had heard it before, but it’s not a voice you forget.

And it’s not a voice I had ever associated with any great intelligence, let alone gravitas. But guess what? This woman turns out to be a force.

After being misdiagnosed seven times over a period of two years, but refusing to believe the doctors, she was finally found to have Stage 1 uterine cancer – she had a way of making this story funny and compelling, even to a man not ordinarily at ease wandering around the gynecologia – and, once she recovered, she founded Cancer Schmancer (yes, really) because had she just accepted any of those first seven expert opinions, her cancer would have progressed to a more dangerous stage. At Stage Four, only 17% of women reach the 5-year survival mark; at Stage One, over 95%.

So the ‘cure’ for cancer, it turns out, is ‘Stage One,’ she decided – detecting it early makes all the difference. Yet women and their doctors are not nearly aggressive enough in striving for early detection.

There was a great deal more to what she had to say . . . and the tests she advises women (and men) to go for . . . and the laws she is trying to get passed (one already signed) . . . but she tells it much better than I ever could, on her website and in her book.

I raised nothing for the DNC from this outing, but I met a young woman who said Fran Drescher is her absolute number #1 hero – she ‘wrote papers on her in high school and college,’ she said – and I got Fran Drescher’s autograph for the partner of a DNC employee who, when he heard I might be meeting her, said it would be the greatest thing ever.

See? And I had not even known who she was.

Like the checklist, her efforts could one day save your life.


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