The 2016 USA Olympic Gymnastics Team Includes 3 Women of Color

Back in a previous lifetime, I was a gymnast. Yes, gymnastics was a major cause of my chronic pain, but it’s a beautiful sport. And I think the U.S. is going to win gold and silver in the Olympics, so go Team U.S.A.!


(7/12/16) State restrictions not associated with reduced opioid misuse among disabled adults

Controlled substance laws are not associated with reductions in hazardous opioid use or overdose among disabled Medicare beneficiaries, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine…

Data were collected for disabled Medicare beneficiaries between the ages of 21 and 64 who were alive between 2006 and 2012 (8.7 million person-years)…

Between 2006 and 2012, states added 81 controlled substance laws. In 2012, 47% of Medicare beneficiaries filled opioid prescriptions, 8% had 4 or more opioid prescribers, 5% had a daily MED greater than 120 mg, and 0.3% were treated for nonfatal prescription opioid overdose

Thinking of you, Sgt. Brandon Michael Ketchum

DAVENPORT, Iowa – Sgt. Brandon Michael Ketchum, age 33, of Davenport, Iowa lost his battle with PTSD on Friday, July 8, 2016…

Here’s what Brandon experienced. Unedited and in his own words…

Brandon’s last post to OIF/OEF Veterans – Military Empire’s Facebook Page.

“Have any of you had a similar situation to my VA shitsh0w today? I went in to see my psych doc for an emergency appt due to some serious mental health issues I’ve been having. I requested that I get admitted to 9W 9psych ward) and get things straightened out. I truly felt my safety and health were in jeopardy, as I discussed with the doc. Not only did I get a NO, but three reasons of no based on me not being ‘fucked up enough.’ I wish I were making this up, but I’m sure I’m not alone. At this point, I say, ‘why even try anymore’ They gave up on me, so why shouldn’t I give up on myself? Right now, that is the only viable option given my circumstances and frame of mind. Insight and/or advice welcome. Tell it as it is, I’m thick skinned.”

Hours after writing this post, Brandon shot and killed himself…

Here is Brandon Ketchum‘s bio that I received from him in preparation for his going to Peru to participate in the veteran plant medicine healing. Rest in peace brother.

“My name is Brandon Ketchum and am a 33 y/o veteran. I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and joined the military when I was 21 y/o. I served in the Marine Corps from 2004-2008 as a combat engineer, serving two tours in Iraq, locating and clearing road side bombs. I survived 5 “hard hits” or explosions on the vehicles we used to mitigate explosive obstacles. Unfortunately, not all of my brothers were as lucky as I was…

Since exiting the military I have faced many struggles with my mental health and also substance abuse. I was addicted to a high dose of narcotic pain meds, began abusing them and eventually started using heroin. In February 2015 I overdosed and nearly died but was saved by paramedics and coincidentally a police officer who I had once served in the military with.

I have been involved with the substance use disorder program at the VA since 2014 and will graduate the final portion of the outpatient program this Thursday, the 24th of March, 2016. Now that I have more control of myself and my life I have begun the daunting task of starting to piece my life back together after the traumas of three hard fought combat tours had taken a costly toll on nearly every aspect of my life.

The physical and mental symptoms of severe PTSD, depression, anxiety, and the inability to adapt back to the real world has been a tremendous obstacle for me, particularly going through nearly 25-30 different types of meds yet finding no solid gains or improvements. I am a firm believer in medical marijuana but unfortunately it is not yet legalized where I live…

Although I find a great deal of therapeutic value in woodworking, every day I am haunted by my past; I struggle to find meaning in the wars I waged against people I felt we didn’t protect or help…

Asking for help has only clouded my life with such a stigma that I have carried the ‘crazy’ or ‘broken’ labels, forcing me to have to fight for custody of my little girl that I love more than the world. I’m nearing some possible successes in some aspects of my life, directly as a result of my unwillingness to be discarded and dismissed by the country I swore to give my life for. But at the end of the day, I feel that I am also at war with myself and my ‘demons.’”


“The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” Abraham Lincoln

“There was a time in my life when I thought I had everything – millions of dollars, mansions, cars, nice clothes, beautiful women, and every other materialistic thing you can imagine. Now I struggle for peace.” Richard Pryor


“I’m one of the world’s most self-conscious people. I really have to struggle.” Marilyn Monroe

“I always say, dare to struggle, dare to grin.” Wavy Gravy


Quotes by James Connolly:

Prejudice among the working class will always benefit the wealthy.

We believe in constitutional action in normal times; we believe in revolutionary action in exceptional times.

Whenever the clergy succeeded in conquering political power in any country, the result has been disastrous to the interests of religion and inimical to the progress of humanity.

None is so fitted to break the chains as they who wear them, none so well equipped to decide what is a fetter.