Friday, January 15, 2010

Donald Goerke, 83, creator of Campbell's SpaghettiOs By Sally A. Downey


Jan. 13, 2010

Donald E. Goerke, 83, dubbed the "Daddy-O of SpaghettiOs" for creating the pasta product while a Campbell Soup Co. executive, died of heart failure Sunday at his Delran home.

In the early 1960s, Mr. Goerke was marketing research director for the Franco-American division of Campbell. Hoping to boost sales, his group considered different pasta shapes that would appeal to children, including baseballs and stars. He decided to go with O's.

"We wanted to keep it simple," he told a reporter.

Campbell president W.B. Murphy was so excited about the product that the company rolled it out nationally without trying it in a test market.

In commercials, Jimmie Rodgers sang the catchy jingle, "The neat, round spaghetti you can eat with a spoon: Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs."

It was a great hit with youngsters and mothers because it was "spoonable" and didn't make a mess, Mr. Goerke later told reporters.

During his 35-year career with Campbell, Mr. Goerke introduced more than 100 products, including Campbell's Chunky Soup in the late 1960s.

"The company was built on condensed soup and had to overcome a lot of skepticism to introduce a ready-to-serve soup," he told a reporter in 1990. By then SpaghettiOs and Campbell's Chunky Soup had combined sales of more than $500 million a year.

Mr. Goerke joined Campbell in 1955 as a market analyst. After developing two blockbuster products, he was president of Champion Valley Farms, a Campbell division that produced Recipe Dog Food, sponsor of the Lassie television series.

In the 1980s, he was director of marketing for Campbell's ready-to-serve products and then was general manager of its Red and White line of condensed soups. He retired in 1990 as manager of Campbell's microwave-soups division.

Mr. Goerke continued to consult for the company, and in 1995 Campbell asked him to participate in a SpaghettiOs anniversary event. He appeared on What's My Line? and attended a celebration at a SpaghettiOs plant in Ohio.

While he was with Campbell, Mr. Goerke often represented the company at golf tournaments, the Super Bowl, Miss America contests, and other events. He got to meet President Ronald Reagan and Arnold Palmer, said his son, Brian.

Campbell made him a goodwill ambassador, his son said, because "he was very outgoing, upbeat, and easy to talk to."

A company spokesman released a statement yesterday saying, "Don made many valuable contributions to Campbell Soup Company throughout his long career. He was a great marketer, a mentor and a friend to many. He will be missed by all who knew him.

A native of Waukesha, Wis., Mr. Goerke was a member of the Waukesha High School basketball team that won the state championship in 1944. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Force in Arizona.

After his discharge, he earned a bachelor's degree from what is now Carroll University in Wisconsin, where he met his future wife, June Marie Uthus. He earned a master's degree in statistics from the University of Wisconsin. Before joining Campbell, he was a market researcher for Blatz Brewery in Wisconsin.

Mr. Goerke and his wife lived in Cinnaminson for more than 30 years. Ten years ago, they moved to Ashley Crossing, a residential development in Delran.

He was past president of the Merchantville school board and the Ashley Crossing Board of Directors. For more than 40 years, he was an active member of the Riverton Country Club and initiated modifications to make the golf course more accessible to older and handicapped players, his son said. He was also an active member of Bethany Lutheran Church.

Recently, he had been involved in efforts to increase pensions for Campbell retirees, his son said.

"He engaged people and was willing to take leadership responsibilities," his son said. "He was respected, but he was comfortable to be with."

In addition to his son Brian, Mr. Goerke is survived by a son, David; a daughter, Ann Nassoura; and seven grandchildren. His wife of 59 years died in 2008.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Bethany Lutheran Church, 617 Morgan Ave., Palmyra, N.J. 08065. Friends may call at 10 a.m.

Donations may be made to the church.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Soul singer Teddy Pendergrass dies in Pa. at 59

Soul singer Teddy Pendergrass dies in Pa. at 59

By PATRICK WALTERS, Associated Press Writer Patrick Walters, Associated Press Writer – 3 mins ago
PHILADELPHIA – Teddy Pendergrass, who became R&B's reigning sex symbol in the 1970s and '80s with his forceful, masculine voice and passionate love ballads and later became an inspirational figure after suffering a devastating car accident that left him paralyzed, died Wednesday at age 59.

The singer's son, Teddy Pendergrass II, said his father died at Bryn Mawr Hospital in suburban Philadelphia. The singer underwent colon cancer surgery eight months ago and had "a difficult recovery," his son said.

"To all his fans who loved his music, thank you," his son said. "He will live on through his music."

Pendergrass suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the waist down in the 1982 car accident. He spent six months in a hospital but returned to recording the next year with the album "Love Language."

He returned to the stage at Live Aid in 1985, performing from his wheelchair.


Associated Press Music Writer Nekesa Mumbi Moody contributed to this report from New York

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

California's Proposition 71 Failure



Bioethics: Five years after a budget-busting $3 billion was allocated to embryonic stem cell research, there have been no cures, no therapies and little progress. So supporters are embracing research they once opposed.

California's Proposition 71 was intended to create a $3 billion West Coast counterpart to the National Institutes of Health, empowered to go where the NIH could not — either because of federal policy or funding restraints on biomedical research centered on human embryonic stem cells.

Supporters of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, passed in 2004, held out hopes of imminent medical miracles that were being held up only by President Bush's policy of not allowing federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) beyond existing stem cell lines and which involved the destruction of embryos created for that purpose.

Five years later, ESCR has failed to deliver and backers of Prop 71 are admitting failure. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state agency created to, as some have put it, restore science to its rightful place, is diverting funds from ESCR to research that has produced actual therapies and treatments: adult stem cell research. It not only has treated real people with real results; it also does not come with the moral baggage ESCR does.

To us, this is a classic bait-and-switch, an attempt to snatch success from the jaws of failure and take credit for discoveries and advances achieved by research Prop. 71 supporters once cavalierly dismissed. We have noted how over the years that when funding was needed, the phrase "embryonic stem cells" was used. When actual progress was discussed, the word "embryonic" was dropped because ESCR never got out of the lab.

Prop 71 had a 10-year mandate and by 2008, as miracle cures looked increasingly unlikely, a director was hired for the agency with a track record of bringing discoveries from the lab to the clinic. "If we went 10 years and had no clinical treatments, it would be a failure," says the institute's director, Alan Trounson, a stem cell pioneer from Australia. "We need to demonstrate that we are starting a whole new medical revolution."

The institute is attempting to do that by funding adult stem cell research. Nearly $230 million was handed out this past October to 14 research teams. Notably, only four of those projects involve embryonic stem cells.

Among the recipients, the Los Angeles Times reports, is a group from UCLA and Children's Hospital in Los Angeles that hopes to cure patients with sickle cell disease by genetically modifying their own blood-forming stem cells to produce healthy red blood cells. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will use their grant to research injecting heart-attack patients with concentrated amounts of their own cardiac stem cells that naturally repair heart tissue.

Dr. Bernadine Healy, director of the National Institutes of Health under Bush 41, wrote in her U.S. News & World Report column recently that "embryonic stem cells, once thought to hold the cure for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes, are obsolete."

Even worse, they can be dangerous. They are difficult to control, to coax into the specific type of tissue desired. Unlike adult stem cells taken from a patient's own body, ES cells require the heavy use of immunosuppressive drugs. Their use can lead to a form of tumor called a teratoma.

Real promise is held in what are called induced pluripotent stem cells. In 2006, researchers led by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Japan's Kyoto University were first able to "reprogram" human skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells. They can do everything stem cells from destroyed embryos can do.

The National Institutes of Health has said that this type of stem cell offers the prospect of having a renewable source of replacement cells and tissues to treat diseases like Parkinson's and Alzhei-mer's, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few.

It is ESCR researchers who have politicized science and stood in the way of real progress. We are pleased to see California researchers beginning to put science in its rightful place.

Monday, January 11, 2010

10 Tips for the GOP in 2010: Voters who want Democrats out don't yet believe Republicans would be better By Clark S. Judge


JANUARY 10, 2010

It is an old rule of politics. When your opponent is in the process of destroying himself, don't get in his way. Despite tanking poll numbers both for themselves and their president, congressional Democrats have persisted for months in a stunning act of political self-destruction. The evaporation of home-state support for Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson and the retirements of Christopher Dodd and Byron Dorgan should give the White House and the congressional majority pause, but to date they haven't.

So should Republicans repair to the sidelines and watch the minions of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi strut over the cliff?

Not a chance.

Taking back the House and perhaps the Senate in 2010—not just doing well—will require winning back trust lost between 2000 and 2006. Here are the top 10 things the GOP must do in 2010:

10) Face up to why the party lost in 2006 and 2008. Pollster Kelly Anne Conway reported in mid-2005 that her polls had detected rising disaffection among a group of 2004 GOP voters. Defined by attitudes rather than demographics, their problem wasn't with Iraq, as the media imagined, but with the increase in federal domestic spending and deficits.

According to one veteran of the GOP leadership speaking on background this fall, the party's 2008 exit poll showed that these swing voters anticipated a left-leaning Obama presidency but wanted to teach the GOP a lesson. Last year's collapse of support for the liberal Republican candidate in New York's 23rd congressional district in favor of the Conservative Party nominee reflected the continuing disgust of former Republican loyalists.

9) Don't lose sight of why support for Democrats is tanking. What spending-sensitive voters didn't anticipate were trillion dollar bank and auto bailouts, trillion dollar deficits, a trillion dollar health-care overhaul, and a trillion dollar stimulus bill. When he traded his health-care vote for Nebraska Medicaid funding, Sen. Nelson made himself the emblem of what these voters abhor in Washington.

8) Face the fact that many swing voters who want Democrats out of power don't particularly want Republicans in. Whatever their declared party affiliation, these voters are anti-establishment. Party is secondary to them. They are not yet convinced that, if returned to power, the GOP will deliver the cheaper, more limited government it has long promised.

7) Fight for spending cuts now. The congressional GOP's nearly united front against the stimulus bill and complete unity against the health-care overhaul were good initial steps. More is needed. The GOP should resist increases in domestic spending on every parliamentary front. Great gestures matter. As part of this resistance, Republicans should renounce earmarks. They shouldn't wait for Democrats to go along. The House and Senate GOP caucuses should walk away from earmarks, leaving Democrats alone to defend this symbol of D.C.'s degeneracy.

6) For the midterm election, unite around a clear agenda of repeal. The party should give its candidates a list of programs and spending that will be up for cancellation the hour a Republican Congress is sworn in. At the top of the list should be the Troubled Asset Relief Program, unspent stimulus funds, and the health-care overhaul.

5) Add in an agenda of market-freeing reforms in health care, energy, environmental and education policy. Scholarly centers such as the Hoover Institution, the Pacific Research Institute, and the Manhattan Institute have developed market-freeing solutions to health inflation, energy dependence, real and immediate environmental challenges, and education quality. Reform for congressional Democrats means more spending and more mandates. After the health-care debate the nation has rejected that 1930s-style model. The new model's time has come.

4) Add to that a serious plan for moving to a surplus and reducing federal debt. In the past, critics of overspending have focused on minutiae, studies of the mating habits of insects and the like. Their critics have rightly noted that the government can't get to a balanced budget that way. So what will it take? Lay it out.

3) Start talking about the need to reform Social Security and Medicare. Swing voters know these programs could devastate federal finances. They want assurance that politicians know this, too, and are committed to fixing them. Talk of reforming these programs is no longer the third rail of politics. It will win the swing voters' respect.

2) Tax cuts must be part of the answer. The surpluses of the late '90s were to a significant extent a product of the growth in revenues that came after the capital gains tax was cut. The Democrats' theology—actually economic superstition—prohibits them from renewing the 2003 tax cuts, the looming expiration of which has been a drag on the economy ever since they recaptured Congress. Campaign for immediate renewal—and even greater cuts in the capital gains tax. Start talking about a flat tax as the next step.

1) Take a lesson from Ronald Reagan and emphasize that your programs are based on consistent principles leading to a hopeful future for all Americans. Reclaim the party's franchise for economic growth, entrepreneurship, personal liberty, and spending restraint. This is the route to a big victory in November—and a true service to the nation.

Mr. Judge is managing director of the Washington, D.C.,-based White House Writers Group and served as a special assistant and speechwriter to President Ronald Reagan.