Dishing with Dee: Queens Village GOP club honors Betsy McCaughey

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In between Mother Nature’s flexing her winter muscles, there seems to be a glimmer of indications that spring is on the way. Be of good cheer — this winter can’t last forever and will soon be over.

I know that’s what I said last week prior to our blizzard. Obviously, weather forecasting is not one of my strong suits. I also remember saying last week that my bad cold was on the wane. Within three hours of e-mailing last week’s column, I spent the worst 10 days in bed with the most virulent type of flu I ever had.

I am gradually beginning to feel human once more. Saturday was my first day out of bed; Sunday my first day out of the house.

How could you not attend the Queens Village Republican Club’s 135th anniversary Lincoln Day Dinner at Antun’s in Queens Village?

As usual, they had a star-studded cast of honorees with top billing going to Betsy McCaughey, a phenomenal lady who among her many achievements was New York lieutenant governor from 1995-98. On Aug. 24, 2009, she was named one of the 100 most powerful people in health care by Modern Healthcare Magazine.

McCaughey is the epitome of a true Renaissance woman. Among some of her other accomplishments is publishing numerous books as well as over 100 articles on health-care policy, infection, medical innovation and the economics of aging. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the New York Law Journal, the Los Angeles Times and U.S. News & World Report. She holds a Ph.D. in constitutional history.

In 2004, she founded the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, known as RID, a nationwide educational campaign to stop hospital-acquired infections. She presently serves a chairwoman of the organization. In only five years, RID has made hospital inflections a major public issue and has won legislation in more than 25 states for public reporting of infection rates.

RID has become synonymous with patient safety and clean hospital care — a job well-done by a lady who makes us proud to call her one of our own. She is well-deserving of the QVRC American Freedom Award, which was presented to her by James Trent.

In sad contrast, the Ultimate Sacrifice Award was posthumously presented to U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Leopold F. Damas by Phil Sica to his mother, Carol Damas.

Damas died Aug. 17, 2009, while supporting combat operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was 26 and lived in Floral Park. While his life was short, he made it count. I wonder how much more this young man could have contributed had he not paid the ultimate price in carrying out his duty to his country. Rest in peace, Lance Cpl. Damas.

The other annual tradition was the reading of Lincoln’s address by professor Gerald Matacotta. One of the purposes of Matacotta’s reading at the QVRC annual Lincoln Dinner is that hopefully it serves as a reminder to all of what this nation, from Lincoln’s point of view, is about. If you take the time to read and reread it, there are many lessons to be learned.

An interesting guest I met at the dinner was Dino LaVeghetta, a candidate for the 14th Congressional District. The district is presently occupied by incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney. I don’t know what LaVeghetta’s chances are for his run as I don’t know anything about the young man, although he does present himself as a young, decent, clean-cut, all-American boy-next-door type of candidate a la the Eric Ulrich, Dan Halloran types who seem to be in vogue now.

When LaVeghetta first decided to toss his hat into the ring, Maloney had decided to run for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat, which she was talked out of by the Obama administration. Had this not happened, logically, it would seem his chances would have been much better. But in politics the scores change on a daily basis. Good luck, Dino. We will keep an interested eye on your race.

In closing, I would like to make a statement: Dee Richard did not die, retire or move to Arizona. She was temporarily out of the loop due to a bout with the flu and is back, ready and raring to go into her role as chief counter irritant in residence to all the would-be scoundrels and conmen trying to destroy our wonderful Queens way of life for their own power or monetary gain.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

Till next week, Dee.

Updated 6:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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