In an action that already feels like ancient history, Congress voted earlier this month to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” While much remains to be settled, the revenue side of the issue got resolved because 84 House Republicans joined 172 Democrats to support the solution negotiated between the President and the Senate. In some ways, such bipartisanship was a moment of déjà vu from a time, nearly 50 years ago, when two pivotal civil rights bills were being considered. Then, Lyndon Johnson was President and both houses of Congress were in the hands of Democrats. Martin Luther King was in the streets. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was registering voters. The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act were passed by Republicans joining Democrats to move the President’s legislation into law.
In both circumstances – today, as then – it was one party’s Southern flank that refused to go along with its leadership.
I’m one of those Americans. My white-haired, 82-year-old mother, after two hospitalizations for major depression, was able to easily purchase handguns from local Westside gun shops. The first time she let me know and, together with a female police officer, we took it away from her. The second time she used a gun to end her life.
I’ve often tried to picture the gun dealers who helped her make these purchases – standing behind the glass counter, advising this elderly woman on which gun would theoretically assure her personal safety. Never having used a gun in her life before, she went into the Santa Monica mountains to practice shooting it.
As we headed to my mom’s senior housing facility to retrieve the first gun,
As anybody with a TV, radio or newspaper subscription can affirm, the big story coming out of the 2012 election is the long feared/eagerly awaited arrival of the Latino Vote as a national political force capable of deciding a presidential contest. Latinos accounted for a record 10 percent of the electorate this year, and something north of 70 percent of them cast their ballots for Obama. Meanwhile, fewer Latinos than ever before voted for the Republican candidate. With the Latino segment of the electorate poised to continue expanding for many election cycles to come, leaders of both parties are tripping over each other to position themselves on immigration reform, and even in blood red states like Texas, GOP strategists are warning of imminent doom for their party if Republicans fail to break their cycle of addiction to racism, xenophobia and pandering to border-guarding lunatics.
The story is both accurate to a point and incomplete,
It’s a curious feeling, this brown-becoming, the “Latino vote” hurling itself over the fence as it were, saving Barack Obama from the ignominy of becoming the first black president to lose a reelection bid. I’ve been writing about the potential of the Latino vote going on three decades, and although we’ve had inklings of what kind of power it can wield (such as when it modestly pushed a few swing states toward George Bush in 2004), this time it’s at the center of the electoral narrative.
There was George Will on ABC, minutes after the election was called, talking about how Barack Obama could now put “immigration reform front and center, giving the Republicans a reef upon which they can wreck themselves.” Brian Williams and all the old school network anchors welcomed the “non-Cuban Hispanic” cohort (read: Mexicans, Central Americans, Puerto Ricans) to the national story.
It’s a curious feeling because,
Fifteen people have died and several hundred have been infected in an outbreak of meningitis contracted from contaminated spinal steroid injections. The numbers are growing and so is awareness of the growth of a little known corner of the pharmaceutical industry, called compounding pharmacies, which is responsible for the tragedy. “We’re nowhere near the end of this problem,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, told CBS This Morning.
The compounding pharmacies originally were supposed to provide customized medication for individual patients but have morphed into bulk manufacturers outside of FDA’s regulatory reach.
At the heart of the tragedy is the compounders’ successful track record blocking FDA authority that could have averted the disaster. Their efforts are a textbook model of industry opposition to new rules that could save lives. Their arguments are the same that the Chamber of Commerce and industry are using today to block clean air,