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Much of the space in Ray Anderson's office overlooking Park Avenue is taken up by an industrial-sized plastic garbage bin, about a third-full with piles of paper. His desk and the shelves around it are pretty much empty.
Despite an outcry from civil rights groups, a call for close examination by President Barack Obama and even a 1960s-style sit-in at the Florida governor's office, the jury's verdict that George Zimmerman was justified in shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin is unlikely to spur change to any of the nation's stand-your-ground self-defense laws.
A popular children’s book is "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Numeroff. This gentle story is a wonderful way to think about how to get started homeschooling because like the mouse, one step will lead to another as you construct your homeschool. So how do you take the first step?
If you were to go into a bookstore to find “Marcelo in the Real World,” by Francisco X. Stork, it would be shelved in the young adult section and while it is an excellent choice for young readers (receiving 15 awards since its publication in 2009), it is also a story that will touch adult hearts and keep them turning pages to see how a 17 year old deals with a moral crisis that deeply affects the adults in his world.
Jessica Arnold transforms from a redhead to legally blonde.
The story of Harvard-bound Valley Girl Elle Woods, based on the popular movie starring Reese Witherspoon, is set to music in this Tony-nominated musical staged by the Valley Youth Theatre. Parental guidance is suggested
Secretary of State Ken Bennett has waded into the controversy over the president’s birthplace again.
When those college tuition bills come in, be prepared for sticker shock.
Local teens: You too can be a Harvard-bound blonde!
Three in four Americans in an Associated Press poll said they believe the U.S. Constitution is an enduring document that has relevance. If you believe the Constitution is the reason for the freedom and prosperity in America then that is good news. I do believe that.
An Arizona ethics panel on Tuesday moved to disbar Maricopa County's former top prosecutor for failed corruption investigations he and America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff conducted targeting officials with whom they were having political and legal disputes.
The announcement this week that Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is under criminal investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for reportedly “illegally collaborating with his campaign committee to raise campaign funds, promising a job to the leader of that committee and helping funnel money, an estimated half-million dollars, from his brother-in-law to the committee” is just the latest in a series of questionable acts involving Horne.
The FBI is investigating Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne for allegations of colluding with an independent expenditure committee that spent more than $500,000 on ads attacking his Democratic opponent during the 2010 election campaign, according to a complaint.
“I don’t get no respect.” How did Mitt Romney become the Rodney Dangerfield of Republican politics? He had and has everything going for him. Privileged childhood in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Cranbrook School, preparatory academy, BYU and Harvard diplomas (business and law), fantastic success in the business world (net worth $200-$300 million), beautiful wife, five sons (none of whom served in the U.S. military — apples don’t fall far from the tree), governor, Olympic Committee president, $12 million La Jolla, Calif. estate, other multi-million dollar homes. Mitt Romney lives the “perfect” Life.
A trail of small, lighted trees line the front walk, a real Christmas tree with piles of presents sits centered in the front window, and strings of lights edge Robert Bard's Scottsdale home.
A prominent East Valley commercial real estate family is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person driving the silver pickup truck involved in a hit-and-run that killed Daniel Pollack.
It has been a difficult birthing process for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which officially begins life on July 21.
WASHINGTON - In an earlier time, the emerging portrait of a deeply troubled young man might have given Jared Loughner's lawyers the basis of an insanity defense. But John Hinckley's successful insanity claim after shooting President Ronald Reagan led Congress to raise the bar, making the task harder.
PHOENIX - A 22-year-old man described as a social outcast with wild beliefs steeped in mistrust faces a federal court hearing Monday on charges he tried to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a Tucson shooting rampage that left six people dead.
What are the options, doc?
Sooner or later, a conversation with a physician over a difficult diagnosis comes down to a question like that.
But all too often, doctors are likely to leave stuff out, the results of a recent survey of more than 3,000 patients age 40 and older suggests.
The survey, conducted by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, found that patients hear far more from doctors about the pros than cons of medications, tests and surgeries.
Much of the time, physicians tend to offer opinions, not options, the researchers found, and rarely mention to patients that they can decide not to do anything.
The study was funded by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, a Boston nonprofit seeking to give patients more voice in their health care choices.
The Michigan team asked the subjects about decisions they made with health care providers within the past two years regarding common medical issues: screening tests for colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer; taking prescription drugs for hypertension, high cholesterol and depression; having surgery for knee or hip replacement, cataracts and lower back pain.
They found that more than three-quarters of the patients had made at least one of those decisions in the past two years and half had tackled two or more.
The study found that doctors, nurses and others were much more likely to talk up the advantages of a treatment or test while skipping the negatives. For instance, only 20 percent of the patients who discussed breast cancer screening said they heard anything about possible downsides, such as false positive results, while 50 percent said they heard "a lot" about the pros of screening.
The patients, on average, were able to answer only about half the questions about four or five pieces of information that experts say are essential to understanding the risks and benefits of a therapy.
For instance, few patients who had discussed cholesterol-lowering drugs knew the most common side effects (headache, nausea, digestive tract problems) or how much a reduction in risk of heart attack can be achieved by taking them (roughly 33 to 50 percent, various studies have shown.)
"The study clearly demonstrates that people routinely make poorly informed medical decisions," said Dr. Michael Barry, president of the foundation and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Health policy experts consider it vital that patients fully understand both the benefits and risks of medicine, and that they have the right and power to say no to suggested treatment. Many feel the system is often biased toward doing something, and driving up costs while in reality adding little to overall health or lifespan.
One program called for under the new health reform law (but still not fully funded by Congress) would develop, test and spread educational tools to help patients and their families fully understand treatment options. It also directs government researchers to test shared decision-making models to see if they improve quality of care and reduce costs.
Of course, many of those doctor-guided educational tools would be Web-based.
Which is a good thing, because people are already turning to the Internet for medical information more often, and using it to self-diagnose rather than seeking professional care.
A recent study done for Google found that 75 percent of patients research their condition online before discussing it with a doctor, and 70 percent said they search for more information after consulting a physician. More than a third of the people in the study said they do health searches weekly and 52 percent said they had used information from the Web to self-diagnose.
Another survey done over the summer for the supplemement maker Flexin International found somewhat similar numbers, but with a gender gap: It found that 74 percent of women (aged 35 to 60) routinely turned to the Web first on health issues, but just 44 percent of men did so. True to decades worth of research that find women more in tune with their bodies, the men reported they weren't always sure how to describe their ailments when they tried to use the Web to self-diagnose.
All of this is troubling to doctors like Pamela Hartzband and Jerome Groopman of Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and also medical professors at Harvard.
In a commentary published in The New England Journal of Medicine in March, they argue that while the Internet can provide a wealth of information, "It is too easy for non-experts to take at face value statements made confidently by a voice of authority," they wrote.
They concluded, "The doctor, in our view, will never be optional."
But doctors could stand to be a bit more informative.
A story is circulating that Jerry Brown, California's attorney general, former governor and current gubernatorial candidate, plans to base his pitch to Latino voters on having marched in the 1970s with Cesar Chavez.
When the Field Poll found his GOP opponent Meg Whitman's standing had jumped from 25 percent to 39 percent among Latino voters, several pundits observed, "So who's Cesar Chavez?" After all, Brown was last governor 27 years ago.
Gary Taylor's book, "Cultural Selection: Why Some Achievements Survive the Test of Time -- And Others Don't," explains why. The process of remembering begins when somebody dies and a survivor promotes the story or accomplishments of the deceased so that others don't forget. Stories about success spread until they become part of the culture and survive as memory through each retelling. That is how we accumulate knowledge and understanding and even wisdom sometimes.
The survival of remembering is a lot like natural selection in evolution. Yet, most worthy accomplishment stories die for lack of someone to do the retelling.
After Brown followed Ronald Reagan as California governor in 1975, he pulled Mario Obledo away from a Harvard Law professorship by appointing him secretary of health and welfare. Obledo had been a co-founder in 1968 of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and had helped set a new civil rights platform for the nation.
He also pioneered the Albert Armendariz defense, named for a law student at the University of Texas Law School who brought an action in the United States District Court that led to student deferments during the draft in the late 1960s. Obledo, himself a veteran, was often around for those who needed representation. As counsel for a group of drug-abuse workers, he helped establish one of the first national organizations to advocate for more treatment and less criminalization.
Obledo's open-door policy was universally known. Many got in to see him (especially good, humble, salt-of-the-earth types with reasonable beefs) who otherwise would never have made it past a receptionist intern on the first floor. If a Spanish-speaker or foreign-language-speaking person called, he wanted that person responded to in his native language. "Just in case my mother calls," he explained.
Then a series of stinging accusations rocked Sacramento. It was alleged that the newfound access to government was something else. Inferences were made to connect state support for drug-rehabilitation programs to a prison gang, then to organized crime and a drug-related murder. All this was tied to Obledo's tenure in office because a murder victim had made an appointment to see an Obledo aide in Sacramento.
The Readers Digest was chief among media enflaming the story, along with some local Sacramento newspapers that passed along the sensationalistic, unsubstantiated rumors and allegations like tabloid news and other histrionics.
The governor, the secretary himself, the attorney general, a regulatory commission and several newspapers undertook lengthy investigations. All of them, of course, uncovered absolutely no wrongdoing. The intended guilt-by-association assertions did not even leave behind the usual cow-pie smell. Obledo was that clean.
So why would serious professional people, who are not circus clowns, go to such absurd lengths to construct such an imaginary story. Taylor answers that others compete against a version of reality at odds with their point of view. Heroic stories survive after the hero dies -- like those passed on by Plato, St. Paul, and James Boswell -- because the survivors pass along the story well enough to make it part of the culture.
That's why it's important to remember Mario Obledo, who fought the good fight and who won for all of us. He was an originating member of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, a successor group of Rev. Martin Luther King's crusades, and Obledo served as national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 by President Bill Clinton for his many accomplishments. Citizen Obledo passed away Aug. 19, at age 78, in Sacramento.
Among his survivors, I hope, are those who will retell his story.
Jose de la Isla writes a weekly commentary for Hispanic Link News Service. E-mail him at email@example.com.
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. John McCain says he plans to vote against confirming Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
Shortly after becoming Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan kicked the military out of the school's recruitment office while our troops were putting their lives on the line in two wars overseas. Now that President Obama has nominated Ms. Kagan to the Supreme Court, her actions at Harvard must be closely examined.
Jay Ambrose: You always thought the Spanish Inquisition was a thing of the past? Well, hang onto your seats because here comes the atheist 21st century version with Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens leading the cheers for Pope Benedict XVI to be tied to a stake for crimes against humanity as British officials light the fire.
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he will not insist that his Supreme Court nominee pass any "litmus tests" over supporting abortion rights, but made clear he will choose a candidate who will consider personal privacy and women's rights when ruling on cases. Among the people Obama is considering for the court are federal appeals court judges Diane Wood, Merrick Garland and Sidney Thomas, former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow.