Considered one of the world's most promising new HIV-prevention technologies by scientists and medical professionals, microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women could apply topically to prevent the transmission of AIDS and other infections. Microbicides could come in many forms like gels, creams or rings and would allow women to protect themselves whether a man wore a condom or not.
Developing and bringing a safe, effective microbicide to market could literally save millions of lives, but barely two percent of the US budget for HIV/AIDS research (already scandalously low) is spent toward this goal. To remedy this and kick-start work on what will eventually be hailed as a revolutionary medical breakthrough, Reps. Chris Shays (R-CT), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Danny Davis (D-IL) will introduce the Microbicide Development Act (MDA) in the House this summer. The Global Campaign for Microbicides is organizing support for the bill as well as spearheading other efforts to increasing funding for R&D.
This August marks the fortieth anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Upon sending the bill to Congress, Lyndon Johnson stated, "But even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of Americaâ€¦to secure for [African-Americans] the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause too."
Yet, with approximately 4.7 million US citizens still disenfranchised--a vastly disproportionate number of them African-American--the promise of the Voting Rights Act remains unfulfilled. Today, 13 percent of all American black men are ineligible to vote due to draconian felony disenfranchisement laws.
But last week, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa announced that on July 4th, he will restore voting rights to thousands of Iowans, reversing an unjust state law that imposes lifetime disenfranchisement for anyone convicted of a felony
Rarely in recent years has Washington seen so dramatic a clash between the legislative and executive branches as was witnessed Thursday, when U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, D-Masschusetts, went after Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the question of whether the Pentagon chief should resign for mismanaging the war in Iraq.
"This war has been consistently and grossly mismanaged. And we are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire. Our troops are dying. And there really is no end in sight," Kennedy said, as the Secretary of Defense sat opposite him during an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Arguing that "the American people, I believe, deserve leadership worthy of the sacrifices that our fighting forces have made, and they deserve the real facts," Kennedy told Rumsfeld, "I regret to say that I don't believe that you have provided either."
As long as I've lived in America I've enjoyed the comic ritual known as
the "hunt for the smoking gun," a process by which our official press
tries to inoculate itself and its readers against p
On June 16, the House Appropriations Committee voted to slash funding for public broadcasting by more than $200 million for 2006. The cut--which, if implemented, would affect everything from "Clifford the Big Red Dog" to programming on small news outlets that serve rural and minority audiences--marked a devastating blow for public television and radio. The full House is expected to vote as soon as tomorrow.
Worse yet, the June 16 de-funding vote marked just one part of a larger assault on public broadcasting. Bush ally Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), offered the latest example with the revelations that he hired a longtime GOP operative to track "anti-Bush" and "anti-Tom DeLay" comments by the guests of NOW with Bill Moyers. This move prompted Congressional calls for an investigation into charges that Tomlinson had become "a source of political interference" in public broadcasting and helped spark cries for his resignation from a host of public interest groups and politicians.
Free Press is one of a few national groups waging a major battle in defense of public broadcasting. With so much at stake in this debate, Free Press's efforts are more than worthy of support.