“It is an important moment in the life of our nation, but I suppose above all, it’s a wonderful moment for a warm and loving couple who got a brand new baby boy.” British Prime Minister David Cameron regarding the birth of George Alexander Louis, third in line to the throne, son of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and husband Prince William, born July 22, 2013
WEEK OF JULY 22, 2013
Nation: A fight over voting rights is brewing.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that the Justice Department is preparing to take legal action to ensure that states’ voting rights laws don’t negatively affect minority representation. The decision comes on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in June to invalidate a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that calls for special scrutiny of states with a history of discrimination. The department plans to use other sections of the act to prevent states from implementing certain laws, such as requirements to present certain kinds of identification in order to vote. The department may also require certain states to obtain pre-approval before changing their election laws. Republicans in Congress are none too happy with the choice.
World: Spanish train tragedy.
On Wednesday, a high-speed train derailed in Santiago de Compostela, Spain after speeding around a tight curve; 80 have died, including one American, with 178 injured and many still hospitalized.The driver of the train has been detained and put under formal investigation as excessive speed has been identified as the likely main cause of the accident. Spain has declared three days of national mourning over the crash, Europe’s worst mainline rail accident in more than 25 years. Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those on board.
Politics: Oops, he did it again. (And again, and again…)
Former United States Representative and current New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner admitted this week to engaging in “inappropriate online communications” with numerous women, after similar allegations caused him to step down from his House set in 2011. In light of this recent news, Weiner has been pressured to quit his current mayoral run, taking flack from both parties; but he says he won’t. Taking a shot at one of his rivals, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Weiner said, “You can question my judgment but I didn’t lie to the people of the city of New York and say I wasn’t going to overturn term limits.” Poor attempt at deflecting judgment, in our opinion.
Business: Obama addresses the economy.
On Wednesday, President Obama spoke at Knox College in an effort to address both the economic and the political climate, both of which he aims to better. The current state of income inequality, Obama stressed, “isn’t just morally wrong; it’s bad economics.” America, he added, has to make new investments such as “rebuilding our manufacturing base, educating our workforce, [and] upgrading our transportation and information networks.” Obama also stressed to Congress the need to end worsening gridlocks regarding the federal budget, especially with the end of the fiscal year looming on September 1.
Science: Drug company data could be headed toward more transparency.
Soon, the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies will begin sharing data with outside researchers. It’s generally seen as a positive move, but the companies have resisted strongly in the past. So what’s with the change? The move might be an effort to head off more extensive disclosure requirements already under review in Europe. Their plan would allow them to maintain more restrictions; nonetheless, any change in the status quo could be good. “If these companies truly fulfill these promises, then they will have made an important contribution to science and the common good,” said Dr. Harlan M. Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale.
Women’s Affairs: Helen Thomas, journalism pioneer, has died.
Helen Thomas, a trailblazing White House correspondent in a press corps dominated by men who was later regarded as the dean of the White House briefing room, died on July 20 at her home in Washington. She was 92. To her colleagues, Thomas was the unofficial but undisputed head of the press corps, her status ratified by her signature line at the end of every White House news conference: “Thank you, Mr. President.” President Obama described Helen as “a true pioneer, opening doors and breaking down barriers for generations of women in journalism. She never failed to keep presidents — myself included — on their toes.” Helen was also the first woman to be elected an officer of the White House Correspondents’ Association and the first to serve as its president. Thank you, Helen, for blazing a trail for all women journalists.