There WAS an accusation, a terrible one, against Jameis Winston, the star quarterback for Florida State University, that he raped a woman off-campus a year ago. • DNA links them. She says it was rape. He says it was consensual sex, and State Attorney Willie Meggs decided Thursday not to file charges of sexual assault. • Whatever happened, Winston was treated differently from others accused of such a crime. The Tallahassee police failed to fully investigate at the time the victim complained, and the university has been unreasonably sluggish in its own review....
When the U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to decide whether corporations have the religious freedom to ignore the contraceptive coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act, I thought of Utah. • Why Utah? I directed the Utah affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union in the late 1980s, and we had a case that asked a similar question.
The ACLU of Utah represented Arthur Frank Mayson, a janitor who had worked for 16 years at a gym owned and operated by corporate affiliates of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City. In 1981, a crackdown occurred on wayward Mormon employees, and Mayson was fired for failing to maintain what is known as a "temple recommend." To keep his job, Mayson would have to tithe 10 percent of his annual income to the church, attend church regularly and abstain from coffee, tobacco and alcohol. He didn't....
If you've ever wondered what happened to the John Birch Society, author Claire Conner of Dunedin can tell you. The radical right-wing group that was briefly a player in national conservative politics in the 1960s is back, under a different name: tea party.
She should know. Conner's new memoir Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right is a fascinating inside look at the Birchers in their heyday and her story packed the house last month at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading at University of South Florida St. Petersburg....
On the bitterly divisive issue of immigration reform, can we agree that children are different? Can we at least share the view that children brought to America illegally by their parents are not responsible for their predicament? All they did was grow up where the adults in their lives put them. For that reason — and I'm going to lose a few of you here — special rules should apply.
These DREAMers, as they are known after the various legislative attempts to help them gain citizenship, include a subgroup of young people who are even more deserving of an accommodation. Imagine going through years of expensive and rigorous schooling to qualify as a lawyer but being denied Bar admission because of your undocumented status. Welcome to the world of the DREAM Bar Association, a handful of young people who embody the American ideals of hard work and perseverance, and now just need the system to treat them fairly....
It took a dozen years after it was introduced in France for the abortion drug RU-486 to become available to American women.
The reason was politics, not medicine.
Overseas, the drug regimen was shown to be safe and effective for early-stage abortions, but RU-486 was initially banned for import by the Food and Drug Administration under the President George H.W. Bush. It wasn't until 2000 that the FDA finally approved RU-486 for personal use in the United States....
Want to know one of the greatest unrecognized injustices, in the view of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy? • Overly harsh criminal sentences. • You read that right. The Reagan-appointed justice thinks America's criminal justice system is not working and too costly. "I think you have to look at rehabilitation and alternative punishments," Kennedy told a group of students at the University of California Washington Center during a conversation this month moderated by Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal....
There is so little truth-telling by conservatives about their real impetus behind strict voter ID requirements that any morsel feels like a gift.
Thank you, Judge Richard Posner, for being honest.
Posner is an influential Reagan-appointed, conservative federal appeals judge in Chicago who just declared in a new book and public comments that he was wrong to uphold Indiana's voter identification law that requires voters to prove their identity with a photo ID....
The 26 states that have rejected Medicaid expansion are less laboratories of democracy than fiefs of despair. This bloc of states, largely with Republican governors and Republican-controlled Legislatures, is denying health coverage to 8 million people living in poverty. Their reasoning is the same as Republicans in Congress have for cutting food stamps: Refusing a helping hand, a.k.a. causing suffering, discourages government dependency....
I grew up in New York with grandmothers who could speak Yiddish to one another even though both were born in the United States. • One grandmother was president of the local Hadassah, the women's Zionist organization, and I believe single-handedly forested the state of Israel with her tree-planting generosity. • My other grandmother kept a kosher house. The apartment she and my grandfather lived in had lights on timers and an elevator that would automatically stop on every floor during the Sabbath to save residents from having to "work" by pressing a button....
Here is something you don't hear often about the nation's public schools: They are not failing. In fact, schools today are doing a better job educating the nation's youth than they did decades ago. • I know it's hard to believe considering the steady stream of hysteria churned out by so-called school reformers over bad teachers, dropout rates and how American kids rank below so many other countries on standardized tests....
When the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts," the scholar and statesman was issuing a prescient warning: • Watch out America, a self-governing society puts itself in danger when its people dismiss factual evidence that runs counter to their political biases. • Said another way: When the uninformed run a country, it's generally run aground....
Starting Oct. 1 the last, best piece of health care reform will be in place. People will finally be able to buy health insurance for coverage beginning in 2014 through state online marketplaces. (Don't call them "exchanges." That word didn't poll well.) • Here is my prediction: It's going to be a mess, an epic wall of confusion and frustration. • But not for long. The kinks will be worked out and once people get through their first enrollment, they will be sold on Obamacare....
It isn't often you hear a buttoned-down, well-compensated health insurance executive sound like some combination of TED talk and the Burning Man festival. But Patrick Geraghty's ideas for reforming the health care system evoke elbow patches and tie-dye as much as a starched collar.
The chairman and CEO of Florida Blue, the state's largest health insurer and a not-for-profit company, told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board last week that "wellness and prevention" are key to containing health care costs. He wants to create financial incentives for patient-centered care, even if that means paying primary care physicians more. And he is flat-out opposed to Florida's decision to reject Medicaid expansion for nearly a million poor, uninsured adults....
America has the Labor Day blues. • An airtight case has been made for government to do more to address the country's punishing wage stagnation and income inequality. But another Labor Day comes and goes and there is little hope for change, even from a president who gets it. • President Barack Obama understands that making work pay better is the issue of his presidency. • Obama pinpointed what went so wrong for American workers in a July speech. It was the severing of "the link between higher productivity and people's wages and salaries." To refocus the national conversation he launched "A Better Bargain for the Middle Class." Then, in his commemoration of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Obama said the problem of growing income inequality remains "our great unfinished business."...
Once a hallmark of the working day, the proverbial "lunch hour" has taken an extended leave, probably never to return.
These days, about the closest most American workers come to enjoying a regular lunch hour is watching others experience them on AMC's Mad Men. The secretarial staff covers their electric typewriters to signal "out to lunch." Executives claim "I'm going to lunch" when they slip out for a rendezvous....