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Obama’s Civil Rights Report Card
Anthony D. Romero, a former public-interest attorney, is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He is the ACLU's sixth executive director, and the first Latino and openly gay man to serve in that capacity. In 2007, Romero and co-author Dina Temple-Raston published In Defense of Our America: The Fight for Civil Liberties in the Age of Terror.
Question: In what ways has the Obama administration most disappointed you?
Anthony Romero: Look, we are still hopeful that President Obama will keep the promises he made as candidate. There are some early signs that we’re not going down the right path. He told us he will reject the Military Commissions act and yet now he’s talking about retaining the Military Commissions as a way to deal with some of the detainees at Guantanamo. Huge mistake: you can’t fix that, you’ve got to scrap it, you’ve got to throw these individuals into established courts. You can’t tinker at the edges of the Military Commissions act.
He told us he would restore the rule of law, and yet now he’s telling us that he wants an act of preventive detention regime—which is essentially a nice word for holding people indefinitely without charge or trial. He can’t do that, that’s not the American way. We’ve never allowed that for hundreds of years. America cannot hold people who we are suspicious of merely because they may pose a threat. If you can’t prove it, you can’t take away someone’s fundamental right to liberty and do so in a way that doesn’t convict the person in a court of law. It’s anathema to the fourth and fifth amendment.
You have the president telling us that he was going to make good on some core issues around gay rights and questions around equality in America that seem to be very slow in coming. Saying that, “I’m going to give gay and lesbian people their full rights as individuals” and yet defending the Defense of Marriage act, it doesn’t compute. If those promises were made, you can’t defend the Defense of Marriage Act, you can’t drag your feet on “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”
I think one of the concerns we have is that the President is saying, “I have all these other issues that are on the front burner.” The economy, the wars, healthcare: we all get that. We’re all Americans. We all care about people dying in wars, we all care about healthcare, we all care about the economy, but we can’t wait to fix all those problems before we get to some really important problems that he alone and his government can fix.
You can’t sequence in a way that’s going to fix the economy, healthcare, the environment, and the wars, and then will turn to gay people and the administration of justice, and detainees ,and torture and abuse. We’re never going to get there and everyone knows that it’s the first 18 months of the administration that will allow him the latitude to make decisive breaks with the past, and unless we occupy that initial window with some really bold, decisive actions, we’ll find ourselves in a new reelection campaign with pundits on both sides saying, “Defer these issues further until the second term.”
A dream deferred is a dream lost, and time is not a luxury we can afford ourselves when it comes to core issues like due process, human rights and equality; that’s why we’re hoping that bringing his feet to the fire in these issues that could get him to do the right thing.
Recorded on: July 20, 2009
ACLU Director Anthony Romero sees plenty of work ahead for President Obama.
Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.
- Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
- The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
- The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
Duke researchers have developed the first gel-based synthetic cartilage with the strength of the real thing. A quarter-sized disc of the material can withstand the weight of a 100-pound kettlebell without tearing or losing its shape.
Photo: Feichen Yang.<p>That's the word from a team in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Their <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/adfm.202003451" target="_blank">new paper</a>, published in the journal,<em> Advanced Functional Materials</em>, details this exciting evolution of this frustrating joint.<br></p><p>Researchers have sought materials strong and versatile enough to repair a knee since at least the seventies. This new hydrogel, comprised of three polymers, might be it. When two of the polymers are stretched, a third keeps the entire structure intact. When pulled 100,000 times, the cartilage held up as well as materials used in bone implants. The team also rubbed the hydrogel against natural cartilage a million times and found it to be as wear-resistant as the real thing. </p><p>The hydrogel has the appearance of Jell-O and is comprised of 60 percent water. Co-author, Feichen Yang, <a href="https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/lab-first-cartilage-mimicking-gel-strong-enough-knees" target="_blank">says</a> this network of polymers is particularly durable: "Only this combination of all three components is both flexible and stiff and therefore strong." </p><p> As with any new material, a lot of testing must be conducted. They don't foresee this hydrogel being implanted into human bodies for at least three years. The next step is to test it out in sheep. </p><p>Still, this is an exciting step forward in the rehabilitation of one of our trickiest joints. Given the potential reward, the wait is worth it. </p><p><span></span>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.
Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.
What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?
Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.