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Hartford Guardian to Celebrate 10th Year Anniversary


HARTFORD —  The Hartford Guardian will kick off its 10th Year Anniversary celebration on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at Aetna Insurance Building on Farmington Ave. in Hartford, CT.

The Luncheon under the theme, Building to Empower and Engage, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to mark this significant milestone in the new media organization, which began in 2004 as a print publication.

Over the past decade, The Guardian has served individuals and families throughout the Greater Hartford area and beyond—disseminating untold stories, news and information that effect change on a local and national level.

The Guardian has won several notable recognitions and awards for its reporting, including the International Center for Journalists, Patch/AOL, Knight Center for Journalism New Media institute and the Hartford Magazine.

The Guardian was founded by Dr. Ann-Marie Adams, an award-winning journalist and historian. She has worked as a reporter and writer for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich Bulletin, Times Herald Record, People magazine, The Washington Post and other local and national publications. She teaches journalism and history, most recently at Quinnipiac University, Howard University and Rutgers University.

The Hartford Guardian was founded in 2004 to build communities through civic journalism. It is one of three programs by the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc. CABC, Inc is a nonprofit organization established to encourage and increase civic engagement in Greater Hartford by (i) educating  residents about various social issues and services in Hartford, (ii) educating them about how government and media work, and (iii) offering opportunities to explore and engage in civic journalism.

For more information on how to become a sponsor or purchase tickets, email theguardian@thehartfordguardian.com. RSVP is required for seating and validated parking information.

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Q&A: Ebola and Africa’s Untold Stories


New America Media, Question & Answer, George White

Editor’s Note: As chair of the African Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma directs the staff and the work of the African Union (AU), the alliance of nations on the continent. In that role, Dr. Zuma – a physician – manages AU initiatives on education, the environment, economic development and health. She is currently overseeing the deployment of AU volunteers to help halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. In an exclusive interview with New America Media in Los Angeles, she talked about the fight to contain Ebola, media coverage of Africa and the continent’s progress on the United Nations’ global Millennium Development Goals.

Please comment on the U.S. government’s response to Ebola. As you know, the U.S. is using military personnel to set up medical facilities in affected countries.

It would be great if the U.S. and other developed countries did more to help improve the health facilities in those countries. They need treatment centers … they need laboratory-testing facilities, they need protective clothing and they need more transportation [capacity] and personnel.

However, we need help beyond Ebola because we know now that a lot more people might die from illnesses that would not normally be fatal because there is so much focus on Ebola. Very few people in those countries are being treated for malaria or for injuries. We also need to strengthen the health systems in these countries so if there is another outbreak, there will be people ready to respond appropriately and quickly. We saw this kind of response when Nigeria addressed and contained its Ebola cases. Nigeria has strong institutions that mounted a strong public health response.

What about the role of the United Nations and the World Health Organization in this crisis and the future of health care in Africa?

The U.N. is now responding. It’s late but better than never… Everyone needs to up their game – particularly the World Health Organization and the U.N. because they have the global responsibility for outbreaks such as this. We also should not forget those who are on the ground who have been doing this work from Day One – the local health workers, the [African] governments, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and the Red Cross. We would like to express our appreciation to all of them … and to all the countries outside of Africa that have helped.

I think the world should look at the overall health situation in African nations. We are saying there should be universal health care for everyone in our countries. But some donor organizations think this is not very important for development and we think that is wrong… We think universal health care is very important. Of course, it won’t happen overnight but it has to be established as we grow and develop.

 Chair of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma answers questions about the Ebola outbreak and says more help is needed.

Chair of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma answers questions about the Ebola outbreak and says more help is needed.

Ebola has shown that you are going to get more than health effects from the outbreak; you’re also going to get social effects. Even more important, there are going to be economic effects if efforts to stop the outbreak fail – ships not docking to take material in and take material out, mines and factories closing or working at low levels and farmland not being worked … Health and education are the most important investments for economic growth; but this eludes some donors and some [government] ministers of finance.

The African Union Commission (AUC) had planned to host a forum for African immigrant media in the U.S. and African-American media to discuss the coverage of development issues at the recent U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. It was cancelled but the AUC has indicated that it still hopes to host such a meeting. Why is such a gathering needed?

I think it’s very important because we have seen that the coverage produced by media outside of Africa tends to be one-story line for a complex continent. Currently the storyline is Ebola and nothing else. In the past, the storyline was violent conflicts. It’s important for the media to tell the many stories that are there in Africa so that people can get a clearer indication of what is going on.

However, it is not likely we will get more balanced coverage from other people if we do not do it ourselves. That’s why we think it’s very important to encourage the journalists and communicators in the [African] diaspora to communicate what is going on in Africa. We’re not trying to hide anything or minimize anything but we want to tell all our stories because we have very good stories to tell. We know there are stories about difficulties but we also want other kinds of stories told.

Can you talk about your work on energy and global warming?

There’s a lot of activity around energy because we realize it’s needed if we are to industrialize to process our mineral wealth. However, we have decided that even though we have enough fossil fuels to generate energy, we want to take advantage new green technology and get a proper mix that will be both fossil fuels and renewable energy.

Africa is the continent that will suffer the most disproportionate impact of global warming because the continent is the smallest polluter. We must mitigate and adapt … With our huge tropical forests, Africa is the second lung of the world … and the Amazon is other major lung. We have to preserve these forests for ourselves and for the world. The developed countries have to come to the table. Hopefully, in Paris next year, there will be a binding international agreement on emissions.

The U.N. in 2000 created global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on health, education, environmental sustainability and gender equality – objectives countries will be graded on in 2015. What will be the grades on the report cards of African nations?

Africa may not meet all the MDG goals … but Africa has made the greatest effort and has had the greatest improvement. In education, for example, a lot of the goals have nearly been reached. There are a lot more girls going to school. We have a campaign to keep the girls in school as long as possible because if we can keep them in school, they don’t get married early and they don’t get pregnant early.

As for the empowerment and participation of women, I think we are making real progress. There are a lot of women in [African] parliaments. The level in Rwanda has reached 64%, which is the world’s highest. Others, such as Seychelles and South Africa, have levels hovering in the 40s and 50s. Parliament is a high-profile institution and these women are role models for other young women. We are also beginning to see chief justices that are women and governors that are women.

What are the goals for the remainder of your term as head of the African Union Commission?

One of them is to help young people get the skills – especially in the areas of STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] – to create a skills revolution on the continent.

The other area is infrastructure. We would like to work toward an Africa that is one economic market and one aviation market because that will increase the number of internal flights within the continent so that we can be better connected and integrated. We also want to see the beginnings of real connections between our capitals and our commercial centers through rail, especially high-speed rail. We’re working toward eventually achieving a continental free-trade area. Even though this may not be achieved during my term, I can help plant the seeds of economic integration and see them grow when I’m gone.

Other News About Ebola:

CDC Says U.S. Should “Rethink” EBola Response

NIH Director Says Ebola Vaccine Would Have Likely Been Found It not for Budget Cuts

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Black Women “Sick and Tired” of Low Quality Healthcare, Infant Mortality


Editor’s Note: This article was made possible by the International Center for Journalists’ Community Health Reporting Fellowship and is a part of an ongoing series on Race, Gender and Medicine in America.

By Ann-Marie Adams

Connecticut has the highest infant mortality rate for black babies.

That’s according to the state’s own 2009 health disparities report, which reveals consistently higher infant mortality rates than white and Hispanic infants.

The infant mortality rate represents the number of deaths among babies under one year old per 1,000 births. The latest report shows the number of deaths for black babies between 2001 and 2005 was 314 or 13 percent compared to Hispanics with 251 or 6.5 percent, or Whites with 515 or 3.9 percent.

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsNaturally, someone should ask why there’s such a high death rate among black babies in Connecticut. Is it caused by improper nutrients from food desserts in urban areas? Or is it a systematic attempt—unmitigated long after the infamous Tuskegee experiment—to harm black people in America? Many so-called Third World countries do not have such high infant mortality rates. So I’m leaning toward the latter, considering socio-economic factors that are already impacting the black family.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionBefore you get your panties in a bunch, consider the history of race and medicine in America. If you do, you will contextualize the contemporary conditions and see that this is not an alarmist approach to scant evidence. It’s a singular theory based on American history and years of research that have produced enough facts to examine this crisis.

According to The Hartford Guardian’s own investigation of Greater Hartford-area hospitals, doctors are more willing to prescribe medications that damage black women’s reproductive organs. The atrocity of substandard healthcare for many black women can be in the form of benign neglect in a hospital emergency room to egregious malpractice such as forcing medications against will—a common and often criminal–practice at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living. The most popular culprit is Risperidone, which seeps into breast milk and enlarges breasts.

Besides robbing many black women of their breast milk, Risperidone contributes to the mammification of the black woman’s body. It’s the most frightening side effect of this drug known to cause death. Similar steroidal and non-steroidal medications include cyclobenzprine, hydrocodon-acetaminophn, methylprednisolone, cogentin, gabapenten and haldol. Many cause hyper-lactatemia, a fancy word for inflating a woman’s breast with deadly toxins.
The problem is not just in Connecticut, however. This also occurs at the Maryland-based National Institutes of Health, where doctors recruit women to use experimental drugs that cause harm to their reproductive system and then send them off to deal with the later consequences of an unknown drug.
Black men also face similar harm with pills that decrease libido or contribute to erectile dysfunction. But this story about the health industry makes a sharp departure from the overall black experience when we look at the intersection of race, gender and medicine.

The syphilis experiment from 1932 to 1972 by the U.S. Health Service generated national outrage and is well-known around the world. The lesser known experiments of black women like Henrietta Lacks did not cause an uproar.

This makes me want to scream.

Consider this: Black women are more likely to die of heart failure, cancer, and other diseases because of deficient medical care. They are also more likely to have uterine fibroids, which are commonly associated with stress. The confluence of stressors is attributed to socio-economic conditions. For example, black women are three times more likely than white women to be unemployed. And though you have gender inequality among wage earners, black women earn 70 cents on the dollar for the same work as other workers.

Mental Health Series: African-Americans Negotiate Mental Illness

Perhaps President Barack Obama, who benefited from the overwhelming support of black women voters in 2008 and 2012, should consider implementing policies that mitigate centuries of medical abuses and character assassination of the black woman in America. Besides the medical maladies they face, most black women are considered angry—even if they wear pastel colors and glue their mouths shut.

The angry woman trope is laughable among the righteously discontented, who are now wondering when they will we see policies that have a direct impact on their lives in every sphere. Let’s deal with specificity. When will black women have equal access and opportunity?

Do they need to storm the White House to get Obama’s attention? With two years left in the White House, perhaps he should consider forming a task force of multi-ethnic black women who will attack these deficiencies in the health field and change the way health care is administered to them. Are these deficiencies factored into the web of policies linked to Obamacare, which supposedly gives Americans access to quality and affordable healthcare?

If single black women consist of 70 percent of black households that overwhelmed voting booths to elect the first black president, then we ought to see specific policies that address these constituencies—sooner rather than later.

Like Fannie Lou Hamer who helped reshape the Democratic Party in the 1960s, some of us black women are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Mental Health Series: Reclaiming Black Men’s Mental Health

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams the founder and editor of The Hartford Guardian. She has worked for The Hartford Courant, The Washington Post, The Root.com, and People Magazine. She has taught U.S. History and Journalism at Quinnipiac University, Howard University and Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter: @annmarieadams.

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CL & P Needs Common Sense Approach to Increase


By Rep. David Baram

Citing the need for infrastructure improvements, Connecticut Light & Power Co. has asked for a 59 percent increase in its fixed monthly service fee and another increase in its rate of return on investment.

In addition, CL&P wants a 45 percent increase in the fixed fee it charges for small business customers regardless of how much energy David_Baramthey consume.

Clearly, these increases would create a significant economic hardship on low-income residents already the-hartford-guardian-Opinionstruggling to pay for basic necessities like food and utilities. They would also essentially penalize residents and businesses that try to use less electricity or promote energy efficiency.

The state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), which is charged with the responsibility of oversight, should reject CL&P’s request and even consider rolling back the favorable rates that the utility already enjoys.

We recognize that CL&P faces business challenges and changes in its revenue stream resulting from efficiency, the use of renewables, a growing emphasis on distributed generation and other efforts to meet our energy needs in ways that reduce costs and the impact on the environment.

But the simple fact is that CL&P has to find a common sense approach to its business needs without penalizing rate payers. They should not have to pay a higher share of the utility’s costs.

Considering that our state’s energy model is predicated upon the principles of reducing energy costs for our citizens and more efficient energy usage, an increase in CL&P’s fixed fee would undermine Connecticut’s effort to achieve long-term energy conservation and reduced costs.

As Governor Malloy has stated, a rate increase cuts to the heart of our state’s nationally recognized Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES). It would limit the ability of residents and businesses across our state to reduce their electric bill through energy efficiency or the use of solar, fuel cells and other renewable energy sources.

If Connecticut accepts the argument that raising consumer costs is justified by the proliferation of fuel cells, solar, wind and other renewables, it will discourage future investment in these beneficial technologies and further limit our progress toward ensuring greater access to low-cost, environmentally beneficial energy sources.

Connecticut already ranks among the top five states in the country in the cost of electricity and to expect residents and small businesses to pay even higher rates is beyond comprehension.

Rep. David Baram  represents the 15th Assembly District, which includes Bloomfield and Windsor.

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Historic Pond House Celebrates Latest Addition


The Pond House Café has recently completed a major addition of a brand new patio and walkway around the historic Pond House. The project also included adding a custom built gazebo and numerous gardens surrounding the building. Recently, they held a ceremony to formally donate this patio and walkway to The City of Hartford, The Elizabeth Park Conservancy and The Community.

In attendance were Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Elizabeth Park Conservancy Executive Director Christine Doty, several Elizabeth Park Conservancy Board Members, MetroHartford Alliance Director of Investor Relations Richard Brown, Pond House Owner Louis Lista, Pond House General Manager Kim Yarum, and Tom Linden of Linden Landscape Architects.

Pictured cutting the ribbon are Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Elizabeth Park Conservancy Executive Director Christine Doty and Pond House Café General Manager Kim Yarum.

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Fighting ISIS: A Coalition of Uncertainty


One way to grasp the immense difficulty facing President Obama as he tries to forge an effective international coalition to oppose the Islamic State is to examine the difference between this effort and the last time the United States led a diverse group of countries to take on a conflict in the Middle East: Operation Desert Storm, in 1991.

After Iraq invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990 and declared it to be Iraq’s 19th province, President George H.W. Bush and his secretary of state, James A. Baker, worked for months to organize a “coalition of the willing” to retake Kuwait and evict the Iraqis.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionIt was a challenging diplomatic feat even though they had the advantage of U.N. Security Council resolutions endorsing such a campaign. The objective was clear-cut and finite. All of Iraq’s neighbors supported it. Everyone accepted the legitimacy of Kuwait’s government. And the countries that were asked to sign on could see that the United States was fully committed to do the heavy lifting: there were half a million American troops in Saudi Arabia, awaiting the signal to begin operations.

As a result, 39 countries participated in the war, including such unlikely partners as Syria, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Honduras. They shared a common objective: restoration of the sovereignty of a member state of the United Nations that had been invaded by another, in an unquestionable violation of international law and world order.

The situation confronting Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry is considerably murkier, to say the least. The United States is not just herding cats, it is herding wolves, rabbits, chameleons, and maybe a few sheep.

Read More

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The Latino Political House is Divided On Immigration


Those concerned with immigration reform, deportations, family separations, and unaccompanied minors surrendering at the southern border, are caught in a transfixed credibility debate about President Obama’s announcement to delay any decision to exercise executive action of administrative relief for the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants currently in the country.

After committing publicly at a White House press conference to make a decision by the end of the summer, Obama announced in early September that he would wait until after the midterm elections to decide what action to take. There is nothing conclusive indicating that any relief granted would be sweeping, bold, and inclusive – in any case. Everything about Obama’s trajectory tells us that it would be cautious, limited, and conflictive.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionImmigrant rights activists have harshly criticized the president for one more broken promise. Republicans have denounced him as an opportunist for delaying his decision on electoral grounds and being an imperial executive usurping the legislative role of congress. Vulnerable Democratic Senators in tight competitive races and the Democratic Party leadership, fearful of a white voter backlash, gave off a big sigh of relief. And, administration insider and outsider apologists immediately lined up to defend their patron.

Sadly, Dolores Huerta is only the latest to try and pull Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire with her recent quote from a VOXXI.COM interview, “We have to look at the big picture and don’t get caught up in saying we want it now.” “…we are a community that can wait.” And, “we have to have faith in our president…” How ironic that she expresses no anger at the 70,000 to 100,000 more deportations Obama’s delay will provoke. Multi-millionaire Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of HUD under President Clinton, has repeatedly railed against immigrant advocates for demanding of the president “not one more deportation.” Disgraced and separated vice president of the Service Employees International Union, Eliseo Medina, has probably been the most protective of Obama at every turn. And, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Domestic Policy Council, and Assistant to President Obama, has been the White House’s pit-bull in silencing critics of the deportation machine.

On the whole, Obama’s Latino defenders all have a financial stake in his regime. They are all recipients of largesse either from the administration directly or through his party or allied private foundations. They belong to the corrupt patronage system and have gladly accepted their proverbial role as house peons who run to save the master’s burning house faster than the master himself. The most immoral observation about their behavior is the lack of transparency about their personal moneyed interests and positions as they implicitly defend massive deportations of historic dimension.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus for its part was incensed at its junior role in the jockeying for the president’s attention and shunted aside in deference to the conservative Democratic Senators. Almost two weeks to the day it finally issued a letter to the president calling on him to comply with his new promise, but refused to hold him to a date certain, and omitted to articulate any possible consequences for not acting before the year’s end. Muñoz met with the members prior to the letter’s release in an effort to placate them and caution against any overreach in their demands on her boss. Caucus members are feeling the heat from the streets by immigrant organizations in their respective districts and are deathly fearful of a lower than normal voter turnout for the elections.

There is a growing movement towards political independence away from both Democrats and Republicans, especially among younger voters and advocates. This is positive outcome of the controversy.

The demand for executive action by the president was not the product of mainstream funded groups, but of independent grassroots base organizations fed up with the legislative impositions emanating out of Washington D.C. Executive action became a necessity due to the impossibility of passing fair and humane immigration reform in the face of two million deportations and family separations, and 700,000 American minors exiled in Mexico with their deported Mexican parents. S.744, the bipartisan “comprehensive immigration reform” passed by the Senate last year, was nothing but a sop to big business and border enforcement xenophobes, and was light on equitable legalization for immigrants.

The National Coordinating Committee for Fair and Humane Immigration Reform 2014, in alignment with a growing independent movement of DREAMer and migrant-led organizations, advocates for immediate administrative relief and not waiting until after the midterms, unless the president suspends deportations for the duration of the delay. Migrant families should not pay the horribly high price for the party’s election anxieties. The relief must be sweeping and bold, and include all migrants contributing to the economic recovery of the country.

Absent such action, we recommend that Latino voters not support any Democratic or Republican candidate in the midterms that does not support an immediate end to deportations and relief, particularly in the five to nine toss-up Senate races of most concern to Democratic Party leaders. It is time to register as independent, and those already registered to re-register accordingly, forge an independent political electorate among Latino communities nationally, and make both parties work for our vote by every day addressing our problematic needs and interests as the largest non-white and fastest growing constituency in America.

We stand on the side of the millions of deportees and their families, and the millions more who still hold out hope for presidential action. Let the apologists be defined on the side of the deportation apparatus, while migrants judge their role in history. September 22, 2014.

The National Coordinating Committee 2014 for Fair and Humane Immigration Reform is an independent binational network of migrant worker and family grassroots organizations and coalitions that struggle for immigration reform according to the needs of our families in California, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Florida and Mexico.

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Quinnipiac Poll Shows Foley Leading Malloy in Gubernatorial Race


HARTFORD — Eight weeks before the gubernatorial election, Connecticut voters are thinking Republican candidate Tom Foley would do a better job than Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
That’s according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released on Wednesday. The poll shows Foley leading with 46 points to Malloy’s 40– when asked who would do a better job at handling the economy/jobs.
Hartford-VotersFoley leads 82 to 9 percent among Republicans and 48 to 35 percent among independent voters, while Malloy takes Democrats 77 to 10 percent, the poll finds.
However, Malloy has a 45 to 38 percent lead with women. And Foley has a 54 to 35 percent lead among men.
But it’s too early to call this race, said Douglas Schwartz, PhD, director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
“In our first likely voter poll, Tom Foley has the edge but Gov. Dannel Malloy is certainly within striking distance,” Schwartz said. “Foley has a double-digit lead among the key swing group, independent voters. With eight weeks until Election Day, there are 6 percent undecided and another 30 percent who say they could change their mind.”
Schwartz added that Malloy’s difficulty is that he has a high negative favorability rating, 53 percent as opposed to Foley’s negative favorability rating of 33 percent.

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John Dempsey Hospital Has Some Explaining to Do


By Ann-Marie Adams

The University of Connecticut’s John Dempsey Hospital has some explaining to do.
After months of requesting medical records for an emergency visit to this hospital in April, I have yet to receive all my records, primarily to prove the horror that occur on that faithful day I was forced into the hospital.
Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsIt was a scary six-month journey of encounters with medical students and doctors who seemed frighteningly out of touch with reality. And this is not hyperbole.
What was frightening to me is that they were not used to interacting with many educated black women such as myself—much less formulate a socio-psycho evaluation of me. In fact, I hardly came in contact with any black or culturally competent doctors.
the-hartford-guardian-OpinionI moved through the Hartford-area medical systems in a state of shock because I did not know it was that bad. The situation then turns into another nightmare when I asked for my own medical records six months ago.
According to Connecticut’s state law, doctors and medical facilities are required to promptly allow patients to review or get copies of their medical records. For John Dempsey, it has been a six-month maze, leaving me to conclude that they are covering up the big mess they caused by their “mistake.”
What was even more frightening is that they were forcing medications on me without a signed consent form. I went into the hospital on April 4, 2014 a healthy, strong woman and came out with all manner of illness. Naturally, I was curious about the details of my stay.
After waiting so long to review the information, I’m starting to believe they are hesitant about even having me review the records because there is something untoward about that faithful day. And it must be investigated.
So I was patient. I made another visit to the medical record office, and I was told that another option was to just make an appointment to review the records. I spoke to Michele Brackett, who is the supervisor of the medical reviewing unit. And a month later, I’m still waiting for an appointment—just to look at those records.
This is odd.
If John Dempsey has nothing to hide, its medical records supervisors should have had a logical explanation when I visited the office recently. They didn’t. It also occurred to me that these people are not aware of that there is a law that exists to regulate this matter. Or they just don’t care.
But it should be said in this case, John Dempsey, that it was the cover up—not the crime—that usually gets the culprits.

Perhaps it’s time for your staff to review the Hippocratic oath. It’s right here.

And send me my damn records—all of it.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is an award-winning journalist/historian and the founder of The Hartford Guardian. She has worked for numerous local and international publications, including The Hartford Courant, People Magazine, Washington Post, The Root, Fox News and NBC News4. She has also taught history and journalism at Howard University, Quinnipiac University and Rutgers University.


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Do We Need to Reassess Our Immigration Reform Strategy?


By Angelo Falcón, New America Media
ISIS beheadings. The Putining of the Ukraine. The Ebola pandemic. The police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The 2014 mid-term elections. And then there is immigration reform.

The immediate big question is whether President Obama will be taking decisive executive actions to stop and slow deportations before the mid-term elections. A politically cautious move would be to keep promising to do so, but actually doing it sometime after November. This would make the most jittery members of his party running for reelection less jittery while continuing to make promises to Latino and other immigration advocates who otherwise have no place else to go.

national-immigration-reform-blacksOr, who knows, the President might make a bold move by implementing long-overdue executive actions to keep his promises to the Latino community, with the only political benefit to him being using this to promote more unpopular impeachment talk by the Republicans. Then there is a possibility that he will come up with some weak middle ground that nobody will be happy with, except the America with Obama political triangulators.

By postponing any action on deportations until after the midterms, the President then moves the issue within the dynamics of the 2016 Presidential race. This would put more pressure on the Republicans to compromise on some form of comprehensive immigration reform. It would then increase the possibility of the President coming up with some sort of legislative solution to this problem. But will the dynamics change radically in Washington if the Democrats lose control of the Senate? No one really knows.

Within this context, there are still Latino and other immigration advocates who are holding on to the hope (some say foolishly) of comprehensive immigration reform passing the Congress in this session while at the same time pushing for unilateral action on this issue by the President. The Congressional inaction on proposals to address the issue of the unaccompanied border kids should be a clear tip-off that the future of comprehensive immigration reform through the Congress anytime soon is, pardon the pun, the stuff of dreamers.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionAll indications are that any Congressionally created immigration reform will be largely punitive against Latinos and other poor immigrants. The Senate bill, which was widely lauded when proposed last year, creates a bureaucratic nightmare, more of an obstacle course than a path to citizenship. And it would add to an already overly-militarized border, at a time when the Michael Brown case has raised the nation’s consciousness about the negative and often deadly effects of militarizing our police. And this was the best that the Congress could produce; with even more disastrous versions emerging after it failed to get support.

Which raises the question: Does the Latino community need fundamentally to reassess our strategy for immigration reform, both from a political and policy perspective? The move to focus on what the President can accomplish unilaterally through executive action is a good first step. But the political winds in the next few years promise to be tortuous for Latinos and the country as a whole. How we navigate them as a community may require the need to get back creatively to basics.

Angelo Falcón is president of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP). He can be reached at afalcon@latinopolicy.org.

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