April

Medical student debt endangers health care

Mounting medical student debt and increased difficulty in repaying this debt is a problem that threatens American health care. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), over 80 percent of medical school graduates carry educational debt. Median debt for graduates is $115,000 and one-quarter of students with debt have a principal of over $150,000. Some report a principal of over $350,000. These amounts do not include credit card debt, which often is in the thousands of dollars.

Remembering workers killed on the job

Commentary It is only a misdemeanor to kill a worker by willfully violating safety laws. The maximum sentence is six months in jail. The recent killing of 15 refinery workers and the injury of more than 100 in the BP oil refinery explosion in Texas, the drowning of four boatman in the towboat accident on the Ohio River, as well as the recent increase in serious accidents and deaths in the steel industry makes this year’s observation of Workers Memorial Day all the more meaningful, important and poignant.

Battle over evolution

“Scientific creationism” came on the scene when the Christian right reared its ugly head in the 1984 Reagan campaign. It was part of the effort by ultra-right ruling class elements to whip up a backlash against the people’s movements.

My day on Capitol Hill with Gladys Marin

The death of Chilean Communist Party leader Gladys Marin at age 63 brought back memories of a day in 1974 that I spent with her and her interpreter on Capitol Hill visiting the offices of senators and representatives.

Unionism doesnt mean go it alone

The opposite of unionism is “go it alone.” According to some recent suggestions in the American labor movement, that’s what some top office-holders would like to see. They want to lessen their financial commitment to the AFL-CIO federation, ostensibly so that they can spend more money on organizing projects.

English Only ambushes democracy

“Pressure building for a national language,” screams the headline in the ultra-rightist Washington Times. The article summarizes a report by US English, Inc., which tells us that 322 languages are spoken in this country. Of these, 24 are spoken in every state and the District of Columbia.

Hopeful signs on public education

As a former teacher, I follow education news with great interest. Recently, I’ve had reason to feel hope for the future of public education in this country.

Gunner Palace: Cinema vrit misses the mark

Deciding to see “Gunner Palace,” a documentary about U.S. troops in Iraq, is a little like buying a luscious red apple in wintertime. You bite in with high hopes but immediately experience something pulpy and tasteless.

Poet donates fee to Colombian unions

The Coca-Cola Co. provided $1,200 to bring poet Martin Espada to Kansas University on March 10. Espada, a Latino poet who has published seven collections, plans to donate the money to a union for workers at Colombian Coca-Cola plants — a union that Espada believes has been decimated by unfair and sometimes brutal labor practices, according to news reports.

Breaking the silence on the war

PHILADELPHIA — The “Break the Silence Bus Tour” arrived here April 5. The tour, which is dedicated to speaking out for peace, began the day before, on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, at New York City’s Riverside Church.

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