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Guest Observer Archive

The Replacements: Talent for the End of the Second Term | Commentary

As the Obama administration enters its lame duck phase, a number of high-level executive branch officials inevitably will leave for the private sector, to return to academia, or for well-earned retirement. The resignation of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is the most recent example of such departures and a harbinger of the struggles over Senate confirmation to come. Even before a replacement for Holder is officially announced or even trial-ballooned, fights will begin over the steps for considering the nomination, and whether confirmation should wait until after the new Senate convenes.

Tastes Great? Less Filling? Title II 'Lite' Is Anything But | Commentary

In the Miller Lite ads of the 1980s, famous shortstops and linebackers argued whether the pilsner’s chief virtue was its surprising flavor or its low calorie count. “Tastes great,” insisted some. “Less filling,” the others replied.

Balancing Scales of Justice for Whistleblowers | Commentary

Pressure to go along to get along starts early in life. A student who tells the teacher about playground misbehaviors may face taunts as a tattletale. Teens feel social pressure not to report mischief by their peers. Later in life, employees fear reprisals or retaliation for raising questions about workplace wrongdoing. Unfortunately, there’s a pervasive institutional mindset to muzzle whistleblowers from reporting what they know.

There Is Bipartisan Opposition to CMS Proposed Cuts to Radiation Therapy | Commentary

For those of us who have never personally been affected by cancer, it can seem a surreal and distant concept; something that happens only to someone else’s family. Until it reaches into your own life, cancer is just a word — though one seemingly laden with emotion. It is a struggle we watch from afar, a battle we don’t quite grasp. As we grow older, we start to understand the disease. As loved ones are diagnosed — young and old and without discrimination — we are forced to learn. Even among fear and sadness, we become deliverers of optimism because it is the only thing we can give to those in need.

Obama Presidency Transformed a Nation -- But Not Silicon Valley | Commentary

As one of the most historically significant events for African-Americans, the presidency of Barack Obama, winds down, our community has a chance to reflect on the progress we have made — and the work we still have to do. The achievement of our first black president, remarkable though it was, should not blind us to the difficult obstacles we must still overcome. In too many areas of society, from the economy to culture, African-Americans are still on the outside looking in.

Congress Is Endangering Missile Defense | Commentary

News media are jammed with reports of epidemics, terrorists, and armed conflicts that threaten our warfighters and allies abroad. Just as alarming, our homeland has never been more vulnerable to attack by advanced weaponry now in the hands of potential enemies.

New Insurance Exchanges Fail to Protect Colon Cancer Patients | Commentary

Colon cancer will claim more than 50,000 American lives this year. Affecting men and women almost equally, 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed at some point in their lives.

Ebola Crisis Creates Sense of Urgency to Restore NIH Funding Now | Commentary

The first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the U.S. While this was anticipated and experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, assure us it will not lead to an outbreak here, it is concerning. The Ebola virus has taken the lives of more than 3,000 people in West Africa and the death toll continues to mount, breaking apart families and raising fears throughout the world of a devastating epidemic. Despite attempts to contain the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now predicting between 550,000 and 1.4 million cases by early 2015. And that’s just in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

With Friends Like the NRA, Who Needs Enemies? | Commentary

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., recently found out how fickle his former allies in the gun lobby can be.

From Liberia to America, We Must Stop Illegal Logging | Commentary

Around the world, illegal logging threatens communities and drives deforestation. Every second, an area of forest the size of a football field disappears due to illegal logging. In the United States, imports of illegally logged wood and wood products undercut American companies and threaten local jobs. As activists in Liberia, a country that produces timber and wood products, and the United States, a leading consumer of wood products, we are calling on Congress and the Obama administration to crack down on the illegal timber trade by fully funding and fully enforcing the Lacey Act, a landmark conservation law that prohibits the import of illegally harvested wood products.

In Defense of Political Email | Commentary

All right already. We get it. Politicians and campaign committees send lots of emails with interesting subject lines and rather frantic requests for contributions.

Congress Needn't Look Any Further Than California on How to Combat Climate Change | Commentary

President Barack Obama’s recent address to a global audience at the United Nations Climate Summit, coupled with the executive order he unveiled the same day, make even more evident the need to combat climate change despite some reluctance coming from Congress. According to the Globe Climate Change Legislation Study released earlier this year, “In the USA, dedicated climate change legislation remains politically challenging.”

It's Time for an Asian-Pacific American Attorney General | Commentary

With the resignation of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the president must nominate a highly qualified successor who will inspire confidence, and lead with grace and thoughtful decisiveness. That nominee must also be one likely to be confirmed by a Senate that may shift to Republican leadership in November.

Stability at the Cost of Democracy | Commentary

As the world’s leaders gather at the United Nations, they will take the opportunity to discuss issues of extremism that are currently ravaging many countries around the world. While these issues clearly have every right to be on the world’s stage, another danger is rising in the shadows of extremism.

Congress Plays Politics With the Internet | Commentary

In a town where Democrats and Republicans can hardly agree on anything, Congress has the unique opportunity to pass legislation that is both bipartisan and popular: extending the ban on Internet access taxes. The Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits politicians from slapping new taxes on Internet access, is currently scheduled to expire at the end of October. Despite its wide support, Congress is dragging its feet on renewal, meaning consumers could find themselves paying even more in taxes. Legislators need to get off the sidelines and protect unfettered online access for all Americans and by passing a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act.

Elephants: Critical to America's National Security | Commentary

Though Ahmed Godane, the leader of the Somalian terrorist group al-Shabab, was killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this month, Ugandan authorities uncovered a 19-person al-Shabab cell armed with explosives just last week. What action can the United States take against African terrorist groups that advances American security, protects U.S. service members, and fits within budgetary constraints? One approach suggested by Rep.Peter A. Defazio, D-Ore., might surprise you: Protect Africa’s elephants with the Targeted Use of Sanctions for Killing Elephants in their Range, or TUSKER, Act.

A Simple Strategy to Improve Constituent Dialogue | Commentary

I was giving a speech to a group of citizens visiting Washington for a fly-in, and was asked this question: “What’s the most frustrating obstacle to enhancing the democratic dialog between citizens and Congress?” I surprised myself by responding quickly: “Bad writing.”

Veterans' Needs Must Come First | Commentary

Oct. 1 marks an anniversary many of us prefer to forget — the start of the 16 day partial government shutdown of 2013. Among the disruptions caused by the shutdown, work stopped on more than 250,000 veterans’ disability claims awaiting appeals, burials at national cemeteries were scaled back and vital medical and prosthetic research projects were threatened. Had it continued a couple weeks longer, even veterans’ disability compensation checks might have stopped.

Time to Let the Sunshine In | Commentary

Starting September 30, AARP members and consumers of all ages will be able to get a better idea of what may be driving their health care provider’s decisions thanks to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, or Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act requires drug and medical device manufacturers to publicly report virtually all payments, gifts, and other services provided to health care providers and teaching hospitals every year.

Electronic Health Care Program Threatens More Efficient Setting of Care | Commentary

Recently at National Health IT Week, health care experts gathered to emphasize the importance of improving the quality of health care delivery and strengthening the interaction between patients and healthcare providers. For good reason, adoption of Electronic Health Records is largely lauded as a necessary, even overdue step to improve efficiency and ultimately the quality of patient care.

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