Sunday, March 25, 2012
Sunday Morning News and Views, Part I
It's the first weekend of Spring and time for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has undergone a heart transplant in a hospital near Washington, D.C. Cheney, 71, was on the waiting list for a heart for 20 months - which is longer than the average wait time in the Washington area. His prognosis remains uncertain. The transplant raises questions about priorities for transplants, not so much about money or celebrity but about age and expected life expectancy with the transplant. Many argue that a priority should be given to younger recipients when possible, who have much longer to be with their families and to contribute to society.
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on the Obama administration's health care law. The Justices have set aside SIX HOURS to debate whether the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. The health care law is the single biggest accomplishment of the Obama presidency. The law polarized America as Obama became the first US President to successfully Shepherd through health care reform. Three Republicans and Two Democratic presidents before him had tried and failed. The same forces that blocked those attempts are fighting a misleading rhetorical attack to have health care reform overturned.
While most states are scrambling to comply with the Affordable Care Act, Florida has a different, high-stakes strategy. Florida Republican leaders are betting they'll be successful in their legal fight to strike down the law. They've rejected and returned federal grants to help develop a healthcare exchange. They also haven't applied for millions in federal dollars to begin expanding Medicaid. The irony, critics say, is that if the Supreme Court upholds the law or just leaves some parts of it in place, Florida may miss key deadlines and cede much of its healthcare planning to the federal government.
This month, a Tennessee court ordered a woman to pay child support for the Russian child she'd adopted and then sent back on a plane to Moscow. The woman, Torry Ann Hansen, said the child was "psychotic," and she couldn't be his parent anymore. His case has thrown the spotlight on adoptions from Russia -- now slowed by the backlash against a string of notorious abuse cases.
Pope Benedict leaves Mexico and heads to Cuba tomorrow. The trip is officially aimed at marking the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the statue of Our Lady of Charity of El Cobre -- which was found floating in the bay of Nipe. But many on the Communist island are hoping the trip highlights concerns about religious freedom.
A reading of Eugene O'Neill's long lost play, "Exorcism," is staged for the first time since 1920. O'Neill was the first American playwright to put the vernacular on the American stage. The play, written by a young O'Neill not long after his own suicide attack in 1912. In1921 he earned a Pullitzer Prize for another work, and thought he destroyed all the copies. "Long Days Journal Into Night", O'Neill's greatest play, was written in 1941 but not produced until after he was dead, due to a restriction placed on it by O'Neil himself. The one act play will be presented for the first time in 92 years tonight at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C.
Carolyn Hopkins is the voice behind too many public service announcements to count, at airports, subways and theme parks. She tells you a train is coming, to step away from the platform, or to please pay attention to your luggage. And she does it all from her home in northern Maine.