Dept. of Justice Investigating Pennsylvania’s Voter I. D. Law

The  Justice Department has acknowledged that it is investigating whether Pennsylvania’s new voter I. D. law would result in suppression of that state’s minority vote.

Last month, the Majority Leader of Pennsylvania’s House, Mike Turzai, boasted that the law would keep President Obama from repeating his 2008 victory in the state: “Voter I. D., which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Not so fast, Turzai.

Judge With Cancer Pleads for Medical Marijuana

The New York state legislature is considering medical marijuana again.  In the past, it has been approved by the Assembly, but died in the Senate.    New York Judge Gustin L. Reichbach, who has been battling pancreatic cancer for over three years, today pleads for legalization in a moving, eloquent, and courageous op ed in the NYT, “A Judge’s Plea for Pot.”  Some excerpts:

“Nausea and pain are constant companions.  One struggles to eat enough to stave off the dramatic weight loss that is part of this disease. … Pain medication leads to loss of appetite and constipation.  Anti-nausea medication raises glucose levels, a serious problem for me with my pancreas so compromised.  Sleep, which might bring respite from the miseries of the day, becomes increasingly elusive.

“Inhaled marijuana is the only medicine that gives me some relief from nausea, stimulates my appetite, and makes it easier to fall asleep.  The oral synthetic substitute, Marinol, prescribed by my doctors, was useless.

“This is not a law-and-order issue; it is a medical and a human rights issue.  Being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I am receiving the absolute gold standard of medical care.  But doctors cannot be expected to do what the law prohibits, even when they know it is in the best interests of their patients.

“Given my position as a sitting judge still hearing cases, well-meaning friends question the wisdom of my coming out on this issue.  But I recognize that fellow cancer sufferers may be unable, for a host of reasons, to give voice to our plight.

“Because criminalizing an effective medical technique affects the fair administration of justice, I feel obliged to speak out as both a judge and a cancer patient suffering with a fatal disease.  I implore the governor and the Legislature of New York, always considered a leader among states, to join the forward leader and humane thinking of 16 other states and pass the medical marijuana bill this year.”

Charles Blow on Trayvon the Person, Not the Symbol

From Charles Blow’s lovely column (“A Mother’s Grace and Grieving”) at the NYT about Trayvon Martin:

“He was a smart boy who had taken advanced English and math classes, and he planned to go to college.

“He was a hard worker who earned extra money by painting houses, and washing cars and working in the concession of the Pee Wee football league on the weekends.  He also baby-sat for his younger cousins, two adorable little girls, ages 3 and 7, whom the family called the bunnies, and when he watched the girls he baked them cookies.

“The only fight his mother could ever recall his having was with his own brother when Trayvon was about 4 and the brother was 8.  They were fighting for her attention, and it wasn’t even a real fight.

“To believe Zimmerman’s scenario, you have to believe that Trayvon, an unarmed boy, a boy so thin that people called him Slimm, a boy whose mother said that he had not had a fight since he was a preschoooler, chose that night and that man to attack.  You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack a man who outweighed him by 100 pounds and who, according to the Sanford police, was wearing his gun in a holster.  You have to believe that Trayvon chose to attack even though he was less than a hundred yards from the safety of the home where he was staying.

[I]t is important to not let Trayvon the person be lost to Trayvon [the] symbol.  He was a real boy with a real family that really loved him.”