Last time Washington took a swing at comprehensive immigration reform, the far right went nuts. In 2007, when President George W. Bush joined with leading Democrats to push an immigration package, the bill died in the Senate, the casualty of a GOP base revolt stoked by talk radio and hardline anti-immigration groups. (And, by the way, some Democrats were happy to watch a Bush initiative go down.) Now, after the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Eight released an immigration reform package and President Barack Obama essentially backed the effort, the looming question is whether opponents of immigration reform can muster the same kind of backlash--and how ready Republican supporters of immigration reform are to fight back.
Carlos Gutierrez was Bush's secretary of commerce when the 2007 immigration bill crashed and burned. "It was on the one hand talk radio, on the other it was these groups: FAIR and NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies," Gutierrez says, naming several restrictionist groups founded by anti-immigration activist John Tanton. "We were getting it all over the place."
Last November, Democrats seemed to be justified in believing that their party had won a victory of genuine significance. The ideological differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were clear-cut, and Obama was re-elected. Despite the advantage that Republicans initially enjoyed in Senate races, Democrats increased their majority to 55, and that new majority is more liberal than the old one. In races for the House, more voters cast ballots for Democratic than for Republican candidates, though Republicans kept their majority thanks in large part to gerrymandered districts.
But if you step back now, look at government as a whole, and think about the likely course of politics in the next several years, things look different. In what was a bad year for Republicans, they emerged with enough power to stymie major Democratic legislative initiatives and to advance key items on their own agenda through the arms of government that they continue to control.
For the latest investigation, Consumer Reports researchers moved the vacuum cleaners and cameras to the side and evaluated copious amounts of research, consulted medical experts, surveyed more than 10,000 readers, and talked with patients. They found that "too many people are getting tests they don't need or understand, and too few are getting those that could save their lives."
They conclude that many patients, and even some doctors, are confused about cancer screening. Most patients do what their doctor recommends, but health care providers don't always agree on which tests are necessary. In fact, they note, research suggests that advice often varies among medical practices.
Of course, for some tests and patients, the benefits do outweigh the risks; but for many other screenings and tests, magazine researchers found that the line between benefit and risk is not so clear-cut. For example, the risks of prostate-cancer screening probably outweigh the benefits for most people. For every 1,000 men between 55 to 69 screened for prostate cancer every one to four years, the data looks like this: Zero to one prostate-cancer deaths were prevented; yet three serious complications were caused by treating the cancer, including death, heart attacks, and blood clots in the legs or lungs; and 40 men became impotent or incontinent from treatment complications. The chance of being the one case in which screening prevented death is likely to lead men to still want the test performed, but the risks are surprising.
On June 9, 1964 the Dave Brubeck Quartet played a pair of half-hour sets for the Jazz 625 show in London. We're happy to bring you one of those two episodes in its complete form. It's an excellent show, featuring performances of five numbers, famous and obscure, and a discussion between Brubeck and host Steve Race about Brubeck's composing methods. The quartet is made up of Brubeck on piano, Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Eugene Wright on bass, and Paul Morello on drums.
The past president serves as both an unlikely inspiration and negative object lesson to the current effort. Because the plan pushed by Bush in his second term bears an uncanny resemblance to the bipartisan plan now backed by the Gang of Eight senators and hailed by Obama as the best hope for comprehensive immigration reform in a generation.
Take a look back at President Bush's 2006 televised address to the nation on immigration reform and read it aside President Obama's Las Vegas take on the same subject this Tuesday. The style may be different, but the substance and sentiment are essentially the same.