The issue of lawyers bankers and diplomats doing their jobs superlatively -- for causes which drive certain sections of the power elite crazy -- has gone both ways. Debo Adegbile is the latest victim of such power politics -- a lawyer who took up an unpopular cause, defending a cop-killer. Sen. Pat Toomey's argument (Inquirer, 3/3) amounts to saying that only incompetent lawyers should be allowed to defend controversial defendants.
Lawyers are not required to believe in the innocence of their clients. When diplomats like John Bolton are hired as Ambassadors to a United Nations they have professed to despise, one has to rethink whether such a presidential appointment is appropriate. There are often good reasons for politicians to vote against a presidential appointment.
The blatant demagoguery of politicians exploiting the 1981 murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner to score points they hope will serve them well in their next election is sickening. Among them include Sen. Pat Toomey, who has joined those vigorously opposing the nomination of civil rights attorney Debo Adegbile to head the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
A better candidate for the position could not be found, but Toomey and others say Adegbile should be disqualified because he was the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s director of litigation when that organization advocated on behalf of Faulkner’s killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, during appeals of his conviction.
Now the NAACP Legal Defense Fund is no fly-by-night organization. It is held in high esteem in this nation for its historic work in ending segregation with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, which was argued by Defense Fund lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who later became America’s first black Supreme Court justice. Over the years, the Defense Fund has added to its mission the pursuit of justice in criminal cases in which racial discrimination is alleged to have been a factor.
It was good news that Pennsylvania will not appeal the judge’s decision to dismiss assisted suicide charges against Barbara Mancini.
However, it’s still unfortunate that even with a living will, a “Do Not Resuscitate” order, and when in hospice care, as our pain-wracked body shuts down, our wishes on how we want to die can sometimes be totally ignored.
Reading about this case over the last year, I’ve cringed at the thought of what Mancini had to bear on top of the death of her father whom she cared for with a daughter’s devotion and nurse’s skill. She was arrested and prosecuted in her attempts to uphold and honor her father’s last wishes to be relieved of pain and to die at home. Through Joseph Yourshaw’s tragic death four days later in a hospital, under circumstances that he made every effort to avoid, perhaps the growing public awareness will lead to change.
Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D., Passaic), chair of the Assembly Budget Committee has declared Assembly Bill 2739 off the agenda. Based on some of the provisions of the bill, this was the correct decision by Mr. Schaer.
One of the provisions of the bill would have given all 120 legislators an annual increase of $30,000 in their budget earmarked specifically for staff increases. This increase would have totaled $3.6 million for the legislators.
Another proposed increase of $10,000 would boost the next governor’s salary from $175,000 to $185,000.. The salary of Governor Christie is the fourth highest in the 50 states. Only the governors of Pennsylvania, New York, and Illinois have higher salaries.
Ever hear the saying, “With friends like you, who needs enemies?” That’s what city employees ought to be saying about the Philadelphia City Council, which in its zeal to show its love for organized labor has vowed to fight Mayor Nutter’s request for the authority to furlough workers during an economic crisis.
All 16 Council members signed a letter that said since the recession is over, “austerity measures like forced unpaid leave, or furloughs” were no longer needed and that “it is difficult today to argue that those who fix our potholes, salt and shovel our streets, and process our business licenses deserve less than they currently receive."
That letter was an affront to the good taxpayers of Philadelphia whom the Council is supposed to represent. Nutter isn’t planning to furlough anyone now, but if the economy does turn sour again, the mayor wants that option. And it’s a good thing that he does. Anyone who paid attention to what was going on during the recession knows furloughs can prevent layoffs.
Thank you for a wonderful profile of Bernice Gordon, a truly remarkable woman. I'd like to add a personal note (“Clues to keep an active mind,” Feb. 18).
A number of years ago my parents, well into their 80s, moved to Atria Center City after having lived in North Carolina their entire adult lives. Moving from a small southern city to Center City right next to the Parkway was quite an adjustment.
As the article notes, Bernice is a lifelong Philadelphian, and as we know, lifelong Philadelphians are sometimes not the most welcoming to transplants. But not Bernice. She welcomed my parents and helped make them feel at home.
Every February, we honor the giants of the Civil Rights movement whose lives still affect us today. As we celebrate the achievements of the African-American community and the advances that have been made toward full racial equality, Black History Month reminds us that there is still work to be done, especially when it comes to equality in health care.
In the U.S. today, African-American women have access to health care that would improve both their lives and the lives of those around them. Today is the first time that health care access in the U.S. is a priority. However, we are acutely aware that lack of income and education are barriers to health care. We both got involved in organizing around the Affordable Care Act in the Philadelphia region because we know people do not have access to affordable, high-quality health care. This results in a number of African American families losing their loved ones from preventative illnesses such as breast cancer, cervical cancer and HIV. There are direct racial implications for these illnesses given that African American women are dying at higher rates than their white counterparts.
Under the ACA, insured Americans have access to critical preventive health care services such as annual wellness exams and contraception without copays, and they cannot be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions like being HIV-positive, having breast cancer, or being a victim of domestic violence.