Duel to the debt: The battle of the budget has been going on in Washington for months now, but we’re quickly approaching a do-or-die moment. A compromise must be reached by August 2. At that point, the federal government will have more obligations to pay than available money and would have to shut down. It’s as simple as that. There’s a possible solution on the horizon with the “Gang of Six” proposal, a bipartisan plan which would cut nearly $4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade. The plan has gained wide support, including approval from President Obama. On the other hand, the House recently passed the Tea Party-backed “Cut, Cap and Balance” plan, which would cut $100 billion in 2012 and cut Medicare by a third over the next 10 years. Either way, it’s crunch time. We need a solution soon if we want a government in a month.
Let them eat organic: According to a recent poll conducted by NPR, a majority of Americans prefer organic food to non-organic food. The poll found that 58 percent of Americans prefer to eat organic food, 31 percent prefer non-organic and 11 percent don’t have a preference. It’s heartening to see that Americans have developed a preference for organic food. Pesticides accumulate in the environment over time, damaging the land, and genetically modified organisms crossbreed with regular species, creating uncertainty in exactly what’s in the food we’re eating. There are still a few barriers to organic food becoming more popular though. A majority of those who said they prefer non-organic food said that organic food is just too expensive. One hopes that, now that it is clear that there is a demand for organic food, more will be done in the future to make it affordable for everyone.
Alabama’s death-happy judges: According to a recent report by Mobile’s Press-Register, Alabama has the nation’s highest per capita death penalty rate largely because we are the only state in which judges routinely overturn a jury’s sentence of life in prison in favor of the death penalty. Only three states, Alabama, Delaware and Florida, allow judges to overturn a life in prison decision in favor of the death penalty, but Alabama is the only one of the three that frequently uses that power today. In fact, one in five people on death row are there because of a judge’s decision. Since 1976, judges have overruled jury decisions 96 times to order the death penalty, but have only overruled jury decisions nine times to order life in prison. I’m personally not in favor of the death penalty, but why bother even having a jury if their decision is simply going to be overturned by a judge with an agenda?
Southern hospitality: According to U.S. News & World Report, Birmingham has some of the best hospitals in the country. Both UAB Hospital and Children’s of Alabama have specialties that landed in the top 50. UAB was named 11 in rheumatology, 20 in gynecology and 22 in nephrology. It also ranked in the top 50 for six other specialties and was ranked as “high performing” in cancer, cardiology and orthopedics.
Children’s of Alabama was ranked 11 in pediatric neurology, 22 in pediatric nephrology and 23 in pediatric neonatology. Children’s was also ranked in the top 50 in 7 other specialties. Alabama may have an unhealthy penchant for sending people to death row, but at least we know how to keep our citizens healthy. If only our citizens could keep themselves healthy too. We’re still the third most obese state in the county.