On Thursday, President Barack Obama signed a bill that will allow the District of Columbia to once again use its own local tax dollars to pay for abortion services for low-income women. The 2010 omnibus appropriations bill lifted a restriction on the nation's capital using local funds for abortion care that has been imposed by Congress every year since 1988. (The bill also lifted restrictions on funding potential medical marijuana and needle exchange programs.)
"This is really something to be celebrated from the point of view of women who live in D.C. who are low-income," said Heather Boonstra, senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute.
Ralph Blumenthal, who has done some fantastic investigative crime reporting, wrote an article in the Times this weekend examining the FBI's efforts in the 1980s to break up a sect of the Sicilian Mafia by cooperating with the Italian government. Blumenthal wonders if this method could be used to break up some of the drug gangs in Mexico. The comparison both works and doesn't. Clearly we live in a vastly different world than the one the Brooklyn Mafia dominated, but the common thread is asking for international cooperation to leverage power against drug lords that cannot be countered by one government alone.
Dana rightly pointed out that affirmative action is under threat this fall in several states, but there is some good news. It's not five states, as Dana said, it's now four. Oklahoma withdrew it's anti-affirmative action ballot initiative earlier this month due to a lack of signatures. In fact, the secretary of state found that of the 141,184 signatures gathered, many were duplicates.