Suzanne Gordon ["Nurse, Interrupted," TAP Vol. 11 Issue 7] is a journalist who has been writing about nursing issues since 1986. In "Life Support: Three Nurses on the Front Lines," Gordon details the three years she spent reporting on three different nurses. Laura Maggi is a Writing Fellow at the American Prospect.
Q: In your article you talk about nurses being downsized and the work becoming more taxing and less rewarding, and I was wondering when this started happening. When did the policies start changing?
Determining precisely who are the poorest Americans would seem to be a simple enough things to do. But like many bureaucratic tasks, counting up the official poor is fraught with political complications. Last October the issue became front-page news when The New York Times suggested that the Census Bureau might raise the poverty level, boosting the threshold that establishes who counts as officially poor from $16,600 to $19,500 for a family of four. Actually, the Times was wrong (the bureau doesn't even have the power to change the level). But even the false assertion that the poverty level might be raised sparked a fair amount of debate.
In 1994, before book after book documented how the tobacco industry had successfully manipulated the public's perceptions about smoking, the eminent historian and author Stephen E. Ambrose took the stand in a Louisiana case brought by Gere Covert, a Baton Rouge attorney who decided to sue after the death of his wife, a longtime smoker, from lung cancer. Testifying for the big four tobacco companies and their lobbying arm, Ambrose hammered home the industry's line: The risks of smoking have been known for decades if not centuries, so smokers who got sick made a knowing choice.