Finally home from combat in Iraq, Steve Edwards felt detached from his friends and family.
Edwards had witnessed the highly publicized death of his friend, California National Guardsman Patrick McCaffrey, in June 2004. Edwards was the first to tell Patrick's mother what the military would not: Patrick was shot by the Iraqi soldier he was training. The Pentagon eventually acknowledged these claims in 2006.
Edwards himself was also injured by a roadside bomb that left him with a limp.
While shoppers at Paramus Park Mall in New Jersey push their feet into gleaming new Nikes, untwist salty soft pretzels, and stride past pasty-white plastic mannequins cloaked in fall fashion, janitors are polishing the floors with unease.
As part of a wider campaign to free mall workers from low wages and unfair working conditions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) began organizing janitors employed by the cleaning contractor Service Management Systems (SMS) at Paramus Park. Within weeks, workers say supervisors with SMS threatened to fire anyone who supported the union.
While it's no secret that pharmaceutical companies lavish gifts on doctors -- everything from free notepads and pens to meals to the more extravagant paid trips or seminars -- most patients are in the dark about who, exactly, is courting their physicians. But Congress may be finally acknowledging this relationship, one important step toward creating a national gift registry so patients can track the perks Big Pharma is giving to their doctors.