Another look at the political week that was…
- It's begun: Due to the sequester budget cuts to Medicare that took effect on April 1st, cancer clinics have started turning away Medicare patients. The sequester cuts will also lead to furloughs for thousands of federal employees, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency whose furloughs will begin on April 21st. To show his solidarity with the furloughed workers, President Obama is giving back 5% of his annual salary ($20,000) to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and other politicians and department heads are following suit.
- Virginia’s Republican attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, filed an appeal to make oral sex a felony in his state. This move comes despite the fact that the Supreme Court has already decided a decade ago, in the 2003 case, Lawrence v. Texas, that laws like the one Cuccinelli is defending, banning consensual, non-commercial sex between adults, are unconstitutional.
- The Defense Department is sending a missile defense system to Guam in response to North Korea's blustering, though according to experts, the antagonizing country is still years away from building a nuclear weapon that could reach the continental U.S.
- Connecticut passed "the most far-reaching" gun control legislation in the country this week, creating a registry of dangerous weapon offenders and new eligibility rules for purchasing ammunition, as well as adding more than 100 weapons to its assault weapons ban –a direct response to the Newtown massacre. Meanwhile, the city of Nelson, Georgia, passed a law this week requiring every resident to have a gun.
- According to the latest Quinnipiac University national poll, a majority of Americans believe that gay marriage should be decided by the Constitution and not individual states.
- The race to replace New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg reached high drama this week when mayoral hopeful State Senator Malcolm Smith and City Councilman Daniel Holloran were arrested on bribery charges.
- And as America remembered the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4th, fast food workers in New York City went on strike Thursday morning, demanding a living wage and the ability to form and join a union. The organizers of the New York City strike were said to be inspired by the Memphis sanitation workers' strike of 1968 that Dr. King was in town to support when he was assassinated by James Earl Ray.