The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 3
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Tuesday, November10, 2009 - 3
Abortion opponents in the Senate
are seeking tough restrictions in the
health care overhaul bill, a move that
could roil a shaky Democratic effort
to pass President Barack Obama's
signature issue by year's end.
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said
Monday it's unlikely he could sup-
port abill that doesn't clearly prohibit
federal dollars from going to pay for
abortions. His spokesman said Nel-
son is weighing options, including
" offering an amendment that's similar
to the one passed by the House.
The House-passed restrictions
were the price Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
D-Calif., had to pay to get a health
care bill passed, on a narrow 220-
215 vote. But it's prompted an angry
backlash fromliberals,some ofwhom
are now threatening to vote against a
final bill if the curbs stay in.
Senate Democrats will need Nel-
son's vote - and those of other abor-
tion opponents in their caucus - to
prevail in what's likely to be a gruel-
ing debate against Republicans who
are unified in their opposition.
Fort Hood shooter
A radical American imam on
Yemen's most wanted militant list
who had contact with two 9/11hijack-
ers praised alleged Fort Hood shooter
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan as a hero on
his personal Web site yesterday.
The posting on the Web site for
Anwar al Awlaki, who was a spiri-
tual leader at two mosques where
* three 9/11 hijackers worshipped,
said American Muslims who con-
demned the attacks on the Texas
military base last week are hypo-
crites who have committed treason
against their religion.
Awlaki said the only way a Mus-
lim can justify serving in the U.S.
military is if he intends to "follow
in the footsteps of men like Nidal."
"Nidal Hassan (sic) is a hero. He
is a man of conscience who could
not bear living the contradiction
of being a Muslim and serving in
an army that is fighting against his
own~y ," Awlaki wrote.
0 Merkel, Gorbachev
cross past border
Chancellor Angela Merkel and
former Soviet leader Mikhail Gor-
bachev crossed a former fortified
0 borderyesterdayto cheersof"Gorby!
Gorby!" as a throng of grateful Ger-
mans recalled the night20 years ago
that the Berlin Wall gave way to their
desire for freedom and unity.
Within hours of a. confused
announcement on Nov. 9, 1989 that
East Germany was lifting travel
restrictions, hundreds of people
streamed into the enclave that was
West Berlin, marking a pivotal
moment in the collapse of commu-
nism in Europe.
Merkel, who grew up in East
Germany and was one of thousands
to cross that night, recalled that
"before the joy of freedom came,
many people suffered."
She lauded Gorbachev, with
whom she shared an umbrella amid
a crush of hundreds, eager for a
glimpse of the man many still con-
sider a hero for his role in pushing
reform in the Soviet Union.
* Stocksleap as G-20
Drug treatment: Is
US ready to step up?
Boo. David Paterson speaks to a joint session of the New New York letislature
yesterday in Albany, N.Y. Paterson promised to legalize same-sex marriage.
for action on ga
States look to
change war on drugs
NEW YORK (AP) - Based on the
rhetoric, America's war on drugs
seems poised to shift into a more
enlightened phase where treatment
of addicts gains favor over impris-
onment of low-level offenders.
Questions abound, however, about
the nation's readiness to turn the
talk into reality.
The economic case for expand-
ing treatment, especially amid
a recession, seems clear. Study
after study concludes that treat-
ing addicts, even in lengthy resi-
dential programs, costs markedly
less than incarcerating them, so
budget-strapped states could save
The unmet need for more treat-
ment also is vast. According to fed-
eral data, 7.6 million Americans
needed treatment for illicit drug
use in 2008, and only 1.2 million -
or 16 percent - received it.
But the prospect of savings on
prison and court costs hasn't pro-
duced a surge of new fiscal support
for treatment. California's latest
crisis budget, for example, strips all
but a small fraction of state funding
away from a successful diversion
and treatment program that voters
approved in 2000.
"It's easy to talk a good game
about more treatment and helping
people," said Scott Burns, execu-
tive director of the National Dis-
trict Attorneys Association. "But it
smashes head on into reality when
they don't put their money where
their mouth is."
Money aside, the treatment field
faces multiple challenges. At many
programs, counselors - often for-
mer addicts themselves - are low-
paid and turnover is high. Many
states have yet to impose effective
systems for evaluating programs, a
crucial issue in a field where success
is relative and relapses inevitable.
"Fifty percent of clients who
enter treatment complete it suc-
cessfully - that means we're losing
half," said Raquel Jeffers, director
of New Jersey's Division of Addic-
tion Services. "We can do better."
The appointment of treatment
expert Tom McLellan as deputy
director of the White House Office
of National Drug Control Policy in
April was seen as part of a shift of
priorities for the drug czar's office.
McLellan said he sees greater
openness to expanding treatment
but also deep misunderstanding or
ignorance about scientific advances
in the field and the need to integrate
it into the health care system.
Most Americans, he suggested,
have an image of drug treatment
formed from the movies - "car-
toon treatment" involving emo-
tional group encounters - and are
unaware of a new wave of medi-
cations and other therapies that
haven't gained wide use despite
"For the first time, it can truly
be said that we know what to do -
we know the things that work," he
said. "But do we have the economic
and political willingness to put
them into place? If we do, we'll see
McLellan, insisting he's not "a
wild-eyed liberal," said expanding
treatment wouldn't negate the war
"Law enforcement is necessary,
but it's not sufficient," he said. "You
need effective preventive services,
addiction and mental health ser-
vices integrated with the rest of
medicine. You shouldn't have to go
to some squalid little place across
the railroad tracks."
By federal count, there are more
than 13,640 treatment programs
nationwide, ranging from world-
class to dubious and mostly oper-
ating apart from the mainstream
Dr. H. Westley Clark, director
of the federal Center for Substance
Abuse Treatment, said his agency
wants states to develop better mea-
surements of programs' perfor-
"The data shows treatment saves
money - $1 spent to $4 or $7 saved,"
Clark said. "If you're an altruist,
making treatment available is a
good thing. If you're a narcissist,
it's a good thing - you'd pay less in
Treatment advocates are closely
watching Congress, hoping the
pending health care overhaul will
expand insurance coverage for sub-
stance abuse programs. Recent fed-
those seeking treatment don't get it
because they can't pay for it - and
many land in prison.
The work force in drug treat-
ment is, for the most part, modestly
paid, with counselors often earning
less than the $40,000 per year that
it costs to keep an inmate in prison
in many states.
"Some of the stigma that goes
with addiction adheres to the staff
as well," Jeffers said. "Most agen-
cies are trying to do right - but the
field is getting increasingly compli-
cated. The business skills that are
needed aren't always the same skills
that make a good clinician."
Yet generally, front-line coun-
selors win high praise - especially
the ex-addicts who bring savvy and
credibility to the job.
"People in the field weren't driv-
en to it by the money or glamour, but
often by personal experience or that
of a loved one," said Keith Hum-
phreys, a treatment expert from
Stanford University now working
for the drug czar's office. "They
may not have the fanciest degrees,
but they are incredibly caring."
Garnett Wilson served prison
time for armed robbery in the 1980s
and now - at 61 - has two decades
of drug counseling under his belt as
a valued employee of the Fortune
Society, which provides support
services to ex-offenders in New
As he cajoles the men in his
groups, he strives to remember his
own battle to change.
"Some of the people who've
been through it become too rigid,"
he said. "Preaching doesn't work.
They forget how hard it is to rise
above your environment, and they
alienate the people they're trying
Wilson says he focuses his efforts
on "those guys that are ready."
Perhaps Joe Smith is one of
A 29-year-old from Brooklyn,
Smith recently served eight months
in prison for a weapons offense and
was a heavy marijuana user, but
now - studying and job-hunting -
says he's determined to go straight.
"It's been kind of tough," he said.
"The hardest part is just to come
to it every day, but when you come
to think about it, it's not so hard
- because if you don't, it's back to
Another client, Ronnie Johnson,
has been back in New York City
barely a month after more than a
decade in prison upstate.
"It's like family -here --every-
body's supportive," said Johnson,
39, contrasting the Fortune Society
staff with drug treatment workers
in prison who were "just doing it for
In the years ahead, New York may
serve as a test case for the potential
to expand treatment programs.
Earlier this year, its legislature
approved sweeping reforms of
harsh drug laws enacted in 1973
under Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.
vows to legalize
by year's end
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Gov.
David Paterson yesterday urged
lawmakers to legalize same-sex
marriage in New York, calling it
"an issue that touches on the very
core of our citizenship."
His request raises the hopes
of gay advocates who suffered a
major defeat in Maine when vot-
ers repealed that state's same-sex-
marriage law last week.
In New York City, Christine
Quinn, the openly gay council
speaker, quickly weighed in by
offering an impassioned plea for
the state Senate to pass a bill legal-
In a rare midyear address to a
joint session of the Legislature,
the Democrat singled out his gay
marriage proposal in a lengthy
agenda for today's extraordinary
session that will mostly be devot-
ed to addressing the state's $3.2
billion budget deficit.
"It is an issue that in many
ways speaks to the very founda-
tion of our democracy," Paterson
said of gay marriage. "I would like
it addressed as immediately as
possible, because justice delayed
is justice denied. I am asking the
members of the New York state
Senate on both sides of the aisles
to take up and pass the marriage
equality legislation this week."
It was the only time his 15-min-
ute address was interrupted by
applause, but it was only a smat-
tering, with perhaps half the leg-
islators refusing to clap.
However, in a signal that usu-
ally indicates progress in negotia-
tions in Albany, Paterson changed
his time frame for adoption from
Tuesday, the only day so far
he called the Legislature into
extraordinary session, to some-
time this week.
Then Paterson made a personal
plea, following his framing of the
issue a year ago asa civil right, and
his recent promise to have the bill
passed and signed into law by the
end of the year.
The Rev. Jason McGuire of
New Yorkers for Constitutional
Freedoms said Tuesday's results
in Maine have shown even mod-
erate Republicans that they can't
afford to back the measure going
into the 2010 elections. He said
the group is confident they have
35 or 36 senators opposed to the
measure, which would block pas-
sage in the 62-seat house.
"God established marriage and
I don't think the state has a right
to redefine it," McGuire said. But
he said the concern is really about
children, who need to learn from
mothers and fathers.
"Marriage is never about two
people. It's about future gen-
erations," he said. "It does affect
what's good for society as a
Already passed in the Demo-
crat-led Assembly, the measure
wasn't brought to the floor in
the spring because there weren't
enough votes in the 32-30 Demo-
cratic majority to pass it. A few
Democrats opposed the bill on
religious grounds. Paterson
changed that by putting the bill in
his proclamation for yesterday's
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age stormed to its highest level in
more than a year yesterday as a fall-
ing dollar boosted prices for gold,
oil and other commodities. Stocks
also jumped as investors grew more 5 7 9
confident that governments around
the world will keep interest rates
low to help the global economy. 7
Energy and materials stocks led
the market. The major indexes rose 9 3 1
2 percent and the Dow jumped 200
points for the second time in three 2 9 3
days, reaching its highest level in
V 13 months.
News that the Group of 20 coun- 3 1 4
tries will keep economic stimulus
measures in place signaled to inves- 5 8 2 1
tors that rates will remain low. With
U.S. rates near zero, the G-20 news 8 7
lessened demand for the dollar.
Even as investors are waiting
for more signs that the economy is
recovering, they've been focusing
on the dollar when they make buy 5 4 3
and sell decisions.
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports
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November 20, 2009
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