National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine July-August 2012

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ley himself: Born to working class parents in Detroit���s Black Bottom neighborhood, Brawley receives a scholarship to a Jesuit high school. His uncle helps to pay for his education at the University of Chicago. He does an internship at Case Western Reserve Hospital in Cleveland and a fellowship at the National Institutes of Health���s National Cancer Institute. Then he covers his work today as medical director of the American Cancer Society and a medical oncologist at Emory University and Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. What Brawley wants most, we learn, is not that we subscribe to his way of thinking but that we think at all���that we think critically, that we are skeptical of the healthcare system. Wise up, he seems to be saying. Think for yourself. Demand more of your doctors, your healthcare system, yourself. He challenges the reader not to be distracted by shiny new medical devices like the da Vinci surgery robot. More is not always better. We must have a grassroots rebellion���not just from patients tired of being excluded from or bilked by the health care system��� but by healthcare providers who are trying desperately not to do harm. That���s a message that any RN who���s watched as patients are turned away from her ER can get behind. ���Heather Boerner The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (no it was not invented by the current crop in the Beltway) and the House to pass the landmark Great Society reforms, starting with the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964, but also including, of course, Medicare. For 26 years, says Caro, Congress was the death chamber of social reforms. Roosevelt failed to get a ���single major reform through Congress��� in his last eight years in office. Truman���s proposals ���for national health insurance, for expanded unemployment insurance, for reduced taxes for the poor, for the expansion of federal aid to education��� all ���died on Capitol Hill.��� And except for a few blips while LBJ was himself Senate Majority Leader, the door slammed shut again during the Kennedy presidency. It took Johnson���s unique political sophistication and strongarming savvy and skill to crack through what Caro labels the ���southern-conservative coalition��� that was such a roadblock to social progress. Not to mention a massive grassroots popular movement, a critical factor, of course, which Caro underplays. While we will have to wait for the next, and final, Caro book on Johnson to read the full story on the enactment of Medicare, and what lessons it offers for people fighting to expand Medicare to the rest of the population today, Caro does provide glimpses of Johnson���s determination to act. Thinking of Truman just hours after Kennedy���s murder, Johnson told top aides, ���By God, I���m going to pass Harry Truman���s medical insurance bill.��� ���Charles Idelson By Robert Caro; Alfred A. Knopf, 2012 W ith his prodigious four-volume (going on five) opus on the deeply flawed but master politician Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro has redefined the standard on political biography that may be hard to match. In earlier works, some of which are recapped in his latest work, Caro has, through the story of Johnson���s rise to power (the theme by which Caro is obsessed), provided stunning insight on how the 1930s New Deal transformed the lives of rural Americans, the undermining of democracy through manipulation of elections, and the frozen tundra also known as the United States Congress. Caro���s new book covers the 1960 election, Johnson���s years of angst as vice president, and his early tenure as President following the Kennedy assassination. While the whole work is endlessly rewarding, of particular note for nurses and healthcare activists is how LBJ broke through the gridlock of the Senate J U LY | A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street By John Nichols; Nation Books, 2012 T he tea party movement that rose into national prominence in 2010 held election parties late into the night on November 2 of that year. Champagne corks flew; large platters of fancy hors d���oeuvres were consumed, and feet squeezed into Guccis and Jimmy Choos throbbed from dancing all night in celebration of their victory. Tea Party activists provided the ground troops for the right-wing 1% corporate elite who spent their millions campaigning on the erroneous premise that public service workers were the cause of shortfalls in local and state budgets, and ought to be blamed for the economic crisis. Throughout the year, you couldn���t W W W. N A T I O N A L N U R S E S U N I T E D . O R G N AT I O N A L N U R S E 21

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