Dumb or dishonest?

By EDITORIAL  |  December 5, 2007

AIDS: a somber reality
Even before the Wall Street Journal reported that the federal government is expected to announce next year that new HIV cases could be mounting at a rate 50 percent higher than previously thought, local AIDS activists began lobbying Beacon Hill for an additional $2 million dedicated to prevention.

Thanks to President Bush and the until-recently-Republican-controlled Congress, more than $200 million has been squandered on faith-based abstinence programs at the expense of scientifically proven methods, such as safe-sex initiatives and needle exchanges. Massachusetts, under the misdirection of Republicans Mitt Romney and Jane Swift, mimicked this public-health voodoo.

Governor Deval Patrick and the legislature need to reverse direction. The requested $2 million is a modest amount in light of the magnitude of the problem. They should approve the appropriation in next year’s budget.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health recently reported that the rise of new HIV/AIDS cases is particularly acute in the black and Hispanic communities. An alarming 83 percent of women diagnosed with HIV between 2003 and 2005 are women of color.

Under Bush’s tenure, the nation has been misled about the truth about new HIV cases. “This is a typical response of this administration,” says Rebecca Haag, executive director of the AIDS Action Committee. “Underestimate the problem, underfund the solution, and blame the victims. Sounds like Katrina all over again!”

Romney’s illegal lawn care
As the Phoenix goes to press, the Boston Globe reports that Republican White House wannabe Mitt Romney, who has positioned himself as a scourge of illegal immigration, has been forced to fire his landscape company because it continued to employee illegal immigrants to tend his Belmont grounds. A year ago, Romney did the decent thing and gave the company a second chance after it was reported that it employed illegal immigrants. Now, however, the grandstanding Romney is finding out firsthand how difficult it is to come to grips with the issue of illegal immigration, a problem that has been developing for more than 20 years and defies easy solutions. Will Romney learn anything from the experience? Not likely. Slick shysterism is an ingrained Romney style. Expect more of the same.

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