41 Latinos in Congress, 2 races still undecided
By LUIS ALONSO LUGO
Thursday, November 8
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Latinos serving in Congress will rise to at least 41 in the new year, and that figure most likely will increase when two undecided races are called.
Thirty-three out of 44 Latino Democratic candidates won election in Tuesday’s contests, while six out of 15 Latino Republican candidates claimed victory.
Francisco Pedraza, a political scientist at University of California, Riverside, thinks a small increase in the number of Latinos in Congress is very important because it happened despite redistricting that followed Republican victories in the 2010 election.
“In 2014 and in 2016 elections it was not that obvious,” Pedraza told The Associated Press. “Today we see the importance of all the changes brought after the 2010 election.”
The 57 million Latinos who live in the United States are the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority and constitute 18 percent of the total population. However, their political impact is substantially diluted due to their low electoral turnout.
NALEO Educational Fund, a prominent nonpartisan Latino organization, said that only 6.8 million Latinos voted in the 2014 mid-term election.
Latino winners in both parties include new faces who represent a number of firsts.
On the Democratic side, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old Puerto Rican New Yorker and former Bernie Sanders organizer, became the youngest woman elected to Congress after her primary victory over one of the most powerful House Democrats in New York.
Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia will be the first Latinas to represent Texas in the House.
And Debbie Mucarsel-Powell will be the first Ecuadorean to have a seat in the House of Representatives after defeating two-term Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo in a Florida district where 70 percent of residents are Hispanic and nearly half are foreign-born.
Mucarsel-Powell was among eight Latino candidates enrolled in Red to Blue, a highly competitive program of the Democratic Party designed to train and support candidates to flip Republican-held districts.
Other winners from that program were environmental lawyer Mike Levin in California, Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico and Antonio Delgado in New York.
A vote count that stretched into Wednesday evening gave the victory to Torres Small —a water-rights attorney who graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University— over state Rep. Yvette Herrell, who embraced President Donald Trump’s policies on immigration. Torres Small will be the first Latina to represent New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.
Delgado is a lawyer from Harvard University and Rhodes Scholar who beat Republican Rep. John Faso from New York’s Hudson Valley. Republicans seized on his brief hip-hop career to portray Delgado, who is black, as unfit for office. Delgado’s supporters called it race-baiting.
One House contest in the Red to Blue program remained undecided Wednesday: Gil Cisneros, a former naval officer and 2010 Mega Millions lottery winner, running in California.
All 25 Latino Democratic incumbents were re-elected, including New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who won a third Senate term despite a federal bribery indictment that prosecutors dropped this year after a mistrial.
Reps. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois and Ruben Kihuen of Nevada did not seek re-election.
Among Republicans, the number of Latino lawmakers fell to six from the current eight, while the re-election of Rep. Jaime Herrera-Beutler remained undecided in Washington state.
Except Curbelo, the other five incumbents were re-elected, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who staved off a tough challenge from Democrat Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
The Latino Republican delegation in the House will lose Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Raul Labrador, a fourth-term Puerto Rican congressman who lost Idaho’s gubernatorial primary to Lt. Gov. Brad Little.
Ros-Lehtinen, the first Latina and the first Cuban-American elected to Congress and the first Republican woman elected from Florida, is retiring after 30 years.
Former Ohio State University football star and businessman Anthony Gonzalez was the only winner among the three Latino candidates for the House that the GOP supported through its Young Guns program, which develops and supports viable candidates for competitive races.
Gonzalez, a grandson of Cuban exiles, will be the first Latino to represent Ohio in Congress.
They join Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, who are currently serving their terms.
At the state level, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham —a vocal critic of President Donald Trump and his immigration policies as chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus— was elected New Mexico governor, defeating Republican Rep. Steve Pearce.
Lujan Grisham will succeed two-term Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and will become the nation’s second Latina governor, after Martinez, and the nation’s first Latina Democratic governor.
Other Democratic Latino gubernatorial candidates failed in their quests: Education professor David Garcia lost to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who was re-elected in Arizona, and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez was unable to stop Texas Gov. Greg Abbott from winning a second term.
California state Sen. Kevin de Leon lost his bid to replace veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein in California.
Follow Luis Alonso Lugo on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/luisalonsolugo
For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics
Left behind: The midterm view from Iowa
November 7, 2018
Professor of sociology, Iowa State University
Paul Lasley does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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Now that the midterm election is over, many of my fellow Iowans are looking forward to resuming normal daily activities, finishing up the fall harvest, raking their lawns without the nuisance of political yard signs and watching television without the constant barrage of negative campaign ads.
I’ve spent my career studying trends in rural culture and what these trends suggest about the future of rural communities.
What did the 2018 election tell us about rural America? The view from Iowa may provide some answers.
This midterm election has taken a toll on the civility of “Iowa nice.” The hard-fought political battles that energized voters indicate that Americans, regardless of political party affiliation, are concerned about the future of the country. This is especially true in many parts of rural America where the lack of opportunities has resulted in chronic loss of young people to urban areas, higher rates of poverty and an increasingly older, dependent population.
The bleak outlook in many rural communities across the Midwest has led to the consolidation of schools and churches, along with the closing of many businesses and hospitals. For nearly 40 years, I have studied these trends and have great empathy for those who feel they have been “left behind.”
So when rural voters read of booming urban economies, record highs on the stock market and low unemployment rates, this does not match their observations of what’s happening in their communities, where almost 40 percent of Iowans can’t afford the basic costs of living. That energized them to participate in the election.
Some common themes that played a big role in yesterday’s election in Iowa: the need for affordable health care especially among low-income residents and the elderly, the need to invest in education for the workforce of the future and restoring a sense of shared economic prosperity.
There is one way in which Iowa is perfectly in tune with a national trend – the one that elected record numbers of women to the House. Voters elected the state’s first two women to the House of Representatives.
It seems we will only have a short reprieve from electoral politics here in Iowa, given that the numerous Democratic challengers for the presidency have already started their visits to the state. I’d better get to raking my lawn.
Karen Clark: These voters need to learn they’re not “left behind” they’re grossly over-represented. A California senator represents 20 million people. In Wyoming one senator represents 200,000 people. In Iowa there have been investments and attempts by outside groups to push for limits to water contaminants like herbicides and animal waste, both of which have been found in toxic amounts in municipal water systems. The local population responds by voting for state and local politicians who put Big Ag/Chemical interests over human & environmental health. It’s hard to have any empathy for people who are shown repeatedly that their promotion of giant corporations like Cargill and ADM isn’t working for them.
Iowans and others in rural America are not victims. These are self-inflicted wounds. Iowans vote anti-immigration so let them become migrant farm workers. I don’t suspect they’re interested in that type of farm work even if it would pay the bills.
stephan Edwards, In reply to Karen Clark: And there in Nutshell is why Trump won and the right is rising. What the Urban Megapoly and the coastal yuppie elites want is the only thing that counts. The flyover states Who cares? they are just “Deplorables”. Inc.
How a self-powered glucose-monitoring device could help people with diabetes
November 8, 2018
Executive Director, Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion University
Gymama Slaughter receives funding from National Science Foundation.
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., with about 30.3 million adults having the disease. One in 4 adults does not even know he or she has diabetes.
In addition, 84.1 million adults have prediabetes – a condition with elevated blood sugar levels – and 90 percent of them do not know they have it. The toll therefore is only likely to worsen.
To avoid the life-threatening complications that arise from diabetes, it is extremely important for those with diabetes to keep their blood glucose levels within a safe range. That has long been a difficult challenge, however, because it has been hard to reliably monitor glucose levels.
I am a chemist, chemical and computer engineer who has developed and conducted research on a possible monitoring system that is self-powered. These glucose biosensors convert the biochemical energy stored in blood glucose – in other words, from a person’s own body – to electrical power to run the device.
All about sugar metabolism
Diabetes affects how the body breaks down the food we eat into sugar. This sugar, or glucose, is released into our bloodstream. In response, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that enables the body’s cells to take sugar from the blood to use as energy.
If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin, as in Type 1 diabetes, or it can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should to maintain healthy blood sugar metabolism. The latter is called Type 2 diabetes. When there isn’t enough insulin, or cells stop responding to insulin, too much sugar stays in your bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications.
Keeping sugar in the blood at a safe level is a key strategy for managing diabetes and preventing progression of the disease. Studies have shown that people on intensive control programs who maintained their blood glucose levels close to normal have fewer complications than people who routinely maintained higher blood sugar levels. About 63.6 percent of adults perform daily self-monitoring of blood glucose.
Maintaining blood glucose levels is a lot harder than it sounds, however. It requires that people pay a lot of attention to the amount of carbohydrates they consume and that they test blood sugar by finger pricks throughout the day. Many must also calculate insulin doses and inject themselves with insulin.
Achieving the glucose control target is very difficult because of fluctuations from diet. Most people are unable to maintain tight control of their blood glucose.
And, the disease can progress even if a person is following doctor recommendations to maintain more normal blood glucose. In an effort to keep the levels of blood sugar low, some with diabetes unwittingly place themselves at increased risk for extremely low levels of blood glucose, or hypoglycemia, a life-threatening condition. This fluctuation from high to low levels becomes a barrier for people with diabetes, as they become discouraged. Studies have suggested that some people choose to stop maintaining tight blood glucose control as a result. This further results in inadequate blood glucose monitoring and unhealthy choices.
This situation is worsened because blood sampling is relatively infrequent throughout the day – as few as four times – compared to the countless changes in blood glucose that occur throughout the day. Also, glucose levels depend upon the medication program as well as individual circumstances. Blood sampling provides only a discrete blood glucose record, when a continuous blood glucose record provides the best information.
Devices can help, but they are not perfect
Studies have shown that the use of devices that can continuously monitor glucose levels could be an answer. These continuous glucose monitoring systems take repeated measurements, typically every five minutes, of blood sugar and the biological fluid that surrounds cells. This enables close monitoring and timely correction of problematic blood glucose levels. Therefore, these systems can reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.
Those with diabetes can wear one of these monitors in several areas of their body, such as around the stomach, and the back of the arms and legs. But, so far, only a relatively small number of people are wearing them because these devices are not perfect. People still need to test for glucose levels four times a day using a finger prick test. In addition, the devices’ response time is slow, and they are often inaccurate. And, people typically must wear the monitoring device and reinsert it under the skin every seven days. In addition, in randomized trials, continuous monitoring has not been connected with improved quality of life.
Also, a recent clinical trial found that the continuous monitors were not able to detect hypoglycemia in order to decrease incidence of the few severe hypoglycemia events that occurred in patients with Type 1 diabetes.
A future free of finger pricks?
One of the solutions could be fully self-powered implantable devices with no skin-attached components that are less obtrusive and that ease user burden. These self-powered continuous glucose monitoring systems are the next generation of glucose monitors that may reduce the hurdles to continuous glucose monitor use and adherence. They track blood sugar levels and deliver insulin if a person needs it.
In our laboratory, we are developing a self-powered, implantable 4-millimeter by 4-millimeter device. It generates electrical power by converting the chemical energy stored in a person’s blood sugar and works similarly to a battery. It uses proteins attached to two wires that selectively consume glucose and oxygen in our blood to generate electrons that flows through the system. The flow of electrons results in current generation. The product of the current generated and the voltage difference between the two wires results in the production of electrical power. This electrical power is directly proportional to blood sugar concentration. And hence, it can be used to rapidly sense blood sugar with the added benefit of responding to abnormality in blood sugar levels.
The important thing about our platform is it does not require batteries. The electrical power generated can be used to power an implantable insulin pump, thereby allowing us to simultaneously generate power to monitor glucose and deliver insulin to target sites in the body to improve patient health outcomes.
The question is whether this idea of the “closed loop artificial pancreas” can be transformed into reality. The most important challenge is the engineering design required for the artificial pancreas to move the device from bench to clinic and into the body, whereby patients would benefit from a fully automated artificial pancreas that requires no user intervention.
I’m optimistic that there may come a day when such a device can fully automate blood glucose control, provide continuous glucose monitoring and therapeutic delivery without any intervention from the patient. This will improve diabetes management and enable the creation of a world where human power could sustain human life.
Opinion: Legislation Would Protect Consumers From Discriminatory, Stacked Taxation
By Steve Pociask
Americans are spending more on digital goods and services than ever before, but an outdated tax code could allow consumers to be taxed multiple times for the same transaction.
Now, an effort is underway in Congress to create national guidelines for taxing the digital economy and protect consumers from this potential multiple tax threat.
Jurisdictional debates relating to sales tax laws for brick-and-mortar transactions are settled based on the location of the buyer or seller. However, the sales of digital products add a layer of complexity that policymakers are struggling to sort out.
For example, consider a California resident who purchases a wireless app from a New York-based developer while on vacation in Maine. The app is downloaded from a server in Virginia. Which state has jurisdiction to levy the tax? Should the tax be imposed based on the buyer’s location, the buyer’s home state, the seller’s home state, the location of the internet service provider, the location of the server storing the app, or some other criteria? Do all the affected states have a right to levy a tax on the transaction? Not settling this question could permit different jurisdictions to levy taxes on the same transaction.
In light of the fact that consumers spent over a trillion dollars in the digital economy, the way policymakers resolve these questions is of enormous importance.
There are no easy answers, but one thing is certain. As long as this ambiguity persists, revenue-hungry states won’t shy away from taxing digital purchases, even if that means imposing multiple taxes on consumers. Over half of the states have already taken action to include some form of the digital economy in their sales tax base, and many more are seeking to follow suit.
These stacked taxes create a slanted marketplace where consumers are penalized for buying digital goods instead of visiting brick-and-mortar stores.
To address these concerns and establish a framework for a single tax jurisdiction for digital goods, senators John Thune, R-South Dakota, and Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, recently introducedthe Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act, and members of the House of Representatives have unveiled a similar bipartisan plan.
The bill would resolve the uncertainty regarding which jurisdiction has the right to tax the sale of a digital good or digital service by prohibiting state and local governments from imposing multiple taxes on digital goods and services as they are transferred from one tax jurisdiction to another over the internet on their way to a consumer.
The legislation states that when legitimate taxes are imposed on a digital product, they may be imposed only once. In general, the bill grants taxing authority to the state or locality that encompasses the “customer’s tax address,” either where the customer lives or where the customer is assigned for work.
In addition, the bill precludes discriminatory taxes from being imposed on digital goods and services, ensuring they are taxed the same as similar tangible products. For example, if a state does not levy a tax on physical newspapers, then it would be prohibited from collecting taxes on digital newspaper subscriptions, too.
Congressional action on this critical issue is long overdue. The patchwork of state and local policies has created uncertainty for businesses operating in the digital economy and resulted in higher costs to customers. As the digital economy continues to grow in the future, consumers deserve a fair and equitable tax system around the country that neither favors nor penalizes digital transactions. This bill is an important step in that direction.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Steve Pociask is president and CEO of the American Consumer Institute, an educational and research nonprofit organization. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.