US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Dismissed by Trump Administration

Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy, former US Surgeon General, at his Senate confirmation hearing in 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, the nation’s youngest and first Indian American Surgeon General, was asked to resign on Friday by President Donald Trump, just a little more than halfway into his four year term.

Murthy served just over two years as US Surgeon General after being appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013; however, Murthy’s Senate confirmation faced stiff resistance due in part to Murthy’s public position that the nation’s epidemic of gun violence is a public health issue. Murthy was finally confirmed in December 2014 after over a year of political bickering and delays from Senate Republicans, and he took the office of US Surgeon General on December 18, 2014.

On Friday, Murthy posted a public statement on Facebook thanking his supporters and colleagues for his two years and four months in office.

While I had hoped to do more to help our nation tackle its biggest health challenges, I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have served. The role of the Surgeon General is traditionally to share wisdom with others, but it was I who learned so much by listening to your stories in town halls and living rooms. In a remote fishing village in Alaska, a church in Alabama, an American Indian reservation in Oklahoma, a school in Virginia, and in so many other places, I watched the grit and grace with which our fellow Americans live their lives.

It is unclear why Trump had Murthy removed from his office as US Surgeon General. By all accounts, Murthy was a successful US Surgeon General, with clear vision for how he had planned to use the office to advance American public health.

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Obama Poised To Nominate First Asian American Supreme Court Justice?

Judge Sri Srinivasan, in a picture from his federal nomination process in 2013. (Photo Credit: Doug Mills / New York Times)
Judge Sri Srinivasan, in a picture from his federal nomination process in 2013. (Photo Credit: Doug Mills / New York Times)

Last Saturday, the nation was shocked by the sudden death of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, 79, of natural causes. Scalia was well-known for his bulldog-ish attitude and his conservative, strict constructionist judicial philosophy  — although, he rejected this term, prefering “textualist” or “originalist”. Nonetheless, Scalia opposed to broad interpretations of the Constitution’s text, leaving him famously opposed to gay marriage, women’s rights, the Voting Rights Act, and affirmative action.

Scalia’s death will have immediate impact on several high-profile cases scheduled to be decided this Supreme Court session, and legal scholars at SCOTUSblog say the predicted tie votes will likely lead to reargument in the next session after a new Supreme Court Justice is appointed to fill the vacancy left with Scalia’s passing.

Meanwhile, the fight over whom President Obama will nominate to the nation’s highest court — or, even whether the Senate will obstruct these proceedings until after a new president has been inaugurated  — has already begun. Just hours after Scalia’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed that Senate Republicans would refuse to confirm any person nominated by President Obama to the Supreme Court.

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House Republicans propose legislation to sue Obama over Obamacare

John Boehner is making a "Boehn"-headed move.
John Boehner is proving he’s pretty”Boehn”-headed.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again. By the 54th time, sue.

House Republicans advanced a draft of legislation today that would grant Congress the authority to file a civil lawsuit against President Barack Obama for constitutional overreach. If the legislation passes, it would authorize the House to file civil action and seek injunctive relief against the president and other departmental heads for failing to act “in a manner consistent with that official’s duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to implementation of (including a failure to implement) any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and title I and subtitle B of title II of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including any amendment made by such provision.”

Just so we’re clear, Republicans want to sue the president for failing to implement the ACA (also known as Obamacare), the landmark achievement of the Obama administration that these same Republicans have attempted to undo or override in 54 successive failed votes.

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#DayofRemembrance: 12 images of Japanese American strength, patriotism & general awesomeness

Grandfather and child, at Manzanar. Photo credit: Dorothea Lange.
Grandfather and child, at Manzanar. Photo credit: Dorothea Lange.

72 years ago today, Executive Order 9066 was signed. Earlier today, I posted a pictorial retrospective of anti-Japanese xenophobia and internment to commemorate this nation-wide Day of Remembrance. This is the third and final part of my #DayofRemembrance posts.

I present to you 12 historical images of Japanese American strength, patriotism and general awesomeness during and after internment.

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President Obama raises the minimum wage for federal contractors: thoughts and impacts for #AAPI

sotu_slide_speaking

I usually don’t tolerate spoilers, but today I’ll make an exception.

About an hour ago, mainstream news outlets broke the story about 12 hours in advance of the State of the Union that President Obama would be announcing an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors from the federal minimum of $7.25 to $10.10.

For those who don’t want to whip out their calculators, that’s an incredible, whopping,   40% increase, and is a reasonable approximation for a living wage in most parts of this country.

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