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One year on this week's cover story The U.S. surgeon general comes to Connecticut. His message on the fight against AIDS is grim. Highlights of his Stanford speech on the state capital Attorney General Joseph Lieberman are running for the U.S. Senate from Washington Senator Dodd's whiteboard friend to lead legislation. And cartoonist Bob Engle hard on this Thanksgiving season. I'm Bob Douglas and welcome to this week's edition of Connecticut news week. The U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop came to Connecticut this week delivering a grim
message on efforts to cope with the AIDS epidemic particularly among intravenous drug users. At a conference held in Stanford to kick off a foundation in honor of former congressman Stuart McKinney the surgeon general said it was increasingly difficult to educate drug pushers about the dangers of AIDS infection. He spoke to medical and social service representatives and he was accompanied by Lucy McKinney widow of the late congressman who heads the McKinney foundation. This week's cover story offers highlights of the Surgeon General's Stanford speech. The publican Congressman Stuart McKinney died from a disease brought on by AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome that brought the disease home to Connecticut for many people they had not encountered aspects of the disease before. Since then his widow Lucy McKinney has been in the forefront of getting more money for AIDS education and research and Stanford this past week.
She got together with Dr. C. Everett Koop the surgeon general of the United States to talk about AIDS in our communities. The AIDS epidemic vs. the people of the United States with a different goal and complex sense of our character and it is very much a mystery and is always single. And those are the same. Those that are very important in everything that we say and say about AIDS one of the other things that colors everything we think you can say about AIDS is the fact that people get AIDS by doing things that most people don't do. And many people do not approve of it but in some ways the scientific issues pale in comparison to the highly sensitive issues of war and sickness economics morality and social cohesion that are beginning to surface in this country today. To tell the truth we may already be known at a very
sensitive stage in regard to the ethical foundation of healthcare itself. Almost every day we hear of physicians nurses other health workers who refuse to treat persons with AIDS or even persons they suspect might have AIDS because of the fear which is understandable but there is absolutely no factual or scientific basis for this fear. The risk for a health care worker to catch AIDS is minuscule. As long as they follow their rather simple guidelines for self protection issued by the Centers for Disease Control just a little over a year ago let me quickly add that the rejection of AIDS patients is not characteristic of. The professionals in this country in general by any means the overwhelming majority of my colleagues continue to provide quality compassionate care to versions with any illness and that includes AIDS. But the
problem exists and there are associated problems hospitals with national reputations for providing care for AIDS patients are now being bypassed by medical and nursing students deciding where to finish their graduate training because they want to bring in a variety of experiences that are not afforded by a hospital with a large contingent of persons with AIDS and there are reports of night patients asking their physicians to book them into hospitals where there are few if any age patients first because they are only worn for your sanction and secondly because some of them are concerned that their friends might think they have AIDS. By 1991 the Public Health Service estimates that to build a case. For AIDS patients will range from a low estimate of a billion to a high estimate of 60 billion dollars. Where will this money come from. Right now the American taxpayer is covering about 25 percent of that cost
mostly through Medicaid but also there are state and local funds health insurance benefits and patients resources that make up the difference. But a very unpleasant question has been raised. It is this has its costs rise. Will the resources continue to be available to meet the needs of the American people and the system be willing and able to provide the same level of care for people with AIDS. I believe this event today and the stated goals of the steward to begin the foundation provide the courage to mend their ways will be found to be decent Eades and that that kind of care will indeed be given the establishment of the first they were beginning home already its residents as you call it here in Stamford. And the goal of finding more sites residences elsewhere.
Other kind of undertakings in the private sector that give hope that innovative new ways will indeed be found to help shoulder the burden of the AIDS epidemic. Let me make my position on condoms very clear. I never discussed condoms. Unless I go through the litany of accidents is better than monogamy and monogamy is better comes now having guns. Thanks Having gotten that far. There is a tremendous amount of folklore out there about condoms. First of all we don't know very much about the protection for an individual for sexually transmitted disease by the use of a condom. All the studies have been done condoms and done in reference to birth control. Then there is the order of the expectancy here of the 10 percent failure rate. You get that figure while you are serving.
You go from door to door and say this is Jones. What is your message of first world problems. Have you ever had a say here yes Dear John was the surveyor checks wrong. Contemplate here if you wish to join Would you please explain exactly how. Use condoms you might say. Well one for the use of condoms and one I'm not we don't. Well that's not a common thing here that's something here in human judgment. Doctor Who is the Reagan administration doing enough now in terms of AIDS research for AIDS education. And if not what do they need to be doing. Yes I think the ministration is doing enough right in this current year how 431 reforms are one million dollars will be spent on research alone and the total expenditure of rage in this coming year will be well in excess of a billion dollars. You have to recognize that there are certain things that cannot be rushed. A vaccine cannot be rushed. It took a 91 years to develop a
vaccine for Hepatitis C from the day we knew the virus until the day we had an effective readily available and safe vaccine. What we need is not so much money as new and innovative ideas. And we certainly try to garner those wherever you can and remember that we are now in a climate of competitive research if you will which I think Borders well for the future because we have the following going on at one time governmental risk. It's done for me early and governmental research supported extramural than we have in academia. Not only those programs that are supported by the National Institutes of Health but also private funds go to academia for AIDS research pharmaceutical houses are deeply in research for AIDS because it has such a tremendous potential for profit down the road and then there is a whole new breed of now existing in the small scientific companies that can do without a tremendous expenditure of capital such as pharmaceutical entered into the
research field as well. So all of these people are trying to be there first with the most and I think that that kind of competitive stance is good for the drug. Search of this country. Joining us now is Attorney General Joseph Lieberman the attorney general this week announced the creation of a committee to raise money for a U.S. Senate campaign for the seat now held by Republican Senator Lowell Weicker. He plans to make a formal announcement next year. Mr. Lieberman led the Democratic ticket as a vote getter back in 1982. And again last year when he was re-elected to his present office Mr. Lieberman thank you very much for joining us. Thank you Bob. Good to be here. Was there a great deal of personal soul searching before you arrived at this decision to run for the U.S. Senate. Oh there was an enormous amount of soul searching. People started to talk to me about running for the Senate earlier this year particularly after I had run successfully in
1986 and I must say that at the beginning. I decided that anybody was urging me to run for the U.S. Senate was not my friend. But as the year went on and I began to think about the possibilities and the opportunities and frankly as I look closely at the record of Mr. Weicker as I took some polls to consider whether this was doable. I decided that one I can do a better job than the incumbent. And two it is doable it's not going to be easy any time you're running against somebody who's been in there 18 years. You've got a tough battle on your hands on the other hand maybe after 18 years people are ready for a change but it was a difficult decision actions my wife said to me at one point about a month ago. You have a job you love. We have a very happy life. Why should we be content with that. And why not. Because if you devote the last 20 years of your life to public service as I have and suddenly you're looking at an opportunity to run and be a United
States senator it's hard to turn away from its as somebody said to me it's as if you loved opera as I happened to and you were singing. And a lot of opera houses around your community and somebody said I'm going to give you a chance to sing at La Scala. It would be hard to turn away from it and that's really why I'm going forward with this campaign. What's the strategy I think you'll agree is it's an uphill fight. He obviously has to be considered the favorite So how do you how do you approach this fight against a gentleman who so far has been a reasonably popular U.S. Senate. OK. I approach it as the natural transition from the work I've been doing as attorney general as attorney general I've been an advocate for the people of the state. I fought particularly in the areas of consumer protection and environmental protection and it's just those areas I want to fight for in Washington as a United States senator and I'm going to contrast that advocacy to the Weicker record. I think people are going to be surprised
about the details of the Weicker record as I've discovered to my surprise in the last couple of months in my research. But what I'm going to focus on is an overall theme is that this is an individual who has pursued his own personal agenda to the exclusion of the interests of the people of this state in other words. This is a man who has fought some fights some of which I agree with some of which I don't but often they've been theoretical fights and of not related to the way people live every day in this state. The quality of our environment our rights as consumers the security of our jobs the cost of our children's education our parents health care a whole range of issues that I worry about every day just as a as a father and husband and child and an individual. And I think people in the state worry about and so I'm going to present myself to people as a better advocate for them in Washington. Do you have the advantage do you go into this race with the with a unified
Democratic Party. The governor has was at your news conference. He supports you his people to. The Democratic Party has had some internal fights as you well know in recent years but you go into this with the United Party do you think behind you. Yes I do and I'll tell you one of the conditions I set for going forward with this campaign was that. The party would be unified because I can't take on a low IQ if I have to go through a primary and then face him and I'm very encouraged that the party is going to be more unified behind this candidacy than it has been in some time and that really gives me some sense of confidence as I go forward. And I think that's going to be contrast with the Republican Party where there will be real disunity. I don't know that they'll be a primary but there's a real difference of opinion among Republicans about Lowell Weicker even though he is a Republican and I can tell you in the last couple of months of my exploring the idea of his candidacy I've had as much encouragement from Republicans as I have from Democrats. And I'm I'm very pleased about that because
I'm going to offer myself to people as a as a senator who will listen to them and who if I believe in their cause will fight for them and as one Republican said to me you know I'd prefer a consistent Democrat even though I'm a Republican I prefer a consistent Democrat who will listen to me as opposed to an inconsistent Republican who I don't think cares about what I think. Well if I can only convince about half the Republicans. That's a good conclusion. What about the problems in terms of campaigning and your responsibilities of attorney general during the next year. Well I thought a lot about that and I had to reach a good feeling before I would go forward with this campaign because. I work too hard to build up the reputation and the effectiveness of the attorney general's office as a first rate legal advocacy office to jeopardize that in one year of a campaign because I'm proud of that record and I don't want to sully it. And I'm just absolutely convinced that I can do this campaign and do the job. At
the same time and if there is a conflict between the campaign and my responsibilities as attorney general my responsibilities as attorney general have to come first. Next year is a presidential election year and Democrats as you well know have not fared very well in Connecticut at the presidential level in recent years. Do you think if the Democrats pick quote the wrong candidate next year that this could impact negatively on your reference. Well it could there's no question that one of the political hurdles that I have to face is the reality that Republican candidates for president have done better in the state over the last 15 years. But I think we're going to have a better candidate on the Democratic side for president this year I think people in the state want to vote democratic I think people want to change I think there's been a loss of confidence in the Republican administration now that the challenge for my party is to find some body some person who the people feel comfortable voting for. And so far that hasn't developed. We've got
some good candidates out there and I think ultimately it's going to be a good Democratic year in Connecticut. We have another interesting historical fact as you know in 1988 which is that there will not be a party lever and it will be the first statewide election without a party lever. And I suppose if that plays any role here it may not be bad for me and maybe that I'm still going to urge people to focus in on the senatorial race and whoever you vote for for president decide between Weicker and me as to who you think can do a better job for you in Washington. You've led the Democratic ticket during the last two statewide elections. Did that fact impact or have any effect on you making that decision in a political sense. Well it did in a sense that it gave me some confidence you know. Politics is like baseball or sports generally because everything gets brought down to statistics and the numbers have been good in the last two elections but I'm honest enough to know that every election is a separate experience I take some confidence and encouragement
from the good runs that I've had the last couple of times and I'm gratified that it means that people think I've been doing a good job as attorney general but this is a separate race and I've got to make my case to them as to why I think I can do as good a job for them as senator as I hope they believe I have as attorney general. Anyone running for office today has to raise money and a great deal of money particularly on the U.S. Senate level. How much money do you need to run a credible campaign next year against an incumbent senator. This is the toughest part of the political life today. And you have to spend too much time on it but it is a necessity. I can only tell you that last time 1982 Lowell Weicker raised about two point four million dollars in fact about two hundred thirty five thousand of that was his own money that he put in. So I know that I'm not going to outspend him I expect that he will raise three million dollars at least. I think if I can raise the 2.5 million that he did last time that will be enough for me to get my message out to a certain extent.
I don't care how much he raises. So long as I raise enough to communicate. The truth about his record and the reality of what advocacy I offer for the people of the state in Washington is attorney general we thank you very much for joining us we wish you well and we'll see you on the campaign thank you both. Look forward to it. Thanks for joining us. One of the major issues that's being debated in state legislatures and also in the nation's capital is the question of parental leave giving parents unpaid leave from jobs to spend some time with newborn children. This week's view from Washington focuses on those efforts of Senator Christopher Dodd who has been pushing for parental leave legislation on the federal level. After months of hearings on parental leave Senator Christopher Dodd emphasized the country can no longer ignore the changing face of the American family. 30 years ago the traditional family consisted of fathers as breadwinners and mothers
as homemakers but a typical American family of the 1980s is very different. Less than 10 percent of the population now fit into that mold. Christopher Dodd chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on children traveled the country holding hearings on one proposal that could help families cope parental leave. The bill has run into stiff opposition from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who claims the cost of giving employees time off to care for newborns or seriously ill children could cost employers up to 20 billion dollars a year. At Dodd's final hearing on parental leave the Government Accounting Office Congress's investigative arm dropped the bombshell. The price tag of granting parents unpaid job guaranteed leave is only a fraction of the chamber estimate about three hundred and forty million dollars. In looking at the replacement cost estimates for the chamber and the productivity figures and trying to determine whether or not those would be real costs for employers we determine that.
They're really not in net cost back to the parental leave bill would require companies with 15 or more workers to grant up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave on the birth adoption or serious illness of a child. Opponents argue the legislation raises constitutional questions and is a perfect example of the government meddling in private business. Rana leave is an excellent fringe benefit medical leave is an excellent fringe benefit but so we believe our health insurance childcare is excellent scription drug plans are excellent for me and so I have two children or teenagers and dental care is fantastic but NFIB believes that those decisions should be left to the employer and the employee and not to Congress. No matter what it was. Well that was you know mandating something that was absolutely in their interest in the national interest. They don't want it because it's mandated. And so that's where the argument now rests on that basis alone. If it's mandated by the federal government how good for them or everyone else it may
be. We don't want it because it's mandated we don't want you telling us what to do. No matter what it is although some businesses have parental leave policies most workers are unprotected. If a lot was going on out there in terms of parental leave I would introduce a bill if businesses were really moving on this front and picking up on it then I'd say What do you need to have legislation for you don't need to mandate something that's happening out there in an effort to sweep more medium and small sized businesses into the net. Dodd called on witnesses from the corporate world to explain the bottom line what's in it for us. The comment that I would make that strikes me as most appropriate is it's our belief that if we represent our or so. Through policies such as this we will in fact be the employer of choice in the in the communities in which we operate. Unfortunately I no one seems to listen to them very carefully who they listen to are the witnesses who say I don't have parental leave I've never tried parental leave. I don't believe in parental leave. But if I did have parental leave this is what it would do to
me as opposed to the witness who says I've used or had parental leave policies for a decade in some cases they reduce absenteeism they reduce turnover and they increase my productivity because I have an employee who is loyal to me who cares about me who understands that he has an employee who cares about him or her and so I would argue that not only is parental leave a pro-family issue which it is. It also happens to be a very strong pro-business issue. Other bottom line realities that emerge from the hearings revealed frequently parents are torn between competing family and job responsibilities. How often do you run into the problem of a person being confronted with a choice between. Between their kids and their jobs this is something we're seeing U.S. rarely. It's something that I see almost at some point in every family's life. Benny's story is one such case a single parent of six children his youngest was diagnosed as suffering from a brain tumor. He requested time off time his company was unwilling to give.
I found it hard for me to understand. I was at work and then not being on the stand that I understand and that I need to have time to be there with my child because there's nobody else to do it but me. Even 16 years in the school system as a physical ed instructor didn't make a difference. Now when did this happen is this what time of year to this is happening this year. Started in May of this year. That's when the child was diagnosed as being ill. Yes. My first reaction is of course to men this they said it happened. Let me get mad. I really get angry because I just can't accept that my country as strong as it is as wealthy as it is as powerful as it is doesn't have room and it's hard to be able to say to that employee why you're facing that situation. We want you to take time. I'd like to think my country could do that and not suffer the kind of economic dislocation that some of
these characters from the NAPM and from the Chamber of Commerce suggest. I just don't buy that. I don't believe it for one thing and I think it's cruel and unnecessary particularly in the kind of economic environment we're living in. Hard to believe but true although the bill is picking up support on both sides of the Capitol parental leave has a long way to go before becoming a reality in the 100 Congress for Connecticut news week. I'm Andrea Kalen on Capitol Hill. It's the Thanksgiving season and cartoonist Barba Hart who at times can view the world with the cynical eyes says he has plenty for which to be thankful. This is the time of year when we sit back and think of the things we are thankful for. I thankful I'm not in the stock market. I'm thankful I have my health and my color is a good thing for I can still profit my hair. Thank you for a Ben and Jerry's butter pecan ice cream.
I'm thankful that I've reached middle age and can still do the Watusi and the pony. I think I have a home and I don't have to live in the streets. I'm thankful I live here in New England and not in Russia or Poland or Mississippi. I think I quit smoking. I thankful that my kids are almost finished with adolescence that I'm almost finished with adolescence. I think for that Vango finally sold a couple of paintings I'm thankful I wasn't nominated to the Supreme Court but most of all. I'm thankful we turkey for Thanksgiving and not live monkey brains. OK we'd like to hear from you and share your opinions with others. Take time to write us. Connecticut Newsweek Connecticut Public Broadcasting at 2:40 New Britain Avenue box 60 to 40 here in Hartford. That's this week's edition of Connecticut Newsweek will be off for the next two weeks. But we'd like to remind you to watch a special
program on Sunday November the twenty ninth that 8:00 p.m. produced by Connecticut public television. The one hour program is called a lobster's undersea research in the North Atlantic. The program focuses on Connecticut marine biologists who are studying the survival of the lobster off the Connecticut coastline and in the North Atlantic. And as we leave this week we take a look at workman restoring the hall of the house at the state capitol for Connecticut Newsweek I'm Bob Douglas and we do thank you for joining us.
Connecticut Newsweek
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Episode Description
This episode feature reports on the US Surgeon Generals' speech in Connecticut about fighting HIV/AIDS, State Attorney General Joe Lieberman running for the US Senate, Senator Chris Dodd fighting for parental leave legislation in US Congress, and cartoonist Bob Englheart's Thanksgiving cartoons.
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Connecticut Newsweek is series that highlights stories in local Connecticut current events.
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