doctor and patientEveryone is familiar with the routine when visiting a doctor’s office: The doctor or his assistant checks the patient’s vital signs, then discusses any symptoms the patient is experiencing and examines him in relation to those symptoms. If the patient is anything less than healthy, the doctor prescribes a course of treatment.

cough medicineThe Food and Drug Administration is pondering placing restrictions on the purchase of cough suppressants such as Robitussin and NyQuil because these, and a number of other similar over-the-counter medications that contain dextromethorphan, can be used to obtain a drug euphoria known as “robotripping.” Taking the drug as prescribed will not cause that effect, but 25 times the recommended dosage can induce robotripping.

illegal immigrantsThe flow of unauthorized immigrants is down sharply, according to a September 1 report by Pew Hispanic Center. The 8 percent reduction from 12 million to 11.1 million illegals currently living in the U.S. marks the first significant reversal in this population in two decades. The number is nearly two-thirds smaller in the period from March 2007 to March 2009 than from March 2000 to March 2005.

USA Today reported on September 2 that Iraq is preparing to buy as much as $13 billion in U.S. arms and military equipment. The report cited U.S. officials who said the large purchase of tanks, ships, and military hardware is an indication that Iraqi-U.S. military ties will remain close for years to come.

Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire, was once quoted as saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” It is this enlightened philosophy that helped shape the greatest governmental document ever written, the United States Constitution, and in fact the quote well articulates the First Amendment of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, which grants American citizens the right to freedom of speech. However, what most Americans do not realize is that the freedom of speech is both a blessing and burden, as it allows them to express their thoughts freely, but also places them in the position of having to decipher truth from fiction among waves of reports, a task many Americans reluctantly accept.