- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ROUND ONE

And so it begins. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is the first medical society to sue to overturn the health care bill, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The group entered its case before the U.S. District Court as “AAPS v. Sebelius et al.”

“If the PPACA goes unchallenged, then it spells the end of freedom in medicine as we know it,” says Dr. Jane Orient, the association’s executive director. “Courts should not allow this massive intrusion into the practice of medicine and the rights of patients. There will be a dire shortage of physicians if the PPACA becomes effective and is not overturned by the courts.”

The charges? The group says the bill violates Fifth Amendment protection against the government forcing one person to pay cash to another, as well as the Tenth Amendment, the Commerce Clause and provisions authorizing taxation.

“AAPS asks the Court to enjoin the government from promulgating or enforcing insurance mandates and require [Health and Human Services] Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue to provide the Court with an accounting of Medicare and Social Security solvency,” the group says.

AGGRESSIVELY AIRBRUSHING

Last week, a provocative Harris poll found that 40 percent of Americans think President Obama is a “socialist.” This week, a new book articulates such sentiments.

“Radical Rulers: The White House Elites Who Are Pushing America Towards Socialism,” by Robert Knight, examines what the author calls “Obama’s extraordinary and disturbing background” and faults the press for “aggressively airbrushing out Obama’s radical background and questionable associations” during the 2008 presidential election.

“The book is fairly brief, but heavily documented, because many of Obama’s appointees and associates are so exotic and radical that people wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that someone was making this up,” says Mr. Knight, a former Los Angeles Times writer, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan American Civil Rights Union and a correspondent with the Coral Ridge Ministries.

More on the book here: www.radicalrulers.org.

GIRL PROBLEMS

From our oh-that’s-a-shame desk:

“I had been under the impression that John Pomfret was in Beijing covering events for The Washington Post as a special assignment - that they needed the experienced hand there in order to cover the additional workload caused by the mess with Google,” says a source familiar with the situation.

“He had to go over there as an emergency reinforcement because the Post’s bureau in Beijing, in the words of one of my colleagues there, ‘imploded.’ It turns out that staffing your bureau so that two of the most senior positions are both females is not a great idea - particularly in a culture where women are not well-respected anyway.”

“One of the two decided to ‘go off someplace and find herself.’ The other became pregnant and took maternity leave, leaving no one in charge. So, Pomfret was drafted into service and sent to Beijing until the bureau could be stabilized. Virtually the entire expat news service community in Beijing knows about this, which is more than slightly embarrassing.”

“This is what happens when you make your hiring decisions based on political correctness rather than the realities of life on the ground in these harder targets for news organizations,” the source concludes.

BUMPER PATROL:

“The Second Amendment: America’s original Homeland Security.”

bumper sticker spotted in Alexandria, Va.

THE SMART SET

“America’s intellectual class seems to adore President Barack Obama nearly as much as it reviled his predecessor. While George W. Bush was routinely derided for his purported lack of intelligence and learning, Obama has been embraced by the intellectuals as one of their own — to a degree unmatched by any president since perhaps Woodrow Wilson,” observes Tevi Troy, a former adviser in the Bush White House.

But Mr. Obama would be “foolish” to think this adoration will go on forever, and could learn lessons from his predecessors, Mr. Troy says. John F. Kennedy, for example, was fond of an “in-house intellectual,” Ronald Reagan found that “friendly intellectuals can be useful as political appointees” and George W. Bush formalized his structure in communicating with opinion leaders.

“A president ignores the intellectual community at his peril. And the trajectory of this tale of intellectuals and presidents suggests a deeper, and perhaps more troubling, lesson about American society: That we now live in an era of distinctly blue and red intellectuals - of two competing realms of ideas, on opposite sides of a culture war that, in some important respects, is more heated than ever,” Mr. Troy says.

POLL DU JOUR

• 77 percent of U.S. voters are following news about politicians’ worries over the level of anger in the political debate.

• 53 percent of U.S. voters are concerned that “those opposed to President Obama’s policies will resort to violence.”

• 71 percent of Democrats are concerned.

• 42 percent of voters overall are not concerned about violence.

• 56 percent of Republicans are not concerned.

Source: A Rasmussen reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted March 25 and 26.

Cheap talk and rich asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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