- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Bush inspires doctors
"Across the country, doctors are walking off the job and joining protest rallies," the Wall Street Journal notes in a news story.
"A new strategy by organized labor? Hardly. Physicians say they were inspired to take to the streets by President Bush," reporter Jeanne Cummings writes.
"Donald Palmisano, president of the American Medical Association, traces the doctor revolt to a private meeting last July in a High Point, N.C., hospital conference room just before Mr. Bush delivered a speech demanding that Congress pass legislation to limit some damage awards in malpractice cases. Seated with patients and doctors, Mr. Bush vowed to make medical-malpractice revisions a top legislative priority. 'We can fix it now, but we need your help,' he said, according to Dr. Palmisano. 'You need to get out the grass-roots.'
"Since that session, doctors have staged rallies in Florida, Georgia, Ohio and New Jersey supporting state and federal legislation to limit medical-malpractice awards. West Virginia surgeons kicked off the New Year by walking out of four hospitals on Jan. 1 to protest the rising insurance premiums that are driving some to quit and others to abandon high-risk specialties such as obstetrics, some surgeries and trauma treatment. 'We have taken the president's advice,' Dr. Palmisano, a Louisiana surgeon, said during a break at a December conference where he persuaded fellow doctors to help raise $15 million to finance a Capitol Hill lobbying campaign."
Perdue's priorities
Sonny Perdue became Georgia's first Republican governor in more than a century yesterday, pledging not to let the historic party shift disrupt state government.
Mr. Perdue said his first priority will be overhauling state ethics laws. The Republican has said many times that Georgia's government should be more open and accountable.
Mr. Perdue did not mention the state flag. Outgoing Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes angered many Georgians in 2001 by pushing through a change that shrank the large Confederate battle emblem that had dominated the flag for more than 40 years.
Mr. Perdue has called for a public referendum on the issue, but made no promises yesterday. Visitors were asked not to bring flags to the swearing-in ceremony, although three airplanes circled the Capitol with messages such as "Let Us Vote. You Promised!" and "Barnes Was Just a Warm-Up!"
Mr. Perdue avoided specific mention of the state flag, the Associated Press reports. Instead, he praised Martin Luther King, saying there is "much inspiration to be found" in his work.
Ban the flag
Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, who at one point last week seemed to hedge on whether the Confederate battle flag should be pulled down from a Confederate monument on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds, has made up his mind.
The Confederate flag should not fly anywhere in the United States, the Democratic presidential hopeful declared Saturday in Columbia, S.C.
"I understand the strong feelings South Carolinians on both sides of this issue have and acknowledge the sincere efforts leaders of both political parties have made to reach a compromise," Mr. Gephardt said Saturday in a prepared statement. "But my own personal feeling is that the Confederate flag no longer has a place flying anytime, anywhere in our great nation."
New IRS chief
President Bush has picked Mark W. Everson, a deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, to head the Internal Revenue Service, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Everson has also served as controller and chairman of the President's Management Council. The selection as IRS chief requires Senate approval.
Mr. Bush tapped Clay Johnson, the White House personnel director, to replace Mr. Everson at OMB, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday.
Charles Rossotti left the IRS commissionership in November after declining to seek a second five-year term.
Top deputy Bob Wenzel has served as acting commissioner.
Moral instruction
"An unfortunate side effect of [Sen. Trent] Lott's gaffe has been a revival of liberalism's claim to moral superiority," National Review says in an editorial.
"Liberals would like to set themselves up as the arbiters of racial morality, deciding which conservatives are respectable or otherwise on the basis of their agreement with liberal shibboleths on race. Already there have been attempts to smear Lott's successor [as Republican Senate leader], Bill Frist, and such other conservative politicians as Sen. Jeff Sessions.
"But conservatives need no moral instruction on the evil of fomenting racial division from the political allies of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson from people who accuse President Bush of savoring hate crimes, from politicians who make false charges that Republicans are trying to keep blacks from being able to vote," the magazine said.
"Both Clintons went before the cameras to say that the Republicans were upset with Lott only for spilling the beans about their racism. The NAACP last year gave a grade of F to every Republican senator, even Lincoln Chafee. Those who would prefer to believe that all the Republicans are racist will draw that conclusion. But others will reason that the civil-rights group is liberal, and an adjunct of the Democratic party.
"Most people understand that disagreement with Kweisi Mfume is not evidence of racism, and Republicans who are falsely charged with it for taking a conservative position need only respond that they will not capitulate to liberal attempts to stifle debate. The Republican party and the conservative cause may have suffered some damage because of Lott's gaffe, but that damage will be lasting only if Republicans act as though they are guilty of the Clintons' charges."
Ashcroft's remarks
Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday praised the president's faith-based initiative as long overdue, the Associated Press reports.
Speaking in Denver to a conference of religious groups, Mr. Ashcroft said the government has discriminated against such groups and President Bush is determined they should have access to federal money to provide social services.
"Out of fear, ignorance and occasional bigotry, faith-based groups have been prohibited from competing for federal funding on a level playing field with secular groups," Mr. Ashcroft said in a text of his speech released at the Justice Department.
"For the first time in a long time, our leaders in Washington understand what Americans of all religious backgrounds have long held to be true: through faith, all things are possible," he said.
Mr. Ashcroft immediately came under fire in some quarters.
"I find it sad that the person who ought to be the top law enforcement official in America is actively trying to erase both civil rights and First Amendment protections," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Share the winnings
Parents who owe child support and also like to play the ponies, throw casino dice, mark Keno spots or bet on poker should beware: The Bush administration wants a cut of the winnings.
As much as $700 million over five years could be collected for child-support debts from gambling winnings, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson told reporters yesterday. Current law allows child-support collections from lottery winnings, but not gambling, he noted.
President Bush is likely to talk about the gambling innovation in a speech today on welfare reform, HHS aides said.

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