- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

Castle's complaints
"U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, Delaware Republican, is staking out a position as the leader of the moderate wing of the House Republican Conference," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"… According to a report Tuesday by the Wilmington News-Journal's Erin Kelly, Castle is about to confront House Speaker Denny Hastert, Illinois Republican, and Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, with a demand that they 'stop what [Mr. Castle] sees as an intimidation campaign aimed at silencing GOP moderates.'
"Though nominally a complaint about a $50,000 contribution late in the 2002 election cycle from a political action committee with ties to DeLay to the Club for Growth, an organization that bundles contributions to pro-growth Republicans and has contributed to conservatives challenging moderate-to-liberal GOP'ers in primaries, it is actually about much more.
"The GOP moderates, an increasingly smaller and less-influential caucus, have, according to the News-Journal, growing concerns the leadership intends to run roughshod over them on controversial issues like abortion, the environment and tax cuts.
"Castle is also, according to the paper, mad that moderate U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, Connecticut Republican, was passed over for the chairmanship of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight as punishment for defying the leadership on campaign finance reform, ultimately calling up a discharge petition to force the bill to the House floor for a vote."
The fog lifts
"A million things can be said, and are being said, about President Bush's State of the Union address [Tuesday] night. But a few things stand out: One major address from this president, and all the Democratic fog built up in recent weeks immediately dissipated," Wlady Pleszczynski writes at www.americanprowler.org.
"After Tuesday night, the Pelosi-Daschles are going to have to find themselves a stronger fog-making machine. The one they've been using is deader than an empty can of aerosol spray," Mr. Pleszczynski said.
"That goes for Peter Jennings as well, the only anchor I watched [Tuesday] night, not only because he's been leading the media charge against Bush but also because of his recent eagerness to play the role of Bonior-McDermott-Penn in Baghdad. Editorializing on no basis save his own unconstrained prejudices, Peter before the speech decided to give his own abbreviated version by announcing that 'the state of the union is uncertain,' that 'most people' agree with his various views, that the U.S. finds itself in the 'most weakened position since 9/11' and that President Bush is 'still very popular' the 'still' reflecting a certainty that Bush's popularity can't last and won't be allowed to.
"Afterward, such carping seemed as puny as the Democrats' official response from Washington state's answer to Michael Dukakis. No less diminished was the distinguished panel of ABC regulars Jennings had mobilized. Under his guidance they had all the stature of a focus group. To her credit, Michel McQueen was able to slip in that Bush gave a 'commanding' performance."
Sanford salutes
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who was accused of dithering over his military commitment, said Tuesday that he will ship out with his Air Force Reserve unit if it is deployed.
"The bottom line for me is that I made a commitment and I am going to keep it," the freshman governor said in a letter to Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. "Therefore, as to any orders I receive, I will do just as anyone else in my unit and follow them."
Mr. Sanford, a Republican, was commissioned last January as a 1st lieutenant in the 315th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron stationed at Charleston Air Force Base. He says he joined because he came to admire military service during his three terms in the U.S. House and wanted to provide an example to his four young sons, the Associated Press reports.
But Mr. Sanford, 42, said recently that he couldn't deploy if his squadron were called because he is governor and even suggested that he might resign his commission.
A doctor's story
A Florida obstetrician invited to President Bush's State of the Union address as an example of doctors squeezed by malpractice-insurance costs settled three lawsuits totaling nearly $600,000 in the past three years, the Associated Press reports.
Dr. Denise Baker, who practices in Bradenton, Fla., was sued in connection with cases she handled or assisted with in 1996, 1997 and 2000, according to records kept by the Florida Department of Health. She settled the cases for $225,000, $250,000 and $95,000 respectively.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says typical members can expect to be sued about 2.5 times in their careers. And among all doctors, one in six in Florida are sued, compared with one in 12 nationwide, according to ACOG.
Dr. Baker's track record was a reason given by insurers in September for wanting to charge her $200,000 for a year of insurance coverage, compared with the $58,000 she previously paid.
In one of Dr. Baker's cases, she said that she was called for emergency assistance with a woman whose uterus ruptured during childbirth. The baby suffered brain damage, and Dr. Baker was belatedly named in the lawsuit even though she was not the primary doctor.
In September, she sought malpractice insurance from a new company when her policy expired and she discovered that her old carrier was leaving the state. That's when Dr. Baker had to choose from paying a 244 percent premium increase, dropping her obstetrics practice, or leaving Florida for a state where she could get coverage for about $8,000.
She gave up helping deliver babies and referred her pregnant patients to other doctors.
Odd confluence
"A two-page advertisement against war in Iraq that appeared in Monday's New York Times directed donors to send money to a foundation that for years has been devoted to the defense of convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal," Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"The ad, which features an antiwar statement signed by more than 100 well-known Americans, including the actors Ed Asner, Martin Sheen, and Susan Sarandon, writers Kurt Vonnegut, Alice Walker, and Barbara Kingsolver, and musicians Graham Nash, Bonnie Raitt, and Pete Seeger, was created by the group Not In Our Name, which has purchased similar ads in other papers around the country. A box at the bottom of the ad asks readers to send donations to an organization called the Bill of Rights Foundation. 'We suggest a $200 contribution,' the ad says, 'but all contributions large or small help to make the goal possible.'
"The Bill of Rights Foundation is a New York-based group that has for years devoted nearly all of its funds to the defense of Abu-Jamal, who shot and killed a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. Abu-Jamal's guilt has been upheld during decades of appeals, but his case has become a cause celebre among some on the Left, who maintain that he was unfairly convicted."
Sarandon mystified
Left-wing actress Susan Sarandon says it would be understandable if British Prime Minister Tony Blair was "seduced" by Bill Clinton, but she is mystified that Mr. Blair has shown so much support for President Bush.
"What's happened to Blair? I don't understand his reasoning or his logic. I don't understand his evolution," Mrs. Sarandon said in London, where she is promoting her latest movie. "I can see him being seduced by Clinton, but don't understand what he and Bush speak about."
The actress also said that she is weary of being labeled "anti-American" because she has attacked the Bush administration's attempt to rein in Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"I'm tired of being labeled anti-American because I ask questions," she told reporters before the premiere of her movie "The Banger Sisters," co-starring Goldie Hawn, which was released in the United States last year.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide