- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 4, 2003

Different CapitolIt was only fitting that Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, stood alongside Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist this week on the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the U.S. Capitol Police.”I believe I am the only former Capitol policeman serving in the Senate. I am quite sure that is true,” said Mr. Reid, who noted that the duties of a Capitol policeman are different today than when he served on the force, given the constant threat of terrorism.”When I was a Capitol policeman, the most dangerous thing I did was direct traffic,” said the 63-year-old senator, who toiled as a cop at night while attending law school at George Washington University, earning his degree in 1964.Purple Heart dayA U.S. senator introduced a resolution this week to designate Aug. 7, 2003, as “National Purple Heart Recognition Day.”In doing so, the senator requested that President Bush call for appropriate ceremonies to be held to demonstrate support for the Order of the Purple Heart for Military Merit.The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in the world still in use, the senator said, awarded in the name of the president to members of the military who are wounded in conflict with an enemy force, or held by an enemy force as a prisoner of war; and posthumously to next of kin of those who are killed in conflict, or die of their wounds.The Purple Heart, the senator explained, was established Aug. 7, 1782, when Revolutionary War Gen. George Washington issued an order establishing the Honorary Badge of Distinction, otherwise known as the Badge of Military Merit, or the Decoration of the Purple Heart.It ceased being awarded after the war, but was revived in 1932 on the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth. Since then, more than 1.5 million Purple Hearts have been awarded, with about 535,000 of the recipients still living.The resolution was introduced by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat.First things FristA new report on Medicare injects what it hopes will be a “good dose of common sense” into the debate over the program’s future.The report, by Partnership for Prevention, says Medicare should do more to keep seniors healthy, not just treat them when they become ill. This means covering services that can extend elders’ lives and significantly improve quality of life — cholesterol, vision and hearing screening, as well as depression counseling and stop-smoking efforts.As for the prognosis?If the recommendations were adopted, vision screening would prevent 21,000 hip fractures and 4,400 forearm fractures, says the report. Cholesterol screening would prevent about 62,000 heart attacks and about 45,000 strokes, saving $36 million.The report has won plaudits from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (a doctor in real life when he’s not pushing for a bigger tax cut). “We all know that the Medicare program has not kept pace with the best of modern medicine in many areas, including preventive care,” he says.White House gophersYes, those would be gophers, golden ones, adorning the necktie of New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg.They are a gift, it turns out, from fellow Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, after the latter’s University of Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s hockey team beat the University of New Hampshire and captured the NCAA Division I national championship (Mr. Gregg obviously lost the bet).Also celebrating the Golden Gophers’ victory is Sen. Mark Dayton, Minnesota Democrat. (Says Mr. Coleman: “Hockey is not a partisan sport. I don’t know whether hockey players are Democrats or Republicans.”). Mr. Dayton is hoping President Bush will now invite the Gophers to the White House for recognition.”I went to [Yale] with the president,” says the Democrat. “He was a year ahead of me, and he was not a hockey player. He was a rugby player. He was a sports fan. He roomed in college with a college all-American from Minnesota, Jack Morrison. He was a frequent attendee at our hockey games at Yale University.”In closing“My daddy, my hero, I will take care of Mommy for you as you asked. We will be best friends. I will take her to SeaWorld for my birthday like you planned. I love you. I need you. I miss you.”— 3-year-old Taylor Pokorney, speaking at the funeral of her father, Marine Corps 1st Lt. Frederick Pokorney, killed in action in Iraq. The girl’s words to her father were read on the House floor this week by Rep. Shelley Berkley, Nevada Democrat.

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