Saturday, March 19, 2005

Nebraska Prodigy, 14, Dies in Apparent Suicide

(I found this article on

Neb. Prodigy, 14, Dies in Apparent Suicide

By JOE RUFF : Associated Press Writer
Mar 18, 2005 : 8:04 pm ET

OMAHA, Neb. -- A musical prodigy who completed high school at age 10 apparently killed himself at 14, authorities said.

Brandenn E. Bremmer, who taught himself how to read at 18 months and began playing the piano at 3, was found dead Tuesday at his home in southwest Nebraska with a gunshot wound to the head, sheriff's officials said.

Patricia Bremmer said her son showed no signs of depression, had just finished the art for the cover of a second CD of his music, and had plans for Wednesday. She did not disclose details of how he was found.

"We're rationalizing now," she said. "He had this excessive need to help people and teach people. ... He was so connected with the spiritual world, we felt he could hear people's needs and desires and their cries. We just felt like something touched him that day and he knew he had to leave" so his organs could be donated.

She said Brandenn's kidneys went to two people, his liver to a 22-month old and his heart to an 11-year-old boy.

Brandenn had decided in December he wanted to be an anesthesiologist, his mother said. He started taking a biology class at Mid-Plains Community College in North Platte, where he had also taken courses in 2001. She said he had planned to eventually attend the University of Nebraska.

Reached at home late Friday afternoon, Perkins County Sheriff James D. Brueggeman said the investigation was ongoing and declined to comment.

David Wohl, one of Brandenn's professors at Colorado State University at Fort Collins, Colo., where he had been taking classes and lessons since age 11, said Friday he was shocked to learn of Brandenn's apparent suicide.

Wohl, who last saw Brandenn in December, recalled him as an unpretentious young man who had an easy smile. "He wasn't just talented, he was just a really nice young man," Wohl said.

Brandenn was home-schooled through high school and completed his junior and senior years in seven months. For his high school graduation photo, Brandenn darkened his hair, wore round wire-rimmed glasses, and threw on a red cape to look like one of his favorite characters -- Harry Potter.

Like most kids at that age, he loved cartoons, playing video games and going swimming. But he also loved playing the piano and began taking independent study classes at CSU because he was interested in the school's music department.

Bill's Comment: I know that it is not my place to say this, but I wonder how much was he pushed by his parents? Just a thought.

A Message From Bill (3/19/05)

Hello Everyone,

As you may have seen, I have made numerous posts to the Phillips Philes over he last couple of days. I did this for two reasons: 1) To share withheld information with you, and 2) to clean out my e-mail a little bit. I guess you can call it an early Spring cleaning. If, by chance, I have duplicated something, I apologize.

My co-contributor, Joyce, is still around somewhere. I am sure she will add on when she gets the time.

Have a wonderful weekend!


On Social Security reform, the daring policy is best

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On Social Security reform, the daring policy is best

By Newt Gingrich and Peter Ferrara

History is repeating itself. The same so-called "experts" who were wrong about President Reagan's tax cuts are now wrong about personal Social Security accounts.

Many bond-market analysts were opposed to Reagan's 1981 tax cuts because they feared massively increased deficits. They argued such deficits would swamp the bond markets with federal debt, causing interest rates to soar and further weaken the economy.

Just the opposite happened. Interest rates fell throughout the 1980s, and the Reagan tax cuts produced one of the greatest booms in American history.

Today, bond-market savants are raising similar questions about allowing workers a personal savings account option for Social Security. They argue that the government would have to issue trillions of dollars in transitional debt to cover promised benefits to today's retirees while workers pay part of their payroll taxes into their personal retirement savings accounts. That debt, they again argue, would cause interest rates to soar, tanking the economy.

What these pessimists ignore is that the personal retirement savings accounts would guarantee huge sums in new investment funds moving into the markets as workers buy bonds and stocks for their accounts.

Consider the Social Security reform bill introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.). The American Shareholders Association estimates that, under the Ryan-Sununu personal retirement savings account plan, if workers invested half their savings in bonds and the other half in stocks $85 billion would flow into the bond markets in the very first year alone. An increase of this size would double current annual investment flows into corporate bonds.

Moreover, the chief actuary of Social Security estimates that, after the first 15 years of personal savings under Ryan-Sununu, workers would have accumulated $7.8 trillion in today's dollars in their personal retirement savings accounts, which is roughly the same amount invested in the entire mutual-fund industry today.

After the first 25 years of personal savings under Ryan-Sununu, the chief actuary estimates, workers would have accumulated $16.6 trillion in today's dollars in their accounts. Yet, under the policies specified in Ryan-Sununu, the government would have issued only $1.25 trillion in new federal bonds at that point. Even that would be paid off during the following 15 years by the surpluses that would then be generated by the reform, according to the chief actuary's official score of the proposal.

All those funds from personal retirement savings accounts invested in the capital markets will substantially increase the demand for bonds and, almost certainly, reduce interest rates, not increase them. The new capital would also significantly increase wage growth by giving American workers the most modern technology, the best tools and the best financing for startups in the world.

Bond-market analysts wedded to historically failed economic models are telling the president that to save the economy he needs to propose massive reductions in future promised Social Security benefits. They want the president to change the calculation of Social Security benefits to reduce future Social Security payments. Their proposal is both unnecessary and politically undoable.

Even under the current benefits formula, the redistributive, pay-as-you-go, non-invested Social Security system pays very low, below-market returns, zero or even negative for many workers. If benefits are cut, all workers will be driven into negative returns that only get more negative every year into the future.

This new benefit-cut proposal is politically indefensible.

The official score of the Ryan-Sununu plan by the chief actuary of Social Security shows that large personal accounts equal to about half the total Social Security payroll tax would eventually shift all Social Security liabilities for retirement benefits to the accounts, where workers would get much better benefits than promised by Social Security today. This would eliminate all Social Security financing problems permanently.

The president should propose large personal accounts with the goal of eventually phasing in the full Ryan-Sununu plan and forget about any cuts in future promised Social Security benefits. This would ultimately solve all the problems of Social Security and, in the process, provide enormous gains for working people, as well as the capital markets.

Former Speaker of the House Gingrich is the author of Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America (Regnery). Ferrara is a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Innovation and a senior adviser to the Free Enterprise Fund.

Five Threats the American Way of Life

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Five Threats the American Way of Life

By Newt Gingrich

Ten years ago last month, the 104th Congress was sworn in. I was honored to be elected by my colleagues to serve as their speaker. A key to our success, the Contract with America, was not only a remarkable political tool, but it served as a blueprint for governmental change. The House Republicans bound ourselves to do something, not simply to be for something.

Since leaving the speakership in January 1999, I have been intensely studying the major policy issues that affect our nation and, indeed, its survival. What I have learned should challenge all of us. The American way of life is vulnerable to five major threats as difficult as any America has faced.

The first threat is the potential for Islamic terrorists and rogue dictatorships to acquire and use nuclear or biological weapons. The second is the effort to drive God out of American public life. The third is the possibility that America will lose the patriotic sense of itself as a singular civilization. The fourth is that America's economic supremacy will eventually yield to China and India because of failing schools and weakening scientific and technological leadership. The fifth is that an aging America's demands on Social Security, Medicare, and related government programs will collapse the current system.

Each threat can be overcome, but standing in our way is an entrenched political system and news media that refuse to confront these threats seriously. Just as previous American generations have met the challenges of their times, however, so can we.

To succeed, we need a 21st-Century Contract with America to "win the future." The new contract would be not a political tool but rather an agenda that can be embraced by any American concerned with securing America's future. It is designed to build a grassroots movement large enough to implement the large-scale, transformational changes necessary not only to ensure America's survival as the freest, most prosperous nation on the planet, but also to create a stable governing majority of elected officials - both Republicans and Democrats - who embrace those values.

Over the last four decades, America has divided into two camps. Most Americans believe that 9/11 was evidence enough that we have real enemies who hate us and who would kill millions of us given the chance - yet our national security bureaucracies continue to operate within a peacetime framework. Most Americans support a strong military capability to keep America safe - but our liberal national security elites advocate gaining the approval of an ineffective United Nations and a skeptical Europe before defending ourselves. Most Americans believe that America was founded as a nation in which people are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and that we rightly pledge allegiance to one nation under God - but an arrogant judiciary continues to drive God from the public square.

America is a good and decent country created by heroes worth studying - yet schools teaching young Americans and American immigrants have replaced their stories with politically correct, multicultural drivel that fails to teach American history. Worse, they ridicule what little they are required to teach.

Most Americans believe that hard work will keep America's economy second to none. But our efforts are hampered by trial lawyers who seek their own enrichment and not justice. Labor unions get away with special deals and protection from competition by bureaucracies that value process over achievement.

For this generation to pass on our nation's blessings, we need a grassroots movement that demands profound change to defeat fundamental threats to our way of life. This movement must be focused on values, solutions, and on telling the truth even when it is controversial.

The first Contract with America proved that it was possible to bring together people from all across America to forge a strong majority that would implement the promised program. If we have the same persistence and courage, we can win again.

Getting the Lessons of Iraq Exactly Right

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Getting the Lessons of Iraq Exactly Right

by Newt Gingrich

The report of the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction teaches the wrong lessons about the Coalition Provisional Authority and the effort to rebuild Iraq after the war. As Congress begins to hold hearings on the report's findings, it is my hope that our lawmakers will rethink the self-destructive peacetime rules, regulations and petty bureaucracy under which we are trying to win the war on terror.

In the summer of 2003, Ambassador Paul Bremer was assigned the extraordinary challenge of establishing a Coalition Provisional Authority in a country whose dictatorship had systematically ruined the government and the economy. There were no records that were reliable. There were no coherent payrolls. The scale of corruption and dishonesty was staggering.

Accomplishing this task within the American peacetime system of bureaucracy, red tape, micromanagement and negative oversight would have been a daunting task even in the most ideal of environments.

In a rapidly shifting wartime environment, speed and flexibility are the most important requirements for success. However, every military commander I have talked with encountered too much bureaucracy, too much red tape and too much centralization.

The Iraqis themselves have shown that they can move faster than the American peacetime bureaucratic system. In 1991 after the first gulf war and despite the UN-imposed sanctions, it took Iraqi engineers less than 100 days to restore electricity in the country back to pre-war capacity. Now, a year and a half after Saddam Hussein's statue fell, Iraq's power sector still is only producing less than half of its pre-war capacity and nowhere near what is needed for growth and prosperity.

Bremer was also weakened by personnel and budgeting and contracting systems that did not work. The CPA never received the people it needed due to outdated rules that prevent civilian personnel (such as employees of the State, Treasury and Justice Departments) from being properly trained and organized to do jobs that, while difficult, are non-war-fighting roles best suited for civilians.

Those who did get to Iraq were confronted with petty bureaucracy and mindless contracting requirements that made it impossible to effectively spend the money Congress had appropriated. In June of 2004, the CPA had spent only 2 percent of the $18.4 billion appropriated by Congress.

The only truly effective expenditures were made by military commanders through their Commander's Emergency Response Program, a timely and flexible acquisition system designed for immediate humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. It allowed commanders to buy goods and services on the local market rather than through the Pentagon's sclerotic bureaucracy. I was told by one commander that he could order trucks through an Iraqi, have them picked up in Turkey and delivered to local Iraqi police faster than they could process the paperwork for purchasing through Baghdad.

However, that is exactly the type of program that is put at risk by the overzealous, process-rather-than-result-focused auditing mentality displayed by the inspector general's report.

Now that report is tempting Congress to hold exactly the wrong hearings that would create exactly the wrong "reforms" that would make it even harder to recruit patriotic Americans (who will be reminded that you are more likely to become a scapegoat than an honored citizen if you risk serving your government and your country in a dangerous place). These hearings could also lead to new requirements, which could make it even harder for America to manage a transition in the future.

For instance, one of the most widely publicized findings in the report is that more than $400 million given to the Iraqi ministries is unaccounted for due to "weak or non-existent" controls. The report suggests that instead of giving the Iraqi ministers responsibility for their budgets, the CPA should have placed hundreds of CPA auditors into the ministries.

This would have taken the old joke "I'm from the federal government and I am here to help" to astonishingly new heights. Worse, it would have further created the impression among Iraqis that coalition forces were occupiers rather than liberators. What would kind of message would that have sent to the new Iraqi ministers and their staff, if they were being monitored by American "minders"?

The auditors and lawyers whose mindset dominates this report are dramatically out of touch with the practical realities of waging war and setting up a new government in a war-torn country. Bremer needed more flexibility and more authority, not less. He needed to focus more on being effective and not more on being audited. Money is to a successful transition and reconstruction effort as bullets are to a successful battle. No one would suggest that our troops should be audited for every round they fire and every mile of fuel they use in winning a war.

It is my hope that rather than heed the report's findings, Congress uses it to analyze what laws need to be rewritten and what has to be done to make America effective in waging the war against terrorism and for civilization and freedom.

If it leads to that result it will have been a very helpful report indeed.



The place to go for information on personal social security retirement savings accounts

Some of you may have read today's Washington Post article about Peter Ferrara, who for over 20 years has been the intellectual force behind personal social security retirement savings accounts.

I believe Peter to be the source of the most intelligent commentary and analysis on personal social security accounts and have written op-eds with him in the past on the topic.

Peter Ferrara has started a blog to provide rapid insight and analysis on the effort to make personal social security accounts a reality. I encourage each of you to visit it daily.

Peter Ferrara's credentials are impeccable.

Before graduating Harvard Law School, Peter wrote a paper that suggested converting the government-run social security program into personal retirement savings accounts. This paper eventually became the first book for the Cato Institute on the topic - Social Security: The Inherent Contradiction (1980) - and Peter has continued to write on that concept in further books, studies and articles for Cato, the Heritage Foundation, the National Center for Policy Analysis, the Family Research Council, the U.S Chamber of Commerce, and a wide range of other institutions and publications.

He is currently a Senior Policy Advisor on Social Security and Medicare at the Institute for Policy Innovation ( He is also Director of the International Center for Law and Economics. He served as a senior staff member in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush.

I encourage each of you to visit the site and forward this message to your friends. Thanks.


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Transform It, Don't Reform It

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Transform It, Don't Reform It
Medicaid Needs a New Structure and the Ability to Tap Technology

by Newt Gingrich

As the discussion about overhauling Medicaid becomes more urgent, there is a grave danger that it will be narrowly focused on money, trapping lawmakers in an unproductive power struggle between federal and state governments. In truth, America's Medicaid challenges reach well beyond finances and budgets. The system is fundamentally broken, ensnaring the most vulnerable in our society in a cycle of dependence and poverty while failing to realize the benefits of emerging technologies and new capabilities in health and long-term care. Medicaid is beyond reform and cannot be fixed with small cuts and waivers from the bureaucracy. It must be transformed with legislation to bring it into the 21st century.

The fundamental problem with the Medicaid system is that its beneficiaries are distinct and separate groups of individuals with radically different needs and characteristics: people with disabilities, the poor and the elderly poor. A 21st Century Responsible Citizen Medicaid Act would divide Medicaid into three distinct areas, each administered separately with its own rules and structures.

First, the act should establish a Capabilities Program to help both Americans with disabilities and those with work-related or other injuries lead the fullest possible lives. The program should provide incentives to people with disabilities to be productive, rather than threatening them with a loss in benefits if they get a job. The program should also allow participants to capitalize on technologies and therapies that maximize their abilities, and that emphasize integration into social, family and work life. This philosophy closely resembles the government's successful approach to rehabilitating and reintegrating amputees and other wounded veterans from the Iraq campaign.

The second area would address the needs of the relatively healthy poor, who have much different needs than people with disabilities or the elderly. Poor individuals should be offered vouchers for health savings accounts that sensitize them to the benefits of prevention, wellness and early detection. This would also encourage a more rational use of health care; prenatal care, for example, is far cheaper than neonatal intensive care. Similarly, a visit to a health clinic or doctor's office rather than to an emergency room will save a significant amount of money. But the rules currently allow for payment for expensive emergency room visits despite the lack of an urgent health care need. Government leaders need to rethink the part of Medicaid serving the healthy poor in the same way we rethought welfare in the 1990s.

Third, the legislation would create a program to serve the elderly that reintegrates the family back into their care. The current system, for example, prevents a daughter whose mother is in an assisted-living facility from contributing financially to her mother's care without losing all Medicaid coverage. This either-or mentality is anti-family and leaves the recipient with a lower quality of life.

The program should also integrate modern information technology systems, home diagnostic equipment, real-time monitoring and rapid health assistance when necessary. For example, a growing company called Living Independently has created the QuietCare home monitoring system, with motion detectors that actually learn an individual's daily habits and routines. The system regularly updates a caregiver on the person being cared for and immediately highlights any atypical patterns. Caregivers use this technology to provide unobtrusive monitoring of seniors in their homes while preserving individual privacy and freedom.

In addition to recognizing the unique needs of Medicaid's beneficiaries, Medicaid legislation must encourage investment and innovation. The Medicaid budgeting system cannot distinguish between costs and investments, making it impossible to introduce new technologies, information systems and quality approaches -- things that have led to a revolution in productivity in most of the private sector. Government budget rules and outdated scoring methods used by the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget keep health in general and Medicaid in particular mired in an obsolete system of paper, regulations and inspections that simply fail to deliver for Medicaid beneficiaries the efficiencies Americans benefit from in the rest of their lives. Passing a 21st Century Responsible Citizens Medicaid Act is achievable. Because Medicaid is equally a federal and state challenge, the first step is for the governors, Congress and the administration to join in establishing a working group that would be charged with fundamentally rethinking Medicaid and developing the enabling legislation. It is vital to integrate the governors' staffs into the process up front, just as we did with welfare reform in 1995.

America's Medicaid program isn't working. A "money only" debate would be an exercise in futility and -- more tragically -- would trap the most vulnerable people in our society in a hopelessly broken system. Transforming Medicaid is a moral imperative.

Discuss this article at the blog

Technology and Long-Term Living

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Technology and Long-Term Living

by Newt Gingrich and Ann Woodbury

(This article first appeared in the March 2005 issue of Provider Magazine)

Dramatic changes in science and technology are under way. Our country will experience as much scientific discovery and innovation over the next 25 years as it did the entire last century, which will profoundly impact our concept of aging.

The development of robotics, expert information technology systems, wireless communications, telemedicine, and videoconferencing will allow more and more Americans to live independently, be happier, and have a much higher quality of life because the technologies will exist to allow people to be in more control of their lives and feel more fulfilled. These technologies will delay the need for nursing facility care. And for those who do need supported living, the new discoveries will create dramatically better system with a higher quality of care and quality of life that would have been impossible in an earlier era.

Yet, as we are poised to undergo this dramatic transformation in science and technology, most of the current debate over the future of health care for seniors fails to seriously recognize it. Even our language is wrong. We too often use the term "long term care" when we really should be talking about how our seniors should prepare themselves for "long-term living," which is a more accurate term for a spectrum of high-quality services tailored to maximize seniors' freedom and quality of life.

Changing The Discussion

We also too often find ourselves discussing staff retention strategies and Medicaid cuts-topics that are totally legitimate if the goal is to marginally improve the current, inherited 20th century system.

However, these are not the discussions that will help achieve the stunning possibilities of a 21st century intelligent health system. The nature of our current conversation about long-term living would be like convening a conference about the future of transportation in 1903 and all we saw fit to discuss was the latest technology in horseshoes and wagon axles, while we completely avoided the topic of automobiles. We would likely have opinion leaders and industry stakeholders like harness manufacturers, blacksmiths, and relay station owners discussing problems like horsemanure as a major urban challenge. Yet Henry Ford was only two years away from opening his first mass-produced automobile factory. Also, since the first successful flight would not occur until that December, few, if any, would have seriously discussed the aviation experiments of the Wright brothers.

The new scientific discoveries will create entirely new possibilities for long-term living. However, technologies already exist that, if applied today, can dramatically improve the options of senior health care services. In these cases, the lack of progress is not the result of a lack of capabilities or available technologies.

Hi-Tech Models

Consider Living Independently, a company who's QuietCare System converts any home or apartment into a "smart home." The QuietCare home monitoring system is designed around motion detectors that actually learn an individual's daily habits and routines. The system regularly updates a caregiver of the person's activities and immediately highlights any atypical patterns. Caregivers use this technology to provide unobtrusive monitoring of seniors in their homes, preserving the individual's privacy and freedom. This system is affordable, and it is on the market now. It allows people to do in reality what policy makers talk about in theory-"aging in place"-allowing seniors who need a little support to live independently in their homes.

In Milwaukie, Ore., Elite Care is a world leader in using technology to deliver a new transformational model of senior living care. Its Oakfield Estates residents wear transmitters that double as help buttons and room keys to seamlessly communicate with a network of infrared sensors and radio frequency transponders, giving staff realtime access to the precise location of residents around the clock. The remote monitoring system enhances the freedom and security of the residents, which allows even early-stage Alzheimer's residents full, unassisted access to the entire six-acre campus.

Residents' loved ones can access a protected Web site from any Web portal in the world to pinpoint the exact location of their mother, father, or grandmother anywhere on campus.

Each of the 72 suites in the six different houses on Oakfield Estates includes a bed with sensors that detect weight, sleeplessness, and incontinence. If a high-risk resident is out of bed, a special signal is given to the caregiver that personal assistance is needed, without the resident activating a help button. Bathroom sensors notify a caregiver if a resident is in the bathroom for an unusual amount of time.

In-room computers are used by both residents and caregivers to help manage care with medication reminders and electronic health records and also are there for the residents' entertainment and personal use. The electronic health records can be accessed by caregivers, the individual, and family members, if given permission by the resident. Communication between the caregiver, the resident, and loved ones is frequent, which creates a team mentality that improves the resident's quality of life.

Elite Care and Living Independently are glimmerings of what could be routine offerings. This is not science fiction but real working models that are scalable and replicable.

The Move To Electronic Records

At the heart of both of these examples are electronic health records. There is absolutely no way to transform the possibilities for long-term living if our health care system remains a paperbased system. Why? Because a paperbased system will never be able to keep up with growing demands from the government and consumers to have the right to know price and quality information about health services; because a paper-based health system will never deliver the highest quality of care possible, as there is no way of streamlining new discoveries and new standards of care into the workflow; because a paper-based health system simply cannot meet the demands of active healthy seniors, who live in multiple locations and require different levels of care at varying points in their lives, to enjoy the type of long-term living that a scientific- and technology-based 21st century society can offer.

One of our goals is to see telecommunications and information technology utilized to join the resident, the family, and care institutions in totally new ways, including monitoring and reinforcing quality. When loved ones are in nursing facilities, it is frustrating and difficult to communicate on a regular basis with the on-sight professionals who lovingly care for them. Many people would pay top dollar for a daily or biweekly electronic update of their loved one's clinical test results and mental health reports. If the caregivers used an electronic health record, these reports could be automatically generated, or, for an extra fee, they could be more personalized.

A principal reason why the health profession-especially that part that cares for seniors-finds it hard to adopt new technologies is the lack of real market forces. A significant step in facilitating a long-term living system that is rich in technology, fosters independence, and delivers a higher quality of life is to transform the financing system. As long as an untransformed Medicaid program is the principal source of funding for this profession, an intelligent long-term living system will be slow to grow. Even if Medicaid and Medicare undergo dramatic transformations, the government will always be too bureaucratic and too slow to adopt new technologies and new services at the speed of the 21st century.

In fact, if long-term living had experienced the same productivity revolution in the past 30 years as manufacturing and services, it would have virtually no quality problems. Whether the area is financial services, cell phones, computers, or televisions, there is an amazing revolution under way that has not reached the long-term living system.

Individual markets work better than third-party payment systems in increasing choices, fostering innovation, and keeping costs down. The more individuals control their health care dollars, and not a third party, the more market forces will deliver improvements and be able to respond to the changing needs of individuals.

We must increase the percentage of long-term living revenue coming from private payers, shifting resources away from the government bureaucracy and the taxpayer and toward the private sector and personal responsibility. We should pursue incentives for personal saving and personal insurance that would enable the baby boomers to afford the kind of high-quality spectrum of choices they will expect.

Ways To Pursue Incentives

For example, one of the reasons the Center for Health Transformation supported the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003 was its creation of health savings accounts, which allow people to put money aside tax-free to use for health expenses such as nursing facility care and long term care insurance.

Another example would have been the passage of Rep. Nancy Johnson's (R-Conn.) bill to make long term care insurance tax deductible. Other ways the government could improve the quality of care would be to allow individuals and their loved ones to supplement with personal funds the amount the government pays to long-term living providers. These are exactly the types of steps that need to be taken to create a long term care system that is responsive to the needs of the average American baby boomer.

Technology holds much promise. Although technology cannot directly provide health care-at least not yet-it will empower new models of intelligent long-term living that achieve not only a higher quality of care but a higher quality of life, perhaps the most important measure of success for anyone who wishes to lead a longer and healthier life.

NEWT GINGRICH is the founder of the Center for Health Transformation and former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. ANNE WOODBURY is the chief health advocate of the Center for Health Transformation.

Winning the Future:
A 21st Century Contract with America

The dangers are manifold: Terrorism. Judges who think they're God (and who are anti-God). Rising economic challenges from China and India. Immigrants and young Americans who know little about American history and values. Can America survive?

Yes, says Newt Gingrich, and we as Americans can do more:We can create a safer, more prosperous, and healthier America for our children and grandchildren. How? By enacting a 21st Century Contract with America.

The challenges of the 21st Century are great, says Newt Gingrich, but so are the opportunities. The decisions we make over the next four years will determine our future. And no book can be more important for making the right choices than Newt Gingrich's Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America

Employees Bring Own Toilet Paper to Work

Employees Bring Own Toilet Paper to Work

Thu Mar 17, 4:18 PM ET

BUFFALO, N.Y. - It was BYOTP time in Buffalo: Bring Your Own Toilet Paper. A county budget crisis left the bathrooms in a municipal office building with empty soap dispensers, paperless paper towel holders and bare cardboard toilet paper rolls. Employees also complained the bathrooms weren't being cleaned.

"It's almost humorous, but it's disgusting," said Bob Fioretti, who has worked in Erie County's Rath Building for 21 years.

"When people got to bring their own toilet paper and soap to wash their hands, it's like working in another country, a bad country," he told WGRZ-TV. Fioretti said there was waste piling up in some of the toilets.

A county environmental health crew went through the building Wednesday and said many of the bathrooms were clean and on the way to being restocked. Some toilets, however, looked like they had been deliberately plugged, said Kevin Montgomery, spokesman for the county Health Department. Those bathrooms remained closed while the health department awaited plumbers.

"The Building and Grounds Department has been cut severely," Montgomery told The Associated Press on Thursday. Besides losing money, the department has had layoffs.

"Towels and soap were running out, and that was also due to this fiscal crisis," Montgomery said. Replacement supplies couldn't be ordered until the county shifted money around.

The county, on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, is home to nearly 1 million people and encompasses the city of Buffalo, the weathered city that has struggled to rebuild its economy since the steel and grain mills closed down. Since the 1950s, the city has lost half its population and now numbers fewer than 300,000 people.

The county has had to slash 2,000 jobs and cut services to close a $100 million-plus shortfall in its $1.1 billion budget.

Rather than raise the sales tax, it cut funding for personnel, health clinics, auto bureaus, snowplowing, parks, the arts, school nurses and others services. At one point, it was possible that zoo animals would become refugees, temporarily shipped off to other zoos for lack of funding. The county came up with the money to keep the animals home.
Bill's Comment: Imagine if this was in the State of Florida? I can hear the liberals really clamor for the toilet paper tax. I wonder if the City of Buffalo contemplated such a ridiculous idea as well? They were probably too constipated, which may be a good thing, in this case.

Does that mean if you forgot to bring your roll of toilet paper, and everyone else's is used up, you are shit out of luck?

Parents of school children- watch out! You may be next.

A factoid from Bill: In the early 1990's, New Jersey had a "toilet paper" tax. This led to then-Governor Jim Florio's demise.

Retirement Home Prepared for Prostitutes

Retirement Home Prepared for Prostitutes


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Distressed to find aging homeless women still working as prostitutes in downtown Mexico City, women's' groups are preparing a roomy retirement home to take 65 of them off the streets.

Rejected by their families and stripped of much of their earnings by policemen and pimps, the elderly sex workers say they have no choice but to keep working, sometimes for less than $2 a day or just a plate of food.

"I may have two or three clients a day but I can't charge what the young ones do. Sometimes I just ask for food or a hotel room," said Gloria Maria, a kindly faced woman of 74 who mostly sleeps outdoors in a grimy downtown food market.

Funds raised this week will go toward fixing the roof of a an elegant but crumbling 18th century building donated by the Mexico City government to serve as a retirement home for Gloria Maria and others.

Like many of her co-workers, Gloria Maria was raped as a teen-ager and fell into prostitution soon afterward.

Prostitution is not legal in Mexico but sex workers are tolerated, along with the shoe shiners, orange juice vendors and tamale sellers who clog the streets of big cities, creating a gray economy that absorbs millions of unemployed.

While some of these workers can put savings under the mattress for old age, or hope their children will support them, prostitutes often have nothing after a life of exploitation by pimps and paying bribes to avoid arrest.

Few are in touch with their families or children.

"Other people pay taxes and can retire with a pension. We are exploited by society then thrown away when we get old," said one lithe young prostitute, with long blond hair and funky platform shoes.

"We should have the same rights as anyone else," she said at a fund-raising concert for the retirement home Tuesday.

Organizers are collecting funds from private donors and hoping local companies will provide beds and help with improvements to the retirement home like painting, plumbing and rewiring.

The women will be expected to cook and clean for themselves and earn money through handicrafts to help with running costs.

The home is seen as a pilot project and the organizers realize it needs to be part of a longer-term solution for sex workers.

"Sex workers are doubly marginalized," said Emilienne de Leon, head of a local women's' rights group called Semillas.

"They are rejected by society and by their families. When they get old, either they sell themselves very cheaply or they don't have enough to eat. It's a very difficult world."

Bill's Comment: Can anybody learn to take accountability by looking in the mirror? Personally, hearing of seventy year old women as prostitutes makes me want to grab the biggest bottle of the pink liquid available.

ACLU Report: U.S. Drug Laws Harm Women

ACLU Report: U.S. Drug Laws Harm Women

Thu Mar 17, 4:51 PM ET

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

NEW YORK - America's war on drugs is inflicting deep and disproportionate harm on women — most of them mothers — who are filling prisons in ever-rising numbers despite their typically minor roles in drug rings, the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) and two other groups contend in a major new report.

The report, "Caught in the Net," is being released Thursday as the focus of a two-day national conference in New York, bringing together criminal justice officials, sentence-reform activists and other experts to consider its package of proposed legislative and policy changes. The report recommends expansion of treatment programs geared toward women, says incarceration should be a last resort, and urges more vigorous efforts to maintain ties between imprisoned mothers and their children.

"Drug convictions have caused the number of women behind bars to explode, leaving in the rubble displaced children and overburdened families," the document says.

The number of imprisoned women is increasing at a much faster rate than the number of men, mostly because of tougher drug laws. There were 101,000 women in state and federal prisons in 2003, an eight-fold increase since 1980; roughly one-third were drug offenders, compared to about one-fifth of male inmates.

"Many of the drug conspiracy and accomplice laws were created to go after the kingpins," said the ACLU women's rights project director, Lenora Lapidus, a lead author of the report. "But women who may simply be a girlfriend or wife are getting caught in the web as well, and sent to prison for very long times when all they may have done is answer the telephone."

Lapidus acknowledged that legislation addressing the situation would probably need to be gender-neutral. But she and her fellow authors — from New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice and the advocacy group Break the Chains — make a detailed case that existing drug laws "have had specific, devastating and disparate effects on women."

Among their contentions:

_Many women are ensnared in drug investigations despite peripheral involvement, sometimes solely because they failed to turn in their partners to police. Sentencing laws fail to consider factors such as physical abuse or economic dependence that may draw women into drug abuse or deter them from notifying authorities of a partner's drug activity.

_Treatment programs, to the extent they exist, often are tailored for men and prove relatively ineffective for women.

_Black and Hispanic women are imprisoned for drug offenses at higher rates than white women even though their rates of illegal drug use are comparable. Factors include prosecutors' decisions, policing tactics and selective testing of pregnant minority women for drug use.

_Most imprisoned women, and relatively few imprisoned men, leave behind children for whom they were the sole primary caretaker. The separation can be shattering for mothers, who may lose parental rights, and for children, thousands of whom are placed in foster care at state expense.

The report makes an economic case for change, contending that the combined annual cost of imprisoning a mother and placing a child in foster care is seven times the cost of an intensive one-year drug treatment program.

Several mothers jailed for drug offenses are attending the conference, including Dorothy Gaines, whose 19-year prison sentence for cocaine conspiracy was commuted by President Clinton (news - web sites) in 2000 after she served six years. Gaines says her son, Phillip, now 20, was devastated by the separation.

"He was an honor roll student, but when I went to prison, he just lost it," Gaines said in a telephone interview from Alabama. "Even when I finally came home, he tried to kill himself. He's still bearing the scars."

The issues raised in the report are difficult ones for criminal justice officials as their states debate building new prisons or diverting more nonviolent drug offenders into treatment.

"When there's a woman defendant with children, we generally try everything we can to put her into rehab rather than prison," said Michael Arcuri, district attorney in New York's Oneida County and former president of the state DA's association.

"On the other hand, we're supposed to treat everyone the same," he said. "You see more women in prison because you see more women selling drugs. Some of them feel that, because we were softer on women in the past, they'll get some sort of easier treatment."

Bruce Bullington, a Florida State University criminologist, said drug-offending mothers may win sympathy from some activists but often are viewed harshly by lawmakers.

"It's not just an issue of drugs, but of embedded moral values," he said. "We demonize these women, and it comes back to haunt us in a variety of ways."


On the Net:

Bill's Comment: I agree with Mr. Billington's assessment wholeheartedly. These women have issues with both moral values and self-esteem. They should have known what they were getting themselves into by associating with these creeps.

Maybe if they thought about the potential consequences before instant gratification, maybe they would not stuck in the bind that they got themselves in. Play with fire, and you eventually get burned.

Another liberal, tearjerking, sympathy drive by the American Criminal (I mean, Civil) Liberties Union.

Nixon Library to Release Tape Recordings

Nixon Library to Release Tape Recordings


WASHINGTON - In the face of criticism, the privately run Nixon library said Friday it intends for the late president's confidential tape recordings concerning politics to be made public once the government takes over the facility next year.

The Rev. John Taylor, the library foundation's executive director, made the commitment following an embarrassing episode in which the library canceled an upcoming conference of historians on the topic of Nixon and Vietnam.

Some participants claimed the move was aimed at stifling debate about Nixon, and the cancellation prompted objections to Congress by the American Library Association and some scholars who questioned whether the library should be entitled to federal support.

The library is scheduled to go from private to government control in February 2006.

After Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal, Congress feared he would destroy materials needed for the criminal investigation and passed a law giving the government possession of his papers and tapes.

Nixon maintained control over his tape recordings of a political nature and they have never been released. Nixon's White House taping system was in place from February 1971 through July 1973, a period that included his re-election campaign.

The Nixon foundation believes it is vital for the library to house the political tape recordings when the National Archives takes control of the facility in February 2006, Taylor said in a letter this week to Allen Weinstein, the archivist of the United States.

"Our intent and promise is for the National Archives to be able to make these political tapes available to the public in exactly the same way that the rest of the tape collection is being made available to the public," Taylor said in an interview.

The library at Yorba Linda, Calif., is the lone presidential library without federal funding. It is seeking $3 million from Congress to pay for the transfer of records from the National Archives in College Park, Md., to the library in California, and millions more to build a new wing to hold the materials.

"This is a big step forward," said Tom Blanton, one of the people who criticized the Nixon library for canceling the conference.

An exchange of letters between Taylor of the Nixon library and national archivist Weinstein "lays down the markers that the National Archives will hold the Nixon library to if the Nixon people are really going to measure up as a legitimate presidential library," Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a private group based at George Washington University, said.


On the Net:

Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace:

National Security Archive:

U.S. National Archives & Records Administration:

Another Deep Throat Update

Hi Everybody!,

Rex has provided more information regarding the mystery of Deep Throat. The link is provided below.

If you or anyone you know have any other information, please let either myself or Rex know. Thank you.



Friday, March 18, 2005

$27 Million Lottery Winner Rushes Back to Work

$27 Million Lottery Winner Rushes Back to Work

Fri Mar 18, 8:12 AM ET

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's biggest individual lottery winner had no time to celebrate after becoming 20.4 million euros ($27 million) richer, because he was too worried about being late for work.

When the salesman, who was not identified by WestLotto, arrived Thursday to buy his weekly lottery ticket at a shop in the industrial Ruhr area he was told last week's 12-euro ticket that he hadn't bothered to check had won the jackpot.

The man's reaction left the lottery operator dumbfounded.

"After he was told he had won the jackpot, he said he didn't have time to chat because he would get into trouble with his boss," a lottery spokesman in the western city of Muenster said. Instead, he rushed off to catch a bus to work.

There were few details about the lucky man, a pigeon-lover in his 30s, except that he planned to trade in his rented apartment for something a little bigger in the country. It was not known if he would stay on in his job as a salesman.

Bill's Comment: My kind of guy!

How Would You Like to Meet This Guy?

How Would You Like to Meet This Guy?

Fri Mar 18, 8:06 AM ET

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian man on trial for having sex with dogs claims he did it out of compassion for man's best friend, a Belgian paper said on Friday.

Daily Gazet Van Antwerpen said the 36-year old in the eastern Belgian town of Genk told the court he had sex with dogs "out of love for animals," since a lot of them can't have sex, especially those locked up in refuges.

The man, only identified by his initials, could face six months in jail if convicted.

He had worked in an animal refuge before and had also posted thousands of pictures on the Internet of himself having sex with dogs, the paper said.

Bill's Comment: Is there any chance that he is related to Michael Jackson?



Wed Feb 23, 7:58 PM ET

By Ann Coulter

In response to the public disgrace and ruin of New York Times editor Howell Raines, CBS anchor Dan Rather and CNN news director Eason Jordan, liberals are directing their fury at the blogs. Once derided as people sitting around their living rooms in pajamas, now obscure writers for unknown Web sites are coming under more intensive background checks than CIA (news - web sites) agents.

The heretofore-unknown Jeff Gannon of the heretofore-unknown "Talon News" service was caught red-handed asking friendly questions at a White House press briefing. Now the media is hot on the trail of a gay escort service that Gannon may have run some years ago. Are we supposed to like gay people now, or hate them? Is there a Web site where I can go to and find out how the Democrats want me to feel about gay people on a moment-to-moment basis?

Liberals keep rolling out a scrolling series of attacks on Gannon for their Two Minutes Hate, but all their other charges against him fall apart after three seconds of scrutiny. Gannon's only offense is that he may be gay.

First, liberals claimed Gannon was a White House plant who received a press pass so that he could ask softball questions -- a perk reserved for New York Times reporters during the Clinton years. Their proof was that while "real" journalists (like Jayson Blair) were being denied press passes, Gannon had one, even though he writes for a Web site that no one has ever heard of -- but still big enough to be a target of liberal hatred! (By the way, if writing for a news organization with no viewers is grounds for being denied a press pass, why do MSNBC reporters have them?)

On the op-ed page of The New York Times, Maureen Dowd openly lied about the press pass, saying: "I was rejected for a White House press pass at the start of the Bush administration, but someone with an alias, a tax evasion problem and Internet pictures where he posed like the 'Barberini Faun' is credentialed?"

Press passes can't be that hard to come by if the White House allows that dyspeptic, old Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president. Still, it would be suspicious if Dowd were denied a press pass while someone from "Talon News" got one, even if he is a better reporter.

But Dowd was talking about two different passes without telling her readers (a process now known in journalism schools as "Dowdification"). Gannon didn't have a permanent pass; he had only a daily pass. Almost anyone can get a daily pass -- even famed Times fantasist Maureen Dowd could have gotten one of those. A daily pass and a permanent pass are altogether different animals. The entire linchpin of Dowd's column was a lie. (And I'm sure the Times' public editor will get right on Dowd's deception.)

Finally, liberals expressed shock and dismay that Gannon's real name is "James Guckert." On MSNBC's "Hardball," Chris Matthews introduced the Gannon scandal this way: "Coming up, how did a fake news reporter from a right-wing Web site get inside the White House press briefings and presidential news conferences?"

Reporter David Shuster then gave a report on "the phony alias Guckert used to play journalist" -- as opposed to the real name Shuster uses to play journalist. (You can tell Schuster is a crackerjack journalist because he uses phrases like "phony alias.") With all the subtlety of a gay-bashing skinhead, Matthews spent the rest of the segment seeing how many times he could smear Gannon by mentioning "" and laughing.

Any day now, Matthews will devote entire shows to exposing Larry Zeigler, Gerald Riviera and Michael Weiner -- aka Larry King, Geraldo Rivera and Matthews' former MSNBC colleague Michael Savage. As a newspaper reporter, Wolf Blitzer has written under the names Ze'ev Blitzer and Ze'ev Barak. The greatest essayist of modern times was Eric Blair, aka George Orwell. The worst essayist of modern times is "TRB" of The New Republic.

Air America radio host and "Nanny" impersonator "Randi Rhodes" goes by a fake name, and she won't even tell people what her real last name is. (She says for "privacy reasons." That name must be a real doozy.) As describes Rhodes, she refuses "to withhold anything from her listeners" and says conservatives "are less likely to share such things." How about sharing your name, Randi? We promise not to laugh.

Democrats in Congress actually demanded that an independent prosecutor investigate how Gannon got into White House press conferences while writing under an invented name. How did Gary Hartpence, Billy Blythe and John Kohn (Gary Hart, Bill Clinton (news - web sites) and John Kerry (news - web sites)) run for president under invented names? Admittedly, these men were not reporters for the prestigious "Talon News" service; they were merely Democrats running for president.

Liberals keep telling us the media isn't liberal, but in order to retaliate for the decimation of major news organizations like The New York Times, CBS News and CNN, all they can do is produce the scalp of an obscure writer for an unknown conservative Web page. And unlike Raines, Rather and Jordan, they can't even get Gannon for incompetence on the job. (Also unlike Raines, Rather and Jordan, Gannon has appeared on TV and given a series of creditable interviews in his own defense, proving our gays are more macho than their straights.)

Gannon didn't write about gays. No "hypocrisy" is being exposed. Liberals' hateful, frothing-at-the-mouth campaign against Gannon consists solely of their claim that he is gay.



Thu Mar 10, 6:41 PM ET

By Ann Coulter

Liberals have been completely intellectually vanquished. Actually, they lost the war of ideas long ago. It's just that now their defeat is so obvious, even they've noticed. As new DNC Chairman Howard Dean (news - web sites) might say, it's all over but the screaming.

In an editorial last week, The New York Times gave President Bush (news - web sites) credit for democracy sweeping through the Middle East or, as the Times put it, "a year of heartening surprises." Yes, the Middle East's current democratization would come as quite a surprise to anyone who puts his hands over his ears and hums during the president's speeches.

Rolling Stone magazine is making fun of "" for having no contact with normal Americans. Their Bush-hating cause has become so hopeless that is on the verge of actually moving on.

Marking the first time Walter Cronkite and I have agreed on anything, Cronkite is ridiculing Dan Rather, saying he should have retired a long time ago.

No one, not even Chris Matthews, is defending the Italian Communist who claims American forces intentionally shot at her in Iraq (news - web sites). (But to be fair, Keith Oberman has been on vacation this week.) She may have lost some credibility when she backed her claim that Americans were targeting her by quoting her kidnappers. She said her kidnappers had warned her to stay away from the Americans because they would only hurt her. And then my rapist said, "Whatever you do, don't cry out for the police! They won't help you!"

Consider that less than 20 years ago, ABC's Peter Jennings and CBS' Mike Wallace announced at an "Ethics in America" panel that they would not intervene to prevent the slaughter of American troops while on duty as journalists -- especially during sweeps. As Wallace said: "You don't have a higher duty. No. No. You're a reporter!" It almost makes you wonder if U.S. troops have ever targeted American journalists in the field during wartime. Maybe Eason Jordan would know something about that.

Now liberal journalists are pretending to support the troops. They hardly ever call them "baby killers" anymore, at least to their faces.

Democrats are even pretending to believe in God -- you know, as they understand Her.

The only people liberals can find to put up a fight these days are ex-Klanners and other assorted nuts.

There's former KKK "Kleagle" and Democratic Sen. Bob Byrd, who compared the Republicans to Hitler last week. Byrd having been a charter member of a fascist organization himself, no one was sure if this was intended as a critique or a compliment.

Aspiring first lady Teresa Heinz claims the election was stolen through the machinations of a vast conspiracy involving Republican polling machine manufacturers. We eagerly await a Michael Moore documentary to flesh out the details. It's only a matter of time before Heinz announces that anti-Bush insurgents control most of the Red States, and that the sooner the U.S. pulls out of those quagmires, the better.

Howard Dean -- chairman of the party that supports murder, adultery, lying about adultery, coveting other people's money, stealing other people's money, mass-producing human embryos for spare parts like an automotive chop shop and banning God -- has called the Republican Party "evil." One Democrat in the audience, a preschool teacher no less, complained that Dean was soft-pedaling his message.

Teddy Kennedy's big new idea is to wheel out his 18th proposal to raise the minimum wage. He's been doing this since wages were paid in Spanish doubloons (which coincidentally are now mostly found underwater). Kennedy refuses to countenance any risky schemes like trying to grow the economy so people making minimum wage get raises because they've been promoted. Kennedy's going down and he's taking the party with him! (Recognize the pattern?)

I keep expecting the real Democrats to appear and drag these nuts out of the room, saying, Oh sorry, he's escaped again -- don't worry, he does this all the time, and then Howard Dean will stand up and have no pants on.

So now, the entire country is ignoring liberals. I'm the canary in the coal mine. Twenty-six congressmen have signed a letter denouncing me for a column I wrote two weeks ago; for the past two weeks, I've been attacked on MSNBC and CNN, in The Detroit Free-Press and on every known liberal blog and radio show. (I especially want to thank Pacifica Radio in this regard.) I personally have shouted their complaints from the rooftops. Liberals had fallen into my trap!

But there was no point in responding because no one had heard about the liberal denunciations in the first place. It was like explaining a joke: OK, and then they said, "Call me a cab," and then I said, "You're a cab! Are you following this? ... Sorry, let me start over again."

This is like beating Dennis Kucinich (news - web sites) in an untelevised presidential debate. That and $8.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbuck's. I'm tired of helping liberals publicize their attacks on me. Liberals are going to have to do better than that if they want a response from me.

It's not just that we're a divided nation, with liberals watching only CNN and conservatives watching only Fox News. I'm pretty sure liberals are aware of me, and I haven't appeared on CNN for months. It's liberals the country is ignoring. No one knows or cares what they're carrying on about in their media outlets. Liberals can't get arrested. They're even letting Martin Sheen off with a warning now.

I hate to sound selfish at such a great moment for the country, but this is nothing short of calamitous for completely innocent right-wing polemicists. Liberals are too pathetic to write about. I have nothing to do; my life is over. Where have all the flowers gone?

I'm confident they'll stage a comeback someday. In lieu of common sense, liberals have boundless energy. But I'm getting bored waiting. In the interest of good sportsmanship, I have some proposals for liberals. I think Democrats might want to drop the contract all Democrats apparently have to sign pledging to pretend to believe insane things. Also, if you could just get the base of your party to not participate anymore and maybe be a little less crazy, people might listen to you. Barring that, you're just going to have to scream a little louder.



Wed Mar 16, 7:58 PM ET

By Ann Coulter

How many people have to die before the country stops humoring feminists? Last week, a defendant in a rape case, Brian Nichols, wrested a gun from a female deputy in an Atlanta courthouse and went on a murderous rampage. Liberals have proffered every possible explanation for this breakdown in security except the giant elephant in the room -- who undoubtedly has an eating disorder and would appreciate a little support vis-a-vis her negative body image.

The New York Times said the problem was not enough government spending on courthouse security ("Budgets Can Affect Safety Inside Many Courthouses"). Yes, it was tax-cuts-for-the-rich that somehow enabled a 200-pound former linebacker to take a gun from a 5-foot-tall grandmother.

Atlanta court officials dispensed with any spending issues the next time Nichols entered the courtroom when he was escorted by 17 guards and two police helicopters. He looked like P. Diddy showing up for a casual dinner party.

I think I have an idea that would save money and lives: Have large men escort violent criminals. Admittedly, this approach would risk another wave of nausea and vomiting by female professors at Harvard. But there are also advantages to not pretending women are as strong as men, such as fewer dead people. Even a female math professor at Harvard should be able to run the numbers on this one.

Of course, it's suspiciously difficult to find any hard data about the performance of female cops. Not as hard as finding the study showing New Jersey state troopers aren't racist, but still pretty hard to find.

Mostly what you find on Lexis-Nexis are news stories quoting police chiefs who have been browbeaten into submission, all uttering the identical mantra after every public safety disaster involving a girl cop. It seems that female officers compensate for a lack of strength with "other" abilities, such as cooperation, empathy and intuition.

There are lots of passing references to "studies" of uncertain provenance, but which always sound uncannily like a press release from the Feminist Majority Foundation. (Or maybe it was The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which recently released a study claiming that despite Memogate, "Fahrenheit 911," the Richard Clarke show and the jihad against the Swift Boat Veterans, the press is being soft on Bush.)

The anonymous "studies" about female officers invariably demonstrate that women make excellent cops -- even better cops than men! One such study cited an episode of "She's the Sheriff," starring Suzanne Somers.

A 1993 news article in the Los Angeles Times, for example, referred to a "study" -- cited by an ACLU attorney -- allegedly proving that "female officers are more effective at making arrests without employing force because they are better at de-escalating confrontations with suspects." No, you can't see the study or have the name of the organization that performed it, and why would you ask?

There are roughly 118 million men in this country who would take exception to that notion. I wonder if women officers "de-escalate" by mentioning how much more money their last suspect made.

These aren't unascertainable facts, like Pinch Sulzberger's SAT scores. The U.S. Department of Justice (news - web sites) regularly performs comprehensive surveys of state and local law enforcement agencies, collected in volumes called "Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics."

The inestimable economist John Lott has looked at the actual data. (And I'll give you the citation! John R. Lott Jr., "Does a Helping Hand Put Others at Risk? Affirmative Action, Police Departments and Crime," Economic Inquiry, April 1, 2000.)

It turns out that, far from "de-escalating force" through their superior listening skills, female law enforcement officers vastly are more likely to shoot civilians than their male counterparts. (Especially when perps won't reveal where they bought a particularly darling pair of shoes.)

Unable to use intermediate force, like a bop on the nose, female officers quickly go to fatal force. According to Lott's analysis, each 1 percent increase in the number of white female officers in a police force increases the number of shootings of civilians by 2.7 percent.

Adding males to a police force decreases the number of civilians accidentally shot by police. Adding black males decreases civilian shootings by police even more. By contrast, adding white female officers increases accidental shootings. (And for my Handgun Control Inc. readers: Private citizens are much less likely to accidentally shoot someone than are the police, presumably because they do not have to approach the suspect and make an arrest.)

In addition to accidentally shooting people, female law enforcement officers are also more likely to be assaulted than male officers -- as the whole country saw in Atlanta last week. Lott says: "Increasing the number of female officers by 1 percentage point appears to increase the number of assaults on police by 15 percent to 19 percent."

In addition to the obvious explanations for why female cops are more likely to be assaulted and to accidentally shoot people -- such as that our society encourages girls to play with dolls -- there is also the fact that women are smaller and weaker than men.

In a study of public safety officers -- not even the general population -- female officers were found to have 32 percent to 56 percent less upper body strength and 18 percent to 45 percent less lower body strength than male officers -- although their outfits were 43 percent more coordinated. (Here's the cite! Frank J. Landy, "Alternatives to Chronological Age in Determining Standards of Suitability for Public Safety Jobs," Technical Report, Vol. 1, Jan. 31, 1992.)

Another study I've devised involves asking a woman to open a jar of pickles.

There is also the telling fact that feminists demand that strength tests be watered down so that women can pass them. Feminists simultaneously demand that no one suggest women are not as strong as men and then turn around and demand that all the strength tests be changed. It's one thing to waste everyone's time by allowing women to try out for police and fire departments under the same tests given to men. It's quite another to demand that the tests be brawned-down so no one ever has to tell female Harvard professors that women aren't as strong as men.

Acknowledging reality wouldn't be all bad for women. For one thing, they won't have to confront violent felons on methamphetamine. So that's good. Also, while a sane world would not employ 5-foot-tall grandmothers as law enforcement officers, a sane world would also not give full body-cavity searches to 5-foot-tall grandmothers at airports.



Wed Feb 16, 7:59 PM ET

By Ann Coulter

University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill has written that "unquestionably, America has earned" the attack of 9/11. He calls the attack itself a result of "gallant sacrifices of the combat teams." That the "combat teams" killed only 3,000 Americans, he says, shows they were not "unreasonable or vindictive." He says that in order to even the score with America, Muslim terrorists "would, at a minimum, have to blow up about 300,000 more buildings and kill something on the order of 7.5 million people."

To grasp the current state of higher education in America, consider that if Churchill is at any risk at all of being fired, it is only because he smokes.

Churchill poses as a radical living on the edge, supremely confident that he is protected by tenure from being fired. College professors are the only people in America who assume they can't be fired for what they say.

Tenure was supposed to create an atmosphere of open debate and inquiry, but instead has created havens for talentless cowards who want to be insulated from life. Rather than fostering a climate of open inquiry, college campuses have become fascist colonies of anti-American hate speech, hypersensitivity, speech codes, banned words and prohibited scientific inquiry.

Even liberals don't try to defend Churchill on grounds that he is Galileo pursuing an abstract search for the truth. They simply invoke "free speech," like a deus ex machina to end all discussion. Like the words "diverse" and "tolerance," "free speech" means nothing but: "Shut up, we win." It's free speech (for liberals), diversity (of liberals) and tolerance (toward liberals).

Ironically, it is precisely because Churchill is paid by the taxpayers that "free speech" is implicated at all. The Constitution has nothing to say about the private sector firing employees for their speech. That's why you don't see Bill Maher on ABC anymore. Other well-known people who have been punished by their employers for their "free speech" include Al Campanis, Jimmy Breslin, Rush Limbaugh, Jimmy the Greek and Andy Rooney.

In fact, the Constitution says nothing about state governments firing employees for their speech: The First Amendment clearly says, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech." Firing Ward Churchill is a pseudo-problem caused by modern constitutional law, which willy-nilly applies the Bill of Rights to the states -- including the one amendment that clearly refers only to "Congress." (Liberals love to go around blustering "'no law' means 'no law'!" But apparently "Congress" doesn't mean "Congress.")

Even accepting the modern notion that the First Amendment applies to state governments, the Supreme Court has distinguished between the government as sovereign and the government as employer. The government is extremely limited in its ability to regulate the speech of private citizens, but not so limited in regulating the speech of its own employees.

So the First Amendment and "free speech" are really red herrings when it comes to whether Ward Churchill can be fired. Even state universities will not run afoul of the Constitution for firing a professor who is incapable of doing his job because he is a lunatic, an incompetent or an idiot -- and those determinations would obviously turn on the professor's "speech."

If a math professor's "speech" consisted of insisting that 2 plus 2 equals 5, or an astrophysicist's "speech" was to claim that the moon is made of Swiss cheese, or a history professor's "speech" consisted of rants about the racial inferiority of the n-----s, each one of them could be fired by a state university without running afoul of the constitution.

Just because we don't have bright lines for determining what speech can constitute a firing offense, doesn't mean there are no lines at all. If Churchill hasn't crossed them, we are admitting that almost nothing will debase and disgrace the office of professor (except, you know, suggesting that there might be innate differences in the mathematical abilities of men and women).

In addition to calling Americans murdered on 9/11 "little Eichmanns," Churchill has said:

- The U.S. Army gave blankets infected with smallpox to the Indians specifically intending to spread the disease.

Not only are the diseased-blanket stories cited by Churchill denied by his alleged sources, but the very idea is contradicted by the facts of scientific discovery. The settlers didn't understand the mechanism of how disease was transmitted. Until Louis Pasteur's experiments in the second half of the 19th century, the idea that disease could be caused by living organisms was as scientifically accepted as crystal reading is today. Even after Pasteur, many scientists continued to believe disease was spontaneously generated from within. Churchill is imbuing the settlers with knowledge that in most cases wouldn't be accepted for another hundred years.

- Indian reservations are the equivalent of Nazi concentration camps.

I forgot Auschwitz had a casino.

If Ward Churchill can be a college professor, what's David Duke waiting for?

The whole idea behind free speech is that in a marketplace of ideas, the truth will prevail. But liberals believe there is no such thing as truth and no idea can ever be false (unless it makes feminists cry, such as the idea that there are innate differences between men and women). Liberals are so enamored with the process of free speech that they have forgotten about the goal.

Faced with a professor who is a screaming lunatic, they retreat to, "Yes, but academic freedom, tenure, free speech, blah, blah," and their little liberal minds go into autopilot with all the slogans.

Why is it, again, that we are so committed to never, ever firing professors for their speech? Because we can't trust state officials to draw any lines at all here? Because ... because ... because they might start with crackpots like Ward Churchill -- but soon liberals would be endangered? Liberals don't think there is any conceivable line between them and Churchill? Ipse dixit.



Tue Mar 15, 7:58 PM ET
By Ted Rall

The Push for a National Sales Tax

NEW YORK--They've trashed protection for bankrupt consumers and sunk their fangs into the soft fleshy throat of Social Security (news - web sites). Now Republicans are laying the groundwork for the ultimate goal in their ongoing war against the idea that government has a duty to mitigate economic injustice: replacing the income tax with a national sales tax.

If current GOP trial balloons lead to full flight, their long-hoped-for dismantling of the progressive tax structure in place since World War I could involve going beyond the flat income tax long championed by Steve Forbes (news - web sites) to a system that's fully regressive. The smaller your salary, the higher a percentage of taxes you would pay. Our social devolution to McKinley-era America would be complete.

In the latest reminder that Alan Greenspan (news - web sites) has become ideologically indistinguishable from right-wing econoquack Milton Friedman, the once acclaimed Fed chairman told Congress on March 3: "Many economists believe that a consumption tax would be best from the perspective of promoting economic growth--particularly if one were designing a system from scratch--because a consumption tax is likely to favor savings and capital formation."

Republicans count on our ignorance of history as they quietly re-spin the national consensus on taxation. Could that be why they relentlessly slash the education budget? There is, after all, a precedent for an America without a progressive income tax: the late 19th century.

Back then the government relied on three sources of revenues: tariffs, property taxes and sales taxes. High tariffs, critics on the left and right agreed, stifled trade and drove down wages. And, since everyone buys the same necessities (like food) at the same prices, sales taxes fell disproportionately heavily on the poor. The average worker earning the equivalent of $30,000 a year spent all or almost all of that $30,000. The average person taking home $300,000 spent less and saved more--savings that, under the consumption tax scheme, was gloriously tax-free and, for the most part, sat in savings accounts gathering interest. The disparity between rich and poor became staggering; robber barons built magnificent mansions while millions starved. There was no middle class to speak of. Because the Carnegies and Vanderbilts who had all the money paid few taxes, the government of the 120-year-old United States was too weak to maintain a strong standing army, much less compete internationally against France, Britain and the other colonial powers.

The modern income tax, enacted in 1913 with rates ranging between one and seven percent, replaced most tariffs and consumption taxes. By 1945 federal taxes started at 23 percent; the wealthiest individuals paid 94 percent. Though the top rate has since fallen, individual income taxes have since hovered at eight to 10 percent of GDP (news - web sites). Increased revenues allowed the federal government to fund massive mobilizations in two world wars, launch expensive anti-poverty and public works programs to fight the Depression, outlast old Europe and outspend its principal international rival, the Soviet Union, into bankruptcy. Government also acted as an agent of wealth redistribution, using taxes dunned from the wealthy to help Americans in need. Income taxes transformed us into a superpower and helped create the large middle class that capitalist economies require for continuously expanding consumption.

Ah, yes, consumer spending. Bush's economists argue that "removing the tax...on savings and investment...would increase savings and investment." That's true. But if you've ever had to factor in the 20 percent national sales tax on goods purchased in Europe (they call it the "value added tax"), you know that taxes on purchases are as much of a disincentive as taxes on savings. Corpo-conservatives want you to think that investing creates most jobs. It doesn't. Consumer spending generates 70 percent of GDP. A high national sales tax--it would have to be big to replace taxes on savings and income--could plunge us into a depression.

There are, if you open your mind, other options. For example, a six percent tax on purchases of stocks, bonds and other securities would allow the complete elimination of individual income taxes: no more 1040s, no more H&R Block. Even the rich wouldn't have to pay. (Here's the math: in 2004 the feds collected $809 billion in individual income taxes. Transactions on the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites) alone totaled $12.6 trillion.) Investors wouldn't come out ahead until the value of their securities increased by at least six percent, but that's also true about real estate. The standard six percent broker's fee doesn't seem to hurt the housing market.

Or, given the rising disparity of wealth since 1975, we could restore the maximum 90 percent income tax on the wealthiest Americans. We had that during the 1950s, when the American century hit its zenith. We could hike taxes on corporations, and ban the creation of phony offshore headquarters whose sole purpose is the avoidance of taxes.

Rich or poor, corporate or individual, government will collect its revenues from whomever screams the least. The howls of the rich and powerful for a consumption tax have disproportionate influence upon our supposed elected representatives. But the rest of us can scream too--and there are a lot more of us.