Jewish World Review May 31, 2002 / 20 Sivan, 5762

Peter Roff

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Consumer Reports

Capital Comment | (UPI) We'll be having a Rand old time -- The Objectivist Center, a think tank devoted to the study of public policy through the philosophical prism developed by the late Ayn Rand, is celebrating the opening of its new Washington office June 8. Ed Hudgins, the former Cato Institute scholar, heads up the effort. The soiree will be held at the Phoenix Park Hotel on June 5 and will feature remarks from Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Competitive Enterprise Institute President Fred Smith, among others. Rand, it will be recalled, penned "Atlas Shrugged" and other books celebrating the value of human freedom in many affairs.

Support your local fed -- Efforts within the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel to give local law enforcement officials the "inherent authority" to enforce federal immigrations laws is drawing fire from civil liberties groups and those favoring limited government intrusion. The expected legal opinion will recognize that states and localities may enforce civil violations of federal immigration laws, reversing a 1996 Justice Department opinion that held the law expressly precluded such efforts. The groups who stand in opposition to the move fear this is the first gradual step toward the essential federalization of local law enforcement and they are circulating a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft asking him to block any efforts to expand federal power in that direction.

Ricky, don't lose that number -- The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, a leading new economy trade association, is weighing in on the proposed report to Congress on the costs and benefits of federal regulations. The group has filed comments with the Office of Management and Budget regarding the draft report, the creation of which was required by the Regulatory Right-to-Know Act. "Wireless is a fiercely competitive industry, and that competition has accomplished more innovation and consumer value than the heavy hand of government could," CTIA President Tom Wheeler says. "The wireless industry has long faced regulations ranging from the redundant to the ridiculous," he said. Of primary concern to the group is the ability of wireless users to keep their numbers as they move from service to service, which CTIA points to "as one obvious mandate that deserves a cost-benefit analysis."

We don't get it -- The Washington Post and its Reliable Source columnist Lloyd Grove are the subject of a campaign being led by a left wing media-watch Web site, which is accusing the Post of being part of "the right-wing smear machine."

In his May 23 column, Grove passed along a story broken by Matt Drudge alleging that author David Brock, while "toiling to finish his controversial book ... suffered a 'breakdown' and spent several days in Sibley Hospital's psychiatric ward." While Brock did not respond to Grove's efforts to confirm The Drudge Report account, the Web site, MediaWhoresOnline, went on the attack -- calling the item an example of "The right-wing smear machine, with the help of its reliable tool, the Washington Post, employing a tactic directly out of the Soviet Union: filthy, cowardly, and contemptible." The site goes on to compare the Grove/Drudge treatment of Brock to the experience of dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who was once imprisoned in a Soviet mental institution as part of the Communist government's effort to discredit him. MediaWhoresOnline is asking readers to deluge Grove -- as well as some Post editors and executives -- with e-mail complaining about the story.

In the spirit of Edison -- The 2002 Inventor of the Year Award, bestowed by the Intellectual Property Owners Association for inventions that have been patented or first marketed in the past four years, is being given to the 10 scientists who invented the lifesaving drug Xigris(tm), a groundbreaking biotech medicine for adults with life-threatening severe sepsis, which strikes close to 750,000 Americans each year. Of those, according to a study in the journal Critical Care Medicine, about 215,000 die -- five times more than are killed annually in car accidents. The nation's most prestigious award for breakthrough inventions, past winners include Paul Macready for the "Gossamer Condor," a human-powered flying device; Robert Jarvik for the Jarvik Seven Artificial Heart; James L. Fergason for liquid crystal displays; and Amar G. Bose for a folded waveguide loudspeaker system.

The estate debate -- Americans for a Fair Estate Tax, a non-partisan coalition of non-profit organizations fighting repeal of the death tax, says taxpayers "may be stuck paying $850 billion in taxes normally paid by the super-wealthy" if the Gramm/Kyl anti-death tax legislation currently before the Senate becomes law. AFET spokesman Chuck Collins says, "Instead of this large handout to a small handful of multi-millionaires at the expense of most Americans, we favor common-sense estate tax reform that would protect family farms, small businesses and average taxpayers -- without a costly repeal that would leave most Americans holding the bag." Collins' organization, Responsible Wealth, is a group of business owners and wealthy Americans who organized last year's statement against repeal of the death tax that was signed by Bill Gates Sr., Warren Buffett and 1,100 other people whose estate's would have to pay tremendous sums to the U.S. government were it not for the many accountants, estate planners and lawyers they can afford to hire to avoid paying it.

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