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First, do no harm. Then check the diagnosis. Joanne Doroshow of the Center for Justice & Democracy calls the American Medical Association "a shameful organization that has chosen to lie down with a profiteering industry instead of protecting patients. The AMA and state medical societies have created a 'crisis' atmosphere in many states [including Illinois] by encouraging doctors to strike until caps [on doctors' liability] are enacted." Writing for TomPaine.com (June 19), she bolsters her case with a study issued by the independent financial-ratings agency Weiss Ratings on June 2, which found that "over the last decade, states with caps on non-economic damage awards saw doctors' malpractice insurance premiums rise faster than in states without caps....Weiss's conclusions are consistent with those of every credible, independent body which has studied this issue, finding that interest rates, the economy and the economic cycle of the insurance industry are the cause of severe sudden rate hikes for doctors, which happen periodically irrespective of legal limits imposed in a particular state."

"Chicago's mix of high-stakes testing and retention has proven to be an expensive failure that has harmed tens of thousands of students, not the national model touted by its proponents," writes Donald Moore of Designs for Change in the "FairTest Examiner" (Winter-Spring). Research shows that students held back "achieved no better than students who were 'socially promoted' before 1997." Nor has the threat of retention motivated more study. "The number of students sent to summer school in 2002 rose sharply, and 13,000 students were retained after the test-prep session, nearly double the number retained the previous summer. School district officials have refused to explain the reasons for this alarming increase, which runs counter to their faith in the motivating power of retention."

Your T-shirt from Uganda? "In April 2003, Kampala factories sent the United States over 88,000 shirts, dresses and pants--about 30 times the total for the '90s," reports the Progressive Policy Institute in a June 18 release. "Eliminating tariffs on these goods [through the African Growth and Opportunity Act] has helped Africa's clothing exports jump from $600 million in 1999 to $1.1 billion in 2002, and perhaps $1.4 billion this year."

Maybe this will help you remember what the American Enterprise Institute is all about. Michael Ledeen, holder of the Freedom Chair at AEI, quoted in Sam Smith's "Undernews Extra" (May 5): "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."

"Despite the rapid growth in minority suburban population, segregation levels held essentially steady during the 1990s" in Chicago, writes Guy Stuart of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in the 2003 "Taubman Center Report." "In incorporated suburbs, the segregation index for African Americans in relation to non-Latino whites was 73 in 1990 and 71 in 2000. For Latinos the scores were 42 and 49, respectively. School district data produce similar results. For children under the age of 18, the segregation index in all suburbs for African Americans in relation to non-Latino whites was 68 in both 1990 and 2000. For Latinos and non-Latino whites, the scores were 46 and 50, respectively."

Resistance is useless. You will be assimilated. "Unions continue to throw substantial money at organizing," according to the July issue of "Client Alert," newsletter of the suburban law firm Wessels & Pautsch. "But, their attempts are futile....Their support routinely vanishes in the face of a sophisticated counter organizing effort. Here, at W&P, we are on an incredibly long winning streak in NLRB [National Labor Relations Board] campaigns. Indeed, our usual result is that the union withdraws their petition before the election. A sophisticated campaign means a well-thought out strategy, an education program for both supervisors and voters, small group meetings, videos and posters. Posters typically will be changed daily." But the management attorneys seem to lack faith in their own message, since they conclude, "It does not hurt at all to have the Republicans in control of the NLRB!"

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