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Open Gate

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A female caller to C-Span admitted Tuesday that she approached an illegal alien living in her state of Georgia and called him a "wetback" [-] an offensive term for a person of Mexican descent.

She said the alien shot back: "I'm not a wetback, I walked across the border."


Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price of Georgia says the decision by former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to withdraw his nomination to become Health and Human Services secretary "provides a glimmer of hope" -- and not because of Mr. Daschle's overlooked taxes.

"While the fact that he failed to pay his taxes is completely unacceptable, the greater danger of Mr. Daschle's nomination was his intent to create a national government-run health care system," says Mr. Price, who was an orthopaedic surgeon before coming to Capitol Hill.

After nearly 20 years in private practice, he headed the orthopedic clinic at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, teaching resident doctors in training.


The call for a "White House Farmer" was first made by Michael Pollan, the Knight Professor of Journalism at the University of California Berkeley and author of "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto."

There's a White House chef, he figures, so why not a White House farmer?

Spurred by Mr. Pollan's proposal, published last October in the New York Times Magazine, the Internet site "White House Farmer" was launched by the Brockmans, a farm family in central Illinois. It proposes transforming "five prime south-facing acres of the White House lawn" and planting an "organic fruit and vegetable garden" for harvesting by the White House chef and area food banks.

Bountiful crops worthy of a president's table don't grow by themselves, so for three months the site accepted White House farmer nominations (56,000 were submitted) from all 50 states and the District, followed by 10 days of polling that ended Jan. 31.

The top three vote-getters: Claire Strader of Troy Community Farm in Madison, Wisc.; Carrie Anne Little of Mother Earth Farm in Puyallup, Wash.; and Margaret Lloyd of Home Farming in Davis, Calif.

As for plowing the lush green White House South Lawn, Ms. Strader and Ms. Little said jointly they would be "thrilled by the possibility of converting a portion of the lovely White House lawn into a lively vegetable farm. As vegetable, fruit, and flower growers, we know that a well-managed organic farm can be at least as beautiful as a lawn and certainly more engaging, productive, and inspirational."

Farmer Lloyd adds: "By raising food at the White House, President Obama's promise of change can include the most fundamental thing to Americans: the food they eat."

Hmmm. It was just announced that "local food" chef Sam Kass, who cooked for the Obamas in Chicago, has joined the first family at the White House, working alongside executive chef Cristeta Comerford.


Step aside Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey and make room for famed pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson and Oscar winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr.

Washington malpractice lawyer Jack Olender was among invited guests who attended Monday night's world premiere of "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story," and says the similarities between the doctor and actor are "truly amazing."

"You could believe it was Carson's soft, gentle, reassuring voice coming out of Cuba Gooding's mouth," says Mr. Olender.

Both the doctor and actor attended the TNT network screening on the Johns Hopkins' medical campus and spoke to a full house that included doctors and nurses. "The purpose of the movie was ... to inspire," Dr. Carson pointed out.

Mr. Olender gives the performance "four stars," and says "have Kleenex handy."


Producer Norman Lear has commissioned a song to motivate people to volunteer in their communities and become "born again" in the patriotic sense.

The "Born Again American" song features ordinary Americans performing before 14 iconic landmarks from the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge, encouraging citizens to pledge themselves to be "their country's keeper" through higher leves of service and civic engagement.

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