This Week

"This Week" Continued...

Issue: "38,000,000 Children Killed," Jan. 16, 1999

Kinder, gentler?

Is tax reform for real or is it just another way to protect Leviathan on the Potomac from an outright tax revolt? Some recent IRS changes can be considered cosmetic. People can now make checks payable to the U.S. Treasury instead of the IRS. There are new 24-hour help telephone lines and problem-solving days at local IRS offices. And taxpayers can pay taxes with credit cards (for an additional fee). But others are more substantial: Beginning on Jan. 19, the IRS must obtain a court order to seize a taxpayer's main residence. Also, many parents can claim a $400 credit for each child. Education credits are available for the first two years of college, subject to certain income limits. Many student loan interest payments and health insurance premiums are also deductible.

The show must go on

Christian pop star Amy Grant and husband Gary Chapman are separating after 16 years of marriage. They have three children. "Gary Chapman and Amy Grant regretfully announce their separation after sixteen years of marriage," read a statement from their managers at Blanton/Harrell Entertainment. "They both ask for your prayers during this sad time and hope that you would respect their privacy." The statement contained no details about church involvement or accountability. Her Christian label, Myrrh, plans to stand by its woman. "She was originally a Myrrh artist, she's still a Myrrh artist, and she will remain a Myrrh artist," Word Entertainment president Roland Lundy told Nashville's Tennessean.

Bumps on the campaign trail

The hats are flying. Following Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's lead, Vice President Al Gore, former Republican cabinet secretary Elizabeth Dole, and Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.) all tossed their exploratory hats into the primary ring-and Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) picked his up. The smart money says the Republican and Democratic party machines will push Mr. Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush to their nominations, but the future is not certain. If President Clinton stays in office, the field will be open on both sides. Besides Mr. Gore, potential Democrat contenders include House minority leader Dick Gephardt, ex-Sen. Bill Bradley, Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, and liberal activist Jesse Jackson. The Republican crowd of hopefuls also includes former Vice President Dan Quayle, conservative activist Gary Bauer, Gov. Bush, journalist Pat Buchanan, publisher Steve Forbes, Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. John Kasich of Ohio, New York Gov. George Pataki, ex-Gov. Pete Wilson of California, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and ex-cabinet secretary Jack Kemp. Elizabeth Dole is a strange case, especially since her husband was soundly defeated in 1996. Her political views are vague, especially on abortion. Mrs. Dole served as transportation secretary for President Reagan and labor secretary for President Bush-and is most known for the "Dole light," that taillight in the back window of recent cars. Some wonder if she plans to be the VP nominee in the campaign of Mr. Bush, the party establishment's favorite. Sen. John Ashcroft's departure comes after he spent over a year building up to a conservative bid for the White House. His advisers worried about whether he could raise enough money for a presidential campaign. His decision to focus on re-election to the Senate left many social conservatives in the lurch. "The social conservative movement had gravitated toward Ashcroft and there was not an easy second choice," said Michael Farris, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. "There's a lot of head-scratching about what to do next."

Backlash time?

Questions about U.S. and British airstrikes against Iraq will top the agenda when Arab leaders meet in Egypt on Jan. 24. Unlike the coalition of Arab world leaders who cheered Operation Desert Storm, regional heads of state have been cautious to near silent since the U.S.-led airstrikes that began on Dec. 20. Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz of Turkey, where U.S. and British warplanes patrolling Iraq's no-fly zone are based, last week acknowledged that the Western powers had "permission and support" of Turkey to continue the operation. Egypt and Saudi Arabia pressed to postpone the Arab League meeting, originally scheduled for late December, after it became apparent that several member states, chiefly Yemen and United Arab Emirates, might be sympathetic to Iraq. UNSCOM, the embattled UN weapons inspection team for Iraq, came under fire from two American newspapers. The Washington Post and Boston Globe, in separately prepared reports, said the weapons inspectors helped collect intelligence used in U.S. efforts to undermine Saddam Hussein. The reports said U.S. agents eavesdropped on communications between elite military units responsible for Mr. Hussein's security. The reports said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan knew of the spying. Both Mr. Annan and UNSCOM head Richard Butler denied the reports. U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone in southern Iraq fired missiles at several Iraqi jet fighters in two separate incidents.

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