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Let's reform tarts, not torts 

To gouge you, insurance companies lie about medical malpractice lawsuits

The wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

What's all of this fuss I hear about tart reform? Simply ridiculous, I say. How in the world can we expect the Georgia Assembly to reform all the brazen little tarts in this state?

Still, tart reform must be a good idea since it's being pushed by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. That sure surprised me. I sorta thought the chamber liked tarts -- after all, those escort babes really help pump (so to speak) cash into the convention and tourism biz.

But now just about every lovin' soul wants tart reform. Gubner Sonny "Just Call Me Big Buddy" Perdue wants fewer tarts around. Senate President Pro Tem Eric Johnson says ditto. Shucks, just about everyone is against tarts except for lawyers, and I'm not one bit surprised to find them in bed (ahem!) with battalions of trollops.

Why, I even heard President Bush on TV last week saying he was going to chase tarts out of hospitals, which would be one of the last places I'd expect to find a hussy shaking her tush. But I'm sure not going to question the president. If he says there are too many tarts in hospitals or that Saddam has Big Nasties or that a tax cut for incredibly rich people is good for me, it must be true. It's well known that only people who hate America question the president.

So I think Mayor Shirley Franklin should dispatch her cops right over to Grady Memorial and get all of the tarts out of the intensive care wards and wherever else they're hiding. Let's face it, without tart reform, all of those sexy little cuties in hospitals will cause an epidemic of old codgers falling out of their wheelchairs with coronaries.

I mean, think of all the tarts in Georgia. There are tarts walking up and down Peachtree Street. And tarts in the bars. And I was over at the University of Georgia the other day, and, oh my goodness, but there was a tart-ette every two feet. It was horrible, horrible I tell you.

The Chamber says the number of tarts has reached catastrophic levels. Georgia is tarted up to the max. We need reform!

And the Chamber is every bit as truthful as George Bush, right?

Here's what I think. All of this excitement over tart reform must have something to do with the Georgia Supreme Court declaring a few days ago that it is our constitutional right to fornicate our brains out.

I was so shocked by that, I talked to my deep throat over at the Assembly, Sen. Bubba "Billy Bob" Rube, R-Greenteeth, who had just returned from a rally in support of his bill that would require each Georgian to have the Confederate flag tattooed on his or her forehead. He was rushing to another demonstration -- an anti-abortion shindig sponsored by Fanatic Ladies Against Women (FLAW) -- but he took time to tell me that he was mighty relieved by the court's decision.

"Well, now, I'd always figgered that screwing the taxpayers was just as legal as puttin' cream on peaches," Sen. Rube said. "There weren't no way I could get hitched to ever person I poked, legislatively speaking. Now them justices say I was pertected by the Constitution. Praise be."

Pardon me, Sen. Rube, but I've got to take this phone call from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. "Hi, guys, whuzup? Bought any good legislators today? ... Uh-huh. ... You're kidding me. Well, darn and double-darn."

You know what, those Chamber boys say it isn't tart reform. They say it's tort reform.

So, never mind.

You're going to hear a lot of fuss about tort reform in the next few weeks. The Georgia Chamber, Republican legislators, insurance companies and doctors are going to try to scare the bejesus out of you. You're going to be told women won't be able to find doctors to deliver babies. Hospitals will be forced to close. Health insurance rates will skyrocket.

When you turn on the tube, you're even going to witness Bush reading the same script -- as he did last week in Pennsylvania when he claimed: "The problem of those unnecessary [medical] costs isn't in the waiting room or the operating room -- they're in the courtroom. Everybody's suing, it seems like."

The villains, the arch-enemies of all that's good, holy and righteous are the lawyers, according to the Republicans. The attorneys (this is pretty shocking, so you may want to sit down and have a drink or 12 before reading further) actually (pardon the obscene next two words) collect fees. Gasp.

The only solution, you'll be told, is tort reform. Or, since the Chamber and the flacks for the insurance and medical industries have been working overtime to find the just-right ultra-deceitful spin, the new name is "civil justice reform." Even journalists, such as those at the Atlanta Business Chronicle have bought into that bit of doublethink.

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