- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 26, 2000

Cheney to lead search

Texas Gov. George W. Bush yesterday named former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney to head his vice-presidential search committee.
"I'm honored he would take the time to oversee this important effort," Mr. Bush said in a prepared statement. "He brings enormous experience and enormous integrity. The most important criteria is to pick someone who can serve as president of the United States."
Mr. Cheney, for his part, said: "Fortunately, there are many good candidates to choose from in our party. We will look at them all. And we will make sure we have the best ticket possible this fall."

A tangled web

"Andrew Cuomo has a problem: How to keep both Vice President Al Gore and New York State Liberal Party Chairman Ray Harding happy," according to the "Off the Record" column in the New York Post.
"Harding wants to run Gore on the Liberal line this fall. But he also wants to support Rudy Giuliani for senator and having those two on the same ballot line won't make the folks working for [first lady] Hillary Rodham Clinton very happy.
"HUD Secretary Cuomo whose father, Mario, served three terms as governor with Liberal backing is the liaison between the Gore folks and Harding, with whom he's in regular contact.
"There's another factor at work: Cuomo also wants to be governor. And word is that Harding currently is leaning his way over state Comptroller Carl McCall who's trying to forestall a Cuomo candidacy by locking up key endorsements way ahead of the 2002 race.
"Key Democrats including McCall have called on Gore to drop the Liberals if they endorse Rudy. But Harding doesn't want the embarrassment of running this fall without a presidential candidate at the top of the ballot. Yet if Gore runs with Rudy at Hillary's expense local Dems will not be pleased."

Waxing poetic

New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani unveiled a life-size wax figure of himself yesterday in front of the future 42nd Street branch of Madame Tussaud's wax museum in London.
The figure, which will be one of many New York icons, world leaders, historical figures and celebrities at the 85,000-square-foot museum opening in the fall, was so lifelike that the mayor appeared taken aback, Reuters reports.
"Maybe, I can have him sit in City Hall and you won't know the difference," he quipped to reporters at the unveiling.
"This guy can go around campaigning. They might like him better. He seems to smile more," said the Republican mayor, who is running for the U.S. Senate against first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"I'm telling you, we're going to double our fund raising. We're going to send this guy," said the mayor.
Mr. Giuliani said the smiling wax figure, dressed in a navy-blue suit, white shirt, red tie and black brogues, was better-looking than the live version.
"I think he looks better than me. I think they made it like a flattering version," said Mr. Giuliani, who was likewise dressed in a blue suit, white shirt, red tie and black brogues.
To have the portrait made, the mayor sat for three hours for the artists and had numerous pictures and measurements of his face and head taken.

Diplomatic assault

"The storming of Elian Gonzalez's house by gun-toting federal agents wasn't the only incident of brutality by those eager to deport the boy to communist Cuba. Eight days earlier, as we held a peaceful vigil for Elian on a Washington sidewalk, 10 to 15 men emerged from the Cuban Interests Section and attacked us," Brigida and Jorge Benitez write in the Wall Street Journal.
Mrs. Benitez is a Washington lawyer; Mr. Benitez is a doctoral candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy who has worked at the Pentagon's Office of NATO policy.
"According to the official police report filed by uniformed Secret Service officers who witnessed the incident, 'Cuban employees of the mission came out and began to assault the demonstrators on the front sidewalk.' These assailants are the very same Cuban officials who have been the daily companions of Elian's father and into whose custody the Justice Department would deliver helpless Elian," the writers said.
"One week after this physical assault by foreign 'diplomats' on Americans exercising their constitutional rights, no arrests have been made. Instead of holding the suspects for questioning, federal law-enforcement officials simply let them return to their compound.
"Had the assailants been held for questioning, we would know their identities and whether they have diplomatic immunity. If they do, then the State Department could expel them from the country. If not, then they could be prosecuted under American law. To no one's surprise, once the suspects were allowed to enter the Cuban Interests Section, Havana's diplomats refused to identify them."

A lawless act

"Under the Constitution, it is axiomatic that the executive branch has no unilateral authority to enter people's homes forcibly to remove innocent individuals without taking the time to seek a warrant or other order from a judge or magistrate (absent the most extraordinary need to act). Not only the Fourth Amendment, but also well-established constitutional principles of family privacy require that the disinterested judiciary test the correctness of the executive branch's claimed right to enter and seize," writes Laurence H. Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard, referring to the government capture of Elian Gonzalez.
"The Justice Department points out that the agents who stormed the Miami home were armed not only with guns, but with a search warrant. But it was not a warrant to seize the child. Elian was not lost, and it is a semantic slight of hand to compare his forcible removal to the seizure of evidence, which is what a search warrant is for," Mr. Tribe said in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
Attorney General Janet Reno's decision "to take the law as well as the child into her own hands seems worse than a political blunder," Mr. Tribe said. "Even if well-intended, her decision strikes at the heart of constitutional government and shakes the safeguards of liberty."

By the numbers

Black youth are 15 percent of the population under 18, but comprise one-third of youth referred to, formally processed by and convicted in juvenile court, according to a report spotlighted by civil rights groups, which blamed the discrepancy on racism.
Blacks also account for 40 percent of the youths sent to adult courts and 58 percent of the youths sent to adult prison, said the report, "And Justice For Some." The Urban League and other civil rights groups joined in its release yesterday, the Associated Press reports.
The National Council on Crime and Delinquency, a criminal justice think tank, did the research, using data from state and federal arrest records, juvenile court actions, detention, waivers to adult court and incarceration.
A black youth is six times more likely to be locked up than a white peer, even when charged with a similar crime and when neither has a prior record, the report said.
Critics say the skewed numbers could mean simply that black teens and children are committing more crimes or more serious crimes. Researchers admit determining that is "much more complicated."

More ads, please

A Generation X group wants more of what many Americans hate most about politics: campaign ads.
In reaching for viewers most likely to vote, campaigns advertise during programs with a disproportionately older audience, according to a study released yesterday that documents a widely used strategy. That leaves some younger people without information that's easily available to older viewers.
The research was sponsored by Third Millennium, an advocacy group for Generation Xers generally, people in their 20s to early 30s.
Third Millennium acknowledges that if young people want more information about politics, all they have to do is pick up a newspaper, turn on a news show or surf the Internet. The group also allows that political ads, derided by many as shallow and manipulative, are not necessarily the best source of information, the Associated Press reports.
Still, the group argues, these ads are an important part of politics

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