- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Bigotry on parade
Several members of Hawaii's American Civil Liberties Union have moved to block an invitation for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to participate in an upcoming conference because, as one of the dissenting members said, he is "an anti-Christ, a Hitler."
The event is the Davis-Levin First Amendment conference, which is held with the stated purpose of offering "pitched debates on constitutional issues" and administered by the Hawaii ACLU Board of Directors.
Justice Thomas was to have debated national ACLU President Nadine Strossen at an as-of-yet undecided time.
According to an article in the Honolulu Weekly written by the event's funding source and founder, Robert Rees, Justice Thomas' appearance was approved initially by a First Amendment Conference subcommittee, made up of three ACLU board members and three volunteers.
However, before the invitation could be extended, the subcommittee received objections from the three black members of the ACLU board.
Hawaii ACLU board member Daphne Barbee-Wooten said that "bringing Clarence Thomas sends a message that the Hawaii ACLU promotes and honors black Uncle Toms who turn their back on civil rights."
To bolster the case against Justice Thomas, his opponents presented a letter solicited from the members of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. "We are appalled at the thought that the ACLU of Hawaii may invite Justice Clarence Thomas to speak," the commission's letter stated.
The board voted 12-3 against inviting Justice Thomas during a meeting that included a barrage of personal insults aimed at the justice.
Mr. Rees told Steve Miller of The Washington Times yesterday that the meeting of the ACLU board turned into a "fit of political correctness."
"It was despicable to listen to these people," he said.
The Hawaii ACLU members were also derided by their national colleagues in New York. Miss Strossen has written a letter to the Hawaii chapter, urging it to reconsider.
A spokeswoman in the ACLU's New York office called the incident "unfortunate and embarrassing."
"We're now trying to reacquaint them with what the First Amendment means," she said.
Mr. Rees added that in light of the episode, he may withdraw his financial support of the event.

Hahn and Bush
Los Angeles Mayor-elect James K. Hahn joined President Bush aboard Air Force One for a flight Monday from Texas to the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Detroit.
Mr. Hahn said he spent about 40 minutes of the two-and-a-quarter-hour flight visiting with Mr. Bush, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"It was the first meeting between Los Angeles' mayor-elect and the president, kicking off a relationship with potentially wide-ranging impact on city residents," reporter James Gerstenzang writes.
"Outgoing Mayor Richard Riordan enjoyed a friendship and close working relationship with President Clinton, a connection that helped Riordan — and, to a lesser extent, Clinton — throughout his term. The Clinton administration, for instance, helped pay for Riordan's buildup of the Los Angeles Police Department and helped the city bounce back from the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
"Some local leaders have wondered whether Hahn and Bush could replicate that bond, in part because Bush has less incentive to court California — a state he badly lost last year — and in part because Hahn is a steadfast Democrat who has little in common politically with the nation's chief executive.
"Afterward, Hahn said the introductory meeting had gone well."


A Hollywood liberal
In the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction category: The writer-producer of the hit TV show "The West Wing," Hollywood's version of what a liberal White House should look like, has circumvented a new union contract that would have given his writers a raise. And, yes, the union buster in question is the head of the Writer's Guild team that negotiated the pay raise.
Got that?
John Wells, president of the West Coast branch of the Writers Guild, led the union team in tense contract talks with the television networks and film studios. A strike was narrowly averted.
But Mr. Wells, executive producer of the NBC political drama, turned around and told the show's writers that their contracts would not be renewed unless they accepted the same money they had been getting before — about $20,000 less than that negotiated by their union. The writers could have protested to the Writers Guild, but then again, Mr. Wells ran that, too.
Dee Dee Myers, presidential press secretary in the Clinton administration and a consultant to the program, managed to hold on to her $250-an-episode raise, but only after "several phone calls from her agent," the New York Times reports.
"It was all very strange," she told reporter Bernard Weinraub.

Nader's riposte
Ralph Nader, ostracized by liberals who blame his Green Party presidential candidacy for sinking Al Gore last year, refuses to back down. He calls his former friends "cowardly liberals. Well-intentioned, cowardly liberals," Mother Jones magazine reports.
However, Mr. Nader has asked Marcus Raskin of the Institute for Policy Studies to act as a peacemaker, the magazine said.
Critics of Mr. Nader say he first must promise not to run Green candidates against Democrats in next year's House elections. No way, Mr. Nader says, sending this message to Democrats: "You better shape up or you're gonna lose."

Cuomo vs. McCall
Former federal housing Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo and New York state Comptroller Carl McCall, both Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls, ignored pleas for Democratic unity and proceeded to harshly criticize each other Monday.
Mr. Cuomo, speaking at a state broadcasters association conference, said Mr. McCall was hardly the man to investigate Republican Gov. George E. Pataki's supposed use of publicly funded advertisements for self-promotion, the New York Post reports.
"It's too little, too late," Mr. Cuomo said of the McCall probe. He accused Mr. McCall of hypocrisy because the comptroller had appeared with Mr. Pataki last year in a television ad promoting a tax-exempt college-tuition investment program.
Mr. McCall, at a press conference, fired back, saying Mr. Cuomo had wasted $200 million in federal housing funds on failed economic projects upstate.
"If you are the head of an agency and you initiated policies at the agency that were terrible failures, I don't know who else would be to blame," Mr. McCall said.

Reno's strategy
Former Attorney General Janet Reno, sounding more and more like a Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, gave an indication Monday how she would campaign against incumbent Republican Gov. Jeb Bush: lambaste him for cutting taxes.
Speaking at a middle school, Miss Reno, without mentioning Mr. Bush's name, criticized him for cutting taxes in a tight budget year, the Miami Herald reports.
"The Democratic Party has never left anyone out, and we should not let that happen now," she said.

A Clinton legacy
President Clinton's veto last year of language prohibiting the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing a water-management plan on the Missouri River "was far more damaging than first believed," UPI reports in its "Capital Comment" column, citing anonymous Missouri politicians.
"They say it cost Gore the state's 11 electoral votes and helped Republican Sam Graves to win a congressional seat held by the Democrats because it turned out in force the state's rural and agricultural voters," the wire service said.

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