- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2003

Longing for Yogi

Disney’s new animated feature “Brother Bear” is following in the anti-hunting footsteps of “Bambi” as it hits theaters in time for the holidays — and hunting season.

So charges the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, which says “Brother Bear” (we haven’t seen the flick) is about a young Indian hunter, Kenai, who is transformed into a bear. Soon, Kenai becomes the adoptive father of a cub, only to find that another hunter — like he once was — is stalking the animal.

“In sportsmen’s eyes, the Disney flick could not come at a poorer time,” says the alliance, which is preparing for campaigns in Maine and Alaska “to protect bear hunting from anti-hunting attacks that promise to be on the 2004 ballot.”

Meanwhile, the alliance says that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has “gone overboard” by modifying a film poster from the Disney blockbuster “Finding Nemo” to promote its anti-fishing campaign.

Disney’s cartoon fish, Nemo and Marlin, appear on PETA’s Web site and leaflets that read, “Fish are friends, not food!”

Wooing Indian voters

We wrote yesterday about the “religious left” rallying blacks to register to vote in the 2004 presidential election.

Now we learn that the Democratic Party has embarked on an effort to encourage American Indians to use their votes as a means to make change within their communities.

In states that have a significant Indian population where Senate races will be on the ballots in 2004 — South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Oklahoma and Washington — the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, through its Native Vote 2004 initiative, is pledging to provide funds and education to the American Indian populations.

One of DSCC’s poster boys is Sen. Tim Johnson, South Dakota Democrat, who was re-elected in 2002 by only 528 votes. The senator credits voter turnout on the nine reservations in his state for his victory.

“Too many elected officials are virtually indifferent to questions of tribal sovereignty, treaty and trust obligations because they don’t fear or respect the native vote,” says Mr. Johnson, co-chairman of the DSCC Native Vote 2004. “They don’t think the native population will turn out in any significant numbers. We have to change that.”

Arnold’s advisers

Congress has passed a resolution honoring Sargent Shriver for his years of military and public service, especially as an ambassador for the poor and powerless of America.

It was back in 1961 that the Kennedy in-law organized the Peace Corps, and he didn’t stop there. Later, during President Johnson’s administration, he helped establish Head Start, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), Community Action, Job Corps, Legal Services, Foster Grandparents, Indian and Migrant Opportunities and Neighborhood Health Services.

Later, Mr. Johnson appointed Mr. Shriver ambassador to France.

In 1972, he was picked to be the Democratic vice presidential running mate of South Dakota Sen. George McGovern, although that’s not to say that Mr. Shriver doesn’t support a Republican every now and then.

In fact, you might say the chairman of the board emeritus of Special Olympics and wife Eunice Kennedy Shriver, President John F. Kennedy’s sister, are unpaid advisers to their Republican son-in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the newly crowned governor of California.

“He [Mr. Schwarzenegger] has been committed to people all his life,” Mrs. Shriver offers as her excuse.

Still touring

As we all heard after President Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq, President Clinton never visited Haiti after he deployed U.S. troops there.

But his former Health and Human Services secretary, we learn, has recently helicoptered to Haiti’s central plateau.

University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala last week toured health clinics on the island, explaining that as HHS secretary she visited many countries, but never Haiti. She was accompanied by a U.N. delegation that is looking to establish medical partnerships with the needy nation, one of the poorest countries in the world, particularly to help combat AIDS.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.