- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Sensitivity training

A board member of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition says auto-racing organizations such as NASCAR are “the last bastion of white supremacy” in major sports, Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com.

Speaking Tuesday at the 32nd annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference in Chicago, Bill Shack said: “I want you to know that this is this last bastion of white supremacy in a particular sport. This is the last bastion.”

He made the comments at a workshop called “Motor Sports: Increasing Minority Participation.”

Ironically, NASCAR was a “platinum” sponsor of Mr. Jackson’s 2002 Rainbow/PUSH Coalition annual conference, and it reportedly has donated at least $250,000 to Mr. Jackson’s group in recent years. It was not clear whether NASCAR served as a sponsor of this year’s conference, the reporter said.

George Pyne, NASCAR’s chief operating officer, arrived at the workshop shortly after Mr. Shack’s diatribe against auto racing and told the workshop that NASCAR is reaching out to minorities.

Blair medal

The House agreed yesterday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, but Democratic lawmakers insisted on using the occasion to rehash the question of justifications for the U.S.-led war on Iraq, in which Britain played a major role.

The House resolution, passed by a voice vote, said Mr. Blair “has clearly demonstrated, during a very trying and historic time for our two countries, that he is a staunch and steadfast ally of the United States.”

Mr. Blair would be the first British leader to receive Congress’ most prestigious award since Winston Churchill was honored posthumously in 1969, the Associated Press reports. The Senate already has approved giving Mr. Blair the medal.

“There has probably been no British prime minister who has been there when America needs him more than Tony Blair,” said Rep. Peter King, New York Republican.

But several House lawmakers noted that Mr. Blair is under fire from the British Parliament over the accuracy of the intelligence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

With the medal, Congress was “perhaps trying to influence the outcome of some very serious investigations going on in Britain,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, a Washington Democrat who visited Iraq to meet with officials of Saddam Hussein’s government and voice his opposition to the war. “We are trying to prop up Mr. Blair.”

Liberal racism

“It would be hard to find a more appalling example of racial animus than in Maureen Dowd’s column [yesterday] morning,” Andrew Sullivan writes, referring to the New York Times columnist.

“For some reason I guess I do understand, Clarence Thomas isn’t just opposed by many on the Left; he is hated. He is hated because he is, in Dowd’s extraordinary formulation, guilty of ‘a great historical ingratitude.’ The good negroes, in Dowd’s liberal-racist world, are those grateful to their masses in the liberal hierarchy: they are grateful to Howell [Raines] and Gerald [Boyd] and Arthur [Sulzburger]; and they know their place. For them to express the psychological torment of being advanced for racist reasons, to explain in graphic, brave and bold terms the complexity of emotions many African-Americans feel as ‘beneficiaries’ of racial preferences, is unacceptable,” Mr. Sullivan said at his Web site, www.andrewsullivan.com.

“To describe such a person who has been courageous enough to put these feelings into a powerful dissent as ‘barking mad’ is nothing short of disgusting.”

Straight talk?

“Howard Dean has fashioned a reputation as the straightforward Democratic candidate for president. And the media has bought the idea,” Fred Barnes writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“Joe Klein writes in this week’s Time that Dean, the former Vermont governor, has already ‘won the Straight Talk primary.’ He did this chiefly by loudly and unequivocally opposing the war in Iraq while some of his Democratic rivals waffled.

“But the press is wrong about Dean. He appears to be no more straightforward or candid than most national politicians and less so than some. An hour-long grilling by Tim Russert on ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday should put to rest any notion of Dean’s unique straightforwardness. Instead, he waffled on numerous issues and made wild or false statements on others,” Mr. Barnes said.

“Would he vote for the Medicare bill with a prescription-drug benefit that is likely to pass Congress soon? Dean wouldn’t say. Is he still for a balanced-budget amendment? He said only that he’s ‘tempted’ to be for it. Should a gay marriage in Canada be recognized in the United States? He refused to give a responsive answer. Would he name the Democratic candidates who he said need a ‘backbone transplant’? No, he wouldn’t.

“At one point, Russert cited numbers from the Treasury Department on the impact of repealing all of President Bush’s tax cuts, as Dean has advocated. The numbers hadn’t been publicly released and were developed at Russert’s request. ‘I don’t believe them,’ Dean said. There was no indication Dean had studied Treasury’s analysis or its methodology. He merely dismissed the numbers out of hand. That may be straight talk, but only in the service of evading an issue.”

Bill’s audit idea

Former President Bill Clinton says he loves to pay taxes, and that all wealthy people such as himself should be automatically audited each year by the Internal Revenue Service.

“I must be the only person in America that every time — I pay the maximum tax rates — every time I sign that tax form, I smile. I thank God I live in a country that gave me a chance to make the money I do,” Mr. Clinton said.

He added: “I think they ought to audit me and everyone in my income group every year, because if I make a mistake, I actually think they can make some real money out of me and I want to pay what I owe.”

Mr. Clinton made the remarks during a keynote address to Jesse Jackson’s 32nd annual Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference in Chicago on Tuesday, Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com.

The eyes have it

“Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has settled on a fresh bright baby-blue hue for eyes in recent photoshoots and public appearances — a dramatic transformation from her natural hazel tint,” Matt Drudge writes at www.drudgereport.com.

“The former first lady opted for baby-blue eyes last month when she was captured exclusively for Time magazine,” Mr. Drudge said.

“The cover shot marks a dramatic departure from Clinton’s appearance during her Arkansas years.

“‘She started experimenting with different blazing-blue colors at the White House,’ an insider confided to the Drudge Report. ‘She even tried turquoise contact lenses once, but it was not a great look for her.’”

Lester’s revenge

Lots of politicians hate the media, but few could match the anti-press views of former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox.

Mr. Maddox, who died yesterday morning at age 87, insisted his record had been distorted by “the lying Atlanta newspapers.”

After Mr. Maddox won the 1966 Democratic primary for governor — then tantamount to election in the solidly Democratic South — the Atlanta Constitution warned, “Maddox is altogether unequipped by experience or knowledge to handle the duties of governor.”

Mr. Maddox did not forget. As governor, when he commissioned his official state portrait, he had the artist paint into the background a copy of the Atlanta Constitution — wrapped around a fish.

The painting still hangs in the state Capitol.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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