- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2003

No stealing, please

In a fit of bipartisan unity, the Senate Rules Committee agreed yesterday to bar its members from stealing.

Senate Resolution 178 seeks “to prohibit members of the Senate and other persons from removing art and historic objects from the Senate wing of the Capitol and Senate office buildings for personal use.”

Even among senators, the need for such legislation took some by surprise — or, at least, feigned surprise.

After voting in favor of the measure, Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, and Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican, asked how rampant the problem of stealing is.

“Well, they’re not supposed to, but there has been a record established over about 150 years as best we can affirm,” answered Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican and committee chairman.

In addition to art and historic objects, the resolution would specifically bar senators from stealing exhibits and furniture.

“Over the years, they’ve taken everything,” Mr. Lott said. “It just leaves.”

Poor choice of words

As has been widely reported, presidential candidate Howard Dean’s son, Paul, was charged with aiding in the stealing of liquor at the Burlington, Vt., country club last week. So reporters may have had a hard time believing their ears when Mr. Dean was asked Monday how he would win support of Democratic Party leaders given his frequent criticism of them.

Mr. Dean responded that the leaders would come around once they got to know him.

“It is a bit of a club down there,” he said. “The Democratic Party, all the candidates from Washington, they all know each other. They all move in the same circles, and what I’m doing is breaking into the country club.”

Paul Dean is accused of driving the car while three friends broke into an outbuilding at the country club to steal beer, the Associated Press reports.

On Monday, Mr. Dean winced when he heard his own words.

“That was an incredibly unfortunate phrase,” he said.

“Why do I say these things?” Mr. Dean asked a press aide.

Report card

The League of Conservation Voters gave President Bush an “F” for his performance on environmental issues in its yearly score card released yesterday.

“Bush’s dismal Report Card is dominated by a disturbing trend: Time after time, Bush favors corporate interests over the public’s interest in a clean, safe and healthy environment,” said league President Deb Callahan.

“President Bush is well on his way to compiling the worst environmental record of any president in the history of our nation,” she said.

The league describes itself as the “leading, nonpartisan political voice of the national environmental movement,” but critics say it’s a front for the Democratic Party and is led by a former Al Gore staffer.

Chuck Cushman, executive director of the American Land Rights Association, said extreme partisan rhetoric should be put aside to focus on “science instead of sensationalism, results instead of rhetoric and balance instead of extremism.”

“As Ronald Reagan once said, protecting the environment should not be a conservative nor a liberal cause but a common-sense endeavor,” Mr. Cushman said.

“Unfortunately, radical environmentalists and their scare tactics have halted efforts to improve and update environmental laws that don’t work. The Endangered Species Act, for example, has not actually recovered a single species since its inception in 1973. We can do better.”

Fair and balanced

When the New York Times found that an Environmental Protection Agency report had gloomy global-warming paragraphs taken out, the networks packaged liberalism “as the essence of nonpartisanship, idealism, sound science, the public interest, and the well-being of small children and bunnies,” the Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“The conservative perspective was, naturally, the opposite: partisan, unscientific, cynical, bought and paid for by arrogant corporate polluters. It’s all in a night’s work of fairness and balance,” Mr. Bozell said.

ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and CNBC all piled on in their Friday-night news programs. But perhaps the worst malefactor, the center’s Brent Baker found, was CNN’s Aaron Brown, who, incredibly, compared global-warming skeptics to flat-Earthers. Mr. Brown, to make his point, told the story of how Galileo got into big trouble for proclaiming the Earth was round. Mr. Brown was wrong. Galileo was convicted of religious heresy for saying the Earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa.

Mayor cleared

The Michigan attorney general said yesterday that he would not bring charges in an investigation of reported misconduct by Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his security staff.

“The task was simple: Do we have evidence of crimes being committed? The answer is ‘no,’” Attorney General Mike Cox said.

Mr. Kilpatrick has been dogged for much of his 17-month tenure by complaints about his large security detail and his decision to give city jobs to friends and relatives, the Associated Press reports.

He came under scrutiny after a deputy police chief charged that the mayor fired him May 9 for investigating reports of drunken driving, falsified overtime records and a cover-up by two of the security detail’s 20 members.

The fired deputy, Gary Brown, said he also was looking into a report that a wild party was held last year at the mayor’s mansion at which there was nude dancing and an assault that was concealed from police. The mayor denied that such a party took place.

“Over 50 different witnesses who presumably were in a position to know about such an incident were directly asked about the alleged party,” Mr. Cox said. “Not one witness had any direct or indirect credible knowledge of such an event.”

Save the children

Hollywood celebrities led by actor and director Tim Robbins called on California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis not to slash funding for public arts programs, saying children would suffer most and that the money would scarcely make a dent in closing the state’s $38.2 billion budget deficit.

The celebrities, joined by entertainment executives, arts advocates and a Los Angeles school board member, presented a letter urging Mr. Davis to reconsider his proposed 73 percent cut in funding for programs in visual art, theater, film, dance, music, literature and arts in education, the Associated Press reports.

“For the state to remove financing from arts organizations is going to be disastrous,” Mr. Robbins said at a news conference Monday at the Actors’ Gang Theater in Hollywood.

“You should make a connection between this cutting of arts programs and the fact that the people that are going to suffer most from it are going to be children,” Mr. Robbins said.

Actress Fran Drescher also spoke at the event. The group had 46 signatures as of Monday, including actress Angelica Huston, “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin, and actors Michael York, Elliott Gould and Jimmy Smits.

Landlocked

“Overworked New Democrats aren’t going to like this one: The New Republic just canceled its debut cruise in the Caribbean,” Erik Wemple writes in the Washington City Paper.

“The counterintuitively centrist opinion mag had been running full-page ads promoting an October tour on the deluxe Holland America cruise liner Zaandam with ports of call including Mexico, Jamaica and the Bahamas. The pitches tempted brainy readers by offering the company of six New Republic staffers prepped to give seminars and spout wonkery from stern to bow,” Mr. Wemple said.

“Subscribers, though, weren’t buying. ‘We just tested it out to see if there was overwhelming interest,’ says New Republic President and Publisher Stephanie Sandberg. ‘There was some interest but not enough.’

“‘It appears our readers aren’t really cruisers,’ says Sandberg.”

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

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