- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003

Faith-based cave-in
Republicans have agreed to drop language that some Democrats oppose from President Bush's faith-based initiative in the hope of passing increased tax benefits for donating to religious or community charities.
Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, said yesterday he will strip bill language stating that a religious group cannot be denied funding simply because it has religious criteria for governing board members, religious language in its charter or because the group has religious art or icons in its facilities.
Now the bill has no language stating that religious groups may not be excluded from government contracts.
Mr. Santorum said House leaders have also agreed not to add such language to the bill when they consider it.
Stuart Roy, spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, said there was a staff-level meeting yesterday in which the House agreed to leave out the language and pass the other provisions on tax incentives.
The House last Congress passed a much broader faith-based bill that even let religious groups hire people only of their faith and still receive federal funds. Mr. Santorum's bill never had such language on hiring, even before his agreement yesterday to water it down still further.
The faith-based proposal has run into bitter opposition from Democrats who say it sanctions religious discrimination.

Insulting the president
Feminist Martha Burk, who has led the campaign to force Augusta National Golf Club to admit at least one wealthy woman into its ranks, says the club's policy is "an insult to the 250,000 women serving in the United States military."
Mrs. Burk added: "It's appalling that the women who are willing to lay down their lives for democratic ideals should be shut out of this club."
Speaking of appalling behavior, Washingtonian magazine reports that Mrs. Burk insulted President Bush at the Gridiron Dinner earlier this month.
"During the traditional standing toast to the president, she refused to budge from her seat," the magazine said.

Peacenik Peter?
Dan Rather of CBS has long been considered by conservatives to be the poster boy for liberal media bias. But in the current war with Iraq, ABC's Peter Jennings is making Mr. Rather's network look downright hawkish.
On March 20, Mr. Jennings practically pleaded with Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, to lead an anti-war movement: "A large number of people in the country are opposed to this … but look to members of the Democratic Party, particularly, to be sort of their port in a storm, their place to manifest their dissatisfaction."
Mr. Biden refused the laurel crown: "They've got the wrong port. … The decision's been made."
And Mr. Jennings, who devoted several minutes to interviewing leading anti-war activists, said of protesters: "Seeing the people in the streets of Washington today right across from Lafayette Park, people in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, demonstrating against the war, there's a tendency, I think, in the administration to … pretend it isn't happening."
Brent Baker of the Media Research Center contrasted the coverage by ABC and CBS of coalition efforts to get humanitarian aid into Iraq.
Mr. Jennings: "On Sunday, President Bush said that massive amounts of aid would begin arriving in country in 36 hours. It simply hasn't happened."
Mr. Rather: "Also in southern Iraq, the small Gulf port of Umm Qasr will be a major route for relief supplies into Iraq. This includes drinking water for desperate civilians."
The CBS anchor then introduced correspondent Scott Pelley, who showed happy civilians carrying water containers: "British and American troops poured the first humanitarian aid into Iraq buckets at a time."
Mr. Pelley interviewed an Army officer who explained that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime had cut off water supplies to Umm Qasr before the war. ABC provided no such explanation, and showed no happy civilians getting water from the allies.

Fever swamps
"Bulletin from the fever swamps of the Left: The administration might just plant weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Oh, and President Bush may cancel the 2004 election," New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.
"These were some of the observations offered [Wednesday] at a breakfast sponsored by the Columbia School of Journalism about the first week of war," Mr. Podhoretz said.
"Panelist Katrina vanden Heuvel, the editor of the Nation magazine, said the media need to ask some hard questions, like, 'Will some in the U.S. government attempt to plant evidence of weapons of mass destruction?'
"The panelist who reported the cancellation-of-the-2004-election rumor was Kevin Buckley, a decorated Vietnam War correspondent and now a contributing editor of Playboy. Evidently, Bush simply won't allow himself to be voted out of office due to a bad economy and bad war news. Ms. vanden Heuvel not only offered her own delightful notion, but seconded Buckley's theory: 'I heard that in Moscow last week!'"

A liberal's lament
"In the last Gulf war, liberals complained about a lack of media access to the front lines. In this Gulf war, they are complaining about too much access to it," George Neumayr writes at the American Spectator Web site (www.spectator.org).
"The 'embedded' reporters are 'patsies,' says Neal Gabler of Salon. 'The White House certainly knew that reporters would bond with their units and identify with them.'
"This is obviously a troubling development. We wouldn't want American journalists bonding with the American military who protect them. Back in their cubicles with Gabler, these reporters could return to the leisurely anti-military, anti-American coverage of Vietnam yore," Mr. Neumayr said.
"Liberals usually approve of reporters getting close to their subjects. But not in this case, because the subject is the American military, and liberals equate good journalistic coverage of it with knee-jerk criticism."

Kentucky ruling
A Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Kentucky should be removed from the May 20 primary ballot because he does not meet residency requirements, a judge ruled.
Hunter Bates is the running mate of Ernie Fletcher, a congressman and a leading Republican candidate for governor.
The court agreed that Mr. Bates has spent most of the past six years in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the Associated Press reports. The Kentucky Constitution requires candidates for lieutenant governor to live in the state for six years preceding an election.
Mr. Bates, a former chief of staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell, insisted during hearings last week he never relinquished his Kentucky residency. He and his wife moved to a town just outside Louisville last year. Mr. Fletcher could pursue an emergency appeal to the state Supreme Court.
It was not immediately clear how the ruling would affect the race.

Wellstone's plane
The airplane that crashed with Sen. Paul Wellstone and seven others aboard was flying perilously slowly on its final approach, according to federal documents released Wednesday.
The reports from the National Transportation Safety Board support earlier speculation by aviation experts that the twin turboprop plane crashed because it wasn't flying fast enough, the Associated Press reports. Why the plane slowed isn't known.
Mr. Wellstone was killed along with his wife and daughter, three campaign aides and two pilots when the plane went down near the northern Minnesota community of Eveleth on Oct. 25.
The plane had slowed to 76 knots, or 87 mph slower than previously thought, and well below safe-speed parameters set by the airplane's manufacturer, the report said.

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