- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hammering DeLay

Republicans are murderers, according to the producers of the NBC courtroom drama ?Law & Order: Criminal Intent,? which in Wednesday’s episode featured a character proclaiming that a suspect in the death of a judge would be wearing a T-shirt supporting House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican.

On the program, an assistant district attorney announces that someone has killed ?an African-American judge, an appellate court judge, no less.? Another character says police are ?setting up a task force. People are talking about multiple assassination teams.?

Noting a similarity between the judge’s death and a previous shooting for which a white supremacist was accused, a detective on the show says, ?Looks like the same shooters. [Investigators] found the slug in a post, matched it to the one that killed Judge Barton. Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt.?

Yesterday, Mr. DeLay sent a letter to NBC President Jeff Zucker, complaining that the episode ?represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse.?

Mr. DeLay added: ?Last night’s brazen lack of judgment represents a failure of stewardship of our public airwaves and as much evidence as anyone needs for the embarrassing state of the mainstream media’s credibility.?

The 14 saints

?You’ve heard the mindless braying and fruitless arguments, but I’m here to tell you the facts, no matter what brickbats and catcalls may come my way,? Peggy Noonan writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

?Lindsey Graham defied the biases of his constituency to do what was right, not what was easy. Robert Byrd put aside personal gain to save our Republic. David Pryor ignored the counsels of hate to stand firm for our hopes and dreams. Mike DeWine protected our way of life. These men are uniters, not dividers.

?How do I know?

?Because they told me. Again and again, and at great length, as they announced The Deal. And I believed them, because I am an idiot. Or as they might put it, your basic ?folk’ from ?back home.’

?Listening to them I thought of some of the great and hallowed phrases of our Republic. ?The rooster who thought he brought the dawn.’ ?The only man who can strut sitting down.’

?I know they’re centrists, but there is nothing moderate about their self-regard.?

The columnist added: ?I don’t know if politicians have ever been modest, but I know they have never seemed so boastful, so full of themselves, and so dizzy with self-love.?

Lawmakers indicted

Four Tennessee lawmakers, a former lawmaker and two others were indicted yesterday amid a federal investigation into the business dealings of a state senator from Memphis from a powerful political family, officials said.

The defendants are charged with taking bribes from undercover investigators to influence legislation concerning a bogus company set up by the FBI. The company, called E-Cycle Management Inc., purported to be a recycler of outdated electronic equipment, the Associated Press reports.

?We hope it will bring back some of the trust back to state government,? Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said.

Those charged included the senator, John Ford; fellow Sens. Kathryn Bowers and Ward Crutchfield; state Rep. Chris Newton; and former state Sen. Roscoe Dixon. Mr. Newton is a Republican and the others are Democrats.

Mr. Ford also is charged with three counts of attempting to threaten or intimidate potential witnesses. The indictment said he told an undercover agent that ?if he caught someone trying to set him up he would shoot that person.?

Mr. Ford is said to have taken a payoff of $55,000 from E-Cycle Management, with other defendants reportedly getting lesser amounts.

His brother is former U.S. Rep Harold Ford Sr., who served in Congress for 11 terms. His nephew, Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., is serving his fifth term in Congress and on Wednesday entered the race for the Senate seat held by Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Spoiling the drama

?The debate over stem-cell research is once again being portrayed as a kind of moral Armageddon: a choice between federal funding and none, between scientific progress and religious zealotry. We hate to spoil the political drama, but maybe the system has stumbled toward a compromise that is more sensible than the debate makes it appear,? the Wall Street Journal says.

?A bipartisan bill that passed the House on Tuesday would lift restrictions imposed by President Bush in 2001 on federal financing for stem-cell research. Mr. Bush threatens to veto the bill — a first for his presidency — saying it ?would take us across a critical ethical line.’ But despite GOP defections and likely passage in the Senate, no one doubts that Mr. Bush has the votes to sustain a veto,? the newspaper said in an editorial.

?Recall what the president’s August 2001 decision actually did. It allowed federal funding for research on existing stem-cell lines where, he said, ?the life and death decision has already been made.’ But it forbade funding for research into new lines, which entailed both the creation and destruction of human embryos.

?Critically, Mr. Bush’s decision applied only to federal funding; it did not impinge on the rights of individual researchers, universities, hospitals, private labs, public corporations or states to conduct embryonic research. In other words, the president did not ?ban’ anything. He simply refused to allow taxpayer money to be spent on a practice millions of Americans consider morally offensive.?

Surgery for Shaw

Florida Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. will undergo surgery next week to remove a small cancerous tumor on his lung, the 13-term Republican congressman said yesterday.

Mr. Shaw, 66, underwent a similar surgery in January 2003. Doctors noticed the new spot, confined to the lower left lung, on a routine follow-up CT scan.

Mr. Shaw said he plans to continue his re-election campaign and hopes to succeed the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in two years, the Associated Press reports.

?This latest diagnosis does not change my goals for the future. I am in good health, and I will absolutely beat this once again,? Mr. Shaw said.

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

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