- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Menino’s 4th term

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino was sworn in for a fourth term yesterday, and said the city’s future is bright, despite the recent loss of homegrown corporate giants and a wave of violence that pushed the number of homicides to a 10-year high.

The Democrat, in line to become the city’s longest-serving mayor, urged residents to celebrate the “strength of Boston’s neighborhoods,” which he said are blessed with a spirit of “tolerance and togetherness.”

“We must protect it against windy naysayers, those who read doom and gloom into every event of every day’s news,” Mr. Menino said in his speech at Faneuil Hall.

The 75 killings in Boston last year — the most since 1995 — made national headlines. Mr. Menino urged residents who know someone with an illegal gun or who have witnessed a crime to “speak up and keep the specter of fear from our neighborhoods,” the Associated Press reports.

He said he does not think that the acquisitions of Boston institutions such as FleetBoston and Gillette Co. by out-of-state companies were signs that the city was losing its economic clout.

“This is a misguided interpretation,” he said. “Boston’s economic lifeblood is the currency of our ideas, our innovation and our creativity.”

Fleet was bought by North Carolina-based Bank of America in 2004, while Gillette was acquired last year by Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble Co.

Mr. Menino also announced that the Massachusetts Port Authority has struck a deal with Hainan Airlines to provide nonstop service between Logan International Airport and Beijing — the China-based airline’s first direct service to the United States.

Kevin White also served four terms as mayor, from 1968 to 1983, but Mr. Menino served an additional four months as acting mayor after his predecessor, Raymond L. Flynn, left office in 1993 to become ambassador to the Vatican.

Black Republicans

“American blacks who are affiliated with the Republican Party are vigorously vilified by Democrats, especially black Democrats. Uncle Tom, sell-out, Oreo — the list of slurs is long,” Ted Hayes writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“But it is not only insults. I am the founder and director of a unique, progressive homeless facility in downtown Los Angeles, known as the Dome Village. Yet the 35 men, women and children and their pets who call the Dome Village home are being ‘evicted’ from privately owned property after 12 years — apparently on account of my political beliefs and activities. You see, though I am a leading homeless activist, I am also a conservative Republican and a strong supporter of President Bush,” Mr. Hayes said.

“Here’s how the situation played out. Recently, I was invited to address a local Republican Women’s Club; my landlord read an article in the local paper reporting on the event. Soon after, I received a notice raising the Dome Village rent from $2,500 a month to $18,330. Shocked, I inquired as to the seriousness of the change, and the property owner blurted out that the cause of our ‘eviction’ was ‘because you are Republican.’ He said that as a Democrat, he was tired of helping me and the Dome Village. In other words, let the homeless be damned.

“And people think the Democrats are the party of compassion and tolerance.”

Mr. Hayes added: “It is time for American blacks to have a conversation about the phenomenon of Democrats persecuting black Republicans. Why is this happening? What is it that the Democrats don’t want black folks to understand about Republicans? What is it that the Democrats don’t want black folks to know about Democrats? And how is it that we have come to this point — after having endured so much — where we have ourselves curtailed the freedom of political expression through the threat of retaliatory consequences?”

Still running

It’s almost as if Sen. John Kerry never stopped running for president.

He still jets across the country, raising millions of dollars and rallying Democrats. He still stalks the TV news-show circuit, scolding President Bush at every turn.

Mr. Kerry’s campaign Web site boasts of an online army of 3 million supporters.

The Massachusetts Democrat, defeated by Mr. Bush in 2004, insists it is far too early to talk about the 2008 race, but some analysts assume he is positioning himself for another shot at the White House, the Associated Press reports.

“Obviously, Kerry has all but said he wants another crack at the thing,” said NealThigpen, a political science professor at South Carolina’s Francis Marion University. “He’s going to make a second try.”

Although most losing presidential nominees quickly fade into the political landscape, Mr. Kerry has worked hard at maintaining a high public profile.

“He’s continuing the fight he began in 2004,” said Kerry spokesman David Wade. “He wants to make it very clear he’s a fighter who is going to continue to fight for his agenda.”

Wrong, as usual’

“The smart money in Washington is betting that President Bush will make deep cuts in U.S. troops in Iraq before the coming November elections,” Leslie H. Gelb writes in the Los Angeles Times.

“Sages, journalists, legislators and staffers say Bush will be under irresistible pressure from Republicans fearful of losing Senate and House seats unless he clearly shows we’re on our way out. They’re wrong, as usual, because their perennial disease is to overestimate politics and undervalue presidential beliefs,” Mr. Gelb said.

“If we know anything about George W. Bush, it is that he is a true believer, and he believes in ‘staying the course’ in Iraq to make sure, as he recently said, that Baghdad moves toward democracy and becomes an American ally in the war against terror. Not that he is incapable of changing his position when facing political defeat, as we saw before Christmas when he twirled around on the torture issue. But it is folly to underestimate a president’s obsession with not losing a war.”

Keep on voting

“After the 2006 midterm races, California voters will have gone to the polls annually for five years straight. That’s quite a streak in a state many consider to be politically apathetic,”Nik Bonovich writes in Campaigns & Elections magazine.

“It all began in 2002 when Democratic Gov. Gray Davis was re-elected. The next year, voters recalled him and elected actor (and Republican) ArnoldSchwarzenegger. In 2004, Californians trotted back to the polls to vote for president. In 2005, Schwarzenegger called a special statewide election for a series of ballot measures, all of which went down to defeat. By 2006, the campaign cycle returned to the regularly scheduled gubernatorial election.”

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

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