- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2006

Challenging senators

Minuteman founder Chris Simcox, saying the federal government does not have control of the nation’s borders, yesterday challenged all 100 U.S. senators to “personally inspect our southern frontier” before voting on pending border security and guest worker legislation, reports Jerry Seper of The Washington Times.

“The senators have traveled around the globe to get firsthand knowledge of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but very few have witnessed for themselves the ongoing daily battle being waged for control of our own borders,” he said.

“Mexican military, international criminal cartels and millions of illegal aliens violate our laws, our sovereignty and our territorial integrity on a scale that along the southern border U.S. law-enforcement officers and average citizens live in fear for their very lives,” said Mr. Simcox, a former Tombstone, Ariz., newspaper publisher who founded the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.

In a letter, he said he hoped that after “personally experiencing the conditions along our border,” the senators would be convinced of the necessity to secure them immediately before addressing amnesty or guest worker legislation.

Outreach to women

The Republican National Committee launched its Women’s History Month campaign in Washington yesterday.

RNC Co-Chairwoman Jo Ann Davidson called the event the start of a “major outreach effort” by Republicans. “We’ll have other events throughout the month highlighting the contributions of women to this country and to our party,” Ms. Davidson said.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and seven House Republican women also appeared at the Capitol Hill Club yesterday morning to announce five women’s leadership training events in the next four months, reports Eric Pfeiffer of The Washington Times.

“The primary goals of the leadership training programs are to provide training in the critical grass-roots components of campaigns, encourage active support of President Bush’s agenda, advance involvement in the 2006 campaigns, and promote involvement with the Republican Party,” the RNC said.

The regional conferences will include stops in Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, San Diego and Boston.

AIDS argument

Republican lawmakers are sponsoring bills to reauthorize the Ryan White CARE Act for HIV/AIDS patients. But AIDS Action, an advocacy group, says it has problems with the measures proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Rep. Dave Weldon of Florida that would require that 75 percent of funding be used for medical services only.

AIDS Action says patients fighting HIV will be hurt by a loss of funding for food, job services, “transitional housing” and other nonmedical necessities.

But a Republican aide said that medical care is essential, and should be the priority.

“Nearly 1,000 patients diagnosed with HIV are on waiting lists for treatment and between 42 and 59 percent of all Americans infected [with the AIDS virus] are not in regular care,” said a spokesman for Mr. Coburn, a physician who has been caring for HIV/AIDS patients for more than 20 years.

“We require that more money be spent on medical care,” said the Coburn aide, adding that federal CARE money has been spent on “such nonmedical services as dog-walking, psychic hot lines, Disney tickets and candlelight dinners.”

A Government Accountability Office report out this week also found that some cities were receiving federal funds for AIDS patients who have been deceased for more than a decade.

Flying the flag

Patriotic readers of The Washington Times will remember Tennessee state Rep. Henri Brooks, the Memphis Democrat who refuses to pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag, calling it a symbol of slavery and racial oppression.

“This flag represents the former colonies that enslaved our ancestors,” Ms. Brooks said in 2001. “And when this flag was designed, they did not have [black people] in mind.”

The Pledge of Allegiance is a “lie,” Ms. Brooks says: “It’s not one nation under God and it’s not liberty and justice for all,” she told The Washington Times five years ago.

Now Ms. Brooks is being challenged by Jim Boyd, a Republican and Army National Guard member who says his campaign for the state legislature has been a learning experience. On the blog at his Web site, www.cooljim.com, he describes going door to door in a neighborhood where one resident told him “most of this neighborhood are Kerry supporters.”

“It struck me as funny that all the people I met said they were neither Democrat nor Republican, but almost everyone I spoke with knew of the ‘one Republican who lives in the house at the end of the road.’ ”

Mr. Boyd says, “This should be an interesting campaign.”

Conyers’ troubles

A third former aide to U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. has accused the Michigan Democrat of using staff as baby sitters and personal servants.

The aides said Mr. Conyers had them tutor and care for his two sons; help his wife, City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, with law studies; and drive him to political and private events.

Dean Christian Thornton, a legislative aide fired in January, has joined Deanna Maher, former chief of Mr. Conyers’ office in Southgate, Mich., and Sydney Rooks, Mr. Conyers’ attorney from 1997 to 2000, in charging the congressman with unethical if not illegal behavior, the Detroit News reports.

Miss Maher said that in 1998, Mr. Conyers ordered her to live in his Detroit house while his wife attended law classes in Oklahoma. Miss Maher said she lived there for six weeks, caring for the couple’s two young sons.

Miss Maher and Mr. Thornton have written to the House ethics committee. Miss Rooks said she talked with committee staffers on the subject in 1999 and 2004 and plans to make a formal complaint soon.

“I’m not going to get into responding to these things,” said Stanley Brand, an attorney for Mr. Conyers.

Shays and Lieberman

Rep. Christopher Shays, a Connecticut Republican, has endorsed Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman for re-election, even though the Connecticut senator is a Democrat.

Mr. Shays said in interviews this week that he intended to vote for Mr. Lieberman this fall, and that he had encouraged other top Connecticut Republicans to do so as well, including Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Reps. Nancy L. Johnson and Rob Simmons, the New York Times reports.

Mr. Lieberman has come under attack from left-wingers in his own party, because of his support for the war in Iraq.

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

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