- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pro-life Republicans

All eyes among social conservatives were on pro-life Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, in the run-up to vote to confirm his state’s pro-choice Democratic governor, Kathleen Sebelius, as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Mr. Brownback initially vowed to support Mrs. Sebelius, but that was before she acknowledged having received more campaign donations from partial-birth-abortion provider George Tiller than was previously made public. It also was before she vetoed a measure to require late-term-abortion providers to report specific diagnoses used to justify abortion.

In the end, Mr. Brownback, who is retiring from the Senate in 2010 and is expected to run for governor, voted for Mrs. Sebelius. She was confirmed by the Senate on a 65-31 vote.

He mentioned in a statement that over the past 20 years “only twice have home-state senators not supported someone from their home state.”

“It’s well known that Governor Sebelius and I fundamentally disagree on several issues, and most notably on the issues of life,” Mr. Brownback said. “However, we can work together for the people of Kansas, especially on rural health care issues, graduate medical education in Wichita and a National Cancer Institute designation at KU.”

Sarah not smiling

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin can’t catch a break.

The 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate was hit last week with an ethics complaint for taking a 36-hour trip to Indiana to speak at a pro-life conference. Before that, others filed complaints against her for conducting TV interviews out of her state office and for wearing a jacket made by a company that sponsors her husband’s snow machine races.

To help deal with the complaints, Mrs. Palin set up a legal defense fund.

Now, an Eagle River, Alaska, resident named Kim Chatman claims in yet another ethics complaint that Mrs. Palin acted improperly by constructing the defense fund.

“Gov. Palin is perched to improperly receive an enormous amount of money for herself and her family and position a pool of pre-paid defense lawyers organized to deflect consequences of wrongdoings,” Mrs. Chatman said in the filing.

Mrs. Palin claims that defending herself from more than a dozen of these ethics complaints has cost more than $500,000.

College shootout

A bill to allow concealed weapons on Texas college campuses is being considered by state lawmakers in light of the April 16 anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings.

“It’s looking pretty good down here in Texas,” said Katie Kasprzak, director of public relations for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. A similar bill has passed through the Missouri state House, although Miss Kasprzak said her group is “focusing on Texas because we think it will be a leader in the movement.”

The Texas bill has attracted 76 sponsors among 150 House members. The House version already has passed out of committee, and the Senate held a hearing on the bill earlier this week.

Flaming Lips flap

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry has declared the Flaming Lips’ song “Do You Realize” the official state rock ‘n’ roll song despite concerns from state House members that one of the group’s singers promotes communism.

The state ran an online contest to choose an official rock song earlier this year, and “Do You Realize” won with 51 percent of the vote. But then bassist Michael Ivins came to a Capitol event wearing a red T-shirt plastered with the hammer-and-sickle symbol, a communist icon that decorated the flag of the Soviet Union. Oklahoma lawmakers then began voicing concerns.

The state House then passed a resolution to revoke the honor because of Mr. Ivins’ shirt, leaving Mr. Henry, a Democrat, to step in Tuesday to sign an executive order to give “Do You Realize” its official state rocker status.

Lead singer Wayne Coyne praised the governor’s intervention and has told reporters that he would print “thousands” more of the hammer and sickle for fans.

Spiked

A painting of President Obama wearing a crown of thorns with his arms outstretched against a presidential seal that was scheduled to go public on his 100th day in office, which is Wednesday, will no longer be unveiled.

When news broke earlier this week that the 30-by-54-inch acrylic painting, titled “The Truth,” would be placed in New York’s Union Square, the reaction was intensely negative. Many people called it blasphemous, but the artist behind it said he didn’t see the outrage coming.

“I have to admit I was very surprised. … I got thousands of e-mails complaining on the religious front,” painter Michael D’Antuono told National Review’s Mark Hemingway. “That was not my intent at all. I wanted to create a dialogue politically but not religiously. I didn’t mean to make fun of anybody’s religion; maybe I did so naively, but I didn’t mean it that way. In the Bible, Jesus is the Truth, and comparing Obama that way isn’t something I meant to do at all.”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@washingtontimes.com.

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