- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Standard fare

This week's Weekly Standard editorial, which called the surveillance-plane standoff in China a "national humiliation" is still causing melodramatic hubbub.

On Sunday, editor William Kristol said the standoff gave him "sorrow" and Vice President Richard B. Cheney said the bold editorial was merely an attempt to "sell magazines."

Yesterday, Mr. Kristol told NBC that he approved of President Bush's "first instincts" to demand a safe return for the crew.

"Then I think various members of the Republican foreign-policy establishment, very much influenced by corporate interests, got to the president and to the White House, and by Wednesday, we were expressing regret," he said.

"We need to hold the Chinese accountable for their behavior. They are holding our crewmen hostage, and we are expressing regret. There is something deeply wrong with that."

Is he still selling magazines?

"I like Dick Cheney and I respect him," Mr. Kristol said. "But my experience is, when people are unhappy with a position they are forced to defend, and know the arguments aren't very good, they tend to lash out with personal attacks."

Cat fight

The Chinese, meanwhile, are roaring at a tiger.

The People's Daily claimed yesterday that the four Oscars for the Taiwan-made "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is a "Hollywood scheme."

"The giants of Hollywood films are greatly worried about the huge loss of American viewers," the Beijing-based paper said. They "eye China's huge market potential, and their preparatory work takes the form of granting awards to 'Crouching Tiger' "

"Glossy grand international awards in some people's eyes are nothing but cards in the hands of media giants," the paper concluded. "The so-called 'Oriental play on a Western stage' is but a one-sided wish."

And one more thing …

Judicial Watch is still on the prowl for you-know-who.

At the close of a press conference yesterday announcing a complaint against Rep. Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, on charges of illegal campaign fund raising, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton had one last word.

"If anyone thinks we've forgotten about the Clintons, we haven't," Mr. Fitton said. "A week ago, we filed an FEC complaint against Hillary Clinton over her illegal campaign contributions and her role in the Pardongate scandal. So that is outstanding. And these Clinton cases that we have been pursuing for several years will continue. We haven't forgotten about what the Clintons have done."

Speechless

Meanwhile, neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton will give the commencement address at Stanford University, although both were considered, MSNBC reports. Daughter Chelsea will graduate from Stanford in a few weeks.

Officials have opted for Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, despite a "raging debate" and accusations from students that the decision was "shrouded in secrecy and irresponsibility."

Case closed

Forget an FCC investigation of those faulty election projections last November.

The Federal Communications Commission has dismissed a complaint that asked the agency to take the networks to task after their premature and wrong declarations that Vice President Al Gore had won Florida before some of the polls closed in the western part of the state.

"The mere fact that the networks incorrectly projected that Al Gore would receive Florida's electoral votes is not a sufficient basis to initiate such an investigation," wrote David H. Solomon, of the FCC's enforcement bureau.

The D.C. law firm Smithwick & Belendiuk requested an investigation before an administrative law judge to determine if the networks knowingly or recklessly made their erroneous calls.

"We pointed out something that we thought was serious and we thought needed to be looked at," said Arthur Belendiuk.

Triggering a response

Gun-violence studies are tainted by political agendas, says the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) in Tucson, Ariz., which plans to "debunk" claims from anti-gun groups.

Among the AAPS findings: Women are not in more danger if they own or carry guns; the ease of access of guns does not cause crime; and gun violence is not the leading accidental cause of death in children.

AAPS spokesman Dr. Miguel Faria blames "gun and violence research conducted by investigators with a gun-control agenda and disseminated in medical journals" for misinformation.

Dr. Faria chastised the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics for "playing politics," adding that doctors are obliged to rely on "objective data and scientific information, rather than on ideology, emotionalism, political expediency or budgetary consideration."

The article "Doctors and Guns A Failure of the Public Health Model" is in the new Medical Sentinel (www.aapsonline.org).

Playing chicken

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has taken its cause overseas with mixed results.

Three activists crouched in a chicken coop set up on the main street of Nairobi, Kenya, to call on Kenyans 4.4 million of whom are at risk of starvation to become vegetarians.

Not a sick joke, insist PETA's "vegetarian activists," but an appeal for Kenyans to take cholesterol off the menu and give chickens a better life.

"For the planet, for the environment, for health, for animals, no matter how you look at it, vegetarianism is the right choice, the right diet," said Jason Baker through the mesh coop.

But in a country where aid workers say malnutrition rather than high cholesterol and obesity is the major concern, the activists' message appeared to be falling on deaf ears.

"Chicken is not an endangered species," said one bystander. "I don't see the sense of it. Tonight, I'm leaving here and I'm going for a chicken."

Not in the cards

The folks in Pacific City, Ore., want to be known for a flat-bottomed dory boat rather than a card game.

The Oregon legislature was about to pass a resolution designating this coastal fishing village as the state's pinochle capital until the townsfolk got wind of it.

The locals consider Pacific City synonymous with the boats, not some game, they say.

The bill's sponsor got 54 irate calls from Pacific City residents objecting to the idea. Not wanting to lose votes over a trivial matter, Rep. Elaine Hopson quickly killed the bill.

Roger Tracey, president of the town's chamber of commerce, was caught off guard by the firestorm. He thought the resolution might increase tourism during lean winter months. Growth is fine, people here say, as long as it's respectful.

"There are certain things you change and certain things you don't," said Craig Wenrick, owner of the Sea Q Fish company.

Mayor and dad

San Francisco's flamboyant Democratic mayor, Willie Brown, announced that one of his chief political fund-raisers has given birth to his daughter.

Mr. Brown, 66, is married and already has three grown children and two grandchildren. The baby, Sidney Minetta Brown, was born Sunday to mayoral fund-raiser Carolyn Carpeneti, 38.

"I am overjoyed at the arrival of this beautiful baby girl," the mayor said. "I now hope the members of the media will respect the privacy of both mother and daughter."

The announcement by "Da Mayor," as he's called in San Francisco, was met with shrugs in that tolerant city, notes Agence France-Presse.

"The fact that we really don't care what people do behind closed doors, well, that's our family values," columnist Rob Morse told AFP.


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