- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Putting down Powell
The Rev. Jesse Jackson and a prominent black newspaper columnist scored a twofer yesterday, scolding the Bush administration for its skepticism toward a U.N. conference on racism while depicting Secretary of State Colin L. Powell as a hapless lackey of White House "conservatives."
The State Department announced this week that Mr. Powell had decided not to attend the conference, which begins Friday in South Africa, because of efforts by some nations to score propaganda points against Israel by equating Zionism with racism.
Mr. Powell is the first black to hold the post of secretary of state, but his service in a Republican administration has enraged many black liberals.
"The hope that [Mr. Powell] has represented as a symbol of racial progress is diminished by his absence [from the racism conference]," Mr. Jackson told The Washington Post. "His being denied the permission to go isolates the nation and diminishes his stature."
DeWayne Wickham, a columnist for USA Today, also suggested that Mr. Powell is a helpless pawn of those who oppose justice for black people, here and abroad.
"Although Powell is the public face on the decision to boycott the meeting, there's good reason to believe he may not be its architect. … More likely, it's the president's conservative White House advisers who are behind the decision to keep Powell away — and for good reason," Mr. Wickham said.
The Bush administration is not concerned about Israel, the columnist said. Rather, the issue of slavery reparations "roils the disingenuous efforts of Republicans to court black voters."

Daley's decision
Former Commerce Secretary William M. Daley has given up on the idea of running for governor of Illinois.
Mr. Daley, who served as presidential campaign manager for Al Gore last year, told the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday he had decided against becoming a candidate.
The Democrat said he had been "overwhelmed" by the encouragement he had received, but "I need a break" after two decades of intense political activity.
Mr. Daley, brother of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, returned to the private sector to become vice chairman and senior managing director of Evercore Partners, a New York investment banking firm, after Mr. Gore's failed presidential bid last year.
He said he did not want to make the financial sacrifice entailed in running for the office next year, Agence France-Presse reports.
"I think I've given enough to the party and to the nation," he said.
"This has been a tough three weeks and a tough year. But after spending most of the last 20 years in politics, I think I need a break."
Mr. Daley served as commerce secretary from 1997 until last year.

Their favorite charity
"Is this a great country or what? Just ask the National Council of Churches," the Wall Street Journal says.
"This spring the NCC joined a coalition of more than 500 organizations charging that the president's tax cuts were immoral. But now that the checks are in the mail, guess what the NCC's new position is? The checks should be forwarded to … the National Council of Churches," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"That's right. In a Web-page appeal the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Edgar, the NCC's general secretary, appeals to readers to 'reject the tax rebate in favor of reinvesting it' with, well, the NCC. And the NCC is not alone. The Sierra Club, also a member of the Fair Taxes for All Coalition, is asking you to redirect your rebate to worthier causes such as, er, themselves. Likewise, The Nation's anti-tax-cut editors now urge readers to endorse their rebate checks, writing below their signatures, 'Pay to the order of "The Nation Co. L.P."'
"Now, since the rebate checks began arriving in mail boxes, retailers from Wal-Mart to Home Depot have made their own bids for the money. But unlike the Sierra Club, Home Depot didn't lobby against your getting your check in the first place. And Wal-Mart wasn't already getting your tax dollars. In a study released last month, analysts from the Cato Institute and Capital Research Center documented $618 million in federal money received by many of the nonprofits who enlisted in the Fair Taxes for All Coalition."

Crime stoppers
A Democratic lawmaker in Florida has requested a criminal probe of the Democrat who designed Palm Beach County's "butterfly ballot."
Election Supervisor Theresa LePore was condemned by her fellow Democrats last year when some voters said they were confused since presidential candidates were listed on two sides of the ballot with the punch holes in the middle. Some Democrats say it cost Al Gore the presidency because Jewish voters ended up voting for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan by mistake.
State Rep. Irving Slosberg sent a letter to Sheriff Ed Bieluch last month charging that Miss LePore's design of the ballot and the use of faulty voting equipment violated state election law.
Mr. Bieluch forwarded the letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Mike Washam, special agent in charge of the department's West Palm Beach office, said yesterday that a decision to pursue the complaint could take months, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Slosberg said he was surprised no one asked for a criminal investigation after all the public scrutiny of the county's disputed balloting. He said Miss LePore may have violated state election law by not shutting down malfunctioning voter machines.
Ironically, similar complaints were raised last fall by a Slosberg rival, former state Rep. Curt Levine. That was after Mr. Slosberg defeated Mr. Levine in a Democratic primary runoff in October by just 82 votes and 195 of 8,937 ballots were thrown out.
Mr. Levine sued, claiming that a lot of voters had trouble because of faulty punch-card machines and other polling place irregularities. Democratic leaders persuaded Mr. Levine to drop that suit.
Earlier this year, Miss LePore changed her voter registration from Democratic to independent, saying her post was nonpartisan and she was unhappy about the way she had been treated by Democrats.

An article of faith
Liberals make a mistake in embracing "global warming" as an article of faith, Alexander Cockburn writes in the Nation.
The human origin of global warming "remains entirely unproven," Mr. Cockburn said.
"Back in the spring of this year, even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which now has a huge stake in arguing the 'caused by humans' thesis, admitted in its summary that there could be a 1-in-3 chance its multitude of experts are wrong. A subsequent report, issued under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, is ambivalent to the point of absurdity. An initial paragraph boldly asserting the caused-by-humans line is confounded a few pages later by far more cautious paragraphs admitting that the thesis is speculative and that major uncertainty rules on the role played in climate equations by water vapor and aerosols."


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