- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Slip of the tongue

California Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante used a racial slur during a speech in what he called an embarrassing slip of the tongue.

Mr. Bustamante, a Hispanic Democrat who has focused on improving race relations, said he meant to use the word "Negro," but slipped and said another "N-word" during his speech in Emeryville, Calif., about the black union movement.

About one-fourth of the 400 persons at the event Friday left in protest, said Marshall Walker, master of ceremonies.

"I was appalled he would even say it as a slip. You don't make a slip like that unless it is something you say normally," said Gwendalyn Bello, who attended the event, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists' annual awards dinner and scholarship fund-raiser.

Mr. Bustamante said he has tried repeatedly to apologize, the Associated Press reports.

"I know it came out of my mouth, but it is not how I was taught. It is not how I teach my children," he said.

Mr. Walker said he sent a letter to Mr. Bustamante asking him to return to the group to apologize.

The new Clinton haters

"Will the torment never cease? It's been three long weeks since Bill Clinton left the White House, and still the wails of agony, the cries of outrage and the shouts of denunciation continue. And that's from the former president's friends," the Wall Street Journal observes.

"The rest of the country has moved on to the Bush era, to debating tax cuts and missile defenses. But these new 'Clinton haters,' if we may borrow a phrase, can't seem to let go. They are wallowing in his abuse of the pardon power, his new break-all-records office space … and his wife's end-run around the Senate gift ban. Every liberal columnist and Democrat seems to want to get his moment of moral distancing on the public record," the newspaper said in an editorial.

" 'I just think it's totally indefensible,' says longtime Clinton defender [Sen.] Joe Biden about the Marc Rich pardon. Sen. Paul Wellstone, another no on impeachment, says 'it puts back into sharp focus all the questions about values and ethics in relation to the Clinton administration.'

"And we about fell off our chair when The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne finally mustered up enough moral outrage after eight years to quote an equally outraged [Rep.] Barney Frank. That most fervent of all Clinton apologists now calls the Rich pardon a 'betrayal' and 'contemptuous.' Even Joe Conason took a shot at his heroes, which is like Boswell doubting Dr. Johnson. Who's next? Sid Blumenthal?"

A worthy cause

"There is only one thing the grifter Clintons can do now. Turn it over to a worthy cause a rehab clinic and foundation devoted to finding a cure for kleptomania," New York Post columnist Jack Newfield writes.

"Donate the millions from Denise Rich, the $8 million book advance, the inflated office rent, the bloated speaking fees, the parting house gifts from the Omaha registry, the tainted $100,000 from Hillary's commodities trades, and above all the millions in secret, nonpublic pledges for the Clinton Library," Mr. Newfield said.

"Come clean. Confess everything. Make restitution. Be saved and born again.

"Kleptomania needs a foundation. About 5 percent of Americans are afflicted with this neurotic impulse and compulsion to steal and shoplift.

"And there's no foundation for kleptomania the way there are for Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease and AIDS.

"And knowing how narcissistic the Clintons are, they would only make a charitable donation to cure something they have."

A fraud and a joke

"At some point you have to wonder who still takes Jesse Jackson seriously," Andrew Sullivan writes in the New Republic.

"This is an old, old story, of course, given new piquancy by his nimble pirouettes over a recently conceived illegitimate child. But the fact that he remains in public life, that he still commands respect from many quarters, that his words actually matter to the national discourse, is, on the face of it, incredible," Mr. Sullivan said.

"No comparable figure would have survived the scandals, sleaze, failure, and sheer nonsense that have trailed Jackson over the years as tenaciously as the TV cameras. If he were white, he would have about as much prominence in national life as Jimmy Swaggart. Yet he endures and thrives, raking in vast fortunes from corporate America, betraying his family, casting racial aspersions on anyone with whom he disagrees, and inveigling his offspring in the corrupt and corrupting operation he laughably calls the Citizen Education Fund (CEF)."

Mr. Sullivan said the bald truth is that Mr. Jackson "is a joke and a fraud and a menace."

"No one should invite him on television again, and no corporation should do business with him. He should return the $35,000 to CEF, pay for his mistress and child out of his own pocket, and leave public life at the earliest opportunity for good."

The gubernatorial tide

"While Washington focuses most of its attention on Congress, the GOP's political backbone has been in the states. Not only have its governors been on the cutting edge of policy, but the party managed to get one of its governors elected president and installed another as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

"And that president plucked two sitting Republican governors for his administration," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.

"However, the tide may soon turn in Springfield, Ill.; Lansing, Mich.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; and even Richmond, Va. Moreover, the Republicans' 29-19 advantage in governors is certain to shrink over the next two years," Mr. Rothenberg said.

"Indeed, two years from today, no matter who controls Congress, the chances are good that there will be more Democratic than Republican governors."


Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican, yesterday announced that the Office of Personnel Management will now actively promote telecommuting for federal employees.

The announcement came after Mr. Wolf and other Democratic and Republican lawmakers from the region met with OPM officials and the personnel directors of more than 15 agencies.

That meeting was prompted by OPM's original tepid interpretation of legislation enacted last year promoting federal telecommuting.

In a Jan. 29 memorandum, acting OPM Director Steven R. Cohen wrote agency and department heads with the directive to "establish policies on telecommuting."

That prompted an irate letter from Mr. Wolf, who wrote that "my intention [for the bill] is to give federal employees a real, usable option to telework at least one day a week, not reinforce vague, complex policy at the macro-level."

Mr. Cohen wrote to Mr. Wolf that OPM needed to go further and sent a revised memorandum on Feb. 9 to "tell agencies that having a written [telecommuting] policy is not enough; the content of the policy and their actual efforts matter."

'Urban myth'

Democrats and pundits who claim the early election-night call of Florida for Al Gore accurately reflected voter intent are simply wrong, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing television network executives.

"It's an urban myth," a senior network executive, who asked not to be named, told the newspaper. Even if all the undervotes, overvotes and other disputed ballots were given to Mr. Gore, he would have won by no more than 30,000 votes out of 6 million cast, which the executive called "statistically not discernible in an exit poll."

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