- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 5, 2001

Feminists at work
You've come a long way, baby.
Some of the same congressional feminists who acted as cheerleaders for President Clinton when he had an affair with a White House intern and purportedly groped a female job applicant are now rallying around Rep. Gary A. Condit, the embattled California Democrat linked to missing intern Chandra Levy.
Although Mr. Condit insists he and Miss Levy were only friends, and no one has accused him of having anything to do with Miss Levy's disappearance, six other women have told police they had romantic relationships with the married congressman, The Washington Times reported yesterday.
Democratic female members of California's congressional delegation "have formed a protective cocoon" around Mr. Condit on the House floor in recent weeks, the Hill newspaper reports.
"Members who have offered their support to the 53-year-old lawmaker include Reps. Jane Harman, Maxine Waters, Ellen Tauscher, Anna Eshoo, Nancy Pelosi and Juanita Millender-McDonald. All share a reputation of being tough-minded on feminist issues," reporter Betsy Rothstein writes.

Rent-control blues
"Mayor Rudolph Giuliani went house hunting in New York last week and was amazed to discover what he couldn't afford. Expecting to pay $3,000 a month to rent a modest apartment for himself and his new girlfriend, Judith Nathan, Giuliani was told he would have to spend at least $9,000," William Tucker writes at the American Spectator Web site, www.spectator.org.
"What the mayor and his sweetheart apparently don't realize is that they are catching the back end of New York's rent control. Like its suburban counterpart, exclusionary zoning, rent control enables people who are already established in a community to cut costs for themselves while pushing the expenses onto someone else. Old-timers love the system. Since they are savvy voters, they keep it in place. Naive newcomers like the mayor end up paying the freight," Mr. Tucker said.
"Rent control was imposed in New York in 1943 as a response to World War II housing shortages. Of course everything was in short supply during wartime and quickly rebounded once the war ended. Out of ideological fervor, however, New York City kept rent regulations in place. As any economist will tell you, perpetual rent control is the cause of New York's perpetual housing crisis. But it works in peculiar ways."

Flag waver
Don't tell Kweisi Mfume about the will of the people. The president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will travel to Mississippi today to talk to state officials about that flag — you know, the state banner with the Confederate emblem in the upper left corner, the one that voters approved by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin in April.
Eugene Bryant, Mississippi's NAACP president, says that Mr. Mfume is pondering a boycott of the state, which is 36 percent black and has the largest number of black elected officials in the nation, if the state flag is not redesigned.
Mr. Mfume's support in the state may not be as strong, or as committed, as he expects.
Rep. Rufus Straughter, chairman of the 45-member Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Miss., that he doubts that a boycott would be effective in changing people's minds.
"We are working toward trying to show this nation that we are indeed capable of doing positive things in the state of Mississippi," Mr. Straughter said. "Even though the flag issue failed and even though the flag is still an issue with a lot of people, we need to be able to move beyond that."

Condit cancels
Rep. Gary A. Condit abruptly canceled all holiday appearances in his district yesterday, one day after briefly breaking his silence in the disappearance of a young California woman.
Mr. Condit, a Democrat who represents a central California district that includes Modesto, decided not to appear at events in Atwater, Gustine and Modesto because "another circumstance arose that he had to attend to," said Mike Lynch, the congressman's chief of staff. Details would become clear in the next few days, Mr. Lynch said without offering any specifics.
Mr. Condit issued a brief statement Tuesday concerning the investigation in the disappearance of Chandra Levy, denying he had asked a flight attendant to withhold information from authorities.
"I have not asked anyone to refrain from discussing this matter with authorities, nor have I suggested anyone mislead the authorities," he said.
The flight attendant, Anne Marie Smith, told Fox News that she had a nearly yearlong affair with Mr. Condit. She said he contacted her last month and was upset when she told him she had been called by FBI agents who were interviewing people about Miss Levy's disappearance.
When asked about Mr. Condit's decision to cancel all public appearances yesterday, Mr. Lynch said: "He has got another obligation that came up he has to attend to."
Mr. Lynch declined to say what the obligation was, and he did not know when the congressman might make his next public appearance, Reuters reports.

Diversity at last
Kissimmee, Fla., lawyer Luis Davila could probably win a bar bet with this one: The Hispanic barrister is the new vice president of the Osceola County, Fla., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The Orlando Sentinel notes that Mr. Davila is part of a one-third bloc of the 100-member chapter that belongs to ethnic groups other than black in a county that is 30 percent Hispanic.
"Just because of the name [NAACP] itself — there should be some kind of amendment," Mr. Davila is quoted as saying. "When people hear 'advancement for colored people,' they assume it's only for blacks. But it's for everybody."
Good point, although Mr. Davila is the first Hispanic vice president in the Osceola chapter's 35-year history. The chapter also has a white secretary, Robin Ripley.
NAACP national President Kweisi Mfume addressed the name of the organization during a C-SPAN interview in May.
"We believe that there are colored people of all kinds now," he said. Because of the diversity of America, he said, the United States is "a wonderful mosaic."

Training class
"Sen. Hillary Clinton is benefiting from public-speaking tips from her Senate colleagues, who've coached her to spice up her style or risk lulling listeners to sleep," the New York Post reports.
"Judging from her recent Senate speeches, Clinton appears to be heeding the friendly advice from experienced orators," reporter Vincent Morris writes.
"Instead of lecturing — like Al Gore — the former first lady is suddenly emulating one of her idols, Sen. Ted Kennedy, who turns red with emotion and shouts when addressing an important issue."
"A source told the Post one Democratic senator encouraged Clinton who's prone to a monotone — to liven up her Senate-floor demeanor."
"Now, she can be seen pacing the floor, waving her arms and gesturing at props like photos and charts — that she's brought for the occasion."
'43' and '41'
President Bush and his father, former President George Bush — known respectively as "43" and "41" for their chronological place among presidents — will get together today on the Maine coast for an extended Fourth of July holiday, but whatever advice the elder Mr. Bush may give his son will remain strictly confidential, as always.
"He has been very circumspect about his relationship with his son, the president, and the son has been the same," Marlin Fitzwater, the former White House spokesman for the elder Mr. Bush, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"The only thing we're all certain about is they go to great lengths to protect the integrity of the relationship."

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