- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2001

Not the brains
Appearing before the D.C. Judicial Conference at the Ronald Reagan Building on Friday, former Tennessee Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown and Washington malpractice lawyer Jack Olender revisited the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
Judge Brown made headlines three years ago for displaying bias while considering petitions filed by Kings convicted killer, James Earl Ray, to take back his guilty plea and get a new trial in the 1968 assassination.
The bias was so pronounced that Judge Brown was removed from the case in 1998. Several days later, Ray, who was serving a 99-year sentence for the King slaying, died from terminal liver disease insisting until his death that he had been set up by others.
Free now to discuss the King assassination, Judge Brown on Friday offered an unofficial opinion. Under questioning by Mr. Olender, the judge said it was physically impossible for Rays gun to have been the murder weapon, citing scientific evidence.
At best, the judge said, Ray was a co-conspirator certainly not the brains behind the assassination.

Battle stations
If they werent already waging war, Republicans and Democrats would smell blood in the wake of former GOP Sen. James M. Jeffords switch to independent.
House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt opines that in the two weeks since losing control of the Senate, Republicans have "grown more isolated and more intolerant of dissenting views. Everything theyve said, and everything the Republican leadership has said, is that … they intend to be more vociferous in the advocacy of their right-wing agenda, and they dont intend to compromise."
Mr. Gephardt quotes Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott as saying, "Were going to make war on the Democrats."

Time flies
If you havent already noticed, baby boomers arent babies anymore.
Theyre so grown up, in fact, that Congress is rushing to address issues related to the aging of 77 million baby boomers, and how America will handle all of them, er, us.
In barely 10 years, the first bundle of baby boomers will begin to swell Medicare and Social Security rolls. As Sen. John B. Breaux, Louisiana Democrat and chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, warns: "Only a small window of time remains …"
Then again, as the saying goes: "Never regret growing old when some are denied the privilege."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who turns 54 this week, was surfing the other day and not the Internet.
"Most people know that I am one of the few surfers in Congress," the congressman notes. "Three days ago I was in the ocean surfing off of my district off Huntington Beach. It was in the Bolsa Chica area and I was surfing there for two hours. It was a great day for surfing."
Mr. Rohrabacher also scuba dives, calling himself an all-around "ocean person" who cares greatly about the environment and its stewards. Except when they lie.
He recalls some 30 years ago being a young reporter assigned to cover a speech by ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, "who happened to be one of my heroes."
"Jacques Cousteau was speaking to these college students, and he was very pessimistic and I said, 'Gee, I just do not feel right about being so pessimistic about things in the ocean. So, when I came up to him afterwards to do a short radio interview … and I said, 'Mr. Cousteau, is not there some possibility that perhaps the oceans will be used as a source of food for us in the future beyond just catching fish, like aquaculture and growing oysters, and clams and lobster? Is that not a possibility?
"And he just came right up to my face and he said, 'Did you not hear me? Within 10 years the oceans will be black goo, totally dead, destroyed. The oceans will be lifeless. Did you not hear me?
"Of course, I never will forget that," Mr. Rohrabacher says now, "because this guy got right in my face and he put on a pretty good show for those kids."
Surfing a few days ago, with "porpoises swimming by and … the birds diving into the ocean nearby catching little fish," the congressman wondered why Mr. Cousteau and other ecological alarmists of today have felt they have "to lie to such a degree."
"Jacques Cousteau was part of a movement," he concluded, "part of a movement that feels they have a right to lie and they have a right to frighten people, because they have a higher calling …
"This is the type of nonsense our young people are being fed in their schools every day," he says. "They are being lied to in the very same way."

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