- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Berry looks to Senate

Rep. Marion Berry will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Tim Hutchinson, Arkansas Republican, in the 2002 election, Roll Call reports, citing anonymous Democratic sources.

However, Mr. Berry's "all-but-finalized decision has not discouraged two other top Democrats from eyeing the contest," reporter John Mercurio writes.

The congressman has met with House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and Washington Sen. Patty Murray, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, to let them know his intentions, the sources said. He is expected to make a formal announcement early next month.

Two other Democrats are expected to seek their party's nomination for the Senate seat: state Attorney General Mark Pryor, son of the man Mr. Hutchinson replaced, David Pryor; and state Senate President Pro Tem Mike Beebe. They will not be deterred by Mr. Berry's candidacy, both men told the newspaper.

Intolerance on campus

Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, suggests that opponents of slavery reparations are "evil," but he thinks leftists are falling into a trap by trying to muzzle those with whom they disagree.

Mr. Bond's comments come in response to attempts by campus leftists to keep other students from seeing an advertisement bought by David Horowitz in which the conservative writer pooh-poohs the whole idea of slavery reparations.

A number of student newspapers refused to print the ads, and the ones that did came under attack. At Brown University, copies of the student newspaper were stolen or trashed to keep anyone from seeing the ad.

Stealing newspapers "turns the debate away from the evil ad itself and makes it a debate about Horowitz's right to speak," Mr. Bond said. Ironically, Mr. Bond's words were published in Mr. Horowitz's Web magazine, FrontpageMagazine.com.

The NAACP is an ardent supporter of giving taxpayer cash to descendants of slaves.

"David Horowitz is a right-wing provocateur; so far he has been tremendously successful in provoking the very action he wanted a demonstration that black people and our liberal supporters are intolerant," Mr. Bond said.

"We cannot afford to give him the very ammunition he wants; doing so gives the battle to him."

Take a hike

The Wall Street Journal says simply, "He did it."

The newspaper explained in an editorial, "Barely two months into his administration, George W. Bush has just done what even the Gipper never could: He told the American Bar Association to take a hike.

"Specifically, President Bush ended the tradition of providing the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary with the names of White House nominees before they are made public. While the ABA no doubt will continue to rate nominees, the ending of its privileged role in the process means that the ABA will finally be treated for what it really is: a political interest group.

"For its part, the ABA's claim of a firewall that keeps the Standing Committee 'separate, independent, and insulated' from the causes embraced by its House of Delegates has come to have all the credibility of tobacco-industry studies showing no link between smoking and lung cancer.

"Even Martha Barnett, the ABA president, has trouble keeping a straight face here. At a press conference following a private meeting with Bush officials a few days before the White House made its announcement, she conceded that 'some people' might think the ABA has a 'political or liberal agenda.' In fact, she declared, there might even be 'positions we've taken that could be characterized as liberal.'

"You don't say."

Dubya's ambassadors

President Bush yesterday named former Sen. Howard Baker to be ambassador to Japan, saying he was proud to tap "a true statesman" for the post.

Mr. Baker, a Tennessee Republican, would replace former House Speaker Tom Foley, a Democrat from Washington state.

"Howard Baker is a true statesman and the appointment of a man of his experience and expertise exemplifies the importance I place on the relationship between the U.S. and Japan," Mr. Bush said in a statement.

Mr. Baker, 75, served 18 years in the Senate, four of them as majority leader, and became chief of staff to former President Reagan in 1987. Also yesterday, the president nominated San Francisco banker Howard H. Leach to be ambassador to France, and Jacksonville, Fla., businessman J. Richard Blankenship as ambassador to the Bahamas.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that Mr. Bush was considering naming Daniel Kurtzer of Silver Spring as ambassador to Israel, and Edward Gnehm Jr., as ambassador to Jordan.

Pork barrel of the mind

"President Bush has not broken any land-speed records in replacing holdovers from the previous administration, but one Clintonite who deserves a quick exit is National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William R. Ferris," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at nationalreview.com.

Among the highlights of Mr. Ferris' tenure at NEH: Two years ago, he invited President Clinton to deliver the Jefferson Lecture, an honor normally reserved for prominent intellectuals (Mr. Clinton declined the offer).

"The job of NEH chairman has been a vital one for conservatives, who have used it as a bully pulpit against the excesses of political correctness in the academy. It also helped propel the careers of William Bennett and Lynne Cheney," the writers noted.

"Squandering the post on a man like Ferris is a missed opportunity. Yet it's a blunder that some Republicans apparently would like to commit.

"Last month, Mississippi Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran asked President Bush to let Ferris finish his term, which ends in November. (Cochran even suggested that Ferris win another term.) Their advocacy represents a kind of pork barrel of the intellect: Ferris is a fellow Mississippian."

True or false

The acting New Jersey governor's nominee for state treasurer was fired from Citibank after being confronted with evidence that she used her expense account to travel with her lover, the New York Times reported yesterday. The acting governor strongly disputed that.

Isabel Miranda, who became acting state treasurer Friday, was director of trusts and estates for Citibank's private banking unit until 1996. The newspaper quoted unidentified co-workers as saying she was forced to resign and escorted from her office in Manhattan.

Miss Miranda denied she was fired, saying through a spokesman that she left voluntarily because of a dispute with her boss. Acting New Jersey Gov. Donald DiFrancesco said he was standing behind Miss Miranda, a good friend of his.

"It is absolutely not true that she was fired from the company for billing for trips that were not appropriate," Mr. DiFrancesco said yesterday. "I spoke to a number of her superiors in those days when she worked there, and they always bragged about her work."

The acting governor added: "It is a lot of innuendo, but no real hard facts. I am really outraged by it." He said the report stemmed from a bitter divorce, the Associated Press reports.

California candidate

California's Republican secretary of state will challenge Democratic incumbent Gray Davis for governor next year, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Bill Jones has criticized Mr. Davis' fund raising, particularly campaign donations the governor has taken from utilities now at the center of the state's energy crisis.

Mr. Davis, who is expected to run for a second term, has raised at least $27 million since taking office in 1999. He spent $35.3 million in his 1998 campaign against Attorney General Dan Lungren.

Mr. Jones had $118,336 in his campaign fund as of January, the Associated Press reports.

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