- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2001

The dulling of Pearl
Its time to duck and cover as far as Disneys $135 million film "Pearl Harbor" is concerned. It has already irked veterans of the real thing, who charge inappropriate use of naval vessels and relentless foul language.
Disney CEO Michael Eisner tried to further hype the movie by asking "several war-veteran politicians" to appear on ABCs "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in time for the May 25 opening.
His cast was to include Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat; Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and John W. Warner of Virginia; and former Sen. Bob Dole, Kansas Republican, said to be the point man behind it all.
An ethics committee scuttled the notion by virtue of a Senate rule that prohibits lawmakers from receiving honoraria of more than $2,000, even if it goes to charity. Lucky its not campaign season, too. ABC already has "Millionaire" rules that bar "a legally qualified candidate for any type of political office" from appearing on the show, according to regulations posted on the ABC Web site.
Undaunted, Mr. Eisner will host a special screening of the movie next week for Washington politicians who also served in the military, plus a $5 million premiere party aboard the USS John C. Stennis, transferred from San Diego to Pearl Harbor just for the occasion.

A cultural moment
The Village Voice has weighed in on the appointment of Rep. Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas Republican, to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration. Its "cranked up the Clinton conspiracy buffs."
"They say that while was U.S. attorney for the western part of Arkansas in the early 1980s, he looked the other way as a huge drug ring allegedly operated in the little town of Mean. … Conspiracy buffs suspect the ring was part of the Iran-Contra affair," the paper said.
"They think Hutchinson and his successor ignored the drug-trafficking and money-laundering to protect the interests of President Reagan and other GOP bigwigs. The state police and the IRS are said to have investigated the situation at Mean, but a grand jury investigation went nowhere. Barry Seal, the famous drug trafficker, was murdered about a month before he was to appear before the grand jury in Arkansas."
"L.D. Brown, a former member of then-governor Clintons Arkansas security detail, claimed in a 1995 article in the American Spectator that he had participated in two secret flights originating from Mean in 1984 during which M-16 rifles were given to the Nicaraguan contras in exchange for cocaine. Brown also claimed Clinton himself was involved. In the mid-1980s, Hutchinson, ensconced as head of the state Republican Party, asked for a new investigation into drug trading and other irregularities at Mean.
"The charges of money-laundering and drug-trafficking at Mean have grown to legendary proportions. They have been stoutly denied, and proof has always seemed circumstantial at best," the Voice concluded.

Surveillance plain
How appropriate was former President Bill Clintons appearance at Hong Kongs big business summit this week? Not very, according to a poll of some 5,300 people taken at Vote.com yesterday.
Folks could vote, "Yes. He was acting as a private citizen, having cordial talks with an old friend." Or they could vote, "No. With Sino-US tensions running high, Clintons visit sends the wrong message."
By late afternoon, 89 percent said "no," 11 percent "yes."

The Mickey club
Former President Bill Clinton was not alone. An exact account from yesterdays editions of the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, the Peoples Daily:
"The United States must cooperate with China in any case and keep on exchanges as well, said Mickey Kantor, former U.S. secretary of Commerce and trade representative, at the conference of the Fortune Global Forum 2001 in Hong Kong. Kantor emphasized that there is no alternative for Sino-US relationship. It is a crucial time for the two countries. The U.S. should deal with the bilateral relations cautiously."

Fowl play
Turkeys are not carved in Carver County, Minn. They are, instead, a beloved bird. Mayor Robert Roepke of Chaska has charged a state trooper with animal cruelty after he ran over a wild turkey with his squad car, then wrung its neck.
Trooper Mark Lund claims he was only responding to a call from a woman who found the turkey pecking her car tires outside the Carver County courthouse on May 3. The trooper then ran over the bird, saying the state Department of Natural Resources had suggested the method.
Trouble is, the turkey is the town mascot, adored and fed by all, according to County Attorney Mike Fahey.

Local lawmen are also perturbed.
"The orders didnt come from us," said Sgt. Jon Kehrberg of the Chaska police force. "We believe the troopers actions constitute a violation of the statute." An investigation is under way, and the Minnesota State Patrol has sent a letter of apology to Mr. Roepke.

Birth of an idea
Things are not baby-friendly up in Massachusetts for acting Gov. Jane M. Swift, who is confined to bed awaiting the birth of twins in the next 10 days.
The Governors Council voted 5-3 on Wednesday to ask the state Supreme Judicial Court if it is constitutional for Mrs. Swift to conduct official meetings by telephone. All eight members are Democrats; the mother-to-be is a Republican.
Her spokesman, Peter Forman, dismissed the councils action as "political gamesmanship."
Meanwhile, Mrs. Swift will not relinquish authority to Democratic Secretary of State William Galvin and plans to govern from her hospital bed. Democratic Councilor Edward OBrien said she must physically be in the council chambers or declare herself unable to govern. Mr. OBriens daughter, state Treasurer Shannon OBrien, is a Democrat weighing a run for governor. But she sympathizes.
"I know my father. I know hes a real stickler for the rules and a true student of the state Constitution, and so I can understand them wanting to get some clarification," she said. "But we should be doing everything we can to accommodate her."

Informed observer
A few thoughts from Judge Robert H. Bork on the judicial-selection process from yesterdays Wall Street Journal:
"The truth is that there is no far-right legal thought in the U.S. There are liberal activists and originalists. … But the theory of the left is that if you shout 'far right and 'extremists long enough, some people will believe it.
"The truth is that Mr. Bushs nominees, at least most of those we know of so far, are a legal dream team not because they have an ideology, but because of their high skills as lawyers and their devotion to the rule of law, rather than the rule of judges.
"George W. Bush as president has been far more resolute in a sensible conservatism than he seemed in the early days of his primary campaign. Then he sounded at times a bit like Bill Clinton; now he sounds more than a bit like Ronald Reagan. This is just as well, because he faces a fight that will test his resolve and deeply affect not only the health of democratic self-government, but the day-to-day lives of Americans for years to come. If they value self-government, if they prefer to set their own moral standards rather than accept those an arrogant elite would force upon them, Americans will support the presidents judicial nominations. If he wants to win, Mr. Bush will have to make that case to the country."


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