- The Washington Times - Monday, November 19, 2001

Name-calling
"We only scratched the surface of the angry name-calling between the political parties in revealing that Democrats have dubbed conservative Hill leaders the 'GOP Taliban,'" Paul Bedard writes in U.S. News & World Report.
"Now we learn that the Dems are hinting at racism or an anti-federal worker bias for why the prez didn't attend the funerals of the black postal workers who died of anthrax exposure. 'That's just pathetic,' flashes a Bush official."

Pelosi vs. Shelby
Sen. Richard C. Shelby, ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, ranking member of the House intelligence committee, are on opposite sides when it comes to President Bush's decision to let military tribunals try foreign terrorists.
"I think the president goes too far. I think what he's doing is almost a usurpation of the system of checks and balances. Here we have the executive branch, under the Department of Defense, usurping the power of the judiciary for trials in the United States for noncitizens," Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said yesterday on CNN's "Late Edition."
"I'm very, very concerned," she said, noting that proceedings before a military tribunal could be in secret and that guilty verdicts would not require unanimous concurrence.
"They could give the death penalty. And I have serious questions as to whether the people who have been rounded up already in the United States [in connection with the September 11 terrorist attacks] would be subjected to this," said Mrs. Pelosi, the House minority whip.
But Mr. Shelby, Alabama Republican, says he has no such reservations about Mr. Bush's executive order. "I believe the president is exactly right. We're talking about dealing with terrorists," he said on CNN, adding:
"The Supreme Court of the United States has looked at this and upheld it. I believe it's the right thing to do. It's the only thing to do. It's the right message, I believe."

False premises
"Here's the conventional interpretation of the most recent media recount of the Bush-Gore election: Bush would have won even if the U.S. Supreme Court had not stopped the statewide recount of undervotes ordered by the Florida Supreme Court. But Gore would have won a statewide recount (that he did not request) of undervotes and overvotes. This seems to confirm that the U.S. Supreme Court was wrong to intervene, since the system would have produced a Bush victory anyway, and it further seems to confirm that Gore 'really' won. This interpretation is wrong, both in its factual premises and in its conclusion," Einer Elhauge, a Harvard University law professor who represented the Florida House of Representatives in the 2000 election dispute, writes in the Weekly Standard.
"First, the media recount does not show Bush would have won if Florida's manual recount of undervotes had continued. What it shows (as was apparent at the time) is that Bush would have won such a recount conducted under standards applied uniformly within each county by counters who were screened for their political bias," which was certainly not the case on Dec. 12, the writer said.
"Second, the media recount did not show that Gore would have won if all the ballots rejected in the machine tally had been manually recounted under any uniform standard. With months and months to do their work, the [National Opinion Research Center] counters had the luxury of trying out different sets of standards on a statewide basis compiling data from two different standards for judging optical-scan ballots, six different standards for judging punchcard ballots, and two decision rules for counting the latter. (The decision rules came into play when counters disagreed among themselves about whether a ballot met the standard being used.) Depending on which of these permutations you select, there are 24 conceivable outcomes of a statewide manual recount. Of these, 12 went for Gore and 12 for Bush."
The writer added: "The widespread media reports that counting overvotes produced a Gore victory in fact referred to six of these results those where the looser of the two optical scanner standards (judged by a single counter) was combined with the loosest of the punchcard decision rules (the one not requiring a consensus of the counters). This set of results, as it happens, is the one most likely to be distorted by the counters' political bias."

A sleazy move
"Now that the media finally has declared last year's presidential election over, it's time for Senate Democrats to quit punishing a key Bush administration nominee because he is the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia," John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru write at the National Review Web site (www.nationalreview.com).
"Six months ago, Eugene Scalia was nominated to become the top lawyer at the Department of Labor. One month ago, a Senate committee approved his nomination. Today, however, he still languishes without a floor vote. If one were held, he would probably win narrow approval he made it through committee because Jim Jeffords, Vermont independent, voted for him," the writers said.
"In a particularly sleazy move, Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd are now charging that Scalia 'seriously misrepresented his record' in his confirmation testimony something nobody said at the time, when such liberal senators as Paul Wellstone were praising his character and Kennedy himself was calling him 'an outstanding lawyer' with whom he merely had policy disagreements. Kennedy and Dodd don't back up the charge."

Lott vs. Daschle
Trent Lott of Mississippi, the Republican leader in the Senate, was asked yesterday about Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's complaint that Republicans "killed our economic recovery and homeland security bill."
Mr. Lott, in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," said: "Well, they rammed through a totally partisan bill through the Finance Committee on an 11-10 vote. We told them then, 'If you try to go to the floor with this package' which is really just more typical Democrat spending programs; it really won't have a stimulative effect 'it won't get through the Senate.' We told them that. They knew that. And then when the vote occurred on the Senate floor and everything came to a halt, then they start trying to blame somebody.
"I mean, they put things in here that clearly can't be identified as helping, you know, stimulate the economy immediately. Bison meat here, funds for investment bankers there, watermelon subsidies somewhere else. Many are good programs in other areas which I also support at another day in another bill, but clearly not stimulative in terms of causing economic growth."
Mr. Lott said he is "beginning to wonder if Senator Daschle really wants a stimulative package for the economy, because he's shown no movement toward sitting down and getting a serious discussion going."
Mr. Lott said he hoped President Bush would get involved in negotiations.


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