Thursday, November 29, 2001

Leahy’s jihad
“Although most Republican lawmakers approve of Bush administration policies, they also believe the Justice Department’s actions in the war on terrorism are a legitimate area for congressional oversight. However, the sheer number of [Senate Judiciary Committee] hearings, plus the involvement of a coalition of liberal interest groups that attacked [John] Ashcroft at his confirmation hearings early this year, suggests, at least to the GOP, that Democrats are also interested in inflicting political damage on the attorney general,” Byron York writes at
“Republicans believe [committee Chairman Patrick J.] Leahy and other Democrats have chosen to concentrate their fire on Ashcroft as a way of scoring points against the Bush administration without appearing to attack the president, who enjoys high job-approval ratings. For example, Republicans point out that the issue of military tribunals was a Bush executive order that will be carried out by the Defense Department. Why not go after the White House instead of focusing on Ashcroft? …
“Finally, some in the GOP believe another name for the flurry of Judiciary Committee activity might be ‘What We’re Doing Instead of Confirming Judges.’ There has been little if any progress on the issue of judges since the failure of a GOP plan to block appropriations bills as a way of forcing Democrats to consider more of the president’s judicial nominations. Now, with no pressure to act, Leahy is virtually ignoring the issue. Will Republicans renew a push for more confirmations before the end of the year? ‘There’s no point in it,’ says one frustrated aide.”

‘Pork-barrel fantasy’
Carl McCall, the New York Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, recently called incumbent Republican Gov. George E. Pataki a “bystander” in the state’s effort to win all the federal disaster aid it can, New York Post columnist John Podhoretz notes.
“Bystander? Far from it, unfortunately. It was, in fact, the governor’s highly publicized trip to Washington last month to push for extra dollars that led the Bush administration and Republicans to slam the brakes on,” Mr. Podhoretz said.
“Before getting on the shuttle to D.C., Pataki chose to don the robes of an activist big spender in the manner of McCall and other Democrats, who now blame the Bush administration for refusing to cave in to their irresponsible high jinks.
“McCall would have had a point if he’d gone after Pataki for turning a deadly serious lobbying trip into a pork-barrel fantasy.”
Buried in Mr. Pataki’s $54 billion wish list was a rail link between Albany and Schenectady, which tipped off the White House and Republican congressmen that New York’s greedy politicians were looking to cash in on the September 11 tragedy, the columnist said.

Chomsky’s charges
“In Pakistan to promote the view that the United States sponsors terrorism, Professor Noam Chomsky told an audience of 1,500 people that the 1998 bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory (wrongly believed by the CIA to be an al Qaeda chemical-weapons plant) may have resulted in the deaths of several thousand people. (Other reports say that one or maybe two people died at the factory after it was hit by U.S. cruise missiles.),” Inigo Thomas writes at
“This instance of U.S. terrorism, Chomsky says, is an indication of what will happen in Afghanistan. ‘Coalition forces [meaning American and British forces together with their proxy, the Northern Alliance] are making plans to further destroy the hunger-stricken country. The consequences of their crimes will never be known and they are quite confident about that. And that is the enormous outcome of the crime of the powerful.’ …
“Chomsky implies that the Afghan famine is a result of U.S. and British military action, although an Afghan farmer might say that a lack of rain in recent years, as well as the Taliban regime were more directly responsible for the dearth. Moreover, and contrary to what Chomsky says, the United States and its allies are not planning to ‘further destroy’ Afghanistan, although they do hope to destroy the Taliban, whose willful destruction of their own country has created a humanitarian calamity.”

Philadelphia curse
“Contrary to popular belief, its not impossible for a Philadelphian to get elected governor of Pennsylvania. It just hasn’t happened in my lifetime. Or almost anyone else’s either,” Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Larry Eichel writes.
“It’s been 87 years since somebody won a gubernatorial election with the magic words Philadelphia County under his name on the ballot. The winner back in 1914 … was Republican Martin Brumbaugh. The last Democrat to accomplish the feat was Robert Pattison … and the year was 1890,” Mr. Eichel said.
“[Former Philadelphia Mayor] Ed Rendell hopes that 2002 might be one of those rare times. He formally announced his gubernatorial candidacy [Monday], setting out to add his name to a roster which, as we’ve seen, has rarely required updating.”

Tolerance or else
A homosexual group has posted on its Internet site a call for the death of leading conservatives, including former President Reagan.
Although said it did not “authorize, ratify, or directly or indirectly threaten or encourage acts of violence” toward the people on its list, it was the group’s “sincere wish that these viciously anti-Queer crusaders die soon.”
The group also said it intended to post information on the site that “could be useful in spotting these dangerous [heterosexual] supremacists when they are wandering around loose.”
Expressing the wish that those named would die “preferably a horrible death” the site claimed to be following the example of the “Nuremberg Files,” a pro-life fringe site that lists the names of abortion providers.
Others named to the death list by included Sen. Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Republican; Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican; Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation; evangelist Pat Robertson; the Rev. Jerry Falwell; and the Rev. D. James Kennedy.
Also named was Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., Oklahoma Republican, the highest-ranking black member of Congress. “It is a shame that, even as our country is at war, a fringe group would set up a Web site to blatantly call for the death of a number of public figures in America. One would think hate could take a vacation here at home,” said Watts spokesman Kevin Schweers.
B. Allan Ross of San Diego, spokesman for, told Cybercast News Service, “Just saying you wish somebody would die is not illegal and it doesn’t make them die.”
Miami lawyer John B. Thompson disagrees. In a letter Monday to Attorney General John Ashcroft, he said the Web site is in violation of state and federal law in advocating the murder of specific individuals.
“Based on what has happened in our country, this Web site clearly represents a threat a dangerous window of opportunity that could lead to someone’s death,” Mr. Thompson told The Washington Times. “The Justice Department and the FBI must move immediately to shut it down.”

Schaffer’s future
“Colorado Republican Rep. Bob Schaffer will be retiring from Congress at the end of the current term, but not necessarily from public life,” United Press International reports in its “Capital Comment” column.
“Schaffer … pledged to voters during his first congressional campaign to serve no more than six years and is leaving because of it. However, sources in Washington expect that GOP Gov. Bill Owens will likely tap Schaffer as his running mate for the next election. Owens and current Colorado Lt. Gov. Joe Rogers have a notoriously contentious relationship, leading many to suspect that Rogers will run for a congressional seat rather than re-election. Early betting is that Marilyn Musgrave, currently a member of the state legislature, will try to succeed Schaffer in Congress.”

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