- The Washington Times - Friday, November 30, 2001

Stop that woman

Several prominent Hispanic Democrats are publicly warning House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri that he must make sure a Hispanic is chosen caucus chairman over a white woman, Roll Call reports.

"I think this race is a test of whether Democrats in the House are really going to respect the Hispanic community or not," former Rep. Bill Richardson, New Mexico Democrat, told reporter Ethan Wallison.

"This is not an internal [caucus] matter. This is a national race," Mr. Richardson added.

Rep. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut are competing for the position, which will be voted on by the full caucus next year.

Inflammatory letter

An aide to Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, Georgia Democrat, has infuriated Jewish Democrats by suggesting that Jewish members of Congress have dual loyalties and should not sit on the House International Relations Committee.

Raeed Tayeh, in a letter published in this week's edition of the Hill newspaper in which he identified himself as being from the office of Miss McKinney, scolded Jewish-American lawmakers who had been quoted in the publication as being unhappy with President Bush for supporting the idea of a Palestinian state.

Mr. Tayeh said he was disturbed "that many of these pro-Israeli lawmakers sit on the House International Relations Committee despite the obvious conflict of interest that their emotional attachments to Israel cause."

Mr. Tayeh added: "The Israeli occupation of all territories must end, including Congress."

The National Jewish Democratic Council, which, as its name suggests, is affiliated with the Democratic Party, responded yesterday in a letter sent to the Hill newspaper and released to other media outlets.

"With regard to Mr. Raeed Tayeh's letter of November 28th, in which he questions the loyalties of Jewish members of Congress, only a scoundrel and a bigot would choose to impugn a member's loyalty and commitment to this country based upon his or her ethnicity or religion," NJDC Executive Director Ira N. Forman said.

"Accusing Jews of being disloyal to their country due to their support for Israel and other central aspects of our faith recalls the most vile anti-Semitic canards that have been invoked against Jews throughout the ages."

Mr. Tayeh has resigned his position, Mrs. McKinney's office said yesterday.

Mrs. McKinney recently caused a stir when she wrote a Saudi sheik asking for $10 million to be used exclusively for needy blacks. The money had been rejected by New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani when the Saudi linked the September 11 terror attacks to U.S. policy toward Israel.

No fan of Hillary

Gen. Suhaila Siddiq "is Afghanistan's only woman general, a surgeon, hospital director and heroine to a generation of young women who remained in the country" and challenged the Taliban, the Sunday Times of London reports. But she is scornful of Western feminists in general and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in particular, reporter Stephen Farrell writes from Kabul.

This is what Gen. Siddiq had to say about the New York Democrat: "She cannot defend her own rights against her husband. How can she defend the rights of my country?"

Cuomo's boo-boos

It looks like Andrew Cuomo, son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, could use some geography lessons before he gets too far along in his own run for governor, the Associated Press reports.

In a Thanksgiving card to supporters, the former federal housing secretary had a list of almost six dozen things his three young daughters were thankful for. The list included "the Anthony Road winery on the shore of Lake Geneva" and "honoring Grandpa Bobby [Kennedy] with the Colonie County Dems."

The winery, as lovers of Finger Lakes wines might know, overlooks Seneca Lake. There is no Lake Geneva in the Finger Lakes, although the city of Geneva is located at the north end of Seneca Lake.

Also, none of New York's 62 counties is named Colonie. There is a town of Colonie near Albany where Democrats recently honored the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, the father of Andrew Cuomo's wife, Kerry.

Cuomo spokesman Peter Ragone blamed production errors for the mistakes.

State Republican Chairman Alexander Treadwell offered another explanation: "Andrew Cuomo obviously spent too much time in Washington." He said he was sending Mr. Cuomo a map of New York state for Christmas.

Milking consumers

The farm bill passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee allowed Sen. Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, "to deliver his long-promised kiss to Vermont turncoat Jim Jeffords, who made him majority leader earlier this year," the Wall Street Journal says.

"At the demand of Ag Committee member and fellow Vermonter Patrick Leahy, the bill not only revives the Northeast Dairy Compact that mercifully expired in September, it massively increases its scope," the newspaper said in an editorial.

"The new 'national' dairy cartel would include all 48 contiguous states, imposing what is in effect a new tax on milk. The University of Missouri's Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute estimates the bill will raise milk prices by an average of 26 cents a gallon, costing consumers about $1.8 billion a year. And it doesn't stop there. The compact would also include 'deficiency' payments to farmers when the price of milk used in nonbeverage products such as cheese and butter drops below certain levels.

"Having thus stuck it to poor milk drinkers, our populist Senate heroes then turn around and hand out subsidies to America's biggest landholders," including "such needy 'farmers' as Portland Trailblazer Scottie Pippen and media mogul Ted Turner. These subsidies are backed by the same Democrats who denounce income-tax cuts as sops to 'the rich.'"

Sonny Bono's statue

The late Sonny Bono one of the most identifiable icons of Palm Springs, Calif. was given permanent vigil over the bustling downtown Mecca that spurred his political career.

But in a city that loves to celebrate its celebrities, some people say the new statue that depicts Mr. Bono sitting on a fountain fails to adequately identify the former pop entertainer and mayor of Palm Springs, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.

"It doesn't look like him," said Dario Jones, who owns Reflections, a local art gallery. "It's not a fair representation of him or his spirit. When I look at the statue, it looks like a crotchety old man who doesn't belong in the plaza."

Mr. Bono's widow, who succeeded him in Congress, endorsed the monument. And the man who commissioned the work for $150,000, local developer John Wessman, liked what he saw.

"I think the fountain turned out very well," Mr. Wessman said. "It's low-key and unusual, but it's very nice."

Mr. Wessman was a longtime friend of Mr. Bono, who died in a 1998 skiing accident while serving a second consecutive term in Congress.

Domestic politics

The wife of Tennessee state Sen. John Ford was arrested after she rammed her Jaguar into a house owned by her husband and then reportedly assaulted the woman inside.

Tamara Mitchell-Ford, 37, slammed into the garage door, backed out and plowed through a backyard fence before crashing through a set of French doors in the back of the home Tuesday, according to police reports.

Police say she then entered the house screaming and throwing things at Connie Mathews, 40, who was staying at the home in Collierville, a Memphis suburb. Authorities said Miss Mathews was scratched by Mrs. Mitchell-Ford and struck by a piece of a broken lamp.

Miss Mathews, the mother of two of the Democratic senator's children, was treated and released from a hospital.

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