- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Robbed of potential
"If a tree falls in the forest but nobody pays attention, can it still have an impact?
"That's what Democrats are asking themselves as they approach a 2001 Election Day that could match their fondest dreams of just a few months ago," the Wall Street Journal reports.
"Polls suggest Democratic nominees are poised to complete next week a grand slam of four major offices now held by Republicans: mayor of New York, following the party's recapture of the Los Angeles mayor's office earlier this year, and governorships in both conservative-leaning Virginia and here in the moderate suburban stronghold of New Jersey," reporter John Harwood wrote from Ewing, N.J.
"But the pall that September 11 has cast over the nation's political landscape largely has robbed those contests of their potential to galvanize Democrats going into next year's fight for control of Congress. National Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe had hoped to use as a model the Republican Party's sweep of the very same offices in 1993.
"Those victories jump-started the GOP candidate recruitment and fund-raising that led to the Republican congressional landslide of 1994."

Less nervous
A new poll finds that despite fear-mongering in the media, the public's nervousness has dropped since the days after the terrorist attacks.
One in five say they feel nervous now, compared with a third after the attacks, the CBS-New York Times poll found.
The survey suggests the general outlook on the anti-terror campaign is still upbeat, with just over four in five people saying the anti-terror campaign is going at least fairly well.
In addition, Americans' concerns about terrorism in their own communities has dropped in the past month from four in 10 then to a fourth now who worry about attacks where they live, according to the poll.
And support for the military attacks in Afghanistan remains very high with almost nine in 10 supporting them. A majority expect the war to last a year or longer and say it will be worth it even if several thousand U.S. troops are lost.
However, the survey indicated that only 18 percent now have a "great deal of confidence" the government can protect its citizens, compared with 35 percent in late September.
The poll of 1,024 adults was taken Thursday through Sunday and has an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points.

Spence succession
South Carolina state Sen. Joe Wilson won the Republican primary yesterday to seek the congressional seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Floyd D. Spence.
Mr. Wilson, a 54-year-old lawyer, has served in the state Senate since 1985, and is a former staff member for Mr. Spence and Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond.
Mr. Spence died in August, opening up the race for the seat he had held since 1971 in the state's conservative 2nd Congressional District.
With all 335 precincts reporting, the Associated Press reported that Mr. Wilson had 34,446 votes, or 75 percent, compared with businessman Joe Grimaud's 6,779 votes, or 15 percent. Three other candidates got from 2 percent to 4 percent of the vote.
In the Dec. 18 special election, Mr. Wilson will face three other candidates: Democrat Brent Weaver, Libertarian Warren Eilertson and Constitution Party nominee Steve Lefemine.

Tight race in Detroit
Tuesday's mayoral race in Detroit in shaping up as the closest in decades, the New York Times reports.
The contest features two black Democrats, the leading vote-getters in the Sept. 11 nonpartisan primary.
"Kwame M. Kilpatrick, 31, the minority leader of the state House and the son of a congresswoman, is vying to be the city's youngest mayor since 1933. He is an affable former star Florida A&M; tackle prone to getting in trouble for speaking his mind," reporter Danny Hakim writes.
"His opponent, Gil Hill, 69, the City Council president, is a spirited, folksy former homicide detective best known for a brush with Hollywood; in the 'Beverly Hills Cop' movies, he played the scenery-chewing Detroit boss of Eddie Murphy."
Mr. Kilpatrick won the primary by 16 percentage points in a 20-candidate field, but his lead over Mr. Hill was in the single digits in recent polls.

The numbers game
"Come Thursday, I will indulge in racial profiling," Sunil Dutta, an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department's Valley Traffic Division, writes in the Los Angeles Times.
"Every time I stop a motorist for a traffic violation or detain someone, I will file a card in which I'm asked to guess the person's race," Mr. Dutta said.
"If I'm working in the west end of LAPD's West Valley Division, my cards will indicate that I stopped mostly white people. If I write my citations in Van Nuys Division, my contacts will be almost all Latino. Officers working in Southeast Division will be stopping mostly blacks; cops writing tickets in mid-Wilshire will have cards showing a preponderance of Koreans.
"The people who made this procedure a part of the consent decree signed by the Los Angeles Police Department and the U.S. Department of Justice somehow believe that if I or other cops indulge in racial profiling, that fact will emerge after they analyze this data.
"I did enough scientific research and data analysis in my previous career as a scientist to know that the whole exercise is a waste of officers' time and the city's money. We can neither prove nor prevent racial profiling by playing the numbers game. It is a fact that we all indulge in some profiling. The question is whether it leads to unwarranted behavior."

A bad idea
"When it comes to the question of airport security, what do 100 members of the United States Senate know that Isaac Yeffet doesn't?" Byron York asks at www.nationalreview.com.
"The Senate has unanimously approved an airport-security bill that would fully federalize the nation's 28,000 baggage screeners. To Yeffet, the former chief of security for the Israeli airline El Al, that's a terrible idea. 'It would be a big mistake,' he says. 'Airlines should continue to hire private security companies, and the federal government should write the procedures, should supervise the performance of the airline security, and should test them to make sure that security reaches the level we need to reach.'
"Yeffet points out that that's the way it's done in Israel, known for the best airport security in the world. It's also the way it's done in the major airports of Europe, where security is far better than American airports. And it's the way the Republican leadership in the House would have it done in the United States."

Shop till you drop
In the Senate's contentious debate over a stimulus package, two senators have a novel idea: a nationwide sales-tax holiday to encourage a shopping spree.
Sens. Olympia J. Snowe, Maine Republican, and Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, say the 10-day holiday could apply in the District of Columbia and the 45 states that levy a sales tax; the federal government would reimburse them for up to $6.5 billion in revenue.
Mrs. Murray, who said the measure could be called the "let's go shopping" bill, told the Associated Press it would help boost consumer confidence and bolster retail sales during the holiday shopping season. Mrs. Snowe said it would "mainline money directly into the economy."
Seven states and the District that have offered sales-tax holidays experienced solid retail sales increases. Maryland, for example, reported a 10 percent increase in sales, according to Mrs. Snowe's office.

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