- The Washington Times - Friday, April 5, 2002

The Show Me state

The University of Missouri may lose almost three-quarters of a million dollars for offending the sensibilities of state lawmakers.

KOMU, the school's student-run television station, had forbidden reporters to wear flags or patriotic ribbons after September 11, prompting Republican Rep. Bubs Hohulin to sponsor an amendment to cut the university's budget by $5 million.

"I would love to force the university to sell the station," Mr. Hohulin said. "We could use the money." Legislators agreed, in a 97-33 vote, on a $500,000 cut.

Previous cuts to the school's funding included $100,000, "directed" at Harris Mirkin of the political science department, whose writings on pedophilia and sexuality irked legislators and had been investigated by the Kansas City Star.

Another amendment took $120,000 from the budget, an amount identical to the salary of Betty Van Uum, lobbyist for the university. Rep. Pat O'Connor, a Democrat, said she is just "too political" to be a university employee.

Iowa bulletin

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has said she won't run for president but what's this? One of her key aides may soon move to Iowa, that birthplace of all presidential aspirations.

The New York Post reports that Clinton spokeswoman Karen Dunn hopes to quit Mrs. Clinton's office and work for Iowa Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack.

For Mrs. Clinton, having Miss Dunn by Mr. Vilsack's side would be a big help in a White House campaign, the Post reasons. But Miss Dunn seemed to backtrack last night, claiming she's not that interested in moving to Iowa.

Now Karenna

Karenna Gore Schiff told CNN last night she would consider seeking elected office, possibly in New York.

"I really love grass-roots politics. I care a lot about issues that other people do, environmental protection and health care and education. It was a privilege to be able to talk about those things out on the campaign trail in 2000. I don't know if I'll be a candidate, but it's something that I wouldn't rule out," Mrs. Schiff said.

And was her mother, Tipper, really serious about a senatorial bid last month? "She definitely considered it. Very seriously," Mrs. Schiff said.

Byrd hunt

Sen. Robert C. Byrd yesterday rejected the Bush administration's proposal that Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge meet informally with Congress, instead insisting he make an official appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"The approach you suggest seems to be quite contrary to the tried-and-true method that the Senate relies on for guidance on funding matters, which is a formal hearing by the Committee on Appropriations," Mr. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat and chairman of the committee, wrote in a letter to Mr. Ridge.

Mr. Byrd and Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the committee's top Republican, asked Mr. Ridge to testify, arguing that as a Cabinet-level appointee with decision-making powers, he can answer questions about the administration's plan for spending on domestic security.

President Bush has said that Mr. Ridge is his adviser and that therefore testifying to a committee would violate the separation of powers between branches of government. The president has offered an informal meeting.

Mr. Byrd and Mr. Stevens hope to meet with Mr. Bush to work out a solution. And Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, has said a subpoena for Mr. Ridge is possible.

Caught in the 'Crossfire'

CNN's boisterous new hourlong "Crossfire" is a big hit with Democrats, but prominent Republicans on Capitol Hill are "avoiding it like the plague," said one top Republican aide.

Old-school Clintonites James Carville and Paul Begala "have an ax to grind against Republicans," the aide said, with only tighty-righties Bob Novak and Tucker Carlson to defend them.

Mr. Carlson says the show, broadcast live from George Washington University, is "new and improved, better than ever, massively supersized."

However, Republicans are shunning the show, saying it's the "same old liberal bent," but before a live audience stacked with Democrats to ask the questions.

Pickering redux

The National Organization for Women has opened the liberal assault on U.S. District Judge D. Brooks Smith of Pennsylvania.

The feminist group yesterday in a letter to Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania said that Judge Smith, nominated by President Bush for a spot on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is a member of an all-male private club.

According to the Associated Press, Judge Smith remained in the Spruce Creek Rod and Gun Club 11 years after acknowledging to senators in a 1988 confirmation hearing that the federal judge's code of conduct required resignation from all-male clubs.

Kathy Miller, president of Pennsylvania's NOW chapter, inferred sexism from this, telling AP that "it basically says that he's not concerned about discrimination against women."

Judge Smith "did make an active effort to make a change, but the organization was not responsive to his effort, but he did try to make that change more than once," said Tom Murphy, the club's immediate past president. Judge Smith resigned from the club in 1999.

The federal judges' code of conduct exempts clubs with purely social purpose and limited membership from the sex-membership rule, Justice Department officials said.

Judge Smith already has had a confirmation hearing, but no vote has been set by the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.

Ashcroft on key

CBS' David Letterman has mocked Attorney General John Ashcroft by broadcasting an old video clip of Mr. Ashcroft singing "Let the Eagle Soar" a tune he wrote himself before a group of North Carolina theology students.

Now Mr. Ashcroft has turned the beat around and agreed to come on the show.

But will Mr. Ashcroft sing? No one is talking, though he has performing prowess after years as a member of the Singing Senators foursome. This will be his first foray into late-night TV.

"Mr. Letterman has been having a lot of fun at the attorney general's expense," spokesman Mark Corallo told the New York Daily News. "And we just thought he might as well get to meet him in person."

Target practice

One paragraph in a proposed 1,800-page revision of Florida's school laws would allow students to keep a gun in their locked car under certain circumstances.

"With all that has happened with guns in this country, why are we toying with it happening here?" asked Sen. Betty Holzendorf, a Jacksonville Democrat who wants tougher gun-control laws.

But the state Senate and House both refused to take the paragraph out of the bill yesterday, the Florida Times Union reports, hinting it will likely pass.

The paragraph provides exceptions to zero-tolerance laws that expel students. Local school boards could allow students to keep guns in locked cars, for example, if they were attending a firearms-safety class.

Kathleen's turn

Kathleen Willey, who once appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes" to describe former President Bill Clinton's purported sexual advances on her, now has her own radio show.

An advocate for other women caught up in political scandals, Mrs. Willey's show debuts at noon Sunday on WRVA (AM 1140), a Richmond-based station, and will be rebroadcast in 38 states. Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity will be among the guests.

"Yes," says a spokesman, "she will discuss her experience with Clinton," plus her subsequent role in independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's investigation of Mr. Clinton and current issues.

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