- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Couric vs. Whitman
"'Today' co-host Katie Couric on Monday took advantage of EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman's appearance to talk about 'Energy Star' compliant holiday gifts to lecture her about how disappointing she has been to environmentalists for not blocking Bush policies," the Media Research Center's Brent Baker writes.
"MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught how Couric badgered her on the December 2 NBC show about being beaten by 'right-wing conservatives.' Naturally, Couric never tagged any environmentalists as liberal, nor Sen. Joe Lieberman or New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, whom she cited as experts on Whitman's misguided ways," Mr. Baker said at www.mediaresearch.org.
"Couric set up the segment: 'If you are truly interested in giving a gift that keeps on giving this holiday season EPA Administrator Christie Whitman has some suggestions about presents that can help make a difference not only for your wallet but for the environment as well. Christie Whitman, welcome back nice to see you. Before we talk about the Energy Star program I have to ask you about some recent developments. There have been a lot of critical pieces following the Bush administration's announcement of relaxed emissions standards at power plants and other industrial sources. As I understand it, industrial sites are no longer obligated to install modern pollution controls whenever they make a major modification? And that's how it's been reported.'
"Couric lectured: 'A lot of people though, have been highly critical of the Bush administration on the environment. They say that you came to the EPA with incredible strong environmentalist credentials. And yet, you know, every proposal that you've tried to put forward has gotten a kibosh by right-wing conservatives within the administration. That certainly is how it's been portrayed in the press. Some have even suggested that you might resign on principle. And that when this announcement was made it was, it was made the Friday before a holiday week by an assistant administrator. That you were AWOL and basically nowhere to be seen. What do you make of all this? And, and I guess the bottom line [interrupted by Whitman] the bottom line is do you, Christie Whitman, feel comfortable with the Bush administration's environmental policies? I guess is the bottom line.'"

McGreevey's trips
New Jersey's Democratic State Committee has agreed to reimburse the state $18,200 for 14 private, nongovernment-related trips that Gov. James E. McGreevey took on state-owned helicopters this year.
The announcement Monday comes just days after the committee agreed to repay close to $70,000 in expenses for the governor, his wife and a delegation of about 10 state employees who went to Ireland on a trade mission this summer, the Associated Press reports.
The committee would not comment beyond its announcement.
Gannett New Jersey raised questions about the helicopter trips after it examined state records obtained through the Open Public Records Act.
Kevin Davitt, a McGreevey spokesman, said a subsequent state review found that the 14 trips to destinations such as Newark, Woodbridge and New York City were not government-related.
Mr. Davitt would not say what the governor did on these trips, except that a Sept. 22 flight was for a lawmaker's wedding.
State officials will now review the helicopter logs on an annual basis and reimbursement will be made, if necessary, for private trips. Mr. Davitt said Mr. McGreevey has taken 272 helicopter flights during his first 10 months in office, and the cost of operating the helicopters is $1,200 per hour.

Picking on Henry
"In yet another sign that American liberalism has lost its bearings, we are now being told that Henry Kissinger is unfit to be President Bush's choice to lead a probe into government actions prior to September 11, 2001," the Wall Street Journal says.
"What did he do, lie under oath in a legal deposition?" the newspaper asked in an editorial.
"Well, no. Under recent liberal standards that would be a qualification. The former secretary of state instead stands accused of consulting for corporate clients and of being part of foreign policy 'power circles.' These apparently are an incentive for him to cover up embarrassing details and protect the powers-that-be, maybe even Mr. Bush. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who wants to be president himself, has averred that Mr. Kissinger should sever all ties with his clients.
"Now, we can remember when it was some conservatives who worried about the Trilateral Commission and other supposed establishment conspiracies. Liberals were the folks who defended experience in government and foreign policy judgment, both of which Mr. Kissinger has in abundance and would seem to be useful for such an investigation. He has served six presidents in one capacity or another, and while we've tangled with him on the merits more than once, we find it preposterous to suggest he'd sell out his country for a fee."

Aide arrested
A personal aide and driver to Pennsylvania Gov.-elect Ed Rendell was charged with heroin possession and reckless endangerment after security officers at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Philadelphia saw him driving erratically and pulled him over.
Charles Breslin, 45, was detained by hospital security officers around 11 a.m. Monday, authorities said. He was released on his own recognizance Tuesday and is due in court on Feb. 13 for a hearing, the Associated Press reports.
A syringe, heroin and Xanax, a prescription anti-anxiety drug, were found in the car, Philadelphia police said yesterday.
Mr. Breslin, who worked for Mr. Rendell's election campaign for about a year and remains on the payroll, was paid $28,000 for "consulting" work between Nov. 16, 2001, and Oct. 8, according to campaign finance reports.
Ken Snyder, the governor-elect's spokesman, said there were no indications during that time that Mr. Breslin was using illegal drugs.
"To the contrary, he was a really model employee," Mr. Snyder said yesterday, amplifying a statement that he released following Mr. Breslin's arrest Monday.

Civility in punditry
Conservative pundit David Frum has apologized for using the phrase "Wahhabi Democrat" in a National Review Online column that was quoted in this space.
"Close to a dozen readers have emailed to reproach me for describing John F. Kerry as a 'Wahhabi Democrat' in [Mondays] post," Mr. Frum said at www.nationalreview.com.
"I was making a joke about the man's refusal to learn the political lessons of the recent past, but the readers point out that we conservatives complain when Paul Begala makes cracks about the 'Taliban wing of the Republican party.' They say that if we are going to demand courtesy, we must practice it ourselves. And with the accumulating evidence that our enemies in the war on terror are inspired by the teachings of Wahhabi Islam, 'Wahhabi' has ceased to be an epithet to throw around lightly.
"The readers are right and I was wrong and so for the sake of civility, I apologize to them and to the senator."

Kentucky rumblings
"In Kentucky, GOP U.S. Rep. Ernie Fletcher says he's running for governor in 2003, the party's best shot in some years," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"Fletcher will run with former U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell chief of staff Hunter Bates as his running mate. Bates was recently thought to have been McConnell's choice to run against Democrat Ken Lucas in the state's 4th Congressional District in 2004. Other Republicans looking at entering the race for governor include state Rep. Steve Nunn, the son of former GOP Gov. Louie Nunn, and Rebecca Jackson, the Jefferson County Judge-Executive," the wire service said.
"On the Democrat side, state Attorney General Ben Chandler, scion of the state's legendary political dynasty, is said to be readying a formal announcement."

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