- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 30, 2002

NAACP flunks Jeffords
The NAACP civil rights midterm report card is out, and the biggest surprise is the F given to Sen. James M. Jeffords.
The Vermont independent, who was praised by liberal groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, when he jumped the Republican ship in May, ran afoul of the NAACP when he voted to confirm Attorney General John Ashcroft. He also offended the group by voting for mandatory testing of students and against a patients' bill of rights.
Of course, most of the Congressional Black Caucus received A's for their votes on "civil rights issues." However, three of the all-Democratic CBC received C's Reps. Juanita Millender-McDonald of California, Carrie P. Meek of Florida and Sanford D. Bishop Jr. of Georgia. Mrs. Millender-McDonald and Mr. Bishop voted against an amendment that would have eliminated the required testing of students in grades three through eight. All three voted for the Help America Vote Act of 2001 that addressed some of the voting snafus in the last presidential election, but which the NAACP felt did not go far enough.
Rep. Barbara Lee, the California Democrat who voted against authorizing military force after the September terrorist attacks, received an A. Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. of Oklahoma the only black Republican in Congress received an F for voting the NAACP's way only 21 percent of the time.
The report card covers the first half of the 107th Congress, and gives failing grades to 52 of the 100 senators and 226 representatives in the 435-member House mostly Republicans.

Dodd and Enron
"Democrats seeking to blame President Bush and the GOP for the Enron scandal need to look more closely at their own house especially at the work done by the former Democratic National [Committee] chairman, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd," Dick Morris writes.
"While many candidates of both parties have received campaign contributions from Enron and its 'independent auditor' Arthur Andersen, very few have passionately fought their cause in Washington as diligently as Chris Dodd," Mr. Morris said in an opinion piece in the New York Post.
"It was on account of Dodd's tireless efforts that Arthur Andersen was able to act as both 'independent auditor' and management consultant to Enron for $100 million a year. That role so fraught with conflict of interest that it makes a joke of the concept of outside auditors protecting shareholders has been identified as one of the major causes of the debacle."
Mr. Morris added: "In an ultimate act of hypocrisy, Dodd has now actually introduced legislation to ban accounting firms from doing consulting for companies it audits precisely the same policy he killed when the [Securities and Exchange Commission] was considering it."

Dershowitz's idea
Harvard professor and liberal pundit Alan Dershowitz says U.S. authorities should be allowed to go to court and get a "torture warrant" that would let them, for example, stick a needle under the fingernail of a terrorist.
"If there is a ticking-bomb case and we had a terrorist in captivity before September 11th who could have told us precisely where and when the bomb, the attack, was going to be made and we could have saved 3,000 lives, we would have used torture," Mr. Dershowitz said yesterday in an interview with Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today" show.
"And the question is, if we're going to use it, do we do it off the books, secretly, without accountability, or do we require a torture warrant to make a judge satisfy the very burden of proof that [American Civil Liberties Union President] Nadine [Strossen] talks about …
"What [the judge] says is, 'I am not going to let torture occur without judicial supervision.' It's going to happen and if it's going to happen in a democracy, you need accountability and visibility."
Mr. Dershowitz, responding to objections from Miss Strossen, added: "Well, let me tell you, if we're going to have torture, I'd rather have it legislated. I would say a sterile needle … underneath the nail to produce excruciating pain, but nonlethal."

Krugman's prediction
Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist and former Enron adviser, predicts that the collapse of Enron will come to overshadow the September 11 terror attacks.
"One of the great cliches of the last few months was that September 11 changed everything. I never believed that. An event changes everything only if it changes the way you see yourself. And the terrorist attack couldn't do that, because we were victims rather than perpetrators. September 11 told us a lot about Wahhabism, but not much about Americanism," Mr. Krugman writes.
"The Enron scandal, on the other hand, clearly was about us. It told us things about ourselves that we probably should have known, but had managed not to see. I predict that in the years ahead Enron, not September 11, will come to be seen as the greater turning point in U.S. society."

Riordan and abortion
Richard Riordan, the California gubernatorial hopeful who made his pro-choice stance a centerpiece of his campaign for the Republican nomination, refused Monday to explain or disavow thousands of dollars in contributions he had made to pro-life groups.
Monday's first event for the former Los Angeles mayor was an endorsement session in San Francisco, featuring 15 "Women for Riordan," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
But when Mr. Riordan was asked about more than $10,000 in contributions he gave to anti-abortion groups in the 1980s and '90s, he said there was nothing to talk about because "that issue was in front of the voters when I was elected mayor [of Los Angeles] in 1993."
"All the voters had those facts," he said. "They knew I was pro-choice."
Mr. Riordan's stand on abortion rights had come under fire in the past week, largely because of a television ad by Democratic Gov. Gray Davis that accused Mr. Riordan of trying to play both sides of the hot-button issue.
Mr. Davis' ad "was a vicious, almost personal attack," Mr. Riordan told reporters riding on his campaign bus. His own ads, which charged the governor with making an unwarranted, negative assault, just "leaned back on the obvious."
"I've given over $30 million to charities, and I'm sure you'll find something [there] that people don't like," Mr. Riordan said.

Blood is thicker
House Majority Leader Dick Armey was pained to acknowledge yesterday that his brother Charlie was on the same "team" as two big-name Democrats: House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and Rep. Maxine Waters of California.
Mr. Armey's brother is general manager of the St. Louis Rams, who will play in the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Sunday. Mr. Gephardt and Mrs. Waters are on the team's board of directors.
The Texas Republican said that after the Rams won the Super Bowl two years ago, his brother gave replica trophies to him as well as to Mr. Gephardt and Mrs. Waters.
"My brother, who I love, is instrumental in their happiness," Mr. Armey said of his Democratic rivals. "It's killing me."

ASAP list
House Republican leaders signaled a grudging willingness yesterday to allow a quick vote on campaign-finance legislation.
While no date has been set, House Majority Leader Dick Armey said, "It's the disposition of everyone; the leadership, too. We need to do this now as quickly as possible." Aides said a vote could come as early as February.

No promises
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle yesterday confirmed a report in Newsweek magazine that Vice President Richard B. Cheney asked him recently to back off of public hearings on why the government was caught flat-footed by terrorists on September 11.
But the South Dakota Democrat said he didn't promise Mr. Cheney anything in the telephone call.
"I acknowledged that is a concern," Mr. Daschle said of the potential for revealing government secrets. "But clearly, the American people are entitled to know what happened at some point."


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