- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Back a few years
A historical deconstruction of the media's insistence on assigning blame for the September 11 attacks was provided by National Review Online's Mark Levin:
"The most laughable point is Newsweek's assertion that if the FBI had tracked these terrorists, the government may have learned of their mission," he writes this week.
"Perhaps Newsweek is unaware that in 1995, the Philippine police had already informed our government about a plot to fly U.S. airliners into U.S. buildings; in 1996, the president of the United States deliberately and knowingly refused the Sudanese government's offer to help us capture Osama bin Laden; in 1999, that same president was provided with a federal report reiterating what the Philippine police told us four years earlier, which as recently as two weeks ago he dismissed as opinion and not intelligence information; and in 2000, that same president again ignored an opportunity to capture or kill bin Laden."
"Let's get real. Bill Clinton wasn't moved to deal effectively with bin Laden despite his 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, 1996 bombing of U.S. barracks in Saudi Arabia, 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. The problem wasn't an intelligence failure, but a failure of leadership at the highest level of our government."

Blondes, tequila, et al
Woe to those faced with a Democratic convention, described as the "longest day of your life," by one Massachusetts journalist, who attended the state party's big hoopla last weekend.
"It became clear even to me that the Democratic convention is about as undemocratic as it gets," wrote Dianne Williamson of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, who gripes that voters have no say as to who ends up on the ballot in the fall.
"That process is assigned to the delegates, a collection of party leaders and activists, with some disabled and minority delegates thrown in, because, hey, it's a Democratic convention, and candidates must receive 15 percent of their vote to advance to the September primary. For this reason, delegates are courted, wooed and fawned over, almost as though each of them was born blond with large breasts."
The messages of the day, Miss Williamson wrote, included, "Republicans are evil, warmongering, selfish old rich people; if Mitt Romney wins in November, life as we know it is over and John Kerry is certainly tall enough to become our next president."
But how to keep those restless Democrats inside when nice weather beckoned?
"Junior Mints, Skybars and a shot of tequila" ought to do it, reasoned one gubernatorial delegate.

A big heart
Hail, Jesse.
Last weekend, North Carolina Republicans gathered at their state convention paid homage to Sen. Jesse Helms, who has served for three decades.
Trouble was, Mr. Helms was in Washington recovering from heart surgery. He had a message, however, read to the assembly by former Sen. Bob Dole:
"I am getting adjusted to my new pig valve," Mr. Helms wrote. "I asked the surgeon if Lauch Faircloth donated it this time." That would be former Sen. Faircloth, who left Capitol Hill to become a hog farmer.
Mr. Helms acknowledged his surgery was rigorous and rehab a challenge.
"It's no piece of cake," Mr. Helms concluded. "But it sure beats listening to Ted Kennedy on the Senate floor."

Tarheel philosophy
Meanwhile, the North Carolina folks have their own ideas. Some of the bumper stickers on sale at their state Republican convention: "Fight Crime, Shoot Back," "Will work for ammo," "Dixie Forever," "Politically incorrect and proud of it," "Save the males." "Charter member of the vast right-wing conspiracy," and "It takes a village to elect an idiot."
Hip-hop heap on Mike
It's Jay Z, Ja Rule, Nas, Mos Def, Fat Joe, the Lox, Wu-Tang Clan, Ashanti, Dead Prez, Charlie Baltimore, Lady May, Megahertz, Rah Digga, Reverend Run, Chuck D and Vita vs. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
The rappers and hip-hop stars are angry at Mike for dissing public-school students. The mayor cut $1 billion in funds for schools.
Under the banner of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, the performers will join the United Federation of Teachers and the Alliance for Quality Education for a protest outside City Hall this afternoon.
"Hip-hop artists have the biggest mouths, bigger than any mayor in this country," observed hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, who will be in attendance.

L.A. Law, Part 2
It's a good thing C-SPAN has cornered the market on televising lawmakers, lest they end up on a reality-TV series like some California public servants.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last month to grant TV producer Jay Bernstein exclusive rights to use material from the county's public defender's office for a drama series.
Michael Judge, chief public defender of Los Angeles County, thinks a prime-time show will work wonders for his office.
"Over the years, we were always frustrated because public defenders are never portrayed accurately on TV, nor are their clients," Mr. Judge told the Hollywood Reporter. "Once people appreciate what we do, maybe we'll get more resources for our office and more people will consider a career as a public defender."

Wings over Torrance
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is lauding the U.S. Air Force for a little airborne assistance. During the annual mid-May Armed Forces Day parade in Torrance, shots rang out on the parade route, causing immediate panic, followed by an attack on 40 police officers in pursuit of the shooter and on the shooter himself.
But two F-15s were overhead and thundered into their planned flyover.
"The first pass over the park made everyone stop and look at the F-15s," police spokesman Lt. Brian Stover said. "When they turned and made a second pass, it caused everyone to scatter and empty out of the park, much like when you turn on a light and roaches scatter."
It all brought a halt to the riot and to many potential injuries, the spokesman said.
Noted one of the Air Force pilots, "Timing is everything."

Picture's worth a thousand
All that Democratic angst over a photo of President Bush aboard Air Force One could make the National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee about $2 million, Roll Call reports.
Two weeks ago, the two Republican committees offered the photo to donors, prompting Democrats to declare it a "grotesque" and "disgraceful" exploitation of a national tragedy. The NRCC dropped the project, but the resulting media melee drove up demand for the photos to six times the 1,000 photo sets originally planned.
"Just because they made even more money than they expected, it doesn't make it any less substantial that they are exploiting this tragedy," Maria Cardona of the Democratic National Committee told Roll Call.
"But they are Republicans. They can't help themselves," she added.

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] or 202/636-3085.

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