- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2002

'Frankly racist'
Crooner Harry Belafonte's gibes against Secretary of State Colin L. Powell are still reverberating. During a radio interview Tuesday, Mr. Belafonte compared Mr. Powell to a slave who had ditched his principles to live in the "big house" with his master.
If he "dares suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture," Mr. Belafonte said, later concluding: "What Colin Powell serves is to give the illusion that the Bush Cabinet is a diverse Cabinet made up of people of color and made up of people of another gender, and that alone is enough to give Bush the credentials to say that he's a truly democratic man, when in fact none of that is what is true."
Fox News' Sean Hannity yesterday called the comment "frankly racist. . And sadly, conservatives that happen to be African-Americans are attacked in vicious ways all too often."
But what about the secretary himself?
"I think it's unfortunate that Harry used that characterization," Mr. Powell told CNN's Larry King last night. "I'm very proud to be serving my nation once again. I'm very proud to be serving this president."
Mr. Powell added: "If Harry had wanted to attack my politics, that was fine. If he wanted to attack a particular position I hold, that was fine. But to use a slave reference, I think, is unfortunate and is a throwback to another time and another place that I wish Harry had thought twice about using."

Ivy-covered halls
Perhaps U.S. News & World Report should issue an annual guide to the political leanings of American college professors, the Christian Science Monitor suggested yesterday.
"While colleges seek more ethnic and racial diversity among students, when it comes to political diversity in faculty, most teachers noticeably tilt to the left," the Monitor said, citing an American Enterprise Institute study that found most academics are registered Democrats, with 84 percent voting for Al Gore in the 2000 election.
"Perhaps Democrats are just naturally drawn to teaching, and colleges can't do much about it. But if political diversity is as important to higher education as ethnic or racial diversity, colleges should look at their criteria for hiring teachers beyond just academic qualifications. Once teachers are hired, their freedom of speech must be defended. But colleges can also defend the need of students to hear a diversity of views from teachers.
"In the meantime, U.S. News magazine might consider adding a new category faculty political diversity to its yearly college rankings," the Monitor noted.

Chafee on the fence
Sen. Lincoln Chafee, Rhode Island Republican, may not rule out switching parties if the Senate is split evenly among Republicans and Democrats after the November elections.
Mr. Chafee told CNN's Jonathan Karl that he would "cross that bridge when we get to it, and have some discussions with the White House."
"We can't be intimidating moderates out of the party," he said.
Mr. Karl then asked, "Would you rule out the idea of switching parties?"
"That's, uh, that's a decision that I'd really find difficult to make. Very, very difficult," Mr. Chaffee said. "I've been a Republican a long time."
Said CNN's Judy Woodruff, "Sounds like he left the door open."

Katherine the Great
Soon we may call her Rep. Katherine Harris. The former Florida secretary of state who ushered the state through the 2000 presidential election is not likely to need any recount in her own race for Congress. Her lead is just too strong.
Mrs. Harris, a Republican, is almost certain to defeat Democrat Jan Schneider on Nov. 5 for a seat in the House of Representatives held by retiring Republican Rep. Dan Miller, Reuters news agency reports.
Most voters on Florida's southwest coast are Republicans, and the last Democrat elected to Congress switched parties 20 years ago. Mrs. Harris has also raised more than $2.6 million in campaign contributions, 10 times as much as Miss Schneider.
"She has a huge edge. She's going to be tough to beat," said Keith Fitzgerald, a political science professor at New College in Sarasota.

Where there's smoke
They're fussing over photos in California. Republican candidate for governor Bill Simon withdrew his charge yesterday that Democratic Gov. Gray Davis illegally accepted a campaign check inside the state Capitol.
Mr. Simon made his accusations Monday, saying he had photos of then-Lt. Gov. Davis accepting a $10,000 check in his Capitol office in 1998, violating a state law that bars the exchange of campaign contributions in state buildings. The photos had been given to Mr. Simon by a police group.
But reporters and the Davis campaign determined the photos were not taken in Mr. Davis' office.
Mr. Simon remains on the attack.
"Even if the specific claims are not sustained, this outcome should not deter the Fair Political Practices Commission, other law enforcement agencies and the media from investigating Gray Davis' aggressive and shady fund-raising practices," he said.
Mr. Davis fired back, "If he had any sense of honor, he would drop out of the race. You have to check your facts in this business."

Walk on the wild side
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to take a walk with Tony and Uncle Junior, too. Mr. Bloomberg wants the cast of HBO's "The Sopranos" to march in the annual Columbus Day parade next Monday.
The invitations to honor Italian-American pride went out, according to the New York Daily News, and two cast members have accepted. The invitations, however, did not please those who feel the show promotes negative stereotypes of pasta-eating, gun-toting gangsters.
"This is the first we've heard of it. They aren't welcome," said Columbus Citizens Foundation President Larry Auriana. "I can't imagine the mayor would show up with uninvited guests offensive to the organizers of the parade."
Meanwhile, the Coalition of Italian-American Associations is outraged. President William Fugazy urged fellow Italian Americans to "voice their opposition" to the mayor. HBO, meanwhile, had no comment.

Gov. Willy Wonka
He may have spent $10 million on them, but Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes' television ads are so lousy that his Republican rival Sonny Perdue has decided to feature them at his own campaign Web site (www.votesonny.com).
"The education ads have infuriated the teachers Roy blamed for his education failures, as well as parents lamenting Georgia's abysmal SAT scores," Perdue spokesman Don McLagan said yesterday.
All the rest had completely "backfired" and are so bad they will only serve to further Mr. Perdue's cause, he said. Mr. McLagan even wonders if "Roy's impotent ads" could be considered "in-kind" contributions to the Perdue campaign.
"I would advise Roy Barnes to stop running TV ads completely before they damage him beyond his ability to recover," Mr. McLagan said. "He would do better to send the money directly to voters with a Hershey's Kiss and a note pleading for their vote."

Hunting the elusive PAC
Ever wonder where predatory reporters go to stalk campaign-finance numbers? Based on interviews with 271 journalists, a survey released yesterday by the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet at George Washington University has determined where they look for their information online.
The most visited site is the Center for Responsive Politics' Open Secrets site (www.opensecrets.org), followed by the Web sites for the Federal Election Commission, the Washington Post, CNN, Rough and Tumble, National Journal, Political Money Line, the New York Times, ABC and Project Vote Smart.

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