- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2002

Target practice
Some fault the "gun control crowd" for turning the Washington sniper shootings into a vehicle for political causes. New language has surfaced, according to a discussion at the www.instapundit.com news Web site:
"It must be in the official talking points for today: 'ballistic fingerprinting' has been put forward as a new law that would help catch the D.C.-area sniper. I hope you have an opportunity to debunk this idea. It's first of all a back door means of gun registration, and secondly, the comment made on NBC's Tim Russert that it is a proven forensic technique 'like DNA for guns' is just not true. The ballistic characteristics of a gun barrel change over time, and they can be altered, unlike a person's DNA," wrote one observer.
"I just this minute heard George Stephanopoulos raise the issue, and I'll bet it's featured in faxes from the VPC and the Brady Campaign. I've always wondered how this would work it seems to me that anyone with a file could get around this, and I heard Parris Glendening talking about identifying shell casings, which seems dubious to me what are you going to do, put a bar code on them?"

That's $12 million
Nearly a fifth of the $64 million that California Gov. Gray Davis raised for his re-election was donated by people he appointed to state boards and commissions, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis published yesterday.
At least 75 of 140 boards have at least one Davis donor, and many have multiple contributors. More than 240 Davis appointees donated directly or through spouses and corporate means; some appointees gave him money within weeks of receiving a new post.
Davis spokesman Roger Salazar dismissed correlations between donations and appointments, saying, "It's making a connection that doesn't exist. It shouldn't come as a surprise that people who are active in politics are going to want to serve on boards and commissions."
Some appointees acknowledged that their money speaks.
"If you're someone who has been financially supportive, they know who you are. It's that simple," said Norm Pattiz, named to the University of California Board of Regents last October.

Not so noble
The decision to award the Nobel peace prize this year to former President Jimmy Carter "has caused ripples of offense," according to Britain's Daily Telegraph yesterday.
"Gunnar Berge, the chairman, admitted that the choice was a 'kick in the leg' for George W. Bush, whose policy on Iraq differs from Mr Carter's. Mr Berge's pugilistic streak is not perhaps ideal in a peace prize committee, but a far more pressing observation is: why should anyone care?"
Alfred Nobel set up the prize in 1895 to honor "'the most or best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the promotion and holding of peace congresses.' Thus the winners are frequently those, such as Yasser Arafat, who have been instrumental in creating the very problem they are applauded for attempting to resolve."
The prize was presented "by a well-meaning bunch but the idea that anyone should care much to whom they give their accolade is really somewhat absurd."

The Gipper's pen
A new book based on 9,000 letters handwritten by former President Ronald Reagan will be out next year. "Reagan: A Portrait in Letters" spans decades of his political career, edited by wife Nancy and former economic adviser Martin Anderson.
A letter dated July 4, 1960, went to Playboy editor Hugh Hefner, who annoyed Mr. Reagan by publishing an article by Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted screenwriter.
"I once thought exactly as you think," Mr. Reagan wrote, referencing his shift from liberal thinking to conservatism.
"No one could have changed my thinking (and some tried). It took seven months of meeting Communists and Communist-influenced people across the table in almost daily sessions while pickets rioted in front of studio gates, homes were bombed, and a great industry almost ground to a halt."

Maxed out
A group of women and children picketed the Yellowstone Valley Democrats' annual dinner Saturday night in Billings, Mont., intent on protesting "dirty politics."
Organizer Jan Helgeson said she was disgusted with a Democratic TV spot showing Republican Senate candidate Mike Taylor as a hairdresser, insinuating that he is homosexual. Last week, Mr. Taylor dropped out of the race against incumbent Democrat Sen. Max Baucus, saying the spot had ruined his chances.
"It's not a partisan issue," Mrs. Helgeson told the Billings Gazette. "We're better than that. We're Montanans."
Debbie Lange, who carried a sign reading "Run on Your Own Record Max If You Can," said she was embarrassed that the spot was seen by area children. "Kids on the playground are taught not to slander each other," she said. "How do we explain this to them?"

Hits and missus
Polygamy has surfaced in the race for Arizona governor. Independent candidate Richard Mahoney has accused a Republican rival of protecting multiple marriages.
His new ad campaign against Matt Salmon a Mormon contends that Mr. Salmon's faith prevents him from going after the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a splinter group that promotes polygamy and has been accused of sex abuse, domestic violence and welfare fraud.
"Salmon hasn't done anything as of yet. So why would I believe he would do anything in the future?" spokesman Paul Koerner told the Associated Press.
The Mormons the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced polygamy in 1890.
"The criminal and immoral circumstances your ad refers to are despicable and ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Mr. Salmon wrote in a letter to Mr. Mahoney. "Your suggestion that I would believe otherwise is also immoral, and far beneath you as a person."

Secure at the moment
Rep. John Thune, South Dakota Republican, said national security would remain a campaign issue, even though his Democratic opponent, Sen. Tim Johnson, has voted for a resolution authorizing military force against Iraq.
Both are competing for Mr. Johnson's U.S. Senate seat in what is one of the closest political races in the country.
"I think the issue of national security is always relevant. Tim Johnson and I have very different records on the issue of defense and the votes that we have, the records that we have compiled over our terms in Congress are very different. And I think the people of South Dakota deserve the right to be informed about what those differences are when it comes to making a choice in November," the Republican congressman told CNN.

Death in Kansas
Wichita's mayor has spoken out on the Carr brothers trial unfolding in the Kansas town's courthouse. Brothers Reginald and Jonathan Carr, who are black, have been charged with robbing and sexually abusing five white persons in December 2000, then shooting them all on a frozen soccer field. Four died, and one survived to testify against the accused men.
The press has called the proceedings "the Wichita horror" in recent weeks. Prosecutors, in the meantime, are not trying the case as a hate crime, saying robbery was the motive.
Wichita Mayor Bob Knight, who has made improving race relationships a cornerstone of his administration, told reporters on Friday that regardless of race and ethnicity, what occurred could be described as "raw, brutal and evil."
"You have innocent people tortured, killed, humiliated by someone who is little more than an animal. I'm not looking at it as a black and white issue," Mr. Knight said. "I am not a big fan of capital punishment, but if anything deserves people losing their lives, it is this kind of heinous crime."

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