- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2002

Scandal ahead
The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for the release of a corrupt California official's secret claims about Gov. Gray Davis in a decade-old bribery scandal, according to reports in the California press.
Court documents show that Mark Nathanson, a Beverly Hills executive who confessed to running a $734,000 bribes-for-permits scheme while a coastal commissioner, offered information in 1993 about a state official with whom he said he worked to get campaign contributions from commission applicants, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Mr. Nathanson was on his way to federal prison when he made the offer, but prosecutors dismissed him as a liar and refused to make a deal. He served three years in prison.
Two letters detailing Mr. Nathanson's claims were sealed by a federal judge, then made public with key information censored.
On Oct. 7, the Supreme Court refused to hear a plea to keep the documents secret. Their release could be imminent.
A source familiar with the letters told the San Francisco Chronicle the official accused by Mr. Nathanson is Mr. Davis, then the state controller and now a governor running for re-election.

Florida matinee
Some Democrats in South Florida are using a Bush-bashing documentary about the 2000 presidential election to raise money for the party and, boy, are the film's producers angry.
The Longboat Key Democratic Club charged $18 to get into a "luncheon/fund-raiser" last week at a hotel ballroom in Sarasota, Fla.
In an ad in the weekly Longboat Observer, the sponsors promised the screening of "Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election," along with an appearance by Democrat Jan Schneider, who is running against former Secretary of State Katherine Harris for a congressional seat.
The ad also encouraged patrons to "please bring checks to the luncheon."
"This [film] was not intended to endorse any candidates and it certainly wasn't meant to be used to raise money for a political party," said Richard Ray Perez, who made the 47-minute film along with Joan Sekler.
"Under no circumstances do we promote someone's agenda. And then they are charging to see it."
A woman who answered the phone for the Longboat Key Democratic Club hung up when we tried to ask her about the event.

With friends like these
The top two blacks in the Bush administration Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice both are irritated at remarks by black entertainer Harry Belafonte, who compared them to slaves working for a white master.
On "Fox News Sunday," host Tony Snow reminded Mr. Powell that he had described Mr. Belafonte as a "friend," and then read to Mr. Powell comments by his old pal.
"'There's an old saying in the days of slavery. There are those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master. Colin Powell was permitted to come into the house of the master,'" Mr. Snow quoted Mr. Belafonte as having said.
Said Mr. Snow: "You say he's a friend, but isn't he acting a bit like an idiot?"
Mr. Powell replied, "I think it's unfortunate that Harry found it necessary to use that kind of reference. I don't know what reference he would use to [describe] white Cabinet officers who were in the house of the master.
"I'm serving my nation. I'm serving this president, my president, our president. I'm very happy to do so," the secretary said, adding: "Harry has every right to attack my politics, attack my policies. He can attack the administration's policies, but we have advanced in this nation where you shouldn't have to rest on this kind of reference that should have been left in the past."
Miss Rice was more curt when she was asked on CNN's "Late Edition" about similar comments Mr. Belafonte made about her.
"I don't need Harry Belafonte to tell me what it means to be black," she told host Wolf Blitzer. Miss Rice was a schoolmate of one of the four girls killed in the deadliest attack of the civil-rights era, the Ku Klux Klan's 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Judging Justice Thomas
"October 15, 2001, marked the ten-year anniversary of the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas," John A. Foster-Bey writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"While the [confirmation] hearings should have been used as an opportunity for the nation to hear and assess the legal philosophy and judicial perspectives of the second black nominee to the Supreme Court, liberal opponents to his confirmation chose instead to attack his character and private life rather than debate his ideas. Unfortunately, in the intervening years, much of the mainstream media continues to miss the opportunity to engage the justice's ideas," said Mr. Foster-Bey, a senior associate and director of the Program on Regional Economic Opportunity at the Urban Institute, who emphasized he was not speaking for his employer.
"A recent case in point is 'Supreme Discomfort,' an article in the August 4, 2002, Washington Post Magazine by Kevin Merida and Michael Fletcher. While the authors attempted to provide a balanced presentation of supporters and opponents of Justice Thomas, the most striking aspect of the article was its focus on the remarkable level of animosity expressed by many of the traditional liberal black activist and civil rights leaders.
"The key question is why this black Supreme Court justice should raise such hostility from some blacks. Why is Justice Thomas seemingly so threatening to members of the traditional black-leadership class? The answer may be that he opposes their view that government must be the prime engine in solving the problems of the black poor and oppressed, and, in so doing, he threatens their legitimacy as leaders as well as the rewards and benefits that come with that leadership."

Hold no grudges
Rep. John D. Dingell of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been in Congress for 47 years and thinks he knows some of the reasons Democrats have been in the minority in that chamber since the 1994 elections.
Interviewed Saturday on CNN's "Novak, Hunt & Shields," Mr. Dingell said money is one factor. He held that Americans "have a tendency" to donate more to the political party in power. In the House, that's the Republicans, he said.
"I also think the Democrats need to look closely at moving toward the middle [of the ideological spectrum]. That's where the American people are," said Mr. Dingell, whose strong support for responsible gun ownership is at odds with the gun-control stance of many in his party.
Mr. Dingell, insisting he does not hold grudges, said he does not know if he would support Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi of California or Rep. Martin Frost of Texas in a race for House Democratic leader should Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt step down to run for president.
CNN pundits were curious as to whether Mr. Dingell might vote for Mr. Frost to get back at Mrs. Pelosi, who supported Mr. Dingell's unsuccessful female rival in the Democratic primary for his congressional seat.
While Mr. Dingell says he has not decided whom he would vote for, he held that "Nancy has certain abilities, but Martin has great abilities."

One-way street
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, says he believes Sen. Lincoln Chafee, the liberal Rhode Island Republican, could become a Democrat. But he does not foresee Sen. Zell Miller, the Georgia Democrat who often votes with Republicans, switching parties.
"A year from now, could Lincoln Chafee be a Democrat?" Tony Snow, host of "Fox News Sunday," asked Mr. Daschle.
"Possible," the Senate's top Democrat replied.
"A year from now, could Zell Miller be a Republican?" Mr. Snow asked.
"Impossible," Mr. Daschle said. He did not elaborate.

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