- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2003

NASCAR shake down
We'd written that NASCAR Chief Executive Officer William C. France was asked that the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing "cease and desist from further support for Jesse Jackson and/or his nonprofit organizations" while U.S. troops are deployed in Iraq.
The request came from the National Legal and Policy Center in Washington (the NLPC earlier filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service charging Mr. Jackson's empire with abuse of its "nonprofit" privilege) after the black preacher/activist led antiwar protests here and abroad, resorting to "extreme and provocative anti-American rhetoric."
NASCAR, formed in 1948 and mushrooming today into the nation's second-largest sport, has signed up as a "Platinum" sponsor of Mr. Jackson's empire, contributing more than $100,000 for the distinction. The question is why?
Since our item first appeared, NLPC President Peter Flaherty was a guest on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," during which host Bill O'Reilly observed: "Now, there have been accusations that NASCAR's too white, doesn't have enough minority people in the structure and maybe they're giving this [money] to Jackson so he won't crow about that. If that's the case, that's wrong."
Mr. Flaherty replied: "This whole thing started in 1999, when Jesse Jackson complained to NASCAR that they had no black drivers at the Winston Cup level, which is the major league of stock car racing . … At that point, NASCAR started giving financial support, big financial support.
"NASCAR is Jackson's No. 1 financial supporter in the professional sports industry," he said. "And Jackson's criticism of NASCAR ceased. So I think what they're trying to do is insulate themselves from charges of racism. I think it is an insult to the NASCAR fan."
"Absolutely not," Dora Taylor, NASCAR's senior manager of diversity affairs, told Inside the Beltway yesterday. "We want more diversity, it's as simple as that. … This industry embraces diversity … and we want the best and brightest people working in our sport."
As far as being the biggest sports contributor to Mr. Jackson, Ms. Taylor said NASCAR believes the activist's organizations "bring value to communities."
Mr. Flaherty told this column yesterday that the NLPC has been "flooded" with support from NASCAR fans aimed at forcing NASCAR like Toyota earlier to stop bankrolling Mr. Jackson.

Pinkeye
Code Pink is more than just a group of female protesters opposed to the "testosterone-poisoned" war rhetoric it says has spewed forth from the White House.
We first wrote about these "purportedly peaceful ladies" last week, after a Maryland man claimed he was assaulted by Code Pink antiwar marchers one of whom snatched his patriotic sign at least six times. Code Pink's David Hoffman finds that charge hard to swallow.
You mean men align themselves with Code Pink?
"To the extent that men are ever members of Code Pink which I think we are, because it's actually an equal-opportunity group I have been active in the Washington, D.C., chapter at a number of the antiwar marches," says Mr. Hoffman, who lives in nearby Fort Washington.
"I am thunderstruck by his claim that he was assaulted at least six times and [Code Pink marchers] were violent, forcibly taking away his signs. At no time have I ever seen anything that would warrant or corroborate his allegations."
So how could the patriot be mistaken?
"He may be paranoid about pink," Mr. Hoffman suggests. "There may be something called 'pinkophobia,' an irrational fear of the color pink. While this has never been written up as an emotional frailty, it's conceivable that we've stumbled upon 'pinkophobia.'
"Perhaps you could call it pinkeye," he says.

Queen Robb
It's been more that 40 years since her mom and aunt were crowned Queen Azalea, and now it's Jennifer Robb's turn.
The 24-year-old daughter of former Virginia governor and Sen. Charles S. Robb, and granddaughter of President Lyndon B. Johnson, will assume her throne this week during Norfolk's 50th International Azalea Festival (we're told Mr. Robb will conduct the coronation), which honors NATO.
A math teacher and field hockey coach at Langley High School in Northern Virginia, Miss Robb is daughter of Lynda Johnson Robb and the niece of Luci Baines Johnson.
Each year, a queen is chosen from one of the 18 member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.


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