- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2003

Black boycott
If Georgia holds a referendum on the state flag, many blacks won't participate, civil rights leaders warned yesterday.
A group including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Concerned Black Clergy and labor unions vowed to boycott a statewide vote on returning the Confederate battle cross to prominence on the state flag, the Associated Press reports.
Black leaders called it insulting to even ask blacks whether they wanted to see a return to the Georgia flag of 1956-2001, which is dominated by the rebel emblem.
"Would you expect the Jewish community to participate in a campaign to raise the swastika?" said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue has promised a nonbinding vote on the flag, with the legislature making the final decision.
A bill setting up the balloting has been introduced, but neither chamber has voted on it yet.
Oh, so slow
"The weekend news was bad for President Bush: a distinct momentum shift against him on a key question of foreign policy for the first time since 9/11. It seemed that the forces opposing his efforts to build a coalition in support of war with Iraq had the upper hand," New York Post columnist John Podhoretz writes.
"This shift makes it clear just how laughable the argument is that we're somehow 'rushing toward war.' The coming clash with Saddam Hussein has been among the most deliberate and slow-moving confrontations in the recorded history of warfare," Mr. Podhoretz said.
He added: "The problem with Bush's slow-motion war is not that everything won't work out in the end. It probably will. It's that the spectacle of his emboldened opposition has dispirited Bush's own passionate supporters who will need to screw their courage to the sticking post and not lose heart."
Defeat in any language
"When a California town with the highest concentration of Spanish speakers in the country publicly repudiates a champion of bilingual education, is it news? Apparently not, judging from the lack of national reporting on the political defeat of activist Nativo Lopez," the Wall Street Journal says.
"In a stunning victory for common sense, Santa Ana citizens voted earlier this month by an overwhelming 71 percent to 29 percent to oust the notorious Mr. Lopez from his seat on their school board," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"The recall effort was spearheaded by Ron Unz, the same California businessman whose Proposition 227 severely curtailing non-English language instruction passed in 1998. Though Mr. Lopez tried to characterize the campaign against him as anti-Latino, the results were enlightening: Not only did he lose the affluent areas of Santa Ana, the Los Angeles Times reports, even in the areas that had been his strongest base, Mr. Lopez was rejected by six out of 10 voters. Though other issues were also at stake Mr. Lopez is the West Coast's answer to Al Sharpton at its core this was a referendum on bilingual education."
Scarborough's show
Former Rep. Joe Scarborough made his debut as anchorman of a national cable-TV news show about the showdown with Iraq a spot that he is scheduled to keep indefinitely.
Mr. Scarborough, a Florida Republican who retired in September 2001, flew to the New Jersey headquarters of MSNBC on Tuesday to play host on "MSNBC Live," the Associated Press reports.
According to the network's programming schedule, Mr. Scarborough's show will air weeknights and will provide "up-to-the-minute developments in the showdown with Saddam."
"We will continue to run the show as long as it is needed," said Alan Winnikoff, MSNBC's vice president of corporate communications. "Because the whole war situation is so fluid, we don't know if this will be a permanent thing or not."
Nan Weaver, Mr. Scarborough's former district director, said the ex-lawmaker is negotiating with MSNBC for long-range plans for a show similar to "Hardball with Chris Matthews."
Mr. Scarborough was elected to four terms, but retired in midterm to spend more time with his two sons.
No new taxes
Keeping a campaign pledge not to raise taxes to fix Wisconsin's $3.2 billion budget shortfall, Democratic Gov. James E. Doyle proposed a budget that slashes 2,900 state jobs, reduces the level of school funding and cuts services.
"We have cut as no administration has ever cut before," the governor said Tuesday. "The depth of these cuts matches the depth of this crisis."
The proposals are contained in Mr. Doyle's two-year budget for the period through June 30, 2005. The budget totals $48.8 billion.
The state ended up $3.2 billion in debt because projected revenues did not cover requested spending, its worst fiscal crisis in more than 20 years.
Mr. Doyle has long promised he would not raise taxes to fix the shortfall, forcing him to rely on deep spending cuts and some accounting maneuvers, the Associated Press reports.
However, the plan also would increase license fees for automobiles and for hunting and fishing, and require American Indian tribes to give the state six times the money they do now in exchange for the authority to run casinos.
No new taxes II
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty submitted a two-year budget proposal Tuesday that addresses Minnesota's largest deficit ever, $4.2 billion, without raising taxes.
Mr. Pawlenty proposed cuts to state, county and local governments, some fee increases, shifting some spending to future dates and a two-year freeze on pay raises for public workers.
The Republican governor stressed that the budget through 2005 actually increases state spending by $1 billion, to $28.1 billion.
The deficit would be made up through natural growth in state revenue.
"Balancing the budget and controlling state spending will not come without some sacrifice," Mr. Pawlenty said. "All Minnesotans will feel the budget pinch in some way. But just as every Minnesota family must spend less when they earn less, so too must state government."
The Republican governor committed himself to no tax increases during his campaign.
Time for a break
Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore, who played a leading role in negotiating the national settlement with the tobacco industry, will not seek a fifth term and ruled out a bid for governor this year.
Mr. Moore, who probably would have faced Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, said that after much thought he decided, "it's time for a break from elected office."
However, Mr. Moore said he would still consider future campaigns for governor or the U.S. Senate, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Moore, 50, said he would return home to Pascagoula to practice law and spend time with his family.
Haley Barbour, former Republican National Committee chairman, announced Monday that he is running for governor, while Mr. Musgrove is widely expected to seek a second term. Candidates' qualifying deadline is March 1.
Town Hall milestone
The Town Hall Web site (www.townhall.com), which spotlights news and commentary from conservative organizations and pundits, has welcomed its 100th member organization the conservative weekly Human Events.
The site, a project of the Heritage Foundation, was started in 1995 with 13 groups..


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