- The Washington Times - Friday, February 28, 2003

Thompson's ad
Former Sen. Fred Thompson, a Tennessee Republican who returned to acting as a co-star on the TV series "Law & Order," is taking on the Hollywood left in a 30-second ad that supports President Bush in his showdown with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
"It's 'Law & Order' vs. 'The West Wing,' and millions of Americans need a voice to combat the left-wing propaganda they have witnessed over the last several weeks," said David N. Bossie, president of Citizens United, which launched the campaign yesterday.
In the ad, Mr. Thompson says in part, "Thank goodness we have a president with the courage to protect our country. And when people ask, 'What has Saddam done to us?' I ask, what had the September 11 hijackers done to us before September 11?"
Said Mr. Bossie: "While Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Janeane Garofolo and other Hollywood leftists are airing television commercials attacking our president for his courageous stance against terrorism, Citizens United has teamed up with Senator Thompson to produce and air commercials in defense of our president and our country."

Defending daddy
After a meeting at the Oval Office yesterday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, President Bush defended his father for stopping short of toppling Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
"That was not the mission in 1991," when his father, George H.W. Bush, was president, he said to reporters. "The mission in the early 1990s was to liberate Kuwait, and the United States achieved that mission."

Forget the cruise
Ollie North had promised his wife, Betsy, that they would celebrate her birthday by leaving on a Caribbean cruise Sunday along with other prominent conservatives and major donors to his Freedom Alliance.
The cruise will include a stop at the island of Grenada to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its liberation by U.S. military forces, but Mr. North won't be on board.
Fox News has told him to catch the first available flight out of Washington bound for Kuwait to cover the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq.
He personally called every conservative who signed up for the cruise. "I told them to send me pictures of liberated Grenada and I will send them pictures of liberated Baghdad," Mr. North told reporter Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times.

Rallying the troops
There was a huge response to yesterday's front-page story in The Washington Times about complaints from members of the Maine National Guard that their children were being harassed at school by teachers who oppose war with Iraq.
The story was discussed by talk-radio hosts nationwide, as well as on CNN's "Talk Back Live" and Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor." A spokesman for the Maine National Guard reports that their headquarters received "over 200 calls from across the country" expressing support for the Guard.
Among those callers was Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, who said she phoned Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Tinkham, commander of the Maine National Guard, "to underscore my support for our brave men and women in uniform and their families."
In a news release, Miss Collins stated: "Regardless of one's personal feelings about a potential war with Iraq, those Mainers serving in the military deserve our respect and gratitude for their sacrifice and that of their families. … Our troops should serve secure in the knowledge that we at home are supporting their loved ones during this difficult time."

'Terror' in Alabama
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and his staff have begun weekly Bible studies in his Capitol office, which the leader of an atheist group decries as "a form of Christian terrorism."
The Republican governor, a Southern Baptist, holds Bible study classes with Cabinet members and his senior staff each Tuesday morning. Other staffers attend a Wednesday-morning session, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Riley's chief of staff, Toby Roth, said no state business is discussed during the classes, and he makes sure Cabinet members have plenty of other meetings with the governor so they don't feel the need to attend simply to have a word with the boss.
But Larry Darby, Alabama director for American Atheists, said there is no way the classes can be truly voluntary as long as the governor is involved.
"It's a form of Christian terrorism," Mr. Darby said.

Granholm and gas
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm yesterday ordered state officials to begin regular surveys of gasoline prices around the state in an effort to stop purported gouging.
Under the executive order, the state will give consumers pricing information, and any possibly unfair prices will be reported to the attorney general, the Associated Press reports.
Mrs. Granholm, a Democrat, said she wanted to prevent a recurrence of apparent gouging prompted by fears about national security after September 11.
"The anxiety felt by consumers in those difficult days has begun to reappear in recent weeks as gas prices have increased dramatically," she said in a statement.
She acknowledged that prices have been volatile in part because of uncertainty over war in Iraq, but said they still bear watching.

Romney vs. Bulger
University of Massachusetts President William Bulger, under fire over his relationship with his mobster brother, could lose his job under a shake-up proposed by Gov. Mitt Romney.
The restructuring plan would dismantle the 59,000-student university system, spinning off the flagship Amherst campus, privatizing three schools, including the medical school in Worcester, and merging six campuses. Mr. Bulger and his 68-member office would be replaced with a new agency, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Romney, a Republican, said the plan would help save about $150 million.
Mr. Romney has taken on Mr. Bulger before, saying he was disappointed by Mr. Bulger's refusal in December to answer questions from a congressional panel about his brother, fugitive mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger.
But Mr. Romney said his proposal "was not a political calculation, nor a personal one."

Backing tort reform
Eighty-three percent of Americans think there are too many lawsuits filed in the United States and that personal injury lawyers are to blame, according to a survey done for the American Tort Reform Association.
The survey of 800 likely voters was conducted by Mercury Public Affairs from Feb. 15 to 17, and has a margin of error of 3.46 percent.
"This poll confirms that Americans are sick and tired of the 'strike it rich' mentality fostered by an out-of-control civil justice system," said Sherman Joyce, president of the tort reform group, which released the results of the survey yesterday.
He said that 45 percent of those surveyed backed tort reform as a means to curb frivolous lawsuits, while only 6 percent opposed it.

Indians lose
A judge ruled yesterday that a Southern California Indian tribe is subject to the same state campaign-finance laws that apply to other political contributors.
Superior Court Judge Loren McMaster said exempting the tribe from the law's reporting requirements would subvert California's electoral system, the Associated Press reports.
"The court rejects the assertion that the doctrine of tribal immunity applies here to insulate the tribe from the jurisdiction of California state courts to enforce state laws designed to protect the integrity of state legislative and electoral process," he said.
The ruling came in a lawsuit by the state Fair Political Practices Commission against the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, one of California's wealthiest Indian tribes.


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