- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2003

Twisting and construing
Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, this week made a first attempt at explaining her remarks widely interpreted as praising Osama bin Laden made during a Dec. 18 meeting with a group of advanced-placement high school students in her home state.
"I have to tell you that it's really important that people don't twist or construe remarks that were made to an AP student group in a Vancouver high school," Mrs. Murray told a Fox News reporter on Wednesday.
"We all know everyone in this country knows that Osama bin Laden is an evil terrorist, and in my remarks, I told the students we're taking the right steps now. The question is what do we do next and it's an important decision," Mrs. Murray said.
In the December meeting with students at Columbia River High School, Mrs. Murray said: "We've got to ask, why is [bin Laden] so popular around the world? Why are people so supportive of him in many countries that are riddled with poverty? He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that."

Waving the flag
"A special election held earlier this week [in Georgia] revealed that some Democrats, at least, are still willing to wave the Confederate flag in hopes of winning elections," John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.
"The race was in a state House district in Walker County, an almost entirely white area bordering Tennessee. Republican Jay Neal had beaten incumbent Democrat Mike Snow by 195 votes, but a judge invalidated the November election because some voters had been incorrectly assigned to other voting districts," Mr. Fund said.
"This race couldn't have cost the Democrats the majority, but it could cost them control of the Georgia House of Representatives. A maverick Democrat is running against his party to be speaker of the House, and he has Republican support. That election is next week and the race is expected to be very close. The winner of the Snow vs. Neal race could tip the scales.
"Clearly worried about the loss of Mr. Snow's seat, Democrats started dotting lawns with signs emphasizing Mr. Snow's frequent refusals to support [former] Gov. [Roy] Barnes' agenda, including changing the state flag [to shrink its Confederate symbol]. Local reporters say the signs may have played a role in shoring up Mr. Snow's support. He defeated Mr. Neal on Tuesday by 64 votes out of 7,900 cast.
"'Who is exploiting the Confederate flag and racial symbolism to win races now?' asks [state Republican Party Chairman Ralph] Reed. The state Democratic Party couldn't be reached for comment late [Wednesday], but in a statement last November the party attacked Mr. Reed for 'continuing the politics of division and hate as he plans to implement his minority-voter intimidation plan.'"

Thomas book
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will receive more than $1 million from publisher HarperCollins for his memoirs.
Multiple publishers vied for the rights to Justice Thomas' autobiography, which he started writing in 2001, but he liked the package offered by New York-based HarperCollins, including the editor assigned to work with him, people in the publishing industry with knowledge of the deal told the Associated Press yesterday.
Details about the amount were not revealed, except that it was in seven figures. The book is expected to be released in 2005.
Patty Kelly, a spokeswoman for HarperCollins, confirmed that the company will publish the memoirs, but she declined to say how much Justice Thomas would be paid. The book "will trace his life from his upbringing in Savannah, Ga., through his confirmation to the court," she said.
Justice Thomas, 54, is expected to do limited television and newspaper interviews to promote the book, making an exception to his usual policy of refusing interviews.

She's back
Former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, Illinois Democrat, is ready for another try against the Republican who defeated her in 1998 if she can win her party's nomination.
"For weeks, speculation has swirled in Chicago and Washington that Moseley-Braun would announce her intention to run in early January," Roll Call reports.
Mrs. Moseley-Braun, who was the only black in the Senate, lost to Peter G. Fitzgerald, considered perhaps the most vulnerable Republican senator going into the 2004 elections.
Reporter Lauren W. Whittington quoted an anonymous Democrat working in the state as saying, "It's clear to all Democratic political operatives in Illinois that Carol Moseley-Braun is about to throw her hat into the ring. With her name recognition as high as it is, clearly she starts out with a commanding lead."
Mrs. Moseley-Braun's likely candidacy worries party strategists, who fear it "could cost Senate Democrats one of their best pickup opportunities," Roll Call said.

Vermont's GOP chief
Republican James Douglas was elected Vermont governor yesterday, more than two months after he failed to get a majority of the vote in the election, which was then thrown to the Legislature.
Mr. Douglas edged Democrat Doug Racine in the November balloting, 45 percent to 42 percent, the Associated Press reports. Under the Vermont Constitution, the Legislature chooses the governor when no candidate gets a majority.
On Thursday, the lawmakers chose Mr. Douglas over Mr. Racine, 159-16.
"That's very gratifying," said Mr. Douglas after the vote. "It shows the members of the House and Senate are prepared to join together in a bipartisan basis and address the issues that are facing the state."

Granholm's records
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm's campaign staff has turned over boxes of records subpoenaed in an investigation of a former county leader known as a kingmaker in the state's politics.
Mrs. Granholm, who authorities say is not the target of the grand jury investigation, worked as Wayne County's top lawyer in the mid-1990s when Edward McNamara was county executive.
Mr. McNamara urged Mrs. Granholm to run for state attorney general in 1998, a race she won, and she was elected governor last year.
The investigation involves Mr. McNamara's campaign and financial practices, and whether he used county employees and resources, such as computers and fax machines, for fund raising and other political purposes.
Mr. McNamara, a 76-year-old Democrat who did not seek re-election last year, has denied wrongdoing and said the probe is a political attack.

Not-so-great idea
"Lately the left has been puzzled to the point of frustration about the lack of a peace movement," James S. Robbins writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"For some reason, protesters are not closing down college campuses, and they cannot raise a decent-enough riot to make the nightly news. So in an effort to revitalize antiwar feeling and resurrect the spirit of the '60s, Representatives Charles Rangel, New York Democrat, and John Conyers, Michigan Democrat, have come up with a great idea bring back the draft. By reinstituting conscription, we could alienate a new generation of American youth and get back to the kind of civil unrest the Left has been yearning for. At least that is the only sense I can make of it," Mr. Robbins said.
"Proponents of a new draft should be asked: Would a conscripted military be more able to fight and win this country's wars? Would it be less expensive? Would it be easier to train, to equip, to clothe, and feed? Would it have better morale? Does the military leadership even want a draft? In each case, the answer is no. Even a superficial examination of the issue leads one to conclude that, excepting grave national emergencies, conscription is counterproductive."

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