- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 12, 2003

DNA money
Attorney General John Ashcroft said yesterday that the Justice Department, facing a growing backlog of cases, will seek more than $1 billion during the next five years to increase DNA testing in an effort to "breathe new life into long-dormant investigations."
"It will allow us to conduct DNA analysis of more offender samples. It will solve more crimes through efficient and effective use of DNA-improved technology," Mr. Ashcroft said at a press conference after a meeting with President Bush. "It will help us identify missing persons through enhanced DNA methods and techniques. And it will help exonerate individuals who are wrongfully accused or wrongly convicted of crimes."
Mr. Ashcroft said Mr. Bush had proposed a $232.6 million federal-funding item for fiscal 2004 for the initiative, continuing that level of funding during the next five years.
According to estimates by the National Institute of Justice, there is a backlog of as many as 350,000 DNA samples in rape and homicide cases alone. The institute also said as many as 300,000 samples collected from convicted offenders have not been tested.
Mr. Ashcroft also announced the administration's support for several legislative proposals intended to improve the criminal justice system's use of DNA to solve crimes. For example, he said, all 50 states and the federal government require DNA samples from some offenders, but 23 require the samples be collected from all convicted criminals.
Mr. Ashcroft noted that Virginia has been collecting DNA from all felons since 1990 and has a convicted-offender database of more than 180,000 DNA profiles. He said state authorities have been able to solve 99 homicides and 196 non-homicide sexual assaults through the database.
Kaptur's boast
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio Democrat, says not only does she not regret comparing Osama bin Laden to American Revolutionary War figures but that "she is happy for a greater platform to criticize the Bush administration's handling of the brewing conflict with Iraq," the Toledo Blade reports.
Said Miss Kaptur: "There is absolutely no regret because I want the American people to understand the nature of the enemy."
Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders remain silent about her remarks, and the national news media have largely ignored the subject, Carl Limbacher and others report on NewsMax.com.
"One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped cast off the British crown," Miss Kaptur had said.
"NewsMax.com made repeated requests to top House Democrat leaders to determine if they were prepared to disavow this insult to America's Founding Fathers," the Web site said. "House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., refuse to comment."
"A Google search showed very little record of news coverage in the major media of the amazing remarks, beyond any exposure the outlets might have been given to a brief [Associated Press] story. The Google search indicated some small and medium-size papers carried it."
Running ads
The Walden Three, a self-described "nonprofit, educational foundation that promotes rational, planned, sustainable societies and cities" has been running a series of ads in newspapers across the country criticizing a war against Iraq.
The pro-environmental group is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., and champions a mixed economy. It cites thinkers and historical figures as diverse as Henry Thoreau, Adam Smith, Robert Owen, Henry Ford, John Maynard Keynes and Paul Krugman. The group also believes in religious values, citing the works of Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed.
The group has run 12 ads in The Washington Times during the past several weeks, opposing the war in Iraq, defending civil rights and calling for the impeachment of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. It is scheduled to run an anti-war ad in USA Today on Friday. The group has also run ads in the New York Times, the Santa Barbara News-Press, the Santa Barbara Independent and La Opinion, a Spanish newspaper.
Jimmy Walter, president of the foundation, said the purpose of the ads was to turn public opinion against a military campaign against Iraq.
"We are trying to create a practical utopia. And that can't be done in a world full of terrorists and a collapsed economy, which would result if we attacked Iraq," he said.
Hewitt's critique
Don Hewitt, producer of the CBS News magazine "60 Minutes," praised Bill Clinton and criticized Bob Dole after the politicians' first face-off on the program Sunday.
"I don't think Dole really came to grips in the manner that he's famous for in his response to Clinton, and we're going to try to plug those holes," Mr. Hewitt told the New York Post.
Mr. Dole, a former Senate majority leader and Republican presidential nominee, "knows he can do better," Mr. Hewitt said.
"He called me and said, 'I don't think I was as sharp as I could have been.'
"Clinton is Clinton. He's very smooth, and there's no question that when he gets through, you know what he said," Mr. Hewitt said.
"But you weren't quite sure whether Dole was talking about a tax cut or fighting al Qaeda or Saddam Hussein at the same time."
Gas attack
"President Bush has other things on his mind, but let's hope someone at the White House is keeping an eye on GOP Congressman Don Young," the Wall Street Journal says.
"The Alaskan heads the 75-member House Transportation Committee, and he's quietly cooking up one woolly mammoth of a highway spending proposal. Thought last year's $173 billion Porky Pig farm bill was bad? You'd better sit down for this one," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"Never mind that the economy is less than full speed ahead right now. Or that 16 states are staring at record-high gas prices. Or that California drivers are already paying more than $2 a gallon. Mr. Young and his fellow highwayman, James Oberstar (D., Minnesota), feel this is the ideal time to push for … higher gas taxes.
"The two have scheduled a press conference for [today], where they plan to ask President Bush to increase the federal gas tax currently more than 18 cents per gallon by another five cents and index it to inflation. That's in addition to the various state gas taxes, which average 22 cents per gallon."
The Left Wing
"Don't ask Martin Sheen for his political opinions. Once he gets started, you can't shut him up," the New York Post says.
"The veteran actor who is as proud as the NBC peacock that he's been arrested 64 times for civil disobedience has become even more of a blowhard in the four years he's been playing liberal President Josiah Bartlet on 'The West Wing,'" the newspaper said in its "Page Six" gossip feature.
"He grumbled last week that NBC brass has 'let it be known they're very uncomfortable with where I'm at.' But maybe the suits just wish he'd pipe down about his causes when he's supposed to be promoting the show.
"Last [week], during a Warner Bros. international press junket Warner Bros. produces 'The West Wing' studio publicists tried to get him off his soapbox.
"'[Sheen] was talking about America going to war and how much he was against it,' one international junketeer told Page Six. "'At one stage, a p.r. person from Warner piped up and suggested the questions should be kept to the show, not politics.'
"Sheen flew into a rage at the suggestion. He turned on the offending exec and shouted, 'Identify yourself!' Then he launched into a brief but 'very passionate speech about how the p.r. man should not dictate what questions the journalists were allowed to ask.'"
Gilmore's gig
President Bush has appointed James S. Gilmore III, the former governor of Virginia and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, to the Air Force Academy board.
The Board of Visitors consists of 15 members appointed by the president and Congress. The board evaluates the morale, discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods and other matters relating to the academy.

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