- The Washington Times - Friday, May 9, 2003

50-state dream“Anyone who watched the dreary first 2004 Democratic debate Saturday can see why some Republicans are dreaming and plotting how President Bush can do what even Ronald Reagan couldn’t do: win all 50 states in 2004,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin writes.”After all, polls now show Bush could win California, beat Sen. Hillary Clinton [of] New York, and whip 2004 wannabes Joe Lieberman (Conn.), and John Edwards (N.C.) and Bob Graham (Fla.) in their home states,” Miss Orin said.”There’s no postwar poll yet in John Kerry’s home state of Massachusetts.”Change of mindThe head of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus says he no longer opposes the appeals court nomination of U.S. District Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr.State Rep. Phillip West said Wednesday he was speaking only for himself and not for the full caucus. A majority of the 45-member caucus has opposed Judge Pickering’s nomination to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.Judge Pickering and his son, U.S. Rep. Charles W.”Chip” Pickering Jr., Mississippi Republican, had met privately with caucus members in February. The judge explained how he took heat for testifying against Ku Klux Klan imperial wizard Sam Bowers in a 1968 murder trial.”That struck home with me because I know that feeling,” Mr. West said. “I have been ostracized and shunned by both blacks and whites and characterized as a racist myself.”Mr. West said he tried to persuade the caucus to drop its opposition, and decided to issue his own statement when his efforts failed.Solitary viceIt is not merely revelations of gambling that have hurt William J. Bennett’s reputation, says Dave Shiflett. Rather, it is the former education secretary’s choice of games that “totally undermine the notion that Bennett is a thinking man,” Mr. Shiflett observes in National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com):”Even those who found him something of a scold could at least admit that he had an active brain. This guy studied philosophy, after all.”Yet the games he preferred — video poker and slots — represent gambling for dummies. You can teach a blind, pin-headed monkey to play the slots, and video poker isn’t much better. It’s not for nothing that video poker is called the crack cocaine of gambling. …”These solitary games require none of the skills required of the true gambler. The true gambler — the thinking gambler — is found at the card table. Indeed, the man who triumphs at five-card stud is a formidable human being, one who has taught himself how to read body language, how to bluff, and how not to sweat when the mortgage is on the line. …”The other beauty of true poker is that it can be played far from the public eye, and off the taxman’s ledger. These games are also occasion for good conversation, moderate alcohol consumption, and all around good fellowship. In short, true poker has many virtues that videos and slots totally lack.”Gambling in IllinoisIn Illinois, the first piece of a massive gambling expansion plan cleared its initial legislative hurdle yesterday, the day after Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he was open to the concept that he had campaigned against last year.If passed in its entirety, the proposals would change the face of gambling in Illinois, extending it from riverboats and horse tracks to corner bars and restaurants — and place a casino in Chicago, the Associated Press reports.Mr. Blagojevich, who had campaigned on a promise to not expand gambling, said Wednesday that “it would be irresponsible to just arbitrarily dismiss” the proposals in light of the state’s nearly $5 billion budget gap.Yesterday, members of the state House gambling committee voted 8-2 for the section of the plan that would allow slot machines at horse tracks and enable the state’s existing casinos to add hundreds of additional slot machines.Scheer consistencyTimes change, but Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer remains constant in his support of opposition to American “imperialism,” both at home and abroad, as David Horowitz’s Front Page (www.frontpagemag.com) reminds us. Front Page reprints this article from the Aug. 8, 1970, issue of the Black Panther Party’s official newspaper:”A delegation of Americans headed by Eldridge Cleaver arrived in Pyongyang, North Korea, on July 14, 1970. They were in North Korea at the invitation of the ‘Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland.’ …”A message from the American delegates included the following statement:” ‘The Pentagon has a global strategy for dealing with liberation struggles whether they be inside or outside the United States. This strategy will increasingly apply to any anti-imperialist movement.”Since the peoples of the world have a common enemy, we must begin to think of revolution as an international struggle against U.S. imperialism. Our struggle in the United States is a genuine part of the total revolutionary assault on this enemy. Understanding the Korean people’s struggle, and communicating this to the American movement is a crucial step in developing this internationalist perspective.‘“The message was signed: Patricia Sumi, Jan Austin, Ann Froines, Gina Blumenfeld, Eldridge Cleaver, Robert Scheer, Randy Rappaport, Alex Hing, Elaine Brown, Andy Truskier, Janet Kranzberg.”Mystery tapeWhat was recorded during the 18½-minute gap on one of President Nixon’s White House tapes will continue to remain a mystery — at least for the time being.The National Archives said audio analysts failed to recapture unintelligible words from test tapes meant to simulate the recording made famous in the Watergate scandal, the Associated Press reports.”I am fully satisfied that we have explored all of the avenues to attempt to recover the sound on this tape,” U.S. Archivist John Carlin said in a statement yesterday. “We will continue to preserve the tape in the hopes that later generations can try again to recover this vital piece of our history.”In 2001, the archives established a panel of analysts to determine whether advances in the field of forensic audio technology could recover what was on the tape recorded three days after the break-in. Based on the results of two tests, Mr. Carlin decided not to continue the effort to turn the gap — a series of clicks, hisses and buzzes — into intelligible speech.The gap is part of a recording made June 20, 1972, in the Old Executive Office Building as Mr. Nixon spoke with his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman. News of the erasure, late the following year, eroded Mr. Nixon’s credibility at a time when his presidency was unraveling over the June 17, 1972, break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate Hotel.Lieberman’s Top 10Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat and a candidate for president, appeared on CBS’ “The Late Show With David Letterman” on Wednesday, and read the “Top Ten Reasons, I, Joe Lieberman, Would Make a Great President”: 10. Not only will my vice president be in an undisclosed location, I won’t even reveal who he is. 9. I know Microsoft Excel and can type 65 words a minute. 8. I’ve gotten a lot of good advice from Martin Sheen.7. Instead of taking Air Force One, I can use all of my accumulated frequent-flier miles. 6. Saddam’s a president and I’m way less nuts than he is.5. I will change the Constitution to guarantee every American a free DVD player.4. I am very comfortable in oval-shaped rooms.3. It just so happens Spider-Man is a close, personal friend of mine.2. I won’t take any [guff] from France. 1. Look at me. Do you honestly think there’ll be a sex scandal?

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