- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2003

NASCAR and Jackson

The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH organization claims that, contrary to published media reports, NASCAR is still working with and supporting Mr. Jackson’s initiatives in motor sports, Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com.

“Reports of demise in the relationship between NASCAR [National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing] and Rainbow/PUSH have been greatly exaggerated,” said Charles Farrell, director of the Rainbow Sports division of Mr. Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, in an interview with CNSNews.com.

Mr. Farrell was referring to a July report in USA Today, which quoted unnamed NASCAR officials as saying they were cutting off funding to Mr. Jackson’s organization. NASCAR has reportedly given at least $250,000 to Mr. Jackson’s organizations in recent years.

Mr. Jackson and NASCAR’s chief operating officer, George Pyne, held a “closed-door meeting” in Atlanta on Tuesday regarding minority outreach in motor sports, according to Mr. Farrell. The meeting, which took place at Rainbow/PUSH’s Atlanta field office, included representatives from NASCAR corporate sponsors Coca Cola, UPS and Home Depot. Mr. Farrell referred to the Atlanta meeting as “unprecedented” and “behind the scenes.”

“NASCAR said [at the meeting that it will spend] $1.2 million in support of putting at least four black drivers in cars next year,” Mr. Farrell said. “We are going to be helping to identify those black drivers.”

Joe Gibbs Racing, the team headed by the former head coach of the Washington Redskins, will also be working in conjunction with NASCAR to locate potential minority drivers, Mr. Farrell added.

Blame the GOP

“The effort to make permanent a temporary ban on Internet access taxes has stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. But don’t blame the Democrats,” the Wall Street Journal says.

“Fault instead two GOP senators, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and George Voinovich of Ohio. Both are using procedural legerdemain to prevent a vote on the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act, a provision that not only keeps the taxman away from your AOL or EarthLink account but also bans ‘multiple or discriminatory’ levies on electronic commerce. A temporary Internet tax moratorium, in place for the past five years, expired on Nov. 1. If Congress doesn’t act to extend it before winter recess, don’t be surprised by a yuletide e-mail tax,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

Pryor restraint

While Republicans are attempting to break a Democratic filibuster of President Bush’s judicial nominees, a Christian conservative activist is calling on believers to help block one of those nominees, Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor.

Douglas W. Phillips, president of Vision Forum Ministries and director of the Witherspoon School of Law and Public Policy, says Mr. Pryor has betrayed his promise to support Roy Moore, the famous “Ten Commandments judge” who was removed yesterday from his post as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

“More dangerous than a liberal who persecutes Christians are those professors of Christ who persecute godly men for standing with the Lord,” writes Mr. Phillips, son of 1996 U.S. Taxpayers Party presidential candidate Howard Phillips.

“For the last 11 years, Roy Moore has defended his courtrooms against the attacks of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has vowed to drive out both prayer and the Ten Commandments. Along the way, two key men vowed to support him: In 1997, invoking the historic doctrine of interposition, Gov. Fob James and his newly appointed Attorney General, Bill Pryor, promised to stand by then Circuit Judge Roy Moore, even if that meant calling out the National Guard in defiance of an unlawful federal ruling. …

“Since his nomination to the federal judgeship, Attorney General Bill Pryor has argued that Chief Justice Moore should ‘just follow orders.’ …

“Mr. Pryor has disqualified himself as a public office holder and should resign his current position.”

Dean’s cash handouts

Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean yesterday offered a plan to provide college students with $10,000 a year in federal financial aid as part of his $7.1 billion higher education program.

Arguing that President Bush’s tax cuts have resulted in cuts in Pell grants and other financial help, Mr. Dean proposed that students be entitled to $10,000 for postsecondary schooling, whether at a traditional college or university or in high-skills training.

Mr. Dean would finance his plan by repealing all of Mr. Bush’s tax cuts, the Associated Press reported.

“When he signed the Higher Education Act of 1965, Lyndon Johnson said, ‘A high school senior anywhere in this great land of ours can apply to any college or university in any one of the 50 states and not be turned away because their family is poor.’ But that vision is far from fulfilled,” Mr. Dean said in a speech at Dartmouth College.

The former Vermont governor would guarantee that Americans would not have to pay more than 10 percent of their income toward loans after graduation. He would hold the debt obligation to 7 percent for students entering what he dubbed the “Public Service Corps” — professions such as nursing, teaching, social work, law enforcement, firefighting and emergency medical care.

To qualify, students in eighth grade would have to commit to attending college and their families would be provided advance calculations of the federal aid that they could qualify for. All debts would be considered paid in full 10 years after graduation.

‘Polarized’ America?

Mark Steyn, columnist for London’s Daily Telegraph, takes issue with that newspaper for its recent editorial “that sounded as if my colleagues had been up all night snorting Democratic talking points.”

Commenting on the Democrats’ recent losses of governorships in California, Mississippi and Kentucky, the Telegraph suggested: “America is becoming even more polarized than in the desperately close presidential race of 2000.”

Mr. Steyn, noting increases in Republican voter identification and other signs of a trend toward the GOP, writes: “Doesn’t sound that polarized to me. But, driving around the other day, I heard a radio reporter taking refuge in a favorite recent formulation: ‘Despite polls showing increasing public unhappiness over Iraq, the president continues to insist. …’

“That crazy Bush, eh? Flying in the face of what some guy told some pollster over the telephone! Why not try the same formulation with some actual votes?

” ‘Despite losing three governorships in the past month, Democrats continue to insist that their strategy of running every election as a referendum on Bush is working.’ Even if it costs them a fourth governorship in Louisiana this week.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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