- The Washington Times - Monday, November 24, 2003

‘Dangerous precedent’

One month after a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission deemed the use of obscene language acceptable on television, one congresswoman remains outraged.

Rep. Jo Ann Davis, Virginia Republican, says the FCC set a “dangerous precedent” by ruling that U2 singer Bono’s use of the “F word” during a live broadcast of this year’s Golden Globe Awards was not inappropriate

“This profane word has long been deemed inappropriate by American society and, consequently, has not been permitted on broadcast television and radio, and its use factors into movie ratings,” she says. “However, with this recent FCC ruling, we are opening the door to a whole new world of what is deemed acceptable for television audiences.”

The congresswoman says the FCC is not only sending children in America mixed signals about what is decent behavior, it is complicating the complex period of childhood and adolescence.

“I ask then, why do we even have an FCC if they are not going to uphold rules of decency?”

The FCC in October said Bono’s use of the word as an “adjective or expletive to emphasize an exclamation” was not indecent.

Front and center

A Capitol Hill group of centrist Republicans welcomes Arnold Schwarzenegger to its club.

Centrists in the Republican Main Street Partnership consider the Hollywood actor-turned-governor of California an excellent addition because his “brand of Republicanism — fiscally conservative and socially moderate — fits perfectly” with its mission.

The partnership’s previous newest member was Rep. Mary Bono, California Democrat, who entered politics upon the death of her husband, Sonny Bono. Mrs. Bono says voters in California “sent a clear message that moderate Republicans who are interested in serving the interests of all the people can win.”

The partnership’s roster of elected officials now includes five governors, nine U.S. senators and 53 representatives.

Ultimate thanks

One congressman who knows all about evil perpetrated by iron-fisted dictators like Saddam Hussein is Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican whose aunt was once married to Fidel Castro.

Yesterday, the congressman — whose father, Rafael Lincoln Diaz-Balart, was majority leader in Cuba’s House of Representatives and whose older brother, Lincoln, is a six-term Florida congressman (the family is often called “the Cuban Kennedys”) — departed for Iraq, where he will share Thanksgiving dinner with troops from his state.

“It is an honor to visit with our troops who are putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom,” says Mr. Diaz-Balart. “I want to see for myself the progress that we are making and get to the heart of the real story there.”

Pahnke Post

Only recently they were fighting the war in Iraq. Now they are fallen heroes whose names Rep. Jerry Weller, Illinois Republican, doesn’t want the residents in his state to forget.

Mr. Weller has introduced legislation to honor the sacrifice of three service members from his 11th Congressional District — Army Staff Sgt. Lincoln Hollinsaid of Malden, Marine Capt. Ryan Beaupre of St. Anne and Army Pvt. Shawn Pahnke of Manhattan — by renaming each of their hometown post offices in their names.

Sgt. Hollinsaid, 27, an avid fisherman, was killed when clearing a path to capture the Baghdad airport; Capt. Beaupre, 30, a homeless-shelter volunteer, was piloting a helicopter nine miles from the Iraqi border when he lost his life; Pvt. Pahnke, 25, the father of a newborn son, was killed while patrolling Baghdad in a Humvee.

Joke’s on me

Washingtonian magazine’s Chuck Conconi recalls a joke told recently by Attorney General John Aschcroft:

Mr. Ashcroft is spending the day at an elementary school and after the morning session fields questions from the children. Johnny raises his hand.

“Mr. Ashcroft,” he pipes up, “I have three questions for you: Why haven’t we gotten Osama bin Laden yet? Why haven’t we gotten Saddam Hussein yet? And doesn’t the Patriot Act infringe on our civil liberties?”

Before Mr. Ashcroft can answer, the recess bell rings and the children run out to the playground. When they return and sit back down, Susie raises her hand.

“Mr. Ashcroft,” she said, “I have five questions for you: Why haven’t we gotten Osama bin Laden yet? Why haven’t we gotten Saddam Hussein yet? Doesn’t the Patriot Act infringe on our civil liberties? Why was recess 20 minutes early today? And where’s Johnny?”

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected].

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