- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2003

Reagan moment

A thousand of former President Ronald Reagan’s personal letters have been compiled into a new book to be released later this month. A chapter titled “Core Beliefs” includes thoughts from Mr. Reagan that have not lost their visceral insight, particularly on this day.

“I have become more and more conscious of an element in our land I call the ‘blame America first’ crowd,” the president wrote in a letter to one Connecticut women, dated Sept. 27, 1985.

She had written Mr. Reagan in distress over “one-sided” news coverage of the 40th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

“We have every right to stand tall. Our country is unique in all the world. A former prime minister of Australia said some years back, ‘I wonder if anybody has thought what the situation of the comparatively small nations would be if there were not in existence the United States — if there were not this giant country prepared to make so many sacrifices.’

“In the days following World War II, Pope Pius the XII said, ‘The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish acts. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.’ We have kept our rendezvous with destiny.”

The book, “Reagan: A Life in Letters,” will be published by the Free Press Sept. 23.

Bush moment

“I’m reluctant to use our military, but when we do, it’s to make the world a more peaceful place. We changed the nature of war, which in itself made the world a more peaceful place. The capacity for the United States to fight and win war makes the world more peaceful. Now the guilty can no longer hide behind the innocent,” President Bush told Ladies Home Journal in the October issue.

Mr. Bush continued, “We live in the greatest country on the face of this earth. We are great because we’re strong, and we’re great because we’re compassionate. Regardless of political party, regardless of philosophy, I hope that all the readers are proud of the United States of America and what we stand for. The values we stand for are so wholesome and so necessary in so many parts of the world. I’m incredibly proud of this country.”

Target practice

Bound for a hunting trip, Florida State Attorney John Tanner was detained at Daytona Beach International Airport on Tuesday after baggage screeners found a .357-caliber Magnum and a .44-caliber handgun in his checked bags, along with a bow and arrow plus two knives.

Mr. Tanner’s carry-on bag had ammunition, two pocket knives and a can of pepper spray used by hunters to repel bears.

The incident was a misunderstanding, said First Assistant State Attorney David Smith.

“He didn’t know he had to declare the weapons for checked bags,” Mr. Smith told the Daytona Beach News-Journal yesterday. “Certainly, there were no handguns in his carry-on bags.”

He added that Mr. Tanner routinely brings handguns on hunting trips for protection after being attacked by a grizzly bear in 1995, and had boarded planes with weapons in checked luggage without informing security on his last two trips.

Mr. Tanner missed his initial flight, but purchased two gun locks and was allowed to board a later flight.

Nicholas R. Scott, security director at the airport for the Transportation Security Administration, noted, “This shows our screeners did a great job. They did exactly what the protocol says.”

Mr. Tanner could receive a civil fine of up to $10,000 per weapon if an investigation shows he was negligent.

Senor citizen

One writer with the Orange County Register wonders if he needs a new identity to live in California.

“That’s it. I’m changing my name from Steven Greenhut to Esteban Casaverde,” the senior editorial columnist wrote yesterday.

“I’m heading down to the Department of Motor Vehicles, with my fake Mexican papers in hand. … I don’t care much about voting, but while I’m at it I’ll check the Motor Voter blank on the form anyway. One never knows when a fellow member of La Raza needs some extra help getting elected. Can’t let the Anglos run everything, can we?”

The author later noted, “U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez used to be Loretta Brixey when she lived on the tony Palos Verdes peninsula. But then when she ran for Congress against B-1 Bob Dornan she rediscovered her maiden name. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the district’s changing demographics.

“We’ve got this white guy governor who is giving drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants as a way to win support from Latinos. Bill Clinton was the first black president, and Davis wants to be the first modern-era Latino governor.”

Stern expression

Radio host Howard Stern can feature Arnold Schwarzenegger on his often titillating talk show without providing equal time for the other 134 candidates in the California recall election, thanks to the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC ruled Tuesday that Mr. Stern’s show — which occasionally includes interviews with porn stars — is a “bona fide news interview” program.

The decision was made after New York-based Infinity Broadcasting Corp., which syndicates Mr. Stern’s show, claimed his program was “news” and therefore exempt from equal-time requirements for political candidates.

The FCC based its finding on a 1984 decision that qualified the old “Phil Donahue” talk show for the exemption, noting that room should be made for “less conventional interview formats” to increase coverage of the political process.

The decision is not all that uncommon, either. “Sally Jessy Raphael Show,” “Jerry Springer” and “Politically Incorrect” also have qualified for the exemption in past years.

O’Bannon update

The Indiana state Supreme Court formally transferred power yesterday to the lieutenant governor after Gov. Frank L. O’Bannon, a Democrat, suffered a stroke Monday.

Legislative leaders filed a petition to transfer power after receiving a written statement from Mr. O’Bannon’s doctor and invoked a process spelled out in the state constitution to hand over power officially to Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan.

“We are making historical precedent here today. We wanted to make sure, absolutely sure, the family was in agreement, the doctors were in agreement,” said House Speaker Patrick Bauer, a Democrat, who joined with Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton, a Republican, to file the petition, the Associated Press reported.

“I want to emphasize: Governor O’Bannon is still the governor of Indiana, and Judy O’Bannon is still the first lady of Indiana,” Mr. Garton said.

Doctors said Mr. O’Bannon, 73, had emerged from a prescribed drug-induced coma, but was still sedated, though he showed some “small but significant improvements.” He remained in critical condition yesterday.

Contact Jennifer Harper at jharper@washingtontimes.com or 202/636-3085.

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