- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2003

Message to NAACP

The future of D.C. vouchers — school choice for low-income minority students — will be decided on Capitol Hill this week. Many civil rights organizations, led by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, oppose the voucher system.

Still, more and more blacks in this country are beginning to embrace vouchers, taking a hint from former Rep. Floyd Flake, a six-term liberal New York Democrat who, despite opposition from the Congressional Black Caucus, co-sponsored a 1997 voucher bill for New York City with the words: “When a white person kills a black person, we all go out in the street to protest. But our children are being educationally killed every day in public schools and nobody says a thing.”

Mr. Flake is found these days preaching from the pulpit of the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Queens.

Step outside

A prayer breakfast will be held tomorrow calling on the city of Washington — bars and restaurants in the forefront — to be 100 percent smoke-free.

“Several dozen” faith-based leaders, led by the Rev. Louis Anthony of the Smokefree D.C. Interfaith Coalition, and other community activists will call on D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the City Council to protect Washingtonians from secondhand smoke.

Don’t think it can’t happen in your favorite watering hole. Several states — California, New York, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware — and large cities like Boston have already enacted smoke-free laws.

“Currently, District law is among the weakest in the country in terms of protecting workers,” according to tomorrow’s participants, who include Washington hotel and restaurant union head Liz Thorne, Insomnia nightclub owner Michael Romeo and Washington bartender Mike Ferens.

Iraq and a hard place

What a difference four months makes.

In May, President Bush was riding high after toppling Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in a shorter period of time than it took to recount the disputed Florida election ballots. And latching on to the president’s coattails was Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Joe Lieberman, who proudly issued the following statement:

“Lieberman is the only Democrat who consistently called for confronting Saddam Hussein. For the last 12 years, Lieberman has remained resolute on dealing with the threat posed by Iraq, whether he was one of the few Democrats voting to authorize the use of force against Saddam in 1991, or when he was the lead Democrat on the Iraqi Liberation Act in 1998, or just this past year when he was the lead Senate sponsor of the resolution authorizing the use of force to remove Saddam.”

Now, when it comes to Iraq, Mr. Lieberman has abandoned Mr. Bush, whose wish is to find the elusive Saddam, if not his weapons of mass destruction, before Election Day.

Campaign themes

We’ve taken Sen. Joe Lieberman’s request to advise him “what songs inspire you and remind you of Joe and would get you excited for Joe at campaign events” one step further by including all presidential candidates in the theme-song search.

Mr. Lieberman gets things started by naming “My Way” and “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” as two of his favorite campaign songs. Here’s a first batch of additional theme songs, submitted by Inside the Beltway readers from coast-to-coast:

Al Sharpton: “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (Steve Strickland, Fresno, Calif.)

Joe Lieberman: “Slip Slidin’ Away” (Dave Guild, Prior Lake, Minn.)

Carol Moseley Braun: “The Impossible Dream” (George Roper, McAllen, Texas)

All nine Democratic candidates: “The Impossible Dream” (Bob Johnson, Bedford, Texas)

George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney: “Old Friends/Bookends” (Steven E. Johnston, Spanaway, Wash.)

Hillary Rodham Clinton: “I Want You to Want Me” (John Baumgartner, Reston)

All nine Democratic candidates: “Lonely People” (Keith M. Subick, Manassas)

Hillary Rodham Clinton: “The Way We Were” (William Hewitt, Oswego, Ill.)

Howard Dean: “The Chicken Dance” (Chas Thomas, West Pittston, Pa.)

George W. Bush: “Find Yourself Another Fool” (John Quinn, Alpharetta, Ga.)

Joe Lieberman: “Yesterday” (specifically the line “Suddenly, I’m Not Half the Man I Used to Be”) (Dwayne Baptist, Fredericksburg, Va.)

Joe Lieberman: “You Don’t Send Me Flowers Anymore” (Rick Bravo, Turnersville, N.J.)

Richard A. Gephardt: “On the Road Again” (Steve Strickland, Fresno, Calif.)

George W. Bush: “My Way” (Norma Stasi, Iowa City, Iowa)

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

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