- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 9, 2005

Caveman Dean

Sen. Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, was asked yesterday by Fox News Channel anchor Brigitte Quinn what he thought of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean’s remark that the GOP is the party of white Christians.

“Howard Dean reminds me of one of these old soldiers from previous wars you find in a cave somewhere that still hasn’t caught up with reality,” Mr. Lott said.

Love of Amnesty

A week after President Bush chastised Amnesty International for saying the United States is running a “gulag” in its detention facility for terrorism suspects in Cuba, House Democrats have invited the organization to testify today before Congress.

Joe W. “Chip” Pitts III, chairman of the board of Amnesty International USA, will appear before the House Judiciary Committee this morning to talk about the USA Patriot Act and the U.S. record on human rights since September 11, 2001.

House Democrats on the committee called for Amnesty’s testimony this week during another hearing on the Patriot Act with Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey.

Frist’s victory

“On the morning after a group of 14 senators made a deal to end the standoff over Democratic filibusters of Bush judicial nominees, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist found himself taking flak from all sides,” Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Depending on who was speaking, Frist had wimped out, was unable to control his troops, or could not muster the support to trigger the ‘nuclear option’ to put an end to the filibuster problem entirely.

“And that was just from conservatives. …

“All in all, it was a tough period for the majority leader. But did he really deserve all the criticism? Republicans came out of the filibuster showdown with six previously filibustered nominees headed for confirmation, and, perhaps more important, in a strong position ultimately to break all the Democratic judicial filibusters, should it come to that. And much of the credit for that, according to interviews with several people closely involved in the fight, belongs to Bill Frist.”

Favorite foe

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee wasted no time in trying to raise money by pointing to Republican Rep. Katherine Harris’ announcement this week that she will run for a U.S. Senate seat from Florida next year.

In the e-mail addressed to “Dear DSCC friend,” Anne Lewis wrote:

“It’s official. Katherine Harris is running for Senate.

“Apparently, disenfranchising 50,000 voters in order to swing an entire presidential election is considered a ‘qualification’ to the Republican Party. If you ask me, that sounds a lot more like an extraordinary abuse of power.

“Remember, this is the same Katherine Harris who was Florida’s Secretary of State during the 2000 election debacle and was simultaneously co-chair of George Bush’s Florida campaign. It’s the same Katherine Harris who ordered the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters — mostly African Americans and Latinos — simply because their names or birthdays were conveniently similar to that of a convicted felon.

“Mad yet? Then you’ll want to help the DSCC beat Katherine Harris and her ideological allies running for Senate all over the country in 2006.”

The next line? “Click here to make a secure contribution of $75 or more today.”

Family feud

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s father-in-law has signed on to help raise money for one of the governor’s most vocal critics, although the two men say it has nothing to do with their public family feud.

Chicago Alderman Richard Mell said he decided to help with a political fundraiser for state Rep. Jack Franks, a prospective Blagojevich opponent in the Democratic gubernatorial primary next year, because Mr. Franks is a longtime friend and the son of a fishing buddy and political ally.

The family feud blew up publicly in January when Mr. Blagojevich temporarily shut down a landfill that was run by a distant relative of his in-laws. Mr. Mell then told reporters that his son-in-law was destroying the family.

Probe sought

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat, and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, yesterday asked the Government Accountability Office — Congress’ investigative arm — to look into a report that a Bush administration official softened a report on global warming.

The New York Times reported on the changes yesterday.

“We request that the Government Accountability Office investigate the extent to which White House officials and political appointees at federal agencies have interfered with federally funded science on global warming,” Mr. Kerry and Mr. Waxman said.

The newspaper reported that Philip Cooney, chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, added qualifiers such as “significant and fundamental” before the word “uncertainties” to emphasize that there is considerable doubt about the findings.

Helms’ book

Former Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, says he was wrong about the AIDS epidemic, but thinks racial integration was forced before its time by “outside agitators who had their own agendas,” according to advance proofs of his memoir.

“Here’s Where I Stand,” to be published in September by Random House, contains Mr. Helms’ first extended comments on national affairs since he retired from the Senate in 2003 after five terms, the Associated Press reports.

In the book, Mr. Helms, 83, suggests that he thought voluntary racial integration would come about without pressure from the federal government or from civil rights protests that he said sharpened racial antagonisms.

“We will never know how integration might have been achieved in neighborhoods across our land, because the opportunity was snatched away by outside agitators who had their own agendas to advance,” he wrote.

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

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