- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Kerry’s tickets

Sen. John Kerry used thousands of campaign dollars to pay for Red Sox tickets and parking violations in the city of Boston. The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee dropped $3,150 in presidential campaign funds on baseball tickets when he threw out the first pitch at a game at Fenway Park just before his nominating convention in July, the Boston Herald reported.

The Massachusetts politician also used $287 of senatorial campaign funds in March to pay six parking tickets that were more than 15 months overdue.

A Federal Election Commission spokesman said congressmen can pay parking tickets and other expenses from campaign funds if they are “campaign-related,” United Press International reports.

Crossing a line

“If there were ever any doubts that the National Academy of Sciences is pursuing an ‘anything’ goes approach to biotechnological research, they were erased by the organization’s recently published tome, ‘Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research.’” Wesley J. Smith writes at the Weekly Standard Web site (www.weeklystandard.com).

“The purported purpose of ‘Guidelines’ is to create voluntary ethical protocols to govern human embryonic stem cell and therapeutic cloning research — ‘to assure the public that such research is being conducted in an ethical manner.’ Setting aside for the moment whether human cloning and embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) can ever be ethical — a matter that remains heatedly controversial — the NAS Guidelines clearly don’t deliver the goods.” said Mr. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute and a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

“Remember when, in 2001, proponents of federally funded embryonic stem cell research repeatedly told us that all they wanted was access to embryos left over from in vitro fertilization treatments (IVF) that were due to be destroyed anyway? Remember when ESCR advocates repeatedly asserted that they would never countenance the making of human embryos solely for use in research? These warm assurances were intended to convince a wary public that scientists deeply respected human life in all its stages and to soothingly assure us that biotechnologists would limit their investigations to embryos that were already doomed.

“Many of us suspected that restricting scientists to leftover IVF embryos was a temporary measure, a cynical political tactic intended to push the proverbial camel’s nose of unlimited human biotechnological research under the flap of the public opinion tent. And that is exactly the way things have turned out.

“With most polls now friendly to ESCR, ‘Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research’ completely drops the leftover-IVF-embryos-only pretense. Indeed, in a major expansion of policy that was either ignored or dramatically downplayed in media reports and editorials about the guidelines, the NAS explicitly opens the door to using embryos ‘made specifically for research’ both through fertilization and nuclear transfer cloning.

“This is big news: The most respected science organization in the country is now formally on record as supporting the creation of new human lives explicitly as harvestable and, perhaps, patentable commodities.”

Kerry’s list

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is using a database of contact information for about 3 million voters that he compiled during his presidential campaign to position himself for another White House run in 2008,” the Hill newspaper reported.

“Democratic insiders say that Kerry’s unprecedented direct access to so many current and onetime supporters is a huge advantage heading into the next Democratic presidential primary. But his greatest strength, the experience of winning his party’s nomination last year, is also his greatest weakness, as many former supporters became disillusioned by his loss to President Bush and now blame him for losing a race they believe should have been won,” reporter Alexander Bolton said.

A liberal icon

To say Jon Stewart enjoys an adoring press is like saying Bill Gates has a few bucks,” Harry Stein writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“In story after glowing story, the boyish 42-year-old host of Comedy Central’s hit fake newscast, ‘The Daily Show,’ and author of the best-selling fake history text ‘America (The Book)’ comes off as a lighthearted, 21st-century Diogenes: a fearless truth-teller in an age of shameless pandering,” said Mr. Stein, a contributing editor of City Journal, in whose spring issue the article appears.

“As Newsweek had it in a typically rapturous cover story, Mr. Stewart is a man ‘bravely battling pomposity and misinformation,’ his TV show ‘a fearless social satire’ and a ‘work of genius.’ …

“‘Mr. Stewart has turned his parodistic TV news show into a cultural force significantly larger than any mere satire of media idiocies,’ chimed in the New York Times’ Frank Rich in a column titled ‘Jon Stewart’s Perfect Pitch,’ one of — count ‘em — 16 he’s written lauding the comedian. Along with such over-the-top encomia, ‘The Daily Show’ has won multiple Emmys and even several prestigious journalism prizes, including a Peabody Award and the Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information (beating out real news shows).

“While all this is certainly heady for Mr. Stewart and his fans, what does it mean? After all, the fair-minded viewer might find the half-hour show intermittently humorous, but he won’t detect anything ‘fearless’ or even especially original in it. In truth, Mr. Stewart’s elevation to near-iconic status says more about those doing the elevating than about the comedian himself. His ‘bravery’ and much-vaunted grasp of political nuance consists mostly of his embrace of every reflexive assumption shared by every litmus-tested liberal holding forth at every chic Manhattan dinner party.”

Hat in the ring

A former Democratic congressman announced yesterday that he will try to win the seat held by Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

“We need leaders with a high standard of accountability to the public; who will recognize that there is only one standard for ethical behavior,” Nick Lampson told reporters gathered on the front lawn of his aunt’s house in Stafford, Texas, a suburb of Houston.

Mr. Lampson said he has begun to raise money for what he estimates will be a $5 million campaign, the Associated Press reports.

The former congressman represented an adjacent district until redistricting that Mr. DeLay engineered cost him enough Democratic voters that he lost to Republican Ted Poe in 2004. But Mr. Lampson said that about 120,000 of his former constituents now live in Mr. DeLay’s district.

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

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