- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2005

Tough questions

“Is New Orleans worth reclaiming?” the Republican-American newspaper asked yesterday, echoing comments from House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican.

“For decades, New Orleans has been a catastrophe in waiting. Geologists have predicted it would be destroyed by the tidal surge from a powerful hurricane sometime this century. … FEMA intends to throw tens of billions in disaster relief to reclaim hurricane-ravaged regions from the sea,” said an editorial in the Waterbury, Conn., paper.

“To what end? So when subsequent big hurricanes blow through, the government can do it all over again and again and again? As it is, the government (read: taxpayers) will have to pay for the copious flood damage because owners of coastal properties have policies from the National Flood Insurance Program. Such coverage is unavailable from private companies because few could afford the premiums. The government is the biggest insurance writer in the United States.

“Americans’ hearts go out to the people in Katrina’s path. But if the people of New Orleans and other low-lying areas insist upon living in harm’s way, they ought to accept responsibility for what happens to them and their property.”

Ford in gear

Although some Tennessee campuses have offered to take in Gulf-region students who now have no school to attend after the hurricane, Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., Tennessee Democrat, is offering internships to displaced students in his offices in Memphis and on Capitol Hill.

“I want to do my part,” Mr. Ford said yesterday. “I also strongly encourage my colleagues in Congress to open their offices to these students, as well. If only half of the members of Congress participate, hundreds of students could potentially benefit and have productive semesters. Together, we can help lessen the hardship on some of the victims of this tragedy.”

What’s coming

Another storm is brewing — the long-awaited hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge John G. Roberts Jr., which begin Tuesday.

To wit, some predictions, these gleaned from a memo issued yesterday by Federalist Society Executive Vice President Leonard Leo, former Attorney General Edwin Meese and Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.

“After a brief ‘feeling-out’ period, Washington’s confirmation kabuki dance is finally in full swing,” they note, predicting that Judge Roberts will win the nomination because he’s qualified. But the three men elaborate:

“The Judiciary Committee vote will be along party lines. The Democrats on this committee are among the most partisan in the Senate. Some committee Democrats will make a show of being open-minded. They will go so far as to risk personal injury during the hearings by continuously patting themselves on the back for being ‘fair,’ but in the end will find some reason to vote against the nomination.

“Democratic senators will parrot liberal special interest groups in grilling Roberts. Senators Ted Kennedy and Charles Schumer in particular will regurgitate the attacks of the liberal interest groups.

“Liberal opponents will continue to hit ‘below the belt.’ The inflammatory NARAL ad was but a preview. At some point during this process, another hit job will surface.

“One or more Democrats on the Judiciary Committee will attempt to co-opt the conservative position that judges should fairly apply the law and not be judicial activists. Of course, they will distort the meaning of ‘judicial activism’ to protect only their favorite anti-Constitutional precedents.”

Byrd likely to run

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat and the oldest member of Congress at 87, expects to announce next week that he will run for a ninth Senate term, his spokesman told the Associated Press.

He has every intention to seek re-election,” spokesman Tom Gavin said yesterday. “But I’m going to let the senator make his own announcement.”

In an e-mail to supporters, the chairman of Friends of Robert C. Byrd, Ned Rose, said Mr. Byrd will make his announcement Wednesday at the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va.

“As he prepares to announce his plans for the 2006 campaign, I hope that you will stand with him as he has always stood for West Virginia and for our country,” Mr. Rose wrote in the e-mail.

Gavel-to-gavel

See for yourself.

The C-SPAN networks announced their plans yesterday for the confirmation hearings of Judge John G. Roberts Jr.

Live coverage can be seen and heard on C-SPAN3 and C-SPAN radio beginning Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. C-SPAN2 will re-air the hearings each night at 9. C-SPAN2 also will carry live coverage of the U.S. Senate’s debate over the nomination.

C-SPAN3 also will air historic Supreme Court moments tomorrow, including the hearings for Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (1986), Justice Antonin Scalia (1986), Robert H. Bork (1987) and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy (1987). Sunday’s block will feature Justices Clarence Thomas (1991), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1993) and Stephen G. Breyer (1994).

Windy talk

Better late than never.

The National Press Foundation announced yesterday that it would offer all-expenses-paid fellowships to 15 journalists to address the topic “Understanding Violent Weather,” to begin in October at the University of Oklahoma at Norman.

“Covering blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and all the other manifestations of violent weather is a major journalistic responsibility,” the group said.

Conyers translation

In a Front Page Magazine commentary yesterday, Julia Gorin noted “The Islamic Society of North America numbers show there are about 40,000 Latino Muslims in the U.S.” and observed possible links between Hispanics and terrorist groups in recent months.

She had another observation about one Democrat, though.

Miss Gorin continued, “Lending itself to the Hisparabic chic is Michigan Rep. John Conyers’ Web site, which offers to translate the page into either of two languages: Spanish or Arabic. Not to bolster the gruff ‘Speak English’ crowd, but senior citizens aside, if you’re Hispanic, don’t speak English and vote for Conyers, you’re probably looking to help La Raza give parts of the country back to Mexico. And if you’re a non-senior-citizen Muslim who doesn’t speak English and votes Conyers, you’re probably looking to Islamicize the country. Were these two groups to find a common language, say Sparabic, they could merge into a single entity called Muslicans, and form a fusion extremist wing named al-Raza or La Qaida — which, under the guiding principle of ‘Su casa es mi casa,’ would work toward the creation of the United States of Islamexica.”

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

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