- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2005

Katrina hits Hill

An oak tree may be the only remains of the 154-year-old home where Sen. Trent Lott raised his family. Relatives told the Mississippi Republican that his Pascagoula home was leveled by the hurricane. Mr. Lott was driving south last night to search for personal effects that may have survived the storm.

The home of Rep. Gene Taylor, Mississippi Democrat, also was destroyed. Mr. Taylor and his son reached the site by flat-bottom boat Tuesday, according to the Associated Press, to confirm that the house had been leveled.

Other lawmakers — including Reps. William J. Jefferson and Charlie Melancon, both Louisiana Democrats — were not sure whether their homes and belongings survived. Rep. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Republican, had yet to check on his house.

Chorus of critics

Katrina was still churning when critics of Republicans got crabby, turning the hurricane into political opportunity.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. got things under way Monday at the Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com).

“As Hurricane Katrina dismantles Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, it’s worth recalling the central role that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour played in derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush’s iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2,” Mr. Kennedy wrote.

“Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and — now — Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.”

CNN’s Jack Cafferty followed Tuesday, asking, “Where’s President Bush? Is he still on vacation? … Based on his approval rating in the latest polls, my guess is getting back to work might not be a terrible idea.”

A New York Times editorial noted yesterday: “It took what may become the worst natural disaster in American history to pry President Bush out of his vacation.”

Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin chimed in, noting that Mr. Bush “is unlikely to act as divisively as he did after the first, when he responded to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by invading first Afghanistan and then Iraq. But he already faces tough questions about his slow response to Hurricane Katrina and the relative lack of federal preparation.”

Reality check

“Katrina has nothing to do with global warming. Nothing. It has everything to do with the immense forces of nature that have been unleashed many, many times before and the inability of humans, even the most brilliant engineers, to tame these forces,” former New Orleans resident James K. Glassman observed yesterday at the online news site Tech Central Station.

“But that doesn’t stop an enviro-predator like Robert F. Kennedy Jr.,” Mr. Glassman charged, also criticizing the Boston Globe, the Independent and Jurgen Tritten, Germany’s environmental minister, for connecting the unlikely dots of Katrina, the White House and global warming.

Mr. Glassman pointed out that both William M. Gray, professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, and George H. Taylor, state climatologist of Oregon, concur that hurricanes have nothing to do with global warming and that the intensity of hurricanes has been decreasing since the 1940s.

“But environmental extremists do not want to be bothered with the facts. Nor do they wish to mourn the destruction and death wreaked on a glorious city. To their everlasting shame, they would rather distort and exploit,” Mr. Glassman admonished.

Just a thought

Now a word from Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee. And oh, you know — the point man for all those inhumane, uncompassionate, unfeeling Republican meanies:

“Hurricane Katrina has passed, and now the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama must begin the process of rebuilding. Our thoughts are with those who were affected by this powerful storm. During times like these, there is no room for politics and partisanship. This is a time when we all come together to help our neighbors,” Mr. Mehlman noted yesterday.

Dingell lunch

At this point, the top bid is more than $200. But Rep. John D. Dingell is describing the auction item as “Priceless.”

The Michigan Democrat is auctioning off a gift certificate for “the opportunity of a lifetime” — lunch and a tour of the Capitol for four persons with Mr. Dingell and some staff members, according to the description on the online auction site EBay.

Mr. Dingell, who describes himself as “Dean of the House” for having served the longest tenure in the 435-member House, will donate the funds to WDET, a public radio station in Detroit. Winners will be announced next Thursday.

Concealed feelings

Firearm fans in Illinois are looking longingly to New Mexico, which they say has a more reasonable gun ownership policy than their own state.

A female employee of a New Mexico Wal-Mart was recently beaten and stabbed by her ex-husband — that is until a 72-year-old man with a valid New Mexico concealed-carry permit opened fired on the woman’s attacker, killing him.

The Chicago-based Illinois State Rifle Association noted yesterday that such a heroic scenario could not take place in Illinois, which forbids its citizenry to carry defensive firearms.

“In these uncertain times, one never knows when they’ll happen upon a violent crime, or actually become a victim themselves,” said spokesman Richard Pearson.

“I find it unbelievable that Governor Rod Blagojevich and Mayor Richard Daley would persist in blocking all attempts to pass life-saving concealed-carry legislation in Illinois. At the very least, law-abiding Illinois citizens deserve a fighting chance when up against terrorists, murderers, robbers and rapists,” Mr. Pearson said.

Nonpartisanship

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, designated for federal tax purposes as a nonpartisan organization, announced in the Capitol yesterday its formal opposition to the confirmation of federal Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court.

“Only under compelling circumstances will we break that presumption of neutrality,” said Theodore Shaw, president of the fund. “We certainly keep that in mind when we take positions on a judicial nominee.”

Mr. Shaw said the debate on Judge Roberts’ nomination has no place for “ad hominem attacks, distortions of the record, super-heated rhetoric and the politics of personal destruction” and that his group’s position is “principled opposition.”

“Our review of the available record has led us to conclude that John G. Roberts Jr. has been hostile to the corpus of civil rights and constitutional law that the Legal Defense Fund and others have worked so painstakingly hard to build,” he said. “And based on that record, we have regretfully concluded that we must oppose his nomination at this time.”

The group’s opposition in no way changes “the fact that we are a nonpartisan organization,” he said.

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


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