- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Still Republican

“Thank you for writing an article that contains an astute and accurate framing of the issue that resulted in resignations by some individuals associated with the [National Black Republican Association],” writes Frances Rice, chairman of the NBRA, albeit she wants to clarify several points made in this week’s Inside the Beltway column.

She states that through “a majority vote of the executive committee, NBRA press releases were prepared and distributed to the media in support of President Bush, as the head of the Republican Party, regarding the Supreme Court nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. and Hurricane Katrina.”

That said, Ms. Rice reveals: “Several members of the NBRA inactive board of directors, who had been permitted to participate in the open meetings of the executive committee, and two members of the executive committee stated that the National Black Republican Association should not support the Republican Party.”

Recognizing “a division” over the main purpose of the NBRA, she says that with the approval of the executive committee she sent a letter to each member of the executive committee requesting they sign and return a statement supporting the NBRA’s bylaws.

“The dissension over the purpose of the NBRA led to five of the seven members of the inactive board of directors resigning, and one of the five members of the executive committee,” she confirms.

Ms. Rice adds that “several black Republicans from across the country” have indicated interest in the NBRA leadership vacancies, including Rev. Wayne Perryman of Washington state, author of Unfounded Loyalty.

Finally, she assures us that the NBRA will continue its obviously unwavering support of the Republican Party.

Throwing $ at Katrina

The $60-plus billion “down payment” Congress doled out thus far in response to Hurricane Katrina “is already twice the annual budget for the Department of Homeland Security.”

So reveals Rep. Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican, who — given the staggering dollar figures — has introduced the “Special Inspector General for Hurricane Katrina Recovery Act of 2005,” seeking to appoint an independent inspector general to oversee continued funding efforts.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican, agrees that Capitol Hill “must do everything necessary” to help Katrina’s victims, but stresses “Congress must also use its head.”

Which means, he says, that “Congress cannot continue to fund projects like the $800,000 outhouse, $1.2 million for panda research or the $1 million rain forest in Iowa.”

Sam’s “Top 10”

Not happy with your job? Be advised that the best places to work in the federal government are, in order, the Office of Management and Budget, the National Science Foundation and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Some 150,000 executive branch employees surveyed by the Office of Personnel Management, in conjunction with the Partnership for Public Service and American University, say the remainder of the 10 best places to hang your bureaucratic hat: the Government Accountability Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, NASA, General Services Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and the State Department.

Sea of regimes

Just returning from leading a delegation to terrorism-torn Iraq is Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, who kept a diary of the trip. One entry catching our eye notes that a fellow congressman asked Iraqi Defense Minister Sadoun al-Duleimi what neighboring nation represented the greatest challenge to peace within Iraq?

To which the minister replied, “All of them.” He then added, “Kuwait is OK.”

“It was an illuminating moment,” the diary reads. “I will never forget that this new Iraq is, with one exception, floating in a sea of authoritarian regimes with long histories of association with terror among their people and their governments.”

Kissing cousin

King Harald V of Norway is to arrive in Washington for this weekend’s dedication of a bronze statue of Crown Princess Martha on the Norwegian Embassy grounds.

The princess died in 1954, three years before her crown prince husband — and cousin — became Norway’s King Olav V.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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