- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2006

No Gitmo bill soon

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, said yesterday that his chamber is unlikely to take up legislation addressing the detention and trial of the terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay until after Congress’ August recess, the Associated Press reports.

Republicans are discussing their legislative options among themselves, Democrats and the Bush administration, and “we will act legislatively,” Mr. Frist said. The Supreme Court on June 29 ruled 5-3 that President Bush’s plan to try detainees captured in the war on terror through military tribunals violated U.S. and international law. About 450 detainees are being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican and Judiciary Committee chairman, plans to hold the first of several hearings this week on the issue. The committee, followed by the House and Senate Armed Services committees, plans to hear from active and retired military officials and legal authorities.

“We need to have a body of law directed at this new battlefield” against terrorists, said Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Frist’s decision not to act until this fall pushes the Guantanamo issue squarely into election season, when Republicans will be seeking support from voters by focusing on national security issues.

Courting Kim

President Bush’s chief spokesman yesterday ridiculed President Clinton’s attempts to win hearts and minds in Pyongyang, saying efforts to woo North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il “with flowers and chocolates” failed.

Tony Snow told reporters that Bill Richardson, who was Mr. Clinton’s U.N. ambassador, “went with flowers and chocolates, and he went with light-water nuclear reactors, and he went with promises of heavy oil, and a basketball signed by Michael Jordan, and many other inducements for the ‘dear leader’ to try to agree not to develop nuclear weapons, and it failed.”

“We’ve learned from that mistake,” Mr. Snow said.

Jay Carson, a spokesman for the former president, was not amused.

“This is a serious issue for global security, and it’s unfortunate that the Bush administration’s TV spinmaster is manufacturing excuses for North Korea’s transgressions instead of looking at the last six years of inaction and the abandonment of diplomacy,” he said.

A bridge too far

“Two core Democrat constituencies, mass media scourges of the Bush administration and Leftist activists, are handing the 2006 elections to the Republicans,” Bruce Kesler writes at www.democracy-project.com.

“For those who expected or feared the 2006 state and congressional elections to be nationalized on the issue of widespread Iraq war-weariness, instead the nationalized issue is becoming the undermining of domestic security by the bridge-too-far route taken by the mass media allied with the New York Times and its netroots shock-troops (shock, in this case, being how outrageous can their conspiracy theories get).

“Compared to the complexities and frustrations of military action in an alien culture halfway around the globe, on the issue of domestic security there is not widespread weariness nor confusion. The common American expectation is of safety at home, in one’s everyday peaceful pursuits, in the freedom to congregate or travel without fear, and that criminals — especially foreign-allied terrorists — should be vigorously stopped.”

Name game

Texas voters will get “Kinky,” but they won’t get “Grandma.”

The state elections chief yesterday rejected gubernatorial candidate Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s request to be called “Grandma” on the November ballot, but he decided her fellow independent candidate Kinky Friedman could use his nickname as long as it was accompanied by his given name — Richard, the Associated Press reports.

“Grandma” is a slogan rather than a recognized nickname and, therefore, not allowed under the Texas Election Code, Secretary of State Roger Williams decided.

In Mr. Friedman’s case, “It’s quite apparent that ‘Kinky’ is a name he’s been using for a number of years,” said Scott Haywood, spokesman for the elections agency.

Both independents are trying to oust Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican. Democrat Chris Bell and Libertarian James Werner also are running for governor.

Platform shoes

“With North Korea leader Kim Jong-il back in the news, it reminds me that he and [California Gov. Arnold] Schwarzenegger have something in common. Both have their shoes specifically made to add a couple inches of lift. What we don’t know is does Kim Jong-il have his shoes made by Schwarzenegger’s shoemaker in Italy.”

Those comments came from Bob Mulholland, senior adviser to California Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides, on Friday.

But Mr. Mulholland’s comments seem to have gone over about as well as a long-range missile test from the communist nation.

When asked for comment, Mr. Angelides told Sacramento Fox affiliate KTXL-TV, “I happen to believe that the comments you refer to today were inappropriate.”

However, Mr. Mulholland continued defending his remarks over the weekend to both the local and national media. During an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity and Colmes,” he said, “Schwarzenegger loves making fun of people, and he loves people making fun of him. So, if Schwarzenegger can’t stand the heat, he can get out of the kitchen.”

Duke DA gets rival

A county official has collected enough signatures to get on the November ballot opposite the embattled prosecutor of the Duke University lacrosse team rape case, North Carolina election officials said yesterday.

Mike Nifong, the Durham County district attorney, won the Democratic primary in May, before the state’s case took several turns for the worse, including DNA tests that defense attorneys said implicated nobody on the Duke lacrosse team. With no Republican in the race, county Commissioner Lewis Cheek said voters deserved a choice in the November election.

Mr. Cheek, also a lawyer, did not return a call from the Associated Press yesterday but scheduled a press conference for today. Mr. Nifong’s office declined to comment.

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

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