- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Voter roundup

Prominent black liberals declared that they will work to combat Christian conservatives who they say have used homosexual “marriage” and abortion to distract from what the liberals described as larger moral issues such as the war, voting rights, racial preferences and poverty.

The Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery and hundreds of other black Democrats from across the country are focusing on mobilizing black voters for the fall elections. They kicked off a three-day black clergy conference Monday in Dallas, the Associated Press reports.

“There are no gay people coming to our churches asking to get married,” Mr. Sharpton said. “But there are plenty of people coming with problems voting or their sons in jail.”

Mr. Sharpton said tours are planned of swing states starting in July to bring out black voters and push Democrats to take a tougher stand on social justice issues.

Mr. Jackson said the midterm elections are a “fight for America’s soul.”

If Democrats fail to address social concerns, Mr. Sharpton said, he will not rule out a run for president in 2008.

Backed by liberals

Two liberal Republican House members from Connecticut received endorsements in recent days from interest groups that generally get behind Democrats, Roll Call reports.

Last week, the Planned Parenthood Federal Political Action Committee announced that it was backing Republican Rep. Rob Simmons over former state Rep. Joe Courtney, a Democrat, in the competitive 2nd District race.

And two labor unions announced Saturday that they would endorse Republican Rep. Nancy L. Johnson in her bid for a 13th term.

The Laborers International Union of North America and the International Union of Operating Engineers, which represent a combined 700,000 workers, declared their support, citing Mrs. Johnson’s fight to increase the minimum wage, her introduction of the USA Jobs Protection Act and her votes for pension increases.

Mrs. Johnson is the slight favorite over Democratic state Sen. Chris Murphy in the 5th District.

Slanted report?

An Associated Press article yesterday titled “Scientists OK Gore’s Movie for Accuracy” by Seth Borenstein raises serious questions about AP’s bias and methodology, the office of Sen. James M. Inhofe said.

The Oklahoma Republican is chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

AP ignored the scores of scientists who have criticized the science presented in former Vice President Al Gore‘s movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” said a press release from Mr. Inhofe’s office sent by communications director Marc Morano.

“In the interest of full disclosure, the AP should release the names of the ‘more than 100 top climate researchers’ they attempted to contact to review ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ AP should also name all 19 scientists who gave Gore ‘five stars for accuracy.’ AP claims 19 scientists viewed Gore’s movie, but it only quotes five of them in its article.”

Across the divide

Former President Bill Clinton told students Monday night that his new relationship with former President George Bush is an example of how people can overcome differences to do good.

“I like working with him,” Mr. Clinton said to hundreds of students at the World Scholar Athlete Games at the University of Rhode Island, “and I like arguing with him.”

Since their friendship, the two presidents from different parties have not changed their political opinions, Mr. Clinton said. Instead, the pair have looked beyond their differences to areas where they agree and can help others, an example he hopes other politicians will follow.

“All this bitter partisanship has been poison for this country,” he said.

Earlier in the evening, Mr. Clinton spoke to 150 Democrats at a $1,000-a-ticket fundraiser for former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse. Mr. Whitehouse is campaigning for the Senate seat from Rhode Island held by Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee.

Filming Franken

Al Franken: God Spoke,” which follows the left-wing activist and comedian from his war with fellow commentator Bill O’Reilly to his fight for liberal candidates, will hit U.S. theaters just in time for the November elections, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Indie studio Balcony Releasing has acquired U.S. theatrical distribution rights to Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus’ documentary and is planning a “platform” release that will expand quickly from New York in mid-September to 10 to 20 markets nationwide.

The film features, among others, Al Gore, Michael Moore, Sean Hannity, Henry Kissinger, Robert Kennedy Jr. and Karen Hughes as it tracks Mr. Franken’s joke-filled journey from satirist to a potential candidate for political office.

Although “God Spoke” isn’t overly critical of its subject, Mr. Franken makes it clear that he had nothing to do with the production, reporter Gregg Goldstein said.

“There are shots of me riding this bike, and I look like [former Democratic presidential nominee Michael] Dukakis in the tank,” he said, referring to an embarrassing 1988 photo op of the Massachusetts governor. “There’s no way I would have let that in the movie.”

As for his political opponents, Mr. Franken said: “I think some will like it and some will hate it, depending on how open-minded they are.”

The release will coincide with Mr. Franken’s time on the road stumping for Democratic candidates and the new paperback edition of his book “The Truth (with jokes).”

IRS versus pimps

Pimps and sex traffickers soon could find themselves being chased by tax collectors, not just the vice squad.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, wants the Internal Revenue Service to chase after pimps and sex traffickers with the same fervor it stalked gangster Al Capone for tax evasion.

Mr. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, would hit pimps with fines and lengthy prison sentences for failing to file employment forms and withhold taxes for the women and girls under their command.

The proposal would make certain tax crimes a felony when the money comes from a criminal activity. A one-year prison sentence and $25,000 fine would become a 10-year sentence and $50,000 fine for each employment form that a pimp or sex trafficker fails to file.

Mr. Grassley planned to propose the penalties when his panel meets today, the Associated Press reports.

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

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