- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2006

TB or not TB

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, New York Democrat, a former microbiologist, has successfully introduced an amendment to a House appropriations bill meant to counter a potential health threat: antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“We cannot allow a resurgence of diseases that have been treatable for decades,” she said.

Mrs. Slaughter’s forward-thinking measure increases research funds for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to combat drug-resistant bacteria in livestock that later turns up in the humans who eat the meat. But mention of such “superbugs” on Capitol Hill could spark a touchy dialogue among lawmakers and the public alike, however.

It’s an immigration thing.

A persistent multidrug-resistant tuberculosis had surfaced in California, primarily among its “foreign-born” population, with serious financial implications for the state’s public health system, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It found that 84 percent of the cases were found in people from Mexico or the Philippines, according to Dr. Reuben Granich, lead investigator. Though these patients were not categorized as illegal aliens, Dr. Granich said they characteristically did not complete standard TB treatment and were in the United States for less than five years at the time of diagnosis. Evidence of drug-resistant TB was found in 38 of 61 California health jurisdictions, according to the 2005 report.

Gore & Murdoch

In yet another effort to tap into the youth realm, former Vice President Al Gore has formed a strategic alliance with MySpace, the popular, free-wheeling stash of personal Web sites. He’ll use the much-visited space to promote “An Inconvenient Truth,” his documentary chronicling the horrors of global warming, due in theaters tomorrow.

“MySpace has a unique ability to mobilize its community around an urgent cause,” Mr. Gore observed.

Indeed. But it is also owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who has recently become chummy with another prominent Democrat. He’ll stage a fundraiser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York next month.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gore’s new MySpace site will include “a personal environmental-impact calculator” for guilty visitors who fret over gas guzzlers. And like all the other MySpace hipsters, he’s getting the services for free.

“We’re contributing the ad space, the marketing, and the technological support because we believe so strongly that we have a responsibility to use the online world to make the offline world a better place,” said the MySpace co-founder Tom Anderson.

Morality tale

Republicans and Democrats differ according to what they find morally acceptable, according to a Gallup poll of 1,005 adults released yesterday, with Democrats more likely to call the death penalty and wearing fur morally unacceptable, and Republicans more irked by sexual looseness and embryonic stem-cell research.

Specific issues rated by GOP respondents: Death penalty (accepted by 82 percent), wearing animal fur (75 percent), divorce (59 percent), embryonic stem-cell research (53 percent), premarital sex (50 percent), babies born out of wedlock (43 percent), homosexual relations (36 percent), human cloning (8 percent), adultery (3 percent).

And among Democrats: Death penalty (accepted by 63 percent), wearing animal fur (55 percent), divorce (71 percent), embryonic stem-cell research (69 percent), premarital sex (65 percent), babies born out of wedlock (57 percent), homosexual relations (53 percent), human cloning (8 percent), adultery (5 percent).

Domestic bliss

The White House announced yesterday that American Enterprise magazine editor in chief Karl Zinsmeister will become domestic policy adviser. He will replace Claude Allen, who left the post — and its $161,000 annual salary — Feb. 9 after being accused of shoplifting at Target and Hecht’s stores in Montgomery County.

President Bush has high hopes for his new appointment.

“Karl has broad policy experience and a keen insight into many of the issues that face America’s families and entrepreneurs, including race, poverty, welfare, and education,” Mr. Bush said. “He is an innovative thinker and an accomplished executive. He will lead my domestic-policy team with energy and a fresh perspective.”

A Yale graduate, Mr. Zinsmeister, 46, once worked for Democratic heavyweight Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and more recently was an embedded journalist in Iraq, writing three books and producing a forthcoming PBS film about his experiences.

But it was a past work, perhaps, that attracted the Bushies. Mr. Zinsmeister wrote “The War is Over, and We Won,” an editorial published June 20, 2005.

Army of none

The San Francisco Board of Education hopes to boot Army and Navy Junior ROTC programs from city schools because they take issue with the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The programs are seen as an “unjust, indefensible, unintelligent, state-sanctioned act of homophobia,” according to a new resolution, which would phase the programs out in the 2007-08 school year.

“If the military said, ‘You can’t be openly Jewish, or you can’t be openly Catholic,’ I don’t think we would have stood for it this long,” said board member Mark Sanchez, the resolution’s sponsor. “It’s an ethical issue more than anything.”

Commissioner Dan Kelly, who served two years in prison for resisting the draft during the Vietnam War era, has co-signed the resolution. Commissioners Sarah Lipson, Eric Mar and Norman Yee told the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday they would support it as long as a replacement program is developed.

“A discriminatory institution like the U.S. military really should not be running programs in our school district,” Mr. Mar said.

San Francisco JROTCs currently have 1,625 students in seven public high schools.

Witness Cheney?

Vice President Dick Cheney could be called to testify in the perjury case against his former chief of staff, the Associated Press reports, citing a special prosecutor’s court filing yesterday.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald suggested Mr. Cheney would be a logical government witness because he could authenticate notes he jotted on a July 6, 2003, New York Times opinion piece by a former U.S. ambassador critical of the Iraq war.

Mr. Fitzgerald said Mr. Cheney’s “state of mind” is “directly relevant” to whether I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s former top aide, lied to FBI agents and a federal grand jury about how he learned about CIA officer Valerie Plame’s identity and what he subsequently told reporters.

Mr. Libby “shared the interests of his superior and was subject to his direction,” the prosecutor wrote. “Therefore, the state of mind of the vice president as communicated to defendant is directly relevant to the issue of whether defendant knowingly made false statements to federal agents and the grand jury.”

Contact Jennifer Harper at 202/636-3085 or [email protected] washingtontimes.com

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