- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2007

Consistent losers

With Senate Democrats failing to pass legislation on two major priorities in the past several days — increased funding for stem-cell research and a measure to allow the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices — Republican leaders predict more “losing ways” for the Democrats unless they start working with the minority party.

“The [losing] pattern continues — the Democrats have scored no [legislative] victories” this year, Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott of Mississippi said moments after his party used a filibuster to block the Democratic-crafted Medicare drug bill Wednesday.

“They’re trying to stuff the Republicans on issue and after issue, and they are not going to be able to do that,” continued Mr. Lott. “You can’t stuff the minority in the United States Senate. And I know, because I used to try all the time” [when he led a Republican majority]. You might get away with it every now and then, but this is a place where you have to communicate, where you have to give the other side an opportunity to offer amendments.”

Mr. Lott added that the Democrats’ failure to overcome the Republican filibuster on the Medicare bill was a “devastating” setback for the majority.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders say it’s the Republicans — not Democrats — that are being uncooperative.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada called the Republican use of a filibuster to stop the Medicare bill “obstructionism.”

McCain’s song

Republican 2008 presidential hopeful John McCain crooned the words “Bomb Iran” to a Beach Boys’ tune in joking response to a question about any possible U.S. attack over Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.

“That old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran — bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb,” the Vietnam War veteran warbled softly to the band’s “Barbara Ann” when he was asked when the United States would send an “airmail message” to Iran.

The singing performance during a campaign stop Wednesday in South Carolina drew chuckles from the audience and has already been viewed almost 11,000 times on the Internet video sharing site YouTube after being posted yesterday, Reuters news agency reports.

Campaign spokesman Matt David said the question was asked somewhat in jest and that the Arizona senator was adding some levity to the discussion.

The United States and others have accused Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. While U.S. officials have refused to take the military option off the table, they have said there were no plans to attack Iran and that they would pursue a diplomatic solution.

Mr. McCain also gave a serious answer focusing on Iran’s nuclear ambitions and desire to destroy Israel.

“It bothers me a great deal that [Iran] might have a nuclear weapon or a missile, but it bothers me also to have a nuclear weapon knowing their relationship with various terrorist organizations, that they would give it to a terrorist organization,” he said.

Think again

Skeptics of the seriousness of global warming complained on Wednesday of not being heard by the public or policy-makers while warning governments to take a second look at the supposed scientific consensus on climate change.

Scientists who doubt the scope and cause of climate change have trouble getting funding and academic posts unless they conform to an “alarmist scenario,” said Roger Helmer, a British member of the European Parliament, at a panel discussion in Brussels on appropriate responses to rising global temperatures.

“If global warming is happening, we can then ask: is it accelerating and is it likely to be catastrophic?” he said. “Many people think not.”

David Henderson, an economist at the Westminster Business School in London and former head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said governments had given the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change a monopoly on climate advice, Reuters news agency reports.

“The very idea of creating a single would-be authoritative fount of wisdom is itself dubious,” he said.

Network spin

“The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday night all ran full stories on the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Act, but while each included arguments from justices in the majority, featured a sound bite from pro-life lawyer Jay Sekulow and offered at least a brief description of the procedure, they all framed the stories in ways favorable to those on the losing side,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mrc.org.

“All led into competing sound bites by putting abortion supporters on the side of ‘rights’ — describing ‘abortion rights supporters’ versus ‘abortion opponents’ — characterized the ruling as imposing a further ‘restriction’ on abortion instead of as expanding protection for the unborn, and creatively distanced themselves from the ‘partial-birth’ abortion term.

“ABC’s Charles Gibson saw ‘a long-sought victory for abortion opponents’ before Jan Crawford Greenburg fretted that ‘abortion rights activists were devastated.’ CBS’s Wyatt Andrews highlighted how ‘abortion rights supporters bitterly protested’ since ‘the ban is now the first abortion restriction ever approved with no exception for the health of the mother.’ NBC’s Chip Reid related that ‘abortion rights activists worry this may be only the start of a campaign to limit abortion rights.’ ”

Still off target

Blogger Bob Owens (https://confederateyankee.mu.nu) says ABC News still has not corrected its Monday report that falsely suggested the expiration of a 1994 gun law was related to the murders at Virginia Tech.

“I’m still waiting for a retraction of the completely false story posted to the Blotter, ‘Lapse of Federal Law Allows Sale of Large Ammo Clips,’ ” Mr. Owens wrote in a comment at the ABC News site (https://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter).

“The blog entry was not only incorrect,” he wrote, “it was deceptive, and showed a basic ignorance of [the 1994 law, which expired in September 2004]. ABC News and ‘The Blotter’ owe their readership an apology and a retraction for this blatantly incorrect and perhaps purposefully fraudulent blog posting.”

However, Mr. Owens wrote, “My comment was deleted by ABC News employees moderating ‘The Blotter.’ Obviously, pursuing a political agenda is far more important to ABC News than is actually reporting facts.”

A firearms enthusiast who works at the gun counter of a large sporting-goods store, Mr. Owens had pointed out that the 1994 law banned the U.S. manufacture of large-capacity ammunition magazines, but did not affect the sale, ownership or use of such magazines.

Law-enforcement officials confirmed yesterday that the Virginia Tech killer used two pistols with standard magazines to commit his crimes.

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

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