- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2009

Steele perseveres

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele told high school students they’d be able to recover from regrettable mistakes with enough perseverance, just like he did after getting kicked out of Johns Hopkins University his freshman year.

“I partied my behind off,” Mr. Steele told students at Woodson Senior High School during a “Student & Leaders” seminar arranged by C-SPAN. “I heard there were classes, and some people told me I really should go, but I was having a good time. I was freshman class president. I knew most of my classmates by the end of my first week of school. I just networked the heck out of that bad boy. I was getting there. I was talking. I was grooving. I was having a ball.”

Then, Mr. Steele unexpectedly received a letter at the end of his freshman year informing him he was expelled. The news was not well-received by his mother, who informed him he must find a way to get back in, prompting Mr. Steele to persistently nag the dean for a meeting. Mr. Steele eventually struck a deal with the dean to let him back on the condition of making all A’s during summer school classes, which he did.

“Moral of the story? Perseverance,” Mr. Steele concluded.

Under investigation

Rep. John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat whose relationship with defense lobbyists is being questioned, isn’t the only sitting member of Congress being investigated by the government. There are 15 others, and most are Democrats.

The Center for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington compiled a list of all of Washington’s elected representatives being examined - 12 are Democrats, four are Republicans.

“It’s a perpetual problem,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said. “Some years it’s worse than others. In some ways it’s better now because people have lost their races,” such as former Louisiana Democrat Rep. William J. Jefferson and Florida Republican Rep. Tom Feeney. Both had been under investigation for ethics violations when they were ousted in the 2008 elections.

CREW’s current list includes House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat accused of failing to report all his income and pay taxes.

Democratic Reps. Linda T. Sanchez and Loretta Sanchez of California are both under review as well. The House ethics committee has yet to determine whether the two sisters violated ethics rules by temporarily putting three of Loretta Sanchez’s aides on Linda Sanchez’s office payroll. Loretta Sanchez’s office could not afford to pay the three because another of her aides had embezzled money from the office.

No Koh

Conservative think-tankers, writers, bloggers and media personalities held a strategy call to help organize their opposition to President Obama’s State Department legal adviser nominee, Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh.

They complain Mr. Koh is a “radical transnationalist” who would use international norms to implement domestic policy without going through normal legislative processes.

Heritage Foundation fellow Steven Groves pointed to a 2003 article Mr. Koh had written titled “World Drowning in Guns” that called for international regulations for the manufacture and sale of small arms, something Mr. Groves says would limit the number of guns available in the U.S. and circumvent the normal democratic process.

“No state would pass that law; Congress would not pass that law,” he said. “And yet they want to use an international norm to be the controlling law of the United States. These are the types of things Mr. Koh would be in support of.”

The coalition seeking to stop Mr. Koh’s confirmation has posted a dossier of background documents on www.nokoh.org.

Ascension Day

The Jesuit-run Seattle University raised eyebrows in the Catholic community by holding a “reproductive justice” forum featuring a state chaplain from Planned Parenthood on the Catholic feast day of the Ascension.

Catholic blogger Dawn Eden posted the press release for the event on her blog Dawn Patrol and criticized the Thursday night event as a compromise of Catholic values, citing most specifically that no definitely pro-life speaker was booked for the discussion.

“There is room to discuss the issue in a way that people become educated on what the arguments are. But by no means should [Seattle University] give a platform to people who are either pro-choice politicians or lobbying for abortion rights,” she told The Washington Times. “It’s not a debate, it’s not something where someone is giving a pro-life view and the pro-choice view. It’s entirely from the standpoint that abortion is part of the so-called concept of justice.”

Those who were to speak on the panel were Vincent Lachina, state chaplain for Planned Parenthood; Amy Johnson, a professional life and parent coach for the United Church of Christ; Yohanna Kinbeg, rabbi for Temple B’nai Torah; Dan Dombrowki, a Seattle University professor of philosophy; and Jodi O’Brien, a feminist and chairwoman of the school’s sociology department.

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com

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