- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ISOLATED THE INCIDENT

Was the N-word used by members of the “tea party” movement during a March 20 rally at the Capitol? The National Tea Party Federation, which represents a half-million members nationwide, is asking the Congressional Black Caucus to help determine if blatant racism was afoot that day.

“We believe to our core that racism and hate speech have no place in civil political discourse and debate — and we are sure you agree,” the group said in a letter to CBC Chairwoman Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat. “It is no doubt in our mutual interest to drill down on this incident and identify those persons alleged to have used the n-word at the rally, so that they can be appropriately isolated and personally condemned.”

Three Democrats — Reps. John Lewis of Georgia, Andre Carson of Indiana and Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri — complained that tea partiers at the rally used the epithet 15 times. The foundation organizers want some proof, calling the “racism narrative” unfair and offensive.

“It is regrettable that this allegation has not been dealt with officially. The tea party movement is one of honor and integrity. We will uphold this standard by identifying the perpetrator, should the allegations prove true,” Mark A. Skoda, chairman of the Memphis Tea Party, tells Inside the Beltway.

SHADES OF F-BOMB

12: number of times Sen. Carl Levine, Michigan Democrat, uttered a variant of the S-word during the Goldman Sachs Senate hearing on Tuesday.

4,326: the number of news stories recounting the fact, according to Google News.

News organizations that printed the real expletive rather than “s****y”: Reuters, Politico, Barron’s, the Village Voice, the New York Observer and Vanity Fair.


HEAVY METTLE

Americans ponder the backbone of Comedy Central: A Zogby poll finds that 71 percent disagree with the network’s decision to censor a “South Park” episode deemed offensive to Muslims after the cartoon’s creators were threatened by an organization called Revolution Muslim.

There’s a little partisan divide, however: 87 percent of Republicans disagreed with the decision, compared to 60 percent of Democrats. The survey of 2,019 adults was conducted April 23 through 26.

TARGET PRACTICE

The Second Amendment rallies last week in the District and Virginia have drawn fire from Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, who is convinced that divisiveness in the ranks of gun aficionados is a reason to worry.

“The problem is that the barbarians are not content to play nice in the halls of Congress like National Rifle Association lobbyist Chris Cox and his team of suits. When the insurrectionists compare the Obama administration’s policies to the enslavement of Jews in the Warsaw ghettos they are — unfortunately — quite serious,” Mr. Horwitz says.

“The NRA has lost control of the monster it helped to create — if it ever had any to begin with. There is now a segment within the gun rights community that is hostile to all progressive interests and believes it has a right to use firearms to counter the results of our democratic process. We are likely to see more threats and violence if conservative leaders do not stand up and state unequivocally that such conduct draws its inspiration from Timothy McVeigh, not Thomas Jefferson.”

In an ironic little aside, Glock Inc. simultaneously announced record sales. Vice President Gary Fletcher says the Georgia-based gun manufacturer “is extremely pleased with the increase in both sales and market share for 2010 and has broken all previous sales records.”

TRAILING OFF

The dank specter of Katrina lingers. Filmmaker Gabe Chasnoff testifies before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection on Wednesday, and an old question is set to resurface. Are Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers toxic? The agency spent $2.5 billion on temporary housing for displaced hurricane victims and then discovered some may also house formaldehyde that sickened residents. The trailers are up for public auction.

The trailers “most certainly were time bombs that went off a long time ago. Though FEMA knew that the fuse was burning, they chose to do nothing,” Mr. Chasnoff tells Inside the Beltway. “Had FEMA had the professional and moral compass to step in and do the right thing years ago and take preventative action against future exposure to formaldehyde-tainted trailers, the federal government could have saved time, money and lives.”

His documentary “Renaissance Village” chronicles the ills at the largest FEMA trailer camp in Louisiana.

“I commend the subcommittee for holding their hearing, but it’s just another example of the federal government having to retroactively fix what could have been avoided in the first place,” Mr. Chasnoff adds. “The drawbacks associated with the politics of relief are that too often, relief legislation and policy neglect the human side.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 39 percent of U.S. voters favor a major energy bill aimed at reducing global warming.

• 66 percent of Democrats favor such legislation, 63 percent of Republicans oppose it. Among unaffiliated voters, 33 percent favor the legislation, while 48 percent are opposed.

• 34 percent of voters overall say a major energy bill could help the economy.

• 65 percent of Democrats agree; 61 percent of Republicans say the bill will hurt the economy.

• 38 percent of voters overall say it is possible for government actions to significantly reduce global warming.

• 63 percent of Democrats agree, while 63 percent of Republicans disagree.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted April 24 and 25.

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