Thursday, June 16, 2005

Thursday 16 June 2005

Frist Threatened 'Nuclear Option' Over Lynching Bill

Said No Videotape To Review To Authenticate Measure

As Senators Mary Landrieu (D-MS) and George Allen (R-VA) read into the record a bill formally apologizing for lynching, and the U.S. Senate's failure to adopt measures to stop it, they did so to an empty chamber, filled with only a small handful of relatives of lynching victims. It was after-hours and with no cameras rolling.

"The Senate failed you and your ancestors and our nation," said Landrieu of Louisiana, the chief Democratic sponsor of the resolution, at a luncheon attended by 200 family members and descendants of victims. They included 100 relatives of Anthony Crawford, as well as a 91-year-old man believed to be the only known survivor of an attempted lynching

Senate Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) blocked having a roll-call vote and threatened to use the 'Nuclear Option if Landrieu, Allen or anyone else pushed the matter.

Frist stated he was "leery" about the bill.

"I don't have any videotape I can review to make a proper evaluation", Frist stated.

Frist had, earlier this year, made a comprehensive diagnosis of the late Terri Schiavo via videotape that was at odds with the doctors who had and were examining the severely brain-damaged young woman, who's Right-To-Die case capture the nation.

Frist also diagnosed the late Pope John Paul II via videotape.

The Lynching Apology Bill ended up having only 80 co-sponsors of the resolution.

"It's a statement in itself that there aren't 100 co-sponsors," Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, said. "It's a statement in itself that there's not an up-or-down vote."

Frist was adamant on not having a floor vote for the measure and stubbornly held his position.

Frist also made himself unavailable for comment, as his staff indicated he was awaiting the videotape of the Schiavo autopsy report for further evaluation of that case.

Tomlinson Investigated Over CPC Lobbyists

Chairman Continues Push For Congress To Slash All PBS Funding

Investigators in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Inspector General office are looking into contracts signed by Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson, for nearly $15,000 to two Republican lobbyists.

The move comes as Tomlinson refuses to criticize Congress for the recently announced budget cuts, against staff advise, and pushes forward to have Congress eliminate all PBS funding.

"This is our best chance to kill it off" Tomlinson was reported to have said.

Last month, CPC's general counsel, Donna Gregg, left the corporation and last week, senior vice-president for corporate and public affairs also resigned. Both have said that Tomlinson repeatedly ignored their advise.

The new investigation comes on top on a on-going one, in which, without board approval, Tomlinson paid a White House staff aide over $14,000 to give him reports on the political stripes of guests appearing on the PBS 'Now' program, hosted at the time by Bill Moyers.

Tomlinson has charged that 'Now', and in particular, Bill Moyers, was too liberal and left-leaning.

Moyers, who has bashed Tomlinson and the Republican-loaded CPC for their partisanship and as continually sought a meeting with Tomlinson to discuss the matter, most recently on the Chris Matthew's 'Hardball' program. Moyers also suggested that Tomlinson could have saved the money and just "call me up" to find out who was appearing on 'Now'.

The new investigation of Tomlinson is looking at the $10,000 paid to Brian Dowling, for his work on a bill last year that would have given public radio and television stations more of a voice on the corporation's board. The measure dies and it was opposed by Tomlinson and also, the White House.

Dowling was formerly a top aide to Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida who was forced to resign after it was revealed that he wrote a memorandum on how Republicans could exploit the Terri Schiavo situation.

The other lobbyist signed by Tomlinson, and paid $5,000, was Mark Buse, a former aide to Sen. John McCain, but hired at the suggestion of board member and former chairwoman of the CPC, Katherine Anderson.

Timing of the investigations are most inconvenient to Tomlinson, who is aiming to fill the vacant CPC President's position with a former RNC chairperson, Patricia Harrison. While Democrats are urging a delay in the voting, Harrison is expected to win the approval of the Republican-controlled board.

Tomlinson has dismissed his critics and, publicly says that he is "concerned" about the funding issue.

"We'll be joining with our colleagues in the public broadcasting community to make the case for a higher level of funding as the appropriations measure makes its way through Congress."

One insider, who asked to remain anonymous, said the Tomlinson, and the board, are out to remake the image of PBS.

"They're looking for it to be the 'Fox News' of the public airwaves … Hard-hitting, conservative content .. In-your-face bashing of liberals and flat-out promotion of the Republican agenda …"

"Forget about Buster … He'll end up being on Tomlinson keychain".

No comments: