Muslim politics

John McCaslin
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Posted: Sep 11, 2003 12:00 AM

Marking the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations has released a poll that, among other things, reflects American Muslim political views.

Suffice it to say the majority aren't in George W. Bush's camp.

Only 2 percent said they would vote for President Bush. One in 10 Muslim respondents say they support the president's Iraq policy.

Asked which 2004 presidential candidate would get their vote, American Muslims (a large majority of whom vote in presidential elections) from 41 states favor former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (26 percent), followed by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio (11 percent), Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts (7 percent) and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois (6 percent).

When asked to name the political party that best represents the interests of the American Muslim community, far more respondents named the Democratic Party (27 percent) and Green Party (25 percent) than the Republican Party (3 percent).

As for the television news outlet that most fairly provides coverage of Islam and Muslims, taxpayer-supported PBS topped the list. The Fox News Channel exhibits the most biased coverage, according to those polled.

PRAGUE TO K.C.

Central Europeans like what they see in America's heartland: themselves.

We've learned that the Czech Republic later this month will open a consul's office in the Kansas City metropolitan area, of all places. The Czech Republic's ambassador to the United States, Martin Palous, a strong supporter of President Bush in the war in Iraq, will even be on hand when the office opens.

Why Kansas City?

Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Ka.) tells us that thousands of Czechs and Slovaks immigrated to Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska in past centuries, their descendants forming "a vibrant part of America's rich cultural tapestry."

"Now, after only a decade since becoming a free and autonomous nation," the congressman notes, "the Czech Republic's amazing progress toward democratization has created a unique opportunity to further strengthen the ties between Eastern Europe and America's heartland."

LAWMAKERS FOR A DAY

As one Ohio Democrat sees it, Congress doesn't have the liberty to criticize President Bush's "deceptive" policy in Iraq.

So he's granting his constituents the floor.

More than a century and a half ago, Rep. Sherrod Brown notes, Congress passed a rule banning the discussion of "slavery" in the House.

"In those days," he says, "John Quincy Adams, former president, was a member of the House ... and while he was banned, was prohibited from discussing slavery, former ... Congressman Adams as an abolitionist believed that slavery was the biggest blot on our nation's history and wanted to remove that.

"He came to the House floor day after day, week after week, and because he could not talk directly about slavery, he read letters from his constituents in Massachusetts expressing their concern about slavery," Brown recalled.

Along those same lines today, the Democrat says the Republican-controlled Congress "will not allow us to debate the issue of the president's perhaps not telling the whole truth about his decision to attack Iraq."

So, Brown has taken to the floor of the House and begun reading letters from his constituents, several of whom are calling on Congress to create an independent commission to investigate the Bush administration's "distortion of evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program" - as one Ohio letter-writer refers to it.

AVID READER

He's made a name for himself as speaker of the House, as CEO of the communications firm the Gingrich Group, as senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Hoover Institution, and as a political pundit on virtually every major TV network.

Now, Newt Gingrich has been voted a "Top Reviewer" by Amazon.com readers.

"Speaker Gingrich is an avid reader," says the giant bookseller, which counts 120 recent reviews by Gingrich. "He does not review all of the books he reads. You will not find any bad reviews here, just the books he thinks you might enjoy."

Among the reviews: "The Cutout" by Francine Mathews ("I highly recommend this novel"), "The Protector" by David Morrell ("You won't put it down"), and "City of Bones" by Michael Connelly ("Excellent writing for a haunting novel").

Gingrich has been visiting book store lately to sign copies of his own new book, "Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War." Without giving away the plot, imagine a Confederate victory at Gettysburg.

WASHINGTON WHARF

The nation's capital boasting a fisherman's wharf that rivals San Francisco?

It might not be too far in the making.

"My goal is to make the waterfront like a San Diego, where I live, or a San Francisco wharf and waterfront," says U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, "where people can go down with their families and enjoy the waterfront and water that is clean instead of polluted like it even still is today."

The California Republican is vice chairman of the Subcommittee on the District of Columbia, which last week announced the federal city's 2004 $7.9 billion appropriations bill. While the total is $43 million (8.4 percent) below last year's allocation, $107 million is earmarked for projects and programs that directly benefit the city, waterfront improvements included.

Cunningham says he can recall when serving on the District subcommittee "used to be a drudgery. If you asked somebody to serve on the D.C. committee, you had to pull them out from under the bed to get them to come to work," he said.

Now, given the accomplishments of D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams, "it has gotten to be one of the better committees," he says.

PROHIBITION MISSION

John Doyle, executive director of the American Beverage Institute, is charging that a National Academy of Sciences panel that was supposed to advise Congress how to prevent underage drinking instead advanced the agenda of the neo-prohibitionist movement.

The panel's recommendations include a call for increased taxes on alcohol sales - a proposal designed to reduce consumption by all individuals, not just those who are underage.

The NAS report, "Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility," states: "It is at least logically possible that the most 'cost-effective strategy to reduce underage drinking' includes policies that produce their main effects not on underage drinking, but rather on the overall level of drinking in the population."

Nine of the 12 NAS panelists, it is further charged, are "anti-alcohol activists," eight with reported ties to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "an $8 billion organization that has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the neo-prohibitionist movement."

"A panel so heavily stacked with individuals bearing an anti-alcohol agenda cannot report objectively," says Doyle, charging they have abused their authority.

<Editor's Note: See more on this study from Center for Consumer Freedom>