Dispatches > The Buzz

Flash Traffic

Political Buzz from Washington

Issue: "Aging in place," March 31, 2001

Trying to persuade Congress to protect the Second Amendment or ban partial birth abortion? ... that will be tougher if "campaign finance" legislation known as McCain-Feingold passes ... the James Madison Center for Free Speech-run by Reagan's Interior Secretary Don Hodel and election attorney James Bopp Jr.-warns the bill "is a broad-based and pernicious attack on the rights of average citizens to participate in the democratic process" ... it gags issue advocacy groups and political parties, imposing unconstitutional restrictions on grassroots activism ... National Right to Life makes its defeat a top priority ... Democrats in Washington battle President Bush over the size of his tax cut, but a Maine Democrat is actually proposing a new tax ... a "toilet tax" ... state Rep. David Lemoine wants a $750 tax on every toilet installed in private homes after January 1, 2002 in areas not designated by the state government as "growth zones" ... and a $1,000 tax for every toilet or urinal installed in businesses ... why? ... to discourage sprawl ... Lemoine tells us his bill has become "great fodder for humor" ... didn't he expect this? ... "No, I really didn't" ... No wonder President Bush traveled to Maine Friday to build public support for his tax cut plan and to light a fire under Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to get on board ... if they vote "no" on the president's plan, it may be doomed ... meanwhile, with an emerging "Clinton-Greenspan Recession" and tanking stock markets, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has begun signaling support for an even larger tax cut, phased in more quickly ... but still no word on an all-important capital gains tax cut ... Think taxpayers should give former President Bill Clinton $7 million to enjoy a cushy retirement, even though he earns over $100,000 per speech? ... neither does the National Taxpayers Union ... in a letter to Congress, NTU notes Clinton "could draw as much as $7.29 million in presidential 'pension' payouts over his lifetime" unless the system is reformed ... NTU suggests "former presidents should not be eligible for a retirement benefit until they've actually reached the Social Security retirement age" ... What's going on with Larry King? ... on a network run by Ted Turner, who disparages Christians as "Jesus freaks," the CNN host stands apart by talking frequently with politicians, sports stars, and entertainers about their faith ... King appears to be on his own spiritual journey ... since January 2000, King-who is Jewish-has done 31 shows or segments probing distinctly spiritual themes ... some on people like the Dalai Lama and Deepak Chopra ... but a surprising number on faith in Jesus Christ ... shows like "The Search for Jesus" (6/15/00) ... "Is the Apocalypse Coming?" (6/19/00) ... and "Who Is Jesus?" (7/6/00) ... During a show about the death of racing legend Dale Earnhardt, King quizzed NASCAR's Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, and Darrell Waltrip about their faith ... "KING: Darrell, are you [religious]? WALTRIP: Oh, by all means ... and Dale Earnhardt's death has saved a lot of people from going to hell, because a lot of people realize, Larry, you can't wait, if you don't have a relationship with Jesus Christ, you can't wait, because Dale Earnhardt, he didn't know he was going to go on that wall and die. It happened just that quickly. So, that's the message, and that's what I live by" ... Perhaps King's most striking statements came in a January 2000 TV special ... "As a Jew, I have had nothing but the greatest and most profound respect for Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He was, after all, Jewish. Born Jewish. Died Jewish .... I think Jesus Christ was the greatest single individual of both millenniums, and he had a more profound effect on mankind than any individual ever born. If there's one person in history I would like to interview, it would be Jesus" ...

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Joel C. Rosenberg
Joel C. Rosenberg

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