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UPI's Capital Comment for April 28, 2003

April 28, 2003 at 6:07 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors, and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

If you want a friend ...

Republicans have long trumpeted the strong show of support President George W. Bush received from Arab-Americans in the 2000 presidential campaign. It looks like that relationship may be experiencing some strain. In Dearborn, Mich., Monday, the formation of a group calling itself Arab-American Republicans Against Bush was announced. Its purpose is to mobilize Arab-Americans against the president's re-election.

"We were lied to, plain and simple," AARAB.org founder Khalid Turaani said. "In 2000, Bush came to us with promises of inclusion, integrity and responsibility in policies of particular concern to Arab-Americans."

A former supporter of the president, Turaani says "ethnic profiling, detention without trial, INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) dragnets, the closing of our community institutions and a foreign policy that seems designed to keep America at perpetual war with the Arab world" has caused him to rethink his position. "Arab-Americans deserve better. All Americans deserve better," Turaani said.

The group says it is also reacting to "the overwhelming influence being exerted by neo-conservatives and Christian-rightists." In a statement, AARAB.org says, "The president's unwillingness to distance himself publicly from their racist agenda has led many former Bush supporters within the Arab-American community to doubt the president's contention that his war on terrorism is not a war on Islam."

"I came to Dearborn in 2000 to campaign for President Bush," Turaani said Monday. "Today, I come with the many voices of AARAB.org to right that wrong."

Game theory ...

The American Spectator's Bob Tyrrell has a bone to pick with the folks at Hasbro. The venerable game manufacturer has recently brought the 20th anniversary edition of Trivial Pursuit to the marketplace. According to a letter from Tyrrell, reprinted in the magazine's March/April 2003 edition, there is "no possible correct answer" on the card bearing the question: Whose past did Richard Mellon Scaife investigate, by founding the $2.4 million Arkansas Project?

"Scaife never founded the project, I did," Tyrrell writes to Hasbro. "Moreover," he adds, "he never did the investigating, The American Spectator did."

The company's response, also published, says the "questions and answers come from a database that is checked by numerous sources, and we frequently review our games to make sure that the information is correct."

"Please be assured," Hasbro Consumer Affairs Representative Sherry-Ann Leandro writes Tyrrell, "that we have shared your comments with those who work closest with that aspect of our operation. We appreciate your feedback and hope that you and your family will continue to enjoy our products for many years to come."

Green space ...

The environmental movement has descended on Washington to pitch its agenda for the construction of more so-called "green buildings." They are kicking off their efforts with an all-day seminar on federal building guidelines, presented Tuesday to a captive audience of U.S. government employees. That event is hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council, an environmental group.

On Wednesday the action moves to the Washington Hilton hotel for EnvironDesign 7, a program for strengthening the dialogue between business-to-business enterprises. Organizers are billing the conference as a place where participants "will have a chance to learn from the visionaries who are changing the environmental landscape in the 21st century."

Among the advertised speakers are former Green Party vice presidential candidate Winona Duke and Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson. Also on the agenda are talks on such topics as Greening Your Database, Saving Energy Through Design and Livable Cities Through Green Mobility. Presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., has been invited to give the keynote address at the Thursday luncheon program sponsored by MechoShade Systems. On-site conference registration begins at noon Wednesday.

Make a wish ...

It's 50 candles on the cake for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which celebrates its anniversary Wednesday at a celebration hosted by Secretary Tommy Thompson and Deputy Secretary Claude Allen. The party's theme -- "Then, Now and Tomorrow" -- reflects on the historical milestones, current endeavors and future challenges well into the 21st century. The department was created in 1953 under President Dwight Eisenhower as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. It was given its current name in 1979 during the Carter administration when the U.S. Department of Education was created out of programs broken out of HEW.

In fact it's a gas ...

U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, speaking before the International Energy Agency ministerial meeting in Paris, is calling for countries to work together to support the development of hydrogen energy technologies. "International cooperation is key to achieving hydrogen and fuel cell program goals such as those President Bush stated in his recent State of the Union address," Abraham said. "Partnerships that leverage scarce resources, develop technology standards, and foster private-public technology and infrastructure collaboration can more easily overcome the technological and institutional barriers that inhibit the development of a cost-competitive, standardized, widely accessible and safe hydrogen economy."

The initiative, International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy, would foster the sharing of information about efforts at hydrogen production, storage, transport, and end-use technologies; common codes and standards for hydrogen fuel utilization; and the sharing of information necessary to develop hydrogen-fueling infrastructure.

"The vision of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy is that a participating country's consumers will have the practical option of purchasing a competitively priced hydrogen power vehicle, and be able to refuel it near their homes and places of work, by 2020," Abraham said.


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© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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