TV & Radio
ロサンゼルス・タイムズによると、著者は、2003年までブッシュ政権の「信仰に基づく施策」づくりを担当したデイビッド・クオ氏。新著「Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction」の中で、同政権が導入した信仰基盤施策の担当部署が、選挙前の福音派信者向けイベントの企画などを行っていたことも明かしている。
Book: Bush Aides Called Evangelicals 'Nuts'
White House advisors sought the support of conservative Christians but mocked them in private, writes a onetime administration official.
By Peter Wallsten, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 13, 2006
WASHINGTON — A new book by a former White House official says that President Bush's top political advisors privately ridiculed evangelical supporters as "nuts" and "goofy" while embracing them in public and using their votes to help win elections.
The former official also writes that the White House office of faith-based initiatives, which Bush promoted as a nonpolitical effort to support religious social-service organizations, was told to host pre-election events designed to mobilize religious voters who would most likely favor Republican candidates.
The assertions by David Kuo, a top official in the faith-based initiatives program, have rattled Republican strategists already struggling to persuade evangelical voters to turn out this fall for the GOP.
Some conservatives lamented Thursday that the book, "Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction," also comes in the midst of the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley, another threat to conservative turnout in competitive House and Senate races.
The book is scheduled to be in stores Monday, but the White House responded to its assertions Thursday.
In the book, Kuo, who quit the White House in 2003, accuses Karl Rove's political staff of cynically hijacking the faith-based initiatives idea for electoral gain. It assails Bush for failing to live up to his promises of boosting the role of religious organizations in delivering social services.
White House strategists "knew 'the nuts' were politically invaluable, but that was the extent of their usefulness," Kuo writes, according to the cable channel MSNBC, which obtained an advance copy.
"Sadly, the political affairs folks complained most often and most loudly about how boorish many politically involved Christians were…. National Christian leaders received hugs and smiles in person and then were dismissed behind their backs and described as 'ridiculous' and 'out of control.' ''
It is unclear whether Kuo identifies any specific official as having used the dismissive language.
The book says that before the 2002 elections, then-White House political director Ken Mehlman issued "marching orders" to use the faith-based initiative in 20 House and Senate races, according to MSNBC. To avoid appearing overtly political, Mehlman said his staff would arrange for congressional offices to request visits from the faith-based program officials.
Throughout the 2002 and 2004 campaigns, faith-based officials would meet with lawmakers in some places in an effort to generate publicity for them, while also hosting conferences in battleground states attracting hundreds of pastors and community activists eager to learn how to apply for federal grants.
A spokeswoman for Mehlman, who is now chairman of the Republican National Committee, said he did not recall the directives mentioned by Kuo. As political director, she said, "it was Mehlman's job to both engage outside groups and inform decision makers in the White House about support for the president's agenda."
Kuo is scheduled to appear Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes" as part of a rollout arranged by his publisher, Simon & Schuster, which shares a corporate parent with CBS.
Despite a publisher-enforced embargo, a copy of the book was purchased early at a Manhattan bookstore by a producer for MSNBC's "Countdown," a spokesman for the cable channel said. Program host Keith Olbermann began reading excerpts on his Wednesday show.
Kuo's descriptions could do political damage to a Republican Party that has staked its formula for success on motivating the conservative base.
"Here we go again," said Paul M. Weyrich, a leading religious conservative with close ties to the White House, referring to the avalanche of negative factors that he predicted would keep "embarrassed Republicans" from voting, just as the Watergate scandal did in the 1970s. "If Republicans win, it will prove God is a Republican, since it will take a miracle."
Weyrich said Kuo, while still a White House official, told him of frustrations that the faith-based program had become entangled in politics. The initiative had been a signature proposal by Bush in the 2000 campaign but lost momentum amid partisan battles on Capitol Hill and the intense focus on security after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Weyrich said that Bush and many of his aides were genuinely interested in the program. But, he added, "I don't have any illusions about Rove. I think that he advocates conservatism because he believes it's the way to win."
The White House denied Kuo's account with help Thursday from two former officials popular among evangelicals — former speechwriter Michael Gerson and former faith-based initiative director Jim Towey.
Gerson called Kuo's account "laughable," while Towey cited a December 2002 e-mail from Kuo expressing positive feelings about the program's progress in promoting "compassionate conservatism."
"He doesn't seem to have been working at the same White House where I worked," Towey said. "I had marching orders from the president to keep the faith-based initiative nonpolitical, and I did."
Still, neither Gerson nor Towey denied Kuo's assertion that politics did factor into the initiative.
"Ken Mehlman was doing his job, which was to worry about races," said Towey, who is currently president of St. Vincent College, a Catholic school in Pennsylvania.
Towey's travel took him to a number of battleground states in 2002, but he said that he also visited places such as Boston that were not important to the GOP's electoral goals.
And in addition to meetings with Republicans, he said he appeared in public with Democrats such as former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakots, who was running for reelection, and Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. of Tennessee, who is running this year for the Senate.
Kuo is not the first insider to accuse the White House of politicizing the faith-based program. John J. DiIulio Jr., the first director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, resigned after seven months and was quoted as saying that the White House was run by "Mayberry Machiavellians" who sometimes put politics ahead of other causes.
While many Democrats opposed the initiative as a violation of church-state separation, the White House used the program to build alliances with prominent African American ministers, some of whom switched political allegiances to back Bush. It was part of a larger minority outreach program designed by Rove and other conservative activists to slice off pieces of the traditional Democratic coalitions in order to build a lasting GOP majority.
Making a Family Without a Marriage
The son and daughter of lesbians think of their mothers as a wedded couple. Reminders that they aren't often arise.
By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 16, 2006
Taped to Gavin McNeely Odabashian's bedroom wall is her "Hall of Hotties," where a red paper heart marked "husband" accords special status to heartthrob Jake Gyllenhaal.
"Dark hair, blue eyes, kind of scruffy," said Gavin, 15, listing her top hottie qualities recently as she settled in with her Spanish homework.
Downstairs, 12-year-old Baylor McNeely Odabashian hunkered in front of his "Gettysburg" computer game, remaking Confederate history in slippers he pilfered from his sister. A Darth Vader poster hangs on his bedroom wall next to one showing a dove of peace.
The siblings have a life many might envy: A 3-year-old golden retriever named Eli and a couple of parakeets named Fleebus and Zeus II. Private schools that challenge them academically and socially. And two loving parents who will soon celebrate their 20th anniversary.
But Gavin and Baylor's parents cannot marry. They are lesbians, known around this 1911 California Craftsman south of San Francisco as "Mommy" and "Mama." (A simple hollered "mom" will do if the request is generic.)
That makes these children supporting actors in one of the modern era's most contentious legal and social dramas.
In California, an appeals court this month upheld the prohibition on same-sex marriage in a case that will head to the state Supreme Court.
The justices steered clear of the "procreation argument" endorsed by recent high court rulings in New York and Washington. Those courts ruled in part that the state has an interest in steering couples who can have unplanned pregnancies into marriage to promote an upbringing by a biological mother and father.
But in the California ruling, children nevertheless played a role: The justices acknowledged the state's interest in promoting family stability in gay and lesbian households but said domestic partnership laws adequately do that.
Those pressing the case for same-sex marriage say children should not be central to the debate, because heterosexuals who can't or don't wish to have children are not barred from marrying. And, they say, children of same-sex unions are harmed by the exclusion.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has backed same-sex marriage rights, noting that studies show children of gay and lesbian unions fare just as well as those of heterosexual ones and that marriage enhances family stability. The American Psychiatric Assn., American Psychoanalytical Assn. and other such groups have issued similar statements.
Same-sex marriage opponents counter that such research is largely flawed by small sample size and bias, and they cite other studies of children of heterosexuals that show those raised by their biological mothers and fathers did best.
"A just, compassionate society should never intentionally create a motherless or fatherless family," said Bill Maier, vice president of Focus on the Family and a child and family psychologist who has written a book arguing against same-sex marriage and parenting.
Largely missing from the discussion are the voices of children like Gavin and Baylor, who are part of such families regardless of the law. Their mothers, Ash McNeely, vice president of a community foundation, and Elisa Odabashian, West Coast director of Consumers Union, vowed to raise a family shortly after they drafted the commitment pledge that hangs framed on their living room wall.
Each gave birth to one child, using the same sperm donor, a family friend. Each adopted the other's child, making them the first San Mateo County couple to do so after this state's Supreme Court confirmed that right.
The decision placed them among the California same-sex couples who in 2000 were raising more than 70,000 children. (Nationwide, more than a quarter of a million children were being raised by same-sex couples that year, an analysis of U.S. Census data shows, although many believe those numbers are conservative.)
On a recent evening, Gavin bounded around the kitchen in her volleyball shorts ("That's why I'm wearing spandex," she reassured a visitor), prodding her mothers for advice on how to microwave a yam.
Mascara makes her large eyes larger, a trait her open face enhances. If she is the emotional one, her sails filling without warning, Baylor is the rudder, steady to his core. He is "wicked smart," his sister offered, explaining why his last school bored him — a description he rejected in favor of a specific accounting of the school's failings.
With dirty blond hair and a "nerds have more fun" motto, he is also the "political one," Odabashian said, whose "righteous indignation factor" has given him a strong sense of self.
"Even my braces are trying to make me straight," Baylor joked of the biases that compel him to chastise schoolmates. "I want gay teeth!"
Before conversation turned in earnest to family structure, however, it was time for "two goods and two bads," a dinner table twist on "how was your day?" that often elicits detailed fodder for life lessons.
Gavin reported with glee on the day's light academic load. A bad: she couldn't breathe in volleyball practice and got so scared she cried. Baylor's good: His humanities assignment: to craft a skit about a fictional African nation for a globalization project, bonus song included.
The mothers took their turns: McNeely had too many unread e-mails. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had signed a meat recall bill Odabashian had supported.
Theirs is an open banter, with feelings and opinions easily shared. Still, the children are growing up with a sense of "otherness" outside their home.
"I never experienced anyone saying, 'Oh, Gavin has two moms. She's weird,' " Gavin said. "But that's what I was always afraid of."
Even in preschool, she said, she remembers having to explain the two Mother's Day cards she was making. And there were perplexed inquiries in kindergarten about her family drawing.
By elementary school, she avoided the lunchroom, worried that kids would "say something horrible about her family," Odabashian recalled. At 10, she told her parents she felt like Martin Luther King Jr. (Odabashian assured her that "mommy and I are Martin Luther King, not you.")
"I was trapped between what the world thought and what I knew about my family," Gavin said, munching on her yam.
Her new school — private, small and tolerant — has helped. Juniors participate in a homophobia workshop. Freshmen attend a diversity workshop. Last year, the freshmen made a pact never use the expression "that's so gay."
Once too scared to speak up, "Now … I always say, 'Don't say that! You never know who that's going to affect,' " Gavin said, her voice rising. "You don't say 'that's so black.' "
Baylor's path was different — forged by indignation. On the fourth-grade playground, he learned that two girls had taunted others who were holding hands, calling them lesbians.
"My moms are lesbians," Baylor forcefully told the perpetrators. "Why is that an insult?"
When a playground monitor told the girls not to "insult people," Baylor reddened further. "Why do you think of it as an insult?" he demanded, yelling at the parent not to do it again.
Lately, anger has turned to patience. When kids say they don't get how he can have two moms, he educates them this way, he said: "A guy grants a sperm to one of my moms so I can be born."
So what of the biological father who granted it?
Opponents of same-sex marriage point to research on the different communication styles, ways of playing and even values passed on by mothers and fathers as evidence that children need both. Proponents dismiss that insistence as a throwback to gender stereotypes that the law has rejected.
Gavin and Baylor said they have considered the absence.
The donor (a.k.a. "The Sperm" but usually called Jay) was a steady presence in their lives before he and his family moved away, but the kids view him as a friend, not a father. Gavin only recently has begun to ponder genetic similarities: They both have dark hair and are artistic. Still, she said, the hypothetical notion of a father turns her off.
"You don't hear as much about mothers beating their husbands or their children, or leaving," she said. "I love being raised by women. I get to walk around, like, 'Pass me a tampon!' "
Baylor rolled his eyes.
Seriously, his sister continued, their moms have instilled "great values," teaching them never to judge others. They're better about talking about feelings and don't feel they have to be macho.
Baylor quietly objected. Having any other kind of family "would be weird," he concluded. But if there's one thing that bugs him, he said, it's "sweeping generalizations about men." His moms gently denied the charge but promised to watch it.
So what of marriage? For most of their lives, the kids said, they had perceived their parents as equal to married while facing constant reminders that they weren't. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision to issue marriage licenses — which prompted the current court case — brought the prospect within reach, though the state Supreme Court halted the ceremonies before McNeely and Odabashian's appointment.
Baylor sneered that Britney Spears could marry a in fly-by-night fling, but his moms can't cement their love of two decades. But it was when Baylor learned of the legal rights his parents are denied that he concluded the law is "not right," he said.
Gavin's response is more emotional. The denial makes her parents seem like "less than," she said.
"So many people have questioned, 'Oh, they're not your parents.' It's like they're just dating," she said. Marriage "would have made it easier — for me and for them."
Last Valentine's Day, Gavin and Baylor participated in a demonstration organized by another teenage child of lesbian parents, marching to the San Mateo County Clerk's counter with their mothers to request a license. The young straight couple in line in front of them breezed through. McNeely and Odabashian were denied.
When they got in the car, Gavin burst into tears.
The appellate court ruling was another blow. When McNeely and Odabashian broke the news, Baylor launched into an analysis of civil rights law that he said showed the justices erred. Gavin stared at her plate for a long time. Then, she spoke.
"That's stupid," she said softly.
What about the children?
The debate over whether same-sex marriage would help or harm children of the unions has raged fiercely in and out of the courts:
It would help
The American Academy of Pediatrics has backed same-sex marriage rights, concluding in a recent research review that children of the unions fare just as well as those in heterosexual households and noting that marriage enhances family stability. The American Psychiatric Assn., American Psychoanalytical Assn. and other such groups have issued similar statements.
"Those data that do exist are monotonously positive," said Dr. Ellen Perrin, a pediatrics professor at Johns Hopkins University and author of the American Academy of Pediatrics paper. "Variables like the sharing of responsibilities between the parents are much more important to how the kids do than whether the parents are heterosexual and homosexual."
It would harm
Opponents of the unions counter that studies of children of gay men and lesbians are flawed by small sample size and investigator bias. They point to studies on children of heterosexuals that show those who stayed with their biological mothers and fathers did best. Research on parenting differences between mothers and fathers support the notion that children need both, they add.
"A just, compassionate society should never intentionally create a motherless or fatherless family," said Bill Maier, Colorado-based Focus on the Family's vice president and a child and family psychologist.
Source: Times reporting
The Wall Street Journal
California Underdog Battles Dazzle In Governor's Race,
Little-Known Angelides Faces Schwarzenegger's Star Power
By JIM CARLTON
October 17, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO -- To understand the uphill battle Democratic challenger Phil Angelides faces in California's gubernatorial race, consider NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
Last week, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared on Mr. Leno's talk show, where three years ago the actor announced his candidacy for governor. During last week's program, Mr. Schwarzenegger joked with his host and discussed how he had marshaled bipartisan support from California lawmakers. Campaign officials for Mr. Angelides tried to persuade NBC to give their candidate equal time. They failed.
"Schwarzenegger is essentially receiving for free a multimillion-dollar infomercial for his campaign four weeks prior to the election and as many Californians are casting their absentee ballots," says Amanda Crumley, a spokeswoman for Mr. Angelides.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Leno's show said Mr. Schwarzenegger's appearance fell under an exemption to federal equal-time laws that permits interviews of political candidates in the news.
The incident illustrates the obstacles Mr. Angelides must navigate in trying to send Mr. Schwarzenegger back to Hollywood. The Republican governor, who has the star power to attract thousands to campaign rallies, has seen his popularity soar after forging deals this year with the Democrat-dominated legislature on issues like fighting global warming and increasing the minimum wage.
The lopsided race also shows that, even in Democratic-leaning states like California, voters remain allergic to talk of tax increases. Mr. Angelides has endorsed some; Mr. Schwarzenegger has blasted him for that. As a result, Mr. Schwarzenegger's lead has widened to 17 points, according to a poll at the end of last month by the Public Policy Institute of California, a San Francisco think tank.
Just weeks before Election Day, Mr. Angelides has been shouting himself hoarse in a bid to gain some ground. On a two-day bus tour last week around California, many of Mr. Angelides's stops were at gatherings of about 100 to 200 people. At a rally in Stockton, the 53-year-old recalled how during the 1960s, he had come back to beat a rival during an under-12 tennis tournament there. Mr. Angelides shouted, "I'm gonna scrap, I'm gonna fight, and I'm gonna win this title for you!"
Mr. Angelides's conundrum isn't so much that California Democrats have changed, but that a Republican governor has figured out how to work with them. Legislative gridlock prevailed in Sacramento for much of the past two decades, with either Republican governors unable to work with a Democratic-controlled Legislature or Republican lawmakers in the minority blocking legislation. By going along with traditional Democratic issues -- without acceding to Democratic demands for more taxes -- Mr. Schwarzenegger has persuaded some Democrats to embrace him without alienating his Republican base.
One of California's most active Democrats is Mr. Angelides, who in two terms as state treasurer earned a reputation as a champion of corporate reform. After a debate between the candidates earlier this month, Mr. Angelides said he trounced the governor with his knowledge of issues and vision for California. In essence, Mr. Angelides wants to build up state programs to address a variety of ills, while Mr. Schwarzenegger has sought to foster change more through the free market.
But pundits credited Mr. Schwarzenegger with the best line of the night, when he asked Mr. Angelides -- whose low-key style contrasts with the governor's flashy presence -- to recount the funniest moment of the treasurer's campaign. "Every day is just a hoot," the Harvard-educated Mr. Angelides responded, apparently taken aback.
Later, in a campaign bus emblazoned with the slogan, "Always on Your Side," Mr. Angelides critiqued the governor's debate performance: "He said nothing, he knew nothing." And on Mr. Schwarzenegger's query about his funniest moment, Mr. Angelides observed: "What a ridiculous question."
One problem for Mr. Angelides is that he emerged weakened from a bruising June primary, in which he barely defeated Democratic state controller Steve Westly and then faced a barrage of attack ads from the Schwarzenegger campaign. Among the criticism: That he had despoiled the environment as a former real-estate developer and wants to raise taxes on the middle-class -- charges Mr. Angelides denies.
A proponent of raising certain taxes to help California's underprivileged, Mr. Angelides has been cast as a tax-and-spend liberal by Mr. Schwarzenegger -- creating an image problem that some of Mr. Angelides's friends say may be his campaign's biggest liability. The California Republican Party hired an actor to dress up as "the Tax Man" -- in black mask and green cape -- at Mr. Angelides's rallies, accompanied by a sidekick playing a recording of the Beatles's 1960s song "Taxman."
Mr. Angelides has explained that his tax plan targets not ordinary Californians but large corporations and rich individuals. "I wish he hadn't gone out with the tax proposal, because that's too easy to misconstrue," says Michael Meniktas, a financial adviser from Oakland, Calif., and a friend of Mr. Angelides in the Northern California Greek business community. Mr. Angelides, who grew up in Sacramento, is the grandson of Greek immigrants.
Mr. Angelides's toughest challenge has been taking on an incumbent with world-wide fame. "The biggest problem is name recognition," says Dave Parks, business representative for a Teamsters local in Modesto, where Mr. Angelides appeared at a breakfast of about 200 mostly union supporters during his bus tour. "Phil just isn't Arnold."
Mr. Angelides has borrowed tactics from former President Clinton, such as retaining former Clinton advance man, Ed Emerson, to whip up crowds before he addresses them. After leading a "Phil! Phil! Phil!" cheer at a small rally, Mr. Emerson says this job is different from when he was standing before tens of thousands at outdoor stadiums on the Clinton campaign trail.
Mr. Angelides says he knows it will be tough to topple Mr. Schwarzenegger. But he says he felt compelled to run after seeing moves by the governor to cut funding for education, increase college tuition and reduce pension benefits of public employees. Mr. Schwarzenegger denies those charges and says they have been misrepresented.
Mrs. Angelides's wife, Julie, admits her husband gets down sometimes. But to keep his spirits up, she says she and the couple's three daughters now follow some advice given to Mr. Angelides by Mr. Clinton and former Vice President Gore. "We try to hide the newspapers from him," she says.
Write to Jim Carlton at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Caught in the Net: Japanese Scholars
A government-funded Japanese think tank recently shut down an online publication edited by one of its scholars after the publication criticized Junichiro Koizumi, the outgoing prime minister. Edited by Masaru Tamamoto, a scholar at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, Commentary was created as a forum for discussing Japan’s foreign policy. But after it cited Koizumi’s August visit to the Yasukuni Shrine as evidence of the country’s new “hawkish nationalism,” Yoshihisa Komori, editor-at-large for the conservative newspaper Sankei Shimbun, called the journal “anti-Japanese” and demanded it be closed. Less than 24 hours later, the institute caved in.