Balance Sheet



? Equality Time. The U.S. Supreme Court lets the California Civil Rights Initiative go forward. By refusing to consider a challenge to Proposition 209, which bans race and gender preferences in government hiring and in admissions to state colleges and universities, the Court allows voters to consider similar bills and initiatives across the country.

? Tainted Saint. An icon of "good government" sanctimony–the Ralph Nader-founded Citizen Action–gets its comeuppance. The group closes its national office and sacks its staff after being linked to the Teamsters scandal. Three cronies of tainted union President Ron Carey tell a federal grand jury that the Teamsters gave money to Citizen Action which then illegally sent it to Carey's re-election campaign.

? Pot Pass. In the wake of successful medical marijuana campaigns in California and Arizona, the federal government finally approves new research. The National Institutes of Health sanction a study of marijuana as a treatment for AIDS wasting syndrome at San Francisco General Hospital.

? Flight Path. Mexican airports prepare to go private. In 1998 the government plans to offer 50-year leases at 35 major airports, including the nation's largest passenger outlets in Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Tijuana.


? Geezer Grab. Newt Gingrich threatens to delay genuine entitlement reform for years. The speaker suggests he'll appoint AARP head Horace Deets to a "Republican" seat on the new entitlement commission.

? Critter Craze. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approves reforms that would make a bad Endangered Species Act worse. The new ESA would not compensate individuals when the government seizes private property and converts it into habitat for endangered plants or animals. It would, however, give the Department of the Interior legal authority to arrest individuals when they "take" members of endangered or threatened species.

? Blacklist Whitewash. Four talent guilds apologize for establishing the Hollywood blacklist 50 years ago. The mainstream media portray the producers and writers who constituted the "Hollywood 10" as innocent victims who were punished for their idealism. Get a grip, folks. These people were Communist Party members who were unapologetic supporters of the Soviet Union while Stalin was sending artists and writers to death in the gulag.

? Tattered Fabric. The constitutional amendment to outlaw flag "desecration" just won't go away. In January the Senate will consider the amendment, which passed the House by a 310-to-114 vote last June. Forty-nine state legislatures have already formally asked Congress to "protect" the flag.