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Fighting for the millionaires

May 3, 2002 | Page 4

MULTIMILLIONAIRE Republican candidate for California governor Bill Simon struck a blow for fellow rich people everywhere in late April. When incumbent Gov. Gray Davis called for Simon to release his tax returns to prove that he had paid his "fair share," Simon refused.

"I mean, that sounds like somebody coming out of Moscow, you know?" Simon fumed on KSFO radio. "'Their fair share.' You know, Karl Marx talked like that...[like] there's going to be Big Brother that's going to decide what your 'fair share' is. Quite frankly, I don't need Big Brother to tell me if I'm behaving myself."

But when pressed for information, Simon was unable to tell reporters whether he had paid California income taxes at all last year. After all, he explained, his returns are "fairly complex."

Simon's rabid outburst didn't appear to upset his Republican handlers. They argue that the super-rich candidate refusing to disclose his financial information just makes him more appealing to voters. "There's a 'Mr. Smith' quality to Simon," said GOP strategist Ken Khachigian. "He's not scripted. It's refreshing that somebody speaks their mind from time to time."

--San Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 2002

The new spring line--for racists

EXECUTIVES AT the clothing manufacturer Abercrombie & Fitch just don't understand what all the fuss is about.

In April, several Asian American groups lodged complaints about a new line of T-shirts that the company was introducing. Selling for $25 each, the shirts featured caricatures of Asians (complete with cartoonish, slanted eyes) and had slogans like "Wong Brothers Laundry Service: Two Wongs Can Make it White."

"This is really blatant. It's just like the 1800s," said Rev. Norman Fong, program director at San Francisco's Chinatown Community Development Center.

When groups complained that the shirts are racist, the chain withdrew them. But puzzled executives didn't really understand what the problem was. As company spokesperson Hampton Carney explained, "We thought they were cheeky, irreverent and funny and everyone would love them."

--Reuters, April 19, 2002

Heard it through the grapevine

"CHRISTIANITY OFFERS the only viable, reasonable, definitive answer to the questions of 'Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Does life have any meaningful purpose?' Only Christianity offers a way to understand that physical and moral border."
--Rep. Tom Delay (R-Texas)

"TEXAS A&M used to be a conservative university. It's lost all of its conservatism...My daughter went there. You know, she had horrible experiences with coed dorms and guys who spent the weekends in the rooms with girls, and all this kind of stuff went on there."
--Delay again

"THE ORDERS were to shoot at each house. The words on the radio were to 'Put a bullet in each window'...The civilians, they never got a real chance to get out."
--Israel Defense Forces sergeant on Jenin

"WHEN THE world will see the pictures of what we have done [in Jenin], it will cause us enormous damage."
--Israel Defense Forces officer

"WE SAW children looking for their parents. We saw fathers, brothers, sisters digging in the rubble in order to find the corpses of their dear ones."
--United Nations envoy to the Middle East Terje Roed-Larsen on the destruction in Jenin

"I WAS absolutely appalled. I anticipated it to a degree, but the devastation was much greater than I expected."
--UN official Richard Cook on Jenin

"I THINK most people in Israel will realize they don't have two greater friends in the world than the United States of America or Britain."
--British Prime Minister Tony Blair

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