Incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott Bites His Tongue

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Trent's Words Causing Conflict
Civil rights activists are seizing on what incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said during that 100th birthday party for Strom Thurmond last week as grounds for Lott's resignation. Thurmond ran for president in 1948 as the candidate of the segregationist Dixiecrat Party, and Lott said of his home state of Mississippi, "We voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either." Lott has since said that he was speaking of Thurmond's entire career and was not endorsing the racist policies of 1948, but Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are now thundering for Lott to step down, with Sharpton calling Lott's comments, "blatant racism of the highest order."

Dismissal Costing Consumer Confidence?
The new Bush economic team may be intended to boost confidence in the economy, but the dismissal of the old one, coupled with an unexpected jump in the unemployment rate, has sent consumer confidence plunging. A new poll by the Rasmussen Organization found consumer confidence fell nearly eight points since Friday, when the resignations came to light, from above 104 to below 97. That leaves the number below where it stood in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. What's more, the number of Americans saying the economy is in recession jumped from 47 percent to 53 percent.

Contradicting Columns Published
The New York Times has now relented and published, on Sunday, two sports columns it had earlier killed, columns which disagreed with the view of the Times editorial page that Tiger Woods should boycott the Masters Golf Tournament because the Augusta National Club, where it is held, does not admit women. In doing so, however, executive editor Howell Raines denied that the columns were spiked because of the views expressed. The problem, he said, was that one of the columns was a weak argument and the other specifically took issue with a Times editorial, which is against Times policy. But he said, "There is not now, nor will there ever be, any attempt to curb the opinions of our writers."