Originally created 03/01/01

Kent: More on police 'profiling'; that dyed-and-tucked Denise



PRESIDENT GEORGE W. Bush made a point in his Tuesday night speech of "ending racial profiling" by police. But wait. Consider these two recent stories:

"Genetic code doesn't reveal race distinctions," is the headline over a San Jose Mercury News article quoting Celera Genomics Corp. head Craig Venter, whose company joined with a public consortium of scientists to map the human genome.

"Police use DNA to find suspects' race," is the headline over a London Sunday Times report about British police tracking down suspects from physical descriptions or race and hair color taken from DNA profiles based on blood samples or other traces found at crime scenes.

Who's right?

Venter makes a sweeping statement: "You cannot look at a person's genes and say with any accuracy whether they are from one racial group or not." Huh? What about genetic diseases that one racial group is prone to have and others aren't? Cystic fibrosis, for example, is basically found in whites of European descent.

British police confirm that, in collaboration with their country's Forensic Science Service, they have been using DNA-based descriptions for the past year. In one test, police used the technique to predict the ethnic origin of 109 offenders, and 105 were correct.

"We know that some people will object, but it should be stressed that such tests are no more racially discriminatory than knowing from DNA that a suspect is male or female is sexist," said Ben Gunn, spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The technique helps police narrow down lists of suspects, but it will not be used as evidence. A full identification could only be made after officers arrested a suspect and take a blood sample to see if their DNA matches that found at the scene of a crime.

It looks like Venter and his people ought to go back to the drawing board in their lab.

It's how you look

WHAT WAS THIS `Slob Summit' between President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair?

As the accompanying photo shows, there were the two premier leaders of the West posing for photographers and TV cameras looking like chums going out to party. Where was the business coat and tie look befitting two prominent world leaders?

President Jimmy Carter learned a lesson in appearances when he went tieless and signaled to Cabinet agencies that "casual days" were OK. I remember talking to well-dressed foreign dignitaries at a State Department reception who were repulsed after having been greeted by Carter's official representative - a tieless, jeans-wearing Hodding Carter.

George W. Bush enjoyed a good first month and is presidential. He should have looked presidential at that Camp David conclave.

Denise, we hardly know ye

REMEMBER THE misogynistic abuse journalists heaped on Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state who certified the Bush win? A Washington Post writer opined that "her skin had been plastered and powdered to the texture of pre-war walls in need of a skim coat." Several compared her to Cruella De Vil of 101 Dalmatians fame; one wrote that Harris looked like a transvestite.

Someone on Fox News mused about why his journalist colleagues weren't focusing on Denise Rich, the moneybags ex-wife of fugitive Marc Rich who was pardoned by Bill Clinton? Well said!

This dyed-and-tucked vixen, with her revealing evening gowns, looks like a trashy social-climber right out of Hollywood central casting. (If the All My Children TV soap opera replaces a current character, evil lawyer Leslie Colson, the former Mrs. Rich must be auditioned.)

Remember the whispers about Harris and Gov. Jeb Bush? Well, publicist Lucianne Goldberg says her New York City police sources attest to several cozy late-night sessions between Denise and Bill.

So when is the Post Style section going to do a number on the Pardongate Girl?

Sniping over snipe

GEORGIA REP. Doug Teper, D-Atlanta, is carrying around a fraying Feb. 22 Chronicle story quoting him as saying a hunting bill "would supersede an ordinance in DeKalb County prohibiting snipe hunting." Teper laughs about fooling a "naive" Morris News Service reporter into believing his quote about the imaginary snipe.

However, a check in the dictionary reveals a "snipe" to be any of several wading birds. Betcha aging juvenile prankster Teper didn't know that.