Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington, occupying one of the Republican seats on the 9/11 Commission, so far appears to be holding to his promise of a nonpartisan review of the Sept. 11 attacks. (See "Gorton Answers 9/11 Call," Sept. 18, 2002.) His questions have been pointed to all comers, and he put a bottom-line query to author/ex-antiterrorism adviser Richard Clarke: If Clarke's advice had been heeded early on, would that have prevented 9/11? No, said Clarke. Gorton thinks that while both the Clinton and Bush administrations faltered, "nothing would have gotten at Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden short of an invasion of Afghanistan, and neither president was going to do that before 9/11." Now with the Preston Gates & Ellis law and lobbying firm, Gorton has been among the panelists pushing hard to have reluctant Bush national security adviser Condoleezza Rice appear publicly before the panel, which she was to do this week. As Gorton told CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "The 9/11 Commission is unique, or at least unique since the Pearl Harbor investigation. And so the circumstances being unique, it is totally appropriate that Condi Rice testify in public for the world to hear." Of course, the commission has already heard from Rice, behind closed doors, so Gorton already has a good idea what she'll say. RICK ANDERSON


Hearst Corp., owner of the Seattle Post- Intelligencer, this week said it will ask the state Supreme Court to review an unfavorable decision by the state Court of Appeals in Hearst's 2003 lawsuit against the Seattle Times Co. The local Blethen family, majority owner of The Seattle Times, is seeking to either renegotiate the profit split under the papers' joint operating agreement (JOA) or close the smaller P-I—which the Times sells, prints, and distributes—calling Hearst's paper a burden on the bigger but money-losing Times. Under the JOA, the Times Co. can initiate closure of one paper if it loses money three consecutive years. In the lawsuit, Hearst is challenging that, saying the expensive newspaper strike of 2000–01 was an aberration that shouldn't contractually count in a loss. Hearst won in King County Superior Court, but the Times Co. won a unanimous decision on appeal. Hearst has nothing to lose in seeking a Supreme Court review. The legal expense is pennies from the corporate treasure chest, the action boosts P-I staff morale, and, who knows, Hearst might get lucky by getting the high court to take on a case that would then drag on for another couple of years, costing the Times Co. dearly, assuming the Times continues to lose money. However, given the ease with which the appeals court set aside Hearst's arguments, the supremes might simply refuse the case. It would take a pretty strong legal scholar to draft a majority opinion that overturns the unanimous appeals court decision. DICK CLEVER


"Imagine what might have happened if Cobain and other alternative artists had been able to maintain this new counterculture long enough to hook up with the anti-globalization movement of the late '90s." —Michael Lewis Goldberg, University of Washington associate professor, speaking of the 1994 suicide of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tuesday, April 6)

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