- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2000

Serial number?

A U.S. Capitol Police officer who is notorious for enforcing pedestrian-crosswalk laws among congressional staff and other passers-by on the House side of the U.S. Capitol (you know the cop) issued a one-of-a-kind citation Thursday.
At precisely 9 a.m., at the intersection of First Street and Independence Avenue SE, the unforgiving officer scribbled and handed a ticket to three U.S. Marine Corps officers clad in green running shorts and T-shirts as they stood jogging in place.

Try glass

It's the same old story inside the Beltway: $5.8 million of pork added to the nation's current budget for "wood-utilization" research.
"I have a little coffee table in my house, and I cannot get that sap to stop staining up through the covering that is on it," the ranking member of a House Agriculture appropriations subcommittee, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio Democrat, actually said when pleading with the House to continue the funding for the wood-utilization project.
Since 1985, according to Citizens Against Government Waste, $56 million has been sapped from taxpayers for the wood-utilization research.

Crumpled Newt

It's been five years since Newt Gingrich disparaged the national network of taxpayer-funded television and radio stations, calling them an "enclave of the left" and "sandbox for the rich."
The former House speaker even pursued an unsuccessful campaign to end public funding for the Public Broadcasting Service, trading public barbs during the process with the head of PBS and practically every Democrat on Capitol Hill.
The latter came out on top.
Now, just months after Mr. Gingrich was proven right after disclosure that PBS' Washington and Boston affiliates traded donor lists with the Democratic Party, it's his turn to be profiled by PBS.
"The End of the Speakership: A Profile of Newt Gingrich," will air over PBS television stations in late summer at 8 p.m. Aug. 30.
"Ironically, at the height of the presidential scandals, when Bill Clinton seemed to be in greatest danger of losing his office as well as his integrity, Newt Gingrich crumpled, resigning the speakership in the face of a partywide challenge to his leadership," PBS says of its upcoming profile.
The examination of the former speaker, PBS says, will trace the "bizarre events surrounding Newt Gingrich in the months leading up to his fall from power, culminating in his surprising resignation and subsequent transition to ordinary citizen."
PBS will also report, accurately enough, that the verbal clashes between Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gingrich were both ideological and personal.
The relationship got worse after Mr. Gingrich's mother, Kathleen, was pressed into telling a national television audience what her Georgia Republican son really thought of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"She's a bitch," Mrs. Gingrich whispered.
The White House, after first reacting angrily to the characterization, couldn't help but laugh after Mr. Clinton himself acknowledged that "God knows" what his own mother would have said if asked a similar question.

Vote by sex

Tacked to telephone poles and other highly visible surfaces on Capitol Hill are placards encouraging voters to get out and vote on May 2 to "Elect Action Democrats for D.C. Democratic State Committee."
For some odd reason, the posters list the candidates under two group headings: "At-large males" and "At-large females."

Appointees languish

Some 435 senior-level appointees from the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations say the presidential nomination and confirmation process exacts a heavy toll on appointees, leaving them "exhausted, embarrassed and confused."
A survey to be released Friday by the Presidential Appointee Initiative, a project of the Brookings Institution, shows the presidential appointments process on the verge of collapse.
For instance, more than half of the appointees confirmed between 1984 and 1999 waited five months or more to enter office; just one-sixth of the appointees confirmed between 1964 and 1984 waited that long.
"This is no way to fill some of the toughest, most important jobs in the world," says Paul C. Light, Brookings vice president and director of governmental studies, who co-authored the survey report with Virginia L. Thomas, senior fellow in government studies at the Heritage Foundation.

Enough said

"Being gay is being Donna Reed."
The Washington Post, Thursday.

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or by e-mail (mccasl@twtmail.com).

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