- The Washington Times - Friday, February 18, 2000

I ain't your maid

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright has just informed the House International Relations Committee during testimony this week that she will be heading back to Albania for some additional diplomatic housekeeping.
OK, we made up the last part.
Still, we can't help but recall an embarrassing moment for Mrs. Albright during last year's Kosovo peace negotiations, when the secretary was actually mistaken for a cleaning lady.
It was after midnight, Albanian diplomat Digagjin Gorani recalled for the British broadcast "War on Europe," and Mrs. Albright strolled into the Albanian delegation's room at the Rambouillet chateau in France, only to be told by one negotiator who apparently mistook her for a housekeeper: "Give us five minutes and please go away."
Mrs. Albright at that point became furious, said another member of the delegation, Veton Surroi, "using explicit language which the translators never could translate into Albanian."

Our agenda

Apparently both newspapers in the nation's capital The Washington Post and The Washington Times have landed the same ombudsman, E.R. Shipp.
On leave from Columbia University until next fall to practice ombudsmanry at the Post, Ms. Shipp, 44 who spent 13 years with the New York Times, winning a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1996 was interviewed recently by Newswatch, a publication of the Center for Media and Public Affairs.
Asked about "the media" today, and why it has a credibility problem, she replied:
"Because everybody lumps everything together as 'media.' The New York Times, The Washington Post, are not the same as the New York Post or The Washington Times in some cases because it has an agenda."
(Hmmm. The first person to correctly identify any "agenda" of this column will receive dinner for one at La Brasserie on a night Ted Kennedy is there).
Ms. Shipp explains that when one part of the media "is less credible, then that makes everything that everybody in their heads thinks of as 'the media' suffer."
Miss Shipp acknowledges, in her duty as ombudsman, that readers of her newspaper complain, often by e-mail, that The Washington Post is a "lefty rag."
However, she concludes: "I think people are more conservative who contact me by e-mail. They appear to be male, and from some of the issues they raise, they appear to be white."

Life's a gas

Word that newly crowned environmental spokesman Leonardo DiCaprio agonized over ordering a room service tuna sandwich during a recent interview in his hotel room the business end of which might have been caught with "innocent little dolphins" has caught the attention of Christopher C. Horner.
The Washington counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition notes that Mr. DiCaprio, further torturing himself, instead ordered the hamburger, despite his understanding that "the methane gas cows release is the No. 1 contributor to the destruction of the ozone layer."
"Rest easy, Leo," says Mr. Horner, "for the better efforts of masticating animals and unnamed bipeds aside you are mixing your metaphobias here, likely intending to 'flatulate' about 'global warming.'
"Methane has nothing to do with the 'ozone layer,' except maybe the one clouding the thoughts of Al Gore and the rest of the eco-radicals. Methane is just the punch line in that endless joke, 'global warming.'
"Plus, by killing that cow there is one less gassy bovine to so earnestly worry about. Besides, in my house, we always blamed the dog."

Cuban shuffle

At least one Capitol Hill office is astounded to learn that New York Reps. Michael R. McNulty and Maurice D. Hinchey, both Democrats, as well as staff members of the Congressional Black Caucus, were traveling to Cuba during this upcoming Presidents Day holiday.
The purpose of the five-day trip, sponsored by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), is to bolster the case against the U.S. embargo over Cuba. The delegation hopes to meet with Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
"It's ironic, here we are this Presidents Day weekend a federal holiday to honor George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the presidency, our democracy and here these guys are schlepping to Cuba to meet with a dictator who's never won an election," says Stephen Vermillion, chief of staff to Cuban-born Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Florida Republican.

Late retirement

With taxes exorbitantly high,It's hard to put anything by.And yet there's no suretyIn Social Security,So I guess I'll just work 'til I die. F.R. Duplantier, director of America's Future

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