- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 12, 2000

Unable to respond

Marisleysis Gonzalez, cousin to 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, will not be happy to learn that the letter she sent a month ago to Hillary Rodham Clinton begging the first lady, as a mom, to use her influence to help her family keep Elian in the United States apparently got lost in the mail.

"We have not received the letter," Toby Graff, the first lady's spokeswoman, told Inside the Beltway yesterday.

Meaning, for now at least, that Mrs. Clinton won't be put in the awkward position (like Al Gore earlier this week) of once again distancing herself from another of her husband's controversial policy decisions.

Asked about Elian on the campaign trail in New York, Mrs. Clinton would only say the Cuban boy shouldn't be used as a political football, adding that whatever decision is reached, it should be in the best interest of the child.

In her letter the White House can't find, Mrs. Gonzalez was hoping for a stronger voice from the normally outspoken Mrs. Clinton.

"We beg you now, as a mother, to be the first lady that truly crosses ethnic barriers and speaks out for the children," the letter read. "Please, please help."

Time for reflection

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may have titled his upcoming talk "Reflections of a Private Citizen," but that doesn't mean he'll be discussing his own private matters.

Meaning, of late, his nasty divorce proceedings and revelations from same of his six-year adulterous affair with a young congressional aide.

Instead, the first Republican speaker in four decades, who almost fooled everybody with his "family values" sermons, will after 20 years as a member of Congress and one year as a private citizen share his thoughts on: the legacy of the Clinton administration (no doubt a change of heart from a year ago), the state of American politics, the elections of 2000, and what Americans should expect from their government in the 21st century.

"Newt Gingrich: Reflections of a Private Citizen," will commence next Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the American Enterprise Institute's Wohlstetter Conference Center at 1150 17th Street NW. Wine and cheese to follow.

Nanny Dan

Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman is one of 24 nominees vying for the dubious distinction of being named 1999's "Nanny of the Year."

Nanny candidates either misrepresented scientific studies, exaggerated environmental effects or manipulated animal rights causes in an effort to reduce consumer choices over food, alcohol and tobacco.

Mr. Glickman's recognition stems from "overstepping" his authority by implementing the USDA's new anti-fat campaign a nutrition intervention program (and May summit) to showcase that Americans, in the opinion of the federal government, are too fat.

This column is told that the USDA will go so far as to begin auditing what it is that people of one state congratulations Mississippi are putting into their mouths that makes them so obese.

"It may be one of the most intrusive lifestyle interventions ever proposed by our government," says a spokesman for the Guest Choice Network, a coalition of 30,000 restaurant and tavern owners working together to preserve the right to offer guests a full menu of dining and entertainment choices.

Among the GCN's other nominees: Action on Smoking and Health, Center for Science in the Public Interest, the World Health Organization, Greenpeace (for spinning a Cornell study on monarch butterfly caterpillars into a worldwide panic), Carnival Cruise Lines (for evicting a paying passenger for merely possessing tobacco), and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (for attempting to ban beer on a Texas golf course).

Read all about it

If you want your son or daughter to aspire to become president of the United States, get them a newspaper route.

At least three of the 2000 presidential candidates list "newspaper boy" as their first job: Democrat Bill Bradley, Republican John McCain, and Reformist Pat Buchanan (who delivered the old Washington Times-Herald).

For his first job, Vice President Al Gore skipped the paper route and went directly to the newsroom, as a "copy boy" for a newspaper in Nashville.

Equal hustle

Speaking of first jobs, the Center for Immigration Studies, using data collected by the Census Bureau from 1960 to 1997, has learned that while immigrants were once "significantly" more entrepreneurial than native Americans, self-employment patterns among both groups have become very similar.

The report, "Reconsidering Immigrant Entrepreneurship: An Examination of Self-Employment Among Natives and the Foreign-Born," will be released today at the Rayburn House Office Building.

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