- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 30, 2000

Al on video

For those who can't get enough of Vice President Al Gore crisscrossing the nation in his bid to become the next president, the Gore 2000 campaign is encouraging Americans to add the "Gore 2000 FasTV player" to their computer Web sites.

That way, "your personal Web site can feature Gore 2000 video," says the campaign.

Denormalizing food

The first National Nutrition Summit in 31 years is being held in Washington this week, President Clinton kicking things off over the weekend by issuing the federal government's new Dietary Guidelines 2000.

Mr. Clinton, who claims he's not as big a fan of Ronald McDonald as the press has made him out to be, is encouraging Americans to choose more whole-grain foods and a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, and moderate the saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, salt and alcohol in our diets.

All well and good advice from our commander in chief except, according to one hospitality alliance, the summit's agenda to battle the "obesity epidemic" is going well beyond the Department of Agriculture's "food pyramid" dietary guidelines.

The Guest Choice Network says "nanny" organizations, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), huddled with federal officials to discuss imposing mandatory menu warning labels, levying "Twinkie" taxes on high-caloric foods, launching media campaigns to "denormalize" popular restaurant food, and mandating food and beverage marketing restrictions.

Will Uncle Sam take the proposals seriously?

The network, which aims to protect consumer choices, is afraid so, quoting Dr. Rajen Anand, director of the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, whose agency oversees the food pyramid program: "People don't have the knowledge or willpower to select the right kind of food."

Also, the network says in the summit session on behavior change and lifestyle improvements, fat-tax advocate James O. Hill remarked that "Americans have too much food available."

Finally, the network points to CSPI five-year board member Marion Nestle, who moderated a summit panel that recommended ways to modify the food environment and seeks federal price controls to make snacks and high-energy foods more expensive.

Too many rabbits

Because of his support for universal, voluntary family planning at a time when 80 million people are added annually to the world population of over 6 billion, Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, has just been named Legislator of the Month by the Population Institute.

Eating pork

Recognizing dogged perseverance in the mad pursuit of pork, Citizens Against Government Waste has awarded its "Oinkers" of 2000.

• The Tracks of My Tears Award to Rep. Jack Kingston, Georgia Republican, for $100,000 for Vidalia onion research.

• The Piracy of the Potomac Award to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, Mississippi Republican, for procuring a $375 million amphibious assault ship for his district the Navy doesn't want.

• The Bridge Over Troubled Fiscal Waters Award to Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, South Carolina Democrat, for $1 million for the Limehouse Bridge, which is used by patrons of golf resorts on Kiawah and Seabrook Islands.

• The Who Wants to Be a Billionaire Award to Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican, for using the other 49 states as his "porkline" while securing more that $1 billion in earmarks since 1991.

• The Jurassic Pork Award to Rep. Julian Dixon, California Democrat, for adding $1 million for a dinosaur exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History.

• The Smell Test Award to Sen. Kit Bond, Missouri Republican, and Rep. Stephen Buyer, Indiana Republican, for $1.75 million for animal waste research at the University of Missouri and Purdue.

Bill's beacon

"I had the privilege of visiting Washington, D.C., last week with my son," writes Paul Abramson, of Berkeley, Calif. "Well, just after passing the White House, in the small area to the west [set aside for protesters] I felt like my ears were hurting inside.

"I had not heard any discernable loud noises. I looked at their [protest] signs, but had only walked through their midst. Is the White House using some kind of 'silent' loud noise, or possibly directing microwave emissions to dissuade protesters and give them headaches, or inflict other incidental damage to them?

"Well, perhaps I only imagined it, but it occurred to me later that this was the only time, outside of a loud concert, that I recall feeling as if I'd been somehow aurally assaulted."

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