- The Washington Times - Monday, November 13, 2000

Another loser

A lawyer in Washington received the following inquiry from a prospective client Friday:

"I was wondering if you could represent me. I played the Powerball Lottery yesterday ($61 Million Jackpot). I didn't win. I think I entered the wrong numbers because the form was so confusing; too many numbers to pick and all. The numbers I meant to enter were the winning ones. I want to sue someone."

Punching Gore

Hopefully by 2004, Congress will have enacted legislation creating one (1) standardized presidential ballot, preferably with no punch holes, to be distributed to all 50 states.

Take the case of Daniel Klein, associate professor of economics at Santa Clara University in California, who tells Inside the Beltway after he punched holes for propositions and measures on last Tuesday's ballot he noticed one other hole already had been punched.

"It was Number 3: Al Gore," he reveals. "I complained and asked for a new ballot. She (the polling officer) said, 'Oh, sometimes the bits of paper fall out.' Who knows?"

So what happened next?

"The woman pulled the next ballot off the ream and that too was pre-punched for Al Gore," says Mr. Klein.

"I was a bit upset and we both examined the remainder of that ream, very quickly flipping it and checking Number 3, and it seemed OK," he says. "She and her colleague … wrote 'SPOILED' on the back of the two bad ballots.

"Neither one of them acted upset or concerned about the problem, but who knows how to read that."

Florida punch

Palm Beach County, Fla., hasn't been in the presidential spotlight this much since President Clinton's early morning "trip" down the steps of PGA pro Greg Norman's Palm Beach estate, ripping a tendon in his right knee.

Mr. Clinton had been drinking prior to the 1:20 a.m. accident, the White House told us three years ago, but only "coffee."

Speaking of which, the bar at the Ritz Carlton in Washington is featuring a new cocktail called "Indecision 2000," which the bartender shall continue pouring until a new president-elect is announced.

Ingredients: Gin and what else Florida juices.

Stick to envelopes

It's bad enough that the inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service recently released an audit revealing postal executives, mostly at Washington headquarters, used chauffeur-driven limousines more than 500 times over the past two years to travel between home and office, in violation of federal law.

Add to that this year's revelation that two postal executives were compensated nearly $250,000 for relocating to new homes closer to their Washington office, one receiving more than $140,000 to move a grand total of 2.5 miles reducing his commute by about one minute.

Now, the nonpartisan taxpayer group Citizens Against Government Waste has determined that the Postal Service every year loses at least $1 billion to waste, fraud and abuse plus another $84 million peddling products such as T-shirts, phone cards and coffee mugs emblazoned with various postal logos, including cartoons.

It's no wonder the Postal Service has requested a rate hike of $3.4 billion.

A reminder

We were inundated with mail after writing Friday about Sen. Orrin G. Hatch's efforts to help U.S. prisoners of war during World War II who, unbeknownst to most Americans, were forced into slave labor by private Japanese companies.

Following the Bataan Death March, thousands of POWs were shipped to Japan in the holds of freighters called "hell ships." Once there, they were forced into slave labor for private Japanese steel mills and such.

"Thank you for reminding me, age 82, of the American prisoners' treatment by the Japanese," writes A.B.M. "Of my 11 grandchildren, not one has ever had or probably never will have such information in their educational experience on any level: grade school, high school, college."

Merle E. Prinz adds: "I was acquainted with a few New Mexico [soldiers] who went through the death march. Their story has been held back even in many high school and college history books. I hope you continue to remind young Americans of this horror others went through in Asia. This is why we have a Veterans Day."

Millett's Charge

The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation's annual Truman-Reagan Freedom Awards Dinner will be held tomorrow evening at the J.W. Marriott Hotel. Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and Sen. Bob Kerrey, Nebraska Democrat, are serving as this year's co-chairmen.

Award recipients include retired Col. Lewis L. Millett, who led the last bayonet charge in U.S. military history in Korea; Orson Swindle, who spent six years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam; and retired Capt. John McKone, who in 1961 spent 208 days in solitary confinement in the infamous Lubyanka prison in Moscow.

Proceeds of the dinner will go toward construction of a Washington memorial and museum remembering more than 100 million people who died at the hands of communism in the 20th century.

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