- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Sunny and warm
"A glorious day for McVeigh to go away."

— Weather forecast (of sorts) broadcast yesterday over WWDC-FM in Washington shortly after American terrorist Timothy McVeigh was executed by injection.

Top priority

How much clout does senior Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat — and his secretary, for that matter — exert over the federal government?
You be the judge.
Inside the Beltway has obtained copy of a grant issued by the Federal Railroad Administration, an agency of the Department of Transportation, announcing a three-year, $3.2 million award to CSX Transportation Inc. (CSX Railroad) for a project congressionally earmarked by Mr. Byrd to upgrade track, signals and passenger-station facilities for the MARC Brunswick commuter rail line between Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg, both towns in West Virginia.
And just in case any bureaucrats question the importance of these railroad upgrades, in parentheses above the signature of the federal contracting/grants officer, Robert L. Carpenter, it was typed: "Congressional interest expressed by: Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia (His secretary commutes daily from WV on this rail line)."

Adult toys

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers today will send the first of a set of six Matchbox cars to members of Congress to point out that its really consumers who are in the drivers seat when it comes to fuel economy.
In other words, although the law holds manufacturers responsible for meeting Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, in reality the types of vehicles consumers decide to buy determine whether manufacturers meet, exceed or fall short of standards in a given year.
Today, members get Volkswagen Beetles, which represent fuel economy. On July 10, theyll receive what consumers really want: the Porsche 911T and BMW Z3.

Ivory and wood

A Rolling Stone addressing the Farm Bill?
Quirky as that sounds, Chuck Leavell, one of the worlds most acclaimed rock/blues pianists, who has tickled the ivories on seven Rolling Stones albums and five world tours, three Eric Clapton albums (including the Grammy award-winning "Unplugged"), not to mention five albums with the Allman Brothers Band, now is considered one of the nations leading tree farmers.
Today, hes called to appear before a House Agriculture subcommittee that is soliciting views on how the farm bill should deal with sustainable forestry. Many see this as a major opportunity to substantially reorient federal conservation policy toward private landowners.
Mr. Leavell, who runs a tree-farming enterprise in central Georgia, has twice been crowned Georgia Tree Farmer of the Year, and in 1999 was named National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year.

Al of Gore

"Everything about the Bush presidency struck me as being ripe for a Shakespearean drama," says playwright Tim Ryan, drawing inspiration from such classics as "Henry V," "Hamlet," "King Lear" and "Richard III" to pen a full-length Shakespearean parody covering President Bushs first 100 days in office.
"The History of King George II, Part One" begins with Mr. Bush at his coronation in a very divided kingdom (after a battle in which his rival, Prince Al of Gore, has met with narrow defeat) and follows his reign through a near-war with China.
"You could compare Bush with Prince Hal, whom many didnt take seriously when he first came to fill the throne left to him by his father," observes Mr. Ryan. "In other ways, hes closer to Richard the Second, whom many saw as a weak and ineffectual leader."
Democrats also get their share of the satiric needle. Mr. Ryan says he used Shakespeares drunken and lecherous Falstaff as the model for the deposed "King William of Clinton."
One can read all about King William and Prince Al over the political humor Web site Latest Sedition (www.latestsedition.com), which marked its first 100 days in the same week as the Bush administration.

In closing

Bruce F. Webster, of the District, writes: "While waiting for the light so that I could cross to the south side of K Street, I noticed a hand-lettered sign (black marker on white paper) attached to the bottom of the traffic light post, all lower case. It read:
'no riots, no war
'you blew them up for nothing Tim
'you were just insane."

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