- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

The vicious attacks on America on Sept. 11 changed some things and put still others in perspective. Or did they?

I mean things deemed important prior to that date are still important, while things that might have appeared important are now trivial, no longer on our collective radar screen or now come off as, well, outright whining. And it doesn't matter the topic domestic policy, a sex scandal, local economic issues, even sports.

Let's consider the relevance of the sports news. On Monday, millions of Americans viewed the Green Bay Packers' 37-0 drubbing of Marty Schottenheimer's Washington Redskins. While we needed the momentary, coast-to-coast distraction, many of us, particularly 'Skins fans, were shamefaced come Tuesday morning. Not necessarily because the 'Skins lost and now stand at 0-2, the worst start of any season since 1932 (a non-war year, by the way), but because the Packers literally shut us down.

Then, on Wednesday morning, as America awakened to more disheartening news out of New York, two quasi-bright spotlights shone on the Washington front. One brought news that Marty Schottenheimer's Redskins no longer have Quarterback Jeff George at the helm (Yeah, team!). The other was that legendary Michael Jordan announced he will don a Washington Wizards jersey and return to the court.

Yet, whether you are among those who await his on-the-court tongue-wagging (which I don't), among those who merely hope his return will help raise more non-tax revenue for your local economy (which I do), or just want to cheer courtside or couchside (at least he's on my team, which had a franchise worst 19-63 record last season), you must admit that even this news was tempered by the horrific havoc of Sept. 11. After all, the king of the NBA court is donating his $1 million salary to rescue efforts (not that he'd miss it anyway).

But while the man himself has answered the will-he-will-he-not-Michael-Jordan question, Bob and Susan Levy are still daunted by this question: Where is Chandra Levy?

We punt the question around ourselves every now and again. But no one's pressing Rep. Gary Condit not about Chandra's whereabouts, not about his seat on the elite House panel on terrorism and homeland security (which is hardly a bit player these days). And nobody from Geraldo Rivera to Bill O'Reilly is asking him will he or will he not seek re-election?

Nobody's talking about the scourge of drugs either. I mean, it was just a couple of years ago that Rep. Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus nearly raised Cain about the CIA, crack-cocaine and the Contras. Yet, they're mum about the heroin-running, gun-running connections involving Osama bin Laden and his bad boys money which, by the way, funds their global terror network and drugs which, by the way, devastate our economy and ruin our personal lives.

What are we to make of that? Especially in Washington. Where we just learned that there are 60,000 addicts of all drug-using persuasions. Where Mrs. Waters and her legislative sisters and brothers are holding their annual gathering. Where they are holding a so-called brain trust on the influence of hip-hop culture. Only the Left Coast can get away with such.

And what about laws that spite the nose to save face with unions? The D.C. legislature is headed that way with a stupid proposal that would force construction companies to hire union-only apprentices at mandatory-minimum wages with a kickback to the city's coffers.

Those sorts of things are counterproductive for a couple of reasons. For one, such proposals are nothing but grade A, homogenized extortion. For another, they carry political clout but deliver no real jobs. Moreover, however, is the fact that the nation's capital is in dire financial straits. Its unchecked spending has caused a deficit, its loss of revenue because of the war has exacerbated that deficit and a "Republican" (that would be D.C. Council member David Catania), is holding a public hearing today on that apprenticeship program, although it is already a done deal.

Indeed, these are troubling times in Washington. But you know what's funny? Political chickens are coming home to roost.

I get a particular kick reading about feisty Rep. Jim Moran, Northern Virginia Democrat, who is frustrated as all get out that Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport remains closed for security purposes. While I'm one of the many voices that demands the airport be reopened, Mr. Moran, bless his liberal heart, plans to introduce legislation on Monday that would mandate its reopening.

Now this is the same Jim Moran who blew gaskets when his Republican colleagues came down hard on mass transit officials because they have yet to replace signs and maps with the airport's official name in essence making Ronald Reagan persona non grata.

We'll see how much support Mr. Moran's proposal gets, considering the fact that the Republican-led House has not signed on. Fortunately, they are awaiting the Bush administration's airport safety and security measures.

Yes, America, it seems the more some things change the more others stay the same.

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