- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 26, 2004

One-track mind

The Associated Press reports Sen. John Kerry’s reaction to winning Hawaii’s presidential caucuses Tuesday:

“In a statement, Kerry said the win in Hawaii was nostalgic because it’s the last place in America he stopped before heading to Vietnam.”

Perle leaves post

Richard Perle, a Pentagon adviser known for his hawkish views on Iraq, has resigned his membership on the Defense Policy Board, which counsels the secretary of defense on policy issues.

In his resignation letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, dated Feb. 18 and released yesterday, Mr. Perle said he quit because he did not want his views “to be attributed to you or the president at any time, and especially not during a presidential campaign.”

“This is particularly true now since I have just published a book that calls for far-reaching reform of government departments responsible for combating terrorism,” he wrote. “Many of the ideas in that book are controversial and I wish to be free to argue for them without those views or my arguments getting caught up in the campaign.”

Mr. Perle added: “The fact that the Defense Policy Board is not a decision-making body but is simply a forum enabling the secretary of defense to hear a variety of opinions and observations (often opposed to one another) is simply not understood by the general public.”

Bennett on radio

Former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett will go on the radio April 5 as host of a national morning talk show.

“We’ll deliver a fast-paced, eye-opening national morning show with news, headline-making guests from the worlds of politics, media, sports and entertainment, and we’ll open up a dialogue with listeners from coast to coast every morning,” Mr. Bennett said in announcing the program.

“Morning in America” will be broadcast live from Washington every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. Eastern via the Dallas-based Salem Radio Network. Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia and Dallas are among the cities where the show will be on the air. Those in the Washington area will be able to hear it on WAVA 105.1 FM.

Subpoenas

A legislative committee investigating the conduct of Gov. John G. Rowland issued its first subpoenas yesterday, and said dozens more were forthcoming.

Four subpoenas were issued to the Republican governor, his wife, the governor’s office and the state Ethics Commission, said state Rep. John Wayne Fox, co-chairman of the committee. An additional 40 to 50 were expected, although names of those being subpoenaed were not immediately released, the Associated Press reports.

The committee, formed by the state House of Representatives, is charged with recommending whether to impeach Mr. Rowland.

The first batch of subpoenas seeks documents, with testimony sought later. “It’s a very broad request,” Mr. Fox said.

D.C. and Hollywood

Aaron Sorkin, creator of NBC’s “The West Wing,” says the sacrifices people in government make inspire many of the show’s themes.

Mr. Sorkin was among those who took part in a discussion in Los Angeles on Wednesday night about how Hollywood’s portrayal of government workers can inspire people to enter public service, the Associated Press reports.

“It’s a lot of hard work for the greater good without very much reward at all,” Mr. Sorkin said.

But he also joked about the differences between Washington and Hollywood: “I think in Hollywood, the writing is better.”

“Hollywood is dog-eat-dog,” Llewellyn Wells, “West Wing” co-executive producer, said in the opening remarks. “And Washington is the complete reverse.”

About 500 people attended the discussion, which was sponsored by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit organization that works to inspire young people to take part in public service.

Anti-opium program

The State Department has begun an aggressive antidrug effort in Afghanistan, targeting opium production that has risen twentyfold over the past two years, similar to peak production levels under the Taliban regime.

Assistant Secretary Robert B. Charles, who heads the department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), told a House subcommittee yesterday that the government intends to cut heroin poppy cultivation, destroy drug labs, promote interdiction, and seek the prosecution and conviction of drug traffickers.

Mr. Charles told the House Government Reform subcommittee on criminal justice, drug policy and human resources that Afghan President Hamid Karzai “means business.”

“This is a leader who is dedicated to breaking the cycle of opium poppy cultivation and narcotics trafficking in his country before local trafficking rings become cartels and put down taproots, transforming Afghanistan into a narco-state,” Mr. Charles said.

Mr. Charles described the government’s antidrug strategy in Afghanistan as threefold: targeted eradication of heroin poppies, development of alternative sources of income for poppy growers and law enforcement, which he said raises the costs and risks of heroin trafficking.

Afghan opium producers account for more than 75 percent of the world’s opium poppies, which are processed into heroin.

Keyes backs Klayman

Former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes has endorsed Larry Klayman for a U.S. Senate seat from Florida.

Mr. Klayman, a former head of the legal group Judicial Watch, is a Republican who hopes to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Bob Graham. At least four other prominent Republicans also are seeking the nomination.

“When others were afraid to fight the Clintons and their friends, Larry was there leading the fight,” Mr. Keyes said in a statement. “He will be that type of senator for Florida and the nation.”

Wilson’s new gig

Former California Gov. Pete Wilson has been hired by a consulting group that helps companies develop business and political strategies.

The Republican, who was governor from 1991 to 1999, will join Bingham Consulting Group beginning Monday, the company said in a statement. He will work with companies to create policies that can be used in regulated industries such as health care, energy, manufacturing and telecommunications.

He also will counsel the company’s 850-member international law firm, the Associated Press reports.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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