- The Washington Times - Monday, August 1, 2005

But can they cook?

What do Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine all have in common?

Apart from sporting different political patterns, the five women were named by Forbes magazine as among the “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gets top honors as the “World’s Most Powerful Woman.”

Longing for home

C.O.W.P.I.E. — The Committee of Wyoming People in the East — held one of its unique D.C. soirees Friday night.

Part of the Wyoming State Society, this C.O.W.P.I.E. affair featured Budweiser and Jack Daniels for $20 a person. When not dancing to Western swing music, the Wyoming transplants took turns riding a mechanical bull.

Speaks for itself

“Each of our fingers has a special purpose and meaning in life. Can you tell us what finger it was he held up?”

That’s our “Question of the Week,” posed last Friday by a member of the White House press corps to presidential spokesman Scott McClellan.

If you didn’t see it, NBC “Tonight” show host Jay Leno aired a video of President Bush entering the U.S. Capitol late last week. As he walked away from the press, Mr. Bush suddenly lifted his hand high into the air and raised a certain finger.

“Mr. Leno interpreted it as, shall we say, a finger of hostility,” noted the scribe.

Mr. McClellan declined comment.

Playing the lottery

So, Congress is demanding to know, after police began conducting random searches of bags carried into the New York City subway system, what’s being done in the District to address similar transportation security concerns?

Hopefully, something more beneficial, say two leading terrorism specialists (although transit police in the District were sent to the Big Apple last week to observe how the bag inspections are being carried out).

“The odds of catching a would-be subway bomber are not very good,” warn Charles V. Pena and Ted Galen Carpenter, director of defense-policy studies and vice president for defense and foreign policy, respectively, at the Cato Institute. Consider these statistics:

“New York’s subways carry about 4.5 million passengers on the average weekday,” the pair notes. “If, on any given day, there were a single terrorist riding the subway, and half the passengers were carrying some sort of bag, the probability of finding him or her during any particular search using a truly random search pattern would be about one in 2.25 million or about four 10-millionths of 1 percent.

“Such odds are only slightly better than winning New York’s Mega Millions lottery — about 1 in 175 million.”

Politics as business

As of yesterday, the Democratic National Committee had hired 90 paid campaign organizers in 25 states to help rebuild a national party that New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton declared was in disarray last week.

“We’re halfway there,” DNC Executive Director Tom McMahon said of the Democrats’ 50-state strategy that he calls “revolutionary” — albeit “a huge new financial commitment for the party.”

The DNC executive foresees a paid staff on the ground in all 50 states before the end of this year, unlike in the past when Democrats “made the same mistake every election cycle — during the last few months before the presidential election we build a huge organization, and then dismantle it as quickly as possible.”

Romper room

“Your [Friday] piece on [White House spokesman] Scott McClellan’s daily bout with reporters reminds me of how my wife and I deal with our children (ages 9, 7, 5, and 2) when they do not like the answer to a question,” writes Inside the Beltway reader Alexis von Spakovsky of Madison, Ala.

“Mr. McClellan should ask them the following: ‘What was the question?’ followed by ‘And what was the answer?’

“If this does not work, Mr. McClellan should send these supposedly educated adults to time out.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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