- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Chinese social

The Social Security Administration just held its 65th anniversary celebration at SSA headquarters, where employees arriving at work each day first stroll past a large statue and then portrait of the now-controversial program's founder Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Those same employees found themselves doing double takes when, during the celebration, SSA bosses passed out nifty memorabilia pins "Social Security, An American Cornerstone" in containers stamped "Made in China."

No need to write

"You may have missed this," writes Ernest W. Lefever, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (actually, we didn't, but it's worth repeating).
While at Harvard, a young Al Gore in a letter to his father asserted that America was "energetically supporting fascist, totalitarian regimes in the name of fighting totalitarianism, … including Greece, South Vietnam, a good deal of Latin America," adding that the U.S. Army had "an inveterate antipathy for communism."
In New Haven, Conn., a young George W. Bush reacted differently to the radical zeitgeist: "I don't remember any kind of heaviness ruining my time at Yale."

Declassified trivia

The CIA says its "World Factbook," providing an otherwise hard-to-locate snapshot of governments, militaries, political parties, illicit drugs, even the number of telephones in 267 given countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe is now the agency's most popular "overt" product.
The fact book's Web page alone is accessed an average of 380,000 times each month at www.cia.gov.

2002 models

We've obtained an internal memo issued by the director of Climate Action NOW, a grass-roots movement fighting climate destabilization from greenhouse-gas emissions.
The memo asks group members for input on what to title an upcoming "protest" in Detroit, birthplace of the automobile:
"I've had two titles running through my head since April: 'International Day of Outrage Against Climate Destabilization' (this draws upon the Day of Outrage tradition started by Earth First against roads, the Forest Service, World Bank, etc. and it would be an umbrella term, year after year) [and] 'International Day of Outrage Against the Automobile' (this would be the title for this year's protest; who knows what the focus will be in 2002).
"It could be tweaked, of course. Something like 'International Day of Outrage Against the Automobile Multinationals' (or corporations) or 'International Day of Outrage Against the Internal Combustion Engine,' etc."
The director also says a clear message for the conference would be powerful, for example, "an immediate ban on the production of all automobiles that get less than 70 mpg."
Don't hold your breath.

Udder nonsense

The National Wilderness Institute has just released a report charging the Environmental Protection Agency with grossly misusing science for political ends, intimidating and harassing people (including a California dairy farmer) who question agency policies, and committing or condoning numerous unethical and possibly even illegal activities.
EPA denies the accusations.
Still, one who has studied the report, Bonner Cohen, senior fellow of the free-market Lexington Institute, opines: "Mismanagement and corruption at the EPA goes far beyond the bullying tactics of the IRS [Internal Revenue Service], the abuse of the White House Travel Office employees and the disarray of the FBI lab."

Political race

There's just two weeks to go before the 20th running of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association "Capital Challenge," known for its irreverence and political humor, as well as occasional displays of athletic prowess.
Still, race officials reserve the right to remove any runner from the course "for political or any other valid reason."
Vice President Al Gore has run the three-mile race around the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials nine times. And last year, 29 members of Congress captained teams, trying to outpace Clinton Cabinet members, federal judges and members of the media.
Team names alone make you want to run: "Earth, Wind and Thad" (Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican), "Can't Catch Me Kennedys," (Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat), "See Udall Later" (Rep. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat), and "Courtus Interuptus" (U.S. Court of Federal Claims).
Last year's fastest male senator: Don Nickles, Oklahoma Republican (23:57), the fastest female senator: Kay Bailey Hutchison, Texas Republican (33:20).
Sen. Richard "Iron Man" Lugar, Indiana Republican, has never missed a challenge since they began in 1981. The Sept. 13 challenge benefits Washington's Special Olympics.

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