- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2000

Expensive outpost

Wait until you get a load of these apples: While Washingtonians renew cries that they face "taxation without representation," a new study shows the city received a whopping $24 billion cash infusion from American taxpayers in 1998, even though its residents paid only $1.9 billion in federal income taxes.

In other words, the relatively small city in terms of population gets $12 back for every $1 residents pay in taxes.

This is by far the most "lopsided" balance of payments compared with any of the 50 states, says the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, which conducted the nonpartisan study.

"Some District of Columbia leaders denounce Washington's so-called 'colonial' status … on recently issued D.C. license plates," notes study author Mark Schmidt. "But if indeed America treats Washington like a colony, it is an extremely expensive outpost of the empire."

On a per-capita basis, the typical American's share of federal spending in 1998 was $5,491. In contrast, each D.C. resident devoured a $45,955 slice of the federal pie.

Nose infringement

Instead of Rudolph and his traditional team of reindeer, the Australian Embassy in Washington has adorned its roof line with a team of kangaroos, the lead leaper sporting a bright red nose.

Contract # P-CHI-00616

A suspicious Housing and Urban Development staffer has alerted Capitol Hill to a most intriguing $45,000 contract, awarded under HUD Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo, to study historic preservation in Siracusa, Italy.

"It looks like this is the Italian version of 'Roots,' " quips one congressional staffer now investigating the contract, which was awarded earlier this fall.

Tired of punching

"The nation, in addition to the Bush and Gore campaigns, has gone through a grueling and exhausting recount exercise, and Americans are ready for the healing to begin," says Mark Miller, executive director of the Republican Leadership Council.

GOP pollster Frank Luntz couldn't agree more. One thing is certain, he adds, about how Americans will cast votes in the next presidential election:

"No more chads, no more dimpled ballots."

Earned his medals

"I'm sorry we couldn't serve snake today, sir."

National Press Club President Jack Cushman, after observing in his introduction of Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Henry H. Shelton that before taking over the job as principal military adviser to the president he had led a rifle company in Vietnam, served as a division commander in Operation Desert Storm, led a parachute corps during the intervention in Haiti, and one week before officially assuming his presidential duties was jumping out of airplanes over Florida.

Amiable for now

Geniality flowed, however briefly, as freshman congressmen from both sides of the aisle mingled for a 107th Congress "orientation" hosted by Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

"This is one of the first opportunities for newly elected members to come together and consider the issues they will face during their service in Congress … in a nonpartisan setting," notes David Pryor, former senator from Arkansas and now director of the university's Institute of Politics.

Current events

President and Mrs. Clinton wanted to give Americans 100 years from now a time capsule to help answer this era's questions, of which there surely will be no shortage given recent events.

So the White House Millennium Council began by approaching former presidential and congressional medal winners to decide what artifacts, ideas and accomplishments best represent America at this time in history.

Among those responding to the call: Retired Gen. Colin Powell, musician Ray Charles, historians Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and John Hope Franklin, the "Father of Chicano Music" Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrero, and former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller.

Yes, Mankiller.

For the next month, the ventilated time capsule and its contents stored in materials that absorb harmful emissions that papers, metals and plastics give off over time will be on display in the rotunda of the National Archives through Jan. 21.

It will remain with the archives until the 22nd century, at which time it will be opened by newly elected President George W. Bush IV or Albert Gore VI, whose ancestor invented the time capsule.

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