- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2001

Funny Girl

Barbra Streisand's latest hit isn't a song, but a scolding memo, attacking Democratic leaders in Congress, of all comrades, for sitting on their butts.

"What has happened to the Democrats since the November election? Some of you seem paralyzed, demoralized and depressed," Babs writes in her latest congressional missive, this one three pages long. "I hope you're through arguing among yourselves and distancing yourselves from President Clinton."

Instead, Mr. Clinton's longtime cheerleader says Democrats should have one goal to win back the House, Senate and presidency.

"Unless we win, we'll be consistently on the defensive with our fingers holding the dyke against the Republican revolution," she warns. "This is not a time to be weak."

Leading by example, she then blasts President Bush for turning out to be "exactly the man we knew he was someone who goes back on his word."

"We have a president who stole the presidency through family ties, arrogance and intimidation, employing Republican operatives to exercise the tactics of voter fraud by disenfranchising thousands of blacks, elderly Jews and other minorities," she charges.

And instead of focusing on Mr. Clinton's controversial list of eleventh-hour presidential pardons, she says to "talk about Republican pardons" instead.

She accuses Mr. Bush of filling his first months in office "with shameless quid pro quos and paybacks," and points a finger at his father, former President Bush, for "pardoning those linked to him in the Iran-Contra scandal."

As Babs says for herself: "Just being nice doesn't work."

The Democratic leadership officials we spoke to yesterday smiled.

Tech Hill

Washington isn't just for politicians anymore.

Hill and Knowlton has just acquired the ProMarc Agency, a nationally ranked marketing and technology communications company in Washington, saying it wants to establish a foothold in the "D.C. high-tech corridor."

Tom Hoog, president and CEO of Hill and Knowlton, explains that Washington "is projected to be the fastest-growing technology region in the U.S. in 2001."

Now if the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index would only rebound.

Citizen watchdogs

Former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta is coming to Washington tomorrow to start a Web-based utility providing a first-of-its-kind public access to federal government expenditures at the state and congressional district levels.

An authority on national budget matters, Mr. Panetta is chairman of the Center for National Policy, which is overseeing the project.

Nixon opening

If you're patient enough, Uncle Sam will let you read almost anything.

Thirty years after the fact, the National Archives and Records Administration on Thursday will open approximately 100,000 pages from the Nixon presidency, the majority being National Security Council materials.

The newly declassified documents highlight some of the most significant foreign-policy initiatives of the Nixon administration, including the opening to China and the end of U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Included are memoranda of secret negotiations between Henry Kissinger and North Vietnam's Le Duc Tho. Mr. Kissinger at the time was assistant to the president for national security affairs.

Other memoranda consists of myriad conversations between President Nixon and world leaders, including Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.

Minding men

Sixty-eight members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors of a bill to establish the first-ever Office of Men's Health within the Department of Health and Human Services.

Men's Health America, a nonprofit research and education organization based in Rockville, Md., noted earlier in this column that there are six offices of women's health sprinkled throughout the federal bureaucracy, but no such office for men.

A January report issued by the group noted that the HHS devotes $1 billion annually to men's health, compared to $5 billion for women's health.

"Men die six years sooner than women, compared to only a one-year disparity in 1920," says the advocacy group, adding that only 32 percent of persons currently enrolled in National Institutes of Health research studies are male.

According to a 2000 Commonwealth Foundation report, men are less likely to have health insurance than women, are far less likely to have a usual source of medical care, and are less likely to seek medical attention when they get sick.

The HHS has yet to take a position on the congressional bill to establish an office for men.

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