- The Washington Times - Monday, February 12, 2001

Ex marks the spot

And now, an ex-president report from the well-heeled avenues of his new residence:
"Here in Chappequa, the erstwhile leader of the free world is already a familiar figure yet another privileged baby boomer living in an old house off a winding road, seeming to have plenty of free time in the middle of his work day," noted the New York Times yesterday.
"Mr. Clinton has even been around long enough to snub some people. The owner of the Town Deli, Stosh Wegrzyn, is miffed that Mr. Clinton never came by to feel some of his pain after a fire shut down the deli for five months. Nor did Mr. Clinton respond to a personal invitation to the deli's 'Grand Reopening' two weeks ago. 'He could have stopped in,' Mr. Wegrzyn said."
Meanwhile, the locals foresee a Clinton overhaul:
"Christine Foscante, of Christine's Hair Studio, said she has an idea for cutting Mr. Clinton's hair: 'Shorter, a little more hip, now that he doesn't have to look presidential.' And next door at Wags and Whiskers, Christine Meyers said that if Buddy would stop in, 'We'd cut the nails, clean out his ears, give him a nice whirlpool.' "

Out of office

Meanwhile, the folks down home have something to say about Mr. Clinton's swanky New York office.
Rep. Kim Hendren, Republican from Gravette, has asked the Arkansas state legislature to adopt a resolution urging Congress to review expenditures authorized for former presidents.
The resolution states that former presidents be allowed "reasonable" amounts to underwrite their activities out of office but no one gets "unbridled access to the public pocketbook, regardless of his former position or personal popularity."
"This is not a partisan issue," Mr. Hendren said on Friday. "It is a heartfelt issue."
He proposes that former presidents use their speaking fees to fund their business offices.
One fellow legislator noted that Mr. Hendren's resolution only named Mr. Clinton and suggested that all presidents be named in it or none at all. Mr. Hendren agreed, and promised an edit.
"There is no intent on my part to single out President Clinton," he said.

Laden with concern

One elusive Saudi exile has better high-tech stuff than the United States at least according to Gen. Mike Hayden, director of the National Security Agency.
"Osama bin Laden has at his disposal the wealth of a $3 trillion-a-year telecommunications industry that he can rely on," Gen. Hayden told CBS' "60 Minutes II" in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow. "That's why. He has better technology."
NSA itself has been "behind the curve in keeping up with the global telecommunications revolution," said Gen. Hayden, who recalled three days in June 2000 when the agency's computers crashed.
"NSA headquarters was brain dead," he said. "We had some residual ability at our locations around the world, but I don't want to trivialize this. This was really bad."

Task at hand

Yesterday, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, cited a difference between himself and President Bush.
He told the Austin American-Statesman, "I think our styles are different because our tasks are different. The president is trying to unite a broad, national consensus for his priorities. My job is that hard, no-nonsense task of grinding out legislation. That's probably the most important difference."

Katherine, Part II

The London Daily Telegraph could not get enough of Katherine Harris, oft berated in the liberal press for her appearance during the election impasse.
"Far from the brash, scary she-devil image invented by the American media, Katherine Harris is a rather softly spoken woman with a firm handshake," the paper noted yesterday.
"Clad in her floor-length mink coat, Harris looks glamorous, and is undeniably attractive … she radiates not only charm, but also the sharp intellect of a Harvard master's graduate."
And of last year's trials and tribulations in Florida?
"It wasn't a constitutional crisis, let alone some kind of crisis of democracy," Mrs. Harris told the British daily. "We simply had a close vote."

Lighting up

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times said Gov. Gray Davis was "tilting at windmills" by urging Californians to conserve energy.
One group, however, is feeling a specific pinch. Marijuana growers who grow indoors with 1,000-watt light bulbs have power bills "as high as the folks smoking their product," the San Jose Mercury News noted yesterday.
"The last thing we need now is an energy crisis," noted one grower.

Charm defender

Even with the Bush charm offensive in full tilt, is Capitol Hill still a crabby battleground?
No, says Rep. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, who CNN called "a rising star in Congress."
"The tone has already begun to change," Mr. Portman told the network yesterday.
"And it doesn't mean we're going to agree on everything, and it doesn't mean that the president's proposals will go through Congress without debate. Nor does it mean that we're going to get Democrat votes on every presidential proposal. What it does mean is that we're cutting out some of the partisanship, some of the rancor, some of the bitterness, so that we can focus on our policy differences, and do so in a respectful way."

Mary guns for George

Sitcom mom and TV career gal Mary Tyler Moore has attacked Gov. George Pataki's proposal to allow more teen-agers to hunt big game.
Miss Moore, who now lives in New York's Dutchess County, is supporting an effort by the Fund for Animals to shoot down Mr. Pataki's proposal even before it formally reaches the state legislature.
The measure would lower the age to legally hunt deer and bear from 16 to 14. Young hunters would have to complete the state's 10-hour hunter safety course and hunt with a parent or have written permission from a parent to go with another licensed adult.
"The government should not be in the role of promoting and placing firearms in the hands of children," Miss Moore wrote the governor. "Basketballs, baseballs and books are a much better alternative."

Mr. Domino

When Republican Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee hinted he might run for governor next year, ambitious House members saw fresh career opportunities, the Associated Press reports.
"Fred Thompson is the king domino," says Democratic Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., one of five or six members of the state's House delegation, Republican and Democrat, who may seek statewide office in 2002. "When he goes one way or the other, the smaller dominos will fall."

Just fiction

Is NBC's "West Wing" finally giving Republicans and the "right wing" a little show of power? One recent episode featured fictional Democratic flack director Toby Ziegler outfoxed by a Republican opponent.
The show is not suddenly pro-Republican, the show's creator, Aaron Sorkin, insists.
"It really isn't about the new Bush White House. It's about opposition," Mr. Sorkin told the St. Petersburg Times yesterday.
"You're going to see opposition on the show, and you're going to see them making strong, compelling arguments. In our parallel 'West Wing' universe, which is two years off from the actual universe, Bartlet's going to need to start running for re-election. And he's facing all kinds of opposition including, by the way, opposition to his left."

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