- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2001

Balanced budget?

Whatever legacy Bill Clinton left us with has vanished like his comrades.

First off, former President Jimmy Carter all but "re-impeached" Mr. Clinton earlier this week for his careless pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. And if that wasn't signal enough that Democrats are abandoning the former president, former top presidential adviser Dick Morris predicts Mr. Clinton's "reputation will not survive this latest assault."

Instead, says the latter, Mr. Clinton will go down in history as "the impeached president who pardoned an assortment of felons as brazen as any that graced Ulysses S. Grant's term in office."

"Bill Clinton's legacy," Mr. Morris simply says, "is shot."

Medicate yourself

"Sorry, Bill Gates, you don't need our help."

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Texas Republican, trying to distinguish between Americans who could benefit from modernizing Medicare, including prescription medical coverage, and the billionaire Microsoft chairman and his lot.

Nursing cadets

A member of the Virginia Military Institute "Old Corps" is behind the distribution of a lesson in etiquette, poking fun at VMI's board of visitors for derailing any attempt to draft a "pregnancy policy" at the school after the U.S. Supreme Court forced VMI to admit women four years ago.

One female VMI board member was paraphrased by the alumnus as saying then: "We'll never have girls like that at VMI."

"Well, now we have a second classman [junior] with a child due in July," he says. "Can't wait to see the bulging coatee in finals' dress parades."

Several VMI alumni who had been outspoken against dropping the institute's 157-year all-male admissions policy were recipients of the alumni brother's mailing, culled from the 1923 book "Etiquette: In Society, In Business, In Politics and at Home," by Emily Post, and titled: "The Best Chaperon Herself."

"Ethically the only chaperon is the young girl's own sense of dignity and pride; she who has the right attributes of character needs no chaperon ever. If she is wanting in decency and proper pride, not even Argus could watch over her. But apart from ethics, there are the conventions to think of, and the conventions of propriety demand that every young woman must be protected by a chaperon, because otherwise she will be misjudged."

The pregnant cadet has been provided separate quarters at VMI until her baby is born. What happens beyond that is anybody's guess; however, expelling the woman is illegal under federal Title IX.

Doesn't square

One U.S. senator is demanding an explanation concerning soaring natural gas prices across the country, wishing to know who is pocketing the profits.

"While I was in Iowa," says Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, "I was told that while the demand for natural gas has increased 10 to 35 percent this winter, the price of natural gas has increased a whopping 200 to 400 percent. These numbers simply don't square. It is patently unfair for prices to increase 10 times more than the demand."

Mr. Harkin is calling on the General Accounting Office to investigate why the gas prices are suddenly so steep "and who is profiting from the high prices."

Moses production

Washington resident Shelia Moses, who along with comedian and social activist Dick Gregory co-authored "Callus on My Soul: A Memoir," has just signed with Showtime to bring the book to television.

Ms. Moses, who has written several other books and plays, will be executive producer of the television special, according to her agreement with Showtime.

Potomac monster

What better day than George Washington's birthday to call attention to a huge Potomac River fish that amazed the nation's first president because of its ability to grow as long as 14 feet.

The National Wilderness Institute has petitioned the federal government to protect the Atlantic sturgeon, which Washington hailed for its abundance in the Potomac River.

Washington actually was one of the earliest commercial fishermen on the Potomac, says NWI executive director Rob Gordon. In the period that followed, fish were so plentiful that river docks in Alexandria, Georgetown and Washington supported 450 fishing vessels, 1,350 fishermen and 6,500 laborers.

Today, government biologists believe the primary, if not only local spawning grounds for the magnificent sturgeon, often confused with the shortnose sturgeon, are in the Little Falls area, near the Georgetown Reservoir and upriver from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

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