- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2001

Thanks, mate
The state government of South Australia will pay Bill Clinton $500,000 to deliver a speech, the Australian newspaper reports.
Thats not a typo: a half-million dollars.
"How much does a Formula One driver get paid?" Information Economy Minister Michael Armitage said in defense of the fee. "People of public prominence ask a lot of money."
Of course, any government that can afford an "information economy minister" probably is not short on cash.
Mr. Clinton is scheduled to give the keynote address at a three-day information technology world congress in Adelaide in February.
The newspaper said Microsoft founder Bill Gates also is scheduled to speak — for free.

Fading Kennedys

"Since the end of World War II, the Kennedy name has been golden in Massachusetts politics. But the gilt is noticeably worn these days and may never fully regain its luster," Boston Globe reporter Brian C. Mooney writes.
"For the second time in less than three months, a Kennedy has taken a pass on a campaign for high office. [On Monday], it was Matthew Maxwell Kennedy, suddenly announcing that he is dropping out of the race to succeed the late J. Joseph Moakley in the 9th Congressional District. In March, it was his older brother, former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, pulling out of the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial derby," the reporter noted.
"There was a time in the Bay State when candidacy meant election for a Kennedy, any Kennedy, whether it was Edward M. Kennedy for the Senate in 1962, or Joe for Congress in 1986."
"But that time has passed," Mr. Mooney writes.

Torricellis tactic

"A good offense may be the best defense, but in Bob Torricellis case, its starting to look like the only defense," New York Post columnist Eric Fettmann writes.
"The New Jersey senator has launched an all-out attack on John Ashcrofts Justice Department, charging that its escalating probe of his finances is actually intended to wrest back control of the Senate for the GOP," Mr. Fettmann said.
"Its not even such a good offense: The investigation began two years ago, under Bill Clintons attorney general, Janet Reno, and is being conducted by another Clinton appointee, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White.
"But its what Torricelli knows: The 'Torch has a long habit of lashing out when under attack, using every rhetorical trick in the book — and not always limiting himself to the facts either.
"Which is why his lawyer has formally demanded that the probe be turned over to a special prosecutor, lest the senator be indicted 'in order to change the balance of power in the Senate.
"For the record, Ashcroft told Congress hes already recused himself from 'any involvement in the Torricelli matter. Moreover, switching prosecutors would prolong the investigation — and risk running into the fast-approaching five-year statute of limitations," Mr. Fettmann writes.

Go ahead and cry

"HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson is supposed to be politically clever, so we dont know whether to laugh or cry at his latest afflatus," the Wall Street Journal says.
"He has decided to change the name of the governments notorious health care regulator, the Health Care Financing Administration, or HCFA," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"'Its difficult to warm up to something called a HCFA, Mr. Thompson said. He then suggested the alternative of MAMA, for Medicare and Medicaid Administration. We appreciate the irony of trying to call an entitlement agency MAMA. (The possibilities are endless, renaming the IRS dear old DAD?) But focus groups panned MAMA, so the agency held an internal name-that-bureaucracy contest, with results to be announced soon.
"Mr. Thompson doesnt seem to understand that HCFA is to be loathed not because of what its called, but because of what it does — regulate prices, harass doctors and hospitals, and generally make life miserable for millions of people. His political goal shouldnt be to make HCFA more cosmetically lovable, but to reform the health care system in a way that makes it less intrusive. His name-change ruse only makes that harder to achieve."

Tax-cut strategy

"The ultra-closeness of the last presidential election and the intrigues for control of the Senate show that control of American politics is up for grabs once again. Thats why the GOP has so much to gain if millions of voters see it as 'the party that puts money in your pocket. Thats why Republicans have to keep pushing tax cuts and promoting tax credits," syndicated columnist Marvin Olasky writes.
"Its harder to gain votes by cutting taxes than by passing out jobs: More people are helped, but the loyalty created isnt as great. Thats why the GOP needs a clear message based on the preamble to the Constitution: 'Provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare. Application: Well spend money when we are obligated to provide, well create good conditions for voluntary effort when our job is to promote, and the result will be trillions in savings — and more money in your pocket," Mr. Olasky said.
"If Republicans get into a bidding war with Democrats to see who can curry favor by expanding federal programs, they will be playing into the Democrats strength. But if they stick to principle, they can dominate politics for a generation or more."

A partial victory

Dan Mitchell, one of the leaders in the effort to stop the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development from forcing so-called tax havens to raise their tax rates, says partial victory has been achieved, UPI reports.
"The 'harmful tax competition phase of the battle is over," Mr. Mitchell writes. "The OECD has been routed and even the European Union is paying lip service to the notion that fiscal competition between nations serves a useful purpose (and Irelands vote to reject EU expansion should make the bureaucrats in Brussels even more careful in the future)."
The struggle, he says, now moves to phase two, the effort to set the conditions under which it is legitimate for governments to suspend financial privacy and divulge confidential information to other governments.

Gores new office

Former Vice President Al Gore plans to raise his profile in his home state, establishing an office and teaching in Tennessee.
During an awards dinner in Nashville sponsored by the Anti-Defamation Leagues Southeast region, Mr. Gore said he will open a permanent office in Nashville on July 20. Mr. Gore and his wife, Tipper, received the ADLs annual Johnny Cash Americanism Award for fighting prejudice and bigotry.
Mr. Gore will begin teaching full semesters at Fisk University and Middle Tennessee State University in the fall, the Tennessean reported.
Last spring, Mr. Gore taught a course at both Tennessee universities. He also taught at Columbia University in New York, and was a visiting professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Glacial pace

How long does it take to build a new airport runway? Ten to 15 years, the Chicago Tribune reports, noting that "Congress seems ready to do something about the tediously slow process."
"Todays airports need to comply with a maze of 28 federal laws, 12 executive orders, hundreds of lesser federal regulations and dozens of local rules and ordinances just to build a runway," reporters E.A. Torriero and Andrew Zajac write, citing Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican and chairman of the House Aviation subcommittee.

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