- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2001

Cooler bureaucrats
"I think Im going to call Al Gore and see where he buys his earth tones so I have something to wear this summer," remarks one official with the Environmental Protection Agency, after receiving a memo sent to all EPA employees yesterday announcing a new "Business Casual" summer dress code:
"With the onset of warm weather, the administrator [Christie Whitman] would like to invite all EPA employees to observe a 'Business Casual dress code through the end of September. Consistent with the presidents directive concerning reduced energy usage for federal facilities, EPA is taking a number of steps to conserve energy at all our offices and facilities, including adjustments to building temperature settings. To accommodate these efforts during the warm weather months, business casual attire will be allowed in order to make the higher temperatures more comfortable for employees."
And how casual is casual?
"Please use good judgment in determining what is appropriate for the office."
The memo was signed by Mrs. Whitmans chief of staff, Eileen McGinnis.

Potpourri pollution
Environmental Protection Agency research has found an air pollution threat from candles.
Thats right, burning candles indoors can produce high levels of particulates, says a Greensheets advisory forwarded by the Washington-based Cooler Heads Coalition.
It notes that while the EPA cannot set indoor air standards, the agency conducted the research on candles after Congress requested information on all sources of particulates.

Criminal costs
"All right, gentlemen, in this committee we swear in our witnesses, so if youd all rise and raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give today is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"
—Rep. Doug Ose, California Republican who chaired yesterdays natural resources and regulatory affairs subcommittee hearing into the supply — and skyrocketing cost — of gasoline, featuring among others an official from the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association.

Scotts hints
When it comes to energy shortages, theres a reason California is in worse shape than everybody else.
"It is because they put themselves there," says Rep. Scott McInnis, Colorado Republican. "There is a correlation between not much planning and lots of trouble."
The congressman says California residents must also do more to help conserve electricity. He provides these tips, among others:
Take shorter showers; shave and wash clothes with cold water; dont preheat ovens; turn ceiling fan blades clockwise (counterclockwise heats a room); grab the first available parking space and get out and walk; change car oil every 5,000 to 7,000 miles as owner manuals direct instead of every 3,000 miles as one successful marketing ploy insists; shut off the television.

Silencing Congress
Utilities in California said theyd warn residents in advance of rolling electricity blackouts, but that wasnt the case when one congresswomans lights went out recently.
In fact, Rep. Hilda L. Solis, California Democrat, says not only was electricity completely shut off — without notice — to her home in El Monte, she couldnt even complain about it.
"I was unable to use my cell phone because there was no capacity to make calls," she says. "This is a serious problem that we are going through."

Checks in the mail
When can we expect to have those tax rebate checks from President Bush in hand?
Match the last two numbers of your Social Security number to determine when your check ($300 for singles, $500 for single parents, $600 for married couples) will be in the mail:
00 - 09 July 23
10 - 19 July 30
20 - 29 Aug. 6
30 - 39 Aug. 13
40 - 49 Aug. 20
50 - 59 Aug. 27
60 - 69 Sept. 3
70 - 79 Sept. 10
80 - 89 Sept. 17
90 - 99 Sept. 24

Be irrelevant
Rep. Christopher Cox, California Republican, rose on the floor of the House this week to commemorate "Irrelevant Week."
Proclaimed for the first time 26 years ago on the premise of "doing something nice for someone for no reason," Irrelevant Week since then has inspired countless generous acts.


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