- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2001

Georgia tango

At a time when national AIDS groups are claiming that President Bush's budget will cut federal funding for HIV-prevention programs, the agency charged with dispensing those resources is allowing these same AIDS groups to use federal funds for purposes other than prevention.

Like dancing the tango.

"Your cooperative agreement funds may be used to support travel, lodging, per diem expenses, and registration fees," writes Dr. David Holtgrave of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a letter to AIDS groups receiving federal prevention funds.

Dr. Holtgrave's letter authorizes the use of federal HIV-prevention funds for those attending a "skills-building" conference titled "Capacity Building for HIV Prevention," to take place in Atlanta April 1-5.

One of the skills listed on the preliminary agenda is "Cultural Dance Latin Dance," the only skills-building session scheduled for Wednesday.

Some activists for people with AIDS are not happy that federal HIV-prevention funds are being used for travel and lodging.

"Nice to know CDC funds expenses for AIDS bureaucrats to come to Atlanta for some rest and relaxation, under the guise of doing something about AIDS," says Michael Petrelis of the AIDS Accountability Project in San Francisco. "This … is a prime example of what AIDS-accountability activists label 'the AIDS gravy train.' "

Historic legacy

If you're one of the millions who thought President Clinton didn't leave the nation with a lasting legacy, think again.

So says the Democratic National Committee, under the new leadership of Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe.

Compiling "Landmark Dates in Democratic Party History," the DNC charts the legacy of the party from 1792, when Thomas Jefferson fought for the Bill of Rights and against the elite Populist Party.

From that point forward, the elections of Democrats from James Madison and James Monroe to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are among the party's landmark dates, and beneath deserving Democrats is written their legacy.

Monroe, for example, is credited for establishing the Monroe Doctrine.

Martin Van Buren, on the other hand, has no legacy whatsoever beneath his name. Ditto for Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan.

Woodrow Wilson is credited with three accomplishments: leading the country through World War I, establishing the Federal Reserve Board, and passing the first labor and child welfare laws.

Franklin Roosevelt has myriad accomplishents nine total for his legacy, while John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson get three each, and Jimmy Carter is awarded two: negotiating the Panama Canal and Camp David peace treaties.

Finally, there's Bill Clinton. Wouldn't you know he's awarded the biggest legacy of them all, or at least according to the DNC: economic package, Student Loan Reform Act, National Service Act, the Brady law, National Voter Registration Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, NAFTA, the crime law, School-to-Work Opportunities Act, GATT, Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, Telecommunications bill… .

And that's just his first term.

Wars still fought

The American Legion is holding its 41st Washington Conference, including a Persian Gulf war 10th anniversary commemoration and underlying theme of health care for sick veterans who fought in the 1991 war.

Guest speakers include Kuwait Ambassador H.E. Mohammed Sabah and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Horner, chief of air operations during the Gulf war.

In addition, there will be a POW/MIA update from Army Brig. Gen. Harry B. Axson, the joint task force's full accounting commander; an update on POW rescue efforts in Vietnam from Jay Veith, author of "Code Name Bright Light"; and a briefing by Bataan Death March survivor Frank Bigelow on the ongoing quest for reparations from Japan.

Hungry soldiers

Sen. John McCain continues to warn about the "shocking disarmament" of the U.S. military under the Clinton administration.

"In the wake of our stunning victory in the Persian Gulf war in 1991, most Americans don't realize that the armed forces that won those battles no longer exists," Mr. McCain, a POW during the Vietnam War, writes on behalf of Citizens Against Government Waste.

Mr. McCain offers these statistics:

• Nearly 12,000 military personnel are on food stamps.

• The Army's strength has been cut in half 40 percent of its helicopter fleet can't peform its missions.

• The 1999 Navy personnel shortage topped 18,000.

• The Air Force is projected to be 2,000 pilots short in 2002.


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