- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Blame Greenspan

Politicians, like companies, know that a key component of Internet marketing is controlling multiple domain names, all of which point to a single candidate.

"When people search for products and services on the Internet, or even in the Yellow Pages for that matter, they use generic terms or industry-specific key words or phrases, rather than a company or brand name," Mel Ebenstein, president of Internet-branding specialist Bright IDs, explains to Inside the Beltway.

For instance, type in "www.tissue.com" and you'll be connected to Procter & Gamble. Type in "www.peanutbutter.com" and you've reached Skippy.

Politics is no different, although politicians and issues can change as frequently as the political winds. Under the current climate, Mr. Ebenstein is offering these domain names for sale:






Liberty and hell

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico, or more specifically its U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara, is putting out a mixed, if not bizarre, message on its official Web site, Inside the Beltway has discovered.

A government official in Washington directed us to the consulate site, www.usembassy.org.mx/guadalajara.htm, and instructed us to hover our cursor over the image of the Statue of Liberty.

And what should suddenly appear but the hellish, blazing painting "Dante's Inferno."

The translation?

"We've been speculating about that here in the office," says the federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It's either a prank by the local [Mexican] computer host or it's equivalent to [disgruntled Clinton staff tampering with] the computers at the White House."

That's the spirit

Our item yesterday questioning whether George Washington was among the first American politicians to buy an elective office generated considerable response.
We'd quoted Sen. Robert F. Bennett, Utah Republican, as saying "if we use today's rhetoric," Washington most certainly did buy various political seats, spending not only valuable pounds to win elections to the Virginia House of Burgesses, but utilizing electioneering expenses that included rum, cookies, ginger cakes, even a fiddler.
"What Senator Bennett failed to recollect," says Jim Laise, an English professor at the University of Maryland, "is that Washington refused to use rum on his first election to the House of Burgesses in Winchester, Virginia, and lost.
"So he hired a guy by the name of James Wood to run his second election, and Wood persuaded Washington to let the settlers out over the mountains drink rum, and they did, and he won his first public office in Winchester."

State wages

Compassionate conservatism is coming up for a test in the minimum-wage debate.
Polls show nearly two-thirds of Americans believe state legislators not Congress should set the appropriate minimum wage for their individual states. Democrats, however, insist on a national standard, and a rise in the national minimum wage by $1.50 per hour.
In fact, some of the same Democratic leaders who warned that states could not be trusted to reform welfare (they were wrong, it turns out) are opposed to trusting states on the wage issue.
Still, support from President Bush could signal the first major change to the nation's 60-year-old minimum-wage law since the 1960s.
"One of the things we have to make sure of is that the minimum wage doesn't price people out of a job," Mr. Bush said during his presidential campaign. "I would hope that they would consider giving states flexibility when it comes to the application of the minimum wage."
Under such a plan, Congress would expressly grant states the authority to set minimum-wage rates within their borders that differ from the federal rate, so long as the current $5.15-an-hour minimum-wage floor is maintained. States would be empowered to set rates at any level above or below future federal rate increases.
According to Labor Department data, there are nearly 200 U.S. counties with populations of at least 10,000 people experiencing annual unemployment rates that are more than twice the national average.
"As the nation's economy slows down, those unemployment figures are certain to rise in those and other counties," David Thompson, of the Employment Policies Institute, tells Inside the Beltway.

Watt's up?

"We're beginning to wonder if James Watt is whispering in his ear."
Wilderness Society President William Meadows, after President Bush made it clear that he wants to drill for oil and natural gas in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and certain areas of the Rockies. Mr. Watt, as interior secretary from 1981 to 1983, urged drilling in wilderness areas.

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