- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Check your nunchakus

Tourists visiting the nation's capital, absent-mindedly or not, have tried entering the White House carrying all sorts of personal items and baggage.

So the following prohibitions have been posted for visitors before entering the White House, forbidding the ordinary and … the not-so-ordinary.

"Prohibited inside are animals, oversized backpacks, balloons, beverages, chewing gum, electric stun guns, fireworks or firecrackers, food, guns or ammunition, knives with blades over three inches or eight centimeters, mace, nunchakus, smoking, or suitcases."

Nunchakus are weapons of Japanese origin, consisting of two hardwood sticks joined at each end by a short length of chain or cord.

Liberals for Bush

We had to laugh when Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat, spoke out this week against nonprofit corporations created solely to promote political candidates, often operating outside the law with impunity.

"Take, for example, the organization Republicans For Clean Air," he said. "Despite its innocuous name, this was an organization created for the sole purpose of promoting the candidacy of George W. Bush during the last Republican primary election."

Before long, the senator warned, "you are going to have a proliferation of these organizations: Republicans For Clean Air, Democrats For Clean Air, People Who Do Not Like Any Party For Clean Air, Liberals For Clean Air, Conservatives For Clean Air, Citizens for Dirty Air I don't know what it will be."

Black gold

Interior Secretary Gale Norton will accompany at least a half-dozen senators to Alaska this weekend, where they will get a firsthand look at the oil-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Washington delegation begins its Alaska trek in Valdez, the terminus of the 800-mile Alaska pipeline, will overnight in Fairbanks, then journey north to Prudhoe Bay, Deadhorse, and eventually into the refuge and the Eskimo villages of Kaktovik and Nuiqsut, "where they are going to have a little bit of a potlatch for us," notes Alaska Sen. Frank Murkowski.

Potlatch is a ceremonial feast in which Eskimos traditionally distribute lavish gifts that require reciprocation.

Whether that will be oil and the prosperity brought with it remains to be seen.

Time will tell

A budget bulletin issued by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Pete V. Domenici advises that both the Bush administration's and Congressional Budget Office's surplus estimates assume an economic "slowdown" in 2001.

"Only Morgan Stanley Dean Witter forecasts a recession in 2001," the bulletin states.

Financing campaigns

Economic slowdown or recession, Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, chairman of the Republican National Committee, says February was another record-breaking month for donations to the RNC.

The RNC raised $7.3 million last month from more than 160,000 contributions, for an average donation of $45, a "groundswell of support" that Mr. Gilmore credits to President Bush's leadership.

The RNC raised $17 million since Jan. 1, $14 million of it so-called hard money, according to the GOP's latest financial report. Federal law requires the RNC to file such reports with the Federal Election Commission on a quarterly basis, but the RNC is doing so monthly.

"The Democratic National Committee does not," the RNC sees fit to point out.

Not hell

Regarding one government official seeing "Dante's Inferno" in our item yesterday, Barnard R. Thompson of MIRA Associates in San Diego, writes: "While the tampering with the U.S.A. consular Web site in Guadalajara is both fascinating and of concern, your identification of the painting as 'Dante's Inferno' is in error.

"The painting shown is of Mexico's father of independence, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (by muralist Jose Clemente Orozco), and it is on the ceiling above a staircase in Guadalajara's government palace."

The painting, visible behind the Statue of Liberty, vanished from the site yesterday morning.

Read this faster

The U.S. Senate office of education and training says lawmakers could be spending less time reading and more time acting.

So tomorrow it's offering senators and their staffs an entire day of Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics, promising to double or triple their reading rates after completion of the one-day course.

The Senate office says newspapers can be read in "half the time" and "entire books can be read effortlessly in one sitting."

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