- The Washington Times - Monday, March 5, 2001


"Warren Zevon saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's. I can go him one better."

So claims Christopher Horner, counsel to the Cooler Heads Coalition of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The first photos are in, says Mr. Horner, who spotted Environmental Protection Agency head Christine Todd Whitman slurping a "carbonated beverage" at a recent gathering of world leaders.

"Isn't this the same regulator who earlier in the week hyperventilated to Robert Novak on 'Crossfire' that she is training her sights on CO2, because she heard that 'there is no question' it is killing the planet?" Mr. Horner points out.

"Come to think, it looked like she was exhaling, too, only further compounding the problem. That's compassionate? What about the children? What's next, draft beer?"

Brenda grows up

Television pioneer Art Linkletter, who keeps busy as national spokesman for United Seniors Association (USA), was in Washington late last week to testify before Congress on Medicare and to tape ads for USA's $2 million campaign in support of President Bush's tax-cut proposal.

And his visit wasn't without emotion, according to Diana L. Banister, vice president of the public relations firm Craig Shirley & Associates.

Mr. Linkletter, she reveals, "walked into the … studio today to find at the reception desk one of the kids who was on his show 'House Party' 46 years ago. Her name was Brenda Woods and she was on the show in 1955 when she was 5 years old. She nearly broke down in tears when she saw Linkletter."

Mr. Linkletter also had a full day of Capitol Hill meetings with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, among other lawmakers, garnering support for the USA ad campaign.

No minor role

"It's my honor, along with the vice president, to welcome Secretary Veneman and her sister, Jane, who did a fine job of holding the Bible."

President George W. Bush, at last week's swearing-in of Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman in the White House Oval Office.

Pardon me

The latest joke on Capitol Hill is that Rep. Dan Burton, the Indiana Republican whose Government Oversight Committee is conducting hearings into former President Clinton's controversial pardons, has issued a memo to staff in the event Mr. Clinton is called to testify before the committee.

If a committee staffer accidentally bumps into Mr. Clinton as he makes his way through the committee room, the fictitious memo reads, the proper response should be, "Pardon me."

Sun island

You might have read where Democrats on Capitol Hill last week introduced legislation to end all U.S. trade sanctions against Cuba, saying the time has come to build bridges with our Communist island neighbor.

"We've had this trade embargo for almost three decades, and it hasn't done a thing to weaken the Castro regime," says New York Rep. Charles B. Rangel, ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means subcommittee on trade.

But with trade would come tourism, and that doesn't sit well with Republicans, among them Marc Thiessen, spokesman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who writes on behalf of the Cuban American National Foundation in Washington: "Cuba practices tourism apartheid, and ordinary Cubans are not permitted anywhere near the exclusive hotels and resorts where Western tourists stay unless they are employed there or are selling their bodies.

"Allowing U.S. tourists to flood Cuba's beaches and resorts would have done nothing more to encourage democratic change than tourists visiting South Africa's 'Sun City' resort contributed to ending apartheid."

Riegle rerun?

Former Michigan Sen. Donald W. Riegle Jr., who made political waves when as a congressman in 1973 he switched from being a Republican to Democrat, has left his executive posts at Weber Shandwick Worldwide.

The former lawmaker served the past six years in various executive capacities within the Washington communications giant, including as chairman of operations in the Americas and Asia/Pacific regions.

"Looking ahead, we now face a new policy landscape in Washington D.C., where bipartisan leadership is needed to help keep our country on track and moving ahead. To that end, I am considering several private-sector options that would be challenging and also combine my interest in public issues and policies," says Mr. Riegle.

Perhaps a political rerun?

"Many Michigan citizens have urged me to consider returning to elective public service, and I deeply appreciate their support," he says, but while his "lifelong commitment to public service is as strong as ever, now is not the time … to pursue that goal."

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