- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Buy low

As the U.S. economy continues to head south, everybody is turning to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan for stock market advice.

Congressmen included.

Mr. Greenspan made it clear at the start of his recent testimony before the House Budget Committee that "if I may, I would like to eschew giving personal opinions."

To which the chairman of the hearing, Iowa Republican Rep. Jim Nussle, agreed.

But that didn't stop Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, just seconds before Mr. Nussle sounded the gavel to end the hearing, from trying one last time.

"We all are interested to know," Mr. Moran informed the Fed chairman, "whether you think the 'irrational exuberance' of the stock market has been pretty much squeezed out. But, I guess, unless you want to volunteer an answer, we thank you very much."

Boogers and hanks

So, Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, Georgia Democrat, how do you really feel about President George W. Bush's tax plan?

"The numbers don't add up," she writes in a news release, "and I know there's boogers and hanks in them details."

"Boogers and hanks?"

Reached for interpretation in Georgia yesterday, Jocco Baccus, the congresswoman's spokesman, explains: "You know, smoke and mirrors."

Are we the only ones who didn't know that?

"More of the folks from the North were wondering what it means," he says. "Southern folks knew exactly what it meant."

Nation of Texas

Make no mistake, President George W. Bush considers Washington, D.C., a political island of its own.

Beginning his remarks to the National Conference of State Legislatures at the Old Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House, Mr. Bush recognized several visiting dignitaries from Canada and South Africa in the audience.

He then inquired: "Any Texans here, speaking about foreign countries?"

Why Fargo?

"In a 50-50 Senate, there's no such thing as a small populated state."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, explaining why President Bush is scheduled to overnight in the remote city of Fargo, N.D., in his campaign to win support for his tax-cut proposal.

Black props

Speaking of tax cuts, Republican leaders of the Maryland state Senate have written to President George W. Bush, offering full support and encouragement on passage of his $1.6 trillion tax-relief package.

This on the heels of Maryland Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening saying, "If I see one more picture of Bush reaching down and patting little black kids on the head, I'm going to go absolutely crazy, because the policies he's proposing are anathema to African-Americans."

Maryland Republicans disagree.

"In these unprecedented times of historical federal budget surpluses, the American people, and particularly the citizens of Maryland, have earned the right to receive their fair share of this money back in their own bank accounts, rather than letting it stay in Washington," the GOP lawmakers write the president.

Mr. Glendening and Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, meanwhile, "have proposed a $21.3 billion budget that busts all fiscal-restraint caps and spends the state's $375 million surplus and $557 million in reserve funds. Thus, tax relief on the state level in Maryland is not hopeful," say the lawmakers.

"We … are alarmed and concerned that Marylanders' chances to see any tax relief at the state level are dissipating by the day."

As for Mr. Glendening's insinuating that black children are being used as props by the president, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says the president "is going to continue to do what he's been doing and he made it crystal clear in his inaugural address and in every day that he governs which is to bring this nation together, to continue his efforts to reach out."

Political science

Does anybody need more proof that politics and education go hand in hand?

Mark Levin, president of the Washington-based Landmark Legal Foundation, says his organization's latest investigation made numerous important discoveries, foremost that a financial report issued at the National Education Association's July 2000 Representative Assembly meeting indicates the NEA spent more than $5.2 million in 1999 to develop national political and electoral strategies, review and implement a 1996 election-assessment report, hold political campaign-training programs, coordinate campaign activity for pro-public education candidates and provide affiliates with political data systems and services.

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