- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2001

President to private

Bill Clinton has reportedly told the Harry Walker Agency in New York, which represents the former president on the lecture circuit, that he won't accept questions from his audiences on the subject of presidential pardons.
That said, the Walker Agency has informed one group interested in booking the former president for a speech that all questions they wish posed to Mr. Clinton be submitted 48 hours in advance.
That's according to the head of one firm who inquired about hosting the embattled Mr. Clinton for his company's conference.
Yesterday, Inside the Beltway reached Don Walker, president of the Walker Agency.
"He's a private citizen, and as such, all matters are private," Mr. Walker replied when asked about Mr. Clinton refusing to answer questions surrounding his controversial pardons, which are under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York and Congress.
Asked about Mr. Clinton's frame of mind these days, Mr. Walker replied: "Again, since he's a private citizen, I want to keep these matters private."

Sub rides

Passing the time during this week's lousy weather, a reader named Rob rented the World War II submarine thriller "U-571" from his local video store. Just before the feature began, right after the previews, Rob was surprised when a contest appeared on the screen in which lucky winners received rides on a U.S. nuclear-powered submarine.
"I wonder if that contest is still valid?" Rob asks, referring to the fallout from last month's collision between the submarine USS Greeneville and a Japanese fishing boat that killed nine men and boys aboard the Japanese ship.
The Navy this week convened a court of inquiry into the fatal collision off Pearl Harbor, during which it was revealed that the submarine was at sea only to take civilian visitors for a cruise.
"U-571" director Jonathan Mostow told this newspaper last year that while the U.S. Navy loved his script, it had no equipment to lend or sell for his production. Nor was he offered any free submarine rides, although he did duck into one sub dockside in Connecticut.
"I saw this sign offering tours of a World War II American submarine for only $2," he says. "So I bought my ticket."

No cigar peddler

Unlike his predecessor, who enjoyed playing host at the White House, President Bush won't be spending a whole lot of his free time hanging out in the Oval Office.
Rather, Mr. Bush will be a frequent visitor to the Maryland presidential retreat at Camp David, while spending other weekends at his ranch outside Crawford, Texas.
"He goes up there to relax," says White House spokesman Ari Fleischer of Camp David, where Mr. Bush has escaped on two occasions of late. "He views it just as a good chance to get away for the weekend."
During one recent visit to Camp David, Mr. Bush ran outdoors (he's usually confined to an indoor treadmill at the White House), watched movies and attended church services.
"And he'll go to Crawford as often as he can, too," adds Mr. Fleischer. "I think you'll see on a regular basis a combination of going to Camp David and going to Crawford on weekends."
What's there to do in Crawford?
Like President Reagan before him, whose favorite pastime was escaping to his California ranch, Mr. Bush has plenty of chores piling up on his 1,550-acre ranch in central Texas, 40 miles west of Waco and 30 miles north of Fort Hood.
As for other leisurely activities, the nearby town of Crawford (pop. 670) offers one convenience store, a craft shop, a barbershop and a garage.

Grab a mop

Congress today will be presented with evidence pointing toward "dramatic, human-induced changes occurring in the world's climate," including a prediction of a rapid rise in global temperatures and sea levels in the next 100 years.
The third chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, representing the efforts of more than 2,000 scientists around the world, is called the most comprehensive and authoritative study on climate change ever.
Congress will be presented with findings (disputed in some quarters) that include:
The global average surface temperature increased 1.08 degrees Fahrenheit during the 20th century, and could rise by 10.4 degrees this century.
Snow cover and ice have decreased, with glaciers in non-polar regions in retreat during the 20th century, and a 40 percent decline in Arctic sea-ice thickness during late summer and early autumn in recent decades.
Global average sea level rose between 0.1 and 0.2 meters during the 20th century, as ocean temperatures increased.


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