- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2001

Just 21 cents
A New Jersey Democrat has won rave reviews from the National Infertility Association.
Sen. Robert G. Torricelli was applauded by the group for reintroducing the Fair Access to Infertility Treatment and Hope (FAITH) Act, which calls for all health plans to provide infertility treatments like drug therapy, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization and embryo donation.
The legislation was originally introduced last year and was referred to a Senate committee, where it died.
"Men and women in our country struggling to have a baby need and deserve greater access to necessary treatments," said spokeswoman Joan Bowen. The group "applauds Sen. Torricelli for his determination and persistence in advancing this important legislation."
According to insurance industry estimates, this legislation would have minimal effect on the cost of health insurance, increasing the cost by as little as 21 cents per month per person.

'Serious jeopardy'

Sen. John McCain says the House must pass campaign finance legislation next month to prevent opponents from stopping the Senate-passed bill.
The Arizona Republican who co-sponsored the bill said yesterday on NBCs "Meet the Press" that it is crucial that the legislation be finalized before Congress takes its summer recess in August.
"Were going to have to try to press for this legislation to be taken up [in the House] in June so that we would have the month of July to get this thing done," Mr. McCain said.
"I think if they dont get this thing resolved before the August recess, its in serious jeopardy," he added.

Divisive diversity

The pistol-and-pasta controversy continues to unfold as one lawmaker takes on popular culture.
"Rep. Marge Roukema, New Jersey Republican, is preparing a congressional resolution denouncing HBOs hit series about the mob, 'The Sopranos, for 'unfair stereotyping of Italian-Americans," notes the Union Leader newspaper of Manchester, N.H., in an editorial.
"Why stop there?" the paper asks.
"The series stereotypes Russian-American mobsters as corrupt, violent and crazy. And surely not all Mercedes Benz saleswomen are sexually kinky hysterics. The show is none too kind to Orthodox Jewish motel operators. And mixed-race college students. And Rutgers dropouts. And plainclothes police. And fast-food workers. And small businessmen who gamble. And black community leaders. And producers of pork products. And Catholic high school administrators."
"When it comes to negative images, 'The Sopranos is an equal opportunity stereotyper. Perhaps Roukema should recast her resolution to single out those the show doesnt treat badly. It would only take a sentence. Maybe less."

Waistnot, want not

Former President Bill Clinton is getting slimmer, according to the American Spectator.
"Aides to former President Bill Clinton, who has returned from Asia, say that since leaving office hes dropped about 20 pounds. "Hes had to buy new dress shirts, his neck has gotten so thin," a former aide said.
"So how did he do it? Is it because Hillary is a great cook, and because shes not around hes just not eating all the homey comfort food she dishes up? 'No, was the terse reply.
"Or perhaps its some weird evil voodoo thing Clintons got going with Al Gore, losing the pounds that Al has put on since the Bush inauguration? 'No, was again the reply from the former aide. 'Hes simply been working out a lot harder lately, and he hasnt been under that much pressure from day to day."

'Think black'

When television personality Tavis Smiley goes to sleep at night, he asks himself, "What did I do to help black America today?"
Thats what the former Black Entertainment Television commentator told about 45 people who attended his appearance Friday at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Georgetown, where he was promoting his latest book, "How to Make Black America Better."
Mr. Smiley waxed eloquent for his mostly black audience. On crime: "Black man kills a white man, he gets executed, especially in Texas. White man kills a black man, we have riots, like in Cincinnati."
On politics: Republicans are "determined at all costs to turn back the clock on the progress weve made." Mr. Smiley later described black conservatives as "self-hating" and "disturbed."
On being black: "Every black person should think black first all the time."

All aglow

While the White House gets serious about a national missile-defense system, the U.N.s International Atomic Energy Agency has become alarmed that trafficking in nuclear materials like plutonium and enriched uranium is growing around the world.
The agency announced in Stockholm on Friday that it has logged 550 theft incidents since 1993; the rate in 1999 and 2000 was twice that of 1996. In the first three months of 2001, there were 20 confirmed cases, including thefts in Germany, Romania, South Africa and Mexico.
No single incident has so far contained enough for a bomb, but "the Cold War has left the world with a staggering legacy of 3 million kilograms of fissile material," said one Norwegian expert.
There could be as many as 130 terrorist groups that pose a nuclear threat, according to Alex Schmid of the U.N.s terrorism branch.
"Vigorous efforts need to be made to keep the nuclear genie in the bottle and out of the hands of terrorists," he told New Scientist magazine.

Nope to dope

No weed, no blow, none of that stuff: The White House is pristine and officially drug-free.
All 650 White House staffers took drug tests their first week in office, and everyone was clean, officials said Friday.
Its all part of working at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., with President Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney the first two in line to be tested.
Bill Clinton, who once said he "didnt inhale," never took a drug test while in office, a former Clinton drug czar aide told the New York Post.
Mr. Bushs order for instant drug tests contrasts Mr. Clintons normal one-month warning before staffer drug tests back in 1993, a convenient way for overindulgent party types to "clean their systems."
"The policy of the White House is all employees have to be drug-tested.
"And that policy extends to the president and the vice president," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters.

Janet in jest

Nine thousand Berkeley-ites voted for Janet Reno — at least in a poll taken of the University of California students for their commencement ceremony.
The former attorney general was one of "the most requested" to speak at graduation, held over the weekend.
"Laughter is the great leveler. It puts attorneys general and Will Ferrell on the same level," Miss Reno told the graduates, referring to the actor who parodies her on NBCs "Saturday Night Live."
She also told students to make their word their "bond," mean what they say and not to duck responsibility.
"You people are headed for law school," she continued. "Help me. We have a nation to serve, and a world to serve, and all its people."
Applause followed, save for the two students in the back who held a banner reading, "Remember Waco."


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