- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2002

Colin.gov responds
U.S. diplomats posted around the world have been sent the following electronic warning from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in the wake of numerous internal e-mail memos, contents of which, as disclosed by this column, were deemed disrespectful to President Bush and certain members of Congress.
"The department has recently experienced several serious instances of inappropriate use of our U.S. government e-mail system," Mr. Powell writes. "Employees are expected to use all e-mail systems in a professional and courteous manner."
The secretary says he encourages candid and full debate about policy and management issues, "however, disparaging or abusive remarks about individuals do not further the goals of the department, do not reflect a responsible attitude toward one's job or toward others and will not be tolerated. Employees who misuse government e-mail will be subject to disciplinary action."
A pair of State Department staffers in Washington were later disciplined for typing, among other things, that the dean of the New York congressional delegation, Republican Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, would announce "he died back in 1992, but that no one noticed until now."
Mr. Powell and other senior State Department officials personally apologized to Mr. Gilman and almost 100 members of Congress who were "outraged" by the pair's remarks.
But several days later, even more offensive e-mails surfaced, including one blistering memo written by the U.S. Consul General Charles Keil, the ranking U.S. official in Italy.
Mr. Keil's memo, which was sent to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, among other officials, likened portions of Mr. Bush's war on terrorism to a "witch hunt" that "smacks of the days of Senator Joseph McCarthy."
State Department employee Columbia A. Barrosse responded that the White House would probably appoint a "neo-nazi" to replace former Assistant Secretary of State Mary Ryan, who recently retired because of the department's negligence in the issuance of U.S. visas, including as many as 15 visas to the terrorist hijackers of September 11.

TV and termites
George McFadden of Sterling, Va., was one of many readers responding to our pair of items on the State Department requesting luxurious extras on a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, including a "10-disc CD player with six Infinity speakers" and a leather-and-wood tilt steering wheel "with remote stereo controls."
"If you think that is wasteful, my dad works for [the National Institutes of Health] as a contracting officer and recently had to purchase color TVs for the research chimps," he reveals. "When he questioned one of the scientists about it, the scientist [replied] that the animal activists had gotten language inserted into some bill that the chimps got color TVs.
"I thought they could only see in black and white," adds Mr. McFadden.
We did some research, and discovered that ours aren't the only chimps watching television. In fact, the Times of London wrote recently that female chimpanzees at the Edinburgh Zoo are more likely to become television addicts than their mates.
"Confronted with the small screen, males will continue to search for food or wander around, while the females are only too anxious to settle down and gawp," the story goes. "A group of 12 chimps were shown one of six 15-minute videos every day at the same time each morning. Within a week, the four females anticipated when the TV was about to be turned on and eagerly settled down. But the males showed little interest, preferring to wander around their enclosure or scratch about the termite mound."
A zoo in Valencia, Spain, meanwhile, allows chimpanzees to watch television to keep them entertained and educated, including about topics such as sex. The Ananova news service reveals the Spanish chimps' favorite videos are Disney's "Lion King" and a National Geographic adventure about their colleagues in the African bush.

Can't fool us
A so-called young person's "generational statement" against the U.S. war on terrorism will be issued at a Washington news conference set for next Tuesday on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Capitol Hill.
"We might be young, but we know the story of McCarthyism and the witch hunts for Communism during the Cold War," says the Washington-based Spirit House, in conjunction with Black Voices for Peace. "And this is why we refuse to allow President Bush, his allies, or anyone else, under the guise of fighting terrorism, to rob us of our civil liberties and voices.
"The Bush regime has a vision of a New World Order in which whites are supreme and control all of the world's resources," the groups charge. "The freedom-sounding language of right-wing despotism and propaganda does not trick us."
Rather, the group espouses the "better world" ideals of President John F. Kennedy, "who did not intend to achieve this through military use" (that is, until the Soviet Union came knocking on the door).


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