- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Politics aside

"This Week," with George and Bill?

OK, so Bill Clinton probably won't be the next Maury Povich, administering DNA tests to irresponsible fathers who can't stop fooling around. Peter Jennings, on the other hand, might watch his back.

CNN "Newsnight" anchorman Aaron Brown, interviewed on WABC radio in New York, suggested that our former president would make a "terrific" newsman. Specifically, he said, aboard ABC's "This Week," which is bidding adieu to hosts Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts while elevating former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos to David Brinkley's old throne.

"I think [Mr. Clinton] would be fascinating in a job like that," Mr. Brown said in his interview, monitored by NewsMax.com. "I think he could do almost any of the jobs on one of those shows. He could sit on the side and be the commentator, the debater, the round-table person.

"But I also think he could sit at the center and execute very interesting and thoughtful interviews regardless of the fact that people know his own politics."


Rotund tourists

Numerous times since September 11 we've written about babies born in this country to visiting foreign nationals who, because of the ground they're delivered on, qualify for U.S. citizenship.

Now, in a court action with wide-ranging implications, a Washington watchdog group of lawyers and immigration experts has filed a motion in U.S. District Court to intervene in the case of a Saudi Arabian Taliban fighter born in the U.S. under similar circumstances to Saudi parents with temporary work visas.

Captured fighter Yaser Esam Hamdi is not a U.S. citizen, despite his Louisiana birth, argues the Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement. The group says the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment doesn't mandate the practice of granting "birthright citizenship" to children born on U.S. soil to temporary workers, illegal immigrants and tourists. Nor, it says, does case law support the custom.

"The situation we have today is absurd," says the group's director, Craig Nelsen. "For example, there is a huge and growing industry in Asia that arranges tourist visas for pregnant women so they can fly to the United States and give birth to an American. Obviously, this was not the intent of the 14th Amendment; it makes a mockery of citizenship."


Say it ain't so

After 25 years in the communications saddle of the Heritage Foundation, Herb Berkowitz is hanging up his spurs.

Heritage President Edwin J. Feulner announced with "sadness" the retirement of his longtime vice president at last week's management meeting, noting that Mr. Berkowitz started with the conservative think tank in 1977, when President Carter was new to town.

"At that time," Mr. Feulner said, "he took an infant organization with virtually no media program and no media identification other than being 'outside the mainstream,' to put it charitably and built the finest public relations and communications team and program in the city. Indeed, I would argue, in the country."

Which didn't rub off on the rest of conservative Washington. Take the supposedly embattled President Clinton, who held a welfare-to-work ceremony in 1999 and accepted credit for the 30-year low in welfare caseloads. To the ire of Mr. Berkowitz, there wasn't a Republican in sight.

"Let's admit it, many conservatives just don't measure up," Mr. Berkowitz said. "And their communications programs reflect this: strident language, poor writing, little or no understanding of their audiences, too much preaching to the converted. Blaming the media for our own shortcomings is a no-win game," he said. "We need to do better."

Mr. Berkowitz's retirement is effective Oct. 31.


Misery loves company

The for-profit corporation that produced AIDSRide events in Washington and elsewhere has closed its headquarters and laid off 250 employees.

Pallotta Teamworks Inc. and its founder, Dan Pallotta, have long been criticized by AIDS activists for being "AIDS profiteers." The recent AIDS Vaccine Ride, one activist group charges, "saw as little as 8 percent of the proceeds actually going to beneficiaries."

"For years, Pallotta Teamworks has been looting our community of resources that should have gone to lifesaving services for people with HIV and AIDS," charges ACT-UP/DC spokesman Wayne Turner. "By exploiting well-meaning donors and the suffering of sick and dying people, Dan Pallotta built a multimillion-dollar personal empire, and must be held accountable."


Pass the butter

Regarding our item yesterday about an overweight man filing lawsuits against restaurants because he ate too much and got fat, Dr. Frank G. Zavisca, director of obstetric anesthesiology at Louisiana State University's health center in Shreveport, writes:

"How about a lawsuit of all fat people against their parents for feeding them too much? Also, I wonder if this guy smokes this is much more likely to cause heart disease than merely being overweight."

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