- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2002

Treasury crackdown

Ben Anderson, Washington communications director for the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), writes: "Got a $25 ticket from Treasury Department police yesterday for making a right turn off the 14th Street Bridge, along with four other drivers at the same time."

"Three officers standing around waiting for their prey as Interstate 395 North was at a standstill past the Pentagon," he says. "Nice cash cow."

Mr. Anderson poses three questions: When did it become the federal government's responsibility to enforce local traffic laws? Where exactly does Treasury Department police jurisdiction end? And lastly, who winds up with his fine?

We did some checking, Mr. Anderson. First, we were reminded that Washington is in a heightened state of security due to the terrorist threat. Whether you drive a Mitsubishi or Mac truck, more attention is being paid to improper turns, particularly in the proximity of Washington's monuments and memorials.

Second, under a majority of circumstances, any sworn law-enforcement officer in this "federal city" of ours can issue a traffic ticket. With that in mind, do not speed past a Smithsonian guard as he steers his way to the dinosaur exhibit.

Finally, Mr. Anderson, allow us to answer your third question.

Isn't it ironic that your ticket was issued by Treasury police on the heels of the announcement this week that their department was "raided" by members of Congress presiding over a record year of pork-barrel spending? All of which has resulted in the federal deficit soaring beyond a whopping $157 billion.

In other words, Mr. Anderson, steer clear of Treasury cops, who obviously have a tremendous quota to fill.


Out of Africa

We've just intercepted a memo issued by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christie Whitman to her staff from the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, where she's leading the EPA delegation (Secretary of State Colin L. Powell will lead the U.S. delegation).

The administrator reveals in the memo that the EPA will soon start the "Children's Environmental Health Indicators Initiative" with a new partner: the notoriously left-wing, anti-nuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility.


Keep your commode

A surprise from the U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, compliments of what our colleague indelicately therefore, accurately described as an attempt to employ "Green Uncle Toms."

"World green superstars who grab the mike to talk about the horrors of plumbing," explains Christopher Horner of Washington's Competitive Enterprise Institute, who's in South Africa for this largest of all U.N. summits. "Pardon us for asking, but when, offered the option, have the poor turned down the amenities of a wealthier society?"

Try now.

Mr. Horner tells Inside the Beltway of a surprising protest rally by scores of farmers from Africa and other lesser developed countries: "Over two-dozen groups of agricultural workers actual non-bureaucrats, non-whiny-privileged-youths trying to make a living, these 'Sustainable Development Network' speakers admonished the caviar-slurping U.N. bureaucrats in attendance to get out of their way."

"And they seem sincere. One speaker passed a promising litmus test, shouting 'We don't need your money' to cheers," Mr. Horner notes. "Earlier, one woman here raged against 'the pernicious introduction of the flush toilet' as a byproduct of wealth creation. This at a taped panel discussion for a BBC/PBS production hosted by, you guessed it, Bill Moyers."


Royal rumble

The Southeastern Legal Foundation yesterday called on Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan to obey the law and seek congressional approval before accepting an honorary knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

Citing Art. I, Sect. 9, of the Constitution, the Atlanta-based conservative public interest law firm said our Founding Fathers unequivocally stated that no U.S. officeholder or employee could accept any present or title from a king, prince, or foreign state without the consent of Congress.

The Federal Reserve quickly refuted SLF's contention, saying that the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act allows such an honorary award for meritorious performance, and that the Justice Department agrees.

Mr. Greenspan, the nation's head for fiscal and monetary policy, is slated to receive his knighthood this fall. The queen selected Mr. Greenspan for his "outstanding contribution to the global economy and the benefit the UK has received from his wisdom."

Federal Reserve spokesman Michelle Smith said other U.S. citizens knighted, even while serving the country's armed forces, include Gen. Wesley Clark and Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf.

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