- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Gore's index?

Number of U.S. presidents since 1860 whose party controlled both houses of Congress by the third year of their first term: 12

Number whose bid for re-election failed: one

Harper's Index, January 2003

Commencing in Miami

Leave it to former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala to put Florida Republican Gov. Jeb Bush and Democratic presidential aspirant Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina on the same dais.

Both are featured speakers at the University of Miami's first-ever December commencement exercises tomorrow, a new tradition started by Miss Shalala. She became university president after having served longer than any other Clinton Cabinet member.

Actually, Mr. Bush will first address the schools of architecture, continuing studies, engineering, music, nursing, and marine and atmospheric sciences. Mr. Edwards will then address the school of business.

Empire strikes out

Is the United States, in its bid to rid the world of terrorism, emulating the British and Roman empires?

Yes, says the Cato Institute's Ivan Eland, and it's Americans not terrorists who are in danger.

Today's world bears little resemblance to the one Britain and Rome presided over, he explains, making U.S. inroads in the international arena risky politically, diplomatically, economically and physically.

"Indeed, the British and Romans were the targets of assassinations, arson, and other forms of anti-imperial backlash, but that activity was typically small-scale and took place far away from the mother country," Mr. Eland says. "In contrast, forms of backlash against the U.S. role as 'globocop' today could be large-scale and long-range and may be directed at America's homeland, as shown by the attacks on September 11."

Mr. Eland says an imperial approach to foreign policy is a bad idea because it would likely deplete this country's military resources and economy, "hastening the decline of America as a superpower."

Gay in spirit

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has announced its nominees for the 14th Annual GLAAD Media Awards and among them is the National Catholic Reporter for exposing attempts to scapegoat "innocent gay priests" in the Catholic Church sex-abuse crisis.

Wait a minute, doesn't the Catholic Church frown on homosexuality among its clergy, not to mention its flock?

"I think one has to be very careful when reading even the most rigorous and strict readings of Catholic Church teachings which would say that the church does not oppose homosexuality, it opposes sexual activity," Tom Roberts, editor of the Catholic publication, tells Inside the Beltway.

"In the case of clergy," he says, "there are some in the church who are jumping on the clergy [pedophilia] abuse crisis, which we've been covering for 17 years, to make the case that homosexuals should not be admitted to ministry.

"The bottom line is if you are celibate, you are celibate, whether you are gay or straight," says the editor, not buying a contention that homosexuals are more likely than heterosexuals to abuse children. "We have made those points editorially."

Still, the Vatican confirmed last month that it was drafting new guidelines as to whether homosexual candidates for the priesthood should be barred. Some news reports have speculated that the ruling will come out against admitting homosexuals into the priesthood.

Absentee ballot

Steve Michael was the founder of ACT/UP DC, an outspoken AIDS-awareness group here in Washington. After he died in the summer of 1998, Mr. Michael's wooden coffin was rolled to rest in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, directly in front of the White House.

Within view of Clintonites toiling inside the executive mansion, the casket was then opened for a public viewing of Mr. Michael's remains. Several local Washington dignitaries, on hand to deliver eulogies to their fallen leader, took the opportunity to heap scorn on the Clinton White House "for its failure to keep its countless promises to people with AIDS."

Among them was Wayne Turner, who wrote in an unrelated note yesterday:

"My late partner Steve Michael received a mailing today from the Whitman Walker [HIV/AIDS] Clinic, including ballots to 'elect' at-large board members and a community/client representative. Interestingly, there's only one choice offered for the client rep position.

"Let's see, one name on the ballot sent to a dead man now that's community participation and oversight."

Commented the Capitol Hill staffer who forwarded the note: "Sounds like the elections in the old Soviet Union."

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