- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 8, 2002

Political maneuvers
When not leading his troops, U.S. Army Maj. Mike Layrisson, stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., is mapping out the political landscape of the country.
The West Point grad, who holds a master's degree in international relations from Troy State in Alabama, tells Inside the Beltway he's developed an extensive model/equation that measures the national political landscape. And how did a military officer set out to map the political landscape?
"While completing my master's degree during the 1996 presidential election, I was taking a political science course, in which I felt my instructor was absolutely wrong in analyzing the election."
(Welcome to civilian life, major.)
"I felt that what political science needed to do was add clarity to politics instead of clouding it," he explains. "After four years of research and development on my own, I am ready to start to plug in my data."
Any margin of error?
"Well, it is comparable to what the Richter Scale is to earthquakes," he says. "The exactness is only important unto itself. However, here are some of my findings: 1. Democrats control approximately 52 percent of the political power across the country. Republicans control 45 percent; 2. In the first round of redistricting, neither party was able to increase its power at the national level. Republicans gained, but only by very small percentages."
Other findings?
"Even though [George W.] Bush lost Iowa, his campaign actually gave the Iowa Republicans the majority of political power 50 percent to 49.5 percent."
The major says he can pose specific questions to the model.
(We'll be the first to report when the model discloses the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.)

Haskell for president?
Retiring House Majority Leader Dick Armey likens Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to "Leave It to Beaver" TV troublemaker Eddie Haskell, who was played by Ken Osmond on the sitcom that aired from 1957 to 1963.
"The thing that kind of bothers me is his little angelic look about this feigning of sincerity," the Texas Republican told WABC radio's Sean Hannity. "You know, it's like Eddie Haskell got elected to the Senate."

Issue of heritage
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle is putting politics over the heritage of 25 million Italian-Americans.
So says the National Italian American Foundation, which is "outraged" by the Senate's failure to vote on the nomination of Eugene Scalia, a labor lawyer and the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be the Labor Department's solicitor general. The Italian-Americans want an immediate vote on the nomination when the Senate returns later this month.
The NIAF made its displeasure known in a letter to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.
"This last and vital step has been denied by the Senate [Democratic] leadership, which is wrong," wrote NIAF President Joseph R. Cerrell. President Bush nominated Mr. Scalia more than eight months ago, on April 30, 2001.
The NIAF has alerted more than 300 Italian-American organizations to the leadership's stalling.

Ground zero
The Army Corps of Engineers over the weekend briefed congressional aides about recovery efforts at the site of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York. Here's a congressional memo we obtained on the assessment:
"The effort is obviously very expensive, continues 24/7 and is superbly managed (including finding the damaged steel that had been stolen by the Mob.)
"South Tower removal is done, they have reached bedrock. North Tower removal is rapidly nearing completion.
"Depending on the weather, all cleanup at the WTC site might be done by April. The site will then be a huge 60-foot-deep tub (the surrounding walls are intact) and ready to start rebuilding.
"At that point, the roads in lower Manhattan can open and surrounding buildings repopulated. Neighboring buildings that had structural damage are already being repaired. All the utilities are being rerouted around the site.
"The remaining funds for cleanup will then be devoted to the sorting and burying of the material at the landfill in New Jersey. October to December 2002 will probably complete that work.
"Consequently, federal appropriations for 2003 will be to support the rebuilding plan. The first thing to be rebuilt is the subway line that ran under the center. Surprisingly, that line will likely be running by the end of the year but not stopping because the aboveground portions of the station will take longer.
"Of course, the rebuilding planning (how big a memorial, how big a new building) is a city-run, work-in-progress, so the amount of federal funding participation is to be announced. With any luck, it will not be part of the Defense Bill!"

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