- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2002

A case of the DTs

What with the 30th anniversary of the Watergate break-in approaching, some still obsess over the identity of "Deep Throat."

In recent days, a variety of political and media sources have theorized that the identity belonged to, among others, former FBI officials W. Mark Felt and L. Patrick Gray, Republican strategist John Sears, former CIA official Cord Meyer, Alexander Haig and Henry Kissinger. John Dean himself says he will disclose his version in Salon on Monday's anniversary.

Meanwhile, onetime NBC correspondent Jim Miklaszewski told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel yesterday he believes "Deep Throat" is none other than David Gergen, adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. But that's touchy territory, fellow journalists warn.

"Jim Miklaszewski should watch it when he names David Gergen as 'Deep Throat,'" wrote one visitor to an online message board at the Poynter Institute, a media think tank.

"Though Gergen is a Yale grad as is Bob Woodward, and did indeed work for the White House, he also threatened legal action against Esquire when they named him as their number one candidate for 'DT' in 1976. Gergen gets upset whenever it's hinted that he could be the one not that there is such a person. To him, 'DT' stands for 'Dubious Title.'"


A peck of troubles

Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, announced during FBI hearings on Capitol Hill last week that he was "troubled" by the increased surveillance of terrorism suspects. The Weekly Standard, in turn, is troubled by such thinking.

"So Arlen Specter, our four-term, senior senator from Pennsylvania, thinks foreigners visiting the United States shouldn't be kept under surveillance unless there's a 'really good reason' for it, and thus is 'troubled' to learn that the FBI is now tailing people on the flimsiest of pretexts like that they're 'supporters of al Qaeda' who have 'sworn jihad' and the Bureau thinks they're 'terrorists,'" a Standard editorial observes.

"We are troubled, too. We are troubled by Sen. Specter's assertion that he is troubled. And not just because the specific worry he raises here is altogether bizarre though it is certainly that. More "troublesome' still is the fact that Sen. Specter's expression of concern for the civil liberties of visiting Islamic jihadist terror suspects is actually quite typical of the current debate about America's near-term homeland defense requirements.

President Bush's myriad steps to prevent another attack deserve intelligent discussion, the magazine wrote.

"And yet, time and again a huge chunk of otherwise articulate America has proved itself unwilling or unable to engage the conversation on grownup terms. Instead, we get such as Arlen Specter's upside-down Martin Niemoller routine: First they came for Osama bin Laden's second-strike foot soldiers, and I said nothing. This is fatuous and it will not do."


Cultural moment

"McCartney weds with Ringo, Clinton among guests."

This headline from the Associated Press yesterday had many wondering at online news site lucianne.com just who got married, and what former President Bill Clinton had to do with it all.


Poor little rich town

A well-heeled wag may be at work in swanky Indian Creek Village, an isle in Biscayne Bay near Miami, where the population is 33, the median home value is more than $1 million and the population includes Don Shula and Julio Iglesias.

Newly released Census Bureau figures, however, indicate the community's "poverty rate" has gone from zero to 29 percent more than any other other community in Miami-Dade County, save one town once devasted by Hurricane Andrew.

"I really have no honest-to-God explanation for it," said Indian Creek Mayor Anne McDougal. "I just can't imagine."

"It's not made up. Someone had to have reported it," countered Census Bureau spokesman Ed Welniak. "Whether the mayor knows it or not, somebody there is reporting less than $10,000 [in income], truthfully or not."

Mr. Welniak surmised that some resident lived off savings and had no income per se. Her Honor pooh-poohed the idea, according to the Miami Herald, claiming the unlikely poverty status could be the work of "an island prankster."

"I must tell you, there are no signs of poverty," the mayor said of her ocean hamlet, which could not be "by any stretch, considered an inexpensive place to live."


Gray area

The Democratic governor with a $23.6 billion budget deficit is accusing his rival of mismanaging funds.

Gov. Gray Davis has attacked Republican Bill Simon with a 30-second campaign spot focused on Western Federal Savings and Loan, a Simon family investment seized by the government in 1993.

"Bill Simon inherited a fortune, but how has he managed on his own? When he directed a savings and loan, the thrift made bad loans, went belly-up, and was seized by the federal government. Simon's mismanagement cost depositors millions and the bailout for his mistakes cost taxpayers $90 million more. On top of it all, now Simon is suing the government asking taxpayers to pay him back his investment. Bill Simon: If he can't run an S&L, how can he run California?"

But the spot unfairly oversimplifies the situation, the Sacramento Bee noted yesterday.

"Western Federal was seized by federal regulators after the Simons declined to invest even more money to comply with a change in federal law requiring thrifts to carry higher reserves. The thrift was then stabilized at a cost to taxpayers of $92 million," an analysis explained.

"The story, however, is more complicated than Davis' ad makes it appear. The Simons maintained that they could have made a success of the business were it not for the federal law change, and are among a group of creditors suing the federal government for breach of contract on those grounds."

Meanwhile, Mr. Simon is striking back. "Gray Davis is attempting to deflect public attention from his own incompetence and corrupt administration of California by attacking me today," he told reporters yesterday.


Just the numbers

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation has released an analysis of 690 House and 404 Senate bills introduced during 2001, revealing an "urge to splurge" among lawmakers.

Among the findings:

The average House Democrat had a net agenda that would, on average, raise federal spending by $262.4 billion per year (an increase of more than 13 percent over current outlays, and an 800 percent jump from the worth of the average House Democrat's agenda in the last Congress). House Republicans posted a net overall agenda of $19.8 billion a switch from last year's average that proposed to cut spending by $4.6 billion.

In the upper chamber, Democrats boosted their agendas six-fold, to $88.2 billion; Republicans shifted from a $0.3 billion average-cut agenda in the last Congress to an $18.7 billion increase in 2001.


Blog-a-rama

Four years ago, online journalist Matt Drudge went before an audience of skeptics at the National Press Club to announce that the "Internet would vibrate with the din of many voices."

And vibrate, they do. The "bloggers" cyber-scribes who post musings on scores of political Web sites will also have their say at the National Press Club comeJune 28.

"Inside The Blogosphere: The Weblog Phenomenon," presents the feisty scions of this work-in-progress, including Glenn Harlan Reynolds (Instapundit.com), Mickey Kaus (Kausfiles.com) and James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.com.

The panel will ponder how Weblogs affect American politics, media, economics and the war on terrorism, which has spawned a plethora of "War Blogs."

But this hybrid media is still evolving. Its membership wonders if they will implode, like dot-coms, or if the phenomenon can be turned into "a viable economic model to make Weblogs a paying proposition."


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