- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Not your money
April 15 is just around the corner, reminds Inside the Beltway reader John Cameron.
"Did you ever notice," he says, "if you put the two words 'THE' and 'IRS' together it spells 'THEIRS?'"

Youthful indiscretions
Just when we thought the country was steering toward the right, Harper's Index reports that 30 percent of first-year U.S. college students in 2001 embraced "liberal" or "far-left" politics, compared with 21 percent in 1981, the year President Reagan took office.

March malaise
You may have read about Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's new Web site (www.senate.gov/~daschle/), designed, as one Republican leader puts it, to shield the South Dakota Democrat from charges that he hasn't passed a comprehensive energy package and myriad bills already acted on by the House of Representatives.
"Daschle would be better served as would the American people if he spent more time addressing the 50-plus bills on his desk and less time fueling his political ambitions," says Republican Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas. "Now that Daschle is online, when the House sends another piece of legislation to the Senate, it could announce, 'You've got bills!'
"In the spirit of March Madness, perhaps the Senate should install a shot clock to ensure timely action."

Deputy McSlarrow
We see where President Bush has nominated Capitol Hill veteran and lawyer Kyle McSlarrow to become deputy secretary of energy.
"Certainly, the department will benefit from Kyle's legal and policy expertise, including his knowledge of, and ability to work closely with, members of Congress on key issues," says Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
Mr. McSlarrow, who is currently energy's chief of staff, has held key Senate positions, including chief counsel and deputy chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. He was also chief of staff to Sen. Paul Coverdell, the late Georgia Republican.
Nearly a decade ago, the conservative Mr. McSlarrow was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat liberal Democratic Rep. James P. Moran in Northern Virginia's 8th Congressional District.

Blind for a day
Reading in her favorite newspaper that the District of Columbia's Department of Motor Vehicles, at 301 C St., NW, was transformed and modernized, Mary Ann Novak went to renew her driver's license "with some optimism."
Sure enough, her assigned number indicated she would be processed in a city record four minutes, barely enough time to fill out the required forms. That is, until they noticed a small bandage on Miss Novak's foot, "and anyone with a bandage has to be cleared by D.C. medical services," a DMV officer informed her.
"When I protested that I had just put on that bandage before coming down to renew my license and I could as quickly take it off, they sternly dismissed me and firmly directed me to Room 1033," she says.
Arriving in Room 1033, Miss Novak took a paper number like those used at deli counters. The number she drew indicated there were about 40 people in front of her.
"I noted that I was definitely the youngest person around," she tells Inside the Beltway, "until I was joined by a man who I learned had an artificial leg and was there for his annual handicap parking renewal."
After nearly two hours of waiting, Miss Novak was called into a cubicle "with a sullen young women whom I had watched deny licenses to a steady stream of senior citizens, including many for failing the vision test," she says. "To my surprise, instead of being questioned on my foot bandage, I was tersely directed to take the vision test.
"So, I shrugged and bent my head to the vision machine, crisply reading off the numbers to the clerk. To my further surprise, she stated that I couldn't get my license because I was legally blind and unable to see the correct row of numbers. I responded that there was no other row of numbers and that I wasn't blind, and when she asserted that there were lines above where I was reading, I told her it was too dark to read anything. She then handed me a form for my ophthalmologist to fill out, denied my license renewal and dismissed me sternly.
"From being too lame to drive and now too blind to see, this was beginning to feel almost biblical to me," says Miss Novak. "As I turned to go back into the clerk's cubicle, I saw her lean over and look into the vision machine. Suddenly, she called out that her machine was broken."
As new light bulbs were being installed in her machine, the clerk calmly and without apology took Miss Novak's $30 and directed her to the next room for her license photo.
"Don't cry for me," the Washingtonian says, "cry for the many others who failed the eye test, especially the senior citizens."


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