- The Washington Times - Monday, May 20, 2002

'Bipolar disorder'
Madeleine K. Albright, who was secretary of state in an administration whose idea of statesmanship involved making veteran terrorist Yasser Arafat a "partner in peace," accused President Bush's foreign policy team yesterday of suffering from "untreated bipolar disorder."
Mrs. Albright said the Bush administration is projecting contradictory messages on a broad range of global conflicts, including the Middle East and Afghanistan.
"They talk about the importance of the rule of law but seem allergic to treaties designed to strengthen the rule of law in areas such as money-laundering, biological weapons, crimes against humanity and the environment," Mrs. Albright said in a commencement speech at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, according to the Associated Press.
"This split personality is also evident in Afghanistan, where one day they are ridiculing nation-building and the next proposing a new Marshall Plan," Mrs. Albright told the 189 graduates. "And in the Middle East, where the signals have varied day by day."
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe declined to respond to her charges or comment on the unusual nature of a former secretary of state attacking a sitting administration.
"The president and his foreign policy team are focused on uniting the country, winning the war on terrorism and defending the United States and its allies' interests," Mr. Johndroe said.

Shelby's analysis
Sen. Richard C. Shelby, Alabama Republican, says he firmly believes Saddam Hussein "needs to go."
And he says he does "not believe" estimates by Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to two Republican presidents, that a U.S. invasion of Iraq in 1991 would have meant 15,000 casualties and would have required an occupation of 15 years.
"I don't believe those figures," Mr. Shelby, vice chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said Saturday on CNN's "Novak, Hunt & Shields."
"I have a lot of respect for General Scowcroft. But you recall, in 1990, 1991, they had all kinds of figures that we were going to sustain, just massive casualties [in the Persian Gulf war], that the Republican Guards [Iraqs elite troops] were just going to be better than the SS ever were in the German army and so forth; and none of that panned out. I believe that these numbers are not right."
Mr. Shelby went on to say that if the Bush administration does decide to go after Saddam, he believes the military operation "won't last long, and I don't believe that we'll sustain the casualties that a lot of people would say."

A money pit
"Much has been made of the Capitol Hill Visitors Center that is currently under construction behind the Capitol," the Prowler column notes at www.americanprowler.org.
"The need for the underground complex was dubious at best, but when a lone gunman smuggled a gun into the facility several years ago, killing and wounding several brave Capitol Hill police officers, the window was opened to create a secure facility to screen visitors to the building.
"The problem is that a project like this wouldn't result in a true Capitol Hill landmark unless it were loaded down with pork. So a center that should have cost no more than $10 million is now a $300 million monolith that will stand as a permanent witness to congressional excess. Even more amusing as revealed at a recent hearing of the House Appropriations Committee's legislative subcommittee is the seeming shock at the bulging price tag on the part of the very people who allowed the construction in the first place. The hearing was held in part to address the anger of congressmen forced by the new construction to park their cars at more inconvenient spots on Capitol Hill grounds.
"Others, like legislative subcommittee member Rep. Don Sherwood, Pennsylvania Republican, feigned ignorance about who had approved the building of a more than 500,000-square-foot underground facility. One Democratic House member asked his aide, 'Why would we do that?' before being told it was what had been voted on by Congress.
"'It just goes to show you how these guys think up here,' says another House aide, who works on the Appropriations Committee. 'It's their center, essentially their museum or monument, if you will, and they just threw money at it with no consideration for the taxpayer. Most of them will never set foot in the damn thing. It's now, literally, a money pit.'"

Reno endorsed
The union representing Florida's government workers endorsed former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination yesterday, the Associated Press reports.
The decision was influenced by Miss Reno's response to the case of a missing 5-year-old girl, a union official said.
"From what I've seen, that was the turning point because we were split down the middle between Reno and lawyer Bill McBride," said Jeanette Wynn, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Florida Council 79, the state's second-largest union.
Rilya Wilson vanished in January 2001 while in state care and remains missing. Miss Reno has called for the resignation of the head of the state child welfare agency and has criticized Republican Gov. Jeb Bush's panel to study the child protection system.
Mr. McBride, who supports the panel, has been endorsed by the state's largest union, the Florida Education Association, and by the state AFL-CIO, a coalition of state unions including AFSCME.

Profligate spending
"It's said our current president is fond of nicknames. If he doesn't start tightening the federal purse strings, he might end up with a new one himself: Lyndon Baines Bush," the Wall Street Journal says.
"When President Bush unveiled his Fiscal 2003 budget in February, we were happy to see he wasn't following LBJ's path of buying both guns and butter. He proposed an overall spending increase of 3.7 percent, and the president's budget director told Washington it would have to choose among spending priorities; his own focus would be the military and homeland defense," the newspaper noted in an editorial.
"But the past few months have begun to look more like LBJ redux. With November elections near, Congress is engaged in a spending free-for-all, and the White House seems reluctant to stop it. Federal discretionary spending, which is the part Congress must vote on each year, has grown an astounding 41.1 percent between 1998 and 2003. That includes some very necessary increases in defense spending 40.8 percent over five years which had fallen during the 1990s to a pre-Pearl Harbor level of just 3 percent of GDP.
"More amazing is the increase for domestic, non-military spending: 35.2 percent over five years, in an era of little or no inflation. This Congress is now set to increase domestic spending by 15 percent, which means President Bush will have presided over the largest two-year spending boost since the Great Society."

Ventura loses fight
The Minnesota Legislature voted to override Gov. Jesse Ventura's veto of its budget bill hours after he rejected it.
The House voted 95-38 Saturday night, and the Senate voted 53-14 shortly afterward, turning into law their plan to erase the state's budget deficit.
The bill fills a $439 million hole in the budget mostly by speeding up some tax collections and delaying some payments to schools and counties until the next budget cycle.
In vetoing the bill, Mr. Ventura said lawmakers took the easy way out.
"It is simply a hoax on the citizens of the state of Minnesota when legislators continue to promise services tomorrow when they know today they have no way to pay for them," Mr. Ventura said.
Mr. Ventura said the Legislature was only delaying the inevitable tax increases or deeper spending cuts. Next year's administration will likely have to deal with a budget deficit of at least $2.5 billion, he said.
The sticking point in reaching a budget deal had been over how much money lawmakers should reserve to protect against an economic downturn or other emergency.


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