- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Dependably liberal
"I could give you an answer to that question if you give me a little time to think about it."
Democratic presidential aspirant Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, asked by columnist Robert D. Novak in the current issue of the American Spectator to recall any conservative position he's taken in the U.S. Senate (Mr. Novak likens Mr. Edwards' plea to President Dwight D. Eisenhower's request in 1956 for a couple of weeks to report some accomplishment by Vice President Richard M. Nixon).

Shells beneath shells
While not a conservative stance per se, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards did co-sponsor the bipartisan resolution on Iraq that authorizes President Bush to deploy the military to dethrone Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.
"This resolution sends a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," Mr. Edwards says of the resolution that passed both the House and the Senate by overwhelming bipartisan margins.
A member of the subcommittee on international security, Mr. Edwards adds that he is tired of watching Mr. Hussein "play shell games with his weapons," and while nobody wishes for war, "the risks of inaction are far greater than the risks of action."
"We cannot trust Saddam Hussein, and we would be irresponsible to do so," he says.

Louder war drums
In 1991, when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was labeled an evil dictator for invading neighbor Kuwait, 250 House Republicans and Democrats joined in support of a resolution granting then President Bush authority to attack Iraq.
Last week, after the tireless persuasion of the current President Bush, it turns out a far greater number in Congress 296 Republicans and Democrats voted to support a similar resolution to attack Iraq.

Barcelona baggage
Exactly 236 bureaucrats from the Department of Health and Human Services, at a whopping cost of $3.6 million, traveled to Barcelona in July to participate in a world AIDS conference.
That "across the Atlantic" journey now has several dozen lawmakers, many members of the Republican Study Committee, up in arms.
"The amount of financial support and the number of employees sent to attend to this single conference appears extremely excessive," says an Oct. 9 letter to HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson.
Saying the trip to Barcelona "begs scrutiny and oversight," the congressmen question whether the money might not have been better spent providing medicine to the hundreds of Americans with HIV who lack access to medical care.

Lacquered lobster
Yes, that's Signatures restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue where "The West Wing" cast member Mary-Louise Parker will be dining during tomorrow night's episode on NBC (if you envy the life of the actress, the episode was taped on Sept. 13 starting at 10 p.m. and ending at 4 a.m.)
For the taping, restaurant executive chef Morou created several Signature dishes, like lobster and pearls and curry-crusted tuna, and while it would seem the 75 Washington television "extras" were able to enjoy a delicious dining experience, they unfortunately couldn't eat the food.
The cuisine, you see, had to be coated with lacquer to hold up appearance for the six-hour taping.
As for edible food, it so happens that on the same night the episode airs, Signatures will be hosting the United States Association of Former Members of Congress, who can eat all the lobster they want if it's paid for.

Final script
Charles "Chuck" D. Hobbs, longtime domestic policy adviser to President Reagan who singlehandedly paved the path to unprecedented welfare-reform successes of the 1990s, died recently at age 68.
Mr. Hobbs, a wordsmith to boot, left his family and friends with these parting words:
The sun pales behind a lowering sky
And I, seeing little and knowing less,
Tread a painful path
Through the remains of my day.
Heap your joy upon my living
And, if need be, on my dying
So that I might always be
Sheltered in the soothing lee
Of the island of your soul.



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