- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 23, 2002

'Moderate' misery

We're happy to hear from Secretary of State Colin L. Powell that he continues to read The Washington Times through these difficult and trying times.

"But because I have this moderate reputation, I get hit from all sides all the time," Mr. Powell told guests at the 57th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. "And it can be a little debilitating after a while, always being hit from the left, hit from the right.

"In fact, I was feeling a little blue the other day and I went into the Oval Office and I was commiserating with the president, just the two of us alone in the office. I said, 'Mr. President, I don't know how to handle it, it's so hard. The New York Times wants me to quit, The Washington Times wants you to fire me.'"

Mr. Bush assured Mr. Powell, "Colin, that's right where I want you to be."

Heads or jails?

Since Congress has just passed a bill to include the "city" of Washington, D.C., in the Quarter Dollar Program commemorating the 50 "states," we asked readers to help Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill select an appropriate design for the tails side of the coin.

Mr. O'Neill has his work cut out for him. After all, the bill states that the secretary shall not select "any frivolous or inappropriate design" for the commemorative side of the quarter. So, here instead are a few appropriate designs from readers:

•"Politician sticking up a taxpayer" Brian Dallmann, St. Louis

•"Georgetown manhole cover" Sarah Lee-Allen, no city given

•"A turkey (Ben Franklin thought it noble enough for our national symbol)" Ray H. Jenkins, Knoxville, Tenn.

•"Two laughing politicians shoveling piles of money off a cliff" Bob Fink, Oklahoma City

•"The U.S. Capitol, and in the foreground clearly discernable pigs lounging by a trough (these coins will go down in history and should be as accurate as possible)" Joe Cox, Towson, Md.

•"A giant vacuum sucking cash and coin across the land" Eric J. Hansen, Illinois

•"A jail cell" Nanit, California

By an antennae

The famed Cockroach Derby, staged today by the New Jersey Pest Management Association, will pit two giant Madagascar "hissing" roaches, designated "Lautenberg" and "Forrester," in an effort to predict the outcome of the much-hyped Nov. 5 Senate election.

The cockroach race will occur during today's daylong pest-management membership meeting.

"We have had an 80 percent accuracy rate in previous election-year races," boasts Leonard Douglen, the association's executive director. "In 2000, however, the race between the 'Gore' roach and the 'Bush' roach was initially so close we had to run it again. In the second race, the 'Gore' roach was judged to have won by one-half of the length of an antenna. This was, however, disputed by supporters of the 'Bush' roach."

The annual race has been part of the association's series of educational seminars attended by more than 600 pest-control professionals from New Jersey.

Hats off

Adm. John F. Eisold, the attending physician to Congress, and his staff have been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, respectively, for their level-headed handling of the anthrax attacks on the U.S. Capitol exactly one year ago.

One congressman, Rep. Steve Buyer, Indiana Republican, will step before microphones today to say he is so impressed with Adm. Eisold's knowledge, leadership and critical management of the anthrax attacks, and the manner in which he led the medical efforts surrounding the incidents, that he has introduced the MEND (Medicare Expansion for Needed Drugs) Act for the 21st Century.

The legislation will educate health care professionals on the diagnosis and treatment of biological, chemical and radiological attacks.

Pass the popcorn

"So why haven't you written about the 'Beltway' sniper," a reader from Raleigh, N.C., asks Inside the Beltway, though not the first to inquire.

Quite frankly, there are too many "reporters" covering this tragedy, with several primarily from the "must-fill" 24-hour news channels opening their mouths absent the facts (to what extent this has hampered an increasingly sensitive police investigation, or even endangered lives, is not yet known, but rest assured the cops will speak their minds later).

There is an adequate number of journalists in Washington without requiring recruits from New York, Los Angeles or Atlanta. Yes, this city's suburbs are "under siege," but by the Nielsen ratings.

Talk-radio commentator Laura Ingraham perhaps best characterized the sniper coverage as "saturation beyond saturation," while this newspaper's media writer, Jennifer Harper, poses the question: "theater or journalism?"

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