- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Good for the gander?

Ten years ago, Rep. Nancy Pelosi voted “no” when Congress passed a security-oath provision requiring members of Congress and administration officials to sign a statement agreeing not to willfully disclose classified information on penalty of censure and expulsion.

Now, as leader of the minority party, the California Democrat sees a political opportunity and is “changing her tune on the importance of classified information,” says National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds of New York.

Mrs. Pelosi is calling for an independent counsel — above and beyond Justice Department investigators — to determine who’s responsible for revealing that the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson works for the CIA.

Actually, President Bush could save everybody’s time — Justice lawyers and any independent counsel — by getting to the bottom of the disclosure himself.

Billable hours

You’d think they’d have the decency to wait for a voting irregularity to actually occur, but the California Democratic Party is seeking $100,000 in donations to help reduce last-minute voter confusion and for postelection legal counsel.

The party is urging concerned Democrats across the country to contribute to the fund in the days remaining before Tuesday’s recall vote.

“The October 7th special election presents all kinds of potential problems,” party Chairman Art Torres says. “I wish I could be optimistic and assume there won’t be problems. But I have to be realistic. It is going to happen.”

Early returns

The South Carolina Republican Party will conduct a highly scientific straw poll at this month’s state fair.

Beginning today, fair attendees will be invited into a voting booth to circle (no punch cards here) the name of the Democrat they think will be defeated in November 2004.

“We feel we are offering a real public service here,” says Katon Dawson, chairman of the party. “After all, why should you have to wait until February to find out who will lose … when you can make your choice today?”

Marks on homeland

Ron Marks, former intelligence counsel to Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott, has been named to the Homeland Security Advisory Committee for the Center for the Study of the Presidency.

Mr. Marks is director of federal affairs for Rockville-based Syntegra and has written extensively of late on national security issues.

Diseaseworld

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is said to be banking on fears surrounding bioterrorism — anthrax to smallpox — and other emerging diseases like the SARS virus to attract tourists to Atlanta and its $63 million visitors center and interactive “laboratory” set to open in 2005.

Max a million

Peter Max this afternoon will unveil his design for a new poster to raise $1 million for the proposed Pentagon Memorial, honoring those who lost their lives in the September 11 attack on the U.S. military’s headquarters.

The poster, underwritten by a $25,000 donation from AT&T;, goes on sale in mid-November. Apart from the regular limited-edition posters, personalized autographed posters will be sold for $150, and poster overpaints for $8,000 each.

Fiesta killjoys

Tex-Mex restaurants are the latest to be raided by food police from the Ralph Nader-inspired Center for Science in the Public Interest.

So says the Center for Consumer Freedom, which reveals the CSPI is set to issue yet another “predictable diatribe” against foods it thinks Americans shouldn’t enjoy.

“After deep-sixing deep-dish pizza and melting all the fun out of ice cream,” says Richard Berman, executive director of the CCF, “CSPI is now targeting fast-casual Mexican food.”

You mean the bean-and-cheese burritos we gringos grew up on?

“Once again, the killjoys at CSPI have made lemons out of lemonade,” he says. “This ridiculous tirade against Mexican dining is a classic reminder that while most of us derive pleasure from food, CSPI exists only to whine about it.”

Mr. Berman says the ultimate goal of CSPI is to win additional taxes, advertising restrictions and outright bans on foods that most Americans like to eat, from milk and meat to tamales and tacos.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.


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