- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2005

End of the moon

“Americans say that everyone hates us because we are rich, democratic and free. They remind me of those girls who are convinced people hate them because they are beautiful. The truth is everyone hates them because they are [expletive deleted].”

So says performance artist Laurie Anderson in her latest masterwork, “The End of the Moon.”

And, notes Jim Weidman, spokesman for the Heritage Foundation, Ms. Anderson is currently touring Europe with this one-woman show, created under the auspices of NASA.

That’s right. NASA two years ago tabbed Ms. Anderson to be its first-ever “artist in residence,” a position that carried a $20,000 stipend to create and perform a theatrical piece about NASA.

“What the agency got was ‘The End of the Moon,’” Mr. Weidman tells Inside the Beltway. “Ms. Anderson describes her opus thusly: ‘Nominally, it’s my official report as the first NASA artist in residence, but the stories include things about war, my dog, trees, people I’ve known, theories.’”

Now it appears that Ms. Anderson may be NASA’s first — and last — artist in residence.

Last week, continuing his personal battle to rid the federal government of wasteful spending, Rep. Chris Chocola, Indiana Republican, successfully amended the Science, State, Justice and Commerce annual appropriations bill “to prohibit federal funds from being used to employ an ‘artist in residence’ at NASA.”

Mr. Chocola’s amendment was approved during floor consideration, and the underlying bill passed by a vote of 418-7.

“Given current budget constraints … it’s obviously questionable that NASA would spend taxpayer dollars … to perform theatrical story-telling pieces,” the congressman said.

Claiming Lanny, too

A senior White House official, who asks not to be identified, read our recent item about the White House correspondent who, during the daily press briefing, asked if President Bush is “ready to replace Kofi Annan with my friend President Bill Clinton as the United Nations secretary-general.”

To which a surprised reporter shot back: “Your friend?”

“Thought you might enjoy this one too,” writes the official, who forwards a transcript from a recent morning gaggle between reporters and White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who had noted:

“The president today is announcing his intention to nominate two individuals and appoint three individuals to serve in his administration on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that was part of the intelligence reforms. And we’ll get you that list, but the names include Carol Dinkins of Texas to be chairman, Alan Charles Raul to be vice chairman, Lanny Davis to be a member, Ted Olson to be a member, and Francis Taylor to be a member. And we’ll get you out this information momentarily.”

Reporter: “Did you say Lanny Davis?”

Mr. McClellan: “I think I did. Yes, I did.”

Reporter: “Our Lanny Davis?”

Mr. McClellan: “He’s your Lanny Davis? The media are claiming him?”

As White House special counsel from 1996 to 1998, Mr. Davis acted as President Clinton’s spokesman for campaign-finance investigations and other unsavory matters.

Denver Three

They call themselves the Denver Three, and today they arrive on Capitol Hill in hopes of outing a “mystery” White House official.

Karen Bauer, Leslie Weise and Alex Young claim they were removed three months ago from President Bush’s “town hall conversation” on Social Security held in Denver because of the viewpoint expressed on a bumper sticker on their car.

The trio says it has meetings today with members of Colorado’s congressional delegation — Democrat and Republican alike — in hopes that they can pressure the White House to not only reveal the name of the official who threw them out of the meeting, but as they put it “come clean about their policy of excluding citizens from public events across the country solely because of people’s viewpoint.”

Daddy Warbucks

Even Anne Lewis of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is impressed with the fundraising ability of President Bush, who she’s now nicknamed “Daddy Warbucks.”

“Twenty-three million dollars. In one night. That’s what we’re up against,” she remarked after Mr. Bush raised $23 million at a single Washington congressional fundraiser last week attended by 5,000 of his supporters.

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

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