There is life after Washington for Donna E. Shalala, and it doesn't involve politics.
Try football, instead.
Shalala's second year of presidency is under way at the University of Miami, and this Clinton administration secretary of health and human services has yet to lose a football game, including one with the much-ballyhooed Florida Gators a few weeks back.
"I'm undefeated since I started here a year ago," Shalala reminded this columnist in a recent phone interview.
What can you tell us about former Attorney General Janet Reno conceding defeat in the recent Florida Democratic gubernatorial primary?
"I'm out of politics. I'm bipartisan," Shalala responded. "I know nothing about Janet Reno. What I don't understand is Florida voting."(You and millions of others, we pointed out.)
So, do you long for Washington?
"In Washington, you age every day. Being around these young university people every day is fun and wonderful. You get younger and younger," she said.
Preferring to talk football and academics, Shalala pointed out that the Hurricanes, the national champs last year, are poised for a repeat. The former chancellor of another big football college - the University of Wisconsin at Madison - Shalala has made "excellence on and off the playing field" the credo for her Hurricanes.
She added that she visits student sections for the first half of the games, and meets donors and VIPs in the president's box for the second half. (She said she's not big on boxes and prefers hanging out in the stands with the Miami fans.)
Up next for Shalala's 'Canes - the fifth-ranked Florida State Seminoles on Oct. 12.
FBI NAME GAME
A growing chorus on Capitol Hill is demanding that J. Edgar Hoover's name be removed from FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Republicans and Democrats have joined House Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, the most outspoken lawmaker in favor of the move.
The congressmen have just introduced H.R. 5213, with the exclamation: "In the United States, symbolism matters."
During the past year, the committee has been investigating corruption surrounding FBI probes of organized crime in Boston, contending that "Hoover demonstrated a fundamental contempt for the rule of law."
Among other accusations, the committee says FBI officials of yesteryear took cash and gifts from mob figures such as Stevie "the Rifleman" Flemmi and James "Whitey" Bulger, and undermined the murder trial of notorious mob killer Joe "the Animal" Barboza.
Add to the list of supporters the signatures of Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn,), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Steven C. LaTourette (R-Ohio) and Bill Delahunt and John F. Tierney, Massachusetts Democrats.
Remember all the rumors swirling around Washington during the early '90s that First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton threw a lamp at her husband in the White House? Did anybody stop to think what would have happened if she'd hit her target?
We find out in Washington author Christopher Buckley's soon-to-be-published Random House novel, "No Way to Treat a First Lady."
In this suspense thriller, the first lady of the United States (no, her name isn't Hillary) is actually charged with manslaughter of her philandering husband, the president. In the midst of a bedroom spat, rather than a lamp, she allegedly hurled a historic Paul Revere spittoon at her husband, with tragic results.
Soon the attorney general has no choice but to put the first lady on trial for assassination. Imagine that, assassinating your husband. What happens next in this hilariously warped love story you will have to read for yourself.
The office in Harlem for Clinton
tells applicants seeking positions:
The time has expired
'cause Bubba has hired
an intern for ev'ry position."
-- Jim Wrenn, editor of Poli.Sat.Com, inspired by word that former President Clinton's office in Harlem is now telling people responding to ads for internships that all positions have been filled.
Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) is among an elite group on Capitol Hill. Besides politician, he's a medical doctor.
In recent days, this physician-turned-congressman has turned his medical scope on Advocates for Youth, SIECUS, and Planned Parenthood after they launched yet another campaign to eliminate "abstinence-until-marriage" education programs.
"They claim that abstinence education is 'harmful' to the health of adolescents while turning a blind eye to the medical facts regarding the gaps in protection from pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STD' that condoms provide," says the doctor, er, congressman.
Dr. Weldon charges that such groups promote their own interests over the health and well-being of teens, explaining that federal abstinence programs are unwelcome competition to an industry that has been taking federal funds for over three decades and is more interested in protecting their wallets.
It's called the America First Party, made up mostly of former Reform Party members who had previously abandoned the Republican Party.
Despite their dissatisfaction with Republicans, however, they still look an awful lot like them. Not in their dark business suits and red ties, not in the AFP's platform that includes a resolution calling for President Bush's impeachment in the event of an unlawful use of American troops.
Rather, the party's official Web site (www.americafirstparty.org) is strikingly similar to the Republican Party's official site, www.rnc.org. Colors, page layout and campaign buttons are nearly identical.
The only difference we see right off the bat is that the GOP site features a picture of President George W. Bush, while the AFP has a picture former Ohio Democratic Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., who was recently imprisoned on multiple criminal charges. The AFP says Traficant, who sided with Republicans in his final months in office, was railroaded, and encourages its party faithful to help bail him out.
Ironically, the AFP's mission statement is to "commit ourselves to elect honest people to public office . . (and) to clean up our corrupted political system."