John McCaslin

Dealing with mad cow disease has been headache enough for the National Cattlemen's Association. Now they have People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) surfing down their necks.

PETA, a pro-vegeterian bunch never short on surprises, somehow has obtained the Internet site - which is very similar to the cattlemen's popular online address,

In other words, rather than feasting eyes on a juicy New York Strip, Internet users who mistakenly surf into PETA's site get to see a foaming-at-the-mouth cow.

Washington PETA official Bruce Friedrich, who steered this columnist to, is encouraging Americans from here to Walla Walla, Wash., to throw away all frozen meat for fear it's contaminated.

As for the domain name, it's owned by Michael Fischer of Michigan, who has allowed PETA exclusive use of the address - free of charge - for one month. After that, it's for sale - $2.5 million its current price tag.


Economically speaking, George W. Bush is sitting pretty.

"Often, criticism leveled at policymakers is well founded. I certainly have offered up my share," writes American Enterprise Institute resident scholar John H. Makin. "But as 2003 ends and 2004 begins, we find ourselves at a point where the performance of the U.S. economy is about as good as it gets."

Makin observes that the stock market is up 20 percent this year, inflation and interest rates are low, productivity growth is high, and U.S. exports are rising strongly.

Now, if Congress and the White House would only sit down and tackle the nation's skyrocketing overall debt, which has just broken the $7 trillion threshold - a new record.


More than three months into fiscal 2004 and Congress has yet to finish the appropriations process.

Which isn't to say senators and congressmen haven't found time to pile on the pork.

The House passed the 1,448-page, $820 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal 2004 on Dec. 8, but the Senate isn't expected to take action on the bill until it reconvenes Jan. 20.

Meanwhile, Citizens Against Government Waste says the bill is continously "stuffed" with parochial projects.

Some recent examples: $750,000 added by the Senate for Love, Inc., a Fairbanks, Alaska social service facility; $300,000 added by the House for street furniture and facade improvements for the city of Luverne, Ala.; and $75,000 added by the House for construction of a social hall for the Japanese Community Center in East San Gabriel Valley, Calif.


John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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