Know your commander

Posted: Aug 28, 2002 12:00 AM
"The U.S. State Department would do well to remember that it answers to the president of the United States, not the European Union." -- House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, referring to the lack of consensus, among U.S. officials and allies, for a regime change in Iraq. Still, DeLay has pledged President Bush unified support of the House of Representatives in undertaking a mission to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. SORRY, MOM Charles E. Corry, president of the Equal Justice Foundation, joins a concerned American Policy Center that observes that after "sitting in the dustbin since Jimmy Carter was president," Democrats have resurrected the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). "It was recently passed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and now awaits a vote by the full Senate. It must be stopped," says the APC. Corry calls CEDAW a "thinly veiled attempt" by the United Nations to influence the policies of independent nations - including America. Among its goals, he says, are to abolish Mother's Day, create quotas and affirmative action, establish government-paid global village day care, and population control and abortion. "If ratified," says Corry, "CEDAW's panel of U.N. thugs would have the ability to scrutinize U.S. laws, and lobby for every radical liberal pipe dream you can imagine." THICK MINTS An overweight man filed lawsuits against restaurants this summer because he ate too much and got fat. Among the many outraged by the obese lawsuit is the Washington-based public interest group Consumer Freedom; its agenda is promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choice. As a result, it's inviting readers to use the online ( "Lawsuit Fabricator," which suggests ways to get payoffs for whatever ailments you suffer. Hoping to make a quick million or two, we were among the first to give the lawsuit generator a try. "What's your beef," it asks. "I'm too fat," came our reply. We were then connected to the next category: "Who You Can Sue." After studying the list of options, we've decided to file lawsuits against two parties that have definitely added pounds to our figure: "Ben & Jerry and their evil 'Chunky Monkey,'" and "cookie-wielding Girl Scouts." Oh, and you don´t have to be fat to sue. The lawsuit fabricator also provides hints for suing for those people who are in debt, those who are in jail, or those who are stupid. STACKED SOULS Arlington National Cemetery is losing ground. The final resting place for the nation's armed forces and similar heroes has a capacity of 243,373 gravesites -- with about 32,312 available as of the end of March 2002. Last month, a bill passed the House that awaits action in the Senate that would allow certain family members of eligible veterans to be buried in the same grave without need of a waiver. FRIST IN 2008 "Babes and Whales" is the title of a feature in the September issue of Washingtonian magazine, in which Capitol Hill staffers pick the best and worst of Congress -- leaders, followers, dimwits, hotheads and more. A few of our favorites on the Senate side (viewpoints expressed by Capitol Hill aides do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this columnist or his editors): Showhorse: Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican No Rocket Scientist: Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat No Altar Boy: Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat (followed closely by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and John B. Breaux of Louisiana, both Democrats) Biggest Windbag: Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat Hottest Temper: Sen. Ted Stevens, Alaska Republican Meanest: Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican Strongest Backbone: Sen. James M. Jeffords, Vermont independent Weakest Spine: Sen. James M. Jeffords, Vermont independent Just Plain Nice: Sen. Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican Best Dressed: Sen. Gordon H. Smith, Oregon Republican Fashion Victim: Sen. Paul Wellstone, Minnesota Democrat Looks Best In Bathing Suit: Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat Stay Off The Beach: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat Preferable President In 2008: Sen. Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican APPRECIATES AMERICA We turn to our MetroDCSports newsletter to see that not all of the French are anti-American (just kidding). A French marathon swimmer, Ben Lecomte, is planning to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks by swimming from Washington to New York City. Lecomte, who lives in Texas with his American wife, will begin his swim from this city Sept. 11 and arrive in New York in early October, the newsletter says. He plans to do the swim solo, completing about 20 miles per day and stopping on the shore to rest and eat each night. He began planning the swim shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. "So many people did not have the ability to follow their dreams like I did. To die this way, I cannot accept that," he tells MetroDCSports. "It's also a way for me to say to the American people, 'Thank you for accepting me and allowing me to live my life here.'" The swimmer will follow the Potomac River (this column recommends a typhoid shot) until it flows into the Chesapeake Bay and finally into the Atlantic Ocean. He hopes to swim six to eight hours each day. POLITICS ASIDE "This Week," with George and Bill? OK, so Bill Clinton probably won't be the next Maury Povich, administering DNA tests to irresponsible fathers who can't stop fooling around. Peter Jennings, on the other hand, might watch his back. CNN "Newsnight" anchorman Aaron Brown, interviewed on WABC radio in New York, suggested that our former president would make a "terrific" newsman. Specifically, he said, aboard ABC's "This Week," which is bidding adieu to hosts Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts while elevating former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos to David Brinkley's old throne. "I think (Clinton) would be fascinating in a job like that," Brown said in his interview, monitored by "I think he could do almost any of the jobs on one of those shows. He could sit on the side and be the commentator, the debater, the round-table person. "But I also think he could sit at the center and execute very interesting and thoughtful interviews regardless of the fact that people know his own politics." ROTUND TOURISTS Numerous times since Sept. 11 we've written about babies born in this country to visiting foreign nationals who, because of the ground they're delivered on, qualify for U.S. citizenship. Now, in a court action with wide-ranging implications, a Washington watchdog group of lawyers and immigration experts has filed a motion in U.S. District Court to intervene in the case of a Saudi Arabian Taliban fighter born in the U.S. under similar circumstances - to Saudi parents with temporary work visas. Captured fighter Yaser Esam Hamdi is not a U.S. citizen, despite his Louisiana birth, argues the Friends of Immigration Law Enforcement. The group says the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment doesn't mandate the practice of granting "birthright citizenship" to children born on U.S. soil to temporary workers, illegal immigrants and tourists. Nor, it says, does case law support the custom. "The situation we have today is absurd," says the group's director, Craig Nelsen. "For example, there is a huge and growing industry in Asia that arranges tourist visas for pregnant women so they can fly to the United States and give birth to an American. Obviously, this was not the intent of the 14th Amendment; it makes a mockery of citizenship."