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Gondola Anyone?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

"Are you a Democrat or Republican in love with someone from another party? Is it affecting your relationship? Are you wondering if you're ever going to agree to disagree? Let America's Love Doctor, Linda Olson, help."


In other words, after Democrats get through beating up each other during their hotly contested presidential primary season, relationships are going to suffer further once a Democrat is finally chosen and starts slinging mud at a Republican — or so we gather from the above advertisement forwarded to this column.

Ms. Olson calls herself "one of the most trusted experts in conflict management," having for two decades successfully counseled men and women in troubled relationships, including "hard-lined Republicans and Democrats."

She says if outspoken Democrat James Carville and his equally vocal Republican wife Mary Matalin can have a successful marriage — live together happily as they do along the politically polluted banks of the Potomac River — others can too.

For starters, she suggests switching off the cable TV news channel before political mouthpieces such as Chris Matthews, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity send you further down the road toward divorce court.

Time out

"The weakness is starting to show up," CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told Inside the Beltway yesterday.

Fortunately, he wasn't referring to the CIA's espionage capabilities, or intelligence vacuums that plagued the agency during the 1990s, or Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez being left unattended for too long.

Rather, the four-star Air Force general, who grew up on Pittsburgh's North Side, was referencing the Pittsburgh Steelers' prospects for 2008.


"What does your intelligence tell you about next football season?"

"The weakness is starting to show up with the offensive line," Mr. Hayden disclosed. "They let [Alan] Faneca go, who was the best lineman they had, and I understand why. He was on the back end of a career and he was asking for iconic status on his own part in terms of his contract."

An analysis that had the CIA director's top aides, seated behind him with their note pads and tape recorders, exchanging concerned looks. This interview certainly wasn't going where they intended.

"They couldn't sign [quarterback Ben] Roethlisberger and give Faneca what he wanted, so they just decided to sign Roethlisberger," Mr. Hayden continued. "So I think they're going to be drafting a lineman."

Why football analysis at a time when the Chinese are flexing their military muscle, al Qaeda is digging its sandals into Pakistan, and Mr. Chavez continues cussing up a storm?

The CIA director eventually tackled those national security issues, but not before he grabbed his Steelers helmet off of his bookcase — signed by every one of the Super Bowl XI champs — and showed it off.

And how about this intriguing piece of sports trivia: Mr. Hayden's grade-school football coach at Pittsburgh's St. Peter Parochial School was none other than Steelers owner Dan Rooney.

"We have season tickets that we share with the kids," he noted. "Eight home games, two exhibition games, and most seasons more than one or two playoff games, and we get to three or four games a year."


And while the CIA director stops short of painting his face black-and-gold, like most die-hard Steelers fans he does wear the team's colors when he attends the games.

Now, on to North Korea.

More Bill

What do you get when you cross a radio talk-show host, a two-time former Cabinet member, a best-selling author, a philosophy professor and a rock 'n' roll fan?

That would be Bill Bennett, who is pleased to announce that his nationally syndicated radio show, "Morning in America," will debut in Washington on WTNT-AM, Monday through Friday, 6-9 a.m., starting March 25. The show has a listener rating of 3 million.

Need hobbies

So how did White House pool reporters kill their time while assigned to cover President Bush's most recent bicycle ride through the Maryland mud? "Watched 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' on TV in the break room — still as funny 21 years later."

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