Who said former judge Robert Bork doesn't have a sense of humor?
Actually, the former acting attorney general and solicitor general, who was nominated to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan, is well-known for his quick, dry wit.
During a wide-ranging interview with Judge Bork surrounding his newly released book, "A Time to Speak: Selected Writings and Arguments," this columnist recalled Bork's earlier days as a professor at Yale Law School, where he had the opportunity to instill his deep legal wisdom in a young radical-minded student named Hillary Rodham-soon-to-be-Clinton.
"Well, I always say that she was in the room," says Judge Bork. "I don't claim any credit for her development."
As for his thick new tome?
"It starts with constitutional law and anti-trust," he answers, "and goes on then to the end where there are two short pieces on martinis."
"That's serious stuff," Judge Bork insists. "The martini is a drink that is much abused - everybody's making chocolate martinis and apple martinis, and so forth. And it's the kind of thing that has to stop. The integrity of the martini is essential."
The former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, Peter Morici, is blasting Barack Obama's $800-billion-plus economic stimulus proposal as a "bad piece of legislation begotten by poor presidential leadership."
"Unfortunately, this is starting to look a lot like the Jimmy Carter administration, except we're in a crisis and we have to give [Mr. Obama] what he wants," Mr. Morici, an author of 18 books on economic policy and issues, tells Inside the Beltway.
A renowned expert on international economics and agreements, macroeconomics, and industrial policy, Mr. Morici serves on the Reuters macroeconomic forecasting panel. Currently a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business, he has advised many leading corporations and governments regarding trade and regulatory issues.
"This thing isn't going to work very well," Mr. Morici says of the nearly trillion-dollar package awaiting final passage on Capitol Hill, labeling it a "hodgepodge of special interest spending" that contains "pent-up demands for social programs on the part of Democrats" and "some tax cuts" demanded by Republicans.
"This is bull hunk ... a bad bill," he warns.
DELETING THE 'D'
Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, thinks he's on to something - scandals minus the "D," you might call it.
"Two weeks ago the governor of Illinois was removed from office," the congressman notes, referring to the embattled Rod R. Blagojevich. "All three television networks ran full reports on the story the same night and again the following morning. Not one report mentioned that he is a Democrat."
"The same has been true of numerous other Democrats recently embroiled in scandal," he continues. "CNN ignored the party affiliation of the Democratic mayor of Baltimore as news broke that she had been indicted. The [Associated Press] did the same while covering the indictment of the former Democratic mayor of Detroit. And in the aftermath of his sex scandal, network newscasts apparently forgot that the former governor of New York is a Democrat."
He is referring to Baltimore "Democratic" Mayor Sheila A. Dixon, recently charged with 12 counts of felony theft, perjury, fraud and misconduct in office; Detroit "Democratic" ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who was just released from prison after serving a sentence for lying; and former New York "Democratic" Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned from office last year after spending time with a $1,000-an-hour call girl who went by the street name Ashley Alexandra Dupre.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Let us work together because people won't remember how fast we fixed this problem. They will, however, remember how well we fixed it."
- Rep. Denny Rehberg, Montana Republican, speaking of the so-called economic stimulus package now before Congress