Magazine article Insight on the News

Washington in Brief

Magazine article Insight on the News

Washington in Brief

Article excerpt

Let the Games Begin; Farmer Al Fights Back

The late Lee Atwater was one of the master political strategists of modern times. When asked his formula for victory, Atwater cited the infantry maxim: "Keep your head low and keep running." That mature observation came to mind in contrast to the apparent Al Gore approach, which seems to be to render a Bronx cheer and jeer, "Ya missed me!"

Responding to a spate of Republican criticism on various fronts, Gore recently offered several quotes from experts who claim that he did, in fact, have something to do with the creation of the Internet. He also claimed to be a helmsman in steering the Internet toward uses other than the academic and scientific. When you consider the amount of pornography, misinformation and just plain idiocy crowding the Internet today, it's a wonder Republicans don't just let him lay claim to that brier patch.

As for the contention that he was raised in an exclusive Washington hotel rather than on the Tennessee farm he calls home, Gore offers quotes and observations on how he spent summers and holidays at chores such as cleaning horse stalls and hog parlors. Here again, one has to wonder why the GOP can't leave well enough alone. Let Jay Leno handle Gore's claim that he does, in fact, know how to heave around those horse droppings.

Another criticism to which Gore has risen concerns his reinvention of government. He claims his efforts have saved taxpayers $137 billion. Now, there's no need to call Gore all kinds of a prevaricating polecat over that. If the money's saved, then obviously Al has it tucked away somewhere, probably like Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's trust funds for the Indians.

Come on, Al, show us the money!

Americans Whipped the Evil Empire; Now Where Are Our Medals?

An estimated 22 million veterans and federal employees will be eligible for the Defense Department's "Cold War Recognition Certificate," a gesture to those who served during the era between Sept. 2, 1945, when the surrender of Japan brought World War II to a close, and Dec. 26, 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as Soviet president and the Soviet Union was disbanded.

"All members of the armed forces and federal government civilian personnel who faithfully served the United States during the Cold War era" are eligible, according to a Defense Department announcement on the World Wide Web, coldwar.army.mil. Information also is available from Cold War Recognition, 4035 Ridge Top Road, Fairfax, VA 22030.

Eligibility is determined based on an "official document" that must accompany the request. That could be "Any official government or military document with recipient's name, Social Security Number/Military Service Number/ Foreign Service Number and date of service is acceptable," according to the Website. A model letter is provided.

As Insight went to press, it had not received a response to a question on whether the document must be an original, but it is assumed a copy is acceptable since submission may be by fax as well as mail. The fax number is (800) 723-9262. Documents provided will not be returned.

The certificate results from a crusade begun by Army veteran Mark Vogl, a New York resident who launched a petition drive through the AMVETS organization and then approached Rep. Rick Lazio, a New York Republican, with the proposal. Lazio saw that the project was included in the 1997 defense budget for implementation this year.

Lazio said he got involved because "there was no ticker-tape parade" for those "who are responsible for a huge victory over the Soviet Union that saved mankind from nuclear holocaust. …

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