Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Washington Insight

May 07, 1997|From The Times Washington Bureau

HOT-WIRE DIPLOMACY: On her whirlwind trip to Guatemala on Sunday, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright performed one official act: the initialing of a treaty that makes it easier to return stolen American cars to the United States. At a news conference in Guatemala City, a bored and worldly wise reporter asked her, "Why would the secretary of State come down here and go on television to initial a treaty about something that sounds so mundane as stolen cars?" Unflapped by the question, Albright replied that the problem of the flight of stolen cars to Central America is, in fact, a large and knotty one for the United States, and then--perhaps seeing the look of disbelief in the report's eyes, added that, in any case, the treaty reflected "the kind of cooperation where nothing is too small and nothing is too big for us to talk about with our friends."

*

BENCH WARMERS: Call it a constitutional crisis, a political dispute or an all-too-familiar battle of statistics. Here's the key fact: So far this year, only two new judges have been confirmed by the Senate for a federal court system with 99 vacancies. "The Republican Congress is batting 2 for 99. Not even the Chicago Cubs are off to a worse start in 1997," charges Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). But hold on, the Republicans say. The blame lies with the Clinton administration, which has submitted only 26 nominations. Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) notes fewer judgeships are vacant now than when the Democrats controlled the Senate. "We are moving," Hatch says. His panel is engaged in a "thorough examination" of Clinton nominees, but there is "no stall," he says.

*

HIRE ME: Maybe those judicial nominees should adopt Ileana M. Colon Carlo's approach. The comptroller of Puerto Rico, whose 10-year term ends in September, wants to become comptroller general of the United States, and she's letting people know. The post requires a presidential nomination and Senate confirmation, so Colon Carlo has written the president, vice president and members of Congress. In a letter to Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), chairman of the House committee that must recommend three candidates to the president, Colon Carlo notes that she is "available for an interview." She also encloses a five-page curriculum vitae.

*

THE JOBS PARTY: Readers of a recent press release from the Democratic National Committee should be forgiven their confusion. After all, it reads as if the DNC's hiring of a press secretary to handle "all campaign finance-related press" is a celebratory event. In fact, the new job is the Democrats' latest attempt to manage their party's burgeoning fund-raising controversy. And with all the allegations about Chinese money, Lincoln bedroom sleepovers, White House coffees and Webster L. Hubbell contacts, there's work to go around. Steve Langdon is in the hot seat, and the DNC is "glad to have him on board." Questions, anyone?

*

HISTORICALLY INCORRECT: While the demand for a sculpture showing FDR in a wheelchair got the most attention, it was not the only dispute over political correctness to shape the new memorial to the 32nd president. After a proposed statue of Eleanor Roosevelt wearing a fur boa riled animal rights activists, it was scrapped in favor of likeness of the first lady draped in a cloth coat. And conspicuous by its absence is any replica of FDR's jauntily positioned cigarette holder, a Roosevelt trademark in an era when Americans thought it was healthier to "reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|