UPI's Capital Comment for Sept. 3, 2002

By United Press International  |  Sept. 3, 2002 at 1:08 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

One more about the Gipper -- In an exclusive interview with Fox News' Rita Cosby, talk show host Michael Reagan, eldest son of former President Ronald Reagan, talked about his father's ongoing battle with Alzheimer's disease.

He says the former president is no longer cognizant of his relationships to those around or, "If he is, he can't express it. He can't say it. He can't say the words that maybe you and I can say. I still give him a hug and still give him a kiss and you hope that somewhere inside of him that it's connecting. But he couldn't tell you that he knows who indeed you are, because he's not able to verbalize."

Reagan, the president's adopted son with his wife, Academy Award-winning actress Jane Wyman, says, "It's sad to see a man who was the great communicator not being able to communicate really at all. But for some reason, God is keeping him with us. I don't know what that reason is, he is with us and we still love him and cherish him." The former president will be 92 next Feb. 6.

Flavor of the month -- Ben Cohen, better known as one half of the ice cream making duo Ben & Jerry, has started a liberal political group, the True Majority campaign, to unite those Americans who believe the national response to Sept. 11 has been inadequate. To publicize the group, Cohen on Wednesday will ride "a giant, grunting, and eye-popping pig" around New York. Also in the parade are: the Rolling Piggies; depicting what Cohen calls "Washington's mixed-up budget priorities"; a 12-foot rolling piggy bank representing the Pentagon budget towing two smaller piggy banks representing America's budget for education" and world hunger; and a double-decker school bus symbolizing a call to double federal education spending.

Save the date -- The Institute for Policy Innovation, a conservative think tank based in Dallas, is saluting its founder, House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, at its 15th Anniversary Dinner, Oct. 19. Tickets for the event start at $65 and can be obtained through IPI's Misty Woodruff at 972-874-5139.

On-line assistance -- For the anniversary of Sept. 11, the Internet Education Foundation has compiled a short Web archive illustrating how the Internet performed immediately following the attacks to help Americans connect, coordinate, console and contribute. The Internet 9.11 page, located at Neted.org/911, provides archived snapshots of sites that Americans turned to in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on New York and Washington.

"Internet stocks may be down, but this archive demonstrates its enormous social value and potential. Sept. 11 made us acutely aware of what an important resource an open Internet played in making it possible for people, government, and policy leaders to connect with others, coordinate emergency response activities, reach and console loved ones, and spur charitable and cooperative activities," Jerry Berman, president of the Internet Education Foundation, says.

Time to make the doughnuts -- In his latest Mullings.com newsletter, political pundit Rich Galen offers his thoughts on the incongruities of what he calls the "Professional Kvetching Class" attending the international environmental summit in Johannesburg. According to Galen, "The BBC reported that, while the delegates were in the Hilton complaining about the length of time it took get an elevator from the lobby bar to their hotel rooms with televisions, full bathrooms, beds and clean linens every day, in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, '(B)ulldozers began moving into (an) area, near Ethiopia's International Airport, on Thursday morning and began demolishing the houses of more than 10,000 people.' ... Ethiopia which, when we last looked was not one of the world's strongest economies, has turned 10,000 of its citizens who had some form of shelter into homeless people!"

The comparison leads Galen to pose the age old question, "What's Afrikaans for "Don't bother me now. I heard there's Krispy Kremes at the Toyota booth!"

Is there a doctor in the house? -- The Independent Women's Forum, a conservative group, is holding a luncheon discussion on the subject of pseudoscience at the Capital Grille restaurant on Sept. 17. The program, The Growing Federal Investment in Pseudoscience, will feature presentations by Drs. Saul Green and Wallace Sampson, the co-founders of The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine. Green and Sampson will discuss how the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, is failing medicine through repetitious investigations, implausible methodologies, lack of conclusions and unending research. Dr. Sally Satel, the author of PC M.D. How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine, moderates.

Personnel notes -- Jim Martin, currently the director of coalitions at the National Republican Congressional Committee, will be joining The Hawthorn Group, a political consulting firm in Alexandria, Va. Martin will be responsible for Hawthorn's research operations including media tracking, issue research, polling and focus groups, and targeting.

Got a Capital Comment? E-mail CapComm@UPI.com.

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