Looking for some relief from the heat? Take note: The American Association for Nude Recreation, acting long before the heat wave began, has designated July 5-11 as Nude Recreation Week.
Perhaps with that in mind, dueling nudity amendments recently found their way into the Interior Department's appropriations bill on the House side. The House Appropriations Committee version has a section that says no funds "may be used to designate, or to post any sign designating, any portion of Canaveral National Seashore in Brevard County, Florida, as a clothing-optional area or as an area in which public nudity is permitted."
Loop Fans may recall that the full House overwhelmingly approved such language in prior legislation to stop what a sponsor called "lewd and lascivious" activity there.
But this year, the National Parks and Conservation Association, an ever-vigilant "watchdog" group, spotted an amendment to the Interior bill by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), adopted last week in committee, that says: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a woman may breastfeed her child at any location in a building or on property that is part of the National Park System, the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts" and other spots, "if the woman and her child are otherwise permitted to be present at the location."
This will all get sorted out.
Hollings Intern-alizes the Debate
July has barely begun, but the Loop Wicked Cheap Shot of the Month Award goes to Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.). Hollings was on the Senate floor July 1, blasting Republican and Democratic genuflection to high-contributing computer and high-tech companies in passing a bill that would provide some liability protection to those companies in the event of Y2K breakdowns.
Hollings noted there had been a telephone conversation between President Clinton and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) in the wee hours on June 29 to close the deal. (Clinton, in Connecticut with Dodd for a fund-raiser, called Dodd back between 1:30 and 2 a.m. to nail down the details.)
Dodd "made the call to the president after midnight," Hollings said. "I thought the only person who could get the president after midnight was Monica."
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
A few weeks ago, Hartwick College President Richard Detweiler and his wife, Carol, former Peace Corps volunteers in Micronesia, came up with a neat idea to help the 4,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees who had been taken to Fort Dix, N.J., for resettlement.
Since many of the refugees spoke English and were of college age, Detweiler figured his school in Oneonta, N.Y., and similar small, independent colleges could help with tuition waivers and housing support. The response was "overwhelmingly positive," he said. In about a week, more than 30 schools around the country offered tuition and aid for 60 refugees, a package worth more than $6 million.
But then Detweiler ran into the Department of Health and Human Services, which had its hands full resettling the refugees. "We're not in the college placement business," Detweiler said one official told him. Scores of calls to government officials got nowhere, and now the refugees are mostly gone, scattered to 100 communities around the country.
Detweiler called it "a classic case of a bureaucratic machine, grinding away [with] no effort made to connect people with real needs with good-intentioned people who could help provide [for] those needs."
HHS spokesman Michael Kharfen said, "Initially, as our focus was refugee safety and getting them resettled, we didn't act as quickly as we would have liked" on Detweiler's project.
World Relief Refugee Services is "now taking the lead" in getting the word out to its caseworkers, Kharfen said, and "we feel very confident that we'll be able to get them into colleges across the country."
But Detweiler's not so sanguine. He had volunteers ready to screen people at Fort Dix. "The opportunity to do it effectively and efficiently" is gone, he said. And "the odds are long now against" enrollment this fall. Whether the schools will renew their offers is uncertain, he said.
Maybe Detweiler should hit up first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for help when she comes by today on a campaign swing.
Staying a Spell Longer
Don't think the Arkansans are necessarily leaving when the Clintons go. Al Gore's campaign announced yesterday that Clark Ray, formerly at the Department of Agriculture and more recently Tipper Gore's scheduler and trip director, has signed on as her campaign chief of staff. Ray is an Arkansas native and graduated from the University of Arkansas.
For the Republicans, Elizabeth Dole has brought on some veteran talent, hiring Kathleen M. Harrington to be deputy campaign manager. Harrington, on leave from her job as vice president in Aetna Life and Casualty's D.C. office, worked for Dole as assistant secretary of labor for congressional and intergovernment affairs and worked on the Hill and as assistant administrator for public affairs at the Federal Aviation Administration.